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News » Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-18

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-18

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-18
The Ravens secondary will be strengthened by the return of cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Derrick Martin, both of whom were suspended one game by the NFL for violation of the personal conduct policy.

Washington is expected to take over for Corey Ivy as the team's nickel back. Martin could play in some dime packages as well as play on special teams.


--RB Willis McGahee has averaged 103.7 yards in three meetings against the Browns, scoring three touchdowns. His average yards per carry is five.

--TE Todd Heap has 45 receptions for 476 yards in 11 games against the Browns. He has scored three touchdowns, which is tied for the most he has ever scored against a team.

--WR Derrick Mason has 55 catches for 855 yards and three touchdowns in 12 meetings with the Browns. He only has two 100-yard games in those 12 meetings.

--CB Chris McAlister has made five interceptions in 17 career games against Cleveland, the most he's totaled against one team.

--S Ed Reed has six interceptions and two touchdowns in 10 games against the Browns. His 106-yard interception return against them in 2004 set the league record for longest interception return.

GAME PLAN: The Ravens know the Browns have been vulnerable against the pass, but they will attack them on the ground. The key is to take the pressure off rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. They want to control the clock and set up short third-down conversions. The Ravens respect nose tackle Shaun Rogers and will likely attack the edges.

Defensively, the Ravens won't take too many chances because they believe they can control Jamal Lewis with just their front seven. In the past, the Browns have been able to get the ball deep against the Ravens. That's why the Ravens could play more Cover 2 and try to keep Braylon Edwards in front of them.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Ravens CB Chris McAlister vs. Browns WR Braylon Edwards. Despite a knee injury, McAlister is playing like an elite corner again. He limited Cincinnati's Chad Johnson to one catch for 22 yards. He should keep Braylon Edwards in check even though Edwards had success against him last season. In the first meeting, Edwards beat McAlister for a 78-yard touchdown. In the second game, Edwards had 85 yards on eight catches. But Edwards has struggled this season, making as many catches (five) as drops.

Ravens TE Todd Heap vs. Browns linebackers/safeties. Heap is coming off his worst game as a Raven, fumbling his first catch and dropping a touchdown pass in the end zone. This is not good news for Heap, who has struggled the past few years against the Browns. Don't expect him to break out of a slump against Cleveland because he has not scored a touchdown in four games. In the past four meetings, Heap has averaged 38 yards receiving.

INJURY IMPACT: QB Troy Smith (tonsil infection) is out for Sunday but has been cleared for some light conditioning work. He probably will need a couple more weeks before he can practice again.

--DT Kelly Gregg (knee) has missed the past three full practices, which is not a good trend. He is doubtful for Sunday and would be replaced by Justin Bannan.

--LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg/ankle) was limited but he can't give a percentage of his chances of playing, which doesn't seem like a good sign. He has never missed a game in his five-year career but appears very questionable.

--CB Fabian Washington (neck) was limited in practice because of a bulging disc in his neck. Washington said he will try to play but he is questionable at this point. He would be replaced by Corey Ivy at nickel back.

--WR Yamon Figurs (hamstring) was limited in practice but he expects to play. Figurs said he might not have been able to play last week, so the bye helped his situation. He will return punts and kickoffs.

--CB Derrick Martin (shoulder) was limited but he said that he expects to play. He will be the No. 4 or No. 5 corner.

--WR Demetrius Williams (hamstring) was limited after tweaking his hamstring last week. He expects to play and will be the team's No. 3 receiver.

--TE Todd Heap (wrist) had a full practice and will start.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 18, 2008

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Kelly Gregg Name: Kelly Gregg
Position: DT
Age: 31
Experience: 9 years
College: Oklahoma
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