OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (6-3) returned to the practice field Thursday, continuing preparations for Sunday’s showdown with the Carolina Panthers (1-8) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Panthers coach John Fox ended speculation today by confirming that the team will start veteran QB Brian St. Pierre in Sunday’s game. St. Pierre was with the Ravens during the 2005 season, Sunday will mark the first career NFL start for the 8th year QB out of Boston College.
Ravens Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison said he had some familiarity with St. Pierre from his time at BC. Despite St. Pierre’s lack of experience, Mattison said “that’s their quarterback. He’s an NFL quarterback. We have to get after him.”
St. Pierre has thrown just five passes in his NFL career, including one touchdown last season while with the Arizona Cardinals. He was selected to start ahead of rookie Tony Pike; as Jimmy Clausen will miss Sunday’s game due to a concussion suffered in the team’s Week 10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Matt Moore began the season as the team’s starting QB, but he was placed on Injured Reserve (IR) on November 8 with a shoulder injury.
While Mattison was addressing the media Thursday, Ravens LB Terrell Suggs was lingering nearby. Mattison asked the former Pro Bowl LB what he knew about St. Pierre, to which Suggs responded “I know how to get after his ass.”
ROSBURG STICKING WITH DAVID REED: Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg confirmed Thursday that WR David Reed would remain the team’s kick returner moving forward.
“I think David Reed has grown every week that we’ve put him back there” said Rosburg. “You see things in the returns that you like to see. This last week I saw him split the middle on one of our returns. If we were able to get the safety, he might have made a big play.”
Rosburg was not as forthcoming with information about who would return punts moving forward. “We’ll find out Sunday” said Rosburg.
Rosburg confirmed that WR Donte’ Stallworth, CB Lardarius Webb and S Tom Zbikowski are all part of the punt return picture. Zbikowski has not played since suffering a bruised heel in the Ravens’ Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough.
Rosburg was clearly frustrated with Webb losing a fumble in the Ravens’ Week 10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
“The first priority we have whenever we’re going out there in the return game is to give our offense the ball” said Rosburg. “It’s something we’ve been working on. We have a high priority in ball security.”
PRACTICE REPORT: S Tom Zbikowski (foot) was again the only Ravens player missing from the open portion of practice Thursday. Zbikowski is not expected to be available for Sunday’s game.
OT Marshal Yanda missed practice Thursday, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron later confirmed Yanda missed practice because his wife was in labor with their first child. Yanda is expected to play Sunday.
CB Fabian Washington (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. TE Todd Heap (chest) was limited for a second straight day, LB Tavares Gooden (head) was a full participant after being limited Wednesday.
The Panthers again had a long list of players who did not participate in practice Thursday. Clausen (concussion), S Marcuas Hudson (ankle), DE Charles Johnson (hip), WR Brandon LaFell (concussion), RB Jonathan Stewart (concussion), RB Tyrell Sutton (ankle) and OT Travelle Wharton (toe) were all held out of practice.
LB Jon Beason (knee) was a limited participant Thursday after missing practice Wednesday. DE Greg Hardy (concussion) and LB Nic Harris (knee) were limited participants for a second straight day.
NOTES: Hear from Cameron, Mattison, Rosburg, David Reed and RB Ray Rice NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Ravens LB Sergio Kingle (Reserve Non-Injury) joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well. LB Prescott Burgess is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 7:30am, David Reed is scheduled to join Rex Snider Thursday at 5:45pm on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST…..The Ravens will hold their final open practice of the week Friday, Head Coach John Harbaugh is scheduled to address the media following Friday’s practice……Al Riveron’s crew will officiate Sunday’s game