RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Oher passes test v. Peppers

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Oher passes test v. Peppers

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OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher clashed with Carolina Panthers star defensive end Julius Peppers throughout the game Saturday night, effectively walling off the four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher.

Peppers wound up recording just one tackle for the game and he got close to registering one sack.

"I don’t think he got to the quarterback at all, so I think Michael did a great job," offensive tackle Jared Gaither said. "It just shows the kind of player and person he is to rise to the occasion like that."

Oher was low-key afterward about his encounter with Peppers, one of the top defensive ends in the league.

Oher shifted to left offensive tackle in the third quarter with Joe Reitz taking his place on the right side.

"I got to do my job," Oher said. "He’s a great player. I had my hands full the entire game. I had to play every snap, but I think I did OK. I can get a lot better."

Oher and tight end Todd Heap did a solid job of blocking Peppers in tandem in a few different situations.

"That guy is a heck of a player," Heap said of Peppers. "He’s a little bit bigger, stronger and faster, so you really have to focus on your technique. Whether it was the tackle or the tight end or whoever, we were able to get him blocked."

Oher’s biggest mistake was a costly one, jumping offsides at the Panthers’ 1-yard line in the first quarter as a drive stalled.

"That’s how you learn as a young player," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ‘You don’t jump offsides on the one or the six-inch line."

RED-ZONE ISSUES: The Ravens weren’t pleased with not scoring on every trip inside the red zone as they recorded touchdowns on two of their three drives inside the Panthers’ 20-yard line.

"We wish we could have scored three touchdowns tonight," quarterback Joe Flacco said.

Added Heap: "If we could have gotten rid of a couple costly penalties, we really would have accomplished everything we wanted. If we eliminate those penalties, I think we’ll be right where we want to be.”

Oher’s false start, a delay of game penalty and Gaither allowing a sack to Tyler Brayton stalled the Ravens’ first-quarter drive.

"In the red zone, yes, you’ve got to be able to run the ball in," Harbaugh said. "It gets small, especially when you get into the tight red zone. You’ve got to be able to score from the 10, 15, or 12-yard line throwing the ball."

The Ravens wound up accomplishing that goal on Flacco’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Heap after Heap had dropped a pass earlier in the game.

"To see Joe make that throw and Todd make that catch, those are the kind of things that give us a chance to be effective down there," Harbaugh said. "That is the scenario where we’ve got to get better, and also on third down, we’ve got to get better."

QUICK HITS: Offensive guard Marshal Yanda started in place of Chris Chester in his most extended playing time since tearing three knee ligaments last season against the Indianapolis Colts. "I got to play alongside Marshal Yanda, which I haven’t been able to do much this preseason," center Matt Birk said. "He is playing well, and it was good to get in some work with him." … Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tackled wide receiver Steve Smith in the open field with the benefit of a good angle. "That was just Ed Reed slowing him down so I could get there," Ngata said. "I was just happy that he did slow him down, so I had a chance to get there and make a play. That’s what us Ravens do, we run to the ball and make a tackle." … Offensive tackle Oniel Cousins (sprained right ankle) is no longer wearing a protective boot and predicted he would play Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons when the Ravens conclude the preseason. "Oh yeah, it’s much better," Cousins said. … Harbaugh isn’t making much out of the Ravens being 3-0 in the preseason. "That doesn’t really mean anything in the big scheme, because they don’t count," Harbaugh said. "You tell the guys the goal is to win the game. In the big picture, no, they don’t mean that much." … The first NFL roster cutdown date looms on Tuesday when teams are required to get down to 75 players from their current allotment of 80. … Rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb led the Ravens with seven tackles, including one for a loss. … Several healthy players didn’t play in the game, including kicker Graham Gano, quarterbacks Cleo Lemon and Drew Willy, wide receivers Eron Riley, Yamon Figurs and Ernie Wheelwright, running back Cedric Peerman, fullback Jason Cook, defensive tackle Nader Abdallah, defensive end Will Johnson, outside linebacker Willie VanDeSteeg and tight end Davon Drew. … Harbaugh praised running back Jalen Parmale for his 48-yard run in the fourth quarter as well as wide receiver Kelley Washington (three catches, 66 yards).

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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