Pees makes best of patchwork defense

Pees makes best of patchwork defense
December 13, 2012, 6:00 pm
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Ravens prepare for Peyton Manning

After missing the last two games and not practicing earlier in the week, Dannell Ellerbe was a limited participant and Terrell Suggs participated fully for the first time since his injury for the Ravens on Thursday.

Ellerbe (ankle) went down Nov. 25 at the San Diego Chargers while in pass coverage though he wasn’t touched. Suggs (biceps) tore his arm when making a tackle in a 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 2.

The Ravens are already depleted at linebacker, also missing Ray Lewis (triceps) and Jameel McClain (neck). McClain already has been declared out for Sunday's home game against the Denver Broncos.

"We’re almost out of the loop. It’s whoever is out there in practice, that’s who we’ve got," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said when asked about Lewis’ availability for Sunday. "I never get caught up in that and saying, ‘OK, let’s wait and hold this out because he might be back.’ Then what happens if he doesn’t come back and you’ve held everything out or you’ve waited? You just have to go ahead with what you have."

Defensive end/tackle Arthur Jones (shoulder) re-appeared at practice after missing Wednesday. He was a limited participant, too, as were tight end Ed Dickson (knee), and running backs Bernard Pierce (back) and Ray Rice (hip).

For the second day in a row, fullback Vonta Leach (ankle), safety Bernard Pollard (ribs), guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) and defensive end Pernell McPhee (groin) did not practice.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (hernia surgery) hasn’t played in the last five games but he fully participated for the second consecutive day. Smith inherited the starting role from Lardarius Webb when he went down with a season-ending knee ligament tear in October.

With McClain out, if Lewis still can’t play -- he’s eligible to return from the injured list as early as Sunday -- then Josh Bynes likely steps into the role of middle linebacker. That means he'll wear the headset and quarterback the defense.

In his second season, Bynes has never started a game for the Ravens. He made one apperance as a rookie. For the first seven games this season, he didn't play a snap.

"I hate to say Josh because it’s only Thursday, so it's hard to tell," Pees said.