OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens offensive line coach Andy Moeller has been suspended for the first two games of the season by the NFL, a punishment stemming from him being found guilty in April on a driving while impaired by alcohol charge.
Moeller has also been fined $47,000 by the league for violating the NFL personal-conduct policy.
Assistant offensive line coach and former NFL player Todd Washington will coach the line beginning Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in place of Moeller while he serves his suspension.
"We knew this was coming, and we prepared for it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Todd has done a very good job. He's a very good coach. Obviously, it's always a group effort with coaching. Andy set things up very well."
Moeller is allowed to return to work at the Ravens' training complex on Sept. 19 following the team's game against the Tennessee Titans.
"There's no guy who would rather be here more than Andy," offensive tackle Michael Oher said. "I know it's killing him inside. The guy is such a competitor. As an offensive line, we've got to do it for him and have a great game."
Moeller, 47, received a 60-day jail sentence last spring that was suspended for all but two days that were served at a lockdown treatment facility last November.
He was also assigned to two years of supervised probation, ordered to abstain from alcohol, attend two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week and be subject to random drug testing. Moeller has passed multiple tests for alcohol.
"I take total responsibility for my actions, and I'm committed to the programs the Ravens and others have afforded me," Moeller said in a statement when his case was adjudicated this spring. "I really appreciate the support the Ravens have given me."
Moeller has been arrested on three alcohol-related incidents since 2007.
He received an acquittal in May on a driving under the influence charge in Carroll County. He was assigned to probation for driving while visibly impaired in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2007.
The case stemmed from Moeller being stopped last Sept. 18 in Baltimore County for speeding 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.
Moeller had a strong odor of alcohol on him and didn't pass a field sobriety test, according to police.
Moeller was promoted to offensive line coach from assistant offensive line coach after the Ravens fired offensive line coach John Matsko in January.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in January that Moeller is down to his last strike with the organization.
"He's either going to get it under control or he's going to spend a lifetime of misery like other people that are affected by that," Bisciotti said. "We're behind him as long as he earns trust and continues to earn that trust. But he knows he's one step away from not being a Raven and then probably not being in the NFL at all."
The Ravens will also be without wide receiver David Reed on Sunday as he serves his one-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.
"I guess I was a little bit, because I didn't realize it was possible, but that's the way it is," center Matt Birk said when asked if he was surprised by Moeller's suspension.. "We'll just keep going on. That's what you do. We're well-prepared and we'll play hard."
Birk said that it should be a smooth transition to playing for Washington, a former Virginia Tech and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman,
"It's pretty much the same," Birk said. "They're different personalities, different guys, but coming into training camp, coach Moeller and coach Washington are on the same page on how we do things around here. It really hasn't changed a whole lot."
Notebook: Bryant McKinnie dropping weight, down to 360 pounds
Birk expected to start
OWINGS MILLS – He nearly tilted the scales with 387 pounds of girth when he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings, and now Baltimore Ravens left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said he's down to roughly 360 pounds.
It's a loss of 10 pounds since the former Pro Bowl offensive lineman reported to the Ravens at 370 pounds.
"I lost 10 [pounds] since I got here,"McKinnie said. "That's definitely helping out a lot and I continue to lose a few more. I got my old college number back [No. 78], so I'm trying to get back to my old college weight. I'm in the 360s."
McKinnie said he weighed 343 pounds while playing for the University of Miami, but has played as heavy as 355 pounds to 360 pounds for the majority of his NFL career.
McKinnie is eager to get back on the field.
"I feel pretty good," McKinnie said. "I'm just looking forward to coming out here and finally playing this game. I haven't played since January of last season. I'm just real anxious to go out there and just play.
"I think I'm pretty comfortable. At the beginning when you're new to something, it seems like everything is new and fast. Now, it feels like everything is starting to slow down and it's starting to get familiar. You know what's going on."
It's been a process for the former first-round draft pick to learn the offense after playing in Minnesota for his entire career.
"I'm going to take the game and give it the best I can give and keep rolling for the next two to three weeks," McKinnie said. "And then I should be kind of back."
Left offensive guard Ben Grubbs has been helping to ease McKinnie's transition.
"He's pretty helpful because he communicates well," McKinnie said. "We're able to discuss what's going on with the defense and it kind of gives me a better idea of what I need to do."
BIRK EXPECTED TO START: Ravens six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk practiced all week without aggravating his surgically-repaired left knee and is expected to start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Feel good," Birk said. "I don't like to do the percentages or anything. I'll keep treating it and feel as good as I can come Sunday. We'll just give it everything we've got."
The Steelers' stout front seven is anchored by beefy nose guard Casey Hampton, always a difficult blocking task.
"Every game is hard, every game is physical," said Birk, who didn't play in any preseason games after having surgery at the start of training camp. "You play offensive line, it doesn't matter who you play. Every Monday morning, you're going to wake up and be sore as heck."
PHILLIPS RECOVERING: Ravens backup middle linebacker Jason Phillips returned to practice after being sidelined one day with a concussion.
He participated fully Friday, but is questionable on the injury report.
"Yeah, it's the same thing with my nose always hits when my helmet comes down," said Phillips, who has a small cut on the bridge of his nose. "It kind of gave me a bump one day. One of the big things with the NFL is with any concussion, they're going to be careful. They checked me out and I feel great."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh affirmed that Phillips should be fine.
