Ravens Notebook

Ravens secondary looking to rebound against the Rams

OWINGS MILLS – The football quickly left the fingertips of Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck last Sunday, often leaving the Baltimore Ravens' secondary flatfooted and unable to react in time. Now, the Ravens' defense is about to square off with another quarterback determined to run in super speed.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford adeptly ran the no-huddle offense in a Monday night loss to the New York Giants, passing for a career-high 331 yards as he completed 22 of 46 passes for one touchdown and no interceptions. "He looks like a veteran quarterback," Ravens free safety Ed Reed said. "You give him some time, and he shows some potential. He throws the ball around. He's going to be somebody to reckon with in the next couple of years, even now." One week removed from allowing Hasselbeck to pass for 358 yards and a touchdown on 30 of 42 accuracy as he connected with wide receiver Kenny Britt nine times for 135 yards, the Ravens have to contend with the Rams' high-octane style. And Bradford might be young, but the former top overall draft pick from Oklahoma has size, arm strength and talent.

"I think he's phenomenally talented, he shows that he can make the decisions," Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "He's even got them doing the no huddle. You put a quarterback in the no-huddle, he's making great decisions, identifying the defense. That's key." Bradford has completed 39 of 76 throws for 519 yards, one touchdown and no interception for a 77.7 passer rating. He's been sacked six times and lost two fumbles.

As a rookie last year, Bradford passed for a respectable 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Now, he's doing bigger things while playing for a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels. He doesn't seem like the type that gets intimidated even while dealing with substandard pass protection and a receiving corps that's missing injured wide receivers Danny Amendola and Mark Clayton.

"It says he's really smart," Ravens coach John Harbaugh when asked what it means that Bradford is already running the no-huddle offense in his second NFL season. "You can tell there are some things he's still learning in Josh's offense., but he's a smart guy. He's an elite quarterback talent-wise. "He's young. I think he's going to be one of the premier guys. Our challenge is going to be to make him look young. We need to see that part of it because it's there, but that's easier said than done."

Especially considering how vulnerable the Ravens were against the Titans. They have fallen to 28th in the league in passing defense, surrendering 302 passing yards per contest. They also rank 22nd in total defense, fourth in rushing defense and 16th in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 38 ½ percent of third downs.

Most of the damage Sunday was done by Hasselbeck and the Titans' quick-strike offense as the Ravens bottled up star running back Chris Johnson. "They had a great game plan, we made adjustments, but it was a little too late," Reed said. "They made more plays than we did, and we didn't make any. We've got to play better technique. We had some technique stuff and little technical breakdowns that we just gave plays away. "It's a matter of really knocking out your technique and being cautious with what you do out on the field. You've got to know what you're doing out there."

Added cornerback Lardarius Webb: "Everything we did was easily correctable. We gave up a lot of deep balls on minor things. We can stop that." As far as All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis is concerned, the Ravens can't play passively. Even if it's a three-step or two-step drop, they've got to harass the quarterback. The Ravens never sacked Hasselbeck.

"Simple, you come out and you don't let him do those things," Lewis said. "You either blitz him or put your hands on him, you do whatever you have to do. To let a person with that much veteran experience sit back and do some of the things that he was able to do, whether it was quick steps or not, someone has to take a risk and jump one of those quick routes and make them stop doing that. "If you don't, most quarterbacks understand Cover 1, Cover 4, Cover 3, so they know where to go with the ball. It's not as complicated as we make it sometimes. You really have to get him off the spot." In his time in the league, the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has seen many quarterbacks come and go.

He's convinced that Bradford is a special breed. "I like the things that he does as a young kid," Lewis said. "He's more athletic than people think he is. He can really run around, but he's very accurate with where he wants to place the ball. When you watch his progression, you see that he really understands the game."

