By Aaron Wilson and Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun
5:51 PM PDT, September 12, 2012
There was a somewhat unusual sight Monday night on the Ravens' sideline.
Starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain was standing on the edge of the field, watching backup Dannell Ellerbe take the majority of the workload opposite middle linebacker Ray Lewis during a 44-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Signed to a three-year, $10.5 million contract in March, McClain hadn't been benched and he wasn't hurt.
McClain was designated to play against obvious run formations with Ellerbe's extended playing time stemming from the Bengals' tendency to pass often.
Ellerbe played 49 snaps, including 20 runs, 28 coverage plays and one blitz, as McClain was limited to 31 snaps overall with 16 on running plays.
"We've got our own packages," Ellerbe said. "If it's more pass, then I'm in. If it had been more I-formation stuff, Jameel would have played more. It all depends on the formation."
Ellerbe tied for second with seven tackles while McClain had two tackles and one pass deflection.
The Ravens had issues stopping the run as BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 91 yards and scored a touchdown.
"I think I did all right ," Ellerbe said. "I know I didn't hurt us."
Reed limited in practice
Safety Ed Reed, who strained his right hamstring during his 34-yard interception return for a touchdown , practiced Wednesday on a limited basis.
That bodes well for his availability Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Special teams ace Corey Graham, who limped off the field Monday, participated fully and wasn't on the injury report.
Four players didn't practice: center Matt Birk (thigh), offensive tackle Jah Reid (strained right calf), linebacker Paul Kruger (back) and defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee).
Kruger said he expects to play Sunday.
"I just had some things that were bugging me before and they just kind of flared up during the game," Kruger said. "I'll be back full-speed. I just need a couple of days to recover."
McPhee had an ice pack on his knee after the game, but denied being hurt and said it was merely precautionary.
After a successful game running the no-huddle offense, quarterback Joe Flacco was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Flacco completed 21 of 29 passes for 299 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 128.4 passer rating.
The Ravens piled up an AFC-high 430 yards and ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense.
This is the first time since Flacco's rookie year he has won the award.
"I'm happy because it means we had a good day on offense," said Flacco, the Ravens' all-time leader with 14,115 yards and 82 touchdowns. "We were able to keep guys off balance and stay one step ahead. If we can continue to do that, it will put us in a lot of advantageous situations."
Mathis visited the Ravens
Before offensive guard Evan Mathis signed a five-year, $25.5 million contract during the offseason to remain in Philadelphia, he visited the Ravens.
Mathis met with general manager Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh as they tried to recruit him as a replacement for Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs.
"Obviously, we made a run at him," Harbaugh said. "He chose to stay there, a lot of guys do. I just have a lot of respect for him as a player."
Mathis said he had a positive meeting with the Ravens .
"I had an opportunity to see the infrastructure of a very good organization," Mathis wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for John Harbaugh. When it came down to making the decision, I ultimately knew exactly what we had in Philly and that was something I wanted to be a part of moving forward."
Mathis is tasked with blocking Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who registered two sacks Monday.
"The Ravens have a tremendous amount of talent up front," Mathis said . "Ngata is one of the best defensive tackles I've played against. We are looking forward to matching up with a very good defensive team."
Harbaugh was 'underrated'
When Harbaugh got hired by the Ravens, one of his biggest advocates was Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Reid saw leadership qualities in Harbaugh, a career special-teams coordinator who had never been a head coach at any level.
"He's a great person, he's good with people," Reid said during a conference call. "He's a hard worker, smart, tough. He has all of the characteristics that you need to be a leader. He was really in a very underrated position being a special teams coach. Special teams coaches are a little underrated, and they don't get considered quite as much for head coaching jobs as offensive and defensive coordinators."
The Ravens paid out the following injury settlements: center-guard Justin Boren ($160,588), linebacker Darryl Blackstock ($21,647), and tight end Bruce Figgins ($80,294).
They're now $1.675 million under the NFL salary cap limit.
... Former Ravens third-string quarterback Curtis Painter and former Ravens starting cornerback Chris Carr tried out for the New England Patriots but weren't signed. New England signed former Ravens safety Cyhl Quarles to the practice squad.. ... Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hip) didn't practice, and wide receiver Riley Cooper (collarbone), cornerback Curtis Marsh (hamstring) and safety Kurt Coleman (facial lacerations) were all limited.
Orioles Insider | Live scores | Photos | Baseball app
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun