RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Cousins improving, coach predicts he’ll play

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Cousins improving, coach predicts he’ll play

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OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Oniel Cousins’ status following a lingering concussion has improved to the point where coach John Harbaugh predicted he would be able to play Monday night against the New York Jets.

Carted off the field Aug. 18, Cousins has participated fully in practice this week and is listed as probable on the injury report. His symptoms, which have included headaches as well as sensitivity to light and noise, have subsided.

“I don’t believe Oniel is touch-and-go,” Harbaugh said Saturday. “I would expect him to play. I don’t know that. I shouldn’t speak for the doctors, but it looks to me like he’s ready to play.”

Even if Cousins is healthy, the Ravens are probably going to go in a different direction at right tackle.

He’s missed a ton of time due to the injury.

Tony Moll has played solidly at right tackle, but the Ravens’ top option and one they’re seriously considering is shifting right guard Marshal Yanda over to right tackle and having Chris Chester step in at right guard.

Cousins said he’s been able to take part in some contact drills this week.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’m ready for whatever. If I’m up, I’m up. Overall, I feel pretty good. I haven’t any symptoms for the past couple days, and I feel confident. I feel like I’m back to normal.”

WEBB NOT RULED OUT: Cornerback Lardarius Webb has made a nice comeback after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last December against the Chicago Bears.

The Ravens aren’t ruling him out against the Jets and are characterizing him as a game-time decision.

Webb is probable on the injury report, but this is likely too soon for him to return.

“I would say this: He’s practiced 100 percent the whole week,” Harbaugh said. “He’s done everything. So, we didn’t rule it out and we haven’t said he was going to go. That’s kind of one we’re leaving up in the air for you.”

Webb’s surgically-repaired right knee has held up in practice and he seems to be adeptly running and cutting.

However, it hasn’t been tested in an actual game.

“I could play if it came down to it,” said Webb, emphasizing that the decision is up to Harbaugh and trainer Bill Tessendorf. “It’s the smart thing to do. I’m prepared and ready. It just comes down to coach and what he wants to do this week.

“It’s all about the right time. We’re going to leave it to the game-time decision.”

INJURY UPDATE: Defensive end Paul Kruger practiced for the second consecutive day after being sidelined earlier in the week with a sprained shoulder.

Kruger said he’s improving every day.

“I’m pretty confident, but it’s always a question when you don’t do much in practice all week,” he said. “It’s going to be more of a game-time decision.”

The Ravens previously ruled out offensive tackle Jared Gaither (thoracic disc injury), rookie nose guard Terrence Cody (arthroscopic left knee surgery) and wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (broken foot).

The Jets ruled out outside linebacker Calvin Pace (broken foot).

Safety Brodney Pool (ankle) is questionable. Tight end Jeff Cumberland (non-injury related) is probable.

CALLING IT TIGHT: The Ravens have a thorough scouting report on the officiating crew assigned to the Jets game.

Referee Walt Anderson’s crew worked last year’s Ravens game at the Green Bay Packers, assessing 23 penalties for the second-most yards in NFL history with 310 yards primarily accumulated on a combined nine pass interference infractions.

"That crew calls a lot of penalties, there’s no doubt about it,”  Harbaugh said. "That’s kind of one of their things. They call it the way they see it. They call it very tight. I think that’s going to be a big advantage for us. We’ve played the preseason very tight, and I’m looking for that to be a big advantage for us."

Penalties, especially pass interference, was a major issue for Baltimore last season. The Ravens ranked first in penalty yards last season.

HOUSH TO PLAY A LOT: Newly-acquired Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is expected to play significantly Monday night.

Houshmandzadeh was signed to a one-year contract Tuesday after being cut last weekend by the Seattle Seahawks one year into a five-year, $40 million contract.

"Yeah, he’ll play," Harbaugh said. "What does a full workload mean? It’s going to be a lot. He’s going to play a lot. He’s ready to go."

Houshmandzadeh is projected to operate as the Ravens’ third wide receiver behind starters Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin.

"I’m used to playing the entire game," Houshmandzadeh said. "That’s all I know. That’s what I’m used to is playing the entire game. I’m not a fool. I know that’s not going to happen, but I want to play as much as I can."

QUICK HITS: Webb said he’s unfamiliar with the show of solidarity with players raising their fingers to the air to signify the players’ union sticking together in the face of labor strife. “I don’t know anything about it,” he said. “That’s new to me.” … Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin said he no longer thinks about the devastating hit he absorbed from Jets safety Eric Smith two years ago, a collision that caused multiple facial fractures that required surgery and sidelined him for two week. Smith was fined $50,000 and suspended for one game. “That play was behind me years ago,” Boldin said. Smith told New York reporters he regrets what happened, but disagreed with the punishment. “We were both playing hard, and it was an unfortunate event,” said Smith, who reached out to Boldin after the incident to assure him that he wasn’t trying to hurt him. “It’s behind us now. I don’t think either one of us holds a grudge towards anybody." As far as being fined and suspended, Smith said: “I thought it was pretty stupid.” 

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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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