Tag Archive | "Prescott Burgess"

Phillips joins Orioles bullpen, Berken back to Norfolk

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Phillips joins Orioles bullpen, Berken back to Norfolk

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It turns out pitcher Jason Berken’s second stint with the club will be shorter than his first one in Baltimore this season.

After a terrible inning of work in Monday’s 14-3 loss to the Texas Rangers, Berken has been optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk and replaced by left-handed reliever Zach Phillips. Berken allowed six hits and seven runs (two earned) in the ninth inning, which included a long home run by Josh Hamilton.

Manager Buck Showalter planned to only use three pitchers on Monday — starter Brian Matusz, Stu Pomeranz, and Berken — and will now turn to the southpaw relief pitcher he begrudgingly optioned to Triple-A Norfolk at the start of the season because he had a remaining option unlike a few other bullpen arms. Phillips had a brilliant Grapefruit League with the Orioles, posting a 1.35 earned run average in 13 1/3 innings of spring work.

Phillips owned a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings for Triple-A Norfolk so far this season.

He and Troy Patton give the Orioles two left-handers in the bullpen for the first time this season, but Showalter is not ready to designate one as a situational lefty and cited their backgrounds as starters and the ability for either pitcher to throw multiple innings when needed.

“I don’t think there’s enough track record there to [make either a lefty specialist] for sure,” Showalter said, “but both these guys – he and Troy – have the potential to do both, which is unusual.”

As for who will make Friday’s start in the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, Showalter is remaining tight-lipped but knows who he will call as long as rain doesn’t interfere over the next few days. All signs point to Norfolk starter Dana Eveland, who was pulled after 63 pitches on Monday despite throwing five shutout innings for the Tides.

The Orioles would have to put Eveland on the 40-man roster, but second baseman Brian Roberts could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list without any consequence to his efforts to return from concussion-related symptoms. Catcher Taylor Teagarden would also be a candidate for the 60-day DL as he continues to receive treatment for a back injury.

When asked about veteran infielder Miguel Tejada, Showalter confirmed the former Orioles shortstop and third baseman passed his physical without any concerns on Monday. However, the Baltimore manager deferred to executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette for more details.

“I don’t know what the process or the plan is at this point,” said Showalter, who was under the impression that Tejada served as the designated hitter during an extended spring training game in Sarasota on Tuesday.

Showalter admitted to not being familiar with Tejada, but he pointed to the positive reviews from former teammates of Tejada that are still on the roster.

Right fielder Nick Markakis is off to a difficult start in 2012, hitting just .230 with three home runs and 11 runs batted in in 113 at-bats. When asked whether he would consider moving the struggling outfielder from the third spot in the order, Showalter brushed it off for now.

“It’s too early,” Showalter said. “I think Nick has swung the bat well for us at times.”

Showalter went on to discuss the batting order in greater detail, acknowledging sabermetrics and varying philosophies on how to construct a lineup. With Nolan Reimold currently on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging disc in his neck, the Orioles lack any semblance of a prototypical leadoff hitter — if you could even label Reimold that to begin with.

Endy Chavez has received the most opportunities in Reimold’s absence, but the veteran outfielder is off to a miserable start with a .127 average. Chavez has a .310 career on-base percentage over his 11 years in the big leagues — not exactly what you’re looking for at the top of the order.

Here are tonight’s lineups…

Texas
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Adrian Beltre
3B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
RF Nelson Cruz
C Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland

SP Neftali Feliz (1-1, 3.81 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Endy Chavez
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
3B Wilson Betemit
DH Mark Reynolds
2B Robert Andino

SP Jake Arrieta (2-2, 3.52 ERA)

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Ravens place linebacker Prescott Burgess on IR

Posted on 01 November 2011 by Luke Jones

Already struggling in the special teams, the Ravens’ coverage units took another hit on Tuesday with the announcement that linebacker Prescott Burgess has been placed on injured reserve with a thigh injury.

