Ravens OT Patrick Mekari trending toward a Week 16 return

Ravens, Patrick Mekari (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ravens, Patrick Mekari (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens haven’t received much positive injury or illness-related news in recent weeks. But the latest injury update regarding Patrick Mekari is a breath of fresh air for Ravens fans.

Mekari was listed as a limited participant during Wednesday’s practice and is trending in the right direction to play this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mekari has missed the last two games with a hand injury, his second time sitting on the sideline due to an injury this season. The former undrafted free agent previously missed two games earlier in the year after suffering a sprained ankle.

Given the banged-up state of the Ravens’ offensive line, particularly at right tackle, this team is desperate for Mekari’s return. And if all goes according to plan, that should occur as soon as this Sunday.

The Ravens need Patrick Mekari back in the starting lineup

Tyre Phillips, the Ravens’ Week 1 starter at left guard, has filled in for Mekari while he’s been sidelined. Unfortunately, Phillips has struggled in the role and suffered a knee injury during the team’s Week 15 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Practice squad member David Sharpe was forced into action and he filled in admirably. However, Sharpe was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this week leaving his status for Sunday’s game uncertain.

With both Phillips, who did not practice due to his injury, in line to miss this week’s game, and Sharpe not expected to play, the Ravens might have been forced to resort to yet another practice squad option, perhaps Jaryd Jones-Smith, as their starting right tackle.

That changes if Mekari can play, though.

Mekari entered the year as perhaps the Ravens’ top offensive lineman and has gone on to start nine games at right tackle. Ronnie Stanley’s injury prompted the Ravens to shift Alejandro Villanueva over to the left side of the offensive line, forcing Mekari to fill in on the right side.

And to his credit, Mekari has exceeded all expectations posting a Pro Football Focus grade of 68.9 that ranks 45th among offensive tackles. His PFF pass-block grade of 74.9 is even more impressive, ranking 24th at his position.

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Patrick Mekari’s return could provide a big boost to an offense that’s desperately in need of one. Baltimore is certainly hoping he could return this Sunday.

*Mekari was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and seems likely to play on Sunday*