PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
The Ravens continued to miss defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (ankle) and long snapper Matt Katula (elbow) in Thursday’s practice.
It was the second day in a row neither player could participate.
Ngata was nowhere to be found in the locker room on Thursday, but defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he was optimistic he would have the 6-foot-4, 345-pound Ngata in the lineup this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“That’s the trainers’ decision all the way, but I like Haloti,” Mattison explained. “I think Haloti will do what he has to, to play.”
If Ngata does not play at Paul Brown Stadium, his likely replacement would be defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who was a regular starter last year for an injured Kelly Gregg.
“This is a very physical league,” said Mattison. “You always are going to be as good as the next guy coming in. So, we feel strongly that the next guy coming in is going to do his job, if [Ngata] is not there. But like I said, I feel very good about Haloti.”
Meanwhile, it is uncertain who the Ravens would plug in for a potentially absent Katula.
Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg quickly dismissed the question when he was asked by a group of reporters on Thursday. The Ravens do not have a backup for Katula listed on the depth chart.
“You looked at the depth chart and couldn’t find one?” Rosburg said. “Well, that’s curious.”
Running back Willis McGahee could actually be that substitute. He attempted a few long snaps during the portion of practice open to the media, something he performed in training camp.
When asked about his outlook for Katula, Rosburg simply stated, “I have no information for you on that.”
The Ravens also had several upgrades to the injury report.
Safeties Haruki Nakamura (chest) and Tom Zbikowski (illness) went from not practicing to limited, joining tight end Todd Heap (ankle) and fullback Le’Ron McClain (shoulder).
Linebacker Prescott Burgess (illness) and cornerback Frank Walker fully practiced after being held out on Wednesday. Linebacker Jarret Johnson (shoulder) also fully practiced.
For the Bengals, fullback Jeremi Johnson (knee), safety Tom Nelson (shoulder) and safety Roy Williams (forearm) were limited, while running back Berard Scott (knee) and tackle Andre Smith (foot) were full participants.