The fifth-year linebacker sustained the injury in Sunday’s 30-27 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals. Burgess appeared in three games with Baltimore this season, recording one assisted tackle and two special teams tackles. The 6-foot-3, 253-pounder led the Ravens in special teams tackles the past two seasons.

A sixth-round choice by the Ravens in 2007, Burgess was waived at the end of the preseason before being re-signed to take the place of cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 28. The linebacker was waived again during the bye week in favor of defensive back Bryan McCann before being re-signed again on Oct. 18 after offensive lineman Mark LeVoir was released.

The Ravens also announced changes to their practice squad, releasing safety Mana Silva and re-signing wide receiver Rodney Bradley to take his spot.

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Live from Owings Mills: Grubbs, Evans again appearing unlikely to play

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Live from Owings Mills: Grubbs, Evans again appearing unlikely to play

Posted on 27 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Another day of preparation for the Arizona Cardinals brought similar results in terms of who wasn’t on the practice field Thursday.

The Ravens were without receiver Lee Evans (left ankle), guard Ben Grubbs (right toe), running back Anthony Allen (thigh), and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (thigh) for the second straight day this week. Barring a dramatic change on Friday, none are expected to play on Sunday.

Evans said prior to practice that his left ankle is improving, but the 30-year-old wideout would not specify a timetable for his return to action in what amounted to anything but a ringing endorsement for his status against the Cardinals on Sunday.

A possible new addition to the injury report was safety Ed Reed (shoulder), who was not identified during the open portion of practice as the Ravens worked on the field farthest away from the media viewing area. Reed practiced fully on Wednesday despite suffering a “burner” in a fourth-quarter collision with defensive tackle Terrence Cody on Monday night.

Two players appeared to get nicked up during the open portion of practice on Thursday in a scene that more closely resembled training camp. Linebacker Prescott Burgess left the field for a brief time before returning with his left elbow wrapped. Cornerback Danny Gorrer also appeared to be walking gingerly with a member of the training staff after being stretched out on the field for several minutes.

Cornerback Chris Carr (left hamstring) and safety Tom Zbikowski (concussion) were practicing for the second straight day.

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Ravens re-sign LB Burgess, part ways with OL LeVoir

Posted on 18 October 2011 by Luke Jones

With linebacker and special teams contributor Dannell Ellerbe continuing to battle injuries, the Ravens have re-signed special teams standout Prescott Burgess.

The team also announced offensive lineman Mark LeVoir has been waived to clear room on the 53-man roster.

Burgess was cut at the conclusion of the preseason before the Ravens re-signed him after placing cornerback Domonique Foxworth on injured reserve on Sept. 28. The veteran linebacker was then cut during the bye week when the Ravens signed cornerback and return specialist Bryan McCann on Oct. 4.

Ellerbe was inactive for the Ravens’ Week 4 victory over the New York Jets before returning to action against Houston on Sunday. Coach John Harbaugh did not report any new injuries or give an update on Ellerbe following Sunday’s game or during his Monday press conference in Owings Mills.

LeVoir was inactive against the Texans on Sunday and fell out of favor when he struggled playing in place of injured guard Ben Grubbs against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. LeVoir was inactive the following week against St. Louis and may have only been active against the Jets in Week 4 because the Ravens’ seven inactive players were all missing the game due to injuries.

The former Patriots lineman was signed by the Ravens on Aug. 20 to improve depth, but he became more expendable after Baltimore signed current starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie and five-time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode, who has started the last three games in place of Grubbs at left guard.

Burgess spent three previous stints with Baltimore and was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. He led the team in special teams tackles last season.

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Foxworth helps save NFL season, but can’t save his own

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Foxworth helps save NFL season, but can’t save his own

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Without the efforts of Domonique Foxworth, there may not have been an NFL season to talk about this year.

However, the veteran cornerback was unable to save his own.

