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Gillmore out, S. Smith doubtful for Cleveland game

Posted on 09 October 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Despite head coach John Harbaugh saying last weekend that Steve Smith wouldn’t play in Sunday’s AFC North battle with the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens receiver hasn’t been officially ruled out.

Smith was designated as doubtful on the final injury report of the week, meaning he officially has no better than a 25 percent chance to be active. The 36-year-old isn’t expected to play after injuring his back in Pittsburgh, but the Ravens remain hopeful that he could return for next week’s game in San Francisco.

“Very optimistic,” Harbaugh said. “He’s working hard. He’s in there with the different equipment working really hard to get himself ready and making, I would say, good progress.”

The Ravens coach said early in the week that tight end Crockett Gillmore had “a chance” to play against Cleveland after missing the Week 4 contest, but he was officially ruled out along with defensive end Chris Canty (calf) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) after the trio missed all practices this week. Rookies Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle will once again fill in for Gillmore.

Canty hasn’t practiced since injuring his calf in Oakland in Week 2. Lawrence Guy is once again expected to fill in for him at the 5-technique defensive end spot.

Linebackers Albert McClellan (abdomen) and Daryl Smith (non-injury) were listed as probable after returning to practice on Friday. Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is also probable after missing Wednesday’s workout with a lingering foot issue.

Meanwhile, Cleveland will be without starting free safety Tashaun Gipson, who missed his third straight practice with an ankle injury and was officially ruled out on Friday. Gipson was wearing a walking boot at the Browns’ practice facility this week.

Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden is questionable for Sunday’s game as he continues to deal with a broken finger.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Jeff Triplette.

Sunday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the high 60s and light winds, according to Weather.com.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
DOUBTFUL: WR Steve Smith (back)
PROBABLE: LB Albert McClellan (abdomen), OT Eugene Monroe (concussion), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), G Marshal Yanda (ankle)

CLEVELAND
OUT: DB Tashaun Gipson (ankle), LB Craig Robertson (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: RB Shaun Draughn (back)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Desmond Bryant (shoulder), LB Karlos Dansby (ankle), CB Joe Haden (ribs/finger), WR Brian Hartline (ribs/thigh), LB Scott Solomon (ankle), RB Robert Turbin (ankle)
PROBABLE: DB Johnson Bademosi (elbow), RB Duke Johnson (ankle), QB Johnny Manziel (right elbow), OT Mitchell Schwartz (thumb), S Donte Whitner (illness), DB K’Waun Williams (concussion)

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Monroe practices fully; S. Smith, Gillmore absent on Wednesday

Posted on 07 October 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After very limited participating in abbreviated workouts last week, starting left tackle Eugene Monroe practiced fully on Wednesday as the Ravens continued preparations for Sunday’s game against Cleveland.

Sidelined since suffering a concussion on the first series of the season opener in Denver, Monroe was working in full pads with the rest of the offensive line and appears set to make his return. Second-year tackle James Hurst struggled mightily in the first quarter of the 2015 season.

“I’m healthy now and preparing for this game,” said Monroe, who missed one game due to a concussion in 2010 with Jacksonville. “That’s all that matters. I feel back to normal. I feel good to go. I’m just excited for Sunday. That’s really all I’m focused on is this game.”

Wide receivers Steve Smith (back) and Breshad Perriman (knee), tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf), defensive end Chris Canty (calf), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. Though Smith and Perriman are not expected to play against the Browns, head coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that Gillmore and Canty have “a chance” to return this week.

Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda was a limited participant due to an ankle issue on Wednesday.

The Ravens will face some interesting decisions at the return spots this week with Michael Campanaro now on injured reserve and Smith sidelined with lower back fractures. Veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb and the newly-acquired Chris Givens both have return experience, but Baltimore could choose to promote wide receiver Jeremy Ross or cornerback Asa Jackson from the practice squad to help out in the return game.

