Webb ready if needed on 'D'

Baltimore Sun

There are conflicting indications regarding cornerback Fabian Washington's availability for Monday night's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Washington, who bruised his left thigh while tackling Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry in the second quarter of the Ravens' 17-7 loss Sunday, said Wednesday that he expects to play, but he did not practice Thursday and might miss the contest in Cleveland.

If that is the case, secondary coach Chuck Pagano said, the unit is prepared to go forward with a rotation that could include Chris Carr, Frank Walker and rookie Lardarius Webb.

"We feel like we've got a good group of guys," Pagano said. "We ... tell them all, 'You prepare and practice like starters, because you never know when your opportunity is going to come. And when you do get that opportunity, you want to go out there and you want to play well.' "

If Washington can't play, Webb might get his first career start opposite Domonique Foxworth. Webb played well in Washington's place Sunday, with six tackles, one tackle for a loss and one pass break-up.

Webb said Washington's injury is not serious and that his primary focus is on kickoff returns.

"Special teams, that's the big role around here, and that's the role I carry until something happens," Webb said. "If 'Faybo' goes down, I come in and take up the spot where he left off. But going into the game, it's special teams. Return my kicks and do all my gunner and kickoff stuff. That's how it is."

Webb could also play nickel back if the Ravens choose to start Carr or Walker at cornerback. Either way, Foxworth said, the unit will be fine if Washington can't play.

"We have confidence in Webb, and we have confidence in Chris Carr and other guys in our secondary to make it up," Foxworth said. "I think more pressure falls on other guys when you lose a starter, but it's not uncommon in this league. It's not a surprise. It's not something that threw us off. You kind of always expect injuries."

Lewis, Ngata miss practiceTwo other defensive starters, linebacker Ray Lewis (foot) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained right ankle), did not practice Thursday. Cornerback Carr and rookie linebacker Dannell Ellerbe also sat out because of illness.

Left offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck) was limited. Safeties Ed Reed (wrist) and Haruki Nakamura (strained abdominal muscle), linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder), tight end Todd Heap (ankle) and wide receiver Kelley Washington (back) participated fully in practice.

Browns down fiveFive Browns starters - former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis (ankle), linebacker David Bowens (knee), defensive end Kenyon Coleman (groin), fullback Lawrence Vickers (hamstring) and right guard Rex Hadnot (knee) - were limited.

Three more starters - tight end Robert Royal (finger), center Alex Mack (wrist) and former Ravens punter Dave Zastudil (right knee) - practiced fully.

Debate over BannanNgata's continued absence could open the door for a possible second consecutive start for Justin Bannan, who made four tackles against the Bengals.

"When you get that time on the field, you're really able to get into a rhythm and play a complete game," Bannan said. "It was nice to do that on Sunday. I felt good out there and felt like I did my job."

Bannan, who made 15 starts in place of Kelly Gregg last season, said he became more comfortable as the game wore on.

"It's hard to come in and out," Bannan said. "You've got to get in while you can and do what you can while you're in there. So it was nice to be out there the whole game. I felt like I played the run strong in my area. I can always get better at pushing the pocket and pass rushing."

Walker at workWalker did not sound alarmed about being a healthy scratch last Sunday for a second consecutive game.

"Ain't nothing I can say," he said. "I just practice hard and prepare like I'm starting every week."

Walker said he had not heard from coaches about his status for Monday night's game against the Browns. Asked whether that was bothersome, Walker said, "I've been playing for seven years, and nothing's ever been given to me. I was a sixth-round draft pick from Tuskegee. So nothing surprises me. I can pretty much handle anything."

End zoneCoach John Harbaugh reiterated his support for kicker Steve Hauschka, who has missed two field-goal attempts in pressure situations in three games. "Steve is a talented kicker," Harbaugh said. "For the most part, he's kicked well. He's had a couple of misses that we'd like to have had back. I'm sure he would have liked to have them back." … Wide receiver Derrick Mason criticized himself for catching just three passes for 31 yards in two meetings against the Bengals this season. "I didn't play a good game, point blank," he said. "I didn't come out there and play the way that I'm accustomed to playing. It was an embarrassment to me. It was an embarrassment to other receivers, and it was an embarrassment to the team." … Harbaugh dismissed the significance of defensive end Dwan Edwards being listed ahead of Trevor Pryce on the depth chart for the first time this season. "I don't know what our depth chart even says, and I really don't care," Harbaugh said. "What really matters is the tape, and you see how guys are playing. Both those guys are playing starter reps in my mind." … Tight end Edgar Jones said he was prepared when he was asked to line up briefly at outside linebacker and defensive end in Sunday's loss in Cincinnati. "They kind of gave me some defensive stuff [during the week], and they told me that if I have to go in, just make sure I know what's going on," Jones said. "[Defensive coordinator Greg] Mattison helped me out during the week, just learning the defense and getting back in tune with what was going on." … Linebacker Terrell Suggs compared Browns running back Jamal Lewis to supervillain Juggernaut of the "X-Men" comic book series. "When he gets that thing rolling, he's going to be hard to stop," Suggs said. "[We] have got to gang-tackle this guy. I think somebody asked me last week about backs that are hard to take down. He's definitely one of them."

Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Van Valkenburg contributed to this article.

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