OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens are fairly banged-up following their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Three of the Ravens’ defensive starters were sidelined at practice Thursday.
That includes middle linebacker Ray Lewis (foot), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained right ankle) and cornerback Fabian Washington (left thigh contusion).
Ngata is wearing a brace on his right ankle and missed the Ravens’ last game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Justin Bannan would start for the second game in a row if Ngata is out again.
Rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb is preparing to start if Washington is unable to play.
Lewis is expected to definitely play.
Meanwhile, nickel back Chris Carr didn’t practice as well as rookie linebacker Dannell Ellerbe because of illnesses.
Ellerbe was at practice initially, but was quickly escorted off the field by head trainer Bill Tessendorf.
Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck) was limited.
Free safety Ed Reed (wrist), tight end Todd Heap (ankle), linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder), safety Haruki Nakamura (strained abdominal muscle) and wide receiver Kelley Washington (back) participated fully.
Meanwhile, Cleveland Browns tight end Steve Heidern (knee) and wide receiver Chansi Stuckey (calf) didn’t practice.
Linebacker David Bowens (knee), defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman (groin), tight end Michael Gaines (hamstring), offensive guard Rex Hadnot (knee), running back Jamal Lewis (ankle) and fullback Lawrence Vickers (hamstring) were all limited.
The following players participated fully: defensive lineman Coye Francies (knee), center Alex Mack (wrist), tight end Robert Royal (finger) and punter Dave Zastudil (right knee).
STICKING WITH HAUSCHKA: Ravens coach John Harbaugh reiterated that the team is sticking with kicker Steve Hauschka.
The Ravens tried out free agent kickers Billy Cundiff and Mike Nugent on Tuesday.
"Steve is our kicker,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll be our kicker Monday night and going forward. We said it all along. Steve is a talented kicker. His percentage is actually way above what some guys have had who have gone on to become very good kickers in this league, but we want him to make kicks right now.
“For the most part, he’s kicked well. He’s had a couple of misses that we’d like to have had back, but that’s part of the process."
LEWIS DISAGREES: Jamal Lewis is serious about his plans to retire after this season.
However, Ray Lewis doesn’t agree with that decision as he prepares for likely his last game against his old friend.
“Hopefully, he gets a spark that changes his mind,” Ray Lewis said. “Do I want him to leave? No. He has plenty of football left. I think he should ride it out.”
Even though Jamal Lewis isn’t having a banner season with the 1-7 Browns, the Ravens are still concerned about defending the former NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
“If you don’t swarm-tackle him, he’s going to embarrass you,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “Jamal, he’s like Juggernaut. You’ve seen the movie X-Men? When he gets that thing rolling, he’s going to be hard to stop. ..
“We’re definitely going to have to be all around him, taking shots at his legs in order to get him down. Have got to gang-tackle this guy. I think somebody asked me last week about backs that are hard to take down. He’s definitely one of them.”
ROUGH GAME: Veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason struggled again against the Bengals, catching just three passes after being shut out in the first meeting.
Afterward, he didn’t want to talk about the game with reporters.
On Thursday, he addressed the Bengals’ coverage schemes and expressed disappointment with his performance.
“Like I said Sunday after the game, I said it Monday, I didn’t play a good game,” Mason said. “Point blank, I didn’t come out there and play the way that I’m accustomed to playing. It was an embarrassment to me, it was an embarrassment to other receivers, and it was an embarrassment to the team by the way I played.
“I don’t think they did anything that I haven’t seen the first game. I just wanted to come and try to beat some of the coverages. They played a little man. They played a little zone. What they did good was they mixed everything up. They didn’t show basically the same thing every play. They mixed it up on me and got me out of a rhythm, but I’ll put the majority of it on myself because I didn’t play a good game all-around.”
NO COMPLAINTS: Cornerback Frank Walker has been a healthy scratch for the past few games with no signs of that status changing.
“It’s not frustrating,” he said. “Nothing surprises me. Nothing has ever been given to me in this league.”
So, why hasn’t Walker been playing?
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I guess I didn’t fit the scheme for the teams we’ve been playing.”
QUICK HITS: Dwan Edwards is now officially listed as the starter at defensive end on the depth chart over Trevor Pryce. Although Edwards has started the past three games ahead of Pryce, Harbaugh downplayed the status change. Pryce continues to play a lot of snaps as a situational pass rusher. Edwards registered eight tackles against the Bengals. “I consider both those guys starters,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know what our depth chart even says and I really don’t care. What really matters is the tape, and you see how guys are playing. Both those guys are playing starter reps in my mind.” … Jamal Lewis spoke highly of Ravens running back Ray Rice during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “I think he’s a good running back,” Lewis said. “He’s quick, he’s elusive and, at certain times, he can lower that hat on you. I think he’s a special back. He can run it, they can throw it to him, he can catch it. He’s very elusive and a threat.” … Ray Lewis said he doesn’t treat kickers like second-class citizens in the locker room. “"I don’t look at them any differently,” Lewis said. “I’ve had a true pleasure to be around one of the greatest ones in Matt Stover. So, I kind of look at kickers totally different because of ‘Mr. Consistency.’ It’s just who Stover was. I never looked at them any differently outside of who we are. A mistake is a mistake. Whether it’s a missed kick, whether it’s a dropped pass or whether it’s a blown coverage, a mistake is a mistake. I don’t separate them because they’re always a part of the team." … When asked if it matters who plays quarterback for the Browns with Brady Quinn now installed as the starter again over Derek Anderson, Ray Lewis replied: “No, not at all.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.