And the Ravens are literally hamstrung at cornerback with veteran Chris Carr having missed this past game after aggravating his left hamstring injury in the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's expected to return this week and practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Meanwhile, cornerback Domonique Foxworth is still slowed by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered a year ago. And rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith, the Ravens' first-round draft pick, is still limping around with a left high-ankle sprain. "It's impacting us now, just preparing," Reed said.

Reed said getting shredded by the Titans could help prepare the Ravens for the Rams' approach. "It's going to be interesting, playing last week helped us out a lot," Reed said. "It's just going to be a little more up-tempo, which requires everybody's attention. It's going to be a great game. I think they're going to come out fired up."

Notebook: Teammates happy for Ngata Evans rests his ankle

OWINGS MILLS – Haloti Ngata was treated like a large, prosperous bank by his teammates one day after he struck gold with his five-year, $61 million contract.


Ngata's teammates don't begrudge him his financial status. "It's money well-spent," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "He's a once-in-a-decade player. It was weird because we usually have no interest in another guy's contract. When we got the news, everyone was all fired up. It was kind of like a team thing because that' s how big he is to the organization." Under general manager Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens have built a tradition of locking up core players with long-term contracts.

Ngata is just the latest, following outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, middle linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed. The next three players likely on the Ravens' negotiating agenda, quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and offensive guard Ben Grubbs. Rice and Grubbs' rookie deals expire after this season, and Flacco is under contract through the 2012 season. "There's no secret," Lewis said. "I think our organization does a great job in handling those guys. Ozzie does a great job in talking to those guys personally, to kind of let them know where they're at. I think everybody knew what the food chain is, what the priorities of what we're trying to get done is. I think Joe and Ray know what's coming up next for them."

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has said the Ravens will address Flacco after this season. Flacco complained earlier this year about the fact that he hasn't already been signed, a decision that Newsome communicated to his representatives in February at the NFL scouting combine. "It's great for Haloti to get a great deal and I think hopefully in the future, all of us are going get a new deal," Flacco said. "I don't think going ahead into this season, I am not going to think about it. I am just glad for Haloti right now. I am not really thinking about myself."

In April, Flacco said he was disappointed at the Ravens' stance toward him. "You would think either you know that you like me or you don't like me," he said. "I think if you like me you would. We'll see what happens a year from now. I would much prefer that we get something done right now because in a year from now I'm going to be thinking, 'Hey, they already made me play one year without another contract what's the harm in playing another year and seeing what happens after that?'" With one Pro Bowl selection in three seasons, Rice expressed confidence that he'll remain a Raven in the future.

"I firmly believe that I am going to be here for a while," he said. " I really try not to worry about that kind of stuff, obviously, during the season. I have the right guy, my agent, and the organization will definitely take care of that whether it's right now or after the season. My job right now is to play football." Meanwhile, the Ravens are still celebrating being able to hold onto Ngata. The 6-foot-4, 330-pounder is one of the most athletic, disruptive defensive linemen in the league.

"It's big, it sets the personality of the defense," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We can be a dominant defense in a lot of ways because he's that presence in the middle. They always say you want to be strong up the middle, and we're pretty strong up the middle." Ngata was selected in the first round with the 12th overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft, following other defensive gems like Lewis, Reed and Suggs.

"What's been accomplished here, it starts with the draft," Harbaugh said "These guys are all guys who were drafted that the Ravens decided to hold onto rather than let walk out of the building. They decided we're going to establish a great defense here and we're going to maintain a great defense.

"Now, you have the personality for a football team and for an organization. That's really important. Everybody in the building would agree with that." Significantly richer with $27.1 million in compensation this season instead of the $12.476 million he was scheduled to make as the Ravens' franchise player, Ngata is relieved that the negotiations are over. "I don't have to worry about it throughout the season," Ngata said. "I don't have to worry about getting injured and worry about my performance. I can just go out there and play the game I want to play."

"Hopefully, I can do a great job and help lead this defense and this team and whatever I need to do and get some wins. All the guys are going to be looking at this and seeing that with the Ravens, if you produce, you are going to stay around here for a while. I think they see that, and I think it helps those guys want to work more and more."

