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Ravens Lose Another Running Back

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Sep/07/2021

It seems like every season there is one team that just can’t catch a break on the injury front. This year that team is the Ravens.

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Already without top running back J.K. Dobbins because of a season-ending ACL tear, Baltimore has now lost running back Justice Hill to an Achilles tendon tear. Hill was expected to be the number two option behind Gus Edwards, who was elevated to the starting position because of the injury to Dobbins.

The team decided against bringing in a free agent after the loss of Dobbins, but with just two healthy backs remaining on the roster (including the practice squad), they are looking elsewhere. Former All-Pros Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman came in for workouts on Monday, as did recently released 23-year-old Elijah Holyfield.

Back in June, the Ravens worked out Todd Gurley, but with a full roster of uninjured running backs then, Gurley wasn’t signed.

Also gone for the Ravens are wide receivers Miles Boykin and first-round draft Rashod Bateman, who are both on injured reserve and won’t be available until at least Week 4. 

Ravens Extend Tight End Mark Andrews 

In a bit of good news for the Ravens, Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews isn’t going anywhere for quite some time. Already an important part of the Baltimore offense, Andrews takes on added importance with the mounting injuries on that side of the ball.

The extension for Andrews is worth $56 million over four years, and his $14 million annual salary makes him the third highest-paid player at the position, trailing only Travis Kelce and George Kittle.

General manager Eric DeCosta said of the signing, “Mark is exactly the type of player we wish to keep as a Raven long term. He’s competitive, passionate, talented, and a leader. We are so excited to have him in Baltimore for the next five years.”

Andrews just turned 26 this week and has 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He’s also one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Ravens still narrowly lead the AFC North division odds, according to the BetUS Sportsbook, at +120 — looking behind their shoulder at the approaching Cleveland Browns at +130. 

Texans Going With Tyrod Taylor at Quarterback 

In the worst kept secret in the NFL, the Texans will not start Deshaun Watson at quarterback in Week 1, or likely ever again.

New head coach David Culley made the unnecessary announcement that while Watson is still on the roster, Tyrod Taylor is his starting quarterback to begin the season. Taylor has made 47 starts in his career, and he began last year as the Chargers starter before a punctured lung gave the job to Justin Herbert.

Watson’s situation in Houston is complicated on a number of levels. He began the offseason demanding a trade, saying he was unhappy with the team’s leadership and lack of direction. If nothing else had happened, it’s unclear if he would have played for the team in 2021.

But many somethings did happen. He has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct in 22 separate lawsuits filed by massage therapists. He’s also being investigated by local law enforcement and the NFL. So even if Watson wanted to play for the Texans, it’s unclear if the team would want him for 2021.

Houston has been actively shopping Watson, and he’s been connected by rumors to a number of teams since this saga first began back at the end of January. But with possibilities ranging from suspension by the league to criminal charges by the local district attorney, no one has been willing to pay the Texans’ asking price.

By all metrics, no other team in the league opens the season with odds as poor as the Houston Texans. Based on the BetUS Sportsbook numbers, their NFL regular-season win total is set at just four games, and they carry league-worst Super Bowl odds of 200-to-1, tied with the Detroit Lions. 

Left Tackle Duane Brown Will Play on Sunday 

Duane Brown’s hold-in hasn’t yet resulted in the contract extension he wanted with the Seahawks. But reportedly his agent is currently in contract talks with the team, and that is good enough to get Brown to end his feud and play in the season opener against the Colts.

Head coach Pete Carroll confirmed the change in status by welcoming his All-Pro tackle back to the team.

“We’re pleased to have him. All in all, in the camp that he was able to put forth, he did all the learning, he’s really healthy. He’s really healthy right now and I’m thrilled about that for him.”

Brown is scheduled to earn $10 million this season.

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