Rookie cornerback Anthony Averett practiced on a limited basis Thursday for the second consecutive day, but he has targeted the Ravens’ game at the Carolina Panthers on Sunday as the date of his return.
“I’m feeling confident,” he said before practice. “I should be out there on Sunday if everything hopefully goes OK for the rest of the week.”
Averett, the first of three fourth-round picks the organization made in April’s NFL draft, has not played in a game since Sept. 13, a 34-23 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. Shortly afterward, he injured his hamstring during practice and has been inactive for the past five games.
As encouraged as he has felt during practice for the past two weeks, Averett acknowledged that he will not fully gauge the strength of his hamstring until he plays in a game that counts.
“I can’t go too crazy right now,” he said. “Obviously, I’m close to being fast enough to where I know I can play, but I’m never going to run as fast as I know I can until game day. So I’m definitely going to test it, and we’ll see.”
In addition to Averett, starting left guard Alex Lewis (pinched nerve in neck) was limited for the second straight day.
Five of the seven starters absent Wednesday returned for Thursday’s session and participated fully. They were cornerbacks Brandon Carr (knee) and Jimmy Smith (groin), wide receivers John Brown (not injury related) and Michael Crabtree (not injury related) and free safety Eric Weddle (not injury related). Defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. (hamstring) was upgraded from limited to full practice.
Rookie guard/center Bradley Bozeman (left calf), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (thigh) and right tackle James Hurst (back) did not practice for the second consecutive day. Humphrey declined a request for comment in the locker room.
Carolina free safety Mike Adams (not injury related) and defensive end Julius Peppers (not injury related) participated fully after both players were absent Wednesday.
One other starter in defensive end Mario Addison (back) was upgraded to limited practice. Quarterback Cam Newton (right throwing shoulder) and tight end Greg Olsen (foot) were limited for the second straight day.
Wide receiver and Maryland graduate Torrey Smith (knee) did not practice for the second consecutive day.
Rosburg “didn’t have a doubt”
Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg was as shocked as Justin Tucker and many in attendance when the kicker’s extra point strayed wide right for his first miss in 223 regular-season attempts in Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
“When it came off his foot, I saw where it was going, and I didn’t have a doubt,” said Rosburg, who is also the team’s associate head coach. “I was turning and going to get ready for the kickoff. So it surprised me what the result was. Now as to what the effects of the wind were on that kick, it’s impossible to know. Everything else looked good about it, but it didn’t go in. That’s all that matters.”
Rosburg said he was pleased with the way Tucker handled questions from the media since the rare miscue, and he wrapped up his weekly conference by pointing out, “Since Justin came into the league, there’s been 270 missed PATs by 54 placekickers in the National Football League, and Justin has one. Have a nice day.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco’s presence on the field when rookie Lamar Jackson has been under or lined up behind center has been the subject of questions from fans. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg addressed the topic. “That’s a good question,” he said. “Been there, done it. Joe’s the quarterback of this football team. I don’t like to take him off the field. Now there may come a time, and there is some other benefits that I won’t get into [with] keeping him on the field and all those things. But there’s endless amounts of possibilities that you can do with two quarterbacks on the field. So that’s where we’re at, trying to take advantage of that.”
» Peppers is 38 years old, which makes him two years older than Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale thinks Peppers, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, has a few more seasons left in the tank. “Trust me, if he can do it, he’ll do it. I think he’s going to chase [Tom] Brady,” Martindale said, referring to the New England Patriots’ 41-year-old quarterback. “I would not be shocked at all.”
» After finishing last season tied for third on offense in touchdown catches (three) and ranked fifth in yards (248) in four starts and 13 games, wide receiver Chris Moore has nine receptions for 79 yards, but is still searching for his first score and has yet to start a game this fall. But rather than be frustrated by a reduction in work, he has accepted what is expected of him. “I know my role,” he said Wednesday. “They want me to be here and use me when they need me. So it might be a little frustrating, but you’ve got to be patient and grind it out. It’s a long season, and I’ll get my opportunities. I’ve just got to make the most of them.”