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Green doubtful; Dunlap questionable; Adam Jones probable; Harbaugh says Lewis could go

Posted Nov 18, 2011


Jerome Simpson

Updated: 4:40 p.m.

After Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green missed his third straight practice Friday with his sore knee, he was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game in Baltimore (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12). So he's probable to miss his first NFL game.

Cornerback Adam Jones (groin) worked for the second straight day Friday and was deemed probable. Left end Carlos Dunlap (hamstring) was limited all three days this week and was questionable

RECEIVER WATCH: With Green apparently not ready to go, all eyes are on the next men up, Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell. Simpson had some big games early and flashes during games. After he got blanked last Sunday, Lewis and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden have been talking about Simpson's progress toward becoming more consistent in the new scheme.

After practice Friday, Lewis gave a reminder that Simpson took time to adapt to an NFL offense when he arrived via the second round in 2008.

"It took Jerome a long time to get an opportunity to play. It's not like the coaches before were bad coaches," Lewis said. "That's part of it. You have to learn how to do it consistently in order to play. It's not like Jerome changed overnight. He's got to continue to work at it. Now he's learning new things, new opportunity, and hopefully he continues to grow wiith it. He can't control the coverage on him. He just has to make sure when the play is called he gets to the right spots."

What Green has mastered in nine games—the jump ball—Gruden covets for the long-leaping Simpson.

“He’s done some special things. He’s one of those special guys athletically,” Gruden said. “From a consistency standpoint, he’s not where we want him to be or where he wants to be.”

Quarterback Andy Dalton looked to Simpson deep down the sidelines a few times last Sunday to try a couple of those alley-oops Green has caught, but one got thrown out of bounds and one Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor looked like the receiver. Gruden says Simpson has to give Dalton a better target.

“The key for him is to get space. He has to create some kind of room,” Gruden said. “There’s almost nowhere to throw it. If he doesn’t have anywhere to throw it, it doesn’t matter how athletic he is, there’s nowhere to make a play on the ball. So he just has to get better position so he can use his athletic ability.”

But Gruden and receivers coach James Urban have surmised what Simpson's other coaches did.

“He works his butt off. I’ll tell you that,” Gruden said. “He works hard. The key is to stick with it.”

NUMBERS: Simpson is in some good company. This from The Enquirer's Joe Reedy: The lowest receiver catch percentage on those who have been targeted 50 or more times: Moore (Oak) 23 of 54, 42.6 percent; Burress (NYG) 30 of 67, 44.8 percent, Simpson 26 of 57, 45.6 percent; Decker (Den) 34 of 71, 47.9 percent, Vincent Jackson (SD) 35 of 71, 49.3 percent. Some good receivers and big names on that list.

HARBAUGH ON RAY: On Friday morning Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis (foot) was ruled out of the game in some media reports. But the Ravens officially listed him as questionable after he didn't practice at all this week and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had some fun at the media's expense.

"You can’t count Ray out. There could be reports out there, and you guys could turn over some rocks and figure it out and ask and think you’ve got something, and you might have something. But you might not, because you’re talking about Ray," Harbaugh said. "We’ll find out on Sunday. Ray has had shoulders dislocated, and he’s done 35 pushups on the sideline to prove that he can go. He’s had hamstrings that he’s torn off the bone because he went ahead and went when he shouldn’t have. I’ve been updated on some of his history. That’s Ray Lewis.

"So, Ray may go, he may not go. The Bengals, they’ll have to prepare for him either way, so it doesn’t matter. But I think it’s something he could play with, possibly."

When Lewis missed both games against the Bengals in 2005, the Bengals swept the Ravens and got a 114-yard game and 97-yard game from running back Rudi Johnson.

WEATHER CHECK:The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio calls for mostly cloudy skies with a zero percent chance of rain in Baltimore and game-time temperature at 58 rising to 62 by the end of the game with winds out of the southwest at about eight miles per hour.

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