Rarely does heartbreak come dressed as a Week 1 rout over a hapless opponent on your home field, but this is the NFL—and the Baltimore Ravens, specifically—where injuries love mocking the faithful.
There must be a hive of some sort near M&T Bank Stadium, because the injury bug is again coming after these Ravens. Since 2021, they’ve been forced into long stretches without some of their top players, who watched as from the sidelines hopes of deep playoff runs evaporated. Now, after their 25-9 win against the Houston Texans, the Ravens lost both starting running back J.K. Dobbins with a torn Achilles tendon and safety Marcus Williams with what preliminarily looks like a torn pectoral muscle.
Dobbins missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL. He returned to the field early in Week 3 of 2022, but then sat himself down so he could get some scar tissue removed. By December he was ready to play and ran for at least 90 yards in three of his next four games. He rushed for 64 yards and caught four passes during the Ravens’ wild-card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Dobbins looked good Week 1 against the Texans on a touchdown run, but early in the third quarter he limped off of the field. Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed after the game that Dobbins is out for the season.
The Ravens signed Williams as a free agent in 2022 to a 5-year, 70 million contract. The team fears that he suffered a torn pectoral, and he will have an MRI on Monday.
Another key contributor who had to leave the field early was Ronnie Stanley. He is arguably the Ravens’ top offensive lineman, and his knee will be tested to determine exactly what is wrong. Per The Athletic’s Diana Russini, the medical staff does not suspect a serious injury. Stanley missed most of 2020, all of 2021, and a portion of the 2022 season with an ankle injury.
Last season, Rashod Bateman was playing well as the Ravens No. 1 wide receiver until he went down with a foot injury that caused him to miss 11 games. The entire Ravens’ backfield dealt with injuries in 2022, and that includes Lamar Jackson who missed the last five games of the regular season, and the playoff game, with a PCL sprain. He missed the final four games of 2021 with an ankle injury.
Injuries on defense, combined with Jackson, Stanley, Dobbins, Bateman, and Gus Edwards sunk the Ravens’ 2021 season. Marlon Humphrey missed the last month and change with a torn pectoral, and an injury to Derek Wolfe’s hip resulted in him retiring from the NFL.
The Ravens fired their strength and conditioning coordinator at the end of the 2022 season. This was after the NFLPA released its player evaluations of each team last season, and Ravens players graded their strength and conditioning staff an F-.
The franchise promoted the assistant to the lead trainer, and it’s reasonable to believe that the Ravens are due some good injury luck. They got out of Week 1 with a win, but also a familiar lengthy injury report.