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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Bengals

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Bengals

Posted on 12 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 20-17 (OT) win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Justin Tucker 46 yard field goal good (Overtime)

4. James Ihedigbo 37 yard return of Andy Dalton interception intended for Tyler Eifert, Mohamed Sanu called for 11 yard personal foul (2nd quarter)

3. Reggie Nelson draws 48 yard pass interference on Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones (1st down)

2. Terrell Suggs and Corey Graham tackle Andy Dalton for no gain on 4th & 1 (1st down)

1. Giovani Bernard -11 yard catch from Andy Dalton on 4th down, tackled by Corey Graham (Overtime)



(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Steelers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Steelers

Posted on 22 October 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Bernard Pierce tackled by Lawrence Timmons and Steve McLendon for one yard loss on 3rd & 1 (1st quarter)

You cannot start a 3rd & 1 run five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Oy.

4. Lamar Woodley sacks Joe Flacco for 10 yard loss on 3rd & 8 from Pittsburgh 34 (2nd quarter)

It would have been a long field goal attempt, but I’d rather that than a punt.

3. William Gay breaks up Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones on 3rd & 12 (3rd quarter)

Man did that one really bother me watching the film again Monday. Very close to six.

2. Elvis Dumervil called for unnecessary roughness after Jerricho Cotchery 7 yard catch from Ben Roethlisberger (3rd quarter)

From 2nd & 17 to an eight minute drive.

1. Vince Williams recovers Justin Tucker onside kick attempt, Tucker flagged for illegal touching (4th quarter)

The decision was questionable. The execution was putrid.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 19 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Meeting for the 38th time in the last 18 years, the Ravens and Steelers renew one of the greatest rivalries in the NFL at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon.

The buildup of this year’s first meeting between the AFC North rivals lacks its normal buzz as this is the first time since 2002 — not counting season openers — in which the Ravens and Steelers meet with neither team sporting a winning record. However, the game could be even more critical than usual for each team as the Steelers are trying to climb out of the 0-4 hole they dug for themselves in September while the Ravens don’t want to head into their bye week with a losing record.

The cast of characters continues to change in this rivalry as the likes of Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, Ed Reed, and James Harrison are no longer present, but Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger takes on the Ravens for the first time since Nov. 6, 2011 with a now-healthy Terrell Suggs aiming for him on the edge. Meanwhile, the Ravens will attempt to win their fourth straight regular-season game in Pittsburgh, which would be a franchise best after Baltimore also won three straight on the road from 1999 through 2001.

It’s time to go on the record as the Steelers lead the regular-season series by a 19-15 margin while also owning a 3-0 advantage in postseason contests. The Ravens are 7-10 all-time in Pittsburgh but have won three of the last four games overall at Heinz Field. Of the last 10 games played in the regular season between these two rivals, eight have been decided by three points and each team has won five.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens look to put the Steelers in a 1-5 early-season hole while also earning their 14th win in their last 16 AFC North games …

1. Punters Sam Koch and Zoltan Mesko will have a very busy afternoon with a combined 15 punts.
You can feel your eyelids getting heavy just reading that first prediction, but neither team’s offense has inspired confidence this season as the Ravens rank 22nd in total yards while the Steelers are 18th. Both teams rank in the bottom six in rush offense, putting plenty of pressure on their respective quarterbacks. These teams combined for 25 punts in their two meetings last year, and I’d expect a similar story this season with points at a premium. The Ravens’ struggles on first and second down are well-documented as they rank 23rd in third-down conversion percentage while Pittsburgh is 21st in the league in third-down percentage. With strong defenses and a history of close, low-scoring games, field position will be very critical in determining the winner of this one as it often has been over the years.

