NEWS & NOTES: Ray Lewis is questionable at best

Street Talk NEWS & NOTES: Ray Lewis is questionable at best

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OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis was officially designated as questionable even though he didn’t practice all week.

Lewis has missed the past two games with a painful right turf toe, and is regarded as a long shot to play in Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens are hoping that rest will improve Lewis’ status and he’s expected to return within the next few games. The Times reported previously that Lewis would miss anywhere from one to four games.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn’t completely giving up on Lewis for this game.

"I feel like there is a chance," Harbaugh said Friday. "We’ll just see how it goes."

Meanwhile, the Ravens ruled out cornerback Chris Carr for the second consecutive game due to a back injury.

Carr missed the past two practices after being limited Wednesday and was sidelined against the San Francisco 49ers.

Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring, groin), running back Anthony Allen (hamstring) and defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion) are probable.

Ellerbe is slated to start with Lewis sidelined at either middle linebacker or inside linebacker opposite Jameel McClain, who started at middle linebacker against the 49ers.

"Dannell progressed well," Harbaugh said.

The Browns ruled out safety T.J. Ward (foot, finger) and linebacker Quinton Spears (hamstring).

Safety Mike Adams (shoulder), running back Montario Hardesty (calf), defensive end Jayme Mitchell (ankle), offensive tackle Tony Pashos (calf) and defensive back Dimitri Patterson (ankle) are questionable.

Running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring), quarterback Colt McCoy (right elbow), linebacker Kaluka Maiva (knee), fullback Owen Marecic (concussion) and defensive lineman Scott Paxson (shin) are probable.

TOUGH MATCHUP: Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs grew accustomed to harassing the Browns during his first four seasons in the NFL.

He recorded eight sacks, forcing seven fumbles.

However, only four of his dozen sacks against the Browns have occurred since the Browns drafted offensive tackle Joe Thomas with the third overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft.

And Suggs has recorded only one sack in his last five games against the Browns.

That’s why Suggs has immense respect for Thomas.

"I think he is definitely a top-three left tackle in the league now," Suggs said. "It was an era where it was the Walter Joneses, the Willie Roafs, and of course the greatest ever, Jonathan Ogden. Now it’s the Jake Longs, the Joe Thomases.

"We always have battles when we go up against each other. When it comes to Joe, I think he is one of the best there is. He is very strong. He is very disciplined with his hands. He is very athletic. He is more athletic than people give him credit for."

Suggs leads the Ravens with nine sacks, registering a career-high three sacks against the 49ers.

Because of Suggs’ capabilities, he commands extra blocking attention.

"I think on the last game on Thursday night the very first pressure we called, he lined up with two other guys to the right," defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. "They turned the protection, and we had a blitz coming from the other way. We designed a bunch of things as a staff to try and get him loose, just because of the protection issues. Everyone is making sure they take care of him. T

"They double him, chip him or put a tight end over there. Our guys do a great job of trying to come up with some different things. We had him lined up behind the center one time, blitzed him up the A gap and got him on a back. So, we’re trying to manage the thing so we’re getting him some singles, at least some singles, and they can’t double him."

Suggs takes it as a sign of respect, but it does get old facing so many blockers.

"It’s frustrating, he’ll be the first one to tell you," Pagano said. "He was like, ‘Coach, you think they’re going to cut me?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ He went for a long stretch there without anything.

"So he’s sitting there, ‘Am I a bad player? Are they going to cut me?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so, Siz.’ It’s respect, but it does get frustrating. So it was good to see him have a breakout game and get those three sacks."

HADEN EMERGING: It’s been a big season for Browns cornerback Joe Haden, becoming one of the top young defensive backs in the league.

The Maryland native and first-round draft pick has deflected 16 passes this season.

He intercepted six passes as a rookie last year.

"He’s been playing pretty well," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "He’s a young guy that has a lot going for him out there. He’ll come up in press and put some pressure on you. He’ll be a guy we have to look at this year."

A year ago, Flacco was intercepted once by Haden.

Haden is coming off a tough game where he allowed three catches for 101 yards to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, including a 51-yard reception that led to the deciding field goal.

The Browns have the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL.

"We just have to go in there and attack them with our game plan," Flacco said. "Yeah, they have good players. And Joe is a good player, but I am going to trust my guys on the outside."

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh has never lost to the Browns since taking over as coach in 2008, but still considers them to have a formidable home-field advantage. "It’s a tough place to play anyway," he said. "The stadium is huge, it’s really right on top of you. It’s a great stadium as far as that is concerned. They’ve got rabid fans. It’s right on the lake. It’s got great tradition. Obviously this rivalry, I think, has special meaning to both sides. It’s a great rivalry to be a part of, and it’s always a very intense game." … The Browns switched long snappers this week, going with Christian Yount and cutting struggling former Pro Bowl selection Ryan Pontriand. "It’s challenging," Harbaugh said. "It’s not something that you can’t do, because there are not a lot of mental things that he has to learn. The timing is really hard, would expect them to be very conscious of snapping it, catching it, getting it down, especially with the field conditions. It’s not ideal, obviously. You wouldn’t want to do that, but they felt like they had to make a move, and they feel like it will upgrade them." …The Ravens’ decision to cut nose guard Kelly Gregg, tight end Todd Heap and wide receiver Derrick Mason has been borne out so far. "I think we have a lot of confidence," he said. "We have a lot of confidence in each other. Those are conversations that went all the way back to March, February, from the top down and throughout. They were made with a great deal of thought and care, and you hope they work out. So far, we have done some good things, but that story still has to be written." … The Ravens have seen Browns quarterback Colt McCoy escape the pocket and make things happen as a scrambler. "He’s getting the ball out, simple reads, and then he’s athletic and he’s scrambling," Pagano said. "Last week he ran on the third-and-18 play and picked up a first down. So, he can beat you outside the pocket either looking downfield. He keeps his eyes downfield .If he sees something open, he’ll hit it. If not, he can surely with his legs beat you athletically."


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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. 

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