The Ravens lead the NFL in sacks entering Week 9, despite the team’s edge rushing group being less than full strength throughout the season. It appears likely that will remain the case for the rest of the campaign, but the team has not closed the door on one or two notable reinforcements arriving.
Baltimore is “holding out hope” that Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo could return later in the 2023 season, as noted by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required). The former has yet to play this year, as he continues to rehab a knee injury. A setback encountered on that front during the summer led to Bowser starting the year on the NFI list, but head coach John Harbaugh has since admitted the 28-year-old’s availability for 2023 could be in doubt.
Bowser saw a signficant jump in playing time each season from 2019-21, and he recorded 14 sacks across that span. That increased production from his first two years, along with his versatility as a run defender and in coverage, seemed to make his four-year, $22MM extension inked in March 2021 a wise investment. The former second-rounder suffered an Achilles tear at the end of the 2021 campaign, however, and he was limited to nine games last season. Being able to have Bowser in the fold in any capacity this year would be a welcomed development for the Ravens, a team which counted on signficant production from its young edge rushers ahead of 2023.
That included big expectations for Ojabo. The 2022 second-rounder only made two appearances as a rookie after rehabbing the Achilles tear he suffered during his Pro Day. At full health by the start of this campaign, the 23-year-old had a clear path to an increased workload and he logged a 38% snap share in his three games in 2023. Ojabo is now dealing with knee and ankle injuries, however, which have landed him on IR. Harbaugh said one month ago that the Michigan alum is in danger of missing the rest of the campaign, so a late recovery and return to the field would come as a surprise at this point.
With Bowser and Ojabo out of the picture for now, Baltimore will continue to relay on Odafe Oweh, Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy and Tavius Robinson along the edge. The Ravens showed some interest in trading for Chase Young ahead of this week’s deadline, but their inaction on that front marked a show of confidence in their incumbent options. Getting back even one of Bowser or Ojabo would nevertheless represent a considerable boost to the team’s already impressive defense.