Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kick returns job is David Reed's to lose

Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg gave his seal of approval to rookie wide receiver David Reed as the Ravens’ primary kickoff returner.

The fifth-round draft pick from Utah is averaging 21.6 yards per kickoff return with a long return of 31 yards, and Rosburg announced that Reed will continue to return kicks this Sunday.

"I think David Reed has grown every week we've put him back there," Rosburg said. "You see things in the return that you like to see. I like his spirit. He practices hard. He's an exciting guy. The guys like blocking for him. We're going to give him another shot this week."

Rosburg didn’t announce who’s going to return punts, but Lardarius Webb is listed atop the depth chart. The Ravens are also planning to work in Donte’ Stallworth and have Ed Reed and Chris Carr as options, too.

“We’ll find out Sunday,” Rosburg said. “I have no announcements on punt returns. Donte’ is one of the guys to be considered, yes.”

Panthers to start journeyman QB St. Pierre

OWINGS MILLS – Remember, Brian St. Pierre?

He’s the journeyman quarterback who spent a season with the Baltimore Ravens five years ago.

He’s the obscure guy who was spending his time as a stay-at-home dad until joining the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad on Friday last week and was promoted to the active roster Tuesday.

And St. Pierre, a former Pittsburgh Steelers fifth-round draft pick who has only thrown five regular-season passes, is the surprise starter for the Panthers on Sunday against the Ravens.

Instead of going with unheralded rookie quarterback Tony Pike with starter Jimmy Clausen out with a concussion, Panthers coach John Fox chose to go with St. Pierre, 30, because of his slightly superior experience.

“Great guy, great quarterback,” tight end Todd Heap said. “We’ve seen him play over the years. He’s a guy that we kind of know what he’s capable of. We’ve seen what he can do, his arm strength.

“He’s a smart guy, we know that about him. Our defense hopefully will be ready for that, and a lot of guys on that side of the ball know Brian St. Pierre and know what type of quarterback he is.”

Nose guard Kelly Gregg also spoke highly of St. Pierre, who has completed 2 of 5 career passes for 12 yards, one touchdown and one interception during previous stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Steelers.

“He’s a good guy and a good quarterback,” Gregg said. “He’s a tough guy and he’ll be ready to go out there on Sunday.”

Strong safety Dawan Landry said he doesn’t remember much about St. Pierre.

St. Pierre will have just four practices to get ready for the Ravens.

“At least he’s been around the league,” Landry said. “You can’t take anybody lightly, not at all. He’s a veteran guy. We’ll prepare the same way we always prepare.

“He just got there this week, too? Wow. At least he’s a veteran guy. He just got there, so hopefully we can take advantage of that.”

St. Pierre didn’t go through a training camp this summer.

Now, he’s quarterbacking the 1-8 Panthers against the NFL’s 10th-ranked defense.

"I know what the situation looks like to everyone," St. Pierre told Charlotte reporters. "It is what it is. I'm not going to complain about it."

Three years ago, the Panthers started a 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde and managed to win a game.

"John Fox came in to me on Wednesday and said, 'Vinny Testaverde came in and did this three years ago," St. Pierre said. "And I said, 'Well, Vinny has a little better resume than I do.'

"I appreciate they have enough faith to throw me out there. I hope I can reward them by holding my own Sunday."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Derrick Mason says he broke his finger again

ATLANTA -- Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason acknowledged that he broke his surgically repaired right pinkie finger against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome.

Mason underwent X-rays immediately after the game and had his finger wrapped up.

"It looks like it's broken again, the same finger," Mason said after leaving the locker room following a 26-21 defeat where he finished the game despite the injury. "It doesn't look good."

Mason said he'll have the finger examined again when the team returns to Baltimore today.

Mason initially broke the finger during an Oct. 17 overtime loss to the New England Patriots.

Then, he played through the pain against the Buffalo Bills before having the damage repaired with a pin inserted in the finger to aid the healing process during the Ravens' bye week.

Now, Mason will likely have to play through the injury for the remainder of the season.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The other Reed

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg always plays his cards close to the vest, declining to reveal who's returning kicks. The Ravens are expected to utilize Carr as the primary punt returner with Zbikowski expected to be ruled out.The Ravens could also use Stallworth and Lardarius Webb.

"We have a number of guys back there who are practicing," Rosburg said. "You've probably heard this answer before, but we'll see who shows up on Sunday."

The Ravens could wind up using rookie wide receiver David Reed on kickoff returns as well as cornerback Josh Wilson. Reed was a productive returner in college at the University of Utah, and the fifth-round draft pick says he's ready to contribute.

"Definitely, I can't wait," Reed said. "I just want to get that ball in my hand and show the team I can make plays and be explosive with the ball.

"I'm a north-south runner. I don't do a lot of juking I'm going to hit it. You're going to see me hit it for sure. Just watch out."

Ravens impressed with Yanda at tackle

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron doled out some heavy praise for offensive tackle Marshal Yanda, a converted offensive guard.

Yanda hasn't started at tackle on a regular basis since his rookie season, but the former Iowa standout has improved each week this season.

"Marshal has been tremendous," Cameron said. "There aren't many guys that can bounce out to right tackle and the play at the level that he's playing. Obviously, a lot of football left, but he's just another one of the good football players we have here."

Yanda grew up on an Iowa pig farm and plays the game with a gritty, aggressive style.

"Marshal was really good in college," Cameron said. "I wasn't here his rookie year, but he played as a rookie. He's been a good football player for a long time. He's like a lot of these guys. They come in the league, they get a feel for the league, they get a little bigger, they get a little stronger.

"And they start to understand the personnel matchups they have each week. Marshal is just continuing to grow as a professional. He's about as dependable of guy as you'll ever come across."

Foxworth on the fast track back

Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth is on the fast track, reporting steady progress in his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Foxworth said he's confident he'll be able to take part in offseason minicamps, saying he has set a goal of being physically able to practice by early February.

"I definitely think that's attainable," Foxworth said. "The goal that I've set is a more steep goal that that, but it doesn't really matter. Obviously I won't be able to play before the season, but I'd like to be able to.

"I'd like to be in condition to be ready by the Super Bowl. Obviously I won't be in the game, but I'd like to be able to feel good and cut and change directions. I think it's attainable given the progress I've made so far."

Foxworth injured his knee in late July during a non-contact walkthrough, one day before the Ravens' opening full-squad practice of training camp.

No longer on crutches after undergoing surgery Aug. 10 with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews repairing his knee, Foxworth is already able to run and lift weights.

"I've been running, changing directions," Foxworth said. "I squatted 315 [pounds] yesterday. I'm feeling pretty good right now."

Foxworth said he doesn't discuss his injury much with cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb, who tore their ACLs late last season and have returned this season.

"They have more important things to worry about," Foxworth said. "When we talk, we talk football most of the time. Only thing I talked to Fabian about was I was telling him how good I feel, and he was saying, 'Take it easy, because sometimes, it's an illusion.'"

Disappointed about being out for the season, Foxworth said keeps himself available to offer advice to younger players and his house is always open for film sessions as it was in the past.

"You're never really with the group unless you're on the field," Foxworth said. "No matter what, I don't really feel like I'm a part of it, but when guys, young guys especially, come over and want to watch film together, that's available whenever.

"We do it sometimes, and we haven't had a big group or anything, but I'm sure at some point, we'll start doing the group meetings at my house again."