All eyes on Roethlisberger’s status for Sunday
Will he or won’t he? That’s the question Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers fans have about whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will return from the surgery he underwent two weeks ago to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and play in Sunday’s AFC North game at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he expects to see No. 7 under center for Pittsburgh.
“I haven’t read anything today about it, but I would anticipate they will prepare as if he’s going to play,” Harbaugh said Monday. “The offense doesn’t change that much if [backup] Landry Jones is in there. Obviously, they’re different players. Ben is Ben, and we respect him tremendously. We’ll operate under that assumption.”
Jones completed 61.7 percent (29 of 47) of his passes for 281 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the Steelers’ 27-16 loss to the New England Patriots on Oct. 23. It wasn’t a terrible showing, but he’s no Roethlisberger, who ranked in the top five in the NFL in six passing categories, including touchdown passes (15), before his injury.
Roethlisberger reportedly practiced Monday, which impressed teammates.
“Whenever you have a leader like that, coming off surgery, to come out there and show the team you’re willing to do what it takes to play with your brothers, you can really respect that,” center Maurkice Pouncey said. “Everyone knows and can see why he’s a leader on this team.”
Also returning to practice were two more starters: right tackle Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks with Landry Jones, his backup. Roethlisberger, who had surgery two weeks ago to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, reportedly practiced Monday. Marcus Gilbert (high-ankle sprain) and defensive end Cam Heyward (hamstring).
The Ravens practiced, too, but Harbaugh was tight-lipped about who participated.
“We don’t have any announcements to make along those lines,” he said. “Injury report [to be released on] Wednesday. I really don’t have any updates on that. I’m anticipating some guys being back, though.” Harbaugh excited to return: The Ravens enjoyed their bye week before having to welcome Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore for a pair of games within a five-day span.
The Ravens are 9-3 under Harbaugh in their six pairs of Sunday-Thursday games, with a loss to the Denver Broncos in their 2013 Thursday night season opener. Harbaugh said he is eager to see how the team fares over the next week and a half.
“I’m kind of excited about playing the two games in five days,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s a good time for us to do it. I just want to go out there and play well. I want to knock some of this disappointment off. This is something that you carry around with you. It’s not what you want. It’s not the goal. The goal is to win these games and have the kind of record that you think reflects how hard you worked. So yeah, I’m very determined to do that right now.” Ties don’t bother Harbaugh: The Seattle Seahawks and Arizo- na Cardinals slogged their way to a 6-6 deadlock Oct. 23, while the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals finished in a 27-27 tie in London on Sunday.
The lack of a clear winner (and loser) has caused a bit of an outcry from some coaches, but not from Harbaugh, who doesn’t appear to have an opinion on whether the NFL should implement a system to avoid ties.
“I don’t care. I want to win,” he said. “All I care about is winning the game. We want to win the game if we’re in that situation. I mean, seriously, that’s our focus. We’ve been in overtime games plenty of times before, and you try to win the game.”
The Ravens are 12-10-1 all time in overtime games, with the lone tie occurring Nov. 16, 1997, against the Philadelphia Eagles. End zone: Sunday’s game against the Steelers will kick off a stretch in which the Ravens play four of their next five games and five of seven overall at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens are 110-52-1 in Baltimore but just 1-2 this season. On Monday, Harbaugh alternately embraced and dismissed the significance of beginning the second half of the season with two home games. “It’s going to be important,” he said. “We need to win these games. So I don’t really care where they’re being played. We needed to win on the road the last two weeks, and we didn’t. We need to win these at home, and really, we just need to win. That’s what it boils down to.” … The NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. today, but the Ravens probably won’t be active. They never have made a deal on the day of the trade deadline, with their trade for Miami Dolphins left tackle Bryant McKinnie on Oct. 21, 2013, coming closest. Harbaugh declined to speculate on whether general manager Ozzie Newsome would be looking to make a move. “It’s not my department,” Harbaugh said. “So we’ll just see how that plays out with Ozzie and what he’s doing.” … Four members of the Harbaugh family attended the Chicago Cubs’ 3-2 win Sunday night against the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the World Series. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh; his wife, Sarah; father, Jack; and mother, Jackie, sat in the left field stands at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Meanwhile, John Harbaugh said his focus was on football. “We’re just trying to find a way to win a game right now,” he said.