Grubbs ascending with Chester sidelined

WESTMINSTER -- Ben Grubbs is a tougher grader than the Baltimore Ravens' coaching staff, a self-demanding streak that could serve him well as he competes for the starting right guard job. The first-round draft pick lined up with the first-team offense Wednesday, an upgraded status that could continue Sunday against the New York Giants if Chris Chester remains sidelined with a sprained foot.

Grubbs played with the second team during a 29-3 victory Monday night over the Philadelphia Eagles, looking comfortable in pass protection and contributing to a running game that piled up 157 yards on 31 carries. Just don't tell Grubbs that the coaches thought he played well.

"I think I did average," Grubbs said. "I definitely have a lot of stuff to improve on, just getting out of my stance, pass sets, my punch, keeping my head back, all the fundamentals. I just want to take advantage of every opportunity and get better each week."

An All-Southeastern Conference selection as a left guard, Grubbs has proven to be a quick study on the right side.

"Ben did a very good job," assistant offensive line coach Greg Roman said. "We had a chance to see him a lot of different situations. Ben's doing great. If he's starting, that would be a great experience for him. Since the first day, he's been ahead of the curve in terms of learning what to do.

"He's got really good football intelligence and his instincts are good. He just has to bring his hard hat to work every day and pound away at his fundamentals. That's what wins."

If Barnes does start, then his small hometown of Eclectic, Ala. -- population 1,037 -- will be able to watch his progress. This game is being televised nationally by NBC.

"I want all of my family members to be able to watch, especially the ones who couldn't see me the first game," Grubbs said. "I want to put on a show for them and get the job done for my teammates."

INJURY UPDATE: Rookie outside linebacker Antwan Barnes was carted off the practice field Wednesday afternoon at McDaniel College apparently due to an ankle injury, his second since reporting to training camp.

Barnes, who sprained the same right ankle two weeks ago and missed a scrimmage as a result, fell to the ground in pain during a pass-rush drill while grappling with rookie offensive tackle Marshal Yanda.

Barnes immediately grabbed his right ankle while medical staff drove him off the field to the training room.

Ravens coach Brian Billick and team officials didn't have any additional information on the seriousness of Barnes' ailment.

This was nearly the exact same sequence that unfolded during his first injury, which initially appeared to be serious.

A fourth-round draft pick out of Florida International who registered a sack during Monday night's 29-3 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles and leveled Eagles punter Sav Rocca with a block that separated him from his helmet, Barnes has been competing for work as a situational pass rusher and is expected to fulfill a special-teams role.

"Hopefully, it's nothing serious and he'll be back soon," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "Hopefully, he gets back on the practice field quick."

Running back P. J. Daniels missed practice with a hamstring strain he incurred during pregame drills.

"It's just a little minor setback," Daniels said. "I can't say when I'll be back. It just depends on how it heals. It's just a hamstring, but you have to be patient with it and stay positive."

Nose guard Kelly Gregg continues to perform agility drills as he works his way back from a right thigh bruise and knee injury.

Tight end Daniel Wilcox (left ankle sprain) didn't practice, and his leg is wrapped up in a protective sleeve.

Offensive tackle Steve Edwards wasn't practicing for an undisclosed reason.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe) and linebackers Dan Cody (knee surgery) and Mike Smith (shoulder surgery) remain on the physically unable to perform list.

EXTRA ADVICE: Rookie running back Greg Pruitt Jr. has the benefit of some expert counsel.

His father, Greg Pruitt Sr., the retired Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl running back, gives him a detailed film review over the phone.

This is probably going to be a positive phone call for the undrafted free agent from North Carolina Central after rushing for 34 yards on eight carries, including a 12-yard run, against Philadelphia.

"I wasn't disappointed, being it was the first game I've ever played in the NFL," Pruitt said. "I'm looking forward to hearing what my dad has to say. He's been there, and I know he'll be able to tell me the right things. He sees things that most dads can't."

ON THE JOB TRAINING: Reserve linebacker Dennis Haley volunteered to play dime back Monday, a position he had never practiced before.

Haley tied Burgess with a team-high six tackles.

"Dennis did a nice job for us," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "He was pressed into action at the dime when Prescott Burgess got kind of dinged. Dennis said, 'I'll do it,' and Jeff FitzGerald got him coached up."

QUICK HITS: Kicker Rhys Lloyd, who's no longer listed on the roster but remains officially on the team, still hasn't reported due to visa issues. Although the native of Dover , England , was able to enter the country and is presently in Florida with relatives, he can't report to work because of complications with obtaining a work visa. ... Kyle Boller's pass fell incomplete when receiver Devard Darling wasn't where he supposed to be on a hot route, blocking downfield instead, which drew the ire of Ravens coach Brian Billick. ... The versatility of defensive back Ronnie Prude, who had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery during his first game at safety, is paying dividends. "He's kind of a utility guy," Ryan said. "He can fill in at third base, second base and shortstop."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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