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Not “Great Enough” to Beat Steelers, So Ravens Now Forced to Evaluate Everything

Posted on 16 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — After suffering another crushing playoff defeat Saturday, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh offered a telling postgame statement.

“We just weren’t great enough today to win that football game.”

His team certainly wasn’t.

It was one more crushing defeat for the Ravens (13-5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4), this time a 31-24 meltdown in the AFC divisional round at Heinz Field.

In three seasons under Harbaugh, the Ravens have suffered more than their fair share of such losses.

This one was likely the most crushing of the Harbaugh era, if not the most crushing in franchise history.

Leading 21-7 at the half, the Ravens appeared well on their way to a trip to the AFC Championship Game and well on their way to finally vanquishing their AFC North nemesis in the process.

Three turnovers later, the Ravens found themselves in a dogfight they wouldn’t win.

They were close.

For moments, they were great.

But in the end, Harbaugh was right. They weren’t great enough.

(Here’s the part where fans can feel free to add in the word “again.”)

Not being “great enough” is frustrating. It’s more frustrating when there’s no obvious answer regarding how the team can get there.

I posed the question to Harbaugh following the season ending defeat.

How does this team become “great enough”?

“That’s what we’ll have to study” responded Harbaugh. “We’ll go to work in the offseason and try to build our team the best way we can. Things come up and things happen, you’ve got to adjust and you’ve got to adapt. You never know on a journey what bend the road’s gonna take. You gotta overcome some adversity and some obstacles and we’ll have to build our team the best way we can to be great enough to these kind of games.”

I know what you’re thinking. It sounds like coach speak. It is to some extent. But there’s truth to it.

The truth is that the team really is close to being “great enough”.

On Saturday, it took a blown 14 point lead, those three turnovers, crucial late drops from WR’s Anquan Boldin & TJ Houshmandzadeh and a miraculous 58 yard pass from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown for the Ravens to be eliminated.

They were about as close to finally getting past the Steelers as possible without actually picking up a victory.

I asked Harbaugh after the game if after another crushing defeat he still believed the team was close to being “great enough”. He agreed, but he added one more thought.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

That’s the reality. The reality is that the Ravens are unbelievably close to turning the corner.

On Saturday night, they actually came to a stop right at the corner. They just couldn’t quite make the turn.

But turning the corner is still going to take a lot of work.

The Ravens have played three seasons with Harbaugh as head coach. In two of those seasons, losing came directly at the hands of the Steelers.

In breaking news (but not necessarily first reported by WNST), the Steelers aren’t coming off the schedule next season.

To become “great enough”, the Ravens are going to have to figure out a way to get past the Steelers.

As DT Haloti Ngata told me after the game, “something has to change, because it’s always them.”

There will be plenty of theories tossed around about how the Ravens can get over the hump.

Many in the fanbase will point their frustration towards Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, whose offense struggled to get out of their own way for the bulk of the 2nd half in the Steel City. Others will direct their frustration towards Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, who continued to employ a three man rush in 3rd and long situations, including the 58 yarder that set up the game winning touchdown.

Personnel wise, the Ravens will have clear needs in their offensive line and pass rush, but will likely have to re-examine their receiving corps and defensive backfield as well.

Some changes could be out of their hands. Asked about his future after the game, WR Derrick Mason said “I’m not gonna think about it right now.”

C Matt Birk, S Ed Reed and TE Todd Heap could all be forced to similarly consider whether or not they will indeed return to the NFL next season.

FB Le’Ron McClain, RB Willis McGahee and Houshmandzadeh have never hid their displeasure with their roles in Cameron’s offense. Boldin has been less vocal, but has often looked frustrated.

McClain and Houshmandzadeh are joined in (at least potential) free agency this offseason by other valuable contributors like WR Donte’ Stallworth, OT Jared Gaither, OL Marshal Yanda, CB’s Chris Carr & Josh Wilson, S Dawan Landry, P Sam Koch, Ngata and more.

And then there’s the quarterback.

A week after finally putting together a “breakthrough” playoff performance in a Wild Card round win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Joe Flacco returned to a more “pedestrian” level in the loss to the Steelers.

He was 16/30 for 125 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble.

On the team’s final drive of the game he wildly overthrew Heap and threw a very poor deep ball to Mason before getting sacked. On 4th and long he threw a decent pass but it was dropped by Houshmandzadeh.

Following the loss, fans immediately took to Facebook and Twitter to ask a familiar question.

“Does Flacco have ‘it’?”

GM Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh will have to answer that question this offseason.

Harbaugh wasn’t just throwing around coach speak when he addressed what it would take to reach greatness. He was offering a truthful reflection regarding what the organization was going to have to this offseason.

The answer just wasn’t quite as fulfilling as some fans would want.

They were unbelievably close Saturday night. They were close enough that the Steelers needed a near miracle to win at home.

Yet this offseason will be one where they have to evaluate all aspects of their organization in order to determine what it will take to finally get past the Steelers.

Unreal.

At halftime, they were 30 minutes away from one of the greatest moments in franchise history.

In those 30 minutes, the collapse wasn’t suffered by the players and coaches alone.

The collapse was suffered by the entire organization.

-G

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Mason, McClain, Ngata, Houshmandzadeh, LB Ray Lewis, WR Marcus Smith, CB Lardarius Webb, LB Terrell Suggs and RB Ray Rice following the loss now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Rice played despite flu-like symptoms Friday night, he said following the game he hadn’t eaten solid food in two days……The Ravens will return to 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills Monday to clean out their lockers. Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media

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Live From Owings Mills: Ray Lewis says Peyton Hillis Performance “Won’t Happen Again”

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (10-4) returned to work at 1 Winning Drive Wednesday, looking ahead to Sunday’s Week 16 contest with the Cleveland Browns (5-9) at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17 in a Week 3 contest at M&T Bank Stadium, but they gave up an alarming 144 yards rushing to Browns RB Peyton Hillis in the loss.

Ravens players said Wednesday an encore performance should not be expected.

“A blind cat will find a meal every once in awhile” said LB Ray Lewis. “It’s just the way it happens. The thing about this league is consistency. We understand the two big runs that we gave up against him. (As) our team’s leader-it won’t happen again.”

Lewis went on to say “we definitely aren’t coming in there to give him over 100 yards again.”

