In the preseason, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had said that Marshal Yanda had the talent to become one of the best guards in the NFL. Yanda is trying to prove his coach right — at right tackle.
Since replacing the injured Jared Gaither at the beginning of the regular season, Yanda has solidified the right side of the offensive line. According to "Pro Football Weekly," Yanda is tied with left guard Ben Grubbs and right guard Chris Chester for the fewest number of penalties committed by a Ravens starting offensive lineman, and he has surrendered just two sacks.
Yanda said his objective is to continue his development at right tackle, which he hoped will be his position for a long time.
"Now I want to stay there," he said. "I don't want to play guard now because I feel like I'm settling in at tackle, and I feel like I can get the job done. Now I just want to settle in there and keep stacking games and try to get better and better with each game."
Cameron marveled at Yanda, who hadn't had extended starts at right tackle since 2007, his rookie season.
"Marshal has been tremendous," Cameron said. "There aren't many guys that can bounce out to right tackle and the play at the level that he's playing. Obviously, [there is] a lot of football left, but he's just another one of the good football players we have here."
After stonewalling Pro Bowl outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley in the Ravens' win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 3, Yanda gets another test this Sunday from Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake.
Wake, who finished with 5½ sacks last season, leads Miami with 6½ thus far and is blessed with what Yanda described as two of the quickest feet in the league. Yanda said he must match the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Wake step-for-step.
"His first two steps are what win him sacks," Yanda said. "He can get past the tackle, and then you're fighting to try to chase and keep up and then he can throw you inside or come inside because you're out of position. So I have to match his timing. Get off when he gets off the ball and stay square."
Less than three months removed from undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Domonique Foxworth said he is close to returning sooner than anticipated.
The cornerback, who tore the ACL on July 29 during a non-contract drill before the Ravens' first full-team practice of training camp and underwent surgery on Aug. 10, had said that he hoped to be able to participate in mini-camps during the offseason.
"I'm pushing myself to be back before then," Foxworth said Thursday. "Obviously, the way the rules are, I can't play this year, but I'd like to be in condition to be able to play by the Super Bowl. That's kind of the goal I set. Obviously, I won't play in it, but I'd like to be able to move like I could."
Mason, 'the old guy'
Never at a loss for words, Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder was extremely complimentary of the Ravens offense before referring to wide receiver Derrick Mason as "the old guy" when he forgot his name. Mason, 36, is the oldest player on the Ravens.
A reporter replied, "Derrick Mason."
"There you go. Mason. The old guy," Crowder said. "He's still good as hell, though."
Punt returners a secret
Lardarius Webb and Ed Reed could be options in that area, but special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg declined to show his hand just yet.
"We have a number of guys back there who are practicing," he said. "You've probably heard this answer before, but we'll see who shows up on Sunday."
Another possibility is Donte' Stallworth although he is just returning from a broken bone in his left foot. "He's one of the guys that we're working in," Rosburg said. "We'll see on Sunday."
Pitta back at practice
Dennis Pitta made good on his promise to return to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday after suffering a concussion during Monday's session.
"I didn't practice, but it was more of a precautionary thing," said the rookie tight end, who was limited Thursday. "You can't be too careful when there's a head injury involved. It wasn't too severe, but it was something we needed to monitor and keep our eye on. So I'm working hard to get back out there."
Zbikowski missed his second consecutive practice with a bruised right heel. Stallworth (broken left foot) participated fully for the second straight day. Reed (ankle), tight end Todd Heap (back) and Mason (ankle) were removed from the team's injury report.
Dolphins strong safety Yeremiah Bell (toe) was limited for the second consecutive day, while Crowder (thumb) took part fully for the second straight day. … Linebacker Terrell Suggs isn't happy that he only has 3½ sacks this season, but he is trying to keep a big-picture perspective of his situation. "I ask myself every day, 'Would I rather have eight sacks like DeMarcus Ware [in Dallas] and be [1-6]? I don't think so. I don't think so," he said. "So, I'll take what I have right now with the winning record, and we just have to get more [sacks]." … Miami has employed the Wildcat formation just 20 times this season after running it more than 170 times in the previous two years. Lewis said he anticipates the Dolphins using the Wildcat this Sunday. "They started it, so why wouldn't you see it? I think you've seen it in every game that they've played in," he said. "You just have to stay in your gaps. Just play disciplined. Nobody try to do something that they shouldn't be doing because if you do, you never know if a pass is going to come out of it or if Ronnie Brown is throwing the ball out of it and things like that. So you have to be conscious of what's going on. Just hit your gaps and keep the ball funneled inside, and that's pretty much one way to kind of slow it down."
Baltimore Sun reporters Jamison Hensley and Ken Murray contributed to this article.
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