Ravens readying for speedy Mike Wallace

OWINGS MILLS – It's a football game, not a track meet. However, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace has a way of blurring the line between those two sporting events. Wallace is regarded as one of the fastest players in the NFL.

His pure speed allows him to separate from cornerbacks in a way unlike many wide receivers, scorching secondaries for eight touchdowns and 792 yards on only 36 receptions. Heading into Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens, Wallace is averaging 22 yards per reception.

"His 4.2 speed is what makes him a good receiver," Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. "When you watch him when he comes off the football, you say, ‘This guy's a good receiver.' He doesn't look like other receivers until all of a sudden he's running by guys. He's got really, really deceptive, fast, fast speed." Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb contained him in his third game back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He held Wallace to two receptions for 24 yards, catching up with him on a deep throw from Charlie Batch and knocking down a pass in the end zone. "Try 4.1," Webb said when asked about Wallace's speed in the 40-yard dash. "He can move. We've got to bring our A game. We have to play ball, no slacking. I can run with the guy." The Ravens are very much aware that Wallace has scored six touchdowns and averaged 83 yards per game since quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was reinstated by the NFL following a four-game suspension. He has over 100 receiving yards in three of the past four games..

"He's the fastest receiver in the league," cornerback Chris Carr said. "Of course, Randy Moss is up there. Wallace is kind of deceptively fast because he gets on you later because of his long strides. His speed is definitely his biggest asset, but he's been doing a very good job of catching the ball as well. He's making his catches count, so we've got to contain him." The Ravens are conscious of how quarterback Ben Roethlisberger buys time for his receivers to get open by scrambling around. That makes it even tougher to stay with Wallace. "You know they like him on the deep balls, but anybody else is a threat, too," Carr said. "With Ben scrambling around, they could run a short route and just turn it up, and if you're not on your guy, then you're in trouble.

"That's one of the things with Ben back there is the play is kind of never over because he can escape a lot of different things. Every single play, you've got to be ready to defend a deep ball or a short ball, because even if it's a short route, it could be deep in a heartbeat."



OHER FINED $5,000 FOR TWEET: Offensive tackle Michael Oher was fined $5,000 for violating the league's social media policy, according to a league spokesman. Oher issued an update on his Twitter account during the game about his sprained knee, which is against the NFL's rules. Oher had expected to be fined and said he didn't care, preferring to get the news out about his knee to his friends and family. Oher deleted the Tweet, but it was passed on several times and the league monitors players' Twitter account activity..



LANDRY EXPECTS TO PLAY: Strong safety Dawan Landry said he expects to be able to play Sunday night after suffering a mild concussion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Landry has passed an impact test, but still has to pass a baseline test to determine his neurological readiness. "I feel regular," Landry said. "I'm ready to go." Landry was scheduled to take the test Friday, but expressed confidence that he'll be able to pass the test. The only symptoms he had was a slight headache following his hit on running back Cadillac Williams. "I got to take it later today, in a little bit," Landry said. "I'm good, man. I feel good. Felt good all week.".



INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Michael Oher didn't practice Friday due to a sprained right knee, but is expected to play. Oher didn't comment on his knee after practice. He's listed as questionable. When asked about the pass protection if Oher is out, Harbaugh issued a sharp response. "I know you've probably got a lot of information on pass protection," he said. "You probably know the insides and outs of all our pass protections, so I can see why you probably can have some kind of educated question along those lines, I'm sure." One day after missing practice with an illness, wide receiver Derrick Mason returned Friday and is listed as probable. "I'm still sick somewhat," Mason said. "It was good I got an opportunity to run and sweat some of it out. They gave me a day off, which is good. I needed it. It wasn't even a question about me missing a game. It was just making sure I was rested.".

Fullback Le'Ron McClain (sprained left ankle) is questionable. Offensive guard Chris Chester (lower leg infection) and rookie tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) participated fully for the third day in a row. Both are listed as probable. Chester has missed the past two games, but is expected to return this week. "I feel more than capable to go," Chester said. "I feel very optimistic about my chances to play this week. The stitches are out and the wound seems to be fine. There's maybe a little bit of stiffness in there. Besides that, I feel more than capable of playing." Meanwhile, Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps) and tight end Matt Spaeth (concussion) are doubtful. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is questionable. Harbaugh was in no mood to discuss Roethlisberger's broken foot. Roethlisberger reportedly has a broken fifth metatarsal. Listed as questionable on the injury report, he's expected to play Sunday night. "I don't even think about it," Harbaugh said when asked about Roethlisberger. "I don't care." When asked if he believes the foot is broken, Harbaugh had a terse reply. "I could care less," he said. "He's going to line up and play quarterback. Is there anything besides injuries you guys want to talk about? Do you want to talk about anything important like the game?.

Offensive tackle Flozell Adams (back) is probable as well as defensive end Nick Eason (knee), defensive end Brett Keisel (calf), cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamstring) and safety Troy Polamalu. RUNNING GAME A KEY: The Ravens' running game has their work cut out for them against the Steelers' defense. The Steelers have the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. They're allowing just 64 yards per game and three yards per carry. And the Ravens rank 27th in the league with a 3.7 average per carry.

"We've just got to continue this time of year, where the weather changes, and you've got to find ways to run the ball collectively with all of your backs," Cameron said. "Make sure you don't get a tendency going one way versus the other, because people have a good self-scout on you. We just need to continue to get better." Despite the presence of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, the Ravens have no runs of over 30 yards this season. "Looking late into the season, we see ourselves as not being one-dimensional," Rice said. "We have to be able to pass it. We have to be able to run it. We have to be able to run screens. We have to be able to do different things to offset what they do.".

WASHINGTON TO PLAY: Cornerback Fabian Washington said he's expecting to be active this week after being a healthy scratch for the first time last week.

Washington was starting until being benched and replaced by Josh Wilson three games ago. "It's looking that way," Washington said when asked if he's going to play this week. "It's looking good." Special teams coach Jerry Rosburg said that Washington has played full safety and holdup corner on punt returns. "Fabian's been working," Rosburg said. "At this point, that's what he's been contributing."

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