Lewis wasn’t the only player to say the team intended to shut down the Browns’ likely Pro Bowl back.

“Definitely won’t happen again” said DT Haloti Ngata. “Some things they did a good job (of) scheming us and finding the holes for Peyton to hit. He’s a north and south runner, he doesn’t really like to run sideways and cut down. If we just close those holes for him to go through, then he’s gonna have to run sideways and we can probably get him better that way.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh said he thought the rematch provided motivation for his defense.

“I’m sure it does. I think it’s part of it. We’re motivated because stopping the run is important. They’re a team that prides themselves in running the ball.”

Before the Week 3 contest, Hillis had run for 100 yards just once in his NFL career (3rd season). Since the Week 3 contest, Hillis has run for 100 yards or more in four additional contests.

PRACTICE REPORT: TE Todd Heap (hamstring) returned to practice Wednesday. It was the first time Heap had practiced since being forced to leave the team’s Week 13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter. Heap’s chances of seeing the field Sunday have to be considered greatly improved after returning to the practice field. He was listed as a limited participant, as was WR Derrick Mason (ankle).

S Tom Zbikowski (back) remained out of practice Wednesday. He has not seen the field since leaving the team’s Week 14 win over the Houston Texans early. Harbaugh had hinted Friday Injured Reserve could still be an option for Zbikowski.

WR/KR David Reed did not participate in practice Wednesday after leaving the team’s Week 15 win over the New Orleans Saints in the first half with a concussion. His status for Sunday is considered to be in jeopardy. If Reed is unable to play, RB/KR Jalen Parmele is expected to return kicks in his place.

OL Tony Moll (illness) and LB Jason Phillips (illness) also did not participate in practice Wednesday, neither is believed to be in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game. C Matt Birk (knee) and WR Marcus Smith (shoulder) were listed as full participants Wednesday.

In Berea, six Browns players missed practice Wednesday.

LB Eric Alexander (groin), QB Colt McCoy (illness), TE Evan Moore (hip), DL Shaun Rogers (ankle/hip), TE Robert Royal (shoulder) and Hillis (knee) did not participate.

LB Marcus Bernard (shoulder), DB Sheldon Brown (shoulder), DL Kenyon Coleman (knee), WR Josh Cribbs (foot), WR Chansi Stuckey (thigh), OL John St. Clair (ankle) and OL Floyd Womack (knee) were listed as limited participants.

All other Browns and Ravens players were not listed on Wednesday’s injury report.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Lewis, Ngata, QB Joe Flacco, WR Anquan Boldin and RB Ray Rice now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Boldin was presented with the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award by Team President Dick Cass Wednesday. All 32 teams name an honoree, one of those players will be chosen as the league recipient after the season……Parmele is scheduled to join Drew Forrester at 7:20am Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST……John Parry’s crew will officiate Sunday’s game……The Ravens re-signed OL Bryan Mattison to the practice squad Wednesday, he had been waived from the active roster Monday so the team could sign TE Davon Drew from the practice squad……The Ravens will return to practice Thursday; coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media

-G

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Ravens-Buccaneers “Purple Haze” Live Chat 4pm Today!

Posted on 28 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) will face a third straight NFC South opponent in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3). Today’s game will air on FOX (WBFF 45 in Charm City) with Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan on the call. We will be chatting during the game in our “Purple Haze” live chat, which you can join HERE.

Here are the inactives for today’s game:

Buccaneers-
DE Kyle Moore (shoulder)
QB Rudy Carpenter (3rd QB)
FB Erik Lorig
CB Elbert Mack
OT Derek Hardman
DT Frank Okam
OT Will Barker
WR Preston Parker

DE Tim Crowder will start for Moore.

Ravens
-
DT Lamar Divens
DT Brandon McKinney
TE Ed Dickson
WR Marcus Smith
LB Dannell Ellerbe
CB Fabian Washington
S Tom Zbikowski (foot)
OL Chris Chester (illness)

OL Tony Moll will start for Chester at RG.

The Ravens are in black tops and white pants today. The Bucs are in white tops and silver pants.
Carl Cheffers’ crew will officiate today’s game.

Come chat with us!

-G

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Ravens-Panthers “Purple Haze” Live Chat 1pm!

Posted on 21 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

CHARLOTTE, NC. — Greetings from Bank of America Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens (6-3) will face a second consecutive NFC South opponent in the Carolina Panthers (1-8) at 1pm today. Today’s game will be televised by CBS (WJZ 13 locally in Charm City) with Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots on the call. We will be discussing the game in our “Purple Haze” live chat, which you can join HERE.

Here are today’s inactives:

Ravens-
S Tom Zbikowski (foot)
OL Chris Chester (illness)
DT Arthur Jones
DT Lamar Divens
DT Brandon McKinney
LB Dannell Ellerbe
WR Marcus Smith
TE Dennis Pitta

The Ravens made a roster move Saturday, waiving OL Scott Kooistra and signing OL Bryan #Mattison to the active roster from the practice squad.
OL Tony Moll will start in place of Chester at RG.

Panthers-
QB Jimmy Clausen (concussion)
RB Jonathan Stewart (concussion)
WR Armanti Edwards (3rd QB)
RB Tyrell Sutton (ankle)
S Marcus Hudson (ankle)
WR Brandon LaFell (concussion)
OT Travelle Wharton (toe)
DT Ed Johnson

The Ravens are in white tops, black pants today. The Panthers are in black tops, silver pants.
Al Riveron’s crew will officiate today’s game.

Come chat with us!

-G

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Ranking The 53: A Bye Week Look at Ravens Roster

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Ranking The 53: A Bye Week Look at Ravens Roster

Posted on 27 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

As you’ll remember, I spent most of Training Camp ranking the players on the Baltimore Ravens roster as we tried to determine the Top 53 that would make the final roster.

As we’ve reached the team’s Bye Week, I thought I’d use a similar format (as opposed to a Report Card format) to grade the way the 53 men currently on the team’s roster have played thus far this season. Here’s my list…

53. OL Scott Kooistra-He hasn’t seen the field and he hasn’t been around very long. I’m not sure where else he could be ranked.

