Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: News, Notes & Injury Updates

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For the second day in a row, tight end Todd Heap practiced on a limited basis.

Barring a setback, he’s expected to return Sunday after missing the past two  games with a pulled right hamstring.

“We all know he’s having a great year and look forward to getting him back probably sooner than later,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “He hasn’t missed a beat in his preparation, his rehab. A consummate pro, and looking forward to getting him back.”

You really don’t want to have a setback when you’re trying to get a guy back. We’ll just kind of let it play out, but he’s doing everything he can do, and I think focusing on what he can control, and I think that’s the important thing.

Wide receiver Derrick Mason (ankle) was limited again in practice.

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (knee) and safety Haruki Nakamura (illness) didn’t practice as well as rookie wide receiver David Reed (concussion) and safety Tom Zbikowski.

If Reed can’t play, Jalen Parmele will take his place as the primary kickoff returner.

“David has got some issues to overcome, and hopefully he’ll be up,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “We’ll have to wait and see by the end of the week. Hopefully, we’ll have everybody  going on Sunday and we’ll find out who’s going to play when we get there.”

Zbikowski (back) isn’t expected to play this week and is a potential candidate to be placed on injured reserve if he doesn’t improve by next week.

Offensive guard Tony Moll (illness) and linebacker Jason Phillips (illness) returned to practice and participated fully.

Wide receiver Marcus Smith (shoulder) and center Matt Birk (knee) participated fully.

Browns running back Peyton Hillis (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis after being rested Wednesday.

Defensive end Kenyon Coleman was downgraded on the injury report, not practicing Thursday after being limited.

Linebacker Eric Alexander (groin) and tight end Robert Royal (shoulder).

Also limited: cornerback Sheldon Brown (shoulder), nose guard Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip), offensive guard Floyd Womack (knee) and offensive tackle John St. Clair (ankle).

McCoy participated fully after missing  Wednesday with an illness.

 “I don’t know if it was a 24-hour bug or I got some food poisoning,” McCoy said. “Yesterday wasn’t a good day.”

SUGGS NOT WORRIED ABOUT STATS: One year after slumping to a career-low for sacks, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is on the verge of setting a career-high for pass rushing.

He’s one shy of tying his rookie mark of 12 sacks, not that he’s consumed with statistics.

The three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher is much more interested in winning a Super Bowl.

"I’ve been in the Pro Bowl and all of that, and had some good seasons and some bad, and I still have no Lombardi Trophy," said Suggs, who posted just 4 ½ sacks last season. "That’s the only thing that I’m trying to play for. The more wins we get, the more chances we have to get to Dallas. That’s pretty much it.

“That’s fun, it’s good, and family is looking at it, but I just need the hardware. I get the hardware, we can talk about it after."

Suggs has had a resurgent season after reporting out of shape last year at roughly 283 pounds at training camp after being signed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract. He also dealt with a sprained knee and an off-field domestic legal issue involving the mother of his two children that has since been resolved.

“Who cares about last year?" Suggs said. “You don’t want to let those opportunities pass you by. It’s definitely an opportunity to go on a run and do something special. You’ve got to take advantage of that and live in the moment."

NGATA, KOCH HONORED: Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and punter Sam Koch were named to the USA Football All-Fundamentals team.

It’s the second year in a row for Ngata.

Each player gets to designate a youth or high school football program to receive a $1,500 equipment grant and each was given a silver helmet trophy.

“That right there is what makes my job a really great job,” Mattison said after presenting the award to Ngata. “To win an award for a technician when you’re rated by some as the best defensive lineman in the NFL, that tells you everything. He comes out every day and he does the same thing. He’s an impressive young man.”

Koch leads the NFL in punts downed inside the 20-yard line and is averaging 43.1 yards per punt.

“Sam is a very skilled athlete,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “There are a lot of things he can do well. He’s now developed a little wider range than he did his first year, and I think that’s really serving him well.”

