OWINGS MILLION, Md. (AP) – The way that Anthony Averett’s role has evolved this year is a microcosm of what the Baltimore Ravens have been through as a team.
In his first three seasons with Baltimore, Averett made a total of seven starts. In 2021, he’s 11 years old, pressed into more important responsibility on a secondary team that – like the rest of Raven – has been besieged by injury.
“It was like no one was left at the beginning,” Averett said. “We have to keep moving forward.”
The Ravens’ latest major injury is the loss of full-back Marlon Humphrey, whose substitute was injured on Wednesday. That takes a two-time Pro Bowler off the field for Baltimore, who lost another key full-back – three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Peters – to a season-ending injury just days before the team’s September opener.
Pre-season injuries to Peters and defenders JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards have left Raven facing challenges from the start. They have handled well enough to lead the AFC North with five games remaining, but there is still a feeling that any of these injuries could be the breaking point.
The Ravens will do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Coach John Harbaugh said: “Our boys will cope well with adversity. “It was something that was established. We’ll just play the game. We have all the players we need to do that. We have all the plans. We have all the coaches. We have people. ”
Baltimore (8-4) has a one-game lead in this weekend’s game in Cleveland, but Raven only leads the Browns in the bottom two by two games. Since the start of the season 5-1, Baltimore is 3-3 – and there is little sign of failure when it comes to injury.
The Raven has 17 players on IR. That doesn’t take into account the saves Ja’Wuan James, who on Wednesday was assigned back, or kicker Jake Verity, who is on the practice/IR team.
In addition to Humphrey, Peters, Dobbins and Edwards, Baltimore’s IR roster includes the starting safe DeShon Elliott, veteran defender Pernell McPhee, starting Ronnie Stanley, and defensive midfielder Derek Wolfe, who has had a bad start in previous season. Offensive captain Patrick Mekari was not in IR but suffered a hand injury – and Averett actually also missed Wednesday’s practice after speaking to reporters. He has a knee problem.
The Ravens had no choice but to ask users like Averett to join. He has played 670 tackles this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s more than he got in the first three seasons combined.
“People will play everything,” Averett said. “All parts are replaceable. That’s how we’ll do a lot from now on. “
Averett credits Harbaugh for helping the team overcome so many obstacles this season.
“He is the main man. He is what makes us always think right. We just let him take the lead,” Averett said. “Sometimes it’s not really all about us. Training itself prepares us for these things. So everyone just needs to be ready for the opportunity for new faces to appear on the field. “
One area that gets healthier as the season goes on is the receiving corps. Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman all missed out on time, but they can play now. That doesn’t help much for an offense scoring under 20 points in five of the last six games.
What helped the Ravens was that every team in the AFC had 4 or more losses, so Baltimore remained at the top of the table despite all its problems.
But that position looks very precarious at the moment.
“Anyway, nobody thought we would be in this position – No. 1 in the Northern AFC -,” Averett said. “So we have to keep moving forward.”
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2021/12/08/injuries-wont-subside-as-ravens-try-to-stay-atop-division/ Injuries won’t help as Crow tries to stay at the top of Division – CBS Baltimore