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Wounded Ravens hoping to heal in time for Cincinnati showdown

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Wounded Ravens hoping to heal in time for Cincinnati showdown

Posted on 26 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Six days before playing one of the most important regular-season games in the 16-year history of the franchise, the Ravens face the frightening possibility of playing at far less than full strength.

Playing the Cincinnati Bengals — who will clinch the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win — is challenging enough, but the Ravens may have to do it without starting right guard Marshal Yanda, who has graded out as the team’s best offensive lineman this season. Yanda sustained separate contusions to the rib cage and thigh in Saturday’s 20-14 win over the Cleveland Browns and told reporters he had difficulty breathing following the game.

If Yanda is unable to play, veteran Andre Gurode would start at right guard, a position he played early in his 10-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. Gurode made five starts at left guard in place of Ben Grubbs earlier this season.

The Ravens can only hope Yanda makes enough improvement during the week to be available against the Bengals’ sixth-ranked run defense. Baltimore has had much success running to the right side of the offensive line behind Yanda and right tackle Michael Oher.

“We’ll just have to see how he does on that,” Harbaugh said. “They’re good bruises, so we’ll see where that goes.”

With the term “contusion” a vague one, the possibility exists that Yanda’s rib injury might be more severe, but the treatment for cracked or broken ribs wouldn’t be any different than a contusion, leading us to simply wait and see how the fifth-year lineman progresses until Sunday.

Headaches

The Ravens also lost a pair of key defensive contributors in starting cornerback Cary Williams and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who both sustained concussions in the win over Cleveland and did not return. Rookie Jimmy Smith filled in for Williams at cornerback while Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo saw an increased workload in the inside linebacker rotation with Ellerbe sidelined.

With the recent developments in Cleveland with concussed quarterback Colt McCoy and the controversy that ensued, it’s not surprising to hear coaches treading lightly in declaring a prognosis.

“Both are looking pretty decent today,” Harbaugh said. “With concussions, you never really know, so we’ll just have to see when and if they get cleared. We’ll keep our fingers crossed on that.”

Reed’s season over

The Ravens announced early Monday afternoon they had placed kick returner David Reed on injured reserve with a knee injury, and Harbaugh confirmed the second-year receiver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of Saturday’s win.

Reed will undergo surgery in the near future to repair the ligament, Harbaugh confirmed. The injury was isolated to the ACL and no other structural damage took place.

The ironic part of the injury is that Harbaugh believed Reed was on his way to a touchdown to begin the second half before the knee gave out on the return.

“He had two guys out in front of him, and I didn’t see anybody between him and the end zone there,” Harbaugh said. “That was going to the house, and then the leg buckles. A lot of things are unpredictable in football. That’s certainly not one we would have predicted. We’ll just have to move forward.”

Safety Tom Zbikowski will assume kickoff duties as he did in place of Reed when he was benched during the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in mid-November after fumbling two kickoffs.

On the mend

The Ravens were without three key players entering Saturday’s game against the Browns, but Harbaugh provided positive news on the trio of Billy Cundiff, Cory Redding, and Anquan Boldin on Monday.

Cundiff was replaced by veteran Shayne Graham, who made field goals of 48 and 42 yards against the Browns. Harbaugh said the Ravens do not anticipate keep Graham on the 53-man roster wants Cundiff proves healthy enough to return to the lineup.

The Baltimore coach hopes the return could be in time to play Cincinnati.

“We’ll have to see about this week,” Harbaugh said. “Like I told you, I want to see him practice. We’ll know more Wednesday [or] Thursday.”

Harbaugh also provided a positive update on Redding, who missed Saturday’s game after tweaking his sore ankle during pre-game warmups after going through a series of lateral movement drills. Second-year lineman Arthur Jones took Redding’s place in the starting lineup.

Boldin responded well to surgery to repair a partially-torn meniscus in his knee. The Ravens expect Boldin to be ready for the start of the postseason, but a first-round bye would alleviate concerns with having to rush him back too soon.

“He’s doing very, very well,” Harbaugh said. “The swelling’s out of the knee, so things are looking good there. Nothing’s changed as far as when he’ll be back, time-wise.”

 

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Ravens-Browns: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Browns: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 24 December 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Needing victories in their final two games to win the AFC North and gain a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Ravens can move a step closer to realizing those goals as they welcome the struggling Cleveland Browns to town on Christmas Eve.

