Clayton's hamstring could mean more chances for Washington, Williams

December 09, 2009|By Edward Lee | edward.lee@baltsun.com

Mark Clayton's injured hamstring could mean more opportunities for fellow wide receivers Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams.

Clayton tweaked his hamstring early in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 27-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers. If Clayton - who has a history of hamstring problems, which includes straining his left hamstring on Aug. 2 - can't play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, expect to see Washington and Williams getting more snaps alongside Derrick Mason.

"It doesn't matter what the situation is. We've got guys who can step in if Mark or Derrick go down," Washington said. "There are guys just waiting for opportunities."

Clayton insisted he will be ready to play Sunday. "I'll be all right," said Clayton, who said he tweaked the hamstring when a Packer caught him from behind to break up a pass. "I'll be fine."

If Clayton can't play, Washington could start. He is the team's third-leading receiver with 31 catches for 397 yards, and his 12-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter Monday night gave him two for the season - the same number Clayton has.

"I just do what they ask me to do," said Washington, who finished with four catches for 39 yards. "Nothing special. Just go out and try to make a play for the team."

Williams, the club's fourth-round pick in the 2006 draft who has caught just one pass for 17 yards this season, did not make a catch Monday night. But on two occasions, he ran deep routes that resulted in pass-interference penalties in the end zone and gave the offense the football and a first down at the Packers' 1-yard line.

"I should have made those plays, actually," Williams said. "Pass interference is a call to help the team, but I should have helped the team in a better way by making the play so that we didn't have to go through all the other things we went through. Each week, I've just got to work on getting better."

Washington and Williams said they anticipate Clayton will play against the Lions, but if he can't, they said, their mind-set during practice this week won't change.

"We don't approach it any differently than every other week," Williams said. "At any point in time, we have to be ready. So just keep working hard and approach every day as another workday."

Harbaugh backs Cameron
In his weekly radio show on WBAL on Monday night, Ravens coach John Harbaugh defended the play-calling of Cam Cameron and rejected a suggestion that he take over the calls himself.

"Cam's the play-caller," Harbaugh said. "I have all the faith and confidence" in him in that role.

Harbaugh addressed two play-calls against the Packers in particular. One was the flea-flicker on which quarterback Joe Flacco threw a first-quarter interception. Harbaugh said he liked the call, but because the downfield receivers were covered, Flacco should have thrown the ball away or thrown to the checkdown receiver.

The other call came in the fourth quarter, when Willis McGahee was tripped by Charles Woodson for a 2-yard loss on first-and-goal at the Green Bay 1. McGahee went wide on the play. Harbaugh said the play was intended to go inside behind Haloti Ngata, but McGahee decided to break it outside.

The Ravens had to use a timeout before second down to avoid a delay-of-game penalty, and then Flacco threw an interception in the end zone.

Other points Harbaugh made during the show:

•Referee Walt Anderson inexplicably reset the play clock in the final two-plus minutes of the game before Green Bay's final field goal. The play clock originally should have expired before the two-minute mark, but not after Anderson reset it. "I don't understand why he did that," Harbaugh said.

•Harbaugh said the Ravens would "get some more guys in the mix" on the pass rush, and said Paul Kruger and Antwan Barnes both played well in that capacity.

Matchup problem
Until Monday night, no tight end had gained more than 78 receiving yards against the Ravens, and only the Minnesota Vikings' Visanthe Shiancoe ( Morgan State) had caught two touchdowns passes.

Then along came the Packers' Jermichael Finley, who caught seven passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

Harbaugh said the 6-foot-5, 247-pound Finley posed a matchup problem.

"It is tough to cover a tight end," Harbaugh said. "Sometimes they will get you in a base package and have a guy out there who is probably more of a receiver than he is a tight end. They took advantage of that."

Element of surprise
After each of their touchdowns in the third quarter, the Ravens used pooch kicks in an attempt to surprise Green Bay and regain possession quickly.

The first attempt almost worked as rookie offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith fumbled the kickoff, but linebacker Desmond Bishop recovered the ball. The second try ended with Bishop calling for a fair catch at the Packers' 40.

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