Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Webb unlikely to play

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OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb seems unlikely to play in the season-opener Monday night against the New York Jets.

Webb is practicing and appears to be running and cutting well.

However, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Dec. 20 against the Chicago Bears.

The Ravens are preparing to start Fabian Washington and Chris Carr, and have newcomer Josh Wilson available for the nickel package.

"We’re not going to rule him out for Monday night, but I’m not anticipating him either," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during his weekly radio show. "I think either way it could go and [he’ll return] shortly thereafter."

Webb, who’s listed second on the latest depth chart at cornerback, was noncommittal on whether he’ll be able to play.

"I’m comfortable with whatever coach has for me," Webb said. "If he wants me to get out and test it, I will. If he doesn’t, then I won’t. It all depends on how this week goes. I feel better every day. It gets better every day. My confidence keeps rising and rising, and it gets better.”

Webb has been working with the base defense and on the scout team.

Webb said he’s remaining patient as he awaits his return.

“I’m just enjoying it, man," Webb said. "I’m having so much fun out there on scout team, regular defense, just being out there being a part of the team. Running around, having my knee back, it’s just great to be out there on the field.”

Webb said he hasn’t been exposed to contact yet.

"I’ve been easing my way into the banging," he said. "I’m pressing and just working on my technique. It’s slowly coming back, but it’s coming." 

GETTING READY: Since offensive tackles Jared Gaither is sidelined with a thoracic disc injury and Oniel Cousins is coming off a concussion, the Ravens are making contingency plans at right tackle. 

They could go with Cousins, if he’s healthy, or Tony Moll.

Their best option, though, might be shifting Marshal Yanda over to tackle from right guard and plug in Chris Chester at guard.

"They’re just getting me some reps in case I have to play out there,” Yanda said.  “If need be and I have to play out there, we’re good to go, me and Chris on the right side. We’ll see what happens.

“We won’t know until probably Friday. They’re just taking precautions. If we go that route, we’ll be ready to go and play well."

Yanda said he doesn’t have a preference.

“At this point, it doesn’t matter,” Yanda said. “If I play tackle, I’ll do my best there. If I play guard, I’ll do my best there, too. It don’t matter.”

MINOR CONTROVERSY SNUFFED OUT: Pro Bowl fullback Le’Ron McClain declined to escalate a war of words with outspoken Jets coach Rex Ryan.

McClain said Monday that he was glad that Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis ended his 36-day holdout.

“So, there won’t be no excuses now,” McClain said.

One day later, Ryan responded in kind.

"I don’t know what’s wrong with Le’Ron,” Ryan said. “He said something about there’s no excuses. He must have us confused with somebody else.

“I don’t think we make any excuses. Last year, we didn’t have our starting 11 guys on defense for a single game and yet we led the league. We don’t make excuses. All we do is produce, and that’s what we’re planning to do Monday night."

So, McClain downplayed the minor controversy Wednesday.

“I think Rex said something already,” McClain said. “I didn’t mean for him to take that the wrong way or anything. I was just saying I hope everybody’s back so neither team would have any excuses of playing, us and them. I’m just looking forward to the game.”

McCLAIN ON THE SPOT: Jameel McClain is preparing as the Ravens’ new starting inside linebacker next to All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

And he’s intent on proving himself after beating out Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden.

“Just show that I can play this game at the highest level,” McClain said. “The coaches had the confidence of putting me out there, but not only me. There’s a lot of other players out there, two other linebackers in Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden. At the end of the day, we can play this game. All we want to do is show people and show that I can play the linebacker position.”

The Jets had the top-ranked running game in the league last year with Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones. Now, it’s a tandem of Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Does McClain expect the Jets to test him out?

“I don’t know,” he said. “If they do, I’m going to be ready.  It’s 11 guys out there on the field. I’m here to play football.”

CORNERBACK SIGNED TO PRACTICE SQUAD: One day after trying out several defensive backs, the Ravens signed former Purdue cornerback David Pender to the practice squad.

Pender tried out Tuesday along with defensive backs Chevis Jackson, Lydell Sargeant and Terrail Lambert.

