Practice lull irks Marchibroda Lethargic effort causes coach to vent his anger

Ravens notebook

August 14, 1998|By Mike Preston and Eduardo A. Encina | Mike Preston and Eduardo A. Encina,SUN STAFF Staff writer Gary Lambrecht and Ryan Basen contributed to this article.

The Ravens may have hit the training camp wall.

It happens about this time in preseason and usually requires a change of scenery. But the Ravens will not break training camp until Thursday at Western Maryland College, and coach Ted Marchibroda hasn't seen a strong work ethic at practice since the 19-14 opening win over the Chicago Bears.

"I really don't know what the reason is," said Marchibroda during a five-minute mini-tirade yesterday. "It seems like the rain came on Monday [practice was canceled] and we haven't been the same since. They were in a good rhythm, and we got knocked off and maybe lost our concentration and focus too easily."

"I anticipated a good practice Monday after the day off on Sunday, then we got rained out and Tuesday's practice wasn't that good. It was a lackluster practice today. In order for us to play well, we have to practice well. They've got two days to get it back, and I think they will. They've worked too hard and put too much into this season at this point."

Since the opening day of training camp, the Ravens have worked at a torrid pace and Marchibroda, according to most players, has one of the most physical camps in the league. The Ravens know they must have an edge to compete against the New York Jets tomorrow.

"I really haven't seen the tapes yet," defensive tackle James Jones said. "But he [Marchibroda] said that we didn't look as sharp as we did last week. We're just going to have to look at the tapes and see what we did wrong and prepare for the game."

Williams a question

With starting center Wally Williams' holdout continuing and replacement Jeff Mitchell continuing to practice with the first team, Marchibroda said he is unsure if Williams will be ready to start the season against the Steelers on Sept. 6, even if he returns before then.

"If Wally comes in, I'm just not sure if he will start right away," Marchibroda said.

Marchibroda said he doesn't rule out Williams as the starter, but said the coaches will have to see if he is ready to play.

"I think he's been working out and practicing things," Marchibroda said. "But I don't want to start out this season at a disadvantage. We want to see how things progress and how Wally looks and how he's progressed. But we won't know until he practices."

In Williams' absence, Mitchell will continue to start, Marchibroda said.

Hughes impresses

Cornerback Tyrone Hughes has practiced well lately in full-team drills. On Wednesday, Hughes intercepted two passes and played well in coverage and he nearly picked off another yesterday.

Still, both Hughes and coaches are unsure about the free agent's future. Hughes was signed at the end of July to help a battered group of cornerbacks when Donny Brady and Alfred Jackson were out.

After Brady and Jackson returned earlier in the week, it put added pressure on Hughes.

"I think I've shown that I am a capable back who can help a team out in the NFL," Hughes said. "Whether I make it or not, I am happy with what I've shown here, and I think that I've gotten some tape to show other teams if I don't make it here."

"Tyrone has done the job that we've anticipated," Marchibroda said. "I really can't say any much more than that at this point."

Jury out on Harris

After holding a tryout for free-agent defensive back Corey Harris, the team is still considering whether to sign the former Dolphins starter.

"We are still interested in him," Marchibroda said. "We have to see if he fits in. We could play him at safety and he is a decent special-teamer."

Rugby, anyone?

Rookie offensive lineman Adam Hernandez was a two-sport star in his younger days. He played both football and rugby while attending Churchill High School in Potomac.

After graduating, he continued to play on an under-19 rugby team while enrolled at Yale. After his freshman year, Hernandez was chosen to be captain of the Under-19 U.S. National Rugby Team that played in a three-week tournament in Australia. After a 2-4 showing in the competition, Hernandez decided he wanted to concentrate solely on football.

"There are some similarities between the two games," Hernandez said. "Not so much on defense but on offense. On defense the skills are transferable on tackling. But it definitely helps with being aggressive and in shape. Playing rugby always got me in good shape for football."

Hernandez is now trying to adapt to the offensive line after playing defense for four years in college.

Hernandez was no slouch in the classroom either. He finished with a 3.54 grade-point average, a degree in biology and plans to go to medical school once his football career is over.

Lyons sees chance

The loss of Stevon Moore to a dislocated shoulder for the next three weeks creates more room for safeties lower on the depth chart to make their presence felt. Second-year man LaMar Lyons is certainly aware of those conditions.

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