Yanda practices, hopes to play
Team expects to start 7th O-line in 7 weeks
As happy as Ravens fans might have been that the team did not place Marshal Yanda on injured reserve, the five-time Pro Bowl right guard might have been even more relieved that his injured shoulder would not end his year with the team leading the AFC North with seven games remaining in the regular season.
“We’re working through it, and we’re trying to get back out there whenever I can,” he said after participating in Wednesday’s practice. “So I’m still practicing and just trying to fight my way back out there.”
Yanda’s potential return for Sunday’s game against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys would be significant for an offensive line that knows it will not have starting rookie left guard Alex Lewis because of a high right ankle sprain.
John Urschel, who is expected to start for Lewis, started three games at left guard when Lewis shifted to left tackle for injured rookie Ronnie Stanley. Urschel said knowing that he will be starting indefinitely has not changed his approach.
“It’s always the type of deal where I’m trying to help the team however I can,” he said. “If they need me, if someone goes down, I’m ready to go in.”
The Ravens are poised to start their seventh different offensive line in the past seven weeks. But Urschel had lined up between Stanley and center Jeremy Zuttah in the preseason, and that familiarity will be key, coach John Harbaugh said, against a Cowboys defense that ranks third in the NFL against the run and eighth in points.
“You’d like to have your offensive line with some continuity,” Harbaugh said. “I think you see that with them working together on those combination blocks, the calls, being on the same page — just the footwork, one guy working next to another guy and having the timing of the footwork where we don’t step on one another, just something as simple as that. It’s definitely a choreographed type of a thing with that offensive line. We’re working toward that with the young guys [and] with the injuries.” Not-so-mild-mannered reporters: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs took a turn at being a reporter Wednesday afternoon while Baltimore-area reporters were interviewing Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.
“Hacksaw Smithers here,” Suggs began. “What do you think of Terrell Suggs and how he’s been playing this year?” “Who is there?” Prescott asked. “This is Hacksaw,” Suggs replied. “Smithers.” “Oh, OK,” Prescott answered. “Yeah, Suggs is great. I mean, he’s a guy that’s been playing well in this league a long time. We know how special of a player he is.”
“I appreciate you,” Suggs said, munching on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. “Thank you.”
Earlier this season, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan, a former Ravens defensive coordinator, interrupted a conference call with New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, introducing himself as “Walt Patulski from The Buffalo News” and asking Edelman whether he planned to play quarterback in their game Oct. 2.
Edelman said he was willing to do whatever it took to help the team and then referred “Walt Patulski” to Patriots coach Bill Belichick for more information. Marshal Yanda Dumervil noncommittal: Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (foot) took part fully in Wednesday’s practice, marking his first appearance on the field since he played Oct. 9 in a16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins. But the 32-year-old, who said he was “feeling great,” declined to say whether he will play against Dallas, deferring to Harbaugh.
“I really don’t know,” he said. “I’m just going out there and really working my craft and doing what I do.”
Dumervil, who has sat out the past four games, underwent foot surgery in the offseason and was not activated from the team’s physically-unable-toperform list until Aug. 22. After sitting out the first three games of the season, he played against the Oakland Raiders and Washington, but did not record a sack or a tackle.
Dumervil said he has regained strength in his foot, adding: “We’ve been really working like two-a-days to try and get as much as we can. We
made a tremendous amount of progress in the past few weeks. So I really feel good.” No practice for three players: Cornerback JimmySmithdid not practice Wednesday because of what the team called a back ailment in its injury report. Smith was joined by Lewis and tight end Crockett Gillmore (pulled hamstring).
Harbaugh did not seem terribly worried about Smith, saying: “I don’t anticipate it being a concern. Heshould be out there Sunday. I expect him to practice this week.” End zone: Dallas practiced Wednesday without three starters: strong safety Barry Church (fractured right forearm), cornerback Morris Claiborne (strained groin) and left tackle Tyron Smith ( bulging disk in back, hip flexor). Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who sacked Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Sunday’s 35-30 win, was limited by a back ailment. Backup quarterback Tony Romo (broken bone in back) participated fully. … Romo endorsed Prescott as the starter Tuesday in an emotional speech that included an admission that Prescott “has earned the right to be our quarterback.” Prescott expressed his appreciation of and admiration for Romo, saying: “It was a heartfelt statement. It was a guy that cares a lot about this team, cares a lot about playing, cares a lot about our success. He’s a team player, and that just shows from yesterday.”