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Steelers' Roethlisberger ruled out for Ravens game

Steelers' Roethlisberger ruled out for Ravens game

PITTSBURGH (AP) For the third consecutive game, the Steelers will be without their star quarterback. At least it appears as if they'll have the quarterback of their defense and the reigning team MVP back on the field.

Ben Roethlisberger will not play Sunday in Baltimore, meaning Charlie Batch will make his second consecutive start at quarterback for the Steelers (6-5), who have lost each of the first two games Roethlisberger missed.

Unlike a defeat at home two weeks ago to the rival Ravens (9-2) and an upset loss this past Sunday in Cleveland, however, the Steelers likely will have safety Troy Polamalu and receiver Antonio Brown in uniform and active.

Polamalu and Brown both practiced fully all week and are listed as probable.

Brown, voted MVP by his teammates last season, confirmed he will play against the Ravens. But he did add, ``I'm definitely sore, definitely feeling it right now.''

Brown was knocked out of a 24-20 win over the New York Giants Nov. 5 due to an ankle injury. He was walking gingerly in the locker room.

``But you've got to persevere,'' Brown said, ``and get there and take care of myself. I don't want to put a percent on (how the ankle feels). I'm just relying on my spirit right now. I'm looking forward to Sunday, excited for the opportunity to get back out there.''

Brown expects to add to the four career passes he's caught from Batch, who threw three interceptions in a 20-14 loss in Cleveland that dropped him to 5-3 as a starter over 11 seasons in Pittsburgh.

Roethlisberger threw briefly early in practice Friday but was in a sweat suit watching by the time practice ended. He will miss a third consecutive game since sustaining a sprained right shoulder and a dislocated rib in a 16-13 win against Kansas City Nov. 12.

With top backup Byron Leftwich (ribs) also out, the Steelers turn again to the Batch, 37.

``He's getting more and more comfortable. You could tell last week - that first day of practice - he was kind of a little off,'' receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. ``But this entire week, he's had three good practices, and we're looking forward to it hopefully transitioning to the game.''

Polamalu, a five-time All Pro, has not played a full game since the opener in Denver because of a right calf injury. He returned to play against the Philadelphia Eagles Oct. 7 but left in the first quarter when he re-aggravated the injury. Without him, though, the Steelers have ascended to No. 1 rankings in total defense and in passing defense.

``It means a lot (having Polamalu back), getting leadership and stability out there again,'' defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau said. ``Our guys have done a good job without him. I don't think he will be able to be out there every snap but he is going to be able to take a significant role.

``Let's face it: When you can have him on the field, it's a plus for us.''

Also ruled out for the Ravens game is linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley left Sunday's game in Cleveland during the first quarter with an ankle injury. Fill-in Jason Worilds had two sacks the rest of the game to give him a team-high five.

With rookie Mike Adams (ankle) not available Sunday, the Steelers turn to their third-string right tackle, rookie seventh-round pick Kelvin Beachum. That might not be the only shuffling along the offensive line. Guard Willie Colon is listed as questionable due to a knee injury that flared up late last week and prevented him from playing in Cleveland.

Colon returned to practice - albeit in a limited capacity - on Friday after sitting out the Wednesday and Thursday. If he cannot play, the Steelers will move All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey to left guard and start Doug Legursky at center.

Pouncey's athleticism makes him a good fit for guard, a position the Steelers originally considered putting him at after drafting him in 2010.

``I'm going do what's best for the team,'' Pouncey said. ``The coaches asked me to do it, and I said, `Not a problem.' It's football. I'm an O-lineman, and I've got to adjust to it. It's still run blocking and pass blocking. It's not like I'm running screens or anything.''

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NOTES: WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs) is questionable, while LT Max Starks (back) and NT Casey Hampton (illness) are probable. ... The Steelers haven't lost three in a row since 2009. ... After the Ravens game, Pittsburgh closes with San Diego, Dallas, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

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Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

Proposed NFL rule change would eliminate Ravens' intentional holding strategy

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

It made everyone do a double-take, then it made perfect sense to non-Cincinnati and non-Pittsburgh fans.

Back in Week 12 when the Baltimore Ravens held off the Cincinnati Bengals 19-14, it wasn't a single touchdown that made national headlines. Rather it was a game ending safety that cut a seven-point deficit to only five. 

On the final play, numerous Ravens players held the opposing Bengals, who were setting up to receive punt, with 11 seconds left on the clock. Punter Sam Koch, just sat back, draining the clock before finally running out the back of the end zone with the clock at zero. 

SEE LINK FOR FULL RULE EXPLANATION

Thursday it was proposed to the NFL's Competition Committee to make plays like this illegal. 

While it may be considered unfair to some, making this new rule would simply add to an already expanding rule book and only be used for a select handful of plays a year, maybe. 

Eliminating cleverness of coaches that are well versed in the NFL rule book, should not be the approach of the of rule adaptations. There is no impact on player safety nor does it make the game 'more watchable' (like the extra-point rule).

Not only that, but the new proposed rule just leaves another set of loopholes for coaches to take advantage of at the end of a game. What if team trying to score on the last play commits two offensive penalties just to get another shot at the endzone?

But before making a massive overhaul to fix all of the loopholes in the NFL rule book, can we establish what a catch is first?

MORE RAVENS: Tony Jefferson used Madden to make free agency decision

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Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Ravens mock draft roundup: Mike Williams continues to pop up

Just over a month away from the NFL Draft, mock drafts across sport media sites are beginning to narrow in on players that fit specifically into blaring holes on a team's roster.

As the first wave of free agency has come through, a majority of the top names at each position has been snatched up. While the Baltimore Ravens can still sign a handful of free agents on the open market, getting backup or a young star in a key position can be a the primary goal. 

Here's a look at who some of the various analysts have the Ravens taking with their No. 16 pick in the first round. The general consensus is help in the defensive secondary and at the wide receiver position.

DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, Ben Standig, CSN-Mid Atlantic

Standing: At some point the Ravens must find an edge pass rushing replacement for Terrell Suggs. Charlton might be better stopping the run than rushing the passer right now and yet he had nine sacks in 10 regular season games.  

SEE STANDIG'S FULL 2017 MOCK DRAFT

SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Rob Rang, CBS Sports

Rang: With starting safety Matt Elam a pending free agent and Eric Weddle poised to enter his 11th NFL season, the Ravens may very well be looking for help in the secondary in the 2017 draft. Peppers starred as a linebacker in 2016 but possesses the agility and speed to handle coverage.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

Brugler: The Ravens have plenty of speed at receiver, but only average size. Williams has only average speed, but his body control, catch radius and overall size are where he shines.

WR John Ross, Washington, Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Brooks: An electric playmaker with speed to burn would be a welcome addition to an offense that wants to play long ball with Joe Flacco at quarterback.

DE Charles Harris, Missouri, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Jeremiah: Harris is a very productive edge rusher who is plenty athletic enough to drop in coverage if needed.

WR Mike Williams, Clemson, Chris Burke, SI.com

Burke: Baltimore has two receivers, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, who can scorch defenses deep. They need a physical, intermediate threat. Check.

CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, Peter Schragers, FOX Sports

Schragers: I seem to be a lot higher on Humphrey than other mock draft pundits. Oh well. I’ll ride with the star of the Alabama defensive backfield from last season. The son of NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, he was a stud at the well-known Hoover High and a prime recruit of Nick Saban’s. An opportunistic player who started for two seasons in Tuscaloosa, Humphrey forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes in 2016. Baltimore already has added Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson to its defensive backfield but might not be done.

RELATED: REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP