No Respite Due For Secondary

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Notebook

After Stopping Broncos, Defense Must Face Bengals

November 06, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

After grounding a potent Denver Broncos air attack, the Ravens' secondary has little time to bask in any adulation.

That's because the unit must now prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals, who feature quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receivers Chad Ochocinco, Chris Henry and Andre Caldwell.

"That was a pretty tall task against that [Denver] receiving corps, but it was something that I think we've done throughout the course of the year. We just haven't been consistent," cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. "We've played stretches where we've been phenomenal, but last week and probably the Cleveland game have been the only times we've put it together from start to finish, which is something we plan on doing more and more as the season matures."

The Ravens blanketed the Broncos, limiting Brandon Marshall to 24 yards on four catches and Eddie Royal to 10 yards on two receptions. Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said the entire defense played well.

"I've said all along, don't point just at the secondary," Mattison said. "I think the one thing you saw was, we hit the quarterback 10 times in that game with four-man rushes. It's always been a combination. You can't put a secondary out there and expect them to cover these wide receivers in this league over a period of time. You've got to go after them, and that's why it's a total team effort."

The unit has another difficult task this Sunday. In Cincinnati's 17-14 win on Oct. 11, Palmer completed 18 of 31 passes for 271 yards, Ochocinco caught seven passes for 94 yards, and Caldwell caught a 20-yard pass for the game-winning touchdown.

Foxworth said the secondary will use Sunday's performance against Denver as a foundation.

"Confidence goes a long way in this league, and if you can build on it, I think that's the most important thing," he said. "It's not just the Bengals game, but games after that. If we can use the last game and build on that this week and then build on it the week after that, that's even better."

Hopeful on Ngata

For the second consecutive day, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata did not practice. Mattison sounded hopeful that Ngata, who is dealing with a sprained right ankle, would be available Sunday.

"I think Haloti will do what he has to," Mattison said, adding that it will be the trainer's decision.

Long snapper Matt Katula (sore elbow) also missed his second straight practice.

Cornerback Frank Walker (illness) and linebacker Prescott Burgess (illness) returned to full participation Thursday. Linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder) also practiced fully.

Safeties Haruki Nakamura (strained abdominal muscle) and Tom Zbikowski (illness) were upgraded to limited participation after sitting out Wednesday's session. Tight end Todd Heap (ankle) and fullback Le'Ron McClain (shoulder) were limited for the second consecutive day.

Katula's elbow sore

Katula said his sore elbow is not a major concern, but the Ravens do not have a backup long snapper on their depth chart.

Asked about the omission, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said, "That's curious," before changing the subject. Asked about his expectation for Katula, Rosburg said, "I have no information for you on that."

Katula said he doesn't expect the elbow to prevent him from playing against the Bengals, saying, "It's not a big deal."

Walker surprised

The coaches' decision to deactivate Frank Walker before Sunday's contest was surprising to some, including the cornerback himself.

But Walker, who spoke Thursday for the first time, said he wasn't angered or disappointed by the decision.

"Everybody wants to play, but I feel like our coaches are always going to put this team in the best situation to win," he said. "Obviously, I wasn't a part of that. No big deal."

End zone

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