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Ravens part ways with veteran guard Williams

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Ravens part ways with veteran guard Williams

Posted on 08 March 2013 by Luke Jones

In a move considered inevitable since the end of their Super Bowl championship run, the Ravens have decided to part ways with veteran guard Bobbie Williams.

Expected to either retire or be released, Williams officially saw his contract terminated on Friday afternoon. The move clears $1.2 million in salary cap space for the Ravens before the start of free agency on Tuesday.

“We were fortunate to have a man like Bobbie Williams on the Ravens last season,” general Ozzie Newsome said in a team statement. “His contributions and significance to the team went far beyond his play on the field – and he responded on the field every time we called him. Bobbie is first-class in every way.”

Signed in early June to a two-year, $2.925 million contract that included an $800,000 signing bonus, Williams bolstered the Ravens’ depth at an uncertain left guard position, but the 36-year-old started only six games as he split time with younger options Ramon Harewood and Jah Reid during the regular season. His fate was all but sealed in the postseason when the Ravens placed Reid on season-ending injured reserve and elected to move rookie Kelechi Osemele to left guard instead of putting Williams back in the starting lineup.

He spent most of training camp as the starting left guard, but durability was a concern as Williams was coming back from a broken ankle suffered late in the 2011 season. Scheduled to make $1.2 million in base salary for the 2013 season, the prorated amount of $400,000 for his original signing bonus will count against the Ravens’ salary cap in dead money.

Williams appeared in 13 regular-season games and was active for all four postseason games as the longtime member of the Cincinnnati Bengals finally tasted Super Bowl glory in his 13th professional season.

“Bobbie was a bigger part of the puzzle to win the Super Bowl than most people know,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “This is an outstanding person, and we loved having him on the Ravens. His maturity, leadership, practice habits and the way he played were all impressive for us.”

Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2001 draft, Williams spent the bulk of his career in Cincinnati, playing eight seasons there. Thought of so highly by the Bengals organization, Williams was allowed to work out and rehabilitate his surgically-repaired ankle at Cincinnati’s training facility last spring despite the fact that his contract had already expired at the end of the 2011 season.

Williams is the second offensive lineman to depart from the Ravens this offseason, joining retiring starting center Matt Birk.

 

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Difficult decisions still loom for Ravens after locking up Flacco

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Difficult decisions still loom for Ravens after locking up Flacco

Posted on 02 March 2013 by Luke Jones

General manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office had to wake up smiling the morning after reaching an agreement in principle with Joe Flacco on a six-year, $120.6 million contract that’s expected to be finalized Monday.

The move not only locks up the franchise quarterback for the long haul, but it’s also expected to provide short-term relief to a tight salary cap that would have had a difficult time absorbing a minimum of $14.9 million with the non-exclusive franchise tag. All the terms of the record-setting contract have yet to be released, but the 2013 cap number is just $7 million, according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora.

Estimated to have roughly $18 million in cap space before accounting for their quarterback or any of their unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive-rights free agents, the Ravens will now have some space to maneuver but not enough to change the entire landscape of their offseason. Moderation will be the key as Newsome will look to sign a couple of his own unrestricted free agents, make wise decisions on his seven restricted free agents, and then turn toward the open market to explore some shrewd signings.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect as the Ravens address their remaining free agents:

No tag this year

The first order of business will be the potential use of the franchise tag as teams have until Monday at 4 p.m. to designate a player if they so desire. Many have begun asking if Newsome and the Ravens will now use the tag on outside linebacker Paul Kruger or inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but we received a preliminary answer to that query just a few days after the Super Bowl.

“If we get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player,” said Newsome as he appealed to owner Steve Bisciotti with a humorous tone. “We will not do that. You are OK with that, right?”

The 2013 tag numbers released by the NFL on Friday suggest that stance isn’t changing as the Ravens would be looking at a $9.6 million cost at the linebacker position. As it relates to Kruger, the pass rusher could contest that he should be considered a defensive end, which commands an $11.175 million tag number for the 2013 season.

Those price tags are far too expensive for Kruger or Ellerbe as the Ravens would be looking at massive cuts to accommodate the franchise tag, regardless of what Flacco’s 2013 cap number ultimately is.

