Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about the mounting injuries at training camp. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
Ravens coach John Harbaugh had just watched three more of his players leave Tuesday's practice with injuries, including two who were carted off the field, when he was asked a question that seemed especially pertinent at the time.
"In a quiet moment," Harbaugh was asked, "do you ever think, 'What is going on here?' "
"No, we're going to be fine," Harbaugh answered quickly. "We've got a lot of good players. We're going to play football games and we're the Ravens and we're going to be a really good team. That's how we do it."
By the end of the 2015 season, the Ravens placed a team-record 20 players on injured reserve. Last year, they had 18 players on I.R. Still, the rash of roster losses that the team has sustained, dating back to organized team activities and continuing through the first week of training camp, has been particularly jarring.
They have thinned the team's depth before preseason games have even started and created potential holes that general manager Ozzie Newsome and the front office are currently working to fill.
Following Monday's off day in which tight end Crockett Gillmore and cornerback Maurice Canady both underwent knee surgeries – Gillmore is out for the season, according to Harbaugh – the Ravens lost three more players during Tuesday's practice.
About 45 minutes into the workout, wide receiver Breshad Perriman limped back to the team building alongside head athletic trainer Mark Smith. He tweaked his right hamstring while running a slant route. Undrafted free agent wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo was taken by cart off the field about 90 minutes later with an apparent back injury.
Rookie fourth-round pick Nico Siragusa became the third player to go down when his left leg was rolled up on when running back Buck Allen dove for the end zone on a goal-line drill. Siragusa was on the ground for a few minutes as the training staff worked on his knee and he was unable to put much pressure on his left leg as he was loaded on a cart.
Sources later confirmed that Siragusa, expected to provide depth on the offensive line, tore the anterior cruciate, medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee and will be lost for the season.
Harbaugh had no updates on Adeboyejo because he went down late in practice. He did express some optimism that Perriman, who the team hopes emerges into a top-flight receiver this season, won't be sidelined for long.
"His hamstring tightened up a little bit, so we took him out," Harbaugh said. "You never know. We'll see where he's at, but it didn't seem serious."
Each mention of an injury – minor or significant – brings more trepidation with the fan base, which has understandably grown to expect the worst, given the events of the past two months. Since June 1, the Ravens have already lost seven players for the 2017 season to either injury, retirement or suspension. A number of other potential key players, including Flacco, remain sidelined as well. That list includes:
>>Kenneth Dixon, expected to be the team's No. 2 running back after serving a four-game suspension to start the season, tore the meniscus in his left knee while working out before training camp. He had season-ending surgery July 26, the day veterans reported to camp.
>>Flacco informed team officials after reporting to the Under Armour Performance facility July 26 that he's dealing with back discomfort. He remains sidelined although by all accounts, he's making good progress and should return soon. The offense has struggled mightily in his absence.
>>On the morning of the team's first training camp practice on July 27, John Urschel informed Harbaugh that he was retiring. Urschel was seen a top competitor for the team's starting center job.
>>Gillmore landed awkwardly on his right leg after making a reception late in the July 28 practice. Harbaugh announced Tuesday that the tight end had season-ending surgery to repair a torn MCL, becoming the third tight end to be lost for the season in little more than two months.
>>After starring in OTAs and emerging as the likely replacement for the injured Young in the slot corner role, Maurice Canady hurt his knee early in the same workout in which Gillmore went down. Canady had surgery to repair torn cartilage Monday and while Harbaugh said the injury is not necessarily season ending, the cornerback is out indefinitely.
All eight of the above-mentioned players were considered likely 53-man roster guys. Perriman, Siragusa and Adeboyejo joined the list of the walking wounded during Tuesday's practice. Wide receiver Kenny Bell (hamstring), center Brandon Kublanow (undisclosed) and cornerback Sheldon Price (undisclosed) are also sidelined and Harbaugh said that Bell and Price will both be out more than a week.
"Guys are going to get nicked up. Guys are going to come back. Guys aren't going to come back. Guys are going to come back next year. It's the National Football League," Harbaugh said. "Look all around the league. No, you don't lament that stuff. You forge ahead. I'm very confident in our guys and the type of team we're going to have. I'm not worried about it one bit."
The team’s flirtation with free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the rash of injuries have dominated the training camp dialogue. Veteran offensive guard Marshal Yanda said he’s spoken to the team’s younger players about blocking out all the outside talk.
“If you read the media, the sky is falling every day, and we aren’t going to survive until tomorrow,” Yanda said. “I tell them to put the blinders on and control what we can control. We can’t control injuries on the football field. It is a nasty, violent game, where people are going to get hurt, and you don’t want them to get hurt. That is just the nature of the beast.
"What we can do is control our preparation, our attitude and our focus every day. We have to roll with the guys that we have, and the guys that are hurt, we want to get them back as fast as possible."