Trenches Changes Give Sunday a Different Look

The Bengals and Ravens have sustained injuries and gained bodies since they last met.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Friday, November 6th, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

This weekend’s matchup between the Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals could feature a different look in the trenches.
Antwan Odom will not play after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in a Week 6 matchup with the Houston Texans, paving the way for little-used defensive end Jonathan Fanene to start.

He will face off against Jared Gaither, who did not play the last time these two teams met because of his neck injury.
Even though Odom’s season ended with eight sacks, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron doesn’t think his absence will make that much of a difference considering that statistic might be skewed by a five-sack performance against the Green Bay Packers.
“[Odom] did a great job when he was in there, but the guys that they’ve got playing have filled in, and they’re doing a good job of just the pass rush schemes,” Cameron said.  “So, I think they’re solid regardless. And he had such a big game against Green Bay that those stats might have been a little bit tilted. They’re good as a unit.”
The Ravens have issues along their defensive line, too.  Haloti Ngata has not practiced all week with an ankle injury that required a boot as a precaution.  Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he felt good about Ngata’s chances, but that’s going to be a game-time decision.
Meanwhile, I’m hearing rumblings out of Cincinnati that rookie offensive tackle Andre Smith could see some action on Sunday.
If you watched “Hard Knocks” this summer, you’ll know that he was out of shape coming into training camp late, and then he broke a bone in his foot on Sept. 1.
I think Ravens fans would want the untested lineman in the game going against a Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson pass rush, but I expect Smith to be used mostly in run-blocking situations.  Maybe an unbalanced line, a la Cameron’s style last year?

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