Morn­hin­weg con­cedes of­fense got con­ser­va­tive

De­fense to carry on with or with­out CB Smith; Stan­ley and Tun­sil to cross paths

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

In the film “A Fish Called Wanda,” a char­ac­ter played by Kevin Kline warns oth­ers, “Don’t call me stupid.” Ravens of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Marty Morn­hin­weg has a sim­i­lar aver­sion to the word “con­ser­va­tive” when ap­plied to his unit.

“I hate that word,” he said af­ter Thurs­day’s prac­tice. “I don’t get called that very of­ten. It just both­ers me.”

But Morn­hin­weg did not dis­pute the ad­jec­tive be­ing linked to the of­fense’s play in the sec­ond half of Sun­day’s 19-14 win against the Cincin­nati Ben­gals. Af­ter ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 16 points, 210 yards and 11 first downs in the first two quar­ters, the team had just three points, 101 yards and five first downs in the fi­nal two.

Quar­ter­back Joe Flacco ques­tioned the of­fen­sive ap­proach in the sec­ond half af­ter the vic­tory and fol­lowed up on his com­ments Wed­nes­day.

“We are used to around here win­ning games at the end in close games,” he said, adding that he had a con­ver­sa­tion with Morn­hin­weg. “But when you have a team [down] 16-3 [at half­time], you would like to choke them out and get it over with. I think I was just a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed in the mo­ment that we had to with­stand a last-minute drive to where they could have tied the game up or went ahead.”

Morn­hin­weg, who pointed out that he won the de­bate he had with Flacco, agreed that he could have been more ag­gres­sive in his play call­ing.

“In the first half, we were gain­ing yards, but we weren’t quite run­ning and gun­ning,” he said. “So I went through that game be­cause it both­ered me. It both­ered me even though we won the game.” Pees on J. Smith’s pos­si­ble re­turn: Cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith (back) prac­ticed fully for the sec­ond straight day, which could be a sig­nif­i­cant boost for the sec­ondary. But de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dean Pees said the unit will con­tinue to plug along with or with­out Smith.

“We’re re­ally at the point right now that we’re go­ing to do what we do,” he said. “Even when he’s out, it changes some things slightly, but it’s not this big, over­whelm­ing change in game plan.”

Left guard Mar­shal Yanda (left shoul­der) and wide re­ceiver Ka­mar Aiken (thigh) fully prac­ticed Thurs­day af­ter miss­ing Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion.

Rookie left guard Alex Lewis (high right an­kle sprain), tight end Crock­ett Gill­more (pulled ham­string) and run­ning back Lorenzo Tali­a­ferro (thigh) did not prac­tice for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day. Run­ning back Buck Allen sat with a Ravens of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Marty Morn­hin­weg ac­knowl­edges that he could have been more ag­gres­sive in his play call­ing in the sec­ond half against the Ben­gals on Sun­day. non-foot­ball in­jury. Out­side line­backer Ter­rell Suggs and cen­ter Jeremy Zut­tah were given the day off. Suggs’ fourth quar­ters: Of the eight sacks Suggs has recorded thus far, six have oc­curred in the fourth quar­ter, when he might nor­mally be fa­tigued af­ter ex­pend­ing en­ergy in the first three.

Asked Wed­nes­day whether his sacks in the fi­nal quar­ter was an in­di­ca­tor of his stamina or in­tel­li­gence, the six-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion replied: “I think it has some­thing to do with all of that. The weight loss, how Coach [ John Har­baugh] is let­ting me pre­pare through­out the week with the rest he gives me, and also our young guys — Matt Judon, Za’Dar­ius [ Smith].”

Suggs has been play­ing de­spite a torn left bi­ceps suf­fered in a 27-23 loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 16. Stan­ley-Tun­sil meet­ing: Be­fore the Ravens took rookie left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley with the sixth over­all pick in the 2016 NFL draft, there was a good deal of spec­u­la­tion re­gard­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s in­ter­est in Laremy Tun­sil.

The of­fen­sive tackle out of Mis­sis­sippi, once be­lieved to be the top prospect in the draft, was thought to be linked to the Ravens. But when a video of him wear­ing a gas-mask bong was posted on Tun­sil’s Twit­ter ac­count shortly be­fore the start of the draft April 28, the Ravens and sev­eral other teams passed over him un­til the Mi­ami Dol­phins took him at No. 13.

On Sun­day, the Ravens and Stan­ley will cross paths with Tun­sil, who has started nine games and is ex­pected to play at left guard Sun­day af­ter sit­ting out last week’s win against the San Fran­cisco 49ers be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury. Stan­ley said he will be happy to see his draft class­mate.

“He’s a re­ally awe­some kid and a good per­son,” Stan­ley said Wed­nes­day. “I hated to see what hap­pened to him [on draft night]. I wish the best for him. I know he’s do­ing good out there in Mi­ami. Other than that, that’s pretty much been our re­la­tion­ship.” End zone: Mi­ami has used 5-foot-7, 172-pound Ja­keem Grant on re­turns, and the rookie has av­er­aged 8.4 yards per punt re­turn and scored one touch­down while call­ing for just two fair catches in 18 at­tempts. Ravens spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor Jerry Ros­burg was less fo­cused on Grant’s size than on his speed and skill. “He’s an elec­tric re­turner when he has the ball in his hands,” Ros­burg said. “We’re just go­ing to try to limit the space that he has to op­er­ate in and play team coverage. That’s what wins.” … The Dol­phins prac­ticed for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day with­out three starters: wide re­ceiver DeVante Parker (back), cen­ter Mike Pouncey (hip) and out­side line­backer Je­lani Jenk­ins (knee, hand). Four starters — left tackle Bran­den Al­bert (dis­lo­cated wrist), right guard Jer­mon Bushrod (calf ), cor­ner­back Xavien Howard (knee) and Tun­sil (shoul­der) — were lim­ited for the sec­ond straight day.

KIM HAIRSTON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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