What is the Ravens starting secondary going to look like in Week 16?

Ravens, Brandon Stephens Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Brandon Stephens Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens are dealing with absences all across their roster at the moment. Injuries and a recent COVID-19 outbreak have decimated a roster that once looked like one of the deepest in the NFL.

In reality, no position has remained untouched. But perhaps the position group that has received the most turnover has been the secondary.

With Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Chris Westry, and Jimmy Smith out, the Ravens were forced to turn to the likes of Anthony Averett, Kevon Seymour, and Robert Jackson at cornerback.

Meanwhile, the safety position remains a complete mess with both starters, DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark, sidelined. Elliott is on the injured reserve while Clark remains in COVID protocols.

What could Ravens fans realistically expect from their secondary in Week 16?

The Ravens secondary is incredibly depleted heading into Week 16

Right now, assuming no players are activated from the COVID-19 list, the Ravens are projected to start Averett, Seymour, and Tavon Young at cornerback. Young returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday with a concussion.

The Ravens also have Jackson, Mazzi Wilkins, and recently-signed veteran Daryl Worley on their practice squad. Worley and Jackson make sense as players that can be elevated for this Sunday’s game.

At safety, however, things might be just as bad. Third-round rookie Brandon Stephens, who has been starting in place of the injured Elliott, could actually be the team’s third defensive play-caller in as many weeks.

With Clark sidelined, Geno Stone took over as the play-caller while making his first career start in Week 15. But Stone landed on the COVID-19 list this week leaving the Ravens even thinner at safety.

At the moment, the Ravens are down Elliott, Clark, Stone, and Ar’Darius Washington (IR) at the position. Just two healthy safeties remain on the active roster — Stephens and veteran special-teamer Anthony Levine Sr.

However, it’s a safe bet to assume that the recently-re-signed Tony Jefferson could be in line to start opposite Stephens with Clark and Stone out. Jefferson played his first game for Baltimore in over two years last week playing nine total defensive snaps.

Others on the practice squad who could be elevated are Jordan Richards and Blake Countess, who has experience playing both cornerback and safety, although Richards would likely just be for special teams depth.

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The Ravens’ secondary has been decimated, and going into a matchup against Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16, they could be in for a long day.