Tag Archive | "Shayne Graham"


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Graham to handle kicking duties, Redding game-time decision against Browns

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In addition to the surprising revelation that wide receiver Anquan Boldin would miss the remainder of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was in a giving mood as it pertained to injury information on Thursday.

With the Ravens signing veteran Shayne Graham on Wednesday, it wasn’t a major leap to assume he’d be handling kicking duties on Saturday. Billy Cundiff continues to be hampered with a left calf injury that’s kept him out of practice since Dec. 7, and Harbaugh essentially revealed who would be his kicker as the Ravens host the Cleveland Browns.

“We anticipate Shayne being the kicker this week,” Harbaugh said. “Billy [is dealing] with his calf, and Shayne’s had the practice, so even if Billy was ready to go -– which I still think he’s nursing that thing back — he’s still not 100 percent. Shayne got the week of practice, so we’re going to go with Shayne.”

Defensive end Cory Redding missed practice again on Thursday, but the veteran told reporters earlier in the week that he intends to play against the Browns this weekend. Harbaugh’s overall prognosis seemed to be in line with the 31-year-old lineman’s proclamation.

After missing two days of practice last week with the same injured ankle, Redding played in the 34-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers last Sunday.

“I think he’s very similar to last week,” Harbaugh said. “It went to game day last week, so we’ll see where he’s at. But he’s progressing.”

Browns head coach Pat Shurmur has already ruled out quarterback Colt McCoy and wide receiver Jordan Norwood as the two will not make the trip to Baltimore due to concussions.

Cleveland has also placed starting strong safety T.J. Ward on injured reserve with a strained foot. He had missed the Browns’ last six games since injuring the foot against the Houston Texans on Nov. 6.

However, cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi returned to practice on a limited basis for the Browns on Thursday.

The final injury report of the week will be released on Friday despite there being no media availability the day before Saturday’s game.

OUT: WR Anquan Boldin (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: K Billy Cundiff (left calf), DE Cory Redding

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: QB Colt McCoy (head), WR Jordan Norwood (head), S TJ Ward (foot)
LIMITED: WR Josh Cribbs (groin), CB Joe Haden (thigh), LB Ben Jacobs (head), FB Owen Marecic (head/ankle), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (foot), T Tony Pashos (ankle), DT Scott Paxson (hand/calf), S Usama Young (shoulder)
FULL: RB Montario Hardesty (calf), G Shawn Lauvao (ankle), DT Brian Schaefering (ankle)

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Boldin, Redding absent for second straight day

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Defensive end Cory Redding has expressed confidence that he’ll play while wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s status remains more mysterious as the Ravens prepare to welcome the Cleveland Browns to town on Christmas Eve.

Neither veteran was present during the open portion of practice on Thursday after both veterans were listed as non-participants on Wednesday’s injury report. Redding has been dealing with a right ankle injury for a couple weeks while Boldin’s absence is puzzling after he was present for the Ravens’ walk-through practice on Tuesday. The No. 1 receiver is listed on the report as having a knee injury.

Kicker Billy Cundiff (left calf) was not present during the portion of practice viewed by media, a strong indication that newly-signed veteran Shayne Graham will handle kicking duties against Cleveland on Saturday. Cundiff hasn’t practiced since Dec. 7 despite having kicked in the Ravens’ last two games.

Referee Walt Coleman and his crew will officiate Saturday afternoon’s game between the Ravens and Cleveland. The weather forecast predicts sunny conditions with temperatures in the mid-40s.

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Shayne Graham

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Comfortable situation for reunion between Graham, Ravens

Posted on 21 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Shayne Graham walked into the locker room he thought he’d be inhabiting as the Ravens kicker a year ago.

That was before he was beaten out in training camp by incumbent Billy Cundiff. Since then, their respective careers have gone in opposite directions as Cundiff was selected to the Pro Bowl last season while Graham split time with the Giants and Patriots a season ago and has played just two games this season, filling in for the Miami Dolphins’ Dan Carpenter last month.

However, a left calf injury to Cundiff has brought Graham back to Baltimore, a place where he signed a one-year contract potentially worth $2.5 million last season before he failed to make the team.

“It’s nice to actually come into this locker room,” Graham said. “A lot of these guys were in camp when I was here a couple of years ago. A lot of the guys are familiar with me. There’s a lot of good guys here, so it’s a real smooth transition for me. Having the operation here, the snapper and holder, those guys are phenomenal. So, I couldn’t ask to be in a better position or be around a better bunch of guys. I’ve played in this stadium a few times. It will be nice to be out there.”

With Cundiff only 2-for-5 on field goals in the month of December, including a missed 36-yard on the opening drive of the Ravens’ 34-14 loss in San Diego last Sunday, the Ravens had no choice but to address their kicking situation. It’s an uncomfortable position for a team trying to win their final two games of the regular season to secure the AFC North title and a minimum of a first-round bye.

“[Bringing in Graham] is a real plus for us,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said, “because we know we’re bringing in a guy that not only is a quality NFL kicker but has been in the NFL environment and understands playoff-caliber football at the end of the season. We expect him to come in here and add that veteran experience.”

In his 11th professional season, Graham provides a veteran pedigree that includes some experiences kicking in the postseason while a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the final game of his seven-year tenure with the Bengals was a playoff loss to the New York Jets in which he missed two second-half field goals, including a 28-yarder that essentially sealed the 24-14 defeat.

Graham said all the right things in not wanting to create a kicker controversy in Week 16 of the season, reminding everyone he was brought in due to an injury and not simple ineffectiveness.

“I hope he gets healthy as soon as he can,” Graham said. “All I can control is what I’m asked to do. If I’m asked to go out and play then I go out and play and play my best to help these guys win. If it’s for one week, it’s for one week. If it’s for two, it’s two. If it takes more or less, that’s really out of my hands. All I can do is line up and kick when they ask me to.”

Rookie memory loss

Coordinator Chuck Pagano did not mince any words in assessing his defense’s poor showing against the Chargers in which they surrendered 34 points and 415 yards of offense.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but much of the focus has centered around the struggles of rookie first-round pick Jimmy Smith, who was torched by Chargers wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd. Pagano believes there’s no time for Smith to dwell on his mistakes; he’ll be busy learning from them instead.

“No. 1, they’re going to go after rookies, and No. 2, you’ve got to have amnesia to play that spot,” Pagano said. “It’s, physically, one of the most demanding positions to play on the field, especially when you’re playing against that caliber of a quarterback and wide receivers. You’ve got to go back and you’ve got to look at the tape and you’ve got to study yourself and you’ve got to look at yourself as the next offensive coordinator is looking at you. Until you put the fire out, they’re going to keep coming.”

It’s typical for young cornerbacks to find themselves in learning situations as Smith did on Sunday night, but his defensive coordinator believes his mindset is equipped for moving on quickly and becoming a better player because of it.

“The great thing about Jimmy is he’s kind of unflappable that way,” Pagano said. “He’s pretty calm and looked at what he needed to correct from a technique standpoint. So, we move on from there.”

Boldin bogged down

It’s been an up-and-down year for No. 1 receiver Anquan Boldin, who has caught 57 catches for 887 yards and three touchdowns.

The distribution of that production has been hard to figure out as Boldin began the year slowly, catching just 15 passes for 222 yards in his first four games. His next four games were dramatically better as he made 26 catches for 405 yards.

However, Boldin finds himself in an extensive rut over his last six games, securing only 16 receptions for 260 yards. He has only one touchdown over the stretch, a 35-yard score against Cincinnati on Nov. 20.

Are the Ravens doing enough to make sure their veteran receiver is included in the offensive game plan with the continuing emergence of two young tight ends, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, and rookie receiver Torrey Smith over the course of the season?

“He is always involved,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “He is always in our top three progressions. Obviously, he has made some big plays. You are always wanting to get a guy like that the ball more. I think you have to look at the big picture. He has an opportunity to get over 1,000 yards, and there aren’t many guys doing that in the league.”

