Stallworth sidelined with broken foot

Wide receiver to miss at least 2 months, could return by bye week in late October

August 29, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Donte' Stallworth's bid to become the Ravens' No. 3 wide receiver wasn't impacted by his hands, but rather by his foot.

Stallworth broke his foot in Saturday night's 24-10 preseason win against the New York Giants and will miss at least two months, according to coach John Harbaugh.

"That's really disappointing for him and our football team, obviously," Harbaugh said. "We'll step up, and the next guy will play well."

Stallworth, who did not speak to reporters after the contest, will get a screw inserted in his foot right away. Harbaugh said it's not a season-ending injury and hopes to get Stallworth back "right around the bye week." The Ravens' bye comes in Week 8, at the end of October.

"It's a big blow for us because he's definitely a guy that can help this team out," wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "Especially with his speed stretching the defense. That's a blow for us."

According to Harbaugh, Stallworth played on the broken foot for one play before leaving the game.

Stallworth had been competing with Mark Clayton to become the No. 3 wideout and might have leapfrogged Clayton after he suffered a mild concussion in the second quarter.

"It's obviously something we'll be careful with, but it shouldn't be a long-term thing," Harbaugh said of Clayton.

Stallworth was signed by the Ravens during the offseason after having to sit out a year when he was suspended by the NFL. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter while driving drunk in Miami Beach, Fla., for which he served 24 days in jail.

The veteran wide receiver did not have a catch against the Giants but did return three punts for 30 yards.

Boldin's blocks

Anquan Boldin's hands are most effective when catching passes. But the wide receiver can also use them to open lanes for his teammates.

That's what he did in the second quarter, when his block of a Giants defender sprung running back Ray Rice for a couple more yards on what would eventually become an 8-yard gain on second-and-10 from New York's 16.

"That's something I take pride in," Boldin said. "I was in one of those situations where a guy put his hand on my face mask. That pissed me off a little bit, so I had to get him back."

Run defense challenged

For a significant portion of the first quarter, the Ravens' run defense must have felt as if it were stuck in a time warp with the needle squarely on Nov. 16, 2008.

That's when the New York Giants ran for 207 yards — the third-most in Ravens history — and running back Ahmad Bradshaw led the way with 96 yards and Brandon Jacobs compiled 73 yards.

That scenario eerily played out on the Giants' second possession of Saturday night's preseason contest against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Bradshaw began the drive with a 5-yard gain and then avoided a tackle by linebacker Jarret Johnson in the backfield and ran for 12 more. After Bradshaw converted third-and-2 with a 5-yard rush, Jacobs churned out 29 yards to carry the offense to the Ravens' 24.

But needing just 1 yard for what would have been the fifth first down of the series, Bradshaw was stuffed for no gain on three consecutive attempts, turning the ball over on downs to the Ravens offense.

While the stops were timely, coach John Harbaugh wasn't entirely pleased with the showing. "The Giants ran on us early, and we have to tackle better," he said.

The defense was well-aware of New York's ground attack before the game.

Added defensive coordinator Greg Mattison: "We need to tackle better, wrap up better, keep the edge better and run to the ball batter. But we do love the way our guys got after them in the first half."

By halftime, New York had rushed for 58 yards, which was 23 more than what the Washington Redskins had managed on the ground Aug. 21.

Those results paired with the 142 rushing yards the Carolina Panthers had recorded in the first preseason game could mean the Ravens' run defense needs some fine-tuning. But middle linebacker Ray Lewis did not seem troubled by the defense's performance in the preseason, pointing out that the first-team defense had still not surrendered a touchdown.

"Honestly, I think we're right where we need to be," he said Tuesday. "And that is, a few mistakes here and there, correct them and then just get ready, bottom line. When you turn on our defensive film, one thing that you do like is [that] we haven't given up a touchdown all preseason. That's a bottom-line fact, no matter what big plays or what happened. The bottom line is you bend but don't break."

Webb deactivated

Lardarius Webb was activated off the team's physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list Monday, but the cornerback did not play against New York.

Webb returned after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Dec.20 and participated in pre-game warmups, but the second-year player was still scratched. That allowed Fabian Washington and Chris Carr, who had been bothered by a left hamstring injury last week, to start.

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