RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Cousins in line to step in for Gaither

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Cousins in line to step in for Gaither

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Oniel Cousins would be the Baltimore Ravens’ starting right offensive tackle if the regular season began today, according to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

With Jared Gaither sidelined for as much as six weeks with a small tear in his back that’s causing him back spasms, the Ravens are prepared to go with Cousins on the right side instead of shifting right guard Marshal Yanda over to tackle again.

Cameron didn’t entirely rule out the idea of moving Yanda again, but it’s not his preference.

“Absolutely,” Cameron said when asked if Yanda at right tackle is a possibility. “But you can’t move guys around too much. I think Marshal Yanda can be as good a right guard as there is in the league. I believe that. To keep bouncing him around from guard to tackle, guard to tackle, really doesn’t help that.”

As long as Gaither is out, it’s likely to be Cousins’ job to lose. He ranks ahead of rookie Ramon Harewood as well as Joe Reitz and Tony Moll.

“That would be the logical choice because that’s the way we did it last year,” Cameron said. “We want competition all the way up until the final cut, and then it’ll be pretty obvious what direction we’ll go. But that would be the logical direction.”

Cousins was out for the first week of training camp after having a noncancerous cyst removed from his esophagus this offseason.

Cousins has nearly gotten back up to his playing weight of 320 pounds after getting down to 290 pounds due to the illness. He needs to continue to refine his pass-blocking techniques.

“He’s not 100 percent yet, but his effort is 100 percent,” Cameron said. “One thing I like about ‘Cous’ is you know exactly what you’re getting. He’s not one guy one day and another guy the next day. He shows up. He’s there every day. He’s where he’s supposed to be, he gives you his best effort.

“Sometimes, he doesn’t execute the play like he would like or we would like, but his effort is consistent. Pretty much, a play-caller can deal with a guy like that. To me, it’s easy to call plays when he’s in there because I know I’m going to get a great effort.”

WEBB DOESN’T WANT TO RUSH IT:  Injured cornerback Lardarius Webb doesn’t think it would be a good idea for him to play in any of the preseason games.

He remains on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last December.

"I’m hoping it’s not," Webb said when asked if playing in the preseason was a realistic expectation. "For what? I’m still, like, seven months, and we still have a lot of work to do. We have to make sure it’s right before I come back on.”

The Ravens would like to get Webb back for the season opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 13.

That might be a little soon even though Webb is making impressive progress and is able to run and cut.

“I’m feeling good, getting better any day," Webb said. "No time limit. Not for ya’ll. We’re coming. We don’t want everybody to know if I am coming back."

Webb said he’s not in much pain at all.

“I think with an ACL, every time you work it, afterwards you might have a little soreness," Webb said. "But it’s always going to be soreness, it’s not the knee. It’s just soreness from work. But no, it feels great.

“I’m happy because I have put in everything I could possibly put in to it. Being here every day, working hard after practice, working it. I’m happy with where I am, because, hey, I’m pushing it as far as I can go.”

AYANBADEJO’S LEG STILL ISN’T READY: Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo remains on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his quadriceps tendon last season.

And he’s unsure if that status will change heading into the regular season.

"It’s tough to say," Ayanbadejo said. "If I can get back in the preseason, I’d love to. But it’s not really up to me. I’ve just got to keep doing my rehab, and see how it goes."

Ayanbadejo had a plasma injection in his quadriceps recently to enrich the injured area with amino acids to accelerate tissue healing and growth. The procedure was administered in Arizona.

On Thursday, he’s expected to be cleared to resume running.

"I feel fine, just getting the strength back in my leg is the main issue," Ayanbadejo said. "It’s coming back slowly, very slowly, but at least it’s coming back."

INJURY UPDATE: Inside linebacker Tavares Gooden injured his neck and back against the Carolina Panthers last week and practiced Monday in a red jersey, meaning he’s off-limits to contact.

“Tavares has had a little bit of a bad back,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “He got hurt. He came out of the game. He got hit from the side and he twisted his neck, which carried on down into his back.”

Gooden recorded a sack against the Panthers.

Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney didn’t practice due to some swelling in his right knee.

“I’m just a little bit sore,” he said. “I’ll be back soon.”

Defensive tackle Lamar Divens’ left ankle was taped up after leaving practice with a trainer, but he wasn’t limping noticeably by the afternoon.

Tight end Davon Drew has aggravated a hamstring injury for the second time since camp started.
“It’s the same thing, it’s nagging me again,” Drew said. “I kind of tweaked it Saturday. I don’t know when I’ll be back. I’m taking it one day at a time.”

Also not practicing: Gaither (strained back), safety Marcus Paschal (right quadriceps), center Matt Birk (elbow), offensive guard Daniel Sanders (left shoulder).

Cornerback Travis Fisher returned to practice after sitting out Saturday.

The following players remain on the physically unable to perform list: safety Ed Reed (hip), Webb, Ayanbadejo and running back Matt Lawrence (knee).

QUICK HITS: Defensive end Paul Kruger put his bulked-up body to good use, dominating a one-on-one lineman drill.  Up to 275 pounds after finishing last season at 255 pounds, Kruger beat Michael Oher, Joe Reitz, Ben Grubbs and Tony Moll for sacks. “I’ve always been pretty confident,” Kruger said. “I feel good at this weight and things are going well. Not being as big, I try to use my athletic ability to be productive. I’m going to work on that a lot. That’s going to be my main advantage.” …Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg expressed confidence in rookie long snapper Morgan Cox, who has replaced Matt Katula. Cox handled all of the snapping duties last week against the Carolina Panthers. “That was a very positive experience,” Rosburg said. “He had one errant snap on a punt, but his field goal snaps were all right on target. He’s shown us that he can not only snap, but he can also protect. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s the right kind of player, he’s the right kind of young man and we have a lot of confidence in him going forward.” … Retired former Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and wide receiver Qadry Ismail attended practice. .. Cameron wasn’t pleased with his play-calling in the second half against Carolina as the Ravens gained just 29 yards of total offense. “I flunked the second half, so everybody’s off the hook in the second half of that game,” Cameron said. “Give Cam Cameron an ‘F’ in the second half, and give anybody that played in the second half a passing grade. We’ll do a pass-fail in the second half. You’ve got to give your guys a chance. We don’t just call the same plays with one group that you call in another group and expect them to work."
Photo by Kevin Moore


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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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