Cuts still coming

We’ve spent plenty of time discussing which veterans might be on the chopping block due to cap constraints and the Ravens will still pull the trigger on a few. It just won’t be the mass exodus that was feared if Flacco had received either of the franchise tag options.

Offensive lineman Bobbie Williams is the easiest decision as the Ravens will clear $1.2 million from their cap by releasing the 36-year-old lineman. Linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo ($806,000 in savings) and Jameel McClain ($1.8 million saved) are also likely to go, with McClain becoming far more expendable if the Ravens can sign Dannell Ellerbe to a long-term deal before he hits the open market.

It would be an unpopular decision, but fullback Vonta Leach remains an intriguing option to release as it would save $3 million in cap space. Leach is tremendous at what he does as the best pure fullback in the NFL, but the Ravens are clearly moving toward a pass-heavy attack after committing the richest contract in league history to their quarterback.

The 31-year-old Leach took part in just 39.7 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps in the postseason, so can you justify devoting that big of a cap number to the fullback with other pressing needs at left tackle and all over the defense? Should they part ways with Leach, tight end Ed Dickson could serve in more of an H-back capacity and the Ravens could look to a younger, cheaper option coming out of college.

The Flacco contract means wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones are very likely to be safe, but the Ravens could explore reasonable contract extensions for both as they enter the final years of their respective contracts, thus lowering their cap numbers for 2013. This is especially true for Boldin, who carries a $7.5 million number for the upcoming season and proved himself worthy of a couple more years in Baltimore after an outstanding postseason.

Prioritizing unrestricted free agents

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Sizing up the Ravens’ possible salary cap cuts

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Sizing up the Ravens’ possible salary cap cuts

Posted on 14 February 2013 by Luke Jones

Unless you’ve been hibernating since the glory of Super Bowl XLVII, you’re well aware of the Ravens’ salary cap woes and how critical the negotiations with quarterback Joe Flacco will be between now and March 4.

The entire offseason will hinge on whether the sides will come to an agreement on a long-term contract by that date or if the Ravens will need to use the franchise tag on their starting quarterback. Further complicating the matter would be the decision to use the $14.6 million non-exclusive tag — leaving Flacco able to negotiate with other teams — or the exclusive tag that will cost somewhere around $20 million but would take him off the market entirely.

Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations before the start of the new league year on March 12, the Ravens are likely to make at least a couple cuts in hopes of signing some of their unrestricted free agents. However, the reality of using the franchise tag would mean multiple changes simply to fit Flacco under the salary cap as Baltimore is estimated by NFL.com to be $12.9 million under the cap before addressing the signal-caller or any of its restricted free agents or exclusive rights players.

It’s important to remember the rule of 51 as the top 51 cap numbers on the roster count against the salary cap. The savings from any released player is offset in part by an additional player making it into the top 51 from the bottom of the list. For example, if a released player carrying a $3 million cap number is replaced in the top 51 by another player carrying a $405,000 cap number, the end result is a $2.595 million savings on the salary cap.

Here’s how I’d rank the list of possible candidates to be cut for cap purposes (with the cap savings noted in parentheses), in order from most likely to least likely:

1. Bobbie Williams ($1.2 million)
Skinny: The offensive lineman was relegated to reserve duties in favor of Jah Reid midway through the season and will either retire or be released. At 36, Williams will need to find a home elsewhere to continue his career, but after finally winning a Super Bowl after years in Cincinnati, he would be picking an ideal time to walk away from the game. The Ravens will go younger and cheaper to fill his reserve role in their group of offensive linemen.

2. Matt Birk ($2.05 million)
Skinny: When Birk signed a three-year contract last offseason, it was structured with an understanding of it essentially being a one-year deal as the cap figures grow substantially over the last two years of the deal. The Ravens drafted Delaware product Gino Gradkowski in the fourth round last April to be the heir apparent to Birk at the center position, so all signs point to him taking over for the 2013 season. The 36-year-old Birk is contemplating retirement and there remains a possibility the Ravens decide to keep Birk — who played very well down the stretch — for one more season if they can sign Flacco to a long-term deal in time, but most signs point to the veteran’s days being finished in Baltimore.

