Ravens' run defense looking to rebound from

OWINGS MILLS – Bulldozed by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, the Baltimore Ravens' defense doesn't have much time to reconstruct its working parts. Hillis ran through, around and over the Ravens, plowing ahead for 144 rushing yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. He gained 48 yards up the middle on one run.

There were several instances where the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder won one-on-one confrontations in the open field with the Ravens, including All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

"We looked at the tape closely, and we didn't not play physical," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We played physical defense, and the Browns they can block. They did a good job. They've got a good offensive line. That was stated many times before the game. I didn't see it written very much, but that's a good football team."

A former Arkansas standout acquired in a trade from the Denver Broncos that sent quarterback Brady Quinn to Denver, Hillis became the fourth runner to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens since last season as he joined Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson.

"I'm not easily impressed, but I am," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "I'm usually not easily impressed, but he impressed me. He's a good back, but we'll be ready for him next time around."

Hillis, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound powerhouse who played fullback, tight end, running back, wide receiver and returned punts and kickoffs for the Razorbacks, averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Browns coach Eric Mangini announced Monday that Hillis will continue to be the team's featured runner after his breakthrough game against Baltimore.

"The running back, that was really his first opportunity to shine in his career, and he did it," Harbaugh said. "He's a guy we're going to have to contend with. It was the combination of a downhill, hard running back that got out of some arm tackles, and we didn't get off blocks quite quick enough.

"We didn't fit it once or twice like we wanted to. It's always a combination of things, but all things are correctible. We play the defense we play. We believe in the fronts we play, and we have really good players. We just need to play a little bit better and coach a little bit better, and we stop the run."

"Just one word: beast," Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain said. "He's downhill, north south. He's fun to watch. That's the game of football: big back getting downhill on the defense, wearing people down."

Ravens nose guard Kelly Gregg compared the burly runner to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers bruiser Mike Alstott.

"We knew that he's a downhill back, but we were thinking they were going to run the other guys some more," outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "They just lined him up and pounded him downhill and popped a lot of runs. It was really disappointing to us."

As the Ravens begin preparations for the Pittsburgh Steelers and running back Rashard Mendenhall, Lewis didn't seem concerned about the setback.

"Unless you don't play for us, you can panic," Lewis said. "But if you're been around here long enough, you come back to work and you go back to work, that's it."

Harbaugh had no interest in discussing the fact that the defense rarely allows runners to hit the century mark in consecutive games. "We don't dwell on that stuff," he said. "Stats, I guess you can write an article about stats if you want. We're going to try and win the next game."

INJURY UPDATES: Veteran defensive end Cory Redding suffered a concussion Sunday and it's unclear if he's going to be able to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens didn't have any definitive word on his status Monday afternoon.

"I don't know yet," Harbaugh said. "I don't think they've done any tests yet. We don't practice until Wednesday, so they'll probably give it a little time to clear up."

Harbaugh didn't have an update on offensive tackle Jared Gaither, who has yet to play or practice this season due to a thoracic disc injury. STILL SITTING: The Ravens have yet to play rookie nose guard Terrence Cody or defensive end Paul Kruger this year.

Both second-round draft picks have dealt with injuries. Cody is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, "Terrence is getting healthier, and he practiced well last week and we'll see how it goes," Harbaugh said. "We want to get him up if we can."

Kruger sprained his shoulder in the final preseason game.

"Paul has been in there practicing well, fighting like crazy, but you only get 45 and you only get five or six linemen," Harbaugh said. "So, you've got to put the guys up that you think give you the best chance against the team that you're playing.

"I'm sure that when Paul gets activated, he's going to play really well. When Terrence gets activated, I know he'll play really well because you can see it in practice. We'll just have to see how the numbers shake out."

One reason Cody and Kruger isn't playing: the emergence of defensive lineman Brandon McKinney.

McKinney has played solidly, and more extensively this season.

"That's part of it," Harbaugh said. "You've got some guys playing well. Brandon McKinney has played really well. Then again, we might decide to put an extra lineman up. So, we'll just see how it goes."

QUICK HITS: Cornerback Domonique Foxworth had a follow-up appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Monday to examine his surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. "In Birmingham getting my knee checked and eating Gator for lunch," Foxworth wrote on his Twitter account. "My knee is great and my first time eating gator was better." Foxworth tore up his knee at the start of training camp. He's walking without crutches and has said he's ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.

… Backup inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe played well in pass coverage as the replacement for injured nickel linebacker Tavares Gooden, who's out four to six weeks with a dislocated left shoulder. Ellerbe recorded six tackles. "He did a good job," Harbaugh said. "Anytime you get a linebacker matched up on a tight end, that's tough when he's singled up there and the quarterback gets a little bit of time. I thought when he was in coverage, he was in good position. Dannell's a good athlete. He was playing with a little bit of a knee bruise and still fought through it really well, so I thought he did well." … Harbaugh was impressed with the play of cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Cary Williams. Wilson garnered his most playing time since being acquired in a trade from the Seattle Seahawks and posted one defensive tackle. Williams played for the first time since serving a two-game NFL suspension for violating the personal conduct policy and tackled Browns standout Josh Cribbs on a punt return. "Josh played well, especially on defense," Harbaugh said. "He hadn't played special teams a lot in his career, so he's kind of learning that part of it. That's something I think he'd tell you he needs to keep working on. Defensively, he made a tackle or two and covered well. I thought Cary made a huge play on the punt. That was probably Sam Koch's least effective punt and Cary was down there right in Josh's face and made the play. That's not an easy tackle. That's one of the things Cary brings to the table."

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