Though Boldin is miscast as a No. 1 receiver, the Ravens would benefit to see his production increase over the final two games of the regular season to assist in moving the chains on third down and to control the intermediate portion of the field in the passing game. However, those throws to Boldin need to come organically, according to quarterback Joe Flacco.

“You don’t really do anything [extra to get him the ball],” Flacco said. “You run the plays that are called. Anquan is going to get open. It’s just a matter of running those plays and executing them. I think if we execute our game plan and we get first downs and we maximize the amount of plays that we have in a game, then everybody in our offense is going to get a good chance to get the ball.”

Pro Bowl voting in books

Voting for the 2012 Pro Bowl concluded earlier this week as seven players from Baltimore were leading at their respective positions after more than 100 million votes were cast this season.

Inside linebacker Ray Lewis, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, free safety Ed Reed, offensive tackle Michael Oher, fullback Vonta Leach, and special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo were all leading at the conclusion of voting. However, fan voting accounts for only one third of the decision as coaches and players also vote for the honor.

Leading all NFL players in voting was Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The Pro Bowl selections will not be announce until next Tuesday night at 7 p.m. on the NFL Network. The game will take place in Honolulu on Sunday, Jan. 29, a week before Super Bowl.

Of course, Ravens players hope to be ineligible for the Pro Bowl game as selected players from the two Super Bowl teams do not participate.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano, Jerry Rosburg, Cory Redding, and Shayne Graham right here.

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Ravens missing Redding, Boldin from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 21 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With the Cleveland Browns coming to Baltimore on Saturday, the Ravens have a new kicker in the mix after signing veteran Shayne Graham on Wednesday morning.

Wearing No. 12, Graham was present and practicing as the Ravens took part in their second practice of the week. Regular kicker Billy Cundiff (left calf) was not present during the portion of practice open to the media, making it more likely that Graham handles kicking duties against the Browns.

Defensive end Cory Redding (ankle) and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (undisclosed) were also absent during the portion of practice open to the media. Redding was not seen during the Ravens’ walk-through practice on Tuesday, though no official injury report was released. The veteran defensive lineman has been dealing with a sore ankle that forced him to miss two practices last week. The injury appeared to limit Redding at a couple different point during the Ravens’ 34-14 loss to San Diego last Sunday night.

Boldin’s absence was more mysterious as it’s unclear whether Boldin is dealing with an injury or was simply given a day to rest. He was present during Tuesday’s practice that took place on the Ravens’ indoor field.

Linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (toe) were both present and working during Wednesday’s practice.

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Needing insurance, Ravens sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham

Posted on 21 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With 2010 Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff ailing physically, the Ravens have signed veteran Shayne Graham to the 53-man roster to provide insurance over the final two weeks of the regular season.

In a corresponding move, rookie linebacker Chavis Williams has been placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Despite appearing in the Ravens’ last two games, Cundiff has not practiced since Dec. 7 as he’s dealt with a left calf injury. His miss from 36 yards on Baltimore’s opening drive against San Diego made him only 2-for-5 on field goals in the month of December. Cundiff is just 27-for-36 on the season with all nine misses coming away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Cundiff admitted to reporters following the Ravens’ 34-14 loss to the Chargers that his ailing calf has hindered his ability to perform. Graham was invited to the team’s Owings Mills facility for a tryout two weeks ago and was put on standby before the Ravens deemed Cundiff healthy enough to play against Indianapolis on Dec. 11.

“It’s always a concern,” said Harbaugh earlier in the week about Cundiff’s health affecting his kicking. “I think it’s probably all wrapped up in there together. We’ve got to look at that today; we’ve got to look at that this week, because he hasn’t been able to practice the last couple weeks. That may have affected him a little bit. Nobody’s more frustrated right now than Billy with it.”

Given the healthy state of their 53-man roster, the Ravens have the ability to carry both Cundiff and Graham for now in hopes that the former will be healthy enough for the postseason. However, it will be interesting to see how the Ravens handle a delicate situation should Graham perform at an exceptional level while Cundiff is on the mend.

