Ravens hopeful that Nick Boyle will be ready for Week 1

Ravens, Nick Boyle (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
Ravens, Nick Boyle (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have been without a number of key players this summer. One player who has missed the entirety of both spring and summer practices is tight end Nick Boyle.

Boyle is still recovering from season-ending surgery he had last season to repair a devastating knee injury. The veteran underwent a minor clean-up procedure in the summer to aid in his rehab.

But with just a few weeks to go until the start of the regular season, Boyle remains on the PUP list. The Ravens remain optimistic that he will be ready for Week 1, however.

Head coach John Harbaugh spoke on Monday about Boyle’s status and he insisted that the tight end was “making progress.”

"“We’re still very hopeful for the opener, but we’ll just have to see. I mean, you never know. The good thing is, we have other options. I like the way our tight ends are coming along, so we’ve got depth at receiver when those guys get back. So we’ll be able to put a good offense out there if he doesn’t make it. If he does make it, it’d be great.”"

Nick Boyle’s return would be huge for the Ravens offense

Boyle is one of the most unheralded and important parts of the Ravens offense. Arguably the best blocking tight end in the NFL, Boyle is an integral part of Baltimore’s dominant rushing attack.

A fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Boyle has developed into a crucial player for the Ravens. He’s started 48 games over the last four years and serves as a de facto sixth offensive lineman on running plays.

With Boyle out, the Ravens have resorted to using the likes of Josh Oliver and Eric Tomlinson in his place.

Oliver has impressed this summer, but his strength is more as a pass-catcher. Meanwhile, Tomlinson is little more than a journeyman special-teamer/backup tight end.

Tomlinson likely has the most to gain from Boyle being out. If Boyle isn’t ready for the regular season, it’s likely the Ravens would keep Tomlinson around to fill that blocking tight end role.

But expecting Tomlinson to come close to replicating Boyle’s success would be foolish.

Next. Ravens: 4 former draft picks in danger of losing their roster spot. dark

The Ravens need Nick Boyle back as soon as possible. And at least as of now, the team appears hopeful that he won’t miss any regular-season action.