RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Harbaugh wants team to cut down on opponents’ air time

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Harbaugh wants team to cut down on opponents’ air time

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OWINGS MILLS –  The Baltimore Ravens allowed far too many yards through the air against the Washington Redskins.

By the end of the game Saturday night, they had surrendered 365 passing yards with 206 piled up by quarterback Donovan McNabb in the first half of the Ravens’ 23-3 win at FedEx Field.

 In particular, the Redskins exploited the middle of the Ravens’ secondary with touch passes over the linebackers’ heads.

“The passing yards are a concern obviously,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “When I stood up there after the game, I didn’t realize they threw for that many yards against us because I felt like we were playing pretty well for the most part.”

 Redskins tight end Chris Cooley did some damage working against linebacker Tavares Gooden for a first down.

 Jameel McClain was nearly beaten for a touchdown by tight end Fred Davis, but he dropped an accurate pass in the end zone.

 “The linebackers, we have guys that can cover, no question about it,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not worried about that at all. I think we’ve got a lot of coverages in there that are different than what we did last year.”

 And wide receiver Anthony Armstrong got behind strong safety Dawan Landry for a 45-yard fly pattern over the middle.

 The Ravens didn’t allow any touchdowns, though, and cornerback Cary Williams intercepted McNabb once.

 “They got some chunks on some plays that they made,” Harbaugh said. “Some of it was the way we play our two-deep coverage. Some of it was the way we play our quarters coverage. We’ve got to work on a couple things out there.  I think that’s what preseason is for. We don’t want to give up that many yards passing at all.”

 MAKING PROGRESS: After an erratic training camp where he dropped several passes, rookie wide receiver David Reed had a breakthrough game against the Redskins.

 He caught four passes for 38 yards during a 14-play, 94-yard scoring drive engineered by backup quarterback Marc Bulger.

 His top reception was a 22-yard catch, also hauling in passes from five, six and five yards.

 “I’m very happy,” Reed said. “It was great to help the team out any way I can. It was unbelievable. Marc is a great quarterback. He put the ball on me and I made the catches. It was pretty routine.”

 A fifth-round draft pick from Utah, Reed is competing with Demetrius Williams and Marcus Smith for the fifth receiver spot.

 His status was in doubt after a rough camp.

 “I had an OK training camp,” he said. “I wanted to come out and show them what I really can do.”

 Added Harbaugh: “When you see a guy struggle at times in practice and then step up in the game, that’s a good thing.”

 Reed also recorded a tackle on a kickoff, tackling Terrence Austin following an 11-yard return.

“I gunned it down there,” Reed said. “It was good to make a tackle on a kickoff. I can play special teams. I can do whatever they want me to do.”

ED REED UPDATE: Star free safety Ed Reed remains on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing an offseason procedure on his hip.

Reed has been traveling back and forth to Atlanta to visit his rehab doctor and is making progress, according to team officials.

"He said he feels good about his progress," said Harbaugh, adding that he spoke with Reed during the Redskins game. "We don’t have details. It’s hard to say how it’s going to continue to improve. Based on the conversation I had with him, he’s happy with his progress."

HALE EXPECTS TO PLAY THIS SEASON: Reserve offensive lineman David Hale expects to play football again this season after bruising his tailbone last week during a collision with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Hale was relieved to learn last week that he didn’t suffer any structural damage to the back. It was a scary episode, though, where he was carted off the field after being down on the ground and barely moving for almost 10 minutes.

"It felt like everything shattered in my lower back," Hale said. "It was a weird feeling. I don’t know how to describe it. It was a pain I’ve never felt before. It kind of freaked me out a little bit."

Hale said the back is feeling much better, but doesn’t know when he’ll return to practice.

"It’s healing up," he said. "It’s a matter of time, I guess. I have no clue. It depends. I’ve never had this type of injury before."

Hale said he’s not allowed to run or jog yet, but began riding the stationary bike today.

"Lot of rest and stretching and ice and heat, just trying to get everything loosened up," Hale said. "Everything is real tight."

COUSINS STILL SIDELINED WITH CONCUSSION: Offensive tackle Oniel Cousins is still feeling the effects of a concussion suffered last week during training camp.

Cousins had been starting at right tackle since Jared Gaither is out with a back injury.

He was carted off the field last week and has been wearing sunglasses due to sensitivity to light, a common symptom after a concussion. For now, Tony Moll is filling in with the first-team at right tackle.

"It’s a concussion thing, so the doctors will be very cautious with that," Harbaugh said. "That’s the nature of it. That’s the right thing, so we’ll just have to see how it goes."

INJURY UPDATE: Wide receiver Demetrius Williams had predicted that he would practice Monday despite a sprained right ankle, but sat out along with five other players.

“He turned his ankle, and he was just a little too gimpy to go,” Harbaugh said.

Also not practicing: Gaither (strained back), Cousins (concussion), Hale, safety Marcus Paschal (quadriceps) and offensive guard Daniel Sanders (shoulder).

Tight end Davon Drew (hamstring) and offensive  tackle Stefan Rodgers (shoulder) returned to practice.

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps), Reed  and running back Matt Lawrence (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform list.

QUICK HITS: The starters will play at least one half against the New York Giants on Saturday night, according to Harbaugh. He indicated that several starters will stay in the game into the third quarter. “I don’t know what the Giants will do, but we’ve kept to our plan,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll do that again this week.” … Wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth was upset about losing a fumble against the Redskins, but didn’t dwell on the miscue. He caught a 25-yard pass and a 17-yarder. “I was pretty upset about that, I still am,” Stallworth said. “It’s a matter of me holding onto the ball. It’s not rocket science, just hold onto the ball. Negative plays happen unfortunately and you’ve got to move on. I forgot about it. Once the game was over, I was mad again.” … Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, the former Redskins head coach who was fired after last season, got soaked with a bucket of Gatorade during the final minutes of the game Saturday. “It’s kind of a tradition now,” Harbaugh said. “I happen to look down there with 11 seconds left and Jim was getting drenched. That’s a good thing.”


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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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