Just as the Ravens’ injury situation started to seem untenable, their fortunes shifted Wednesday.
The sun peeked out over the practice field in Owings Mills for the first time in days, and center Tyler Linderbaum, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and safety Marcus Williams practiced as limited participants for the first time in weeks.
All three starters were hurt in Week 1. Starting running back Gus Edwards, who was being evaluated for a concussion after taking a hit in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, participated fully in practice.
The return of Linderbaum (ankle) and Stanley (knee) comes just before the Ravens face the Cleveland Browns on the road Sunday. Through three weeks, the Browns have had the NFL’s best defense. Linderbaum is the team’s best run blocker, and Stanley is its most athletic tackle.
Edwards’ return means the Ravens likely won’t have to rely as greatly on their practice squad call-ups, Melvin Gordon III and Kenyan Drake, or sign a new running back. J.K. Dobbins (Achilles tendon) is out for the season, and Justice Hill (toe) missed his fourth straight practice. Despite his fourth-quarter injury Sunday, Edwards had the most carries and the most snaps of the three running backs who saw time against the Colts.
Williams (pectoral), whose timetable to return is uncertain, will provide relief for an overworked secondary. Although the Ravens have performed well against opposing pass offenses, their depth is wearing thin. Players’ snap counts shot through the roof, with reserve safety Daryl Worley playing over 100 combined snaps (defense and special teams) against Indianapolis.
Since Williams’ injury, Geno Stone has filled in, and he came up with a big interception in Week 2. Stone briefly left Sunday’s game with a rib injury, but he participated fully in practice Wednesday.
Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (knee), along with Hill, was working out with a trainer during Wednesday’s practice. However, the veteran edge rusher, who started the season on the non-football-injury list, cannot return until Week 5.
On offense, the Ravens were missing Hill and wide receivers Rashod Bateman (hamstring) and Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle). On defense, they were missing outside linebackers Odafe Oweh (ankle) and David Ojabo (ankle) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot), in addition to safety Ar’Darius Washington (chest), who was placed on injured reserve last week and may be out for the season.
Safety Kyle Hamilton, who had an outstanding game Sunday with seven tackles, including three sacks, was also absent Wednesday with a back injury.