Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to practice Oct. 1 after missing the previous two practices with a back injury, and he is expected to play when the Ravens (2-1) visit the Denver Broncos (3-0) on Oct. 3, but the picture is more concerning in the secondary, where the Ravens could be missing two starters and a couple of others are hurting.
Jackson is officially listed as questionable with an injury that offensive coordinator Greg Roman described as a “flare-up” in his back.
Jackson, who missed one practice last week with an illness, has completed 53 of 87 passes for 761 yards, with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and he leads the Ravens in rushing with 251 yards on 35 carries. Jackson, in fact, leads the league in both yards per completion (14.4) and yards per rush (7.0).
Although Jackson returned to practice, starting safety DeShon Elliott (quad) missed practice all week and starting cornerback Anthony Averett (ankle) did not practice Oct. 1 after sustaining an injury a day earlier. Both are listed as questionable, as is safety Chuck Clark (hip), who was limited in practice Oct. 1.
Averett has thrived in a starting role after taking over for Marcus Peters, who suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season. Averett has 13 tackles and is tied for the team lead with three passes defensed.
Head coach John Harbaugh didn’t elaborate on Averett’s injury when he met with the media after the team’s Oct. 1 workout, deferring to the injury report, but losing Averett after losing Peters would be a significant blow.
The Ravens have already placed four cornerbacks — Peters, Chris Westry, Khalil Dorsey and Iman Marshall — on injured reserve. Veteran Jimmy Smith has returned to action after missing the first two games, and he could be an option to start at outside cornerback, but he has also been playing some safety, and could continue in that role with Elliott ailing.
The only other cornerback on the 53-man roster is slot corner Tavon Young, who is also questionable (knee), though he practiced fully Oct. 1. Kevon Seymour and Linden Stephens are potential practice-squad additions, though they have been with the team for less than two weeks.
With Elliott hobbled, the Ravens will need to lean on rookie Brandon Stephens, who has replaced Elliott in each of the past two games; Elliott had left the Week 2 game against Kansas City with a concussion and then left the Detroit game last week with the quad injury.
The Ravens once again will be without defensive lineman Derek Wolfe (back/hip), who will miss his fourth straight game, and tackle Ronnie Stanley, who will be out for the third straight game. In addition, outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson remains on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
For the Broncos, starting right guard Graham Glasgow (knee) has been ruled out, and six others are questionable, including starting left guard Dalton Risner (ankle) and running back Melvin Gordon III (ribs/lower leg).
Like the Ravens, the Broncos have already placed several players on injured reserve, including wide receivers K.J. Hamler and Jerry Jeudy, linebackers Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell and cornerback Ronald Darby.
Here is the full, final injury report:
OUT: T Ronnie Stanley (ankle), DL Derek Wolfe (back/hip)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Anthony Averett (ankle), S Chuck Clark (hip), S DeShon Elliott (quad), CB Marlon Humphrey (knee), QB Lamar Jackson (back), OLB Pernell McPhee (shoulder), S Geno Stone (thigh), T Orlando Villanueva (knee), CB Tavon Young (knee)
OUT: G Graham Glasgow (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: ILB Baron Browning (back), RB Melvin Gordon III (ribs/lower leg), DE Shelby Harris (wrist/illness), DE Dre’Mont Jones (calf), OLB Andre Mintze (hamstring), G Dalton Risner (ankle)
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