McGahee eager to drop carry issue

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

December 04, 2008|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Running back Willis McGahee said he doesn't have an answer for why he had no carries in Sunday's 34-3 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals.

But McGahee said there is no need to get frustrated.

"That's not going to get you anywhere," he said in his first interview since the surprise coaching decision. "You can pout, cry all you want, and you're still not going to get on the field. Just be calm with it. Just be glad that you are rested right now, because I could probably be tearing my knee up even more. Then it would be drastic or something like that."

McGahee rushed for a season-high 112 yards Nov. 9 at Houston, but he totaled 26 yards the next two weeks. He then didn't play one snap Sunday despite being active.

Although McGahee is battling numerous injuries, he said he could have played.

"It's kind of rough, but nobody is really 100 percent on the football field," said McGahee, who has dealt with knee, eye, rib and ankle injuries. "I can go out there and play and do what I've got to do, but they're resting me. So I can't complain."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been vague about why McGahee didn't play. Asked yesterday whether the week off would help McGahee, Harbaugh called the question "irrelevant."

"When my number's called, I will be out there," McGahee said. "If not, Le'Ron [McClain] and Ray [Rice] are doing a great job. It's not like the running game is really struggling. I don't mind sitting back and watching."

Hated neighbors

Ravens players are starting to hear the fans' bitter feelings toward the Washington Redskins, who play their first regular-season game at M&T Bank Stadium.

"I've heard it from my neighbors," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "They told me how much they hate them. It's like a Pittsburgh thing. They hate the Redskins as much as them."

Rookie coaches

Harbaugh will try to improve his record to 2-0 against fellow rookie coaches when he faces Washington's Jim Zorn. He said he feels a "bond" with Zorn, the Atlanta Falcons' Mike Smith and the Miami Dolphins' Tony Sparano.

"We were the guys at the NFL meetings trying to find our way around," Harbaugh said. "We didn't know where to go, didn't know who to talk to, didn't know where to sit. We felt like the other guys were looking at us like, 'Who are these guys?' "

End zone

The Ravens won't wear the usual all-black uniforms for national television because Harbaugh doesn't like the look. Instead, the players are expected to wear black jerseys with white pants. ... Four starters didn't practice: offensive tackle Jared Gaither (shoulder), safety Ed Reed (hamstring), and cornerbacks Samari Rolle (thigh) and Fabian Washington (shoulder). Those limited in practice were wide receiver Derrick Mason (shoulder), linebacker Bart Scott (shoulder) and guard David Hale (ankle). ... Joe Flacco was named NFL Rookie of the Month. In November, he averaged 212 passing yards, throwing for seven touchdowns with two interceptions ... Return specialist Yamon Figurs continues to struggle, ranking 22nd on punt returns (6.0-yard average) and 36th on kickoffs (21.2). Asked whether the Ravens thought about making a change, Harbaugh said, "That's always a possibility." ... Center Jason Brown went on a rant in front of reporters when he thought someone was questioning the Ravens' "family." Said Brown: "We are very much on the same page, and nothing is going to separate us." ... Rookie linebacker Tavares Gooden, who is on injured reserve, was walking on crutches in the locker room after having two surgeries (sports hernia and torn labrum in hip) over the past two months. He said linebackers coach Greg Mattison calls him regularly and Harbaugh sends him text messages "to make sure I'm doing OK. ... It's awesome an NFL team would maintain that family-hood." ... Asked whether beating the Redskins would give them bragging rights inside the clubs around town, defensive end-linebacker Terrell Suggs said: "I'm not going to a nightclub. Haven't you heard what happened this past week?"

Baltimore Sun reporters Edward Lee and Ken Murray contributed to this article.

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