Baltimore Ravens: Update on Injured Players’ Recovery

Nov 1, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens players react as wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. (89) lays on the ground in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens players react as wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. (89) lays on the ground in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens were ravished by injuries during the 2015 NFL season. Let’s look at how each is recovering as the team prepares for offseason workouts to begin on Monday.

There is a bug going around the Baltimore Ravens locker room. Unfortunately, it’s not the flu or a stomach illness that’s causing problems. The injury bug is haunting this franchise for over two seasons now.

The Ravens were forced to place 20 players on injured reserve in 2015. The number was 19 in 2014. Add in some non-season-ending injuries in the middle part of each season and you can understand why the organization is placing a focus on finding a new training regime to keep their players healthy.

The 20 players placed on IR is a record under John Harbaugh, and it showed in the team’s performance last season. The Ravens suffered some crushing blows to just about every position on offense, and the defense had its share of injuries as well.

The offense never responded once Joe Flacco tore his ACL against the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams. They lost their top playmakers in Steve Smith and Justin Forsett. Jeremy Zuttah was injured most of the season, and Eugene Monroe missed extensive action as well. The ultimate kick in the gut was not having first-round pick Breshad Perriman for the entire season because of an injury that none of us truly understand.

The defense lost its identity less than halfway through the first game of the season. The Ravens had no response once Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles’ tendon. Say what you want about Matt Elam, but he could have been an upgrade over what Kendrick Lewis was last season. Add in some injuries to Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, C.J. Mosley and Timmy Jernigan, and you understand why this team struggled so much. 

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The only positive for this season is that the Ravens expect all these players to be back for the regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills. Combine that with the moves Ozzie Newsome made in the offseason, and the influx of draft picks about to be added, the Ravens feel they can respond with a solid 2016 season.

Baltimore is set to begin offseason workouts on Monday, but some players will be spending more time in the training room than working out. Here is an update on how many of the guys are recovering this offseason:

Joe Flacco: He was last seen at Torrey Smith‘s charity basketball game and told reporters that he is “getting better and better each week.” He said he thinks he will be ready by training camp, but it would come as no surprise if he sat out most of the preseason games as a precaution. It’s more important that he is ready for Week 1 against the Bills.

Steve Smith: We all had a gut feeling that seeing Smith helped off the field was not going to be the last time we saw him. He has been out of a walking boot for nearly three months, and the team hopes he will be ready for the regular season.

Breshad Perriman: We are still scratching our heads about what happened to Perriman. What was supposed to be only a knee contusion turned out to be a season-ending injury. He recently told his college coach, Sean Beckton, that he is “100 percent recovered” and should be a full go once organized team activities begin.

Justin Forsett: The starting running back from last season is recovering from a broken arm, but should be available for OTAs. He has already started lifting weights so there should be no reason he won’t be ready for the start of training camp.

Jeremy Zuttah: The offensive line lost its vocal leader when he underwent hip surgery. He should be ready in time for camp to open.

Eugene Monroe: A shoulder injury late in the season landed him on IR, but he should be ready by the start of training camp.

Crockett Gillmore: Originally questionable for the start of training camp after shoulder surgery, now the team expects him to ready for the start of OTAs. He will have plenty of competition with Ben Watson and Maxx Williams still on board, and the next player on the list trying to make a comeback.

Dennis Pitta: He announced his intentions to return for this season following two injuries to his hip. Whether or not he makes the team remains to be seen, but he will make an attempt to play football once again.

Terrell Suggs: Another Achilles tear cost him the 2015 season and the squad expects him to be ready at the start of the regular season. Harbaugh told reporters recently that he expects Suggs “to be healthy, highly motivated and ready to go for the first game.”

Will Davis: The injury to his ACL was his second in 11 months, and came at a time when the Ravens desperately needed him. He played in the preseason last season just nine months after the first injury, and the team expects him to be ready when the games start to matter.

Matt Elam: The team had a decision to make between Brent Urban and Elam about which player would be designated to return from IR mid-season, so he should be ready to take part in workouts.

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This is not the entire group to miss last season, but each is an important part for the team’s success in 2016. Let’s hope that the training staff has disinfected the locker room of the injury bug and the Ravens stay healthy this season.