Notebook: Ravens face familiar foe in Collins

OWINGS MILLS -- Reprising the old AFC Central rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans is being punctuated by another touch of nostalgia. The undefeated Titans will be quarterbacked Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium by Kerry Collins, who threw four interceptions for the New York Giants in a 34-7 loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV in January, 2001.

"I still obviously have vivid memories of the game, most of which were not so good," Collins said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "Hats off to them, they were a good team and a great defense. It was a good job on their part."

Against the Ravens in the Super Bowl, Collins completed just 38.5 percent of his passes (15 of 39) for 112 yards with cornerback Duane Starks returning one of his interceptions for a touchdown.

He was sacked four times and had a 7.1 quarterback rating, the second-lowest in Super Bowl history behind the zero registered by the Denver Broncos' Craig Morton in 1978.

"Their team speed was just tremendous," Collins said. "They were all over the field. Obviously, a well-coached bunch. Smart players. Very sound in what they did and obviously very talented. That was by far the best defense I ever played against."

Now, Collins, 35, is under center for the AFC South leaders as he has taken over for troubled and injured starter Vince Young.

"Being a veteran in this game, he's managing the game pretty well, playing to their defense," Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. "I think that's why they're 4-0."

Collins isn't very mobile and the Titans rank in the bottom third of the NFL in most passing categories, but he has thrown just one interception.

"I agree with you that you would expect a lot of drop-back from Kerry Collins," Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "We get that, but we also get a lot of bootlegs and things like that with him.

"So they're moving him around a little more than your typical drop-back passer. Hey, if we play sound fundamentally, if we do our job, we play to what we do defensively, I think we'll be fine."

NOSE FOR THE END ZONE: Fullback Le'Ron McClain has rushed for three touchdowns, the most by a Ravens running back through three contests since Jamal Lewis had three in 2004.

All of his scores have been red-zone touchdowns from inside the 2-yard line.

The 6-foot, 260-pounder just keeps bulling ahead for six points.

"When you have big backs who have a nose for the goal line, let them do their thing," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "Hey, that's a personal thing with me. I think the line loves it, too, the backs love it.

"Receivers all get mad at me. I think they also know that we're not stupid, but we want to establish the run."

PATIENCE: Rookie running back Ray Rice is learning how to bide his time in the background.

After starting every preseason game and leading the Ravens in rushing, Rice has seen a reduced workload since starter Willis McGahee has returned to the lineup.

After rushing for 64 yards on 22 carries in the season opener, Rice had 21 yards on five carries against the Cleveland Browns and just one carry for no yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

"Willis is the guy, and I've always got to be ready," Rice said. "It's a long season, and I think this week I might see a little more time. It will come along as the coaches get used to me.

"It's just about being patient. I'm a rookie and there's a lot to learn. It's not getting frustrating. I took a lot of work in the preseason and I have been getting my legs back under me. I'll be fresh when my number is called."

INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Derrick Martin (shoulder) is doubtful and was limited in practice all week.

McGahee (rib) is questionable along with linebacker Antwan Barnes (shoulder).

Return specialist Yamon Figurs (hamstring) and linebackers Tavares Gooden (hip) and Nick Greisen (quadriceps) are probable.

The Titans ruled out cornerback Reynaldo Hill (hamstring), listing wide receiver Justin Gage (knee) as doubtful, punter Craig Hentrich (back) as questionable and running back LenDale White (shoulder) and Young (knee) as probable. Gage didn't practice all week and is considered unlikely to play.

QUICK HITS: Wide receivers Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams have combined for just 10 catches for 70 yards, a development Cameron partially chalked up to rookie quarterback Joe Flacco's growing pains. "We've just missed some opportunities, and I just think it's a matter of those guys growing together with Joe," Cameron said. "I wish you just put the magic wand on it and it would be all where we all want it to be, but it's a process. I do feel that people realize we're going to throw it up the field. The more we do it, the better we're going to get at it. Demetrius is the healthiest I've seen him since I've been here." ... The Ravens have officially moved center-guard Chris Chester to tight end, switching his jersey number to No. 48 from No. 65. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound former second-round draft pick played tight end at Oklahoma. "Chris has got a lot of athleticism for a big man, he's quick," Harbaugh said. "He's got good feet and change of direction skills for a big man. We just felt with some of the lead block stuff we do with our U-back, the motion stuff, that he's already an offensive lineman so he can block on the line of scrimmage. We just felt like it would make us a little more imposing on the edges of our offense." When asked if Chester had been lobbying for some passes to be thrown his way, Harbaugh replied: "No, he hasn't yet. Adam Terry has been lobbying for catches and Willie Anderson is lobbying for catches, but we haven't heard Chris yet." ... Harbaugh and rookie safety Tom Zbikowski have a friendly wager on the Notre Dame-Stanford game. Harbaugh's brother, Jim Harbaugh, is the Stanford coach and Zbikowski is a former Fighting Irish standout. "We haven't agreed on the point spread yet," Harbaugh said. "It's going to be in South Bend, and he's trying to get points from me." ... Anderson has a splint on his ring finger, but it's unclear if it's broken. "I don't really understand the details of it, but it's not a serious thing," Harbaugh said. ... The Titans are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history , including their time as the Houston Oilers. Baltimore has won five of the past six games against Tennessee.


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