Reed injured, Landry is stepping up

December 24, 2009|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | kevin.vanvalkenburg@baltsun.com

The Ravens have not ruled out the possibility of safety Ed Reedplaying against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but it's looking like a long shot if you read the tea leaves.

Reed, who has missed the past three games with what the team has described as a "hip strain," was in Miami on Wednesday having his hip evaluated by a specialist. It is the most games Reed has missed in a season since 2005.

"We just want to exhaust every precaution to make sure our guys are healthy and ready to go," coach John Harbaugh said. "Ed has confidence in Dr. [John] Uribe down there in Miami. We just want to take a look at it and see where it's at. We feel like he's making progress and there's a chance he'll play. We'll know more when he gets back."

This development was first reported by NFL.com.

Reed's potential absence comes as the Steelers are still waiting to get word on whether their own Pro Bowl safety, Troy Polamalu, will be back from an injury. Polamalu has missed the past five games, and nine this season, with sprained ligaments in his left knee.

"I think [Reed's situation] is probably similar to what changes for us when Troy is out," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "The calls are the same, the expectations are the same, but the nature of what that person has done is irreplaceable."

Surprisingly, Reed's absence has not caused chaos in the Ravens' secondary. And part of that is because of Reed.

"He's always been a vocal leader on the sideline," strong safety Dwan Landry said. "He's a coach there, just like he's a coach on the field. Everything he does when he's in the lineup, he does when he's out of the lineup. He's still giving us tips when he's on the sideline. 'Look for this, look for that.' That's a big plus for us."

Landry said he is hopeful Reed would be able to play this week but wasn't sure whether Reed would be healthy enough. Reed's absence has forced Landry to take on more leadership responsibilities, and he has played some of his best football.

"I've just had to be more vocal," Landry said. "Usually, me and Ed, we might look around and already know which way we're going before a play. So we just try to make sure me and [Tom Zbikowski] are on the same page. We'll talk about who is going to do what before every play."

DeCosta a GM candidate?
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Wednesday that the Seattle Seahawks have not contacted him for permission to speak with Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of player personnel, about their general manager's job.

Tim Ruskell recently resigned as Seahawks GM, and according to ProFootballTalk.com, the Seahawks have identified a list of candidates that includes DeCosta, Eagles GM Tom Heckert and John Schneider, the director of football operations for the Green Bay Packers.

DeCosta, 38, is in his 14th season with the Ravens, having worked his way up from area scout.

Ivy workout
Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy, who was signed this week to fill in for Lardarius Webb after Webb sustained a knee injury, might have been a familiar face for the Ravens, but that didn't stop them from asking him to run a 40-yard dash before they agreed to sign him.

"Usually, you don't do that with veteran guys," Harbaugh said. "But our scouts, led by Ozzie [Newsome], they do that. They really challenge these guys in workouts, and [Ivy's] in great shape. He should be able to help us right away."

Ivy said he didn't mind posting a 40 time. He was just happy to get a phone call after keeping himself in shape all this time.

"That's part of the territory," Ivy said. "You have to prove yourself, and that's what I did. I guess I impressed the scouts. It feels good to be back because I know a lot of the players, and the schemes are pretty much the same. I just have to get up to speed, and hopefully I can make an impact when my number is called. It's always frustrating when you know you can play in the league [and the offers aren't there], but God has a plan for everybody, and I was staying in shape until I finally got the call."

Ivy said he stayed in shape, in part, by playing a lot of golf and walking miles and miles carrying his clubs.

"I like golf because you can never perfect it," Ivy said.

Big Ben can move
Although Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 43 times this season - second most in the NFL - the Steelers quarterback is one of the more difficult players to tackle.

"Obviously his size, [he's] a big, strong, athletic guy," Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said of Roethlisberger, 6 feet 5 and 241 pounds. "So you grab on to him, ands it's not like grabbing on to Brooks Bollinger or somebody else. Ben's a big dude. I think the other thing is, he understands his mobility. When he sees a free runner, he's going to stand there and let you run full speed. He knows that all he's got to do is twist or take one or two steps - especially on that field, where you can't redirect. I think it's not only his size and his athletic ability, but it's also that he's a smart guy."

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