J. Lewis shows Bears some muscle Diminutive speedster blocks well in first test as outside receiver

Ravens Notebook

August 11, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Eduardo A. Encina and Ryan Basen contributed to this article.

Wide receiver Jermaine Lewis says he believes he passed his first test, even though he didn't catch a single pass Saturday night in the Ravens' 19-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

Despite being only 5 feet 7 and weighing just 172 pounds, Lewis said he had a solid day blocking for a running attack that finished with 197 yards.

There was concern that Lewis, who played the slot or inside receiver his first two years in the league, would have problems getting off the line of scrimmage against more physical and talented cornerbacks on the outside.

Game 1 goes to Lewis.

"I thought I did all right," said Lewis. "I didn't catch a ball, but I thought I blocked well. I had no problem getting off the line of scrimmage and into my routes and I think I'm pretty good at that because a lot of guys can't get their hands on me.

"We went into the game wanting to establish the run and we were getting five yards a pop on first down. I think this week we'll open it up a little more."

Both coach Ted Marchibroda and quarterback Jim Harbaugh agreed that the Ravens need to get the ball downfield more often to stretch defenses. Harbaugh threw only one long pass, which barely missed the outstretched hands of Lewis. Tight end Eric Green was his favorite target in the first half, catching four passes for 18 yards.

"Once my legs get a little fresher, I'll be able to get underneath that one," said Lewis.

Dalton impressive

One rookie who impressed defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis on Saturday night was tackle Lional Dalton, a 6-1, 320-pound free agent who played at Eastern Michigan last season. Marchibroda has spoken highly of Dalton and several other young defensive linemen since mini-camp in June.

Dalton made several plays against Chicago, once holding off a double team with sheer power, then scraping off the blockers to make the tackle. He finished with two tackles.

"Lional Dalton did a good job for us," said Lewis. "I think he is beginning to get a better understanding that being a lineman is more than just brute strength. It also involves staying on your feet and getting to the ball."

Tickets to go on sale

Tickets for regular-season games will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. at the ticket office (near Gate D on Russell Street) and through Ticketmaster, 410-481-SEAT. The Ravens have at least 6,000 tickets available for each game, except the sold-out opener against the Steelers.

Ticket operations director Roy Sommerhof expects considerable sales on the first day.

"With all the excitement with the new stadium and an improved team, our sense is that a number of the games, including the Colts game, could come close to selling out on Sunday," Sommerhof said.

Time running out

Ravens center Jeff Mitchell continues to run with the first team, but says he is hindered by regular Wally Williams' holdout. Mitchell has drawn praise from Marchibroda in recent weeks.

"One of the tough things about Wally not being here is that I can't watch him play," Mitchell said. "It's nice to learn from a center like Wally."

Mitchell understands that once Williams' holdout ends, he will most likely split time as a backup center and guard. Mitchell has learned to accept that his time as center is limited and that the switch may not come easily.

Turner on edge?

Veteran receiver Floyd Turner was signed in July to bring depth and experience to a young group of wide receivers and most likely to play in the slot as the team's third receiver.

On Saturday night, though, Turner did not line up in the slot with the first-team offense. Instead, Ryan Yarborough filled in and played well.

Turner saw limited playing time as a reserve but did not catch a pass. This may have been a signal from Marchibroda that Turner has not yet locked up a roster spot.

Despite that disappointment, Turner is not downcast. "It was expected that I wouldn't play much. I didn't play at all last year. Those guys [Yarborough, Stevie Anderson and Pat Johnson] did," said Turner, who sat out the 1997 season after playing in 1996 with the Colts.

"It's not a setback. It's OK because I didn't have the pressure of being thrown into the fire. I can sit back and take this process of learning the offense step-by-step. Sometimes if you rush things they can go badly for you.

"Hopefully I'll have the chance to get back into the flow of the offense this week and catch a couple of passes in our next game."

Roe eager to return

After missing Saturday's game with a hamstring injury, wide receiver James Roe is confident that he will return to practice this week, maybe as early as today.

Roe was frustrated by sitting out against the Bears in the midst of intense competition for the slot receiver spot. He says now that it's no longer a big deal.

"I can't worry about Saturday anymore," he said. "It is a little bit of a setback. I wanted to try to do some things on the field and go over them on film. But I have to get ready for the Jets and focus on them now."

Old friend awaits

The Ravens will be facing old teammate Vinny Testaverde on Saturday when they play the New York Jets, but Testaverde won't influence the team's game plan one way or another. "There are certain things you want to improve on, so you're not as concerned about game planning," said Marvin Lewis. Marchibroda canceled yesterday's practice because of lightning and severe thunderstorms. Reserve offensive guard-tackle James Atkins suffered a groin injury Saturday night and may miss a few days of practice. Despite having a new stadium, the Ravens are not quite comfortable in their home. Marchibroda said the team went out the wrong entrance Saturday night. Aug. 25 is the deadline for teams to trim their rosters to 60 players and the cut to 53 is Aug. 30. The Ravens currently have 80 on board.

Pub Date: 8/11/98

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