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All Ravens players present for Thursday’s practice

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — For the second straight day, the Ravens sent a full squad to the practice field as they continued preparations for this weekend’s divisional playoff game with Houston.

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo sported a blue cap on top of his helmet, an indication that the special teams ace would be limited for the second straight day. The 35-year-old continues to treatment for a sprained quadriceps muscle and appears to be the Ravens’ only real question mark for Sunday’s game.

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin (knee), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (head), cornerback Jimmy Smith (head), and safety Tom Zbikowski (head) were all practicing again after being listed as full participants for practice on Wednesday’s injury report.

Referee Pete Morelli and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game in Baltimore.

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Ravens, Texans offer favorable injury reports on Wednesday

Posted on 11 January 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — If Wednesday’s injury report was any indication, there may not be much drama this week in terms of who will be suiting up in the divisional playoff game between the Ravens and the Houston Texans.

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was the only limited participant for the Ravens during their first full practice of the week. The 35-year-old linebacker sprained his quadriceps muscle in the season finale against Cincinnati.

Surprisingly, linebacker Jameel McClain was not listed on the injury report, suggesting the sprained MCL he suffered against the Bengals is close to 100 percent. The fourth-year inside backer missed both practices during the bye week, though an official injury report was not released.

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, safety Tom Zbikowski, and cornerback Jimmy Smith all participated fully after being cleared for their respective concussion issues. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was also a full participant after coach John Harbaugh declared him “fine” prior to practice.

Meanwhile, Houston provided a favorable report despite being ravaged with injuries throughout the season. Tight end Owen Daniels practiced on a limited basis after injuring his hand in the Texans’ wild-card win over Cincinnati last Saturday. Reports have suggested the tight end may need to wear a cast during Sunday’s game.

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson was limited in Wednesday’s practice, but he said in a teleconference with the Baltimore media that his hamstring has held up well over the last couple weeks.

LIMITED: LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Anquan Boldin (knee), LB Dannell Ellerbe (head), CB Jimmy Smith (head), S Tom Zbikowski (head)

LIMITED: G Mike Brisiel (ankle), TE Owen Daniels (hand/knee), WR Andre Johnson (knee), S Troy Nolan (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mister Alexander (shoulder), CB Jason Allen (thumb), LB Bryan Braman (neck), FB James Casey (knee/foot), NT Shaun Cody (knee), TE Joel Dreessen (knee), CB Sherrick McManis (ankle), C Chris Myers (knee), LB Brooks Reed (knee), RB Ben Tate (shoulder), T Eric Winston (calf), QB T.J. Yates (left shoulder)

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Ravens take practice field with full squad on Wednesday

Posted on 11 January 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After John Harbaugh said on Monday he expected all players to be available against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Wednesday’s practice strongly supported the Ravens coach’s optimistic outlook.

All players were present and working during the portion of practice open to the media, with linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) appearing to be working on a limited basis. Linebacker Jameel McClain (knee) was moving well during the special teams portion of practice reporters were allowed to watch. Ayanbadejo’s sprained quadriceps muscle is considered to be the more concerning ailment that could affect his status in the divisional round.

“Jameel and Brendon continue to rehab and are making good progress,” Harbaugh said before Wednesday’s practice. “Again, we’ll have to see how it goes, but we do anticipate them playing on Sunday.”

Cornerback Jimmy Smith, safety Tom Zbikowski, and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe were all practicing after passing concussion tests, allowing them to take part in contact. Smith and Zbikowski sustained concussions against Cincinnati in Week 17 while Ellerbe suffered his against the Cleveland Browns in Week 16, which forced him to miss the regular-season finale.

“The three guys who had the concussion issues have all been cleared as we anticipated, so they’re good to go.”

Wednesday only added to the growing tough-as-nails reputation of Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, who revealed to reporters he underwent emergency compartment syndrome surgery on his leg on Christmas Eve night following the Ravens’ 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. While most concern previously centered around the contusion he suffered after taking a knee to the ribcage, Yanda underwent the procedure after taking a leg whip to the calf area.

