RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Lewis, Ngata, Washington game-time decisions

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Lewis, Ngata, Washington game-time decisions

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OWINGS MILLS – Although Coach John Harbaugh characterized middle linebacker Ray Lewis, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Fabian Washington as game-time decisions for the Baltimore Ravens’ Monday night game against the Cleveland Browns, only Ngata appears to be a true question mark.


Both Lewis (foot) and Washington (thigh contusion) participated fully in practice Saturday and are listed as probable on the official injury report, which indicates that the Ravens believe they have a 75-percent chance of playing.


Ngata is listed as questionable due to a sprained right ankle and was limited in practice for the second consecutive day.


“You’ll find out on Monday night,” Lewis said with a grin after practicing for the first time this week. “I feel great.”


Harbaugh was cautiously optimistic.


I think those guys all have a good chance to play, probably to varying degrees,” he said. “They’ve all practiced to one degree or another. Haloti went through individual and a good portion of the stuff today.  Ray went through the same thing, good portion of the stuff, and Fabian the same.


“So, they all kind of practiced the same amount. Again, we’ll have to come down to the game to see how they’re going to, whether they can go actually on game day. But they have a chance to go. It’s going to be a game-time decision for all three of those guys.”


Washington said he’s willing to play hurt, but wasn’t certain about his status. He was upgraded to full participation in practice Saturday.


“It’s three days until the game, so it’s too early to tell,” Washington said. “I’m not sure yet. It’s a maybe.”


Meanwhile, cornerback Lardarius Webb didn’t practice due to an illness that Harbaugh characterized as a significant stomach ache.


Webb, who could replace Washington in the lineup after excelling during a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, appeared to be in discomfort after practice in the locker room.


He’s listed as questionable, but expressed confidence that he’ll recover in time for kickoff.


My stomach hurts,” he said. “I’m good. It just hurts.”


Reserve running back and special-teams contributor Matthew Lawrence (knee) is listed as questionable and was limited.


The Ravens also listed the following players as probable: tight end Todd Heap (ankle), offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck), wide receiver Kelley Washington (back),  linebackers Jarret Johnson (left shoulder) and Dannell Ellerbe (illness), cornerback Chris Carr (illness) and safeties Ed Reed (wrist) and Haruki Nakamura (strained abdominal muscle).


Carr, Ellerbe and Gaither were all upgraded to full participation.


Meanwhile, Browns punter Dave Zastudil is questionable with a right knee injury, his plant leg.


The Browns tried out four punters Friday: Reggie Hodges, A.J. Trapasso, Britton Colquitt and Glenn Pakulak.


Also listed as questionable: defensive end Kenyon Coleman (groin), tight ends Michael Gaines (hamstring) and Steve Heiden (knee), offensive guard Rex Hadnot (knee), running back Jamal Lewis (ankle), wide receiver Chansi Stuckey (calf) and fullback Lawrence Vickers (hamstring).


Linebacker David Bowens (knee), center Hank Fraley (knee), defensive lineman Coye Francies (knee), center Alex Mack (wrist) and tight end Robert Royal (finger) are all listed as probable.


LANDRY STRUGGLING: Strong safety Dawan Landry has registered 40 tackles and two interceptions this season.


However, he hasn’t played nearly as well in past seasons as he did prior to missing the majority of last season after undergoing neck surgery.


Often caught out of position and slow to react to passes over the middle, Landry also hasn’t been as much of a force in run support or an enforcer against receivers and tight ends downfield.


Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, in response to a question about whether he’s going to give more playing time to reserve safeties Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski, replied: “We’re going to try to work in a lot of guys. We’re going to try to get more guys playing, give guys a little bit of a break and just let some other guys get a chance to play, too.”


Mattison didn’t exactly praise Landry, but defended him.


“I think Dawan is playing as well as he can,” Mattison said. “Again, he’s in a position where if you don’t make the right step, if you don’t do something perfect, it’s glaring.”


STEPPING UP: Now that he’s a starting defensive end, Dwan Edwards is intent on proving that the coaches made the right decision to grant him more playing time.


The former second-round draft pick has started three consecutive games with a total of 13 tackles and one sack.


“It’s definitely a long time coming,” Edwards said. “Shoot, I’m just having fun getting an opportunity to play. If we win some of these games, I’ll feel a lot better about it.”


Edwards replaced four-time Pro Bowl selection Trevor Pryce in the starting lineup. However, they still split a lot of snaps with Pryce operating as a situational pass rusher on third downs.


“If Haloti’s not playing, I’m in most of the third downs,” Edwards said. “Trevor plays most of the third downs. It all depends on the flow of the game and the reps everyone else is getting.


“Coach Harbaugh told me one week that I was going to start playing a little bit more. I’m finally getting that opportunity and it feels good.”


TRYOUT: The Ravens held a one-day “tryout” with left-footed punter Dave Brytus on Friday to prepare for Zastudil, one of three lefty punters in the AFC North.


QUICK HITS: The Ravens lead the NFL in pass-interference penalties and penalty yardage with 590 yards on 60 penalties. Only the Green Bay Packers (62) and the Dallas Cowboys (61) have committed more total penalties than the Ravens. … It’s a long wait for players heading into a Monday night game. How do they pass the time with no games to watch? “I don’t think too many of our guys are into soap operas,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know what they do, but we have meetings and we have walkthroughs and things like that.” … By playing a Monday night game, the Ravens’ preparations for next week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts will be condensed. “The con is that you have a short week the next week,” Harbaugh said. “The difficulty is that we’re not going to have to play the Indianapolis Colts the Sunday after that and we’re not going to get the normal two days that we’ll get to prepare a game plan. We’ll basically have one day to prepare the game plan. We’ll have to bleed that preparation into Wednesday, Thursday, Friday maybe a little more than we normally do, which is not ideal when you’re playing Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. The advantage is it’s Monday night, and it’s a tradition. All the players, everybody they know in the world is watching them and same for the coaches. Everybody that cares about you is watching the game.” … Wide receiver Derrick Mason has caught 90 passes for 1,151 yards and six touchdowns in Monday night games, the third-most receptions among active players on MNF. And he has caught 73 career passes for 1,151 yards and five touchdowns against the Browns. It’s the second-most receptions for Mason against any opponent and the most yards against any team in his career. He has produced consecutive 100-yard games against the Browns, too. “When you’re in this league for 13 years, obviously, you’ve had one or two good games,” Mason said. “I’ve made the best of my opportunities. They’ve stopped me, and they’ve done some things to not allow me to catch the football, or made it hard for me, but I like the challenge of a team going out and zeroing in on one guy. I enjoy playing against them because it’s always going to bring out the best, and I know I bring out the best in them also.”


Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
Photo by Sabina Moran.

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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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