Browns-Ravens: Game Scout

The raw data you need to be cheering for the Browns at 8:30PM sharp on Monday night. Join us on the OBR for full coverage all day and into the evening!

Baltimore Ravens (4-4) at Cleveland Browns (1-7)

KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 ET

GAMEDATE: 11/16/09


TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden)

PREDICTION: Ravens 23-16

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Ravens' once-stout run defense has allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of the past four games, and that's where Cleveland must attack. QB Brady Quinn is back in the starting lineup but his lack of arm strength will make it difficult to take advantage of Baltimore's propensity to allow big completions over the top. Quinn works best off play-action, which means he needs support from the ground game. In the Ravens' 34-3 win in the first meeting in Week 3, they churned out 479 total yards with a balanced attack that kept the Browns' overmatched defense from focusing on one area.

Need to know: S Ed Reed has eight career interceptions against Cleveland, his most against any single opponent. ... The Browns are 6-0 since 2007 when RB Jamal Lewis has 25-plus carries.


Ravens: After missing his last two field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter, Baltimore Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka is feeling the pressure to keep his job.

He has been struggling to replace Matt Stover, the only previous kicker in team history.

"I definitely think I need to earn back the confidence of the organization," Hauschka said. "They still want me to be the guy, but I still have to go out there and make kicks. That's my job, and if I'm not doing my job, they're obviously going to have to go somewhere else."

The Ravens seemed to send a message to Hauschka on Tuesday, when they brought in former NFL kickers Mike Nugent and Billy Cundiff. Nugent -- a second-round 2005 draft pick of the New York Jets who has converted 78.6 percent of his field-goal attempts in a five-year career -- worked out for the team for the second time in three weeks.

In talking to reporters for the first time since trying out the two kickers Tuesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team remains committed to Hauschka.

"Steve is our kicker. He'll be our kicker Monday night and going forward," Harbaugh said. "We said it all along. Steve is a talented kicker. His percentage is actually way above what some guys have had who have gone on to become very good kickers in this league. But we want him to make kicks right now."

Harbaugh added, "For the most part, he's kicked well. He's had a couple of misses that we'd like to have had back. But that's part of the process."

Hauschka's 38-yard field-goal try that sailed left of the uprights in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 17-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was not the sole reason for the setback, but it was the second time in three games he missed a pressure kick.

With the team reeling after dropping four of its past five games, players and coaches have engaged in a great deal of introspection. Hauschka has spent a similar amount of time reviewing his kicks on game film, and he thinks the corrections that need to be made are minor.

He said he understood the team's decision to bring in potential replacements.

"I figured they probably would," Hauschka said. "That's not my job. They're going to do what they have to do, and I'm going to do my job, which is to go out there and make kicks in the game."

Hauschka has made eight of 11 field goals in his first season as the Ravens' full-time kicker, including converting three in a decisive 30-7 victory over the previously unbeaten Denver Broncos.

But he has had two crucial misses -- at Minnesota and Cincinnati. Hauschka's 44-yard attempt against the Vikings went wide left from the left hash marks, as did his 38-yard miss against the Bengals.

Harbaugh acknowledged after the Vikings game that he knew criticism would fall on the young kicker until he delivers in a pressure situation. During the offseason, the Ravens chose not to re-sign Stover, saying they wanted to free a roster spot and preferred the younger Hauschka's stronger leg.

Harbaugh gave Hauschka a vote of confidence two weeks ago after the missed kick in Minnesota. But this week, the coach would say only that he was disappointed in the missed kick in Cincinnati and that Hauschka was going to be a "good kicker in the NFL."

"I wish it didn't happen this early in my career, but it was going to happen inevitably," Hauschka said of being the target of scrutiny. "I'm just learning. This is part of the process. It's painful at times, but it's going to make me a better kicker."

Browns: The rash of injuries at inside linebacker is causing coach Eric Mangini to turn to Jason Trusnik, a linebacker few players in the Browns' locker room knew of before Oct. 7.

Trusnik, 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, was one of two players acquired by the Browns in the stunning trade that sent Braylon Edwards to the Jets five weeks ago. The other was wide receiver Chansi Stuckey. The Browns also got two draft choices in 2010 -- one fifth-round pick and a third-rounder that turns into a second-round pick if Edwards catches 55 passes with the Jets. Edwards has 13 catches and two touchdowns in a Jets uniform with eight games left.

"It is a lot to adjust to in that short amount of time," Trusnik said. "The guys here are great, whether it's helping mentally or trying to find a place. The organization has done a great job making it easier."

As it turns out, Trusnik is having a much more prominent role in the Browns defense than anyone expected when the trade was made. Season-ending injuries to inside linebackers Eric Barton (neck) and D'Qwell Jackson (pectoral tendon) have transformed Trusnik from a special teams player to a starter on defense.

Trusnik started at right outside linebacker in the 30-3 loss to the Bears and led the Browns with eight tackles. He had one of four sacks. He has 19 tackles in four games with the Browns.

The start against the Bears was the second of his NFL career. He started against the Steelers on Oct. 18, just 11 days after the trade, because Kamerion Wimbley was sidelined by flu. He will likely make his third start Monday night when the Browns host the Ravens. Coach Eric Mangini said Trusnik is versatile enough to play any of the four linebacker positions.

David Bowens, rookies Kaluka Maiava and David Veikune plus veteran Blake Costanzo can also play inside as the Browns try to adjust without Jackson and Barton.

"Ideally in a 3-4 (defense), those positions are mirrored," Mangini said. "We have a little variation in body types, but you can have combinations based on the package, based on what you're seeing. It doesn't have to be filled by one guy all the time in all the different packages."

Mangini coached Trusnik with the Jets, so he knew he was getting an intelligent, hard-working player. But even when the trade was made, Mangini talked about him as a special teams player first and mentioned Trusnik was the AFC special teams player of the week in the third week of the season.

Trusnik played one more game with the Jets before being traded. He has been playing with the Browns as though he had been in Berea since the start of training camp.

"I think it was a little easier because I've been in Mangini's system before," Trusnik said. "A lot of it overlapped. Now it's getting the terms back down. Now that I've been in it five weeks, I feel more comfortable in the system and with the guys being able to move forward, especially during the bye week."



--DT Haloti Ngata (ankle) missed practice Thursday for the second straight week. Nagata thought he would play last week and didn't. There is a good chance that the Ravens would rest him knowing they have a short week to play against Indianapolis. Justin Bannan would replace Ngata in the starting lineup.

--DT Justin Bannan would make his second start of the season if Haloti Ngata is sidelined with an ankle injury. Bannan started 16 games last season for the Ravens.

--LB Ray Lewis missed practice Thursday with a foot injury. It's not considered serious. He is expected to start Monday at Cleveland.

--CB Fabian Washington missed practice Thursday with a thigh bruise. If he can't play, rookie Lardarius Webb would make his first career start.

--CB Lardarius Webb would make his first career start if Fabian Washington is sidelined with a thigh bruise.

--CB Chris Carr missed practice Thursday with an illness. He is expected to return punts and play nickel back.

--LB Dannell Ellerbe missed practice Thursday with an illness. He is expected to back up at linebacker and play special teams.

--TE Todd Heap was limited with an ankle injury, which has slowed him down the past two weeks. He will start Monday.


--TE Steve Heiden was held out of practice Thursday because of a knee injury.

--WR Chansi Stuckey did not practice Thursday because of a calf injury.

--RB Jamal Lewis (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday.

--OG Rex Hadnot was limited in practice with a knee injury.

--C Alex Mack is on the injury report with a sore wrist but he had full participation in practice Thursday.

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