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Harbs: WRs Brown, Mellette's Chances 'Look Good'

Posted Aug 30, 2013

The rookie receivers appear certain to make the team. Gradkowski and Ihedigbo will start.

Although the Ravens still have to make another round of roster cuts to reach the league limit of 53 players by Saturday afternoon, it appears fairly certain that rookie receivers Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette will make the squad.

“We’ll make a final decision here (soon) but it looks good for those two guys,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said after practice Friday.

Harbaugh also addressed several other personnel issues, stating that Gino Gradkowski would start at center over A.Q. Shipley, and James Ihedigbo would start at safety over rookie Matt Elam, although in the latter case, “both those guys are going to play a lot of football,” Harbaugh said.

The Ravens open their regular-season schedule Thursday night against the Broncos in Denver.

He reserved his highest praise for Brown and Mellette, who appear to have gained an edge in one of the most-talked-about areas of training camp and the preseason – the competition for jobs and playing time among the team’s fleet of young receivers.

Brown, an undrafted free agent from Georgia, was the Ravens’ top wide receiver in the preseason, grabbing 10 passes for 169 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. Mellette, a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft, was almost as productive, grabbing nine passes, with two going for touchdowns.

“They have played really well, especially as rookies,” Harbaugh said. “They don’t feel like rookies. Marlon has the advantage of having played in a big program in the SEC, and I think that shows, and Aaron has the advantage of having caught hundreds of balls in his college career (at Elon). Both of those things are showing up.

“I would anticipate that those two guys will be a factor going forward. How much they play early or how much they’re part of game plans and those things, it’s really hard to say. But they put themselves in the mix.”

Speaking generally, Harbaugh said he felt good about the team but was anxious to see what unfolds in Denver.

“I think we’re as far along now as we possibly could be. How far that is, we’ll find out Thursday night. It’s an opener. Openers are unpredictable,” he said.

He also said the team would decide next week whether to put tight end Dennis Pitta on the injured reserve list that would sideline him for the season, or designate him as being on injured reserve with the possibility of returning – the same designation they used with Ray Lewis last year.

It could be the latter, Harbaugh said. 

“There’s optimism,” he said. “Dennis is working real hard and there have been no setbacks.”


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