The Baltimore Ravens entered the summer with a razor-thin outside linebacker depth chart, and they’ve done little to quell those concerns since the season has started.
The team attempted to add a little extra veteran depth at the position with the signings of Vince Biegel and later Steven Means. Unfortunately, both players soon after suffered season-ending injuries with Means tearing his Achilles this past Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
The Ravens officially placed Means on the injured reserve on Monday, and the team also announced the release of fellow outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell who was only recently added to the practice squad.
With Means and Fackrell now out of the picture, the Ravens are left with just two outside linebackers on their active roster (Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh) and one on their practice squad (Jeremiah Moon).
This all begs the question — what exactly are the Ravens doing at the outside linebacker position?
Do the Ravens have a plan at outside linebacker?
Through two weeks, Houston and Oweh have received the vast majority of the snaps at outside linebacker. The only other player who has figured into the rotation has been Malik Harrison, although Harrison is more of a natural off-ball linebacker.
Oweh played a whopping 82 percent of defensive snaps in Sunday’s loss while Houston played 69 percent. The effects of both players’ fatigue were evident as the Ravens’ defense looked sluggish and lost late in the game. Oweh and Houston, in particular, were running on fumes.
Of course, losing Means early certainly affected plans, but it just provided further evidence of how thin the Ravens are at the position. The only other healthy outside linebacker under contract is undrafted rookie Jeremiah Moon on the practice squad.
The Ravens are looking forward to the returns of Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo this season, but there needs to be a solution in the short term. The team needs to sign someone. An addition has to be made.
It doesn’t need to be a big name like Jason Pierre-Paul, but the Ravens need another body in that outside linebacker room. Oweh shouldn’t be playing 80 percent of snaps and Houston shouldn’t be pushing 70 percent at his age.
Biegel and Means going down with serious injuries was far from ideal, as was the loss of Daelin Hayes for the year. Evidently, they didn’t believe Fackrell was the guy.