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News & Notes: Redskins Eye Ravens' Run Game

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For the second week in a row, the Redskins' defense must stop a three-headed monster at running back.

Last week, it was the New York Giants who arrived at FedExField with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. (Bradshaw did not play due to injury.)

This Sunday night, when the Redskins and Ravens play at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the defense must contend with a running back rotation that includes Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain.

McClain, listed as a fullback, leads the Ravens with 545 rushing yards, followed by McGahee with 489 yards and Rice with 423 yards.

"They just plug one in for another," Greg Blache said. "They keep bringing them at you in waves and it's unusual because a lot of teams only have two good [running backs].

"They have a young quarterback in [Joe] Flacco and they use the running game to help protect him. They keep him from being put in long yardage situations."

Added Jim Zorn: "Each of the running backs have different styles and talents. It makes it difficult for the defense because they have varied speeds, quickness and physicality."

As a group, the Ravens have the NFL's third-best rushing attack.

However, they are averaging 3.8 yards per carry, which is 26th best in the league.


The Redskins have been stout against the run this season. They are ranked seventh in the league against the run, allowing just 90.8 yards per game.

Last Sunday, the Giants had 108 rushing yards on 35 carries, a solid 3.1 yards-per-carry average.

-- LATEST ON INJURY FRONT

On Wednesday, 10 Redskins starters missed practice to rest various ailments.

The number dropped to seven on Thursday.

On offense, Clinton Portis remains sidelined with knee and neck injuries and Chris Samuels continues to rest a knee injury.

Portis is expected to be a game time decision.

"He's still trying to loosen up his stiff neck," Jim Zorn said.

On defense, Andre Carter (foot), Kedric Golston (ankle), London Fletcher (foot), Marcus Washington (ankle) and Shawn Springs (calf) sat out practice.

Cornelius Griffin, returning from a shoulder injury, practiced on a limited basis on Thursday.

Pete Kendall (knee) and Randy Thomas (neck) were full-go.

Washington is expected to miss his third consecutive game as he rehabs a high ankle sprain. H.B. Blades would start in his place.

-- FLACCO IMPRESSES

As Redskins coaches put emphasis on stopping the Ravens' ground game this Sunday, they are also raving about rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.

"I'm very impressed for a young quarterback to come in and do the things he has done--it's exceptional," Greg Blache said. "He has shown the ability to manage the offense, read the coverage and handle pressure in pressure situations.

"The coaches have done a good job to give him packages that allow him to grow faster. They didn't impose a system on him. They created a system around him that allows him to be the best he can be."

The Ravens selected Flacco in the first round (18th overall) of last April's NFL Draft. He played college football at Delaware.

So far this season, Flacco has completed 202-of-331 passes--a 61 percent clip--for 2,276 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Said Blache: "Every week, you see [the Ravens' coaches] do a little bit more with him and get more comfortable with him. As he grows, they are letting the package grow right along with him."

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