Late For Work 9/19: LT is Out for Sunday; LJ is Questionable

Also P,hilip Rivers gets fined, Hank Baskett news, a knock on the Steelers and predictions.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Saturday, September 19th, 2009 at 9:00 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

The injury report reveals that Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson (ankle), C Nick Hardwick (ankle) and DE Travis Johnson (groin) will not play this Sunday. Meanwhile Ravens TE L.J. Smith is questionable (hamstring) and S Tom Zbikowski (concussion) is doubtful. The Ravens cannot get too excited about the absence of former NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers’ “next man up,” Darren Sproles, is no slouch. Watch for Rivers to try to connect with Sproles on a few screen plays, which if run effectively, could fatigue and frustrate the Ravens’ defense.

I would be excited to see L.J. Smith dressed and ready to play. Even though Todd Heap looked outstanding in the Ravens’ season opener, I can only imagine what craziness Cam Cameron could stir up with both these tight ends on the field. But hamstrings can be tricky injuries and easily reaggrivated so it would behoove Smith not to rush his return.

QB Phillip Rivers was fined $7,500 for taunting in San Diego’s 24-20 comeback win over Oakland, says ESPN’s Bill Williamson. Rivers was penalized 15 yards after he threw the ball at the ground, took his mouthpiece out and said something in the direction of Oakland defensive tackle Gerard Warren. The Bolts QB denied he was taunting. Regardless, Rivers brings passion and fire to the field and if the Ravens are going to win in San Diego Sunday, you can bet Rivers will go down swinging.

According to Ken Murray of the Baltimore Sun, when the Eagles cut Baskett this week, the Ravens made a hard run at him, but lost out to the Colts. Head coach John Harbaugh explains:

“In my opinion, Hank would have come here,” Harbaugh said. “He pretty much made that clear. Hank and I have a great relationship. … [the Colts] had an advantage of [having] one more day. They’re not playing until Monday night. Their advantage was [that] their opportunity to get Hank up and playing this week was better than ours was. He wouldn’t have been here to practice until Thursday or Friday. That was a little tougher for us to make a decision, because when you bring somebody up, you’ve got to let somebody go. The most important thing for us this week was going to be the Chargers game. We had to keep that foremost. We tried to pull it off, but the fact that they play Monday night was the key.”

The Chargers team website confirmed
enough tickets have been sold to avert the local television blackout of the Ravens-Chargers matchup. I’m happy for San Diego fans; I’m also happy the Ravens have already sold out all eight regular season games this year

Pittsburgh is in trouble because it has a mediocre running team on its best day. I didn’t say it, former Steelers running back and’s Jerome Bettis did. He has been brutally honest in his assessment of Pittsburgh, despite being “100 percent behind them.”  Nine more games will be played before the Ravens get their rematch with the Steelers, but how the AFC North rivals compensate for their “mediocre” rushing attack is something to monitor until then.

Peter King expects the Ravens-Chargers fight to go down to the 2-minute warning. Ultimately, King believes Phillip Rivers will make one more play than Joe Flacco and picked the Bolts to be victorious. Going head-to-head with Rivers will be a good test for the Ravens sophomore quarterback. If this game is as close as the Sports Illustrated columnist thinks it’s going to be, Flacco could have an opportunity put the game on his shoulders and prove he can win on the road against a respected opponent.

Let’s hear your predictions. I will give a “Play Like A Raven” T-shirt to the person who most correctly picks the winner and score of this weekend’s Ravens-Chargers contest.  If more than one person gets it correct, the T-shirt will go to the person that entered their prediction in this “Late for Work” blog first.

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