Ravens redouble efforts vs. Carter

Blocking Titan is job of Williams, Vickers

November 09, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher was being as diplomatic as he could discussing end Kevin Carter's play this year when he finally took one ever-so-subtle jab at his most high-profile free agent acquisition."[Carter] battled against a rookie tackle last week and was held without a sack," Fisher said in a conference call yesterday. "So I'm sure he senses the challenge that is ahead of him this week."

Or challenges, not the least of which is improving upon his two-sack season so far. Then there is having to face what likely will be a combination of Sammy Williams and Kipp Vickers at right tackle in Monday night's Titans-Ravens game at Adelphia Coliseum.

Williams started Sunday's 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and seven of the first eight games. But he is admittedly beat up, nursing a sore knee and the fatigue that comes with being an NFL starter for the first time in his three-year career.

He realizes, though, that he and Vickers likely will face a fired-up Carter -- something that is often not the case -- after the former Pro- Bowl pick was basically contained by Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Maurice Williams on Sunday and has received his share of criticism in Tennessee.

"I have to go out there and get the job done, because they are not looking at me being hurt," Sammy Williams said. "They want me to go out and perform.

"I've played against him and [Titans end Jevon] Kearse. They are two good pass rushers, and you have to be on top of your game when you play them. You can't slip up or they'll be on top of the quarterback."

Williams did not slip the first time the teams met, Oct. 7, a 26-7 Ravens victory. He and Erik Williams, who has since fallen out of the rotational mix, held Carter to six tackles and just one quarterback pressure.

This time, the responsibility of helping contain Carter will shift from Erik Williams to Vickers, who will start at right guard and switch to tackle for Sammy Williams when rookie guard Bennie Anderson enters the game. Sammy Williams, meanwhile, will take mental notes from the sideline when he is out of the game and combine those with his own experience to try to gain an edge over Carter.

"I would like to play the whole game, but with my situation, I'm not able to do that right now," Williams said. "But it helps not going the whole game. When I'm on the sideline, I watch the tackle to see what the end is doing. I watch what he is trying to set up, what he is trying to do, and I go out there and work off that."

Carter said facing rotating tackles does not bother him.

"It pretty much is the same game for me," Carter said. "You have to recognize the different styles and different sets. Two different guys are going to do two different things against you. That is going to present a slight problem from a familiarity standpoint.

"You get used to the way a guy sets or comes off on the run. Then you have to adjust to somebody else. The main thing is to go out there and play your game and not really worry about who is on the other side."

Whoever is out there will have his share of help.

Ravens coach Brian Billick has the luxury of helping to Carter's side, though right end Kearse may be the more dangerous rusher. Kearse will be locked up with Pro Bowl selection Jonathan Ogden.

"We need to get some help back there because [Carter] is an excellent player," Billick said. "We put a lot on Jonathan Ogden holding his own on the left side. And Jonathan is up to that challenge. So we are going to help that right side like we have in the past."

Carter is used to going up against extra help. He says that teams have been doing it all season, but that isn't why his sack total is so low. Carter had sacks in the double digits the previous three years.

"Tampa [Bay] basically used a tight end and one of the running backs every time they passed. Out of 29 pass rushes, they chipped 26 times," said Carter. "Teams are using maximum protection or sliding the lines in order to not give us one-on-ones. We still have to overcome that. We're not happy with our numbers so far."

Carter is second on the Titans in tackles (37) and is tied with Kearse for most quarterback pressures (15).

The Titans want more.

"Kevin is playing hard," Fisher said. "He is getting close from a sack standpoint. He's just a step away often, and just hasn't made the play. He's becoming more and more familiar with our style of play defensively. He's going to have to make his plays. When you get into games like this, your stars are going to have to step up. And he's going to have to make his plays in order for us to win this game."

Ravens next

Opponent: Tennessee Titans

Site: Adelphia Coliseum, Nashville, Tenn.

When: Monday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 2, 7/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line: Ravens by 1 1/2

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