As if losing their reigning NFL MVP quarterback weren’t enough for the Week 12 tilt at Pittsburgh, the Ravens will also be without their Pro Bowl fullback, a trusted long snapper, and a young member of a defensive line that was already depleted.
On Friday, the Ravens officially placed quarterback Lamar Jackson, Patrick Ricard, Morgan Cox, and Justin Madubuike on the reserve-COVID-19 list after they tested positive for the virus a day earlier. News of Jackson’s positive test broke on Thanksgiving night as Baltimore now has a whopping 14 players on its COVID list, but the league hopes the Ravens will finally be able to play the Steelers at Heinz Field on Tuesday night, five days after it was originally scheduled.
The Ravens weren’t the only ones dealing with virus problems on Friday as Pittsburgh placed defensive end Stephon Tuitt, defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs, and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins on the reserve-COVID-19 list. It wasn’t immediately clear whether those individuals had tested positive for the virus or been deemed “high risk” close contacts to an infected individual.
Among Friday’s additions to the list, Jackson obviously dominates the attention with veteran Robert Griffin III now expected to start at quarterback against the Steelers, but not having Ricard is another difficult blow for a rushing attack that was already going to be without running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram. The ground game will also be missing Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura, the top two centers for an offensive line that’s already been struggling.
The Baltimore defense was already hurting on the defensive line with injured standout veterans Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams now on the COVID-19 list, but Madubuike had started each of the last two games in place of Campbell. Their absences against the Steelers make it possible that rookie defensive tackle Aaron Crawford could be elevated from the practice squad.
The Ravens always had a contingency plan for losing Cox on special teams as former XFL long snapper Nick Moore has been with the organization since March and was signed to the practice squad at the conclusion of training camp.
Despite not having conducted a real practice for the fifth straight day, the Ravens put out a Friday injury report with all players on the active roster having been estimated to take part on at least a limited basis. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin called off Friday’s practice as his team awaited word from the league that the game had been moved from Sunday to Tuesday night.
Below is Friday’s estimated injury report for both teams:
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Mark Andrews (thigh), OLB Matthew Judon (ankle), G Tyre Phillips (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Derek Wolfe (illness)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB Jaylen Samuels (quadriceps)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Joe Haden (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Jayrone Elliott (illness), DT Cameron Heyward (non-injury/ankle), QB Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury/quadriceps), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot)