Lost in the disappointment of Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh was the Ravens rushing for a season-high 265 yards despite being without their starting running back and losing two starting offensive linemen in the opening quarter.
That’s not to say the Ravens aren’t hoping to have veteran Mark Ingram back for the Week 9 trip to Indianapolis, but it’s unclear whether the 2019 Pro Bowl selection will avoid missing a second straight game with a left ankle injury sustained in the first half against Philadelphia on Oct. 18. Head coach John Harbaugh initially expressed optimism at the start of the bye week that the 30-year-old wouldn’t miss any further game action, but the Ravens are hoping to see Ingram ramp up his activity level this week.
“I do expect him to practice, but I don’t want to sign that just yet because I don’t know for sure,” Harbaugh said. “It’s turned into a little more of a slight high ankle [sprain] toward last week as far as the symptoms. We’ll just have to see about that.”
Averaging 4.5 yards per carry in six games this season, Ingram fell to fourth on the team in rushing after rookie J.K. Dobbins ran for 113 yards and Gus Edwards gained 87 — season highs for both young backs — against what had been the NFL’s second-ranked run defense. The Ravens will likely need to lean more heavily on the rushing attack moving forward after losing All-Pro left tackle — and Lamar Jackson’s blindside protector — Ronnie Stanley to a season-ending ankle injury.
Baltimore also lost rookie right guard Tyre Phillips to a high ankle sprain in the opening quarter on Sunday, but Harbaugh was unsure on Monday how much time the 2020 third-round pick would miss. With Phillips undergoing an MRI, the Ravens are considering other options in the meantime.
That list includes Patrick Mekari, Ben Powers, and rookie Ben Bredeson. Mekari played 67 snaps at right guard against the Steelers and rotated with Powers when Philips missed the Week 5 win over Cincinnati with a shoulder injury.
“We’ll just roll with the guys we have,” Harbaugh said. “We like those guys. We really do. I feel like those young guys played well.”
Uncertainty at right guard is nothing new with the Ravens replacing retired eight-time Pro Bowl selection Marshal Yanda at that position this season, but losing the man regarded by many as the best left tackle in football further complicates the picture for an offensive line that was already facing scrutiny. Stanley’s absence not only weakens Baltimore at left tackle, but Orlando Brown Jr. now moves over from the right side with D.J. Fluker assuming the right tackle spot, downgrading that position on paper as well.
Harbaugh expressed optimism that Stanley would be fully recovered by the spring, but the injury came just two days after the Ravens signed him to a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, that’s an expensive piece to lose.
“It looks like surgery on his ankle. It looks like a good prognosis long term,” Harbaugh said. “I was even told he’ll probably be back in May for [organized team activities], but that’s a long way away. You’ll probably quote me on that, but obviously, there’s a lot of time between now and then. But that’s what I was told [Sunday].”