"He was good," Harbaugh said. "He banged his nose. You know, he's got such a great-looking nose anyway. So, he took another shot to the nose, but he's OK."
Meanwhile, starting left offensive guard Ben Grubbs is probable and didn't practice Friday due to a thigh injury.
The Steelers ruled out reserve linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring) and listed wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) as doubtful. Backup offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (concussion) is probable.
HIGH EXPECTATIONS: The Ravens are installing two new starting cornerbacks, sizable ones in rookie Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams.
Smith is the Ravens' first-round draft pick, and much is anticipated from him.
"I expect him to play really well," Harbaugh said. "Nobody is more anxious about it than Jimmy, because he wants to do well so badly. When you're a first-round pick there's a little bit of pressure and everyone's talking about him. But, he's a rookie, you know? He's certainly got all the ability.
"He's got all the attention to detail and he knows the defense. So, I expect him to play very, very well. The thing for me is with a corner, it's the bounce-back play. Make the bounce-back play, and I think he'll do that. He's got a great mindset.
Williams is a former Tennessee Titans seventh-round draft pick, so he has less of a pedigree than Smith.
He's coming off a strong preseason, though.
"He's become that quality of player through his own efforts," Harbaugh said. "Had a great offseason and got better as a football player, got more physically strong and all that, but just became a better corner, a better player.
"I can't wait to see him play in the game. He's going to go out and play like any other corner. There are going to be really good plays and there are going to be plays where they're going to get the best of you. I think he's in a good place and ready to do that."
DEEP THREAT: The Ravens acquired speedy veteran wide receiver Lee Evans for a specific reason: to provide a legitimate deep threat.
The Ravens have been on a quest for a receiver capable of stretching defenses for several years.
"Yeah, that's obviously one of the reasons they brought me here," Evans said. "I'm aware of that. You just try to give it the best you can. It's all about winning and bringing something to the table to help your team win."
During the preseason, Evans averaged 21.3 yards per reception as he caught six passes for 128 yards and one touchdown.
"You've got to pick your shots," Evans said. "You've got to do it systematically and set shots up and execute them when you get the chance. Obviously, we want to play our style of football and take shots when you get the chance. If we get the right look, then we'll do it."
REUNION: Squaring off with Steelers Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey will remind Ravens nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody of his Southeastern Conference days when he was at the University of Alabama and Pouncey was starring for the University of Florida.
"Yeah, it's still the same person, quick, good feet great player," said Cody, who replaced Kelly Gregg as the starter. "He is a quick player, so it kind of changes up my game. I have to adapt, I have to play quicker and smarter."
INJURY SETTLEMENT FOR HARDY: The Ravens have brokered an injury settlement with veteran wide receiver James Hardy, removing him from injured reserve.
Hardy was with the Ravens during the preseason and played in the final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, catching one pass for eight yards.
He missed nearly the entire preseason with a chronic hamstring injury.
Hardy is a former Buffalo Bills second-round draft pick.
GETTING READY: The Ravens brought in lefty punter Jeremy Kapinos for a tryout Thursday, but not because of any issue with Pro Bowl alternate punter Sam Koch.
The Ravens regularly bring in left-footed punters to prepare for opponents' lefty punters.
This week, they're preparing for Steelers lefty punter Daniel Sepulveda.
So, they brought in Kapinos for the day to help their punt returners get accustomed to catching Sepulveda's left-footed punts.
QUICK HITS: The Ravens practiced outside Friday despite the rainy conditions and soggy fields. "It was great to get outside, it was great to breathe some fresh air," Harbaugh said. "We love our indoor facility, but we don't like being in it every day. So, that was really neat."
.. With the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 approaching Sunday, Harbaugh recalled where he was on that fateful day. He was a special-teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. "I was in my office game-planning and Andy Reid's assistant, Carol Wilson, came down and said, ‘Turn on your TV, something just happened to the World Trade Center, they think it's an accident,''" Harbaugh said. "I happened to be watching it and I saw the second plane come in, live. It was just shocking."
… The Ravens haven't had the anticipated run of injuries that was predicted for many NFL teams due to the lockout. "Our team came back in great shape,"Harbaugh said. "We probably did hold guys back more when they had little issues, and maybe that's something we can kind of learn from, but maybe we did make too much of that."
… Newly-acquired center Andre Gurode has proven to be a quick learner. "I'd say he's acclimated.," Harbaugh said. "He knows the offense fairly well. He's learning how to translate it, and the guys help him with that. He'll be able to play for us on Sunday." …
Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg has seen steady improvement from rookie wide receiver and return man LaQuan Williams. "The thing I like about LaQuan is that it is something he is growing into," Rosburg said. "He has improved. Every time we have gone out and practiced, he seems to have a better understanding on how to track a ball and what a ball looks like off a punter and how to read the return. I see a lot of growth in LaQuan. What he brings is he is going to be more of a physical returner and have some long-range speed. He is not a dart, so to speak. A lot punt returners you see are short, quickness, change-of-direction-type of returners. LaQuan is going to be able to break tackles and get big plays by his long speed."
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