Ravens aware of Woodson's abilities

OWINGS MILLS – The impactful presence of Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson is enough to make any quarterback understandably wary. A top candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, Woodson has intercepted seven passes and forced four fumbles.

Against the Detroit Lions, he intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown while also recording a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also stonewalled imposing wide receiver Calvin Johnson, holding him to two catches.

"He has shown that he can be around the ball and make tackles and make plays in the secondary," Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "He's a guy that we'll be aware of and we'll do what we have to do to make sure we account for him."

That has probably been the agenda of several other quarterbacks, though.

Such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earlier this season. However, Woodson wound up forcing two fumbles, intercepting a pass and sacking Romo.

The NFC Defensive Player of the Month has two sacks in his past three games, and his five sacks through last season ranks first during that span among all defensive backs regardless of position.

"He's clearly our most productive, and he's our best player on defense," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "He was our defensive MVP last year in a different scheme, and I'm sure he's well on his way to being our defensive MVP this season. We're utilizing his strengths, particularly playing him at different positions, and I just can't say enough about the year he's having."

Woodson has registered 60 tackles to rank second on the team and has deflected five passes with two sacks.

His six career interception returns for touchdowns ranks him second behind Hall of Fame defensive back Herb Adderley.

Between Woodson's size and natural instincts, it's tough to stop him.

"Charles is an incredible player," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I think his ability to understand route concepts and read and react, trust his instincts, is second to none. And there really isn't a player that I've seen on film, or in person, who I wouldn't take Woodson one-on-one in any position against, as far as who is a better player.

"He's that good. He's so smart, athletic, incredible ball skills, and he's able to take over games at times for us, or keep us in games. And he's done an incredible job for us, on and off the field, in the locker room, and he's just been a very good pro for us."

And Woodson has 43 career interceptions, ranking second in the NFL with 27 for the most interceptions since 2006 behind Asante Samuel.

The Packers have the top-ranked defense and the top turnover margin at plus-17 for the year.

"Woodson's playing phenomenal," Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "He's having obviously another Pro Bowl year. I think the ranking of the defense kind of speaks for itself."

Woodson is tied for third in the league in interceptions and ranks second in forced fumbles.

"He's playing tremendous right now," Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "You can't say anything but good things about him. So, we have to be aware of what he's doing and where he is.

"He's one of those corners that can play a guy man-to-man and not need any help and pretty much shut down that side of the field. You just have to be in tune in what you're doing and take advantage of an opportunity when you have one."

 INJURY UPDATE: Free safety Ed Reed didn't practice again due to ankle and hip injuries.

However, he's expected to start Monday night.

"We've got to assume that for sure Ed will be 100 percent," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. "That's the way we're looking at that."

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is expected to miss his third consecutive game after spraining his left medial collateral ligament on an illegal block from Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn last month.

The Ravens haven't recorded a sack in the two games that Suggs has missed.

"We've gone two games now without Terrell, it's been tough," Mattison said. "Somebody has to step up. And that's what our whole deal has been is the next guy goes in and he plays as hard as he can and hopefully he's got enough in the bank. We just need to do that again this week."

Suggs is still limping around. He said his knee is improving slowly.

"It's going to depend on whether he's ready to go," Mattison said of Suggs. "That's out of my hands."

Tight end L.J. Smith (ankle) and rookie safety K.J. Gerard (thigh) didn't practice for the second day in a row, and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (illness) was added to the injury report and didn't practice.

The Ravens upgraded fullback Le'Ron McClain (abdominal strain) and linebacker Prescott Burgess (hamstring) to limited participation in practice.

Cameron isn't worried about McClain.

"I think he's a tough guy," he said. "He knows the description of a fullback. It goes without being said. You just find a way to play."

Cornerback Cary Williams (thigh) and middle linebacker Ray Lewis were limited.

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (illness, neck), wide receiver Kelley Washington (illness) and center Matt Birk (neck) were moved up to full participation in practice after being held out Thursday.

