Graham may not start because of ankle injury Back misses practice time

Ravens notebook

Morris 'about 80 percent'

November 21, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens rookie running back Jay Graham is unlikely to start against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Memorial Stadium because of an ankle injury.

After rushing for 154 yards on 35 carries, Graham was injured in the overtime period of last Sunday's 10-10 tie with the Philadelphia Eagles. He practiced very little yesterday, as veteran Bam Morris took most of the repetitions with the first team.

Morris was replaced by Graham last Sunday because of a toe injury and partly because Morris did not participate in all the team's practices last week.

"It would be tough for Jay to start because he has missed so much time this week," said Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda. "He has shown a lot of toughness this week. I looked at the ankle [yesterday morning] and it was pretty swollen. But he still came out and practiced as much as he could on it. He might play, but I don't think he will start. The final determination will be made at practice Friday."

Graham said: "The injury is getting significantly better every day. Yesterday, I could barely jog; today, I could run and work out with the team."

Morris, who was charged with second-degree assault earlier this week, may have had his best back-to-back practices of the year while filling in for Graham.

"My toe feels better. I'm about 80 percent," said Morris, who has 517 rushing yards on 126 carries. "If they call on me, I'll be ready."

Tough on the line

The Cardinals are one of the NFL's worst teams, but their defensive line has the respect of the Ravens' offensive line.

Ends Michael Bankston and Simeon Rice and tackle Eric Swann complement one another well and are capable of dominating a game. Swann, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, still has 72 1/2 tackles, third-best on the team.

Bankston, whom the Ravens tried to sign in the off-season, has 63 tackles and Rice has 50, including five sacks. Rice will go against Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden, which should be one of the game's best matchups.

"Those guys are really good," said Ravens center Wally Williams. "Rice is [Ogden's] guy while Bankston and Swann are two good veterans, and they move Swann around a lot so he can attack defenses. We have to be firm with him to try and get him out of his game."

Said Ogden: "Simeon is not the strongest guy in the world, but he is quick and active. He has long levers that can keep you from grabbing him. You have to be technically sound because if you slip up on the footwork, he can beat you."

New man on campus

The Ravens' newest wide receiver, Nate Singleton, had almost given up on playing this season when he got a phone call from the Ravens. He was signed Tuesday after being released two weeks ago by the Tennessee Oilers.

Singleton had tried out with the Ravens on Sept. 30, before eventually signing with the Oilers.

"I wasn't sweating getting signed," he said. "I have been in the league six years, so I thought I would wait and get signed by another team next year. It has been a blessing this team called. I'm just trying to get in, learn as much of the new system as I can. I'll probably play on special teams this week, maybe even get in some [punt or kickoff] return work."

Et cetera

Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa did not practice because of the flu. Slot receiver Jermaine Lewis (ankle) also sat out. About 80 students from Douglass and Patterson high schools attended the Ravens' practices and listened to brief speeches by Ogden, offensive tackle Orlando Brown, receiver Michael Jackson and running back Earnest Byner. Pizza Hut, which on Mondays offers $1 dollar off on pizza for every sack the Ravens get on Sunday, could be in for another long day: The Cardinals have allowed 17 sacks in the past two games.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: No TV/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Line: Ravens by 4

Series: First meeting

Tickets: 6,200 remain

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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