Brew turns corner in a hurry Rookie makes impact 1st month with Ravens

November 23, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Dorian Brew wasted no time announcing his presence on the Ravens' roster, and the quiet rookie cornerback did not need to speak to make himself known.

Back on Oct. 29, when the Ravens signed him off the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad, Brew turned coach Ted Marchibroda's head in his first practice by running step-for-step with veteran wide receiver Michael Jackson in one-on-one drills.

From there, Brew moved onto his first NFL game against Jacksonville on Nov. 10, when he showed impressive speed on special teams and recorded a tackle in that role. Last week in San Francisco, when fellow rookie cornerback DeRon Jenkins left the game temporarily with an injury, Brew came in for a series on the left corner, and got into the thick of things by stuffing running back Terry Kirby for a 1-yard gain on a sweep.

Tomorrow in a rematch against Jacksonville at Memorial Stadium, Brew figures to get more playing time in the Ravens' nickel and dime coverage packages, especially with veteran cornerback Issac Booth having been released this week.

"He seems to do something on the field that catches your eye every day," Marchibroda said of Brew, a 5-foot-10, 182-pounder out of Kansas. "He's quick, he has good football sense, good athletic ability. At this point, he's been a nice surprise."

The biggest surprise is that Brew ended up on the Ravens' roster, after getting drafted in the third round by the Miami Dolphins seven months ago.

Brew's downfall began when he hurt his right knee while working out last February. After his second minicamp in Miami, he had torn cartilage repaired by arthroscopic surgery on June 13. That left him too far behind in coach Jimmy Johnson's immediate plans. Johnson cut him following the third preseason game, after which the Chiefs signed him to their practice roster.

"When Miami let me go, I wasn't healthy at all, but Jimmy Johnson had to make his moves before I got healthy," Brew said. "I'm not mad. I know how he is and how he works. I wasn't surprised. I didn't like the atmosphere down there anyway.

"This was a good situation for me to come into. Once I got here, I did some good things. The first impression is always the best."

Brew has made a good impression on veteran free safety Eric Turner.

"He [Brew] is still trying to grasp the system, but he's getting by with talent and athletic ability, which he seems to have a lot of," Turner said. "It's nice to see a guy come in and compete by challenging receivers every day [in practice]. It's amazing that they [the Dolphins] let him go. But hey, thank you. Their loss is our gain."

Brew made a collegiate name for himself in the resurgent Kansas program, where he lined up to face such Big Eight notables as Colorado's Michael Westbrook (now with the Washington Redskins) and Charles Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers). By his senior year, which he finished with 48 tackles, four interceptions and first-team All-Big Eight honors, Brew was covering the opposition's top receiver each week.

He might have been drafted higher had he not hurt his knee, which he tested during two trips to the scouting combine in February. Brew said he has not lost any strength or quickness as a result of the surgery.

"Having to learn the defense was the only minus to me coming here. I'm pretty happy with where I am," Brew said. "I hope I play more than I've played the last two weeks. I feel like I've showed what I can do, as far as my skills and ability are concerned. I think they [coaches and teammates] see it, too."

Rookie middle linebacker Ray Lewis likes what he sees in Brew.

"You can tell by the way he carries himself that he's a competitor," Lewis said. "He wants to make a play."

NOTES: Two days ago, Lewis had been ruled out of tomorrow's game, but after practicing yesterday for the first time since spraining his ankle against Jacksonville on Nov. 10, Lewis' condition was upgraded to doubtful. He will be used as a backup against the Jaguars tomorrow. "It's nice to get a surprise this way for a change," Marchibroda said about Lewis' progress. "People were telling me I'd be out for four or five weeks, but that's not my mind-set," Lewis said. The Ravens, 0-4 against the AFC Central, are one of only three NFL teams -- the Jets and Saints are the others -- not to have beaten a divisional rival this year.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

When: Tomorrow, 1 p.m.

Where: Memorial Stadium

TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WLIF (101.9 FM), WJFK (1300 AM)

Line: Ravens by 3 1/2

Pub Date: 11/23/96

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