Special teams correcting mistakes

OWINGS MILLS -- One day after a botched communication led to surrendering a blocked punt for a touchdown, the Baltimore Ravens spent Monday correcting their mistakes. During a brief afternoon practice, following blocking assignments and providing more time for punter Sam Koch were major points of emphasis.

During the second quarter of the Ravens' 38-24 win Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs, Jon McGraw burst through a big gap between long snapper Matt Katula and the right side of the line to block Koch's punt and recovered it in the end zone for a score.

"It was very easily identifiable and very easily corrected," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "Disappointing in the sense that there was no look that we hadn't seen hundreds of times. We just got a little bit frozen for a second. Their guy, he's a really good player.

"He's been around for a long time and he went and got it. Sometimes, you have a protection bust and they don't get it and you kind of live to talk about it. Well, we didn't live to talk about it. That was really a momentum-changer. That's corrected. It's just something we can't let happen."

INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens don't consider starting inside linebacker Tavares Gooden's sprained right knee to be a serious injury.

Gooden was slated to have a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Monday. Initial X-rays revealed no ligament tears or significant damage.

"We think right now it's a mild knee sprain," Harbaugh said. "We'll just see how it responds this week.

It's unclear, though, if he'll be ready to start this week against the San Diego Chargers. If Gooden can't go, then Jameel McClain would likely fill in for him.

Meanwhile, safety Tom Zbikowski is rec overing from a concussion suffered when he collided with a two-man blocking wedge while covering a kickoff in the first half.

The prognosis is good for Zbikowski, who won his only heavyweight boxing match by knockout when he was at Notre Dame.

"I was talking to him and he was kind of slurring his speech a little bit, I thought," Harbaugh said. "So, I asked him if he had a glass jaw and he got kind of mad. He didn't take it too kin dly. I don't think he laughed.

"He got hit. He really got hammered. So, he's not afraid to throw his jaw in there. He should be fine. It's just a matter of his head clearing up."

Tight end L.J. Smith (pulled left hamstring) still hasn't been cleared to return to practice, but hasn't been ruled out for the game.

"I don't know what the chances are, but there's a chance," Harbaugh said. "We were kind of targeting this one. We'll be hopeful, but we can't say for sure."

TALKING TRASH: During a conference call last week, former NFL wide receivers Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson ripped the Ravens' receivers.

"You want a bum, you pay a bum," Johnson said.

Naturally, that comment infuriated Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason.

"Keyshawn Johnson is the bum, that's why he's in the analyst seat," Mason told CBS Sportsline after the game. "He tried to come back to football, but no one would sign him. He was never that good a player. He got lucky and signed on in Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl because they had a great defense. Just look at the two people doing the criticizing, that's all I'm saying.

"Keyshawn was overrated and Carter is in the same boat I'm in. He doesn't have a Super Bowl ring, either. He's in the analyst seat without a ring. At least I'm playing. He still wants to play but he can't anymore. We're the bums? That's why you're in the analyst seat. Just be quiet and keep dreaming you still could play."

Added Harbaugh: "You start calling our guys names, we're not too impressed with that. We're not looking for someone else's respect. We don't need someone else to say good things about us. Matter of fact, we kind of like it when it goes the other way."

MULTI-FACETED: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron deployed his running backs at wide receiver as well as quarterback Troy Smith, and Harbaugh indicated that might be a sign of things to come.

"Troy's a pretty good athlete out there, so they've got to match up with him as well," Harbaugh said. "So, we want to use all of our guys any way we can."

NO REPLAY: Mason thought that he had possession of the football for a touchdown in the back of the end zone to begin the game.

However, it was determined that he was juggling the football.

Mason lobbied Harbaugh for an instant-replay challenge to no avail.

"Yeah, I'm a receiver, so I'm always hoping for a touchdown," Mason said. "I thought I got my feet down, but you know the coaches saw something else."

Ravens' offense coming of age

OWINGS MILLS -- Joe Flacco kept hustling to the line of scrimmage, sizing up the Kansas City Chiefs' defense before launching another spiral downfield.

When the Baltimor e Ravens' quarterback wasn't peppering the Chiefs' porous secondary during a 38-24 victory Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium for a career-high three touchdown passes, he was handing off to running backs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee for significant yardage.

After more than a decade of dormancy, the Ravens' offense might be on the verge of gaining equal-partner status with their celebrated defensive colleagues.

The Ravens racked up a franchise-record 501 yards of total offense against Kansas City as Flacco established career highs with 26 completions, 43 attempts and 307 yards.

"It was a lot of fun," tight end Todd Heap said. "I think most of all, the fans appreciated it and enjoyed it. I think the thing that we enjoy most is winning the ballgame."

