Sat, 03 Dec 2022

Mailbag: When Will Gus the Bus Be Back

Baltimore Ravens
06 Oct 2022, 04:25 GMT+10

by Ryan Mink & Garrett Downing

Mink: Gus Edwards returned to the practice field Wednesday, an encouraging step in his return to game action. That means the 21-day window has opened for him to practice before he must be moved to the 53-man roster or placed on Injured Reserve. I don't think fans should expect Edwards to suit up this week, and it could be the full three weeks. As we've seen with every other Ravens player returning from major injuries, Baltimore is letting them take their time to work their way back into top shape.

J.K. Dobbins, for example, had practiced for a month before the Ravens' season opener and still didn't play in Week 1. Dobbins had practiced for about a month-and-a-half before he took the field in New England. The Ravens have also been cautious and patient with Ronnie Stanley, Tyus Bowser and Marcus Peters.

Every player is different, as is their rehab. So you can't just transfer one player's rehab schedule to another, even if they suffered the same (or similar) injury. So maybe Edwards doesn't need as long a runway as other guys, but I still wouldn't expect him to make his game debut immediately.

Downing: Devin Duvernay has really impressed me this year. He's proven to be much more than a gadget player and returner who only has a limited role on offense. Duvernay has been the team's most consistent and reliable receiver this year, and his ability to make tough contested catches has been a game changer for this offense. Duvernay is the fastest player on the team, probably has the best hands, and he's developed a strong rapport with quarterback Lamar Jackson in the red zone.

However, I still think Rashod Bateman is the team's No. 1 receiver. Bateman has shown his big-play ability and breakaway speed this year, and he's still getting the bulk of the targets (22 to Bateman compared to 13 for Duvernay). Bateman has the size advantage and he also has good chemistry with Jackson. The question right now is whether he's going to miss any time with a mid-foot injury that sidelined him in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Buffalo. Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters Monday that "I don't think it's serious, but we're going to have to see." If Bateman misses any time, Duvernay will naturally step into the No. 1 receiver role and be counted on in a big way. The Ravens receivers have proven the doubters wrong in a lot of ways this year, but losing Bateman for future games would be a considerable blow to this group.

Mink: Daniel Faalele played admirably in his nearly two games (one start) at left tackle, especially when factoring in the competition he faced. Let's also not forget that the Ravens committed a fair amount of resources and strategy to helping Faalele against the Bills. Still, as Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday, the rookie proved himself to be a "viable" option at left tackle in a pinch.

With that all said, no, I think Morgan Moses will remain the right tackle when Ronnie Stanley returns. Moses didn't have a particularly strong game against the Bills. According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up two sacks and three hurries. He also missed a block on the 3-yard loss by J.K. Dobbins on the goal line on the Ravens' final critical offensive drive. Moses has room for improvement, but I think he remains the starting right tackle.

Downing: We're still a ways away from seeing the rookie David Ojabo take the field. He suffered a torn Achilles during a pre-draft workout in March, and that's a major rehab process. Tyus Bowser also had a torn Achilles in January, and he's just now at the point where he's close to practicing. As Mink said above, every player is different, so it's difficult to use one player's recovery timeline to project when another player will be back on the field. But historically speaking, a torn Achilles typically takes around nine months before a player is back in the lineup. If Ojabo follows that timeline, then he would probably return to action around early December. Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers set a new standard in the recovery process by returning from his torn Achilles last year in just 5.5 months, so it's possible that Ojabo could get back sooner. In August, Harbaugh said Ojabo "swears that he's going to be back midseason at the latest."

The Ravens said when drafting Ojabo in the second round that they expected him to play and were not viewing this season as a redshirt year. The Ravens are thin at pass rusher, so Ojabo could provide the defense a significant boost late in the year. As we've seen with all the players coming back from injury, the Ravens won't rush players back to the field, and they'll maintain that approach with Ojabo. There are high hopes for the rookie linebacker, but fans will have to exercise some patience with his recovery.

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