Veteran Frase signed to fill team's need for second long snapper 10-year pro replaces Le Bel

Ravens notebook

Kinchen likely to handle short, long snaps Sunday

October 15, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens filled a need for a second long snapper yesterday by signing 10-year veteran Paul Frase, a defensive end who has played for three teams since getting drafted by the New York Jets in 1988.

Frase, 6 feet 5 and 275 pounds, takes over for the departed Harper Le Bel, whom the Ravens have placed on injured reserve with an elbow ailment.

Frase spent his first seven seasons with the Jets -- including 1990 on the reserve/football injury list while overcoming hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease) -- before signing with Jacksonville in 1995.

A year later, he was part of the Jaguars team that went to the AFC championship game. Last year, Frase played with Green Bay, and enjoyed his first Super Bowl experience. The Packers waived him on Aug. 25.

"This is a good opportunity to lock in again. I've been working out, staying in shape," Frase said. "I'd love to get some snaps [on the defensive line], but everybody is healthy and playing well there. I think they want me to be ready to [long] snap. I'll be ready if they need me this week."

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said veteran tight end Brian Kinchen is expected to assume short- and long-snapping duties against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Kinchen also is starting in place of the injured Eric Green (ruptured air sac). A torn tendon in Kinchen's left thumb and a fractured index finger on his right hand have limited his snapping ability, confining him to field goals and extra points.

"It looks like Kinchen will do it [long snap] while we bring Frase along," Marchibroda said.

Turner ready for action

With wide receiver Michael Jackson listed as questionable for Sunday with a groin injury, veteran Floyd Turner worked in

Jackson's place at practice yesterday.

Turner, a nine-year veteran who was one of only four active receivers in Sunday's 12-8 loss to Tennessee, never ran an offensive play against the Oilers.

Turner said he had planned to address his lack of action with Marchibroda this week, but changed his mind.

"To be honest, I'm just going to make the best of the situation," said Turner. "After Sunday, I'll tell you if I'm feeling better or not."

Will shotgun get a shot?

Eric Zeier saw his share of blitzing defenses against the

Oilers, who sacked Zeier three times, hit him hard on numerous other occasions and generally made life miserable for the fourth-year quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers promise to bring the same kind of pressure.

Will the Ravens counter with some offense out of the shotgun formation? Maybe, but probably not, based on the amount of time they've devoted to the formation. They showed it briefly during the preseason.

"We just haven't had enough time to really work on it. [Center Jeff] Mitchell hasn't done a great deal of [shotgun snapping]," Marchibroda said. "We may have to go with it, but I don't think it would have made a difference [against Tennessee]. Some quarterbacks don't like it, because it forces you to look at the ball instead of the defense. At this point, Eric is more comfortable being under center."

Starks plays the heavy

Remember the pre-draft speculation about rookie cornerback Duane Starks, specifically his weight? At 5-10, 170 pounds, Starks was deemed by many observers to be too light to play effectively in the NFL.

After leveling numerous opponents with crunching blocks on special teams, Starks doesn't look so tiny anymore.

His teammates certainly agree. Backup offensive lineman Ben Cavil has coined a nickname for the Ravens' first-round draft pick. Cavil calls him "210."

Said Starks: "I only weigh 170, but I play like I'm 210."

Cowher praises Woodson

Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher saluted Ravens cornerback Rod Woodson, who leads the team in solo tackles, interceptions and pass deflections. Woodson left the Steelers after the 1996 season, a year after he came back from major knee surgery.

"He's playing hard, he's making plays. He's playing as good as he's played probably prior to the injury, which is not surprising," Cow- her said. "You can tell him whatever you want, that he can't play or whatever, but he'll defy you."

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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