No baby steps for RB Taylor


Billick puts rookie backup through tough workout in return from leg injury

Pro Football

August 12, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Backup running back Chester Taylor missed more than a week because of an injured leg, so Ravens coach Brian Billick figured there wasn't time for fooling around.

Billick sent Taylor through the guard and center, right into the teeth of the Ravens' defense often during a full-contact practice yesterday morning.

Taylor, in his first contact practice since suffering the injury that kept him out of Friday's preseason win over Detroit and the intrasquad scrimmage a week earlier, had four carries, more than any other back.

"He's got fresh legs, so he looks pretty good out there," Billick said. "I told him I'm going to wear him out this week."

Taylor took snaps with the second and third string, but easily could start Thursday's game against the New York Jets.

"I'm just working my way back into it, trying to get my rhythm back," Taylor said. "He threw me out there with the sharks, but I handled myself pretty well. I wasn't expecting that; it caught me by surprise. But I'm glad he did do it because it will just get me better."

Ravens running backs, minus Taylor and Jamal Lewis, rushed for just 45 yards on 18 carries against Detroit.

"At its best, no matter how well Chester and Tellis Redmon and Dameon Hunter perform, they are still rookies," Billick said.

Small setback for McCrary

Defensive end Michael McCrary had a minor setback. He had some swelling in his knee but is still expected to be healthy in time for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Carolina Panthers.

Meanwhile, linebacker Peter Boulware, who is on the physically unable to perform list along with McCrary, continues to rehabilitate his ankle individually during practice. Boulware had minor surgery on the ankle shortly after the final minicamp in June.

Ravens trainers have not set a date for either player to start practicing. Both players indicated they want to get in at least one preseason game before the start of the regular season, but neither will play Thursday.

"They won't be coming off the list soon," trainer Bill Tessendorf said.

Rookie's rave review

It was a rare honor for defensive lineman Nate Bolling.

Late in the fourth quarter, Bolling looked up at the Ravens Stadium big screen and saw he was named player of the game, a distinction he only won once in college. Bolling, a rookie free agent out of Wake Forest, recorded two fourth-quarter sacks of Lions quarterback Joey Harrington.

"I just went out there playing at full speed and was able to make a couple of big plays," Bolling said. "That was pretty cool. My first game in the pros, I was player of the game, so that was a cool little thing.

"I had a pretty good game, but I don't want to put that on the chart yet because I plan to have a lot more to come. My No. 1 goal is to make the team."

Et cetera

Newly signed linebacker Bernardo Harris played 10 snaps Friday. ... Two days removed from a game, the Ravens had a spirited practice yesterday. "I wanted to make them do more than they probably should have had to," Billick said. "After a good solid effort on Friday night, they get up on a Sunday morning, should have been in church but instead they are out here hitting one another, and they handled themselves well."

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