Life without Lewis

During the Ravens' first game since middle linebacker Ray Lewis tore his right triceps and underwent surgery, the Texans stampeded for 420 yards and 27 first downs.

Not having Lewis' familiar emotional presence in the middle of the Ravens' defense felt odd to his teammates.

"It's strange," inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. "You expect Ray Lewis to be around. He's always been around. It's weird. We got to step up. We can't do this again."

The Texans converted 8 of 15 third downs and averaged 5.5 yards per offensive play. And they built a time of possession edge of 38:16 to 21:44.

"You always miss Ray," Harbaugh said. "He’s a one-of-a-kind player, he is a one-of-a-kind leader. He is just a special person. So, yeah, we miss him. We can still play great defense with the guys that we have.

"So, how much do you miss him? It’s not really worth putting a weight on. It’s not something that we really have a choice in the matter on.”

Harbaugh acknowledged communication needs to improve defensively.

"They don’t communicate the same way Ray does, sure," Harbaugh said. "That’s something that we have to work on. That's a big deal."

Ellerbe recorded a game-high 12 tackles as he started at weakside inside linebacker with Jameel McClain taking over Lewis' vacated inside linebacker spot.

McClain had a quieter game with just four tackles.

"I thought they were pretty solid," Harbaugh said. "There were times where we overran some gaps. We got a little too anxious and ran by Arian Foster, and he cut back on us a couple of times. That’s probably the biggest issue we had. They can slow down a little bit, stay behind some blocks a little bit better, and we probably would have been better off."

Smith caught flat-footed

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was susceptible to double-moves, and wide receiver Kevin Walter exploited that shortcoming in his game with four receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown.

"They double-moved me quite a few times," Smith said. "Anytime they got separation, it was a double-move."

Smith finished with four tackles, but deflected no passes.

"Jimmy played well, except for the double moves," said Harbaugh, who praised nickel back Corey Graham. "He did a nice job, but you can’t get beat on double moves; he knows that. That’s going to be his issue going forward. You have to try to find a way to cover those stop routes but still be on top of the deep routes."

Kindle to practice squad

The Ravens have added former second-round outside linebacker Sergio Kindle to the practice squad.

The former All-Big 12 selection went unclaimed off waivers Monday after being released Saturday when the Ravens activated Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs from the reserve-non-football injury list.

"I think he's very determined to be a good football player in this league," Harbaugh said. "We still think he has a chance. We really think there's a possibility he could grow into a player. We've seen some glimpses in practice."

End zone

Reed (rib contusion), offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele (sprained right ankle) and Ngata (sprained right medial collateral ligament) were able to participate in Monday's walkthrough practice. Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie aggravated a minor hip flexor injury. "It seemed like everybody came out of it well," Harbaugh said. "We don't have anything serious. We don't have any major injuries coming out of it. We were very fortunate with injuries." ...  Strong safety Bernard Pollard was visibly upset on the sideline Sunday, but declined interview requests afterward. "I've got nothing good to say," Pollard said. Harbaugh didn't shed light on what angered Pollard during his weekly press conference. "No, there's nothing that came to my attention about that," Harbaugh said. He's a fiery guy. He's a competitor."

awilson@baltsun.com