Notebook: Gaither, Terry expected to play

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' injury-riddled offensive line apparently won't be dealt the crushing blow of not having starting offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry available Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Terry suffered a concussion in the first quarter of a 36-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and didn't return, saying later: "I got my bell rung."

Gaither is dealing with a Grade 1 AC sprain of his right shoulder, but replaced Terry and played nearly the entire game despite being in visible pain.

Nonetheless, the Ravens are tentatively penciling them into the lineup.

"We're not ruling them out at this stage," Ra vens coach John Harbaugh said. "We think there's a good chance they'll be able to play.

"Jared Gaither gutted it out throughout the course of the game. He played well. We're not obviously a completely healthy football team."

Gaither opted to not wear a protective harness against the Eagles.

"I used it as best I could," he said. "I just had the will to do everything I had to do."

Harbaugh reiterated how impressed he was with Gaither, a former University of Maryland player who allowed one sack to Pro Bowl defensive end Trent Cole while essentially relegated to blocking with one arm.

"I'm sure he's in pain," Harbaugh said. "He did things he needed to do to play. I just felt like he took a major step as a pro football player to play through that kind of pain.

"He's got an injury that you can play with, but the pain is another matter. He'll have it again all week and he'll have to fight through it, get out there and practice a little bit and get ready to play next week."

Harbaugh wasn't as forthcoming or confident when defensive end Trevor Pryce's status was broached. He left the game with a concussion and didn't return.

"I don't have enough information to say," Harbaugh said. "We'll have to see."

RAVENS-REDSKINS GAME FLEXED: As part of the NFL's flexible scheduling plan, the Ravens' Dec. 7 home game against the Washington Redskins has been switched to an 8:15 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast nationally by NBC.

The Ravens-Redskins game was regarded as a more intriguing matchup than the originally scheduled game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Harbaugh was not enthusiastic about the schedule change. The Ravens have lost their past seven prime-time games, but have gone 8-1 at home against the NFC since 2004.

"I couldn't care less," Harbaugh said. "It doesn't matter. We'll be there. We'll show up on time."

The coach initially pretended to not be aware of any game beyond Sunday's game against the Bengals, or the time change.

"Has it been? Do we play the Redskins?" he said. "I'm not sure who we play after the Bengals."

The league is allowed to change game times as late as 12 days before kickoff, and six days before the final regular-season weekend.

WEDGE TACKLE: Linebacker Antwan Barnes made an unconventional tackle on Eagles running back Brian Westbrook for a two-yard loss in the third quarter, grabbing Westbrook's jock strap to bring him down.

It was a painful moment for Westbrook that has spawned a few jokes.

"I think it's a testam ent to the resiliency of some of the football equipment that they're putting out now," Harbaugh quipped. "You guys will take that as far as it needs to go, I'm sure."

QUICK HITS: In the wake of allowing a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Sunday, Harbaugh defended the special teams, which have had a rocky season. He said the kickoff coverage breakdowns are correctable. And he pointed out the positives of rookie linebacker Jameel McClain's blocked punt for a safety, a punt rush that forced a 15-yard tripping penalty on the Eagles to lead to a Matt Stover field goal and limiting the impact off DeSean Jackson on punt returns. "I was disappointed with the special teams on the spot after the game," he said. "Going back and looking at the tape, I'm pleased with them, believe it or not, because all of the other plays were really good, solid plays." ... Harbaugh couldn't exactly recall his postgame conversation with Eagles coach Andy Reid. "It was along the lines of we care about one another," he said. "I guess he might have said he's proud of me or something like that and I just told him thanks for everything he's done. There's not much you can say, really, but it was meaningful nonetheless." ... Harbaugh praised punter Sam Koch, saying he's thinks he has a legitimate shot at making the Pro Bowl. Koch is averaging 45.3 yards, 39.9 net with 20 downed inside opponents' 20-yard line. "Sam has been great all year," Harbaugh said. "There are always two or three punts maybe in t he last five or six weeks that he'd like to have back. He would probably tell you that I'm his worst critic, but I think he's his worst critic." ... Harbaugh didn't express any regret at allowing rookie kicker Steve Hauschka to attempt a 53-yard field goal, which he missed. Hauschka hit a 54-yarder against the Houston Texans. "That was within his range," he said. "We felt like he had a chance to make that kick."

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

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