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O-line Ravens’ latest injury-riddled unit

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With every starter returning from last season, the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line was expected to be one of the main strengths of the team. However, injuries and inconsistent play has plagued this group.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe, who has already missed three games because of a concussion, was knocked out of Monday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a shoulder injury. James Hurst, who has started in his place, took over that spot.

Things got worse as left guard Kelechi Osemele also had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury. John Urschel, who has started in the past, replaced Osemele and performed admirably.

“I really don’t have a report on that yet,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about the seriousness of those two injuries.

Baltimore is dealing with injuries throughout its roster. It would be tough to absorb long-term setbacks to the offensive line. The lack of continuity on the offensive line has led to some costly penalties. This has further hampered the offense, pushing them into third-and-long situations.

“One thing about us right now, we’re the kind of team that has to minimize mistakes and we have to execute,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to be forced to develop the ability to do that with perfection. That’s the kind of team we are right now. In the long run, that’s going to be good for us. We just have to fight through it.”

— Quarterback Joe Flacco is going to have to shoulder much of the blame for the dismal season. Some of his mistakes have been magnified because they occurred at crucial points of the game. Flacco has twice thrown interceptions in the end zone on the Ravens’ final drive that would have potentially won or tied the game. After the loss against the Cardinals, Flacco was looking for any possible silver lining.

“We probably didn’t really play well enough to win the football game, but we are always in them,” he said.

That’s not going to resonate with a fan base that has gotten used to going to the playoffs in the Harbaugh era. Flacco is still the seventh-best quarterback in the league statistic-wise this season with 1,857 yards. However, he has thrown eight interceptions in seven games. The interception against the Cardinals was especially painful because it ended a potential fourth-quarter comeback.

“We are getting enough turnovers, and we have too many,” Harbaugh said. “If we have one, that’s too many. Obviously, in a tight game like this, that’s going to be a critical play. Joe Flacco knows that more than anybody. Those are the areas that we have to get better at.

“One thing about us right now, we’re the kind of team that has to minimize mistakes and we have to execute. We’re going to be forced to develop the ability to do that with perfection. That’s the kind of team we are right now. In the long run, that’s going to be good for us. We just have to fight through it.”

— Another common theme in each of the Ravens’ losses this season has been careless penalties on both sides of the ball. Baltimore ranks seventh in the league for penalties. Against the Cardinals, the Ravens were called for nine infractions costing the team 64 yards.

Some of the penalties, though, were questioned by the Ravens and the league. An illegal formation penalty on Urschel appeared to be a blatant mistake by referee Ron Torbert. Urschel clearly motioned to Tolbert that he was reporting as an eligible receiver on the Ravens’ opening drive. But after Urschel caught crucial six-yard pass from Flacco in the red zone, the play was negated for illegal formation.

“I can’t hear what they’re saying out there, but it looked like he saw what we were saying and said something and then blew his whistle,” Flacco said. “So I just assumed it was all good.”

There are sources saying the NFL will officially admit the official made a mistake on the call. Not that it does the Ravens any good now.

NOTES: CB Tray Walker (possible concussion) appeared to suffer an injury in the second half against Arizona and did not return. The Ravens are already dealing with several injuries in the secondary, and the loss of Walker for an extended time could be another significant blow. His status is uncertain. … WR Darren Waller left the game in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury and could not return. Waller missed the previous game against the Browns with a concussion. His status is uncertain. … TE Maxx Williams (knee) was scratched from Monday’s game. He missed practice time leading up to the trip. However, Crockett Gillmore has returned to the starting after missing time with a calf injury and finished with five catches for 53 yards. …


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