OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens suffered their first severe injury of training camp on Thursday, head coach John Harbaugh provided the latest update on players still preparing to return from a lost 2021 campaign.
And Baltimore continues playing the waiting game to varying degrees.
With veteran outside linebacker Vince Biegel tearing his Achilles tendon in the closing minutes of Thursday’s workout, outside linebacker depth is again a hot topic as starter Tyus Bowser and rookie second-round pick David Ojabo continue to rehab their own Achilles injuries. Though Ojabo isn’t expected to return until well after the start of the regular season, the Ravens remain optimistic that Bowser will be ready for the Sept. 11 opener against the New York Jets.
When he’ll make his training camp debut remains to be seen, however.
“The thing about Tyus is that he’s so conscientious,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to be perfect, and that’s what you appreciate. He’s kind of on that same thing [to wait]. We don’t have to have him back right now, so let’s just keep letting him get stronger for now.”
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and cornerback Marcus Peters (knee) sound like a similar story with their summer debuts not expected to occur until some point after the Aug. 11 preseason opener.
“We’re kind of on the trajectory for Ronnie and Marcus to wait a little bit,” Harbaugh said. “That’s not going to be anything in the next week. We’re not in a hurry with those two guys, but they’re doing really well.”
Of the six Ravens players currently on the active physically unable to perform list, running back J.K. Dobbins (knee) could be the closest to begin practicing. That’s hardly surprising after an eager Dobbins made a bit of a scene on the sideline during the first day of full-squad workouts on July 27. Dobbins hasn’t played since suffering a torn ACL and other ligament damage to his left knee in the 2021 preseason finale last Aug. 28.
Baltimore has already deemed Gus Edwards (knee) questionable to be ready in time for the season opener, which is a strong indication that the 238-pound running back is nowhere close to returning to the practice field. Edwards sustained an ACL tear last Sept. 9.
“J.K. is a little more of a hurry because he’s making it a hurry,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to get back out there. We’ll look at it again Monday and see where we’re at Monday. Maybe he starts doing something like individual, maybe not. It will be up to the doctors. Gus is a little further out.”
Harbaugh did not mention second-year safety Ar’Darius Washington, who also remains on the active PUP list after breaking his foot in practice last November.
As for Biegel, the 2017 fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin was seeing plenty of snaps with the first-team defense and was considered a strong candidate to make the 53-man roster. The Ravens could revisit other veteran free agents such as three-time Pro Bowl selection Jason Pierre-Paul — who visited with Baltimore in June — but the short-term play may be to add a lesser name for the purpose of handling practice reps, something Biegel was doing effectively.
The list of healthy outside linebackers on the current roster includes Odafe Oweh, Justin Houston, Daelin Hayes, Steven Means, and undrafted free agents Jeremiah Moon and Chuck Wiley. The Ravens also cross-trained inside linebacker Malik Harrison as a “Sam” linebacker last season.
Biegel’s Achilles injury came nearly two years after he suffered the same injury to the opposite leg during training camp with Miami. In 43 career games (10 starts) with the Dolphins, Green Bay, and New Orleans, the 29-year-old has collected 81 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, and one interception while playing extensively on special teams.
“I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve played against him numerous times,” right tackle Morgan Moses said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a guy who can fill all the phases. He can play special teams, he gives great effort on defense, and he’s a communicator. Obviously, we hope all is well with him. We’ll continue to keep him in our prayers. He’s our brother, and we’ve got to uplift him.”