52. DT Arthur Jones-The team isn’t dissatisfied with the rookie DT from Syracuse. The issue for Jones is that the Ravens are so deep on the interior of their D-Line that they haven’t been able to get Jones on the field yet. Until then, he won’t find himself any higher on the list.

51. WR Donte’ Stallworth-Stallworth’s broken foot has kept him entirely out of game action thus far, and he only returned to practice last week. The team expects him to be on the field Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Once he gets out there, we can see where he’d rank on this list.

50. QB Marc Bulger-If Marc Bulger never sees the field and stays somewhere near #50, GM Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh will be thrilled-as it means nothing will have gone wrong with the team’s quarterback. This is exactly where they want him.

49. DT Lamar Divens-It seems like Lamar Divens will always be the first name listed when the “who could you cut to make room for…” conversations happen. That being said, he hasn’t been cut yet this season, and has even seen the field at times. He’s a really good player-even if it hasn’t quite been evident yet this season.

48. TE Dennis Pitta-His offensive contributions (1 catch, 1 yard) have been next to nothing, but Pitta has been a solid special teams contributor and has only been inactive for one game. No one in Owings Mills is unhappy with their rookie TE from BYU thus far.

47. CB Cary Williams-He’s been more of a Special Teams contributor than he’s been a corner thus far this season-and he hasn’t been perfect. His block in the back penalty against the New England Patriots was certainly frustrating; and Harbaugh made it known. Williams’ size (6’1″) could make him helpful at CB at some point, but the team has to trust him there.

46. OT Oniel Cousins-The team didn’t really hide from the fact that they were disappointed by how long it took Oniel to get back on the field after a preseason concussion. At this point, I don’t think they can hide from the disappointment in his on-field performance; as he’s struggled to get playing time at all.

45. LB Prescott Burgess-He’s remained a steady player on Special Teams, and that’s what the team has wanted from him. It’s easy to be down a player who doesn’t contribute at his natural position, but Burgess has been solid.

44. LS Morgan Cox-Matt Katula’s struggles a season ago were at least somewhat to blame for early season misses from then kicker Steve Hauschka. I think that’s why it wasn’t terribly surprising when ST Coordinator Jerry Rosburg and company decided to go with Cox this season. That being said, Cox has been low on a few FG snaps, and has gotten some help from holder Sam Koch. He needs to be a bit steadier.

43. WR Marcus Smith-Smith is another player whose contributions have been limited to Special Teams thus far, which means his mistakes are often much more memorable than anything he does well. He had a tough day in Foxborough, but he wasn’t the only one.

42. DT Terrence Cody-What a frustrating player Terrence Cody has been this season. There’s moments where it looks like things are clicking for him, but there have been many more moments (in the 4 games where he’s played) where he looked absolutely lost. He didn’t record his first NFL tackle until the Week 7 win over the Buffalo Bills.

41. LB Jason Phillips-Phillips may have earned a couple of extra spots on the list simply thanks to the hit he and Edgar Jones delivered to Denver Broncos WR/KR Demaryius Thomas (see below) in Week 5. Phillips is in a tough spot, as the Ravens are deep at ILB. That being said, he’s made an impact in the opportunities he’s had-which is exactly what the team wanted.

ravensbroncos

40. DE Paul Kruger-I’m placing Paul Kruger in the top 40, but I’ll note that he’s played in only two games thus far this season-two he may have never played in had the team not released Trevor Pryce earlier in the year. His ability to play in the wedge has helped get him on the field, but the kick return hasn’t exactly been great with or without him.

39. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Ayanbadejo is another player who I’m squeezing into the Top 40 despite limited work. It looks like Ayanbadejo is going to be able to continue to be an effective player on Special Teams; but his ability to help is pass coverage will determine where he eventually ends up on this list.

38. RB/KR Jalen Parmele-It’s easy to look at the struggles Parmele has had over the last two weeks and be down on his season; but it cannot be dismissed that he’s averaged over 20 yards per return this season. The Ravens have to figure out what’s going wrong with their kick return. My guess is that they’ll find out that the returner isn’t the biggest problem. My second guess is that it won’t mean Parmele will be the returner moving forward anyway.

37. S Ken Hamlin-When the Ravens released Hamlin to make room for Cary Williams earlier in the season, it looked like a confirmation that Hamlin was simply holding Ed Reed’s roster spot. About a week later we found out that wasn’t exactly the case. Hamlin has been effective on Special Teams and has offered something to Greg Mattison’s defense as well-at least until he was left inactive for the first time Week 7. That could be bad news moving forward for Hamlin.

36. WR David Reed-After looking like he might not be able to play Special Teams at all, Reed developed into a very trustworthy gunner for the Ravens over the first few weeks of the season and has taken more snaps as a returner during practice as the season has gone on. That being said, it is interesting to note that Reed was held out of Sunday’s game against the Bills. It had at least SOMETHING to do with a thigh injury, but it will be interesting to see if it was the injury ONLY, or if the injury was just part of it.

35. TE Ed Dickson-Dickson is an interesting case. In the game against the Broncos, his 58 yard 1st quarter catch was eye-opening. His 6’4″ frame clearly makes him an attractive downfield and jump-ball target. But his holding penalty later in the game was an example of exactly why OC Cam Cameron may not fully trust him enough to keep him on the field. My guess is that Dickson is headed towards some level of a breakout performance.

34. LB Tavares Gooden-I get the feeling that I could be showing a little bit too much fairness to Gooden, who was adequate in the two games he played before injuring his shoulder. He probably hasn’t done enough to justify the position, but I’ll keep him here for now. How he bounces back from another setback (and whether or not he can return in Week 9) could have a lot to do with his future in Charm City.

33. CB Josh Wilson-This is really tricky as well. Wilson has by no means been a liability on the field; but he’s done little to prove himself thus far. He’s missed two games (a healthy inactive when the Ravens played the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field; an ankle injury kept him out of the loss to the Pats at Gillette Stadium), and he hasn’t been perfect as a returner. But when Secondary coach Chuck Pagano need an answer late against the Bills, Wilson stepped up.

32. WR TJ Houshmandzadeh-Truth be told, I’m completely befuddled by TJ Houshmandzadeh’s short tenure in Baltimore. I don’t think he’s been misused, I don’t think Joe Flacco has failed to look for him or get him the ball, I don’t think he’s necessarily been awful in doing his own job (although I absolutely think he’s given half efforts to catch the ball-which was abundantly evident when the Ravens played the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium). I’m not sure what Houshmandzadeh’s role is moving forward as Stallworth returns. No matter what it is, his catch to beat the Steelers will never be forgotten.

