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News » Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-04

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-04

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-04
The Ravens ended quarterback Kyle Boller's season by placing him injured reserve with a serious shoulder injury.

"He worked his butt off during the offseason program and was having his best training camp in my mind," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "To say Kyle and I are disappointed that he isn't able to play is probably an understatement."

The Ravens signed journeyman Todd Bouman to fill Boller's roster spot. Bouman, 36, who has played for five NFL teams in his previous 11 seasons, will be Joe Flacco's backup in the season opener.

He hasn't thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2005.

"I've been through this before," said Bouman, who was selected over Joey Harrington and Chris Simms. "You just accept your role whatever it might be, whatever they ask me to do. You're one play away and have to prepare like you're going to be the starter. You've got to be ready. If you're not, then you're foolish."

It's unknown how long Bouman will serve as the primary backup because there is no timetable for Smith's return from a tonsil infection.

Said coach John Harbaugh: "It could be weeks and it could be next week."


--RB Willis McGahee looks to be slowed by a knee injury. He is expected to start but not be at full strength. Ray Rice could split carries with McGahee.

--RB Ray Rice might split carries with Willis McGahee, who has been slowed by a knee injury. Rice has been impressive in the preseason and has earned the trust of the coaching staff.

--WR Demetrius Williams has returned from a lower leg injury and has taken back the team's No. 3 receiver job. If he plays well early, he could compete against Mark Clayton for the starting job.

--QB Todd Bouman will be the primary backup since Troy Smith is out with a tonsil infection. Bouman hasn't thrown a regular-season pass since 2005.

--FS Jim Leonhard is expected to start in place of Ed Reed, who is dealing with neck and shoulder injuries. He has been solid in the preseason, which earned him the job over rookies Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura.

--CB Chris McAlister has returned to practice after missing most of the preseason with a knee injury. He had a full practice, which means he will start the season opener.

GAME PLAN: The Ravens won't put much pressure on Joe Flacco, and the young offensive line seems more comfortable run blocking. So, the Ravens will attack the Bengals on the ground. They will do so with a combination of Willis McGahee and Ray Rice because McGahee is being slowed by a knee injury.

Defensively, the Ravens probably won't be as aggressive because they will be missing safety Ed Reed, who has a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder. Without one of the best playmakers in the secondary, the Ravens need to protect themselves and could play Cover 2 to slow quarterback Carson Palmer.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Ravens TE Todd Heap vs. Bengals linebackers. Because young quarterbacks use tight ends as their security blankets, Heap should see most of the looks from Joe Flacco. Heap's 12.5 yards-per-catch average against Cincinnati is his highest total against any team he's faced at least six times. In seven season openers, he has averaged 5.4 receptions 47.2 yards.

Ravens FS Jim Leonhard vs. Bengals QB Carson Palmer. The Ravens could be exposed for deep passes against the Bengals because safety Ed Reed is expected to be out with neck and shoulder injuries. In 10 career games against the Bengals, Reed has broken up 12 passes and made five interceptions. Leonhard is a solid backup but he doesn't strike any fear in Palmer. Cincinnati likely will test Leonhard early and often.

Ravens PK Matt Stover vs. Bengals PK Shayne Graham. In 34 career games against Cincinnati, Stover has averaged nearly two field goals. His field-goal percentage is an impressive 88.7 percent. Stover also has three game-winning field goals over the Bengals. Graham has had similar success against the Ravens. In the last meeting in Baltimore, Graham made seven field goals, accounting for all of the Bengals' scoring.

INJURY IMPACT: NT Kelly Gregg (knee) did not practice Wednesday and has been sidelined all preseason. There is concern that he will miss the season opener. He would be replaced by Marques Douglas.

--QB Troy Smith (tonsil infection) is out and will be replaced by Todd Bouman as the primary backup. He has lost 20 pounds since coming down with the illness two weeks ago. Coach John Harbaugh said Smith could miss several weeks.

--TE Todd Heap (calf) was limited in practice but he will start. He played in the preseason finale and looked fine. Limiting him in practice is purely precautionary.

--RB Willis McGahee (knee) was limited in practice and should be limited in the game. McGahee will start but he is only around 80 percent. That means Ray Rice could split the carries with McGahee.

--FS Ed Reed (neck/shoulder) was limited in practice and took contact for the first time this summer. But he remains pessimistic about playing. Doctors told him that he could miss a couple of weeks. Reed would be replaced by Jim Leonhard.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 4, 2008

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Marshal Yanda Name: Marshal Yanda
Position: G
Age: 23
Experience: 2 years
College: Iowa
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