Ravens cut 17, look to add Three '98 draft picks among those released

linebacker help sought

August 26, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Coach Ted Marchibroda and his staff began shaping the Ravens' final roster yesterday, cutting 17 players, including three draft picks.

Among the cuts were Ron Rogers (sixth round), a Georgia Tech linebacker, Colorado safety Ryan Sutter (fifth) and Weber State tight end Cam Quayle (seventh), who became "Mr. Irrelevant" again yesterday after earning the title originally for being the last player selected in the NFL draft in April.

The Ravens also put fullbacks Rob Robertson (knee), Tony Vinson (shoulder), offensive guard Sale Isaia (Achilles' tendon), defensive end Kareem Robinson (knee) and rookie defensive tackle Martin Chase (ankle) on injured reserve and began the search for a veteran linebacker to complement their young top six.

The Ravens have 61 players on the roster, and the team will have to get down to its final 53 by 4 p.m. Sunday. Vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome, who has run the drafts the past three seasons, said he was not concerned that only three of seven picks from last April's draft still have a chance of making the team. Chase, a fifth-round choice, would have been a part of a four-man tackle rotation if he had not gotten hurt.

"For every Terrell Davis [Broncos running back] or Jermaine Lewis [Ravens receiver] that makes it from the lower rounds, there are 200 guys who don't make it," Newsome said. "When a team gets better, it gets tougher for draft picks to make the team."

Marchibroda seemed more concerned about preparing his team for Friday's final preseason game, against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Marchibroda said he was delighted the team managed a win Monday, 23-6, over the Eagles. But he was disturbed by the play of the offensive line, which could generate only 101 rushing yards, 42 on scrambles by quarterback Jim Harbaugh.

Marchibroda was so irritated by the lackluster play that he sent the first group on the field to start the second half, and the five were so disappointed with themselves that they didn't want to come out in the third quarter before Marchibroda waved them to the sideline.

The defense came to play again, holding Philadelphia to 149 yards of total offense. The front seven so dominated the Eagles that the secondary went untested for a third straight game. While the defense dominated,the second-string offense moved the ball in the second half, paced by quarterback Eric Zeier, who completed 11 of 15 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown.

Zeier completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Patrick Johnson that gave the Ravens a 17-6 lead in the third quarter. Zeier also hooked up with Johnson for a 50-yard pass that set up a 33-yard field goal by Matt Stover late in the fourth quarter.

But overall, the Ravens, who didn't draw up a game plan for the Eagles, had too many lapses. Besides the poor offensive line play, the Ravens were penalized eight times for 105 yards. The special teams also allowed kickoff returns of 39 and 28 yards.

"We had quite a few missed assignments, and maybe we should have spent more time on it," Marchibroda said. "We had a lengthy week, and maybe we were still in the training camp mode. After seeing the film, I felt like I did last night. We didn't play as well as we're capable or like we did in the first two games, but we're still glad to come out with a victory."

At this point in the season, the Ravens will begin fine-tuning their offense and defense as well as trying to find the right chemistry of players. Marchibroda wants a veteran linebacker, and the team began looking over the waiver wire yesterday.

The Ravens have Rod Woodson in the secondary and veterans like Tony Siragusa and James Jones on the defensive line. They have Harbaugh at quarterback, Errict Rhett at running back and Jeff Blackshear and Orlando Brown on the offensive line.

But the only player with any substantial experience at linebacker is Ray Lewis, who has been in the league just two years.

"If we can find a special teams demon who is smart enough to come in and learn [defensive coordinator] Marvin Lewis' system and he can be an upgrade to our team, then we'll take a serious look," Newsome said.

Other players waived yesterday included quarterback Bill Ward, running back Bill Snell, receivers Stevie Anderson, Duane Gregory, MacArthur Johnson and Donald Richard; offensive linemen Brandon Dyson and Adam Hernandez, linebacker William Morris, kicker Nelson Garner, and defensive backs Tyrone Hughes, Alfred Jackson, Lamar Lyons and Rebert Mack.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: New York Giants

Site: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

When: Friday, 8 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

The line: Giants by 3

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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