Marcus Williams (S)

NFL Injury Roundup: Jefferson, Herbert, Hamilton

Justin Jefferson‘s return from injured reserve may not last long. In Jefferson’s first game back from the IR-stint caused by a nagging hamstring injury, the Vikings wide receiver was knocked out of the game early with a separate injury.

While cutting across the middle of the field on a deep slant, Jefferson leapt up, arms extended, in an attempt to grab a high pass from quarterback Joshua Dobbs. While Jefferson was fully exposed in the process of the catch, Raiders safety Marcus Epps delivered a big shot to Jefferson’s rib cage from the side.

It didn’t take long for the team to rule Jefferson out for the remainder of the game with a chest injury. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Minnesota decided to transport Jefferson to a local hospital in Las Vegas. While perhaps not indicative of the worst-case scenario, the Vikings are likely just acting out of an abundance of caution.

At 6-6, the Vikings are one of a handful of NFC teams on the boundary of playoff contention, even without Jefferson for the last eight weeks. If Jefferson’s chest injury is not too painful to overcome, he would be a great asset in a playoff push to close the season.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the league:

  • The Chargers are facing an uphill battle in their attempts to remain in playoff contention. Things won’t get any easier as starting quarterback Justin Herbert was ruled out of today’s game with a finger injury, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. With Herbert out, backup quarterback Easton Stick has entered the game for his first game action since the 2020 season. Since starting in place of an injured Tyrod Taylor in Week 2 of his rookie season, Herbert has not missed a single start in his career. If Herbert’s finger keeps him out for more than a few days, with Los Angeles facing a short week, Stick could see his first ever NFL start in Vegas this Thursday.
  • Ravens do-it-all safety Kyle Hamilton was forced to leave today’s overtime win over the Rams with a knee injury. He had sat out a couple of plays after initially tweaking his knee before returning to the field of play earlier in the game. A few drives later, he would not return and was ruled out for the rest of the game. According to Schefter, the plan is for Hamilton to undergo an MRI scan tomorrow in order to determine the extent of the injury. Baltimore is set up well with Marcus Williams and Geno Stone at safety, but Hamilton lines up in so many places on the defense that he would be virtually impossible to replace with a single player if he’s forced to miss any time.

Marcus Williams Will Not Undergo Surgery; Ravens S To Avoid IR

The Ravens will be without Marcus Williams for the second straight came on Sunday, as he continues to deal with a pectoral injury. The starting safety will be back in the fold at some point this season, though, given his rehab decision.

Williams has elected not to undergo surgery to address the injury, as detailed by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. As a result, he will not be placed on injured reserve. Players stashed on IR are required to miss at least four weeks, though the fact he will avoid that designation does not necessarily mean Williams is set to make a return to the field in the near future.

“There’s a sort of a vague timeframe right now,” head coach John Harbaugh said when asked about Williams’ recovery, “but I just don’t want to put it out there and then everybody be mad at me later.”

Williams, 27, was Baltimore’s top free agent addition in 2022 having signed a five-year, $70MM deal. That led to substantial expectations, and he recorded a team-leading four interceptions along with eight pass breakups. However, he was limited to 10 games due to a dislocated wrist, his first major injury in the NFL. That has now been followed up by the pectoral injury, which did not constitute a complete tear of the muscle.

Both team and player took some time to arrive at the non-surgical option, but the fact Williams will be back at some point will be welcomed news for Baltimore. The team’s secondary has been hit hard by injuries at the cornerback spot, so the former second-rounder’s absence has left the team particularly thin on the backend. Fill-in starter Geno Stone did, on the other hand, notch an interception in Week 2, presumably giving the Ravens optimism for their safety play moving forward.

While news on the Williams front is relatively positive, the same is not true of fellow defensive back Ar’Darius Washington. The latter – who served as the Ravens’ starting slot corner in Week 2 – might be out for the season, Harbaugh said (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). A chest injury landed Washington on IR, but today’s update suggests he will at least be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. The former UDFA is one of several player the Ravens have used at both corner and safety, and the team’s versatile defenders will remain a vital part of the secondary especially until Williams is able to return to the field.

Ravens Sign DB Daryl Worley To Active Roster, S Duron Harmon To Practice Squad

With Marcus Williams suffering a pectoral injury during the Ravens’ season opener, the team has added some reinforcement to their secondary. The Ravens announced that they signed defensive back Daryl Worley to the active roster and safety Duron Harmon to the practice squad.

Worley has been with the Ravens since the end of the 2021 campaign. After getting into eight games with Baltimore in 2022, the veteran re-signed with the organization this offseason. He was cut prior to roster deadline day but quickly caught on with Baltimore’s practice squad. Worley was promoted to the active roster for Sunday’s season opener.

