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What they're saying about the Ravens

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A collection of what other media outlets are saying as the Ravens prepare for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium.

* Texans safety Ed Reed, who was a guest on "The Rich Eisen Podcast" on Tuesday, says he has bigger goals than this Sunday's game with his former team.

Reed was a call-in guest Tuesday on "The Rich Eisen Podcast," where he explained why missing a game against the team he won a Super Bowl with seven months ago wouldn't be the end of the world.

"It's nothing that urged me to play this week. You know, I didn't circle this on the calendar," Reed explained. "I said it earlier in the offseason that with my rehab, I'm not preparing to play against San Diego or Tennessee or even the Ravens.

"It's about being there for the long haul," Reed continued, "being there for the team when it really counts, and that's playoffs, the Super Bowl, AFC Championship Game."

* Speaking of Reed, ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley is sharing his most memorable moments of the former Ravens safety's time in Baltimore. Here is No. 6, which published Tuesday.

With the Ravens trailing the Seahawks by 17 points (41-24) in the fourth quarter, it was Reed's play on special teams that ignited the rally for the Ravens. His 16-yard touchdown return off his own blocked punt with 6:41 left in the game closed the Ravens within 41-31 and started a run of 20 straight points. Matt Stover tied the game with a 40-yard field goal on the last play in regulation and won it with a 42-yarder in overtime. This thrilling victory turned the season around for the Ravens, who won five of their last six games and captured their first division title. And it all began with a big play from Reed.

* Other than Reed, CSNHouston's Dave Zangaro writes that another Texans veteran might not play against the Ravens on Sunday.

[Texans offensive tackle Duane] Brown is wearing a walking boot on his right foot and will for a day or two. He isn't sure if he'll practice this week.

"That's what it looks like right now," Brown said on CSN's SportsTalk Live about being a game-time decision. "We have practice tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. We'll just see, man. I really can't tell you how it's gonna work out. I'd love to be out there at Baltimore this weekend. But I really don't know right now."

* At this point, it's uncertain whether Ray Rice will play in Sunday's game. The Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith shares Texans coach Gary Kubiak's thoughts on the situation.

Asked Monday about how Rice’s status will affect his team’s preparation and execution, Texans coach Gary Kubiak said the Ravens’ depth in the backfield could cover up for Rice’s absence. Bernard Pierce leads Baltimore in rushing yards (79) and carries (28) through two games.

“[Rice is] a great player, obviously. But I tell you what, the one behind him is a tremendous player, too. He played extremely well,” Kubiak said at Reliant Stadium. “So I don’t think it’s going to change anything they do and our focus has got to be on ourselves. To go on the road, play the world champs, the type of game we’re going to have to play, we’re going to have to correct our own stuff and stay concerned with what we’re doing.”

* Tom Pelissero of USA Today discusses the importance of Sunday's matchup with the Texans.

Ravens veteran Terrell Suggs expects a playoff rematch with the Broncos — but how quickly will things come together for the remodeled Super Bowl champs? They had to rally from a halftime deficit just to get past the Browns last week.

Sunday, they welcome in the Texans, who have completed comebacks of their own against the Chargers and Titans (in OT). If RB Ray Rice's injured hip flexor keeps him out, a lot will be on QB Joe Flacco's shoulders.

* Greg A. Bedard of Monday Morning Quarterback talks about Ozzie Newsome and the beginning of the Ravens franchise in a recent profile of the team executive.

But there they were, one day before the first draft in Ravens history, charting the course for a franchise. Present were owner Art Modell, his son David, team president Jim Bailey, chief financial officer Pat Moriarty and vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome.

Newsome, 40 at the time, was in charge, but he was greener than the Jolly Green Giant. After starring for four years at Alabama and then for 13 seasons as a tight end for the Browns, he was certainly at home around the game. But this was altogether different. Yes, he had studied tirelessly in the five years since his retirement, working at times as an assistant coach with Cleveland, and then in personnel under coach Bill Belichick with the Browns. But in Cleveland, Belichick, general manager Ernie Accorsi and later personnel chief Michael Lombardi did the heavy lifting. Everyone else was a glorified grunt, grinding tape and writing reports.

* While looking back at the Ravens' win over the Browns, Hensley discusses the issues with the tight ends in the first two games of the season.

Through two games, the Ravens can't get the ball in the hands of their tight ends and can't keep it away from the other teams' tight ends. Denver's Julius Thomas and Cleveland's Jordan Cameron have combined for 10 catches for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Dating back to last season's AFC Championship Game, the Ravens have allowed a tight end to record at least 83 yards receiving in four straight games. There has been no such success for the Ravens this year. Against the Browns, Baltimore's tight ends totaled two catches for 26 yards. Ed Dickson dropped Flacco's first pass of the game and wasn't targeted again. It marked the fourth time in Dickson's past 16 games (including playoffs) that he was held without a catch.

Power rankings

* FoxSports.com's Brian Billick ranks the Ravens at No. 12, down three spots from last week.

Joe Flacco missed the birth of his second child for that?

* ESPN.com lists the Ravens at No. 11, unchanged from last week.

Joe Flacco is 2-for-13 on throws deeper than 20 yards downfield this season with twice as many off-target throws (eight) as he had in last year's entire playoff run.

* Hensley provides extended analysis on the Ravens' spot in ESPN.com's poll.

A more convincing win wouldn't have moved up the defending Super Bowl champions. The only team in the top 10 that lost was the San Francisco 49ers, and they were atop the rankings last week.

* Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk ranks the Ravens at No. 6, up one spot from last week.

So far, watching the Ravens play this year has been only slightly less painful than the childbirth quarterback Joe Flacco missed on Sunday.

* CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco lists the Ravens at No. 15, down two spots from last week.

They just don't seem to have any real playmakers on offense outside of Torrey Smith and Ray Rice. Who can emerge? Marlon Brown?

* In the Associated Press Pro32 poll, the Ravens are No. 12. They were No. 15 last week.

* Elliot Harrison of NFL.com ranks the Ravens at No. 12, up one spot from last week.

Baltimore recovers, albeit in a tough, defensive AFC North battle . There was just one turnover and eight total penalties committed by the Browns and the Ravens in Baltimore's 14-6 win -- and that might be the best way for John Harbaugh's group to compete. Ray Rice is hurting, and the Ravens lack a big-time threat at wide receiver/tight end. They couldn't keep up during the season-opening track meet in Denver. The veterans on defense need to stay healthy, while the younger guys, like Matt Elam and Josh Bynes, have to be play smart. Meanwhile, if backup running back Bernard Pierce can provide the kind of pop he did late in 2012, Baltimore should be OK.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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