Meanwhile, several Browns players missed Wednesday’s practice including safeties Tashaun Gipson (ankle) and Donte Whitner (illness). Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden (ribs/finger) was a limited participant after missing Sunday’s loss at San Diego.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), WR Steve Smith (back), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Marshal Yanda (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OT Eugene Monroe (concussion)

CLEVELAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATION: RB Shaun Draughn (back), S Tashaun Gipson (ankle), LB Craig Robertson (ankle), DE Randy Starks (non-injury), OT Joe Thomas (non-injury), S Donte Whitner (illness)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Desmond Bryant (shoulder), LB Karlos Dansby (ankle), CB Joe Haden (ribs/finger), LB Scott Solomon (ankle), RB Robert Turbin (ankle), CB K’Waun Williams (concussion)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DB Johnson Bademosi (elbow), RB Duke Johnson (ankle), QB Johnny Manziel (right elbow), T Mitchell Schwartz (thumb)

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Harbaugh says Perriman has one of “slowest-healing PCL sprains ever”

Posted on 05 October 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Though downplaying the notion that Breshad Perriman suffered a recent setback, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the rookie receiver has one of the slowest-healing knee injuries they’ve encountered.

Upon seeing renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews last Thursday, the 2015 first-round pick underwent arthroscopic surgery as he continues to recover from a sprained posterior cruciate ligament suffered on the first day of training camp in late July. Perriman had returned to practice on a limited basis two weeks ago before appearing to aggravate his right knee during a pre-game workout a couple hours before the Ravens’ Week 3 loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 27.

Last Tuesday, Harbaugh said he was unaware of any setback before the news surfaced about his surgery two days later.

“It’s just a slow-healing deal,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “He’s had probably one of the all-time slowest-healing PCL sprains ever. That’s nothing against him; that’s just the way it is. It’s just tough. It’s one-in-some number — whatever Dr. Andrews said it was.”

Initially diagnosed with a bruise that was expected to keep him out for only a day or two, the Central Florida product was supposed to be the replacement for Torrey Smith in the vertical passing game this season. Through the first quarter of the season, the Ravens have been unable to consistently stretch the field with quarterback Joe Flacco completing just three passes of 30 or more yards.

In addition to the scope, Perriman received a platelet-rich plasma injection to try to accelerate the healing process, a practice that has become more common in recent years. It remains unclear when the 6-foot-2, 218-pound receiver will return to the practice field as general manager Ozzie Newsome acquired speed receiver Chris Givens from St. Louis in exchange for a 2016 seventh-round pick over the weekend.

“Hopefully, [the PRP injection] will have a good impact on it,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how he comes along this week. I’m looking forward to it and seeing how fast that we can get some recovery going on it.

“I think when we get him out there full-speed in practice running routes and actually practicing with the units, that’s when you’ll know he’s got a chance to come back and play. When he’s doing the walk-throughs or just individual [parts], that’s a little different. That’s what he was doing before [the surgery].”

Steve Smith in pain tolerance “Hall of Fame”

Making Perriman’s continued absence even worse was the lower back injury suffered by No. 1 receiver Steve Smith in the Thursday night win at Pittsburgh.

Sustaining multiple microfractures in his back, Smith is expected to miss Sunday’s game with Cleveland, but Harbaugh is optimistic about his status after that as the issue will be more about pain tolerance than risking further injury.

“We’re never going to put him out there if he’s not able to really function and protect himself and play hard and fast and all those kinds of things,” Harbaugh said. “Now, knowing Steve, he’ll want to be out there. He has probably one of the all-time high pain tolerances that you’re ever going to see. He’s in the Hall of Fame of pain tolerance. That’s what our doctors told me.”

Asked about Smith’s status on Saturday at the Maryland-Michigan game, Harbaugh told Comcast SportsNet that the medical staff already “ruled him out for the Cleveland game,” but the Ravens coach tried to back away from that proclamation when asked again on Monday.

“The injury report rules people out; that’s how it works,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a process to that, so we’ll just follow the process on that. I have my own thoughts on it as I stated.”

Demon Deacon influence

Placed on season-ending injured reserve with a herniated disc in his back on Saturday, second-year receiver Michael Campanaro gave the Ravens some inside information on the newly-acquired Givens, the man taking his place on the 53-man roster.

