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News » Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-24

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-24

Baltimore Ravens Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-24
It's unknown how long the benching of Chris McAlister will last.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh wouldn't say whether McAlister would re-gain his starting job in the secondary against the Oakland Raiders.

"If he's one of the guys that we feel gives us the best opportunity to play the best defense at that moment, he'll be out there," Harbaugh said. "If we think there's a guy that can do it better, then he'll be out there."

In the Ravens' last game, they surprisingly replaced McAlister, a two-time Pro Bowl player, with Frank Walker, who had been their No. 4 cornerback most of the season.

Meanwhile, cornerback Samari Rolle (neck surgery) and strong safety Dawan Landry (spinal cord concussion) will miss their fifth consecutive games. Fabian Washington will replace Rolle, and Jim Leonhard will fill in for Landry.


--TE Todd Heap has had previous success against the Raiders. In two games, he has 11 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Heap has struggled so far this season.

--WR Derrick Mason has averaged 64.8 yards receiving and has scored two touchdowns in seven meetings with Oakland. He has been the go-to receiver this season for rookie QB Joe Flacco.

--LB Ray Lewis has averaged 11.5 tackles in four career games against the Raiders. He has two interceptions and one sack.

--DT Trevor Pryce has seven sacks and three forced fumbles in 16 games against the Raiders. His three forced fumbles are his most against any team.

--K Matt Stover has converted on 78.6 percent of his field goals against the Raiders, which is below his career average of 83.6 percent. Stover's 442 field goals are the most among active kickers.

GAME PLAN: The Ravens should be able to run the ball against a Raiders defense that has allowed a 100-yard rusher in two of its past three games. Ravens running back Willis McGahee is coming off his best game, and the Ravens will try to keep him in that groove. If the Ravens can get the running game going, they might be able to hit some deep throws.

Defensively, the Ravens should be able to stop the Raiders' running game with their front seven. The secondary is still banged-up, but it shouldn't have a major problem against JaMarcus Russell. Oakland's best bet is to go after cornerback Frank Walker, who could be replacing Chris McAlister for a second straight game.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Ravens run defense vs. Raiders RB Darren McFadden. After gaining 164 yards in Week 2, McFadden has cooled considerably, producing 131 yards rushing in his past four games. He also has gone four weeks without a touchdown. This downward trend should continue against a strong Ravens' front seven. The Ravens have held teams to 67.2 yards rushing a game, which is tops in the NFL. They limited Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown to 27 yards on 12 carries. The Ravens have also not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 25 straight games, the longest current streak in the league.

Ravens RB Willis McGahee vs. Raiders run defense. McGahee broke out of his slump last Sunday, running for a season-high 105 yards and scoring a touchdown. He returns to M&T Bank Stadium, where he has gained 64 yards rushing each time. Look for those numbers to increase against the Raiders. In the past four games, Oakland has allowed the opponent's top running back to average 103 yards rushing and score a total of four touchdowns. It was just last Sunday when the New York Jets' Thomas Jones rushed for 159 yards against the Raiders. McGahee has a similar running style to Jones.

INJURY IMPACT: SS Dawan Landry (neck) is out and won't play for at least two more weeks. He will be replaced by Jim Leonhard.

--WR Derrick Mason was added to the injury report Thursday with an illness. He attended meetings but did not practice because he was under the weather. This illness could last a couple of days but shouldn't affect his status Sunday.

--CB Samari Rolle (neck and shoulder) is out for Sunday but he will try to return to practice next week. He will be replaced by Fabian Washington.

--OT Adam Terry (knee) is out after having his right knee scoped. He will be replaced by Willie Anderson at right tackle.

--PR-KR Yamon Figurs missed his second straight day of practice with a knee injury. He seems doubtful for Sunday's game. He will be replaced by Ray Rice on kickoffs and by Jim Leonhard on punts.

--FS Ed Reed was limited Thursday after not practicing Wednesday because of a hamstring injury. Reed has started 43 straight games and is not in danger of being inactive. But he won't be at full strength and might be limited at times.

--WR Demetrius Williams did not practice for two straight days but he could be a game-time decision. He would likely be limited as a No. 3 receiver even if he plays.

--OT Jared Gaither (neck) was limited in practice with a stinger. He should start against the Raiders.

--CB Chris McAlister (knee) was limited in practice with a knee injury that has bothered him throughout the season. He was benched last Sunday and might not start for a second straight week.

--RB Willis McGahee had a full practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday with a knee injury. McGahee is looking forward to going against an Oakland run defense that has allowed 100-yard rushers in two of the past three games.

--CB Derrick Martin (shoulder) had a full practice and will play on special teams.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 24, 2008

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Justin Green Name: Justin Green
Position: RB
Age: 26
Experience: 4 years
College: Montana
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