OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-1) returned to work at 1 Winning Drive Wednesday, shifting their focus to Sunday’s visit to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots (3-1) at Gillette Stadium.
RB Ray Rice was amongst the Ravens players who met with the media Wednesday. Rice played a prominent role in the team’s 33-14 victory in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs in January, and understands what a matchup against an organization that has won three Super Bowls in the last 8 years means.
“We don’t want to single out the Patriots, but the success that they’ve had-you can’t forget that” said Rice. “They have a long-term history of success. This is the kind of game you really don’t have to ramp yourself up for.”
Ravens players went back and forth as to whether or not they thought the Pats would have January’s loss fresh on their minds when the teams got together again Sunday. Rice said “I think it has to be in the back of their heads because what we did last year was uncommon for that kind of team.” However, LB Ray Lewis said “every year is a new year and every game is a new game.” He added “I don’t think they’re going back that far to think about it that much. I just think the bottom line for them is to try to get a win, just like for us this week is to try to get a win.”
In a conference call with members of the Charm City media, Pats DT Vince Wilfork probably summed up his team’s feelings about Sunday’s game by saying the Ravens “are one of the best teams in the NFL right now and we’ve got our hands full.”
“BRADY RULE” NOT A CONCERN: The Ravens were 27-21 losers to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium last October, but the game was not without controversy. LB Terrell Suggs and DT Haloti Ngata were each flagged for questionable hits on New England QB Tom Brady, which lead many fans and analysts to claim NFL officials were working with some sort of “Tom Brady Rule.”
For their part, Ravens defenders seemed unconcerned about potentially beneficial treatment for the five time Pro Bowl QB.
“We don’t even think about that” said Lewis. “You can’t think playing this game, you’ve got to react. Whatever comes with it, comes with it. You just always hope the game is called fair.”
LB Jarret Johnson added “you can’t worry about it…you’ve just got to be more aware of your surroundings and you can’t be careless out there.” Johnson said he didn’t think Brady received preferential treatment, noting the league does “protect quarterbacks” and defensive players need to maintain control of their bodies when they’re in the area of QB’s.
HARBAUGH PAYS OFF A BET: Ravens coach John Harbaugh is the older brother of Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. When Stanford faced Oregon two Saturdays ago, Harbaugh was involved in wagers with two members of the Ravens roster.
Former Ducks defensive standout Ngata made a cash bet with Harbaugh, the terms of the bet went undisclosed. Rookie TE Ed Dickson (a fellow Oregon alum) instead made a wager that involved the loser having to don gear from the winner’s team during practice. Because Oregon rallied for a 52-31 win over the Cardinal, Harbaugh was forced to pay off the bet Wednesday…
…if you can’t tell, Harbaugh is wearing a t-shirt that says “I love my Ducks” and has a duck whistle around his neck.
“There are ramifications for losses that ring all the way across from coast to coast” said Harbaugh. “I’ve got to give the Ducks their due, they’ve got a heck of a club.” Harbaugh also joked that the Cardinals and Ducks could meet again in the BCS Championship Game.
PRACTICE NOTES: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), OT Jared Gaither (back) and LB Tavares Gooden (back) did not practice Wednesday, all have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Also missing practice Wednesday was Ngata, who injured his knee on the Ravens’ failed 4th and goal play from the 1 yard line during the first quarter of their Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos. DE Paul Kruger (knee), FB Le’Ron McClain (shoulder/knee), Rice (knee) and CB Josh Wilson (hamstring) all did not participate in practice Wednesday either. Only Kruger is a known risk to miss Sunday’s game as of now.
LB Edgar Jones (thigh) and LB Jameel McClain (knee) were both listed as limited in practice Wednesday. S Tom Zbikowski had his ribs wrapped following Sunday’s win over the Broncos-but was not listed on the Injury Report.
Ravens majority owner Steve Bisciotti and former majority owner Art Modell were each spectators for practice Wednesday.
For the Patriots, RB Fred Taylor (toe) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Brady and CB Terrence Wheatley (foot) were both listed as full participants in practice. No other Patriots were listed on the injury report.
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Rice, Lewis, Johnson, QB Joe Flacco, CB Fabian Washington and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……New OL Scott Kooistra is scheduled to join Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Thursday at 7:15am on AM1570 WNST……Suggs confirmed WNST.net’s Tuesday night report that he had not accepted money or inappropriate benefits from agent Gary Wichard or former Wichard associate Josh Luchs while in college at Arizona State. Suggs simply told Baltimore reporters “Gary didn’t give me sh*t.” Luchs said he and Wichard did not give money or benefits to former client/Ravens TE Todd Heap during his Sun Devils career either……The Ravens return to the practice field Thursday; coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media following practice