Campanaro and Givens were once teammates at Wake Forest before the latter was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.

“Michael gave us a nice report on him as far as his character and work ethic,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a fast receiver, down-the-field threat, and does a lot of good things. He’s a good player. It turned out he was available due to the circumstances in St. Louis, and Ozzie made the trade, so we’re excited.”

Gillmore, Canty have “chance” to play against Cleveland

Harbaugh said tight end Crockett Gillmore is improving and could make his return against the Browns.

“Week-to-week. He has a chance this week — same thing with Chris Canty,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve both had very similar calf strains.”

Gillmore injured his calf in the first half of the Week 3 loss to Cincinnati while the veteran defensive end hurt his calf early in the Week 2 loss at Oakland.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe practiced on a limited basis last week as he’s remained in the concussion protocol since injuring his head on the opening series of the 2015 season.

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 01 October 2015 by Luke Jones

If the Ravens were desperate before their Week 3 loss to Cincinnati, how do you define their state of mind after the first 0-3 start in the 20-year history of the franchise?

Traveling to Pittsburgh on a short week is always challenging, but the Ravens are fighting themselves as much as anything else as they enter October without a win under their belts. However, the absence of Ben Roethlisberger on the enemy side offers hope as Baltimore tries to earn a road win on a Thursday night playing against veteran backup Mike Vick.

With four players — tight end Crockett Gillmore, left tackle Eugene Monroe, defensive end Chris Canty, and wide receiver Breshad Perriman — already declared out on Wednesday, the Ravens didn’t have too many decisions to make for their inactive list, but cornerback Rashaan Melvin was deactivated after struggling mightily in his season debut against the Bengals last week. The recently-acquired Will Davis will see his first action with the Ravens after being acquired from Miami for a 2016 seventh-round pick on Sept. 21.

Veteran outside linebacker Jason Babin will also make his 2015 debut after being inactive for his first two games with the Ravens. Baltimore hopes the 35-year-old rush specialist can boost a pass rush that hasn’t found consistency since the season-ending injury to Terrell Suggs in the season opener.

In addition to being without Roethlisberger, the Steelers are missing second-year inside linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Cortez Allen, two absences that will hurt the NFL’s 19th-ranked pass defense.

These teams are meeting for the 39th time in the regular season with the Ravens trailing 17-21 and 7-12 in Pittsburgh. However, the Ravens have won two of the three contests against the Steelers last season, culminating with a 30-17 win at Heinz Field in the first round of the playoffs.

The forecast in Pittsburgh calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50s with a very tiny chance for precipitation and winds up to 10 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Referee Clete Blakeman and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game.

The Ravens are wearing white jerseys with white pants while Pittsburgh dons its black tops with yellow pants.

Here are Thursday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Tray Walker
CB Rashaan Melvin
OT Eugene Monroe
DT Christo Bilukidi
TE Crockett Gillmore
DE Chris Canty

PITTSBURGH
QB Ben Roethlisberger
LB Ryan Shazier
NT Daniel McCullers
TE Matt Spaeth
CB Cortez Allen
TE Jesse James
LB Anthony Chickillo

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Ravens rule out Gillmore, three others for Thursday night

Posted on 30 September 2015 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 2:30 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Desperate for their first win of the 2015 season as they face a daunting trip to Pittsburgh on Thursday night, the Ravens will be be without their No. 2 option in the passing game.

Second-year tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf), left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion), defensive end Chris Canty (calf), and wide receiver Breshad Perriman all were officially ruled out on Wednesday afternoon. Even before the official designation, the Ravens weren’t exactly giving a strong impression that Gillmore would be ready to return against the Steelers.

“With Crockett being out, we have some young tight ends that we really love to coach,” offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said on Tuesday. “We love the development that they’re going through right now. We expect them to step up and play well for us.”

After registering three catches for 40 yards in the first two quarters of Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati, Gillmore did not play an offensive snap after halftime as the combination of Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle took his place. The rookies combined to register five receptions for 63 yards on nine targets in the 28-24 loss to the Bengals.

