After getting the start at left guard in Monday night’s season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, Ravens offensive lineman Tyre Phillips’ night ended early.
After being rolled up on from behind during a running play in the second quarter, Phillips was carted off the field with a knee injury. The Ravens said he is doubtful to return to the game.
With under two minutes to go in the second quarter, running back Ty’Son Williams was stopped on third down. Immediately after the play, Phillips was writhing on the ground in serious pain while clutching his left knee.
The Ravens has been hit badly with injuries, with running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, linebacker L.J. Fort and cornerback Marcus Peters all out for the season with torn ACLs. Running back Justice Hill has a torn Achilles tendon, defensive end Derek Wolfe is sidelined with a back/hip injury and wide receivers Rashod Bateman (groin) and Miles Boykin (hamstring) were placed on the injured reserve list and won’t be eligible until Week 4.
The injury to Phillips forced the Ravens to turn to Ben Powers to play left guard. Powers, who received significant playing time at left guard during training camp and the preseason, played in 16 games and started in seven for the Ravens last season. Rookie Ben Cleveland, who was in the running for the starting left guard spot, was inactive against the Raiders.
One of the biggest question marks throughout Ravens training camp was the left guard position. After an up-and-down rookie season, Phillips stepped into the role Monday night.
“He’s in his second year,” center Bradley Bozeman said of Phillips. “He’s made a huge jump from last year to this year, so I’m excited to see what he can do. [Phillips] has continued to grow. He’s going to be a really good pro and just continue to grow.”
Phillips was the Ravens’ third-round pick in 2020. The former Mississippi State star appeared in 12 games and started in eight, playing mostly right guard. According to Pro Football Focus, Phillips played 418 snaps and allowed six sacks while earning a 47.1 grade in 2020.
Bozeman said he’s been giving Phillips tips about playing left guard, as Bozeman spent the past two seasons starting there before moving to center this offseason.
“He’s probably tired of it by now,” Bozeman said. “We sit beside each other in all our meetings, so I give him any kind of insight that I wish I would have had going into that position — whether it’s staying low on certain blocks, certain hand placement, certain eye positions, just depending on what it is. I’ve constantly been in his ear for sure.”
Phillips, Cleveland and Ben Bredeson were in competition for the starting left guard spot during training camp. In August, the Ravens traded Bredeson along with a 2022 fifth-round pick and a 2023 seventh-round pick to the New York Giants for a 2022 fourth-round pick.
Second-year defensive end Justin Madubuike said going against Phillips during training camp made him a better player.
“He always brings the sledgehammer,” Phillips said. “Every time he comes against me, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It feels like a double-team, but it’s one guy. I like the way he comes off it.”
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The Ravens’ offensive line will be worth watching throughout the season with veteran Alejandro Villanueva transitioning to right guard and Bozeman returning to the center spot for the first time since his days at Alabama.