Wednesday Rat Report

There's no way you can use the phrase "Rat Rolle" in a sentence without sounding like Scooby-Doo. Today's Rat Report avoids that mistake, but manages to discuss returning injured Baltimore players like Samari Rolle, Chris McAllister and Jared Gaither regardless.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh sounded optimistic that cornerback Samari Rolle (neck surgery) could play in Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Rolle has not played in the past five games, but he seems to be further along in his recovery than strong safety Dawan Landry, who has also missed the past five games because of a spinal cord concussion.

"I don't think it's ruled out for Dawan this week, but it probably is pessimistic," Harbaugh said. "For Samari, I don't know if it's optimistic, but there's a chance he's going to be able to play. So we're going to get him out there to practice and see how he does, and we're going to push hard to see if we can get him into this game."

Harbaugh also emphasized that the team is awaiting the return of cornerback Chris McAlister (right knee), who was inactive for the first time this season in Sunday's win over the Oakland Raiders.

"We want him on the field playing as much as possible, and we want to manage the reps and put him in the best situation to get through the whole season," Harbaugh said. "He's going to be playing a lot of football for us. Unless something turns with the knee, he's going to be playing a ton of football for us, and he's going to be a huge part of what we're doing."

Before last week, Harbaugh and McAlister both said he was not injured.

Two games ago, McAlister was benched by Harbaugh. McAlister didn't enter the game at Miami until 8:57 remained in the second quarter. He played only three snaps in the first three quarters.

McAlister, 31, is signed through the 2010 season. He is scheduled to earn $8 million this season and the last two years of the deal.

Addressing McAlister's status on the team this season, Harbaugh said: "Chris is still very much in the mix. He's part of our plans. He's going to be a part of our success or failure as we go forward."

Meanwhile, the Ravens have to find a way to turn around another struggling player. Starting left offensive tackle Jared Gaither was penalized four times in Sunday's win over the Raiders.

"I have a lot to improve on," Gaither said. "I've got a lot to get better for next week."

The successor to all-but-certain Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, Gaither has played well in his first season as the starting left tackle. But his progress nearly unraveled Sunday.

Gaither, a Maryland product, was flagged for two false starts, one holding penalty and going downfield as an ineligible receiver once. Gaither accounted for half of the team's eight penalties and 21 of the 52 penalty yards.

The transgressions did not haunt Gaither. The second false start occurred nine plays before Joe Flacco's 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demetrius Williams, and the ineligible-receiver call was followed by Flacco's 12-yard run into the end zone. Gaither said he did not dwell on the penalties.

"You've got to put it away and go to the next play," he said. "Playing my position in this league, you've got to have a quick memory. A quick memory on the bad things and a long memory on the good things."

However, Harbaugh declined to single out Gaither, noting that right guard Chris Chester committed two holding penalties and fullback Le'Ron McClain moved early.

"I think it's something that any of our offensive linemen have to work out, and it's not just the offensive linemen," Harbaugh said. "We had a back flinch as well, and we lined up wrong outside on the perimeter on the left side one time. Those are all critical things that if we want to become what we want to become, we definitely have to clean that stuff up."


--QB Joe Flacco has accounted for three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing) and no interceptions in his past two games.

--RB Willis McGahee had a season-high 23 carries Sunday, but he averaged 2.5 yards a carry. He has averaged less than 3.0 yards a carry in three of his past four games.

--TE Todd Heap has not scored a touchdown in the first seven games of the season, the first time that has happened in his eight-year career.

--WR Derrick Mason was held to a season-low one catch Sunday. The last time he was held to fewer than two catches in a game was in October 2006. He followed that game with six receptions for 67 yards.

--WR Demetrius Williams scored a touchdown for the first time since December 2006. He still has caught fewer than two passes in four of his past five games.

--WR Mark Clayton was held without a catch for the second time this season. He remains nonexistent in the team's offense. He has a total of 26 receiving yards in his past three games.

--FS Ed Reed is still being slowed by hamstring and neck injuries. That has limited his ability to attack the play and make an interception.

--LB Terrell Suggs has five sacks in his past six games. He also has one interception and one forced fumble this season.

--LB Jameel McClain recorded a sack for a safety on his first snap on defense. He is an undrafted rookie out of Syracuse.

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