The former third-round pick has seen time in 79 games (55 starts). He started 15 games with the Raiders as recently as 2019. His ability to play both cornerback and safety made him a natural choice for the 53-man roster.

Harmon won three Super Bowls during his seven-year stint with the Patriots. He’s bounced around a bit since leaving New England, spending time with the Lions, Falcons, and Raiders over the past three seasons. He served as a full-time starter at each of those stops, including a 2022 campaign where he started 16 games for the Raiders.

He finished last season with a career-high 86 tackles to go along with five passes defended and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded him as an above-average safety (especially in coverage), but the veteran remained unsigned up to this point.

Williams is set to be out for “a while,” according to John Harbaugh (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). The coach also said that the safety could go under the knife, although that route is still to be determined by team doctors.

Ravens Not Looking Externally For RB Help

The Ravens were forced to swallow a heavy pill when starting running back J.K. Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the team’s win over the Texans this weekend. For solutions, many thought to look at the free agent or trade market, both of which are ripe with talented veterans, but head coach John Harbaugh said today that Baltimore will not be looking externally for running back help, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.

With options like Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette in free agency and a player like Jonathan Taylor reportedly available via trade, no one would blame Harbaugh and company for bringing in an experienced starter to tote the rock. Instead, the Ravens feel confident in the options they have in-house to take over with Harbaugh even indicating that they will be operating with a committee in the backfield.

When Dobbins exited Sunday’s game, fifth-year backup Justice Hill stepped in and immediately scored a touchdown, his first since the 2019 season. While he later scored a second touchdown, matching his career-high for a season, Hill only amassed nine yards on eight carries. Veteran backup rusher Gus Edwards, who has filled in as a starter at times in his career, was a bit more productive with his eight carries, racking up 32 yards.

Adding veterans didn’t quite deliver the desired result two years ago when Dobbins, Edwards, and Hill all missed the 2021 season with season-ending injuries before the year even began. That year, Baltimore turned to a committee featuring veteran backs like Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell in conjunction with Ty’Son Williams. Freeman and Murray each reached 500 rushing yards and delivered six scores apiece, but overall, the running game was dependent on quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Still, the Ravens added veteran rusher Melvin Gordon in the offseason, ultimately cutting him and signing him to the practice squad before the regular season. Gordon seems like an obvious callup to help carry the load without Dobbins. The Ravens also saw some impressive preseason performances from undrafted rookies Keaton Mitchell and Owen Wright, landing both on the team’s roster in some capacity to start the year. Mitchell currently resides on injured reserve himself, so he’s unable to contribute at this time. Wright, though, landed on the practice squad and may also hear his number called up to the active roster this season.

Dobbins is now expected to undergo surgery to repair his Achilles tendon this Friday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Pelissero points out that Rams running back Cam Akers recovered from a similar surgery in less than six months two years ago. Dobbins will be aiming for a similar timeline, bringing him back shortly after the start of the 2024 league year.

In other injury news, Harbaugh confirmed that starting free safety Marcus Williams “will be out for a while” after suffering a pectoral muscle injury, according to Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink. Williams missed seven games in his Baltimore debut last year and will be forced to miss more in 2023, but the team is holding out hope that he will not be out for the season. He’ll be forced to make a decision soon on whether or not he will undergo surgery, as well.

In Williams’ absence, the team turned to Geno Stone yesterday. Stone started the seven games missed by Williams last year, as well. The team also has versatile defensive backs Brandon Stephens and Ar’Darius Washington that they can turn to. Stephens recently moved back to safety after spending time at cornerback when the depth chart was thin there. Washington has always been a safety but got extensive work in the slot this offseason.

Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum suffered a sprained knee and ankle, respectively, forcing them both to leave the game early, as well. Both players are reportedly “week-to-week” but could miss the trip to Cincinnati this Sunday. Versatile sixth-man Patrick Mekari stepped in for Stanley yesterday and is an easy choice to start as an injury replacement as he’s done so often in the past. Offseason addition and practice squad callup Sam Mustipher filled in at center and will likely continue to do so, if needed.

The team will certainly hope that they won’t need to rely on Mekari and Mustipher for too long, and though they are clearly missing many bodies for the upcoming matchup with their division-rival, they’ll hope to get some back, too. Both cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tight end Mark Andrews will have a chance to play this weekend. There’s still work to be done, but things have been looking up recently for both players.

Ravens Activate RB J.K. Dobbins, S Marcus Williams

Keeping in line with their stated intention, the Ravens have returned two key players to the active roster in advance of tomorrow’s game against the Steelers. Running back J.K. Dobbins and safety Marcus Williams have been activated from IR, per a team announcement.

