Dalton will get the call vs. Colts


First start for tackle since last season

Adams out with knee injury

Pro Football

November 30, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

With Sam Adams out of Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts with a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery, defensive tackle Lional Dalton will get his first start since last season. He filled in for Tony Siragusa when the Pittsburgh Steelers came to PSINet Stadium in October 2000 and had five tackles.

"That's what we get paid for, to back up the starters," Dalton said. "When one of them goes down, they expect us to step in and hope that there's not a fall-off. I like to start. I wish I started every game."

A fourth-year pro, Dalton will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"This is just another chance for me to get some film and prove to everybody around the league that I can start and play the full four quarters at the same intensity," Dalton said. "I think Goose [Siragusa] is going to retire next year, and there will be a chance for me to step up and show the Ravens I can be the man when he leaves. I'm very happy here."

Nod for Jackson

The Ravens continue to lean on other reserves. Against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, Brad Jackson was in on one defensive play. He notched his first NFL start in Jacksonville last week, when Jackson inherited the linebacker spot of Peter Boulware, who was shifted to defensive end after injuries to Michael McCrary and Rob Burnett. Jackson is prepared for both outside linebacker spots, and was listed as the backup for both Boulware and Jamie Sharper.

"He probably understands our defense as well as anyone we have," linebackers coach Jack Del Rio said of Jackson.

"You always have to know more than one job," Jackson said. "This is the NFL, where there are only so many guys, not college, where you have a depth chart that goes three deep. This is my fourth year, and I understand the system. My teammates and coaches have confidence in me to perform at the level our defense is accustomed to."

And Lake, too

Jackson has taken over a share of the Ravens' lead in special teams tackles with James Trapp, who will miss his fourth straight game with a lingering groin injury. With opposing offenses often spreading the field and forcing the Ravens to employ extra defensive backs, Trapp was enjoying a strong season as the nickel back, a role now filled by Carnell Lake.

His versatility - Lake played every secondary position en route to being named to five Pro Bowls - has come in handy.

"I'm still learning, but every week is getting a lot easier for me," said Lake, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent after the Ravens' first game. "I had played the dime [sixth defensive back] when James was in. There's not a whole lot of difference between the two positions. The nickel is really just the first one to go in, and plays more. It's just a matter of getting a hold of the lingo and understanding the different checks."

Burnett downgraded

Rob Burnett was held out of practice for the second straight day and downgraded from questionable to doubtful on the injury report. Burnett missed the past two games with a calf injury, and before that had played with a cast that protected a broken left hand.

"Unless he dramatically improves, he won't play Sunday," said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' vice president of public relations. "Both the calf and hand were bothering him."

Ray Lewis (thigh) and Shannon Sharpe (knee), both listed as probable, were limited at yesterday's practice. Besides Adams, McCrary and Trapp, running backs Terry Allen (hand) and Jason Brookins (foot) and wide receiver Patrick Johnson (clavicle) are listed as out of the Colts game.

Extra points

A busload of Patterson High students were guests of Jonathan Ogden at practice yesterday. The students' escorts included longtime Clippers coach Roger Wrenn. ... The Ravens are 5-0 in games decided by seven points or less. Only the 6-0 Chicago Bears have fared better in close calls. ... The Ravens and Eagles lead the NFL in three-and-outs, possessions where the defense does not allow a first down. ... Ray Lewis is positioned to lead the league in tackles for the third time in five seasons. He has 76.

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