The Ravens might have some depth issues at wide receiver.
During Baltimore’s 23-10 preseason-opening victory over the Tennessee Titans Thursday night, Tylan Wallace suffered a knee sprain while coach John Harbaugh said James Proche II has a soft tissue injury that could keep him out for a week or two.
With 5:10 to go in the first quarter, Wallace received the handoff on an end-around before getting tackled for a 4-yard loss by Titans outside linebacker Rashad Weaver. Wallace was evaluated inside the team’s medical tent before heading into the locker room and did not return.
Proche, on the other hand, did not appear in the game.
Wallace, a 2021 fourth-round pick, has a history of knee injuries as he suffered a torn ACL in October 2019, forcing him to miss the final five games of his junior season at Oklahoma State.
Wallace appeared in 17 games last season, including one start, and had two catches for 23 yards. He played mostly on special teams, recording 278 snaps on that unit compared with 84 snaps on offense. He’s competing for snaps at wide receiver behind Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and Proche, all of whom did not play Thursday as the Ravens sat most of their starters.
Proche, a 2020 sixth-round pick, caught 16 passes for 202 yards last season. He’s received praised from receivers coach Tee Martin, who said the fourth-year player is having a better training camp than last summer.
“I think he’s doing even better this year, because he’s taken the next step,” Martin said. “He played a little bit more in games last year, and he understands the opportunity in front of him. So, he’s attacking it every day. He’s asking a lot of great questions, he’s playing three positions for us and playing lights out.”
The Ravens’ receivers have dealt with their share of injuries so far during training camp. Duvernay was sidelined for a week with a thigh injury he suffered during the team’s stadium practice last month, while Bateman missed two days with a soft tissue injury. Meanwhile, undrafted free agents Slade Bolden and Bailey Gaither were seen leaving practice early this week and did not play against the Titans.
With injuries to Wallace and Proche, receivers like Shemar Bridges, who had four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown Thursday, Jaylon Moore (two catches for 15 yards), Makai Polk (six catches for 63 yards) and Binjimen Victor (four catches for 30 yards) have an opportunity to make a case for themselves. Still, it seems likely the Ravens will go into the free-agent market and add a veteran wideout.
Bowser taking recovery process ‘day-by-day’
Ravens outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, said Thursday that he is taking his recovery process “day-by-day.” When asked about his chances of playing in the regular-season opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 11, Bowser said “whenever I’m ready, I’m ready.”
Bowser was one of the Ravens’ top defensive players in 2021, registering 56 tackles, seven sacks and 15 quarterback hits before injuring his Achilles in the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
32 players sit
Thirty-two players sat out Thursday night as Harbaugh sidelined all of his offensive starters, as well as outside linebacker Justin Houston, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safeties Marcus Williams and Chuck Clark and cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey, Kyle Fuller and rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis.
Second-year outside linebacker Odafe Oweh played one snap in the first quarter before taking his shoulder pads off and watching the rest of the game from the sideline. Defensive tackle Michael Pierce also played in a couple of drives during the first quarter.
Omar whistle returns
It appears the Ravens will continue using the Omar whistle during their pregame introductions. Before the team took the field Thursday night, the whistling of “The Farmer in the Dell” by Omar Little from “The Wire” played throughout the stadium. Last season, the Ravens played the whistle as a tribute to the late actor Michael K. Williams, who played the scarred, shotgun-toting, stickup man in the hit HBO show.
The whistle was expected to be a one-night tribute until it went viral on social media and the team decided to keep it moving forward.
Omar’s whistle recently found its way to Camden Yards, as Orioles closer Félix Bautista used it to spice up his introduction to the mound. Even though Bautista said he doesn’t know what “The Wire” is, he liked the idea of the track signifying intimidation for opposing hitters.
Tribute for late Ravens
Before the national anthem, the Ravens held a moment of silence to honor former players Jaylon Ferguson and Tony Siragusa, who died in June.
Ferguson, 26, was entering his fourth season in Baltimore after being picked in the third round of the 2019 draft. He died from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said after the outside linebacker was found unresponsive in a North Baltimore home. Siragusa, who died at 55, spent five of his 12-year NFL career with the Ravens and helped lead the team to its first Super Bowl title in franchise history.