The Ravens placed Foxworth on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season after it was becoming more apparent the 28-year-old’s recovery from surgery on a torn ACL last year was not progressing quickly enough for the defensive back to contribute in the secondary. Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens began discussing the possibility a week ago, and Foxworth was included in the discussion.

In the Ravens’ 37-7 win in St. Louis on Sunday, Foxworth was inactive despite having practiced the entire week.

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Foxworth missed the entire 2010 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee at the beginning of training camp on the eve of the first veteran workout in late July. With his heavy involvement in the labor negotiations during the 134-day lockout, Foxworth was unable to devote as much time rehabbing the surgically-repaired knee as a player might have in a regular offseason. His inability to have any contact with the Ravens organization during the work stoppage also impacted his slow recovery.

“There was a chance he could [have been] able to play at some point in time and help us,” Harbaugh said. “We were holding out hope that was the case, but it was moving in the other direction, for whatever reason. So, we just didn’t feel like we could afford to do that right now, especially needing a linebacker.”

The Ravens re-signed linebacker Prescott Burgess to take Foxworth’s place on the 53-man roster.

With Foxworth out for the season and rookie Jimmy Smith still sidelined with a high ankle sprain, the Ravens would like to have another healthy cornerback on the roster if a quality one were available. Baltimore promoted defensive back Danny Gorrer from the practice squad the day before a Week 2 meeting with Tennessee, largely because of the Ravens’ lack of confidence in rookie Chykie Brown at this stage in his career.

Fortunately, veteran Chris Carr returned to action against the Rams after dealing with a hamstring injury for nearly a month and a half.

“We’d probably like to have at least one more corner that is healthy, but we don’t have that luxury right now,” Harbaugh said. “It’s definitely [something] we could address, just depending on what’s available out htere, but I’m comfortable with the guys we have.”

For Foxworth, Wednesday’s news ends a bitterly disappointing season and brings an uncertain future with a large salary cap number for the 2012 season — reportedly upwards of $8 million — after missing nearly two whole seasons of football.

“We’re with him,” said cornerback Lardarius Webb, who had his own ACL injury late in the 2009 season. “We’re going to talk to him. I know he didn’t want to go on IR; he wanted to be here with the team. Certain things, he has to go through. As a teammate, I just want to be there for him.”

Suggs ‘can’t wait’ for Jets

In what has nearly become an absolute whenever the Ravens play a marquee opponent, Terrell Suggs has a great sound byte or even sports a t-shirt to grab the opposition’s attention.

The Pro Bowl linebacker showed up for Wednesday’s podium session wearing the following t-shirt as an ode to Jets and former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott famous ‘Can’t Wait!’ rant following New York’s playoff victory in New England last season.

Suggs

However, instead of being a move to incite his former teammate, it turns out the t-shirt was sent by Scott to several former teammates as a way to raise funds for paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand. Scott ordered t-shirts in both Jets green and Ravens purple in an effort to raise $36,000 for LeGrand.

Putting aside a very worth cause, Suggs was proud to wear the t-shirt and said he couldn’t wait to meet his old teammate and “former mentor” on the field Sunday night. Suggs wasn’t ready to place the rivalry with the Jets on the same level as the one with Pittsburgh, but he admitted it’s not as good-natured as some players and coaches try to make it out to be.

“It’s not as friendly as you think, because come Sunday night, Rex [Ryan] is going to try to beat us,” Suggs said. “Bart is going to try to get after us. It’s going to be the same. It’s going to be a little different [than the Steelers] because it’s a little personal, because they once were here.”

Lewis still not sold on Jets’ success

Linebacker Ray Lewis made it no secret how unimpressed he was with the New York Jets prior to last season’s meeting in the regular-season opener, saying they were overhyped despite the media wanting to crown them champions before the season started.

When asked how he felt a year later after the Jets made their second straight appearance in the conference championship game — and how Ryan had mentioned that in his conference call with the Baltimore media — the 36-year-old leader offered comments similar to the ones made a year ago.

