Tag Archive | "Dawan Landry"

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Ravens receive two compensatory picks in April’s draft

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Luke Jones

With NFL owners congregating in Florida for their annual meetings this week, the league awarded 32 compensatory picks for April’s draft on Monday afternoon.

Based on last offseason’s free-agent movement, the Ravens were awarded fourth- and fifth-round compensatory picks, which will be the 130th and 169th overall selections respectively.

While the notable releases of wide receiver Derrick Mason, tight end Todd Heap, defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, and running back Willis McGahee were not taken into account, the free-agent losses of safety Dawan Landry (Jacksonville), guard Chris Chester (Washington), and cornerback Josh Wilson (Washington) factored into the Ravens receiving compensation in April’s draft after each received high-priced, long-term contracts and started 16 games with new teams.

After general manager Ozzie Newsome traded the Ravens’ fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft to Buffalo for veteran Lee Evans last August, receiving a fourth-round compensatory pick helps to ease the sting of that ill-fated move.

Under the rules of compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive picks. The number of picks a team receives is equal to the net loss of free agents up to a maximum of four. Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time, and postseason distinctions. Not every free agent lost or acquired by a club factors into the formula.

This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

The Ravens have been awarded 33 compensatory picks over their 17-year history, most in the NFL during that time period. With their two fifth-round compensatory picks in 2011, they selected defensive end Pernell McPhee and cornerback Chykie Brown.

Here are the Ravens’ selections for next month’s draft:

Round 1: No. 29
Round 2: No. 60
Round 3: No. 91
Round 4: No. 130 (compensatory)
Round 5: No. 155
Round 5: No. 169 (compensatory)
Round 6: No. 186
Round 7: No. 218

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Ravens injury report: Evans, Grubbs out again; J. Smith probable against Jacksonville

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Ravens injury report: Evans, Grubbs out again; J. Smith probable against Jacksonville

Posted on 22 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens released their final injury report of the week on Saturday with the expected news that wide receiver Lee Evans and guard Ben Grubbs would be out again after not practicing all week in preparation for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night.

However, rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith is probable to play after missing the last four games with a high ankle sprain sustained early in the Ravens’ season-opening win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 11. Smith practiced fully for the second straight day on Saturday and appears more likely to play than fellow cornerback Chris Carr, who is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis all week.

“I feel good,” Smith said before the injury report was released. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to play this game, but I feel good. I mean, I’m optimistic like I said before, [but] I really don’t know what the coach is going to do with it.”

Many have speculated whether the Ravens should play Smith against the Jaguars, who are ranked last in the league in passing offense, or hold him out to get another week of practice under his belt before returning to action against the Arizona Cardinals next week. Coach John Harbaugh is weighing the risks and rewards with the idea that the rookie cornerback will need time to re-adjust to the speed of the professional game.

The Ravens are ranked seventh in pass defense despite Smith and Carr missing most of the season to this point. Is that a factor to consider in giving Smith an extra week to heal?

“That’s probably part of it, but the other side of the coin is you want to get a young guy out there playing,” Harbaugh said. “He needs to play too; he hasn’t played much. He played very little in the preseason. I think that’s going to be tough for him. Both of those things go through our minds.”

Evans will miss his fourth straight game and will be replaced once again by rookie Torrey Smith in the starting lineup. Andre Gurode will make his fourth straight start at left guard with Grubbs having not played since the season opener. Harbaugh feels the frustration shared by fans regarding the status of the Ravens’ two offensive starters.

“It’s just probably slower than any of us imagine that those guys would be,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve just got to keep fighting in there and try to get them back. I think it’s going to be one day we’re going to walk in here and they’re going to go through a full practice and they’re going to feel good and they’ll be ready to go. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.”

Grubbs’ injury has drawn comparisons to former Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden, whose toe ailment contributed to an early exit to a certain Hall of Fame career in 2007. Harbaugh had previously said in mid-September that an MRI showed no structural damage or long-term concern regarding Grubbs’ right toe, and the Ravens coach stood by that claim on Saturday.

“Still waiting for him to respond,” Harbaugh said. “It’s the process of getting the swelling out, getting the bruising out, and the healing process that takes place. I know that’s pretty vague, but that’s the best I can do.”

Still not cleared for contact after sustaining a concussion on Oct. 2, safety Tom Zbikowski is listed as doubtful and likely to miss his second straight game as he continues to deal with symptoms. The strong safety practiced on a limited basis on Saturday and said it was a good day for him in terms of not feeling the effects of the concussion.

Zbikowski is listed behind Bernard Pollard at strong safety on the Ravens’ official depth chart.

“Obviously, it’s never as fast as you want it to be,” Zbikowski said. “You want to be back as soon as you can, but once again, it’s a brain injury. It’s not a hamstring injury or something like that where you make it a little worse — it’s something I’m taking a pretty good precaution on before I get out there.”

Return specialist David Reed was the only new addition to Saturday’s injury report after being limited with a finger injury in the final practice of the week. He is listed as probable on the official injury report for Monday’s game, but the condition could factor heavily in the decision whether he or Bryan McCann handles kickoff return duties.

BALTIMORE
OUT – WR Lee Evans (ankle), G Ben Grubbs (toe), RB Anthony Allen (thigh), LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh)
DOUBTFUL – S Tom Zbikowski (head)
QUESTIONABLE – CB Chris Carr (thigh)
PROBABLE – CB Jimmy Smith (ankle), WR David Reed (finger), LB Jarret Johnson (back)

JACKSONVILLE
OUT – S Courtney Greene (hamsting)
DOUBTFUL – T Eben Britton (back)
QUESTIONABLE – G Jason Spitz (quad)
PROBABLE – DT Tyson Alualu (knee), CB Derek Cox (groin), S Dawan Landry (thigh), T Eugene Monroe (shoulder), WR Kassim Osgood (hamstring), RB Montell Owens (knee), G Will Rackley (knee), LB Clint Session (elbow), T Guy Whimper (hip)

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As the NFL lockout ends, the time to say goodbye to some GREAT Ravens likely approaches ....

