Lemon's chance to impress may be with game on line


Rookie vying for spot as third QB to play tonight in fourth quarter vs. Jets

Pro Football

August 15, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

There is a chance the outcome of tonight's game will rest with Cleo Lemon.

Lemon, an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas State, is battling Wes Pate to be the third quarterback. He is expected to get his first opportunity of the preseason in the middle of the fourth quarter against the New York Jets.

Lemon will follow Chris Redman and Jeff Blake in the rotation. Pate, who completed his only pass attempt against the Detroit Lions last week for 15 yards, is not expected to play.

"I'm going to go out and make plays and try to move the team," Lemon said. "I'm just going to do what is asked of me to the best of my ability. With the offense, I'm pretty comfortable. I've been studying and learning, and I think I'm capable of getting it done. It's just a matter of getting the opportunity."

Ravens coach Brian Billick has tried to prepare Lemon for the possibility the game may not be decided until the fourth quarter. Lemon practiced the two-minute offense earlier this week.

"I want to see how he handles the team," Billick said. "It will very likely be in a two-minute situation. If it turns out, as it does sometimes in a preseason game, that would be a real good test for him."

Pate, the Ravens' seventh-round pick out of Stephen F. Austin, produced one first down in his offensive series last week. In practice thus far, neither Pate nor Lemon has stood out, so it is hard to gauge who is ahead.

"They are both wide-eyed rookies that do some things well but have a long way to go," Billick said.

With Redman a first-year starter and Blake learning a new system, both players are getting a high number of repetitions in practice and games. Consequently, Lemon and Pate have less chances.

"That's the business aspect of the game," Lemon said. "If you do get that one series or one or two plays, you have to make the best of it and hope the ball bounces your way."

Invisible man

Joe Maese's anonymous persona is back.

Maese was unnoticeable in the Ravens' win over the Lions, which for a long snapper is a positive.

It was Maese's first action since last year's Tampa Bay game (Dec. 29) - one in which he played with a hurt knee that eventually put him on injured reserved. Maese was hit with two holding penalties (one was declined) against the Buccaneers and was partly responsible for a blocked punt.

"It's been a good off-season. I feel 100 percent strong," Maese said. "I was anxious to get back in a game. All the snaps and reps you take in the off-season, it was nice to see it come together and pay off. We had a good game where we played solid on special teams."

End zone

The Ravens held yesterday's walk-through in the gymnasium as a break from the near 100-degree temperature. ... Former Raven Larry Webster signed with the Jets in April and should play tonight.

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