Injured Douglas won't play in season opener

Ravens notebook

Dislocated elbow to cost defensive end 4-6 weeks

August 19, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Defensive end Marques Douglas dislocated his elbow during practice Tuesday and will be out four to six weeks, meaning he will miss the season opener at Cleveland on Sept. 12.

With Douglas absent from yesterday's practice, Jarret Johnson took his place with the first team and will be the starter heading into the season.

Johnson played in 15 games last season and started against the San Francisco 49ers for an injured Tony Weaver. He finished the year with 18 tackles and no sacks, but gained valuable experience playing anywhere from 10 to 20 snaps a game as a rookie out of Alabama.

"You can't replace Marques," Johnson said. "He's a great player that's always played with good tempo. But I just look at it as an opportunity to go out and prove my skills so when he does come back, I can help the team even more."

Before Douglas' injury, coaches had planned to increase Johnson's playing time, mainly in pass-rushing situations.

"Jarret is definitely ready to play in this league," defensive line coach Rex Ryan said. "But you hate to lose Marques for any time. But we had big plans for Jarret anyway as far as the rotation. He works his butt off and we just have to tighten up until we get Douglas back."

The Ravens also plan to have tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Aubrayo Franklin take snaps at end. Kemoeatu dedicated the offseason to improving his pass-rushing skills, and he recorded two sacks in the Ravens' preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Second-round pick Dwan Edwards also will have opportunities to be part of the rotation. "You have to earn that right," Ryan said. "He's coming on, too. We'll find a way to get it done."

Philly media irks Billick

Ravens coach Brian Billick scolded the media for attempting to stir up controversy between he, Terrell Owens and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Billick's comments were directed more toward the Philadelphia print media, which he claims took something he said about the Eagles' ability to control Owens out of context.

Billick was quoted as saying only Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb could tell Owens to shut up if need be, whereas the Ravens have multiple people who could put a muzzle on Owens.

A couple of the Eagles' players called Billick's supposed remarks ignorant. Billick claims the writer of that article had an agenda.

"Sometimes [the media are] like petulant second-graders going from one end of the schoolyard to the other," Billick said. "That's all that I said, that I think that my team had the veteran experience and leadership to absorb a guy like T.O. I don't know [the Eagles] and I can't imagine they don't have good leadership. For some reason, they've decided that means I've said they don't, but that's for their purposes.

"The writer had it in for [Eagles coach] Andy [Reid], had it in for T.O. and he had it in for that team. And to extrapolate it beyond that is his business."

Frazier in return mix

By his own estimation, undrafted rookie cornerback Lance Frazier has not dropped a punt in two years.

That little statistic, if true, could vault him over the struggling Lamont Brightful, who muffed two punts in the morning practice alone.

Frazier replaced Brightful yesterday and caught all six of his attempts. He will get the chance to return punts the entire second half against the Eagles.

"I'm pretty experienced [at returning]," said Frazier, who broke a school record at West Virginia, averaging 20.8 yards a return last year. "It's another way to make the team, especially if I have a good game. The biggest thing is to be smart back there."

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