Johnson eyes corrective action

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Receiver aims to learn from multiple mistakes

September 25, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Rather than forget his mistakes, Ravens wide receiver Patrick Johnson will try to correct them.

Johnson's performance Sunday in the Ravens' 21-10 loss at Cincinnati had its share of lowlights. A ball bounced off his hands for an interception, a touchdown was overturned because he had run out of the back of the end zone before his catch, and his fumble on a kickoff return led to the Bengals' first touchdown.

On the positive side, Johnson made a 2-yard touchdown grab from quarterback Elvis Grbac in the fourth quarter.

"I made some mistakes in the game, but I did a lot of good things as well," Johnson said. "Basically, you just take the bad things that happen and you correct them, and you just try and add on top of the good things you did. That's what I'm going to try and go out and do.

"It was basically just a lack of focus on my part. Everyone has got to be accountable for his mistakes. You give the other team respect, but it was just little things."

Correctable things, according to Ravens coach Brian Billick. For instance, he said Johnson, who was returning kickoffs in place of the injured Jermaine Lewis, should have looked to get more to the outside of his blockers at the start of the second half.

Instead, Johnson got caught up in a pile and fumbled, giving the Bengals the ball at the Ravens' 18-yard line.

"No one feels worse than Patrick," Billick said. "The hard thing for Patrick is that he works so hard and wants it so bad, it's unfortunate he was in that situation."

As for why he took about four steps behind the back line of the end zone before returning to the field to make the catch, Johnson said he got pushed out trying to create space between him and an underneath receiver. Johnson's 9-yard catch, which would have put the Ravens up 10-0 late in the second quarter, was overturned after the Bengals called for an instant replay review.

"Every route affects the other," Johnson said. "Yeah, I'll be more cognizant next time even though I won't have to run around somebody. But it's a good thing. In my opinion, the errors I made and the way that I played, I'm glad it happened now rather than later on. Because now I can correct them since there are 14 games left."

Injury updates

Rookie tight end Todd Heap suffered the most serious injury in Sunday's game when he sprained his ankle in the third quarter.

"Todd Heap seems to be the worst of it with the high ankle sprain," Billick said. "He feels pretty good, but those are always a concern. That takes awhile. ... We'll see how it comes in a couple of days."

Offensive tackle Sammy Williams left with a knee sprain in the second quarter and did not return. Billick said Williams possibly could have returned and might be back later this week.

Lewis, who strained his hamstring in practice last week, also might return to practice this week.

"We're fairly optimistic because their soreness seems to be working out," Billick said.

More from M. Williams

Running back Moe Williams made his first impact Sunday with a 46-yard, third-down reception in the third quarter - one in which he got up off the ground to scamper for 20 extra yards after not being touched down.

"Elvis put the ball where I can get it," Williams said. "I took advantage of a great block downfield. That is how I was able to get up."

Billick said he will continue to use Williams as a third-down back.

"Moe can do some things," Billick said. "He ran a great route out of the backfield, did a couple of nice adjustments protection-wise. The more Moe gets comfortable and we get comfortable with Moe and what his capabilities are, yeah, you are going to see an increased role."

A few more flags

The regular NFL officials, with a new contract, returned to action Sunday after missing the first week because of a labor dispute.

Billick said the only real difference between them and the replacements who worked Week 1 was the number of flags.

"Clearly, there were fewer calls with the replacement officials," Billick said. "So it's probably a fair assumption that some of those calls [Sunday] might not have been made, rightly or wrongly."

Spikes speaks again

Cincinnati linebacker Takeo Spikes has continued to heat up the Dec. 23 rematch with the Ravens.

First, he was the most vocal Bengal regarding Grbac's decision to choose the Ravens over Cincinnati in free agency. Now, his comments have crossed over to the Ravens' defense.

"A lot of guys look to me on this team as their Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. Don't say that," Spikes said. "I'm Takeo Spikes of the Cincinnati Bengals."

Coach of the week

Obie Barnes, coach and athletic director at Forest Park High School, is the first recipient of the 2001 Ravens High School Coach of the Week award. Winners receive a $500 donation to the school's football program.

Sun staff writer Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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