31. OL Tony Moll-Moll has shown himself to be a particularly reliable reserve on the O-Line; he’s been the team’s top reserve this season. In fact, he was on the field at RT when the Ravens put together their final TD drive to get the first win of the Harbaugh era in the Steel City.

tonymoll

30. DT Brandon McKinney-McKinney has quickly become the team’s top reserve along the D-Line, and has played VERY well he’s seen the field this season. He’s probably better as a NT or as an interior tackle in a 4-3 defense, but he’s been outstanding filling multiple roles for DL coach Clarence Brooks.

29. S Haruki Nakamura-Nakamura’s playing time has decreased since the start of the season, but it’s not because he’s performed poorly. Nakamura was both the 3rd safety and the nickel corner in the Ravens’ season opening Monday Night Football win over the New York Jets, but the improved health of the team has limited his role. His play has been effective throughout the season no matter his role.

28. CB Lardarius Webb-After missing the season opener at New Meadowlands Stadium, Webb has been up and down in the six games he’s played. At times he’s been spectacular, including two big pass breakups in the win over the Steelers. At other times he’s been less than spectacular, including the loss to the Bills. Webb stepped in for Zbikowski at PR against the Bills as well, but is unlikely to remain a long term option there.

27. DL Cory Redding-This is somewhat of a tricky judgment as well. Redding has played well, but was supposed to be able to get off the field in obvious passing situations this season to allow for a better rush end option. Sadly, the Ravens don’t have a better rush end option. Redding has just one sack on the season, and that number is unlikely to get much bigger.

26. LB Dannell Ellerbe-If Dannell Ellerbe didn’t have to play in pass coverage, he probably would find himself in the Top 15. Of course, there are a number of LB’s in the NFL who could say the same thing. Ellerbe has been solid but not spectacular, and has not exactly shown himself to be an “answer” for the Ravens at JACK LB.

25. OL Chris Chester-The Ravens would certainly prefer to have Chester coming off the bench and taking snaps at multiple positions; but the back injury to Jared Gaither has forced him into a starting role at RG. Chester hasn’t been perfect, but at no point has he been any sort of liability.

24. LB Jameel McClain-McClain has thus far been the most consistent answer at JACK LB, but he probably hasn’t solidified the position the way the team may have hoped he would. McClain has been solid, but has not been able to make too many plays in the backfield. Opponents have also been surprisingly able to run the ball with effectiveness (none more than Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis), which has to fall on the entire group-including McClain.

23. OL Marshal Yanda-No one has forgotten about Jared Gaither in Baltimore, but Marshal Yanda has solidified the RT position after a few early season struggles. Yanda is still better served playing at the Guard position, but he’s shown his athleticism and ability to both pass block and run block at the RT position.

22. S Ed Reed-There’s little argument for me ranking a player who has seen the field for just one game this high; but the argument exists. Of course, it is a very short argument-based solely on the fact that despite playing in just one game, Reed leads the team in interceptions. He looked like the Ed Reed of old against the Bills, giving the organization every reason to believe he’ll continue to play at a high level.

21. RB Willis McGahee-We might never TRULY know why McGahee didn’t see the field against the Pats, but he’s been very good every other time he’s seen the field. McGahee has been a solid back in both short yardage and goal line situations, is an effective blocker, and can take consecutive handoffs. If for some reason Ray Rice were to get hurt, the Ravens would be fine at RB.

mcgahee

20. C Matt Birk-Birk might not play at a Pro Bowl level necessarily anymore, but he’s still very good. He had some struggles early on this season, but he’s played very well in recent weeks. The Ravens may not have a center of the future on the roster necessarily, but they’re still just fine right now.

19. DT Kelly Gregg-Gregg has been just as steady as always this season; tallying 30 tackles and taking on double teams the same way he’s done since his breakout year in 2002. The only potential knock on Gregg has been a lack of plays made in the backfield.

18. S/PR Tom Zbikowski-The Ravens have been very happy with the play they’ve received from Zbikowski this season-especially while Reed missed the first six weeks of the season. Fans haven’t been thrilled with Zbikowski as punt returner-but since inexplicably running the ball backwards in East Rutherford, he’s been solid in that role as well. Zbikowski missed Game 7 with a bruised heel, but isn’t expected to be out for an extended period of time.

17. S Dawan Landry-I feel like we keep getting back to the Buffalo game with Ravens defenders-but that tends to be what happens when a team gives up 34 points at home. Landry had been very solid until that game however, and has 52 tackles through seven games this season.

16. CB Chris Carr-The best thing to happen to the Ravens in the wake of the Domonique Foxworth injury has been the play of Carr. Carr has been particularly steady starting opposite Fabian Washington. The team would probably like to see him improve a bit on the one interception and five pass deflections he’s posted thus far this season.

15. LB Jarret Johnson-The only disappointment with Johnson this season has been his lack of involvement in the pass rush. He’s tallied just half a sack thus far to go with 28 tackles. He’s been good, he’s just not quite played to the level he played at a season ago when he compiled six sacks.

14. K Billy Cundiff-The name Shayne Graham has LONG been forgotten at 1 Winning Drive. Cundiff has been incredible on kickoffs, tallying 18 touchbacks this season. He had entered the season with just 11 touchbacks for his CAREER. Cundiff is also 10/12 on field goal attempts; with one of the two misses coming in the goofy open end of the stadium at Heinz Field. There really isn’t much more that can be said about Cundiff, he’s been tremendous this season.

13. P Sam Koch-While I’m at it, Koch has been outstanding this season as well. He’s pinned punts inside the 20 yard line 19 times already this season. Some of his yardage numbers are a bit off this season, as the Ravens have had better field position in general this season. Oakland Raiders P Shane Lechler is still probably having a better season; but Koch has to at least be in consideration for a trip to Hawaii.

12. OT Michael Oher-Oher won’t want to hear the name Jermaine Cunningham any time soon, but otherwise he’s avoided a sophomore slump. Oher has answered almost all questions about his ability to play the LT position, even if he isn’t quite Jonathan Ogden just yet. He LOOKS like he’s offsides more than he actually IS offsides, with the only exception being the Patriots game.

