Non-PUP Players Create Tough Decisions

The Ravens might have to use a few spots on their 53-man roster for guys that won’t play for a bit.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 at 11:07 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

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The Ravens have a good idea of who is going to make their 53-man roster – which needs to be solidified by Saturday – but that list might also carry some dead weight early in the season.
 
The fact that players like cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee), receiver Donte’ Stallworth (foot), defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee) and offensive lineman David Hale (back) are injured and not on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list puts the Ravens in a tight bind.
 
Because the aforementioned group did not begin training camp on the active PUP means they can’t be stashed for six games on the regular-season reserve PUP.
 
In addition, the Ravens will make a decision on safety Ed Reed (hip), who is on active PUP but could come off it before the regular season, by Saturday.
 
Should all five make the active roster as expected, the Ravens will have some tough decisions on their hands.
 
There are several positions with quality depth, but the reality is that carrying an injured player who the Ravens know won’t play in a few games will take away one of those spots.
 
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh believes his team can deal with the situation by massaging the 45-man limit on their gameday roster.
 
“It’s tough for some of the other injured guys,” said Harbaugh.  ”We’ve got four or five guys that are going to be questionable for the game, and those guys will be on the 53, so that’s why you have a 45-man active [roster].
 
“They give you a little bit of leeway there to make sure you’ve got a competitive quality there with injuries.”
 
Cornerback Cary Williams, who owns two preseason interceptions, is another player whose status is in question as he serves a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.  But, Williams can remain with the Ravens without disrupting depth because suspended players do not count against the 53-man roster.  

That being said, positions that could take a hit might start with defensive tackle, where Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens, Kelly Talavou and Arthur Jones have all performed well in the preseason.
 
Stallworth can’t be placed on PUP either, so that leaves one less spot for several receivers – Marcus Smith, Demetrius Williams, David Reed, Eron Riley and Justin Harper – battling for notice.
 
And, the Ravens have several bubble players that must make a name for themselves on special teams, like Antwan Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Edgar Jones, Jason Phillips and Albert McClellan, in order to advance.
 
While it is a tough situation, Harbaugh likes to see the depth duke it out.
 
“I think it’s really a good problem to have,” Harbaugh said.  ”There are going to be some players on this team that certainly could play in this league – they could play for us, and have played for us – that may not make it.
 
“We tell our guys at the start of training camp: Don’t count numbers. You can’t sit there and count numbers and say, ‘There’s no way I can make this team,’ because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. What you need to do is play your way into position to make the team… It’s going to be a tough call, and hopefully we can keep as many of those guys as we possibly can.”

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