What was already a disappointing 49-27 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos has proven even more costly for the Ravens as wide receiver Jacoby Jones is likely be sidelined for the next four to six weeks.
According to Pro Football Talk, Jones suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee when rookie safety Brynden Trawick accidentally collided with the return specialist as he tried to field a punt in the second quarter. Jones limped off the field before being taken to the locker room for further examination where he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The injury leaves the Ravens short-handed at wide receiver and in the return game as Jones was expected to play a major part in both areas. Jones caught three passes for 24 yards in the first half and was replaced by cornerback Lardarius Webb on punt returns and running back Bernard Pierce on kickoff returns.
At the end of the preseason, the Ravens waived running back Bobby Rainey, who appeared to be the team’s second-most impressive returner behind Jones. Baltimore had hoped to sign Rainey to its practice squad, but the Cleveland Browns claimed him on waivers. The Ravens also parted ways with wide receivers David Reed and Tandon Doss, who offered some abililty as return options as well.
Jones’ injury will likely create an expanded role for rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown, who was one of the few bright spots offensively against the Broncos. An undrafted free agent from the University of Georgia, Brown caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.
The absence of Jones will put a strain on the Ravens’ vertical passing game as defenses normally must respect him and Torrey Smith as deep threats. Jones’ exit from Thursday’s game allowed the Denver defense to bracket coverage on Smith and shade a safety toward him to help take away the big play.
The Ravens could also look to the free-agent market for potential help in both areas. Veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is still available and with Week 1 now behind the Ravens, they may sign a vested veteran without being required to guarantee his contract for the entire season.
Right tackle Michael Oher also left Thursday’s game after spraining his right ankle in the second quarter, but that injury is not believed to be as serious at this time.
In other health-related news, defensive tackle Arthur Jones wrote on his official Twitter account that he received “amazing news” related to his undisclosed illness. According to The Sun, Jones had been dealing with a viral infection but was cleared for activity with no concerns moving forward.