Ngata already has recorded 10 tackles, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two pass deflections that were intercepted by teammates in two games this season. "He's the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL, so that means in the world," Suggs said. "His play last year helped me a lot. The kid's dedication and his physical ability is just amazing. You got to tip your hat to him. He's worth every penny.

"There are very few players in the NFL that can be considered Ravens. The ones they think are Ravens, they tend to keep here. Haloti is one, myself, Ed Reed, Ray, Marshal [Yanda], all those guys. They do a good job of keeping guys with that Ravens identity here."

EVANS RESTING: Ravens starting wide receiver Lee Evans rested his injured left ankle Wednesday and plans to return to practice today. Evans' ankle has been bothering him since the preseason and he appears to lack his usual explosiveness, catching only two passes for 45 yards.

"It is limiting," Evans said. "I'm not 100 percent, so it does limit some of the things I can do. In the same breath, I'm able to do certain things effectively. " I think you try to capitalize on that and try to protect it as much as you can, but it's hard in a game. You've got to play the game, and you're not always comfortable doing that." Evans acknowledged that sitting out Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams is a possibility even though that's not his preference.

"We know that rest is one of the biggest things for it, which is why we try to approach the week the way we do," Evans said. "We also want to be smart and not have the thing linger throughout the whole season. If we can get it to a point where we can rest it and still play on Sunday, and play effectively, then that's the way to go." Evans said the injury is different from the one he sustained last year when he was with the Buffalo Bills. "It wasn't like one hit or one thing," Evans said. "It's hard to pinpoint exactly what caused it or whatever. It's different types of muscles involved, pain, everything. It's completely different.

"They told me it couldn't get worse, but the bottom line is to try and get better. That's really where we're trying to get to. But yeah, running on it or anything, it's not where I can damage my femur or something by running on it." The Ravens have several injured players that coach John Harbaugh is concerned about in terms of whether their health is limiting their effectiveness. That includes Evans and cornerback Domonique Foxworth.

"Sometimes as a coach, you have to say, ‘You know what? Let's get this thing right, get you healthy so you can come back and play at your very best," Harbaugh said. "And that's where we are with some of those guys right now. They may step up this week because they've been getting rehab all along, and they may feel good and they may be able to go, but they may not. We'll just have to see how they feel."

Should Evans be sidelined Sunday, the Ravens would likely start a rookie. Second-round draft pick Torrey Smith would be the top candidate over Tandon Doss and undrafted rookie LaQuan Williams. None of the rookies have caught a pass in an NFL regular-season game.

"We've got a lot of confidence in those guys," Harbaugh said. "It's always a question of how guys are going to transfer practice to the game, but they've been practicing well. They make plays out here, so we expect them to do it in games." Smith has played in both games while Doss has been inactive for both games primarily due to his lack of special-teams acumen. "You always expect to be up," Doss said. "Someone has to go in the third receiver spot and hopefully I get that job. I need to make plays when my name is called. It's a little frustrating. Hopefully, my time comes soon."

GRUBBS STILL HURT: Several other players didn't practice Wednesday, including offensive guard Ben Grubbs. Grubbs has an injured right toe and said he'll be a game-time decision Sunday after missing the Ravens' loss to the Tennessee Titans. Grubbs said he bruised his toe and strained some ligaments.

"I did a lot to it," Grubbs said. "Each day, I'm getting better. It's not going as fast as I would like to go, but I am making improvements. Hopefully, I'll be out there as soon as possible. Grubbs said it's not a long-term injury. "I'm making progress," Grubbs said. "It will probably be a game-time decision. You can't push off. It's as simple as that. If I can't push off, then I can't play." Grubbs had played in 65 consecutive games until being sidelined last Sunday. "It was hard, I didn't know how to take it," Grubbs said. "There were a lot of emotions. It was hard to see my guys out there playing without me."

