Roquan Smith expected to make Baltimore Ravens debut after Chicago Bears trade; New Orleans Saints have lost star player Michael Thomas for the season due to a draw; watch Ravens @ Saints live on Sky Sports NFL Tuesday morning from 1:15 a.m.
Last updated: 07/11/22 6:19 PM
The Baltimore Ravens will have to do without their strong end Mark Andrews in their Monday Night Football game with the New Orleans Saints, as he has been ruled out due to knee and shoulder injuries.
The 2021 All-Pro roster and two-time Pro Bowler have not missed a game since 2020. In eight games (all starts) this season, he has racked up 42 receptions for 488 yards and five touchdowns—all team heights.
It is one of the many injuries that Baltimore (5-3) is struggling with. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman has been lost to season-ending foot surgery, while running back Gus Edwards is ‘questionable’ with a hamstring injury; receiver Demarcus Robinson (groin), cornerback Marcus Peters (quad, knee) and linebacker Malik Harison (foot) are also “questionable.”
November 8, 2022, 01:00 a.m.
Bateman is second in the NFL this season with an average of 19 yards per catch. To try and recreate his great playing ability, recently signed veteran DeSean Jackson could see his first action for Baltimore on Monday night.
“I think there’s a good possibility,” head coach John Harbaugh said of that scenario. “We’ll keep seeing how he’s doing, but personally I think he’s probably ready.”
Jackson himself said: “I’ve been in this league for a long time and have had a lot of success. When it’s my time, I’ll do what I have to do to help this team win games. That’s all that matters.”
The Ravens will also make a debut for star linebacker Roquan Smith following his move from the Chicago Bears on Tuesday’s trading deadline.
Smith is the only player with multiple sacks (2.5) and interceptions (2) this season. He also leads the NFL with 83 tackles. Baltimore gave up 2023 sound-round fifth-round draft picks along with linebacker AJ Klein to take over Smith.
Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald said of Smith, “You trade for a man of caliber… it definitely shifts your focus a little bit.
“I think he’s played every snap so far. Going forward, as long as he’s aware of what we’re asking him to do, there’s a good chance he’ll be there.”
Saints ride high after Raiders shutout
The Ravens face a team of Saints (3-5) on Monday night that, while disappointed with their overall record, are sure to take a dominant 24-0 shutout win over the Las Vegas Raiders in week eight.
“It was good because that was in line with who we are and what we can do,” Saints linebacker and defending captain Demario Davis said of the Raiders victory. “But there’s more and we need to get it.”
However, the Saints have struggled with double threat quarterbacks. They narrowly won their season opener in Atlanta, where Marcus Mariota’s mobility for the Falcons gave them nightmares, as they also struggled against Kyler Murray in a week seven defeat.
Things don’t get any easier for the Saints as they now prepare for Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson, who leads the Ravens with 553 yards and two hasty TDs, including a 79-yarder.
Jackson needs just 14 rush yards to pass Hall of Famer Steve Young (4,239) for the fifth most by a quarterback in NFL history.
“You won’t run into too many quarterbacks running like Lamar,” said Saints defender Cameron Jordan. “He’s annoying to play.”
Jackson has also passed for 1,635 yards and 15 touchdowns, with six interceptions, to see him speak occasionally this season to win a second-class MVP award in his fledgling career.
Saints quarterback Andy Dalton certainly isn’t much of a threat on the ground, but he has shocked the New Orleans flag since he replaced season starter Jameis Winston. The Saints have averaged more than 400 yards of offense during Dalton’s five starts.
Things have also started to open up for Alvin Kamara in recent weeks. The Saints star running back has more than 100 scrimmage yards in each of his past four games, including a three-TD outing against the Raiders last week.
“If you can have that communication, it translates into big games in the games,” Dalton said of his connection to Kamara who led to TD catches of 36 and 16 yards last week.
“He understands very well how people have played him. He can take the experience of that and apply it to what is going on at the time.”
However, the Saints took a big blow with the news this week that former star player Michael Thomas is expected to miss the rest of the season with a toe injury requiring surgery.
Thomas had already missed five games through injury and hadn’t played since week three. And that was after the wideout got off to a hot start to the season, catching 16 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns.
The 29-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He set the league’s 2019 season record with 149 receptions for a league best 1,725 yards.
Watch Baltimore Ravens @ New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports NFL Tuesday mornings from 1:15am