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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-11-12

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-11-12

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-11-12
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said "it's too early to say" whether wide receiver Derrick Mason will play Sunday against the New York Giants.

The Ravens' leading receiver, Mason dislocated his left shoulder midway through the first quarter but returned in the second half to make three catches for 41 yards.

"I'm hopeful," Harbaugh said. "I would say we expect him to play, but we can't say for sure."

Mason has played in 99 straight games, a streak that dates back to the 2002 season. He has only missed three games due to injury in his 12-year career.

Leaving the locker room Sunday, Mason had his arm in a sling. He attended meetings Monday and then received treatment on the shoulder.

"He's sore, but he's OK," Harbaugh said.

Mason leaped for a pass that sailed over his head, and he landed on his elbow, which led to the dislocation. He had the shoulder popped back into the socket and sat out the remainder of the first half.

"As soon as I went up, I knew if I came down wrong, there was a possibility that I was going to hurt myself," Mason said after the game. "I'm just glad it's not broken. There's a lot of people that play with (a dislocation), but my situation is a little bit different because I'm a receiver.

"So, we'll see how it feels the rest of the week and we'll determine the rest from there."

If Mason misses his first game as a Raven, the Ravens would start Yamon Figurs along with Mark Clayton at wide receiver.

Figurs, a third-round pick in 2007, primarily was the Ravens' return specialist last season. He has two career catches, but he has averaged 39.5 yards. He caught a 43-yard pass for a touchdown Sunday.

"Yamon brings a lot of speed," Harbaugh said. "He's a threat to take the top off the coverage every time. He can run by a safety or a corner in a heartbeat. He's smooth, athletic. Some people said coming out (of college) he was raw as receiver. I don't know if that's true. He's making great strides in terms of running around catching the ball."

The Baltimore offense is advancing, too.

Calculated changes -- from quarterback to coordinator to philosophy -- have transformed a longtime laughable attack to a fearsome one.

No longer the sidekick to a vaunted defense, the Ravens offense is striking downfield and in the red zone. With coordinator Cam Cameron making all the right calls and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco making all the right plays, the Ravens have jumped from No. 28 to No. 12 in scoring in a four-week span.

The Ravens' offensive turnaround ranks as one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season.

Under former coach Brian Billick, the Ravens offense finished in the bottom half of the NFL in eight of nine seasons.

There were always scoring droughts, changes at quarterback and rumors of animosity from the traditionally strong defense.

Even when the Ravens hired Harbaugh, the prospects didn't seem any brighter because the team's starting quarterback (Steve McNair) abruptly called it quits in April and its future Hall of Fame offensive tackle (Jonathan Ogden) retired in June.

But a new quarterback and coaching staff has breathed new life in essentially the same offensive lineup (nine of this year's 11 starters played major roles last season) that struggled for years.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 12, 2008

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Frank Walker Name: Frank Walker
Position: CB
Age: 26
Experience: 6 years
College: Tuskegee
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