Turkey Companion (11/22): your holiday Ravens fix

Marcus GilchristJarret JohnsonLeSean McCoyNick HardwickPhilip RiversEli ManningMichael Vick

Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down gravy and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.

RUNNING IT BACK

Running back Ray Rice said he wasn't being disrespectful with that "Terrible Towel" after the Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend. ... The Ravens will smash helmets with their former teammate Jarret Johnson on Sunday when they play the San Diego Chargers. ... Tight end Dennis Pitta, nose tackle Terrance Cody and defensive end Pernell McPhee all practiced on Wednesday. ... Outspoken safety Bernard Pollard was outspoken about his feelings about the $50,000 fine given to fellow safety Ed Reed for an illegal hit Sunday.

RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US

The Ravens remember last year's ugly loss to the Chargers. ... Will Ray Rice regret his "Terrible Towel taunt"? ... Bernard Pollard is "going to kill" the next quarterback who tries to run out of bounds. ... New players are stepping up for the Ravens defense.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

Jarret Johnson badly wants to beat his former team. ... It's time for the Chargers to lock up play-making linebacker Donald Butler. ... Nick Hardwick is the center of the Ravens' attention. ... Chargers defensive back Marcus Gilchrist has been impressive recently.

SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE DAY

In this week's "Five Ravens stats that stand out," I touched on the brilliant play of Philip Rivers against the Ravens and the strong play of outside linebacker Paul Kruger over the past couple of weeks.

OUTSIDE OF BALTIMORE

Ed Reed isn't the only safety who is unhappy about getting fined this week. Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward has been punished, too. ... The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly going with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback over Alex Smith. ... The Philadelphia Eagles could be without Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy this week. ... New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was never allowed to play quarterback in his family's Thanksgiving games.

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