Stokley is hardly receiving rave reviews

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Second-year receiver is off to a rocky start in this training camp

July 27, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Brandon Stokley hasn't had the best start this training camp.

The Ravens' second-year receiver has acknowledged it. More importantly, coach Brian Billick has noticed it, too.

"Brandon's got to start showing up a little bit more," Billick said. "He's better than what I'm seeing right now. He's still getting back into the groove.

"Brandon is very capable and everybody's excited about what he can do. But I need to see a little more proof of it."

Stokley provided a sampling yesterday, when he had the longest catches of any receiver.

He made two 50-plus yard receptions during team drills, going untouched into the end zone each time. In the non-contact workout, he caught another deep pass for a touchdown as well as coming back for a ball against starting cornerback Duane Starks for a 20-yard gain.

But one-day flashes won't cut it this year. As the talent has increased within the receiving unit, so has the competition.

"Every day I go to practice, it's an important step for me," Stokley said. "I have to go out there and make plays, turn some heads."

A fourth-round pick in 1999, Stokley made his only catch last season - a 28-yard touchdown reception - in the opener against St. Louis. He dislocated his shoulder Oct. 21, and finished the rest of the season on injured reserve.

Stokley rehabilitated five days a week this summer and no longer thinks about his shoulder injury. His main attention is on trying to rebound from some sub-par minicamps and the first day of training camp, when he had problems holding onto balls and getting open.

"I think I've come back from that," Stokley said. "I'm improving every day. Everybody's going to make mistakes, but if you correct a mistake, that's what they look for and that's what I'm trying to do."

Well represented

The Ravens were well represented on the NFL's All-Decade team, although Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe and Ben Coates were primarily recognized for their work on other teams. Woodson and Sharpe were named to the first team as a cornerback and tight end, respectively, and Coates, a former New England Patriots tight end, was voted to the second team behind Sharpe.

"It's definitely an honor," said Woodson, who switched to free safety last year after playing seven Pro Bowl seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1990s. "A lot of good guys have played these last 10 years in the National Football League. God has really blessed me with some good talent, being healthy and consistent."

Said Sharpe, who starred for the past 10 years with the Denver Broncos: "It just shows the coaching staff I had 10 years while I was with Denver and the players I had around me. I had a great quarterback, great teammates, and everything just worked out really well for me. It's an honor, and it's nice to see your work is appreciated. It just shows what hard work can do."

End zone

Because of rain, the Ravens switched their workout schedule, going non-contact in the morning and wearing pads in the afternoon. But it rained just as hard in the afternoon. ... The players had their first night off yesterday. ... The team will hold an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at Western Maryland College's Bair Stadium. The on-field activities will start at 9 a.m. with performances by the Ravens' cheerleaders, mascots and marching band, which will be followed by the scrimmage at 10 a.m. ... The Ravens' afternoon practice on Aug. 14 will be closed to the general public. The only fans being admitted will be club seat season-ticket holders.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.