Baltimore had pegged Week 14 as the goal for both players to return, so the news comes as little surprise. Dobbins’ activation was foreshadowed yesterday when veteran Mike Davis was waived. The former missed all of 2021 due to a knee injury, and his recovery lasted into the fall of this season. He made his 2022 debut in Week 3, but things did not go according to plan,

Dobbins played in three consecutive games following his return, but logged a snap share of 50% just once in that time. That led to another knee procedure in October, one which invited speculation that the Ohio State alum had suffered a new injury. Instead, the latest operation was aimed at accelerating Dobbins’ return to full health, something which would be a welcomed sight for the Ravens.

Baltimore ranks third in the league with an average of 158 rushing yards per game, but much of that production has come from quarterback Lamar Jackson. With the 2019 MVP expected to miss at least Sunday’s contest, the Ravens will no doubt look to lean heavily on their tailbacks. Dobbins’ return will allow he and backup Gus Edwards to play in the same game for the first time since the 2020 postseason.

Williams should immediately re-take his starting role upon returning on Sunday. The big-ticket free agent signing had a productive start to his Ravens career, notching three interceptions in his first five games. The former Saint will have a chance to eclipse his career-high in that regard (four) if he can stay healthy for the remainder of the campaign. Geno Stone will likely cede first-team duties with Williams back in the fold.

The Ravens have been strong in certain defensive aspects this season, but their pass defense has been lacking during parts of the campaign. Overall, they sit 25th in the league with an average of 248 yards per game allowed, a figure which could be improved upon with Williams available once again. To make room for his return, the Ravens have placed veteran cornerback and special teamer Daryl Worley on IR, as noted (on Twitter) by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

Baltimore will have two IR activations remaining as they head into the stretch run of the regular season. Dobbins and Williams should each have a significant role for the team as they attempt to maintain their lead in the AFC North.

Ravens Eyeing Week 14 Return For S Marcus Williams, RB J.K. Dobbins

The Ravens are in line to receive a significant reinforcement on both sides of the ball soon, but that will not happen in the coming days. Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed on Friday that neither safety Marcus Williams nor running back J.K. Dobbins will play on Sunday against the Broncos.

Last week, Baltimore designated Williams for return, opening his three-week return window. The former Saint signed a five-year, $70MM deal in the offseason, which led to significant expectations right away from a production standpoint. The 26-year-old delivered in that regard to begin his Ravens tenure, racking up three interceptions and five pass deflections in his first five games of the season.

A dislocated wrist has kept him sidelined since Week 6, however, an injury which the team quickly acknowledged would probably linger into December. Williams’ return would be a welcomed sight to the Ravens, though, given his early contributions and the team’s performance on defense this season. Baltimore ranks second in the league against the run (averaging 82 yards allowed per game on average), but 27th against the pass (254 yards). His ball-hawking skills would add further to a unit which already sits top-1o in the league with 11 picks.

Dobbins, meanwhile, returned to practice earlier this week. He spent the 2021 campaign – and the early portions of this year’s regular season – rehabbing a major knee injury suffered last summer. The 2020 second-rounder made his long-awaited return in Week 3, and played for each of the next three games after that. Dobbins logged double-digit carries just once during that span, however, and was shut down again after a cleanup procedure in October. A return to the field for the stretch run will be significant in part due to the boost he will provide the Ravens’ second-ranked rushing attack, but mainly because it will mark the first time since the 2020 postseason that both Dobbins and backup Gus Edwards will be available at the same time.

The Ravens have four of their eight allocated IR activations remaining at the moment, but two of those will be used when Williams and Dobbins are brought back. That will leave the team in relatively good shape from a health perspective as they look to retain their lead in the AFC North.

S Marcus Williams Returns To Practice

Out since suffering a dislocated wrist in Week 5, Marcus Williams is back at Ravens practice. The team designated the free agent pickup for return Wednesday.

Baltimore has three weeks to activate Williams, who has been ticketed for a December return for a bit now. John Harbaugh said he expects the sixth-year safety to return at some point next month. Wednesday’s transaction keeps pointing Williams in that direction.

The Ravens gave Williams a five-year, $70MM contract to come over from New Orleans, where he spent 2021 as a franchise-tagged player. Baltimore loaded up at safety this offseason, adding Williams and first-round pick Kyle Hamilton. Despite Hamilton’s first-round pedigree, Geno Stone has worked as Williams’ primary replacement. Hamilton has yet to make his first start, though the Notre Dame product’s snap percentages have ticked up slightly in the games without Williams.

The prospect of the Ravens having Williams back opens the door to a veteran-laden defense forming for the stretch run. The Ravens have brought Jason Pierre-Paul and Roquan Smith into the fold this season and have accomplished vets at every position. Calais Campbell, Justin Houston, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters also reside on a defense built to be one of the best units now.

Mike Macdonald‘s crew has not fully lived up to expectations just yet, but the group has improved since its run of early-season collapses. The Ravens have moved up to 10th in scoring defense, after shutting down struggling Saints and Panthers offenses, and have won four straight to keep their AFC North lead.