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As the NFL lockout ends, the time to say goodbye to some GREAT Ravens likely approaches ….

Posted on 25 July 2011 by Rex Snider

As we’ve now endured more than 130 days immersed within football’s version of HELL, it appears the brink of a new season awaits us.  Vote on this, vote on that ….

Training camps are supposedly opening next Saturday morning.  That’s the latest information from a twisted saga that has taken many, many turns.

Free agency is predicted to be a frenzied period of mass signings and cuts, along with very little time for dragging out negotiations.  In other words, we won’t be tortured with weeks of whether Brett Favre is coming back or not.

The biggest free agency prizes will likely have new homes and helmets by the time I return from vacation, two weeks from today.  And, Owings Mills will most certainly be a destination for a number of known NFL talents, as well.

Did I mention vacation?

That’s correct …. as the Ravens report to Westminster-East at the franchise’s headquarters, and as the world of the NFL is turned upside down with mass rumors, tweets, speculations and ultimate transactions, I will be enjoying all the news from the comforts of a beach chair in the surf, at Dewey Beach.

Perfect timing, huh?

We’re still days away from any official windows of negotiation – we’re not 100% certain of rules and policies regarding such overtures – and names of possible casualties and additions for the 2011 edition of the Baltimore Ravens are abounding.

Who do you believe?  What do you believe?  Should you even believe this lockout is really coming to an end?

The lockout is ending.  The owners and players have long concluded this marriage won’t suffer a separation that costs either side any money.  Thus, you can bet we’re on the brink of actually seeing, hearing and talking about football and its daily drama …..

And, as we’re on the verge of a new season, the speculation has already begun.  We know the Ravens will make some painful cuts of veteran talents, while also conceding to allow some of the team’s free agents to walk away.  But, they’re likely to make some very exciting additions, as well. 

We kinda know most of the team’s needs – but, we don’t really know what Ozzie Newsome and company are thinking …. OR how they’ll go about building their vision of the best team for the upcoming season.

But, we’ve heard the rumors.

Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie, Eric DeCosta, John Harbaugh and others whom are tasked with collaborating to the choices of parting with members of “the family” are undoubtedly conflicted over a number of such decisions.  They’re human and while the heart doesn’t likely figure into the ultimate decision, its certainly impacted – especially when they leave Winning Drive and explore their conscience. 

But, it’s the business of the National Football League.

I’ll leave you with a pictorial collection of the rumored potential exits that could transpire over the next couple weeks.  Some are predictably apparent and others are a reach.  From a personal perspective, I can imagine this process is among the toughest and most agonizing for any executives.

I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to weigh in with thoughts and opinions …..

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ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Roddy White  of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this reception against Lardarius Webb  of the Baltimore Ravens at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Falcons win stunner over Ravens

Posted on 12 November 2010 by Chris Pika

It’s fortunate that the Ravens will have 10 days to regroup after a stunning 26-21 loss at Atlanta in a game that Baltimore seemingly had won with 1:05 to play in the Georgia Dome in a battle of two teams that seemed like mirror images of one another in 2010.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense had struggled for the better part of three quarters, trailing 13-0 before storming back with two touchdowns in a span of 4:37 late in the fourth quarter to take a 21-20 lead on a 9-yard TD catch by tight end Todd Heap.

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Roddy White  of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this reception against Lardarius Webb  of the Baltimore Ravens at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

But the other quarterback in the constant comparison of 2008 first-round draft picks, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, drove the Falcons 80 yards in seven plays and 45 seconds to win the game on a gutsy pass play to wide receiver Roddy White with 20 seconds left.

With Atlanta driving at the Baltimore 33 for what most thought would be a game-winning field goal attempt, Ryan rolled left and hit White at the 17, and White danced into the end zone for the 33-yard touchdown.

The Falcons were put in position to win on the previous play. Atlanta faced third-and-10 at the Ravens 41, and Ryan threw over the middle to tight end Tony Gonzalez, who was ridden to the turf for a defensive pass interference call on Baltimore’s Tavares Gooden.

The resulting 8-yard penalty gave the Falcons an automatic first down at the 33, and Atlanta cashed in. After the touchdown, the Falcons went for two points, but failed when Ed Reed picked off Ryan’s pass attempt.

Atlanta was also helped by an earlier third-and-10 catch for 24 yards by wide receiver Michael Jenkins during the drive. Jenkins appeared to juggle the ball as he went out of bounds. The replay booth upheld the call on the field, and the Falcons had a first down at their 44.

Baltimore’s David Reed made an ill-advised return of the ensuing kickoff, and was upended at the Ravens 9 with 16 seconds left. Three plays later, a fumble out of bounds after a catch by T.J. Houshmandzadeh ended a frustrating night for the Ravens.

The Ravens marched 72 yards in eight plays to take a 21-20 lead with 1:05 left. Flacco found wide receiver Anquan Boldin on a 9-yard pass on third down to the Atlanta 35 to keep the drive going. Three plays later, Flacco gunned a bullet into the end zone that Heap caught, but dropped to the ground after taking a couple of steps. The play was reviewed by the replay booth and upheld, and Billy Cundiff’s extra point gave Baltimore its first lead of the game.

But it was not enough as Ryan and the Falcons found a way through a tired Ravens defense at the end.

Ryan finished 32 of 50 passing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. White caught 12 of his 17 targeted passes for 138 yards and two scores.

Flacco finished 22 of 34 for 215 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He hit eight different receivers, including Boldin five times for 50 yards and a touchdown, and Heap four times for 57 yards and the late TD.

