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Notes: Flacco's Next Stand


While many players originally lamented the fact they couldn't play their regularly-scheduled game against the Houston Texans, the offense could benefit because of an extra week of practice for rookie Joe Flacco.

In a scenario where Hurricane Ike left few positives both on and off the field, head coach John Harbaugh tabbed Flacco's development before starting his second-career game as one of them.

"You can catalog the plusses of the situation, and that's what we've tried to do now," Harbaugh said Wednesday, as the Ravens began preparations for the Cleveland Browns this weekend. "That's one, the fact that Joe gets an extra week of practice before his second game."

While Flacco didn't necessarily game-plan for the Browns leading up to last Sunday, he is a staunch proponent of learning with every practice snap.

There has been improvement from Day 1 of training camp, through the preseason and to the regular-season opener – where he led the offense to a 17-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

In that victory, Flacco completed 15 of 29 passes for 129 yards and no interceptions (adding a touchdown run), and the first-round draft pick doesn't want to stop there.

"From two Sundays ago to the end of my career, I want to be getting better each week and learning something new each week," Flacco explained. "Once we get out there this Sunday, it's not going to go perfect.

"There are going to be things to learn from and there are going to be hard times to fight through, but I expect us to overcome those kinds of things."

In addition to the extra practice time, Ike's interruption gives Flacco the opportunity to compete in front of a friendly M&T Bank Stadium crowd – the same crowd that erupted in "Let's go Flacco!" cheers in the season opener.

"Any time you're playing at home, it's fun," he explained. "It should be a good time for us to go out there and play our second game – it's a division game – in front of the home crowd and hopefully add another win."

If Flacco can defeat the Browns, he'll be placed in company with Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway as a rookie signal-caller to begin 2-0 as a starter from opening day.

Still, eventual San Diego Chargers flameout Ryan Leaf also accomplished that same feat when he entered the NFL in 1998, so Flacco is tempering his expectations and simply aiming for the next win in the next week.

"I can get better in every area of my game," Flacco stated. "That was my first game as an NFL quarterback, and I obviously hope that I have a lot more of them."

Seeing Flacco's steady showing against the Bengals has his targets confident for a repeat performance.

"Any time you can get a surprise value like this, especially for a young quarterback, it works wonders," said wideout Derrick Mason, who led the team with four receptions for 44 yards against the Bengals. "Now, he doesn't have to have his second start on the road in front of a hostile environment. Now, he gets his second start back here at home with a more appreciative audience.

"I'm looking for Joe to do as well this game as he did the first game."

Flacco won't settle for "as well as," however.

He's looking for progress.

Who Practiced?

Three days of rest seemed to have a positive effect on the Ravens' injured players, as only defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (knee) sat out of practice Wednesday.

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg), wideout Yamon Figurs (hamstring), cornerbacks Fabian Washington (neck) and Derrick Martin (shoulder), and receiver Demetrius Williams (hamstring) were all limited.


Even though the Browns come to Baltimore with an 0-2 record, the Ravens are not taking them lightly. "The Browns are a real good football team, and every game in this league is important," Harbaugh stated. "I'm sure that they're taking this game very seriously."…One of the better matchups to watch will be Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. But, Suggs will be utilized at both outside linebacker spots, so don't think it's going to be an all-day battle. "Suggs will be on both sides, so it will be Suggs against their pass protection, just like it will be the rest of our front, our DBs, our linebackers – we'll bring everybody – against their pass protection," said Harbaugh. "That will be one matchup that will show up. Thomas is a really good football player."

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