No taking Jaguars lightly, players say

ravens notebook

Punter Koch gets AFC special teams award

December 25, 2008|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

To reach the playoffs, the Ravens only have to avoid something that has yet to happen this season: a letdown.

The Ravens are 6-0 against teams that now have losing records, winning by an average of 19 points.

That's why it isn't surprising the Ravens (10-5) are favored by 12 1/2 points over the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10).

This point spread is the Ravens' largest of the season. The only other time the Ravens were more than a touchdown favorite was Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, when the Ravens were giving up eight points.

The Ravens, though, repeatedly say they will not be overconfident. They just want it over quickly.

Asked whether the Jaguars can gain motivation in trying to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs, Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco said: "Yeah, probably for about the first quarter. But as long as we come out and let them know that we're here to play, hopefully we can let them know that they have no business coming to Baltimore and trying to ruin our chances."

Koch receives honor

Ravens punter Sam Koch, one of the team's Pro Bowl snubs, did earn some recognition, receiving his first AFC special teams Player of the Week award.

He averaged 52.2 yards on five punts at Dallas and converted a fourth-and-six with a 9-yard run on a fake field goal.

"A Pro Bowl would have been really nice, but [being named] AFC Player of the Week is still thanks, too," he said.

Koch will be the first Raven announced in Sunday's regular-season finale along with the other specialists on special teams.

Garrard fights back

Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard was diagnosed in 2004 with Crohn's disease, a life-threatening digestive condition that can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and/or weight loss.

Garrard battles the disease with an IV of Remicade for 3 1/2 hours once every eight weeks and is participating in the "In the Zone for Crohn's" program, which donates $10,000 to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America for every touchdown Garrard scores this season.

"I really think I've been blessed with this disease, to bring more awareness to it and to be a voice for it because not a lot of people like to talk about running to the restroom and vomiting and just having really bad stomach pains," Garrard said.

"I just want to do all that I can because there are a lot of kids affected by it. For me, I just want to be a little bit of hope for them and allow them to continue to fight a little bit more."

End zone

There will be a halftime ceremony Sunday honoring the 50th anniversary of the Baltimore Colts 1958 NFL championship team, which beat the New York Giants in what would become known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Fifteen players from that Colts team are scheduled to attend. ... Backup Ravens linebacker Antwan Barnes (chest) and receiver Marcus Maxwell (hip) are out for Sunday's game. Eight players did not practice: offensive tackles Willie Anderson (foot) and Adam Terry (knee), linebacker Jarret Johnson (calf), wide receiver Derrick Mason (shoulder and neck), defensive end Trevor Pryce (illness), safety Ed Reed (hamstring) and cornerbacks Samari Rolle (ankle) and Fabian Washington (toe). Kick returner Yamon Figurs (head) and running back Ray Rice (calf) were limited. ... The coaches and players were given off today for Christmas.

Baltimore Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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