When the spotlight shifted back to Priest Holmes yesterday, as it invariably has during his Ravens career, the 26-year-old running back endorsed the two-back attack.
With a healthy Jamal Lewis pounding inside and a fresh Holmes scampering outside. And vice versa.
"You never know exactly what type of attack we can come up with," Holmes said yesterday between workouts at Western Maryland College. "Just as soon as I'm breaking it to the outside, Jamal is breaking it up the middle.
"Just as soon as I'm running it up the middle, Jamal can break it outside. Because we both have attributes and we both can play off each other."
Holmes, the incumbent at running back, was almost certainly assured of starting the season opener Sept. 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers when Lewis suffered a dislocated left elbow in Friday night's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins.
Because Lewis was the fifth pick in the draft, Holmes understands that Lewis' role will increase until he is ready to take over the starting job.
"That's not a problem," Holmes said, "because we need backs like that to help us go to the playoffs. That's our main focus. So whoever's running the ball doesn't matter as long as he's giving 100 percent to get us to the playoffs."
A team man to the point of helping indoctrinate Lewis into NFL ways, Holmes is playing on a one-year, restricted-free-agent contract. His reward for a successful Ravens season might be the chance to go someplace else and be the featured back.
"It's a big year for me," he said. "If I'm playing 200 snaps or 89 as I did last year [he had 89 carries after missing part of the season with a knee injury], I'll still be able to contribute 100-yard games."
Yesterday, he had touchdown runs in red-zone and goal-line offenses and caught three passes.
The contract impasse with defensive tackle Tony Siragusa shows no sign of being resolved. There have been no conversations between the team and the agent for Siragusa, Terry Lavenstein, since talks broke off two days before the start of camp.
Siragusa, 33, is in the final year of a four-year contract, and wants a raise from his 2000 salary of $1.5 million. The Ravens offered a raise to $2 million, but would go no higher. Team policy dictates no negotiations with a holdout who has time left on his contract.
"He's looking seriously at other options," Lavenstein said yesterday, declining to name what those options are. "He's not coming in with their promise that once he's in, they will negotiate. Whether he comes in at all is another story, another day."
Stirring the pot
Coach Brian Billick was on the warpath during yesterday morning's practice. He was so agitated with broken assignments that he stopped practice once to lecture players, and voiced his displeasure again at its conclusion.
"It's Monday morning, shaking off the weekend. You don't really want to get started," Billick said. "Most businesses, you can grab a cup of coffee, sit around the water cooler and [talk] for 45 minutes before you really decide to go to work. We do that, somebody gets hurt. So you've got to shake it up a little bit.
"We've got enough [time] in now that mistakes shouldn't be repeated. That's where I'm getting upset. I've seen something that was done incorrectly a week ago, and was corrected, and now it's a mistake out here. That's focus. That means concentration on your job. It's Monday morning. It's tough. I don't care."
Defensive tackle Sam Adams was scheduled for an MRI of his neck this morning after suffering a "burner" last Thursday. Adams participated in practice yesterday, but is not allowed contact.
Then there was the usual collection of training-camp hamstring injuries. Linebacker Dennis Stallings and safety Corby Jones rode stationary bikes, and wide receiver Linton Coleman appears headed that way after suffering a hamstring injury in yesterday afternoon's workout.
With starting offensive tackle Harry Swayne absent because of the birth of his first child, third-year pro Sammy Williams had the opportunity to work with the first team in practice yesterday.
"It feels good working with the first team," said Williams, a 6-foot-5 300-pound tackle. "The pace is a little bit faster than running with the second team, but it feels good for the most part."
After five years as a starter with the Kansas City Chiefs and being a backup for the Green Pay Packers last season, linebacker Anthony Davis is learning the Ravens' defense on the run.
"This defense here is pretty much the same defense I ran at Kansas City," said Davis, who was a late acquisition, signing days before training camp.
Davis plays outside linebacker behind starter Jamie Sharper. He said he chose the Ravens because of their attacking defense and because he wanted to work with line-backers coach Jack Del Rio.
Swayne's wife, Dawn, gave birth to their first child, 8-pound, 11-ounce Christopher. ...Safety Anthony Poindexter and cornerback Jermaine Smith had interceptions in the morning workout. Poindexter caught a Tony Banks pass that caromed off tight end Ben Coates, who collided with another player in the end zone. Smith's interception came when Chris Redman threw the ball right at him .... Banks was 13-for-21 in assorted 11-on-11 drills, throwing for one touchdown and one interception. Backup Trent Dilfer was 5-for-7 with one TD (to tight end Ryan Collins), one fumbled hand-off and one sack when he was tripped by a lineman.