With the swelling Grubbs has been dealing with, he's now finally able to wear a normal shoe. "I'm able to fit it inside of a shoe, so that's good," Grubbs said. "I'm able to walk properly without favoring it, so that's a big step for me. Hopefully, the next step will be running and pushing off, and hopefully I can do all that before Sunday." Also not practicing: center Matt Birk (left knee), wide receiver David Reed (left shoulder), cornerback Jimmy Smith (left ankle), nose guard Terrence Cody (concussion) and defensive end Cory Redding (toe).

Birk had a sleeve on his left leg. Smith is regarded as unlikely to return until after the bye week, if not longer. He's off crutches, but is still limping noticeably. Not practicing for St. Louis: running back Steven Jackson (strained left quadriceps), linebacker Ben Leber (groin), wide receiver Danny Amendola (dislocated left elbow), running back Cadillac Williams (hamstring) and defensive end C.J. Ah You (wrist).

Wide receiver Greg Salas (ribs) and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (calf) were limited in practice. NO SURGERY FOR REED: David Reed said he's unlikely to have surgery on his injured left shoulder.

The wide receiver and kick returner's left arm is in a sling after getting hurt covering a kickoff against the Titans.

"Nah, we're trying not to go for surgery because that would mean that I would be out longer," Reed said today. "I'm trying to avoid that as much as possible. Hopefully, it will just settle down after a week. And I'll be able to start strengthening it and everything." Reed characterized the hit as over the line. "I was on the kickoff team and he cheap-shotted me and took me out," Reed said. "It was after the whistle blew and everything." Reed returned a kickoff 77 yards against the Titans before getting hurt. The former fifth-round draft pick from Utah missed time during the preseason after undergoing offseason wrist surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. Then, he served a one-game suspension to begin this season for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.

"This is the most injuries I've ever had in my life," Reed said "I was never an injury-prone guy. It's very upsetting. I've just got to pray on it. And it's part of the game. Hey, it's a rough game. I've just got to keep playing." It's worth noting that Reed is very undersized to be a wedge-buster, lining up as an L5 on the kickoff team next to kicker Billy Cundiff. "I'm fast so I can get around the guys pretty easy," he said. "It is a tough position. I also got hurt playing that position last year. We'll see."

SOLVING OHER OFFSIDES PROBLEM: Offensive tackle Michael Oher is determined to solve his chronic habit of jumping offsides after committing eight false starts last season to lead the team. The former first-round draft pick had a pair of false starts against the Titans, which Harbaugh characterized as illogical and emphasized that Oher doesn't need to try to get off to such a quick start at the line of scrimmage. "Just get it done, get it taken care of," Oher said when asked what he's doing to correct the issue. "That's all it takes. I'm trying to do the best thing that's going to help me team. Everything I do is to help my team. I got to get it fixed."

RAVENS RE-SIGN SILVA: The Ravens brought back safety Mana Silva to the practice squad. The undrafted free agent from Hawaii was cut from the practice squad when the Ravens signed former Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle to the eight-man practice squad. The Ravens had an opening when cornerback Danny Gorrer was promoted to the active roster Saturday as inside linebacker Jason Phillips was released. Silva tried out for the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos after being cut by the Ravens, but wasn't signed.

"It feels good to be back," he said. "This is where I wanted to be all along. It's always tough when you don't know what's going to happen." QUICK HITS: Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs joked that he might borrow a page from the New York Giants' defensive playbook and fake an injury against the Rams. "That's a great tactic, I may do it," Suggs said. "If it works, it works. Don't be surprised if you see 55 get a little hammy, I might break it out." … Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness for pouncing on Flacco after the quarterback recovered a fumble. Morgan plans to appeal the fine. "I couldn't stop myself in the air," Morgan told Tennessee reporters. "If I really wanted to take a dirty shot on him, I would've made it count. It wasn't anything malicious. He's not a quarterback when he is trying to get the ball." OWINGS MILLS – The football quickly left the fingertips of Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck last Sunday, often leaving the Baltimore Ravens' secondary flatfooted and unable to react in time. Now, the Ravens' defense is about to square off with another quarterback determined to run in super speed.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford adeptly ran the no-huddle offense in a Monday night loss to the New York Giants, passing for a career-high 331 yards as he completed 22 of 46 passes for one touchdown and no interceptions.

