OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (13-4) returned to practice Tuesday, beginning a short week of preparation for Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Heinz Field.
The Ravens are 0-5 in games started by Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger since hiring John Harbaugh as Head Coach (including the 2009 AFC Championship Game). Harbaugh said Tuesday he’s ready to see that number change.
“It bothers me a lot” said Harbaugh. “I’d rather that we won. We want to win those games. Obviously, he’s a really good quarterback. It seems like we see great quarterbacks a lot. We’ve beaten our fair share, but we haven’t beaten him. It’s our turn.”
Roethlisberger was complementary of the Ravens despite an 8-2 record in the AFC North rivalry in games he’s started. In a Tuesday conference call with Charm City reporters, Roethlisberger said there was one particular factor that allowed for his success in the series.
“Getting lucky” said the two time Super Bowl winning QB. “That’s all it is. I don’t think there’s any magic recipe other than I guess I’m lucky.”
Roethlisberger went on to say that despite his career success, he doesn’t always enjoy playing the Ravens.
“As a competitor, you love (the rivalry). But I hate playing the Ravens because they’re so good. Every single person and every scheme, everything they do challenges you. They’re good.”
Ravens LB Jarret Johnson told reporters Roethlisberger deserves praise, but isn’t the only reason the Steelers have had success against the Ravens.
“When he gets out (of the pocket), he’s killed us” said Johnson. “I think their defense is a big part of (their success), it’s not just him.”
Johnson was also skeptical of Roethlisberger’s theory of being “lucky.”
“I don’t know about that. They’re a good team. There’s one thing about this (rivalry). If you win this game, you’ve earned it. There’s luck that falls in every game (but) if you win these games-for us or them-you’ve earned it.”
PRACTICE REPORT: The Ravens held a walkthrough Tuesday which was closed to the media. No official injury report was released Tuesday either.
One player who was a participant in Tuesday’s walkthrough was S Ed Reed, who had left the team following their AFC Wild Card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Reed had traveled to Louisiana to spend time with his family after his brother (Brian Reed) went missing following a jump into the Mississippi River. The younger Reed is presumed dead.
“Ed was here” said Harbaugh. “Ed got back and he practiced, he went through the meetings today. He was in good spirits, he seemed like he was doing pretty well.”
Ravens players were happy to see their Pro Bowl teammate return.
“(That’s) your leader” said CB Josh Wilson. “You always want your leader back. You need him back there to talk it up. I’m just glad for him to be back and just get back to business.”
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Johnson, Wilson, G Ben Grubbs, CB Chris Carr and WR Derrick Mason now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……The conference calls with Roethlisberger and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin are also available in the Audio Vault……Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz joined Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta is scheduled to join Forrester Wednesday at 8:15am, LB Dannell Ellerbe is scheduled to join Forrster at 7:40am Thursday……The Ravens will return to practice Thursday. LB Ray Lewis, LB Terrell Suggs, QB Joe Flacco and TE Todd Heap are scheduled to meet with reporters