Off On Right Foot

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Hauschka Makes Strong Opening Statement In Bid To Win Starting Kicking Job

August 14, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Steve Hauschka didn't have to wait long to put a stamp on his candidacy to be the Ravens' primary kicker.

Hauschka converted field goals of 37 and 21 yards to cap the offense's first two series and provided an extra point in the Ravens' 23-0 defeat of the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night.

Hauschka, who is competing with rookie Graham Gano for the right to succeed Matt Stover, also put one kickoff in the end zone and two more at Washington's 2.

"You just don't want to be noticed out there," said Hauschka, who handled kicking duties in the first half. "I think we did everything we've been working on in practice. I just stayed down and trusted my swing and knew that it would get through."

Hauschka has performed well in training camp, unofficially connecting on 53 of 59 field goals. Gano has unofficially made 49 of 60 attempts.

Gano made a 39-yard field goal and an extra point and landed a kickoff at the Redskins' 1 in the third quarter. But he banged a 28-yard field-goal attempt off the right post to end the game.

"I'm definitely disappointed about that last kick," Gano said. "Stuff happens. It's how you overcome it, how I'm going to step on the field and do the next kick. But definitely it's over. I've forgotten about it already. I'm going to come back strong the next game."

M. Smith, Beck injured

Both wide receiver Marcus Smith and quarterback John Beck are scheduled to undergo magnetic resonance imaging exams today after suffering what could be serious injuries last night.

Smith came up limping after tackling Washington's Marcus Mason on a punt return in the second quarter. Smith said he might have torn the anterior cruciate ligament or the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

"I've never had something like this done to my knee," said Smith, who was using crutches after the game. "If it's the ACL, I'm done. If it's the MCL, I can bounce back. I don't know how long it's supposed to take, but either way, I'm going to come back stronger and faster."

Beck said he injured his throwing shoulder when a Redskins player barreled into him after Beck completed a 64-yard pass to wide receiver Jayson Foster in the fourth quarter.

"I didn't want to come out," he said. "But when we went to the sideline, I kind of knew something was wrong."

Sitting this one out

The Ravens opened the preseason without two of last year's opening day starters in left tackle Jared Gaither and right guard Marshal Yanda.

Gaither, who sat out the team's past two practices with a left trapezius muscle injury, said the move was precautionary. "It's better to be safe than sorry," he said. "If anything could have gone wrong, it's been prevented by me being on the sideline tonight. It was preseason Week 1, so we've got a lot of football to be played."

Yanda is less than a year removed from surgery to repair the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Oniel Cousins started at left tackle. Chris Chester, who started 11 games for Yanda last year, started at right guard.

The Ravens also deactivated linebackers Terrell Suggs (strained left heel) and Brendon Ayanbadejo (sprained toe), wide receivers Mark Clayton (strained left hamstring) and Biren Ealy (groin), cornerback Samari Rolle (physically-unable-to-perform list/neck and shoulder) and defensive tackle Lamar Divens (hip).

D. Landry returns

Thursday marked strong safety Dawan Landry's first game since suffering a spinal cord concussion while tackling Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis in Week 2 and spending the rest of the season on injured reserve.

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