Ben Powers

Ravens Rumors: Stanley, Powers, Jackson, Fackrell

Despite being activated off the team’s physically unable to perform list ten days ago, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley had not been practicing with the team. That changed today as the former All-Pro returned to practice, according to a tweet from the team’s Twitter account.

Stanley is still attempting to come all the way back from an ankle injury suffered back in 2020. The blindside starter for Baltimore started in Week 1 last season despite feeling rushed to return to the lineup, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Stanley finished the game but would miss the remainder of the season after undergoing season-ending surgery for his ankle.

“It’s going to be in terms of when they tell us, and when he feels like he wants to get out there and do it,” head coach John Harbaugh said to the media last week concerning Stanley’s return. “He knows his ankle, and I know that Ronnie is very determined to be really at his very best when he comes back. That’s kind of part of his thinking on it. So, I trust him with it. I know he’s going to do the right thing and be out there as soon as he can.”

Stanley’s return to the practice field is a great sign but may not mean that he’ll be available in Week 1. Harbaugh also told the media that, ideally, he’d like players coming back from major injuries to have two to three weeks of practice before they play in a game, but, if he is truly serious about leaving in up to Stanley, the Ravens may get their star tackle back in time to face the Jets. In the event he doesn’t return on September 11, last year’s free agent addition, Ja’Wuan James, is listed as Stanley’s backup on the newly released depth chart.

Here a few other rumors coming out of Charm City, starting with another note about the offensive line depth chart:

  • On the Ravens’ depth chart that was released today, the supposed winner of a position battle was unveiled. The starting left guard on the depth chart is listed as Ben Powers. Powers has been with the Ravens since getting drafted in the fourth-round in 2019. In those three years, Powers has appeared in 30 games, starting 19. He became a full-time starter for the Ravens last season after the team had to reshuffle the offensive line when Stanley got surgery after Week 1. He started the next 12 games before missing the last four games with a foot injury. Then-rookie third-round pick Ben Cleveland filled in for Powers in those four games at left guard and was expected to push him for a starting role this offseason. Additionally, Ravens’ sixth-man Patrick Mekari was available to step in, in case either Powers or Cleveland couldn’t take hold of the starting job.
  • More of the same is being reported in regards to the contract situation surrounding Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. Harbaugh reiterated that there has not been a single discussion hinting that Jackson would hold out and not play this season with a new deal. Neither party “has ever hinted at any animosity in negotiations” and, reportedly, Jackson remains “focused on the season.” Harbaugh explained, “He’s hopeful to get a new contract and we’re hopeful to get him a new contract. All the rest of it is business. There is nothing other than coming to something that is mutually agreeable.”
  • The Ravens worked out veteran linebacker Kyler Fackrell on Labor Day, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Fackrell spent Tuesday with the team, as well, as the team was able to sign him to their practice squad, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Fackrell has started games for the Packers, Giants, and Chargers throughout his six years in the league, having his best season in 2018 when he racked up 10.5 sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss in Green Bay. Fackrell was placed on the Raiders’ season-ending injured reserve in late-July before being released a month later, so Fackrell joins rookie second-round pick David Ojabo as a pass rusher with whom the Ravens are being patient.

Ravens Notes: OL, Edwards, WR Search

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently stated that the injury suffered by rookie center Tyler Linderbaum wasn’t expected to be serious. After further testing, that outlook remains the same, though there have been conflicting reports on the nature of the injury.

Earlier this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo indicated that the foot ailment is a Lisfranc injury (video link). That would be particularly relevant in Linderbaum’s case, as he played through the same injury in college. Rapoport added that this latest issue was a “reoccurrence” of the injury suffered during the first-rounder’s time at Iowa, but that it was a sprain, rather than a rupture, leading to further belief in the original one-to-two week recovery timeline.

However, Harbaugh disputed that reporting, instead stating that Linderbaum suffered a soft-tissue injury. “It’s a different ligament,” Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer“So he’s had the Lisfranc before. There’s no separation. There’s no Lisfranc sprain, per se.” He nevertheless confirmed that the issue is “not serious,” so Linderbaum is still expected to be available for Week 1 of the regular season, where he is penciled in as the team’s starting center.

