RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Ed Reed expected to play Sunday despite rib injury

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Ed Reed expected to play Sunday despite rib injury

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OWINGS MILLS —  As far as Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is concerned, it would be a surprise if star free safety Ed Reed can’t play in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a rib injury suffered against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Reed reluctantly left the game in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.

"Ed is that kind of guy, he’s going to play," Harbaugh said. "He was urged very strongly to come out of the game at one point by the head coach. He was ordered out at one point. That’s who he is. He’s a courageous guy.

"I’m sure he could have finished the game, but he’s getting treatment. I’d be surprised if he’s not ready to go, but you never know."

Reed got hurt during his second interception of the game against the Bengals.

Even though he missed the first six games of the regular season on the physically unable to perform list following offseason hip surgery, Reed led the NFL with eight interceptions in 10 games.

Meanwhile, offensive tackle Michael Oher aggravated his sprained right knee during the third quarter.

Afterward, Oher said he expects to be ready to play against the Chiefs and said he left the game as a precautionary measure.

"I haven’t talked to him, but I think [trainer] Bill [Tessendorf] thinks he’s OK," Harbaugh said. "We’ll just have to see how he responds. I’m sure he’s going to be sore."

This is the second time Oher has injured his knee, but he expressed confidence Sunday that he’ll be able to play.

“I’m feeling alright,” Oher said. “I should be good, just get a bunch of treatment and should be alright. I wanted to come back in, but I want to get ready for the playoffs.”

Oniel Cousins would play in Oher’s place at left tackle if he can’t go against Kansas City.

Cousins replaced Oher on Sunday.

"It went good, I’m glad we won the game," Cousins said. "There’s always things that could have gone better. I have no idea if Michael will play next week. I think he will, but if he doesn’t I’ll continue to prepare to be ready in case they need me."

Other players injured against the Bengals include: cornerback Josh Wilson (shoulder stinger), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (shoulder stinger) and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (undisclosed).

Harbaugh said he couldn’t substitute much Sunday due to not having enough available players.

"Realistically when you look at the numbers, how do you do that?" Harbaugh said. "If you don’t sit them from the outset, if you don’t just pull guys out so you’ve got a 45-man roster, then how do you pull guys out. We already had a couple two, three injuries turn into four, five six injuries that we pulled guys out. Now, you’re basically out of players because you can’t take a Ray Lewis out of the game and still be in your dime package once Ellerbe’s hurt.

"Once guys start to get nicked a little bit, you can’t pull guys out of the game and be able to play defense. And we were trying to win the game. They wanted to win the game and the numbers really don’t allow you to do it. It’s a little easier said than done. It’s a little more in theory."

DODGING A FLAG: Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs lost his cool Sunday when he punched wide receiver Jerome Simpson, an infraction that officials missed while spotting the football.

Manhandled by offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, Suggs was infuriated at having his helmet knocked off. When Simpson politely handed it back to him, he lashed out at the wrong guy.

Afterward, Suggs admitted that he had gone too far and potentially jeopardized his team field position or an ejection.

"I saw it in person, I was right there on our sideline," Harbaugh said. "I saw all the other stuff that was going on, too, and, yeah, we don’t ever want to retaliate because usually they get the retaliation. My feeling is what they did was, they saw the whole thing and they could have flagged it both ways and they chose just not to flag at all and let it go. So, I think it was a good common-sense decision by the officials. We strive very hard to keep our composure, and I think we’ve done a really good job of that this year."

JIM HARBAUGH UPDATE:  With his brother in heavy demand as a potential head coaching candidate at the University of Michigan, San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers, John Harbaugh isn’t sure what Jim Harbaugh is going to do next following the Orange Bowl.

The Stanford coach has some tough decisions to ponder.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” Harbaugh said today at the Ravens’ training complex. “I thought I knew. I thought he had an idea, and I don’t think he’s for sure.”

The next question directed to Harbaugh: What was that idea?

“I walked right into that one,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t want to speak for him, but I think there’s a chance he’ll stay at Stanford. I think there’s a good chance he’ll stay there. I don’t know that for a fact, but I know this. He loves those players.

"He loves them, and he loves the university. So, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he stayed at Stanford. That’s not to say that I think he’s staying there because I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Harbaugh planned to watch Stanford play Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl on television. He had wanted to fly to the game on Ravens team owner Steve Bisciotti’s jet if the Ravens had earned a first-round bye.

"If we had had the bye week, I would have done it, but realistically, it just wouldn’t be fair," Harbaugh said. There’s no way. I’ll carve out a couple hours and watch it on TV, certainly.”

HOUSER OFF TO GOOD START: When the Ravens signed long snapper Kevin Houser as an injury replacement for rookie Morgan Cox, they were aware of his legal problems.

Specifically, Houser has been accused by former New Orleans Saints teammates and coaches of costing them a total of $1.9 million in Louisiana state income tax credits never realized.

The civil lawsuit is scheduled for November.

Houser is suing Wayne Read as well.

The Ravens aren’t concerned about Houser’s legal imbroglio, just his snapping.

"It was discussed with him, and it’s in the past," Harbaugh said. "He took some good-natured ribbing, I think, from all of us, and that’s how we kind of cleaned the slate."

Harbaugh said Houser’s first game with the Ravens went fine.

"He did a good job, and he did a good job with the protections," Harbaugh said. "They were coming after him. They got us with one little twist in there where they got pressure. Maybe he could have done a little better with that and maybe could’ve got a little more help. But I’m not surprised that for the first week, they came after him."

Houser was encouraged by his first game.

“Everything was OK, I thought everything went really good,” Houser said. “It was like we all expected. I don’t think anybody thought it would be perfect the first time around. There’s some things we need to work on. I’m out there knocking the rust off. I snapped in a game for the first time in a while.”

2011 OPPONENTS SET: The Ravens are in the middle of the playoffs, but the 2011 season already looms.

The Ravens’ 2011 opponents have been determined.

They’ll play the AFC South and NFC West divisions as well as the second-place teams from the AFC West and the AFC East and the usual AFC North home-and-away schedule.

Of course, all of this is assuming there’s no lockout.

Here’s the opponent list with the exception of AFC North division opponents Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens’ home games: Indianapolis Colts (10-6), Houston Texans (8-8), Arizona Cardinals (5-11), San Francisco 49ers (6-10) and New York Jets (11-5).

The Ravens’ away games: Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6), Tennessee Titans (8-8), St. Louis Rams (7-9), Seattle Seahawks (7-9) and San Diego Chargers (9-7).

NO FUMBLES: Running back Ray Rice managed to make it through the entire season with no fumbles.

He carried it 307 times for 1,220 yards and five touchdowns and he caught 63 passes for 556 yards and one touchdown for a total of 370 touches without a miscue.

“I had a fumble-free season,” Rice said. “I feel pretty good.”

Rice lost the football Sunday, but was ruled down by contact.

“On the play where my shoulder made contact with the ground, I was wishing the ball was in the other hand,” Rice said. “That way I could have used my off arm, but I knew it wasn’t a fumble.”

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh said he didn’t have a preference for playoff opponent. It would have been the Indianapolis Colts if not for a last-second field goal from Adam Vinatieri. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “ Once you get your assignment, that’s the one you’re excited about. If it had been the Colts, we’d be excited about that, and you turn your attention to them. It’s Kansas City. I watched the game. It was the Colts, it was Kansas City, it was the Colts, it was Kansas City. Oops, it’s Kansas City. It was crazy. I’m excited that it’s Kansas City, but now you look at them and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is going to be a big challenge.’ This is going to be a tough football game. So, we’ve got our hands full. As far as judging the two, what’s the point?” … Harbaugh said he would be in favor of reseeding, at least this year.  “I’m not OK with it this year,” Harbaugh said of the seeding process. “This year, I think it should be the other way. Some people say you could have two 9-7 teams who beat each other up in a great division and would have a worse record than a team that comes out of maybe not as strong of a division. I haven’t really seen that play out yet, so I’m probably for the reseeding right now. That’s where I would be, given our situation this year, but it really doesn’t matter.” … The Cleveland Browns fired coach Eric Mangini on Monday after two seasons. “I’m a big Eric Mangini fan, as you know,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve still got a lot of respect for him; I think he’s a great coach. We’ve had some tough battles against him, and we’ve been fortunate enough to come out on top. I can recognize what he was trying to do with his team real clearly, and to me, that’s a sign of a good coach. They’re always going to be tough. They’re in our division. It’ll be interesting to see what they do.”


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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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