Ravens Notebook

Remember, Brian St. Pierre? He's the journeyman quarterback who spent a season with the Baltimore Ravens five years ago

He's the obscure guy who was spending his time as a stay-at-home dad until joining the Carolina Panthers' practice squad on Friday last week and was promoted to the active roster Tuesday. And St. Pierre, a former Pittsburgh Steelers fifth-round draft pick who has only thrown five regular-season passes, is the surprise starter for the Panthers on Sunday against the Ravens. Instead of going with unheralded rookie quarterback Tony Pike with starter Jimmy Clausen out with a concussion, Panthers coach John Fox chose to go with St. Pierre, 30, because of his slightly superior experience.

"Great guy, great quarterback," tight end Todd Heap said. "We've seen him play over the years. He's a guy that we kind of know what he's capable of. We've seen what he can do, his arm strength. "He's a smart guy, we know that about him. Our defense hopefully will be ready for that, and a lot of guys on that side of the ball know Brian St. Pierre and know what type of quarterback he is."

Nose guard Kelly Gregg also spoke highly of St. Pierre, who has completed 2 of 5 career passes for 12 yards, one touchdown and one interception during previous stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Steelers.

"He's a good guy and a good quarterback," Gregg said. "He's a tough guy and he'll be ready to go out there on Sunday."

Strong safety Dawan Landry said he doesn't remember much about St. Pierre. St. Pierre will have just four practices to get ready for the Ravens. "At least he's been around the league," Landry said. "You can't take anybody lightly, not at all. He's a veteran guy. We'll prepare the same way we always prepare.

"He just got there this week, too? Wow. At least he's a veteran guy. He just got there, so hopefully we can take advantage of that." St. Pierre didn't go through a training camp this summer.

Now, he's quarterbacking the 1-8 Panthers against the NFL's 10th-ranked defense. "I know what the situation looks like to everyone," St. Pierre told Charlotte reporters. "It is what it is. I'm not going to complain about it." Three years ago, the Panthers started a 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde and managed to win a game.

"John Fox came in to me on Wednesday and said, 'Vinny Testaverde came in and did this three years ago," St. Pierre said. "And I said, 'Well, Vinny has a little better resume than I do.' "I appreciate they have enough faith to throw me out there. I hope I can reward them by holding my own Sunday."

NEW ADDITION: Offensive tackle Marshal Yanda had a good excuse for not practicing Thursday. His fiancée, Shannon, was going into labor with their first child. "I know she's due," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. Yanda is expected to start at right tackle Sunday "Yeah, we expect him," Cameron said.

INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens downgraded cornerback Fabian Washington to not practicing after being limited Wednesday with an illness. Free safety Tom Zbikowski (bruised right heel) didn't practice and is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game.

Tight end Todd Heap (chest) was limited again, but was cleared for increased contact work. "The chest feels good," Heap said. "It's a little sore, but I'm good for Sunday." Inside linebacker Tavares Gooden (head) participated fully after being limited Wednesday. Not practicing for Carolina: Clausen (concussion), defensive end Charles Johnson (hip), safety Marcus Hudson (ankle), wide receiver Brandon LaFell (concussion), running back Jonathan Stewart (concussion), running back Tyrell Sutton (ankle) and offensive tackle Travelle Wharton (toe). Middle linebacker Jon Beason (knee) was upgraded to limited work after not practicing Wednesday. Also limited: defensive end Greg Hardy (concussion) and linebacker Nic Harris (knee).

KICKOFF RETURNS BELONGS TO DAVID REED: Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg gave his seal of approval to rookie wide receiver David Reed as the Ravens' primary kickoff returner. The fifth-round draft pick from Utah is averaging 21.6 yards per kickoff return with a long return of 31 yards, and Rosburg announced that Reed will continue to return kicks this Sunday. "I think David Reed has grown every week we've put him back there," Rosburg said. "You see things in the return that you like to see. I like his spirit. He practices hard. He's an exciting guy. The guys like blocking for him. We're going to give him another shot this week." Rosburg didn't announce who's going to return punts, but Lardarius Webb is listed atop the depth chart. The Ravens are also planning to work in Donte' Stallworth and have Ed Reed and Chris Carr as options, too. "We'll find out Sunday," Rosburg said. "I have no announcements on punt returns. Donte' is one of the guys to be considered, yes."

RESILIENT: The Ravens have proven to be stout after the offensive turnovers. They have yet to give up a touchdown this season, limiting opponents to six field goals on 13 turnovers.

"Sudden change is huge," coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. "It's an emphasis. It should be. It speaks to the fact that we have a good defense, first of all. Our guys don't cave in, ever. "We make mistakes. We don't play things right all the time. We can be a lot better at a lot of things, but that's a reflection of the heart and character of our guys and their mental toughness." Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs smiled when informed about the impressive statistic that's a testament to the defense's resilience. "I really hope we don't get sixed-up this week,: Suggs said. "Football is the ultimate team sport. Sometimes you have to give your offense some help and bail them out if they have a mistake. But if you clearly saw in the Buffalo game, sometimes your offense has got to bail your defense out."

QUICK HITS: Cameron praised quarterback Joe Flacco's leadership. "Leadership is leadership, and Joe does it in his own way, too," Cameron said. "We're going to watch that evolve and grow. Just like any human being would grow into a leadership role. Just watch. He's going to continue to grow. That's what veteran players do, the Todd Heaps, the Derrick Masons, the T.J. Houshmandzadehs, the Anquan Boldins, the Matt Birks. We've got a lot of veteran leaders. This is a collective group of men looking to achieve a common goal. If you're feeling it, let it come out. There's no pecking order on leadership on our offense."

.. Rosburg said that Webb needs to continue to concentrate on his technique after losing a fumble on a punt return against the Falcons. "The first priority we have whenever we go out there in our return game is to give our offense the ball," he said. "And when you put the ball on the ground, there's no possible way of assessing anything else if you're doing that. You just can't do that, and he's aware of that. It's something we've been working on and we have a high priority in ball security. We practice it, we preach it, and he's aware of it. He just didn't use good fundamentals. So, we've been practicing his fundamentals, we got him back there in practice working on it some more, and so we'll see what happens this week."

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