OWINGS MILLS - For most of his career, Ray Rice has had a reputation for being a running back that rarely fumbles.
But with his fumble during this past weekend's game against the Miami Dolphins, Rice has fumbled five times in the last eight games he has played in, including last season's playoffs.
Rice downplayed the issue Wednesday, as he did earlier this year when asked the fumbles during the playoffs.
"My confidence is not shaken," Rice said.
However, Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't try to hide his disappointment with Rice's recent fumbling problems.
"That's always going to be the No. 1 priority on offense is to protect the football," Harbaugh said Wednesday. "We use the term 'aggressive ball security.' We want to run the ball north and south. We want the ball high and tight. ...
"It's just a matter of protecting the ball. The turnovers are always specific turnovers. You've got to look at each one and see what you can correct, but I really don't think the ball should ever be fumbled, personally. I don't think that's ever something [that should happen]. Those should be so rare that they should almost never happen."
But for as well as Rice may have protected the ball in the past, him fumbling has been much less rare during the last year.
OUT OF ACTION: Baltimore Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (hip) missed a second consecutive practice Thursday, and his status for Sunday's game versus the Green Bay Packers remains unclear.
Defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee) and linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder) also didn't practice for the Ravens Thursday.
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee), wide receiver Marlon Brown (thigh), left guard Kelechi Osemele (back), running back Bernard Pierce (thigh), defensive tackle Marcus Spears (knee) and wide receiver Brandon Stokley (thigh) all practiced on a limited basis for a second straight day. Cornerback Chykie Brown was added to the injury report with a thigh injury and was also a limited participant.
Meanwhile, center Ryan Jensen returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis. It was the first time he's practiced since breaking his foot in late July.
ABUNDANCE OF RECEIVERS: After having just three wide receivers healthy enough to be active for last week's game against the Dolphins, Baltimore could have as many as six receivers healthy enough to play in Sunday's game against the Packers.
"It's going to be a good problem to have considering what we've been going through," Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "We're glad to get them back. The more the merrier. We just have to figure out as the week goes on what suits the style of play that we're going to have for this weekend."
QUICK HITS: Tight end Ed Dickson struggled with drops during the first four games of the season, but he had two big catches during the win over the Dolphins, including one that went for a 43-yard gain. Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said of Dickson Thursday, "I'm not certain if I've seen too many guys work any harder than Ed. ... I'm glad to see his hard work paying off for him. ... Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has 36 tackles and seven sacks in Baltimore's first five games. Suggs was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, but Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Suggs Thursday, "I'd say he's at the top of his game right now and playing as well as I've ever seen him." ... Injured tight end Dennis Pitta continues to make progress in his recovery from the dislocated and fractured hip he suffered during training camp. He was catching passes from Flacco before Thursday's practice and Flacco said jokingly to him at one point, "Are you back yet?" ... Fullback Vonta Leach played a prank on Rice Thursday, apparently putting Icy Hot in Rice's helmet before heading out to practice. Rice was talking to Leach about it once he got out to the practice field.

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