3. Vonta Leach ($3 million)
Skinny: The Pro Bowl fullback has done everything the Ravens could have possibly expected after signing him two summers ago, but his high cap number makes him a prime candidate to be cut considering his position just isn’t a big enough priority with the offense continuing to move toward the passing game. The Ravens would certainly miss Leach’s punishing blocking ability, but they could shift tight end Ed Dickson to more of an H-back position while also adding a younger, cheaper fullback coming out of college. With other positions to address and the lack of cap room, Baltimore just can’t justify paying a fullback so much money.

4. Brendon Ayanbadejo ($806,000)
Skinny: His lower number is the reason why the reserve linebacker isn’t ranked higher on the list, but Ayanbadejo would easily be expendable given his age and role on the team. The defense depended on him less in passing situations this season and the 36-year-old also had some lapses on special teams down the stretch. Saving less than $1 million on the cap doesn’t do much, but parting ways with the former Pro Bowl special-teams player would seem like a logical move to make with minimal impact on the makeup of the team if you need to clear money from the cap.

5. Jameel McClain ($1.8 million)
Skinny: If you could look into the crystal ball and guarantee the Ravens would re-sign fellow inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, it would be a no-brainer to part ways with McClain, who missed the end of the season after suffering a spinal cord contusion in early December. However, considering the Ravens are losing the retiring Ray Lewis and potentially Ellerbe, general manger Ozzie Newsome would be hesitant to part ways with another inside linebacker. McClain is solid against the run, but his limitations in pass coverage make him an expendable player if the Ravens are confident they can lock up Ellerbe, which obviously isn’t a sure thing at this point.

6. Jacoby Jones ($4 million)
Skinny: The return specialist and No. 3 receiver carries a large cap number, so his status will be in jeopardy if the Ravens need to use the franchise tag on Flacco. His speed on the outside was a major asset in taking pressure off fellow speed receiver Torrey Smith and opening the intermediate portion of the field to Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, but he is still a part-time player offensively. You’d hate to lose Jones’ tremendous return ability, so there’s a good chance the Ravens would explore a contract extension to lower his cap figure and keep him for a few more years before potentially making the difficult decision to release him. Jones is owed a $1 million roster bonus in March, so that could complicate the situation further.

7. Anquan Boldin ($6 million)
Skinny: The wide receiver’s appearance on this list is based strictly on his cap number and how far that space would go in curing the Ravens’ problems if it comes down to the franchise tag for Flacco. His quarterback would be one of the first to say he wants Boldin to remain in Baltimore, so it’s likely Newsome will pursue an extension with the 32-year-old to reduce the 2013 cap number before resorting to a release. Boldin has already said he’d retire if the Ravens cut him, so perhaps the general manager could remind him of that in trying to strike a cap-friendly deal. The departure of Jones would hurt, but parting ways with Boldin would almost appear to be crippling in the short term as there is no logical replacement on the roster to count on with the disappointing development of Tandon Doss.

 

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Harbaugh silent on status of Lewis — and everyone else — for Sunday

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Harbaugh silent on status of Lewis — and everyone else — for Sunday

Posted on 31 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have played their cards close to the vest when it comes to their plans for veteran linebacker Ray Lewis and his improbable comeback.

If Monday was any indication, we should expect much of the same this week as they turn their sights toward a wild-card meeting with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Lewis began practicing on Dec. 5 and was moved from injured reserve to the 53-man roster last week but hasn’t played in a game since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14.

Asked what it would take for Lewis to finally return to game action this Sunday, Harbaugh offered no indication whether he expected the 37-year-old to play against Indianapolis. However, it’s difficult to envision the 17th-year linebacker not giving it a go with Sunday potentially being his last game in Baltimore.

“It will take me not putting his name on a piece of paper for the [inactives], and you will find out an hour-and-a-half before the game whether or not that takes place,” Harbaugh said. “It’s all going to be a game-time decision as far as anybody knows. That’s where we’re at. This is the playoffs.”

The Ravens have been more tight-lipped than usual in recent weeks regarding their slew of injuries, and it will only get worse as Harbaugh tries to keep their plans under wraps.

Sixteen players were listed on last week’s injury report and six starters were ruled inactive for the final regular-season game.

“We’re not talking about injuries, we’re not talking about activations,” Harbaugh said. “We really don’t care what you or anybody else thinks about that — as much as we love you — and we’re getting ready to play a football game.