Here are some other notes from Charm City:

  • A couple of the Ravens’ wideouts are also banged up. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets that James Proche could be out for “a few weeks” due to a soft tissue injury of his own. In addition, Tylan Wallace sprained his knee during last night’s preseason game. Slated to hold the third and fourth positions on the WR depth chart, respectively, any significant absence from either player would weaken what could already be the thinnest position group on Baltimore’s roster. As Zrebiec adds, the team “may have no choice now” but to add a veteran still on the open market.
  • The team appears to be on track to get RB J.K. Dobbins back to full health in time for the regular season, but the outlook isn’t as good for his backup. Per Zrebiec, Gus Edwards is “considered a long shot” to be available for Week 1. Both backs missed all of last season due to knee injuries, and their return will prove crucial to the team’s rushing attack. Edwards has two years remaining on his current contract, with cap hits of $4.5MM and $5.6MM this year and next.
  • The one spot which has been undecided throughout the offseason along the offensive line is left guard. Ben Powers remains in the lead for the starting spot, reports ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. His consistency currently places him ahead of Tyre Phillips, who is seen as having more upside but has missed significant time during each of his first two seasons. With the top two spots likely going to Powers and Phillips, 2021 third-rounder Ben Cleveland (who missed the first week of training camp due to a failed conditioning test) is now a “long shot” to make the roster.

Ravens Notes: Biegel, Linderbaum, Ojabo, Roster Bubble

Vince Biegel‘s season has ended before it even started. The Ravens linebacker suffered a torn Achilles on Thursday and will miss the 2022 season, per the team’s website.

The linebacker has bounced around the NFL during his four years in the league, spending time with the Packers, Saints, and Dolphins. Following a 2020 season where he compiled 59 tackles and 2.5 sacks in a career-high 15 games (10 starts) with the Dolphins, he was limited to only two tackles in five contests with Miami in 2021. He caught on with the Ravens this offseason, and according to Ryan Mink of the team website, Biegel had made a strong impression during the first few days of camp.

“Vince was fighting to make the team,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He would have had a great chance to make it, because he’s just a solid, tough, talented guy who does everything exactly right as hard as he can.”

The Ravens were already eyeing a depleted linebackers depth chart with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo sidelined. The team’s current options consist of Odafe Oweh, Justin Houston, Daelin Hayes, Steven Means, and a handful of rookies.

More notes out of Baltimore:

  • Fortunately, there was some good news on the Ravens’ injury front. While first-round rookie center Tyler Linderbaum limped off the field during practice, an X-ray confirmed he avoided a major injury. “He’s going to be fine,” Harbaugh said (via Mink). “Didn’t get stepped on, kind of just … It’s a physical drill there, and [he] came up a little sore. They’ve looked at it, X-rayed it. They’ll do an MRI on it to make sure, but all indications are it’s nothing serious at all.” Beside the rookie, the Ravens have veteran Patrick Mekari to step in at center.
  • We previously heard that Ojabo’s brief holdout was an attempt to get more guaranteed money in the third year of his rookie contract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the rookie ended up getting $700K of that 2024 base salary guaranteed. As our own Ely Allen previously pointed out, the player selected just before Ojabo at 44th overall is John Metchie III, who received $800,000 (55.61%) of his third year guaranteed. The pick immediately after Ojabo at 46th overall is Joshua Paschal, whose guaranteed third-year money dropped dramatically to $275,000 (22.02%).
  • Guard Ben Powers could find himself on the trade block depending on the status of Ben Cleveland and Tyre Phillips, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Powers has 19 career starts, so he’d surely appeal to a squad seeking some guard depth. Meanwhile, Zrebiec writes that running back Mike Davis could be fighting with Tyler Badie and Justice Hill for two open roster spots. The veteran was brought in this offseason to provide some depth while J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return to full health, but he may not be needed if the duo is ready for the start of the season.
  • In a stock report of Baltimore’s minicamp, Zrebiec provides a handful of interesting tidbits related to the Ravens. Fourth-round rookie Isaiah Likely will find himself behind Mark Andrews on the depth chart, but he also “seems close to certain to have a notable Week 1 role with the Ravens.” Meanwhile, versatile defensive back Brandon Stephens has been preparing to play cornerback after starting 11 games at safety last season.
  • The Ravens’ other fourth-round rookie tight end, Charlie Kolar, had sports hernia surgery earlier this week, per Zrebiec. “It’s a thing that was lingering from college,” Harbaugh said. “He actually had a sports hernia from college, had a surgery. They’re going to redo that one as well. We’ll get it cleaned up now. I think he felt like he could manage it, but it’s gotten to the point where it needs to be fixed.”

