Team close to deal with QB Case

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Formerly with Cardinals, he seeks job as backup

rookie QB Maas waived

August 17, 1999|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Stoney Case visited Baltimore and passed a physical yesterday, and the Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars are two of the teams negotiating with the fourth-year player.

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, confirmed that Case was in town yesterday and Case's agent, Gary Wichard, said it looked like Baltimore would be Case's new home. The Oakland Raiders also had interest.

The Ravens apparently feel so strongly about signing Case that they waived rookie free agent Jason Maas yesterday. Maas was the only quarterback who did not play in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Case, 6 feet 3 and 201 pounds, has played three of the last four seasons with Arizona after the Cardinals drafted him in the third round in 1995. Case did not play in 1996 and has played in only six games, completing 30 of 57 passes for 335 yards. He has yet to throw a touchdown but has three interceptions.

Ravens coach Brian Billick has kept an eye on Case, who was recently released by the Indianapolis Colts, since his days at New Mexico. Former Ravens assistant Mike Sheppard, now with Seattle and one of Billick's best friends, has a history with Case, and Ravens quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh coached Case in Arizona.

Ravens running backs coach Matt Simon was Case's offensive coordinator at New Mexico, which in 1993 averaged 413 yards and 30.5 points behind Case.

"Matt rated him pretty high in Arizona and we feel he is a good athlete," Newsome said.

Case probably would challenge for the backup jobs behind starter Scott Mitchell. Tony Banks is currently No. 2 and Wally Richardson No. 3. Case's deal would probably be for one year.

"I understand that Stoney is down there [in Baltimore] talking with some people and putting on a uniform," Wichard said. "Stoney probably could earn more money in Jacksonville, but there is a stronger opportunity in Baltimore. He has worked with Matt Cavanaugh, Matt Simon was his offensive coordinator and Brian is known as a quarterback guru throughout the league. All things equal, if Stoney could become a Brad Johnson, we would be in great shape. We at least have the coach who tutored Brad Johnson."

Billick's scolding pays off

One of the characteristics of the Ted Marchibroda era was that whenever the team won, or Marchibroda would go through a light practice, the team responded with poor practice sessions. After beating Philadelphia on Thursday night and then going through a 45-minute workout Friday, Billick chewed out the offense after a lethargic practice Saturday morning.

Evidently, the harsh words got the players' attention. Billick said the practice was the Ravens' best Monday-morning session since training camp started in late July.

There was definitely a fire in right guard Jeff Blackshear, who in succession mashed defensive tackles Larry Webster, Lional Dalton and Corey Francis during one offensive series.

"We wanted to come out and have a strong Monday which would set the tone for the week going into Saturday's game against Atlanta," Blackshear said. "We've been pretty sloppy on Mondays and Brian wanted us to put an end to it. I think everyone was more attentive today after Saturday."

Billick said he had a follow-up meeting with several players before yesterday's practice.

"You don't go ballistic the way I did on Saturday and then just dismiss it and say, `I'll see you on Monday morning,' " Billick said. "You follow it up after a pretty good butt-chewing individually with some key individuals and you come back around and throw the big, warm fuzzy arm around him and say, `You're not really all those nasty things I said about you, but what's going on?' That's communication, to find out what they're thinking about and can I help get you past the kind of morning we had Saturday."

McCrary practices pain-free

Defensive end Michael McCrary got his first extensive work of the season yesterday in full pads. McCrary was all over the field running down quarterbacks on the opposite side of the field and beating No. 2 tackle Spencer Folau to the outside to get to the quarterback.

More importantly, McCrary didn't mention any pain in the knee that was operated on during the off-season. McCrary, though, was short of breath after practice.

"Sprints don't replace playing," McCrary said. "I'm a little tired, but the knee felt great. It's better than I expected. I was more concerned about the mental part than the physical part. You're always concerned about the mental aspect of how your leg is going to hold out. But the biggest pain was in my stomach when I was out of breath."

Brown earns high marks

Reserve outside linebacker Cornell Brown has been impressive during the absence of starter Peter Boulware, who has been limited because of a shoulder injury.

Brown had a good game against the Eagles last week and there won't be any hesitation by defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis to use him if Boulware hurts that shoulder during the regular season.

"He played a good game against the Eagles," Lewis said. "He has had three years in the system and I'm seeing a lot more consistency. He has a better grasp of everything."

Busy off-season?

The Ravens have several defensive linemen who will become free agents at the end of the season, including starting tackle Webster, ends McCrary and Rob Burnett and reserve ends Keith Washington and Fernando Smith.

It could be a busy off-season.

"It's not unusual to have this amount in one unit," Newsome said. "We have a lot of players on one-year contracts. It could be a long off-season or we might re-sign some of them in November or December. We'll see how the season plays itself out and how the negotiations are moving along."

Pub Date: 8/17/99

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