As if coming up just short against their division rivals wasn’t bad enough, the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens had a pair of starters suffer injuries in the 20-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to Head Coach John Harbaugh, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and offensive lineman Patrick Mekari will both miss some time going forward.
Patrick Mekari will be out a few weeks. Marlon Humphrey is headed for MRI. Harbaugh said he could be out for a while.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) December 6, 2021
While Harbaugh wouldn’t go into detail about his concern level surrounding Humphrey’s injury, reports indicate it is season-ending.
#Ravens star CB Marlon Humphrey is suspected to be out for the season with a shoulder injury, per sources. A significant blow to Baltimore’s defense. Another one.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 6, 2021
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey has a pectoral injury (possibly torn, pending MRI) and the Ravens believe he will likely miss the rest of the season. Brutal loss.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) December 6, 2021
Humphrey is an All-Pro, two-time Pro Bowler and is not just the Ravens’ best corner, but is one of the premier players at the position in the NFL. If the Ravens are without him for any period of time it would be devastating for their banged-up secondary that already has a pair of starters on injured reserve with season-ending injuries in cornerback Marcus Peters and safety DeShon Elliott.
While he hasn’t consistently played up to his high standard this year, Humphrey’s absence will likely force Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale to adjust how calls plays and how often he can send more players to blitz. As far as who would be next in line to assume a larger role while Humphrey is out of commission, veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith was re-signed this offseason for this exact eventuality and had a solid outing against the Steelers on Sunday in his most extensive action of the season. Fourth-year cornerback Anthony Averett will become the Ravens’ top corner by default for the time being.
Mekari left the game in the first half with a hand injury and while he did return to the sideline, he was in street clothes and missed the remainder of the game. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Ravens with consistent play at a high to above-average level at right tackle in 9 starts this season, especially considering the fact that he’s seen some of the best edge rushers in the league this year and managed to more than hold his own at times.
This will mark the second time that an injury will require Mekari to miss time this season. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half of the Ravens’ Week 7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals but only missed two games with a bye week sandwiched in between. Second-year pro Tyre Phillips is the next man up at right tackle as he was in the second half against the Steelers and the two games that Mekari previously missed in Weeks 9 and 10. The Ravens would prefer to play him inside at guard but have been forced to play him at tackle due to injuries.