Ravens Bench C Matt Skura

The Ravens are making a bold move in advance of this afternoon’s critical matchup with the Titans. Per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, Baltimore is benching starting center Matt Skura. Second-year pro Patrick Mekari will get the nod in Skura’s stead.

Skura has had issues snapping the ball in each of the past two weeks. In a win over the Colts in Week 9, the problem was attributed to a cut on his hand, and in the team’s loss to the Patriots last week, the heavy rains throughout the game certainly didn’t help. Still, poor snaps torpedoed two second-half drives against New England, and head coach John Harbaugh said afterwards, “[the rain’s] not an excuse — we still have to make our snaps. They made their snaps.”

The Ravens’ offense has struggled to get in a rhythm this season, and the O-line play has been a big reason for that. The unit has often struggled to give QB Lamar Jackson ample time to throw, and it has generally been unable to open running lanes for Jackson and Baltimore’s stable of RBs. Losing RG Marshal Yanda to retirement in the offseason was obviously a major blow, and LT Ronnie Stanley went on season-ending IR with a severe ankle injury earlier this month. Yanda’s replacement, rookie Tyre Phillips, has also missed time due to injury.

Like the other members of the Ravens’ offensive front, Skura played well in 2019, though his season was cut short thanks to ACL, MCL and PCL tears that he suffered nearly one year ago today. The fact that he sufficiently recovered from that injury in time to participate in the team’s first padded practice this summer was remarkable, but it’s possible that he’s still not back to full strength.

Mekari has started three games at guard this year, and his move to the pivot will allow 2019 fourth-rounder Ben Powers to get his first start of his pro career at right guard, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Skura, meanwhile, will have a chance to return later in the season once he has had the opportunity to clear his head.

The former UDFA out of Duke is playing out the 2020 campaign on the low-level RFA tender (though if he hadn’t gotten injured, the Ravens may have needed to use a higher tender on him). He had the chance to position himself well for a big payday this offseason, but unless things improve quickly, he may need to settle for a modest one-year pact in 2021.

Injury Notes: Ravens, Hockenson, Jones

Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce is doubtful to play in Monday Night’s game against the Rams with an ankle injury, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Peirce started Baltimore’s first nine games before going down. Veteran Domato Peko Sr. will replace Peirce in the lineup.

Also via Zrebiec, wide receiver Chris Moore, offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, and offensive guard Ben Powers all remain questionable with injuries of their own. Stanley, who is dealing with an ankle issue of his own, is the only starter of the three, but he would be a substantial loss as the team’s starting right tackle. Moore has started one game this season and played sparingly, while Powers has yet to take the field.

Here’s more Saturday notes on the injury front around the NFL:

  • Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson was added to the injury report as questionable with a shoulder injury, according to a team press release. The eight overall pick in this year’s draft practiced all week without any reported issues so the news comes as a surprise. Hockenson has split time at tight end this year with Jesse James, but represents a far superior pass-catching option for quarterback Jeff Driskel. Hockenson has made 26 receptions and recorded 349 yards, while James has only caught 8 of 15 targets and gained 64 yards.
  • The Broncos signed cornerback Cyrus Jones last week and he was a healthy scratch against the Vikings. Even if the team wanted to activate him tomorrow, though, Jones has been ruled out with an illness, according to Aric DiLalla of Broncos.com. Jones was a second-round selection by the Patriots in 2016, but was released by New England earlier this season. He then jumped between the Ravens and Patriots practice squads before signing in Denver.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/3/19

We’ll keep track the latest late-round draft pick signings here: