Ravens looking to take football away

OWINGS MILLS -- Something has to give Sunday night in the impending duel between the Baltimore Ravens' capitalistic defense and cautious Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. Baltimore's second-ranked defense leads the NFL with 20 interceptions, including 10 in the past four games.

And Campbell has thrown just four interceptions in 378 passes this season to rank second in the league with an interception percentage of 1.1.

He didn't throw his first interception until Nov. 3 in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, setting a franchise record with 271 consecutive throws without a pick.

"He's a very consistent quarterback, and we've seen that over time," free safety Ed Reed said. "He's doing exactly what the coach is wanting him to do.

"So, you've just go play your game and know that he's not a mistake type of quarterback. He's putting it down and making=2 0some plays with his people."

The roots of Campbell being more careful with the football this year dates back to Redskins coach Jim Zorn's background with Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, a well-known Bill Walsh disciple. "I think one of the things about the West Coast offense, when you go back to Mike Holmgren, is not throwing interceptions," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "You see it in Philly. You see it now in Washington.

"That's something that's been a big staple of that offense. He adapted really well to that, and he's done a great job."

Campbell has completed 63.8 percent of his throws for 2,560 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions for an 87.8 quarterback rating.

"A lot of his picks weren't his fault," defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "The one against the Steelers bounced off the guy's hands. He takes care of the football. He's a very impressive quarterback."

The former Auburn standout is also capable of delivering the football downfield to speedy wide receiver Santana Moss (57 catches, 828 yards and five touchdowns), tight end Chris Cooley or running back Clinton Portis.

"He'll check it down in a minute to Portis or to Cooley, and they make a lot of their yards doing just that," Harbaugh said. "They=2 0can hit you downfield, or they can drop it down to one of those playmakers underneath and that's where they're dangerous."

Although the Ravens have returned five interceptions for touchdowns and haven't been scored on in 10 quarters, they have no intention of forcing the action against the Redskins.

"You don't try to create anything," Harbaugh said. "You just play through your fundamental responsibility, do your job and then make the plays that are presented to you."

TRAINING ROOM: Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (right shoulder sprain), Reed (hamstring) and cornerbacks Samari Rolle (hamstring) and Fabian Washington (shoulder) were held out of practice.

Offensive tackle Adam Terry returned to practice after missing last week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a concussion incurred against the Philadelphia Eagles and is no longer listed on the injury report.

"It was a game-time kind of thing and it wasn't my call, it was up to the doctors," Terry said.

"It looks like he's got a great chance to play," Harbaugh said.

Linebacker Bart Scott (shoulder), wide receiver Derrick Mason (dislocated left shoulder) and offensive guard David Hale (shoulder) were limited in practice.

LONG-TERM OUTLOOK: While offensive guard Marshal Yanda proclaimed his initial surgery to repair his shredded knee a successfu l one, he has another major procedure scheduled for next week and has a long road to recovery.

Yanda tore three knee ligaments against the Indianapolis Colts and will have his anterior cruciate ligament operated on next.

"The ligaments I've had repaired are holding up with no setbacks, no infection," he said. "It's as good as it can be. The range of motion is good.

"Everything is holding up well. I'm happy with it. As far as a full recovery, my knee should be ready by training camp. It's going to take about eight months to get back to 100 percent."

HONORED: Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was named the NFL Rookie of the Month after throwing seven touchdown passes with two interceptions, averaging 212 passing yards per game in November.

HELD OUT: Cornerback Frank Walker declined to specify why he was deactivated against Cincinnati when asked if he fell asleep in a meeting last week.

"I don't know what to tell you," Walker said. "You've got to go ask coach. I'm sure they had good reason, I can tell you that."

Harbaugh denied that Walker was shelved because he refused to play on special teams, which is what CBS announcers alluded to dur ing their broadcast.

"No, that's not true," he said. "To say that Frank wouldn't want to play special teams is totally inaccurate. I think Frank wants to play football.

"He's a football player, and he's excited to have a chance to play, maybe, this Sunday. We'll see how it shakes out."

ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens cut practice squad offensive guard Nathan Bennett (Clemson), placing defensive end Bryan Mattison (Iowa) on injured reserve with a foot injury. Defensive end Sean Conover (Bucknell) and offensive guard Tre Stallings (Ole Miss) replaced them on the practice squad.

QUICK HITS: In the wake of New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg last week, Harbaugh acknowledged that gun safety is a topic of discussion within the team through director of security Darren Sanders and director of player development O.J. Brigance. "Part of our Thursday during the season is talking about that kind of stuff," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure we'll have a discussion about that on Thursday morning with Darren, talk about some of those issues." ... Rookie Marcus Smith played in his first NFL game against the Bengals as the Ravens' third wide receiver, but didn't catch a pass. "It was a big step for me because I was able to be on the field and hit somebody," said Smith, a fourth-round pick from New Mexico. "It was a big step in my maturing as a rookie. Whenever they call my number, just be ready." ... Eleven Redskins didn't practice, including running back Clinton Portis (knee/back), offensive tackle Chris Samuels (knee), cornerback Shawn Springs (calf), linebackers London Fletcher (foot) and Marcus Washington (ankle), defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (shoulder/abdomen) and offensive guard Randy Thomas (neck). "Clinton has got a real sore neck," Zorn said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "He took a shot in the game and the back of his neck is real sore. The knee is not great. He's beat up a little bit, I can tell you that." ... Flacco was sporting a "Battle of the Beltways" T-shirt. When asked the origin of his shirt, he said it was given to him by team officials. "They made me wear it," Flacco quipped. ... Middle linebacker Ray Lewis had a few taunting words for Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh after he attempted to block Lewis unsuccessfully and got the worst of the collision. "I asked him was he trying to hit a child? Did he understand that this is a man's game?" Lewis said. "That's no discredit to him. He tried it, but he got the wrong end of it."


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