Other full-time participants: quarterback Joe Flacco (sprained right ankle), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained right ankle) and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder).

It's worth noting that Flacco is also suffering from a badly bruised hip and a sore shoulder.

Packers offensive tackle Chad Clifton (hamstring and running back Ryan Grant (stinger) were limited again.

Outside linebacker Aaron Kampman (knee) is out.

And offensive tackle T.J. Lang didn't practice due to a concussion.

The Packers upgraded Woodson (shoulder) to full participation.

Rodgers (ribs) participated fully.  

BENCHED: Mattison emphasized that outside linebacker Antwan Barnes hasn't been relegated to the bench because of his missed arm tackle on Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson.

The mistake in technique triggered a 28-yard touchdown run.

"No, that had nothing to do with it," Mattison said. "If we didn't play guys because they miss tackles, we'd be down to a 15-man roster."

Barnes has been deactivated for five of the past six games.

Barnes has said previously that he thought he wasn't playing because of the missed tackle on Benson.

Following a strong preseason, he's now outranked on the depth chart by rookie Paul Kruger.

"Yeah, it's frustrating to be watching other guys play," Barnes said. "All I can do right now is be ready and prepare like I'm going to play. Whatever they need me to do, I'm ready. I ain't complaining. I know they expect a lot out of me.

"I have a positive attitude about it. I ain't no T.O. I'm not going to go to the media and complain. I'm going to keep working hard in practice and stay ready for whenever they need me."

   INCENTIVES: Cameron offered a funny theory about why Jets coach Rex Ryan brought in New York Yankees manager Joe Gerardi to teach rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez how to slide.

"Please, you guys fell for that?" Cameron said. "We know what that's about. That's about Yankee season tickets, period. We're not falling for that. We know our boy, now. We know what's going on: Yankee season tickets."

Cameron said he can't recall ever needing to teach one of his quarterbacks how to slide.

"I'm just fortunate," he said. "We know how to teach it if we need to. Know what you're looking for, and go get it. That tends to work well."  

QUICK HITS: The Packers are heavily utilizing former Ravens safety Derrick Martin on special teams since acquiring him in a trade on Sept. 6 in exchange for offensive tackle Tony Moll. "Derrick has got a big role on their special teams," special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "He's very active, and the coverage teams have moved him to the personal protector, which really gets him free and lets him use skills to run downfield. In kickoff coverage, he's making a lot of plays. He's beaten blocks. He's been a highly productive player for them." … Punt returner Chris Carr had his best game of the season against the Steelers, averaging 14.1 yards per return. It has been a rough season for Carr, so that was an encouraging sign. "It was good to see," Rosburg said. "It was hard for all of us, but certainly Chris would know that most. He got a couple opportunities and it paid off." However, the Ravens lost a lot of yardage on penalties on returns. "The thing that we have to do better is the decisions in the return game where we don't hurt ourselves during the return," Rosburg said. "We had some really good blocks, and we had a couple balls that we could get to the outside and Chris did a marvelous job of making a couple guys miss. Now, we've got to finish the play smartly so we can keep the yards of the gain."… Cameron isn't worried about the frigid conditions forecast for Monday night at Lambeau Field. "We built a weather-proof system," he said. "We're definitely not an indoor team. We're an outdoor, bad-weather team. We like to think we can handle those conditions." … Cameron was noncommittal on whether Ngata, who cleared a path for running back Willis McGahee as a blocker in the goal-line offense against the Pittsburgh Steelers, will ever touch the football. "There's not a guy in this building that doesn't want the ball, and there may be two that are going to get it every down and that's Matt Birk and Joe Flacco," he said. You want guys that want the ball, and it's nice to have Haloti healthy again so that we can utilize him. It depends on the game plan. We're not going to force something in a game plan that's not there." The Ravens coaching staff is very impressed with rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb's progress. "He's worked extremely hard," Mattison said. "It's like he's like a sponge. He's trying to learn more and more, and that's why he's got a chance to be a very successful professional football player."


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