Amazingly enough, Yanda was able to play — and perform at a high level — the following week against Cincinnati to close the regular season as the Ravens clinched their first AFC North title since 2006.

“It’s over with now,” Yanda said. “I got the stitches out. Your muscle swells up. They had to do emergency surgery that night and slit the muscle open to relieve the pressure.”

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Ravens feeling fine with bye week behind them, Houston ahead

Posted on 09 January 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With the luxury of an extra week of rest and treatment for their ailing players, the Ravens appear to have taken full advantage of their bye week as they now shift their focuses to the AFC South champion Texans.

Six days before Houston travels to M&T Bank Stadium for the divisional round, the Ravens look to be as healthy as they can reasonably expect after the extensive infirmary report that plagued them during the final few weeks of the regular season.

“We look good,” Harbaugh said. “[I] anticipate everybody playing in the game.”

The two biggest concerns appear to be linebackers Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo. McClain did not practice during the bye week after spraining his MCL in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. Ayanbadejo is dealing with a quadriceps injury and sat out all last week and appears to be the more concerning injury of the two at this point.

However, Harbaugh says both are improving after the extra week to rest.

“Jameel and Brendon are working through their knee issues, but they should be good,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how they practice.”

The Ravens have dealt with a number of concussed players over the final weeks of the season, but Harbaugh expects cornerback Jimmy Smith, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and safety Tom Zbikowski to all be available against the Texans. The three have not been allowed to partake in contact but are expected to be cleared by Tuesday, according to the Baltimore coach.

There is also no apparent concern over the status of veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who missed the final two games of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a partially-torn meniscus, an injury he dealt with the entire season before it grew worse in late December. Boldin participated in practice last week and told reporters he is feeling better than he had all season long prior to the procedure.

“He looks fine, and he’s been running on it,” Harbaugh said. “So, he should be 100 percent.”

Harbaugh also eliminated any lingering doubt regarding the health of veteran linebacker Ray Lewis. The 36-year-old’s play has come under scrutiny since returning in Week 15 after missing four games with a turf toe injury. His struggles in pass coverage have been the main focus of criticism, causing some to suggest the possibility of Lewis coming off the field in passing situations.

Although Lewis sat out both practices during the bye week, his head coach insists he is playing at full strength.

“He’s 100 percent,” Harbaugh said. “Any report to the contrary is absolutely untrue. His toe is 100 percent. [It] has been for a couple weeks.”

The Ravens conducted a light practice on Monday and will receive their customary day off on Tuesday before returning to work on Wednesday morning to continue preparations for the Texans, whom the Ravens defeated 29-14 in Baltimore on Oct. 16.

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Ravens back to practice during bye week minus six players

Posted on 04 January 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 4:45 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Beginning preparations for any one of three opponents when they return to action a week from Sunday, the Ravens returned to the practice field to stay sharp while completing some self-evaluation during their bye week.

In a practice that resembled one you might see in training camp with apparatuses being used for tight ends and running backs to fire out of their stance in a low position, six players were missing during the portion of practice open to the media.

Linebackers Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain (MCL sprain), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, guards Marshal Yanda (chest) and Ben Grubbs were not present as the rest of the team practiced on its indoor field to stay away from the bitter cold in Owings Mills. Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) was on the field but was not working before he walked off as the viewing portion of practice concluded.

Yanda’s absence was not surprising given the impressive display of courage he put forth in playing at a high level against the Bengals despite suffering from rib and thigh contusions that kept him out of practice for most of the week leading up to the Week 17 showdown. Needless to say, the bye couldn’t come at a better time for the Pro Bowl right guard.

“It will be huge,” Yanda said. “Get that extra week of recovery, and that’s just money to heal and be ready to play whoever we play next Sunday.”

