Hartwell's inside job going well

Teaming with R. Lewis, he's tackling 3-4 defense with solid linebacker play

Ravens notebook

Pro Football

October 05, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Things are working out by design for Ravens inside linebacker Ed Hartwell.

Ray Lewis leads the team in tackles with 56, and Hartwell, in his second season with the Ravens but first as a starter, is next with 29.

"Any inside linebackers are supposed to lead their teams in tackles because they are in the middle of everything and get to run from sideline to sideline to get not only the inside runs but the outside runs," Hartwell said. "It is their responsibility to get to the ball. So with Ray leading and me second in tackles, that's really how it's supposed to be."

The entire Ravens defense has just 99 more tackles than Hartwell and Lewis combined. "That's something you'd expect from your inside linebackers, particularly in a 3-4," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Clearly those who have been watching have seen Ray work at mentoring [Hartwell] along.

"We feel like Ed is definitely going to be a fixture inside and progress not unlike Jamie Sharper did."

Lewis looks like he is benefiting from playing next to Hartwell more than ever before, improving his three-game tackling total from a year ago by 21. He has, however, benefited significantly the day after games - getting an additional eight tackles after the loss at Carolina and two in Monday night's win over Denver from coaches' video.

Though Lewis has led the Ravens (1-2) in tackles all three games, Hartwell believes there may come a time when he unseats Lewis, at least for a game.

"You are always out there to do your best," Hartwell said. "Sometimes we'll joke around and say let's see who gets the most tackles today. But it's never anything harsh."

Playing time for Williams

With Denver in comeback mode much of Monday night, Chad Williams, the dime (sixth) defensive back, played nearly the entire second half.

It was the most extensive action of the season for Willams, a sixth-round pick out of Southern Mississippi.

"It is a good opportunity to get on the field," he said. "Special teams, dime, nickel, I just want to go out there and help the team when I can. When we had the lead, I really knew I was going to get some snaps then."

Williams, who had eight tackles against Denver, may play a lot tomorrow. The Browns tend to use many four- and five-receiver sets.

"Hopefully we can get a lead again," Williams said. "I'm looking for the same amount of snaps that I had last week."

End zone

Tight ends Todd Heap (thigh), John Jones (chest) and Terry Jones (chest) all practiced yesterday and are expected to play. Linebacker J.R. Johnson (chest) was elevated from questionable to probable and also practiced. ... Dave Zastudil's 52.5 average on six punts against the Broncos brought him up to eighth in the AFC. "That change of field position is huge, particularly when you are on the road," Billick said. "That is always a huge plus. He's getting more and more comfortable, and the great thing was him making those punts with the snaps he was getting because of Joe's [Maese, long snapper] injured thumb."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.