Ogden prepping for Taylor matchup

OWINGS MILLS -- Jonathan Ogden is keenly aware of what's in store for him Sunday when he'll square off with Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Taylor isn't very big at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, but has impressive speed and is more powerful than his lanky frame would appear to indicate.

He certainly doesn't lack for productivity, registering 114 career sacks since entering the league in 1997 as a third-round draft pick out of Akron.

"He's just a real smart player, good speed, really long arms," Ogden said of Taylor, who leads a winless Miami team with eight sacks this year after registering two last week in a 38-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. "He's sneaky. I've played against him a lot. We'll have some fun. We'll do battle."

Taylor has the most sacks in the NFL since 2000 with 97.5, well ahead of the New York Giants' Michael Strahan (89), Simeon Rice (78), the St. Louis Rams' Leonard Little (74.5) and the Green Bay Packers' Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilia (74). He recorded 13.5 sacks a year ago.

Including a playoff loss to Baltimore in 2001, Taylor has 27 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles in five career games against the Ravens.

Traditionally, teams will use chip-blocking assistance on Taylor or try a few designed rollouts. With a perennial All-Pro in Ogden manning the left tackle position, he'll likely draw the assignment by himself most of the time. Ogden is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, too.

Taylor will command the Ravens' singular attention in their game plan, a distinction not granted to many defensive players.

"There's only a handful in this league, really," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "And he's one you better account for."

INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Todd Heap (strained hamstring) and cornerback Samari Rolle (shoulder) were all but officially ruled out by Billick on Friday.

Neither player practiced all week.

Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs missed practice because of the flu, but both linebackers are still expected to start Sunday.

RIGHTING THE COURSE: Willis McGahee doesn't have a rich history against the Dolphins' defense.

He has topped the century mark just once against his hometown team, averaging 3.4 yards per carry against them when he was playing them twice per year as a member of the Buffalo Bills.

"I've had some good games," said McGahee, who hit 85 yards on four of six games against Miami. "It wasn't anything bad, but I look forward to playing the Dolphins just because they're the Dolphins."

McGahee should have an easier time Sunday against the NFL's worst-ranked run defense.

Three teams have gained at least 200 rushing yards this season against the Dolphins with six running backs gaining 100 yards against them, including the Buffalo Bills' Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch in the same game.

The Dolphins might not have middle linebacker Channing Crowder available because of a foot sprain that kept him out last week, and Donnie Spragan will likely fill in for him. Crowder is their leading tackler with 78 stops.

This means the Dolphins are down to their third option in the middle with Zach Thomas on injured reserve with a concussion.

"They've got a good defense as far as Jason Taylor and Joey Porter," McGahee said. "I think Zach is out, but the other guys that are up there are pretty disciplined.

"It's not the same defense that you watch on TV. It's something else. I can't even pinpoint what it is, but they've got a great scheme on defense. So you've got to be prepared for that."

UNFAMILIAR: Dolphins starting quarterback Cleo Lemon was with the Ravens in 2002 after he went undrafted out of Arkansas State. Ultimately, he didn't make the team.

Billick didn't try to pretend that he had a lot of memories about Lemon, who devoted training camp followers might remember threw a touchdown pass to Randy Hymes in a Friday night scrimmage at Bair Stadium.

"Not a whole lot, it's been a long time," Billick said of the journeyman quarterback. "Watching on the film, he's a good athlete and has a good, strong arm."

Added linebacker Bart Scott: "I watched him in practice, I don't remember. I haven't looked at film yet."

STORMY WEATHER: There's a strong chance of rain Sunday in South Florida, which could prove calamitous to a Baltimore team that doesn't play well in bad weather and traditionally practices at its indoor facility whenever it rains at all.

In the Ravens' past seven games in the rain, they have fumbled nine times and thrown 11 interceptions.

HEATING IT UP: The Ravens cranked up the heat in their indoor practice facility to sauna-like conditions to simulate the heat and humidity of South Florida.

"Get them sweated a little bit," Billick said. "Even if it rains, it's still going to be muggy. You got to get them hydrated as best you can."

QUICK HITS: The Dolphins have already had two running backs -- Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams -- placed on injured reserve. Now, they're using a tandem of Jesse Chatman and Samkon Gado with Lorenzo Booker operating as the third-down back. "The main guys now that they have are the Gado kid, and, if he comes off of injury, Chatman," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "Both of them are bowling-ball type guys, so they run hard, have good vision, run behind their pads. They're not the little bouncy type guys." ... Last year, the Ravens only lost a dozen games to starters due to injuries. This year, they've already lost a total of 54 games to injuries. ... The Ravens' turnover margin is the worst in the league, dipping to minus-17 after leading the league with a plus-16 ratio a year ago. .... The game is technically a paid sellout, so it won't be blacked out on television in South Florida. There are apparently still tickets available through the Dolphins because the Ravens didn't sell their full allotment of tickets.

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

Ravens Insider Top Stories