BALTIMORE — Trying to jump-start the NFL’s 26th-ranked running game, the Ravens have shaken up their backfield for Sunday’s Week 4 meeting with Oakland.
Veteran running back Justin Forsett has been deactivated, meaning Terrance West will make his first start with the Ravens since joining the team midway through last season. Forsett was averaging just 3.2 yards per carry through three games while West gained 45 yards on 10 carries against Jacksonville last week, a sign that he was beginning to gain more trust in the running game.
Second-year running back Buck Allen is active for the first time this season and will serve as West’s backup.
Rookie running back Kenneth Dixon (knee) was inactive for the fourth straight game after returning to practice on a limited basis this week. Still wearing a brace on his left knee, the 2016 fourth-round pick worked out on the field before the game and continues moving closer to a return.
The revamped backfield will not have the services of rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who was deactivated after being listed as doubtful with a lingering foot injury. The first-round pick did not practice all week and is expected to be replaced by James Hurst at left tackle, a concerning development with Pro Bowl defensive end Khalil Mack waiting across the line of scrimmage.
Rookie left guard Alex Lewis is active despite going through the concussion protocol and missing most of the week of practice, but Ryan Jensen was working as the starting left guard during pre-game warmups. Third-year interior lineman John Urschel is also active and will make his 2016 season debut after missing a significant amount of the preseason with a shoulder injury.
As expected, five-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Elvis Dumervil (foot) is active and will make his 2016 season debut. It will be interesting to see how much he plays against the Raiders after missing the entire preseason and the first three games in his return from offseason foot surgery. Rookie outside linebacker Matt Judon was deactivated with Dumervil returning to the mix.
Veteran cornerback Jerraud Powers will also make his 2016 debut after missing the first three games with an ankle injury.
There were no surprises in the list of inactives for the Raiders as safety Nate Allen (quadriceps) and offensive tackles Austin Howard (ankle) and Menelik Watson (calf) had already been ruled out on Friday.
The Ravens and Oakland are meeting for the ninth time ever in the regular season with Baltimore holding a 6-2 advantage and 5-0 mark at home. However, the Raiders won the last meeting between these teams, a 37-33 final in Oakland last season.
Baltimore will be wearing purple jerseys with white pants while the Raiders don white tops and silver pants for Sunday’s game.
Sunday’s referee is Ed Hochuli.
According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Baltimore called for cloudy skies with temperatures reaching 70 degrees, calm winds up to four miles per hour, and only a slight chance of precipitation.
Below are Sunday’s inactives:
RB Justin Forsett
OT Ronnie Stanley
CB Sheldon Price
RB Kenneth Dixon
CB Will Davis
DT Willie Henry
LB Matt Judon
QB Connor Cook
S Nate Allen
RB Taiwan Jones
CB Antonio Hamilton
OT Menelik Watson
OL Matt McCants
OT Austin Howard