Ravens Update

Ray Rice: "I definitely expect to be more involved'

OWINGS MILLS – Ray Rice isn't holding a grudge, and he isn't dwelling on how he wasn't utilized much during the Baltimore Ravens' shocking defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars. And the Pro Bowl running back denied that he was benched, also shooting down speculation that he got into an argument with running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery.

Although he has no plans to lobby offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Rice expects to be touching the football a lot more in the future after rushing for only 28 yards on eight carries with one lost fumble during the Ravens' 12-7 road loss Monday night.

"I definitely expect to be more involved," Rice said. "My involvement with this offense hasn't changed since the beginning of the season, I don't want Cam and them to feel like they've got to force me the ball. I'm not that kind of guy. My carries come when the whole offense has success. I look forward to having that success. "We're not going to ignore the fact it happened. We didn't execute I don't want to make it seem like I'm begging for carries. At the same time, I do know when we're getting first downs I touch the ball."

It was the fewest yards and carries for Rice since an Oct. 3, 2010 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And his fumble was his first in 522 regular-season touches, a span that led the NFL and marked back to December of 2009.

Rice went a long stretch after not playing and he looked upset on the sideline, but he said it wasn't because of being benched or any confrontation with Montgomery, who's known as an easy-going position coach.

"I was just trying to find a groove. I was not taken out," Rice said. "Me and Wilbert Montgomery did not get into any altercation. I was in those series. We were just trying to find a groove. There was no play-calling issues, there were no issues on the sideline.

"We were just trying to find the answers to move the ball. It had nothing to do with me and the fumble. It had everything to do with us trying to find the answer to get to the next drive." Rice's reduced role in the offense got magnified when outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said he was baffled that Rice didn't get the ball more, as well as wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Suggs didn't change his stance on those issues, but acknowledged he was emotional after the game.

"We were just frustrated," Suggs said. "We have to do the things that we win with. We have a pretty chance of winning when those guys touch the ball. That's all I really meant by it. You all can take it however the way you all want to. "There's really no big deal about that. We're a great team when those guys get the ball. That's what I meant. We have to take our hats off to Jacksonville. They went out there and they played a very physical game. They won the game, but we can't give them any help. That's what I meant by it."

Added Rice: "He was outspoken about it, but I definitely know that my carries will come when the offense has success. If w were getting first downs, I'm sure I was going to get my carries. I wasn't really too concerned about it." Still, the Ravens managed to not gain a single first down in the first half. They gained only 16 yards of total offense in the first half, a franchise worst.

Rice has rushed for 426 yards on 97 carries this season, scoring two touchdowns. And he has caught 26 passes for 337 yards and two scores, easily establishing himself as the Ravens' most versatile and pivotal offensive player.

"He can run the ball and catch out of the backfield, too," offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "Definitely, I prefer that we run the ball. You wear them down throughout the course of the game and it slows down the pass rush eventually. I believe we'll crank things back up. I'm looking forward to getting things going this next game." One reason the Ravens abandoned the run was a lack of yardage when they did run the ball on first downs.

"We want to be effective," center Matt Birk said. "We weren't effective running the ball, especially on first down. We want to be balanced and not have to tip your hand on if you're going to run or pass."

Rice doesn't have a reputation for fumbling. And this was an unusual one considering he ran into the back of offensive guard Marshal Yanda during the Ravens' third possession of the game. A subsequent fumble by Rice was nullified when an instant replay ruling determined that he was down by contact before losing the football. "I wasn't stripped, I ran into the back of a lineman and it came out," Rice said. "The second time, my knee hit the ground and the ball hit me in the chest. I knew I was down.

"It was frustrating that it happened, but at the same time, I'm a player in this league and I know that ball security hasn't been an issue for me. I'm looking forward to getting it back next week." Rice said he preferred to discuss Sunday's opponent, the one-win Arizona Cardinals. And Rice emphasized that he has no intentions of creating any controversies by playing the blame game, preferring to be a unifying force in the locker room.

"I'm going to be one of the guys that brings this offense back together," Rice said. "I'm not going to be the guy to point fingers. We're all in this together. We were all there Monday night and we know what happened, we didn't execute. That's going to be me getting more carries. Going forward, I'm positive we'll be more successful."

Notebook: Pollard doesn't expect to be fined

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens hard-hitting strong safety Bernard Pollard doesn't think he'll be punished by the league office for his crushing shot on Jacksonville Jaguars running back Deji Karim that drew a personal foul penalty. And the questionable call, which was described as a helmet-to-helmet collision with a defenseless player, appeared to be a case of Pollard leading with his shoulder.

"I don't think I'll get fined," Pollard said. "Guys that got fined, they got their letters.. I don't think I'll be getting a FedEx." Penalized for unnecessary roughness during the Ravens' 12-7 road defeat Monday night, Pollard took aim at the extreme point of emphasis on regulating contact.

"With these rules they're putting in, you're going to get guys hurt because now when you tell a guy, ‘We know you can't hit in the head, but don't hit in the chest either,' what everybody is going to start doing is going after people's knees because you've got to bring them down some way, somehow," Pollard said. "When you get those hits on the knees, you're going to have some guys going out. Are they going to make this flag football?

