Preparation is everything in the NFL. Every player and coach stresses the importance of the work off the field to be ready to play at a high level.

Sometimes, there’s only so much work you can do. Games unfold in unique situations that athletes and coaches aren’t always ready for. That’s life in the NFL. Adapting to those scenarios, though, is what makes them the best in the world.

The Ravens experienced that in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. Baltimore had safeties Kyle Hamilton, Daryl Worley and Geno Stone play a grueling number of snaps in the 22-19 home loss. Worley, starting at safety in place of Hamilton, who moved to the nickel spot, logged 102 snaps (76 on defense, 26 on special teams), the most by a Ravens player since 2007, according to TruMedia, and the most of any player in the NFL this season.

Stone, playing next to Worley on the back end, finished with the second most since 2007 by logging 101 snaps (82 on defense, 19 on special teams), per TruMedia. Both surpassed the previous record of 100 logged by safety Dawan Landry against the Texans in Week 14 of 2010. Hamilton finished with 98 snaps (84 on defense, 14 special teams), tying Matt Elam for the fourth most since that time.

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Snap counts alone don’t tell the story of how tough and physical Sunday’s game against the Colts was, though. Let’s dive deeper.

Roaming the field as safeties, Worley and Stone were active, too. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Worley covered the second-most yardage by a Ravens player since 2016 with 1,887.83 yards against the Colts, behind Chuck Clark’s 2,043.17 yards against Kansas City in 2018 (in 96 snaps). Stone covered the sixth most in that time frame with 1,771.26 yards. Next Gen logged 1,648.73 yards for Hamilton. Here’s the full top 10 of yards covered dating to 2016:

RankingPlayerYardsSnaps
1.Chuck Clark2,043.1796
2.Daryl Worley1,887.83102
3.Miles Boykin1,884.7376
4.Marquise Brown1,849.2079
5.Eric Weddle1,773.2683
6.Geno Stone1,771.26101
7.Chuck Clark1,771.1876
8.Chuck Clark1,770.0288
9.Kyle Juszczyk1,766.7061
10.Chris Moore1,765.8953

Here’s the breakdown of how those yards came from for Stone, Worley and Hamilton, via Next Gen:

PlayerPlaysWalkJogRunSprintMax speedAvg. Dist/Play
Daryl Worley102264.03155.94756.22711.6419.1518.5
Geno Stone101235.07136.08794.79605.3219.0217.5
Kyle Hamilton98235.48149.21697.59566.4519.1316.8

Stone said he didn’t feel the impact of the snaps during the game and the only time he felt anything was during the overtime period. In the extended time, he left briefly because of an injury. He credited his work during the week for helping him withstand the physical demands.

“Honestly, I was probably in really good shape throughout the whole overtime and everything like that,” Stone told The Baltimore Banner. “I didn’t really feel winded or nothing. The one hit I took at the end, that’s probably where all my soreness came from after the game, but besides that, I’ve played a lot of snaps before — I remember last year I did it playing special teams and everything like that. That’s probably a testament to how I try to work in practice. I try to condition myself. It does take a toll probably after the game a little bit, you feel the effects after, but you’ve got a whole week ahead of you to get ready and bounce back.”

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The Ravens’ shuffling on defense due to early-season injuries resulted in the high snap counts for the trio. Stone has filled in for Marcus Williams after Williams’ pectoral injury in Week 1 against the Texans. Against the Colts, Hamilton aligned more near the line of scrimmage, a role he thrived in as a rookie, to give the pass rush a boost with outside linebackers Odafe Oweh (foot) and David Ojabo (ankle) ailing. Worley occupied Hamilton’s spot in response.

Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald praised the group for its versatility.

“You don’t want anybody playing 100 snaps, but obviously the game unfolded a certain way, and you have to do what you have to do to try to win the game,” Macdonald said Thursday. “And it’s a tough league – going back seven days later and sometimes three or four days later, having to play a game. So these guys are pros.”

Daryl Worley is expected to return primarily to special teams work this week against the Browns. (Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

Recovery is always important. For Hamilton, Worley and Stone, that meant extra time with the medical staff getting treatment. Stone mentioned that everyone has his own routine and specialists to see during the week, too.

“[Coach John Harbaugh] does a great job at setting the schedule up, and we have a bunch of recovery things that guys are taking advantage of,” Macdonald added. “Everyone has their own individual kind of plan on a week-to-week basis. But those guys, from talking [to them], they’re a little sore, but they said they’ll be ready to go.”

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With Williams shaping up to be back in the fold, Worley will shift back primarily to special teams work and is unlikely to play 102 snaps this week, or ever again for that matter. Macdonald affirmed that Hamilton’s versatility sliding down to nickel is week to week, so he could move back to his traditional safety role. Stone will still be in the mix for snaps in sub-packages and continue playing an important role on special teams.

The Ravens will need their secondary to play well against Deshaun Watson in Cleveland if he doesn’t miss the game because of a shoulder injury (he’s listed as questionable). After losing running back Nick Chubb to a season-ending left knee injury, the Browns could use their passing game more.

With a week of recovery in the books, Baltimore’s safeties feel more equipped to handle that if the Browns’ game plan turns that way.

“I definitely feel 100 percent more better,” Stone said with a laugh. “You’ve still got your aches and pains — you’re going to have that throughout an NFL season — but all that matters is how you feel on Sunday.”

aron.yohannes@thebaltimorebanner.com

Aron Yohannes joined The Baltimore Banner in June 2023 as a reporter. He previously reported on trending topics in sports for The Oregonian. He began his career covering the Milwaukee Bucks from 2012-2016 for SB Nation before working for the Seattle Seahawks from 2016-2018. Aron is Eritrean and a native of the north side of Milwaukee.

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