False starts haunt Yanda

The Baltimore Sun

While the Ravens' season-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night is becoming a distant memory, rookie Marshal Yanda's disappointment is not.

The third-round draft pick was thrust into action at right tackle when left tackle Jonathan Ogden aggravated his hyperextended toe in the second quarter and starting right tackle Adam Terry moved to the left side.

If Ogden cannot play, as expected, Yanda will get the start at right tackle in the team's home opener against the New York Jets. His debut Monday was decent, but his thoughts continued to linger on his three penalties: two false starts and one holding.

"That's still in the back of my mind, but I know now that we have to get ready for the Jets," he said. "That was tough. I felt like I was a big part of that, of why we lost - like killing drives and stuff like that. But I'm better today. I'm focused on the Jets right now and trying to get better prepared for them so that I don't have another game like that."

While his holding penalty late in the second quarter short-circuited one drive, Yanda seemed most displeased about twice jumping early during one series in the third quarter.

Some of that can be traced to his adjustment to the offense's silent count, which Yanda said was used at the University of Iowa but not against NFL-caliber competition.

To compensate for the silent count and avoid another false start, Yanda said he would begin to move only when the defensive end shot forward.

"That's tough because then that defensive end is moving at the same time you are," he said. "When you have that six-inch step on him, that's a huge difference. But when you guys go at the same time, it puts you behind right at the start. So you've got to get out of your fundamentals and just try to keep him away at all costs. It's tough, but that was a learning experience."

His struggles aside, Yanda's play drew praise from coach Brian Billick.

"That was a lot to be thrown into in the first game," he said. "He stepped up very, very well."

Injury updates

Ogden (hyperextended toe), quarterback Steve McNair (pulled groin), linebacker Ray Lewis (strained triceps) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained ankle) missed some or all of yesterday's practice, and cornerbacks Samari Rolle (foot) and David Pittman (ankle) and free safety Ed Reed (ankle) were limited.

Linebacker Gary Stills (chest) took part in practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Rolle and Pittman said they intend to play Sunday, and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said he expects all the starters to play.

Former teammates

Second-year Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens, who might start in place of Chad Pennington on Sunday, played with Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for four seasons at Oregon.

Ngata remembered a strong-armed quarterback who was nimble enough to rush for 538 career yards and six touchdowns.

"He moves around pretty good, and he's a real poised guy," said Ngata, who plans to call Clemens and "get into his head a little."

"But with a lot of teams that hardly ever play us, it's kind of hard to play against our defense just with all of the looks we give and different people playing different positions," Ngata said. "So they're not going to be used to it as much."

Green accepts role

Justin Green bided his time behind Ovie Mughelli as the starting fullback last season, bounced back quickly from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and started at fullback the entire preseason.

But when the Ravens played the Bengals, rookie Le'Ron McClain started at fullback. On Wednesday, Green said he wasn't disappointed or discouraged by his demotion.

"The biggest thing is that it's a long season," he said. "They're going to need all of us on the team. And that's not the only thing I do. I'm also on special teams. So whatever position I'm playing, I have to focus all of my effort to whatever I get a chance to do."

Et cetera

Mike Pereira, vice president of officiating for the NFL, said Wednesday night on the NFL Network that he "didn't like" the pass interference call on Ravens tight end Todd Heap that wiped out a potential game-tying touchdown in the waning minutes of Monday night's game. "The judgment made is his to make," Pereira said, referring to the official who threw the flag. "When I run it, I don't like it." ... Billick appealed to Ravens fans to make as much noise as possible Sunday. "This is a team that does a lot at the line of scrimmage and moving and shifting," he said. "And you've seen our fans disrupt other teams. We need them badly on Sunday." ... Wide receiver Derrick Mason cracked the 8,000-yard mark in career receiving yardage. Mason, who caught seven passes for 76 yards against the Bengals, has 8,013 career receiving yards.


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