Following an injury-plagued 2021, the Ravens have most of their defensive troops healthy at this point. The team has seen Tyus Bowser debut after missing a chunk of games due to a January Achilles tear. Williams and second-round pick David Ojabo represent late-season reinforcements. The latter has yet to debut since going down with an Achilles tear during a pre-draft workout. The Ravens already activated Ojabo; they have four injury activations remaining. J.K. Dobbins also looms on the radar for a late-season activation.

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’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.

Ravens S Marcus Williams Headed To IR

Not long after last night’s win, it was revealed that the Ravens would be without one of their key defensive contributors for an extended period. Today, head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that safety Marcus Williams will go on injured reserve, though he is expected back at some point this season. 

Williams suffered a dislocated wrist on Sunday against the Bengals, and was forced to leave the game early. For a stretch, he attempted to play through the injury before being forced to the sidelines. “He gutted it out,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley“He didn’t really say too much about it. So I don’t think anybody realized how serious it was until they got inside and took a look at it.”

The 26-year-old spent the first five seasons of his career with the Saints. Over that time, he established himself as one of the league’s top ball-hawks with 15 interceptions and 38 passes defensed. He therefore entered this offseason as one of the league’s most coveted defensive free agents, and landed a five-year, $70MM deal in March.

Williams’ start to his Baltimore tenure represented an effective return on investment for the Ravens. He registered three interceptions across his first two contests, and has allowed an opposing passer rating of 67.1, the lowest such mark of his career. His absence will be felt in a Ravens secondary whose performances (at least heading into Week 5) had been marked by significant blown leads.

Veteran Chuck Clark remains as a steady presence on Baltimore’s back end. Who he will be paired with becomes an important question, however. 2020 seventh-rounder Geno Stone filled in for Williams last night, but has primarily been used on special teams in his young career. Another option is Kyle Hamilton, the team’s top pick in this year’s draft and whose addition led Clark to request a trade in the offseason.

Now atop the AFC North, the Ravens will likely use a combination of both Stone and Hamilton while attempting to make up for the loss of Williams. The way their defense reacts will be worth watching throughout his absence.

Week 5 Injury Roundup: Mayfield, Hill, Williams, Concussions

The Panthers’ losing streak continued yesterday, leading to questions not only about head coach Matt Rhule‘s job security, but also Baker Mayfield‘s hold on the No. 1 quarterback job. Performance may not affect the ability of the latter to suit up for Week 6, however, as he was seen in a walking boot after the team’s loss to the 49ers.

“A little painful right now,” he said when asked about the injury to his left foot. “I’m not real sure exactly what it is. We’ll examine that tomorrow and find out. So right now I’m managing the pain and learning to step in the boot.”

Mayfield will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, per Ellis Williams of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). With Sam Darnold still on the mend from the ankle injury he sustained in the preseason, and rookie Matt Corral out for the season, the Panthers would turn to P.J. Walker should Mayfield miss any time. The former XFLer game into last night’s contest for Carolina’s final possession, as Mayfield was suffering from the effects of the injury and the score was out of reach.

Here are some other injury updates following the league’s Week 5 action:

  • Tyreek Hill was also seen in a walking boot following Miami’s loss to the Jets (Twitter link via ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques). Head coach Mike McDaniel said that he was stepped on late in the contest, leaving his Week 6 availability in the air. Hill has been exactly what the Dolphins paid for (in draft capital and financial commitments) so far, with 38 catches for 528 yards and two touchdowns. His average of just under 105 receiving yards per game is the highest of his career, so any absence would be significant for the team’s offense.
  • The Ravens’ defense delivered a noteworthy performance last night against the Bengals, but lost a key member of the unit along the way. Head coach John Harbaugh said after the game that safety Marcus Williams dislocated his wrist, and will miss a “significant” amount of time as a result. That will deal a major blow to Baltimore’s secondary, as the high-priced free agent signing has been productive this season with three interceptions and five pass deflections.
  • While Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater earned the unwanted distinction of becoming the league’s first player to be removed via the new concussion protocols yesterday, he was not alone in that regard. Per team announcements, Saints wideout Chris Olave, Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth and Browns cornerback Denzel Ward were each ruled out of their teams’ respective games with concussions. Under the new regulations, it has been acknowledged, some players will be removed from games and not allowed to return despite passing initial checks for concussion symptoms.
  • Going back to the TNF contest which kicked off Week 5, the Broncos’ injury woes continue. Long snapper Jacob Bobenmoyer will miss “extended time” after suffering an injury to the hand/wrist area, 9News’ Mike Klis tweets. Losing the 25-year-old for the foreseeable future will add to the league-leading 12 players the Broncos already have on IR, which have no doubt contributed to the team’s underwhelming start to the season.