Time is running out for Ravens tight end Nick Boyle to get ready for Week 1. But coach John Harbaugh isn’t ruling him out, either.
Boyle, who had season-ending knee surgery last season and a minor clean-up procedure this summer, hasn’t practiced in training camp and is not expected to play in Saturday’s preseason finale against the Washington Football Team.
Harbaugh said Monday that Boyle, 28, is “making progress” and will be back “as soon as he can be.” But he declined to quantify how far along in the rehabilitation process Boyle is.
“We’re still very hopeful for the opener, but we’ll just have to see,” Harbaugh said, referring to the Ravens’ Sept. 13 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. “I mean, you never know. The good thing is, we have other options. I like the way our tight ends are coming along, so we’ve got depth at receiver when those guys get back. So we’ll be able to put a good offense out there if he doesn’t make it. If he does make it, it’d be great.”
Fullback Patrick Ricard’s evolution as a receiver gives the Ravens more flexibility if Boyle, one of the NFL’s top blocking tight ends, is unavailable early in the season. Tight end Josh Oliver has also impressed during training camp and in two preseason games.
If Boyle’s unlikely to contribute in September, the Ravens could place him on injured reserve to start the season, opening up a roster spot and delaying his return until Week 4, at the earliest.
Stanley ramps up
The Ravens’ hope entering camp was that star left tackle Ronnie Stanley would be available for their third and final preseason game. If Monday’s practice was any indication, he could be on track to play in Saturday’s matchup in Landover.
Stanley, who eased into team drills last week, was a full participant in Monday’s practice, a milestone in his recovery from season-ending ankle surgery.
“He looks really good, and now he’s got to get himself ready to play, really,” Harbaugh said. “And he’s a veteran. He knows how to do that.”
Rookie guard Ben Cleveland (concussion) also returned to practice after missing Thursday’s joint session with the Carolina Panthers and Saturday’s preseason game. The third-round pick was limited mainly to individual drills.
Tyre Phillips, another contender at left guard, did not practice Monday. Asked about his absence from Saturday’s game, Harbaugh said Phillips had tweaked his ankle Thursday. “It’s not a serious injury,” he said.
>> Ricard said he played the 2020 season with a torn labrum, a rim of soft cartilage that surrounds the hip socket. He underwent hip surgery in Colorado soon after the season ended, partly to keep the injury from worsening. “It was a good surgery,” he said Monday, “and I feel good from it.”
>> Wide receiver James Proche II missed the final 45 minutes or so of practice after appearing to tweak his back while making a catch in 11-on-11 action. He spoke with a trainer briefly and did not leave the field. Afterward, Harbaugh said Proche and wide receiver Jaylon Moore, who had to be stretched out for a couple of minutes late in practice, were dealing with cramps.
>> During a rough day for the offense, running back J.K. Dobbins had the highlight of the morning, reaching across his body to complete a one-handed catch — with his left hand, no less — over the middle.
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>> Running back Justice Hill, who hasn’t practiced since spraining his ankle in the team’s preseason opener, joined wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Miles Boykin and Deon Cain in rehab work on an empty practice field. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (muscle strain) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins were also among those not practicing.