Marques Douglas headlines the depth chart of the Ravens' defensive line.
The fourth-year veteran out of Howard University is currently holding down the right end spot until Michael McCrary recovers from knee surgery. But Douglas could have the opportunity to compete with rookie Tony Weaver at left end and may land at nose tackle if Kelly Gregg goes down for an extended period.
The Ravens are in desperate need of depth at defensive line because they lost three starters along with their top two reserves. That's why Douglas could be working overtime as a backup this season.
"I think the sky is the limit," said Douglas, who has appeared in just one game in three NFL seasons.
Douglas, 6 feet 2, 270 pounds, was originally signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 1999 and played on the team's practice squad. Released by the Ravens before the start of the 2000 season, he was picked up by the New Orleans Saints, who placed him on injured reserve a month later.
The Ravens re-acquired Douglas in November. To survive all those roster changes, Douglas learned that he couldn't be typecast at one spot.
"I never had the luxury to say, `OK, I'll play just right end,' " Douglas said. "Because if you want to stay around, you have to play left, right or do anything you could."
Williams in for Reed
Free safety Ed Reed, the team's first-round pick, was excused from practice to attend a funeral.
The Ravens replaced him on the first team with another draft pick, Chad Williams, the team's fourth and final selection of the sixth round. Williams came to the Ravens with a reputation of being a big hitter at Southern Mississippi, but the Ravens want to see him become more vocal and more sound in pass coverage.
"You have to make that transition and be versatile in all aspects of the game," said Williams, who is projected to have an impact this season on special teams.
Going to shotgun
The Ravens added a new wrinkle to the passing game yesterday when they experimented with throwing out of the shotgun formation.
The team didn't use shotgun last year because Elvis Grbac didn't feel comfortable taking his eyes off the coverage to catch the snap. But the Ravens had no problems as center Mike Flynn cleanly hiked the ball back to quarterback Chris Redman.
"It's something that we'll play with," said offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh.
The Ravens have had several conversations with free agent Eric Brown, the starting free safety in 52 of the Denver Broncos' past 53 regular-season games. The team, though, will use its available salary cap room to sign all 10 of its draft picks and cannot add a veteran free agent without restructuring the contracts of linebackers Ray Lewis or Peter Boulware. ... Former Ravens defensive end Rob Burnett signed a two-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. The deal is worth as much as $4.5 million with incentives, his agent told Bloomberg News.