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Injuries Force Ravens to Adjust

Many thanks must go to the NFL schedule-makers. The Ravens reach their Bye week after this Sunday's game at Buffalo and the break could not come at a better time and be more welcomed. Hopefully, after the Ravens defeat the Bills, they will limp into a week off to heal thyselves and prepare for their Monday Night Football game at Pittsburgh in week #8. Limping is indeed the Ravens main mode of transpotation lately, as the injuries have been mounting all season. After going through most of last season without any major injuries, this season has been the complete opposite. Virtually the entire offensive line has been replaced with new starters this year, from second year "veteran" players Jason Brown, Chris Chester taking over at center for injured Mike Flynn, to rookies Marshall Yanda, Ben Grubbs, and 21 year old Jared Gaither, a 5th round supplemental draft pick who has taken over protecting the blind side from Adam Terry, who was the backup for injured All-Pro Jon Ogden. Whew! And that was JUST the offensive line! While our wideouts and running backs have escaped injuries, the tight ends have not. Both starter Todd Heap and his backup, Daniel Wilcox, have missed games, thrusting 3rd string Quinn Sipniewski into the starting role (you're just gonna have to forgive me if I spelled his name wrong). Oh yeah, I almost forgot our quarterback injury and controversy. With either Kyle Boller or Steve McNair, it almost doesn't matter who's taking the snaps based on this offense.

The defense has also been hit by the injury bug, but as always, the team is deep enough on this side of the ball to compensate without any major issues. That philosophy may change this Sunday and possibly beyond as it was recently announced that All-Pro cornerback Chris McAlister has a knee injury that has been hinted to be a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which could sideline him anywhere from 2-3 weeks, or possibly longer. Having him available to line up against the opponents #1 receiver has always alowed the Ravens the luxury of rotating the secondary towrds the other CB's for help. This week, Buffalo's #1 receiver, Lee Evans, will be marked by someone else, which could cause schematic issues, regardless of Evans' lack of success this season. The defense may not be able to blitz as easily, needing to drop linebackers into coverage more often. The same goes for the blitzing safeties and the gambling tactics of All-Pro Ed Reed. However, this is the Bills and if the Ravens can escape Buffalo with an important win before their Bye, it will be a great week off to rest and heal.