Live From Owings Mills: Clayton Thought He’d Be Ready To Go; But He Won’t Play Saturday

August 27, 2009 | Glenn Clark

2:01-John Harbaugh told the media today that the team “has plans” for Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr as kick returners, but that the rest of the guys who have been taking reps will have to “take a back seat.”

Webb-the rookie out of Nicholls State-“needs a certain number of reps” according to Harbaugh because he doesn’t have the experience Carr does.

1:51-RB Matt Lawrence, who is believed to be fighting for a roster spot against guys like Jalen Parmele and Cedric Peerman; will join Thyrl Nelson (and possibly Glenn Clark) tonight at 6:30. This is probably interesting to myself (and no one else), but Matt shares a name with the actor who played Jack Hunter on “Boy Meets World”, which I believe to be the greatest TV show of my generation. Hence, I regularly Tweet about Matt as “Matt ‘Jack Hunter’ Lawrence.”

Sadly, Matt admitted to me today that he never watched Boy Meets World; but is willing to challenge Matthew Lawrence in a contest to determine who is the greater Matt Lawrence. Also, many of Matt’s teammates were well versed on the show-and busted on him for not knowing about it.

So, for the 2 of you who are remotely interested in any of this…..tune in to The Mobtown Sports Beat tonight. We’ll also talk some Ravens with Matt; and he’ll tell us about Don Brown-his former head coach at UMass who is now Defensive Coordinator at Maryland.

1:36-Notes from practice today:

-LJ Smith was on the field, dressed. He did not participate in any drills while we were allowed to watch practice, but he was out there. I guess there is a chance he could try to do something on the side today; but it seems doubtful.
-Derrick Mason was again wearing the #9 jersey to honor Steve McNair. I believe we can count on seeing that moving forward.
-Ed Reed was wearing his regular white jersey instead of the red “no contact” jersey he sometimes wears in practice.
-Mark Clayton was back out on the practice field; and did not appear to be favoring his left side the way he did yesterday. Again, he is OUT for Saturday night.
-I did not see Chris Chester on the field today, but I have been told he had a significant wrap on his injured ankle. OT Oniel Cousins was again in a protective boot.

12:57-I’m headed out to watch practice (and about to join Bob Haynie on AM1570 WNST); but you can hear from all of these guys in the Audio Vault at

-Head Coach John Harbaugh
-Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
-Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
-Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
-OT Michael Oher
-TE LJ Smith
-RB Le’Ron McClain

12:49-Michael Oher mentioned that he “grew up watching” Panthers DE Julius Peppers, who he’ll be going up against Saturday night. “He’s big, strong, and physical… gotta bring everything you got to the table.”

This should be a pretty good test for Oher. He’s unlikely to be beaten physically-even by a monster like Peppers. But there’s certainly a chance a veteran like Peppers could use his arsenal of moves to get around a mammoth like Oher. Peppers might not break out all of those moves in a preseason game, but it could be a very good test.

12:42-Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg says kickoffs are “part of the formula” in selecting the winner of the Graham Gano/Steve Hauschka kicking battle. “In my view, the great kickers in this league are accurate field goal kickers and effective kickoff guys.”

12:35-Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said “each player and each unit” have goals for each preseason game. This is different than a team having an actual game plan for their opponent; but does give them an idea of what to watch for in each game.

Cameron also said Mark Clayton is “definitely getting better.”

12:28-Coach Harbaugh (“Harbs” if you will) did confirm that the starters will play the entire first half at Carolina.

“Oh yeah. This is a third preseason game…..that’s usually a 3 quarter game. We’ll just see how it plays out. We still do it with numbers and number of plays for the most part.”

12:20-TE LJ Smith spoke briefly with the media, saying he is “frustrated” with his most recent injury; a hamstring pull. He said “the most frustrating part” is that the injury is in a different part of his hamstring than previous injuries.

Smith was particularly non-committal about being ready for the Sept. 13 opener against the Chiefs. “From what I’ve been hearing, a couple people quoted (Coach Harbaugh), and I guess they kinda said that he kinda thought that I would be back, ready for the Kansas City game.”

Doesn’t sound promising.

12:16-I was ready to rush back and hit Twitter to let you know that Mark Clayton had told me he’d be ready to go Saturday night at Carolina; but just as I was walking back outside, John Harbaugh was telling the assembled media that Mark wouldn’t play.

“The season obviously is the most important part. We’re certainly not going to put him at risk. So, you won’t see him in this game, the Atlanta game is a possibility.”

This will give Demetrius Williams and Kelley Washington an extended opportunity to stay on field with Joe Flacco. I’ve said before that I think Kelley is pushing Clayton; and with the starters playing longer, he’ll have more of a chance to develop a rhythm.

For the record, Clayton told me he “feels great”, and didn’t feel any worse after going full out in practice yesterday.

11:12-Just a 2 day practice week for the Ravens this week at 1 Winning Drive; as they prepare to travel to Charlotte tomorrow for Saturday night’s game against the Panthers.

John Harbaugh told us yesterday that the team will be having a “Panthers practice” today, but admitted that they were not installing a Panthers gameplan.

We should find out a bit more about playing time for the starters. I imagine Joe Flacco will likely go the entire first half; while some of the 30+ guys (Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce, etc.) will probably leave during the 2nd quarter.

Other things to watch for today:

-How will Mark Clayton respond to his first day of practice (yesterday) since injuring his hamstring? Going 100 percent for 2 straight days would be really good as he battles back.
-Will we see Chris Chester return to the practice field after missing yesterday’s session (calf)?

Plus, we’ll hold out hope for any sort of news on Kelly Gregg, LJ Smith, Terrell Suggs; and maybe even Samari Rolle. But news there is doubtful.

Be back shortly with the comments from John Harbaugh and Ravens players.