Ravens Update

Ravens gearing up to stop the New York Jets' running game

FINKSBURG – Regardless of the state or style of their opponents' offense, the Baltimore Ravens' defensive agenda doesn't change much. They want to stonewall the running game, and force them to become a one-dimensional attack. That includes the New York Jets' running back tandem of Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson heading into Sunday night's game at M&T Bank Stadium.

"We've got to stop that run first," All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said Tuesday during an NFL Play 60 event at Sandy Mount Elementary. "They have two great running backs there. If we can stop them early, we can get to Mark Sanchez and disrupt them in the passing game." However, the Jets' running game isn't nearly as formidable as it was a year ago when Tomlinson rushed for 914 yards as Greene gained 766 yards. The Jets have slid to 25th in rushing, averaging 82 yards on the ground per contest as Greene has gained just 134 yards on 41 carries for a 3.3 average per rush. And Tomlinson has rushed for only 62 yards on 17 carries, but ranks second on the team in receptions with 12 catches for 196 yards. Traditionally, though, Greene provides a bruising presence while Tomlinson is a true all-purpose back.

"They have two different styles," Ngata said. "We have to recognize who's back there and get them down as fast as we can."

The Ravens rank sixth in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 84 yards per game. Part of that success is accounting for what kind of runners they're squaring off against. "Every week, it's a two-headed dragon in the opposing backfield," defensive end Cory Redding said. "There's always one who's powerful, and one with speed. You have to adjust and play even harder."

The Jets' running game has been affected by the absence of Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold due to a high-ankle sprain. Mangold is a question mark for this week after being sidelined for the Jets' loss to the Oakland Raiders.

"He's definitely their leader on the line," Ngata said. "He slides them the right way usually and gives them the right protection for different blitzes. I think it might be tough for him. That's one of the reasons why Oakland was able to get to their backfield more often." The Ravens began last season by containing the Jets' running backs during a 10-9 victory in the Meadowlands. During that game, Tomlinson rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries and Greene gained just 18 yards on five carries.

"It's a physical game," Ngata said. "Last year, it was a physical, low-scoring game. Hopefully, we can come out with a win again.

Notebook: Ravens crank up pass rush against Rams

FINKSBURG – It was the perfect storm for the Baltimore Ravens' defensive line Sunday. The offense had built a commanding lead, and the front seven could just tee off on St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.

The Ravens wound up with five sacks during their 37-7 victory, substituting liberally on the defensive line as starters Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody and Cory Redding were able to get a break. The Ravens played rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee and Paul Kruger as well as backup interior defensive linemen Arthur Jones and Brandon McKinney.

"This is the first time in a long time that we had all of our defensive line up," defensive end Cory Redding said Tuesday during an NFL Play 60 event at Sandymount Elementary. "We had three fresh guys coming in and three tired guys going out. When you have that type of rotation, you can stay fresh and put a lot of heat on the quarterback."

Redding and McPhee both recorded sacks, and Ngata returned a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown off a Ray Lewis sack and forced fumble. Redding finished with three quarterback hits and two tackles for losses.

A 21-0 first-quarter lead provided a big advantage as the Rams were forced to throw. "The biggest factor probably is what it does for your defense, it forces them into a situation where they've got to drop back and throw the ball a little more, which allows you to be a little more aggressive with your blitz packages," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Those are the things that you shoot for."

CELEBRATION: Lewis flipped violently to the ground when he tried to jump on Ngata to celebrate his touchdown. It was a subject of amusement for the Ravens' during their video review of the game Monday since Lewis wasn't hurt.

"His body went too high over my shoulder and I tipped him over," Ngata said. "It was overexcitement. He's definitely got to work on that." In his 16th season, Lewis' enthusiasm for a big play hasn't waned.

"It seems like the guy never gets old, jumping on people's necks and flying around," Redding said. "Haloti happened to move and he flipped over. It doesn't hurt at all when you score."

LONG RUN: Backup running back Ricky Williams turned in his longest run of the season, bursting upfield for 28 yards against the Rams. He finished with 42 yards on five carries.

"For me, it's a matter of getting into a rhythm," Williams said. "As the season unfolds, we'll run the ball more and we'll figure out the rotation. It's a young season. I'm new here. We're still trying to figure out how we're going to go. Like coach Harbaugh says, we want to play our best football in December." Williams is familiar with the New York Jets' aggressive style of play from his days in the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins. "It's a tough game always," he said. "They have an exciting defense. They throw a lot of looks at you. It's going to be great game, an incredible atmosphere on Sunday night. I'm looking forward to it."

Rice is expecting an intense game against the Jets' defense, which features former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott as their defensive leader.

"It's always fun facing them guys," Rice said. "For me, it's like facing our defense. The mentality is like the Ravens. It's going to be a pretty sight to see on Sunday night. It's going to be electric."

PLAY 60: Ngata, running back Ray Rice, Redding, punter Sam Koch and Williams attended the Carroll County Play 60/Project ACES program to promote daily exercise and good nutrition habits.

"You can get to the younger guys at an early age and put that in their minds," Ngata said. "Hopefully, we can get this thing going and help them live healthier lives."

Ngata and the Ravens were the special guests at an assembly for over 500 students.

"I wish growing up I had this kind of stuff," Rice said. "I'm a big kid now. To be involved, it brings back memories. Eating healthy and staying active, this is one of the NFL's greatest programs. I get to see eye to eye with these kids, literally. I can scoot down low with them, get down with them, laugh with them and joke with them."

Students will track their physical activity during the program, which includes 26 elementary schools in Carroll County.

"This is like playing with my kids," Koch said. "You want to entice them to figure out new things, whether it's inside or outside to get yourself out there and play."

"I love to see the faces of the kids," Redding said. "It's a good time."

Two winners, one girl and one boy, will be invited to the Ravens' Thanksgiving game against the San Francisco 49ers and will be recognized on the field before kickoff.

"As our society has evolved, we've become more sedentary," Williams said. "This offsets the fact that people sit in front of their computers and play video games all day. This gives you a chance to have that balance and grow."

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