Atlanta was held to 60 yards rushing on 23 carries – paced by Michael Turner’s 39 yards on 17 attempts, while Baltimore got 116 yards on 21 rushes, led by Ray Rice, who ran the ball 12 times for 59 yards.

It was obvious from the start that the Falcons wanted to throw the ball on offense after most expected Atlanta to try to use Turner a lot early on.

The first quarter was nothing more than a punt-fest as each team had to kick away twice. Sam Koch’s second punt pinned the Falcons at their 9 with 3:02 left in the quarter, but Ryan began to find his groove.

Ryan completed four consecutive passes as the first quarter ended with the Falcons sitting on the Ravens 44. Ryan kept passing, and eventually the Ravens were able to drop White for a four-yard loss back to the Ravens 28.

On the next play, Ryan rolled out and found backup running back Jason Snelling alone on the right side. Snelling caught the ball 4 yards past the line of scrimmage, got a head of steam, and broke the grasp of Dawan Landry to score on a 28-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 11:24 left in the first half.

Baltimore did very little on their next possession, and a Koch punt pinned the Falcons deep again at their 7 midway through the second quarter.

Atlanta got out to their 27 and was forced to punt, but Lardarius Webb didn’t keep a strong hold on the ball during the return and it was stripped out. After a long discussion by Ron Winter’s officiating crew, the Falcons had recovered at the Ravens 43.

The Falcons methodically used the clock and took 12 plays, including a key third-down illegal contact call on Dannell Ellerbe, to stretch their lead to 10-0 just before the half on a Matt Bryant 28-yard field goal.

The Ravens had just 17 offensive plays in the half to Atlanta’s 43 (28 passes), and the Falcons had the ball for 21:14.

The Ravens second turnover of the game was costly as Flacco was picked off by Brent Grimes at the Baltimore 39 early in the third quarter. The Falcons needed just four plays for Bryant to kick a long 51-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead with 12:51 left.

Baltimore showed signs of life on its next possession as the Ravens went back to the run game. The Ravens moved 65 yards in 10 plays to score on a Flacco 5-yard pass to Boldin with 6:50 left in the quarter, as Baltimore cut the margin to 13-7.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons were the recipient of a key call against Terrell Suggs. On third-and-10 at the Ravens’ 33, Suggs was flagged for a facemask penalty that gave the Falcons a first down at the Baltimore 13 after it was tacked on to the end of a 7-yard pass to Snelling.

Three plays later, Ryan rolled out and led White across the end zone for a 4-yard TD pass and a 20-7 lead with 11:34 left to go.

The Ravens took over after White’s TD, and Flacco moved the offense methodically on an 11-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a 6-yard TD toss to Derrick Mason with 5:42 to play to pull Baltimore to 20-14.

Atlanta racked up 362 yards of total offense to Baltimore’s 320. The Falcons were 12 of 20 on third downs, and had the ball for 35:09. The Ravens were 6 for 11 on thirds, and were penalized six times for 51 yards.

The Ravens (6-3) will be back in action next Sunday against another NFC South foe, as Baltimore travels to Carolina. The Falcons (7-2) travel to St. Louis next Sunday.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Ed Reed to begin season on PUP, miss first 6 weeks

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Luke Jones

After months of speculation regarding his status for the start of the 2010 season, Ed Reed will be placed on the reserve physically unable to perform list, meaning the Ravens will be without their All-Pro safety for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. The decision was first reported by the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora on Friday night.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old Reed missed all of training camp and the preseason after undergoing hip surgery to repair a torn labrum in the offseason. Despite occasionally doing agility and conditioning work in Westminster, Reed described his surgically-repaired hip as only “35 percent” in late July before training camp started.

Given the Ravens’ depth at the safety position with Tom Zbikowski performing well in Reed’s place in the preseason and reserve Haruki Nakamura also making plays in the secondary, the organization will choose the safe route despite Reed reportedly campaigning to play sooner.

“This is a slow process,” Reed told WNST.net’s Drew Forrester on The Morning Reaction in early July. “I don’t want to come back and have another injury and then be out for the whole season, maybe even a career. I’m going to take my time with this one and hope everyone can bear with me on this one, and we’ll see what happens.”

Reed injured the hip last season, forcing him to miss four games before returning to the field for the final week of the regular season and the playoffs. The safety made 50 tackles and had three interceptions in 12 games, earning his sixth invitation to the Pro Bowl.

The decision to place Reed on the reserve PUP list likely means the team will elect to keep veteran safety Ken Hamlin or young defensive back K.J. Gerard — or possibly both — to join Nakamura as the backup safeties. Zbikowski will now be expected to occupy the free safety position next to Dawan Landry in the starting lineup for at least the first six games of the season.

When placed on the reserve PUP list, a player must miss the first six weeks of the season but does not count against the 53-man roster. After this time, there is a three-week window during which the player may return to practice (without counting against the 53-man roster) and can be activated as early as Week 7. A decision must be made within the frame of the three-week period to either activate the player or keep him on the PUP list for the remainder of the season.

The earliest Reed could return would be against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 24.

Reed becomes the third player on the roster to be placed on PUP to begin the regular season, joining linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and running back Matt Lawrence, who were given the same designations earlier this week.

Injured rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle remains unsigned after fracturing his skull a few days prior to training camp. He would be eligible for the PUP list when he agrees to terms on a contract with the Ravens.

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Woodson

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (21-40)

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number this week, I decided to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Numbers 1 through 20 included greats such as Matt Stover and Ed Reed as well as lackluster selections such as David Tyree and Wally Richardson.

Part two (21-40) provides a few interesting debates with a few more selections of attrition.

