By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun
7:40 PM EDT, August 21, 2011
For now, the Ravens plan to keep Oniel Cousins at right guard.
Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that moving forward, Cousins, a converted offensive tackle, will remain at right guard, which likely means rookie Jah Reid will continue to start at right tackle.
"I think we will put him [Cousins] in there at guard, leave him in there and see how he does," Harbaugh said after the team's practice Sunday in Owings Mills. "It's a good point. He was comfortable in there. He's a big, strong man. That bodes well at guard. He is a good bender. He has got a lot of reach, and it worked out for him in there."
Cousins was flagged for a false start Friday night but also made the block that opened the hole for running back Ray Rice's 26-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of the Ravens' 31-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Marshal Yanda, the usual starter at right guard, returned to the field Sunday for the first time since the Ravens' preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 11, but his appearance was brief. After participating in individual exercises, Yanda (back spasms) left and did not return.
Harbaugh also updated the status of center Matt Birk, who underwent surgery on his left knee Aug. 2.
"He is progressing," Harbaugh said. "It was supposed to be three to four weeks before he would be moving around pretty well. Now he is starting to walk a little bit. I want to see him out there sooner rather than later, but it's not something that we really control."
Perhaps because of the fluctuation along the offensive line, the club signed offensive tackle Mark LeVoir and center Jason Murphy to the roster before Sunday's practice.
LeVoir is a five-year veteran who had spent the previous three seasons with the New England Patriots. Harbaugh said LeVoir's experience under Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia was a major draw.
"That's a big plus," Harbaugh said. "[LeVoir] understands NFL defenses, and that's what we need right now. It was a fortuitous situation for us, and we'll see how he does."
Murphy, a Baltimore native and Edmondson graduate, has spent time on the practice squads of the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers. Murphy, 6 feet 2, 310 pounds, joins a group of centers that includes Bryan Mattison and rookies Tim Barnes and Ryan Bartholomew.
To make room for LeVoir and Murphy, the Ravens waived guard-tackle Kyle Calloway and rookie guard Colin Madison.
Carr: hamstring 'progressing'
Chris Carr returned to practice, but the cornerback is still working on returning to full strength.
Carr suited up for the first time since tweaking his left hamstring Aug. 14 and took part in some individual exercises, but he was kept out of team drills. Carr, who sat out Friday night's game, said his limited appearance was part of his rehabilitation.
"I don't want to talk too much about the injury, but I'm still progressing," he said after Sunday's practice. "I'm still working on it."
Lewis returns to practice
In addition to Yanda and Carr, the Ravens welcomed back inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who had been excused from the team's practice Wednesday and the game against the Chiefs to deal with an aunt's serious illness.
"It's great to have Ray back," Harbaugh said, "to walk in this morning and see him sitting in his usual seat. … It's Sunday today, so we had a little prayer blessing, and he did it for us. Ray is our leader, so it is great to have him here."
Rookie running back Damien Berry also practiced after missing the previous five practices and Friday's game.
Free safety Ed Reed and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson were present, but it appeared to be a day of rest for the two veterans.
Wide receivers James Hardy (hamstring) and rookie Terrell Zachery (unspecified) and cornerbacks Marcus Paschal (unspecified) and rookie Chykie Brown (unspecified) did not practice.
Burgess eyes defense
The Ravens have are deep at linebacker, but Prescott Burgess is hoping to makes waves at that crowded position.
Burgess, 6 feet 3, 253 pounds, finished with three tackles and one of the defense's five sacks in the win against Kansas City. And when six defensive starters left the team's preseason opener, Burgess replaced Johnson at left outside linebacker.
"I led the team in tackles on special teams for two years in a row, but in the back of your mind, you're like, 'I want more,'" Burgess said recently. "I want more, especially on this great defense that the Baltimore Ravens have. But it will come in time. I'm just being patient and doing what I can do out there."
Cantwell doesn't feel underused
What was once supposed to be an open competition between Hunter Cantwell and rookie Tyrod Taylor for the backup quarterback job behind Joe Flacco appears to be an afterthought.
Through five quarters in two preseason contests, Taylor, the team's sixth-round pick in April, leads all three quarterbacks in passing attempts (39), completions (24), passing yards (267) and completion percentage (61.5). Over that span, Cantwell has completed just one of three passes for 38 yards in two series.
"I'm given the opportunities to play in practice, and I feel like I've taken advantage of those and I'm getting better every day," said Cantwell, a practice-squad player last season. "Ultimately, I'm just here to try and help this team be the best it can possibly be. So whether that's this training camp or the next 10 years of my career, I hope that's what I can accomplish. Whatever the coaching staff asks me to do, that's what I'm going to do. I don't feel underutilized at all."
Baltimore Sun reporter Ken Murray contributed to this article.
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