A passing game struggling to find reliable answers beyond No. 1 wideout Steve Smith can hardly afford to be without Gillmore, but head coach John Harbaugh expressed much confidence in Williams and Boyle to be able to pick up the slack.

“I thought they both played really well. I thought they both did a really good job,” Harbaugh said. “These two guys are not two guys that it’s too big for [them]. They love being out there, and they just want to make plays. They’re tough, competitive. They’re physical. They kind of remind me of Crockett a year ago.”

After being listed as a limited participant in light practices on Monday and Tuesday, Monroe was listed as a non-participant on Wednesday as he continues to go through the league’s concussion protocol. James Hurst is expected to make his third straight start.

The second-year lineman has struggled mightily this season, ranking as the worst offensive tackle in the NFL in Pro Football Focus’ grading system.

“Eugene’s been a starter for us, but James has played a lot of football as well,” Trestman said. “Right now — today — it’s James and we’ll see. Certainly, we need everybody. You always need everybody. Eugene is a big part of what we do here, so we’re looking forward to getting him back as well when that time comes.”

Pittsburgh officially ruled out starting inside linebacker Ryan Shazier after he missed practices all week with a shoulder injury. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (knee) already had been declared out on Monday as veteran backup Michael Vick will make the start for Pittsburgh.

Steelers center Cody Wallace was listed as probable for Thursday’s game after missing practice on Wednesday due to an illness. Already replacing Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, Wallace will have his hands full with Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams, and lingering effects from an illness certainly wouldn’t help in that task.

The referee for Thursday night’s game will be Clete Blakeman.

The Thursday night forecast in Pittsburgh calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50s with a very small chance for precipitation and winds up to 10 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Below is the final injury report for Thursday:

BALTIMORE
OUT: DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), OT Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: DT Daniel McCullers (knee), QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), TE Matt Spaeth (hand)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Cortez Allen (knee)
PROBABLE: LB James Harrison (thumb), C Cody Wallace (illness)

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Gillmore, Perriman sit out light practice on Monday

Posted on 29 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing to regroup quickly after a third straight loss to begin the 2015 season, the Ravens returned to practice with a trip to Pittsburgh rapidly approaching on Thursday night.

Conducting little more than a walk-through practice on Monday evening, Baltimore was without tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), and defensive end Chris Canty (calf). After making three catches for 40 yards in the first two quarters of Sunday’s 28-24 loss to Cincinnati, Gillmore did not play an offensive snap in the second half, leaving rookies Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle to pick up the slack at the tight end position.

It remains unclear whether Gillmore will be able to play on Thursday, but his absence would spell trouble for a passing game struggling to find any consistent production beyond the 36-year-old Steve Smith. Williams and Boyle combined to make five catches for 63 yards against the Bengals.

“The biggest thing those guys have to do is just go in and play within themselves,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “They can’t try to do too much. They just have to catch the ball, run block — do the simple things. When you’re a young player — even when you’re a veteran player — it’s all about doing the fundamental, simple things right. If they can concentrate on those little things, then they’ll do just fine.”

Perriman’s lack of participation on Monday indicated he was still feeling the effects of tweaking his knee during a pre-game workout on Sunday, the latest frustration in a long recovery from a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp in late July. The 2015 first-round pick had practiced on a limited basis late last week, but his status against the Steelers was still up in the air before he pulled up on his knee Sunday morning.

Now it appears all but certain that Perriman won’t play against Pittsburgh. Even before the setback, the rookie wideout didn’t do any real work with his starting quarterback during his limited time on the practice field last Thursday and Friday.

“I honestly didn’t get to do too much with him last week,” Flacco said. “I know he was out here going through a little bit of stuff, but I have no idea how he feels and what’s actually going on. I didn’t get to throw to him. It’s not something that I’m going to worry about until I know for sure that he’s coming back.

“Just tell me when he’s coming back. Other than that, don’t really bother me with it, because it’s not something we can worry about at this point.”

In positive news, left tackle Eugene Monroe took part in his first practice since suffering a concussion on the opening drive of the 2015 season opener in Denver. Listed as a limited participant in the light practice, Monroe has been in the league-mandated concussion protocol, but it remains unclear whether he’s been cleared to return to live action.

