Dixon ea­ger to re­turn af­ter knee in­jury

Team at­tends for­mer coach Brooks’ fu­neral, view­ing; Flac­cos wel­come 4th child

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

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

Tonight’s staff picks

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.

KARL MER­TON FER­RON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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