Ratliff hopes he can rush to the rescue

A depleted defensive line is desperate for help, and injured veteran Jeremiah Ratliff — a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Cowboys — would be a welcome addition.

The 32-year-old, nine-year veteran continues to work with team trainers on his rehab, and he expects to be more than a steadying influence when he returns — possibly in two weeks.

“I want to get out there and produce,” he said. “I’m not going to say return to form, but be better than I ever was. I’m definitely looking to have the best season of my career with what I have left. That’s my goal.”

The 6-foot-4, 303-pound Ratliff is described by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as “a pro’s pro,” and Ratliff agrees.

“This is my profession and, yes, I take it seriously,” he said. “We’re all one play away from it being over. Just knowing that and experiencing that and having an opportunity to do it again, my approach is more serious than ever right now.”

Continuing education:Because of the severity of his groin injury a month ago and the sprained ankle last week, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was ruled out early the following week in each case. He was unable to take practice reps in both cases, but the inactivity has not adversely affected his progress in learning the offense, according to offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. #147;You#146;d think it would,#148; Kromer said. #147;And obviously it does in the amount of reps that he takes. But he#146;s in every meeting. He comes to the extra protection meetings, to make sure he knows who we#146;re picking up in blitzes. He#146;s at every quarterback meeting. He#146;s in practice. He#146;s helping Josh (McCown). You saw him on the sideline in Green Bay. He#146;s helping coach. He#146;s not missing a rep, other than physically.#148; Injury update:Linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder), quarterback Jay Cutler (ankle) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (groin) did not practice Friday and are out for Sunday. Cutler continued to wear a hard cast and a walking boot to stabilize his injury.Defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring) and long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (calf) also did not practice and are doubtful. Tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) was limited and is questionable. Offensive tackle Jordan Mills (quadriceps) had a full practice and is probable. Six starters for the Ravens are questionable: cornerback Ladarius Webb (groin), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), (knee) and linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh), cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin), wide receiver Marlon Brown (knee) and safety James Ihedigbo (toe). Ngata and Brown did not practice.Linebacker Terrell Suggs (neck) and defensive end Chris Canty (knee) are probable after full practices.

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