With right move, he hits wrong man

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Billick lets Weaver know Redman out of bounds

coach takes shot at Dilfer

Ravens notebook

August 03, 2002|By Travis Haney | Travis Haney,SUN STAFF

Come the regular season, Ravens coach Brian Billick will let rookie defensive end Tony Weaver rough up opposing quarterbacks all he wants. Heck, it will probably even bring a wry smile to his face. For now, though, it's hands off.

Weaver got Billick's message loud and clear toward the end of last evening's intrasquad scrimmage after he popped starting quarterback Chris Redman's throwing arm in an attempt to strip the ball.

Weaver was credited with a sack and a point for the defensive team, but he said he got an earful afterward.

"I put a little spin move on to get to him, but I got chewed out after I touched the quarterback's arm," said Weaver, 6 feet 3, 300 pounds.

When Billick was asked if he noticed Weaver's defensive impact, he was more concerned about Redman's right arm, which was not injured.

"I saw him hit my quarterback's arm, which I hope he never does again," he said. "I made that very clear to him."

Weaver, who played at Notre Dame, stayed out of the first day of training camp eight days ago and then signed a four-year contract later that afternoon.

He made his presence known to fans and coaches early in yesterday's eight-series scrimmage when he made a goal-line tackle to stop rookie tailback Tellis Redmon from scoring.

That tackle also gave the defense its first of 15 points in Billick's modified scrimmage scoring system.

"At the goal line, you just try and penetrate," Weaver said. "I tried to come off the ball hard and, fortunately, I ran right into the running back."

Weaver said to score three points (his sack counted as a stopped offensive possession, good for one point) in the first scrimmage was a good way to kick off his career as a Raven.

"It was awesome to get a start like this in a scrimmage," he said. "Honestly, I felt like I was in high school again, with the fans out here on a Friday night and the band playing. I was real excited."

Dilfer vs. Grbac

Billick said yesterday that if Trent Dilfer had been thrust into quarterback Elvis Grbac's situation last season, having to run the offense without such key starters as running back Jamal Lewis and tackle Leon Searcy, the Ravens would have been sitting at home during the playoffs.

"It's my belief," he said during a pre-scrimmage question-and-answer session with fans, "that if we had Trent Dilfer last year, we wouldn't have made the playoffs."

As it turned out, the Ravens and Grbac, in his last game before retiring, lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC playoffs.

Billick also fielded a question in the public interview as to why he didn't play veteran quarterback Randall Cunningham instead of a struggling Grbac in the second half of the 27-10 loss to the Steelers.

"I have been one of the biggest supporters of Randall Cunningham over time. I brought him back into this league [last year]," Billick said, adding that he didn't know Grbac would retire and did not want to risk damaging the psyche of the team coming into this year by benching him in such a pivotal moment.

Stover on the money

Last night's scrimmage didn't include any kicking, but veteran placekicker Matt Stover and backup J.R. Jenkins did put on an exhibition at halftime.

Jenkins sent five of seven field-goal attempts through the uprights and Stover hit all seven of his attempts, including a 58-yarder to close the duel.

Stover, 34, said the "kickoff" was a good mind tuneup.

"I just want to get myself mentally ready so come season time I'm ready to go," he said. "That's what this is about, putting you under a little pressure and kicking some long field goals."

Free agent Brooks signs

The Ravens signed free agent offensive lineman Ethan Brooks to a two-year contract. Brooks most recently played for the Denver Broncos. He said he's glad to make his fifth NFL roster in his sixth year in the league.

"I knew they were interested, but I was getting a little nervous since camp started," said the 6-6, 297-pound Brooks. "I was feeling a little stressed out. This is the time of year when I should be hitting people and in the weight room and stuff. ... I'm just glad we can get it done."

End zone

Officially, under Billick's scoring system, the offense defeated the defense, 19-15, on Randy Hymes' 23-yard catch on the final play. ... Hymes' touchdown was not caught on film because approaching severe weather forced the Ravens' film crew down from its hydraulic cranes.

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