It’s clear that wide receiver Lee Evans is not 100 percent right now.
The eight-year veteran’s game is based on speed, and he’s shown very little of that in the month since first suffering a left ankle injury.
Evans has recorded just two catches for 45 yards through two games, and his burst is lacking. The differences between today’s Evans and the guy we saw during his two preseason appearances appear to be significant.
Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged as much today, saying he can see that Evans’ ankle is an issue.
“I think it’s affecting him,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no doubt about it. We’re going to have to take a hard look at that. To me, if he can do the things that he needs to do, he plays. If he can’t, he won’t play. We’ve been nursing this thing now for a month and I don’t see it getting a lot better. Either he can play like we need him to do, or he can’t.”
Harbaugh then tossed Domonique Foxworth - the veteran cornerback who is still working back from ACL surgery - into the mix without prompting.
“Same thing goes for Domonique Foxworth,” Harbaugh said. “Either he can play or he can’t. If they can’t play the kind of football we need them to because they’re injured - no fault of theirs, these guys are gutting it out - then they’re going to have to sit for a while and get healthy. We’ll just have to see how that goes this week.”
Foxworth tore the ACL in his right knee during the first walk-through of last year’s training camp, and while he’s had over a year to work back from surgery, he’s yet to regain his pre-injury form. The seven-year veteran has been giving a lot of cushion to opposing receivers, has shown sub-par recovery speed, and has been slow to break on passes.
He allowed an easy touchdown to Titans receiver Kenny Britt yesterday by playing off coverage when Tennessee had the ball at the Baltimore four-yard line. Britt cut his route just past the goal line, and made an easy grab for the score.
After watching the film of yesterday’s game, Harbaugh said he can notice that Foxworth doesn’t have faith in his surgically repaired knee just yet.
“It’s technique, but it might be because of the knee,” Harbaugh said. “I can’t answer that. Only Domonique can say. I don’t think he feels like it’s 100 percent. He’s said that before and it’s definitely shown up in the way he’s playing. He’s playing very, very conservatively. He knows. We just got to get that thing right if that’s what it is.”
The problem with both Evans’ and Foxworth’s situations is that the Ravens currently lack depth at their respective positions.
Sitting those two guys until they’re back to full health sounds good in theory, but with wide receiver David Reed injured and only rookies behind him on the depth chart, and both cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Chris Carr battling injuries of their own, there isn’t much for the Ravens to work with if Evans and Foxworth have to take a week or two off.
If there was more veteran depth at both spots, resting the two injured vets would be easier. Instead, they might both need to gut it out until the bye three weeks from now.