Taylor looks to cut into receiving line

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

No catches in opener, wide-out eyes break-out

Pro Football

September 20, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Elvis Grbac hit just about everyone in sight.

Four receivers, two tight ends, two fullbacks and one running back had at least one catch in the Ravens' 17-6 win over the Chicago Bears on Sept. 9. There was, however, one notable exception in receiver Travis Taylor, who will try again on Sunday in Cincinnati to make his first reception in nearly 11 months.

"I didn't play as much [against Chicago] so I really couldn't grade myself the way I wanted to," Taylor said. "But hopefully this week I can get in there and do something. We'll see how it goes."

Taylor, the No. 10 overall draft pick in 2000, fractured his clavicle in the ninth game last year and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season with 28 catches for 276 yards and three touchdowns.

He worked mostly out of the slot position in the Ravens' three-receiver sets during the preseason. There was talk of Taylor unseating Qadry Ismail in the starting lineup, but that never materialized. Taylor, though, is showing no signs of frustration, and he realizes his time could come this week.

The Bengals gave up 64 points last year in two games against the Ravens.

"I'm just trying to get better every day in practice," Taylor said. "You got to stay positive. If you don't, then you are just going to slack off in practice."

Searcy on schedule

Offensive tackle Leon Searcy is lifting light weights and is on schedule to make his return in a month. Searcy tore the triceps tendon in his left arm during a preseason scrimmage.

"I'm not there yet strength-wise," Searcy said. "I've got some flexibility in my arm and I'm doing some things as far as lifting. It's still some weeks away before I get it back to full potential. But I'm positive about it because I'm progressing. I went from having surgery, to being in a sling, to where I'm at right now."

Erik Williams, whom the Ravens signed to help offset the loss of Searcy, is practicing at full speed and may see some time behind starting right tackle Sammy Williams in Sunday's game.

Lake settles in

Safety Carnell Lake will be in nickel (five-man) and dime (six-man) coverage packages and play some special teams Sunday.

Billick said Lake benefited from the extra week of practice with the Ravens after signing Sept. 11.

"Carnell was going to make a quick transition anyway because he is familiar with the terminology," Billick said. "But he is going to be at a little bit of an advantage because of the extra time."

End zone

Defensive back Gary Baxter (knee) is questionable and Ismail (hip) and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa (knee) are probable for Sunday. ... The Ravens signed defensive end Dwayne Missouri and cornerback Reggie Waddell to the practice squad. They replace running back Aaron Kerneck and cornerback Delvin Hughley. ... The Bengals have won three straight home games dating to last season.

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