OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after Marcus Williams suffered a wrist injury that will sideline him for a “significant amount of time,” head coach John Harbaugh revealed the Ravens safety should be able to return before season’s end.
Baltimore’s prize free-agent acquisition this past offseason, Williams will be placed on injured reserve after sustaining a dislocated wrist in the first half of Sunday’s 19-17 win over Cincinnati. Williams had played every defensive snap over Baltimore’s first four games and had never missed more than two games in a season, but his IR stint will require a minimum absence of four contests before he’s eligible to return.
“The timetable will kind of be based off what the IR number is,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t really want to get into the dates and times and stuff like that, but it will be a significant amount of time. It won’t be a season-ender though.”
Third-year safety Geno Stone took Williams’ place in the second half, playing 35 defensive snaps and making two tackles while drawing praise from Harbaugh for his preparation despite entering the game not expecting to play much on defense. Meanwhile, 2022 first-round safety Kyle Hamilton played a season-low 14 defensive snaps against the Bengals even with Williams sitting out the entire second half.
Asked if Stone’s skillset was a better match for Williams’ free safety spot, Harbaugh didn’t want to get into comparing his safeties. However, it’s worth noting that Hamilton has played no more than 17 snaps on defense in each of the last three games after struggling in the Week 2 loss to Miami.
“Geno is Geno, Kyle is Kyle, Marcus is Marcus,” Harbaugh said. “They have their strengths, and we’ll try to put them in position to make the most of their strengths if we can.”
Even with Baltimore’s depth at the safety position, replacing Williams’ playmaking ability won’t be easy after he became the first player in franchise history to register three interceptions in the first two games of a season and the first since Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed in 2012 to record multiple picks over the first two games of a campaign. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound defensive back has registered 18 interceptions in 81 career games.
Williams has played a direct part in four of the Ravens’ league-leading 11 takeaways this season.
“He’s a great player. He just adds so much to our defense with just his range and his confidence and the way he leads in the back end,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “But in this game, it’s ‘next man up’ and I think that’s one of the positions where we’re strong at. I think Geno came in and played really well [Sunday night], and he’s going to have to step up and continue to play well for us.”