The unfortunate news that the Baltimore Ravens and their fans have been dreading finally came on Tuesday when the team announced that All Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley will undergo season-ending ankle surgery that will cause him miss the reminder of the 2021 season.
Head Coach John Harbaugh told members of the media during his Monday press conference that they were nearing a resolution on the status of their franchise blindside blocker. Stanley started in the season opener but had missed the last five games after suffering a setback in his recovery from the ankle injury that ended his 2020 season after just eight games.
This will mark his second straight season cut short as result of this injury that will require surgery. However, Stanley is confident that this was the right decision for both himself and the organization long term and that he'll be fully recovered and available for the 2022 season.
The Ravens have been no strangers to playing without their best players this season and Stanley joins running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, and cornerback Marcus Peters as some of the most notable names on their league high number of players that have landed on injured reserve.
Despite their barrage of injuries, the wounded warriors have still managed to overcome that adversity and currently have the best record in the AFC conference with big statement wins over teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Ravens won't get a single snap this yr from top two RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards; starting CB Marcus Peters and ILB L.J. Fort. All Pro LT Ronnie Stanley was one game and done. Standout blocking TE Nick Boyle and starting DT Derek Wolfe have still yet to play. And they're 5-1.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) October 19, 2021
The Ravens have been able to get off to such a strong start thanks in large part to the herculean efforts or their MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson but they have also gotten tremendous contributions from their unheralded depth players.
Veteran Alejandro Villanueva was brought in to replace Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle but has admirably manned Stanley's spot at his natural position on the left side since Week 2 and will continue to do so as long as he's healthy. The two time Pro Bowler defected from the rival Pittsburgh Steelers and has been a Godsend of a insurance policy on the blindside.
With Villanueva flipped over to the left, former undrafted gem and utility lineman Patrick Mekari has been the starter at right tackle during the Ravens' five-game winning streak. Harbaugh said that the positionless third year pro's performance at the other bookend spot had been "spectacular.”
Ravens' General Manager Eric DeCosta has been reinforcing the banged up position as the season has gone along. He continued his fortification efforts on Monday by claiming Brandon Knight off waivers and signing veteran James Carpenter to the practice squad.