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Heap Looking to Get Back in Mix


Todd Heap is used to being a main focal point of the Ravens' passing attack, but the talented tight end hasn't shown up on the stat sheet as much as normal yet this year.

The two-time Pro Bowler owns franchise records for the most catches (342), receiving touchdowns (27) and yards (3,934).

But only three of those receptions and 37 of those yards have come in the Ravens' first three games.  He's also had two drops and a fumble.

Heap has spent much of his time staying in as a pass blocker, while other chances to get involved have fallen awry.

Against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Monday, Heap did not have a reception. On one play, he was open for what would have been a 40-yard gain, but quarterback Joe Flacco's attempt was tipped.

While Heap accepts his current role, he had to admit that being more of a blocker than a receiver is an unusual feeling.  And, Heap is his own worst critic.  He knows that he has to take advantage of every opportunity he's given.

"Yeah, it is," he said Thursday. "That's all I can say is that it's different. Hopefully, there will be a point where I get more involved. Right now, it's different for me. I'm adjusting.

"A tight end has multiple roles, so I've got to make sure I'm doing well in all phases."

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron came to Baltimore known for his use of Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates with the San Diego Chargers, but because he is working with a new team and a rookie quarterback, Cameron thinks there is still time to grow and assimilate Heap into the offense.

"I've talked to Todd," Cameron said. "When you get labeled as that receiving tight end, everybody looks at you as a receiver and measures your contribution in catches. Todd's contribution goes way beyond catches, and we just need to adjust our thinking a little bit.

"Obviously, as you see Joe grow, I would think Todd's role will continue to grow as a receiver. But he's doing fine. Some of those runs we had in the fourth quarter were great blocks by him, and I think we just have to remember that. We ask a lot of him, and it's not all catching the football."

One thing Heap can be encouraged about is his health. He finished last season with only 23 grabs for 239 yards and one touchdown after he missed 10 games and most of two others with a hamstring injury.

Heap then battled a calf injury throughout much of the preseason, which caused him to miss many practices.

As he works his way back into the rotation, Heap can expect his number to be called in the passing attack, even if he is still a big contributor in other aspects of the game.

"The tight end in this system is a football player," Cameron noted. "He's not a wide receiver; he's not a receiver. He's a blocker first; he's a receiver/pass protector.

"You know, we demand as much of a tight end as any system, and blocking is a huge part of that."

Injury Update

The Ravens won't have the services of defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (knee), safety Dawan Landry (neck) and cornerback Samari Rolle (neck) for Sunday's contest with the Tennessee Titans.

Rolle is expected to miss at least a month after head coach John Harbaugh revealed the corner had surgery on his neck this week.

"He had a surgery this week on his neck just to kind of clean things up in there a little bit," Harbaugh said. "It'll be multiple weeks. We just don't know how long."

Fabian Washington will start in place of Rolle, while Justin Bannan will fill in for Gregg and Jim Leonhard is expected to be at Landry's safety spot.

In addition, cornerback Derrick Martin was listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury. Martin was limited in practice all week.

Click here for the full Ravens injury report.

Willis Wants the Ball

Running back Willis McGahee told reporters his goal for this week was to finish an entire game after he missed the season opener and was knocked out of the last two games with injuries.

Harbaugh weighed in on his Pro Bowl running back.

"Willis is competitive, and Willis really wants to carry the ball a lot," Harbaugh explained. "He wants to play four quarters, like you said, and we want him to play four quarters. He's just got to work through some of that stuff.

"Playing running back is tough. You get hit and banged around, and his running style is physical, so that's part of the deal. But, I think we're going to get him rolling as we go."

McGahee is second on the team with 28 carries for 106 yards.


The Ravens officially listed Chris Chester, a former center/guard, as a tight end on the roster. Chester had switched numbers from 65 to 48 last week. "He's got good feet and change-of-direction kind of skills for a big man," Harbaugh said. "We just felt with some of the lead block stuff we do with our U-back, the motion stuff, he's already an offensive lineman, so he can block on the line of scrimmage. We just felt like it would make us a little more imposing on the edges of our offense."…Harbaugh stated that he didn't have any further news on Gregg's injury, but did expect him to return this year…The Titans bring the NFL's eighth-best rushing attack to M&T Bank Stadium, but Baltimore has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 22 consecutive contests.

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