Rice, Washington to be game-time decisions

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle practiced for the first time this week Friday, taking part on a limited basis as he continues to recover from an ankle and foot injury. Rolle is listed as questionable, but is expected to start Sunday's AFC wild-card playoff against the Miami Dolphins at Dolphin Stadium.

"I'm definitely playing," Rolle said. "There's no question about it."

Wide receiver Derrick Mason (dislocated left shoulder/sore trapezius) and kicker Matt Stover (sprained right ankle) didn't practice as a precautionary measure and are both listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, cornerback Fabian Washington was limited again due to a hyperextended right big toe suffered against the Dallas Cowboys and is listed as questionable. Although he's limping slightly, he reiterated that he's going to play.

"I'm completely on schedule to play Sunday," Washington said. "This is a big game and I'm going to be out there, no matter how it feels, and it's feeling a lot better."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is encouraged about Washington and rookie running back Ray Rice's progress. Rice has missed the past three games with a shin contusion.

"They seem to be better and better as the week goes on," Harbaugh said. "We still haven't made any decisions for sure, and you don't know until Sunday, but there were some positive signs."

Rice, who has averaged 4.2 yards per carry and caught 33 passes out of the backfield, is probably the Ravens' biggest injury question mark because he has had such a prolonged convalescence. There's also the matter of him not taking a hit in a long time.

"I don't know that there's any particular strategy for that," Harbaugh said. "You just have to do it. We don't think it's going to be an issue. "He hasn't had contact for a while, so he's just going to have to be conscious of securing the football. Of course, that's if he plays. We'll see how it goes."

Also limited in practice Friday and listed as questionable: free safety Ed Reed (hamstring), defensive tackle Justin Bannan (foot), offensive guard Chris Chester (back), linebacker Antwan Barnes (chest), wide receiver Mark Clayton (knee), tight end Todd Heap (back), who wasn't previously listed on the injury report, and linebacker Jarret Johnson (left calf).

Rookie safety Tom Zbikowski (thigh) is probable and participated fully in practice. The Dolphins listed tight end David Martin (head/neck) and former University of Maryland defensive lineman Randy Starks (ankle) as questionable.

RUNNING WILD: The Ravens rank fourth in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 148.5 yards per game. Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain leads the team with 902 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, and the Ravens have rushed for 132 first downs, the second most in the league.

And they are the only team in the league to have player

s with over 450, 650 and 900 rushing yards. "That's the three-headed monster," McClain said. "The way we're rolling right now, we're executing, and if we don't turn over that ball, we're going to be hard to beat."

Can the Ravens' running game be halted by anyone?

"You hate to make a statement like that, but I think there's confidence in the running game," Harbaugh said. "We've been successful. It's important to us. We have to run the ball well offensively to make everything work. And it's just something we believe in."

QUICK HITS: There's no visible sign of nerves from rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, who rarely shows much emotion. "Emotions? Sensing emotions?" Harbaugh said. "I saw some smiles. He had fun. The guys kind of make him laugh and stuff. He's fine." ... Asked who has the superior Wildcat formation between the Ravens and the Dolphins, Flacco said, "We do," drawing laughs. "That stuff, we feel like it adds to our game and gives us a chance to do a lot more things." ... Veteran defensive end Trevor Pryce, who's under contract through 2010, said he plans to play next season and isn't pondering retirement. ... Hunkered down at the Ravens' training complex, Harbaugh said he hasn't ventured out around town to take the pulse of the community regarding the team's surprising season. "I haven't walked the streets," he said. "Our players get a good feel for it. Coaches, we don't get much of a feel for it. We joke that our place, it's a beautiful place, but it's like a submarine. The beginning of the week, you take it down. You come up again at the end of the week to go travel to the game." ... Harbaugh said he hasn't had to remind the rookies and other young players unaccustomed to the intensity of the postseason about what Sunday entails. "We haven't talked about it too much, I think our guys must have talked about it," he said. "I think our guys in the locker room must have talked about it. The younger guys, they've all practiced very well. So, I think the older guys got to them, let them know how special these are." ... Rolle is from Miami Beach and said he has obtained 26 tickets for this game, but said running back Willis McGahee may have purchased even more. That claim was refuted by McGahee, though, as he jokingly said: "They're on their own. My family can buy their own tickets." ... The Ravens lead the regular-season series 5-2 and won the only playoff meeting 20-3 in Miami on Jan. 13, 2002 as Terry Allen rushed for 102 yards and Elvis Grbac threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Travis Taylor. It marked the Ravens' la st playoff win. ... The Ravens are 10-2 when they lose the coin toss. ... The Ravens allowed 33 sacks, the second-fewest in franchise history. ... Mason has scored just one touchdown in 10 playoff games, averaging 32.8 receiving yards. ... Reed has three interceptions in two career playoff games. ... Pryce has 11 1/2 sacks in a dozen career playoff games. ... Stover has converted 15 of 20 (75 percent) of his postseason field goals. ... Harbaugh's father, Jack Harbaugh, gave a stirring speech to the team at the beginning of the season about boxing legend Muhammad Ali pummeling Floyd Patterson because he refused to call Ali by his Muslim name after changing his given name of Cassius Clay. The Ravens adopted the saying, "What's My Name?" as a rallying cry all season. "I liked it, everybody loves Muhammad Ali," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "He just showed he won't knock the guy out until he shows him some respect. It fit for us for that moment in time and it kind of carried on with us the whole season, so I think it was pretty cool."


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