Lindsay's versatility on offensive line a much-needed lift

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Lineman pushes center, guard for playing time

August 13, 1999|By Brent James and Gary Lambrecht | Brent James and Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- Just call him iron man.

Everett Lindsay is listed simply as an offensive lineman because he can and has played all five positions.

And in his first season with the Ravens, Lindsay is pushing center Jeff Mitchell and left guard James Atkins for their starting spot.

Ravens coach Brian Billick wasted little time getting Lindsay in last night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, inserting him in for Mitchell in the second defensive series. In the third defensive series, Lindsay went in for Atkins.

"Everett is the iron man for me," Billick said. "He is a huge addition for us. Everett is a major part of our offensive line."

Lindsay has worked with Billick in the past, coming to the Ravens in a draft day trade with the Vikings for a sixth-round pick. He played in every game the past two seasons for Minnesota, where Billick was offensive coordinator.

Out of Evans' grasp

Fullback Chuck Evans has a reputation for never fumbling. That's never, as in never, as a professional.

True, last week's intrasquad scrimmage and last night's preseason opener don't count, but Evans is tempting fate. Last week, he lost a fumble. Last night, on the first play from scrimmage, Evans inadvertently knocked the ball out of quarterback Scott Mitchell's hand as he was handing off to halfback Priest Holmes.

A time to learn

Ravens starting quarterback Scott Mitchell played for about a quarter last night, and completed four of seven passes for 30 yards. His longest pass was 10 yards. The Eagles put a lot of pressure on him, and even though Mitchell looked awkward, he made the Eagles miss several times.

"I thought Scott played well within the framework of instrumenting the offense," said Billick. "He seemd to keep everybody together. You saw in a couple of instances Scott isn't the most athletic quarterback. But he is a big son of a gun and hard to bring down. He brings that escapability in the pocket, obviously in another angle, but he is capable of doing that. He made some excellent throws. I was very pleased with him and Tony Banks."

Mitchell said: "You know what you have to do and it should become second nature out there. But it takes time. Right now, I'm just looking to improve with every game. I thought overall things went well, but we have to work on some things. One way or another, you just have to look at it as a good learning experience."

Lewis shows determination

Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis is one of the more dependable tacklers in the NFL. Two years ago, Lewis led the league with 210 tackles to earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl, before leading the team with 142 in 1998 and going back to Hawaii for a second time.

How good is Lewis? He finished two quarters of work with a game-high nine tackles, including six solo, in last night's preseason opener.Yet, Lewis was not exactly at the top of his game.

In the first quarter, running back Duce Staley slipped through Lewis' fingers in the backfield for an 11-yard gain. Guess who ran him down from behind?

Early in the second quarter, Lewis had quarterback Donovan McNabb in his grasp, only to have the rookie break outside for a 5-yard gain with Lewis in hot pursuit. Later in the second quarter, Lewis missed a chance to sack McNabb for big yards, yet Lewis scrambled to his feet and tackled McNabb from behind for a 2-yard loss.

Ryan gets big hand

McNabb, the first-round draft pick and quarterback of the future here, got a huge ovation from the home crowd when he entered the game with 12: 32 left in the second quarter, but that greeting wasn't as loud as the one the Philly faithful saved for a surprise guest.

Former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, the father of Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan, watched the contest from the Baltimore sideline. The sight of Ryan on the stadium's video scoreboard sent the crowd into a brief state of delirium.

Ryan egged on the crowd by flashing a thumbs-up sign twice.

Injury report

The Ravens were without defensive end Michael McCrary (knee), linebacker Peter Boulware (shoulder) and fullback Tony Vinson (lower calf) in last night's game. All three didn't make the trip. Offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden (hip flexor) and wide receiver Floyd Turner (hamstring) were held out at game time.

Spencer Folau started in place of Ogden, Keith Washington for McCrary and Cornell Brown for Boulware.

Rod Woodson suffered a cut nose midway through the first quarter but returned. Evans left the game with a sprained left ankle.

Sun staff writer Mike Preston contributed to this article.

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