Ravens Notebook: Gaither draws flags, scrutiny

Street Talk Ravens Notebook: Gaither draws flags, scrutiny

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OWINGS MILLS — Offensive tackle Jared Gaither found himself locked in the officials’ cross-hairs Sunday, committing half of the Baltimore Ravens’ penalties.

Gaither was flagged for two false starts, one holding penalty and an ineligible receiver downfield infraction during a 29-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders. His four penalties went for 25 of the Ravens’ 52 penalty yards on eight flags.

The former

University of
standout committed his second false-start penalty prior to quarterback Joe Flacco’s 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demetrius Williams and was flagged for drifting downfield leading up to Flacco’s fourth-quarter touchdown run.

Meanwhile, right offensive guard Chris Chester was flagged twice for holding. Plus, fullback Le’Ron McClain jumped early.

Perhaps it was easier for the officials to identify Gaither as the transgressor since he’s 6-foot-9, 330 pounds.

"I think it’s something that any of our offensive linemen have to work out, and it’s not just the offensive linemen," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We had a back flinch as well, and we lined up wrong outside on the perimeter on the left side one time. Those are all critical things that if we want to become what we want to become, we definitely have to clean that stuff up."

ROLLE ON THE MEND: Harbaugh expressed optimism that cornerback Samari Rolle might play in Sunday’s road game against the Cleveland Browns.

Rolle has missed the past five games as he recovers from neck surgery, and he is progressing faster in his convalescence than strong safety Dawan Landry. Landry has missed five games because of a spinal cord concussion and said last week that he’ll be out at least two more games.

Rolle has not been cleared for contact yet by doctors.

"We feel like Samari is a little ahead of Dawan," Harbaugh said. "I don’t think it’s ruled out for Dawan this week, but it probably is pessimistic.

"For Samari, I don’t know if it’s optimistic, but there’s a chance he’s going to be able to play. So we’re going to get him out there to practice and see how he does and we’re going to push hard to see if we can get him into this game."

McALISTER SIDELINED: Cornerback Chris McAlister’s status remains unresolved.

He was held out Sunday due to his right knee flaring up, according to Harbaugh, who benched McAlister for all but eight snaps in a 27-13 win over the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago.

"Chris is a huge part of what we’re doing, and I think it’s really important that everybody understands that," Harbaugh said. "The whole terming of him being benched, we never used that term. All of a sudden, he was benched. I don’t know where that term came from.

"We’ve been trying to manage Chris’ situation all season, and I think he’s been fighting through it. He’s a world-class athlete who has been one of the best corners, if not maybe the best corner, in the game for the last 10 years and he’s fighting through a knee issue. Sometimes, when you’re that kind of athlete, man, you don’t want to admit that."

Harbaugh stressed that McAlister, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, remains in the Ravens’ plans.

"I think it’s been a valiant effort," Harbaugh said. "We want him on the field playing as much as possible, and we want to manage the reps and put him in the best situation to get through the whole season. Unless something turns with the knee, he’s going to be playing a ton of football for us and is going to be a huge part of what we’re doing."

QUICK HITS: Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo sprained his ankle Sunday, but was healthy enough to participate in a light practice Monday. "I don’t think it’s a given, but he should be OK," Harbaugh said. … The outlook isn’t as bright for return specialist Yamon Figurs (left knee contusion). Ray Rice and Jim Leonhard filled in adeptly for Figurs the past two games. "Yamon is iffy," Harbaugh said. "He’s got a chance to be back there. If Yamon is healthy, he’s going to be returning for us in some form or fashion, but we’re kind of excited about Ray and we’re kind of excited about Jim." … Harbaugh struck an unconcerned stance about playing the next three games on the road. "We don’t have a message about the road," he said. "We’ve got a great travel setup. We take a plane. We’ve got a nice hotel and buses will be waiting for us. We’re looking forward to the big challenge." … The Ravens now rank 24th in total offense (307.3), fifth in rushing (142.4) and 27th in passing (164.9) with the defense remaining second overall (242.4), first against the run (64.3) and third against the pass (178.1) … Flacco attended the Ravens’ annual Halloween party that benefits Goodwill Industries, dressing up as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps was also scheduled to attend, team spokesman Kevin Byrne said. 

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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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. 

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