Thumbs-up Zeier to start Sunday Marchibroda satisfied after seeing QB throw

October 22, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Quarterback Eric Zeier threw the ball well enough to satisfy Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda at practice yesterday, meaning Zeier gets the nod for his fourth consecutive start on Sunday. He will face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Zeier injured his right thumb late in Sunday's 16-6 loss in Pittsburgh. While running the two-minute drill, Zeier struck offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden's helmet after following through on a pass.

"We're good to go," Zeier said.

"He looked like he threw well enough to go on Sunday. Eric will be our guy," Marchibroda said. "We're happy to have both guys [including quarterback Jim Harbaugh], and we have to go with one of them. For this particular ballgame, I think Eric is the best guy for us."

When asked to elaborate, Marchibroda said, "I'd hate to tell you that."

Meanwhile, center Jeff Mitchell (groin injury) worked lightly yesterday, as left guard Wally Williams moved to center for much of the workout, with Ben Cavil taking over Williams' spot. Mitchell is still projected as the starter, but that could change if he doesn't show marked physical improvement by today.

And backup weak-side linebacker Cornell Brown could be taking some of Jamie Sharper's playing time against the Packers. Brown took a considerable number of repetitions with the first team.

"Jamie has played well in some games. In other games, he takes a step back," Marchibroda said. "Overall, Jamie has done his job."

Marchibroda not worried

Does the thought of getting fired bother Marchibroda? Based on his response to the question, not a chance.

In the middle of his third season with the Ravens, and a 12-25-1 record and back-to-back last-place finishes in the AFC Central to show for his efforts, Marchibroda faced the prospect of losing his job with a philosophical edge.

"It's part of the job. You're out front. I've learned one thing in life. It's better to put yourself on the spot," said Marchibroda, 67. "Go through life putting yourself on the spot. It's been a good life, it really has. And it's been a better life for that one reason. As long as you're not in third-and-10 or third-and-eight too often."

O. Brown day-to-day

Right offensive tackle Orlando Brown, who is listed as questionable with a sore ankle, did some limited work at yesterday's practice. Marchibroda described Brown as day-to-day.

Brown, who has started 62 consecutive games -- easily the longest streak on the team -- shook his head at the notion that he might miss Sunday's date with future Hall of Fame left defensive end Reggie White of the Packers.

Usually, Brown has held his own impressively against White. Coming off an unimpressive showing against Pittsburgh, Brown realizes he needs to bring his "A" game to Green Bay.

"It [facing White] jacks me up a lot. He's always been one of the top defensive linemen in the league," Brown said. "I look forward to playing against a guy like that. I'm a fighter and he's a fighter. He wins some, I win some. It's always a battle."

Richardson settles in

Punter Kyle Richardson's career got off to a rougher start than he had planned. Remember the botched snap that skipped through his legs in the season opener and led to a decisive Pittsburgh touchdown? It's an image Richardson has put behind him.

Through six games, Richardson is averaging 45.4 yards per punt, including a 38.4-yard net average, which ranks third in the AFC. He has dropped 11 of his 36 punts inside the opponents' 20, and only four have gone for touchbacks. In a 12-8 loss to Tennessee 11 days ago, one of his punts was blocked, but he also overcame four poor snaps to get off fine kicks.

"I'm just moving on to the next game. That's the best way to approach this job," Richardson said.

The Ravens cut veteran Greg Montgomery in preseason, opting for Richardson's youth and promise.

"Kyle has done the things we'd hoped he would do. We thought he could make the kind of plays that could help us win games, and he has made some big ones," Marchibroda said.

Favre-Jackson reunion

Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre reminisced about his collegiate days at Southern Mississippi. Back then, as a 17-year-old freshman recruit, he got to know a fellow freshman quarterback, Michael Jackson.

Jackson converted to wide receiver and eventually was taken by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 1991 draft. Atlanta took Favre in the second round that year, then traded him a year later to the Packers.

"We were real good friends then, and we are now," Favre said. "We came into the same recruiting class in '87. When you come into the same class together at the age of 17, and there were only 10 of us that year, you become good buddies. [Jackson] hurt his knee one year, but when he came back, he was my main receiver. We had a Hail Mary pass at Louisville that was one of the biggest plays in college football that year."

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