Sutter seeking safety in true position Filling in at corner gives hustling rookie education

Ravens notebook

Rhett, Potts bring attitude

July 29, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF Contributing writer Ryan Basen contributed to this article

The worst part of training camp appears to be over for rookie safety Ryan Sutter.

A week ago, Sutter, one of the Ravens' fifth-round draft picks, was feeling sluggish and uncomfortably out of position. Besides adjusting to the heat and the pace of his first pro camp, he was forced to play cornerback for the three days that rookies worked out before most of the veterans arrived to fill out the depth chart.

It was not a pretty sight.

"It was frustrating, because I was getting beat a lot. That started wearing on me," Sutter said. "And my legs weren't underneath me for a while, since I wasn't used to the heat.

Sutter spent some time on the corner yesterday, filling in for veteran Alfred Jackson, who sat out with a pulled hamstring he suffered on Monday.

"I still don't think of myself as a corner by any means, but it's still good work for me being out on the island, forced to react," he said.

"Those guys are the best athletes on the field. It can only help me."

Sutter continues to help his chances with solid work on special teams. Late in the morning workout, he blocked his first punt, then downplayed the moment.

"That was kind of cheating. They kind of set it up to get blocked," he said. "We weren't in pads, so no one was there to cream me when I got [into the backfield]. I'm just hoping to make an impact on special teams."

Coach Ted Marchibroda said: "One of Ryan's assets is he's been an excellent special-teamer [in college at Colorado]. We had him out of position [at cornerback] for a while for the good of the ballclub, and he worked hard and never gave up. I think that's the kind of football player he is."

Practice habits change

Marchibroda has said the acquisitions of players like running back Errict Rhett and fullback Roosevelt Potts should alter the personality of the team, giving it a nastier, more aggressive streak.

Rhett provided another snapshot of those changes during the morning workout. Although the players were not wearing pads, that didn't stop Rhett from leveling defensive end Mike Frederick as he rushed quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Rhett planted his helmet in Frederick's ribs.

Several defensive players grumbled privately, calling Rhett's tactics dirty.

Potts shrugged off that reaction by defending his backfield mate.

"Me and Rhett aren't the greatest backs in the league. We're just hard-nosed guys who get the job done," said Potts, who has delivered numerous crunching blocks in camp. "You have to bring a certain mentality behind that big offensive line. The guys are starting to get the picture. We have to learn how to practice before we learn how to play."

Running backs coach Al Lavan applauded Rhett's block.

"I kind of like that," Lavan said. "You [Frederick] can't come charging in like that without expecting something in return. Tell him to move his ribs out of the way next time."

Brady's knee on mend

Cornerback Donny Brady's initial recovery from a knee injury is going so well that he could be back in uniform within the next two weeks.

Brady, who suffered a bone bruise below his right knee during the veterans' first workout last Friday, already is doing some running in a swimming pool.

The team originally had planned to examine Brady again this week, but spokesman Kevin Byrne said a follow-up MRI has been delayed for now.

Open house tomorrow night

The Ravens will hold an open house at their new stadium tomorrow night.

The stadium gates will open at 6 p.m. The Marching Ravens and cheerleaders will perform at 7 p.m., followed at 7: 20 p.m. by the introduction of the new Ravens fight song.

The team will practice from 7: 30 to 8: 45, marking the first time most of the players have seen their new digs.

The practice and open house are open only to Ravens' season-ticket holders, who have been issued tickets for the event. No one without a ticket will be admitted.

Unless they have a season parking pass for Ravens' games, season ticket holders should not attempt to drive to the stadium. They should use either public transportation or downtown parking lots.

... and don't be late

Rhett, never at a loss for an anecdote, said he learned a valuable lesson about discipline one day when he was attending McArthur High School in Hollywood, Fla.

"I was on my way to football practice, and I was really hungry, so I stopped at this 7-Eleven," Rhett said. "While I'm in there, the place gets robbed. So I duck down behind the counter, where I sit tight until everything is cool.

"When I got to school, I still got yelled at for being late for practice."

Mitchell gets experience

Although the Ravens would rather have center Wally Williams in camp, at least his absence is allowing second-year man Jeff Mitchell to play a serious game of catch-up at the position.

Mitchell missed last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, an injury he suffered during the first week of camp last summer.

Williams, designated as the team's franchise player, is holding out without the long-term contract he wants.

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