Dumervil, Zut­tah could be game­day de­ci­sions

Brown in new po­si­tion for Jaguars; Ravens to honor late coach Brooks

Baltimore Sun - - NFL & RAVENS - By Jeff Zre­biec and Ed­ward Lee jeff.zre­biec@balt­sun.com ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/ jef­fzre­biec­sun twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Mike Pre­ston con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

The Ravens have had the same seven in­ac­tive play­ers for their first two games, but Ravens coach John Har­baugh’s staff has some de­ci­sions to make be­fore Sun­day’s game against the Jack­sonville Jaguars.

Strong-side line­backer Elvis Dumervil, who said Thurs­day that he hopes to make his sea­son de­but against the Jaguars af­ter re­cov­er­ing from off­sea­son foot surgery, missed prac­tice Fri­day af­ter work­ing on a lim­ited ba­sis the pre­vi­ous two days. He was listed as ques­tion­able, and it ap­pears the vet­eran’s sta­tus will be a game-time de­ci­sion.

“He’s worked really hard. He’s put a lot of time in,” Har­baugh said. “We know what kind of player he is and what he’s ca­pa­ble of. That’s a de­ci­sion that will have to be made.”

There’s also some am­bi­gu­ity about the sta­tus of start­ing cen­ter Jeremy Zut­tah, who­didn’t prac­tice Fri­day for “non-in­jury” rea­sons. He has played through myr­iad phys­i­cal prob­lems over the past cou­ple of sea­sons, and he’s re­cently been both­ered with a sore shoul­der, ac­cord­ing to a source.

Zut­tah, 30, has got­ten pe­ri­odic days off from prac­tice since train­ing camp, but his ab­sence from a walk-through two days be­fore a game, along with his strug­gles over the pre­vi­ous two weeks, spurred some ques­tions. Asked why Zut­tah wasn’t prac­tic­ing, Har­baugh said: “That would be a good ques­tion for Jeremy. There’s no in­jury there as you saw on the in­jury re­port. Jeremy’s fine.”

If Zut­tah doesn’t play or the Ravens de­cide to make a change at the po­si­tion, ei­ther John Urschel or Ryan Jensen would be his re­place­ment.

Urschel, once the pro­jected starter at left guard, has been in­ac­tive for the first two weeks, join­ing run­ning backs Buck Allen and Ken­neth Dixon, Dumervil, de­fen­sive tackle Wil­lie Henry, and cor­ner­backs Jer­raud Pow­ers and Will Davis as game­day scratches. Urschel (shoul­der) and rookie left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley (foot) joined Dumervi­lasques­tion­able. Stan­ley is ex­pected to play.

“They’ve been dif­fi­cult,” Har­baugh said of the pregame de­ci­sions. “It’s not so much about who de­serves it all the time, as much as what’s the best num­ber fit for us and what do we need from dif­fer­ent guys and dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions.” Dixon on mend: Dixon, who is re­cov­er­ing from a torn MCL in his left knee, was de­clared out for Sun­day’s game, but in­di­ca­tions are he’s get­ting closer to prac­tic­ing. While his team­mates were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the walk-through prac­tice Fri­day, Dixon was on the far field do­ing sprints in front of head ath­letic trainer Mark Smith.

The fourth-round pick suf­fered a knee in­jury Aug. 27 and was ini­tially ex­pected to be side­lined four to six weeks. Today will be the four-week mark since his in­jury. Same num­ber, dif­fer­ent role: Arthur Brown is wear­ing the same No. 59 with the Jaguars that he did with the Ravens. He’s just play­ing a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion.

The Ravens’ sec­ond-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Brown was scooped up by the Jaguars af­ter the Ravens waived him as part of fi­nal ros­ter cuts Sept. 3. Drafted by the Ravens as a mid­dle line­backer, Brown is be­ing used by the Jaguars on the out­side, where he is back­ing up Dan Skuta.

“We’re try­ing to speed up his learn­ing as far as tran­si­tion for the de­fense,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Wed­nes­day on a con­fer­ence call. “He’s play­ing more of an out­side line­backer spot for us on the line of scrim­mage. So that’s been a change for him. We felt like he could learn that the quick­est and then also get him ac­tive on spe­cial teams. He’s done a really, really good job.” Ravens wary of Jags’ duo: If the Ravens were anx­ious about Buf­falo Bills wide re­ceiver Sammy Watkins in the sea­son opener, their wor­ries should be am­pli­fied Sun­day. Last sea­son, the Jaguars’ duo of Allen Robin­son and Allen Hurns joined the New York Jets’ Bran­don Mar­shall and Eric Decker, the Den­ver Bron­cos’ De­mary­ius Thomas and Emmanuel San­ders, and the Ari­zona Car­di­nals’ Larry Fitzger­ald and John Brown as the only re­ceivers to each have 1,000 yards on the same team.

Robin­son set fran­chise sin­gle-sea­son records in touch­down catches (14) and re­cep­tions of at least 20 yards (31) en route to be­ing named to his first Pro Bowl. At age 24, Hurns be­came the youngest un­drafted player in league his­tory to have 1,000 yards and 10 touch­downs in the same sea­son.

“They’re good, tal­ented re­ceivers that are ag­gres­sive get­ting the ball,” Ravens corner­back Jimmy Smith said. “They’re just as good as any top re­ceiver in the league.”

Blake Bor­tles’ top two targets are off to a rel­a­tively slow start as Hurns has nine catches for 139 yards and Robin­son has nine for 126. End zone: The Ravens an­nounced that they’ll wear a “CB” de­cal on their hel­mets for the rest of the sea­son in honor of long­time de­fen­sive line coach Clarence Brooks, who died last Satur­day af­ter bat­tling stom­ach and esophageal can­cer. … Har­baugh turned 54 on Fri­day. “I took a lot of heat in the meet­ing this morn­ing from the fellas,” he said. “We have a lot of fun around here, and we al­ways cel­e­brate ev­ery­body’s birth­day. I couldn’t es­cape that today, as much as I wanted to.”

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