A smiling John Harbaugh spoke to reporters at team headquarters today, but all the usual Monday afternoon questions about the Ravens’ upcoming opponent were missing this time around.
That, of course, is because the Ravens don’t yet know their upcoming opponent. Thanks to their AFC North title and first-round bye, Harbaugh’s team will get to relax a bit this week and await their Divisional Round foe from the comfort of their sofas.
The Ravens will use this week off to rest up and let their bumps and bruises heal. They will also start some advance scouting on the three teams that they could face two Sundays from now, but the main benefit of the bye will be that their injured players now have some time off.
“It’s going to help us to have a chance to get healthy,” Harbaugh said. “If we would have had to play this week, we would have gotten after it. In the past years, we’ve been in the same situation injury-wise going into the Wild Card game. We would have dealt with it, but it’s a bonus. It’s earned. I think our players earned it, they appreciate it and they’ll take the best advantage of it.”
Harbaugh rattled off a list of injury updates, the most crucial of which involves wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who is coming off knee surgery.
Boldin has recovered nicely from the surgery, to the point that he was upgraded from “out” to “doubtful” for yesterday’s game at Cincinnati. The veteran wide receiver was eventually ruled one of the Ravens’ gameday inactives, but Harbaugh said Boldin will return to practice this week and is on track to play in the Divisional Round.
“He’ll provide a spark,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll be looking to have him be a big part of our offense.”
Harbaugh also said that safety Tom Zbikowski and cornerback Jimmy Smith do not have any symptoms today after suffering concussions in yesterday’s win over the Bengals, which is obviously a good sign. Those two will be monitored throughout the week.
Linebacker Jameel McClain suffered an MCL sprain yesterday, and while he returned to the game after injuring the knee, Harbaugh said he’ll be held out of practice this week. Fellow linebacker Dannell Ellerbe’s post-concussion symptoms are fading, Harbaugh says. The team will know more about his status as the week goes on.
Other injury notes: safety Bernard Pollard has a wrist sprain and an elbow contusion, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has an elbow laceration and defensive tackle Terrence Cody has a left hip sprain.
Both guard Marshal Yanda (rib bruise) and kicker Billy Cundiff (left calf) made it through yesterday’s game without suffering any apparent setbacks. Harbaugh said Yanda is sore but OK, while Cundiff is doing just fine.
Harbaugh said the Ravens will use Cundiff as their kicker as long as he’s healthy, but will continue to carry fellow kicker Shayne Graham on the roster “as long as we can.”