With Carr out, Ravens prepare for Raiders backup Manuel
ELKTON — Senior Raiquon Estep shared last Friday’s pregame meal with his teammates, accompanied them to the Elkton locker room as they suited up, and embraced them as they boarded the bus for the 40-minute ride to Edgewood.
Forbidden to play in or attend any football contests in Harford County stemming from the school’s involvement in a post-game brawl last basketball season, Estep, a 2016 consensus All-State running back, could only watch, via live stream, as the Golden Elks escaped the Rams with the unlikeliest of victories. They marched back from a 14-0 half-time deficit, scored twice in the second half to remain within a score and found the end zone with 17 seconds left to celebrate a 21-20 win and keep their undefeated record intact.
“He walked out of the [Elkton] locker room [before the game], and I was standing outside with some other coaches, and [he had] the look of just pure heartbreak in his face because he couldn’t play Friday night,” Elks head coach Matt Feeney said. “I can guarantee you that the fire that’s in that kid’s belly is unlike any fire he’s ever had.
“Basically, he’s trying to make up on what he feels he missed out on. He’s going to be ready to go, that’s all I can say.”
Estep’s fire will be kindled tonight when he and second-ranked Elkton (5-0 overall, 2-0 Chesapeake) take the field to host No. 1 Havre de Grace (5-0, 2-0) in a battle between the conference’s undefeated heavyweights. With their
OWINGS MILLS — The most injured team in the NFL finally catches a break on that front.
The Ravens will avoid Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr when the two teams meet at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Sunday. Carr will miss up to the next six weeks with a back injury.
Baltimore has lost to the Raiders in each of the past two seasons and Carr has been a major reason why. He combined to throw for 550 yards, seven touchdowns and a single interception in those contests, both of which Oakland won by less than a touchdown. Carr is a two-time Pro Bowler and was a top MVP candidate last season.
Backup EJ Manual will start in his place.
“There are certainly some things that EJ Manuel – when you look back at his career – does differently than Derek Carr. He is definitely going to run the same offense,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “They are not going to change the offense, there is no question about that. You can see in the Denver game and in the preseason, he runs the offense well.
“Other things that they may add with him we have to be prepared for, and that is a little bit of a guessing game. We have to figure out what those things are. The nice thing is we know enough about EJ Manuel as a quarterback to know what those things have been in the past, at least.”
Manuel went 11-17 for 106 yards after replacing Carr during Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos. The Bills drafted Manuel in the first round of the 2013 draft and he led Buffalo to a win in Baltimore his rookie year.
“Derek Carr is Derek Carr. He has definitely come into his own, star running back leading the way, the Elks will attempt to find the end zone against a Warriors defense that’s allowed just 19 points (3.8 points per game) through five contests.
The game also represents a rare regular-season battle between a pair of state finalists from a year ago. Both teams suffered title game losses on the same day at Annapolis’ Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium last December, with the Elks falling to Walkersville in the 2A Final and the Warriors losing to Fort Hill hours before in the 1A Championship. but EJ Manuel has also been an NFL quarterback, and I think the last time we played him, they beat us,” veteran linebacker Terrell
“I’m sure the guys are ready for it. They’re smart guys, they know going in it’s two 5-0 teams playing each other. We really try to pound on being 1-0 this week no matter who it is. That’s always the goal and we try to keep the course on that,” Havre de Grace head coach Brian Eberhardt said. “You have two teams Suggs said. “Say what you want, but they beat us. I think they are still going to try to win the game. It is going to be two teams coming
See BLITZ Page B4 off losses, and both teams are itching for a win.”
The Ravens and Raiders each started the season 2-0 but have suf- fered consecutive losses since.
“I’m a defensive lineman, so the way we rush EJ Manuel versus Derek Carr may be a little different. He’s really mobile, but Derek Carr was, as well,” defensive tackle Michael Pierce said. “We just have to get after the quarterback. We only had one sack last week, and we have to get that total at least doubled. So, we’re working on it.”
A Ravens’ defensive front, missing two of its starters, let Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell run wild in Sunday’s loss. Baltimore struggled to set the edge all afternoon, allowing Bell to consistently get to the outside en route to a 144-yard, two-touchdown performance.
Bell had struggled in Pittsburgh’s first three games before the outburst. Similarly, the Raiders possess a big-name running back who has been off to a slow start.
Marshawn Lynch has rushed for just 151 yards through four games, and 76 of those came Week 1. He gained 12 yards on nine carries in last week’s loss to Denver.
“We’ve got ‘Beast Mode’ [Lynch] this week. You definitely don’t want to [attempt to] get back on track with this guy,” Suggs said, unbothered by Lynch’s slow start.
Harbaugh stressed the importance of gang tackling Lynch, one of the NFL’s most physical runners.
“Marshawn Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league,” he said. “He has a very unique style; he is a very violent runner. He is hard to bring down. He never stops turning, and he breaks tackles. They have a big offensive line that pushes. They push the defense, they push the pile, and they push Marshawn if they have to. It is going to be a group effort.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Standing alone near the end zone, Elkton senior Raiquon Estep looks back after a late flag erased his 70-plus yard interception return for a touchdown during his team’s Week 4 win over Bel Air. After not playing last Friday, Estep returns tonight as the second-ranked Elks host No. 1 Havre de Grace in Chesapeake Division action.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) threads a complete pass over the outstretched arm of Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) on October 2, 2016, at M&T Bank Stadium.