7:30- INJURY REPORT- Ravens:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE:
C Matt Birk (neck)
TE Todd Heap (chest)
RB Matt Lawrence (knee)
LB Terrell Suggs (knee)
DT Haloti Ngata (ankle)
QB Joe Flacco (knee)
LB Tavares Gooden (head)
LB Jarret Johnson (shoulder)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE:
WR Hank Baskett (illness)
DB Antoine Bethea (foot)
OT Dan Fedrkeil (concussion)
DT Eric Foster (back)
DB Aaron Francisco (ankle)
DE Dwight Freeney (not injury related)
WR Pierre Garcon (ankle)
WR Anthony Gonzalez (knee)
DB Kelvin Hayden (knee)
TE Gijon Robinson (concussion)
LS Justin Snow (elbow)
QB Jim Sorgi (right shoulder)
K Adam Vinatieri (right knee)
5:15-The Ravens have just announced that they have added DB Marcus Paschal to their practice squad, after KJ Gerard was promoted to the active roster. Paschal is 6’0″, 201 pounds; and is in his 2nd year out of Iowa.
3:03-Other things heard around the complex today worth passing along….
-John Harbaugh and Derrick Mason each implored the fans at M&T Bank Stadium to be brutally loud Sunday afternoon to try to distract Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis offense.
-Ray Lewis pointed out that the pre-snap motions he and Manning make are sometimes just “a bunch of bologna”, and part of the chess match between the players.
-Joe Flacco pointed out that he still doesn’t “have all movement” in his foot stemming from the ankle injury he suffered in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings. He followed that up by saying “but it isn’t affecting me.”
-John Harbaugh appeared to support Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th and 2 Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium; saying the “odds were probably” with the Pats’ coach.
-There was plenty of praise going around for the Colts. Lewis said they were “probably the best team in football.” He added individual praise for Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark-who he thinks is “probably the most important piece” the Colts have offensively besides Reggie Wayne. Harbaugh said Dwight Freeney is “tremendously relentless”, but Flacco said he has “confidence” in the ability of Jared Gaither and Michael Oher to protect him.
2:56-KJ Gerard will be immediately expected to step in for Haruki Nakamura with Nakamura out for the season due to a broken ankle suffered on the opening kickoff Monday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
For those who aren’t familiar with Gerard, he is a 6’1″ rookie UFA out of Northern Arizona who has impressed this organization since arriving for his first minicamp in the spring. He has worked with the special teams units, and there shouldn’t be a great drop-off, although Nakamura is obviously a veteran who has carved out a nice niche on this football team. He used to have really fun hair…..
…..but has since cut it off. The move opens up a spot on the practice squad, John Harbaugh mentioned the team had worked out a few safeties this morning.
2:46-Addressing the loss of Terrell Suggs…..
-Harbaugh confirmed T-Sizzle would miss Sunday’s game due to a “sprained ligament” in his knee stemming from the hit he took from Brady Quinn after Chris Carr’s interception Monday night. Suggs is expected to miss more time, but no one in the organization will confirm anything beyond Sunday. The head coach said Suggs will have to heal “on his own”, and that there was no procedure to help the healing process.
-Harbaugh added that Suggs’ injury provided an “opportunity” for other players, especially Paul Kruger-who is slated to start in Suggs’ stead after filling in for him previously during Training Camp. He also said the injury could provide an opportunity to Antwan Barnes. Harbaugh said that Kruger-who has been active for just 2 games all season-is “still learning nuances” of defense at the NFL level. Ray Lewis reminded the media that the team has a “next man up” mentality, and Kruger “does have to step up.”
-Harbaugh wouldn’t dive too deep into the issue of whether or not Brady Quinn’s hit was a cheap shot-only to say that the hit was “disappointing.” Ray Lewis stood by the frustrated comments he made Monday night, adding that the hit wasn’t “good football.” Upon learning that Brady Quinn had been fined “a good amount” by the NFL for the hit, #52 was quick to remind that there is “no dollar amount” that can be placed on losing the team’s best pass rusher.
2:22-Now the elephant in the room…..the return of Matt Stover.
-Harbaugh said the decision to not bring Matt Stover back had nothing to do with having to carry two kickers, and that the team is “not opposed to carrying two kickers (even) now.” He said the Ravens were just “unable to get” Stover signed. He added “if we could have had Matt here, we would have had Matt here.”
