The Ravens have until 4 p.m. today to make any roster moves for tonight’s game. What they do — or I should say, don’t do — will provide a good glimpse of whether they expect to have several of their banged-up players available against the Miami Dolphins.
The Ravens will want at least four active receivers, if not five, so if Maclin and Wallace can’t go, they’d have to make a move.
Along the offensive line, guard Matt Skura is questionable after missing the previous two games with a knee injury. If he can’t play, the Ravens will need to add a seventh healthy offensive lineman. If Skura is fine, he’d probably slide into the starting right guard spot with Jermaine Eluemunor and Luke Bowanko being the two reserves.
Wallace’s sideline antics against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday after he was told he wouldn’t be allowed to return to the game because of a concussion were a little over the top. However, you can’t question the veteran’s desire to be on the field.
All the talk about how Wallace can be a diva seems to overshadow the fact that he’s been one of the NFL’s most durable players. Wallace has missed exactly one game in nine pro seasons.
Even that one game could have an asterisk. It was the last game of the 2012 regular season and Wallace’s Pittsburgh Steelers team had already been eliminated from playoff contention. Wallace was a pending free agent and it was well-documented that he’d be playing elsewhere the following season, so he was held out.
Still in slot?
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has an interesting decision to make tonight about whether to stick with veteran safety Lardarius Webb in the slot or turn that role over to undrafted rookie cornerback Jaylen Hill, who showed himself well Sunday.
Webb is frequently criticized by Ravens fans, but he’s a solid tackler, he’s a good blitzer, he knows his assignments and he helps hold the secondary together.
However, speedy slot receivers, such as Miami’s Jarvis Landry, present problems for him. Hill would obviously be a better matchup for Landry’s speed and athleticism, but he has just one NFL game under his belt, so you’d expect the Dolphins to go after him if he’s out there.
A new Carr
Raise your hand if you expected to say at the midpoint of the season that the Ravens’ best and most impactful outside free-agent signing was cornerback Brandon Carr.
When the Ravens signed Carr in mid-March, it was a letdown for many Ravens fans who wanted Carr’s ex-Dallas Cowboys teammate and fellow free agent, Morris Claiborne.
While Maclin and Danny Woodhead have battled injuries, Tony Jefferson has mostly struggled and Austin Howard has played reasonably well, Carr has three interceptions and has played consistently solid football.
He’s not a shutdown guy by any means and he’s given up some plays. But he’s been in the right place more often than not, and he’s won far more matchups than he’s lost.
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m., so there are sure to be plenty of rumors from now until then.
The first thing to remember is that there is always a lot of bluster but usually very few moves. Secondly, the lack of Ravens salary cap space is an impediment to a significant deal, plus general manager Ozzie Newsome is never all that aggressive in trading draft picks.
And if you’re the Ravens and you lose tonight to fall to 3-5, are you really entertaining trading future assets for modest upgrades that likely won’t be enough anyway to overcome the team’s standing and get you to the playoffs?
If they do make a deal, I still consider a guard the biggest need. Everyone is clamoring for a wide receiver, but we’ve seen in the past that it can take awhile for Joe Flacco and company to integrate a new target.
Time, though, for a playoff run is running short.
Ten quick thoughts
1. I’m not sure the NFL would be thrilled to see Wallace in uniform and on the field during a prime-time game just four days after he looked like he got knocked out for a brief moment on that nasty hit from Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo.
2. It was alarming to see nose tackle Michael Pierce handled on certain plays the way he was by the Vikings. The Ravens need more from him.
3. Speaking of the defensive line, is it me or do the Ravens miss Timmy Jernigan or at least the Jernigan from the early part of last season? The Ravens sent Jernigan and the 99th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 74th overall pick, which became Chris Wormley. The Eagles used the 99th pick on West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas who has started four games and has two interceptions. Jernigan, meanwhile, has started all seven games and has 1½ sacks.
4. Not sure there is a more unlikely trade scenario than the Pittsburgh Steelers trading disgruntled wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the their biggest rivals. But Ravens fans can dream and ask repeatedly about that scenario on Twitter.
5. I’d imagine there will be some anxious moments for much-maligned offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg if the Ravens offense plays poorly tonight. If the Ravens are embarrassed in front of a national television audience, I’d imagine something would have to change somewhere within the organization with the next game 10 days away.
6. I’d also imagine there is some anxiety within the organization about how many empty seats there will be tonight at M&T Bank Stadium.
7. It’s probably time to give Alex Collins more of the workload at running back to see whether he can get into a rhythm and wear down a defense with how hard he runs.
8. The Ravens have kept tight end Maxx Williams off injured reserve despite the fact that he’s set to miss his fifth game in six weeks and had a fumble in that one game during that stretch in which he was active. I’m a bit surprised with their patience, given how little roster flexibility they’ve had because of injuries.
9. It’s hindsight, but the Ravens probably should’ve added a veteran inside linebacker after Albert McClellan went down with a torn ACL.
10. The Ravens have already allowed 47 more rushing yards through seven games than their vaunted 2000 defense did in 16 games. Not sure whether that says more about their current run defense or the 2000 version.