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News » Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-05

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-05

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-05
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."


-- OT Willie Anderson signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with Baltimore after getting cut by Cincinnati on Aug. 30. The 12-year veteran was hobbled by injuries last year and was limited to seven games. San Diego and Tampa Bay were also interested in signing the former Bengal.

--RB Willis McGahee is considered a game-time decision after being limited all week in practice. He had arthroscopic knee surgery last month and he has been slow to recover. McGahee said his chances of playing are "50-50." He would be replaced by rookie Ray Rice.

--RB Ray Rice could make his first NFL start, replacing injured Willis McGahee (knee). Rice has averaged over five yards a carry while starting every preseason game. McGahee, who is considered a game-time decision, said his chances of playing are "50-50."

--DT Marques Douglas is expected to start at defensive tackle. He would be taking the spot of Haloti Ngata, who is shifting to nose tackle for the injured Kelly Gregg (knee).

--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.


--NT Kelly Gregg likely won't play in the season opener because of a knee injury. He hasn't practiced all week. Gregg also didn't look confident pushing off on the knee while working off to the side. Haloti Ngata would start at nose tackle, and Marques Douglas would then start at defensive tackle.

--DT Haloti Ngata is expected to make the start at nose tackle, replacing injured Kelly Gregg (knee). Ngata would move from his normal defensive tackle spot.

--G Marshal Yanda was added to the injury report with a thumb problem. He practiced and will start at right guard.

--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 6, 2008

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Amon Gordon Name: Amon Gordon
Position: DT
Age: 26
Experience: 4 years
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