Gaither aims to reduce penalties

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

'I have a lot to improve on,' says 1st-year starting offensive tackle

October 28, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Minutes after the Ravens' 29-10 thumping of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Jared Gaither had already steeled himself for his positional meeting with offensive line coach John Matsko yesterday.

"I have a lot to improve on," Gaither said. "I've got a lot to get better for next week."

The successor to all-but-certain Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, Gaither has played well in his first season as the starting left tackle. But his progress nearly unraveled Sunday.

Gaither (Maryland) was flagged for two false starts, one holding penalty and going downfield as an ineligible receiver once. Gaither accounted for half of the team's eight penalties and 21 of the 52 penalty yards.

The transgressions did not haunt Gaither, as the second false start occurred nine plays before Joe Flacco's 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demetrius Williams and the ineligible-receiver call was followed by Flacco's 12-yard run into the end zone. Gaither said he did not dwell on the penalties.

"You've got to put it away and go to the next play," he said. "Playing my position in this league, you've got to have a quick memory. A quick memory on the bad things and a long memory on the good things."

However, coach John Harbaugh declined to single out Gaither, noting that right guard Chris Chester committed two holding penalties and fullback Le'Ron McClain moved early.

"I think it's something that any of our offensive linemen have to work out, and it's not just the offensive linemen," Harbaugh said. "We had a back flinch as well, and we lined up wrong outside on the perimeter on the left side one time. Those are all critical things that if we want to become what we want to become, we definitely have to clean that stuff up."

Secondary update

Harbaugh sounded optimistic yesterday that cornerback Samari Rolle (neck surgery) could play in Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Rolle has not played in the past five games, but he seems to be further along in his recovery than strong safety Dawan Landry, who has also missed the past five games because of a spinal cord concussion.

"We feel like Samari is a little ahead of Dawan," Harbaugh said. "I don't think it's ruled out for Dawan this week, but it probably is pessimistic. For Samari, I don't know if it's optimistic, but there's a chance he's going to be able to play. So we're going to get him out there to practice and see how he does, and we're going to push hard to see if we can get him into this game."

Harbaugh also emphasized that the team is awaiting the return of cornerback Chris McAlister (right knee).

"We want him on the field playing as much as possible and we want to manage the reps and put him in the best situation to get through the whole season," Harbaugh said. "He's going to be playing a lot of football for us. Unless something turns with the knee, he's going to be playing a ton of football for us, and he's going to be a huge part of what we're doing."

End zone

The status of wide receiver-return specialist Yamon Figurs is still unclear. "Yamon is iffy," Harbaugh said. "He's got a chance to be back there. If Yamon is healthy, he's going to be returning for us in some form or fashion. But we're kind of excited about Ray [Rice] and we're kind of excited about Jim [Leonhard]." ... Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo's sprained ankle did not prevent the special teams ace from taking part in yesterday's walkthrough. "I don't think it's a given [that he'll play Sunday], but he should be OK," Harbaugh said. ... Flacco, a South Jersey native, told ESPN's First Take that he has been following the Philadelphia Phillies' run through the postseason and acknowledged that he was planning to attend a Halloween party last night as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. But Flacco did not pretend to be as aquatic as Phelps. "Put me in a pool, and I sink to the bottom," Flacco said. ... Ogden would seem to be a lock for the Hall of Fame in five years, but don't tell that to the 11-time Pro Bowl selection. "I'm superstitious. I won't sign 'HOF' [on] anything," Ogden said after his induction into the Ring of Honor during halftime of Sunday's game. "I won't really talk about it, but it would be nice." ... The offense moved up to 24th in production, averaging 307.3 yards. The unit ranks fifth in rushing (142.4) and 27th in passing (164.9). ... The defense remains second, permitting just 242.4 yards. The unit still ranks first against the run (64.3) and improved to third against the pass (178.1).

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