With the Ravens making final preparations for their Week 3 contest at Detroit on Sunday afternoon, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Though the COVID-19 list additions would have felt much worse a week ago with Kansas City coming to town, Friday illustrated why players not being vaccinated poses such a problem. Such individuals don’t even have to test positive to miss a game and put their team in a rough spot.
2. As expected, Lamar Jackson was back at practice as a full participant after dealing with a stomach bug Thursday. Preferring that your quarterback not do an acrobatic flip is understandable, but some were too quick to try to link his absence to a playful comment about his hip being sore.
3. DeShon Elliott being listed as a full participant was a promising sign for his availability after being in the concussion protocol all week, but Brandon Stephens remains an important and versatile cog in the secondary, especially with Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young less than 100 percent entering Sunday’s game.
4. Wink Martindale made no excuses for his defense’s poor tackling, lamenting the “terrible angles” taken against the Chiefs. The Ravens defense played three strong quarters against Las Vegas before falling apart and finished a rough night against the Chiefs with an excellent final period. Time to put it all together?
5. Among those with at least 20 carries, Jackson leads the NFL at 6.9 yards per carry and Nick Chubb ranks second (6.8). Third place is the guy fans hadn’t even heard of before last month. At 6.5 yards per carry, Ty’Son Williams needs to keep getting plenty of touches.
6. The Detroit running game becomes more relevant with Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike now out, but D’Andre Swift poses a challenge as a receiver to Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, who have been shaky in coverage. Swift has 58 catches for 463 yards and three touchdowns in 15 career games.
7. T.J. Hockenson has to be licking his chops after seeing Baltimore allow 19 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns to tight ends over the first two games. The Ravens won’t continue to face Pro Bowl talents every game, but they don’t get much of a break this week.
8. Between inside linebacker Jamie Collins’ pending trade and outside linebackers Trey Flowers, Romeo Okwara, and Julian Okwara all questionable for Sunday, Detroit couldn’t be facing the Baltimore ground game at a worse time. Run the ball and drain the clock to help keep a shorthanded Ravens defense fresh.
9. Especially after uncharacteristically refraining from blitzing Patrick Mahomes last Sunday, you’d expect Martindale’s defense to really get after Jared Goff, who has painful memories of playing Baltimore on a Monday night in Los Angeles two years ago. He doesn’t have the same quality of supporting cast now either.
10. Especially with Tyrell Williams now on injured reserve, that’s a Detroit wide receiver group only a Ravens fan could love. Then again, Breshad Perriman didn’t even make it out of training camp before being cut by the Lions last month.
11. Fresh off winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week, Odafe Oweh should have quite the battle with fellow first-round rookie and Lions left tackle Penei Sewell. We learned this week that Ozzie Newsome first told Martindale to watch the Penn State product before the draft, insisting “he’s a Raven.”
12. A trip to Detroit sparks memories of Justin Tucker’s 61-yard field goal on Monday Night Football, but Ford Field was also the sight of the infamous 2005 loss in which the Ravens committed 21 penalties and Terrell Suggs was ejected for bumping referee Mike Carey “with malice in his heart.”