Ravens notebook: Rimpf to start at RG

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' changing of the guard commenced Wednesday, but it didn't go according to their initial plan. Instead of launching a rotation with left guard Edwin Mulitalo, Brian Rimpf will start at right guard Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers because starter Keydrick Vincent is out with a quadriceps contusion. This will mark the 6-foot-5, 329-pounder most extended playing time since the regular-season finale last season against the Miami Dolphins.

"I think it's a lot more preparation involved, especially since we're playing the Steelers," said Rimpf, a seventh-round pick last season out of East Carolina. "They've got a great defense and I'm just going to come in and do my job and help this offensive line out.

"Keydrick practiced against these guys for years. Maybe I'll ask him what one guy prefers over another."

Rimpf has played in eight of the Ravens' nine games as a substitute, but faces a tough assignment against Pro Bowl nose guard Casey Hampton. Hampton is a bullish lineman at 6-foot-1 and 325 pounds. He bench presses over 500 pounds.

"I might have to go one-on-one during some of the slide protections," Rimpf said. "He's a great player. I'm just going to try to work on my fundamentals and do the little things right."
When asked if he'll be able to return next week, Vincent replied: "I have no clue."

That could spell an extended stay in the lineup for Rimpf. It also means that rookie center Jason Brown, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, will be activated on Sunday as the top substitute at center and guard.

Because of Rimpf's collective experience, which includes playing the entire fourth quarter of a 30-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Ravens appear comfortable with the change.

"There's a real comfort zone that we know he can survive in there and do well," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Brian had a good training camp and has played well for us. We're very comfortable with Brian playing."

TRAINING ROOM: Safety Ed Reed (high-ankle sprain) and linebacker Ray Lewis (thigh) will miss their fifth and fourth consecutive games, respectively.

"I don't know when I'm going to be back," Reed said. "If it's not this week, then I have to say, ‘Hopefully, next week.'"

Running back Musa Smith (lower leg) missed practice and is listed as questionable.

Defensive backs Dale Carter (thigh), Zach Norton (ankle) and B.J. Ward (hip) are questionable, but are expected to be available against Pittsburgh.

Offensive tackle Orlando Brown (back), cornerback Samari Rolle (hip) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (ankle) are probable.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs has a cast on his right hand, but isn't listed on the injury report. He practiced and is expected to start.

QB QUANDARY: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is considered a long shot to start Sunday because of an injured right knee that required arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Tommy Maddox would start with Charlie Batch out with a broken hand.

"Honestly speaking, probably not," Roethlisberger told Pittsburgh reporters when asked if he would be 100 percent by kickoff. "That doesn't mean you can't play if you are no 100 percent."

Roethlisberger is listed as questionable and Steelers coach Bill Cowher has made it clear that the team won't put him at risk.

"We're certainly not going to bring him back and set him back in the process just to win a football game this week," Cowher said.

CONCERNED: Amidst heavy criticism of Kyle Boller, Billick defended the 24-year old quarterback while acknowledging concern about the third-year starter's psyche.

"You can only hold so much of it at arm's length," Billick said. "You all get cranked up pretty good sometimes and, quite frankly, sometimes you make it pretty personal.

"Nothing personal it's just business is hard to understand sometimes when you're 23 years old. He's a tough kid. He'll deal with it just fine."

QUICK HITS: Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is preparing to be the emergency quarterback and will have a special helmet wired for sound in case he's needed. He sat in on quarterback meetings and took snaps under center Wednesday… Seven Steelers missed all or a portion of practice, including linebackers James Farrior (knee, questionable), Joey Porter (knee, questionable), running back Duce Staley (knee, questionable) and offensive tackle Marvel Smith (knee, questionable). Running back Willie Parter, who missed last week with an ankle injury, returned to practice. … The Steelers have won 11 consecutive road games, dating back to a September, 2004 loss at Baltimore when Maddox hurt his elbow and the Roethlisberger era began.

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

If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the original on RavensInsider.Com

Ravens Insider Top Stories