11. LB Terrell Suggs-There’s a misconception that T-Sizzle is having a bad season. That’s simply not true. Suggs has played very well at times, and has clearly developed into a very complete all-around LB. The problem is-the Ravens don’t necessarily need an improved all-around LB on the outside. They REALLY need a pass rushing monster, and Suggs (3.5 sacks) just isn’t that guy right now, nor may he ever be again.

suggs

10. G Ben Grubbs-Grubbs has been the team’s most consistent Offensive Lineman thus far this season, and is setting himself up nicely for a potential Pro Bowl trip. As the team’s longest tenured O-Lineman, Grubbs has been significantly important for the team in maintaining continuity in a season where they have been forced to move pieces around.

9. TE Todd Heap-The Ravens thought that drafting two tight ends would help keep Heap fresh by getting him off the field for a handful of snaps every game. They also thought that signing multiple receivers in the offseason would help free up space on the field for Joe Flacco to find Heap. They’ve been right about both things. Heap has still taken a beating this season (thanks in part to Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather), but he’s on pace to have at least his best offensive season since 2006.

8. CB Fabian Washington-Don’t start cursing at your computer screen just yet. I am well aware that Lee Evans treated Washington like Sidney Rice would Frank Walker in the Ravens’ loss to the Bills. However, in the six games before that-Washington was a significant part of why the Ravens had one of the top pass defenses in the NFL (now ranked 8th for the record). Washington’s future standing on this list will of course have everything to do with how he bounces back from what was a dreadful Week 7 performance.

7. WR Derrick Mason-Remember him? Mason might not be on pace for a 1,000 yard season; but when they’ve needed him-he’s been ready to make plays. He was the team’s leading receiver in two very tough road games (at Pittsburgh and at New England), and he caught the only touchdown of the game in the Ravens’ Week 2 loss in the Queen City. Mason is just as reliable as always, and still catches the football…with the exception of the handful of times the team has decided for some goofy reason to try to throw jump balls in the direction of his 5’10″ frame.

6. RB Ray Rice-Fantasy football owners may not be quite as happy with Ray Rice’s performance as I am; but he’s been very good this season. He’s on pace to finish the season with over 1,400 yards of total offense; and should be able to remain fresh the more the Ravens work McGahee into the offense. Rice was expected to be a Top 3 caliber player on this list, but the lack of a breakaway burst appears to be hurting him right now. If that re-appears, he might show himself to be the type of MVP candidate he was a season ago.

5. LB Ray Lewis-Let me get this out of the way. Ray Lewis has not played like the future Hall of Fame LB he is in every game this season. He looked downright human against the Browns. That being said, the season opener on MNF was a vintage performance from one of the greatest defenders in league history, and Lewis locked up the Steelers game with a late interception of Charlie Batch. He tallied 15 tackles in the win over the Bills as well. San Francisco 49ers LB Patrick Willis may be the unquestionable greatest LB in the game today, but Ray Lewis has not fallen terribly far behind.

4. FB Le’Ron McClain-This one may catch a few folks off guard, as the personal foul penalty in Foxborough and the lack of carries probably stick out in the minds of most fans more than anything else, but Le’Ron McClain is playing as well at his position as almost anyone else on the Ravens roster this season. RB Coach Wilbert Montgomery graded McClain’s performance against the Browns as the best by a Ravens player this season, and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron told me that in terms of the total package-blocking, rushing and pass catching-McClain was absolutely the best fullback in not only the AFC-but the entire NFL.

3. QB Joe Flacco-If it weren’t for the dud in Cincy, Flacco may be #1 on the list. Unfortunately, the game in Cincy still counts. Flacco has been outstanding for the better part of the season-despite strange criticism from fans and a handful of analysts alike. He’s on pace for another season with 3,000+ yards and 20+ touchdowns and has limited his turnovers in games BESIDES Cincinnati. Flacco still needs to figure out that Ray Rice is just 5’7″; which has to be the most frustrating part of his game at this point.

2. WR Anquan Boldin-Anquan Boldin has been everything the Ravens had hoped he would be and more. He’s been a reliable target, he’s shown the type of toughness that originally made him a star with the Arizona Cardinals, and at times (the Browns game sticks out) he’s even added an explosive level to his game. He unfortunately doesn’t get to matchup against Eric Wright every week; but he’s on pace for 1,000+ yards and double digit TD’s no matter who he’s up against. Some fans in Baltimore who weren’t familiar with his game thought the Ravens were getting Larry Fitzgerald; but for those who knew what type of player Boldin was-he’s been ABSOLUTELY as good as advertised if not better.

1. DT Haloti Ngata-There is simply no better player on this football team right now than Haloti Ngata. There’s almost no argument any longer about who the best interior D-Lineman is in the NFL either. The only unfortunate part about the season for Ngata has been the fact that the lack of a rush end has forced the Ravens to send Ngata outside and hope he could get to the quarterback. He’s capable, but it’s by no means where he is best used. When he does get in the backfield, there’s no quarterback (or other player at any position) that’s happy to see him.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttqIWOqvGSM[/youtube]

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Zbikowski OUT, Gooden Returns

Posted on 22 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-2) held their final open practice Friday at 1 Winning Drive before Sunday’s contest with the Buffalo Bills (0-5) at M&T Bank Stadium.

Safety Tom Zbikowski (foot) did not participate in practice for a 3rd straight day, he suffered a bruised heel in the team’s Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough; he will not play Sunday against the Bills. With Zbikowski out, the Ravens’ picture at safety is cloudy. Regular starter Ed Reed has not yet been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and may not be activated before the game. The team has until 4pm Saturday to clear a roster spot should they decide to activate Reed and/or LB Brendon Ayanbadejo, who each practiced for a third straight day Friday.

Should Reed not be available Sunday, Haruki Nakamura would be expected to start at free safety opposite Dawan Landry with Ken Hamlin backing up both positions.

Neither Reed nor Ayanbadejo would confirm whether or not they would play Sunday, and the same can be said of Harbaugh. Harbaugh told reporters Reed “had a really good week of practice”, but said he’d probably be “cautious” in making a decision regarding Reed.

