Fullback Cotton sprains knee X-rays negative

Ravens notebook

status of rookie is uncertain

November 13, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Rookie fullback Kenyon Cotton gave the Ravens a scare when he went down with a knee injury early in yesterday's practice.

Cotton, who missed most of the workout, was told by doctors he had a left knee sprain. X-rays were negative, and a magnetic resonance imaging test was not scheduled.

Cotton will miss an undetermined amount of practice time, and his availability for Sunday's game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles was not known. Tony Vinson worked in Cotton's place.

Cotton hurt his knee on a routine pass play.

"It was a freakish play," running backs coach Al Lavan said. "He caught the pass, then he set to make a [cut]. His foot got caught, and he did a split. When he tried to get up and couldn't, we knew something had happened."

Normal rotation set

A week after injuries to Michael Jackson and Jermaine Lewis prompted Ted Marchibroda to juggle his three-receiver set, the coach plans to return to his normal rotation against the Eagles.

"It was going to be a one-week thing, unless it was extremely productive for us [against Pittsburgh]," Marchibroda said.

Wide receiver Derrick Alexander started in the slot, backup slot receiver Ryan Yarborough was at one wideout and second-year backup James Roe was at the other wideout in Pittsburgh on Sunday night, and the offense had its most unproductive game of the season in a 37-0 rout.

Alexander was ineffective in the slot for most of the evening, and Yarborough made two glaring mistakes. In the first half, he stepped out of bounds before making what should have been a first-down reception from quarterback Vinny Testaverde. In the second half, he dropped a third-down pass over the middle on another play that should have gone for a first down.

"It helped us out, in terms of learning each position and learning the different reads," Yarborough said of the changes. "Those [misplays] were my fault. I'm not going to make excuses. That whole game was mistake on top of mistake on top of mistake, and that's what led to the blowout."

Washington steps up

Veteran defensive end Keith Washington, signed last month, spent much of yesterday's practice working in place of left end Rob Burnett.

Burnett is seventh on the team with 37 tackles and tied for third with three sacks. A year has passed since he had knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"It was a normal Wednesday. Rob is still sore this time of the week, and Keith is really catching on," defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said. "Rob has done a good job the last two weeks. Keith has done a good job since he's been here. He had a great practice."

Washington has gotten noticeable playing time in recent weeks and has impressed the Ravens on special teams (three tackles).

Nothing special

The Philadelphia Eagles have the top-ranked offense in the NFC and are ranked in the top six in every offensive and defensive category in the conference. Overall in the NFL, they are ranked third in offense and defense.

L Yet they are 4-6. The reason? Horrendous special teams play.

"It comes down to field position," Eagles coach Ray Rhodes said. "Our defense is always defending a short field and our offense is always working on a long field. That makes it tough."

Et cetera

Running back Earnest Byner was selected as the Ravens' True Value Man of the Year, an award based on his charity work. Byner was presented with a $5,000 check, which he donated to Aunt Hattie's Place, a Baltimore home for abused boys aged 13-16. Greg Montgomery, who is averaging 41.6 yards per attempt, is the only NFL punter without a touchback. Twelve of his punts have pinned opponents inside their 20.

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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