The Washington Redskins play 50 miles south of Owings Mills, but that might as well be 500 miles to Ravens safety Rod Woodson.
Rivalry? What rivalry?
"I don't think anybody in this locker room, besides you guys, understands the rivalry," Woodson said yesterday, speaking to reporters. "We don't even know there is a rivalry.
"We play the NFC East once every three years. How can you get a rivalry out of that?"
Sunday's game against the Redskins at FedEx Field may be emotional overload for Baltimore football fans, but it's another day at the office for the Ravens.
Can the Ravens differentiate playing the Redskins from, say, the San Diego Chargers?
"I don't think so," said quarterback Tony Banks. "It's just another opportunity on Sunday to go out and play a quality football team."
Guard Mike Flynn said he didn't appreciate the local interest in the game until he tuned in his radio this week.
"I didn't realize how big a game it was until I started listening to the radio, and on the rock stations I listen to, everybody was giving away free tickets," Flynn said. "I said, `Wow, I guess this is a big game.' "
That fervor doesn't figure to rub off on the Ravens, though.
"We're going to be fired up for the fact we've got to play these guys, not for the fact the Washington Redskins are 40 minutes down the road," Woodson said. "I don't care how far down the road they are."
If there's a rivalry percolating, Woodson said, it involves "the fans and the front office," a reference to the summer feud between Ravens president David Modell and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Asked who he liked in a matchup of Modell and Snyder, Woodson remained loyal.
"I got Modell," he said, smiling broadly.
Rivalry, part II
Then there was coach Brian Billick's take on the matchup with the Redskins. He related a fan's point of view during his Tuesday night radio show with Channel 2's Scott Garceau.
"Some guy was really getting after it, saying we don't understand - none of the players understand - the intensity of this game," Billick said. "Come the third quarter and these guys have battled each other tooth and nail, and there's blood all over the field, and that guy's on his fifth beer up in the 17th row, I want him to come down and find out.
"Yeah, we understand what this is about."
The Ravens list center Jeff Mitchell as doubtful this week with a high ankle sprain, an injury that trainer Bill Tessendorf said can typically last as long as four to six weeks.
"He'll be extremely doubtful this week, and then he'll be day to day," Tessendorf said. "It's a nasty, nasty injury to have."
Left tackle Jonathan Ogden practiced on a limited basis yesterday after missing Sunday's game with an ankle sprain. The Ravens will know more about Ogden's availability today when they see how it responds to his first work since the injury.
Cornerback Clarence Love (hamstring) is questionable, while cornerback Duane Starks (hamstring), defensive tackle Tony Siragusa (back) and long-snapper Frank Wainright (back) are all probable.
Taking the big picture
Mitchell's injury means Flynn, the starting right guard, will work at center for the second straight game. He had to switch in the middle of the first quarter at Jacksonville when Mitchell went down, and with minimal work, got his line calls down.
"This week, knowing I'm going to play center, I'll put a little extra time in with the calls," Flynn said. "At center, I'll look more at the big picture this week. At right guard, I look at my own little box."
Stover weighs in
Matt Stover was named AFC special teams player of the week for his five-field-goal effort against Jacksonville in Week 6. It was the fourth time he has received the honor, but the first for a game against a team other than the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stover, who has hit 18 of 20 field goals this season, is the fourth Raven so honored in the season's first six weeks, joining defensive end Rob Burnett and Woodson for defense, and Banks for offense.
Rookie quarterback Chris Redman capped yesterday's practice by throwing a ball into a trash can from 40 yards away. It's a post-practice drill the quarterbacks use. Yesterday's competition featured offensive coordinator and one-time quarterback Matt Cavanaugh, and backup Trent Dilfer. ... Kipp Vickers, who has backed up right tackle Harry Swayne, worked with the first team at Flynn's right guard spot.