Ravens to watch

August 12, 1999|By Mike Preston

Quarterback: Scott Mitchell will make his debut running the West Coast offense. Reserve Tony Banks will probably get most of the work, but he hasn't had much success avoiding turnovers in training camp. For the first time in three years, third-stringer Wally Richardson might get extensive playing time.

Wide receiver: The one who drops the ball the least may end up starting opposite Jermaine Lewis in the season opener. Both Qadry Ismail and Webster Slaughter need to become more consistent, and Billy Davis is steadily improving with more time in the offense. Floyd Turner is slowed by tendinitis in his calf.

Left guard and center: There is a nice battle going on here. James Atkins and Jeff Mitchell are the starters at guard and center, respectively, but Everett Lindsay is pressing both for their jobs. Lindsay is more athletic than both players and brings a toughness to the line the Ravens feel they are missing.

Running back: Priest Holmes has solidified his spot as No. 1 in training camp, but the big battle is over No. 2. Jay Graham, despite his juking, has great explosiveness, and Errict Rhett has power. Graham is a better receiver, but neither gains high marks as a pass blocker.

Defensive tackle: Larry Webster is the starter, but first-year players Martin Chase and Lional Dalton have been just as impressive in training camp. If the two young players develop, the Ravens will have a strong rotation.

Secondary: DeRon Jenkins will start at right cornerback, but top draft pick Chris McAlister will get action soon, either as Jenkins' replacement or in the nickel coverage. McAlister is aggressive and fun to watch. Veteran Rod Woodson has moved from cornerback to safety.

Place-kickers: Scott Bentley was brought in just to push veteran Matt Stover, but he is kicking better than expected. This race is wide-open and might go down to the last preseason game.

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