Meanwhile, the sight of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and defensive backs Tom Zbikowski and Jimmy Smith all practicing was an encouraging one as all three have suffered concussions over the last two weeks. Ellerbe was inactive for the Ravens’ 24-16 win over the Bengals to conclude the regular season after suffering his on Christmas Eve while the latter two sustained concussions against Cincinnati. With the Ravens not participating in any contact drills this week, it is unclear whether the three concussed players have been officially cleared.

As anticipated, wide receiver Anquan Boldin (knee) was practicing and appeared to be moving well during the open portion of practice. The veteran practiced on a limited basis on Friday before missing his second straight game on Sunday.

With the Ravens releasing veteran kicker Shayne Graham on Tuesday, it was a clear sign that Billy Cundiff is finally over the left calf issue that forced him out of the Ravens’ Week 16 win over Cleveland. Cundiff expressed frustration with being unable to kick with authority during the month of December, especially on kickoffs where the 2010 Pro Bowl kicker excels.

“It sucked not knowing if [the calf] would hold up, that’s not the best feeling,” Cundiff said. “Not being able to be aggressive, not being able to know if it’s going to hold up, not having the power really to pull when I plant, that affects being aggressive. For me to be able to actually get through a game and be able to do the things that I’m supposed to do, I’ve got to have the strength first and foremost.”

Since they are not playing a game this weekend, the Ravens did not release an injury report following Wednesday’s practice.

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Ravens have plenty on their plate during bye week

Posted on 02 January 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With John Harbaugh giving his players two days off following their 24-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that secured an AFC North title and a first-round bye, the coach was surprised to see roughly half the team at the Ravens’ training facility on Monday morning.

Of course, many were receiving treatment in the training room as the Ravens deal with a laundry list of ailments and injuries after completing the regular season with a 12-4 record. Securing their first bye since the 2006 season, the Ravens enjoy the benefit of extra time to heal while feeling the accomplishment of advancing to the divisional round without having to endure another 60 minutes of football.

“[The bye] counts as a win,” Harbaugh said. “This win was kind of a one-for-two. We won one game, we got two wins. So, that’s big.”

All 12 playoff teams would reap the benefit of an extra week off after the rigors of a four-month season, but the Ravens’ large number of injuries made the accomplishment all the more important for their Super Bowl aspirations. Listening to Harbaugh run down the list of injuries made it clear.

The most serious of the injuries appears to be the MCL sprain suffered by linebacker Jameel McClain. The injury is not considered serious, according to Harbaugh, but the inside linebacker will likely be held out of practices on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Tom Zbikowski were feeling no lingering symptoms on Monday from the concussions they sustained against Cincinnati. They will need to be cleared this week, but Harbaugh remained optimistic about a quick recovery time for both. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is also improving despite being sidelined against the Bengals from the concussion he suffered against Cleveland on Christmas Eve.

Safety Bernard Pollard is dealing with a sprained wrist and an elbow contusion while defensive tackle Haloti Ngata suffered an elbow laceration. Despite suffering a left hip sprain during Sunday’s game, defensive tackle Terrence Cody was able to return.

After one of the guttiest performances in the history of the franchise, guard Marshal Yanda is dealing with soreness but made it through Sunday’s game without re-aggravating rib and thigh contusions.

Harbaugh also confirmed kicker Billy Cundiff felt good after resuming kicking duties against the Bengals. He will remain the Ravens’ kicker as long as he is healthy, leaving veteran Shayne Graham’s future in doubt as the Ravens move into the postseason.

“We’ll hold onto Shayne as long as we can now, but if we have to make a roster move, obviously, that’s the direction we would go,” Harbaugh said. “He did a great job. Why he’s not holding onto a job right now, I’m not sure, but we were very fortunate for him to be able to come in and fill that gap for us.”

The Ravens will also look forward to the return of wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who practiced on a limited basis last Friday and was upgraded from “out” to “doubtful” on the final injury report released ahead of the Bengals game. Harbaugh confirmed last week that all swelling had subsided from the surgical procedure Boldin underwent to repair a partially-torn meniscus.

