Dumervil’s sta­tus for Sun­day will be up to him

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS & NFL - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun

Ravens coach John Har­baugh said Mon­day that Elvis Dumervil will have the fi­nal say in whether he can re­turn as early as Sun­day’s game at the Jack­sonville Jaguars (0-2).

The out­side line­backer has missed the first two games of the sea­son — in­clud­ing Sun­day’s 25-20 win at the Cleve­land Browns — be­cause of a set­back re­lated to off­sea­son foot surgery. Al­bert McClel­lan, who has started in Dumervil’s spot in both games, has just two tack­les and zero sacks, and Ter­rell Suggs has just five tack­les and one sack with­out Dumervil’s draw­ing some of the op­po­nents’ pass pro­tec­tion his way.

“It’s re­ally in Elvis’ hands,” Har­baugh said. “It’s go­ing to kind of be a feel thing for him. There’s sound­ness there, from what I’m told, and he feels it. It’s just a mat­ter of whether he feels his strength is there and the ex­plo­sion and ev­ery­thing he needs to go out there and com­pete.”

The Ravens (2-0) are eager for Dumervil and rookie run­ning back Ken­neth Dixon (strained MCL in left knee) to re­turn, but at least they’re not deal­ing with the sever­ity of in­juries that the Browns are wad­ing through.

Quar­ter­back Josh McCown will not play in Sun­day’s game at the Mi­ami Dol­phins af­ter suf­fer­ing what coach Hue Jack­son called a “deep sprain” in his left, non­throw­ing shoul­der against the Ravens. Rookie Cody Kessler, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, is ex­pected to start.

In ad­di­tion to McCown, start­ing cen­ter Cameron Erv­ing was di­ag­nosed with a pul­monary bruise while re­main­ing overnight at an area hospi­tal, and start­ing de­fen­sive end Carl Nas­sib, an­other thir­dround pick in April, broke his left hand and will need to un­dergo surgery.

Har­baugh was grate­ful his team es­caped Sun­day’s win rel­a­tively un­scathed.

“When I went back and watched the tape, it was a very phys­i­cal foot­ball game,” he said. “Our guys are limp­ing around here to­day pretty good, and I’m sure their guys are limp­ing around there pretty good. So it was a clas­sic AFC North game.” Spe­cial teams con­trib­uted to Sun­day’s win: Sun­day’s game turned on rookie cor­ner­back Tavon Young’s re­turn of an ex­tra-point at­tempt blocked by de­fen­sive end Lawrence Guy — a play that spurred the come­back. Over­all, the spe­cial teams unit fared well at FirstEn­ergy Sta­dium.

Kicker Justin Tucker con­nected on field goals of 52, 49 and 41 yards to im­prove to 5-for-5 this sea­son and 21-for-33 from 50 Line­backer Al­bert McClel­lan, start­ing while Elvis Dumervil re­cov­ers from trou­ble re­lated to off­sea­son foot surgery, has just two tack­les and zero sacks in two games. yards or more in his ca­reer. Punter Sam Koch av­er­aged 47 yards on three punts and dropped two in­side the Browns 20-yard line.

Re­turn spe­cial­ist Devin Hester re­turned two kicks for 80 yards and two punts for 22 yards. His 48-yard re­turn in the first quar­ter was the 25th kick re­turn of at least 40 yards in his ca­reer.

Guy’s block was the team’s ninth — an NFL high — since 2014 and marked the sec­ond time in as many vis­its to Cleve­land the Ravens have re­turned a blocked kick to the end zone. On Nov. 30, Will Hill took a blocked field goal 64 yards for a touch­down that sealed a 33-27 vic­tory over the Browns.

The con­tri­bu­tions from spe­cial teams served as a pointed re­minder to Har­baugh about the unit’s im­por­tance.

“If you’re a young guy and you don’t un­der­stand the value of spe­cial teams, you’re prob­a­bly not on a team,” he said. “You’re cer­tainly not on this team, and you’re prob­a­bly not on a lot of teams. That’s just the way it is. There’s 46 guys ac­tive, and it’s not just young guys. [Lineback­ers] C.J. Mosley and Zach Orr and Al­bert McClel­lan and [wide re­ceiver] Ka­mar Aiken, those guys are out there play­ing big roles on of­fense and de­fense and play­ing big roles on spe­cial teams. That’s the na­ture of the game, and it’s go­ing to al­ways be that way.” Pees’ calm an­chored de­fense: Sur­ren­der­ing 20 points be­fore the first quar­ter ended to the Browns, who strug­gled to score 10 points in a Week 1 loss at the Philadel­phia Ea­gles, might have elicited a few choice words — and per­haps a phys­i­cal out­burst — from Ravens play­ers on the de­fen­sive side of the ball.

But the play­ers kept their emo­tions in check, thanks to the cool de­meanor of de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dean Pees.

Pees, who has mi­grated from the coaches booth to the side­line this sea­son, gath­ered the de­fense af­ter a sec­ond McCown-toCorey Cole­man touch­down con­nec­tion gave Cleve­land a 20-2 lead with 4:34 left in the open­ing quar­ter.

“He wasn’t very fired up,” Mosley said Sun­day of Pees. “He told us to stay calm and let the game come to us. When we get down like that, you feel like you have to go and make the ex­tra play. On one play, we were in a zone drop, and we bit on a check­down, and he got be­hind us. That’s all he said. He said to just stay calm and play our game. Once we got the mo­men­tum go­ing, the rest was his­tory.” End zone: Har­baugh said he had no re­grets about the of­fense go­ing for it on fourt­hand-2 at the Browns’ 28-yard line to open the sec­ond quar­ter. But he is clearly dis­pleased with the team’s 0-for-2 show­ing on fourth downs thus far. “We’ve got­ten two now in the last two games that we haven’t got­ten,” he said. “So to me, it’s a good de­ci­sion to go for it if you get it. It’s not a good de­ci­sion to go for it if you don’t get it, and that’s the point I try to make. We’ve got to start get­ting those. We give our of­fense and our guys a chance to make those plays. We should make those plays. We should con­vert those.” … Har­baugh ditched his usual polo shirt for a gray team-is­sued T-shirt Sun­day and said he liked his fash­ion choice. “It had a good feel to it,” he said. “Just a changeup, try­ing to be cool. A lot of these guys, the NFL coaches, they’re on the side­line and wear­ing their cool stuff, and I felt like I wasn’t cool enough with my golf shirt out there. So I wanted to freshen it up a lit­tle bit.”


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