BALTIMORE — If the Ravens are to win their first home game of the 2015 season, they’ll need to do it without large pieces of their offense against the Cleveland Browns.
Though Baltimore was already preparing to play without starting wide receiver Steve Smith and starting tight end Crockett Gillmore, running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was also deactivated for Sunday’s game despite being listed as probable on the final injury report. Taliaferro practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday, but his absence means the Ravens will have just two healthy running backs: starter Justin Forsett and 2015 fourth-round pick Buck Allen.
In better news, the Ravens will officially welcome back starting left tackle Eugene Monroe after he missed the last three games with a concussion suffered on the first series of the season opener in Denver. Monroe was cleared to return this week and practiced fully, leaving little doubt that he would recapture his starting position.
As expected, speedy receiver Chris Givens and return specialist and receiver Jeremy Ross were both active for Sunday’s game. Ross is expected to handle kick return duties while Givens will try to give the Ravens a speed element in the passing game that they’ve lacked all year with the long-term knee injury to rookie Breshad Perriman.
Though he was officially ruled out for Week 5 on Friday, Gillmore (calf) ran routes and moved well in a pre-game workout, an encouraging development for next week’s game in San Francisco. Veteran Dennis Pitta (hip) also ran routes prior to Sunday’s game, but head coach John Harbaugh said Friday there is no change in his status as he remains on the reserve physically unable to perform list.
For the Browns, starting cornerback Joe Haden (finger/ribs) and starting receiver Brian Hartline (ribs/thigh) were both active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Starting free safety Tashaun Gipson (ankle) was officially ruled out on Friday.
These teams are meeting for the 33rd time with the Ravens holding an overwhelming 24-8 advantage and 13-3 mark in Baltimore. However, five of the last seven games have been decided by one possession and the Ravens trailed in the fourth quarter of both wins over Cleveland last season.
The Sunday afternoon forecast calls for sunny skies with temperatures in the high 60s and very light winds.
Referee Jeff Triplette and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game.
The Ravens are wearing black jerseys with black pants while Cleveland dons its white tops with brown pants.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
WR Steve Smith
WR Breshad Perriman
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro
CB Rashaan Melvin
OL Ryan Jensen
TE Crockett Gillmore
DE Chris Canty
QB Austin Davis
RB Shaun Draughn
RB Robert Turbin
FS Tashuan Gipson
LB Craig Robertson
WR Dwayne Bowe
TE E.J. Bibbs