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BALTIMORE — Jared Gaither wasnâ€™t shy about introducing himself to Washington Redskins veteran defensive end Andre Carter.
Instead of offering a friendly handshake, though, the Baltimore Ravensâ€™ massive rookie offensive tackle announced his presence by roughly throttling Carter and depositing him on the ground Saturday during a scrimmage at M&T Bank Stadium.
Whether it was how the 6-foot-9, 350-pounder manhandled Carter during blocking drills or walled off defenders from getting near quarterback Steve McNair, Gaitherâ€™s play belied his age.
â€œTo be that size and have that much athleticism and that much quickness, youâ€™ve got to be blessed,â€ McNair said. â€œYou donâ€™t find those guys too often.â€
Six days after his first NFL practice, the 21-year-old started at left tackle in place of injured All-Pro lineman Jonathan Ogden and blocked Carter, who has 38 career sacks.
Afterward, Gaither didnâ€™t seem to be in awe of his quick advancement from an ineligible former University of Maryland standout into an emerging NFL rookie.
â€œI think I did pretty good, plenty more improvement to go,â€ Gaither said. â€œIâ€™m just working hard, taking it in stride doing the best I can.
â€œI didnâ€™t have jitters, I was just anxious and ready to get it going. I think I did a good job.â€
The Greenbelt native grew up in Prince Georgeâ€™s County, idolizing the Redskins during Hall of Fame coach Gibbsâ€™ first stint in Washington.
â€œIt was a little weird, but thatâ€™s business,â€ said Gaither, whose parents were in the stands. â€œIt was a great day. Itâ€™s nice to put a licking on somebody else besides our guys.â€
ROOKIE WATCH: Gaither wasnâ€™t the only rookie lineman who performed well.
Third-round draft pick Marshal Yanda made a strong debut at right tackle.
â€œI think youâ€™ve got to give credit to the offensive line coach [Chris Foerster],â€ McNair said. â€œHeâ€™s done a great job of bringing these young guys in here and teaching them the ropes and the scheme. Itâ€™s pure detail.
â€œI think they protected well. In the running game, those guys opened up a few holes.â€
Meanwhile, rookie Troy Smith completed 2 of 4 passes for 22 yards as his competition for the third-string quarterback job, Drew Olson, misfired on a pair of throws.
â€œThere were a lot of passes that were incomplete,â€ said Smith, a fifth-round pick who won the Heisman Trophy last season at Ohio State. â€œItâ€™s a situation where there really wasnâ€™t a miscue. It was just not a good enough ball by me.
â€œIt wonâ€™t be that way next time. I didnâ€™t have a problem with anything that was called. We just got to perfect it.â€
Rookie linebacker Prescott Burgess was on the move, lining up at several positions.
The sixth-round pick from Michigan was credited with a team-high four tackles.
â€œHe can do it all,â€ Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott said. â€œI give him props.â€
PROGRESSION: Watching the scrimage from the bench was an unusual experience for Scott, a former undrafted free agent unaccustomed to the luxury of sitting out.
â€œIt kind of gave me chills,â€ Scott said. â€œI used to be the guy who got all the snaps. I felt for some of those guys, but whatever doesnâ€™t kill them makes them stronger.â€
INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens didnâ€™t report any new injuries, although wide receiver Clarence Moore was held out with a strained hamstring. He said it wasnâ€™t serious and expected to practice as soon as Monday.
Also not playing for Baltimore: nose guard Kelly Gregg (thigh bruise), linebacker Antwan Barnes (sprained ankle), offensive guard Ben Grubbs (sprained knee), Ogden (turf toe), tackle Mike Kracalik (ankle), linebackers Dan Cody (knee surgery) and Mike Smith (shoulder surgery) and Justin Green (knee surgery).
QUICK HITS: McNair offered a tribute to former Tennessee Titans teammate Bruce Matthews, the versatile blocker being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend.
â€œAnytime you play five positions on the offensive line and go to the Pro Bowl at each of them, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,â€ McNair said. â€œHe was a guy that liked to have fun, but when it was time for business, he got down to business." â€¦ Wide receiver Devard Darling continued a running feud with Redskins safety Sean Taylor, getting into a shoving match with him and ripping off his helmet. ... Tight end Quinn Sypniewski caught a touchdown during passing drills. â€¦ Jason Campbell hit James Thrash in stride for a long touchdown pass prior to the scrimmage. â€¦. â€¦McNair was intercepted by Fred Smoot during 7-on-7 work. â€¦ Safety Dawan Landry was the lone defensive starter that played in the scrimmage. â€¦ Undrafted free agent defensive end Edgar Jones notched a sack, also hustling in pursuit to chase down a runner in the open field. â€¦ Rookie middle linebacker Joe Martin had a sack. ... Rookie Jordan Palmer, the younger brother of Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, hit Burl Toler on a 24-yard touchdown pass for the Redskinsâ€™ only score. â€¦ Former Ravens offensive tackle Orlando â€œZeusâ€ Brown was on the sidelines. â€¦ The Ravens have today off and resume practice at McDaniel College on Monday morning. The workout is closed to the general public.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.