Notebook: Ravens bracing for Texans' Johnson

OWINGS MILLS -- There is no respite for the Baltimore Ravens' secondary as they prepare to defend yet another deep threat. One week after shutting down Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh during a 17-10 victory, the Ravens are concerned about their pending matchup with Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson has caught 371 passes for 4,801 yards and 25 touchdowns in five NFL seasons. He caught 60 passes for 851 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing seven games with a knee injury last season.

In 2006, Johnson led the NFL with 103 receptions for a career-high 1,147 yards.

Plus, the Ravens play the Cleveland Browns and star wide receiver Braylon Edwards next week.

"Hell, last week we have Chad and we have Houshmandzadeh and now you get another Pro Bowler in Andre Johnson," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "So, hopefully, one of these days we'll have some average receivers over there and we can really come after him.

"With him, he's physical, tough, strong, makes all the catches, the underneath catches, the vertical routes. So, he's probably as complete a guy as there is."

Against the Bengals, the Ravens used linebackers Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs to jam Chad Johnson at the line of scrimmage to slow down his routes.

Baltimore, which has the top-ranked defense and pass defense after the opening week of the season, intercepted Carson Palmer once and sacked him twice as Chad Johnson was limited to one catch for 22 yards.

"I think we've tried to play our style of defense, Ravens football, the whole season, even last year," Ryan said. "But we are able to get after the quarterback a little more than we did last year."

The Texans struggled to protect quarterback Matt Schaub in a 38-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week as he was sacked five times with three allowed by rookie offensive tackle Duane Brown against outside linebacker James Harrison.

"Smart quarterback, gets rid of the ball fairly quickly even through he gave up a few sacks last week against Pittsburgh," Ryan said of Schaub. "If the ball's coming out quick, don't expect the sack totals.

"It's just like last week. I think we pressured Palmer quite a bit, but we only had the two sacks."

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens got some bad news on the injury front Friday as nickel back Fabian Washington was ruled out with a neck injury.

Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg is listed as doubtful. Gregg is recovering from arthroscopic left knee surgery and didn't practice for the second consecutive day Friday.

Plus, reserve cornerback Derrick Martin is listed as doubtful and didn't practice. He tore sutures inside his shoulder from an offseason surgery during the preseason.

Both Washington and Martin were suspended for the season opener for violating NFL rules.

When asked about the injured cornerbacks, Ravens coach John Harbaugh issued a terse response before abruptly ending a two-minute press conference.

"Why would I do that?" he said. "You guys are going to keep asking all year, right? I'm going to keep telling you I'm not going to answer it. I'm not going there."

Quarterback Troy Smith (tonsil infection) was ruled out.

Although Harbaugh had previously said he would have new information regarding Smith's status, he didn't offer an update Friday.

"I have had no conversations with anybody about Troy," he said.

Also not practicing: wide receiver Yamon Figurs (hamstring), linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg contusion), fullback Lorenzo Neal (illness) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (hamstring).

Ayanbadejo, Figurs and Williams are listed as questionable.

"It's a bone bruise," Ayanbadejo said. "I'm still hoping to play, but I just don't know yet if I'm going to be able to."

Cornerback Chris McAlister (right knee), center Jason Brown (ankle), offensive tackle Jared Gaither (ankle), tight end Todd Heap (back contusion), cornerback Corey Ivy (sprained right ankle), running back Willis McGahee (left knee), Neal, defensive end Trevor Pryce (back) and free safety Ed Reed (neck) were all listed as probable.

Harbaugh reiterated that McGahee is expected to have a role in the game plan.

"He's in the plans to play," Harbaugh said. "He's in the rotation, and he had a good week of practice and he looked good."

The Texans ruled out tight end Mark Bruener (hamstring.)

Running back Ahman Green (foot) is doubtful and defensive tackle Travis Johnson (knee), wide receiver Jacoby Jones (back) and cornerback Antwaun Molden (hamstring) are questionable.

QUICK HITS: With the Ravens-Texans game currently scheduled for Monday night, it's being televised on CBS in both the primary and secondary local markets for both teams. "Everybody is going to watch Monday Night Football," linebacker Bart Scott said. "We're junior varsity Monday Night Football." ... Playing Monday night affects the Ravens' preparations for next week's game against the Browns. "We're on Monday night's schedule for next week without having prepared for a Monday night's schedule going in," Harbaugh said. "That's where the difficulty comes more than this game, so we're making adjustments now for that." Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.


Ravens Insider Top Stories