“He was sitting [in] the same place I was sitting, watching the Super Bowl,” Lewis said. “He had to be, because he wasn’t it it. That’s the only thing  you can ever talk about. I don’t care how far you go, the ultimate goal is to feel that confetti drop. You can ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. They wouldn’t be proud to go back to a Super Bowl. The bottom line is you have to win a Super Bowl when you get there.”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Andre Gurode, Haruki Nakamura, Lee Evans, Lardarius Webb, Jarret Johnson, and Prescott Burgess prior to Wednesday’s practice.


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Ravens place CB Foxworth on IR, ending his season

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have placed cornerback Domonique Foxworth on injured reserve, ending his season after the veteran was unable to regain the form he enjoyed before a torn ACL ended his 2010 season.

Foxworth had struggled to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired knee despite hitting the practice field at the start of training camp in late July. The Ravens could have elected to place Foxworth on the active physically unable to perform list to begin camp and would have had the option to place him on the reserve PUP list, where he would have missed the first six weeks of the regular season while opening a spot on the 53-man roster. Instead, Foxworth attempted to push through the pain and clearly looked overmatched when going against opposing receivers.

The 28-year-old was inactive against St. Louis on Sunday despite practicing throughout the week leading up to the game. Coach John Harbaugh said last Monday that Foxworth would not play if he was unable to perform at a level needed to help the Baltimore defense.

In a subsequent move, the Ravens have re-signed linebacker Prescott Burgess to add depth at linebacker and to boost the special teams’ units.

The loss of Foxworth leaves the Ravens even thinner at cornerback with rookie Jimmy Smith still sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Veteran Chris Carr returned to action on Sunday after dealing with a hamstring injury for over a month.

Burgess returns for his third stint with the Ravens after he was cut at the end of the preseason on Sept. 3.

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Cutdown day live updates: Ravens trimming to 53

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Cutdown day live updates: Ravens trimming to 53

Posted on 03 September 2011 by Luke Jones

***Stay right here for updates throughout the day as the Ravens form their 53-man roster for the start of the regular season. Follow us on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the WNST Text Service for all updates sent directly to your mobile device.***

3:10 p.m. — Three hours ahead of the 6 p.m. deadline, the Ravens have announced their remaining cuts, which include QB Hunter Cantwell, FB Ryan Mahaffey, C Jason Murphy, CB Talmadge Jackson, DT Bryan Hall, LS Patrick Scales, OT Andre Ramsey, S Mana Silva, LB Chavis Williams, CB Josh Victorian, LB Josh Bynes, CB Danny Gorrer, and WR James Hardy.

This means the Ravens have decided to keep — for now — rookie defensive end Michael McAdoo and inebackers Jason Phillips and Albert McClellan.

The roster currently has 53 players, which is a bit peculiar with David Reed’s spot not counting against the roster for Week 1. However, it’s of little consequence with the Ravens expected to sign a veteran backup for quarterback Joe Flacco.

2:11 p.m. — By my count, the Ravens have cleared 14 players from the roster, meaning there are 12 unaccounted for to get down to 54 players (David Reed’s spot won’t count in the opener).

The following players are no longer on the roster:

WR Marcus Smith
WR Brandon Jones
RB Damien Berry
RB Jalen Parmele
TE Davon Drew
TE Johdrick Morris
C Tim Barnes
G/C Justin Boren
OT Ramon Harewood (placed on IR – ankle)
S Nate Williams
LB Tavares Gooden
LB Prescott Burgess
DT Derek Simmons
DT Lamar Divens

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1:49 p.m. — After learning rookie receiver LaQuan Williams had made the team, it spelled possible bad news for Marcus Smith. The fourth-year receiver has been cut by the Ravens, according to MASN.

The Ravens have also cleared another roster spot by placing offensive tackle Ramon Harewood on injured reserve with an ankle injury, according to Scout.com.

