LB Mosley ea­ger to re­turn from in­jury

Yanda, Stan­ley back on of­fen­sive line that’s been in­ef­fec­tive lately

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

Af­ter sit­ting out two con­sec­u­tive games to rest an ail­ing ham­string, Ravens line­backer C.J. Mosley is ea­ger to re­turn against the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers on Sun­day at M&T Bank Sta­dium.

The start­ing inside line­backer said the re­cov­ery sched­ule for his in­jury — suf­fered in a 16-10 loss to the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins on Oct. 9 —led to his tar­get­ing Sun­day’s show­down as his re­turn date.

“With a ham­string, there’s noth­ing you can do,” said Mosley, who was lim­ited in Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice.

“You’ve just got to be pa­tient with it be­cause if you pull it again, it makes the wait even longer. I sat out my two games. So I’m def­i­nitely ready to get back, and it’s the best time to be here, against the Steel­ers.”

A Pro Bowl se­lec­tion in his rookie sea­son in 2014, Mosley, who still ranks third on the de­fense in tack­les with 29 and first in in­ter­cep­tions with three, was re­placed in the start­ing lineup by Zachary Orr, who shifted from his usual weak-side line­backer spot to Mosley’s mid­dle line­backer po­si­tion.

Al­bert McClel­lan moved from out­side line­backer to fill Orr’s va­cancy.

Mosley has been ea­ger to help his team­mates.

“I def­i­nitely want to be out there, es­pe­cially with the way our lineback­ers were set up,” he said. “As soon as I went down, more peo­ple started get­ting in­jured. So we were re­ally stressed at line­backer. We had guys play­ing at dif­fer­ent spots and also played all four spe­cial teams.”

Play­ers such as McClel­lan and cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith en­thu­si­as­ti­cally wel­comed Mosley back.

“C.J., he’s a Pro Bowler, a great team­mate and a great leader,” McClel­lan said. “So with him back, that’s an­other leader we have on the field. So of course, every­body will be happy. Every­body’s back in their nor­mal posi- Line­backer C.J. Mosley (57) in­ter­cepts a pass in­tended for the Jaguars’ Allen Robin­son. Mosley is first on the Ravens in in­ter­cep­tions with three. tions as well. So it should be a lit­tle more pro­duc­tive with C.J. back in the lineup.” Of­fen­sive line healthy? The bye week fea­tured the re­turn of right guard Mar­shal Yanda (shoul­der) and rookie left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley (foot) to full par­tic­i­pa­tion in Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice. It was an en­cour­ag­ing sign for a Ravens of­fen­sive line be­set by in­juries and in­ef­fec­tive­ness.

The mix­ing and match­ing of line­men at var­i­ous po­si­tions has con­trib­uted to the team’s ranking 26th in the NFL in rush­ing yards and 25th in yards per carry. Quar­ter­back Joe Flacco has been sacked 15 times and hit 45 times. He is on pace to be hit a ca­reer-high 102 times.

Asked whether the of­fen­sive line feels a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to an­chor the of­fense, Yanda replied: “I feel like it’s on us ev­ery week. I feel like it starts up front. Ob­vi­ously, in the NFL, it starts up front win­ning the line of scrim­mage. When we do that, we usu­ally have suc­cess. When we don’t do that and don’t pro­tect the quar­ter­back, things usu­ally don’t go our way. It starts up front ev­ery week, es­pe­cially in our divi­sion, and we un­der­stand that, for sure.”

Hav­ing Stan­ley, the sixth over­all pick in the 2016 draft, back in the lineup would al­low rookie Alex Lewis to slide back to left guard. Sim­i­larly, the re­turn of Yanda, a five-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion, would so­lid­ify the right side of the line with right tackle Rick Wagner.

Af­ter crit­i­ciz­ing him­self for not spark­ing the of­fense to score more points, Flacco ac­knowl­edged that it would be nice to op­er­ate be­hind the of­fen­sive line that started the first three games of the sea­son, when the Ravens went 3-0.

“I think it’ll def­i­nitely be a help,” he said. “We still have to go out there and play, but it’s def­i­nitely nice to have those guys back.” More in­jury up­dates: Ter­rell Suggs was lim­ited in Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice, but the out­side line­backer said af­ter­ward that his torn left bi­ceps — suf­fered in a 27-23 loss to the New York Gi­ants on Oct. 16 — should not pre­vent him from play­ing Sun­day.

“My lim­i­ta­tions are only lim­i­ta­tions in my so­cial life,” he quipped. “As far as foot­ball, we are pretty good. I’m work­ing on be­ing am­bidex­trous. We are pretty good.”

Sim­i­larly, free safety Lar­dar­ius Webb, who in­jured his ham­string in a 24-16 loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 23, par­tic­i­pated on a lim­ited ba­sis and said he hopes to play against Pitts­burgh. “The bye week came at a per­fect time for me,” he said. “It helped a lot.”

Re­turn spe­cial­ist Devin Hester Sr., who has been both­ered by a pulled groin, was not listed on the in­jury re­port.

Cor­ner­back Sha­reece Wright prac­ticed on a lim­ited ba­sis for the first time since the week lead­ing up to the Gi­ants game, and has missed two of the past three games be­cause of a ham­string pull suf­fered in a 28-27 loss to the

Staff picks

TONIGHT’S GAME: FAL­CONS@BUC­CA­NEERS Jen Badie: Fal­cons Ed­ward Lee: Buc­ca­neers Mike Pre­ston: Fal­cons Peter Sch­muck: Fal­cons Mark Selig: Fal­cons Childs Walker: Fal­cons Jeff Zre­biec: Fal­cons Oak­land Raiders on Oct. 2. Wright’s ab­sence had been filled in the past two games by rookie Tavon Young (con­cus­sion), who par­tic­i­pated fully. End zone: Among the four play­ers ab­sent from prac­tice was wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr. Smith, who has not played since in­jur­ing his an­kle against Wash­ing­ton, still ranks third on the Ravens in catches (27) and yards (310). Out­side lineback­ers Elvis Dumervil (foot) and rookie Ka­malei Cor­rea (thigh) and tight end Crock­ett Gill­more (thigh) rounded out the play­ers who did not par­tic­i­pate. … Steel­ers start­ing right guard David DeCas­tro did not prac­tice; the team cited non- i njury rea­sons. Three other starters — wide re­ceiver An­to­nio Brown (hip), right tackle Mar­cus Gil­bert (high an­kle sprain) and de­fen­sive end Cameron Hey­ward (ham­string) — par­tic­i­pated fully. … The Ravens signed tight end Nic Ja­cobs to the prac­tice squad. Ja­cobs, 6 feet 5, 295 pounds, ap­peared in 24 games for the Jack­sonville Jaguars in 2014 and 2015. He re­placed run­ning back Stephen Hous­ton, who was cut Tues­day. Ter­rell Suggs

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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