OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens would love to jump-start their vertical passing game in time for a difficult test at Seattle, but their biggest threat to do it remains sidelined.
Wide receiver Marquise Brown missed his fifth straight practice Thursday and appears in danger of missing his second straight game. The 2019 first-round pick injured his right ankle in the Week 5 win in Pittsburgh and hasn’t practiced since returning in the fourth quarter of that overtime contest. Head coach John Harbaugh indicated Monday that Brown would need to log some practice time this week to play against the Seahawks.
Since completing 16 passes of 20 or more yards over the first three games of the season, the Ravens have just six over the last three contests as opposing defenses began taking measures to limit the deep ball even before Brown’s injury. The speedy rookie’s absence has left tight end Mark Andrews as Lamar Jackson’s only consistent downfield threat in the passing game.
“Marquise can definitely affect the game that way,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “But we’ve got [other] guys that can do it as well. A lot of it starts with how the defense chooses to play. But we’re always looking for them for sure. It’s definitely a focus of ours I would say. A lot of different ways to do it too.”
After arriving at the team facility Wednesday evening and spending three hours diving into the playbook with defensive backs coaches Chris Hewitt and Jessie Minter, newly-acquired cornerback Marcus Peters made his practice debut with Baltimore and is expected to play on Sunday. Harbaugh said Peters will play “as much as he can” in Week 7, but coaches have already complimented the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback’s football intelligence.
With fill-in cornerbacks Maurice Canady (hamstring) and Anthony Averett (ankle) missing Thursday’s practice and veteran starter Jimmy Smith (knee) only returning to practice this week for the first time since the season opener, Peters playing is almost a necessity for the NFL’s 25th-ranked pass defense.
“There are maybe a couple of different things terminology-wise that he has to get used to,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “He said he’d let me know by Friday if he’s ready to go with the whole thing, and I said, ‘Just lie to me and tell me that you are, and we’re just going to play you.'”
Smith practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day as he continued to wear a bulky brace on his right knee. The 31-year-old admits he initially thought the worst about his knee before further tests revealed a Grade 2 MCL sprain.
The Ravens haven’t yet ruled out Smith for Sunday’s game, but the more realistic target for his return appears to be the Week 9 home meeting with New England.
“I’m trying to be careful with it. We have a bye week next week, so I’m just trying to be smart with it,” Smith said. “Things are going according to plan. I feel really good. I’ll get out there in warmups on Sunday.”
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s workout. Harbaugh has said he expects the fourth-year offensive lineman to play against Seattle, but Stanley was more conservative with his comments before Thursday’s practice.
“We’ll make the decision when the time comes. Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” said Stanley, who didn’t miss any snaps in last Sunday’s win over Cincinnati until the final three Jackson kneels. “We’ll see. I’ll talk to them after today and see how I am out there on the field. We’ll come to a decision soon.”
The Seahawks were again without left tackle Duane Brown (biceps) and defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle), but right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis.
Below is Thursday’s full injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Anthony Averett (ankle), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), CB Maurice Canady (thigh), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), DT Brandon Williams (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Jimmy Smith (knee), OT Ronnie Stanley (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Brandon Carr (non-injury), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), TE Will Dissly (Achilles), OT Duane Brown (biceps), S Lano Hill (elbow), S Bradley McDougald (back)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G D.J. Fluker (hamstring), DE Quinton Jefferson (oblique)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Chris Carson (non-injury), WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury), LB K.J. Wright (knee)