Ravens Thursday notes

TRAINING ROOM: Tight end Todd Heap remains questionable on the injury report because of an ankle injury that has kept him out for the past nine games. <br><br> However, he practiced again without incident Thursday and there's an outside chance he could be available Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. <br><br> When asked if he was encouraged by Heap's progress, Ravens coach Brian Billick replied: "Very much so."

Meanwhile, the Ravens downgraded offensive tackle Orlando Brown (knee) to doubtful.
One day after running back Jamal Lewis (ankle) declared that he won't play this week -- his foot was in a boot after a practice he didn't take part in -- Billick acknowledged that the initial hope that Lewis might return this week was probably overly ambitious.
When asked when Lewis might return, Billick said: "I have no idea. When the trainers say he's ready to go, he'll go. We can't worry about how long-term these things are unless it takes a medical turn that prompts we do something else.Coming back for Cincinnati was probably ambitious. We'll see how it feels next week."
Lewis joked Thursday, before slipping his foot into the boot, that he could return this week.
"I don't need any practice," Lewis quipped. "I can just show up for the game and rock and roll on Sunday."
The Bengals downgraded safety Rogers Beckett (neck) to doubtful.
EXECUTIVE SEARCH: Both Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and director of player personnel Phil Savage are top-notch candidates for the Cleveland Browns' general manager vacancy.
However, league rules dictate that Newsome, the Hall of Fame tight end with the Browns, couldn't be hired by Cleveland without permission from owner Steve Bisciotti and would involve potential draft-pick compensation. Designated as the team's top decision-maker, Newsome has said he prefers his current job.
As for Savage, who like Newsome is also under contract, he could be hired without compensation because it would be a clear promotion.
"I can certainly understand why people would covet Ozzie Newsome," Billick said. "He's the absolute best in the business. I know where his family lives, so he can go, but they're not. We're very confident that Ozzie's going to remain here.
"Phil Savage, again, like all of your assistants, football and personnel side, when they have the opportunity to step up even though it's a division rival, you're obligated to do everything you can to let people in your organization step up in the industry."
RUNNING GAME HALTED: Since Lewis' two-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, the Ravens have managed to rush for only 318 yards in four games.
The Ravens have slipped to 14th in the NFL in rushing (116.5), averaging 3.9 yards per attempt a year removed from leading the NFL with 167.1 yards per contest.
The offensive line has been shuffled throughout the season because of injuries, and Lewis has missed three games.
"You could say it's that simple, but that can't be the only answer," Billick said. "We have to get back to solidly running the ball whatever the circumstances."
QUICK HIT: In games Lewis has started this season, the Ravens (7-4) are 6-2. They're 1-2 when he's out of the lineup.
Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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