With six more to go before the Ravens even learn who they will be playing in the divisional round of the playoffs, they will primarily use this week to improve their overall health. However, players will also work on their strength and conditioning as well as a rare opportunity for self-evaluation without an opponent for which to prepare this week. The coaching staff is preparing for three potential opponents in the second round, but they will also use this week’s practices to continue to develop younger players, especially considering how many veterans are banged up.

Players will be off on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but linebacker Jarret Johnson expressed the team’s mindset to Harbaugh on the flight home after one of the biggest wins in the regular-season history of the franchise.

“Their whole mindset right now is to be the best football team we can be a week from Sunday at 1:00,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what our team is thinking about right now. That’s kind of where we’re at.”

Even with a weekend off from playing a football game, it’s apparent the Ravens are maintaining a workmanlike approach with their eyes focused on taking the next step toward Indianapolis.

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

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By securing bye, Ravens have time to find championship form

Posted on 01 January 2012 by Luke Jones

It certainly wasn’t easy, but that has rarely been the Ravens’ style this season despite a 12-4 record and their first AFC North title since 2006.

To play at home in the playoffs, you have to handle business on the road during the season, and the Ravens did just enough in a 24-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, improving their road record to 4-4 and bringing a second-round playoff game to M&T Bank Stadium where the Ravens are 8-0 this season.

From the first day of training camp, players talked about beating Pittsburgh, winning the division, and playing postseason games in Baltimore. They were viewed as prerequisites for making a Super Bowl run to Indianapolis, and the Ravens have completed all of the above to this point, even if the journey hasn’t always been pretty.

The real season now begins for the likes of Ray Rice and Terrell Suggs — who have their best chance yet to reach the pinnacle of the NFL — as well as aging veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who may be staring their last chance at a championship squarely in the eyes. But, before they take the field in Baltimore in two weeks, there is plenty of work to do.

Much of it will be done in the training room, where many players will need to spend extra time getting healthy at a time when everyone is banged up to some extent. As if the Ravens weren’t already dealing with a plethora of injuries, safety Tom Zbikowski and cornerback Jimmy sustained concussions, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo suffered a quad strain, and linebacker Jameel McClain sprained his knee in the win over the Bengals.

The extra week will prevent wide receiver Anquan Boldin from feeling the need to rush back too soon from knee surgery and provide rest for players with preexisting ailments such as Lewis, Marshal Yanda, and Billy Cundiff. Though projecting the return of concussed players can be tricky, it’s not unreasonable to expect John Harbaugh’s team to be at full strength when they welcome the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, or Pittsburgh Steelers to town.

The Ravens know how difficult it is to play a refreshed opponent in the second round after doing it three consecutive years — losing two of them — and believe it was a major factor in their second-half collapse to Pittsburgh last January. Now, they’ll be afforded the luxury of hosting a team that was forced to play 60 minutes of playoff football a week earlier.

Even with a healthy allotment of players, questions will remain over just how equipped this Ravens team is to finish the run to a Super Bowl championship. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will need to find more production in the Baltimore passing game to keep up with explosive offenses such as New England, and the defense will need to rediscover a pass rush that’s disappeared over the last month despite an AFC-leading 48 sacks in 2011.

Three more wins are needed for the Ravens to raise the Vince Lombardi trophy on the first Sunday in February. For a team that’s lacked consistency throughout the season, it’s difficult envisioning three top-level performances to finish the job. However, if we’ve learned anything about this unprecedented season following an extended work stoppage, it’s that even the best teams have flaws that can be exploited. This postseason will be as much about survival as it will be playing at a high level.

The Ravens took a major step in the right direction at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. They are already assured of getting to to the divisional round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year, and they’ll do it without having to play a snap of football next weekend. Their body of work in the regular season has won them an extra week of rest and time to tweak some deficiencies before returning to action on Jan. 15.

