Marchibroda passes on naming QB Harbaugh gets the nod if healthy, coach says

Ravens notebook

September 17, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda watched his top two quarterbacks closely throughout yesterday's practice, after which he would not name a starter for Sunday's game in Jacksonville.

Jim Harbaugh got most of the work with the first offensive team, although he still showed the effects of a hyper-extended ring finger on his throwing hand. Harbaugh, who has yet to complete the first half in two games, hurt the finger in the season opener against Pittsburgh, then got benched in favor of Eric Zeier against the New York Jets, after the injury hindered his passing noticeably.

Zeier led the Ravens to a 24-10 victory, despite being hampered by a pulled right calf muscle.

"There's no clear-cut decision as yet, because they are still slightly wounded," Marchibroda said. "Jim threw better [than on Sunday], but not as well as Jim Harbaugh can. Eric is moving, but not as well as he can. As the week progresses, we'll have to see who is totally healthy. If both of them are healthy, Jim is the No. 1 guy."

Harbaugh said he is still bothered by the injury, but added he was pleased with the improved velocity on his passes yesterday.

"Going into Sunday [against the Jets], I wasn't 100 percent, but I thought I could find a way to get the job done. That's the way I feel this week," Harbaugh said. "I haven't been able to finish the first two games. Life isn't fair, let alone football. It's a challenge I'm trying to work through."

As for the running backs, Errict Rhett, pulled late in the first half against the Jets in favor of Jay Graham, worked briefly with the first team yesterday before resting a tender hamstring on the sideline the rest of the day.

Rhett pulled the hamstring during a 46-yard run late in Sunday's 24-10 win, after he had been re-inserted into the lineup.

"I'm one of the most flexible guys on the team. I've probably missed maybe five or six practices in my whole life," Rhett said. "I'm still starting, and I'm going to be ready to play on Sunday. I've got a heart of gold and a mind of steel."

Woodson is Player of Week

Cornerback Rod Woodson was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Jets. Woodson tied middle linebacker Ray Lewis for the team lead with 11 tackles and intercepted two passes, including one he returned 60 yards for the game's decisive touchdown.

Woodson is one of 11 players in NFL history with six career interceptions for touchdowns.

He was not especially overwhelmed by the recognition.

"They don't give you anything for it," he said. "I don't take wins any better or losses any worse in year 12 [of his career] or year one. This is the same thing. Fortunately, for me and the team, this came in a win."

Staten returns to practice

Second-year safety Ralph Staten practiced for the first time in a week. Staten pulled a hamstring a week ago, got involved in a car accident that led to a DWI arrest early Friday morning, then was suspended by Marchibroda and did not accompany the Ravens to New Jersey to play the Jets.

Staten will back up strong safety Stevon Moore and will resume his role as a key pass rusher in the Ravens' nickel package.

"It feels good to be back. I watched the [Jets] game on TV at home. It was weird not being with the team," Staten said. "I've got to be smarter. I have to handle myself better on and off the field."

Hard-hitting Ravens

Jets quarterback Glenn Foley is listed as questionable for their game against Indianapolis, thanks to a vicious, combined hit by Ravens defensive ends Michael McCrary and Rob Burnett in the third quarter.

Foley came away with torn cartilage in his ribs from that play. He might have to give way to former Raven Vinny Testaverde.

"We got [Foley] real good from opposite sides. He was lying there whimpering a little bit, then he hopped up," Burnett said. "You never want to hurt anybody. You want to get a good hit on him."

Said McCrary: "I have respect for [Foley]. That was a pretty good collision, and he showed he's a tough quarterback because he kept playing. That's a Bill Parcells-type of player."

Marchibroda angry

Marchibroda interrupted practice about 90 minutes into the workout to scold the team for its lackadaisical effort.

"We got off to a bad start today," he said. "I don't know if it was the heat or what, but their minds were not on Jacksonville in the beginning."

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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