Cotton shouldering share of workload in two-back offense Rookie fullback gets his carries as team concentrates on run

Ravens notebook

October 09, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens went back to work with a 90-minute practice yesterday, and without question, no one was more tired at the end of the day than rookie fullback Kenyon Cotton.

Taking coach Ted Marchibroda's cue regarding the needed improvement in its running game, the team worked extensively on its two-back offense yesterday. To this point, the Ravens have operated almost exclusively out of a one-back set.

"We're concentrating on our running game this week, and on picking up the blitz. We want to use the fullback more in our offense," Marchibroda said.

Enter Cotton, the team's only true fullback, who made the team as a free agent. His improved blocking has raised his stock.

Cotton was smiling and dripping with sweat after practice, after running with the first- and second-team offenses, the scout team and the kickoff squad.

"I've been a question mark to [the coaches], but it's time for me to turn that into a positive," Cotton said. "They told me in a nutshell that it wasn't my all-around game they were worried about. They've been reluctant to play me because of my pass protection [problems].

"I just want to get some chances. It would be nice to get 20 chances a game. But it sure looks like I might get a chance."

Jackson looks for TDs

As the bye week approaches, receiver Michael Jackson isn't exactly satisfied with a bottom line in his performance. Although he remains the team leader in receptions (29) and receiving yardage (427), Jackson is bothered by a glaringly low number in the most important category.

Through six games, he has caught only two touchdown passes. Jackson tied for the league lead last year with 14. Over his six NFL seasons, Jackson has averaged about one touchdown for every six catches.

"For whatever reason, I haven't been in the end zone as much as last year. I'm concerned with that," said Jackson, who ranks fifth in receptions and yardage. "I'm waiting, wanting, wishing."

Fellow receivers Derrick Alexander and Jermaine Lewis are tied for the team -- and tied for second in the AFC -- with four touchdown receptions.

Time for healing

Several days ago, Marchibroda said the bye week would serve as a much-needed break for the team's walking wounded. And the training room was quite busy yesterday, as nine players did not participate in the workout.

They included defensive tackle Tony Siragusa (ankle), defensive ends Rob Burnett (knee) and Michael McCrary (knee), safety Stevon Moore (knee), running back Tony Vinson (neck), safety Bennie Thompson (hamstring), linebacker Peter Boulware (back), running back Bam Morris (ribs, spleen) and tight end Eric Green (stomach virus).

Marchibroda quipped, "It seemed like all of the money was inside."

Rookie safety Kim Herring, who missed the Pittsburgh game with a sprained knee and was expected originally to be out until next week at the earliest, returned to practice ahead of schedule.


The Ravens are second in the league in scoring with 161 points, an average of 26.9 points a game. Alexander is tied for eighth in the AFC with 28 catches and is 11th with 361 yards. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde surpassed Joe Namath for 28th on the league's all-time passing yardage list last week. He is tied for 27th place with Craig Morton with 27,908 yards. Testaverde is 30 yards behind Ken Stabler, 81 yards behind Terry Bradshaw and 282 yards behind 24th-ranked Ron Jaworski (28,190).

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: 4 p.m. Oct. 19

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

Series: First meeting

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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