Kicking Job Still Up In The Air



Hauschka's Miss From 27 Leaves Contest In Doubt

August 30, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - -Steve Hauschka failed to finish off the Ravens' kicking battle.

The favorite after two preseason games, Hauschka missed wide right on a 27-yard field goal on the Ravens' first drive Saturday night. It marked his first miss after making his first three attempts of the preseason.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens were ready to announce the winner after the game, but he now will wait until Thursday's preseason finale at Atlanta.

"It was a little bit disappointing," said Harbaugh, who noted that he was displeased with Hauschka's kickoffs as well. "I was hoping that he would come out and grab the job. Right now, I don't think he grabbed the job. He kicked OK, but he's better than that."

Hauschka said he tried to "guide" the ball through the uprights.

"It's one of those kicks that should be an easy kick," Hauschka said.

The Ravens' other kicker, Graham Gano, has struggled this preseason, hitting only one of three field-goal tries. The rookie didn't have a field goal attempt Saturday.

Last week, Harbaugh said it was the team's preference that either Hauschka or Gano win the job, but indicated that Matt Stover, the team's primary kicker throughout their 13-year history, was still an option if the Ravens didn't go with a young kicker.

After his miss, Hauschka rebounded by making his two extra points and a 38-yard field goal.

"You're only as good as your last kick," Hauschka said, "and I came back and finished the game strong."

Interesting replacements

With Kelly Gregg (shoulder) out, the Ravens surprisingly started Brandon McKinney at defensive tackle.

Last season, the Ravens went with Justin Bannan when Gregg was lost for the season. McKinney has two career starts in his previous three NFL seasons. But the Ravens were impressed with McKinney last season, signing the 360-pound lineman to a three-year extension this offseason that pays him a $1 million base salary in 2009.

At wide receiver, the Ravens went with Kelley Washington over Demetrius Williams for the second straight preseason game. Washington had two catches for 59 yards in the first half. Williams, who started the preseason opener, was the No. 3 wide receiver.

End zone

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis hyper-extended his right elbow and had it wrapped briefly on the sideline. "He should be OK," Harbaugh said after the game. ... Chris Carr returned his first punt 25 yards, his longest of the preseason. His previous best was 12 yards. ... Marshal Yanda made his first start at right guard, filling in for the injured Chris Chester (calf). Yanda started last season before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. ... Carolina's top running backs (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart) were both inactive. ... It looked as if Bank of America Stadium was two-thirds full. ... The Ravens' game captains were: safety Ed Reed, linebacker Ray Lewis, special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, Bannan and center Matt Birk. ... Saturday's game marked the first on the road for the Ravens. ... The Ravens' inactives were: wide receivers Mark Clayton (hamstring) and Biren Ealy (groin); Gregg; linebackers Terrell Suggs (heel) and Dannell Ellerbe (knee); Chester; offensive tackles Oniel Cousins (ankle) and Stefan Rodgers (leg); tight end L.J. Smith (hamstring); and cornerback Samari Rolle (neck).

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