21 Chris McAlister (1999-2008)

The paradoxical cornerback’s exit under the new regime of John Harbaugh was unfortunate, but there was no questioning McAlister’s talent when his mind was focused on football. The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2003-04, 2006) is the best cornerback in franchise history.

McAlister will eventually be a part of the Ring of Honor, where he will become the second honoree to wear No. 21, but the only deserving one. Earnest Byner had a good NFL career in Cleveland (with the exception of “The Fumble”) and Washington, but he being the first member of the Ravens Ring of Honor is solely a product of Art Modell’s affection for the running back.

22 Duane Starks (1998-2001)

McAlister’s counterpart receives the nod in a close race with cornerback Samari Rolle. Starks lacked consistency in his four-year career with the Ravens, but his play reached new heights during the team’s postseason run that ended with the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa. Starks intercepted two passes in the AFC Championship and returned a Kerry Collins attempt the other way 49 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl (check out the 0:46 mark below).

23 Willis McGahee (2007-present)

McGahee’s career in Baltimore has declined after a 1,200-yard season in 2007, but the veteran runner easily tops the list of players to wear the number, which includes Moe Williams, Jamaine Winborne, Earnest Hunter, and Dameon Hunter.

Though no longer a premier back, McGahee can take consolation in a certain moment in Oakland last season.

24 Domonique Foxworth (2009-present)

Despite playing only one season with the Ravens so far (and missing his second with a torn ACL), Foxworth’s performance in 2009 trumps the likes of Corey Fuller, Donny Brady, Alvin Porter, and 2006 third-round bust David Pittman.

25 Chris Carr (2009-present)

Despite a number of players wearing the number, Chris Carr wins out over inadequate cornerbacks such as DeRon Jenkins, Evan Oglesby, and Clarence Love.

26 Rod Woodson (1998-2001)
Woodson

The veteran transitioned from cornerback to safety and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl during his four-year stay in Baltimore. Dawan Landry deserves a mention and Priest Holmes wore the number his rookie season, but Woodson is the unanimous choice here.

27 Ray Rice (2008-present)

Safety Stevon Moore was one of the few competent members of the Baltimore defense in the early years, but Rice’s breakout 2009 campaign makes him a slam-dunk choice for No. 27. Entering his third season, Rice hopes he can make the number as synonymous with Ravens football as No. 52 and 75.

28 Gary Baxter (2001-04)

McAlister wore the number his rookie season and Tom Zbikowski is making a name for himself, but Baxter was a solid member of the Baltimore secondary before ditching the Ravens for Cleveland, where his career was essentially ruined by patella tendon tears in both knees in 2006.

29 Chester Taylor (2002-05)

Taylor was a dependable backup in 2004 and 2005 when Jamal Lewis’ body began breaking down. His performance eventually earned him a nice payday in Minnesota before the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson. Two players deserving posthumous recognition are safety Eric Turner and fullback Chuck Evans. Terry Allen also wore the number in the running back-starved season of 2001.

30 Obafemi Ayanbadejo (1999-2001)

With Eugene Daniel and Jamel White his only real competition, the man with probably the coolest name in the history of the franchise earns the honor despite spending the latter half of the Super Bowl season on Injured Reserve.

31 Jamal Lewis (2000-2006)

With a bruising style unlike any other, Lewis was an unstoppable force in 2003, rushing for 2,066 yards and a then-record 295 against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. In his prime, Lewis was the type of runner defensive players were afraid to tackle. He is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

32 Sam Gash (2000-02)

The veteran fullback led the way for Lewis in his rookie season and is the most deserving of a group of backs that includes Musa Smith and Errict Rhett. Gash was the epitome of an “old-school” fullback.

33 Le’Ron McClain (2007-present)

Some will argue Priest Holmes as a deserving choice for this number—the first back to have a 1,000-yard season in team history in 1998—but McClain’s two Pro Bowl selections and improbable 2008 season in which he rushed for 902 yards earn him the honor.

McClain

McClain’s running style reminds you a little bit of Bam Morris, another back to wear the number in 1996 and 1997. Unlike the troubled Morris, however, McClain has managed to keep his nose clean, literally and figuratively.

34 Ovie Mughelli (2003-06)

Though he was a late bloomer in Baltimore, Mughelli grabs the brass ring with his only real competition being Jay Graham and current return man Jalen Parmele. The latter still has an opportunity to stake a claim in the future, but Graham’s injury-riddled career fell off a cliff after rushing for an amazing 154 yards in his first career start in 1997.

35 Corey Ivy (2006-08, 2009)

Despite his small stature at 5-foot-9, Ivy was a steady nickelback with the ability to blitz effectively. His standout moment with the Ravens came during a dominant 27-0 win over the Steelers in 2006 in which the defensive back grabbed an interception, sacked Ben Roethlisberger, and forced a fumble. Ivy edges Robert Bailey, the nickel during the 2000 season, and fullback Carwell Gardner (1996).

36 Jim Leonhard (2008)

B.J. Sams was a good return specialist for four seasons with the Ravens, but Leonhard personified the Ravens’ underdog season in 2008 in which they advanced to the AFC Championship game with a rookie head coach and quarterback.

The undersized safety’s play was a major asset in place of the injured Dawan Landry and earned him a nice contract with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets the following season.

37 Bennie Thompson (1996-1999)

Deion Sanders earned the most attention with his two-year stint in Baltimore, but Thompson was a special teams standout during the infancy of the franchise. Thompson played the game with the crazed demeanor needed to launch oneself into the wedge of the opposition’s return team. Thompson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1998 for his special teams prowess.

38 James Trapp (1999-2002)

Despite being an ordained minister, Trapp is remembered most for being ejected from a game in 2002 after stomping on the head of Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress, a move many in Baltimore didn’t mind a bit. Trapp was a quality backup in the Ravens secondary for four seasons and edged out the likes of Antonio Langham, Mike Anderson, and Raymond Walls.

