Hold on just a minute! I had earlier reported that the Ravens should be close to full strength, with most of their injured starters returning from the sidelines to take part in Monday night's game at Pittsburgh. However, some key components along with some recent news have put a major kink in what was supposed to be great news. Not only is cornerback Chris McAlister looking less likely to play against the Steelers, now it's been reported that the other starting cornerback, Samari Rolle has had a recurrence of the illness that kept him out of action earlier this season and is questionable as well. (See Carroll County Times Staff Writer Aaron Wilson's full story at: http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/ar...
If both starting corners are out for the Steelers game, look out! Pittsburgh will take advantage of this significant weakness and exploit it all night. The Ravens front seven might end up with whiplash injuries, watching Ben Roethlisberger fling the ball all over the field. While it always was the Ravens game plan to stop the run and force the pass, now it may work right into the Steelers hands. That is, unless of course the Ravens subs step up and prove they need to be considered for more action by the result of their play. The subs that should be getting the starts are Corey Ivy and Derrick Martin, with Ronnie Prude most likely the nickle back. None of these players have stepped up when given the chance so far. Perhaps a decent game out of one of them will only help the Ravens through the rest of the season, when they face other pass happy teams, such as Indianapolis and New England.
In addition to these relatively new reports, tight end Todd Heap is still listed as a game time decision. With backup tight end Daniel Wilcox already out for the game, that would only leave 3rd string Quinn Sypniewski as the possible starter. Heap's contribution always gives credibility to the pass offense, and his absence will continue to affect the Ravens' Red Zone troubles.
Monday night will be an extremely tough game even if the Ravens were at full strength. With issues such as above, it becomes a daunting challenge.