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Ravens' Taylor says he's on track to start the year

Rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor said Friday that his bruised left shoulder is not serious — not serious enough to prevent him from gearing up for the Ravens' season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11.

"I think I'll be ready, especially with the couple of days that we have off," said Taylor, who watched the team practice Friday with his left arm in a sling. "That allows me to go get treatment and take care of my body. So I'm looking forward to getting back and getting healthy and starting out the week well."

Coach John Harbaugh reaffirmed the initial diagnosis after Thursday night's preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons and said Taylor's injury had not worsened.

"It just looks the same," Harbaugh said. "I would say it just confirmed that it doesn't seem to be a real serious thing. I'm sure he has some soreness in there. I think he is going to be OK."

Taylor, the organization's sixth-round pick in April, injured the shoulder during the offense's second series against Atlanta when he was hit by defensive end Kroy Biermann after completing a seven-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Tandon Doss.

Taylor said his shoulder is sore but he has full range of motion in the shoulder, which is not his throwing shoulder.

Hoping to return to practice Wednesday to begin preparation for the Steelers, Taylor said he hoped his injury would not compel the front office and coaching staff to bring in another quarterback.

"It's still the coaches' decision, but I think I've done everything I could this preseason to show that I can be that backup guy," said Taylor, who led all three quarterbacks in completions (37), completion percentage (61.7) and passing yards (408). "And I'm going to continue to be that person. I'm going to continue to be a learner, I'm going to continue to be a hard worker, and I'm going to go out and try to win over my teammates."

Phillips helps own cause

Inside linebacker Jason Phillips, who is on the roster bubble, helped his own cause by finishing with four tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery Thursday.

"I definitely think I helped myself out," the organization's fifth-round pick in 2009 said. "We have such a deep group that to separate yourself, you really have to put a lot of work ethic in and put in a lot of good plays. But I just went out last night trying to do the best that I could do and make the decision for them as hard as I could. After yesterday, I have no control over it."

Harbaugh gave an unprompted pat on the back to Phillips during his post-game news conference Thursday night.

"Jason Phillips is outstanding and really stepped up," Harbaugh said. "He was all over the field making tackles."

Brown finishes strong

Rookie cornerback Chykie Brown made his biggest contribution of the preseason Thursday night when the fifth-round pick intercepted a pass by Falcons quarterback John Parker Wilson, disrupted by linebacker Chavis Williams, and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Later in the game, Brown leveled running back Antone Brown on a tackle.

"It gives me a lot of confidence," Brown said after the Ravens' practice on Friday. "That's a good way to close out your last game, just to show up in front of a lot of coaches and open up a lot of coaches' eyes. So I feel pretty good."

Brown is trying to squeeze onto the 53-man roster as the sixth cornerback. He could be headed for the practice squad.

"Chykie did really well," Harbaugh said. "He was up and down at camp and understanding the defense [from a] discipline standpoint. Chykie got out there and made a lot of the right decisions."

Harbaugh conflicted

In his fourth season as the Ravens head coach, Harbaugh has steeled himself for the harsh reality of bringing bad news to players whom the organization has decided to release before the regular season begins.

That doesn't mean, however, that Harbaugh doesn't have conflicted feelings about final roster cuts.

"That's the thing. You are excited to finalize your roster," he said after Friday's practice. "You are excited to say, 'OK, this is going to be our team. This is how we're going to move forward.' But that's going to not include some guys. That's the toughest thing because we love having every guy around. They wouldn't be here if they haven't been great, haven't done a great job for us. Those are going to be tough conversations that we are going to have tomorrow."

End zone

Wide receiver David Reed was suspended for the first week of the season by the NFL without pay for violating the team's substance-abuse policy. Reed, who is battling rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss for the No. 3 wide receiver spot, was charged with possession of marijuana in December. Those charges were later dropped. … Beside Taylor, wide receiver Lee Evans, center Matt Birk and backup left tackle Ramon Harewood did not take part in the portion of Friday's practice open to the media. For Evans, this is the fourth consecutive session he has missed. The wide receiver has not participated since the Ravens' 34-31 win against the Washington Redskins Aug. 25, and he wore a protective boot on his left foot Saturday. … Cornerback Chris Carr (left hamstring), offensive tackle Mark LeVoir (unspecified) and rookie guard/center Justin Boren (unspecified) returned to practice. While Carr and Boren took part in drills, LeVoir stood off to the side and watched the offensive line run through its exercises. … Kris Wilson continued to outplay Davon Drew for the third tight end spot. In the preseason finale, Wilson had one catch for 18 yards while Drew finished the preseason without a catch. An eight-year veteran, Wilson led the Ravens this preseason with eight catches and would provide much-needed experience to the tight end group, which has 2010 draft picks Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta atop the depth chart.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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