Meanwhile, the Steelers officially ruled out Ben Roethlisberger for Thursday’s game after he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament and bone bruise in his left knee in Week 3. The Pittsburgh quarterback is expected to miss at least four weeks while veteran Michael Vick takes the reins of one of the best offenses in the NFL.

Steelers linebackers James Harrison (thumb) and Ryan Shazier (shoulder) also sat out the first practice of the abbreviated week.

Below is Monday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: OT Eugene Monroe (concussion)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Cortez Allen (knee), LB James Harrison (thumb), DT Daniel McCullers (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), TE Matt Spaeth (hand)

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Ravens-Bengals: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 27 September 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Playing their 20th home opener in Baltimore, the Ravens have entered uncharted territory under eighth-year coach John Harbaugh with an 0-2 record to begin the 2015 season.

For a team entering the season with Super Bowl aspirations, the urgency couldn’t be greater in Week 3 as the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals try to bury the Ravens before October. Since 1990, only three 0-3 teams have rebounded to make the playoffs and the prospects of an 0-4 start would be alarming with a Thursday game in Pittsburgh looming in just a few days.

Surprisingly, the Ravens deactivated veteran pass rusher Jason Babin for a second consecutive week after citing his lack of familiarity with the defensive system as the reason he sat against the Raiders a week ago. With the current concerns over the pass rush, Babin being inactive doesn’t speak well for the Ravens’ confidence in him to be able to contribute off the edge.

Baltimore had already ruled out rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), defensive end Chris Canty (calf), and left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) on Friday. Perriman practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday and went through another pre-game workout on Sunday morning as he tries to work his way back from a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp in late July.

Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week.

Cornerback Rashaan Melvin will make his 2015 season debut after dealing with a hamstring injury dating back to the preseason. Given how well he performed in training camp and how much No. 3 cornerback Kyle Arrington struggled in Oakland, Melvin would be a good bet to see playing time in the nickel defense against the Bengals.

Acquired from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2016 seventh-round pick earlier this week, cornerback Will Davis was inactive as he continues to learn the Baltimore defensive system. With Melvin returning to action, the Ravens had less of a need to activate Davis. Rookie Tray Walker was also inactive for Baltimore.

These teams are meeting for the 39th time with the Ravens holding a slight 20-18 advantage and 13-6 mark in Baltimore. However, the Bengals have won three straight and four of the last five in the series after completing a season sweep in 2014.

The forecast called for cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 70s, a 15 percent chance of rain, and winds up to 11 miles per hour.

Referee Walt Anderson and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Cincinnati dons its white tops with black pants.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Tray Walker
CB Will Davis
LB Jason Babin
OT Eugene Monroe
DT Christo Bilukidi
DE Chris Canty

CINCINNATI
WR Greg Little
WR Mario Alford
CB Chris Lewis-Harris
TE C.J. Uzomah
DL Marcus Hardison
DL Pat Sims
DL Margus Hunt

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Canty, Monroe, Perriman out for Sunday’s game

Posted on 25 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing a win against one of their biggest rivals to avoid the first 0-3 start in team history, the Ravens will be without three key players for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

Defensive end Chris Canty (calf), left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion), and rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) were officially ruled out on Friday as the Ravens try to snap a three-game losing streak against the Bengals in Week 3. Canty and Monroe had missed the entire week of practice while Perriman only returned to practice on Thursday after an eight-week absence due to a sprained knee.

“I’m encouraged by that, and that’s very important,” said head coach John Harbaugh about Perriman’s limited participation. “It looks like he’s getting close, but what that exactly means, I don’t know. When they tell me he can play, he’ll be out there playing. That’s just the truth. That’s the way it is. It’s a tough injury to judge.”

Second-year lineman James Hurst is once again expected to start in Monroe’s place while Lawrence Guy will likely man the 5-technique defensive end spot in place of Canty.

Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week after he returned to practice on a limited basis Friday. The second-year back made his 2015 debut in Oakland last week following a month-long absence because of a knee injury.

