Corner, guard get Ravens' attention Decisions on starters won't come until July

June 09, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda has been pleased with the team's progress in minicamp, having put in more than 50 percent of its base offense and defense, but the team will not find an answer for a starting left guard and cornerback until training camp begins near mid-July.

The second week of the Ravens' minicamp begins today and ends Thursday afternoon. The team will not meet again until training camp, according to Marchibroda.

"I was real happy with the first week," said Marchibroda. "The guys came out with a businesslike attitude. They were very focused and you could sense a deep concentration by them in what we were trying to get accomplished. We're a closer team, and that's what the first week was all about. I'm not saying that just to say that, either. I feel very strongly about that."

Ben Cavil and Sale Isaia have run with the first team at left guard, trading the top spot every other day. Both have improved, but not to the point where one can claim the position.

Cavil started several games for the Ravens last season in place of injured regular Leo Goeas, who was cut during the off-season. Isaia missed all last season with a knee injury.

"We've seen both guys make big improvements over last year, but that competition will carry over into training camp. We're happy with both players. Each has taken the step to advance as far as they can in minicamp," said Marchibroda.

Marchibroda seems to be leaning toward Rod Woodson and rookie Duane Starks, the team's No. 1 draft pick out of Miami, as the team's starting cornerbacks. Starks has been working behind Woodson at left cornerback in minicamp, but that may be just for him to pick up some helpful tips from Woodson, a former All-Pro.

There is a strong possibility that Starks would start at left cornerback and Woodson would be moved to the right side, forcing DeRon Jenkins to the bench in the regular defense, and to become the nickel back on passing situations.

"Starks has been very, very impressive," said Marchibroda. "DeRon has practiced extremely hard and made some progress. We'll just have to wait and see with DeRon."

Marchibroda said he has been impressed with his new offensive backfield of running back Errict Rhett, fullback Roosevelt Potts and quarterback Jim Harbaugh. The Ravens will spend most of today and tomorrow working on the three-receiver set, with the final day spent refining the entire offense with Harbaugh.

The Ravens also will concentrate on their blitz packages, both offensively and defensively. Marchibroda said second-year outside linebacker Peter Boulware has made great strides in his one-on-one pass coverage and that Jamie Sharper, the team's weakside linebacker, also has made steady progress along with safety Kim Herring. All three players started for the Ravens last season as rookies.

Besides Starks, another rookie who has caught Marchibroda's eye is safety Ryan Sutter, drafted in the fifth round out of Colorado. Neither second-round pick Patrick Johnson, an Oregon wide receiver, nor sixth-round pick Ron Rogers, a Georgia Tech linebacker, will join the Ravens in the second week of minicamp because practice conflicts with their schools' final exams.

Pub Date: 6/09/98

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