ON THE HOT SEAT:  Browns coach Eric Mangini might not be running his football team for much longer.

Not with the Browns (5-9) eliminated from playoff contention and having dropped their past two games to the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mangini has gone 10-20 in two seasons in Cleveland and team president Mike Holmgren could go in a different direction after this season.

Despite that tough circumstance, Mangini said he’s not worried about his outlook in Cleveland heading into Sunday’s game.

“My seat’s been hot for about three years, so I’m pretty comfortable in that seat,” Mangini said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “I really believe in what we do, and I really believe in the type of people that we commit to. We commit to a certain type of guy, we believe in playing disciplined football.

"Of all the things that I’ve learned over the years, and there have been some great mentors, it’s about what it takes to be successful, and I think we have improved as a team. I think we’ve got a bright future as a team and as an organization. What I do is just focus on the next week. That’s always what I ask the guys to do. Not to be a hypocrite, but at the end of the year, whatever happens, happens."

The Browns began the season 1-5, but have improved since that point.

And Mangini said he’s not asking the players to win to protect his job.

“I wouldn’t ask them to do that,” Mangini said. “I wouldn’t hope that would be their motivation. What I ask them to do is to go out each day and practice with a purpose and to get better individually and then to help us get better collectively.

"And that’s really what I ask them to do whether it’s this week, next week or the first week of the season. I think that’s what my job is, to help them get better individually and help us get better collectively and worry about our next opponent. And all of the other stuff will take care of itself.”

The Browns do have impressive victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.

Will the Browns be fired up to protect their coaches’ jobs?

“It’s probably extra motivation,” Harbaugh said. “I think those coaches are guys that we have tremendous respect for, and they do a great job. I’m sure their players think very highly of them. They’ll be playing hard for a lot of reasons, and maybe that’s part of it.”

STALLWORTH WINS ED BLOCK AWARD: Veteran wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth was voted by his teammates as the Ed Block Courage Award winner.

The award is given annually by the NFL-supported charity to recognize courage in the NFL with players from each team voted who "exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage."

Stallworth returned to the NFL this season after being suspended all of last year by commissioner Roger Goodell after striking and killing Miami construction worker Mario Reyes with his car while under the influence of alcohol.

Stallworth served 24 days in jail.

He reached a confidential settlement with the Reyes family and has apologized profusely for his behavior, remaining out of trouble since the tragic accident.

QUICK HITS: Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden has intercepted five passes since being drafted seventh overall out of the University of Florida. The Maryland native has impressed wide receiver Derrick Mason.  “He’s playing well,” Mason said. “He’s finally into the starting rotation now, and he’s playing well. He’s learning on the run, and he has a very, very good defensive coordinator to kind of work him through the process. This guy, the last five or six games, he’s really been playing well. That’s just a testament to what he’s been able to do in the classroom as well as try to bring it out on the field.” … Kicker Billy Cundiff  leads the NFL with 38 touchbacks this season and is two touchbacks shy of tying Mitch Berger’s single-season record. Only 31 of his kickoffs have been returned this season, fewest in the league “Billy has had a great year in all aspects of kicking,” Rosburg said. “I think his field goals that he’s made have had big impacts in our games and are always really important when you evaluate a kicker. He had game-winning kicks, and Billy’s done that for us. His kickoffs speak for themselves, not only the number of touchbacks, but the number of balls in the end zone that he’s had. We’re really happy for him. He deserves it, he’s worked hard for it, and we’re glad he’s a Raven.” … Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe recorded a sack and six tackles Sunday after being deactivated for the previous four games, exiting the doghouse after a lackluster effort on a Jason Snelling touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. “There’s a learning process for every young football player, especially with the numbers that we have,” Mattison said. “All you can do is go by who fits the bill as far as special teams and linebacker. Dannell has done a good job. He’s worked hard, he’s got a great talent. That’s what we expect out of every guy. He’s done a very good job for us.”

 

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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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