C. Taylor's injury may open running room for 2 rookies


Bruised ankle could mean Redmon, Hunter likely to get more carries Friday


July 31, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The scene was worse than the result.

Running back Chester Taylor had to be carted off late in the morning practice yesterday, putting a temporary damper on what had been a spirited session.

Taylor's injury, though, was merely a bruised ankle and his status is day-to-day.

"I just got rolled up on," Taylor said.

For however long Taylor is out, rookies Tellis Redmon and Dameon Hunter should be the biggest beneficiaries.

"Every time an unfortunate injury ... it opens up an opportunity for the next guy," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Taylor and Redmon were the front-runners to back up Jamal Lewis heading into training camp. Taylor had distinguished himself from the others before the injury, showing toughness running through traffic.

But now Redmon, an undrafted rookie out of Minnesota, may end up with the most carries in Friday's scrimmage.

"It's a big opportunity, but I hate to see one of my teammates fall like that," Redmon said. "Now I just have to step it up and fill his shoes."

Gregg gets mad

Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg would register as one of the last players expected to get into an altercation.

Yet, an irate Gregg slammed guard Mike Collins' head into the ground five times in the middle of the morning session yesterday and had to be restrained by coaches and players.

"Sometimes you just get rubbed the wrong way. It was just a reaction," said Gregg, arguably the most unassuming player on the team. "No hard feelings or nothing, it is just football. I feel bad I lost it like that. But when it's over, it's over."

Said Billick: "You got to be more disciplined than that, Kelly in particular. They'll learn you can't be stupid like that."

S. Taylor gets aggressive

Filling in for an injured Peter Boulware, Shannon Taylor is showing many of the same aggressive attributes as last year's AFC sack leader.

Boulware, who registered 15 sacks last season, is sidelined with an ankle injury. But the defense has still been ahead of the offense, largely because of Taylor's ability to disrupt the timing of the quarterbacks from his standup linebacker position in the team's 3-4 scheme.

Taylor signed with the Ravens during the season last year and saw action in 11 games, mostly on special teams. Even when Boulware returns, Taylor is expected to be in on passing situations at the other outside linebacker position, which would drop starter Adalius Thomas to the defensive line.

"I'm feeling really good about it," Taylor said. "I was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 at Virginia. It's just been positive for me. The coaches have been behind me 100 percent, so hopefully I'll get some playing time at the left side.

"When Pete comes back, whatever they decide to do, if it's keep me as a backup to both sides, I'll be happy with that."

Gregory gets pumped

To show he was up for the change, Sean Gregory has put on nearly 20 pounds since the team signed him as a free agent out of Georgia Tech.

The added weight will better suit Gregory at fullback, where he is the backup to Alan Ricard. Gregory is a natural running back, but his best chance at making the team lies in his ability to make holes for others.

"I was a tailback at Georgia Tech, but they brought me in here as a swing back," said Gregory, who rushed for 1,290 career yards and 16 touchdowns with the Yellow Jackets. "It shaped up for me to be more of a fullback. I'm just trying to get adjusted to the position because it is new.

"At fullback, you have to be able to run without the ball and make that contact. It is all about leverage. It is just different game. You have to be ready to hit somebody at all times. The contact is no problem."

End zone

Safety Ed Reed's holdout is up to six days. There was no movement in negotiations yesterday. ... Owner Art Modell, recovering from a mild stroke, hopes to attend training camp before this weekend. ... Punter Dave Zastudil is the holder on field goals, not the long snapper as was reported yesterday. Zastudil is in his first season working with kicker Matt Stover.

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