OWINGS MILLS – Rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman was on the practice field Thursday for the first time since July 30, exactly eight weeks since suffering a knee injury on the first day of training camp.
Now speculation will intensify as to when Perriman, the Ravens’ first-round pick, will make his Ravens debut. It would be shocking if Perriman played Sunday against the Bengals. He was not running at full speed during the portion ofThursday’s practice open to reporters. And even without a setback, it will be difficult for Perriman to play freely Week 4 against the Steelers, because it’s a Thursday night game (Oct. 1), meaning a short practice week. Best-case scenario for the Steelers game might be a few packages during the game that include Perriman, giving Pittsburgh another weapon to worry about in certain situations
Week 5 against the Browns (Oct. 11) could be a target date if Perriman continues to improve. Again, that is just speculation. His entire recovery process has taken longer than initially expected.
However, getting Perriman onto the practice field was another step toward getting him into the lineup. And the Ravens (0-2) badly need him, because his speed brings an element that could boost their entire offense. Even when Perriman is not targeted, his speed makes the opposing secondary retreat. That leads to more operating room for other receivers, and helps the running game by keeping opposing safeties from cheating toward the line of scrimmage.
Perriman hasn’t made a play yet for the Ravens, but on Thursday, he his presence at practice was good news for a team that needed some.
Their record and performance over the last month may not show it, but the Baltimore Ravens are just one game out of the No. 6 playoff spot in the AFC.
The Kansas City Chiefs (9-1), Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2), New England Patriots (7-3), Houston Texans (6-3), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), Tennessee Titans (5-4) and the Miami Dolphins (5-5) all rank above the Ravens. But a win Sunday against the Bengals would push the Ravens to the No. 6 spot as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Titans.
Beside remaining in playoff contention, a win Sunday is crucial considering head coach John Harbaugh's job is in question with his team sitting at 4-5, quarterback Joe Flacco is reportedly dealing with a hip injury and the possibility of rookie Lamar Jackson getting his first NFL start.
After getting blown out 51-14 by the Saints, the Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday. Cincinnati's defense ranks last in the league in passing yards allowed (313.3) and total yards allowed (454.6). A rested Ravens team will have to take advantage of the first team in the Super Bowl era to surrender 500 yards in three straight games as they are among five teams within one game of the final wildcard spot.
Getting shutout by the Bengals this season would give Andy Dalton and co. a two-game lead over the Ravens as well as possessing the tiebreaker.
According to the New York Times' NFL Playoff Simulator, the Ravens have a 27% chance of making the playoffs heading into Week 11 with their remaining strength of schedule ranking at No. 27.
After hosting the Bengals on Sunday, the Ravens host the Oakland Raiders (1-7), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) and Cleveland Browns (3-6), but have tough road games against the Atlanta Falcons (4-5), Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) and Los Angeles Chargers (7-2).
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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is the team's nominee for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.
Presented annually by USAA and the NFL, the award honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.
The Robert Griffin III Foundation supports Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), that helps aid those grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military; Luke's Wings, which united wounded warriors, veterans and heroes with their loved ones; and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, that helps ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving when they return home.
Griffin III was born in Okinawa, Japan where his parents were stationed as U.S. Army sergeants. The quarterback spent time living in Fort Carson, Colorado, Seoul, Korea and Fort Hood, Texas as a military kid. His family then settled in Cooperas Cove, Texas, an hour drive from Baylor University where Griffin III attended college.
Finalist for the award will be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors award show Saturday, Feb. 2, on the eve of Super Bowl LIII.
RGIII's head coach, John Harbaugh, received the honor in 2013.
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