Safety Will Hill missed Friday’s practice with a knee injury, but he was still listed as probable to play against the Bengals.

Rookie cornerback Tray Walker was listed as questionable with a thigh injury after being limited in two straight practices. The return of third-year cornerback Rashaan Melvin and the acquisition of Will Davis make it likely that the fourth-round pick will be inactive anyway.

The Bengals officially ruled out backup nose tackle Pat Sims with a hip injury and listed defensive tackle Marcus Hardison (knee) as doubtful. Four-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green (knee) and starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth (back) were both listed as probable after missing one practice each this week.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Walt Anderson.

The forecast for Sunday’s game in Baltimore calls for temperatures in the high 60s, a 60 percent chance of rain, and winds up to 12 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: DE Chris Canty (calf), OT Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), CB Tray Walker (thigh)
PROBABLE: S Will Hill (knee), LB C.J. Mosley (non-injury)

CINCINNATI
OUT: DT Pat Sims (hip)
DOUBTFUL: DT Marcus Hardison (knee)
PROBABLE: DE Wallace Gilberry (thigh), WR A.J. Green (knee), S Reggie Nelson (groin), OT Andre Smith (buttocks), OT Andrew Whitworth (back)

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Ravens rookie receiver Perriman makes return to practice

Posted on 24 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman made his long-awaited return to practice on Thursday as the 0-2 Ravens continued preparations for a critical Week 3 meeting with Cincinnati.

Sidelined since spraining his right knee on the first day of training camp on July 30, Perriman was working on a limited basis while running at less than 100 percent. The 2015 first-round pick caught passes from wide receivers coach Bobby Engram before running some routes with the rest of the wide receivers in the portion of practice open to reporters.

“We’re excited to see him get a helmet on and working back into it,” offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said. “We’re hopeful he’ll be back as soon as possible. It’s really day-to-day and will be up to the doctors and the trainers to make that decision when he comes out.”

Perriman still appeared hesitant and was running with a limp as he caught passes, but his appearance was certainly great news for a Baltimore offense lacking a deep threat in the passing game. Given his eight-week absence and the limited nature of his participation on Thursday, Perriman would appear to be extremely unlikely to play against the Bengals, but he could still have a chance to play in next Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh if he progresses rapidly. Should he not play against the Steelers, the 6-foot-2 receiver would have 10 days to prepare for the Ravens’ Oct. 11 home game against the Cleveland Browns.

Dating back to the last couple games of the preseason, Perriman had caught passes from Engram in pre-game stadium workouts, but he was seen doing light running prior to the Week 2 loss in Oakland, a clear sign that he was moving closer to practicing.

While Perriman returned to the practice field, the Ravens were without inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, who missed practice due to a non-injury reason. The 2014 Pro Bowl selection was slowed by a knee issue late in Sunday’s loss to Oakland, but he was not listed on the injury report on Wednesday.

“You get banged up a few times in a game,” said Mosley about his health after Wednesday’s practice. “Other than that, I’m fine. Everybody’s coming in pretty healthy, so we’ll be ready.”

Defensive end Chris Canty (calf), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), and left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) all remained sidelined on Thursday.

The Ravens re-signed rookie running back Terrence Magee to their practice squad on Thursday and cut tight end Dominique Jones. Should Taliaferro’s status remain in question for the Cincinnati game, Baltimore could promote Magee to the 53-man roster as late as Saturday afternoon.

In other injury-related news, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green practiced fully after sitting out with a knee issue on Wednesday. Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth was also a full participant on Thursday after missing the first practice of the week with a back injury.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Chris Canty (calf), OT Eugene Monroe (concussion), LB C.J. Mosley (non-injury), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Breshad Perriman (knee), CB Tray Walker (thigh)

CINCINNATI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Pat Sims (hip), OT Andre Smith (buttocks)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DT Marcus Hardison (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Wallace Gilberry (thigh), WR A.J. Green (knee), S Reggie Nelson (groin), OT Andrew Whitworth (back)

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BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens (L) and coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals shake hands after an NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens won, 31-24. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Bengals bring much continuity to Baltimore on Sunday

Posted on 23 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have stumbled out of the 2015 gate with a pair of losses following an offseason filled with change while the rival Cincinnati Bengals have steadily plugged away with a 2-0 start to take the early lead in the AFC North.