Graham was with the Ravens during training camp last year as he competed against Cundiff for the kicking job. He most recently played for the Miami Dolphins, filling in for the injured Dan Carpenter in November. He made four of five attempts in two games, with the longest field goal being from 28 yards.

An 11-year veteran, Graham spent seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, making him quite familiar with the AFC North. Over his career, Graham has made 212 of 247 (85.8 percent) field goal attempts.

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Ravens sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham as insurance for Billy Cundiff

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Ravens sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham as insurance for Billy Cundiff

Posted on 21 December 2011 by WNST Staff


The Baltimore Ravens have signed K Shayne Graham to their 53-man roster, it was announced Wednesday morning.

Graham is an 11-year veteran who has seen action in 138 career games, including two this season with the Miami Dolphins. He was released from the team on Nov. 30.

Graham has converted 212 of 247 (85.8%) career field goal attempts during his career and 321 of 326 point after touchdowns. In his two contests with Miami this season, he was 4-for-5 on FGAs and 6-for-6 on PATs.

Graham has also spent time on the active rosters of the New York Giants (2010), New England Patriots (2010), Cincinnati Bengals (2003-09), Carolina Panthers (2002) and Buffalo Bills (2001). He originally signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent in 2000.

To make room for the roster move, Baltimore placed rookie OLB Chavis Williams (foot) on Injured Reserve.

-Via a team release

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Ravens concerned with Cundiff’s health, struggles down stretch

Posted on 19 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After seeing their kicker making only two of five kicks this month and nursing a left calf injury, the Ravens appear moving closer to making a decision regarding the woes of Billy Cundiff.

His miss from 36 yards on the Ravens’ opening drive helped set the tone for a disastrous night in which the Ravens were beaten soundly in all phases of the game. The 2010 Pro Bowl kicker is just 27-for-36 on field goals this season with all nine misses coming away from M&T Bank Stadium.

When the injury first surfaced two weeks ago, the Ravens had veteran Shayne Graham on standby before Cundiff proved healthy enough to kick against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14. However, coach John Harbaugh admitted Cundiff’s effectiveness while kicking at less than 100 percent is being questioned more and more.

“It’s always a concern,” Harbaugh said. “I think it’s probably all wrapped up in there together. We’ve got to look at that today; we’ve got to look at that this week, because he hasn’t been able to practice the last couple weeks. That may have affected him a little bit. Nobody’s more frustrated right now than Billy with it.”

Given the healthy state of the 53-man roster, Baltimore could elect to sign Graham and allow Cundiff a week or two to rest before inserting him back in the lineup or electing to place him on injured reserve if the calf fails to improve. Regardless of how the Ravens choose to handle the situation, Harbaugh appears ready to address the situation sooner rather than later.

“We’re going to have to look at that really hard this week and try to make a good decision that way.”

Fumbling control of destiny

Aside from the embarrassment of being blown out in a nationally-televised game on Sunday night, the Ravens lost their grip on the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the AFC and slipped to the No. 5 berth in the current AFC standings.

The Ravens will now depend on help from others to determine whether they can regain control of the AFC North or ultimately find themselves back on the road as a wild card for the fourth straight season. While not conceding the loss of a first-round bye, Harbaugh expressed obvious disappointment at the failure to take advantage of a golden opportunity.

“We haven’t let it get away yet, obviously, but the control of it we certainly let get away,” Harbaugh said. “That’s disappointing. That’s something that we really wanted to hold onto. That was a target for us.”

The Baltimore coach acknowledged the accomplishment of the Ravens clinching their franchise-record fourth straight playoff appearance, continuing an impressive run since arriving on the scene as a rookie coach in 2008. It’s a feat not to take for granted, according to Harbaugh.

“The first thing you have to do is make the playoffs. It’s tough to do. It’s not so much a one-week accomplishment, either. It’s what you do over the course of the season that earns you the trip into the playoffs. I’m proud of that for our team. I think that’s exciting. That’s something we’re looking forward to, but now the next two weeks is going to play out in terms of exactly what that’s going to mean for us.”

The Ravens will do plenty of scoreboard watching over the next two weeks, starting with Pittsburgh’s Monday night game against San Francisco, but Harbaugh made it clear how critical it is for his team to handle everything it has the ability to control, starting with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday afternoon.

“That’s the thing we can control. We have complete control over the next two weeks as far as what we do. That’s what we need to take care of.”

Webb decision

To the surprise of nearly everyone, cornerback Lardarius Webb was able to play in San Diego after missing a full week of practice due to a turf toe injury he suffered against Indianapolis the previous week.

Webb was limited, however, playing in the nickel package while rookie Jimmy Smith started at cornerback opposite Cary Williams in the base defense throughout the night. It’s unclear whether the Ravens would have used Webb as a returner considering the Chargers never punted in their convincing victory over Baltimore. His inability to prepare physically led to the decision to go with Smith over Webb in the regular defense.

“He hadn’t practiced all week,” Harbaugh said. “That was the main thing. He held up fine physically. I think it’s something that you really don’t want to push if we didn’t have to.”

Smith and Williams were torched repeatedly by the combination of 6-foot-5 receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd, who combined for eight catches, 180 yards, and a touchdown against the Baltimore secondary. There’s no predicting whether Webb’s presence on every play would have helped matters much, but Harbaugh chose to go with the combination of cornerbacks who prepared all week for a complicated passing scheme.

“We felt like our young guys were going to do a good job out there, but the main thing was just handling all the different route combinations and the coverage,” Harbaugh explained. “We felt like those guys had practiced all week, so that gave us the best opportunity, combined with the injury, was the direction that we wanted to go.”


Many questioned why Harbaugh didn’t use his allotment of timeouts on San Diego’s final possession of the first half as the Chargers marched down the field and took a 17-7 lead on a 1-yard run by Ryan Matthews. With the Chargers scoring at will against the Baltimore defense and set to receive the opening kick of the second half, it was an opportunity to save time for Joe Flacco to operate the two-minute drive and come away with points to make it a one-possession game at halftime.

Instead, the coach refrained from using his timeouts, and the Ravens started from their own 21 with just 19 seconds remaining. A 24-yard pass play to Ray Rice was followed by one of four Antwan Barnes’ sacks to end the first half.

It was a decision Harbaugh regretted when asked about it on Monday afternoon.

“I thought about that right away while the game was going on. I should have used those timeouts and given us a chance to get down there and get some points before the half.”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear John Harbaugh’s Monday press conference in Owings Mills right here.

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Lewis, Cundiff questionable; Birk probable for Colts on Sunday

Posted on 09 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — For the fourth consecutive week, the Ravens have listed linebacker Ray Lewis as questionable on their final injury report despite the veteran being highly unlikely to play.

Kicker Billy Cundiff was given the same designation and is considered a game-time decision after he suffered a calf injury earlier in the week. He is considered a game-time decision, and veteran Shayne Graham will reportedly be signed should Cundiff be unable to play against Indianapolis.

Center Matt Birk returned to practice on a limited basis on Friday and is listed as probable after he missed two practices this week with the sprained shoulder he suffered in the Ravens’ win over the Browns last Sunday.

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Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith was a new addition to Friday’s injury report as he was limited with what’s listed as a thigh ailment. However, the first-round pick is listed as probable for Sunday’s game.

Cornerback Chris Carr will miss his third straight game with a back injury, continuing an injury-plagued season after the veteran had not missed a game in his first six NFL seasons.

OUT: CB Chris Carr (back)
QUESTIONABLE: K Billy Cundiff (left calf), LB Ray Lewis (foot)
PROBABLE: RB Anthony Allen (thigh), C Matt Birk (shoulder), G Ben Grubbs (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (thigh)

OUT: LB AJ Edds (ankle), QB Peyton Manning (neck)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Pat Angerer (knee), TE Dallas Clark (fibula), TE Brody Eldridge (hand), WR Anthony Gonzalez (groin), TE Ryan Mahaffey (concussion), G Joe Reitz (knee), LB Ernie Sims (toe)

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Ravens kicker Cundiff’s status up in air, backup plan in place

Posted on 09 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With the Ravens welcoming 0-12 Indianapolis to town on Sunday, you wouldn’t expect them to need a field goal in the closing seconds to secure a victory.