The Ravens tried to convince cornerback Prince Miller to rejoin the team on the practice squad after being cut from the active roster Sunday, but he signed with the New England Patriots.

Pender is a former Purdue player who was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 3. He went undrafted this spring.

"I’m just real grateful," Pender said. "I give all the thanks to God for the opportunity and to the Ravens to be here. I’m just real grateful for the opportunity. The tryout went real good.

"I’m assuming I had the best 40-yard dash time and I feel like I looked the best out of the defensive backs they brought in. I came in and did everything I had to do and impressed the coaches.”

Pender deflected 33 career passes at Purdue, second behind Steve Jackson’s all-time record.

A three-year starter, Pender recorded 129 career tackles and three interceptions for the Boilermakers.

TRYOUT: The Ravens also auditioned offensive linemen Andrew Gardner and Jake Bender.

RAVENS TO HONOR SUPER BOWL TEAM: To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Ravens’ Super Bowl championship, the organization has scheduled a reunion for players from that team Oct. 24 against the Buffalo Bills.

The plans will include game-day activities preceded by a private reception the night before kickoff.

INJURY UPDATE: Three players didn’t practice: wide receiver Donte Stallworth (broken foot),  Gaither and rookie nose guard Terrence “Mount” Cody (arthroscopic knee surgery).

Stallworth is out for six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery. Gaither hasn’t been officially ruled out, but isn’t expected back for another week or two. And Cody said he won’t be able to play until the second game of the season.

SURPRISED: Speedy undrafted rookie cornerback Bryan McCann was surprised when the Ravens claimed him off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys.

“I hadn’t heard a word out of Baltimore,” McCann said. “I was definitely surprised.”

McCann has 4.28 speed in the 40-yard dash and averaged 10.8 yards per punt return this preseason to lead the Cowboys.

He’s a former Oklahoma state 100-meter champion.

“I’m not the biggest guy in the world, but I will run hard and put my head forward and go full-speed,” McCann said. “I’m definitely excited. Baltimore is known for their defense. It’s an honor for the coaching staff to want me to come in and compete for their defense.”

McCann said he had been informed that he was going to make Dallas.

“Honestly going into Dallas, I was told they had their three cornerbacks set in stone and they had a fourth spot open,” he said. “I secured that fourth corner spot, but they only kept three corners. When they made the move to let me go, I was disappointed. I’m definitely glad to be here.”

LOT TO LEARN: Ravens practice squad quarterback Hunter Cantwell is attempting to process a lot of information in a short period of time.

Cut by the Carolina Panthers last weekend, the former Louisville quarterback is learning on the fly.

 “It’s going to be a whole new learning process for me,” Cantwell said. “I came from verbiage in Carolina, and this is a lot more of a numbers system. So it is different, but in football, you can only do so much.

“The concepts are the same. You just have to learn and translate from what you already know. There will be a growing process, but I feel confident that I’ll be able to get it down.”

Cantwell said he’ll try to soak up as much knowledge as possible from starter Joe Flacco and backup Marc Bulger.

“Joe and Marc are great quarterbacks, and they have great reputations,” Cantwell said. “So to come here and learn from them and be a part of this organization, it’s an honor that I’m excited about.”

QUICK HITS: Two of Le’Ron McClain’s closest friends are now playing for other teams with quarterback Troy Smith being cut and claimed by the San Francisco 49ers and outside linebacker Antwan Barnes traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. “It’s tough to see somebody go that you had bonded with pretty much since the combine and the Senior Bowl and all that and to see him go like he did, I’m sad for him,” McClain said of Smith. “He’s in San Fran now, doing it. Bless him." As for Barnes, McClain said: “That was my boy. We had gone way back to the beginning. It’s crazy, man. It’s a business, though. It’s a cutthroat business. Hopefully, they’ll be in good position on their new teams to get on the field more." … Lewis is being featured in an Old Spice commercial that will kick off this week. “I don’t play fantasy football,” said Lewis, who lathers up for the advertisement that airs this week. “I play for-real football.”


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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 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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