OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (6-2) returned to work Tuesday at 1 Winning Drive, holding their final open practice before a Thursday Night Football showdown with the Atlanta Falcons (6-2) at the Georgia Dome.
If the Ravens are to beat their NFC South opponent Thursday night, they will likely need to improve their performance offensively in the red zone. In their Week 9 win over the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens scored just one touchdown despite getting inside the Fins’ 20 yard line seven times.
“That’s something we’ve got to get corrected” said RB Ray Rice. “In the past we’ve been physical down there. This year, we’ve just got to do a better job of doing the little things execution-wise. We’re just trying to get down there and relish our opportunities down there.”
Three of the six trips to the red zone that failed to end with touchdowns were hurt by Ravens penalties. “We hurt ourselves with penalties” said QB Joe Flacco. “I think that was the main reason. We kinda got ourselves out of sync a little bit. That can’t happen if we’re going to continue to beat good teams.”
The Ravens are scoring touchdowns on 42.8% of their offensive possessions in the red zone, down from 51.5% last year. The Ravens rank 24th in the NFL in red zone touchdown efficiency.
RICE CLARIFIES INCIDENT: Before discussing football, Rice took a few moments to clarify a story that had been popularly passed around the internet Tuesday morning.
Rice confirmed reports that he was pulled over Monday and given a warning due to his car’s window tint. Rice however clarified that that he did not avoid a ticket by offering the officer an autograph, but instead offered the autograph to the officer after he had already been issued the warning.
“Bad decision by me warning it on Twitter” said Rice. “I don’t want to make it seem like I’m getting any fair treatment.”
PRACTICE REPORT: Tom Zbikowski (foot) was not on the practice field again Tuesday, leaving him in serious jeopardy of missing Thursday night’s game. Zbikowski has not played since suffering a bruised heel in the Ravens’ Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Zbikowski would “probably not” play Thursday night.
All other Ravens were on the practice field Tuesday and are expected to be available for Thursday night’s game. RB Matt Lawrence practiced again Tuesday but remains on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He will not be available Thursday unless activated to the active roster. The Ravens have three weeks to activate Lawrence and are not expected to do so before the Falcons game.
The Falcons’ injury report was the same as Monday, with the only exception being QB Chris Redman (non-injury), who returned to practice. C Todd McClure (knee), LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee) and WR Roddy White (knee) did not participate in practice for a second straight day. WR Brian Finneran (knee/ribs), LB Curtis Lofton (knee), RB Jason Snelling (knee) and CB Brian Williams (hamstring) were all limited for a second straight day.
NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Rice and DT Haloti Ngata and CB Josh Wilson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……DE Paul Kruger is scheduled to join Drew Forrester at 7:15am Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, Falcons FB (and former Raven) Ovie Mughelli is scheduled to join Rex Snider at 5:05pm Wednesday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST……The weather will have no impact with Thursday night’s game being played inside the Dome, but tailgaters traveling to Atlanta from Charm City can expect 71 degrees and plenty of sun according to Weather.com/The Weather Channel……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Wednesday morning before traveling to Atlanta Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday’s walkthough will be closed to the media