Critics question whether Harbaugh’s tactics — which are, in fairness, becoming more common across the league — really provide any tangible advantage over opponents, but the Baltimore coach was unconcerned with anyone questioning him on Monday.

“I don’t think it really matters,” said Harbaugh when asked if the team truly benefited from hiding injury information. “I think that’s what we’re doing.”

No more shenanigans

Asked to revisit a pair of frustration penalties committed against Bengals rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Harbaugh offered an understanding tact but a matter-of-fact stance in responding to fouls committed by running back Ray Rice and guard Bobbie Williams.

The Ravens committed 10 for 102 yards in Week 17 and finished 31st in the league with 111 penalties this season.

“We don’t need any of that. We don’t need any penalties,” Harbaugh said. “We certainly don’t need any post-snap shenanigans. I don’t care what they do. I don’t care what they say. We don’t need a flag thrown. [We need to] be smart enough to make sure the flag is thrown on the other guy. It’s just that simple.”

In the first quarter, Rice was flagged for unnecessary roughness after pushing Burfict to the ground following a chop block and said after the game the rookie linebacker talked trash throughout the day.

“Ray was trying to finish a block. I thought it was more of an aggressive foul than anything else,” Harbaugh said. “I would counsel him not to do that in the future, but he felt like the play was still on. He didn’t know the play was over; he thought he was getting up to go rush the passer. Not that we excuse that. We don’t want any personal foul penalties.”

Williams’ infraction occurred in the second quarter when he retaliated after Burfict kicked him, according to the veteran offensive lineman. It was an uncharacteristic moment for the 36-year-old, who is regarded as one of the nicest guys in the Baltimore locker room.

“There wasn’t much there, but there was enough to be called, obviously, because it was called,” Harbaugh said. “We counseled him not to get involved in any of that.”

Black Monday

With seven head coaches receiving their walking papers on what’s become the annual “Black Monday” around the NFL, Harbaugh saw his good friend and mentor Andy Reid join the list of dismissed after 14 seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Harbaugh and Reid spent nine years together as the former served as the Eagles’ special teams coordinator for eight seasons and secondary coach in 2007 before being hired to become the third head coach in the history of the Ravens on Jan. 18, 2008.

Joining Reid on the unemployment line were Chicago’s Lovie Smith, San Diego’s Norv Turner, Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt, Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur, Kansas City’s Romeo Crennel, and Buffalo’s Chan Gailey.

“The toughest thing is on the families,” Harbaugh said. “As coaches, we all understand the nature of the business. Players, too, understand the nature of it. That’s part of the challenge, but it’s hard on families. It’s hard on kids who have to change schools, pick up and move and start in other cities and things like that. That’s what you feel for the most, and that’s kind of where your prayers go out towards.”

Of the seven coaches fired on the day after the conclusion of the 2012 regular season, three were hired — and have now been dismissed already — after Harbaugh took the Baltimore coaching job.

DeCosta staying put

In what should come as no surprise, teams have already contacted the Ravens with requests to interview assistant general manager Eric DeCosta regarding potential openings.

However, the longtime Ravens executive isn’t going anywhere. DeCosta was awarded a long-term, high-priced contract last year and is the heir apparent to general manager Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. The Ravens reaffirmed that reality once again on Monday.

“I love being a part of the Ravens and plan to stay here and help them win championships,” DeCosta said in an official statement released by the Ravens. “I have no intentions of leaving this team.”

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Harbaugh feels “most comfortable” matching up against Steelers

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Harbaugh feels “most comfortable” matching up against Steelers

Posted on 12 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Most weeks, Monday Night Football is little more than background noise for John Harbaugh, but the Ravens coach said he’d be watching closely with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the national stage.

Using a coaching eye, Harbaugh received a live look at the Ravens’ arch nemesis before preparations continued for the first of two meetings with the AFC North adversary in a matchup many believe to be the NFL’s best rivalry.

“It’s the best week of the year, because it’s where we feel our most comfortable, probably,” Harbaugh said. “It’s where I feel the most comfortable and I think our players and coaches feel the same way, because it’s a defining type of a rivalry. It means so much to both teams. We like being in this week, we love playing these guys, we love the preparation for these guys. I’d say it’s the best week of the year — both [games].”

