Adams makes an impact in big hurry

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Tackle is quickest off snap in line's assault on Graham

Notebook

September 05, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

While Ravens defensive tackle Sam Adams stood out Sunday by ripping through Pittsburgh Steelers linemen, he still has to break through his biggest obstacle - his consistency.

The only addition to the starting defense this season, Adams was a terror in the middle as the quickest lineman off the snap and tossed Steelers guard Rich Tylski to his knees with power moves.

Although he registered just one tackle, he inflicted more bruises after causing quarterback Kent Graham to hurry several times. The coaching staff counted five hits by Adams on Graham.

But Adams, who was signed on draft day as a free agent from the Seattle Seahawks, built a reputation of taking some plays off there.

Sam was a huge factor," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "If Sam can maintain this level of play, and that's the challenge to Sam and he knows that, he will rival [Tampa Bay's] Warren Sapp for his impact on a defense and what he'd be thought of at a league level."

Another knock on Adams has been his weight, which is listed at 330 pounds. Yet no one will accuse Adams of being slow after Sunday.

After defensive end Rob Burnett caused Graham to fumble trying to pass, Adams caught the ball before it hit the ground. He also has the ability to drop back in coverage and had one pass defensed in his Ravens debut.

"Sam brings a big, strong athletic force in the middle," Burnett said. "The guy plays like he's 250 pounds. He's an outstanding player with a lot of physical talent. He's another bullet to click."

Je. Lewis waits his chance

Punt returner-backup receiver Jermaine Lewis did not catch a pass in his fifth straight game, but didn't have a chance to end that streak Sunday. The Ravens worked out of single receiver sets over half the time and showed three wideouts only twice.

Billick expects more opportunities for Lewis as the offense opens up. On special teams, Lewis had five punt returns for 50 yards, with his longest going 18 yards.

"Jermaine and I have an understanding," Billick said. "Jermaine will be on the field, particularly when we get into our three-wide, four-wide configurations. Jermaine understands his role and is doing very, very well with it."

Ravens lose Woodard

Defensive tackle Cedric Woodard, the Ravens' final pick in April's draft, was claimed by the Seahawks yesterday. The Ravens cut Woodard on Friday when they activated Tony Siragusa, but intended to sign him to the practice squad if he had cleared waivers by 4p.m. yesterday.

"It's crazy," said Woodard, a sixth-round selection from Texas. "I see what we got going here. I just wanted to be here. I thought it was a real good opportunity. But I don't have any choice. So, I got to go with how it happens."

The Ravens are down to four draft picks (running back Jamal Lewis, receiver Travis Taylor, quarterback Chris Redman and defensive end Adalius Thomas) on their 53-man roster.

End zone

Game balls were awarded to the entire defense, running back Priest Holmes and kicker Matt Stover . ... Sunday's game against Jacksonville is sold out. ... Billick said the doctors were "fairly optimistic" that backup offensive lineman Kipp Vickers (knee) could be available Sunday, but will know more about his status tomorrow. ... Billick eliminated the usual Monday jog-around to allow his players to recoup from Sunday's muggy game on turf. ... Prior to kickoff, the Ravens will honor former special teams ace Bennie Thompson, who became an assistant to special teams coach Russ Purnell last week. ... It will be the Ravens' first of two home games through Oct.15.

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