RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Katula confident he’ll correct snapping woes

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Katula confident he’ll correct snapping woes

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OWINGS MILLS –  Following a string of errant snaps recently, embattled Baltimore Ravens long snapper Matt Katula expressed confidence that he’ll correct his form heading into Sunday’s playoff game against the New England Patriots.


Traditionally reliable over the course of his career, Katula had two low snaps that caused kicker Billy Cundiff to miss a pair of field goals during a 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders.

“I just want to get Billy’s confidence back,” Katula said Wednesday while surrounded by reporters, an unusual development for a long snapper. “I feel like that it’s my job to be unnoticed. This is a different feeling for a group of guys to be asking me questions. This is not something I really enjoy.

“I don’t expect anybody to realize how difficult it is. But you know what? It’s my job. It’s something I need to do better.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh reiterated Monday that he’s sticking with Katula. The team could always promote rookie long snapper Nick Sundberg from the practice squad if the problem persists this week.

Katula has been stricken with tendinitis in his snapping elbow for a while, a condition that has caused a series of bad snaps and prompted the Ravens to sign Sundberg, a former UFL player, to take the bulk of the work during practice.

“It’s getting better,” Katula said. “It’s one of those things that kind of lingers. It’s something you need to stay on top of.”

Katula said he’s trying to balance snapping enough to stay sharp while not further aggravating the elbow. He didn’t think that offseason surgery would be required or that a cortisone shot would help the situation.

“It’s a fine line you have to walk,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but I brought it on myself. I’ve got nobody to blame but me. I can’t let it affect me. It’s my job to go out there and throw strikes.”

When asked about his belief that he would bounce back against the Patriots, Katula replied: “100 percent confident.”

NOT CONCERNED:  The last time the Ravens played the Patriots, offensive tackle Jared Gaither endured a scary moment where he was carted off the field with a neck injury.

It took him weeks to recover.

Will it be on his mind when he goes back to Gillette Stadium this weekend?

“I don’t think about it,” he said. “It’s another game. It was scary, but that’s over.”

Gaither is no longer listed on the injury report with a foot injury that sidelined him for three games before returning last week against the Raiders.

INJURY UPDATE: Although five players were limited, none of the Ravens’ injured players were held out of practice.

Free safety Ed Reed (groin), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained right ankle), offensive guard Marshal Yanda (knee), linebacker Tavares Gooden (groin) and defensive back Marcus Paschal (back) were limited.

Participating fully: quarterback Joe Flacco (hip), tight end Todd Heap (neck), linebacker Jarret Johnson (back), Katula, wide receiver Derrick Mason (knee), safety Tom Zbikowski (neck ) and defensive end Trevor Pryce (head). A head listing is usually an indicator of a mild concussion.

OHER FINISHES SECOND: Rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher finished second in the balloting for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The first-round draft pick received six votes to finish behind Minnesota Vikings wide receiver and kick returner Percy Harvin, who was given 41 votes by an Associated Press nationwide panel of writers and broadcasters.

Harvin was drafted 22nd overall, one pick ahead of Oher.

“I could have played better the entire season,” Oher said. “I know I could have played a lot better, but I put the regular season behind  me and have moved on to the playoffs.”

HONORED: Running back Willis McGahee was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week on the heels of his career-high 167 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Ravens’ win in Oakland.

McGahee was selected over running backs Jamaal Charles and Fred Jackson, who each topped the 200-yard  mark.

“That’s a great honor,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

GOVERNOR VISITS: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley visited the Ravens’ practice and broke the huddle. The team’s logo has been emblazoned outside of City Hall this week and in Federal Hill.

O’Malley told reporters that he hasn’t made any bets with New England government officials.

“Who should I call up there?” said O’Malley, who wore a black letterman style Ravens jacket. “I guess I should get on that.”

The team seems to be excited about the presence of the governor and his entourage.

“We’ve got great fans, from the governor right on down obviously,” Harbaugh said. “It’s exciting that people are getting excited. Hopefully, everybody will get their flags out and drive around town with those flags waving on their cars. We’re looking forward to seeing the governor.”

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: In a commonly repeated mistake, the Patriots referred to John Harbaugh as Jim Harbaugh, his brother who’s the Stanford coach and a former NFL quarterback with the Ravens and other teams, on a press release announcing a conference call.

John Harbaugh wasn’t offended by the mistake.

“Why not? He’s been on the field for us,” Harbaugh said in reference to how his brother as well as his father have frequently been on the Ravens’ sideline all season. “He can do the press conferences, too.

“It’s an honor. Jim Harbaugh is my bro. I’m proud of him. I’ve been called Jim my whole life. He’s been called John occasionally in the last two years.”

ON THE MEND: Free safety Haruki Nakamura said that he’s recovering well from a fractured ankle suffered earlier this season against the Cleveland Browns that required surgery.

He’s targeting training camp for his return.

“Training camp is a definite,” Nakamura said. “I’m going to make sure that I’m 100 percent before I really blow it out, but I’ve always had the work ethic of recovering . I think that’s one of the things that the Ravens saw in me.”

Nakamura’s right leg is noticeably smaller than his left leg due to muscle atrophy, but that should correct itself with exercise and his rehabilitation program.

“The doctors said everything looked good,” Nakamura said. “They had to kind of pull the bone out of the muscle a little bit. That was just the fracture. Other than  that, everything went real well.

“Doctors were real satisfied, trainers were real satisfied with how everything is going. I’m feeling healthy for once mentally and physically.”

It was an extremely painful injury, though.

“Unreal, unreal,” Nakamura said. “A couple of days after the surgery, they give you that nerve block and you feel great. Once that wears off, it’s a whole different story. I was going through a lot.”

QUICK HITS: The Ravens didn’t wear helmets for Wednesday’s practice, something they did last week as well. … Brady was limited due to right shoulder, right finger and right ribs, which suggests that those reports about broken ribs and a broken finger aren’t incorrect. Also limited for New England: wide receiver Julian Edelman (forearm), offensive tackle Nick Kaczur (shoulder), nose guard Vince Wilfork (foot), tight end Ben Watson (knee), cornerback Shawn Springs (knee), defensive end Ty Warren (ankle) and defensive end Jarvis Green (knee). The only player that didn’t practice for New England is offensive lineman Dan Connolly (ankle) … The Patriots made it official, placing wide receiver Wes Welker (torn ACL, MCL) on injured reserve. They signed linebacker Thomas Williams to the active roster and added wide receivers Robert Ortiz and Nick Moore to the practice squad. The Patriots placed practice squad wide receiver Darnell Jenkins on reserve/injured list with an ankle injury. … New England has over 100 tickets available for the playoff game through TicketMaster.

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.  More from Aaron Wilson


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