As is the case most seasons, the fate of the AFC North will likely come down to the two head-to-head meetings as the Ravens entered Week 10 with a one-game advantage over Pittsburgh in the division. The names have changed over the years, but the games remain a marquee attraction as Pittsburgh and Baltimore meet in a nationally televised prime-time game for the sixth straight year.

This season brings an interesting wrinkle as the Ravens and Steelers meet twice over the next three weeks, a decision that’s brought much criticism from each fan base who’d prefer to have more time between the games due to the physical toll they take on each team. Harbaugh admitted the timing of his team’s two meetings with the Steelers did grab his attention when the schedule was released in late April, but he appeared more than willing to embrace the challenge during his Monday press conference in Owings Mills.

“Really, there are always quirks in the schedule,” Harbaugh said. “Every team’s got them. That’s kind of a quirk for us. We play them and then sandwiched around a trip to San Diego. That will be a big challenge for us, but everybody’s got those challenges this year. That’s ours. We just have to deal with it and make it good.”

The Ravens have won two straight regular-season meetings at Heinz Field but suffered a playoff loss in Pittsburgh to end the 2010 season. With Baltimore experiencing struggles on the road this season, Sunday night’s performance will be very telling in explaining how serious a Super Bowl contender the Ravens really are at this point.

Counting two postseason games, the Ravens are 4-6 against Pittsburgh in the Harbaugh era. The 50-year-old coach hopes to continue his team’s recent success playing on the road in the bitter rivalry.

“If you love football, there’s no greater place to be,” Harbaugh said. “Playing there in that great stadium against that great organization, those games have always been great games. We’ve always felt like it’s a rivalry. We’ll continue to consider it to be a great rivalry.”

Changing of the (left) guard?

In preparing for Sunday’s showdown with the Steelers, the Ravens will be faced with a decision at the left guard position where second-year offensive lineman Jah Reid played well in place of veteran Bobbie Williams.

Taking Williams’ place on the third offensive series of the game, Reid played in 50 of the team’s 64 offensive snaps and received positive reviews after the 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. When asked whether Reid had supplanted Williams, who was limited in practice last week with a sore ankle, Harbaugh would not name a starter against the Steelers.

“I don’t know who will get the bulk of it, but we anticipate both of those guys playing in there,” Harbaugh said. “Jah’s got some versatility at some other positions, too. Of course, Bobbie can play the right guard as well, so it’s good to have some flexibility there.”

Reid excelled in run blocking, getting to the second level to spring running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on several positive runs. Drafted as an offensive tackle in the third round of last year’s draft, Reid has made the transition inside despite dealing with a calf injury for the better part of several months.

“A lot of good things and some other things that he can get better at,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a very physical player, he’s really athletic, he can bend, he can get his pads down. And that’s not easy to do for a guy his size. He played well. There were some pass protection technique issues that he had with pass-set things he’s got to continue to work on that he knows about. All in all, he played pretty well.”

Go, Jacoby, go

CONTINUE >>>

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Ravens-Raiders: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Raiders: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Returning to M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in nearly a month, the Ravens welcome the struggling Oakland Raiders to town as they try to continue their league-best 14-game winning streak at home.

The Ravens are 4-0 all-time against Oakland in Baltimore and own a 5-1 overall edge in the regular season series. Of course, Baltimore also defeated the Raiders in the AFC Championship to advance to Super Bowl XXXV during the 2000 season.

Despite being listed as questionable, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and starting guards Marshal Yanda and Bobbie Williams are active against Oakland. It will be interesting to see how limited Ngata might be after admitting earlier this week that knee and shoulder injuries are hindering his effectiveness.

With Ngata banged up and defensive end Pernell McPhee out for the second straight game, defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson and Bryan Hall are active and will play roles in the defensive line rotation.

As we learned on Friday, the Raiders will be without their top two running backs as Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both sidelined with high ankle sprains. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour is also out with knee and hamstring injuries.

Oakland will also be without Khalif Barnes, who is sidelined with a groin injury. Willie Smith has struggled immensely in his place, so the Ravens may try to line up rush linebacker Terrell Suggs on the opposite side to see if they can get a more favorable matchup in making Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer uncomfortable.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys and white pants while Oakland is dressed in white tops and silver pants.