1:30 p.m. — Rookie cornerback Chykie Brown just informed me via text message that he has made the 53-man roster. The Ravens liked his talent, but there was doubt whether they would ultimately be able to keep him with such a deep group of cornerbacks ahead of him.

1:16 p.m. — Rookie running back Damien Berry has been released and is a possible candidate for the practice squad, according to Scout.com.

With Parmele already gone and Berry joining him, it appears the Ravens will have a total of four running backs (Ray Rice, Vonta Leach, Ricky Williams, and Anthony Allen) when they announce the departure of rookie fullback Ryan Mahaffey.

12:49 p.m. — The names are still trickling in as the Ravens have cut interior offensive lineman Justin Boren, defensive tackle Derek Simmons and veteran receiver Brandon Jones, according to Scout.com. The latter two were not in serious consideration for a roster spot.

I thought Boren might initially sneak on the roster before the Ravens add a backup quarterback or possibly a veteran interior lineman, but the former Ohio State lineman is a prime candidate for the practice squad.

12:12 p.m. — As we hit lunchtime, here’s the recap of what we know so far regarding the Ravens’ cuts:

DT Lamar Divens (first reported by WNST.net)
LB Prescott Burgess
LB Tavares Gooden
RB Jalen Parmele
TE Davon Drew
TE Johdrick Morris
C Tim Barnes
S Nate Williams

That leaves 18 cuts unaccounted for as the Ravens have to trim down to 54 players (David Reed will not count against the roster for Week 1).

12:01 p.m. — Defensive tackle Lamar Divens has been released, as first reported by WNST.net.

WNST’s Glenn Clark can also confirm that former Maryland wide receiver LaQuan Williams has made the 53-man roster, making plenty of local fans happy. Williams may be in the plans as a punt returner as well as the kick returner for Week 1 with David Reed’s suspension.

11:54 a.m. — As we await more difficult decisions on a number of bubble players, Scout.com reports the Ravens have released rookie tight end Johdrick Morris and rookie safety Nate Williams. Neither player was in consideration for a roster spot.

Morris’ release means the Ravens are down to three tight ends

11:13 a.m. — It’s important to point out the Ravens only have to get down to 54 players today. With David Reed suspended for the regular-season opener for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the second-year receiver will not count against the 53-man roster.

With Gooden, Burgess, Parmele, Barnes, and Drew already waived, that means the Ravens must release 21 more players to get down to 54.

11:04 a.m. — The Ravens have decided to forgo a potential trade and will release linebacker Tavares Gooden, according to Scout.com. He was on the roster bubble after falling behind Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, and Brendon Ayanbadejo on the depth chart at the inside linebacker spot next to Ray Lewis.

10:43 a.m. — Scout.com is reporting the Ravens have released running back Jalen Parmele. This means rookie running back Anthony Allen is all but guaranteed a roster spot after impressing nearly everyone during the preseason. The Ravens simply couldn’t risk exposing him to the open market in trying to stash him away on the practice squad.

I thought it was possible Parmele might be spared for Week 1 with kick returner David Reed suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, but the Ravens have a number of others capable of returning kicks including rookies Torrey Smith and LaQuan Williams and veterans Lardarius Webb and Tom Zbikowski.

Rookie center Tim Barnes has also been released and could be a candidate for the practice squad, according to his agent’s Twitter account.

10:30 a.m. — The Ravens have released tight end Davon Drew, according to his representation’s Twitter feed. He was pretty clearly on the outside looking in after falling behind veteran Kris Wilson on the depth chart for the No. 3 tight end spot.

NFL reporter Adam Caplan is also reporting the Ravens are shopping linebacker Tavares Gooden to other teams. If they can fetch a low-round draft pick for Gooden, who is very clearly on the bubble anyway, it would be a prudent move by the Ravens.

10:00 a.m. — With the Ravens needing to shrink their roster from 80 to 53 for the regular season by 6 p.m. on Saturday, linebacker Prescott Burgess has reportedly become the first to fall. The special teams standout was waived Saturday morning, according to Scout.com.

Given the Ravens’ depth at the linebacker position and the new kickoff rules somewhat neutralizing the impact of kick coverage, Burgess’ role as the backup strong-side linebacker on the depth chart apparently wasn’t enough to save his spot.

I had Burgess on my 53-man roster that I mocked yesterday, meaning I’ve lost my perfect game right off the bat.

Shows how much I know.

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Ravens-Falcons Preseason Primer: What to watch

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Ravens-Falcons Preseason Primer: What to watch

Posted on 31 August 2011 by Luke Jones

***Join us in the Purple Haze live chat beginning at 7:30 p.m. as we talk about the preseason finale and what to expect this season. For the quickest updates and analysis, follow WNST on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the WNST Text Service.***

As the calendar turns to September, we’ve finally reached the light at the end of the preseason tunnel as the Ravens travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons on Thursday night.

Of course, interest isn’t exactly bubbling over in the final preseason game, but plenty of players will be fighting for their professional lives, whether with Baltimore or the 31 other NFL teams that will trim down their rosters to 53 on Saturday.

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It’s unknown how long the starters will play against the Falcons, but John Harbaugh and the coaching staff will at least give the revamped offensive line — particularly newly-signed left tackle Bryant McKinnie — a brief look in live-game action during the first quarter. The reins will then be turned over to veteran backups and rookies trying to stake their final claims as to why they belong among the 53 that will take the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11.

Series history

Thursday night marks the third time in four years the Ravens and Falcons will meet in the preseason finale and the seventh time in the last nine years they’ve faced off during the preseason. The Ravens hold a 4-3 edge in the preseason series between the two teams with five of those games being played at the Georgia Dome.

Baltimore and Atlanta have met four times in the regular season, splitting those games. The Falcons won the most recent contest, a 26-21 thriller that took place on a Thursday night in Atlanta last season.

Atlanta connections

Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth played for Atlanta in 2008, starting 10 of 14 games and grabbing one interception while defending 11 passes.

On the opposing side, the Falcons have two former Baltimore draft picks in fullback Ovie Mughelli and backup quarterback Chris Redman. Mughelli played his first four seasons (2003-06) with the Ravens while Redman, a former third-round pick, spent four seasons (2000-03) and made six starts in 2002 before going down with a back injury.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith was the Baltimore defensive assistant/defensive line coach and linebackers coach (1999-2002) and is the brother-in-law of former Ravens coach Brian Billick. Atlanta defensive backs coach Alvin Reynolds was the Ravens secondary coach during the franchise’s first three seasons in Baltimore (1996-98).

Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg held the same position with the Falcons in 2007.

Injury report

Most starters will only see brief playing time while key veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are unlikely to play at all in the final preseason game. However, the Ravens are still dealing with a few injuries where concern could linger into the first week of the regular season.

Right guard Marshal Yanda has returned to practice and is expected to see some playing time, but center Matt Birk’s status remains up in the air. The 35-year-old center returned to the practice field on Saturday after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery at the beginning of training camp. When asked earlier in the week if he wanted to play against the Falcons, Birk said his goal was to be ready for the Sept. 11 opener.

Receiver Lee Evans (left foot), cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring), and offensive lineman Mark LeVoir were all absent from practice this week.

Evans hasn’t participated in practice since the third preseason game against Washington and was seen in a walking boot during Saturday’s practice. Carr has battled a left hamstring injury, which has forced him to miss the last two preseason games while being an intermittent participant during practices.

LeVoir’s injury is unknown as the swing lineman missed practice on Monday and Tuesday.

7 Bubble Players to Watch

1. LB Tavares Gooden – The 2008 third-round pick has never lived up to expectations, battling injuries and a perception of being a soft player in his first three seasons with the Ravens. Having fallen behind Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, and Brendon Ayanbadejo in the fight for playing time next to Ray Lewis in the Ravens’ 3-4 base defense, Gooden has to hope his play in the nickel package as well as his special teams contributions are enough to earn one of the final spots on the roster.