"I think with the rules they're implementing, we've got to be ready as defenders. We respond, and we react to them. We all know and understand that we cannot take the face shots because you've got the concussions and everything else. But you can't shut us off and tell us that we can't hit the chest or we can't lean in with our shoulder and hit them in the shoulder or chest." When Pollard was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, his lunging hit on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knocked him out for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

And the NFL adopted the so-called Tom Brady rule that outlawed striking quarterbacks in the lower leg. Pollard said he has no intentions of changing his approach to the game.

"I know how to tackle.," he said. "At the end of the day, the league is trying to protect players. At the same time, this is a sport that's violent. You can't say, 'Well, go get in a car crash, but be careful.' You can't do that. So, we all know and understand this is a car wreck every single play.

"We know how to take care of our bodies as far as what's a violent shot and what's a necessary violent shot. Football is football. If you ask me to go do it again this Sunday, I'm doing the same thing. So, they're either going to keep flagging us or they're going to have to do something about this rule." A portion of Pollard's facemask made contact with Karim's facemask.

Still, the Ravens stand behind Pollard with middle linebacker Ray Lewis saying the NFL should augment its use of instant replay to include defensive hits.

"I just think every man needs to be held accountable for whatever call they make," Lewis said. "If you review so many other plays, review that one, too. That's so big in that game, and every man makes a mistake. I went to him as a man and said, ‘There's no way you can make that call physically with your eyes.' I promised him that he had made the wrong call. So for him to say, ‘I promise you that call was right,' that's the part of the game that takes away from the pureness of the way defense is played, how aggressive defenses play.

"When the ball is in the man's hands, how else can you make a better hit than what Pollard made on that play? That's what football is. That's the essence of football from a defensive side of the ball. If we're reviewing everything else, let's review that one, too, because that shoulder pad and that helmet never even came close to his helmet. I just think all those plays should be reviewed as well."


Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs griped after the game that former Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin wasn't utilized enough.

Boldin caught four passes for 40 yards and the Ravens' lone touchdown. He was targeted a dozen times.

Boldin said he doesn't have a problem with his workload.

"I don't care who touches it as long as we win," Boldin said. "I'm not a guy who goes to a coach and says, 'I need the ball.' Just put it in whoever's hands, I don't really care, as long as we're winning."

Boldin leads the Ravens with 27 receptions for 394 yards and two touchdowns. With the offense, especially offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterback Joe Flacco, drawing heavy criticism, Boldin preached not overreacting.

"There's nothing to worry about," Boldin said. "For us, we know what we're capable of. We go out and we execute. There's no reason to panic."


Free safety Ed Reed and nose guard Terrence Cody both practiced and aren't listed on the injury report after suffering neck stingers against the Jaguars.

"I feel good," Cody said. "I've never had a stinger before. That's why I didn't know what the hell was going on. It went all the way down my arm."

Offensive guard Ben Grubbs (right turf toe) and wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle) didn't practice and weren't even at practice as they were undergoing treatment.

Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstrings, groin) and running back Anthony Allen (thigh) didn't practice. Meanwhile, cornerback Chris Carr (left hamstring) was limited.

Strong safety Tom Zbikowski participated fully in practice and expects to be cleared for contact later this week.

Zbikowski has missed the past two games, but his symptoms have alleviated.

"Yeah, I'm feeling good," Zbikowski said. "Was feeling good by the end of last week, too, but just wanted to be cautious and wasn't quite cleared yet. Just practicing now without contact, keep making sure there's no symptoms and hopefully be ready for Sunday."

Cardinals running back Beanie Wells (knee), linebacker Joey Porter (knee), safety Kerry Rhodes (foot) and wide receiver Early Doucet (quadriceps) didn't practice. Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) was limited and has missed the past few games.

"It's been a real tough adjustment not having him out there," Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "He has such a good feel for the game and understanding of route-running and just being a safety blanket for the quarterback on easy catches and hops and size adjustments.

"So, it's been tough not having him out there. You guys can already guess, he's been busting his hump to try and get back to this game. This is an important game for him to get back to Baltimore, where he spent his first 10 years, and come back and play well."

Todd Heap limited with hamstring injury

OWINGS MILLS -- Hampered by a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past two games, Arizona Cardinals tight end Todd Heap is hoping he'll manage to return for Sunday's game against his old football team: the Baltimore Ravens. Cut by the Ravens for $4.6 million worth of salary-cap reasons and replaced by Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, Heap was in Baltimore for a decade. Now, the former Arizona State star is looking to play a winning role for the one-win Cardinals as he plays for his hometown team.

"I'm taking it day to day right now," Heap told Arizona reporters. "I'm hoping I'll be ready." Heap has caught 13 passes for 150 yards in four games with two starts.

He wasn't expecting to be cut by the Ravens prior to training camp, but quickly signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Cardinals.

"It's something that hit me out of left field," Heap said. "I didn't see it coming," Heap said. "This is one of the games I looked at and was definitely excited about."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he has a lot of respect for Heap.

"I will be happy to see Todd," Harbaugh said. "I like Todd a lot. He is a great guy. I had three good years with him here. He is obviously a big part of the Ravens' tradition and an important part of the Ravens.

"But really, Sunday, to be honest with you, he is going to be a Cardinal. That's how I am looking at it, and that's how our team is looking at it." During a conference call with Arizona reporters, Harbaugh expanded on his thoughts regarding Heap. "Todd, I'm sure, was hoping to finish here," Harbaugh said. "He is so popular in the community. He's just such a good guy.

"I think it was probably hard for him. He just handled it with class and grace, just what you would have expected."

Ravens Insider Top Stories