Here are today’s inactives …

BALTIMORE
DE Pernell McPhee
OL Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
S Christian Thompson
CB Asa Jackson
RB Bobby Rainey
TE Billy Bajema

OAKLAND
RB Darren McFadden
RB Mike Goodson
DT Richard Seymour
QB Terrelle Pryor
OL Khalif Barnes
OL Lucas Nix
DE Jack Crawford

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live updates and analysis from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Ngata, Yanda, B. Williams listed as questionable against Raiders

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Ngata, Yanda, B. Williams listed as questionable against Raiders

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens ruled three starters questionable for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders after defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and guards Bobbie Williams and Marshal Yanda returned to the practice field on Friday.

As expected, defensive end Pernell McPhee has been ruled out after missing practices all week and missing last week’s game in Cleveland. He continues to recover from thigh and knee injuries.

Ngata, Williams, and Yanda worked on a limited basis after sitting out workouts on Wednesday and Thursday, improving their chances to see action as the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in nearly a month.

“They were out there today, so I do think it helped them,” Harbaugh said. “They got a little rest and got healed up a little bit.”

This marks the third straight game that Ngata has been listed as questionable after he was able to play against Houston in Week 7 and against the Browns last Sunday. The big defensive tackle decline an interview after Friday’s practice but admitted earlier this week that he’s been limited with knee and shoulder injuries.

Yanda deemed himself “great” after making it through Friday’s practice. He tweaked his knee and ankle in the 25-15 win over Cleveland.

“I just had to get a flow of things and tempo [practicing] and do it that way. I’ll be good to go.”

Williams said he expected to play Sunday but was taking his left ankle injury — the opposite of the one he had surgery on last year — day by day.

Safety Ed Reed practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Friday and was listed as probable for Sunday’s game despite dealing with shoulder and knee injuries.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders will be without their top two running backs against Baltimore as Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson were both ruled out with high ankle sprains. Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour was also ruled out with knee and hamstring injuries.

BALTIMORE
OUT: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), G Bobbie Williams (ankle), G Marshal Yanda (ankle)
PROBABLE: LB Josh Bynes (thigh), S Sean Considine (chest), LS Morgan Cox (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (finger), WR Jacoby Jones (toe), DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), T Michael Oher (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder/knee), CB Jimmy Smith (abs), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle)

OAKLAND
OUT: RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFaddden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: T Khalif Barnes (groin)
PROBABLE: T Willie Smith (knee), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), LB Miles Burris (elbow), LB Keenan Clayton (shoulder), DT Desmond Bryant (cardiac), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), DE David Tollefson (shoulder), CB Coye Francies (thumb), S Mike Mitchell (finger), S Matt Giordano (hamstring)

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Ngata, Yanda, B. Williams return to practice; Lewis visits Owings Mills facility

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens made final preparations for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, they received a special visitor to their Owings Mills facility as injured linebacker Ray Lewis greeted teammates and watched Friday’s practice.

Baltimore also saw three more starters return to practice as guards Marshal Yanda (knee/ankle) and Bobbie Williams (ankle) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee/shoulder) were all present for the portion of practice open to the media. All three had missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday, but it remains to be seen what their level of activity was and whether they made it through practice without any setbacks.

Safety Ed Reed (shoulder/knee) was also practicing for the second straight day as it appears there’s little question regarding his availability for Sunday’s game. He worked on a limited basis on Thursday.

Defensive end Pernell McPhee was absent for the third straight practice and now appears likely to miss his second straight game as he continues to recover from knee and thigh injuries.

As for Lewis, it remains to be seen whether he’ll address the media for the first time since suffering a torn triceps in his right arm in the Ravens’ 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 14. Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that Lewis isn’t expected back at the facility on a full-time basis for a while as he continues to rehab from surgery in his home state of Florida.

The 37-year-old was placed on injured reserve with the designation of potentially returning if he proves able to make a miraculous recovery in time for a postseason run.

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Reed returns to practice while Ngata, Yanda still sidelined

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Reed returns to practice while Ngata, Yanda still sidelined

Posted on 08 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens saw one Pro Bowl player return to practice Thursday but are still missing four other starters as they move closer to Sunday’s meeting with the Oakland Raiders in Baltimore.

