320-pound Dalton makes big impact again, probably team Undrafted defensive tackle shows agility


Thompson kicks himself over returns

August 25, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht and Vito Stellino | Gary Lambrecht and Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

Rookie defensive tackle Lional Dalton has turned heads since the first week of training camp, what with his attractive combination of size, strength and quick feet.

In last night's 23-6 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Dalton, 6 feet 1, 320 pounds, probably solidified a spot on the Ravens' roster by making his presence felt once again with the second team.

Early in the second half, Dalton showed his agility by blowing past guard Keith Sims to sack Rodney Peete. During the next Eagles series, there was Dalton charging down the line of scrimmage to drag down running Aaron Hayden for a short gain.

Not bad for a guy who went by the boards on draft day.

"What I have to do is work hard each and every day in practice, and if I make a play or two every day, [Ravens coaches] have to notice me," said Dalton, who came from Eastern Michigan. "Just by being a free agent, I have to do it, because I didn't get the money that draft picks get. [The Ravens] don't need me. I need them more than anything."

The Ravens will cut their roster to 60 today, then to 53 on Sunday. "Nothing is final yet," Dalton said.

Veteran tackle James Jones has become a fan of Dalton's.

"He's such a physical guy. He flashes that power. You wonder how a guy like that can go all the way through the draft without getting taken," Jones said. "He has shown his natural ability. He already knows how to knock the guy in front of him backward."

Added coach Ted Marchibroda: "[Dalton] has played well in the previous two games, and he backed it up with another fine effort tonight."

Thompson's travails

Ravens special teams captain Bennie Thompson can take comfort in the fact that it was only the first half of a preseason game.

Thompson did not exactly bring his A game to the stadium last night. His problems started midway through the first quarter, after the Ravens had taken a 10-0 lead on Rod Woodson's 26-yard return of a fumble recovery for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, which the Ravens stuffed for a short gain inside the Eagles' 20, Thompson committed an offsides penalty to nullify the play.

Given another chance, Philadelphia cashed in, as Anthony Marshall turned the next kickoff into a 39-yard gain to the Ravens' 45. Eight plays later, Chris Boniol's 21-yard field goal cut the Ravens' lead to 10-3. That marked the first points the Ravens' first unit surrendered this preseason.

Later in the second quarter, Thompson was called for holding during a return. The penalty pinned the Ravens back on their 12.

Me and baby brother

Jim Harbaugh doesn't usually root for the opposing team.

The Ravens quarterback made an exception last night because his brother, John, is the special teams coach for the Eagles.

"It was a special night," he said. "I was really pulling for him."

John Harbaugh came into the locker room after the game to get an autograph from his brother. "It was a thrill, the thrill of a lifetime," he said.

Their father, the coach at Western Kentucky, wasn't able to be at the game, but their wives and children, mother and an aunt, uncle and cousin all made it.

"We only played against each other once when we were growing up and then tonight. It was a new experience for us. John was great to me growing up. I didn't have a lot of friends and, fortunately, I had an older brother who let me play with him and his friends. He's just a fine human being and my best friend," Jim Harbaugh said.

But "if it was a regular-season game, it wouldn't have mattered if my brother was over there, my grandfather, my dad or my sainted grandmother, we would have found a way to chop block him," he said.


Meet Edgar, Allan and Poe

At halftime, the Ravens hatched their three new mascots -- Edgar, Allan and Poe.

The three purple mascots emerged from gold and purple-spotted eggs at midfield, each wearing white football pants with wide purple tails. Edgar wears No. 101, Allan 102 and Poe 103. Once freed from their eggs, the mascots who are named after "The Raven" author Edgar Allan Poe, cavorted around the field to the Steppenwolf tune, "Born to be Wild."

Shaky Staten start

Strong safety Ralph Staten started his second game in place of the injured Stevon Moore, and he took the Ravens on an adventurous ride in the first half.

With about six minutes left in the first quarter and the Eagles at the Ravens' 30, Staten rotated over from the deep middle to help linebacker Peter Boulware, who was covering running back Charlie Garner one-on-one down the right sideline.

But, instead of looking for a pass he could have intercepted, Staten leaped recklessly into Garner and Boulware, drawing a pass interference penalty after the trio crashed to the ground in a heap. Eagles ball at the Ravens' 4.

Staten nearly redeemed himself on third-and-goal, but failed to hold quarterback Bobby Hoying's ill-advised pass in the end zone for an interception. Philadelphia settled for a 21-yard field goal.

Searching for Andre

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