OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (3-1) worked briefly at 1 Winning Drive Monday, still celebrating their 17-14 victory over the their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) at Heinz Field. They shifted focus Monday to a showdown this coming Sunday with the Denver Broncos (2-2) at M&T Bank Stadium. Head Coach John Harbaugh held his weekly press conference Monday afternoon, here are some of the highlights:
-The Ravens are dealing with a number of bumps and bruises at RB; as Ray Rice entered Sunday’s game with a knee injury, while Willis McGahee and FB Le’Ron McClain each suffered stingers in the Steel City. Harbaugh appeared unconcerned, saying “I don’t see it being a problem right now. I think we’re going to be fine.” Harbaugh reiterated that McGahee did not suffer a concussion in the game (the team had told WNST.net in the 4th quarter that McGahee was available to return if necessary); and repeated “I think we’re going to be okay.”
-Harbaugh was a bit more concerned about DE Paul Kruger, who the coach said is getting a MRI today due to a strained knee. Harbaugh offered praise for the 2nd year player from Utah, saying “Paul played pretty well. He was active.” Harbaugh admitted that Kruger’s performance wasn’t flawless, noting “there are gonna be a lot of things he’s gonna look at and he’s gonna want to get a lot better at.” Kruger and rookie DT Terrence Cody were active for the first time this season Sunday, Harbaugh also offered praise for the first year lineman from Alabama, saying “I probably would have liked to see him play a little bit more. He’s got a bunch of ability, works really hard and came through it well with the knee.”
-DL Cory Redding missed Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion in the team’s Week 3 win over the Cleveland Browns. Harbaugh said he hadn’t heard anything definite regarding Redding’s status, but “I would assume that would be clearing up; but with a concussion I guess you just have to wait and see.” Harbaugh said he hadn’t heard anything yet from OT Jared Gaither’s visit to Los Angeles Monday to see a specialist named Dr. Watkins. Gaither missed his fourth straight game Sunday as he recovers from a thoracic disc injury in his back.
-Harbaugh showered praise on other defenders, including CB Lardarius Webb and DT Haloti Ngata. Regarding Webb’s big pass breakups against Steelers WR Mike Wallace, saying “playing the ball is something (Webb) does extremely well”, and adding “those were huge plays in the game.” Harbaugh said Ngata “is playing as well as any defensive player in (the NFL) right now.” Harbaugh pointed out that Ngata’s performance was particularly impressive considering he had to play most of Sunday’s game at DE against Pittsburgh O-Linemen Flozell Adams and Max Starks.
-Harbaugh offered a very simple answer when asked about beating the Steelers without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was serving the final game of a four game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. “We were without a lot of players. That’s just the way it works in the National Football League. Whoever lines up against us every week is who we’re going to play against. The next guy comes in and wins games for you or doesn’t.” Harbaugh offered praise for Steelers QB Charlie Batch, saying “I thought he played well.”
-Harbaugh said CB Josh Wilson was inactive Sunday because the team wanted to keep up more Defensive Linemen. “Josh is a guy that”s going to be a big part of what we’re doing here” said Harbaugh. “I felt really bad about the fact that we had to not activate him this game.” Harbaugh said that with a hot QB like Kyle Orton coming to Charm City Sunday, “there’s no way he won’t be active this week.”
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh and QB Joe Flacco now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……The Ravens will be off Tuesday (a league mandated day off) and will return to the practice field Wednesday. Harbaugh, Flacco and LB Ray Lewis are amongst those expected to formally meet with the media.