Heading into this game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves in an interesting predicament: three defensive starters find themselves questionable on the final injury report for the week.
One thing for certain on the Baltimore side of things is that Kelechi Osemele will no longer be playing football for this team the rest of the season. The left guard has been moved to injured reserve and his roster spot has been taken by 2012 fifth-round selection Asa Jackson. While there are no guarantees on what Jackson can contribute to this team, Baltimore must like something they see on film to hold onto him after an eight-game suspension.
As for the three injured defensive starters for the Ravens, cornerback Corey Graham (calf), strong safety James Ihedigbo (toe) and linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) are all questionable for this Sunday’s game against the Bengals. It seems like all of these guys could give it a go on Sunday, but it was just alarming to see these names on the list given what they have meant to this Ravens defense thus far in 2013.
Having cornerback Jimmy Smith listed as questionable with a thigh injury as well doesn’t make anyone sleep a whole lot better at night either, considering he has performed quite well at times versus opposing No. 1 receivers. It also shows that the former 2011 first-round pick still has injury issues, and it makes you wonder what type of long-term commitment the Ravens should be willing to make with him.
To round out the injury report, wide receiver Brandon Stokley is listed as questionable with a thigh injury, while linebacker Terrell Suggs (foot) and wide receiver Marlon Brown (finger) are listed as probable.
For the Bengals, they will be extremely thin in their front seven as the biggest injury of all isn’t mentioned in their final injury report. Cincinnati lost defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the season with a torn ACL in their last contest against the Miami Dolphins. How they adjust to this huge blow could determine their standing in the game on Sunday. They have also been without their top corner Leon Hall as he suffered a season-ending injury not too long ago.
The actual report lists linebacker Rey Maualuga (knee) and defensive tackle Devon Still (elbow) as being out for Sunday’s game. Linebacker Mike Boley is hampered by a hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful. Running back Giovani Bernard (ribs) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (groin) are listed as questionable for the week. Guard Kevin Zeitler is expected to play as he is listed as probable with a hamstring injury.