"He looks like a veteran quarterback," Ravens free safety Ed Reed said. "You give him some time, and he shows some potential. He throws the ball around. He's going to be somebody to reckon with in the next couple of years, even now." One week removed from allowing Hasselbeck to pass for 358 yards and a touchdown on 30 of 42 accuracy as he connected with wide receiver Kenny Britt nine times for 135 yards, the Ravens have to contend with the Rams' high-octane style. And Bradford might be young, but the former top overall draft pick from Oklahoma has size, arm strength and talent.

"I think he's phenomenally talented, he shows that he can make the decisions," Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "He's even got them doing the no huddle. You put a quarterback in the no-huddle, he's making great decisions, identifying the defense. That's key." Bradford has completed 39 of 76 throws for 519 yards, one touchdown and no interception for a 77.7 passer rating. He's been sacked six times and lost two fumbles.

As a rookie last year, Bradford passed for a respectable 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Now, he's doing bigger things while playing for a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels. He doesn't seem like the type that gets intimidated even while dealing with substandard pass protection and a receiving corps that's missing injured wide receivers Danny Amendola and Mark Clayton.

"It says he's really smart," Ravens coach John Harbaugh when asked what it means that Bradford is already running the no-huddle offense in his second NFL season. "You can tell there are some things he's still learning in Josh's offense., but he's a smart guy. He's an elite quarterback talent-wise.

"He's young. I think he's going to be one of the premier guys. Our challenge is going to be to make him look young. We need to see that part of it because it's there, but that's easier said than done."

Especially considering how vulnerable the Ravens were against the Titans. They have fallen to 28th in the league in passing defense, surrendering 302 passing yards per contest.

They also rank 22nd in total defense, fourth in rushing defense and 16th in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 38 ½ percent of third downs.

Most of the damage Sunday was done by Hasselbeck and the Titans' quick-strike offense as the Ravens bottled up star running back Chris Johnson. "They had a great game plan, we made adjustments, but it was a little too late," Reed said. "They made more plays than we did, and we didn't make any. We've got to play better technique. We had some technique stuff and little technical breakdowns that we just gave plays away. "It's a matter of really knocking out your technique and being cautious with what you do out on the field. You've got to know what you're doing out there."

Added cornerback Lardarius Webb: "Everything we did was easily correctable. We gave up a lot of deep balls on minor things. We can stop that." As far as All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis is concerned, the Ravens can't play passively. Even if it's a three-step or two-step drop, they've got to harass the quarterback. The Ravens never sacked Hasselbeck. "Simple, you come out and you don't let him do those things," Lewis said. "You either blitz him or put your hands on him, you do whatever you have to do. To let a person with that much veteran experience sit back and do some of the things that he was able to do, whether it was quick steps or not, someone has to take a risk and jump one of those quick routes and make them stop doing that. "If you don't, most quarterbacks understand Cover 1, Cover 4, Cover 3, so they know where to go with the ball. It's not as complicated as we make it sometimes. You really have to get him off the spot."

In his time in the league, the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has seen many quarterbacks come and go. He's convinced that Bradford is a special breed. "I like the things that he does as a young kid," Lewis said. "He's more athletic than people think he is. He can really run around, but he's very accurate with where he wants to place the ball. When you watch his progression, you see that he really understands the game."

And the Ravens are literally hamstrung at cornerback with veteran Chris Carr having missed this past game after aggravating his left hamstring injury in the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's expected to return this week and practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Meanwhile, cornerback Domonique Foxworth is still slowed by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered a year ago. And rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith, the Ravens' first-round draft pick, is still limping around with a left high-ankle sprain.

