Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently stated that the injury suffered by rookie center Tyler Linderbaumwasn’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 Wallacesprained 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. Dobbinsback to full health in time for the regular season, but the outlook isn’t as good for his backup. Per Zrebiec, Gus Edwardsis “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 Powersremains 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.
The Ravens have frequently been mentioned as one of the teams most in need of an addition at the receiver position this offseason. That has included the team being identified as a landing spot for one of the veterans still on the free agent market.
Such speculation is unsurprising, given the current state of the team’s WR room. Four wideouts can comfortably be slotted in on the 53-man roster, led by 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman. He, like Devin Duvernay, James Procheand Tylan Wallace, however, lacks NFL experience and a track record of success in the pros. Especially in the absence of Marquise Brown, an addition of some kind has been widely expected since the draft.
Outside of free agency, trades represent another avenue by which the Ravens could an established pass-catcher. On that point, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic opines that it is all-but guaranteed general manager Eric DeCosta has “spoken to teams about acquiring a receiver” (subscription required). A blockbuster deal such as the one involving Brown is unlikely, though, given the team’s sparse salary cap space and run-heavy offense.
Assuming a sizeable move isn’t made in the coming weeks, Zrebiec names Proche as the incumbent wideout best-positioned to see an increased workload. While Bateman is in line to take on the role of No. 1 receiver, and All-Pro tight end Mark Andrewswill see a healthy target share, the 2020 sixth-rounder could be in line for a starting spot. He has totalled just 17 receptions to date, but put up substantial production during his college career at SMU.
Given his track record in player swaps (from Brown most recently, to Orlando Brown Jr.last offseason), DeCosta making a trade for another wideout would come as little surprise at this point. Even if that happens, however, the position will remain one to watch throughout training camp and into the start of the season.