Some starters will play three quarters vs. Redskins

Harbaugh likes backup QB Tyrod Taylor, but is keeping his options open

August 23, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens starters will play into the third quarter and could possibly play the entire period against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night, coach John Harbaugh said.

"We'll see," he said after Tuesday's practice at the team's training facility in Owings Mills. "I probably have plans, and then once you get into the game, you probably sometimes adjust on the run. Our plan will be to play them into the third quarter — maybe the whole third quarter."

But Harbaugh did say that a few players could be pulled from the contest early. He cited starters like inside linebacker Ray Lewis, free safety Ed Reed, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata as being possible candidates for an early evening.

"You will see certain guys that won't go that long, as usual," Harbaugh said. "… But there are other guys that really need the work, so we will be pushing them into the second half."

The third game of the preseason is generally regarded as the most important, a type of dress rehearsal for the regular season. Many starters — perhaps all of them — will not play in the fourth and final game of the preseason.

"We want to win," Harbaugh said. "We always want to win. … They're going to go against a team that's playing really well in the preseason. If you watch the tape on the Redskins, they are dominating in the preseason. That's a huge test for us. They've done a great job with their team, and it's just a great opportunity for us to get better."

Options still open at backup QB

Through the first two games of the preseason, the Ravens have given a majority of snaps with the second offense to rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Through five quarters in two preseason contests, Taylor leads all three quarterbacks in passing attempts (39), completions (24), passing yards (267) and completion percentage (61.5). Over that same span, Hunter Cantwell has completed just 1-of-3 passes for 38 yards in two series.

But Harbaugh said the team is keeping an open mind when it comes to determining who will back up starter Joe Flacco when the regular season opens on Sept. 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"The cement is still wet," Harbaugh said. "We'll see. … He is doing well. I think he could be our backup quarterback. By the same token, we will keep our options open. You never know who is going to become available."

Ravens sign rookie DE

The Ravens announced the signing of rookie defensive end Michael McAdoo on Tuesday.

Prior to the announcement, Harbaugh said McAdoo was en route to Baltimore to take a physical.

"Don't know much about him," Harbaugh said. "I've heard good things about him. I know he got caught up with some situations at North Carolina, but he's supposed to be a good guy and a talented guy. So we're looking forward to seeing him here."

In two seasons at North Carolina, McAdoo recorded 29 tackles (10 of which resulted in lost yardage) and 3½ sacks.

But the 6-foot-7, 245-pound McAdoo did not play in 2010 for North Carolina after the NCAA suspended 14 Tar Heels for accepting impermissible benefits from agents. He applied for the supplemental draft, but was not selected on Monday.

McAdoo joins a crowded position that boasts starter Cory Redding, Arthur Jones and rookie Pernell McPhee, who was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft in April.

To make room for McAdoo, the team placed cornerback Marcus Paschal on injured reserve. Paschal had not practiced since Aug. 16 due to an unspecified injury.

Rosburg explains touchbacks

Seemingly unhappy with the NFL's change to begin kickoffs from the 35-yard line and not the 30, Harbaugh had vowed that the team's kickers would avoid kicking deep into the end zone against the Kansas City Chiefs so that the Ravens could practice covering kickoffs.

But in the team's 31-13 victory over the Chiefs Friday night, four of six kickoffs were so deep that they resulted in touchbacks, including all three of the first half. Kansas City didn't return a kickoff until 7:16 remained in the fourth quarter. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, who had endorsed Harbaugh's idea, said the team tried to give the Chiefs kickoffs that were returnable.

"We did and we got one," he said. "We tried earlier, but unfortunately, or fortunately — however you look at it — we had the wind at our back and we couldn't place the ball. It just carried, and there was nothing we could do about it. But we made that attempt. It was rather comical at the end when [Billy Cundiff kicked his] last kickoff. … We had substituted a bunch and we said, 'Why don't you just go ahead and kick this one out of the end zone,' and they returned that one. So we coached him right into mediocrity."

End zone

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