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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

BALTIMORE -- Coming off a long weekend following their first loss of the season, the Baltimore Ravens have implemented a contingency plan for moving forward without three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Mosley bruised his left knee Thursday night in a 34-23 defeat at Cincinnati. Although the fifth-year standout receives a few extra days to recover, it's unlikely he will ready for Sunday's game against unbeaten Denver.

"It isn't a structural issue. That's good news," coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We'll just see how that thing comes along and keep our fingers crossed."

Rookie linebacker Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor played the position after Mosley left in the first quarter. Though the Ravens tightened up defensively in the second half, they yielded touchdowns on four straight series after Mosley's departure.

"It definitely seemed like things were a little bit scrambled when you lose a guy like that," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "Just him being out there makes everything smoother."

To help fill the void, the Ravens on Monday signed Albert McClellan , who played six years for Baltimore before being cut on Sept. 1.

McClellan missed all of last year with a knee injury but has 90 games of NFL experience, all with the Ravens.

"Albert is a very good football player. He knows everything we do," Harbaugh said. "He gives us a lot on special teams and can play middle linebacker. I would say he kind of solidifies in there a little bit, having so many young players in the group."

To make room for McClellan, the Ravens placed cornerback Maurice Canady on injured reserve with a thigh injury. Harbaugh said it's not a season-ending injury, and it's possible that Canady could return later in the season.

Mosley led the Ravens last year with a career-high 132 tackles and is in charge of calling the plays on defense. That role has been handed to safety Eric Weddle.

Young appears in position to make his first NFL start. Selected out of UCLA in the fourth round of the NFL draft, the 23-year-old Young made a favorable impression before his making seven tackles last week in Cincinnati.

"He's going a great job. We're real happy with him," Harbaugh said. "He's very smart, very studious, very conscientious. I think his learning curb is steep."

After beating Buffalo 47-3 in the opener, the Ravens (1-1) took a huge step back last week. The Bengals led 28-7 in the second quarter and cruised to the finish.

Following a short week, the Ravens enjoyed a rare weekend that did not involve playing football.

"Yeah, that's valuable to have that, as far as recovery and things like that, and study," Harbaugh said.

It also provided the team some extra time to get over the Cincinnati game.

"You just can't beat yourself up too much because if you do, that just takes you in a downward path," Harbaugh said. "What it's going to boil down to in the end is, who's mentally tougher over the long haul? You've got to keep grinding."

There are plenty of unbeaten teams remaining, including the Broncos, but Harbaugh believes it's way too early to start identifying the best clubs in the league.

"Nobody in the NFL is a good football team yet," he said. "It remains to be seen who the good football teams are, and that's what we've got to try to become."

Harbaugh said tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen) won't practice this week.


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Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown


Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown

Coming off a strong Week 1 performance, the Ravens marched into Cincinnati for Week 2 and put up a dud.

The defense struggled immediately without C.J. Mosley, and Joe Flacco and the offense saw their share of unfortunate turnovers. 

While there was much to be concerned about in their 34-23 loss, one Raven that brought a high to a mainly low night was offseason addition John Brown.

Brown's night was highlighted by an insane 21-yard touchdown that put the Ravens within five in the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Flacco connected with the wide receiver for a 45-yard completion on third down. 'Smoke' also drew a 30-yard penalty that helped set up a touchdown, finishing his night with four catches for 92 yards.

The connection between Flacco and Brown was apparent throughout training camp, and in two games, the 28-year-old has become a trusted target. He currently leads the Ravens with 136 yards and two touchdowns and his 19.43-yard average is well above his fellow receivers. The speed he possess makes it difficult for defenses to keep up, and if Brown can stay healthy, he could be the consistent deep-threat the team's been looking for for years. 

 “I’m satisfied, and I did pretty good," Brown said after the Ravens' Week 1 win. "But it doesn’t stop right here.”


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Key observations from the Ravens' Week 2 loss to the Bengals


Key observations from the Ravens' Week 2 loss to the Bengals

The Ravens headed to Cincinnati on a short week for a division matchup that was almost a primetime comeback. 

Coming off a 47-3 blowout over the Buffalo Bills, Joe Flacco and the Ravens struggled against an unstoppable Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. 

Here are the key observations from Thursday's 34-23 loss.

Defense suffered without C.J. Mosley

Linebacker C.J. Mosley was carted to the locker room in the first with what was eventually diagnosed as a bone bruise, and as soon as Mosley departed, the Bengals went on a run, scoring four touchdowns in four drives. 

How long the Ravens will be without their signal caller is unknown. 

The typical recovery time for a bone bruise is 3-6 weeks depending on the severity and location of the injury. What we do know, however, is the Ravens' defense needs to fully prepare to step up in his place. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor took over the reigns of play caller and then safety Eric Weddle during the second half.

However, several players admitted postgame that there was a lot of confusion on the field after Mosley's departure.

We were kind of just scrambling around when [Mosley] went out,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. “Some guys didn’t even know he was out. It’s kind of in-between. I really couldn’t tell you.

The absence of a veteran of Mosley's caliber will certainly have its effects, but there are more than enough guys to take over that role. Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson and even Tavon Young, who had two sacks against the Bills last Sunday, have more than enough experience to handle the responsibility. Luckily, the Ravens have ten days to prepare for the Bronco's defense. 

Flacco's first two performances vastly different

During Week 1 against the Bills, Joe Flacco came out in horrible weather conditions and put up a 121.7 rating en route to hitting all three wideouts for touchdowns. Fast forward to Week 2 and a different Flacco appeared.

On the verge of a comeback and down by a touchdown, Flacco's pass was knocked out from behind for a turnover and was the icing on top of an up and down night for the QB. He finished the night 32-55 for 376 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Several sloppy throws were mixed in with 21-yard, right on the money shot to John Brown for a touchdown late in the fourth.

While Flacco and the offense rallied from a 21-point deficit, the magic they needed to get the job done wasn't there, something they've experienced in the past. The QB has lost more games there than anywhere else in the NFL and has 13 more interceptions against Cincinnati than any other team, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley

An extended period of rest for an offensive line that didn't give Flacco any additional help in his quest for a comeback will be beneficial ahead of Week 3. It will also be interesting to see which version of Flacco takes the field. 

Looking ahead

The Ravens host the Broncos Sunday, Sept. 22 before hitting the road for three games. A win at home will be vital for their long-term success.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley exited the game in the fourth quarter, and postgame would not disclose what the injury was. He did say, however, that he would be "fine." If that is true, the attention will remain focused on Mosley and how much time they expect the three-time Pro Bowler to miss.