"It's impacting us now, just preparing," Reed said. Reed said getting shredded by the Titans could help prepare the Ravens for the Rams' approach. "It's going to be interesting, playing last week helped us out a lot," Reed said. "It's just going to be a little more up-tempo, which requires everybody's attention. It's going to be a great game. I think they're going to come out fired up." .

Notebook: Teammates happy for Ngata Evans rests his ankle

OWINGS MILLS – Haloti Ngata was treated like a large, prosperous bank by his teammates one day after he struck gold with his five-year, $61 million contract. The Baltimore Ravens' All-Pro defensive tackle received a $25 million signing bonus, and is due $40 million during the first two years of the lucrative pact. "Nobody asked me for a loan," Ngata said. "They just asked me to give them money. There's no loan in it."

Ngata's teammates don't begrudge him his financial status.

Under general manager Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens have built a tradition of locking up core players with long-term contracts. Ngata is just the latest, following outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, middle linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed. The next three players likely on the Ravens' negotiating agenda, quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and offensive guard Ben Grubbs.

Rice and Grubbs' rookie deals expire after this season, and Flacco is under contract through the 2012 season.

"There's no secret," Lewis said. "I think our organization does a great job in handling those guys. Ozzie does a great job in talking to those guys personally, to kind of let them know where they're at. I think everybody knew what the food chain is, what the priorities of what we're trying to get done is. I think Joe and Ray know what's coming up next for them."

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has said the Ravens will address Flacco after this season. Flacco complained earlier this year about the fact that he hasn't already been signed, a decision that Newsome communicated to his representatives in February at the NFL scouting combine. "It's great for Haloti to get a great deal and I think hopefully in the future, all of us are going get a new deal," Flacco said. "I don't think going ahead into this season, I am not going to think about it. I am just glad for Haloti right now. I am not really thinking about myself."

In April, Flacco said he was disappointed at the Ravens' stance toward him. "You would think either you know that you like me or you don't like me," he said. "I think if you like me you would. We'll see what happens a year from now. I would much prefer that we get something done right now because in a year from now I'm going to be thinking, 'Hey, they already made me play one year without another contract what's the harm in playing another year and seeing what happens after that?'" With one Pro Bowl selection in three seasons, Rice expressed confidence that he'll remain a Raven in the future.

"I firmly believe that I am going to be here for a while," he said. " I really try not to worry about that kind of stuff, obviously, during the season. I have the right guy, my agent, and the organization will definitely take care of that whether it's right now or after the season. My job right now is to play football."

Meanwhile, the Ravens are still celebrating being able to hold onto Ngata. The 6-foot-4, 330-pounder is one of the most athletic, disruptive defensive linemen in the league.

"It's big, it sets the personality of the defense," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We can be a dominant defense in a lot of ways because he's that presence in the middle. They always say you want to be strong up the middle, and we're pretty strong up the middle." Ngata was selected in the first round with the 12th overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft, following other defensive gems like Lewis, Reed and Suggs.

"What's been accomplished here, it starts with the draft," Harbaugh said "These guys are all guys who were drafted that the Ravens decided to hold onto rather than let walk out of the building. They decided we're going to establish a great defense here and we're going to maintain a great defense.

"Now, you have the personality for a football team and for an organization. That's really important. Everybody in the building would agree with that."

Significantly richer with $27.1 million in compensation this season instead of the $12.476 million he was scheduled to make as the Ravens' franchise player, Ngata is relieved that the negotiations are over. "I don't have to worry about it throughout the season," Ngata said. "I don't have to worry about getting injured and worry about my performance. I can just go out there and play the game I want to play."

"Hopefully, I can do a great job and help lead this defense and this team and whatever I need to do and get some wins. All the guys are going to be looking at this and seeing that with the Ravens, if you produce, you are going to stay around here for a while. I think they see that, and I think it helps those guys want to work more and more."

Ngata already has recorded 10 tackles, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two pass deflections that were intercepted by teammates in two games this season.

