Next Man Up: Baltimore Ravens Face Injury Challenges Against Cincinnati Bengals
The Baltimore Ravens are preparing for a challenging matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday, but they will have to do so without several key starters. Injuries have plagued the Ravens, forcing them to rely on their depth and the “next man up” mentality. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of these injuries and how the Ravens plan to overcome them.
In a costly season-opening win against the Houston Texans, the Ravens suffered multiple injuries to key players. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, center Tyler Linderbaum, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, and safety Marcus Williams have all been ruled out for the upcoming game against the Bengals. These players, along with running back J.K. Dobbins who suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon tear, account for a significant portion of Baltimore’s salary cap in 2023.
Despite the challenges, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson remains optimistic, stating, “It’s tough just because they’re key players, but we have guys that are going to step up and lead us out there on that field and do what they’re supposed to do.” The Ravens will need these replacements to step up and fill the void left by the injured starters.
There is some good news for Baltimore, as Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews is expected to return after missing the season opener with a quadriceps injury. However, the timeline for the return of the other injured players remains uncertain. Dobbins is out for the season, while Stanley and Linderbaum could miss multiple weeks. Williams is expected to be sidelined for an extended period, while Humphrey is considered the closest to returning.
This unfortunate streak of injuries continues for the Ravens when facing the Bengals. In their past three trips to Cincinnati, all losses, Jackson has been injured. Now, with Jackson healthy, Baltimore will be without half of its starting secondary against Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and will also be missing two offensive line starters.
The Ravens are known for their “next man up” mentality, and the team believes in the depth and talent of their roster. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. expressed confidence in his teammates, stating, “It’s just a mentality thing that I think the very good teams have, and I know we have that here.” The Ravens will rely on players like Patrick Mekari, who is expected to fill in for Stanley at left tackle, and Sam Mustipher, who will likely step in for Linderbaum at center. Geno Stone is expected to take over Williams’ spot at free safety.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh emphasized the team’s belief in one another, stating, “Our players are confident in their teammates, their brothers-in-arms. They believe in one another, and they’re excited to see those guys play. We’re just going to play the game.” The Ravens are focused on the task at hand and are not letting the injuries become a distraction.
With Dobbins out for the season, the Ravens will likely split the backfield carries between Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. When asked which running back he would start on his fantasy team, Harbaugh playfully responded, “I’m sorry, I don’t have the fantasy answer. I apologize for that.” The Ravens will rely on their running game to help overcome the absence of key starters.
As the Ravens face the Bengals this Sunday, they understand the challenges ahead. Injuries have forced them to rely on their depth and the “next man up” mentality. While the absence of key starters is significant, the Ravens remain confident in their ability to overcome adversity and compete at a high level. The game against the Bengals will test their resilience and determination as they look to secure a victory despite the odds stacked against them.