Baltimore Ravens brass and a significant portion of the fanbase blamed the team’s disappointing five-win 2015 season on untimely injuries. With 20 players on injured reserve by the end of the season, they certainly played a part. But upon closer inspection, a case can be made that the 2015 Ravens were not a good team even before the injury bug completely destroyed their chances.
Joe Flacco, Eugene Monroe, Breshad Perriman, Steve Smith Sr. and Terrell Suggs were the five major losses that season. Perriman missed his entire rookie season due to a knee issue and Suggs tore his Achilles in Week 1. But Monroe was in-and-out of the lineup until Week 11, Smith played through Week 8 and Flacco tore his ACL in Week 11.
Baltimore’s record was 2-6 entering the Week 9 bye. Injuries are part of football, it is unusual when any NFL team makes it through a full season without losing at least a couple starters to devastating injuries. Well constructed rosters possess the depth to remain competitive despite losing a few key contributors. The 2015 Ravens were unable to do so.
Horrendous injury luck has struck the Ravens once again in the lead-up to the 2017 regular season. Not only has franchise quarterback Joe Flacco missed the entirety of training camp due to a back issue, the team had a whopping 17 active players absent during Sunday’s practice. This extensive list included each of the Ravens three most recent first round selections - Breshad Perriman, Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey.
While Perriman, Stanley and Humphrey will hopefully be ready for the start of the regular season, the same cannot be said for many of their young teammates. Four promising members of the 2016 draft class have recently undergone major surgery, including cornerbacks Tavon Young and Maurice Canady, running back Kenneth Dixon and offensive guard Alex Lewis. Lewis’ presumed backup, rookie guard Nico Siragusa, has also been ruled out for the year after suffering a gruesome knee injury.
At some point, the accumulation of injuries to valuable players becomes too much to reasonably overcome. The Ravens were already playing with a short deck before the litany of injuries due to a league leading $18.9 million in unavailable salary cap space caused by dead money contracts.
After four seasons of relative mediocrity, Ravens Nation will want accountability if the team fails to reach the playoffs, whether blame is placed on the front office, coaches or players. The overarching question - Considering the Ravens current injury situation, is the expectation of a postseason berth still fair?
Are injuries a legitimate excuse if the Ravens disappoint in 2017?
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