However, they may not have the services of Billy Cundiff in the unexpected event that they need one. Cundiff is listed as questionable on the final injury report and will be a game-time decision on Sunday.

The kicker missed his second straight practice on Friday as he continues to deal with a left calf injury. Cundiff is suffering from a left calf injury that “cramped up” earlier in the week, according to coach John Harbaugh. He has not attempted to kick with the injury and has been receiving treatment the last few days.

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“We’ll find out,” said Harbaugh when asked about his kicker’s chances of playing against the Colts. “I think so. I’m hopeful. I really am hopeful.”

In the event that Cundiff cannot play, multiple reports say the Ravens will sign veteran kicker Shayne Graham to fill in against the Colts. Graham and Cundiff competed for the kicking job in Baltimore during last season’s training camp when the latter won the job at the end of the preseason.

Graham was most recently with the Miami Dolphins after their regular kicker Dan Carpenter went down with an injury. He kicked in two games for Miami, making 4-of-5 field goals with the longest being only 28 yards. Should the Ravens decide to sign Graham, the move would likely come sometime Saturday after further evaluating Cundiff.

“We’ll have a backup plan for sure,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ll just see how it feels [Saturday] and then into Sunday. It’s not a major thing; basically his calf cramped up. But we’ll take every precaution between now and Sunday.”

Cundiff is 26-for-34 on field goals this season, all eight misses coming on the road. He missed two field goals in the sloppy conditions in Cleveland on Sunday, raising concerns about his ability to make kicks away from M&T Bank Stadium.

The 2010 Pro Bowl kicker signed a five-year, $15 million contract in January.

“He’s doing everything he can, I’m sure, to get himself ready for this game,” punter Sam Koch said. “He doesn’t want to sit out. He wants to be there for the game, so he’s going to do everything he can to be out there on Sunday. … You have to wait until you’re out there to see how it really affects you. He hasn’t kicked since it happened. He doesn’t know how it’s going to affect him. It could affect, it could not affect him. It’s just kind of wait-and-see how it all goes.”

Koch told reporters he has kicked field goals this week in practice, making four of five attempts during Thursday’s practice. He has not kicked field goals since high school but says he would be honored to try if called upon Sunday.

What kind of range does the Ravens punter have if pressed into field-goal duty?

“I’d go at least 63,” Koch quipped. “I’d say 63 would be my max. I’d push it back to 64 if we could [break] the record.”

Lewis getting closer

Linebacker Ray Lewis missed his third straight practice this week and is expected to miss his fourth straight game on Sunday.

He has not practiced since the week of the San Francisco game when he was listed as a “limited participant” during the walk-through practice the Ravens conducted on a short week. It is believed that Lewis did not partake in much activity at all during those workouts.

However, speculation persists that Lewis and the Ravens are targeting a return in the nationally-televised prime-time game in San Diego next Sunday night. The 36-year-old linebacker suffered the turf toe injury in the Ravens’ loss to Seattle on Nov. 13

“I think he’s very close,” Harbaugh said. “It’s one of those injuries that you just have to see how it goes. You have to take everything into consideration. Maybe he could have played the last couple weeks; maybe we decided to just mitigate the risk. We just have to see where we’re at.”

Lewis had not missed more than two consecutive games since 2005 when he missed the final 10 games of the season with a torn hamstring that required surgery.

Odds & ends

Jenna Bush of “The Today Show” was at the Ravens’ Owings Mills facility on Friday doing a feature story on rookie receiver Torrey Smith. Bush, of course, is the daughter of former President George W. Bush. … Referee Clete Blakeman and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Indianapolis. … Sunday’s forecast calls for clear skies with the temperature in the mid-40s.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from John Harbaugh and Sam Koch as well as Jarret Johnson’s conversation with Drew Forrester on Friday’s edition of “The Morning Reaction” right here.


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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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