Dixon eager to return after knee injury
Team attends former coach Brooks’ funeral, viewing; Flaccos welcome 4th child
The Ravens’ struggling run game is in need of a boost, which could come in the form of Kenneth Dixon.
After running by himself during Friday’s practice, the rookie running back practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, taking part in individual drills. Dixon, the organization’s last of five picks in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft, has not played since suffering a strained MCLin his left knee in a preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 27.
Neither he nor coach John Harbaugh has offered a timetable for when Dixon will play, but the rookie is happy to take a small step in the right direction.
“It feels good getting back out there and getting some of the reps that I got and everything,” he said. “I’m just getting back out there, working hard with the team, testing the knee out, and seeing what all I can do and what all I can’t do on it.”
Dixon, who led the team in rushing yards (107) in the preseason, said the recovery process has been slow and difficult.
“Everything combined — just getting back mentally, physically and spiritually back into it,” he said. “It’s going to be a grind, an uphill battle and I’m just ready to do it.”
The run offense could use Dixon. Terrance West (Towson University, Northwestern High) and Justin Forsett have paced the unit to an average of 3.3 yards per carry, which ranks 26th out of 32 teams. Quarterback Joe Flacco has scored the team’s only rushing touchdown.
Harbaugh sounded hopeful about Dixon’s potential contributions.
“He can provide another running back who can tote the ball pretty good,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to find out. He’s a rookie.” Ravens bid farewell to Clarence Brooks: The Ravens spent Tuesday and Wednesday celebrating the life of former defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, who died Sept. 17 at age 65 after battling esophageal and stomach cancer.
Players, coaches and employees flew on planes chartered by owner Steve Bisciotti to Massachusetts to attend a viewing for Brooks on Tuesday and then the funeral Wednesday. Three players — wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., right guard Marshal Yanda and center Jeremy Zuttah — represented the team at Wednesday’s Kenneth Dixon (30) is brought down by the Lions’ Quandre Diggs (28) and DeAndre Levy in the preseason. Dixon suffering a strained MCL during this game. ceremony and did not practice in Owings Mills. They were joined by linebacker coach Don “Wink” Martindale, defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt and defensive coaching assistant Drew Wilkins.
“He was smiling to his last day, and that’s the kind of guy CB was,” outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “We’re going to miss having him around here. His spirit still lives on around here. He’s always going to be around us, and we love him.” Flacco family adds a baby girl: Flacco and his wife, Dana, welcomed their fourth child and first daughter Tuesday. Her name is Evelyn Renee. Flacco did not mention his daughter’s arrival during his nearly fiveminute weekly news conference with Baltimore media after Wednesday’s practice.
The news was posted by the team’s official Twitter account after Flacco had already finished his media responsibility. The Flacco family already includes three boys: Stephen, Daniel, and Francis.
Flacco used his time at the podium Wednesday to talk football. He said he had no clue he had set a franchise record with 21 consecutive completions in Sunday’s 19-17 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He joked that if he had, he would not have launched a deep pass that wide receiver Mike Wallace dropped in the end zone early in the third quarter.
“If I did, I would have told them to call a screen pass on the next play,” Flacco quipped. “Or I would have just done what I did and tell Mike to catch the ball. I don’t think he felt good about that in the first place, and then I had to get on him for it again. I had no idea.” Suggs misses … Drew Bledsoe? Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been sacked just twice thus far, a testament to his ability to elude the pass rush. The Ravens, who are tied for seventh in the NFL with nine sacks, will try to get to Carr on Sunday.
Suggs, who has three sacks, said he’s not surprised by Carr’s mobility, saying: “That’s
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MIAMI@CINCINNATI Mark Selig: Bengals Peter Schmuck: Bengals Jen Badie: Bengals Mike Preston: Bengals Edward Lee: Bengals Childs Walker: Bengals Jeff Zrebiec: Bengals the norm. Every week you get a mobile quarterback. Not everybody is Michael Vick and Tyrod Taylor, but these quarterbacks can run. So you’ve just got to take them at face value. There are no more Drew Bledsoes that just stood there and took it like a man, God bless him. All these quarterbacks are looking to make plays with their feet, to extend plays and make plays down the field.”
Bledsoe, a longtime New England Patriots quarterback who played for the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys during Suggs’ first few seasons, finished his career ranked sixth in league history in sacks absorbed with 467.
Asked whether he missed Bledsoe, Suggs replied: “Definitely. Drew Bledsoe, he took it like a man. He just liked to sit in there and he waited for his guy to get open and gave us a lot more time. So we’re thankful for Drew Bledsoe.”
For the record, Suggs sacked Bledsoe twice in his career. End zone: Elvis Dumervil declined to speak to reporters until today, but Harbaugh said the outside linebacker was “really close” to making his season debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. “He was fighting to do it,” Harbaugh said. “He just didn’t quite get there.” … CBS announced that it plans to broadcast Sunday’s game to 21 percent of its markets, which would by far be the largest percentage of the country that will get a Ravens game so far this season. The network had broadcast the games against the Cleveland Browns and Jaguars to 6 percent of its markets and the season opener against the Buffalo Bills to 5 percent.