This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens. To help preview a few topics from the Ravens’ perspective, we reached out to Kyle Barber from Baltimore Beatdown and exchanged five questions with him.
Chris: “The Ravens are dealing with quite a few key injuries right now. Tell us about the main ones aside from JK Dobbins, and whether some of those guys could make a return in Week 4.”
Kyle: “I will list the status of each player and try to explain.
- WR Odell Beckham Jr. — After suffering an ankle injury against the Bengals, Beckham has yet to practice. He made an Instagram post on Thursday essentially showing he’s rehabbing and working back. Don’t expect him to play vs. the Browns.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s latest IG post— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) September 29, 2023
“Just be patient… everything gon fall into place ♂️”
(IG: obj) pic.twitter.com/zIQ7pQFhQl
- WR Rashod Bateman — Suffered a hamstring injury against the Colts and has yet to practice. He won’t be playing in Week 4.
- LT Ronnie Stanley — Anytime Stanley is rolled up on it’s always his ankle and as such will miss one to four weeks. He practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, but was not a participant on Friday. I do not expect him to play this Sunday, sadly. The Ravens need him desperately against this front but I don’t expect him to be blind side blocking.
- C Tyler Linderbaum — Linderbaum was rolled up on and suffered a knee sprain. He has practiced the past few days and I expect him to be back out there against the Browns. Had he not been, the Ravens have real confidence in backup center Sam Mustipher, who has done great work filling in for Linderbaum. It’s becoming more clear he wasn’t the problem during his playing days in Chicago.
- OLB Odafe Oweh — Has not practiced all this week, or since the Week 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was wearing a walking boot after the injury but has since been without the boot this week. Nonetheless, you won’t see No. 99 on Sunday, which is too bad as he’s been a productive pass rusher this season.
- OLB David Ojabo — Yeah, that’s right. Two of the three Ravens starting pass rushers are out, or three out of four if you include Tyus Bowser who is on the PUP list. Ojabo hasn’t practiced all week and will likely be ruled out.
- CB Marlon Humphrey — Underwent foot surgery midway through training camp and it was reported he would likely not miss much time. Now it’s Week 4 and he has yet to practice. It’s unclear if it’s a setback or whatever the case is but he won’t be defending Amari Cooper & Co. on Sunday.”
Chris: “Zay Flowers was the Ravens’ first-round pick, and he has 21 catches for 188 yards through 3 games. What has Flowers excelled at so far?”
Kyle: “The Ravens have used him on a lot of short throws. I don’t think he’s been guardable on the short button-hook throws all season. If so, there have been flags thrown for DPI/holding because he’s just so agile and explosive. Short throws and making guys miss has been the name of his game. However, he shouldn’t be limited to such performances and the Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken needs to dial up more for him in the intermediate and deep passing game.”
Chris: “What has been Baltimore’s biggest weakness through 3 games?”
Kyle: “Health. It’s always health. And that’s the most frustrating thing to have as a weakness because you can’t just point to players or groupings or performance as the culprit. Instead, it’s guys getting rolled up on and unlucky occurrences.
But, I will say they have had weaknesses in the special teams game. It’s been striking to see them among the NFL’s lowest in Special Teams DVOA. They’ve allowed numerous big returns in the punt game and even a punt return touchdown against the Bengals.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player who Browns fans may not have heard of, but who could have an impact on this Sunday’s game.”
Kyle: “Brandon Stephens comes to mind. With Humphrey out, Stephens has had a tough assignment covering No. 1 wide receivers. He’s a good player that is consistently on the cusp of being great. He is glued to receivers frequently but he just can’t get the timing on getting his head or arms around when the ball is up for grabs, which has him allow too many receptions. But, he is a good player and respectable and can make a play or two when called upon.”
Chris: “The Browns are early favorites to beat the Ravens on Sunday (Browns -2 as of this question, per DraftKings Sportsbook). Who would you pick against the spread?”
Kyle: “I’m taking the Ravens to cover the spread, but I’m uncertain if they win. This Browns defense has been downright dominant. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you. So, getting the offense back into gear while missing their LT1, WR1, WR2 won’t be easy. Points will be hard to come by for both teams, I imagine, and a field goal will be the difference maker, as it tends to be in AFC North slugfests.”
Thanks again to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions.