Ismail has found ideal spot with offensive-minded Colts

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ex-Raven has 17 catches for 186 yards, three TDs

October 10, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Qadry Ismail escaped the wilderness three years ago, revived his pro career as a Raven and eventually became the team's all-time leading receiver. Now, despite all the accomplishments, Ismail is finally in his version of paradise.

"It's really amazing how it works," Ismail said during a conference call yesterday. "I have found receivers nirvana, if you will."

Ismail, who signed a relatively lucrative contract with the Indianapolis Colts, is the No. 2 receiver in one of the most prolific offenses in the league, featuring quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Edgerrin James and fellow receiver Marvin Harrison.

Ismail will get his first opportunity to face his former team when the Ravens travel to Indianapolis on Sunday. Ismail, who was a salary cap casualty with the Ravens, set team records for receptions (191) and receiving yardage (2,819) during his three years. Before coming to the Ravens, Ismail had not caught a pass since 1996, recalling that period of his life as the wilderness experience.

"I have a high affinity for the Ravens and the city as a whole," Ismail said. "I was involved in a lot of things in the community. Going to the former PSINet, my wife and I talked about the different places we've been and the different football environments, and I saw none better than what the Ravens had."

Ismail is second on the Colts with 17 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

"It's just gratifying to see Q go on and produce the way he has," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "When he came to us, he was kind of out of it. He's a good friend. I was with him in Minnesota and to see him extend his career this way with an offense, a coordinator he's familiar with and have the productivity he is going to have, I'm happy for Q."

McCrary is questionable

Ravens defensive end Michael McCrary missed practice yesterday and is listed on the team's injury report for the first time this season.

McCrary (knee) is questionable for Sunday's game after playing a season-high 44 snaps against the Cleveland Browns. Trainer Bill Tessendorf said McCrary experienced some soreness in his knees after the game.

Billick lamented McCrary's number of snaps earlier this week. "That will pay a price at some point," he said. "But you have to let them play. Anything over 40, I'm going to be concerned."

Expect play-action

The Ravens' defense can expect to see a good number of play-action passes from Manning.

Manning is regarded as one of the league's best at carrying out the fake handoff to the running back, and Indianapolis often throws deep after the fake handoff.

"We've been playing the run very aggressively the last couple of weeks," Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter said. "I know they are going to really key on that and put a lot of play-action in for the safeties and the corners. We just have to have our eyes right and make sure we don't get sucked up into that play-action because that is where their big gains come from."

End zone

Kicker Matt Stover has connected on his past six field-goal attempts after recording the only "did not play" of his career in the second game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "I think I'm kicking the ball pretty well, but Joe [Maese, snapper] and Dave [Zastudil, holder] are doing a nice job," Stover said. "I'm only as good as those guys and the situations they put me in, and it's worked out well." ... Center Mike Flynn (ankle) and linebacker Ray Lewis (shoulder) did not practice yesterday. Safety Chad Williams (hip, probable) and linebacker J.R. Jenkins (thigh, questionable) practiced. ... Russ Purnell, who spent the previous three seasons as special teams coach with the Ravens, is with the Colts in the same capacity.

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