Cornerbacks recognize Bengals' passing power Defenders must prepare for Blake, Pickens, Scott

Ravens notebook

November 02, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Ravens cornerbacks Antonio Langham and Donny Brady, who have not enjoyed many Sundays this fall, are aware that they could experience headaches again tomorrow when the Bengals come to town.

With the firepower that Cincinnati quarterback Jeff Blake brings, along with receivers Carl Pickens and Darnay Scott, the Bengals make any defensive backfield take note.

"Blake has done wonders in the league ever since he got the starting job [in 1994]," Langham said. "He can throw the deep ball, and he's got the receivers who can go and get it. You've got to give him respect."

Although Blake (1,623 yards, 10 touchdowns) has not been as dangerous this year as he was when he made the Pro Bowl in 1995 -- when he threw for 3,822 yards and 28 touchdowns -- his big plays can beat an opponent, especially when the plays involve Pickens.

Blake and Pickens developed into one of the league's top passing combinations last year, when they combined on 17 touchdowns. Pickens, 6 feet 2, 206 pounds, has the ideal blend )) of speed and leaping ability, and he can punish defensive backs. Pickens and Scott, 6-1, have four touchdown receptions each this year, and if the Ravens don't pressure Blake, Pickens and Scott could pad those figures tomorrow.

Brown won't sit down

Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown went through training camp with a broken hand, and he has battled knee and foot injuries for the past few weeks. But that hasn't stopped Brown from being in the starting lineup for every game, and it will not stop him tomorrow.

Brown, who was using a cane to get around in the middle of the week, is still angry about coming out of the Rams game in the second half last week, when the pain in his foot made him too ineffective to finish the contest.

"I could barely protect myself, so I knew I couldn't protect [Ravens quarterback] Vinny [Testaverde]. But I still feel like I let my boys down," said Brown, who did not miss a practice this week.

Running on empty

Cincinnati coach Bruce Coslet, who took over for Dave Shula after Shula was fired two weeks ago, said the Bengals desperately needed a positive sign after they lost six of their first seven games. They got it with last week's 28-21 victory over Jacksonville.

"When you get into the losing doldrums, it beats you up," Coslet said. "It forces your so-called star players to step up."

Blake and Pickens stepped up last week, combining for two touchdown passes for the first time this year. Coslet is still waiting for the running game to follow suit. Their leading rusher, Garrison Hearst (339 yards, 4.1 per carry), has yet to score a touchdown. Ki-Jana Carter (2.6 yards per carry) is back from the knee injury that caused him to miss his rookie season in 1995 but has yet to round into form. The Bengals are averaging only 3.3 yards per rush.

Miscellaneous

Ed Sewell, the agent for wide receiver Calvin Williams, cut by the Ravens on Tuesday, said Williams has received "no offers yet, but he's going to be traveling soon" to visit teams interested in him. The Packers reportedly are among the teams interested. Three of Testaverde's nine interceptions have been returned for touchdowns.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: Tomorrow, 1 p.m. TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WLIF (101.9 FM), WJFK (1300 AM)

Line: Ravens by 3 1/2

Pub Date: 11/02/96

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