OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (6-3) returned to work Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s contest with the Carolina Panthers (1-8) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Despite the Panthers’ 1-8 record, the Ravens expect their NFC South opponent to be ready Sunday.
“No matter who you’re playing or what their record is, it’s still the National Football League” said LB Ray Lewis. “Every team is going to come out and give you 100%, no matter who it is.” Lewis went on to add “if you’ve watched enough of their games, they’ve been in every ballgame. They’re fighting to the end. They are a very very talented team.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh said he was particularly impressed with Carolina’s rushing attack. “They run the ball as well as anyone in the (NFL). Offensive line, combination blocks, the gap schene combination blocks where the linemen are working together to knock a defensive lineman off the ball into the backers and the zone schemes where they’re stepping outside to knock a defensive lineman off the ball into the backers-they probably do that better than anybody in the league right now.”
The Panthers were forced to start RB Mike Goodson in their Week 10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to injuries to RB’s DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton. The Panthers placed Williams on Injured Reserve (IR) Wednesday with a foot injury.
Ravens LB Jarret Johnson thinks Carolina’s running attack will be tough to start no matter which back plays.
“They’re all good. You see Williams and Stewart go down, and you’re like ‘great.’ (But) the other two dudes (Sutton and Goodson) are freaking awesome. These guys are studs, we were really surprised at just how talented these two backups are.”
RAVENS LEANING ON CANTWELL: Ravens Practice Squad QB Hunter Cantwell is particularly familiar with the Panthers.
Cantwell spent the majority of the 2009 season on the Panthers’ practice squad before being promoted to their active roster when then starting QB Jake Delhomme was placed on IR last December. Cantwell spent all of Training Camp with the Panthers this season before being signed by the Ravens following final cuts. Cantwell is in his 2nd NFL season out of Louisville, he was not selected in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Harbaugh said the team “met with (Cantwell) long and hard Monday and Tuesday” in preparation for Sunday’s game. He admitted “guys don’t remember as much sometimes as you’d like for them to. He didn’t bring a notebook. We asked about that.”
Cantwell told reporters Wednesday “I was there a year and a half and the coaches had me come in and watch film with them and talk about some of the things I had seen when I was there. It’s funny how nothing is hidden in this league.” He went on to add “talking to Harbaugh and (Offensive Coordinator Cam) Cameron even before I had said a word out of my mouth, they had pretty much already had on paper everything I could tell them. That’s a testament to them and how well they prepare and get this team prepared. I wanted to do my part to help. The coaches already had it down.”
PRACTICE REPORT: S Tom Zbikowski (foot) did not participate during the open portion of Ravens practice Wednesday. Zbikowski has not practiced since suffering a bruised heel in the team’s Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots. Zbikowski is not expected to be available Sunday.
FB Le’Ron McClain and TE Todd Heap (chest) did not appear as though they had participated in contact drills Wednesday, neither is a particular concern. While Heap was listed as a limited participant, McClain was not listed on the injury report. CB Fabian Washington and LB Tavares Gooden (head) were also listed as limited participants.
The Panthers had a number of players listed on their injury report. LB Jon Beason (knee), QB Jimmy Clausen (concussion), S Marcuas Hudson (ankle), WR Brandon LaFell (concussion), OT Travelle Wharton (toe), Stewart (concussion) and Sutton (ankle) all did not participate in practice Wednesday.
DE Greg Hardy (concussion), LB Nic Harris (knee) and DE Charles Johnson (hip) were all limited participants.
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Johnson, Lewis, QB Joe Flacco, WR Derrick Mason and CB Josh Wilson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……CBS Color Analyst Solomon Wilcots joined Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to preview Sunday’s game, that chat can also be heard in the Audio Vault. Wilcots and Kevin Harlan will call Sunday’s game……WR/KR David Reed is scheduled to join Rex Snider at 5pm on “The Afternoon Drive” Wednesday on AM1570 WNST, LB Sergio Kinle (Reserve/Non-Football Injury) is scheduled to join Forrester Thursday morning at 7:10……The Ravens will return to practice Thursday, coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media following practice, as well as RB Ray Rice