Posted in NFL News

Rashod Bateman injury tempers excitement for Ravens preseason

By Chris Schisler

According to reports, Rashod Bateman suffered a groin injury at Ravens training camp today. It’s the latest wave of bad news from camp the Ravens have gotten. There is a lot about the injury that is unknown at this point. We don’t have a defined timetable for his return. We don’t know how bad it is going to be for the rookie from Minnesota.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the injury is not structural. Okay, I’m not a doctor but that at least sounds like it’s not the worst-case scenario. Bateman had already missed practices due to muscle tightness. His rookie camp hasn’t been picture-perfect even though he’s given us a couple of promising August highlights.

Pro Football Focus injury Mario Pilato reported some information via Twitter that looks into the potential timetable. According to Pilato, there are three grades of severity to this kind of injury. The best-case scenario he reports is two-three weeks. He hints that Grade 2 is possible which would keep Bateman out three to six weeks.

Grade 3 is something the Ravens don’t want to hear, that’s three to four months. On NFL Network,  Rapoport spoke about the injury as a soft tissue injury, which the reporter says could mean a less severe time away from the field.

That’s basically all we know at the moment. Ravens fans are probably having flashbacks to the injury of Breshad Perriman in 2015. Perriman was possibly the most disappointing receiver in franchise history. The Ravens made it seem as if it was a less serious injury at first, yet the injury took away Perriman’s season.

Rashod Bateman missing time is a tough pill for fans to swallow:

The Bateman injury probably won’t be as dramatic based on the current information. It still is impossible not to have that 2015 nightmare pop into your mind if you’re a Ravens fan. It also doesn’t stave away gloom that Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and Deon Cain have all been reportedly dealing with injuries.

If you asked most Ravens fans, who they’d want to see most in preseason football, you’d get a lot of Rashod Bateman answers. When Bateman had a touchdown against Marlon Humphrey at the open stadium practice it piqued the interest of the fanbase. Bateman clearly has talent and the Ravens have been starving for a young wide receiver to be a superstar.

At the very least, this kills the mood. This is the first week of the 2021 season where the purple and black have a game. On top of injury troubles for other receivers, new right guard Kevin Zeitler and cornerback Jimmy Smith, Bateman’s injury is added to the pile.

Fans spent another draft season pleading with the Ravens to take one of the top prospects at wide receiver. Bateman getting drafted, a player that I believe to be the real deal (so do many analysts), was a huge win for the fans. Every drill, every snap, every up and down for Bateman is going to be a huge focus.

Rashod Bateman injury affects a lot of different things:

It’s very likely that Bateman won’t play a single snap until the Ravens are underway in the regular season. That’s not ideal for a rookie. While mental reps are important, young players make the jump from college to the NFL ranks mostly by doing. Between injuries and Lamar Jackson being in Covid-19 quarantine, Bateman hasn’t had much of a chance to build chemistry with his starting quarterback.

The Ravens have some wide receivers who could take advantage of the practice absences of Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman. Devin Duvernay and James Proche are almost becoming the top two targets not named Sammy Watkins, just by default. Binjimen Victor and Jaylon Moore are likely getting more chances to fight for a roster spot. This is bad news for the Ravens and good news for young receivers with something to prove.

NEXT POST: Should Baltimore Ravens play Lamar Jackson in preseason

At the moment there isn’t a ton of information to go off of. One thing is for sure, any injury is hard to see in training camp. This is especially true when it’s the first-round pick that the Ravens Flock is absolutely buzzed for.

 

Posted in Hot Take of the Week

Logistically, Lamar Jackson needs to get Covid-19 vaccine

By Chris Schisler

Lamar Jackson tested positive for Covid-19. This is his second positive test, he missed a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers the first time. This is a frustrating problem to deal with for the Baltimore Ravens, a team who also has running back Gus Edwards on a 10-day quarantine for his positive test.

From a football perspective, this is a perfect chance for Tyler Huntley to win the understudy role in Ravens training camp. It does however halt the progress of an offense that is supposed to undergo some changes this year. Then you have the other issue. Vaccination talk and vitriol coming from both sides.

Vaccination is a choice, but the NFL has made stiff consequences for taking your chances. The Covid vaccine doesn’t mean that there can’t be positive tests in the future. This is a valid point, though it’d be foolish for that to be a reason Jackson decides not to get the shot.

The vaccine minimizes the risk of catching the virus. It’s not just about positive and negative tests though. The vaccine is your best chance of avoiding hospitalization. Jackson has caught the virus twice or at least had two tests that have gotten him away from his team.

Like everything goes right now, two sides have formed. There are the people who are angry or frustrated with Jackson for not being vaccinated. Then there are the people who don’t think he should be forced to take the vaccine and that it’s a matter of personal choice.

What Lamar Jackson needs to do when he can:

Jackson is an amazing quarterback and an awesome person. Whatever side of the vaccine debate you are on, changing your opinion about Jackson is unfair. Jackson gives a lot back to the community, and he’s lifted the team and the fanbase with his passion and his energy. One way or the other, Jackson is a person who deserves your respect.

Logistically, Jackson needs to be vaccinated. He’s the quarterback, the leader, and the most valuable player of the Baltimore Ravens. He’s the player the Ravens have built the team around. Every week of the season that Jackson isn’t vaccinated is a week that can get blown up by that liability.

Related Post: The NFL Covid-19 vaccine policy is a fair rule that makes sense

The start of training camp is the best time for this to happen if this is the last time that it does occur. He’s still missing practice reps. He’s losing his initial chance to build chemistry with Rashod Bateman and get going with a new look passing attack. This isn’t good, there are clear consequences, and yet it’s the best time this can happen in the whole season.

If there is an outbreak due to unvaccinated players during the season the Ravens will forfeit their game. If Jackson tests positive and the game can go on, the Ravens have to play without their MVP quarterback for at least one week. Jackson is the most important player on the entire team and he’s been absent twice for positive Covid tests.

Jackson is the leader of the team a point I’m happy to continually reinforce to make my argument. He’s not just the leader because he’s the quarterback. Jackson is a leader because he’s selfless and the team would run through a wall for him. He is perhaps the most team-oriented quarterback in the NFL and he repeatedly gives everything he has for the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson, here is the bottom line:

Jackson getting vaccinated would be in line with those truisms about him as a person and a player. According to reports, 90 percent of the team is vaccinated. The leader of the team choosing to get vaccinated would make a strong case for that number to get real close to 100 percent.

While it’s important not to force vaccination and personal choice should be respected, it’s also important to live in the reality of the situation. The situation is that the most important player of the franchise can’t justify getting vaccinated, especially because he interacts with so much of the team every practice.

Jackson is the centerpiece of the offense. Jackson getting a positive test at any point is the most consequential a positive test can be for the Ravens.

With all due respect to personal choice, Jackson must get vaccinated. He’s the leader of the team and the action of getting vaccinated would be very meaningful to Baltimore Ravens football. Jackson is the most entertaining and enjoyable player on the Ravens, maybe even in the NFL.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: 3 most important facets of training camp

It’s from a good and respectful place that I say that Lamar Jackson should get take care of himself, be a leader and minimize risk in one decision. He needs to get the vaccination.