Ravens to stress special teams

Working on unit during passing camp is a first

Pro Football

May 20, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The extraordinary high number of rookie free agents on his roster has forced Ravens coach Brian Billick to slightly alter his team's off-season routine.

Today marks the start of a four-day passing camp, where the Ravens will emphasize special teams for the first time in the annual voluntary practices in conjunction with the usual work among quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

"Something we'll do this year that we haven't done in previous years is finish each practice with some special teams sessions," Billick said. "In the past we haven't done that, but with the sheer number of young players, we want to take a phase of the game. This week we'll focus on punting and see if we can get a jump on it."

Ravens quarterbacks Chris Redman and Jeff Blake will have another chance to establish rapport with top receivers Travis Taylor, Brandon Stokley and fourth-round draft pick Ron Johnson, after the team's initial minicamp following April's draft.

Running back Jamal Lewis, coming back from a season-ending knee injury suffered last training camp, will get a second chance to test his progress. Lewis limped through the previous minicamp, but the team is expecting him to be ready during training camp.

Also, Edwin Mulitalo is expected to start his switch from left guard to right tackle, though offensive and defensive linemen are the only positions that are not asked to attend.

The Ravens will have one more passing camp the first week of June, followed by a full-team, mandatory minicamp the next week.

"This starts the next session for these young guys," Billick said. "It really begins an extended process for them the next seven weeks of being here. They will all be here and stay here."

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