Whether the Ravens wind up in Indianapolis remains to be seen, but one thing is certain:

It’s a lot easier to imagine it happening now.

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Ravens place kick returner David Reed on IR

Posted on 26 December 2011 by Luke Jones

In a move that became all but a formality following a 20-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, the Ravens have placed kick returner David Reed on injured reserve with a knee injury.

The second-year return specialist regained his kickoff return job on Saturday before sustaining the season-ending injury in the second half. Immediately following the game, it was believed that Reed had suffered a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament.

“David Reed’s injury looks serious,” coach John Harbaugh said following Saturday’s game. “That did not look good.”

The Ravens have yet to announce a corresponding roster move, but safety Tom Zbikowski would presumably take Reed’s place as the primary kick returner. After Reed’s two fumbled kickoffs in the Ravens’ Week 10 loss in Seattle, the fourth-year safety replaced him as the primary returner and held the job until Reed reclaimed the spot on Saturday.

While Zbikowski is considered a steady, straight-line returner, he lacks the big-play capability of Reed in the return game, a major reason why the Ravens had continued to work with Reed extensively on ball security following his disastrous performance against the Seahawks in mid-November.

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Harbaugh quiet on Lewis’ status against 49ers on Thanksgiving

Posted on 21 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With no time to revel in their 31-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens returned to work on Monday with only three days to prepare for a Thanksgiving night contest with the red-hot San Francisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh’s team comes to town riding an eight-game winning streak and enjoying an insurmountable lead in the NFC West. Meanwhile, John Harbaugh saw his Ravens regain control of the AFC North by improving to 7-3 and 5-0 at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Much of the hype surrounding Thursday’s game will center around the first ever meeting in NFL history where two brothers face each other as head coaches. Both Harbaughs are acknowledging the special occasion but attempting to redirect the focus on their talented football teams.

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“It’s going to be a hard-fought game,” John Harbaugh said. “It’s not going to be a ‘trick-them’ game. There will be something that you’ll try, and they’ll try something, but it’s a short week. It’s two very physical teams. It’s two teams with quite a lot at stake. It’s two teams that play a very similar style of football. It’s going to be a great night for football. If you’re a football fan, I wouldn’t think you’d want to miss this game.”

Many are wondering whether star linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) will miss the unprecedented Thursday night game after he sat out his first game on Sunday since the finale of the 2007 season, snapping a string of 57 consecutive games played. Lewis was not present on the field during the Ravens’ walk-through on Monday evening, and his status will remain in question until inactives are released 90 minutes prior to Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. kickoff on the NFL Network.

When asked about Lewis’ status in a Monday teleconference, Harbaugh was predictably tight-lipped regarding the chances of his defensive leader suiting up against the 49ers’ sixth-ranked run offense.

Does Harbaugh think Lewis will be able to play in the nationally-televised game?

“Is that something I really want to share right now, you think?” Harbaugh replied to the questioner. “Would there be any value in doing that?”

Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion) was also missing from the open portion of the walk-through while wide receiver Lee Evans (ankle), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), safety Tom Zbikowski (leg), and running back Anthony Allen (thigh) were all present for the open portion.


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Gloomy prognosis for Ray Lewis and injured toe for Sunday

Posted on 17 November 2011 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 6:00 a.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens inch closer to an AFC North showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, doubts began to grow surrounding linebacker Ray Lewis, who was absent from practice for the second straight day on Thursday.

Reports late Thursday night indicated Lewis will miss Sunday’s game and possibly more after suffering a toe injury in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday.

Lewis saw a specialist in Florida on Thursday, according to a report from the Carroll County Times.

Listed on the injury report with a foot injury, Lewis did not appear to be favoring anything as he walked to the podium to meet reporters on Wednesday afternoon. The injury could prevent Lewis from playing on Sunday afternoon and a second missed practice in as many days cultivated concern after he struggled in last Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.