Clearly these comments only lead to more questions regarding what happened between Stover and the Ravens in the offseason. I have heard a couple different things from a few people around the organization, and they vary so much that I don’t really want to speculate on them too much. It does appear as though the organization at least had SOME interest in retaining Matt Stover-but the extent of that interest is not really known. Also, the team DID have the option to go with Stover right up until Adam Vinatieri was injured and Stover signed in Indy. Harbaugh was willing to admit that he’d rather have Stover kicking for him Sunday than against him; and the only thing that IS clear is that the decision to go with Hauschka was a failure; despite him beating out Graham Gano in Training Camp.
-John Harbaugh admitted that “it will be strange” to see Stover on the opposing sideline Sunday; but added that “it will be great too.” Derrick Mason said “it’ll be weird” to see Stover in Blue and White, but that Sunday will be a “special experience” for the former Ravens kicker. Mason himself knows about that having had the chance to return to return to Nashville after playing the bulk of his career with the Titans. Ray Lewis chimed in to add that it will be “weird” to play against Stover, and that his former teammate is “one of the better men I’ve been around in my life” and “just a class guy.”
2:14-Okay, let’s dive into these things a bit more. Starting with the decision that was made at kicker:
-John Harbaugh said the Ravens chose Billy Cundiff over Mike Nugent mostly because of “kickoffs.” Harbaugh saw Cundiff up close and personal when the Browns visited Baltimore in Week 3; and Cundiff booted a kickoff about 9 yards deep into the endzone. John added that the two kickers were “really close.” The kickoff situation was not an area where the Ravens were disappointed in Steve Hauschka, as a few people in the organization reminded me that were happy with the hang time Hauschka got on kickoffs, and believed it was part of the reason why the Ravens had done a good job of containing dangerous return men like Eddie Royal, Darren Sproles, Joshua Cribbs and Percy Harvin.
-Harbaugh believes Hauschka was “just not ready yet” to kick at this level, he didn’t have what it takes mentally. Harbs said it is “usually a process” for young kickers to adapt at this level, he mentioned that David Akers had been cut by 3 teams before catching on with the Eagles and becoming one of the better kickers of the last 20 years. Harbaugh certainly got to know Akers well while he was Special Teams coordinator in Philadelphia. Derrick Mason chimed in with support for Hauschka, adding “I enjoyed having Steve here. One player in particular doesn’t win or lose games.”
-Billy Cundiff said he got the call around 2pm Pacific time yesterday, and immediately headed towards Baltimore from Phoenix. He had actually gone back to school at Arizona State in recent years-getting a MBA and was working in an accounting firm while waiting for his next shot in the NFL. He said that as far as replacing Hauschka (and Matt Stover) is concerned; “the NFL is a replacement league.” He admitted to having watched some of the MNF game against the Browns knowing there was a chance he could end up with the Ravens. He would have watched more, but his young daughter was taking his attention.
1:05-Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:
Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
LB Ray Lewis
CB Domonique Foxworth
K Billy Cundiff
Additionally, Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta joined Drew Forrester on “The Comcast Morning Show” this morning at 7am. You can hear from him in the Audio Vault as well.
The Ravens have also altered their practice schedule following the Monday Night Football game in Cleveland. They will not practice until 4pm today; essentially allowing for an additional “half day” to recover from the game against the Browns. This could be helpful for guys like Haloti Ngata (ankle), Tavares Gooden (concussion) and Todd Heap (chest) especially.
12:42-Here’s a rundown of what’s happened today:
-Billy Cundiff has been signed as the new kicker.
-Haruki Nakamura has been placed on IR (broken ankle); rookie KJ Gerard has been signed to the active roster from the practice squad
-Terrell Suggs is OUT for Sunday (at least)
-Matt “Jack Hunter” Lawrence missed Monday night’s game with a “knee issue”, there is no timetable for his return
Back to elaborate shortly…..
10:50-We are hearing rumblings that Cundiff is the kicker-via the Twitter account of his representation. Thanks to Aaron Wilson for the tip.
10:46-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Baltimore Ravens begin preparation for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium. We are scheduled to hear from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and others today; and we will hope to hear from a new kicker-Mike Nugent or Billy Cundiff is expected to be named as Steve Hauschka’s replacement today.
The Colts are making Jim Caldwell and Peyton Manning available via conference call, although most reporters would have preferred to talk to Matt Stover.
Remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates from today’s availability.