Harbaugh said the team was “feeling pretty good” about both Reed and Ayanbadejo. “It’s just a matter of how much they can go, we don’t want to have any setbacks.” Ayanbadejo said he might not be 100 percent ready to get back on the field. “Ideally I’d like more time, but we have a bye coming up the next week so I’ll have plenty of time to recover.” Ayanbadejo added “I think it’s a great opportunity for me to get in the game. The goal would be to finish the game and be ready for a good week of practice after we beat the Bills.”

MORE FROM PRACTICE: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) practiced for a second straight day, but he has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) returned to practice for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, but Gooden has also already been ruled out of Sunday’s game. OT Jared Gaither (back) has also been ruled out of Sunday’s game and has not returned to practice.

Harbaugh said it was “fair to say” that the team’s Week 9 game against the Miami Dolphins in Charm City could be a target date for both Stallworth and Gooden to return. Gooden wasn’t ready to confirm he could return for Week 9, saying only that “it would be fun” to return in time to play the Fins.

TE Todd Heap (neck) and WR David Reed (thigh) were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game on Friday’s injury report.

OL Tony Moll (eye) returned to practice after not participating Thursday, he’s probable to play Sunday. Also probable for Sunday’s game are LB Jarret Johnson (back), LB Edgar Jones (thigh), DE Paul Kruger (knee), WR Derrick Mason (ankle/finger), RB Ray Rice (ankle), WR Marcus Smith (back) and CB Josh Wilson (thigh).

For the Bills, OT Cornell Green (knee) and CB Terrence McGee (back) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game. LB Keith Ellison (knee) and NT Kyle Williams (ankle) are questionable to play. S Jon Corto (wrist), LB Arthur Moats (elbow), TE Shawn Nelson (groin) and S Bryan Scott (knee) have all been listed as probable to play.

HEAP BREAKS SILENCE ON MERIWEATHER HIT
: Heap spoke Friday about the helmet to helmet hit he was on the receiving side of from Pats safety Brandon Meriweather in the team’s Week 6 loss at Gillette Stadium. Heap had declined to comment about the hit following the game and was not available to the media Wednesday or Thursday.

“It is what it was” said Heap. “I think he’ll learn his lesson by that. It’s not my place to enforce anything, but at the same time, looking back on it and seeing the hit-it was something that I think could have been avoided.”

Meriweather was flagged for a 15 yard personal foul penalty and fined $50,000 for the hit by the NFL.

“I don’t think he meant anything by it, I think he was trying to play football-but he made a bad decision” Heap added. “It’s over and done with, we can put it behind us.”

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Ayanbadejo, Gooden and Heap NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Edgar Jones joined Drew Forrester Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, you can hear that chat in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Weather.com/The Weather Channel says Sunday’s weather is expected to be 73 degrees and mostly cloudy. There is no rain currently in the forecast……Pete Morelli’s crew will officiate Sunday’s game……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Saturday morning prior to Sunday’s game. Saturday’s walkthrough is closed to the media……Former CB Chris McAlister will not attend Sunday’s 10 Year Anniversary celebration of the Super Bowl XXXV winning team. McAlister originally committed to attending the event, but later told the team he had a schedule conflict. McAlister left Baltimore on uneasy terms with Harbaugh

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Split on New NFL Head-Hunting Policy

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-2) returned to work Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s contest with the Buffalo Bills (0-5) at M&T Bank Stadium.

The NFL levied hefty fines Tuesday towards multiple players for dangerous hits in Week 6 games and threatened suspensions for future helmet to helmet contact. One of the hits that lead to a significant fine was a helmet to helmet hit made on Ravens TE Todd Heap by New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather was fined $50,000 for his hit. The new policy was a hot hot topic in the Ravens locker room Tuesday, as Head Coach John Harbaugh and Ravens players had varying opinions about stronger enforcement.

Harbaugh gave full support to strengthening enforcement of the policy, saying “I think whatever it takes to enforce the rule to make sure that guys respect the rules is something that obviously needs to be done.” Harbaugh however went on to add that he didn’t think a more strict policy would have much effect on his team. “If you look at our track record this year-not to say it couldn’t happen to us-but our guys have really tried to get those hits in that area that aren’t helmet to helmet on the defenseless guys.”

Future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis said hits like the ones that lead to fines from Week 6 are simply part of football. “Those are hits that (when) you go into your defensive room-you’re getting praised for” said Lewis. “I have to back those players and tell them-just keep having fun, just keep playing the game.”

RB Willis McGahee was the victim of a crushing hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark in the 2009 AFC Championship Game. McGahee said “they should have done that when I got hit and I was laying on the ground.” McGahee added “I guess it’s getting out of hand right now, so they’ve got to protect the players and protect the person that’s providing the hits.”

LB Terrell Suggs added the rule was a “double-edged sword” and that he was split on whether or not he supported strengthening the policy. “I have no problem with them enforcing (the rule); but the amount the guys were fined-that was a bit excessive.” Suggs pointed out that football “is a physical sport” and that football players “are the gladiators of (the) time.”

Lewis pointed out that he expected players to continue to fight the penalties that will come with a strengthening of the policy, which could remain an issue well into what is expected to be a period of labor unrest this offseason.

REED, AYANBADEJO RETURN: S Ed Reed and LB Brendon Ayanbadejo appeared on the practice field Wednesday for the first time this season. Both have missed the first six weeks of the season while on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Reed was coy about his status for Sunday’s game, saying “I feel good” but admitting that he needed to get back into a football feel and see how his body would react to getting back on the practice field. He admitted that he and the organization “definitely talked about” the possibility of him missing Sunday’s game and returning after the team’s Week 8 bye.

Reed said “just being around the guys on the field” was what he missed the most during the time he’s missed this season.

Ayanbadejo didn’t offer a guess as to what his status would be for Sunday’s game, saying it was important to just get through Wednesday’s practice and see how his body reacted.

There was no reason to believe either player would be held out of contact during Wednesday’s practice.

PRACTICE REPORT: Reed and Ayanbadejo weren’t the only Ravens who returned to practice Wednesday. DE Paul Kruger (knee) and CB Josh Wilson (hamstring)-who each missed the Week 6 loss in Foxborough returned to the practice field as well. Kruger’s status for Sunday’s game is still very much up in the air, but Wilson is expected to be available. Both were listed as limited participants in practice.

