Defensive end Calais Campbell was one of several Ravens who tested positive for COVID-19 as an outbreak within the organization led to 23 players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
It was a twofold blow for Campbell, who was already sidelined by a calf strain before his positive diagnosis. Two weeks removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Campbell said there are still some lingering effects from the virus.
“It’s something that’s probably going to bother us for a little bit,” Campbell said Wednesday on a video conference call. “I felt way better — coming from the standpoint of COVID — this week than the last. That first week back, it was brutal. I tried to make sure the other guys who were coming back this week understood that it’s going to be different. It’s an adjustment. You’re not going to be yourself. You’re going to feel a little weaker and you’re not going to have the wind that you normally have.”
Campbell’s workload has been limited since his return from the calf injury and testing positive for the coronavirus. He played 23 defensive snaps against the Dallas Cowboys and then 33 against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Both games are his smallest workload of the season, not counting the game against the Indianapolis Colts where he injured his calf after the third play from scrimmage.
While completing his 10-day self-quarantine period, Campbell, who has asthma, wrote, “This virus is brutal! I pray no one else has to go thru this.” A member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, Campbell said before the season that he considered opting out because of his underlying condition.
Campbell isn’t the only Raven that has experienced symptoms since returning to the field; quarterback Lamar Jackson said after the team’s game against the Cowboys that he was still having trouble with his sense of taste and smell. Jackson said Wednesday that his cramps, which caused him to miss most of the fourth quarter in Monday night’s win against the Browns, were “probably” related to his recent bout with COVID-19.
“Probably because of the body heat and we’re running in the cold,” he said. “It was so cold out there. That probably had an effect on that as well. I can’t call it.”
Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this month that Mark Andrews, who has Type 1 diabetes, hadn’t had any “negative consequences” related to his infection. Andrews, who caught five passes for 78 yards against the Brown, said Monday that he was laid up for eight days, with aches all over his body, and called the experience “humbling.”
“The second week, definitely a lot more progress, I felt a lot better against the Browns,” Campbell said. “I’m hoping that I continue to improve like that this next week because there’s definitely some lingering effects. I feel a lot better today than I did last week at this time.”
Dobbins hurdling over rookie wall
It took some time but it seems the Ravens have finally decided to make rookie running back J.K. Dobbins the priority in the backfield pecking order.
After Dobbins failed to receive more than nine carries in any of the team’s first six games, the former Ohio State star has carried the ball at least 10 times in five of the team’s last seven games (Dobbins sat out the team’s Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a positive COVID-19 test).
As the Ravens enter the final three-game stretch of the regular season in pursuit of a wild-card spot, Dobbins doesn’t see himself approaching a rookie wall.
“At Ohio State, I at least played 14 games a year,” Dobbins said. “And then in high school in Texas, we have 16 weeks to go to the state championship. I’ve always played long seasons, so I don’t feel like I’m hitting a rookie wall. My body feels fine. I take care of my body. It hasn’t hit me yet, I don’t think. Does it look like it in my play? I don’t know, I don’t know what the rookie wall is, so y’all have to let me know.”
Dobbins ranks third on the team, behind Jackson and running back Gus Edwards, with 96 carries for 504 yards and five touchdowns. Dobbins’ yards per carry average ranks fifth among qualified players.
As he began his first NFL training camp, Dobbins said he wasn’t sure how patient he could be and wait on the sidelines. After trying to split carries with him, Edwards and Mark Ingram II early in the season, offensive coordinator Greg Roman has featured Dobbins and Edwards in recent weeks. Ingram played just one snap against the Browns and didn’t receive a carry.
When asked if he wanted more carries, Dobbins said, “of course, but that’s normal.”
“But I want to win the game,” Dobbins added. “One carry, two carries, 80 carries, 50 carries, let’s win this game. I don’t care about all the other stuff. Let’s go win the game. That’s what I’m here for.”
>> Jackson was asked about practice squad quarterback Tyler Huntley, who will likely serve as the backup Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and said the team is “trying to keep him under the radar as much as possible.”
Huntley, an undrafted rookie from Utah, is from Jackson’s hometown of Broward County.
“I know what he’s capable of doing,” a smiling Jackson said of Huntley. “We’re trying to keep him under the radar as much as possible. Y’all are going to see for yourself. He’s like that. He’s definitely like that.”
>> The Ravens designated cornerback Terrell Bonds to return from injured reserve. Bonds was placed on IR on Nov. 17 after injuring his knee Nov. 15.
>> The Ravens protected Huntley, long snapper Nick Moore, cornerback Pierre Desir and tight end Eric Tomlinson from being signed by other teams off their practice squad this week.
>> The Ravens signed defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett and wide receiver Gary Jennings to the practice squad. Hoyett, who was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs last month, had 62 tackles, including 7 1/4 u00bd tackles for loss, and 1 1/4 u00bd sacks in 44 games with Mississippi State from 2014 to 2018. Jennings, who played one game with the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, ranks sixth in West Virginia history in career receiving yards (2,294) and No. 7 in career receptions (168).