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News » Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-12

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-12

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-12
The Ravens secondary will be strengthened by the return of cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Derrick Martin, both of whom were suspended by the NFL for violation of the personal-conduct policy.

Washington missed his second straight practice with a neck injury Thursday. He was expected to be the Ravens' nickel back. He would be replaced by Corey Ivy.


--RB Willis McGahee has averaged 5.3 yards per carry against the Texans, his second-highest average against any team that he has carried the ball more than 20 times against.

--WR Derrick Mason has 30 catches for 461 yards and five touchdowns in eight games against Houston. His 15.4 yards per reception is his second highest against any team where he has 25 or more catches.

--CB Samari Rolle has four interceptions in six games against Houston. He also has 12 tackles and one fumble recovery (which he returned for a touchdown).

--LB Terrell Suggs had a career-high three sacks in his only game against Houston (2005). He also had six tackles and one forced fumble.

--K Matt Stover is 4-for-4 on field goals in two games against Houston. He hit a 38-yard game-winner with six seconds left in the last meeting (2005).

GAME PLAN: The Ravens want to control the line of scrimmage and the clock. Like they did in the season opener, the Ravens will commit heavily to the run. The tandem of Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain combined for 150 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. With Willis McGahee returning to the starting lineup, the Ravens will once again punch the ball against the Houston Texans, who allowed 183 yards on the ground in Pittsburgh.

Defensively, the Ravens will keep the pressure on quarterback Matt Schaub with an assortment of blitzes. They will send five or six defenders to get to Schaub, who was sacked five times in Pittsburgh. The Ravens can gamble because the Texans have a below-average running game with Steve Slaton and Ahman Green.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Ravens CB Chris McAlister vs. Texans WR Andre Johnson. McAlister returned to his shutdown form against Chad Johnson in the season opener, limiting him to one catch for 22 yards. McAlister also seemed to be around the ball when the Ravens played zone, making his first interception of the season. The impressive part is he was dominant despite being slowed by a knee injury. McAlister seems to play his best against the bigger receivers. So, it could be a tough day for Johnson, who led the Texans with 10 catches in the season opener.

Ravens running game vs. Texans run defense. The Ravens will start Willis McGahee but expect more of a running back by committee. Baltimore will look to wear down Houston with McGahee, rookie Ray Rice and fullback-tailback Le'Ron McClain. With a rookie quarterback making his first road start, the Ravens will try to run the ball as much as possible to take the pressure off Joe Flacco. This will be a steep challenge for the Texans, who allowed 183 yards rushing and three touchdowns to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ravens OT Jared Gaither vs. Texans DE Mario Williams. Gaither held his own against Williams when they faced off in college. Gaither, who played at Maryland, held Williams to no sacks in a game played at North Carolina State. Williams has lived up to expectations as the No. 1 overall pick, recording his fifth multi-sack game of his career Sunday.


--PR-KR Yamon Figurs did not practice Thursday after injuring his hamstring in Wednesday's practice. He would be replaced by Jim Leonhard.

--DE Trevor Pryce was added to the injury report Thursday with a back injury. He is still expected to start.

--LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg) did not practice midweek but he should continue to lead the Ravens' special teams. He hasn't missed a game in his five-year NFL career.

--QB Troy Smith (illness) did not practice midweek and is not expected to suit up. He is out indefinitely.

--CB Fabian Washington (neck) did not practice but it's considered precautionary. The Ravens expect Washington to play nickel back.

--WR Yamon Figurs (hamstring) was limited in practice but he is expected to return punts and kickoffs.

--NT Kelly Gregg did not practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. It appears like Gregg had a setback and might not play. He would be replaced by Justin Bannan.

--CB Corey Ivy (ankle) was limited in practice midweek but he said he will play. If Fabian Washington plays, Ivy could be reduced to dime packages and special teams.

--S Ed Reed (neck) was limited in practice midweek and is truly questionable week to week. The Ravens probably won't make a decision until game day. He would be replaced by Jim Leonhard.

--CB Chris McAlister (knee) had a full practice midweek but he is slowed by a swollen knee. He had a strong showing in the opener despite the knee injury. But he is considered questionable.

--TE Todd Heap (back) had a full practice midweek and will start. He probably won't be at full strength.

--RB Willis McGahee is expected to play but he might not start. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said McGahee would have a "role" but speculated that the Ravens will have a running back by committee this week with McGahee, Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain.

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

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Fabian Washington Name: Fabian Washington
Position: CB
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
College: Nebraska
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