Ravens closer to having key players return from injury

Although several players were sidelined with lingering injuries Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens are generally upbeat about their medical outlook.

No major injuries occurred during the Ravens' 26-23 win at Sun Life Stadium. That includes starting left offensive guard Kelechi Osemele, who was forced out of the game due to back spasms and replaced by backup center A.Q. Shipley.


"K.O's back is feeling better," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We'll just have to see throughout the course of the week how he responds."

After having just three active wide receivers Sunday (Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson), the Ravens are optimistic that starting receiver Marlon Brown could practice Wednesday; he was scratched against Miami due to a strained hamstring.


It's a similar outlook for Ravens kick returner and wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who missed his fourth consecutive game Sunday with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee after returning to practice on a limited basis last week.

Defensive end Marcus Spears continues to get treatment on his knee after being sidelined Sunday.

"It's nothing major or structural in there," Harbaugh said. "He'll probably be day-to-day."

After the game, Spears said that he doesn't expect this to be a long-term injury.


"It's getting better every day," Spears said. "We're taking all the precautions and making sure it's full strength when I do get back."

Rookie inside linebacker Arthur Brown (strained left pectoral) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (strained hamstring) experienced no setbacks Sunday.

"Arthur Brown appears to be 100 percent," Harbaugh said. "Webbie's hamstring got through it pretty well."

Running back Ray Rice, who strained his left hip flexor against the Cleveland Browns last month, is no longer listed on the injury report. Harbaugh is pleased with his progress.

Winning third-down battle

The Ravens built a huge edge on third down Sunday as the defense repeatedly shut down the Dolphins' offense.

The Dolphins managed to convert only three of 16 third-down opportunities, a 19-percent success rate.

In the second half, the Dolphins went 1-for-7 on third downs.

Conversely, the Ravens' offense finished the game 6-of-16 on third down after going 2-of-8 in the first half.

"Our defense was completely dominant on third down, especially in the second half," Harbaugh said. "You get your defense off the field, and your offense can make a few first downs and extend some drives and that leads to that conditioning factor."

Simon picks up 'foolish' foul

When Ravens rookie outside linebacker John Simon was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the fourth quarter, Harbaugh initially questioned the validity of the penalty with an official.

Now that Harbaugh has reviewed the game, he said it's clear that Simon deserved the personal foul.

"John dumped the guy after the whistle," Harbaugh said. "We saw it on tape. It was foolish. It was just a bad penalty. There was really no reason to do that. John, right away, when he came off the field, he said he messed up. That's not something that we need to have."

Koch struggles

While Dolphins punter Brandon Fields boomed the football for a 52.5-yard average, including a long punt of 62 yards, Ravens punter Sam Koch had an uncharacteristically poor performance.

Koch entered the game with a 48.9 average, but had a season-low 34.2 average Sunday. That included a pair of 26-yard punts in the first half that the 2010 Pro Bowl alternate tried to angle toward the sideline.

"That was very un-Sam-like," Harbaugh said. "Those are two shanks that he usually doesn't have. We try to punt to the sideline.

"If you hit it a little bit off-center, that's what happens: real short punts. We've asked Sam to do that a lot and he's done a great job of it. On those two, it didn't work out so well."

Shutting down the run

The Ravens stonewalled the Dolphins, allowing just 22 rushing yards on 11 attempts. That's the fourth-lowest by an opponent in franchise history.

It was one week after the Ravens allowed the Buffalo Bills to rush for 203 yards on 55 carries, the most by an opponent in franchise history.

"We stopped the run this weekend," rookie free safety Matt Elam said. "They couldn't beat us."

Juszczyk gets a look

In a rare offensive appearance, rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk had one pass thrown to him in the first quarter.

It was a misfire on an errant throw by quarterback Joe Flacco, but the Ravens would like to work in the fourth-round draft pick from Harvard more frequently. The Ravens had envisioned a versatile role for Juszczyk with duties at fullback, tight end and H-back.

"We'd like to see more with him, he's coming on," Harbaugh said. "Talented guy, and we're looking forward to seeing how we can develop him even more."