There is a saying in NFL circles that availability is one of the most important abilities for quarterbacks. Look around the league and you will see a bunch of quarterbacks who have been knocked out of the lineup due to injuries. Yet seven games into his sixth season, Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens has yet to miss a single snap in his career due to injury.
As the Steelers head into Sunday's showdown at Heinz Field, they have been plagued with some of the same problems as the Ravens — the lack of a consistent running game, leaky pass protection and losing the turnover battle.
This time a year ago, Lardarius Webb was developing into one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. A year later, Webb is back in the starting lineup with six games under his belt, but he understandably is not playing at the high level he had been before the injury.
Heading into Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens regard Rodgers and a stacked group of offensive weapons as just as dangerous if not more so than a Denver Broncos offense headlined by quarterback Peyton Manning.
Another option the Ravens are expected to explore is attempting to trade left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie now that they're in the process of finalizing their trade for his replacement, Eugene Monroe, from the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to league sources.
They're tied for first place in the division with two fellow 2-2 teams, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. The Ravens defeated the Browns, 14-6, earlier this season and have yet to play the Bengals.
Beyond having the leg strength to rocket the football through the uprights, Justin Tucker was about more than just power. He was uncommonly accurate. Tucker connected on 30 of 33 field goals for a 90.9 percent success rate, the second-best mark for a rookie in NFL history.
Pitta was a clutch target who was particularly valuable to quarterback Joe Flacco on key third downs and red-zone situations. He is a skilled route runner with arguably the most reliable hands on the Super Bowl champions' roster.
On Tuesday ¿ 10 months after his injury ¿ Webb suited up for the first day of training camp, and while he had limited participation in team drills, the fifth-year cornerback is on target to play in the Ravens' regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5.