10:27-According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former Eagles WR Hank Baskett has cleared waivers. He is now a free agent and can sign anywhere. There will likely be a great deal of interest in Mr. Kendra Wilkinson, the Ravens have not confirmed a full level of interest to me.
10:08-According to the San Diego News Network, here are notes from the Chargers injury report:
C Nick Hardwick-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Ankle
LT Marcus McNeil-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Ankle
RG Louis Vasquez-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Knee
NT Jamal Williams-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Elbow
DE Luis Castillo-FULL-Elbow
DE Jacues Cesaire-FULL-Calf
RB LaDainian Tomlinson-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Groin
DE Travis Johnson-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Groin
LB Antwan Applewhite-“HOBBLING AROUND”-Hamstring
10:04-According to the AP, the Chargers have signed veteran center Dennis Norman with starter Nick Hardwick injured. Norman has started 24 of the 64 games he’s played in his career with the Seahawks and Jaguars.
6:44-Well, this is a bit strange. Here’s the Ravens injury report for today:
LB Terrell Suggs-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Concussion/Chest
S Tom Zbikowski-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Concussion
S Ed Reed-LIMITED-Concussion
TE LJ Smith-LIMITED-Hamstring
LB Tavares Gooden-FULL-Knee
Chargers report coming later.
2:38-WR Marcus Smith was in the locker room today, he told me that he was still a few weeks from being able to walk normally, but he expected to be fully ready to go by the start of minicamps next spring. Smith was placed on IR in August after suffering a torn ACL in the first preseason game against the Redskins.
2:23-Ray Rice has yet to score a TD in his NFL career (well, in a regular season game anyway). I asked if that was eating at him at all, and Rice downplayed it; but admitted he’s “gotta get one that counts.” Rice said he knows he’s “gotta get in from at least the 20, because if (he) gets to the goal line (he’s) coming out.”
He was about a half a yard short of career TD number 1 Sunday against Kansas City.
2:17-Matt Birk spoke a bit today regarding yesterday’s announcement that he will be donating his brain (AFTER death, of course) to researchers at Boston University to study head trauma. He had a kidding sense about him, saying he thought the researchers would “probably be disappointed” in the size of his brain given the fact that he attended Harvard. But he admitted that the decision was easy to make considering “if it can help make the game safer for future generations, then why not?”
Birk also told the media he is wearing a new helmet this year, a helmet that is supposed to be safer.
2:04-The Ravens shared some mutual respect for Chargers LB Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman today. Here’s what some of the guys had to say about the former Maryland Terrapin….
Ray Rice: Merriman is “a force to be reckoned with”, “tough to stop” (but admitted he thinks the Ravens’ O-Line includes “just the men for the job.”
John Harbaugh: Merriman “is really good”, “looks better than ever.”
Ray Lewis: Ravens need to “keep him calm”, Merriman is the “heartbeat of that team.”
1:51-The Ravens are traveling to San Diego Friday to try to adjust to Pacific Time in advance of Sunday’s game. While we all remember the struggles one particular Raven (ahem…….Chris McAlister) faced the last time this team went to San Diego early, but John Harbaugh said he does not expect the current group to face similar issues. He directly stated “our guys are on a business trip.”
Ray Lewis says there is “no difference” in making the trip from Baltimore to San Diego a day earlier. Ray Rice admitted that he’s “been on the east coast (his) entire life”, meaning the trip will be a bit strange for him. He remembered a trip out west with Rutgers for a bowl game (the 2005 Insight Bowl in Phoenix), but said the Scarlet Knights were out there all week, so he was much more adjusted than he will be even getting to San Diego 2 days early on this trip.
1:43-One of the themes from today was the similarity between Ravens RB’s Ray Rice and Willis McGahee and Chargers RB’s LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. In fact, Ray Lewis said the duos were “exactly alike.” He described the pair as “slashers” and “game breakers.”
Trevor Pryce said that to stop talented RB’s like LT and Sproles, defenders can’t “lose (their) gap control.” He also admitted that “watching (Sproles) is like watching a Madden game.”
Ray Rice actually admitted that Tomlinson is “one of (his) role models.” Rice said he usually pulls for Tomlinson, but that will certainly change this week.
The good news for the Ravens in practice this week is that the backs they go up against on a day to day basis are so similar to the backs they will be facing Sunday. Sproles and Tomlinson will cause problems for Greg Mattison’s defense, but those problems won’t be anything they’ve never seen before.
1:39-You can go to the Audio Vault at WNST.net right now to hear from:
Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
C Matt Birk
WR Derrick Mason
TE Todd Heap
LB Ray Lewis
DE Trevor Pryce
1:21-LJ Smith is dressed, but was working on the side during the portion of practice we were able to watch. Tavares Gooden appeared to be out there during drills.
1:08-Quick injury notes before I head back out to practice and get ready to join Bob Haynie. Tom Zbikowski said he is still dealing with a “slight headache” after suffering a concussion during Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. He said he’d “see how it goes” during the week before making a judgment about his availability for Sunday. He has also apparently been studying from the John Harbaugh book of quotes, adding “If I’m ready to play, I’ll play.”
LJ Smith says he is still working towards trying to be ready to Sunday, and Tavares Gooden is expected to practice today.
12:59-Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back here. Hopefully you’re on Twitter, where we are updating as quickly as we can. You can follow us (@WNST), and we’ll get you info as soon as we can.
The story of the morning continues to be the battle between ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson and Derrick Mason. Derrick Mason came to the podium today-and here are his comments word for word….
“I want to say one thing. Damn Keyshawn Johnson, okay. Cause I heard he said something else. Keyshawn know where I’m at, he know where the Ravens facility at, so if he wanna hash this out man to man to talk about it, if he wanna stack up numbers man to man to talk about it, we can do that. Remember Keyshawn, you were a number 1 pick in the Draft and I was a 4th rounder. And our numbers still pretty much stack up, okay?”
He added “a lot of people could have called him a bum many times, but they chose not to.”
Wow. Derrick Mason went on to say that he knew Keyshawn’s comments were meant to be about the entire group of Ravens receivers, but he felt like he needed to respond because he is the leader of the group.
11:11-The Ravens are back out at 1 Winning Drive today, with the first of 3 practices for the week scheduled at 1pm today. (The third practice will be Saturday at San Diego State.) We are expecting to hear from John Harbaugh and a number of players before practice today.
The Ravens look significantly better health-wise than the Chargers do right now, but we will be watching today to see the status of LJ Smith (hamstring), Tom Zbikowski (concussion), Tavares Gooden (knee), and even Dannell Ellerbe (knee). LJ Smith continues to be the biggest concern of the group, but he is also nearing a return. The Chargers are dealing with many more injuries (LaDainian Tomlinson, Nick Hardwick, Louis Vasquez, Jamal Williams, Luis Castillo, etc.), and have one fewer day to heal following their game at Oakland on Monday night.
Chargers Coach Norv Turner and LB Shawne Merriman are scheduled to be available via conference call this afternoon for the Baltimore media. I am not sure how the Tila Tequila subject will be brought up-if at all.