Also limited in practice were LB Jarret Johnson (back), WR Derrick Mason (ankle/finger), S Haruki Nakamura (back), RB Ray Rice (ankle) and WR Marcus Smith (back). LB Edgar Jones (thigh) was listed as a full participant in practice.

Safety Tom Zbikowski (foot) and TE Todd Heap (neck) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Harbaugh said the team got “good news” on MRI’s for both players Monday, saying Zbikowski has “got a shot” to play Sunday and “I think Todd will be” on the field Sunday.

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder), OT Jared Gaither (back) and WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) remained out of practice, they have all been ruled out for Sunday.

For the Bills, OT Cornell Green (knee) and CB Terrence McGee (back) did not participate in practice Wednesday. LB Keith Ellison (knee), LB Arthur Moats (elbow) and NT Kyle Williams (ankle) were all limited participants. TE Shawn Nelson and S Bryan Scott were full participants.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, McGahee, Lewis, Suggs, Reed, Ayanbadejo, Wilson, DT Haloti Ngata and Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Punter Sam Koch is scheduled to join Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST at 7:00am……McGahee did not appear concerned with his lack of playing time in the Ravens’ loss at Gillette Stadium, saying “I’m like a lightswitch. I can cut it on and cut it off. It was off that game. I wasn’t tripping about it. We were winning, it really didn’t bother me.” McGahee was not on the field for a single play in the team’s loss……Bills DE Dwan Edwards joined members of the Charm City media contingent for a conference call, saying “I had a great time and played with a bunch of great players. I learned a ton about football and the game and being a professional and stuff like that. So, in terms of that, it was a good experience.” Edwards returns to Baltimore Sunday for the first time since signing with the Bills in the offseason, he was a 2nd round pick of the Ravens in the 2004 NFL Draft……The Ravens will return to work Thursday at 1 Winning Drive, coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media before practice

-G

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Ravens-Patriots “Purple Haze” Live Chat 1pm!

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Ravens-Patriots “Purple Haze” Live Chat 1pm!

Posted on 17 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

FOXBOROUGH, Ma. — Greetings from Gillette Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens will face the New England Patriots at 1pm Sunday. The game can be seen on CBS (WJZ 13 in Charm City) with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call. We will be chatting live during the game-as WNST.net personalities will be participating in the “Purple Haze”, which you can join HERE.

gillette

Here are your inactives/roster changes for today’s game-

Ravens:
OT Jared Gaither (back)
LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder)
DE Paul Kruger (knee)
WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot)
OL Scott Kooistra
DT Arthur Jones
CB Josh Wilson (hamstring)
DT Lamar Divens

OL Marshal Yanda will again start for Gaither at RT, OL Chris Chester will start for Yanda at RG.

Patriots:
RB Fred Taylor (toe)
CB Terrence Wheatley (foot)
DL Kyle Love
OL Rich Ohrnberger
S James Sanders (hamstring)
WR Taylor Price
RB Thomas Clayton
OT Mark LeVoir

Head Coach Bill Belichick and Pats players will be donning pink today, similar to what the Ravens did last week against the Denver Broncos. This is the third and final week of a window the NFL allowed for uniform alterations to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout the league. Some Ravens are again wearing pink shoes; including WR Derrick Mason, LB Terrell Suggs, LB Prescott Burgess, S Tom Zbikowski, WR Marcus Smith and DT Terrence Cody.

The Ravens are in white tops and white pants today, the Patriots are in blue tops and white pants. Bill Levy’s crew will officiate today’s game.

Come chat with us!

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Release Hamlin to Make Room for Williams

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (1-1) returned to work at 1 Winning Drive Wednesday, looking forward to an AFC North showdown with the Cleveland Browns (0-2) Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

CB Cary Williams was on the practice field after being activated this week from a NFL suspension (personal conduct policy). To make room for Williams on the 53 man roster, General Manager Ozzie Newsome announced the team released veteran safety Ken Hamlin-who they had signed late in the offseason. By cutting Hamlin, the Ravens were able to keep younger “bubble” players like DT Lamar Divens, LB Jason Phillips, DE Paul Kruger and WR Marcus Smith. Hamlin was expendable given the team’s depth in the secondary and given the fact that Williams and recent CB signing Prince Miller both play Special Teams.

Phillips’ roster spot became safer when Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday LB Tavares Gooden would be “out for a few weeks” with a dislocated shoulder. Gooden suffered the injury in Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. National Football Post reported Tuesday the injury was expected to keep Gooden out for 4-6 weeks. Phillips was not active for either of the Ravens’ first two games of the season, but could now see playing time with Gooden hurt.

The Ravens added rookie OT Brady Bond (Oklahoma State) to their practice squad Wednesday, a day after releasing OT Devin Tyler and CB David Pender. The team now has seven spots filled on the practice squad, meaning one spot remains open. That spot could be filled by whoever is cut Wednesday afternoon, or it could be filled by a more mobile quarterback-as the team looks to prepare for mobile QB Seneca Wallace and wildcat threat WR Joshua Cribbs Sunday.

BROWNS QB QUESTIONS: The Browns’ QB situation is a bit up in the air. Starter Jake Delhomme missed last Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with an ankle injury. The team started backup Wallace instead. When asked about Delhomme’s status for Sunday, Browns coach Eric Mangini told Charm City media he was “optimistic” about the chances the former Carolina Panthers QB could play. Mangini added that Delhomme has “gotten better”, but that’s he’s “comfortable” either QB can run all of Cleveland’s offense.

When asked if he expected Delhomme to be available, Harbaugh responded simply, “I don’t know.” However, he was quick to point out that the Ravens will prepare for not only Delhomme and Wallace; but also for Cribbs, who the Browns often use in “wildcat” offense schemes. Knowing that his team will be playing in front of the friendly M&T Bank Stadium crowd for the first time this season, Harbaugh pleaded of Ravens fans “we need it to be especially loud when (you) see #16 at quarterback.”