2. Jacoby Jones won’t cash in with a touchdown like he did last year in Pittsburgh, but a big play from the wide receiver and return specialist will set up a Ravens touchdown. His 63-yard punt return for a score was the difference between a win and a loss at Heinz Field last year, and the Ravens are surely glad to have Jones’ speed back on the field via special teams and the passing game. Jones provides a consistent vertical threat on the opposite side of the field to Torrey Smith that the Ravens hope will take away some of the bracketed coverage Smith has seen this season without much complementary speed on the field. Jones made his presence immediately known last week in catching a touchdown in the second half against Green Bay, and he will set the Ravens up on a short field with a long return on a day when the offenses will struggle for each team.

3. The Steelers have sported the better overall pass defense, but the Ravens’ ferocious pass rush will lead to five sacks against Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh’s secondary has played at a very high level this season in allowing only 196 passing yards per game, but the pass rush has been underwhelming with just seven sacks, ranking 31st in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Ravens rank third in the league with 22 sacks and have consistently gotten pressure on quarterbacks to help out a suspect secondary. It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh offensive line has struggled this season, but the Ravens will once again face a quarterback with the ability to escape pressure to extend plays for receivers to get open down the field. After facing Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in the last two games, the Ravens will be ready to face Roethlisberger, who isn’t as elusive as he was in his younger days. That will lead to a rough day for the Pittsburgh quarterback in the pocket.

4. With the running game a non-factor for both teams, the focus will shift to the passing game with Smith and Antonio Brown shining for their respective teams. The Ravens spoke about making changes this week to energize a rush offense averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry and the Steelers surprisingly rank an uncharacteristic 22nd against the run, but Baltimore will need to show it to make me believe they can do anything productive on the ground. The Steelers have been almost as inept at 3.1 yards per rushing attempt as their offense depends on Roethlisberger’s arm and the passing game. Smith was the hero in Pittsburgh two years ago in catching a game-winning touchdown in the final seconds of a comeback victory and will catch a touchdown on Sunday. Brown has been the offensive star for the Steelers with 41 catches and 498 yards, and he will get behind the defense for a score as Roethlisberger scrambles out of trouble and extends a play.

5. Continuing their profile of rarely making it look pretty — or easy — this season, the Ravens squeak out a 14-13 win for their fourth straight regular-season win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. An early lead would go a long way in providing confidence for quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, but there’s no reason to think Sunday will bring the breakthrough performance the unit is waiting for. That said, Flacco has come up with just enough big plays to get the job done in Pittsburgh in each of the last three regular-season meetings and he will be opportunistic against a formidable defense. Field position, limiting turnovers, and third-down efficiency are critical factors to win in any football game, but they will be even more important in this one where the offenses figure to be challenged for most of the afternoon. Neither of these teams are at their best right now, but the Ravens are the better group and will do just enough to squeak out a narrow road victory.

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Ravens-Packers: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Packers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 13 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Playing their only home game in the month of October, the Ravens face arguably their toughest opponent at M&T Bank Stadium this season as the Green Bay Packers come to town for the first time since 2005.

Despite 11 players being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week, the Ravens find themselves healthier now than they’ve been at any point since the start of the season as wide receiver Jacoby Jones makes his return to action for the first time since suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee in the season opener. It will be interesting to see how the Pro Bowl return specialist factors into the offensive game plan as well as on special teams after a layoff of more than a month.

The Ravens will have a new left tackle as the newly-acquired Eugene Monroe will make his debut for his new team after being acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars less than two weeks ago. The eighth overall pick of the 2009 draft will replace Bryant McKinnie in the starting lineup as McKinnie was ruled inactive, a sign that the Ravens are confident that Monroe has firmly grasped the Baltimore offense.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown (hamstring) is active and will play after missing last week’s game while veteran Brandon Stokley was the only wide receiver declared inactive after he practiced on a limited basis with the groin injury all week.

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody was ruled inactive for the third straight game since injuring his knee in the first quarter of the Week 3 win over the Houston Texans on Sept. 22. Defensive tackle Marcus Spears is also inactive for the second straight week as he continues to recover from a knee injury, but he wouldn’t have figured to factor into the defensive plan very much with the Packers’ propensity to throw the football.

As expected, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is active and will start after being limited with a hip injury in practices this past week.

Meanwhile, the Packers are banged up significantly on the defensive side of the ball as starting linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones and No. 3 cornerback Casey Hayward were ruled out for Sunday’s game earlier in the week. The absence of Matthews is a major blow to the Packers’ pass rush that will try to aid the league’s 26th-ranked pass defense.

Weather could be a factor in Sunday’s game as the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-60s with a chance of light rain and drizzle in the early afternoon. The footing on the turf at M&T Bank Stadium did not appear to create too many problems during pre-game warmups.

Sunday marks the fifth all-time meeting in the regular season between these teams as the Packers hold a 3-1 edge and won the last game in 2009. The Packers lost their only other game played at M&T Bank Stadium, a 48-3 thrashing on Dec. 19, 2005 with former Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller getting the best of future Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

The Ravens are wearing black jerseys with white pants for Sunday’s game while Green Bay dons its white tops with gold pants.

Gene Steratore and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Packers.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
DT Terrence Cody
OL Jah Reid
OL Ryan Jensen
OT Bryant McKinnie
WR Brandon Stokley
LB John Simon
DT Marcus Spears

GREEN BAY
CB Jarrett Bush
CB Casey Hayward
RB James Starks
LB Clay Matthews
LB Brad Jones
OL Greg Van Roten
DE Josh Boyd

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from Baltimore throughout the day.

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Ravens-Packers: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Packers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 12 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Appearing to be healthier than they’ve been at any point since the start of the 2013 season, the Ravens welcome arguably their toughest opponent at home as the Green Bay Packers visit M&T Bank Stadium for the first time since 2005.

Eleven Ravens players are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but most are expected to play while the Packers have already ruled out five players for Week 6, including starting linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones and No. 3 cornerback Casey Hayward. Other than injured tight end Dennis Pitta, the Ravens could have their full collection of offensive players available, which would be a welcome development for quarterback Joe Flacco.

It’s time to go on the record as the Packers seek their first road victory of the season in quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ first start ever in Baltimore while the Ravens haven’t topped Green Bay since the 2005 season in what was a lopsided 48-3 victory over Brett Favre in a Monday night affair. The Packers lead the all-time series with a 3-1 record and will play in Baltimore for only the second time in the 18-year history of the Ravens.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens look to improve to 11-0 at home against NFC opponents in the John Harbaugh era …

1. Eugene Monroe and Jacoby Jones will flash upside for the Ravens offense, but inconsistency will again plague that side of the ball. Few would dispute that Monroe provides a clear upgrade over veteran Bryant McKinnie, but expecting him to step into the starting lineup without any growing pains for an offensive line that’s already struggled this season seems like wishful thinking. It will be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell uses Jones and a full allotment of wide receivers, but the Ravens could fall into the trap of trying to get too many wideouts involved instead of identifying what’s working best. Aside from the Buffalo game, Flacco has done an admirable job of holding up behind a porous offensive line and trying to make plays with few weapons, but the Ravens haven’t been able to put their offensive together for a full 60 minutes against anyone this season and that will continue at least another week.

2. Torrey Smith will become the first Ravens receiver since Qadry Ismail to go over 100 receiving yards for a third straight game. With running back Ray Rice working his way back to 100 percent and not showing the same explosiveness of past years, the third-year wide receiver Smith has become the Ravens’ most dynamic offensive player as he’s recorded at least 85 receiving yards in every game this season. Smith provides matchup problems for the Packers secondary as the Ravens will try to feature speedy options such as Jones or Deonte Thompson on the opposite side of the formation to keep safeties M.D. Jennings and Morgan Burnett honest. As much as experts and fans have pointed to giving the ball to Rice to keep the Packers offense off the field, aggression will be the key if the Ravens offense hopes to score enough points to be in position to win late in the second half and support a defense that will have its hands full.

3. Packers slot receiver Randall Cobb and tight end Jermichael Finley will go over 150 yards combined as the Ravens struggle to defend the middle of the field. The Ravens had no answers for defending Denver slot receiver Wes Welker in Week 1 and Cobb presents a more explosive threat that will be a challenge for nickel cornerback Corey Graham. Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith will try to hold their own against Jordy Nelson and James Jones, but the Ravens have often struggled against tight ends this season and Finley is a matchup problem for linebackers and safeties, especially inside the red zone. The Ravens defense has largely been effective this season, but the secondary has given up too many big plays and there are too many weapons in the Green Bay offense to prevent at least a few more from happening on Sunday.

4. Terrell Suggs will set a franchise record with a sack in a sixth consecutive game, but Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers will escape enough pressure to go over the 300-yard passing mark. The rush linebacker has been a one-man wrecking crew this season and will have an opportunity to wreak havoc on Rodgers with rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari protecting the blindside. The Packers allowed 10 sacks in their first three games but protected Rodgers well last week with only one sack given up against the Lions. The Ravens will provide pressure, but Rodgers’ mobility allows him to escape and extend plays as his talented receivers break off routes and lose defenders in coverage. Green Bay ranks fifth in the league in rush offense but likes to run the ball out of spread-out formations, which won’t work consistently against a talented front seven. As a result, the Packers will throw plenty and the Ravens will apply a respectable amount of pressure, but Rodgers will get away just enough to make some big plays against a vulnerable secondary.

5. The Packers win the battle inside the red zone as Baltimore’s 13-game home winning streak against NFC opponents comes to an end in a 27-23 final. The winner of this game will be more efficient inside the 20 on both sides of the ball as the Ravens need to try to hold Green Bay to field goals while converting their trips inside the red zone into touchdowns. Flacco and the offense have a favorable matchup against a banged-up Packers defense, but they haven’t shown consistency all season and that will have to wait at least another week as they adjust to Monroe at left tackle and a full group of wideouts still trying to establish roles in the passing game. Facing the toughest offense since the season-opening debacle in Denver, the Ravens defense will have a respectable showing but isn’t good enough to shut down the Packers entirely. Judging on their entire body of work this season, I just don’t have enough faith in the Ravens offense to score the necessary points and don’t see enough stops from the Baltimore defense, giving a slight edge to the Packers in a close game.

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Ngata missing from practice for second straight day

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Ngata missing from practice for second straight day

Posted on 10 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was missing from practice for the second straight day as the Ravens continued preparations for the Green Back Packers on Thursday.

Practicing inside with steady rain falling at their Owings Mills facility, the Ravens were without their starting nose tackle again as the 29-year-old continues to recover from a hip issue. There have been no indications that the ailment is serious and no injury was reported in the aftermath of Sunday’s game in Miami, so it will be interesting to see whether the standout defensive lineman is able to log some practice time on Friday to quell concerns surrounding his status against the Packers.

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee) and linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder) were also absent from Thursday’s practice as Cody appears likely to miss his third straight game since being injured in the first quarter of the Ravens’ Week 3 win over the Houston Texans on Sept. 22. McClellan played against Miami despite missing practices all last week and continues to rehab his injured shoulder.

The Ravens saw the return of rookie offensive lineman Ryan Jensen to practice for the first time since he broke his foot during the first week of training camp in late July. The sixth-round pick from Colorado State-Pueblo is regarded as an intriguing prospect at center who could provide good interior line depth, a reason why the Ravens elected to keep him on the 53-man roster all this time.

Wide receivers Jacoby Jones (knee), Marlon Brown (hamstring), and Brandon Stokley (groin) all practiced on Thursday after being limited participants a day earlier. Along with several other teammates, Jones was sporting pink cleats and pink gloves to break them in for Sunday’s game in which the Ravens will celebrate breast cancer awareness in addition to sporting their alternate black jerseys.

Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (back spasms) was practicing for the second straight day and appears to be a good bet to play against Green Bay as long as he doesn’t suffer a setback.

Though he remains on injured reserve with the designation to return later this season, tight end Dennis Pitta played catch with quarterback Joe Flacco during the opening portion of practice and appeared fairly mobile as he did last week while catching balls from the Jugs machine. Flacco joked with his close friend and teammate at one point, asking if he was ready to come back yet.

According to coach John Harbaugh, Pitta has been running on the treadmill and is making great progress, but his return is still considered “a ways away.”

Here is Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Terrence Cody (knee), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (back), RB Bernard Pierce (thigh), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh), C Ryan Jensen (foot), CB Chykie Brown (thigh)

GREEN BAY
OUT: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), G/C Greg Van Roten (foot)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), LB Andy Mulumba (ankle)
LIMITED: DT Ryan Pickett (hand), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring)

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Osemele practicing; Ngata sidelined on Wednesday

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Osemele practicing; Ngata sidelined on Wednesday

Posted on 09 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Faced with the challenge of the Green Bay Packers coming to Baltimore on Sunday, the Ravens are cautiously optimistic to find themselves healthier this week than they’ve been at any point since the start of the season.

Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (back spasms) returned to the practice field on a limited basis after he was sidelined for most of this past Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins. The second-year lineman said prior to Wednesday’s practice that a soft hotel bed was a factor in the back spasms he developed during pre-game warmups that forced him out of the game after the first offensive series.

Defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (hip) and Terrence Cody (knee), linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder), and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. Ngata’s hip injury wasn’t reported after last Sunday’s game, so there’s a fair possibility that Wednesday was more of a day of rest than any serious condition.

Ngata took part in 35 of 58 defensive snaps, which wasn’t an unusual number considering how much Miami was throwing the football.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley wasn’t spotted during the portion of practice open to the media but was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday’s injury report after the Ravens re-signed him to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. Stokley has been dealing with a groin injury for nearly two weeks and hasn’t played since the Ravens’ Week 3 win over the Texans on Sept. 22.

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones was back on the practice field after being ruled inactive for the fourth straight game last Sunday. The Pro Bowl return specialist eased his way back into practices last week and plans to step up his participation level this week in hopes of playing in a game for the first time since suffering a sprained right MCL in the season opener on Sept. 5.

“I’ve been like a punished child that can’t go outside and do anything,” Jones said of his time rehabilitating the injury. “You sit in your house and keep begging your mama, ‘Please, let me go outside. I want do it again!’ I just want to get out there and play.”

Wide receiver Marlon Brown (hamstring) and defensive tackle Marcus Spears (knee) also returned to practice on Wednesday after being sidelined for Week 5.

New left tackle Eugene Monroe expressed optimism that he’ll be ready to make his Ravens debut at M&T Bank Stadium against the Packers after spending long days and nights absorbing the Baltimore playbook. Monroe was ruled inactive for the Miami game after he was only able to log two days of practice time upon the trade from Jacksonville being officially completed last Thursday.

The fifth-year tackle revealed he even spent some time at the team’s Owings Mills facility during his day off on Tuesday to go over plays with starting center Gino Gradkowski.

“It’s been a grind, but it’s part of the job,” Monroe said. “It’s also been fun integrating into a new system like this. It’s definitely different, especially not playing next week. That’s just part of the deal here and I’m ready to go now.”

Meanwhile, incumbent left tackle Bryant McKinnie was largely an observer during offensive line work during the portion of practice open to the media, a strong indication that Monroe is expected to take his spot in the starting lineup beginning this Sunday.

The Ravens are in much better shape health-wise than Green Bay as starting linebackers Clay Matthews (thumb) and Brad Jones (hamstring) and running back James Starks (knee) have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Here is Wednesday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (back), RB Bernard Pierce (thigh), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

GREEN BAY
OUT: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), G/C Greg Van Roten (foot)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), LB Andy Mulumba (ankle)

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Ravens’ health improving heading into Sunday test against Packers

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Ravens’ health improving heading into Sunday test against Packers

Posted on 07 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Facing arguably their most difficult home test of the season when the Green Bay Packers travel to Baltimore on Sunday, the Ravens appear to be moving toward the healthiest state they’ve experienced since the start of the season.

Coach John Harbaugh said that left guard Kelechi Osemele felt better on Monday after back spasms forced him out of Sunday’s game in Miami after the Ravens’ first offensive series. Osemele was replaced by backup center A.Q. Shipley in the starting lineup as he rested his back in the 26-23 win over the Dolphins.

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones will practice for the second straight week and could see his first game action since suffering a medial collateral strain in his right knee in the season opener on Sept. 5. The Pro Bowl return specialist practiced on a limited basis all last week, but the Ravens elected to hold him out for Week 5 while bringing him back slowly.

Trying to determine Jones’ role will be an interesting decision for Harbaugh and the Ravens as wide receiver Tandon Doss has handled punt return duties admirably while speedy wideout Deonte Thompson provides a compelling option for kickoff returns. Their versatility may allow Baltimore to use Jones primarily as a wide receiver while he works his way back to 100 percent or the veteran could see a diminished role offensively with other young receivers such as Thompson making recent progress.

“That’s the question we’re asking ourselves right now,” Harbaugh said. “It probably depends on  how he looks during practices. If he looks really good, we’d be willing to put him out there. But if we feel like we need to protect him, then we will.”

In addition to Jones, Harbaugh said he expects rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown to return to practice as early as Wednesday after he was held out of Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.

Defensive end Marcus Spears continues to receive treatment for a knee injury that flared up late last week before he was ruled inactive for Week 5. Harbaugh confirmed there is no structural damage and described the veteran defensive lineman as “day to day.”

Harbaugh also provided favorable reports on cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) and rookie linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain), who both played in Miami and experienced no setbacks in the process. Running back Ray Rice continues to get better as well in his second game back from the hip flexor strain suffered on Sept. 15.

Meanwhile, the Packers are dealing with a serious injury concern as linebacker Clay Matthews is expected to miss the next month with a broken thumb, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This would certainly aid the Baltimore offense in trying to keep up with Green Bay’s high-octane offensive attack in a game in which the Ravens will likely need to score significant points.

Harbaugh noncommittal on Monroe-McKinnie status

All signs point to newly-acquired left tackle Eugene Monroe to take veteran Bryant McKinnie’s place in the starting lineup this week, but Harbaugh wasn’t tipping his hand on Monday afternoon.

Monroe was ruled inactive for the Miami game after having just two days of practice time after the trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars was completed on Thursday. McKinnie’s poor performance against the Dolphins didn’t do him any favors in keeping his job, and it would be surprising if Monroe wasn’t playing after more than a week to improve by the time Sunday’s game rolls around.

“We’re in wait-and-see mode right now. We’ll see what happens over the course of the week,” Harbaugh said. “[We] don’t really know for sure right now. [Monroe] looked good last week; he looked really good. We’re just going to have to see how it plays out. This is uncharted territory for us, it really is. We’ve never been down this road before.”

It remains unclear whether the Ravens would seriously consider trading McKinnie, because one of the big concerns prior to the acquisition of Monroe was the lack of depth on the offensive line, a problem that would continue to exist should the 34-year-old lineman be moved elsewhere.

No decision on Stokley yet

A second media report Monday suggested that the Ravens will re-sign veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley this week after he was cut on Saturday to make room for veteran tight end Billy Bajema.

Stokley has been dealing with a groin injury that sidelined him in Week 4 and prompted the Ravens to let him go with an understanding that he would still be in their plans moving forward. However, you have to wonder how secure his spot will be moving forward with the Ravens getting much healthier and deeper at wide receiver than they’ve been since training camp.

Harbaugh wasn’t in a position to comment on Stokley’s status during his Monday press conference.

“I don’t know how that’s going to shake out,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see.”

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Ravens-Dolphins: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Dolphins: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 06 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Hoping to win their first road game of the 2013 season, the Ravens look to put the bad taste of last week’s loss in Buffalo behind them as they take on the 3-1 Miami Dolphins.

However, they’ll have to do it while being severely undermanned at the wide receiver position as Jacoby Jones (knee) and Marlon Brown (hamstring) were both ruled inactive for Sunday’s game. It wasn’t surprising to see Jones held back for another week after just returning to the practice field from an MCL sprain that’s sidelined him since the season opener, but Brown appeared to be moving well during Friday’s practice and told reporters he was feeling good after the workout.

Couple those inactives with Saturday’s release of veteran wideout Brandon Stokley and the Ravens were down to just three active wide receivers on Sunday as Torrey Smith, Deonte Thompson, and Tandon Doss are available. Thompson sustained a concussion in the Week 4 loss in Buffalo but was cleared over the weekend to make his return.

The Ravens also decided to deactivate newly-acquired left tackle Eugene Monroe after only two days of practice time in Owings Mills. It was always going to be a major stretch for the fifth-year lineman to absorb enough of the playbook to be able to start against the Dolphins, but coach John Harbaugh had left the door open for the former Jaguars lineman to play in Miami if he felt comfortable enough with his preparation over the weekend.

This means veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie will start against a Dolphins defensive front that will include returning defensive end Cameron Wake, who was out last week with a knee injury.

The good news for the Ravens is that cornerback Lardarius Webb is active after missing most of last week’s game against the Bills after tweaking his hamstring in the first half. Rookie linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain) is also active and will make his return following a two-week absence due to injury, which should help the Baltimore pass defense.

The Ravens are 3-5 in the all-time regular-season series with the Dolphins and are 1-4 in Miami, which doesn’t include their two postseason wins at Sun Life Stadium. Baltimore won the last meeting between these teams in 2010, a 26-10 final at M&T Bank Stadium.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Carl Cheffers.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-80s with a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms in Miami.

The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Miami will go with an all-white look for Sunday’s game.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE

WR Jacoby Jones

WR Marlon Brown

T Eugene Monroe

NT Terrence Cody

OL Jah Reid

C Ryan Jensen

DE Marcus Spears

MIAMI

QB Pat Devlin

RB Mike Gillislee

CB Dimitri Patterson

CB Will Davis

LB Josh Kaddu

G Danny Watkins

G Dallas Thomas.

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio brings live coverage from Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

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Webb, M. Brown still sidelined; Spears added to injury report

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Webb, M. Brown still sidelined; Spears added to injury report

Posted on 03 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — There was only one change to the Ravens’ injury report for Thursday, but it wasn’t good news as they continued preparations for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) and wide receivers Marlon Brown (hamstring) and Deonte Thompson (concussion) were absent from practice for the second straight day, but defensive tackle Marcus Spears (knee) was added to the injury report as a non-participant after he appeared to be dealing with a knee injury during the portion of the workout open for media viewing. Spears walked off the field without the assistance of a trainer, but it was unclear whether he had tweaked his knee or was dealing with soreness while attempting to go through positional drills.

Linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder), defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee), and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot) did not practice on Thursday.

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) was practicing on a limited basis for a second straight day as he continues to work his way back to 100 percent from an MCL injury suffered in the season opener on Sept. 5.

Meanwhile, Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe practiced on a limited basis on Thursday, but it remains unclear whether Wake will return to action against the Ravens.

Here is Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Deonte Thompson (head), CB Lardarius Webb (thigh)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Brandon Stokley (thigh), LB Arthur Brown (shoulder), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee)

MIAMI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Dimitri Patterson (elbow)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Nolan Carroll (ankle), S Chris Clemons (glute), LB Dannell Ellerbe (knee), WR Brandon Gibson (ankle), S Don Jones (elbow), LB Koa Misi (shoulder), LB Jason Trusnik (rib), DE Cameron Wake (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Jonathan Freeney (shoulder), DT Paul Soliai (knee)

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