Free safety Ed Reed was a limited participant a day after sitting out Wednesday in what was regarded as a day off as the safety nurses shoulder and knee injuries. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Pernell McPhee, and guards Bobbie Williams and Marshal Yanda sat out practice for the second straight day as questions regarding their availability against the Raiders now grows.

You have to begin wondering whether the Ravens are considering resting Ngata against the pass-happy Raiders with the thought of having the All-Pro defensive tackle in a better state of health when Baltimore travels to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been hampered by knee and shoulder injuries and struggled to make any significant impact in the Week 9 win in Cleveland.

Williams said Thursday he expected to play against the Raiders but also acknowledged they are taking it “day by day” with his injured left ankle, which now gives him a pair of bad ankles after the right one was operated on late last season as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Yanda is dealing with minor knee and ankle injuries, but it’s difficult envisioning him missing Sunday’s game if he’s able to return to the practice field on Friday. McPhee has remained noncommittal about his status for Week 10 after missing this past Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

Oakland was without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson for the second straight day as both continue to recover from high ankle sprains. It’s appearing more likely that Taiwan Jones will start at running back on Sunday.

Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour also missed his second straight day of practice with knee and hamstring injuries.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), G Bobbie Williams (ankle), G Marshal Yanda (ankle/knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Ed Reed (shoulder/knee), LB Josh Bynes (thigh), WR Jacoby Jones (toe), T Michael Oher (ankle), WR David Reed (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (abs)
FULL PARTICIPATION: S Sean Considine (chest), LS Morgan Cox (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (finger), DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), S Bernard Pollard (chest), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle)

OAKLAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFaddden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: T Khalif Barnes (groin), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), S Matt Giordano (hamstring)
FULL PARTICIPATION: T Willie Smith (knee), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring), LB Miles Burris (elbow), LB Keenan Clayton (shoulder), DT Desmond Bryant (cardiac), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), DE David Tollefson (shoulder), CB Coye Francies (thumb), S Mike Mitchell (finger), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring)

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Five Ravens starters sit out Wednesday’s practice

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Five Ravens starters sit out Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 07 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Hitting the practice field for the first time in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens were without three Pro Bowl players and two other starters.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Ed Reed, defensive end Pernell McPhee, right guard Marshal Yanda, and left guard Bobbie Williams were absent from Wednesday’s practice.

Ngata continues to deal with shoulder and knee injuries that have limited his playing time, and the three-time Pro Bowl selection failed to register a tackle in the 25-15 win over the Cleveland Browns. The seven-year veteran played at less than 100 percent after McPhee had already been ruled out in Week 9 with knee and thigh injuries, further weakening the defensive line.

Yanda and Williams both suffered injuries in Sunday’s win, but MRI results were favorable for each player. The Ravens’ Pro Bowl right guard is expected to play on Sunday, but Williams’ status will be trickier to gauge considering he’s already dealt with soreness and swelling in a surgically-repaired right ankle.

Wednesday was likely a day off for Reed, who is dealing with a torn labrum in his shoulder and a sore knee.

Meanwhile, the Raiders were without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson as both are considered question marks for Sunday’s game. Oakland head coach Dennis Allen remained mum on their status in a conference call with the Baltimore media.

Veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour was also a non-participant for Oakland on Wednesday.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), S Ed Reed (shoulder/knee), G Bobbie Williams (ankle), G Marshal Yanda (ankle/knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Josh Bynes (thigh), WR Jacoby Jones (toe), T Michael Oher (ankle), WR David Reed (knee)
CB Jimmy Smith (abs)
FULL PARTICIPATION: S Sean Considine (chest), LS Morgan Cox (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (finger), DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), S Bernard Pollard (chest), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle)

OAKLAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFaddden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: T Khalif Barnes (groin), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), S Matt Giordano (hamstring)
FULL PARTICIPATION: T Willie Smith (knee), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring), LB Miles Burris (elbow), LB Keenan Clayton (shoulder), DT Desmond Bryant (cardiac), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), DE David Tollefson (shoulder), CB Coye Francies (thumb), S Mike Mitchell (finger)

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