Monday Ravens notes: Lewis, Reed questionable

OWINGS MILLS -- It's unlikely that the Baltimore Ravens will have either middle linebacker Ray Lewis or safety Ed Reed available against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to injuries. That means that the last-place Ravens (2-4) could be bereft of the last two NFL Defensive Players of the Year, creating a major hole against the Steelers' powerful offense.

"That's probably optimistic for both of them," said Ravens coach Brian Billick, playing down the possibility of the two defensive standouts returning this week. "Huge challenge, but everybody in the league is hurt. The next guy steps up, and that's the mentality.

"Is that being a little wide-eyed innocence? Possibly. That's a tall order, but you can't approach the game any other way."

Lewis aggravated the lower part of his right hamstring after incurring a high hamstring injury last week. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday after being helped off the field midway through the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 10-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"It's a different pull," Billick said. "What was bothering him last week was a very high hamstring, right under the gluteus. At the end of the game, it pulled up.

"This is much lower, so they're still determining if it's related or not, how severe it might be. The lower ones are much more treatable."

If Lewis is out, he will likely be replaced by linebacker Bart Scott or outside linebacker Tommy Polley could move inside. It would be Scott's first NFL start.
Meanwhile, Reed remains in a protective boot after suffering a high ankle sprain two weeks ago. Chad Williams will probably start again.

"Ed Reed, again, we could be optimistic, but the high ankle sprain..," Billick said.

Fullback Alan Ricard, who already had one injured calf, is hurt again and is unlikely for Monday or perhaps even longer. This time, it's the other calf.

"It may be a while before he can get past that," Billick said.

Defensive end Tony Weaver (toe) will likely be out for his third consecutive game.

Quarterback Kyle Boller (toe) might be able to be the third quarterback this week.

"He's further ahead than what he was last week," Billick said.

Of all the injured players, rookie wide receiver Mark Clayton, who was out Sunday with a sprained ankle, has the top chance of returning the soonest.

"His is probably the best shot," Billick said. "There's a pretty decent chance."

NO REGRETS: Despite the superior numbers of backup running back Chester Taylor to starter Jamal Lewis, Billick expressed no regrets with his decision to keep feeding the football to Lewis.

Lewis rushed for only 34 yards on 15 carries, a 2.3 average, while Taylor carried the football twice for 21 yards, a 10.5 average. Taylor didn't have a carry in the first half.

This season, Lewis has rushed for 326 yards on 113 carries for a 2.9 average. Taylor has gained 223 yards on just 37 carries -- 76 carries less than Lewis -- for a 6.0 average.

"No, we made a point," Billick said. "We said that we wanted to press the agenda with Jamal and give him enough carries to get into a rhythm. We still have to get -- without not giving a chance to Chester to touch the ball because when he does he is pretty good with it -- Jamal more involved."

MARKED YELLOW?: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is under increased scrutiny from officials after being ejected against the Detroit Lions three weeks ago for arguing with and bumping into an official, Billick opined.

Suggs was flagged for a roughing-the-passer penalty when he shoved Bears quarterback Kyle Orton to the ground well after he had released the football.

"There's no question in my mind that Terrell Suggs is a marked man," Billick said. "If it's even close, he's going to get a flag. So without tempering it too much, he's got to be schooled in how to back off.

"This isn't from a paranoia or, ‘Boy, you have no chance now,' but to make him conscious of it so it can register to him: ‘You've got to be aware of your circumstances that they're going to be looking at that from you.'"

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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