The tradition in Baltimore has been built around a defense known for inflicting pain and punishment.

Now, a suddenly potent offen se might be gaining an identity of its own defined by prolific yardage and points. At least for one game, albeit against a team with a suspect defense.

"That's definitely the goal," said Heap, who caught five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. "We want to definitely put our offense on the map. Coming into this year, we set a lot of goals offensively.

"We're doing everything we can to reach those goals. I think there were quite a few of them we were able to attain. Now, it's a matter of going out and doing it week in and week out."

Between Flacco's strong right arm, an improving young offensive line, receivers with something to prove and a running game that generated 198 yards and two touchdowns, the defens e might not have to pitch shutouts any longer.

The NFL's 28th-ranked passing attack from a year ago may exceed low expectations around the league following an offseason filled with criticism of its receiving corps.

"This is a new year, a new offense, a new mentality," said wide receiver Mark Clayton, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Flacco. "Everything starts over. We are kind of reformed or remaking ourselves.

The defense was well-rested against Kansas City as the Ravens controlled the clock for just under 40 minutes.

The Ravens set a franchise record with 32 first downs, converting 10 of 17 third-down opportunities and all four red-zone shots.

"Just to sit back and watch them, we have a heck of an offensive line right now, a young quarterback w ho's really growing up and we have a three-headed monster at runnin g back," All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. "Anytime you've got that, you have a chance to really control the ball."

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Ravens' offensive development was Flacco's command and aggressiveness.

He kept targeting the weak links in the Chiefs' secondary, and he utilized a variety of targets as he connected with seven different receivers.

"As fast as he grows up is as fast as our team grows up," Lewis said.

Another encouraging sign about Flacco is how he was extremely productive despite a few erratic moments and an interception, rallying the team by engineering three scoring drives in the fourth quarter.

"I think there's going to be many more of those to come," Heap said. "We just saw the emergence, we just saw the beginning of what he's capable of."

Known for his stoic demeanor, Flacco displayed more emotion than usual. He actually shook his fist a few times to celebrate and seemed to crack a few smiles.

"Joe would be the first to tell you that there so many that he wants back," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He wants to complete every ball. There were probably five, six, seven balls in there that he had a chance. ..

"Believe it or not, Joe is an emotional guy. He's a competitive guy. He's edgy, and he likes to do well. So, we like that about him."

The Ravens also installed two new players on the offensive line with center Matt Birk and rookie right offensive tackle Michael Oher playing their first regular-season games in Baltimore.

Flacco was only sacked one time.

"The defense appreciated the offense moving the ball and scoring points, keeping them off the field," Harbaugh said. "The offense appreciated all of the three-and-outs. You get 90 plays on offense and you go 47 plays on defense, that's what you're looking for. That's the type of game you want to put together."

Between Rice rushing for 108 yards and Clayton and Heap each catching five passes and a touchdown, a dozen different players touched the football.

"Probably the most fun was spreading the ball around, seeing how many guys could touch the football," Heap said. "That way, the defense can't key on anyone. They can't sit back there and say, 'They're going to one of two guys.' Sometimes, it's been like that around here, but it's not like that anymore."

Notebook: Ravens sign Drew to practice squad

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens signed rookie tight end Davon Drew to the practice squad, reclaiming their fifth-round draft pick after he received an injury settlement recently from the Miami Dolphins.

Drew tried out for the Ravens on Monday.

Drew was clamed off waivers by the Dolphins after the Ravens released him during their final major roster cutdown, which prevented Baltimore from placing him on their practice squad.

Days later, Drew was cut loose by the Dolphins after just one practice. Drew replaces tight end Isaac Smolko on the practice squad.

Drew failed the Ravens' conditioning test when he reported to training camp and dealt with a sprained ankle throughout the preseason.

Drew was one of two Ravens draft picks to be claimed by other teams with running back Cedric Peerman claimed by the Cleveland Browns. A converted quarterback, Drew was named All-Conference USA twice.

Also, offensive lineman Brian Johnson received an injury settlement from the Ravens.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles cut wide receiver Hank Baskett after activating quarterback Michael Vick from the exempt list.

Baskett could possibly draw interest from Baltimore because of his ability as a reserve receiver and special-teams player, but has to clear waivers as a vested veteran. The Ravens have a low-ranking waiver priority after making it to the AFC championship game last year , so Baskett will probably wind up somewhere else.

The Ravens are less inclined to pursue wide receivers now after a strong opening game from that group against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Along with Eagles receiver Reggie Brown, Baskett had been linked to the Ravens in trade speculation.

Baskett caught one pass for six yards in the first game and has 72 career receptions for 1,052 yards and six to uchdowns during four NFL seasons.

Former New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree, who tried out for the Ravens last week, tried out for the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday.

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