39 Alan Ricard (2000-05)

After much painful debate, I decided against Daren Stone, the culprit of one of the dumbest penalties in franchise history, as the all-time No. 39.
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Ricard was the lead blocker and a Pro Bowl alternate in Jamal Lewis’ record-breaking 2003 season and was a great fullback for several seasons.

40 Cory Ross (2006-07)

Though he wore the number for just one season (switching to No. 34 in 2007), Ross filled in for injured return specialist B.J. Sams during the latter portion of the 2006 season, which was enough to earn the distinction for a very insignificant number in team history.

Cory Ross

The deceased Kenyon Cotton and current bubble defensive back K.J. Gerard are the only other competitors in an underwhelming group of No. 40s.

Next up: For numbers 41 though 60, we’ll find who grabbed the honors for No. 46 and 48 (Impressive if you have names off the top of your head), and I’ll end the suspense surrounding the pick for No. 52. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Lay Rewis.

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Ravens-Redskins Notebook: Nakamura runs wild, 3rd down woes on D

Posted on 21 August 2010 by Luke Jones

LANDOVER, Md. — Even those crazy enough to gamble on preseason games would not have envisioned who the Ravens’ leading rusher would be against the Redskins in a 23-3 victory on Saturday night.

No, it wasn’t Ray Rice or Willis McGahee. Not even fourth-string back Curtis Steele racked up the most rushing yards against the Washington defense.

A backup safety?

Haruki Nakamura ran 51 yards on a fake punt play in the second quarter to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Willis McGahee to put the Ravens ahead for good at 10-3. The third-year safety showed nifty moves on the play, faking out linebacker H.B. Blades and receiver Brandon Banks on separate occasions to set up the Ravens’ first touchdown.

“Anytime you can give a team a spark, you don’t want to give credit to yourself; you’ve got to give credit to the whole entire group,” Nakamura said. “Without guys blocking, I probably would have got smashed in the backfield or been a loss. As a special teams group, that’s the type of things we’re trying to do this year.”

Nakamura said he had not had a long run of that nature since his high school days and had not touched the ball since college.

“You had to like the call [special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg sent in on the fake punt,” coach John Harbaugh said. “The Redskins looked like they had it figured out a little before the snap, but [Nakamura] handled it and made the play.”

Cornerback comeback

Fabian Washington had not seen live-game action since Nov. 22 against the Indianapolis Colts when the cornerback tore his ACL, ending his 2009 season and leading to a difficult offseason of rehab.

The 27-year-old sat out the preseason opener but was on the field against the Redskins, making a tackle and breaking up a pass attempt in the first quarter before being replaced by Cary Williams.

“I feel great,” said Washington, who admitted he still isn’t 100 percent recovered. “My knee held up. Mentally, I feel great.”

With Lardarius Webb still on the Physically Unable to Perform list and Chris Carr continuing to recover from a strained hamstring, Washington’s performance was good news for an otherwise shaky Baltimore secondary that allowed 206 passing yards in the first half.

“They got a couple of third downs and one deep ball, but we didn’t give up any points,” safety Dawan Landry said. “As long as you’re not giving up points, we are going to win.”

Third down doldrums

The Redskins marched 73 yards on 13 plays on the opening drive of the game, but their success on third down was even more concerning in regards to the Ravens defense.

Washington was successful on its first three third-down conversions, gaining 73 total yards to move the chains before the Ravens finally stopped the Redskins on third down from the 7-yard line to force a Graham Gano field goal. The big play was a Donovan McNabb 45-yard completion to Anthony Armstrong, moving the ball inside the 10 before the Ravens defense finally buckled down.

The Redskins went 1-for-9 on third down following their successful opening drive.

“We have to get better [on third down], and we did improve in the second quarter,” Harbaugh said. “Also, give some credit to [McNabb]. He has seen it all, and he did a really good job of buying extra time.”

Bubble breakout

The second preseason game is often the biggest opportunity for bubble players to improve their standing for the 53-man roster, and linebacker Jason Phillips and receiver David Reed seized the opportunity on Saturday night.

Phillips made tackles on back-to-back plays with the second being a sack and forced fumble of Redskins backup Rex Grossman, which was recovered by the second-year linebacker late in the third quarter.

Lost in the shuffle behind Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, and Dannell Ellerbe in the inside linebacker hierarchy, Phillips—who spent last season on Injured Reserve due to a knee injury—is fighting to be noticed on special teams, but creating more turnovers will grab defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s attention very quickly.

The rookie receiver Reed appeared to put a miserable training camp behind him with a masterful performance on one second-half scoring drive. He caught four passes for 38 yards, all coming on a 95-yard drive capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Jalen Parmele.

A standout performer during the OTA schedule, Reed struggled to catch the football consistently in four weeks of training camp but showed confidence reining in passes from backup Marc Bulger. Currently in a battle with Demetrius Williams for the fifth receiver spot, Reed may have closed the gap between the two with his strong showing.

“I’m very happy,” Reed said. “It was great to help the team out any way I can, and it was unbelievable. It was a great game.”

Happy and healthy

More satisfying than the 23-3 victory was the apparent escape from Landover without any significant injuries.

Harbaugh said Williams sustained “a little bit of a turned ankle” but was not aware of any other issues following the game.

The Ravens had 11 inactive players on Saturday night, including offensive tackle Jared Gaither, cornerback Marcus Paschal, defensive back K.J. Gerard, guard David Hale, offensive tackle Oniel Cousins, offensive linemen Daniel Sanders and Stefan Rodgers, and the four players currently on the active PUP list (Webb, safety Ed Reed, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, and running back Matt Lawrence).

