By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens have been pretty banged up over the first few weeks of the regular season, and it has played a major role in their slow start. Now, under a short week, the Ravens will have to prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers in an attempt to log their first win of the season. And to do that, they'll have to play without a number of their key players.
Eugene Monroe has done a pretty good job of protecting Joe Flacco's blind side when he's healthy. But the concussion he suffered against the Denver Broncos has lingered into Week 4 and it will keep him out of the Steelers game on Thursday. It seems far more likely that we will see Monroe return to action in Week 5 against the Browns. In his place, LT James Hurst will attempt to slow down a pass rush that hasn't lived up to the teams reputation. Expect Pittsburgh to test the young lineman early with overloads and delayed blitzes toward his direction.
If blitzing becomes a problem, the Ravens won't be able to rely on Crockett GIlmore to add protection from the tight end position. He's also been ruled out of Thursday's game due to a calf injury he suffered last week against the Bengals. Rookie tight end Maxx Williams will have his first career start. Williams isn't known as a blocking tight end, but he can be an asset in the passing game, a role Gilmore has filled quite nicely this season. Chris Canty is also dealing with a calf issue of his own that will see him missing Thursday's game.
Another teammate that will miss the game against Pittsburgh is WR Breshad Perriman. The rookie receiver out of UCF has failed to see the football field in any capacity since his collegiate career came to an end last year. Joe Flacco and Steve Smith have been beyond exceptional in his absence, but the lack of speed on the outside has made it tough for the running game to get off to a fast start. Teams are keeping their defenders closer to the line of scrimmage and closing running lanes for Forsett and the rest of Baltimore's backs. His absence in this game will be huge once again and there is no indication on when he may make his season debut.
Chris Canty, DE (calf)
Crockett Gilmore, TE (calf)
Eugene Monroe, LT (concussion)
Breshad Perriman, WR (knee)
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.
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