Mitchell keeps focus on Bucs

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Safety not looking ahead to return of injured Demps

Pro Football

September 14, 2002|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Anthony Mitchell has kept an even keel through a few up and down weeks.

The third-year pro out of Tuskegee came into camp as the starter at strong safety, but rookie free agent Will Demps won the position. When Demps went out with an elbow injury, Mitchell got his first NFL start Sunday at Carolina. His unit allowed just one touchdown, but he was the player victimized on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Panthers tight end Wesley Walls.

"I graded myself D, D-minus, because I was the one who should have made the play on the touchdown," Mitchell said. "I'm always harder on myself than everyone else. Regardless of how I play, I don't think I'd give myself a B."

Evaluations will continue when Demps gets off the injury report, but Mitchell said he isn't concerned with Week 3 and beyond as much as beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I can't think about what they do when Will gets back, I've just got to go back there and play," Mitchell said. "If they do come back and bring Will in, they'll know I'll be able to step up at anytime. That's what I've got to do, bring confidence to the table."

The defense did not force a turnover by the Panthers, and Mitchell knows that has to change.

"We've got to turn back into the Ravens defense of old," Mitchell said. "Regardless of how turnovers come, we've got to get some this week."

Taylor feels fitter

Wide receiver Travis Taylor remained questionable with the shoulder injury he sustained in the opener, but he figures prominently in the offensive game plan and could start.

"There was a big difference from Wednesday to today [yesterday]," Taylor said. "I've got a lot more movement, and I feel more relaxed. I can jump and get the ball in my hands. Every day it gets better."

Ron Johnson will start if Taylor doesn't.

Cornerback James Trapp (chest) is listed as doubtful, and head coach Brian Billick said he would not play.

The Ravens will wear white jerseys and pants at home for the first time. The forecast calls for rain, but a spokesman said that the possibility of hot conditions weighed in the decision.

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