Carr was active and suited up to play but sat out to rest his left hamstring. The starting corner started against the Panthers but tweaked his hamstring on the third series, forcing him to miss several more practices. He was a full participant only in Thursday’s practice after being limited the entire week.

“They just wanted to be extra cautious, just because of what happened last week,” Carr said. “It was just a precautionary measure. I’m very eager to get back out there.”

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Ravens Training Camp: The impressive and disappointing

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Luke Jones

Another Westminster training camp has concluded with the Ravens now focusing their attention to the final three games of the preseason before the 2010 regular season gets underway against the New York Jets on Sept. 13.

Saturday night’s meeting with the Washington Redskins will be a key audition for  bubble players as coach John Harbaugh has already stated how important the second preseason game is for evaluating rookies and reserve veterans fighting for a roster spot.

Much will change before the initial cutdown to 75 players takes place on Aug. 31 and the final cut to 53 on Sept. 4, but here’s a breakdown of players—by position—who impressed and disappointed in Westminster.

QUARTERBACKS
Impressed: Joe Flacco is an easy choice after a strong camp with his new offensive weapons. The third-year quarterback still must prove he can read and throw to the middle of the field, but Anquan Boldin and a strong group of tight ends will certainly help.

Disappointed: Troy Smith knew his standing in the organization changed dramatically after the acquisition of Marc Bulger, and the former Heisman Trophy winner did nothing to push the veteran for the backup job. Smith lacks size and was too erratic in Westminster. He will stick as the No. 3 quarterback, but his performance made the Ravens look very wise for signing Bulger.

RUNNING BACKS
Impressed: Hard to go with anyone but Ray Rice at this spot despite Willis McGahee looking solid and healthy as well. Rice looked to be in mid-season form the first day veterans reported to Westminster. It will be another Pro Bowl season for the third-year back if he remains healthy.

Disappointed: Not his fault, but Matt Lawrence’s chance of making the 53-man roster continues to diminish as he remains on the physically unable to perform list. He is a capable special teams player when healthy, but this summer’s roster is too deep.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Impressed: Everyone assumed Mark Clayton would be cast aside in the offense when the Ravens acquired Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth, but the former starter had a strong training camp, catching everything thrown his way. Stallworth was the logical choice as the No. 3 receiver, but Clayton received more reps in three-wide sets over the final two weeks of camp.

Disappointed: The Ravens loved what they saw out of David Reed during the OTA schedule, but the rookie failed to adjust to the quicker speed of training camp. Considered a sure-handed receiver coming out of Utah, Reed dropped countless passes and was not been given much of a look as a kick returner. Demetrius Williams is clearly ahead of Reed in the battle for the fifth receiver spot.

TIGHT ENDS
Impressed: Ed Dickson looked more like an established—not to mention explosive—veteran than a rookie on the upper fields at McDaniel College. The 6-foot-4 Dickson has tremendous size and great speed for a tight end. His versatility will be a welcome addition when the Ravens use him in two-tight end sets and at H-back on occasion. On a side note, Todd Heap had an excellent camp, showing he’s still capable of producing when healthy.

Disappointed: Already facing an uphill battle to make the roster after the drafting of Dickson and Dennis Pitta, Davon Drew was not able to stay on the field this summer. Drew showed more consistency than he did last season as a rookie, but it’s difficult to make the team when you’re never on the field. He’ll need to get healthy and make an impact in the remaining preseason games.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Impressed: Fellow guard Ben Grubbs earns more notoriety, but Marshal Yanda was ferocious in Westminster, proving he’s all the way back from the horrific knee injury he suffered two seasons ago. Yanda anchored and stood up Terrence Cody during a 1-on-1 drill in one of the highlights of the summer, just a couple plays after the 350-pounder had blown up the highly-regarded Grubbs.

Disappointed: Showing up 30 pounds lighter without the coaching staff’s approval and injuring his back on the first day of full-team workouts made Jared Gaither a slam-dunk choice. Not only are there concerns whether he’ll be ready by Week 1, but he’s missed valuable time to adjust to the right tackle position.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Impressed: He got off to a slow start while adjusting to playing with the 15 extra pounds he gained in the offseason, but Paul Kruger became a force on the defensive line, off the edge and even sliding to the inside in the nickel package. If Kruger can replicate what he showed in Westminster over the last two weeks, the Ravens will have another factor in the pass rush.

Disappointed: None. This is the deepest unit on the team. The only disappointment on the defensive line is the reality that the organization will have to cut a couple of talented players due to numbers.

LINEBACKERS
Impressed: His performance in the Carolina game aside, Jameel McClain was the biggest surprise of camp over the first three weeks, working at inside linebacker with the first defense. McClain played the run well and showed competence in pass coverage, but it did not carry over against the Panthers in the preseason opener. The competition for the starting job next to Ray Lewis is still wide open. Antwan Barnes earns an honorable mention.

Disappointed: The likely favorite to win the second inside linebacker spot prior to camp, Dannell Ellerbe came to Westminster out of shape and trailed McClain and Tavares Gooden for much of the way. Ellerbe improved his standing as the weeks progressed, but it was apparent how unhappy the coaching staff was as Ellerbe worked with the second defense in Westminster.

CORNERBACKS
Impressed: Expected to be brought back slowly, Fabian Washington provided a much-needed lift to the secondary when he returned to the field during the first week of camp. Washington appeared quick and made more plays as the weeks progressed. He will see his first game action against the Redskins on Saturday night and will be relied upon to be the team’s top corner, even if he’s nowhere near a true No. 1.

Disappointed: The injury to Domonique Foxworth is most appropriate here, but the brief eight-day stint of Walt Harris takes the cake in this department. He was unable to show he had anything left in the tank despite a solid career. And it’s tough labeling the likes of Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins as disappointments if you never had any expectations to begin with.

