Ravens Notebook

McAlister and Rolle likely to sit out

Billick says it's `doubtful' either cornerback plays

Pro football

November 04, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Coach Brian Billick all but ruled out cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle for the Ravens' showdown with the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow night.

Neither starting cornerback practiced last night. McAlister, whose strained right knee sidelined him for the team's 19-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 21, and Rolle, who is dealing with a reoccurrence of the illness that contributed to his missing three games this season, are listed as doubtful and questionable, respectively.

But asked whether he expected either to play, Billick said, "Doubtful. Very doubtful."

Corey Ivy and Derrick Martin are expected to start if McAlister and Rolle don't play.

Ivy has started the past five games at corner. Martin, a sixth-round pick last year, would get his first career start.

"I've been waiting for this since I was a little guy," Martin said. "To be able to come out of that tunnel and know that I'm going to start, it's going to be a blast for me."

Billick also said David Pittman, a 2006 third-round pick who has been deactivated for 21 of 24 games, would be "hugely involved" in the nickel coverages.

"What more can you ask for? A Monday night game playing Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh on their 75th anniversary?" Pittman said.

Tight end Todd Heap (strained hamstring) practiced, but Billick said Heap would be a game-time decision. Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (sprained ankle) practiced and declared himself ready.

Matt Stover did not appear to practice, but Billick said the kicker was resting his injured right thigh.

Ogden, Terry close

Offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden and Adam Terry appear to be ready to return to the starting lineup for the first time together since the season opener.

During last night's portion of practice open to the media, Ogden and Terry lined up with center Mike Flynn and guards Jason Brown and Ben Grubbs as the first-string offensive line.

Ogden hasn't started since the season opener, when he sprained his left foot and aggravated a hyperextended big toe on that foot, but the 10-time Pro Bowl player was not on the injury report all week. Terry, who hasn't played since spraining his left ankle Oct. 7, is listed as probable.

"It was encouraging to look up and see the prep line as our starters for the last four weeks," Billick said tongue-in-cheek, referring to Ogden and Terry serving on the scout team as opponents' offensive linemen. "And they were prepping for the defense. So that was a pretty good feeling."

Parker a force

As well as Ben Roethlisberger has been playing, the Ravens' defense has not forgotten about Willie Parker.

Although the defense limited the running back to 53 yards on 23 carries in two meetings last season, Parker ranks second in the NFL in rushing with 726 yards. He has five 100-yard games, and the Steelers are 17-1 when Parker eclipses the century mark.

"You've just got to know what type of runner he is and everybody stay disciplined and not peek in somebody else's gap," linebacker Bart Scott said of the defense's success against Parker. "And when you get an opportunity to take a hit on him, he's not the biggest guy, but he's very willing to run through tackles. When he does that, you have to make him pay the price."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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