Second-year linebacker Malik Harrison had a strong week of practice, and his role could expand after he returns from Reserve/Non-Football Injury.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said Harrison, who has been an inside linebacker, has shown the versatility to play EDGE linebacker as well.
Injuries have been a relentless storyline for the Ravens this season, including at outside linebacker where Pernell McPhee (knee) and Daelin Hayes (ankle) are on the injured list. Harrison has been out of action three weeks since being struck in the calf by a stray bullet during Baltimore's bye week, but he has moved closer to returning.
"He looked good in practice," Harbaugh said. "He looked fine, so that was good to see. He did a nice job in the three weeks he was away with his injury situation of training. He's in good shape. Yes, he can play outside and inside. He's definitely an option on the edge at SAM, or defensive end in a nickel package. He can do those things, and he has been practicing at those things."
Harrison and inside linebacker Patrick Queen were part of the same draft class and are close friends. Queen was very concerned when he initially heard about Harrison's injury, and glad to see his running mate back on the field.
"I was shocked," Queen said. "You just don't wake up and expect to see some stuff like that. Thankfully, it (the bullet) went where it did and didn't go higher or lower. It could have caused damage. That's my guy. I love him. Finally about to suit up. Can't wait."
Sammy Watkins Says Lamar Jackson Has Been Sharp
After missing last weekend's game with an illness, Lamar Jackson hasn't missed a practice this week and he was not on Friday's injury report heading into Sunday night's game against the Cleveland Browns, meaning he will play.
Jackson has missed more practice time this season than any year since entering the league, yet he's having an excellent season and the Ravens have kept rolling. Jackson missed the start of training camp with COVID-19 and Baltimore has won three games after Jackson missed at least a day of practice. When he couldn't play against the Bears last weekend, Tyler Huntley stepped in and engineered a game-winning drive.
According to Watkins, the offense is ready to roll on Sunday, and Jackson typically looks as if he's never been away.
"Honestly, when Lamar comes back off anything, he's come back on point," Watkins said. "He's throwing the ball well, he's moving around. Honestly, I feel like we actually got better since he's been back, so I can't wait to go out there and play with him."
Harbaugh Says Daelin Hayes Had Cleanup Surgery on Knee
This has been a challenging year for Daelin Hayes, a fifth-round pick out of Notre Dame who hoped to make an impact as a rookie. He was placed on injured reserve Sept. 27 with an ankle injury after appearing just one game, and Harbaugh revealed Friday that Hayes has also undergone a minor knee surgery.
However, Harbaugh said that Hayes isn't out for the season.
"It turned out he came off his high-ankle [sprain] and it wasn't feeling great, and his knee wasn't feeling great," Harbaugh said. "They went in and took a look at it, and he had to do a little clean up procedure on his knee. They did it a couple weeks ago, three weeks or four weeks, but he'll be practicing pretty soon."
Watkins Thrives on Clutch Catches
Two of Baltimore's biggest catches this season have been made by Watkins - a fourth-and-19 catch in Detroit that set up Justin Tucker's game-winning, record-setting 66-yard field goal, and last week's 29-yard catch on third-and-12 during Baltimore's game-winning drive in Chicago.
Watkins said being Baltimore's most experienced receiver comes in handy during pressure situations. Watkins earned a reputation for making clutch catches for the Kansas City Chiefs when he helped them win a Super Bowl, and it has carried over to Baltimore.
"It's helped me playing on good teams and making those big plays but think it's part of everybody," Watkins said. "It's part of this culture, this team. Whenever we need to make a play, somebody's going to step up and make a play. I think every wide receiver on this team in the offense is willing to do whatever to win.
"That's been my role on the team, and I honestly love it - to make those big plays in big moments - and that's kind of who I am. I just love to go out there and make those plays and have fun doing it."
Watkins said he didn't know he was about to take a hard hit from Bears safety Deon Bush after making the catch, but he held onto the football to make a huge play after Huntley escaped pressure by rolling to his right. The play by Huntley and Watkins set up a Devonta Freeman's 3-yard touchdown run.
"I saw the ball floating, not even knowing that there was somebody bearing [down] on me, about to kill me, so when I caught it, I was thinking I was just about to walk in [for] a touchdown," Watkins said. "The next thing you know, I got blasted. But [it was a] great catch and great throw by 'Snoop,' and hopefully, we can get some more of those."