SAFETY
Impressed: While no one compares to Ed Reed, Tom Zbikowski eased concerns at the position with a very strong showing in Westminster. Zbikowski is faster and showed a strong nose for the football this summer after doing an adequate job in Reed’s place for four games last season. Despite not knowing the status of its future Hall of Famer, this unit of safeties looks very sound with Zbikowski and Dawan Landry anchoring the secondary.

Disappointed: Though labeling him a disappointment is bit strong, Ken Hamlin has done little to challenge Zbikowski for the free safety position, partly because the latter was excellent in practice. Hamlin was solid, but unspectacular, running with the second defense. The former Cowboy has great size (6-foot-2) but needs to show a stronger special teams presence to stick around when Reed returns to the field.

SPECIALISTS
Impressed: Yes, he’s younger, cheaper, and healthier, but the Ravens clearly loved what they saw from Morgan Cox to have jettisoned veteran Matt Katula two days after the preseason opener. Fans can only hope we won’t hear his name again all season.

Disappointed: Though he’s kicked reasonably well, the Ravens certainly wished Shayne Graham had seized early control of the competition with Billy Cundiff. Until the final two days of camp, Cundiff had outperformed the former Bengal by a slight margin. Graham struggled with field goals outside 45 yards in Westminster but kicked better during the practice at M&T Bank Stadium. The smart money is still on Graham to be the kicker, but the battle has been closer than most people thought.

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Live from Westminster: Injuries mount on offensive line

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. – After receiving some well-deserved time off since the preseason opener last week, the Ravens were back on the practice field Monday morning but saw several players go down with injuries.

Offensive lineman David Hale was carted off the field with an apparent chest/rib injury after a collision with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata during linemen drills in the latter portion of practice. Ngata sat out the remainder of practice with a left arm issue, but the injury did not appear to be serious.

Oniel Cousins also walked off the field gingerly with a member of the training staff and did not return. Earlier in pratice, he had a scuffle with linebacker Jameel McClain, but there was no word whether the injury was a result of the fight.

With Jared Gaither out another two to three weeks with a small tear in his back, Cousins is the “logical choice” to take his place at right tackle, according to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. With Cousins leaving the field, his replacement was Tony Moll, who only returned to practice on Saturday after a concussion sidelined him for two weeks.

“I don’t think you’re ever comfortable [with your offensive line],” Camerson said about the uncertainty with the first unit. “You really aren’t, because you know you’re one or two [lost] players away from really having to rebuild something.”

Others not practicing included offensive linemen Matt Birk (elbow) and Daniel Sanders (arm), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), and defensive backs Marcus Paschal (leg) and Chris Carr (hamstring). Carr has not practiced since making a surprise appearance against the Panthers on Thursday night.

Linebacker Tavares Gooden was limited for the second straight practice as he deals with back soreness after taking an awkward hit from the side in the first preseason game. The third-year backer sported a red mesh top over his jersey and did not partake in any live contact in the morning session.

Check back right here (time-stamped below) for updates throughout the day and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison, Jerry Rosburg, Dawan Landry, Lardarius Webb, and Cary Williams as well as Thyrl Nelson’s conversation with Mark Clayton immediately following the morning practice. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates straight from the field in Westminster!

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1:45 p.m. — Monday was another big day for the kickers as Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff were perfect on all attempts.

Cundiff connected for a long 58-yard field goal but also hit from 20, 38, 46, and 52 yards. Graham was 4-for-4 and made kicks from 20, 38, 46, and 52 yards. Cundiff is currently kicking with the first field goal unit, but it appears both kickers are strongly in contention for the job after only one preseason game.

The inside linebacker competition has heated up after a disappointing showing by Jameel McClain against Carolina. Dannell Ellerbe appears to have closed the gap as he, McClain, and a limited Tavares Gooden (see above) took reps next to Ray Lewis and the starting defense.

1:35 p.m. — Cornerback Lardarius Webb continues to rehab his surgically-repair ACL after suffering the injury late last season. The second-year play has been doing agility and conditioning work for most of training camp but still doesn’t have a timetable for his return to the practice field.

“No time limit,” he said. “We’re coming. We don’t want everybody to know [when] I am coming back.”

When pressed whether he would return to action before the preseason ended, Webb indicated he preferred taking extra time to insure the knee is ready for games that actually matter.

“I’m hoping it’s not [returning in the preseason],” Webb said. “For what? I’m still like seven months [removed from the injury]. We still have a lot of work to do. We have to make sure it’s right before I come back on.”

Webb remains on the active physically unable to perform list along with safety Ed Reed (hip), linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps), and running back Matt Lawrence (knee). If Webb starts the season on the reserve PUP list, he would miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

When he returns to action, Webb is expected to contend for a starting spot at cornerback, a position at which the Ravens are extremely thin after the loss of Domonique Foxworth at the start of training camp.

“I think with an ACL, every time you work [the knee], afterwords, you might have a little soreness, but it’s always going to be soreness,” Webb said. “It’s not the knee; it’s just soreness from work. But no, it feels great.”

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Live from Westminster: Ngata leaves with back spasms, Ravens eye preseason debut

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — With the preseason opener just three days away, the Ravens were back on the practice field Monday with an eye toward Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers. Players practiced in shells and shorts for a lighter workout in preparation for the first game of the preseason.

Though the first preseason game will not include extensive playing time for the starters, coach John Harbaugh is anxious to get his first look at the roster in a live game situation.

“I think execution is the main thing,” said Harbaugh, who explained starters will play no longer than a quarter with some players playing even less. “We like our guys to be sharp, be on target, whether it’s blocking people, throwing the ball, on target with our pressures, on target on defense with our assignments. That’s probably the number one thing. We’d like to see our guys play hard, like to see them be physical. We want to play the [style] we want to play and start to establish that right off the bat if we can.”

