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Defensive back: McAlister in no mood to discuss not starting

The Baltimore Sun

MIAMI - It's always fun sparring with Ravens Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister, regardless of his mood.

In a surprise move that caught McAlister off guard yesterday, he was replaced in the starting lineup by Frank Walker against the Miami Dolphins.

McAlister played only a few plays in each half. When asked why he didn't start, McAlister said: "Go ask the coach. I don't have an answer for you. He'll tell you."

So, we went and asked coach John Harbaugh. He basically said McAlister was being held back because of a recurring knee injury.

"We think if we manage some packages here on out, it's not a matter of starting or not starting, it's what packages we put him in to be most effective," Harbaugh said. "You've got to practice all week to be effective on Sunday."

The funny thing, though, is McAlister wasn't on the injury list this past week, and even Harbaugh said McAlister had a great week of practice.

So, what's up? Somebody's nose is growing over at the Castle this morning.

"I don't know anything about this," McAlister said. "If I don't start next week, it's up to him [Harbaugh]."

When asked whether the benching was a suspension or disciplinary action, McAlister said: "I've told you everything you need to know. I wouldn't have been on the field if I were suspended."

When asked when he was told he wouldn't start, McAlister said, "I'm tired of you asking all these questions."

And with a plate of chicken wings in his hand, he smiled as he left the locker room with these parting words: "I can tell you these chicken wings taste a lot better on Monday than they do today."

Bad penalty

Linebacker Antwan Barnes received an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty late in the second quarter, one that almost helped the Dolphins reach field-goal range.

Barnes was called for taunting returner Ted Ginn Jr. after teammate Haruki Nakamura had already taken Ginn down with a pretty good shot. Barnes is another Raven whom Harbaugh needs to get under control or put on the bench with a knee injury (wink, wink).

Cheap shot

Dolphins wide receiver Brandon London delivered a cheap shot to Ravens linebacker Edgar Jones along the Ravens' sideline early in the second quarter.

Ginn was already out of bounds when London hit Jones late, and it was in front of the Ravens' bench and an official. Nothing was called. It was a terrible no-call. London should have been penalized and thrown out of the game.

Playing hurt

Ravens running back Willis McGahee will take a lot of criticism for his fumble after he gained 35 yards on a screen pass. McGahee seemed to become tired, but the truth is he played despite a lot of pain in his knee.

He had a lot of fluid drained from the knee last week leading up to the game. For him to finish with 105 yards on 19 carries was a great effort.

Still not sure

Until he proves otherwise, I'm not sure the Ravens can beat a quality opponent with Joe Flacco as quarterback. Not yet.

Flacco finished with a quarterback rating of 120.2, but he fumbled the ball once (the Ravens recovered) and almost fumbled a second time. He nearly threw an interception that should have killed one drive, and he missed hitting wide receiver Demetrius Williams over the middle on a short slant that should have resulted in a touchdown.


And the Dolphins thought they were bad when Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was their head coach last year.

Talk about questionable play-calling? How about Miami sending running back Ronnie Brown off left guard on third-and-11 from the Ravens' 12 late in the second quarter?

How about the Dolphins running a reverse on a third-and-10 from the Ravens' 22 with 4:55 left in the game?

I swear Miami running back Ricky Williams was calling these plays after a night out on the town.

Listen to Mike Preston on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m. on Fox Sports (1370 AM).

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