Ravens fighting Seahawks, 12th man

OWINGS MILLS -- The Seattle Seahawk's 12th man reputation at Qwest Field precedes them. The Seattle fans are known for their raucous noise, contributing to opponents committing 68 false starts for an average of 2.96 per contest since 2005 for the most in the NFL.

That makes for a daunting challenge in terms of decibels for the Baltimore Ravens during Sunday's road game.

"It makes it difficult, but this is not the first situation we've been in," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "This is not our first rodeo. We've been in some loud stadiums, and we had to improvise as a team.

"You go with a silent count, you do something different. You practice things differently on the practice field that would probably give you an advantage on the road."

The Ravens have committed 22 false-start penalties all year.

This will likely be the loudest atmosphere they've been exposed to, though.

"It's a noisy place," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "The fans have really started to enjoy football up here again, and they take great pride in making it a little hard on the opposition with the noise."

This should make for an unfriendly greeting for Smith in his first NFL start.

"I don't think he's one that's going to be intimidated by it, but it's still loud," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Loud is loud, whether college or pro."

BRINGING THE HEAT: One week after being overwhelmed by Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, the Ravens are bracing for an even more difficult challenge posed by Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney.

A speed rusher who never quits chasing the quarterback, Kerney leads the league with 13 1/2 sacks.

"He's a very good player, one of the toughest guys I'll face all year," rookie right tackle Marshal Yanda said. "He's a real explosive player, really good with his hands. He's going to try to run around you on those silent counts.

"I'm going to be a little bit behind on the count, so I've got to get my hands on him. I can't get to leaning on him. If I don't get out of my set, it could get bad in a hurry. I'm going to do my best to keep him off of Troy. They're going to try to bring a lot of blitzes to rattle us."

Yanda is still upset about how he fared against Taylor, who recorded two sacks while matched opposite him.

"I had more problems with mental breakdowns than physically blocking them, and I'm still pretty sour about that game," Yanda said. "I screwed up a protection and just let Jason Taylor free and kind of made it look like he had a great day.

"I was really disappointed in myself that I hurt the team that much. It really eats at me. It's not like he kicked my butt physically, like he's bigger and stronger than me. I'm going to have to play a better game than last week."

The Seahawks rank second in the NFL with 41 sacks, with 27 transpiring at home.

Besides Kerney, Seattle can also bring pressure with outside linebacker Julian Peterson, who has recorded nine sacks.

Kerney is the headliner, though, although he's more of a classic defensive lineman at 6-foot-5, 272 pounds than the lanky Dolphins end.

"Kerney's just all motor and all speed," Billick said. "But, yes, similar in the challenge that you better account for them."

QUICK HITS: Linebackers Terrell Suggs (thigh, questionable) and Gary Stills (knee, questionable) returned to practice as well as running back Musa Smith, who missed Thursday's practice for undisclosed reasons. ... The Ravens listed center Mike Flynn (foot), fullback Le'Ron McClain (back), safety Gerome Sapp (hamstring) and offensive tackle Adam Terry (ankle) as probable. ... The Seahawks listed defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (groin), wide receiver D.J. Hackett (ankle) and cornerback Josh Wilson (quadricep) as questionable. Running back Shaun Alexander (broken wrist), safety Mike Green (knee) and offensive tackle Walter Jones (shoulder) as probable. ... Seahawks wide receiver Nate Burleson is one of only four players to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown this season, joining the San Diego Chargers' Darren Sproles, the Chicago Bears' Devin Hester and Baltimore rookie Yamon Figurs. ... Holmgren noted that he helped launch the coaching career of Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel, imparting some advice as a San Francisco 49ers assistant after the former UCLA quarterback was cut from the team during training camp. "He tried out with the 49ers and I was the last person that told him he should go on and go into his life's work," Holmgren said. "We laugh about that." ... Linebacker Bart Scott bristled when he was asked about throwing an official's flag in the loss to the New England Patriots, a transgression that earned him a $25,000 fine. "That was four weeks ago, man," Scott told Seattle reporters during a conference call. "What do you do, read a column and recycle questions? The reason I threw the flag, it was just a culmination of emotions. At that point, it just felt like what we had worked so hard and something that we could have grabbed onto to maybe salvage some type of respect and dignity from the league and for ourselves, was all taken in a minute and 40 seconds."

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

Ravens Insider Top Stories