Turner enters, shows veteran moves With Jackson held out, slot insert contributes 4 catches for 54 yards


August 16, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Injuries have a way of creating opportunities. Just ask Ravens wide receiver Floyd Turner.

Turner, who had fallen behind Ryan Yarborough in the battle for the No. 3 receiver position, found himself in the slot against the New York Jets yesterday.

The reason? The Ravens decided to sit receiver Michael Jackson with a sore shoulder, an injury he suffered near the end of XTC Thursday's practice. Coach Ted Marchibroda had said on Friday that Jackson, who participated in the team's walk-through, would play against the Jets.

With Jackson out, Yarborough moved outside to wideout opposite Jermaine Lewis. Turner moved into the slot, and paid the Ravens back with a fine effort during their 33-0 pasting of the Jets.

Turner led the Ravens with four receptions for 54 yards. Three of his catches went for first downs, and two of his receptions in the first half helped the Ravens complete drives that resulted in field goals.

"You're talking about an eight- or nine-year veteran. We have a lot of faith in Floyd," Marchibroda said. "We missed him last year. We wanted to sign him [during the season], but we couldn't afford to. He made some big plays tonight."

Turner's biggest play came in the closing seconds of the first half, when the Ravens were trying to build on a 17-0 lead with their two-minute offense. On a first-and-10 from the Ravens' 45, he slanted across the middle, in between cornerback Ray Mickens and safety Victor Green.

Quarterback Jim Harbaugh -- Turner's former teammate in Indianapolis -- threaded a perfect pass in traffic, and Turner absorbed a hard hit by Green to complete a 26-yard play. Two plays later, kicker Matt Stover's 32-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 20-0 halftime lead.

A field day

One of the most impressive aspects of last night's win over the Jets was that the Ravens dominated from beginning to end. A year ago, the team's second-string units could not keep pace with the first teams.

For example, Harbaugh completed nine of 12 passes for 126 yards last night while backup Eric Zeier was six of seven for 93. The Ravens also had three running backs who averaged over four yards per carry behind an offensive line that was missing two starters and had a third go down in the first period.

"They outplayed us in every phase tonight," Jets coach Bill Parcells said.

Big game for Ofodile

Tight end A. J. Ofodile, who was originally drafted by Buffalo in 1994 and has done his share of time on the injury list and on practice rosters here and in Pittsburgh, knows the time is now for him to produce.

Ofodile, 24, made a spirited push for the No. 3 tight end job with an excellent showing against the Jets. He caught two passes for 58 yards, and his 39-yard touchdown reception from Zeier in the third quarter was a beauty. Ofodile got behind a Jets linebacker, caught Zeier's pass around the 20, cut upfield, then dragged Mickens and safety Scott Frost across the goal line to make it 27-0 with 10: 14 left in the quarter.

"At first, I was going to cut back [on Mickens], but then I saw it was [the 5-feet-9] Mickens, and I knew the laws of physics were on my side," Ofodile said. "At 6-6, if I can't get in over him, shame on me. I'm just hoping to make the coaches trust me by showing them I can be consistent."

Cavil has eyelid injury

Left guard Ben Cavil suffered the most potentially serious injury of the day, a lacerated right eyelid incurred while he was blocking defensive tackle Rick Terry during Stover's 51-yard field goal with 1: 50 left in the first quarter.

Pub Date: 8/16/98

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