OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just three days away from their season opener against the New York Jets, there were still a handful of questions surrounding the Baltimore Ravens as they returned to work Friday at 1 Winning Drive.
With OT Jared Gaither (back) ruled out for Monday’s game, there are multiple possibilities as to what the team will do at RT on Monday Night Football. Oniel Cousins (concussion) was listed as a full participant in practice Wednesday, but told reporters he “didn’t know” if he’d be able to start in East Rutherford. He also admitted that while listed as a full participant, he “didn’t do everything” in practice as he continues to battle headaches. Cousins was again listed as a full participant Friday.
Should Cousins not be able to play-or start-when the Ravens invade New Meadowlands Stadium, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron says the Ravens have “options” at the position. Tony Moll started against both the Washington Redskins and New York Giants during the preseason, and G Marshal Yanda has been taking snaps at RT this week in case he’s needed to make the shift.
Another question facing the Ravens comes at Punt Returner, where Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Friday the team has a “number of guys who can do that job.” S Tom Zbikowski is listed as the #1 option on the team’s official depth chart; but CB’s Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb were also seen fielding punts during practice Friday. RB Ray Rice had been seen fielding punts earlier in the week as well.
Zbikowski and Carr are the team’s top options, but both are expected to start on defense Monday night in New Jersey. Zbikowski will start for Ed Reed (who is on the reserve PUP list with a hip/groin issue) and Carr is expected to start alongside Fabian Washington with Josh Wilson as the nickel back. It would not be surprising to see both Carr and Zbikowski get chances to return punts in the opener.
A third question surrounds the status of Webb. Head coach John Harbaugh said the team wasn’t “anticipating” Webb (knee) to be available Monday when he spoke this week on his weekly radio show, but Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison praised the work Webb has done Friday. Mattison said Webb was “a lot closer” to returning. Webb returned to practice August 23rd, and was listed as a full participant on the team’s initial injury report Thursday. Webb was again listed as a full participant Friday.
However, Webb did not play in any of the team’s preseason games and had been held out of contract drills in recent days.
Another question surrounding the Ravens has to do with which eight players will be inactive for Monday night’s game. Gaither, DT Terrence Cody (knee) and WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) have already been ruled out for the game. Webb is another candidate to be scratched, as is DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) who did not participate in practice Thursday but was back on the practice field Friday afternoon, where he was listed as a limited participant.
Other potential candidates to be scratched include TE Dennis Pitta, WR’s David Reed & Marcus Smith, DT’s Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens, LB’s Edgar Jones, Prescott Burgess and Jason Phillips, CB Bryan McCann and S Ken Hamlin. It is worth noting that of that group; Reed, Smith, Jones, Burgess, McCann and Hamlin are expected to have very significant roles on Special Teams.
NOTES: Hear from Cameron, Mattison, Rosburg and Cousins NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……McCann joined Drew Forrester Friday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that interview is also available in the Audio Vault……The Ravens will practice again Saturday, with Harbaugh scheduled to address the media following practice. They will then hold a walkthrough Sunday (closed to the media) before heading to East Rutherford……The Jets removed DE Shaun Ellis (knee) from their injury report, he was listed as “limited” Thursday. S Brodney Pool (ankle) improved from not participating to limited……Harbaugh’s first weekly press conference will be Tuesday at 4pm. Press conferences will be at 4pm Monday when the Ravens play games on Sunday.