WESTMINSTER, Md. — The Ravens concluded their final morning practice at McDaniel College without a single player leaving the field with an injury.
They also appear to be regaining a key member of their secondary in the near future.
Despite speculation that Lardarius Webb would come off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Thursday, the second-year cornerback did not practice, but the Ravens hope Webb can return to practice before the team’s third preseason game against the New York Giants.
“He’s very close,” John Harbaugh said. “He’s right there. That’s up to the doctors to make the decision about when he practices, but he’s right there and I know he wants to practice.”
Webb said earlier in the week he did not want to play in the preseason, citing a desire not to rush his surgically-repaired right knee, but both Harbaugh and Webb have backed off those comments slightly. The cornerback has been working on his conditioning and lateral movement on a regular basis, with his most intense work coming Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m just working on my confidence [in my knee] right now,” Webb said.
The cornerback did not want to discuss specifics about his progress or a time frame for his return, only saying the knee is “coming along” several times and deferring to Harbaugh for any other questions about his return.
“I was taught not to talk as much,” said Webb, clarifying his brief answers to the media. “I got in trouble for talking to you all one time. They said I said something, so I have to keep everything short right now. So that’s why you’re getting the short answers.”
As Webb continues to move closer to a return, cornerback Chris Carr practiced fully for the first time since playing briefly in the preseason opener last Thursday. Carr says his injured left hamstring is feeling much better but will see how he feels on Saturday before determining how much he’ll play in the second preseason game.
“I felt pretty good out here,” Carr said following the Thursday morning practice. “The last couple days I came out here and practiced a little bit and did some conditioning. During my exercises and stuff, my hamstring felt just as strong as my right one does. That was a good sign, so I felt pretty confident coming out here today being able to do everything.”
Center Matt Birk (neck), linebacker Prescott Burgess (undisclosed), and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee) returned to the practice field as well as linebacker Tavares Gooden (neck) and fullback Le’Ron McClain (back/upper leg), though both were limited.
Receiver Mark Clayton and tight end Ed Dickson were new absences from practice. Clayton is dealing with “soreness” in his legs, according to Harbaugh, though he had his right ankle taped on Wednesday morning.
Dickson is dealing with an issue in the hip flexor and groin region and was held out by Harbaugh despite the rookie’s wishes to return to the practice field after sitting out a special teams workout on Wednesday afternoon. The injury is not considered to be serious.
“That was my call [on holding Dickson out],” Harbaugh said. “I just don’t want him to do anything to that that’s more serious.”
Others absent from practice included tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg), and offensive linemen David Hale (tailbone), Oniel Cousins (headache), Daniel Sanders (arm), and Stefan Rodgers (arm).
In addition to Webb, safety Ed Reed (hip), running back Matt Lawrence (knee), and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) remain on the active PUP list.
Stay right here for updates (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Harbaugh, Webb, Carr, and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe as well as Le’Ron McClain’s conversation with Thyrl Nelson.
1:50 p.m. — Players practiced in shells and shorts with only two days remaining until the second preseason game against the Redskins.
Cornerback Travis Fisher was picked on quite a bit during practice, being beaten by Anquan Boldin, Demetrius Williams, and Donte’ Stallworth in a 10-minute span at one point during the morning session. Perhaps it’s the curse of No. 41 (see Frank Walker).
With Tavares Gooden being limited as he continues to rest his neck, Dannell Ellerbe took the reps at inside linebacker with the first team.
Chris Carr played the nickel spot when the Ravens ran their three-cornerback packages with Cary Williams and Fisher rotating on the outside.
Offensively, Boldin, Stallworth, and Williams were in on three-wide sets with Derrick Mason resting and Mark Clayton out with a sore ankle. This was just the latest indication that Williams has solidified his role as the No. 5 receiver with rookie David Reed struggling during training camp.
1:45 p.m. — Billy Cundiff has held a slight edge over Shayne Graham in the kicking competition thus far, but the former struggled considerably on the final day of workouts in Westminster.
Cundiff missed from 38 and 53 yards and hit the left upright on another late attempt at the end of practice while Shayne Graham connected from 48 and 53 yards despite missing a long attempt of his own before the conclusion of practice.
With our daily kicking updates coming to an end, we’ll have to rely on the kickers’ performance in the final three preseason games, which will carry far more weight in determining who will be the guy on Sept. 13 against the New York Jets.