Baltimore can complete an 8-0 home record with a win over the Browns, which would be the first time the Ravens have accomplished the feat in the 16-year history of the franchise. The Ravens have won 17 of their last 18 games at M&T Bank Stadium, including a franchise-record nine straight. Baltimore is 26-5 at home in the John Harbaugh era.

Those numbers make it pretty clear why the Ravens desperately want as many home playoff games as possible, don’t they?

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Of course, the Ravens saw the Browns in Cleveland three weeks ago when they ran a franchise-record 55 times and collected 290 rushing yards in a 24-10 victory. The Ravens have won seven straight over the Browns and own a 9-3 record against the city from which they originally came.

The Browns will wear white jerseys with white pants while the Ravens are dressed in their purple home jerseys and black pants.

All eyes will be on veteran kicker Shayne Graham, who will be filling in for the injured Billy Cundiff after being signed earlier in the week. Many wonder how much range Graham will have as his last couple seasons in Cincinnati didn’t feature much success beyond the 46 or 47 yards.

The Ravens will also be without top receiver Anquan Boldin, who underwent knee surgery to repair a partially-torn meniscus on Thursday. He is out for the rest of the regular season, and Harbaugh projects him to return in two weeks. However, the coach acknowledged it would be challenging for Boldin to be ready for a first-round playoff game, creating even more urgency for a first-round bye in the Ravens’ minds.

Without Boldin sidelined, quarterback Joe Flacco will likely rely heavily on tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, but it will be critical for the Ravens to make veteran Lee Evans more of a factor. With a trip to Cincinnati next week against a good Bengals run defense, the passing game will need to produce and someone will need to divert some attention from rookie Torrey Smith.

The Ravens have also decided to activate rookie Tandon Doss over LaQuan Williams. Despite having not been active since Oct. 30, Doss’ skill-set is more in line with what Boldin normally brings to the passing game.

Defensive end Cory Redding had been expected to play today, but he was noticeably limping going through pre-game work with defensive line coach Clarence Brooks. The Ravens have decided to deactivate Redding and will start second-year lineman Arthur Jones at the other defensive end spot in coordinator Chuck Pagano’s base 3-4.

For Cleveland, veteran backup Seneca Wallace will start at quarterback for the injured Colt McCoy, who was ruled out on Friday as he continues to feel the effects of a concussion sustained against Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

Here are today’s inactives…

Baltimore
WR Anquan Boldin
K Billy Cundiff
DE Cory Redding
WR LaQuan Williams
RB Anthony Allen
LB Sergio Kindle
CB Danny Gorrer

Cleveland
QB Colt McCoy
WR Jordan Norwood
DB James Dockery
OL Steve Vallos
DL Kiante Tripp
OL Oniel Cousins
WR Rod Windsor

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Nothing surprising on final Ravens-Browns injury report

Posted on 23 December 2011 by Luke Jones

John Harbaugh eliminated most of the mystery regarding the injury situations of three key members of the Ravens when the coach spoke to the media on Thursday, making the final injury report of the week a mere formality.

With wide receiver Anquan Boldin already ruled out after undergoing knee surgery and ailing kicker Billy Cundiff being replaced by newly-signed veteran Shayne Graham, only defensive end Cory Redding’s status remains somewhat unclear. Redding is listed as questionable and practiced on a limited basis on Friday after missing three straight workouts this week. The defensive lineman told reporters earlier in the week he intended to play against the Browns on Saturday, and Harbaugh’s comments about Redding being a game-time decision were made with a positive tone on Thursday.

For the Browns, quarterback Colt McCoy, wide receiver Jordan Norwood, and safety T.J. Ward were officially ruled out on Friday, a day after Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur said McCoy and Norwood would not travel to Baltimore due to lingering concussion-related symptoms. Ward will be placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Starting in McCoy’s place against the Ravens will be veteran Seneca Wallace.

Standout cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi are both listed as questionable for Saturday after practicing on a limited basis the last two days.

