OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As if a shocking 26-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans wasn’t painful enough, the Ravens continue to be slammed by the injury bug over the first two weeks of the regular season.
A week after serving a one-game suspension for the season opener, return specialist and wide receiver David Reed suffered a shoulder injury and will be out until after the Ravens’ bye week. The second-year player returned a kickoff 77 yards in the second quarter before injuring the AC joint in his left shoulder.
Reed had an MRI on Monday and could be sidelined for three to six weeks.
“Probably three weeks, I would say,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor, but I play one in press conferences, right? That’s what [the timetable] normally is.”
Though Reed failed to record a catch in Sunday’s loss to the Titans, his presence in the passing game will be missed with the continuing struggles of veteran Lee Evans, who continues to deal with a left ankle injury that began affecting him after the third preseason game in August. Evans lacked explosion in running routes for the second consecutive week and was seen icing his ankle in the locker room following Sunday’s loss.
Acquired for his ability to stretch opposing defenses and create more explosive plays in the vertical passing game, it’s unlikely defenses will respect his routes if not 100 percent. Evans’ ankle is impacting the Ravens’ ability to diversify a passing game that was far too one-dimensional a season ago.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s affecting him, and we’re going to have to take a hard look at that. If he can do the things we need him to do, he plays. If he can’t, he won’t play. We’ve been nursing this thing for a month, and I don’t see it getting a lot better.”
The situation becomes even gloomier with Reed’s injury and rookie Torrey Smith’s failure to make any impact in his first two NFL games. With Evans less than 100 percent and Reed out for the foreseeable future, rookie Tandon Doss is in line to receive his first action after being inactive through the first two weeks. However, the Ravens may find themselves taking a peek at the free-agent market for veteran help if the young receivers fail to step up immediately.
In Harbaugh’s Monday press conference, he also acknowledged — without being posed the question specifically — the continued trials of cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who continues to work his surgically-repaired right knee back to full health. The seventh-year veteran has given far too much cushion when pressed into duty and surrendered a short touchdown pass to Kenny Britt in the second quarter on Sunday.
“It’s definitely showing up in the way he’s playing,” Harbaugh said. “He’s playing very, very conservatively. He knows, we all know, we just have to get that [knee] right if that’s what it is.”
Confirming what many have speculated with both veterans not playing at 100 percent, Harbaugh acknowledged the possibility of Evans and Foxworth potentially being rested to aid in their rehabilitation in hopes of receiving better contributions as the season progresses.
The catch is the Ravens’ current lack of depth at cornerback and wide receiver due to injuries to defensive backs Jimmy Smith and Chris Carr and Reed’s shoulder injury. Whatever the case, it’s clear Harbaugh is not satisfied with what he’s seeing from Evans and Foxworth.
“If they can’t play the kind of football we need them to play — because they’re injured, no fault of theirs, these guys are gutting it out — then they’re going to have to sit for awhile and get healthy, and we’ll just have to see how that goes this week.”
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