Yanda likely done for year

The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens likely have lost right guard Marshal Yanda for the rest of the season to a serious knee injury, coach John Harbaugh said yesterday.

"It's a big blow," Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference. "Yanda's a Raven in every way. He's really played well. He's been an anchor for our offensive line."

Yanda, a third-round draft choice in 2007 who started 12 games as a rookie, went down on a short pass play in the final two minutes of Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He was carted off the field and was on crutches in the locker room later. The Ravens were awaiting confirmation from a magnetic resonance imaging yesterday.

Harbaugh said one option is to move right tackle Adam Terry into Yanda's position. Terry suffered a sprained knee in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans and missed Sunday's game. In that case, Willie Anderson would remain at right tackle. Other options include using Chris Chester or rookie Oniel Cousins at the position. Chester became a reserve tight end in a position change last week but has started nine games at guard for the Ravens.

"Whoever ends up going in there and taking that spot, he's going to have big shoes to fill, and the rest of the guys are going to have to play that much better," Harbaugh said. "Communication's going to be critical. And some of those young guys may have to step up."

Making his point

Harbaugh gave a five-point checklist of areas the Ravens need to improve. The list started with reducing turnovers (five Sunday), turning the sack ratio around (the Ravens got two, allowed four), eliminating big plays on defense and reviving the running game.

"Then we've got to get our return game going," Harbaugh said. "We get our return game going, we give our offense a chance to punch out some field position there, we'll be in good shape. I thought we punted well, we covered well, but the return game needs to be better, both return phases."

The Ravens were facing desperate field position most of the game. In the first half, Yamon Figurs returned kickoffs out of the end zone twice and was stopped at the 11- and 16-yard lines. Harbaugh said the problem had to do with the hang time of Adam Vinatieri's kickoffs as well as the distance of the kicks.

"When the ball's [kicked] 5 [yards] deep, with four seconds-plus in hang time, the rule is no [don't return it]," Harbaugh said. "If the ball is 3 or less deep, as a general rule, and in the 3.7, 3.8 range, you say yes."

If the ball is kicked deep with hang time, it disrupts the timing required to get blocks on the kicking team, he said. Figurs averaged 17.7 yards on kickoffs and 4.0 on punts.

Ex-Raven dies

Former Ravens fullback Chuck Evans died of an apparent heart attack Sunday in Atlanta, where he had been visiting family.

Evans, 41, spent nine years in the NFL and two with the Ravens (1999 and 2000). The Sparks resident had recently worked in the insurance business in Glen Burnie.

End zone

Harbaugh was noncommittal about whether cornerback Chris McAlister should have had safety help on the 67-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison, saying, "We just didn't cover it well as a defense." ... Harbaugh said Figurs (left knee bruise) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams had MRIs yesterday. Williams' apparently was for a lower leg injury. ... The Ravens are hopeful that cornerback Fabian Washington (shoulder) will return to the lineup for Sunday's game in Miami against the Dolphins. ... Harbaugh said it's unlikely the Ravens will make a trade before today's deadline but acknowledged that they have had discussions with other teams.

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