RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Birk sidelined, Washington anxious

Matt_Birk_v_Bears_landscape

Baltimore Ravens veteran center Matt Birk underwent offseason elbow surgery and remains on the physically unable to perform list.

Birk’s right arm, his snapping arm, was heavily wrapped Wednesday afternoon. However, Birk doesn’t expect to be sidelined for very long as the surgery isn’t regarded as serious.

Birk indicated that he didn’t know if he would be practicing Friday at McDaniel College when the Ravens conduct their first full-team session.

"I don’t know yet," Birk said. "I just try to do whatever they tell me to do. I expect to be back really soon."

If Birk is out, then the Ravens would insert Chris Chester at center. Birk has had neck issues in the past, a part of the job for a center with big nose guards jamming into his helmet when he snaps the football.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection’s feeling better, though.

"Pretty good," Birk said. "I’ve done some things in the offseason to be proactive about it. I worked on strengthening it and treating it and trying to get it as good as I can."

GETTING CLOSE: Cornerback Fabian Washington has been lobbying coach John Harbaugh to get back on the field in the next few days.

He’s currently on the physically unable to perform list due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament that was surgically repaired this offseason. He hopes to practice as soon as Friday.

"I’m just gonna say this: Don’t be surprised to see me," Washington said. "Me and Harbs talk every day about this. So, he’s being precautious. Of course, I don’t want to get hurt. At the same time, man, I’m just ready to be one of the guys again."

Washington went so far as to say that if the Ravens opened the season today, he would be prepared to line up and cover wide receivers.

"The speed is there, my agility is fantastic," Washington said. "The knee is not 100 percent. I can’t sit here and say that, but it’s really close."

Unlike most players who regard training camp as something to be tolerated, not embraced, Washington is genuinely excited.

"They need me come season time and not right now, but I feel like for me to be the best I can be, I need as many practices as possible," Washington said. "Not just because of my knee. I’m one of those guys, I can’t just turn that switch on. I actually have to practice and get my timing down."

IN GOOD SHAPE: Three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is noticeably leaner than he was a year ago at camp when he reported at roughly 283 pounds. Suggs is now down in the mid-260s

Meanwhile, second-year outside linebacker-defensive end Paul Kruger has bulked up to 273 pounds.

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither, who dealt with a bruised foot throughout the offseason, looks like he’s in good shape. He showed no signs of limping or favoring the foot at all when he checked into the team hotel.

HARRIS’ ACHILLES HEEL: Reserve cornerback Walt Harris hasn’t been able to take the conditioning test again after flunking it on the first try.

Why is that?

Harris said he has a sore Achilles’ tendon that prevents him from running the test. The 35-year-old was out of all last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"Once that comes around, hopefully I will take it again," Harris said. "It’s no big deal. I’ll be all right."

ACTIVATED: Undrafted rookie cornerback Prince Miller passed the conditioning test and was activated from the non-football injury list.

It was a relief for Miller, a former University of Georgia standout who can’t afford to miss practices as he battles to try to make the team.

"I woke up early and knocked it out," Miller said. "It was real disappointing for me to miss those two practices. I just wanted to get back on the field as soon as possible. These practices are real valuable. You get more one-on-one time for the coaches to teach you."

AIRING IT OUT: Quarterback Joe Flacco connected on a pair of bombs to wide receivers Mark Clayton and David Reed.

A fifth-round pick from Utah, Reed made an acrobatic diving grab across the middle to snare a 50-yard Flacco pass.

SAFETY: Flacco fumbled a snap to begin a drill and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said: "That’s a safety. Line up again."

QUICK HITS: Undrafted rookie running back Curtis Steele was a workhorse for the University of Memphis despite his lack of size at a generously listed 6-foot, 200 pounds. With the Ravens’ veterans not on the field, Steele has taken every snap as the lone running back at training camp. … Starting Friday, though, Ray Rice and Willis McGahee will be carrying the majority of the workload. .. Not practicing for various reasons: safety Ed Reed (hip), running back Matt Lawrence (knee), wide receiver Rodelin Anthony (knee), offensive tackle Oniel Cousins (throat surgery), cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (knee), Harris and Washington and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps). … Rookie tight end Ed Dickson, the team’s third-round draft pick from Oregon, already feels at home with the Ravens. He’s also about to become a father. "I had a really good upbringing with my family, and I’m now representing the Ravens’ organization, my family and then my new family because I’ve got a little son coming on the way." Dickson said. "I’ve got to take all of that and perfect it before I do anything."

 

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About Aaron Wilson

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...more

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