OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the number of injuries on offense has taken the team to “unchartered territory.”
It’s also brought the NFL’s 31st-ranked offense to a popular fitness center.
“I was out there in pregame [Sunday in Minnesota], the stadium is filling up, it’s a big game, there’s a lot of energy,” Harbaugh said, “and I see ol’ Griff [Whalen] warming up like, ‘Man, this guy was at Gold’s Gym a couple days ago,’ and here he is!”
In a matter of three days, the receiver Whalen went from catching passes from former small college and high school quarterbacks to reeling in four from Joe Flacco and playing 58 snaps for the Ravens.
That’s the state of Baltimore’s banged-up offense, which is seemingly being held together by trainer’s tape.
John Harbaugh has had difficulty creating Ravens game plans, he said, with so many players out injured. Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
Through seven weeks of the regular season, the Ravens (3-4) have nearly as many offensive players on injured reserve (nine) as offensive touchdowns scored (10). That injured reserve list includes Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, running backs Danny Woodhead and Kenneth Dixon and starting left guard Alex Lewis.
Baltimore’s seven inactives Sunday featured three wide receivers (Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman and Chris Matthews), running back Terrance West, guard Matt Skura and tight end Maxx Williams. After Mike Wallace was knocked out of the game in the first quarter and Michael Campanaro was briefly sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Ravens couldn’t go three wide because they had only two healthy wide receivers.
“This is a little uncharted territory for — I don’t know how many teams have had this many injuries on offense,” Harbaugh said. “We have a lot of tough guys. We talked to them just now. It’s about mental toughness. It’s about just going out there, and you have to put everything aside and ignore the noise and go out there and fight. We have a bunch of guys that I know will do that. I’m looking forward to see how it plays out.”
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The injuries have taken a toll on the Ravens’ depth. They’ve also exasperated Harbaugh, who threw up his arms at one point when talking about the number of hurt players.
“We’ve had Jeremy [Maclin] out [at practice] the last two weeks, and he was unable to play,” Harbaugh said. “So I guess right now I’m just like, ‘I don’t know.’ The way it’s been going with all that — we’ll see. Whoever you see jogging out there at kickoff, they’ll be playing. Up until that point, I don’t know. I probably would like to be coy with you and say, ‘I’m not going to talk about it,’ but at this point it’s just like, ‘We’ll see.'”
It’s going to be a quick turnaround for the shorthanded Ravens, who host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night. For Monday’s walkthrough, three offensive players didn’t practice (West, Williams and Campanaro) and five were limited (Wallace, Maclin, Perriman, Skura and tight end Ben Watson).
Harbaugh acknowledged that this number of injuries makes it more uncertain when trying to put together a game plan.
“We will have 11 on the field. I promise you that. That much we can guarantee,” Harbaugh said.