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Mocking The 53: A Look At Roster Ahead of Preseason Finale

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Georgia Dome to meet the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, the final opportunity for players on the roster “bubble” to impress Head Coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano and Jerry Rosburg.

As I am no longer the Ravens beat reporter here at WNST I have deferred to Luke Jones for most of our coverage during Training Camp. I have had the chance to get out to 1 Winning Drive this week, so I decided I would bring back “Mocking The 53″ to get a look at how the team may trim the roster from 80 players to 53.

As I’ve explained before, the team does not have a certain number of players they keep at each position, so I have never done this breakdown by position. Instead, I offer what is more like a “power ranking” of players from 1-80.

Keep in mind, GM Ozzie Newsome is likely to make an addition or two (a veteran backup quarterback-perhaps still Marc Bulger namely) before either Saturday’s cut day or the team’s opener September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

1. DT Haloti Ngata
2. QB Joe Flacco
3. LB Terrell Suggs
4. RB Ray Rice
5. WR Anquan Boldin
6. S Ed Reed
7. LB Ray Lewis
8. G Ben Grubbs
9. G Marshal Yanda
10. CB Jimmy Smith

Whether or not Smith is a starter on September 11 is the only issue in this group. All of these guys are clearly on the team and significant contributors.

11. OT Michael Oher
12. WR Lee Evans
13. FB Vonta Leach
14. DE Cory Redding
15. P Sam Koch
16. TE Ed Dickson
17. S Bernard Pollard
18. K Billy Cundiff
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. LB Jarret Johnson

Like the first group, the players in the group above are all safely on the roster and are expected to be significant contributors.

21. CB Cary Williams
22. S Tom Zbikowski
23. C Matt Birk
24. OT Bryant McKinnie
25. CB Chris Carr
26. S Haruki Nakamura
27. TE Dennis Pitta
28. RB Ricky Williams
29. LB Jameel McClain
30. WR Torrey Smith

There’s no drama in this group either. McClain still appears to be the frontrunner for the other starting ILB job, while the team has remained steadfast in their support of Torrey Smith despite struggles. There’s a chance he’s not the third receiver on September 11, but he’s absolutely safe on the roster.

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Harbaugh not revealing Ravens’ plans for playing time against Atlanta

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The fourth preseason game is typically reserved for younger players and veterans squarely on the bubble, with starters making little more than a cameo appearance — if that.

However, given the unprecedented nature of the 134-day lockout and the lack of a regular offseason, teams may elect to play starters more extensively. However, Ravens coach John Harbaugh wasn’t tipping his hand one way or the other in terms of his plans for the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

So, how long should we expect to see the Baltimore starters?

“We’ll see. That’s what I think about it.”

With the Ravens signing Bryant McKinnie last week and veterans Matt Birk and Marshal Yanda just returning to the practice field on Saturday, concern exists over how quickly the offensive line can gel as the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town for the season opener on Sept. 11. Harbaugh is weighing his options in balancing live-game reps for the line with keeping everyone healthy in the final preseason game.

Thursday marks the last chance for rookies such as former Maryland receiver LaQuan Williams and veterans on the bubble such as linebackers Prescott Burgess and Tavares Gooden to make an impression with the coaching staff. For players fitting into these categories, the trip to Atlanta could be for their professional lives in some form or another.

“A great opportunity for the young guys, no doubt about it,” Harbaugh said. “They’ll be playing, obviously, a majority of the game. This is where guys get a chance to get on tape and live NFL action and prove to us and the rest of the league what they can do.”

Harbaugh would not budge from his stance, but the fourth-year coach acknowledged the need to vary his typical stance for the final preseason game.

“It is a little different,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to see how we’re going to handle it. It’s to be determined. We talked about it, we’re figuring it out, but it’s different. That’s why it’s not just so cut-and-dry like it usually is.”

Apparently not.

Hear more from Harbaugh as well as rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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