Ravens Eyeing December Return For S Marcus Williams

Marcus Williams is now eligible to return from injured reserve, but the veteran safety’s dislocated wrist pointed to a longer timetable than the four-week minimum. The Ravens do expect the free agency addition to play again this season.

John Harbaugh said (via BaltimoreRavens.com’s Clifton Brown) the team is aiming for a Williams December return. Williams has not encountered any setbacks, and a re-emergence “sometime in December” is the target. The Ravens have used four of their eight injury activations already, with rookie tight end Charlie Kolar being No. 4. J.K. Dobbins would stand to represent No. 5. Williams’ activation will limit the team’s flexibility down the stretch, but the Ravens are planning for him to be back late in the season.

The Ravens loaded up at safety this offseason, signing Williams to a five-year, $70MM deal and drafting Kyle Hamilton in the first round. Williams’ pact continued a steady run of big Ravens investments in the position, following the likes of Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson and Earl Thomas. The wrist dislocation in Week 5, however, paused Williams’ initial Baltimore season and has led to the ex-Saint’s longest absence as a pro. Williams entered this season having missed just five games in five seasons.

Rather than dramatically increasing Hamilton’s workload, Baltimore has used Geno Stone alongside Chuck Clark in Williams’ absence. While Hamilton did clear the 50% snap barrier for the first time all season against the Saints on Monday, Stone has not missed a snap over the past three weeks. Despite coming into the season with just one start in two years, the former Ravens seventh-round pick has fit in on a defense full of high-profile veterans. Pro Football Focus ranks both Stone and Hamilton as top-10 safeties this season.

Baltimore’s defensive production under new DC Mike Macdonald remains a bit south of where it was during most of the Don Martindale era, excluding 2021’s injury-flooded mess. The team ranks outside the top half in scoring and total defense. But Macdonald’s unit turned in a strong effort in New Orleans; it also has registered the league’s third-most takeaways (16) and ranks fourth in sacks (27). The Ravens now have six All-Pros (Calais Campbell, Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul, Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Roquan Smith) on their defense, with first-rounders Hamilton, Patrick Queen and Odafe Oweh also in the fold. Putting Williams back in this mix will add intrigue to Baltimore’s run at its first division title since 2019.

The Ravens expect Gus Edwards and DeSean Jackson to be good to go after their Week 10 bye, Harbaugh said. Both are battling hamstring injuries, with Jackson suffering his latest hamstring setback in his Baltimore debut.

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