In an earlier post, I detailed how Troy Smith is battling for a spot on the 53-man roster as the third quarterback.
Well, unfortunately for Smith and the other players hoping to earn one of the final roster spots, the Ravens' injury issues will provide a bit of an obstacle for them to make the team.
In essence, they could be blocked by players who won't play a single down to start the season.
While Donte' Stallworth will miss two months with a broken ankle, the Ravens will have to keep him on their active roster while he is rehabbing. As I discussed yesterday, the Ravens cannot put him on the Reserve Physically Unable to Perform list because he was not on PUP at the start of, and throughout, training camp and the preseason.
But Stallworth isn't the only injured player for whom the Ravens might need to hold a roster spot.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb, nose tackle Terrence Cody and guard/center David Hale are all rehabbing from various injuries at this point, and if they aren't ready to go for the first game (or two, or three...) of the regular season, they would be occupying spots on the 53 while not providing anything on gameday.
Then there's Ed Reed. Although Reed is eligible to be placed on Reserve PUP, doing so would mean he would have to miss the Ravens' first six games of the season. By all reports, Reed is progressing fairly well, and while he might not be ready for the season opener Sept. 13, he could return shortly thereafter. Thus, PUP might not be the most logical option for the six-time Pro Bowler.
But if Reed remains on the Ravens active roster and has to sit for at least a game at the start of the season, that's another spot that will be taken up by a player who is unable to contribute initially.
All this means two things: That guys on the very fringe of the roster (David Reed, Arthur Jones, Prescott Burgess, Marcus Smith, etc.) might have a tougher time breaking camp with the team than they would have otherwise; and that the Ravens will need to count on their healthy reserve players more in the first couple weeks of the season than they normally would.
One guy who will not count for a roster spot