"He's the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL, so that means in the world," Suggs said. "His play last year helped me a lot. The kid's dedication and his physical ability is just amazing. You got to tip your hat to him. He's worth every penny.

"There are very few players in the NFL that can be considered Ravens. The ones they think are Ravens, they tend to keep here. Haloti is one, myself, Ed Reed, Ray, Marshal [Yanda], all those guys. They do a good job of keeping guys with that Ravens identity here."

EVANS RESTING: Ravens starting wide receiver Lee Evans rested his injured left ankle Wednesday and plans to return to practice today. Evans' ankle has been bothering him since the preseason and he appears to lack his usual explosiveness, catching only two passes for 45 yards.

"It is limiting," Evans said. "I'm not 100 percent, so it does limit some of the things I can do. In the same breath, I'm able to do certain things effectively.

" I think you try to capitalize on that and try to protect it as much as you can, but it's hard in a game. You've got to play the game, and you're not always comfortable doing that." Evans acknowledged that sitting out Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams is a possibility even though that's not his preference.

"We know that rest is one of the biggest things for it, which is why we try to approach the week the way we do," Evans said. "We also want to be smart and not have the thing linger throughout the whole season. If we can get it to a point where we can rest it and still play on Sunday, and play effectively, then that's the way to go." Evans said the injury is different from the one he sustained last year when he was with the Buffalo Bills.

"It wasn't like one hit or one thing," Evans said. "It's hard to pinpoint exactly what caused it or whatever. It's different types of muscles involved, pain, everything. It's completely different.

"They told me it couldn't get worse, but the bottom line is to try and get better. That's really where we're trying to get to. But yeah, running on it or anything, it's not where I can damage my femur or something by running on it." The Ravens have several injured players that coach John Harbaugh is concerned about in terms of whether their health is limiting their effectiveness. That includes Evans and cornerback Domonique Foxworth.

"Sometimes as a coach, you have to say, ‘You know what? Let's get this thing right, get you healthy so you can come back and play at your very best," Harbaugh said. "And that's where we are with some of those guys right now. They may step up this week because they've been getting rehab all along, and they may feel good and they may be able to go, but they may not. We'll just have to see how they feel."

Should Evans be sidelined Sunday, the Ravens would likely start a rookie. Second-round draft pick Torrey Smith would be the top candidate over Tandon Doss and undrafted rookie LaQuan Williams. None of the rookies have caught a pass in an NFL regular-season game.

"We've got a lot of confidence in those guys," Harbaugh said. "It's always a question of how guys are going to transfer practice to the game, but they've been practicing well. They make plays out here, so we expect them to do it in games." Smith has played in both games while Doss has been inactive for both games primarily due to his lack of special-teams acumen.

"You always expect to be up," Doss said. "Someone has to go in the third receiver spot and hopefully I get that job. I need to make plays when my name is called. It's a little frustrating. Hopefully, my time comes soon."

GRUBBS STILL HURT: Several other players didn't practice Wednesday, including offensive guard Ben Grubbs.

Grubbs has an injured right toe and said he'll be a game-time decision Sunday after missing the Ravens' loss to the Tennessee Titans. Grubbs said he bruised his toe and strained some ligaments.

"I did a lot to it," Grubbs said. "Each day, I'm getting better. It's not going as fast as I would like to go, but I am making improvements. Hopefully, I'll be out there as soon as possible. Grubbs said it's not a long-term injury. "I'm making progress," Grubbs said. "It will probably be a game-time decision. You can't push off. It's as simple as that. If I can't push off, then I can't play."

Grubbs had played in 65 consecutive games until being sidelined last Sunday. "It was hard, I didn't know how to take it," Grubbs said. "There were a lot of emotions. It was hard to see my guys out there playing without me."

With the swelling Grubbs has been dealing with, he's now finally able to wear a normal shoe.

