Team braces for scrimmage


Judging by past two years, tonight's intrasquad game could have major impact

Ravens notebook

August 02, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

If the past two years serve as precedents, tonight's intrasquad scrimmage will have its share of newsworthy happenings.

Last year, the Ravens lost tackle Leon Searcy for the season with a torn triceps muscle, but also found a solid player in running back Jason Brookins.

Two years ago, in a scrimmage with the Washington Redskins, the Ravens lost running back Jamal Lewis for most of the preseason with a dislocated elbow.

Ravens coaches are hoping to get through tonight largely unscathed while finding a playmaker amongst a host of young faces.

"You can't focus on [what happened before]," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. [Injuries] are part of the game, and you really can't think about it. Either it happens or it doesn't.

"We've been at this four years now. We understand the pacing, the risks. But at some point you actually have to play the game."

And find out who can play. No player has a better opportunity to move up the depth chart than third-string running back Tellis Redmon.

Redmon will start in place of Lewis, who is being brought along slowly after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. Chester Taylor would have started for Lewis, but he injured his leg during Tuesday's practice.

That leaves things open for Redmon, fellow undrafted rookie Dameon Hunter and first-year player Derek Homer. Last year, Brookins used the scrimmage to separate himself from Chris Barnes, who was originally ahead of Brookins on the depth chart.

"[Redmon] has the opportunity to steal the spotlight," Billick said. "Obviously we are not going to do anything with Jamal, and with Chester being still banged up a bit. So it is a great opportunity for him to take snaps."

Said Redmon: "I'm approaching it like I've got to make the best out of it because I might not get another opportunity."

Redmon should see a high number of snaps, but many of the starters will likely see just a series.

"The top [players], Ray [Lewis] and Jonathan [Ogden], you will see a quick series," Billick said. "Then the rest, it's have at it. The key is to get everybody some substantial snaps to draw just a few conclusions from it."

Taylor to Reed: Be ready

The only advice receiver Travis Taylor can give to safety Ed Reed is to stay in shape.

Taylor can sympathize with Reed's holdout, which is up to eight days as there was no progress in negotiations yesterday. Taylor also was a holdout as a rookie (for 10 days in 2000).

Taylor acknowledged Reed will be behind once he signs, so the best way to ingratiate himself with his team would be to come in ready to play.

"It really depends on what he's been doing down in Miami - whether he's working out," Taylor said. "But it is a business first. You have to take care of the business end, then play football. That's just part of the game.

"I can tell you this, when he gets back, Coach Billick is going to wear him out. He's going to have him after practice running every day. But I won't say it takes a certain amount of days to catch up. It depends on what you've been doing in the off-season."

The sides still remain about $165,000 apart.

Johnson catching on

If there was a Most Valuable Raven award this week, rookie receiver Ron Johnson would win it.

Johnson has excelled at making catches in traffic, hauling in two passes during 11-on-11 drills yesterday that led to first downs. Johnson, who is the Ravens' third receiver and may wind up pushing Brandon Stokley for his starting spot, has shown a knack for making difficult catches in the middle of the field.

"I'm just learning," Johnson said. "I'm listening to whatever Brandon has to teach me or whatever Travis has to tell me and the coaches.

"Of course, I'm nervous. But once I get the play and I know what I'm doing, then I'm just going to play."

End zone

The Ravens had referees on hand for practice for the first time yesterday. ... The players will play host to a half-hour autograph session following tomorrow's practice. ... The second-string offense sputtered in two goal-line situations (quarterback Jeff Blake tripped over center and Hunter was stuffed short of the end zone).

Camp update

Thumbs up: First-team goal-line offense. The Ravens produced back-to-back touchdowns from 3 yards out on a Tellis Redmon run and a Chris Redman pass to John Jones.

Thumbs down:Linebacker Casey Tisdale whiffed on a tackle at the line of scrimmage, which resulted in a 15-yard run by Derek Homer.

Quotable: "You can't miss too much camp. You've got to get a good deal, but eventually you have to take something and come in." Linebacker Peter Boulware on Ed Reed's holdout.

Injuries: Boulware (ankle) and end Michael McCrary (knee) did not practice and are on the physically unable to perform list. Running back Chester Taylor (leg) did not practice and is listed as day-to-day. Tight end Todd Heap (triceps) was held out of most drills, as was cornerback James Trapp (knee). Both are expected to resume practicing next week. Linebacker Andre Arnold left practice early.

Today's schedule: Full-squad practice from 8:45 to 11 a.m. Question-and-answer session with Ravens coach Brian Billick at 5:30 p.m. Intrasquad scrimmage from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Countdown to season opener: 37 days.

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