Cox settles in as Ravens' long snapper

When Morgan Cox became the Ravens' long snapper for the immediate future Saturday, he estimated he received 80 text messages and posts on his Facebook account congratulating him.

But the rookie from Tennessee said he can't remain content with his standing on the team.

"People are proud of me, but I take that with a grain of salt," Cox said after Monday's practice at McDaniel College in Westminster. "It's a job. It's not quite college, where I've got the next four years. There's always competition and there's always somebody behind me wanting my spot. So I just kind of stay on an even-keel kind of thing where I don't get too excited and I don't get too low."

Cox takes over for Matt Katula, who was waived Saturday.

Katula, who was about to enter the third year of a five-year extension that he had signed with the team in 2008, had battled tendinitis in his right forearm and elbow last season. Katula was the only player not to play in the team's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, but he did not seem to be bothered by injury, and coach John Harbaugh had said Katula's health was not an issue.

Releasing the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Katula in favor of the 6-4, 241-pound Cox would seem to be a risk, but special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Jerry Rosburg said he doesn't have any concerns about Cox.

"Well, we have not just that one preseason game, but we have a body of work since he's been here, all the way through minicamps and [organized team activities] and training camps," Rosburg said. "We did want to get him game experience in the NFL, and that was very positive experience. He had one errant snap on punt, but his field-goal snaps were all right on target. He's shown us in practice that he can not only snap, but he can also protect, and his field goal accuracy snaps have been very good. He's got a long way to go, but he's the right kind of player, he's the right kind of young man, and we have a lot of confidence in him going forward."

Cox acknowledged that he has much to learn about playing the position at the professional level, but he vowed to give it his best shot.

"Yeah, there's always pressure. The nature of the job is you've got to be perfect every time. We've done it most of our lives, and we're trying to treat it like every other snap," he said.

"Outside of that, sure, there's pressure as far as being a rookie, but I'm trying to block that out and look at it as another game," he said.

Offensive lineman carted off

Backup center-guard David Hale became the second player carted off this training camp after getting injured in drills against the defensive line Monday morning.

During a one-on-one drill, Hale got tangled up with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who appeared to injure his hand on the play. Afterward, Hale lay flat on his stomach for about five to 10 minutes before being rolled onto his side. Harbaugh, linebacker Antwan Barnes and offensive tackle Oniel Cousins stood nearby before Hale was carted to the locker room.

The Ravens did not announce an update on Hale, who was getting his back stretched out a few minutes before being injured.

"I know he's banged up a little bit [and] has some back spasms," said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who wasn't overseeing that drill.

The first Raven carted off the field this year was offensive tackle Jared Gaither, who has a small tear in his back.

Cousins staying at right tackle

Cameron made clear Monday that Cousins, not Marshal Yanda, will play right tackle in place of Gaither. Cameron wants to keep Yanda at right guard if possible and is reluctant to switch him back to tackle.

"Absolutely," Cameron said when asked if he would consider moving Yanda again. "But you can't move guys around too much. I think Marshal Yanda can be as good a right guard as there is in the league. I believe that, and to keep bouncing him around guard to tackle, guard to tackle, really doesn't help that."

Gaither is out for the next two to three weeks with a small tear in his back. In his absence, Cousins will get first-team reps on the right side ahead of Tony Moll, Joe Reitz and rookie Ramon Harewood. Cameron appreciates Cousins' consistent level of effort.

"He's not 100 percent yet, but his effort is 100 percent," Cameron said of Cousins, a third-year player from Texas-El Paso. "One thing I like about Cuz [is] you know exactly what you're getting. He's not one guy one day and another guy the next day. He shows up, he's there every day, he's where he's supposed to be, [and] he gives you his best effort. Sometimes he doesn't execute the play like he would like, or we would like, but his effort is consistent. And pretty much a play-caller can deal with a guy like that. To me, [it's] easy to call plays when he's in there because I know I'm going to get a great effort."

Not ready for preseason play

Cornerback Lardarius Webb is progressing so well that the team has increased his workouts to twice a day. But Webb, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Dec. 20, isn't ready to play in the preseason. In fact, he doesn't want to.

Asked whether playing in the preseason was a possibility, Webb said, "I'm hoping it's not. For what? I'm still, like, seven months, and we still have a lot of work to do. We have to make sure it's right before I come back on."

The Ravens are hoping that Webb will be ready for the regular-season opener at the New York Jets on Sept. 13. He would team with Fabian Washington and Chris Carr as the team's top cornerbacks.

"He's getting better every day. He's getting stronger," secondary coach Chuck Pagano said of Webb. "He's gaining confidence. That's the big thing -- he's got to gain confidence in that knee and know it holds up."

End zone

Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney did not practice because of swelling in his right knee. "Nothing serious," said McKinney, whose knee was wrapped. "It's just something minor. That's all." … Center Matt Birk (unspecified), Gaither (strained back/back spasms), tight end Davon Drew (unspecified), safety Marcus Paschal (right leg) and guard Daniel Sanders (left shoulder/arm) also did not practice. Cornerback Travis Fisher, who did not practice Saturday afternoon for unspecified reasons, returned. … Linebacker Tavares Gooden (back) practiced while wearing a red, noncontact mesh over his jersey. … Carr (left hamstring) participated in individual and positional drills, but was limited in other areas. … Former offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and wide receiver Qadry Ismail attended Monday's morning practice.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jamison Hensley and Ken Murray contributed to this article.

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