Coach airs it out over flat practice Sluggish workout draws earful from Marchibroda, 'it wasn't a good one'

Ravens notebook

October 30, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

It has become a pattern during the 1997 season. The Ravens win a game. The Ravens feel good about themselves. The Ravens get chewed out during a lethargic, midweek practice.

It happened again yesterday, three days after the Ravens ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Washington Redskins. Near the end of a workout that, at best, lacked crispness, Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda called the team together for an animated, one-sided chat.

"They didn't practice as well as we thought they would. It wasn't a good one," Marchibroda said. "I mentioned in the morning meeting that we can't be self-satisfied. I have full confidence that they'll come back and do better tomorrow."

"It wasn't one of our better practices, and no one wants to create a pattern like that," defensive tackle Larry Webster said. "We're out there for a reason, not just to be out there."

Offensive guard Jeff Blackshear said part of the reason for the team's lethargy was soreness left over from Sunday's game. Center Wally Williams attributed the flat practice partly to the team's preparation for the New York Jets' 3-4 defense. Sunday will mark only the second time this season the Ravens have faced that alignment.

"You've got to work toward perfection," Williams said. "I don't expect every practice to be a good one. Then again, we can't afford a bad one." He has been with the team for only two weeks, but defensive end Keith Washington is beginning to make a mark with the Ravens.

In Sunday's victory over the Redskins, Washington participated in about a half-dozen plays as a backup end on both sides. He also recorded two special-teams tackles.

"I'm waiting for the opportunity to get into the thick of the [defensive line] rotation, but it does make you feel welcome when you contribute, especially when you've only been here for two weeks," said Washington, 6 feet 4, 270 pounds.

Washington spent the previous two years with the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. Originally signed as a free agent by the Vikings out of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1995, Washington spent most of the season either on the practice roster or on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

He was signed by the Lions shortly before the 1996 season opener, and went on to play in 13 games, in which he recorded six tackles and five special teams stops. He also caused a fumble on special teams. The Lions waived Washington on Aug. 26.

"I've got a ways to go to catch up," Washington said. "The only way to be ready for football is to play football. I'm glad to be here."

Marchibroda said: "He's been in the league for a few years, and we were especially happy with his performance on special teams. We hope he is a guy who can spell both of our ends. That would be a big lift."

A mouthful

Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, the top pick in the 1996 draft and a man who is never at a loss for opinions and unique perspective, was at it again during a conference call yesterday.

When asked about the difference coach Bill Parcells has made to the 5-3 Jets -- who find themselves in a three-way tie atop the AFC East, the latest the Jets have been in such a position in a decade -- Johnson did not hold back.

"The difference is, we're not 1-15 [last year's record]," Johnson said. "We've got a new coaching staff, a new attitude. The players have something to play for. We're just trying to do our job and get to the next millennium."

On Parcells: "He wants to win, and he teaches you about winning. I enjoy working with him. I've respected him from Day One, but he really doesn't care if you respect him. Either way, he's going to put 11 guys on either side of the ball and win."

On playing in New York: "If you don't have your priorities straight or if you care what people say or write about you, New York is not the place for you."

On his relationship with fellow receiver Wayne Chrebet, whom Johnson criticized in his book, "Just Give Me the Damn Ball": "I don't have a problem with Wayne. You guys have been reading too many papers and watching too many of those shows. Just give me the damn ball. I'm out. Peace."


Cornerback Antonio Langham (hamstring) and receiver Jermaine Lewis (knee) did not practice yesterday. Tight end Eric Green (wrist) was limited in the workout. Rookie safety Kim Herring worked a lot with the first team. Herring played for most of the Washington game after replacing Rondell Jones (knee) in the first quarter. "Kim is going to play a lot of football this week," Marchibroda said. With 51 players on their active roster, the Ravens have $38,000 worth of salary-cap room, the third-lowest in the league. The St. Louis Rams have $37,000 left, and the New York Giants are $2,000 shy of the cap. The 1-7 Cincinnati Bengals, last in the AFC Central, have $3.7 million in cap room, the highest in the league.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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