BALTIMORE
OUT: WR Anquan Boldin (knee)
DOUBTFUL: K Billy Cundiff (L calf)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Cory Redding (ankle)

CLEVELAND
OUT: QB Colt McCoy (head), WR Jordan Norwood (head), S T.J. Ward (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Josh Cribbs (groin), CB Joe Haden (thigh), FB Owen Marecic (head/ankle), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), T Tony Pashos (ankle), DT Scott Paxson (hand/calf)
PROBABLE: RB Montario Hardesty (calf), LB Ben Jacobs (head), G Shawn Lauvao (ankle), DT Brian Schaefering (ankle), S Usama Young (shoulder)

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Graham to handle kicking duties, Redding game-time decision against Browns

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Graham to handle kicking duties, Redding game-time decision against Browns

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In addition to the surprising revelation that wide receiver Anquan Boldin would miss the remainder of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was in a giving mood as it pertained to injury information on Thursday.

With the Ravens signing veteran Shayne Graham on Wednesday, it wasn’t a major leap to assume he’d be handling kicking duties on Saturday. Billy Cundiff continues to be hampered with a left calf injury that’s kept him out of practice since Dec. 7, and Harbaugh essentially revealed who would be his kicker as the Ravens host the Cleveland Browns.

“We anticipate Shayne being the kicker this week,” Harbaugh said. “Billy [is dealing] with his calf, and Shayne’s had the practice, so even if Billy was ready to go -– which I still think he’s nursing that thing back — he’s still not 100 percent. Shayne got the week of practice, so we’re going to go with Shayne.”

Defensive end Cory Redding missed practice again on Thursday, but the veteran told reporters earlier in the week that he intends to play against the Browns this weekend. Harbaugh’s overall prognosis seemed to be in line with the 31-year-old lineman’s proclamation.

After missing two days of practice last week with the same injured ankle, Redding played in the 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers last Sunday.

“I think he’s very similar to last week,” Harbaugh said. “It went to game day last week, so we’ll see where he’s at. But he’s progressing.”

Browns head coach Pat Shurmur has already ruled out quarterback Colt McCoy and wide receiver Jordan Norwood as the two will not make the trip to Baltimore due to concussions.

Cleveland has also placed starting strong safety T.J. Ward on injured reserve with a strained foot. He had missed the Browns’ last six games since injuring the foot against the Houston Texans on Nov. 6.

However, cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi returned to practice on a limited basis for the Browns on Thursday.

The final injury report of the week will be released on Friday despite there being no media availability the day before Saturday’s game.

BALTIMORE
OUT: WR Anquan Boldin (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: K Billy Cundiff (left calf), DE Cory Redding

CLEVELAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: QB Colt McCoy (head), WR Jordan Norwood (head), S TJ Ward (foot)
LIMITED: WR Josh Cribbs (groin), CB Joe Haden (thigh), LB Ben Jacobs (head), FB Owen Marecic (head/ankle), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), T Tony Pashos (ankle), DT Scott Paxson (hand/calf), S Usama Young (shoulder)
FULL: RB Montario Hardesty (calf), G Shawn Lauvao (ankle), DT Brian Schaefering (ankle)

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Boldin, Redding absent for second straight day

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Defensive end Cory Redding has expressed confidence that he’ll play while wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s status remains more mysterious as the Ravens prepare to welcome the Cleveland Browns to town on Christmas Eve.

Neither veteran was present during the open portion of practice on Thursday after both veterans were listed as non-participants on Wednesday’s injury report. Redding has been dealing with a right ankle injury for a couple weeks while Boldin’s absence is puzzling after he was present for the Ravens’ walk-through practice on Tuesday. The No. 1 receiver is listed on the report as having a knee injury.

Kicker Billy Cundiff (left calf) was not present during the portion of practice viewed by media, a strong indication that newly-signed veteran Shayne Graham will handle kicking duties against Cleveland on Saturday. Cundiff hasn’t practiced since Dec. 7 despite having kicked in the Ravens’ last two games.

Referee Walt Coleman and his crew will officiate Saturday afternoon’s game between the Ravens and Cleveland. The weather forecast predicts sunny conditions with temperatures in the mid-40s.

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Ravens add Boldin to shrinking injury report on Wednesday

Posted on 21 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — At a time of year when many teams have a laundry list of players on their injury reports, the Ravens find themselves getting healthier as they enter a Week 16 meeting with the Cleveland Browns.

