Ravens

Johnson plans to play vs Jags despite sore ankle

Johnson plans to play vs Jags despite sore ankle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The only game Chris Johnson has missed in the NFL came when Tennessee sidelined the running back in 2008 to prep for the playoffs.

He isn't about to let a sore right ankle sideline him now.

Johnson said Thursday he takes pride in showing his durability in a league where nearly every player deals with injuries. He calls himself ``a go'' for Sunday's season finale against the Jaguars (2-13) despite missing a second straight practice Thursday after hurting his ankle last week in a 55-7 loss in Green Bay.

``It's a situation where I know it's our last game. I know we're not going to the playoffs or anything like that. I still want to go out and fight with my teammates,'' Johnson said.

The running back already has 1,187 yards rushing this season despite an offensive line missing four starters from the preseason. That ranks as his fourth-best season with a game left in a rebound from last year when he had a career-low 1,047 yards after signing a $53.5 million extension.

Johnson would need one of his best games to do it, but he could join Eric Dickerson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Emmitt Smith as the only NFL players to run for 7,000 yards in their first five seasons with 168 yards rushing. He has run for that many yards once in his career with four games better than that. He currently has 6,832 yards rushing.

``That'd be very nice,'' Johnson said. ``Anytime you can set a record and have your name up there with Hall of Famer type of guys, it's always a great accomplishment to have under your belt.''

He'll be running against a Jacksonville defense that ranks 31st against the run allowing 145.1 yards per game. The Jaguars have given up more than 200 yards rushing three times this season, though they did get back linebacker Daryl Smith last week against New England where they allowed only 103 yards total.

If Johnson starts Sunday as he expects, this will be his fourth straight season starting all 16 games. That dependability is why coach Mike Munchak expects Johnson to play against Jacksonville. Munchak called Johnson's streak amazing considering his size at 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds to go along with 1,442 rushing attempts and 229 career catches.

``That's a credit to him and the way he takes care of himself, that he can withstand that kind of punishment in the NFL that he takes, like any running back takes when they're running the football, catching it, and on the field as much as he is ...,'' Munchak said. ``Hopefully he'll be able to finish up this season with a big game.

With all the offensive line injuries and the Titans (5-10) losing six of their last eight games, Johnson's future with the franchise has been the topic of heavy speculation. A clause in his contract allows the Titans to release him within the first five days of the new league year after the Super Bowl or $9 million of his $10 million salary for 2013 will be guaranteed.

Johnson's contract goes through 2016, and the Titans still see him as one of their best players.

``He's our playmaker,'' Munchak said last week. ``He's the guy everyone knows when you travel around. He's the first guy people want to know about, so you want the running game to do well.''

That hasn't stopped Johnson from being asked about his future repeatedly, and the 27-year-old running back has deflected questions on whether he wanted to be traded and what team he wanted to play for. Even Thursday, Johnson said he's focusing only on Sunday's game and not worrying about any changes that might happen on the roster or the coaching staff after such a turbulent season.

He noted offensive coordinator Chris Palmer was fired, Jake Locker was named the starter at quarterback only to get hurt and replaced by Matt Hasselbeck. Locker's return also was mixed in with the constant changes on the offensive line due to injuries.

``It's a situation I can't worry about,'' Johnson said. ``All I can worry about is the team and try to get a victory.''

Notes: Munchak said TE Craig Stevens (concussion) is highly questionable for the finale with LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) likely out again too. WR Kendall Wright (rib) practiced fully and expects to play. RB Jamie Harper (ankle) did not practice along with LB Will Witherspoon (chest), WR Damian Williams (foot) and C Kevin Matthews (right ankle). Munchak expects Witherspoon, Johnson, Harper and possibly Williams to practice Friday.

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Here's how the Ravens can clinch division, home field advantage in Week 15

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Here's how the Ravens can clinch division, home field advantage in Week 15

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Now that the Ravens have clinched a playoff berth, they’re focused on ensuring they don’t have to leave the state of Maryland in January. 

Should the Ravens beat the Jets on Thursday night, they’ll win the AFC North for the second straight season. Additionally, they can clinch the division even with a loss, should the Steelers lose to the Bills on Sunday Night Football.

Baltimore can also clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory over the Jets and either a Patriots loss or a Chiefs loss.

While that seems promising with three games left to play, the Patriots are headed to play the 1-12 Bengals while the Chiefs are hosting the Broncos. Both games are at 1 p.m., so it's likely the Ravens will have to wait another week to clinch a first-round bye.

And should the Ravens hit the lottery and both the Patriots and Chiefs are upset, the Ravens will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Jets.

With the injuries they’re expected to deal with on Thursday against the Jets, any chance to rest starters and veterans would be a welcome one for the Ravens. Especially considering past Super Bowl teams and how they reached the final game.

Since the Ravens' victory over the 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl, five out of the last six champions were their conference’s No. 1 seed. 

Over the season, the Ravens have shown they’re up to the task of facing playoff-bound teams, too. As of the end of Week 14, they’ve already played the other five teams currently slotted to make the AFC Playoffs. They’ve gone 4-1 in those games — the lone blemish a 33-28 loss to the Chiefs in Week 3 — and have outscored those opponents 156-100. 

So if the Ravens beat the Jets on Thursday, they’ll certainly be scoreboard watching on Sunday afternoon. 

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Lamar Jackson limited while Mark Andrews and Ronnie Stanley miss Monday practice

Lamar Jackson limited while Mark Andrews and Ronnie Stanley miss Monday practice

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Three days after the Ravens practiced with all 53 members of the active roster, there’s now legitimate injury concerns for the AFC’s top team. 

Tight end Mark Andrews and left tackle Ronnie Stanley both missed practice with a knee injury and a concussion, respectively, whlie Lamar Jackson was a limited participant with an elbow injury. The team will have just two more days to prepare for kickoff against the Jets, a little over 72 hours after the team’s first practice of the week. 

The most notable injury, however, was Jackson’s absence. 

“We’ll see,” coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson’s practice availability this week. “It’s less than 24 hours after the game, it’s hard to say. It’s not a serious injury in that sense. This is day-to-day when we play Thursday night, so we’ll see where we’re at.”

Harbaugh declined to share more about the specific injury to Jackson. 

When asked about Stanley’s concussion, he also declined to share more about the team’s injuries. 

“I’m not going to get into injuries, we just got done playing the game 24 hours ago,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to play a game Thursday night. The guys that are ready to play will play. The guys that aren’t won’t. So just look at the injury report and take it from there.”

While it’s promising that Jackson was just a limited participant, the absences of Andrews and Stanley — and special teamers Anthony Levine and Chris Board — are far more worrisome. 

Stanley has missed just a handful of snaps this season, and played in 100 percent of the snaps against the Bills. 

Andrews played just nine snaps, as a knee injury kept him out of the lineup for the majority of Sunday’s game. 

Should neither of the four that missed practiced be able to go, the Ravens will have to replace their starting left tackle, leading pass-catcher and two special teams starters in short time.

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