The Ravens knew they were going to have a busy Thanksgiving week, but Monday was something entirely different.
A day after the team’s 30-24 overtime loss to the Titans, the Ravens immediately had to turn their attention to a Thanksgiving night matchup with the Steelers. Instead, they had to adjust on the fly.
First, the team announced just after 1 p.m. that there were “multiple” members of the organization that had tested positive for COVID-19. Those players were later confirmed to be running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins by the Ravens and coach John Harbaugh.
In his Monday press conference, which was moved up from the evening to the afternoon, Harbaugh said that defensive tackle Brandon Williams was also going on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as a close contact. Williams’ status for Thursday’s game against the Steelers was up in the air as it was since he was battling an ankle injury. Now, he’ll be out for the game due to quarantine reasons.
Harbaugh added he’s hopeful that defensive end Calais Campbell will be able to return for Thursday’s game against the Steelers. Campbell injured his left against the Colts two weeks ago and was seen doing a light workout during pregame of the Titans game Sunday.
The Ravens were active in the free agent market too, as Mike Garafolo reported the Ravens were in the COVID-19 testing protocol with former Jets cornerback Pierre Desir, who had just recently been released. Once the protocols are completed, he’s expected to sign with the team.
Desir, 30, is in his seventh year in the NFL and has spent time with the Browns, Chargers, Colts and Jets. He’s played in 70 career games and has eight total interceptions. He figures to give the team some needed cornerback depth, as they await and hope for the returns of Anthony Averett, Khalil Dorsey and Terrell Bonds.
The Ravens recently added Davontae Harris and Tramon Williams to the active roster to help the secondary depth.
Additionally, the Ravens reportedly tried to sign defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison off the Seahawks’ practice squad.
Harrison spent the majority of his career with the Jets before joining the Lions and Giants in 2018. He played in Detroit in 2019 and spent time on Seattle’s practice squad this year, working himself into game shape. After two games, the Seahawks elected to add him to the active roster.
Finally, the Ravens reverted wide receiver Dez Bryant, offensive tackle Will Holden and tight end Luke Willson to the team’s practice squad. With Dobbins, Ingram and Williams on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the team will have some extra spots on the 53-man roster. They could also choose to elevate running back Ty’Son Williams to give the team three running backs for Thursday’s game.
The last bit of news was that the team designated rookie guard Tyre Phillips to return from injured reserve. Phillips sprained his ankle against the Steelers on Nov. 1 and recently sat out the required three games. It’s unclear if the Ravens are comfortable inserting him immediately back into the starting lineup, and Harbaugh acknowledged he didn’t want to give up the team’s plans along the line.
Absent Phillips, the Ravens’ offensive line has undergone a significant shift. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who was injured in the same Steelers game, is out for the season. Right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. took over for Stanley and D.J. Fluker took over for Brown’s spot on the right side.
Center Matt Skura was replaced by Patrick Mekari after back-to-back weeks of poor snaps against the Colts and Patriots. So if Phillips comes back, the coaching staff will have to feel comfortable first that he can handle the workload with a new man to his left and right, and second, be able to give the team better production than Ben Powers.
It was an afternoon of constant news for the Ravens, something that 2020 always has the possibility to offer each and every week.