Frederick survives left-running Saints DE unbowed after battle with line standout Roaf

Ravens 17, Saints 10

September 30, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Mike Frederick emerged from the training room at Memorial Stadium smiling through the pain of a strained left knee, then gave himself mixed reviews after the biggest test of his young NFL career.

Throughout most of yesterday's 17-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints, Frederick filled in at right defensive end for the injured Anthony Pleasant. That left Frederick with the unenviable task of tangling with left tackle William Roaf, a fourth-year player with two Pro Bowls behind him.

Not exactly favorable conditions for one's first NFL start.

Roaf turned the matchup to his advantage as expected, dominating Frederick throughout much of the first half, when the Saints rushed for 85 yards, primarily behind the left side of Roaf and guard Jim Dombrowski.

Frederick did not record a tackle, although he held his ground in the second half, when the Ravens regrouped up front and held New Orleans to 11 rushing yards.

"I'm exhausted. I made some mistakes, and I knew that was going to happen," said Frederick, who suffered a mildly strained knee in the fourth quarter. "They have a really strong left side of the line. It was a battle. Obviously, I didn't win all of the battles. I gave it everything I had. I held my own and played hard."

Frederick, a second-year player, is the second player to step in for Pleasant, who has not performed since suffering a sprained ankle in the season opener four weeks ago. Pleasant's original replacement, Rick Lyle, broke his leg two weeks ago and may not play again this season.

That has left the job temporarily to Frederick. Yesterday, the right end position turned into a free-for-all. Frederick, 6 feet 5, 280 pounds, shared time with James Jones and Dan Footman -- normally tackles -- and little-used Elliott Fortune.

At 6-2, 290 pounds, Jones had never played end until yesterday. Jones recorded the defense's last tackle of the day from his inside position, when he started the pileup that stopped Saints quarterback Jim Everett's fourth-and-inches sneak at the Baltimore 31 with 6: 23 to go. The Ravens took over and ran out the clock.

"When you've got short numbers, you do what you've got to do. I'm a team player," said Jones, who is definitely less comfortable at end. "There's a lot of space to cover out there.

"I talk to Mike every day. He's still learning. The thing about Mike is he's willing to learn. He played a lot for us out there today, and that's going to help him."

As he practiced last week, Frederick knew the Saints would run his way often and not only because of his inexperience. The Saints ran left more than any other team in the NFL last year.

Frederick spent much of the first half getting pushed around by Roaf, and the rest of the line did not fare much better. Frederick's linemates, led by veteran left end Rob Burnett, worked on Frederick's confidence as much as their own adjustments.

"I'm going to try to hold things down [until Pleasant returns], and I accept that wholeheartedly," said Burnett, who had four tackles and the Ravens' only sack. "Everyone has to take care of his own responsibilities and hustle. Me and my boys on the line, we're going to be all right."

Coach Ted Marchibroda said he isn't sure if Pleasant will play next week against the New England Patriots. That will likely mean another start for Frederick, who said he was just happy to be part of the victory.

"I had a good time getting all of those reps," he said. "It's just great to get out there and really feel like you're part of the victory."

Pub Date: 9/30/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.