EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Baltimore Ravens unveiled a reconfigured offensive line, shifting right guard Marshal Yanda to right offensive tackle and installing Chris Chester as their new right guard. The strategy was intended to get the five top offensive linemen on the field.
The lineup change was also prompted by lingering injuries for offensive tackles Jared Gaither (thoracic disc injury) and Oniel Cousins (concussion).
The Ravens allowed only two sacks in their 10-9 victory Monday night over the New York Jets at the new Meadowlands stadium.
The Ravens got off to a rough start, though, when Joe Flacco was sacked and fumbled in the first quarter.
“I could have played better, you can always do things better,” said Yanda, who committed an illegal use of the hands penalty that was declined. “That’s something we can continue to work on. We let Joe get hit too much. We’ve got some things to correct, but we came out with a win against a good defense and I’m happy.”
It’s unclear if this will be a permanent move, but it’s believed that the Ravens are strongly considering the possibility.
“Chris is a good football player, has great awareness,” Yanda said. “We communicated well. It’s going good for us. It’s on the road, loud as heck, against a great defense. Joe got hit more than he should have, but that happens. It’s football.”
Yanda had been taking repetitions at tackle for several days in practice.
Cousins participated fully in practice all week and played on special teams against the Jets.
He was carted off the field Aug. 18 during training camp and was sidelined for the remainder of the preseason.
The Ravens gave Yanda some assistance with double tight end sets and unbalanced lines.
Chester is an athletic former second-round draft pick from Oklahoma. He was penalized once for holding.
“It was nice,” Chester said. “I hadn’t had a chance to play a lot of right guard. It was exciting. It was good to be out there. I think we did good. I think the physicality and intensity was great. I think we were a little sloppy at times and there are some things we can definitely clean up. This is a good start.”
MUTUAL RESPECT: Jets coach Rex Ryan made it a special point before the game to emphasize how much he appreciated Ravens coach John Harbaugh, noting that he learned a lot from him during their one season working together in Baltimore.
Despite all of the trash talking, the feeling is mutual.
“I’ve really got a lot of respect for Rex,” said Harbaugh, who worked on the same University of Cincinnati staff as Ryan in 1996. “I would like to think that we’re both good coaches. We both care for our players. We both want to win. We both compete right to the end.”
Nose guard Kelly Gregg retains close ties to Ryan, who coached him at Oklahoma and lobbied former Ravens coach Brian Billick to give him a chance in Baltimore
“Rex is brash,” Gregg said. “That’s the way he is. He’s the man. He’s going to wear his heart and soul on his sleeve.”
INJURY UPDATE: The lone injury reported by the Ravens was to tight end Todd Heap, who hurt his right shoulder.
Heap had an ice pack on his shoulder after the game, but downplayed the seriousness of the injury.
RAVENS GLAD HOLMES ISN’T ELIGIBLE: The Ravens didn’t mind not having to compete with Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
The former Super Bowl Most Valuable Player is suspended for four games for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.
Holmes had scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games against Baltimore when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to an offseason trade to New York.
“Santonio Holmes is a great wide receiver,” Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great speed. Obviously, anybody, if you take anybody with that kind of ability out of your lineup, you’re not going to be as good.”
BIG LOSS: Massive Jets nose guard Kris Jenkins’ season ended early last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Monday night, he left the game and didn’t return after injuring the same knee again. The severity and nature of the injury are unclear and Jenkins walked unsteadily off the field under his own power after being down for several minutes.
Jenkins is scheduled to under a magnetic resonance imaging exam today.
NEW PUNT RETURNER: Tom Zbikowski made his debut as the Ravens’ new punt returner, returning four punts for just five yards with one fair catch.
He lost four yards on one third quarter return, catching a Steve Weatherford punt at the Ravens’ five-yard line and getting tackled at the one-yard line.
“I drifted a little too much,” Zbikowski said. “I got a little not really caught up in the game. I drifted, I didn’t realize. I got to pay more attention to where I’m at on the field. I’ll correct it. It’s nothing that can’t be corrected.”
Zbikowski, who also started at free safety in place of an injured Ed Reed, also returned a kickoff 15 yards.
Jalen Parmele remains the primary kickoff returner and averaged 19 yards on three returns.
INACTIVES: The Ravens decided to play it safe with cornerback Lardarius Webb, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament last December against the Chicago Bears.
He was deactivated after practicing all week and being listed as probable on the injury report.
“I’m real close,” Webb said. “It was a coach’s decision. It was a group decision, I should say, all of us. I would like to be here for a while so we’re going to be careful."
The Ravens also scratched wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (broken foot), cornerback Bryan McCann, inside linebacker Jason Phillips, rookie defensive tackle Arthur Jones, rookie nose guard Terrence “Mount” Cody (arthroscopic left knee surgery), Gaither and defensive end Paul Kruger (sprained shoulder).
Cody remains optimistic that he could play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I probably should be ready,” said Cody, who’s off crutches. “Yeah, I’m getting better.”
The Jets deactivated third quarterback Kellen Clemens, safety Brodney Pool (ankle), running back Joe McKnight, offensive guard Vladimir Ducasse, offensive tackle Patrick Brown, tight end Jeff Cumberland, defensive tackle Marcus Dixon and outside linebacker Calvin Pace (broken foot).
QUICK HITS: The game was delayed slightly because of lightning in the area. … The Ravens’ game captains were middle linebacker Ray Lewis, quarterback Joe Flacco and safety Haruki Nakamura. It got heated after the coin toss ceremony. Jenkins was gesturing and yelling toward the Ravens’ sidelines. … Former Ravens wide receiver Demetrius Williams is scheduled to work out for the Minnesota Vikings today. … The Ravens prepared for the noisy environment by pumping in simulated crowd noise during practice all week. … The Ravens awarded game balls to rookie tight end Ed Dickson, whose fiancée gave birth to a son, and to general manager Ozzie Newsome.