The Baltimore Ravens have been battling the injury bug since before the 2021 NFL season began. Several key players went down in training camp and the preseason, and the team’s run on bad luck trickled into the regular season. Somehow, the Ravens are currently sitting at 5-1. However, Baltimore just received some unsettling news that puts an immense amount of pressure on Lamar Jackson.
Ronnie Stanley will have season-ending surgery
The Baltimore Ravens appeared to be in a world of trouble after getting upset by the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2021 season opener. Lamar Jackson was running for his life thanks to constant pressure from Maxx Crosby and Carl Nassib.
The Ravens’ offensive line has improved their play since then, but the unit received some brutal injury news that alters the team’s plans moving forward.
Ronnie Stanley suffered a significant ankle injury during the 2020 season. The team was excited for him to return to action in Week 1, but he missed Baltimore’s next five games.
The Ravens drafted Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He solidified himself as the staple of the offensive line from his left tackle position. He was the unquestioned anchor after the team traded Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Stanley’s injury leaves the Ravens with questions. The team hoped he could return but now must face an unsettling reality.
Stanley’s injury puts more pressure on Lamar Jackson
If you have questions about how the Ravens are 5-1, look no further than quarterback Lamar Jackson. The former Louisville standout is putting together a strong argument to win his second MVP award in three seasons.
Jackson has been on a tear over the past few weeks, and the Ravens are playing their best football despite the injuries.
The fourth-year signal-caller has thrown for 1,686 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions. He’s also rushed for 392 yards and another two scores.
Ronnie Stanley’s injury does throw a potential wrench in the Ravens’ plans. He was the most talented offensive lineman on the roster. Alejandro Villanueva and Patrick Mekari have been holding it down at offensive tackle. Still, they could potentially be difficult to trust down the stretch.
Still, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense have thrived even without Stanley on the field. But, his loss could rear its ugly head at some point.
Injuries have decimated the Ravens in 2021
Ronnie Stanley is just the latest Baltimore Ravens key contributor to suffer a season-ending injury in 2021. Injuries have riddled the Ravens’ locker room more than any other team in the NFL.
Marcus Peters is one of the best playmaking cornerbacks in the league. The defense has given up some big plays in the passing game, so Peters may be the player the team is missing the most. Linebacker L.J. Fort was another significant loss, especially with Patrick Queen‘s early struggles in 2021.
The offense lost its top three running backs before ever playing a regular-season game. J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill each brought something different to the table, and their replacements aren’t nearly as dynamic.
Lamar Jackson has continued to pace Baltimore’s rushing attack, even though it’s not as potent as it would be if Dobbins and Edwards were in the fold.
Jackson has continued to evolve as a passer despite unfounded reports that teams were starting to figure him out. Baltimore has overachieved considering all the injuries, but that speaks to the greatness of the Ravens’ star quarterback.
The team has to play a long 17-game season, but Jackson may run away with the MVP award if the Ravens keep playing at a high level.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference