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Ravens waive Cousins, Harper, seven others

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Ravens waive Cousins, Harper, seven others

Posted on 27 August 2011 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 2:30 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing to trim their 90-man roster down to 80 by Tuesday, the Baltimore Ravens got a head start by cutting nine players on Saturday morning.

The most prominent player to be waived was offensive lineman Oniel Cousins, a third-round selection in the 2008 draft. Maligned for his inability to play tackle, the Ravens shifted Cousins inside to guard where he started in place of the injured Marshal Yanda against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second preseason game. However, newly-signed veteran Mark LeVoir started at guard against Washington on Friday in what appeared to be a bad sign for the UTEP product.

“This decision was made basically last night, so it was thought through,” Harbaugh said. “For him to get a chance now to get out and negotiate his deal and get with a team where he’ll have a chance — personally, I think his future is at guard. I think he can do it, but it’s going to take an opportunity where someone has a need for that guy, and he can get in there and go to work on it. With our situation with Jah [Reid] being young and Mark [LeVoir] coming in, it kind of squeezed him out.”

The second prominent name to be released was receiver Justin Harper, a member of the practice squad the last two seasons. A seventh-round pick from Virginia Tech in 2009, Harper’s 6-foot-3 frame made him an attractive prospect, but his inconsistency catching the football and tendency to try to make one-handed catches frustrated coaches.

Harper dropped a Tyrod Taylor pass at the goal line in the fourth quarter against the Redskins.

The Ravens also waived tight end Jonathan Stupar, offensive lineman Brady Bond, receiver Terrell Zachery, linebacker Anthony Leon, receiver Rodney Bradley, center Ryan Bartholomew, and defensive tackle Cornell Banks.

The timing of the cuts suggests the Ravens wanted to give these nine players an opportunity to catch on with other teams in time to play in the final preseason game and have the opportunity to make another 53-man roster.

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Live from Westminster: Gaither, Carr likely out for preseason opener

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — As the Ravens complete their last two-a-day before Thursday’s preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, it was apparent the intensity level picked up even with a shells and shorts workout with no contact.

Ray Lewis and the starting defense jawed with offensive players during 11-on-11 drills as both sides prepare to face a different opponent across the line of scrimmage on Thursday night.

John Harbaugh shed some light on who we won’t see in the first preseason game, and there were no real surprises in what he said. Offensive tackle Jared Gaither missed his fifth straight day of practice as he continues to suffer from back spasms between his shoulder blades. With Gaither making the transition to the right side, there is much concern over the amount of time he’s missed during training camp.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to play because he hasn’t practiced enough,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if the injury is going to hold him out, but it’d be hard for him to play with the little bit of practice he’s had.”

Cornerback Chris Carr missed his third straight day of practice after limping off the field with a left hamstring injury at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The starting corner is improving, but the Ravens are likely to hold him out of the preseason opener, leaving Travis Fisher likely to start at cornerback.

“Carr could play, it’s a matter of whether we decide to put him out there or not,” Harbaugh said.

Fabian Washington continues to increase his workload in practice, but his status will be a game-time decision on Thursday. Coming back from an ACL injury last season, Washington sat out practice on the new surface at M&T Bank Stadium as a precautionary measure. Considering the fragile state of the defensive backfield, one would think the Ravens play it safe with Washington, too.

“He’s ready to go, it’s just a matter of whether we want him to go,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ll take him out there in pregame and see how much work we get done, and we’ll just decide. But we’re not going to push it, I can tell you that.”

A new question mark was created Tuesday morning when left guard Ben Grubbs walked off the field with an injury. While the injury was not specified, Harbaugh described it as “not major” but was unsure whether Grubbs would play against Carolina.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returned to practice after being stricken with back spasms Monday. He expects to play in the preseason opener. Others returning to practice included offensive linemen Ramon Harewood and Stefan Rodgers and wide receiver Demetrius Williams. Cornerback Prince Miller was also back on the field after two days away to witness the birth of his daughter.

In addition to Carr and Gaither, defensive back Marcus Paschall and offensive linemen Tony Moll and Dan Sanders were also missing from the morning session on Tuesday. The four players remaining on the PUP list are running back Matt Lawrence, safety Ed Reed, cornerback Lardarius Webb, and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Stay right here throughout the day for updates (time-stamped below) and follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates right from the field. Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Tom Zbikowski, and Jameel McClain as well as Thyrl Nelson’s chat with Chris Chester immediately following morning practice!

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1:25 p.m. — A couple highlight plays from the morning session included Donte’ Stallworth’s long touchdown catch from Marc Bulger, beating cornerback Cary Williams on the play. Stallworth has received more work with the second offense the last two days, but continues to be very impressive during training camp.

Receiver Justin Harper also caught two long touchdowns during passing drills, but we’ve seen that countless times over the last two summers in Westminster.

Early in the 11-on-11 session this morning, the Ravens worked on some trick plays including a reverse to Anquan Boldin, making it highly unlikely we ever actually see it in the regular season. If Cam Cameron does have some trick plays up his sleeve, we’re certainly not going to see them in a public forum at McDaniel College.

The special teams practice this afternoon gets underway at 2:00. Wednesday’s walk-through is closed to both the public and media.

12:45 p.m. — Linebacker Bart Scott might be a distant memory in Baltimore, but it appears the Ravens may have found a similar personality—at least off the field—at the inside linebacker position next to Ray Lewis. Jameel McClain has been the biggest surprise of training camp after leapfrogging  Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe for the starting inside linebacker job, albeit in early August.

McClain, a third-year former rookie free agent from Syracuse, spoke at the podium following practice and showed off a keen sense of humor to the Baltimore media. Formerly a special teams standout and occasional pass-rush specialist, the young linebacker is eager to showcase his skills in the starting defense.

“I knew I belonged [in football] the day I came out of my mother’s womb,” McClain said. “I was born to play this game. I’m born to go out there and hit somebody and play with a high intensity and a lot of rah-rah. It’s not like I came here wide-eyed like, ‘Man, I don’t deserve this.’ I understand that you have to work for everything in life. I’m my biggest critic and my biggest fan, so it’s for me to put in the work all the time.”

He credits a productive offseason with his strength and speed coaches as the best explanation for his heightened stature with the defense. McClain is also focusing exclusively at inside linebacker as opposed to several different positions in his first two seasons in Baltimore

“Just getting the opportunity to go out there and now knowing the defense and getting the chance to settle in and more so focusing on one or two positions has been able to slim down my load a little bit,” McClain said.

You can check out McClain’s entire interview at the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

12:28 p.m. — Billy Cundiff won Tuesday’s battle against Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. Graham noticeably struggled, unofficially going 1-for-4 and missing from 35, 52, and 57 yards. His wide-left miss from 35 even drew the heckling of his teammates as one defensive player said, “Shayne, that was disgusting!”

Cundiff was 5-for-6 unofficially with successful tries from 46, 47, and 52 yards to his credit.

The two will alternate kicks for the preseason opener despite John Harbaugh initially saying on Monday they would each take a half against the Panthers.

“That’s what [special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg] wants to do,” said Harbaugh, who did not know which kicker would go first. “He feels like it will keep both of those guys in the game for the whole game and give them a fair amount of reps, so we’re looking forward to that.”

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RavensPanthers

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Preseason Game 3 – Ravens @ Panthers

Posted on 29 August 2009 by Derek Arnold

RavensPanthers

The “most important” of the fake football games is upon us, as the Ravens travel to Charlotte to take on the Panthers in preseason week 3. Week 3 of preseason is traditionally the game in which the starters play the most out of any of the four exhibitions. As such, we want to see our boys in purple and black looking sharper then we saw against either the Redskins or Jets.

What specifically will I be watching for from my couch?

Run Defense

Seeing an opponent rack up rushing yards is about as foreign to us here in B’More as a menu that considers “crab” snow crabs or some such nonsense. The Jets, though, were able to find some room on the ground, even when the Ravens starters were on the field. Baltimore fans have been a bit uneasy after seeing that, so we are all a little anxious about whether first-year defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s squad can plug the holes we saw in Week 2. Carolina was the #3 rushing team in the NFL in 2008, averaging over 152 yards per game. They will be without half of their lethal 1-2 rushing attack though, as Jonathan Stewart is sidelined with an injury. DeAngelo Williams (5.5 ypc in 08) will see the bulk of the carries, and will present a significant challenge for the Ravens.

Hindering the Ravens’ efforts will be the lack of DT Kelly Gregg, who injured his shoulder against New York. Word is that Kelly would play if this were a regulat season game, but will sit out just to be safe.

Linebacker Battle

Depth at linebacker is nothing new in B’More, but this preseason the Ravens are even more stacked at the position than normal. As a result, some guys that seemed to be a lock when they checked into the Best Western in Westminster now find themselves teetering on the bubble. Antwan Barnes, for instance, who saw action in 13 games and made 14 solo tackles as a pass-rush specialist in 08, finds himself neck-and-neck with such newcomers as Jason Phillips and Dannell Ellerbe. Ellerbe missed the Jets game though, and will need to suck it up and get some reps in Charlotte. Prescott Burgess is in a similar situation.

Speaking of linebackers, is it time to start worrying a little about T-Sizzle? He hasn’t seen the field since the first week of August, and now that the team is back at their complex in Owings Mills, it seems unlikely that Suggs is still just trying to avoid practice.

Kickers

This one isn’t so much a battle any more as it is a “hang on” situation for Steve Hauschka. He has a definite lead over rookie Graham Gano at this point, and as long as he hits his kicks from here on out, the 2nd-year player from NC State should find himself on the roster opening day. Hauschka might have some extra friends and family in the stands down in the Tar Heel State, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

Pancake Man

Beast OT Michael Oher will see his first true test in the NFL, as he takes on Panthers DE Julius Peppers, who had 14.5 sacks last year. Oher, who has been calling out the likes of Dwight Freeney since he was in high school, certainly won’t back down from the challenge, but he will have his massive hands full keeping Joe Flacco upright.

Wide Receiver

Of course we couldn’t go an entire preview without touching on (beating) the ravens WR situation (dead horse). Mark Clayton, despite returning to practice this week and declaring himself available for the game, will be held out by Coach John Harbaugh. This will give the slew of guys competing behind Clayton some more precious reps to show that they can be the consistent option on the outside that B’More desperately needs. Kelley Washington has played well, but Demetrius Williams, Justin Harper, Jayson Foster, et al. need to step up, lest the Ravens be forced to hit the waiver wire over the next several weeks. Some sources have them coveting whatever WR the Philadelphia Eagles decide to cast off.

As always, the main point of focus in a preseason game is for everyone to come out healthy. These items (and more) though, will give us plenty of other sports-talk fodder for run up to the regular season opener.

How about you, see anything I missed?

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Getting down to 53: The final days of training camp

Posted on 18 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re in the final week of training camp in Westminster, but the Ravens do not need to make any cuts until Sept. 1, when they must trim the roster to 75 players.  The team must then narrow down to the regular season number of 53 by Sept. 5.

For those begging for help at the wide receiver position, the late cut dates mean any veteran receiver that could possibly shake free and help the cause in Baltimore probably won’t be available until right before the regular season.

I’ve listed the number of players I predict the Ravens to keep at each position in parentheses. This list does not include the practice squad of eight players the Ravens will keep in addition to the 53-man roster.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: Cleo Lemon, Drew Willy
Skinny: It’s been an interesting week regarding quarterbacks, but Cam Cameron made it clear the Ravens are still committed to Beck as the No. 3 guy.  Smith’s play in the preseason has further cemented his status as the backup to Flacco.

RUNNING BACKS (5)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence, Cedric Peerman
LONGSHOT: Jason Cook
Skinny: Parmele is a favorite of Cameron, and Lawrence impressed during the preseason opener last week.  Peerman appears to currently trail these two on the depth chart.  Despite being the only other fullback behind McClain on the roster, Cook appears to be a candidate for the practice squad at this point.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
LOCK: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Kelley Washington
BUBBLE: Justin Harper, Yamon Figurs, Jayson Foster
LONG SHOT: Biren Ealy, Bradon Godfrey, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright
Skinny: Losing Marcus Smith for the season is a major blow to the special teams units, an area in which the second-year receiver thrived.  Williams’ inability to remain healthy continues to frustrate the staff.  Harper has a ton of potential but is very inconsistent.  Foster has put his name into consideration with a good performance against the Redskins and an ability to make plays during practice.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, L.J. Smith
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Davon Drew
LONG SHOT: Isaac Smolko
Skinny: Drew continues to be very quiet on the practice field.  Jones is a good special teams player and has played some H-back during camp.  His ability to play linebacker if needed makes him a valuable commodity on the 53-man roster.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, Oniel Cousins
BUBBLE: David Hale, Tre Stallings, Joe Reitz
LONG SHOT: Robby Felix, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison
Skinny: The team should definitely look to add a veteran tackle, because Cousins is too inconsistent as the third tackle, but he’s improved from last season. Hale’s ability to play both guard and center will likely land him on the roster.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
LOCK: Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan
BUBBLE: Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou
LONG SHOT: Will Johnson, Nader Abdallah
Skinny: Edwards and McKinney are the favorites to land the final two defensive line spots on the roster.

LINEBACKERS (10)
LOCK: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbadejo
BUBBLE: Jason Phillips, Dannell Ellerbe, Prescott Burgess
LONG SHOT: Tony Fein, Will VanDeSteeg
Skinny: Ellerbe’s knee sprain was a disappointment considering how much he’s impressed over the last two weeks.  Burgess has been around for a couple years, but will it be enough?

CORNERBACKS (6)
LOCK: Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Samari Rolle, Frank Walker
BUBBLE: K.J. Gerard, Evan Oglesby, Derrick Martin
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Rolle’s health continues to be a concern.  Walker is probably safe because his physical style is much different than the other pure cover guys in the secondary.  Considering how many talented, young linebackers are currently on the roster, I predict the Ravens will go with 10 backers and only six corners.  If they go with seven corners, Gerard, Oglesby, and Martin are all in the mix.  Martin has seen reps at both safety and corner this summer.

SAFETIES (4)
LOCK: Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
BUBBLE:
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: No drama at this position.  These four are locks.

KICKER (1)
LOCK: None
BUBBLE: Graham Gano, Steve Hauschka
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: It’s been a very close race so far, with Hauschka possibly holding the slightest of edges.  There are still three preseason games to clarify the picture.

PUNTER (1)
LOCK: Sam Koch
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Koch practiced some field goals this week to be prepared in an emergency situation.

LONG SNAPPER (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Ngata is the backup field goal snapper, and McGahee is the No. 2 long snapper for punts.  Let’s hope neither has to be called into action.

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Live from Westminster: Rolle to see another specialist for neck, still on PUP list

Posted on 16 August 2009 by Luke Jones

6:57 p.m. — The Ravens will hold two practices on Monday, a morning session at 8:45 a.m. and an afternoon workout at 2:45 p.m.  Both practices are full-squad sessions and are open to the public.

WNST’s Glenn Clark will be providing all of the coverage including hourly reports, blogging, and Twitter updates, so be sure to follow WNST.net for all of your Ravens training camp coverage!

6:50 p.m. — One of the last drills of practice involved some pressure situations late in the half.  The first and second offenses were presented with different scenarios in which they would have to run a play, kill the clock (if necessary), and line up for a field goal.

The starting offense struggled mightily in this drill with a few dropped passes, batted passes (courtesy of Antwan Barnes), and even a Flacco stumble and fumble while trying to escape pressure.

It was clear that Harbaugh was not thrilled with the way his offense played during this portion of practice.  Ed Reed was talking trash and reminding the offense they were still out there.

6:46 p.m. — I’m really starting to think Ed Reed is just trying to mess with people—including the media.  After playing in Thursday’s game and not wearing the red jersey during Saturday morning’s practice, the All-Pro was back in the red jersey this afternoon even though the players practiced in shorts and shells.

It’s clear the coaching staff is giving Reed the freedom and input to decide when he wants to engage in contact, but it’s impossible to really gauge his health with the constant change in jersey color.

6:43 p.m. — Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) did not practice, but both players were out on the field, wearing spikes, and working on conditioning individually.

I watched Suggs run up the steps to the McDaniel College gymnasium, and he looked very mobile and had little trouble doing it.  I think he’s pretty close to getting back on the practice field, but that’s just my opinion.

I still haven’t received any signals of concern from the organization regarding the Pro Bowl linebacker.

6:40 p.m. — Landry continues to have an excellent camp, as he nearly picked off Flacco during 7-on-7 drills this afternoon, deflecting away the attempt.

With the emergence of Jim Leonhard in Landry’s absence last season, the strong safety is out to prove he’s a strong force in the secondary, and if his play during camp is any indication, I like his chances.

6:37 p.m. — Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka once again faced off in a series of field goal attempts this afternoon, with the latter appearing to have a slight edge in the early kicking portion of practice.

Hauschka made field goals from 31, 39, 41, and 48 yards.  On the 31-yard attempt, Harbaugh even tried to rattle him by signaling a time out much like an opposing coach would do in a pressure situation.  Hauschka made the attempt after the “timeout.”  Hauschka missed an attempt from 53 yards away.

Gano made kicks from 39, 48, and 53 yards but missed tries from 38 and 51 yards.

6:32 p.m. — Cameron pulled out a couple of gadget plays this afternoon to keep practice fresh.

On one play, Flacco hit Kelley Washington on a 10-yard curl with the receiver immediately lateraling to Ray Rice who was trailing on the play.  The ol’ hook and lateral was executed to perfection.

The offense also worked on a play with a series of laterals, mostly between the skill position players, but left tackle Jared Gaither even took one and quickly got rid of the ball.

6:29 p.m. — It was an inconsistent practice for Justin Harper.  The gifted receiver made an amazing one-handed catch on a pass thrown by Joe Flacco but was then chastised by Harbaugh later in practice for not using two hands to make catches.

The coaching staff wants to see more consistency with the 6-3 receiver, as the speed and size are certainly there.  It’s not a lack of effort with Harper, but it’s more about paying attention to detail and using good technique to catch the football.

6:28 p.m. — Jayson Foster appears to have worked his way up the depth chart after his impressive performance against Washington, lining up as a second-team receiver and catching several long passes during practice today.

At 5-7, Foster is undersized, but he’s fun to root for and shows ability in the return game.  I’d still say he’s a long-shot for the 53-man roster, but we’ll see if he can continue to demand notice from the coaching staff.

6:24 p.m. — ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was in Westminster today, and the Ravens’ PR staff presented the NFL reporter a key to training camp.  The fans loved the gesture, and it was a fun moment.

6:20 p.m. — The Ravens have signed veteran quarterback Cleo Lemon, giving them five quarterbacks on the current roster.  The team brought back rookie Drew Willy yesterday, but it appears he won’t be in Westminster for long after the Lemon signing.

Lemon has worked with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in San Diego and Miami.  The veteran quarterback—who was originally signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002—was the starting quarterback that led the then-winless Dolphins to a victory over the Ravens in the 2007 season, hitting Greg Camarillo for a 64-yard touchdown pass in overtime.

Today was also Lemon’s 30th birthday, so it was clearly a nice present for the veteran quarterback to find his way on an NFL roster.

6:17 p.m. — John Beck was dressed to practice and took part in the walk-through portion of practice but did not throw any passes of real substance during the session.

I spoke to him after practice, but he deferred to the coaching and training staff regarding his injured shoulder.  He did confirm there was nothing broken or torn.

Beck expressed hope to throw later this week, but he said it isn’t up to him.  Harbaugh also implied that Beck’s injury was not as serious as speculated and his recovery wouldn’t be too long.

6:11 p.m. — Today’s practice was the longest of the summer, lasting over two and a half hours, and it also came on one of the hottest days of the summer here in Westminster.

Despite the heat, it is no excuse for media members to sit or lay down on the sideline, a violation of team rules and a policy held by most teams in the NFL.  A couple national media members learned this rule the hard way today.  After noticing the media members—no, they weren’t “big” names—laying on the ground, Harbaugh threw them out of practice.

All I can say is I’m glad it wasn’t me!

6:08 p.m. — Yamon Figurs limped off the field toward the end of practice, as he continues to recover from foot surgery earlier this year.  Figurs has stepped up his play recently at the receiver position, so hopefully this minor setback with the foot will not keep him out of practice.

Wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright left the field after banging knees with Dawan Landry during passing drills.  He did not return to practice.

6:05 p.m. — Jarret Johnson (back spams), Chris Carr (back spasms), Demetrius Williams (hamstring), and Dannell Ellerbe (knee sprain) all missed practice this afternoon.

Harbaugh said Ellerbe’s knee sprain could keep him sidelined for a week, and he may miss next Monday’s preseason game against the New York Jets.

5:56 p.m. — Perhaps the biggest news from today’s training camp was John Harbaugh revealing that Samari Rolle will see another specialist regarding his injured neck that has had him on the PUP list since the start of training camp.

Harbaugh said they simply want to be sure about the cornerback’s health, but the head coach had expressed optimism two weeks ago that Rolle would be returning within a couple of days.  Clearly that hasn’t happened, and the injury is still a concern.

Rolle has been seen on the field receiving electronic stimulation and has worked on conditioning on the field on several occasions.

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Ravens 23 Redskins 0 (Preseason Games Merit No Clever Nickname)

Posted on 14 August 2009 by Derek Arnold

Whether starters or backups, veterans or rookies, none of the Ravens had much problem disposing of the Washington Redskins last night in the first preseason action of 2009. There was plenty of good that comes from a double-digit shutout win, of course, but there was also some bad sprinkled in. Here’s what I noticed:

Michael Oher = BEAST.

Michael Oher

Wow, what a game this kid had. We knew he was going to be solid, but he came out and absolutely mauled people from the start. Any of you picking up Madden today, let me know what Oher’s run-blocking rating is – because anything less than say, a 95, isn’t giving the man-child his due. He straight up pancaked at least two Redskins.

Now, if only we could get the guy a helmet that fits.

Oher lost his dome-piece twice, the second time right before he bashed heads with the Skins defender, and was a bloody mess as a result. After going into the locker room to get three stitches to close the gash (and some saran wrap around his noggin to hold on the gauze), Oher was right back on the field.

Looks like another great pick by the Ravens’ front office.

Quarterbacks Effective

Joe Flacco was a quiet 9/15 for 103 yards. Joe Cool didn’t do anything spectacular, but he was efficient in going through his reads, avoided any sacks or turnovers, and led two 60+ yard scoring drives. Unfortunately, both drives stalled in the red zone (Deja Vu alert). Perhaps Flacco’s best throw of the night, a sideline pass to Marcus Smith, bounced off Smith’s chest.

Troy Smith saw the most action last night, throwing 30 passes and completing 14 of them for 200 yards and a score. He was impressive in his ability to sidestep pressure and extend plays, but Smith still has a tendency (as I noted here) to lock on to his primary reciever. It didn’t hurt hit against the Redskins’ 2nd-teamers, but against a starting NFL defense, methinks it would be a different story.

John Beck wasn’t bad either, going 5/9 for 105 yards. He may give Troy some competition for the backup job, yet. He looks too good to be a #3 QB in the NFL, though.

All 3 quarterbacks benefited from…

YAC

Ray Rice caught a short check-down from Flacco in the 1st quarter and turned it into a 34-yard gain. Near the end of the game, Jayson Foster grabbed a quick out from Beck, dodged a defender, and raced 64 yards before being pulled down just short of the goal line. Foster likely earned himself a closer look as camp continues.

This is an area where Ravens receivers have struggled year-after-year, and it was nice to see somebody step it up, even if it was just a RB and a likely-to-be-cut WR.

Kickers

I mentioned that the kicking game would be interesting to keep an eye on. Steve Hauschka was 2/2, hitting from 21 and 37 yards, and put one of his kickoffs into the end zone, though not deep enough to garner a touchback. Gano hit from 39, but banged a 28-yard attempt off the right upright as time expired. He probably wishes Coach John Harbaugh had just let the clock run out.

Rex-Less Defense

As promised, new DC Greg Mattison ran most plays out of his base 3-4 defense, going light on the blitzing. He admitted after the game that he was not satisfied with the amount of pressure the Ravens were able to get on the QB while only rushing four, so it will be interesting to see if his tactics change at all moving forward. While Kelly Gregg, Justin Bannan, and Haloti Ngata are all extremely effective D-linemen, getting to the QB has never been any of their bread-and-butter. The return of T-Sizzle to the lineup will obviously help, but there were times watching the game when Ravens fans, more accustomed to an aggressive scheme, wanted to see more bodies flying towards the pocket.

Still, the Ravens racked up 3 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery, and ended the day +2 in the turnover department. We’ll happily give Mr. Mattison’s debut a favorable review.

Return Game

Did veteran return man Chris Carr have a few butterflies in his first appearance in purple? He called for a fair catch on a punt return when nobody was within about 12 yards of him (although, as pointed out by the RaveTV broadcast team, this could have been due to his noticing that the Ravens had already been flagged on the play), and dropped another punt before scooping it up and gaining positive yardage.

Jayson Foster had the best punt return of the night, a 21-yard gain.

Ledarius Webb, a guy we have big hopes for here at the Nest, had returns of 6 and 10 yards, an unspectacular start.

Yamon Figurs, widely considered the odd man out of the group, did nothing special on punt returns either. However, he did have two receptions, one of which went for 42 yards. He’ll likely need a couple similar performances catching passes in the coming games to make the opening day roster.

Speaking of Receivers…

Ravens wideouts had an up-and-down night. Marcus Smith dropped a couple, including the aforementioned sideline throw from Flacco. He tried to redeem himself by making a tackle on special teams, but he injured himself in the process, and is rumored to be seriously hurt.

Justin Harper, the star of training camp so far, had 4 catches for 57 yards, including a 19-yard TD, but had at least 3 drops of catchable balls. Some consistency would be very nice to see.

Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams, two guys who will likely see plenty of the field (barring injuries) in 2009, combined for 3 catches for 42 yards. We’ll excuse Washington for doing the Chad Pennington “air stab,” because he looked -300% as dorky doing it as Chad does.

Ravens 23 Redskins 0

Just wanted to type that one more time, because hey…kicking the crap out of the skins is always fun, even if it is just practice.

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Ravens spank Redskins in preseason opener

Posted on 14 August 2009 by Luke Jones

In a thoroughly dominating performance, the Baltimore Ravens upended their neighbors to the south, beating the Washington Redskins, 23-0.

Though the starting unit failed to put the ball in the end zone, quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense moved the ball consistently against the Redskins’ defense.  Flacco finished his night going 9 of 15 for 103 yards.

His longest pass came on a 34-yard completion to Ray Rice out of the backfield.  Rice and Willis McGahee both looked strong running the ball, combining for 48 yards on only nine carries.

“I thought they ran hard,” coach John Harbaugh said.  “You know they got the ball north and south.  It’s good to see the checkdowns [from the quarterbacks].”

Despite moving the ball deep inside Washington territory twice, the Ravens had to settle for two Steve Hauschka field goals.

“The three penalties in the first half hurt us,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said.  “We can correct those.  We held the ball and moved the ball early, but we have to score touchdowns, not field goals.  Ball security was good, and we’ve worked hard on that.”

The Ravens finally found the end zone at the end of the first half when backup quarterback Troy Smith hit a wide-open Justin Harper for a 19-yard touchdown.  Harper had dropped two passes before redeeming himself on the scoring play.

“I thought that was pretty tough coverage,” Smith said.  “It was a key catch he made.  Harper can catch anything that he puts his mind to.”

The Ravens finished the night with 500 total yards, including 399 in the air.  Smith finished with 200 passing yards while John Beck added 105.

The defense—regardless of whether it was the first-, second-, or third-string unit—dominated the Washington offense throughout the night, holding the Redskins to only 11 first downs and 196 yards of total offense while forcing two turnovers.  It was a stellar debut for new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who was presented the game ball by Ray Lewis at the end of the game.

Jameel McClain led the team in tackles with six while Tavares Gooden added five stops.

“I don’t think we’ve skipped a beat,” defensive tackle Kelly Gregg said.  “The goal is to always get off the field as fast as possible.  It makes things that much better when you see your offense drive the ball and get first downs.”

The black mark on an otherwise satisfying performance was the number of penalties committed throughout the night.  The Ravens had nine penalties, costing themselves 70 yards in the process.  Harbaugh voiced his displeasure with the miscues after the game.

“We have to find a way to work it out,” Harbaugh said.  “All types of penalties.  And that’s probably the most disappointing thing.”

First-round pick Michael Oher had a stellar debut at right tackle, despite sustaining a gash on his forehead early in the game.  After receiving two stitches he returned to the field and even took some reps with the second offense.

“He’s ready to play,” Rice said.  “He’s physical.  He got out there and got a jump on people.  He just needs to continue to get better each game.”

In the second half, the defensive dominance continued as Paul Kruger and Tom Zbikowski added sacks and Derrick Martin picked off a Colt Brennan pass in Baltimore territory.

Rookie running back Cedric Peerman added a seven-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to put the Ravens up by 23 points.

Despite the positive outcome of the preseason opener, the Ravens took another hit at the wide receiver position, as Marcus Smith went down with a serious knee injury.  Harbaugh speculated that the injury involves the ACL.  Smith will have further examination on the knee.

Smith was in the mix to compete for the third or fourth receiver spot on the roster, but his season now appears in jeopardy.

In the kicking game, Hauschka gained the upper hand, making field goals from 21 and 37 yards.  Graham Gano hit a 39-yarder in the third quarter but missed a 28-yard attempt as time expired.

Harbaugh savored the win but emphasized how much improvement is needed between now and the regular season opener on Sept. 13.

“It was a good start, and obviously we have a whole lot of work to do.  Our guys realize that.”

The team will take tomorrow off before returning to Westminster for practice on Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m.  The practice is open to the general public.

Injury Updates:

In addition to Smith going down with a knee injury and Oher sustaining a cut on his forehead, safety Haruki Nakamura suffered a stinger and Beck left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

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Ravens-Redskins: Keys to the Game and Players to Watch

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Luke Jones

While Ravens fans undoubtedly are excited for tonight’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins, maintaining enthusiasm for an exhibition game can be difficult.  Despite paying regular season ticket prices,—and that’s another issue entirely—we’ll likely see Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, and the rest of the starters for a quarter at most.

And let’s face it; few will remember the outcome of this one by this time next month.

Keys to the Game

1. Health

The ultimate goal of any preseason game is to keep players healthy. The Ravens are already dealing with injuries at wide receiver and the offensive line, so they won’t want to add to the list.

The team certainly wants to play well in their first live-game action but not at the expense of any key players. Regardless of the game’s outcome, coming out of it healthy will be a victory in itself.

Expect a vanilla game plan on both sides of the ball.

2. Establish the run

While Ray Rice appears to have the inside track at the running back position, the Ravens will continue to use a by-committee approach with Rice, Willis McGahee, and fullback Le’Ron McClain sharing carries.

Rice will get the start but expect offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to give some carries to McGahee and McClain with the first team. The coaching staff certainly wants to improve the passing game in 2009, but this team will clearly maintain their run-first approach this season.

Pay attention to rookie Michael Oher’s work at right tackle. His run blocking has been very impressive during training camp, so we’ll see how well it carries over against the Redskins.

3. Completions

Cameron has emphasized a desire to see the quarterbacks complete more passes than last season, whether it’s a 25-yard strike or finding a running back in the flat.

Depending on who’s available on the offensive line and at wide receiver, expect the Ravens to use plenty of two-tight end sets and maximum protection to keep Flacco upright. The offense wants to establish a good tempo, so look for more conservative passing early and perhaps a shot or two down the field before Flacco exits after a quarter.

With the Ravens’ top three receivers banged up, tonight is a golden opportunity for Kelley Washington, Justin Harper, and Marcus Smith to establish themselves as viable options for Flacco. L.J. Smith will also need to have a good night, as Todd Heap is battling tightness in his lower back.

4. Defensive Intensity

Ravens fans are anxious to see new coordinator Greg Mattison’s imprint on a defense that ranked second overall in 2008. With the departure of Bart Scott to the New York Jets, Tavares Gooden is the top candidate to take his place next to Ray Lewis.

Gooden flies to the football and is a tremendous athlete, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy. After missing most of 2008 with a hip injury and undergoing sports hernia surgery in the offseason, he’s pushed through some soreness in training camp but has performed very well as a member of the starting defense.

Ray Lewis probably won’t play much longer than a series, but he’ll undoubtedly have his defense flying to the football in the early stages of the game. Even with Mattison’s intention to run more base defense, the Ravens will strive to pressure Jason Campbell and the other Washington quarterbacks.

5 (really 6) Players to Watch

1. Justin Harper

The 2008 seventh-round pick has been one of the early stars in Westminster this summer after spending his rookie season on injured reserve. Harper has beaten just about every defensive back on the roster for long completions at some point during training camp, but performing in game situations is another story.

Harper needs to prove he can catch the ball in traffic, as he has a tendency of trying to make catches with his body instead of his hands.

2. David Hale

After being regarded as a disappointment in his rookie season, Hale has proven to be one of the most versatile offensive linemen on the team during camp, lining up at center, guard, and even tight end during tackle-eligible plays.

Hale will definitely see some reps with first unit but will probably play a good portion of the game. Considering the Ravens will probably keep three reserves for the regular season, a versatile—and effective—Hale would be a valuable depth guy to have

3. Lardarius Webb

The Nicholls State rookie has been very impressive in Westminster, both in the secondary and as a kick returner. He shows good football instincts and is very active in the special teams units.

Some members of the organization view Webb as a potential shutdown corner in the future, so we’ll get our first look at the defensive back in a game situation. He has one of the key intangibles that make a quality cornerback—resiliency. When he has been beaten in coverage during camp, he shakes it off and responds by making a strong defensive play almost immediately thereafter.

4. Dannell Ellerbe

Perhaps the most impressive undrafted rookie on the roster, Ellerbe has received some first-team reps at linebacker when Gooden missed practice last week. His draft status plummeted last season due to a knee injury at the University of Georgia.

Ellerbe was a second-team All-SEC player in 2007 and led the Bulldogs in tackles. He brings an impressive football intellect for a rookie and is a hard hitter in the traditional inside linebacker mold.

He and Jameel McClain are the top candidates behind Gooden in the inside linebacker competition.

5. Steve Hauschka/Graham Gano

All eyes will be on both kickers tonight as they get their first true test in the battle to replace Matt Stover as the Ravens placekicker. Both have performed well during camp, with Hauschka likely holding the slight edge at this point.

Hauschka will handle all kicking duties in the first half with Gano auditioning in the second half of tonight’s game.

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Ravens-Redskins Preview: Conservative will be the Theme

Posted on 12 August 2009 by Luke Jones

For the first time since coming up short in the AFC Championship in Pittsburgh last January, the Ravens will take the field at M&T Bank Stadium in their preseason opener against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.

While doubts surround the wide receiver position and an elite defense adjusts to a new coordinator at the helm, expectations run high for a team that finished 11-5 a year ago under first-year coach John Harbaugh.  Second-year quarterback Joe Flacco will look to build upon a remarkable rookie season that included two road playoff victories and is expected to take a larger role in the offensive game plan.

Thursday will be the first—albeit small—step in gauging Flacco’s progression from  rookie to incumbent starter.

“In the preseason, I want [Flacco] to throw completions,” offensive coordinator Cam Camerson said.  “That could be up the field [or] underneath.  I want to see completions inside the numbers, up the field, sideline to sideline. That’s what we’re going to try to do this preseason. For us to improve our offense, we’ve got to throw the football better. Obviously, it starts with the quarterback.”

It will be difficult to get an accurate picture of the passing offense considering the injuries at the wide receiver position.  Starting wideout Mark Clayton (hamstring) will not play, and Derrick Mason (dislocated finger) and Demetrius Williams (hamstring) are questionable for the preseason opener.  These injuries could mean newcomer Kelley Washington and second-year camp standout Justin Harper will line up in the starting offense—not exactly a duo that will strike fear in an opposing secondary.

Coupled with the injuries at receiver is a battered offensive line.  Center Matt Birk, guard Chris Chester, and rookie tackle Michael Oher are the only sure bets to play Thursday as tackle Jared Gaither (trapezius) and guard Ben Grubbs (ankle) have recently battled injuries and are questionable.  Guard Marshal Yanda has made great progress in returning from a horrific knee injury last season, but the team plans to bring Yanda along slowly in the preseason.

These factors likely mean a conservative approach from the Ravens’ offense against Washington.  The team figures to use a heavy dose of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee and plenty of max-protect blocking schemes in the passing game.

“It’s an opportunity to keep growing as a football team and growing as individual players,” coach John Harbaugh said.  “We’re not game-planning for the Redskins. They’re not game-planning for us.  We’re just going to come out and run our basic stuff—see how guys play, how they play together and how they execute.”

Of course, the first preseason game is hardly the time to open up the playbook, so a conservative game plan is not a poor approach, but what should we expect from new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s defense?

Much of the same, apparently.

Pointing to the depth of the defensive line, Mattison suggests we’ll see less blitzing than what we saw for years with Rex Ryan’s defenses.  The return of Kelly Gregg will bolster an already impressive line that includes Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, and Justin Bannan.  The biggest question will be whether this group can pressure the quarterback without the aid of blitzing—something Ngata and Gregg have not done consistently in the past.

“Our philosophy is we think that this year we can play base,” Mattison said.  “You know, I feel like we’ve got the players that if they play like they can—and they will—you don’t have to be real exotic all the time. You should be able to get pressure with a four-man front, and with our secondary [and] the way they’re practicing, you feel confident that we should be able to cover people without bringing overloads and pressures all the time.”

The defense will be without linebacker Terrell Suggs (heel) and may not have Pryce (foot) and safety Ed Reed—whose status for the preseason is unknown as he battles the same shoulder and neck issue from last season.  Cornerback Domonique Foxworth (former Maryland Terp and Western Tech grad) has had an impressive training camp and will be expected to play at a high level after signing a four-year, $28 million contract to join the hometown team.

While most football fans tend to focus on the offense and defense, the Ravens’ kicking situation might be the most intriguing story of the preseason.  With Matt Stover currently a free agent and not a part of the Ravens’ plans, the organization now looks for a placekicker for the first time in its 14-year history.

Last season’s kickoff specialist Steve Hauschka and rookie Graham Gano will compete for the job, and both players have impressed during training camp.  However, the Ravens will tell you the competition will ultimately be decided by how well each performs in the four preseason games.

The Ravens plan to use Hauschka in the first half for all kicking duties, with Gano kicking in the second half.

Regardless of the likely conservative nature of the preseason opener, players are eager to take a break from the rigors of training camp and compete against another NFL team.  It’s the first step in building upon a promising 2008 season.

“I’m definitely excited,” Rice said.  “Football is football.  If you get out there and see another color and don’t get excited, I don’t think you should be playing this sport.  I’m excited just to get out there again.”

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Jonathan Ogden chats with Kelly Gregg

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Live From Westminster: Mason dislocates finger, causes a scare

Posted on 11 August 2009 by Luke Jones

4:06 p.m. — With Harbaugh not revealing any plans on which injured players will suit up and play on Thursday, here are some thoughts on the players in question.

Demetrius Williams will play if he feels good during the team walk-through tomorrow.  He’s pushed through a hamstring issue for most of camp.

Todd Heap’s lower back has tightened up over the last couple days, but there’s still a chance he’ll play.  Heap had not missed a practice before sitting out yesterday.

Jared Gaither is still bothered by the shoulder/neck issue, but he took part in plenty of live reps yesterday morning.  He wants to play on Thursday, but it’ll depend how he feels during the walk-through.

Derrick Mason suffered a dislocated finger this morning during practice.  I’d be surprised if he plays, and if he does, I’ll predict he’s nothing more than a decoy.

Ben Grubbs continues to battle an ankle issue dating back to the offseason.  He participated in the early portion of practice today, but David Hale took his place at left guard.  He’s questionable.

Marshal Yanda was given the day off today and is far ahead of schedule compared to where most people predicted he’d be at this point.  However, the team has emphasized they want to take it slow with Yanda.  He’s questionable.

Trevor Pryce has a foot issue, and his status is unknown.  It did not appear serious, so we’ll see how the veteran defensive end is feeling by Thursday.

Terrell Suggs (heel) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) will not play and have not practiced since Aug. 2.  Clayton has been on the field the past two days doing some light conditioning work.

Honestly, the only injury to really be concerned with at this point is Clayton’s.  As much as Ravens fans want to beat Washington, a preseason game on Aug. 13—even against the hated Redskins—is meaningless in terms of wins and losses.  The goal is to get these players ready for Sept. 13.

I suspect that most of these players would be playing if it were the regular season.

4:00 p.m. — In preparation for their preseason opener against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night, the Ravens will hold their walk-through on Wednesday.  The walk-through is closed to both the media and general public.

3:30 p.m. — Chris Carr is still listed as the No. 1 punt and kick returner and looks very fluid while returning kicks.  After watching him work in Westminster, it’s easy to see how he became the Oakland Raiders’ all-time leader in kickoff returns.

3:27 p.m. — The special teams practice lasted an hour and 15 minutes, and the focus of the afternoon was the punt and kick return teams.

Sam Koch was booming his punts and looks to be in mid-season form.  He continues to use the rugby-style kick for placing punts inside the 20-yard line.

Steve Hauschka did an outstanding job kicking off, consistently kicking the ball inside the 5 with great hang time.

Rookie Paul Kruger received praise from John Harbaugh on several occasions.  It looks like the second-round pick will be a major part of the special teams units this season.

1:56 p.m. — As expected, Derrick Mason’s injury appears to be a dislocation and not a broken finger. He’s probably doubtful for Thursday night at this point and it looked painful when it happened.

1:46 p.m. — Today was Baltimore football alumni day at training camp, and we saw a number of Baltimore Colts including Art Donovan, Lenny Moore, Jim Mutscheller, and John Mackey.

Among the former Ravens was wide receiver Michael Jackson (taking us back to the early days of the purple!) and future Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden.  We had a chance to chat with J.O. for a short time, and you can check that out in the WNST.net audio vault.

Ogden spent some time catching up with his former teammates on the sideline during practice.
Jonathan Ogden chats with Kelly Gregg

1:38 p.m. — It’s been a very quiet camp for Ray Lewis, but the 34-year-old linebacker has been very active on the field, talking to the offense and competing as he always does.  Lewis came into camp trimmer this season, wanting to maintain his speed as he begins his 14th season with the Ravens (hard to believe, isn’t it?).

Here’s a shot of No. 52 working on his hands at the jugs machine.
Ray Lewis

12:51 p.m. — Graham Gano appeared to have a much stronger leg this morning and kicked with much more confidence.  Unofficially (there were no officials underneath the goalpost, so it was difficult to confirm a few), Gano hit field goals from 35, 43, 47, and 51 yards.  He did appear to miss one from 38 yards, but it was very close—again, no official underneath the goalpost.

Steve Hauschka appeared to have the morning off after taking most of the reps yesterday.

12:48 p.m. — With the finger injury to Derrick Mason, there’s a good chance Harper will be starting on Thursday night, and the young receiver made another long catch this morning.  Troy Smith lofted a 30-yard pass to Harper who beat Walker on the play.

12:31 p.m. — Despite all of the injury updates, there were some highlights this morning I wanted to share.  Domonique Foxworth had an impressive pass breakup in the end zone as Mason tried to make the catch.  Foxworth has been very steady in the secondary, and I am eager to see him play on Thursday night.

Chris Carr picked off Troy Smith this morning during passing drills.  Carr continues to work as the Ravens’ nickleback in passing situations.  He’s only 5-10, but he tends to play with a pretty physical style—a good thing as long as it’s within the rules of the game.

Yamon Figurs beat Evan Oglesby for a long completion from John Beck.  In order for Figurs to make the 53-man roster, he will need to show the same playmaking ability in the four preseason games.

Figurs also got into an altercation with Frank Walker on the sideline during 11-on-11 drills.  Figurs hauled in the pass and was then thrown to the ground by Walker.  The two players took swings at one another, but the fight was quickly separated and cooler heads prevailed.

12:29 p.m. — Ed Reed once again tossed away the red jersey this morning and was sporting the white one like his fellow defensive mates, but don’t read too much into it.  When asked about it, Harbaugh said Reed wears the white during non-contact days, so quarterback Joe Flacco cannot pick him out in the secondary as easily as he does in the red shirt.

Harbaugh would not reveal any new information on Reed’s status, so it’s a mystery whether he’ll play against Washington on Thursday night.

12:24 p.m. — The Ravens continue to run single-back sets with Le’Ron McClain lined up on the wing as a tight end and often going in motion.  I imagine we’ll see this look on Thursday night, especially with Heap’s uncertain status.  McClain has also shown an improved ability to catch passes coming out of the backfield so far this summer.

12:17 p.m. — Harbaugh was very tight-lipped when asked which injured players would play on Thursday night, saying the media could probably figure it out.  With that being said, I would predict we’ll see an offensive line (going left to right) of Oniel Cousins, David Hale, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, and Michael Oher.  Gaither had returned to practice yesterday, but it appears the shoulder/neck is still bothering him, and the team will also bring Yanda along very slowly.  Grubbs may see some reps, but I would think Hale gets most of the time with the starting unit at left guard.

Defensively, we’ll have to wait and see on Pryce’s status, but Dwan Edwards took his place on the defensive line today.  Rookie Paul Kruger will take Terrell Suggs’ spot in the starting lineup, but we’ll see Antwan Barnes get some time at the position.

12:15 p.m. — Despite several players missing practice this morning, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo once again practiced and took reps with the second-team defense.  He has been slowed by a toe injury since the beginning of camp and just recently began working out with the team.  While he’s still not 100 percent, he looks much better moving around on the field than he did last week.

12:11 p.m. — Ravens fans will continue to hold their collective breaths as we wait for further news on Derrick Mason.  Harbaugh did not sound too concerned, but Mason will have an x-ray taken on the finger, and I’ve heard some rumblings about it possibly being dislocated.

If Mason and Williams cannot play on Thursday, the Ravens would likely start Kelley Washington and Justin Harper at wide receiver—a scary proposition if it were the regular season.

12:00 p.m. — If Tuesday’s practice is any indication of who will be suiting up for the Ravens on Thursday night, quite a few players will be missing from the starting lineup.  Jared Gaither, Marshal Yanda, Trevor Pryce, Todd Heap, and Demetrius Williams did not practice this morning.  Heap and Williams were dressed to practice, but they did not participate in any team drills and observed most of the practice from the sidelines.

Cornerback Fabian Washington sat out the latter portion of practice with Frank Walker taking his place in the lineup.  Washington has battled tendinitis in his knee for the last week.

Left guard Ben Grubbs practice and took reps in the early portion of practice, but David Hale took his place on the line, and Grubbs was not present at the end of practice.  It will be interesting to see if Grubbs plays on Thursday night, as he continues to deal with the same ankle issue that landed him on the PUP list at the start of training camp.

11:04 a.m. — John Harbaugh just met with the media and said that Derrick Mason will get his hand X-rayed but he didn’t seem too concerned. More to come…

10:15 a.m. — Derrick Mason just left the field with trainer Bill Tessendorf. He appears to have jammed some fingers on his right hand. More to come…

10:01 a.m. — David Hale also getting reps at left guard. Ravens are going to be careful with Ben Grubbs’ ankle.

9:53 a.m. — Yamon Figurs and Frank Walker get into a little altercation on the sideline after the catch.

9:31 a.m. — Art Donovan, Lenny Moore and some other Baltimore Colts are at camp today. Jonathan Ogden also!

9:18 a.m. — L.J. Smith is taking the first team reps. Todd Heap is dressed to practice but not doing much.

9:10 a.m. — Demetrius Williams is not doing much so far.



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