The 16-year linebacker has not missed a game since sitting out the final two games of the 2007 season with a hand injury. The 36-year-old has made 57 straight starts for the Ravens.

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Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion) and running back Anthony Allen (hamstring) were also missing from practice for the second straight day. Wide receiver Lee Evans was practicing again, the fifth straight workout in which he’s participated.

Kick returner search

The Ravens conducted their search for a new kickoff returner on Thursday and confirmed that incumbent David Reed will not be back there on Sunday. The news was hardly surprised after Reed fumbled two kickoffs and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg would not rule out Reed as a future consideration for the job, but the Ravens believe the second-year receiver needs to prove he can take care of the football before they put him back deep again.

“He’s looking forward for the next opportunity,” Rosburg said. “Now, we don’t know when that is, and I’m certain when he does get in there again, everybody’s going to be watching him with that in mind. David’s a competitive guy, and he understands what he’s got to do to get that job back. He’s got to earn the trust of everybody on this football team that he’s going to hang onto the ball when he gets it.”

Rosburg said the Ravens will consider every possibility in finding a new returner. Candidates include Lardarius Webb, LaQuan Williams, Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, Chris Carr, and Tom Zbikowski. Webb is listed as the backup kick returner — behind Reed — on the team’s most recent depth chart while the rookie Williams is listed as the third-string return man.

“We’re going to have a good kickoff return practice, and we’re going to find out who our kickoff returner is going to be for Sunday,” Rosburg said.

Head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday he believes Webb to be the best kick returner on the team, but his current roles as a starting cornerback and the punt returner may cause the Ravens to look elsewhere. However, they could elect to slide Webb to the kick return spot and to use Carr as the punt returner.

First-round pick ready

With rookie Jimmy Smith now having four games under his belt since returning from an ankle injury last month, many have been asking when the first-round pick can expect to see an increase role on the defense.

Since Webb and Cary Williams have played so well in starting roles, the Baltimore defense hasn’t forced the issue with Smith’s development, allowing him to readjust to the speed of the NFL after a six-week layoff. However, with Carr struggling at the nickelback position on Sunday — allowing a critical 24-yard completion to Seattle receiver Golden Tate on the final drive of the game — the Ravens may be ready to expand Smith’s role. The Colorado product saw limited reps in the dime package against the Seahawks.

“He’ll see a considerable amount of time,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. “We’ve got to get him out there and get him going. He’s ready.”

Though not really suited to play inside at the nickel position, the Ravens could elect to slide Webb inside to the nickel spot, allowing Smith to line up on the outside.

Evans fitting into game plan

Optimism continues to grow around Evans, who took part in his fifth straight practice on Thursday afternoon.

Evans’ imminent return — whether it’s this week or soon thereafter — has sparked plenty of debate on where he will fit within the offense. Though the rookie Smith has displayed late-game heroics, his inconsistent hands have also hurt the Baltimore offense at critical points throughout the season.

After being acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills after the first preseason game in August, Evans appeared to be developing quite a rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco in a short amount of time prior to being stricken with the ankle injury. With Evans missing so much time on the field, it remains to be seen what kind of effect it will have on his comfort level with Flacco.

“That doesn’t really affect Joe a lot,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “He’s one of those unique guys that if a guy can get open, he can hit him whether he’s been with him for a week or a month. It’s really going to be predicated in how he practices. He probably needs a week or two of good practice. I think that will help.”

The improved play of Smith as well as the Ravens’ increasing reliance on tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta appears to have bought some time for Evans to work his way back into the flow of the offense, but his addition would provide a major boost in the final stretch of the regular season.

“Some of our other guys are playing really well, and we’ve got some other options until he comes back,” Cameron said. “We’ll see how the practices go, if he’s practicing at a level that [Harbaugh] feels and we feel he can help us win a game, then I’m sure he’ll be active. That may take a week or two.”

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