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Ravens QB Joe Flacco returns to practice Friday

Ravens QB Joe Flacco returns to practice Friday

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who missed two practices this week with a sore right shoulder, returned to the practice field on Friday, increasing the likelihood that he will play against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Flacco made his usual throws in the brief period of practice open to the media, warming up and then making throws of 10 to 15 yards. He didn't show any discomfort and appeared to have plenty of velocity from his arm.

Coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about Flacco's availability for Sunday, and the official injury report will come out later Friday.

"We'll see," Harbaugh said after Friday's light workout. "We'll see how he responds tomorrow. He was out there running around a little bit, throwing the ball a little bit, so we'll see what happens."

After missing Wednesday's practice, Flacco said he just needed to rest his sore throwing shoulder but hoped to play on Sunday. He also sat out Thursday's workout.

“It is not about being pain free," Flacco said Wednesday. "You can deal with a little pain. It is just about making sure you can throw the ball good enough to go out there and help your team.”

Flacco was receiving treatment after practice on Friday and not available to the media.

Tight end Dennis Pitta said after practice Friday that Flacco "looked good. He was throwing the ball well and didn't seem to be in any kind of pain. ... We're excited to have him back out there for sure."

Pitta, who customarily warms up with Flacco early in practice, said, "It was walkthrough tempo, but just throwing with him, he had good zip on the ball, good velocity, so we should see the same old Joe Flacco."

Behind a Ravens offensive line that has started four different combinations in the past four games, Flacco has taken a pounding this year. He has been sacked 13 times and hit 42 times. Flacco played the entire game against the New York Giants last week and said he felt the shoulder injury afterward.

If Flacco is not able to play, Ryan Mallett would be in line to start. He started the final two games for the Ravens last season after Flacco suffered a season-ending knee injury, going 1-1 in those games.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr shines as first-year starter

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Dominant defense earns Ravens' Za'Darius Smith AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors

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Dominant defense earns Ravens' Za'Darius Smith AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors

The defensive performance on display by the Baltimore Ravens Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in a 21-0 shutout win was flat out historic. So historic that it's earned linebacker Za'Darius Smith AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

A franchise-record 11 sacks were laid on quarterback Marcus Mariota during the Week 6 matchup, with Smith leading the way with three of them.   

So far this season the 26-year-old has 20 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. As someone who is in the final year of his rookie NFL contract, he's certainly proving he is worthy of getting paid this offseason. 

"It feels great, man. It's big," Smith said of the honor during media availability Wednesday. "I know when I first found out I called my mom and she was already looking at it. But I called her and she was trying to congratulate me and was like 'who would've ever thought the guy that played one year of high school football would be where he at now and making so many goals.'"

But earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week isn't the only goal Smith has in mind. His performance through the first six weeks and assisting the No. 1 ranked scoring defense is just a stepping stone to the ultimate honor.

"I was telling her, 'Ma you know this is a good self-goal but my main goal is to get us to the Super Bowl.'" 

The road to the Super Bowl for Smith and the Ravens continues this Sunday vs. Drew Brees and the Saints. 

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Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs.Titans

Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs.Titans

The Baltimore Ravens' Week 6 dominate performance over the Tennessee Titans is gaining national attention. 

A historic game that displayed the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, it's hard to pinpoint who had the biggest impact. 

So in his latest edition of Football Morning in America, NBC Sports' Peter King awarded not one, but two Ravens with weekly honors.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Za'Darius Smith

Against the Titans, Smith led the Ravens defense with three sacks and five tackles in their historic 11-sack game. On of three Defensive Players of the Week, King explained why Smith's performance stood out.

In the most dominant defensive performance of this ultra-offensive season, the Ravens shut out Tennessee 21-0 and had 11 sacks. Another one of GM Ozzie Newsome’s draft gifts that keeps on giving, Smith (2015, round four, Kentucky) contributed three sacks of Marcus Mariota and five tackles in a virtuoso game. Net passing yards for Mariota: 51.

Smith, who's entering the final year of his rookie NFL contract, has shown over six games he deserves to get paid in the offseason. So far this season the 26-year-old has 20 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. 

COACH OF THE WEEK: Don "Wink" Martindale

In his first season as defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale has seamlessly made the transition from linebackers coach to leading the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (12.8). But what impressed King the most from the 21-0 shutout was how Martindale's squad got to Mariota from every direction. 

When a unit records more sacks (11) than completions allowed (10), the leader gets an award. Those are the rules. Martindale’s pass rushers got to Marcus Mariota every possible way—up the middle, around the edges, in the pocket, on bootlegs, you name it. The total set a new franchise record and was one short of the single-game NFL mark of 12. And it came with a familiar face watching: Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees used to hold the same position in Baltimore. Shout out to the Ravens social media team for renaming the account RavenSSSSSSSSSSS, one ‘S’ for each sack.

This Ravens defense, who has always been known for its dominance, is ranked first in points allowed (12.8), first in yards allowed (270.8), second in passing yards allowed (188.0) and third in rushing yards allowed (82.8) heading into Week 7. In addition, they have yet to surrender a second half touchdown all season. Trusting of the talent this roster holds, the respect "Wink" has for his players is equally reciprocated. 

"It was really emotional when they told us we had 11 sacks," linebacker Patrick Onwuasor said postgame. "We just went out there and we were like, ‘We have to get Coach Wink . We have to put the Gatorade on him.’ So, we tried to turn him around so he couldn’t see it coming, and we had to get him real good."

Martindale will now face the No. 1 scoring offense in the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. 

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