OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The timing of slot cornerback Tavon Young’s season-ending knee injury was far from ideal as the explosive Kansas City offense comes to town, but the Ravens are otherwise in good health for Monday’s clash.
Veteran wide receiver Chris Moore (finger) and rookie defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (knee) both returned to the practice field for the first time since August. Moore, one of Baltimore’s best special teams players, figures to have a good chance to play against the Chiefs despite being sidelined since before the start of full-team workouts. Practicing with a bulky brace on his right knee, Madubuike will need to show he’s fully healthy and his conditioning is good enough to be part of the defensive line rotation after missing close to a month.
The only unexpected name on the injury report was defensive back Anthony Levine, who was a limited participant with what was listed as an abdomen injury. As of Thursday evening, it was unclear whether Levine sustained the injury in the Week 2 win over Houston or the issue surfaced during practice.
After practicing last week and ultimately being inactive for the Texans game, running back Justice Hill (thigh) was a full participant and appears to have a better chance of suiting up against the Chiefs. As Baltimore’s No. 4 running back, Hill will likely need to have a strong presence on special teams to be active for game days.
The Ravens have yet to officially place Young on injured reserve, meaning they’ll have an open roster spot to fill between now and Monday night.
Meanwhile, Kansas City was without starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who is in the concussion protocol after leaving last Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The bigger concern appears to be his neck rather than a concussion at this point, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes told Kansas City media “everything hopefully is trending the right way” for Watkins to be available on Monday night.
Below is Thursday’s full injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Calais Campbell (non-injury), CB Tavon Young (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DB Anthony Levine (abdomen), DT Justin Madubuike (knee), WR Chris Moore (finger)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Justice Hill (thigh)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Alex Okafor (hamstring), WR Sammy Watkins (concussion/neck)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Charvarius Ward (hand), RB Darrel Williams (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Frank Clark (illness), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), DT Derrick Nnadi (ankle), C Austin Reiter (knee), S Juan Thornhill (knee)
No-look pass was nothing new
With the Ravens meeting Kansas City for the third straight year, we’ll inevitably see the highlight of Mahomes’ no-look pass that proved to be one of the defining moments of his 2018 MVP season.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey noted this week that Mahomes completed that pass against him in coverage, but former Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters said that throw was nothing new after practicing against the young quarterback in 2017 when Mahomes was backing up veteran Alex Smith.
“I remember when he first started throwing the damn no-look pass in practice, and he’s been doing it since he was a rookie,” Peters said. “The dude is amazing. Let’s just always praise him on that. It’s fun. It’s a competition. It’s football.
“You win some, you lose some, but we live to fight another day.”
Battle for top seed?
There’s no shortage of hype for a potential preview of the AFC Championship game with many wondering if Monday’s outcome will determine the No. 1 seed, which carries more meaning with the playoff field expanding to seven teams and there now being only one first-round bye per conference.
Of course, the Ravens were the top seed for the first time in franchise history last season.
“It’s going to be valuable, but we learned last year that you have to do something with it too,” said head coach John Harbaugh, alluding to the divisional-round loss to Tennessee. “We didn’t get that done last year. We understand that these early season games have impact and that games won in September definitely have an impact on December.”
Andy Reid is one of the NFL’s best head coaches and widely regarded as an offensive genius, but he didn’t give the impression that he’s spent much time personally studying the Ravens offense after being asked about Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews and what makes him so difficult to defend.
“Well, his last name is my first name, so we have something in common,” Reid said in a conference call with Baltimore media. “I think he might have red hair too, so that puts him in a good category right there in my eyes. He’s a heck of a player. He was a good player in college [and] a great player here. He plays the game the right way. It looks like he’s a tough kid and strong and everything else.”
Of course, his last name is Andrews — not Andrew — and his hair is dark brown.
Perhaps he was thinking of ex-Raven Hayden Hurst?
Harbaugh masking up
While being asked on a Zoom call about the five NFL coaches fined $100,000 apiece for not wearing face coverings during their Week 2 games, Harbaugh slyly pulled his mask over his face.
The 13th-year head coach acknowledged the occasional challenge of communicating while wearing it, but he has complied with the league’s requirement and used only one word to describe the fines.