Live from Owings Mills: Ravens Make First Cuts

August 31, 2009 | Glenn Clark

2:01-Talked to Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth for a while today about facing his former team-the Atlanta Falcons-Thursday night. He said the ’08 season was a “semi-magical year” with the Falcons, where he felt like he was the “leader of the group” in the secondary. He’s not Bart Scott, as he praised former coach Mike Smith as a “great coach” and a “smart, talented guy.”

When I asked Foxworth to compare his former teammate at QB (Matt Ryan) to his current teammate at QB (Joe Flacco), Foxworth said “they’re pretty different”, praising Flacco’s superior arm strength; but saying that their biggest similarity is their “poise.”

1:56-LB Dannell Ellerbe (knee) was in full uniform for practice this afternoon, and was seen early on running individual drills away from practice. It appears as though the UFA from Georgia will attempt to give it a go today. He continues to be in a difficult spot, as he is a guy this organization has liked; but they haven’t been able to see enough of him in recent weeks.

1:37-Terrell Suggs and Mark Clayton are each out on the practice field and dressed, but we were not able to see either guy do much work before getting kicked out of practice. CB Chris Carr was in warm-up pants, and OT Oniel Cousins (ankle) was in shorts. Neither appeared to be participating in team drills. Carr had been battling back spasms during Training Camp. Jared Gaither also did not practice (neck).

1:32-Drew Willy (UFA QB-Buffalo), Bradon Godfrey (UFA WR-Utah) and Biren Ealy (3rd year FA WR out of Houston; previously with Titans) are your first cuts in the process of getting the roster trimmed down to 75. With Samari Rolle on the PUP list, the roster currently sits at 76; meaning the team will have to make one more cut before tomorrow’s deadline. None of the moves are at all surprising; and Drew Willy could be a future practice squad guy.

12:53-Very different attitudes coming from WR Demetrius Williams and WR Kelley Washington.

Williams said very simply about his performance this preseason: “I can do better.” He also appeared to be a little more reserved in his comments. Washington meanwhile appeared to be a bit more confident, but isn’t concerned about whether or not he’s a starter. Washington said his “mission is just to come here and be a target for Joe.”

Williams didn’t appear as though he was trying to use vindication as a motivating factor, despite being passed over by multiple teams before having to try out with the Ravens and accepting a lesser contract. He reminded me that “The NFL is all about opportunity” and that he’s “always known (he) can play.”

I did wonder if the excitable WR had prepared any sort of special celebration should he find the endzone in the season opener; but Washington admitted he “just want(s) to make sure (he’s) on a roster.”

He will be.

12:49-Steve Hauschka told us that he knows Thursday night could be big for his future in Baltimore, saying the game is his “chance to go out there and solidify the position.” Hauschka seems to have handled his miss from 27 yards Saturday night pretty well; and added “I’m human, I’m going to miss a kick once in a while.”

The miss did give Hauschka a chance to show he’s capable of bouncing back when facing adversity, but also left the door open for Graham Gano to remain in the competition should he continue to struggle.

12:46-You would imagine that DT Kelly Gregg would be the type of veteran who might be held out of Thursday night’s game; considering he’s both part of the 30 and over club AND coming off an injury. But Gregg said he “expects” to play in Thursday night’s game.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens gave the vets one series at the start of the game, if for no other reason than because it is difficult to ask a team to work hard in practice and then not have them play.

12:44-When asked if WR Kelley Washington has done enough to deserve being the #2 receiver for this team, John Harbaugh responded by saying “I think he has.”

I believe it was The Hives who said, “Hate To Say I Told You So……Allright!”

12:40-When told that the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (who went on to become Super Bowl XXXV Champions) finished the preseason 4-0, John Harbaugh said “we’ll go by the 2000 team” in determining whether or not they want to finish the fake football season undefeated. He did admit that as a team they “want to win.”

In reality, teams care about who wins preseason games right up until the clock says 0:00. Once the game is over, it really doesn’t matter to them whether or not they came out victorious.

12:37-John Harbaugh would not commit to an amount of playing time for starters Thursday night, other than to say that they won’t play the whole game. He did say that the team has “gotten a lot out of (their) starters” in the preseason.

Regarding tomorrow’s cut to 75 and next week’s cut to 53; Harbaugh also reminded that “special teams are huge”, and that they usually are the “tipping point” in making roster decisions.

12:34-Harbaugh said the Ravens are “proceeding as usual” with the kicking competition, but admitted he would “give Steve (Hauschka) the edge.”

Regarding Matt Stover, Harbaugh said “as long as he wants to kick, he’s a factor around the league.”

12:27-A couple of important updates from John Harbaugh. Coach addressed the 3 most significant injured Ravens:

-CB Samari Rolle (neck) will begin the season on the (non-counting) PUP list, meaning his spot will not count against the Ravens’ 53 man roster. Moreover, Harbaugh said Rolle “has a chance” to play this year, BUT “if there’s any risk at all, he won’t play.”
-Harbaugh said the Ravens “want” LB Terrell Suggs (achilles, heel) to take part in practice this week, and said they expected him to participate in practice today to the extent that he’s able to. Suggs didn’t comment to the media, but appeared non-committal regarding whether or not he’d participate. You have to wonder if this is part of a chess game between Suggs and the team. He did appear to have taken part in workouts this morning.
-Harbaugh said WR Mark Clayton (hamstring) is “less possible” to play Thursday night against the Falcons.

11:11-Coming off Saturday night’s win over the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens are back on the practice field today to prepare for their Thursday night finale in Atlanta against the Falcons. I wouldn’t expect a heavy workload for a number of the regulars, as the team doesn’t want to risk injury before the Sept. 13 opener against the Chiefs. The team must trim their roster to 75 by tomorrow; but John Harbaugh has told us that this first cut isn’t quite as earth-shattering, as they are dealing with some injury issues that will allow them to be flexible.

Will certainly be a question as to whether or not we’ll see Terrell Suggs this week. There’s no chance he hits the field Thursday night at the Georgia Dome, but it would be a very positive for this team to see him on the practice field here at 1 Winning Drive at some point this week.

Also, with Steve Hauschka’s miss from 27 failing to nail the job down Saturday night; the kicking competition for another week. Graham Gano is still alive (although clearly VERY far behind), and you never know if Matt Stover might show up at some point.

Be back shortly with updates from Harbs and the locker room.