The Baltimore Ravens made several moves ahead of their Week 11 road trip to the Windy City for an interconference matchup with the Chicago Bears. The offense will be without their top wide receiver after ruling out Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown with a thigh injury but might be getting back a pair of starters on the offensive line.
Rookie guard Ben Cleveland was officially activated to the active roster from injured reserve and could be in line to start at left guard. He will likely be joined in his return to the lineup by third-year do-it-all lineman Patrick Mekari, who would be the starting right tackle if available.
Cleveland was carted off the field early in the team’s Week 5 win over the Indianapolis Colts with a knee injury and placed on injured reserve. He was rotating with third-year pro Ben Powers and had begun to see increased snaps each week before he went down.
Mekari was not placed on injured reserve after he suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half of the team’s Week 7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He has missed the last two games and his return would bring some much-needed reinforcements to the starting unit as he was playing at a high level before suffering his injury.
Veteran outside linebacker Pernell McPhee was already ruled out for this week’s game against one of his former teams after not practicing on Thursday and Friday knee injury. He will be out for a minimum of three games after landing on injured reserve.
Taking his spot on the active roster will be fourth-year guard/defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, who was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 8. He appeared in three games this year where he recorded three tackles in 15 defensive snaps. McKenzie will provide some depth in the trenches against the Bears, especially on defense with starting nose tackle Brandon Williams out for a third straight week due to a shoulder injury. McPhee’s absence will likely clear the way for third-year pro Jaylon Ferguson to appear in just his fourth game this season.
As far as practice squad transitions, the Ravens elevated veteran linebacker Joe Thomas and third-year quarterback Trace McSorely for Sunday’s game and released veteran guard James Carpenter.
Thomas will be seeing his first action as a Raven since being signed on Oct. 19 after being released by the Houston Texans, who he appeared in the first five games of the season and made two starts. McSorely’s elevation is likely a precaution just in case starter Lamar Jackson can’t play with a non-COVID-related illness that kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He’d serve as the backup to second-year pro Tyler Huntley if Jackson doesn’t play.