Baltimore Ravens: Aaron Mellette

Baltimore Ravens starting defensive lineman Arthur Jones has "a chance" of playing Sunday after missing the past two weeks with a heart condition, coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

Jones revealed this week that he hasn't played since the Aug. 22 preseason game because of a racing heartbeat that would not settle down. He was cleared to return to practice this week and has been limited in workouts. Marcus Spears replaced Jones in the starting lineup in the season opener.

"He didn't get too out of shape," Harbaugh said. "He's progressing well. We're going to have to see how he feels on Sunday. He looked OK at practice. But that's something we're going to have to see how he's feeling on Sunday. So, he's got a chance."

Harbaugh also addressed the team's decision to place rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette on injured reserve Wednesday. There were questions about Mellette's knee injury, because he wasn't on the injury report last week and he didn't play in the season opener.

According to Harbaugh, Mellette's knee bothered him throughout training camp, and the seventh-round pick had to sit out when the knee swelled up. Harbaugh said Mellette learned he had two cartilage tears after seeing a specialist.

"It's not major, major," Harbaugh said. "But they're four-to-six week deals, and we don't really have time for that in terms of holding a roster spot. So, we figured we'd go and make the roster move and get him healthy."
In a move that was unexpected, the Baltimore Ravens placed wide receiver Aaron Mellette on injured reserve, opening up a roster spot for running back/returner Shaun Draughn.

It makes sense in one respect. Putting Mellette, a rookie seventh-round pick out of Elon, on IR ends his season, but it's one way to keep a developmental player. If you try to put him on the practice squad, you risk him getting picked up by another team.

Still, there was no indication that this move was coming or that Mellette was even injured. It was announced that Mellette has a knee injury. Mellette wasn't on the Ravens' Week 1 injury report (which means he had full practices) and he didn't play in the season opener. The Ravens did practice twice since Thursday's game, but coach John Harbaugh sounded optimistic about Mellette playing at some point this season after Monday's practice.

"He’s playing well," Harbaugh said of Mellette. "There’s nothing that he’s doing that wouldn’t make him a possibility to be active."

Mellette showed potential in the preseason, but he was surpassed on the depth chart by undrafted rookie Marlon Brown. The Ravens currently have six wide receivers on the roster, although only four are healthy: Brown, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones (injured, knee), Brandon Stokley, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson (injured, foot).
There's only one certainty about the logjam at the Baltimore Ravens' wide receiver battle: Marlon Brown, Tandon Doss and Aaron Mellette didn't make the decisions for Saturday's final cutdown any easier.

All three receivers delivered their best performances of the preseason in Thursday's 24-21 loss at St. Louis. The Ravens have to determine how many receivers they want to carry in addition to Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Brandon Stokley. LaQuan Williams, a special teams standout, and Deonte Thompson, who has missed the last three preseason games with a foot injury, also figure into the wide receiver equation.

Let's look at the five receivers who are trying to survive the final cutdown:

Marlon Brown: He looks like he'll become the latest undrafted rookie to force his way onto the team, just like Jameel McClain, Justin Tucker and Dannell Ellerbe in recent years. In my projections, Brown was a lock before the preseason finale. His 50-yard touchdown just further confirmed his standing as the team's No. 4 receiver. Brown's got the size (6 feet 5), explosiveness and physical play (he had the final block on Bobby Rainey's first touchdown run) that the Ravens desperately needed this year. The Ravens should thank the Texans for not signing Brown after his tryout, because it led him to Baltimore.

LaQuan Williams: He was limited in St. Louis because of a hamstring injury, according to The Baltimore Sun. Unless this turns out to be a significant injury, Williams should make the team on his special teams ability alone. Remember, the Ravens lost three experienced core special teams players in Brendon Ayanbadejo, Sean Considine and David Reed from last year's team. That increases Williams' value. And, given the fact the Ravens traded Reed this month, I don't see them getting rid of Williams, too.

Aaron Mellette: After the first two preseason games, I thought the Ravens could store the rookie seventh-round pick on the practice squad. Now, following Mellette's five catches for 70 yards Thursday night, I don't see him clearing waivers. The Ravens have to either make room for him on the roster or be resigned to losing him to another team. He's shown too much in the preseason, and other teams have had to take notice. This is why I have Mellette getting the sixth receiver spot.

Tandon Doss: The 2011 fourth-round pick showed up for the first time this preseason, making five catches for 75 yards. Doss went over the middle. He beat a defender down the field. This is what the Ravens have wanted to see out of Doss. “I finally got some balls thrown my way,” Doss told reporters after the game. But I'm wondering whether this performance against the Rams' backups came too late to save him. What hurts Doss is he doesn't have as much value on special teams as Brown and Mellette. If the Ravens keep seven receivers, which they didn't last year, Doss makes the cut. If the Ravens carry six, I'm not sure if Doss is on the team.

Deonte Thompson: Thompson drew a lot of buzz during offseason camps, and some believed he had a shot at being one of the Ravens' top three receivers. But a sprained foot has sidelined him for the last three preseason games. He hasn't even begun to practice, which is a sign that the Ravens may have to put him on injured reserve. The Ravens could give him a designation to return, which would allow the team to bring him back after missing the first eight weeks of the regular season. But the Ravens can only use that designation once, so that has to figure into the decision.