"I'm able to fit it inside of a shoe, so that's good," Grubbs said. "I'm able to walk properly without favoring it, so that's a big step for me. Hopefully, the next step will be running and pushing off, and hopefully I can do all that before Sunday."

Also not practicing: center Matt Birk (left knee), wide receiver David Reed (left shoulder), cornerback Jimmy Smith (left ankle), nose guard Terrence Cody (concussion) and defensive end Cory Redding (toe).

Birk had a sleeve on his left leg. Smith is regarded as unlikely to return until after the bye week, if not longer. He's off crutches, but is still limping noticeably. Not practicing for St. Louis: running back Steven Jackson (strained left quadriceps), linebacker Ben Leber (groin), wide receiver Danny Amendola (dislocated left elbow), running back Cadillac Williams (hamstring) and defensive end C.J. Ah You (wrist).

Wide receiver Greg Salas (ribs) and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (calf) were limited in practice.

NO SURGERY FOR REED: David Reed said he's unlikely to have surgery on his injured left shoulder. The wide receiver and kick returner's left arm is in a sling after getting hurt covering a kickoff against the Titans.

"Nah, we're trying not to go for surgery because that would mean that I would be out longer," Reed said today. "I'm trying to avoid that as much as possible. Hopefully, it will just settle down after a week. And I'll be able to start strengthening it and everything."

Reed characterized the hit as over the line. "I was on the kickoff team and he cheap-shotted me and took me out," Reed said. "It was after the whistle blew and everything."

Reed returned a kickoff 77 yards against the Titans before getting hurt.

The former fifth-round draft pick from Utah missed time during the preseason after undergoing offseason wrist surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. Then, he served a one-game suspension to begin this season for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.

"This is the most injuries I've ever had in my life," Reed said "I was never an injury-prone guy. It's very upsetting. I've just got to pray on it. And it's part of the game. Hey, it's a rough game. I've just got to keep playing." It's worth noting that Reed is very undersized to be a wedge-buster, lining up as an L5 on the kickoff team next to kicker Billy Cundiff. "I'm fast so I can get around the guys pretty easy," he said. "It is a tough position. I also got hurt playing that position last year. We'll see."

SOLVING OHER OFFSIDES PROBLEM: Offensive tackle Michael Oher is determined to solve his chronic habit of jumping offsides after committing eight false starts last season to lead the team. The former first-round draft pick had a pair of false starts against the Titans, which Harbaugh characterized as illogical and emphasized that Oher doesn't need to try to get off to such a quick start at the line of scrimmage.

"Just get it done, get it taken care of," Oher said when asked what he's doing to correct the issue. "That's all it takes. I'm trying to do the best thing that's going to help me team. Everything I do is to help my team. I got to get it fixed."

RAVENS RE-SIGN SILVA: The Ravens brought back safety Mana Silva to the practice squad. The undrafted free agent from Hawaii was cut from the practice squad when the Ravens signed former Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle to the eight-man practice squad.

The Ravens had an opening when cornerback Danny Gorrer was promoted to the active roster Saturday as inside linebacker Jason Phillips was released. Silva tried out for the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos after being cut by the Ravens, but wasn't signed.

"It feels good to be back," he said. "This is where I wanted to be all along. It's always tough when you don't know what's going to happen."

QUICK HITS: Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs joked that he might borrow a page from the New York Giants' defensive playbook and fake an injury against the Rams. "That's a great tactic, I may do it," Suggs said. "If it works, it works. Don't be surprised if you see 55 get a little hammy, I might break it out."

Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness for pouncing on Flacco after the quarterback recovered a fumble. Morgan plans to appeal the fine. "I couldn't stop myself in the air," Morgan told Tennessee reporters. "If I really wanted to take a dirty shot on him, I would've made it count. It wasn't anything malicious. He's not a quarterback when he is trying to get the ball."

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has recovered from a bruised finger. "No, it's something of the past, really didn't bother me at all on Monday night, and I really haven't had any soreness from that game," Bradford said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "So, I think that's something that I've moved past now.""

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