Harbaugh says Ravens sticking with Katula

OWINGS MILLS – Despite a pair of errant snaps from long snapper Matt Katula that led to missed field goals against the Oakland Raiders, the Baltimore Ravens intend to stick with him during the postseason.

"No, I think Matt Katula is a quality long snapper in this league," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "You see it in practice every day. You see it in pregame. You see it in most of the snaps during the game.

"He would be the first tell you he's got to be better in that situation, and he does have to be better in that situation. But he's a really good snapper, and he's going to be fine."

The Ravens have rookie long snapper Nick Sundberg on the practice squad and have the option of promoting the former UFL player if Katula struggles this week during practice.

Katula's struggles continued Sunday as his snap was low and off to the right, forcing holder Sam Koch to hurriedly field it out of the ground and set it for kicker Billy Cundiff.

That 37-yard miss wide right as time expired in the first half preceded a similar sequence in the fourth quarter.

Cundiff missed a 51-yard try in the fourth quarter following a nearly identical poor snap from Katula, who has usually been reliable until this recent bout of inaccuracy contributed to by a bout with tendinitis in his snapping elbow.

Following that episode, an angry Harbaugh was caught on camera saying, "Bad snap."

Leading by eight points, the miss cost the Ravens a chance to put the game completely out of reach.

When asked if the snap caused the miss, Harbaugh replied: "It didn't help. For that kind of field goal in those kind of conditions, we felt like 51 was our yardage. That was the yardage in pregame. We nailed those very well in pregame and that was an opportunity to really put the game away.

"I wanted to get that to 11 points if we could. I thought we had a reasonable chance to make that field goal. But in order to do that, you have to snap it, you have to hold it, you have to kick it and all have to go well. Obviously, that didn't happen. So, we have to have a better operation in either one of those two attempts.

Cundiff said that he connected on a 53-yard field goal during warmups.

"I had enough leg," he said. "My cleat got caught in the ground and just kind of dragged behind it. Even though it's a long kick, it's definitely within my range."

On Monday, Harbaugh admitted that Katula's health may be a factor in his recent snapping issues.

 "He's had a little bit of tendinitis, and I think that's affecting him a little bit," Harbaugh said. "By the same token, he snaps well enough in practice. He's really spot on. He snaps great in pregame.

"So, I think it's just putting it all together in that situation and he's capable of doing that. We've got to move on. He's a good snapper, and I think he's confident and he can get the job done."

INJURY UPDATES: The Ravens were encouraged by how free safety Ed Reed and offensive tackle Jared Gaither performed during their first games back from injuries.

Reed had missed the previous four games with a groin injury, and Gaither had been out for three games with a foot injury and lower back problems.

"I think that they both looked pretty good," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, it's tough to just go out there and play for the first time in four weeks. I think they'll get even better. They both came out of it real well."

Harbaugh said that linebacker Tavares Gooden (groin) nearly was able to return.

"I didn't think he was good enough or ready to play, although he did," Harbaugh said. "He always thinks that. He always wants to play. Hopefully, we'll get him back." Harbaugh said that defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained right ankle) and offensive tackle Marshal Yanda were sore following the game, but didn't anticipate either being sidelined.

"Marshal came out of it pretty good," Harbaugh said. "He'll be a little bit sore, but he should be fine. Haloti is sore. The ankle, it's always a little bit sore. He's a big guy, pushing off. But he's fine, too."

BILLS HAVEN'T CONTACTED CAMERON: Following reports that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron might be in the mix for the Buffalo Bills' head coaching job also linked to former Ravens coach Brian Billick, Harbaugh said that the Ravens haven't been contacted for permission to interview him.

"Not that I'm aware of, no," Harbaugh said. "Nothing has been done. Cam's a great coach. I know him as a head coach. I worked for him for a year. I know his reputation.

"I've had a chance to be around him the last two years, probably as close as any two coaches can be. I'm more impressed with him than ever. I hope he's the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator for many years to come. That's going to be my position."

2010 OPPONENTS: Next season, the Ravens will play home games against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and the Denver Broncos.

And they have road games against the New England Patriots, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans.

Of course, they play their usual home-and-road series against the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns.

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh is waiting to hear from the league office regarding a pass interference flag on cornerback Chris Carr. Carr was penalized during the second quarter while covering rookie wide receiver Louis Murphy. "I thought it was good technique by Chris Carr," Harbaugh said. "I thought he played it just the way you're supposed to play it. There's no technique coaching point that we're going to be able to discuss with him to say you could have done that better. We don't have that. So, that's where we stand with that one." Nickel back Frank Walker was penalized for illegal-contact during the first quarter,  which continues a season-long trend for him. In this case, Walker might not have been at fault. Walker was downfield when he running back Darren McFadden collided with him. "Frank's call was similar," Harbaugh said. "At some point in time, you establish position and I guess you've got to get out of the way. So, we'll talk to the league. We'll find out what they say and whatever they tell us, that's how we'll coach our guy." … Harbaugh declined to reveal what he said to running back Willis McGahee on a happy sideline following his 77-yard touchdown run where he sent Hiram Eugene flying to the ground. "No, I could never share that," Harbaugh said. "I don't remember what it was. You go through a lot together as coaches and players, and the fans are a part of it, too. There is a lot of emotion in sports and a lot of emotion to football. You're right in the middle of that. When a player has that kind of performance and there is a lot at stake for all of us and it matters a lot to us, I guess you want to share with him how you feel. I don't think there's anything wrong with that."


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