Baltimore only listed three players on its first practice report of the week as defensive end Cory Redding, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and kicker Billy Cundiff did not participate in Wednesday’s outdoor practice. Redding has been dealing with a sore ankle while Cundiff is hampered with a left calf injury that forced the Ravens to sign veteran Shayne Graham as an insurance policy.

It’s unclear whether Boldin’s listed knee injury is more an issue of soreness or something he obtained in the loss to San Diego last Sunday night. He was present for the team’s walk-through practice on Tuesday afternoon.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb, linebacker Ray Lewis, and cornerback Chris Carr were not listed on Wednesday’s injury report, a sign that the Ravens are getting healthier as the postseason looms closer.

Meanwhile, the Browns listed had seven players absent from Wednesday’s practice, including cornerback Joe Haden, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, and quarterback Colt McCoy. The Cleveland signal caller is not expected to play on Sunday, turning the reins to veteran Seneca Wallace.

Four other Browns players were listed as limited participants for Wednesday’s practice.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Anquan Boldin (knee), K Billy Cundiff (L calf), DE Cory Redding (ankle)

CLEVELAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Joe Haden (thigh), LB Ben Jacobs (head), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), QB Colt McCoy (head), WR Jordan Norwood (head), DT Scott Paxson (hand/calf), S TJ Ward (foot)
LIMITED: WR Josh Cribbs (groin), FB Owen Marecic (head/ankle), T Tony Pashos (ankle), S Usama Young (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Montario Hardesty (calf), G Shawn Lauvao (ankle), DT Brian Schaefering (ankle)

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Ravens missing Redding, Boldin from Wednesday’s practice

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Ravens missing Redding, Boldin from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 21 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With the Cleveland Browns coming to Baltimore on Saturday, the Ravens have a new kicker in the mix after signing veteran Shayne Graham on Wednesday morning.

Wearing No. 12, Graham was present and practicing as the Ravens took part in their second practice of the week. Regular kicker Billy Cundiff (left calf) was not present during the portion of practice open to the media, making it more likely that Graham handles kicking duties against the Browns.

Defensive end Cory Redding (ankle) and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (undisclosed) were also absent during the portion of practice open to the media. Redding was not seen during the Ravens’ walk-through practice on Tuesday, though no official injury report was released. The veteran defensive lineman has been dealing with a sore ankle that forced him to miss two practices last week. The injury appeared to limit Redding at a couple different point during the Ravens’ 34-14 loss to San Diego last Sunday night.

Boldin’s absence was more mysterious as it’s unclear whether Boldin is dealing with an injury or was simply given a day to rest. He was present during Tuesday’s practice that took place on the Ravens’ indoor field.

Linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (toe) were both present and working during Wednesday’s practice.

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Lewis, Webb, Cundiff, four others questionable for San Diego

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Lewis, Webb, Cundiff, four others questionable for San Diego

Posted on 16 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens coach John Harbaugh set the tone for the week’s final injury report on Friday afternoon before seven players were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, including linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb.

In addition to Lewis and Webb, kicker Billy Cundiff, defensive end Cory Redding, cornerback Chris Carr, guard Ben Grubbs, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata were also listed as questionable.

“You really don’t know for sure,” said Harbaugh, who was in no mood to discuss specific players after Friday’s practice. “It depends on how guys improve, how it responds to practice, how they feel the day of the game. It’s just the reality of it. Why sit up here and try to speculate? We’ll know Sunday night.”

Despite being designated as questionable, Lewis is expected to make his much-awaited return after being sidelined four games with a turf toe injury. The 36-year-old veteran practiced on a limited basis all week without any setbacks.

Of the seven players listed as questionable, Webb is the only one considered to be in real danger of missing Sunday’s game after the starting corner suffered a left toe injury in the Ravens’ 24-10 win over Indianapolis last Sunday. Webb did not practice all week despite expressing some hope that he’d be able to play.

Cundiff also failed to practice all week, but the kicker is still expected to handle field goal duties. Punter Sam Koch could handle kickoff duties as he did in the second half of last Sunday’s game to alleviate some pressure on Cundiff’s injured left calf.

After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, Redding returned to practice on a limited basis. The defensive end said the extra rest provided much relief to his sore ankle and emphatically declared himself ready to play against the Chargers.

“I’m playing,” Redding said. “It’s Week [15], nobody’s 100 percent. We’re fighting for something over here. I’m playing.”