PRACTICE UPDATE: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), OT Jared Gaither (back) and Gooden (shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Stallworth and Gooden have been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game; Gaither is not expected to play but has not been ruled out. Also amongst those not participating were WR Derrick Mason (knee) and FB Le’Ron McClain (shoulder). LB Dannell Ellerbe (knee) was listed as a limited participant in practice, he is not believed to be in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game. TE Todd Heap (shoulder), LB Jarret Johnson (back), LB Jameel McClain (knee), DT Haloti Ngata (back), RB Ray Rice (ankle), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle) were all full participants. DT Terrence Cody (knee) was not listed on the injury report after missing the Ravens’ Week 2 loss.

S Tom Zbikowski did not field any punts during the Punt Return portion of Special Teams practice, which was open to the media. Instead, S Haruki Nakamura, CB Lardarius Webb and Miller fielded all punts. Zbikowski, CB Josh Wilson and RB Jalen Parmele (the team’s regular KR) fielded all kickoffs. Zbikowski has struggled in the PR role thus far this season, but the staff has not said publicly that the team will go in another direction.

For the Browns, Delhomme was amongst eight players who did not participate in practice Wednesday. The others were RB Jerome Harrison (thigh), G Shaun Lauvao (ankle), TE Evan Moore (head), CB Derrick Roberson (hip), WR Brian Robiskie (hamstring), DT Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) and DE Robaire Smith (ankle). LB D’Qwell Jackson (chest), LB Matt Roth (foot) and G Floyd Womack (knee) were all limited participants in practice. G Eric Steinbach (thigh) and OT Joe Thomas (elbow) participated fully.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, Rice, Ngata, C Matt Birk, WR TJ Houshmandzadeh and Johnson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Flacco was dismissive of questions regarding fans’ negativity towards his performance in Sunday’s loss. “We all have bad games” said Flacco. “Nobody likes it. I don’t like it, the team doesn’t like it. You gotta get over it.”……WR Derrick Mason declined interview requests from reporters when approached in the locker room……The team announced rock band Buckcherry will perform at halftime of Sunday’s game……OL Chris Chester is scheduled to join Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Thusrday morning at 7:15am on AM1570 WNST……The Ravens will practice again Thursday; LB Ray Lewis, OC Cam Cameron, DC Greg Mattison and Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg are scheduled for formal sessions with the media Thursday.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh “Highly Doubts” Kindle Plays This Season

Posted on 17 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens had their final media availability Friday morning at 1 Winning Drive before Sunday’s AFC North showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

The session was highlighted by significant news from head coach John Harbaugh concerning unsigned rookie LB Sergio Kindle. Harbaugh said that after Baltimore doctors put Kindle through a “battery of tests” from independent doctors in Charm City; it has been determined that Kindle is dealing with “serious (head) issues.” Harbaugh admitted “I think the chances of him playing this year are slim.”

Kindle suffered a fractured skull in an accident at a friend’s house in Austin, Texas the week before the team was to report to Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster.

Harbaugh said the team still intends to sign Kindle to “some form of a deal that reflects the situation”, admitting that the team is both trying to “protect Steve (Bisciotti)’s investment” in their 2nd round pick; but also give the rookie “an opportunity” to get into the facility and around the team. The team will work with the NFL and the NFLPA regarding the contract, a team official said they do not know of a precedent as to how the contract will be formulated.

Harbaugh said he expected Kindle to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, but said he “highly doubts” Kindle will play in 2010. While on PUP or IR, Kindle would still be able to participate in team meetings, work out at the Owings Mills facility and be monitored by team doctors.

While the team wants to get Kindle signed as quickly as possible, the Ravens would not face a league deadline to sign Kindle as they do not intend for him to play in 2010. Should they not sign him before the 2011 NFL Draft, they would lose the exclusive rights to negotiate with him and he would be eligible to be selected by another team.

INJURY UPDATE: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) and OT Jared Gaither (back) have already been ruled out for the game, so it was no surprise to not see them on the practice field during the portion open to the media.

The more alarming news for the Ravens was that LB Jarret Johnson (back spasms) was on the field but did not participate for a 2nd straight day.

Johnson was listed as “questionable” for Sunday’s game on the team’s final injury report. Should he be unable to play Sunday in Cincy, LB Prescott Burgess would be likely to start in his place. LB Edgar Jones and DE Paul Kruger could also be asked to help fill the void.

Johnson has played in all but one game during his career since being selected in the 4th round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Alabama. When asked whether Johnson had a good chance to get on the Sunday, Harbaugh said simply “I think he does.” Johnson also said he “should be” good to get on the field.

Five Ravens were listed as “limited” participants on Friday’s injury report. LB Ray Lewis (foot), LB Jameel McClain (knee), TE Todd Heap (shoulder), LB Tavares Gooden (thigh), WR Anquan Boldin (thigh) and DT Terrence Cody (knee) were all limited participants Friday, but are all listed as “questionable for Sunday”. Heap and Cody are the only players on that list whose status is a legitimate concern for Sunday’s game; but Cody has practiced all week and Heap has practiced on back to back days.

When asked about his chances of getting on the field Sunday, Cody said the “only thing that could stop me is if the coaches won’t let me play.” Cody however stopped short of declaring himself a lock for Sunday’s game. When asked if he would definitely see the field, Cody responded “I don’t know.”

When asked about his shoulder injury, Heap said “I feel good right now, we’ll have to see how it feels on Sunday.” Heap reaffirmed that he “should be good” to play.

WR Anquan Boldin (thigh) and WR Marcus Smith (knee) were full participants in practice Friday and are listed as “probable” to play Sunday.

CB Lardarius Webb (knee) has not been listed on any of this week’s injury reports and was a full participant in every practice leading up to the Week 1 win over the New York Jets. Webb did not play in Week 1, and there is no guarantee he will play Sunday. Harbaugh offered only a response of “I don’t know” when asked about the 2nd year corner from Nicholls State; but said “I think there’s a chance (he plays).”

For the Bengals, DE Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. RB Brian Leonard (foot) and LB Keith Rivers (foot) are listed as probable.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Heap, Cody and Johnson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Bisciotti watched practice Friday morning from the field at 1 Winning Drive, he spent part of practice chatting with Harbaugh……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Saturday and then travel to the Queen City Saturday night. Saturday’s walkthrough is not open to the media……P Sam Koch joined Drew Forrester Friday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that conversation can be heard in the Audio Vault as well……For the quickest and most significant Ravens updates respectively, follow WNST on Twitter (@WNST) and make sure you’re signed up for the WNST Text Service.

-G

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