Cornerback Chris Carr and offensive tackle Jared Gaither were again held out of practice, making it more likely they will not play on Thursday. Carr’s left thigh was wrapped as he watched practice on the field, though he indicated after practice the hamstring is improving.

Gaither continues to be “in limbo” with back spasms, according to Harbaugh. The team does not believe it to be serious, but the medical staff will perform another test to confirm the severity of the injury. Gaither has not participated fully in workouts since last Wednesday.

“We’ve just got to work through the spasms and get him out here, so we can practice,” Harbaugh said.

Perhaps an even bigger scare occurred during the morning session when defensive tackle Haloti Ngata took a helmet to the back and left the field. He suffered from some spasms as a result, but it is not considered to be a serious injury, according to Harbaugh.

“He should be fine.”

Cary Williams also left the field with an apparent injury, adding a new name to a laundry list of banged-up players in the secondary. He joins Carr, Marcus Paschal, K.J. Gerard, Lardarius Webb (PUP list – knee), and Ed Reed (PUP list – hip) as defensive backs dealing with injuries. Fabian Washington has practiced the last two days after sitting out Saturday’s practice on the new turf at M&T Bank Stadium.

With so many injuries already affecting the team’s depth at offensive tackle and cornerback, a major goal of the first preseason game simply will be remaining healthy.

“If something happens to a guy, he’s going to come out,” said Harbaugh, who plans to hold out several players already dealing with injuries. “Then, you basically hold your breath and you pray as far as the big injury, because there’s nothing you can do about that. Hopefully we can get through it. After the game, if we can say we got through it injury-free, that’s really a victory also.”

Check back right here for updates throughout the day (time-stamped below) and head to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, and Anquan Boldin as well as Dawan Landry’s post-practice conversation with Thyrl Nelson.

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5:00 p.m. — The afternoon session wrapped up in just under an hour with the team practicing in shells and shorts.

Players not practicing included Haloti Ngata (back), Jared Gaither (back), Chris Carr (hamstring), Fabian Washington (knee), K.J. Gerard (hamstring), Demetrius Williams (undisclosed), Daniel Sanders (undisclosed), Stefan Rodgers (ankle), and Tony Moll (concussion).

Cornerback Cary Williams returned to practice despite leaving the field halfway through the morning session.

The highlight of the afternoon was a dropped interception by linebacker Jameel McClain, who proceeded to drop and do 10 push-ups as punishment. Despite the snafu, McClain is one of the biggest surprises of camp, as he continues to work next to Ray Lewis at inside linebacker with the starting defense.

The Ravens will be back on the field Tuesday for their last two-practice session prior to Thursday night’s preseason opener. Practices at 8:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (special teams only) are open to the public.

2:20 p.m. — The voting remains open on the question of whether the Ravens will keep their current fight song or adopt an updated version of the Baltimore Colts fight song, but it’s pretty apparent that Baltimore has made its choice.

As of 2:15 on Monday afternoon, 78 percent of voters had chosen the Colts tune as the new fight song.

Senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne says the organization is still deciding how to introduce the new (or old) fight song to the M&T Bank Stadium crowd on Thursday night. The gameday programs have already gone to print and will not include anything about the change in fight songs, according to Byrne.

2:10 p.m. — Thursday will provide the first legitimate test for Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham in a kicking competition that has been very even to this point. Unofficially, Cundiff was 7-for-7, which included kicks of 45, 50, and 51 yards. Graham was slightly worse, going 7-for-8 with a miss from 51 yards and a successful try from 45 yards.

John Harbaugh said each kicker will play a half, and the rotation will alternate for the remainder of the preseason schedule. It has not been determined who will kick in the first half. The four exhibition contests will carry the most weight in determining who will be the placekicker against the New York Jets on Sept. 13.

“I don’t think it’ll be everything, but we see them kick them in games, and that’s an environment, obviously, that matters,” Harbaugh said. “So, it probably has a little more weight.”

1:55 p.m. — Fabian Washington practiced for the second straight day after sitting out Saturday’s workout as a precautionary measure on the new turf at M&T Bank Stadium. Though he came off the Physically Unable to Perform list, the team continues to monitor his surgically-repaired knee and has given regular time off to the starting cornerback.

Monday morning’s workout looked to be a conscious effort to test Washington as he was thrown at repeatedly with mixed results.

Washington was flagged for pass interference while trying to cover receiver Mark Clayton early in an 11-on-11 drill and gave up a leaping touchdown to Marcus Smith in the corner of the end zone later in the drill. Later in practice, Washington deflected a ball right into the hands of Donte’ Stallworth for a long touchdown.

Despite the rough morning, Washington rebounded to break up a deep ball from Marc Bulger to Stallworth before the morning practice ended.

With Washington still sitting out some workouts and refraining from working out on the new surface at the stadium, it’s unknown whether he’ll play in Thursday’s preseason opener.

“We’ll have a few guys that we’ll hold out, just as a precautionary measure that we just don’t want to push through the game,” Harbaugh said about his plans for Thursday. “Guys that will normally play in the regular season will not play in this game, I’m sure.”

Washington would figure to be a strong candidate to fit into that category.

1:00 p.m. — Though Jared Gaither (back) and Chris Carr (hamstring) remain out with injuries, several Ravens returned to the practice field Monday morning including receiver Derrick Mason (knee), Tavares Gooden (undisclosed), K.J. Gerard (hamstring), David Hale (back), and Stefan Rodgers (ankle). The latter three appeared limited in the shells-and-shorts practice, but Mason and Gooden participated fully in the workout.

In addition to Gaither, the offensive line was without Ramon Harewood (both knees) and Tony Moll (concussion) at the tackle position.

Others missing from practice included defensive backs Marcus Paschal (leg) and Prince Miller (away for the birth of his child).

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