Their well-documented postseason failures aside, the Bengals have returned 21 of 22 starters from a year ago and have had the opportunity to settle in with offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, both in their second year in those posts. It’s the kind of continuity that the Ravens likely envy as they just began their fourth straight season with a different offensive coordinator and seemingly replace important players on both sides of the ball every offseason.

Head coach John Harbaugh raised a few eyebrows with his praise for the Bengals during his Monday press conference, but the reaction reflects the heavy attention paid to the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the offseason while Cincinnati largely flew under the radar.

“I do believe it is the most talented team in the league,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve seen that over the years. We have great respect for them, for their coaches, [and] the way they play. Obviously, it starts with A.J. Green, but the whole cast of characters there on offense is very talented and gifted.”

Cincinnati certainly wishes for the Ravens’ success in January after first-round exits in each of the last four years, but the Bengals have won four of the last five meetings between the teams, including a season sweep a year ago. They also matched Baltimore with 40 regular-season wins from 2011-2014, one more than Pittsburgh’s 39.

But unlike the Ravens under Harbaugh and the Steelers under Mike Tomlin, 13th-year head coach Marvin Lewis is feeling heat over the Bengals’ failure to simply earn their first playoff victory since 1990, let alone win a Super Bowl to match their AFC North rivals. For that reason, continuity only goes so far if the Bengals don’t break through this season.

“We’ve been able to continue to grow our guys from the ground up, and that’s an important part [of] the program here,” Lewis said. “We’ve been fortunate to have coaches and so forth in place, but the main thing is — hopefully, throughout this whole thing — you’ve got to keep getting better as a football team.

“Continuity is not very good if you’re not good enough.”

The questions begin and end with fifth-year quarterback Andy Dalton, who is off to a strong start in 2015 with five touchdown passes and no interceptions. Despite being named to two Pro Bowls in his career, Dalton has never inspired enough confidence to make you think he’s capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl. In the Bengals’ four playoff losses, he’s thrown one touchdown and six interceptions.

But those postseason shortcomings haven’t stopped the Bengals from topping the Ravens in the regular season as they scored a combined 50 points in their two wins in 2014. In preparing for Cincinnati for the 39th time in franchise history, the Ravens will see the same faces who have given them plenty of trouble in recent years.

“It is surprising to see that in the salary-cap era,” defensive end Chris Canty said. “They have that continuity and they’ve been able to have a lot of success with that core group of players. That presents a challenge for you. You have to understand they’ve been running a system for a long time and now that system has been allowed to take the next step because they’ve been able to keep that group of players together for so long. That only makes them better, so we have to be prepared for everything they throw at us on Sunday.”

More troubling than the Bengals’ offensive success against Baltimore is how effectively their defense has frustrated Joe Flacco over the years. The eighth-year quarterback has thrown an ugly 18 interceptions in his 14 career games against Cincinnati, more than twice as many as he’s thrown against any other team over the course of his career.

In a pair of losses last season, Flacco threw three interceptions to just one touchdown. On Sunday, he’ll see virtually the same defense that will also include returning defensive end Michael Johnson, who spent 2014 in Tampa Bay.

“They play aggressively, they have good corners, they have a good front, and they get after the passer,” Flacco said. “They have a group that has played together for a pretty long time now. They feel confident with each other; they know what they’re doing.”

The Ravens are clearly desperate for a win as they don’t want to fall to 0-3, a hole that only three teams have escaped to make the playoffs since 1990.

Standing in their way is a team that’s received plenty of criticism in January but has matched them blow for blow in the regular season over the last several years. The Bengals would love nothing more than to extend Baltimore’s early-season nightmare while maintaining a strong start of their own to 2015.

“It’s not often there is an opportunity to go up — after three games — by three games on a team in your division,” said Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, who has led Cincinnati with 153 receiving yards to provide another offensive weapon. “We’ve definitely noticed that, and we want to go in there and play well and get a win.”

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