After being sidelined for the team’s last three games, the Ravens also expect to have Carr’s services in the secondary. The veteran defensive back also shed some light on the nature of the back injury that had sidelined him for a few weeks.

“[The back] feels good. It’s been a frustrating year, injuries-wise, especially when you’ve never had to deal with them before,” said Carr, who said he will be ready to return punts if called upon in Webb’s potential absence. “It’s been trying, but you just feel good being out there practicing and for my back to hold up. Having a bulging disc hurts pretty badly, so it held up well, so I’m pretty fortunate right now.”

Grubbs and Ngata practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday and are not considered to be in any danger of missing Sunday’s game.

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE: CB Chris Carr (back), K Billy Cundiff (L calf), G Ben Grubbs (toe), LB Ray Lewis (foot), DT Haloti Ngata (back), DT Cory Redding (ankle), CB Lardarius Webb (toe)
PROBABLE: RB Anthony Allen (thigh)

SAN DIEGO
QUESTIONABLE: C Colin Baxter (ankle), LB Donald Butler (foot), DE Jacques Cesaire (ankle), LB Takeo Spikes (back)
PROBABLE: S Darrell Stuckey (groin)

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cundiff

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Webb, Cundiff absent in final practice of week for San Diego

Posted on 16 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Taking the practice field for the final time before departing for San Diego on Friday afternoon, the Ravens were without cornerback Lardarius Webb and kicker Billy Cundiff for the third straight day.

Webb will likely miss Sunday night’s game against the Chargers after suffering a turf toe injury in the Ravens’ 24-10 win over Indianapolis last Sunday. Rookie Jimmy Smith would start in Webb’s place should the No. 1 corner be unavailable.

Cundiff (left calf) has not practiced all week as he continues to deal with a left calf issue that limited his ability to kick off against the Colts last Sunday, which left those duties to punter Sam Koch in the second half. The Ravens had been in contact with veteran Shayne Graham last weekend if Cundiff was unable to kick but chose not to make the roster move.

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Defensive end Cory Redding (ankle) returned to the practice field on Friday after sitting out the first two practices of the week. He is expected to play on Sunday night.

Linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) and cornerback Chris Carr (back) practiced for the third straight day and appear set to return to action after their respective layoffs due to injury. Lewis, of course, would return to his normal spot as the leader of the defense at inside linebacker while Carr may be asked to handle punt return duties in Webb’s absence. Carr would also figure to factor into defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s plans at the nickel position along with Danny Gorrer.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (back) and guard Ben Grubbs (toe) were both practicing for the second straight day after they were given a day of rest on Wednesday.

Sunday night’s referee will be Carl Cheffers. The forecast in San Diego calls for temperatures in the low 60s and clear skies for kickoff at 8:20 p.m. The Chargers will wear their popular powder blue jerseys in the nationally-televised night game while the Ravens will wear their white jerseys.

The Ravens are scheduled to take off for San Diego at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. It’s common practice for East Coast teams to travel to West Coast cities a day early to adjust to the time change.

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Lewis practices for second straight day

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Lewis practices for second straight day

Posted on 15 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It’s looking more and more likely the Ravens will have the services of veteran linebacker Ray Lewis in a critical battle with the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night.

The 36-year-old practiced for the second straight day on a limited basis after missing Baltimore’s last four games with a turf toe injury. Considering coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the week that he estimated Lewis wouldn’t necessarily need practice time before returning to game action, the inside linebacker’s attendance at practice makes his return on Sunday night all the more likely.

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After being absent on Wednesday, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and left guard Ben Grubbs returned to work on a limited basis while kicker Billy Cundiff, defensive end Cory Redding, and cornerback Lardarius Webb were non-participants for the second straight day.

Mild concern has risen with Redding missing his second straight day of practice, but Webb is still considered the most serious concern among the three.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: K Billy Cundiff (left calf), DE Cory Redding (ankle), CB Lardarius Webb (toe)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Ben Grubbs (toe), DT Haloti Ngata (back), CB Chris Carr (back), LB Ray Lewis (foot)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Anthony Allen (thigh)

SAN DIEGO
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: C Colin Baxter (ankle), LB Donald Butler (foot), DE Jacques Cesaire (ankle), LB Takeo Spikes (back)
LIMITED: S Darrell Stuckey (groin)

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