Billick doesn't flinch over injuries


List continues to grow, but `bumps and bruises' not a concern for coach

Pro Football

August 23, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Although the Ravens' injury list keeps growing, coach Brian Billick shows little concern.

A training camp-high 15 players were limited or missed practice altogether in yesterday's non-padded workout, but Billick shrugged off the absences afterward, saying it gives the coaches a better opportunity to focus on other players.

"It's nicks, bumps and bruises per that part of camp," Billick said. "[Yesterday] was about running. Some of those guys are just going to have to get past those bumps and bruises. But all in all, we are in fairly good shape."

The Ravens were without seven starters, but only defensive end Marques Douglas (elbow) and linebacker Peter Boulware (knee) are likely out for the season opener Sept. 12 in Cleveland against the Browns.

Defensive end Tony Weaver suffered a mild high ankle sprain in Friday night's 26-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and receivers Devard Darling and Travis Taylor aggravated quadriceps and groin injuries, respectively. Tight end Todd Heap bruised his shoulder, and defensive back Corey Fuller hurt his leg against the Eagles.

All except Weaver are expected to return to practice this week.

The Ravens may choose to keep Weaver out of Saturday's preseason home game against the Detroit Lions. If Weaver doesn't play, second-round pick Dwan Edwards will start.

"It gives other guys a chance, which is good," Billick said.

Offensive tackle Orlando Brown (personal reasons) and cornerback Chris McAlister (contract dispute) are the other starters not practicing.

Sams may field kicks

B.J. Sams fielded kickoffs during practice for the first time since injuring a hand early in training camp.

Rarely does the health of a rookie free agent garner so much attention, but coaches had high hopes for Sams, who was one of the leading candidates to unseat Lamont Brightful as the return specialist.

A decision on Sams' availability for the Lions game will come in the next few days.

"I feel real good, comfortable catching balls," Sams said. "On offense, at running back, I'm there mentally, but it is totally different once you get out there behind the quarterback and actually do it. I have to get back into that groove."

Green is coming around

Rookie linebacker Roderick Green is starting to turn the corner, literally and figuratively.

Green recorded his first sack as a professional when he beat an Eagles reserve offensive tackle coming off the edge and brought down former Ravens quarterback Jeff Blake for a 15-yard loss in the third quarter.

It was one of two tackles on the night for Green, who said he is starting to learn how to attack NFL tackles. After the sack, Green barely acknowledged what he had just done.

"I didn't have to show expression on the field about how I felt about it, but on the inside, I felt pretty good," Green said. "All my teammates were congratulating me on it."

Billick won't criticize refs

After taking another look at the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed for excessive celebration following the team's defensive touchdown Friday night, Billick could not figure out the infraction.

But he stopped short of questioning the officials' judgment, as he has done in the past, thereby avoiding another fine.

"I'm not comfortable with it, but they are going to call it," Billick said. "I've checked, and they think it was valid, so we can't do that anymore. It's unfortunate that after a big play, a team can't come around and congratulate one another, but evidently that's what we can't do."

Camp update

Thumbs up: Kordell Stewart looked much more comfortable throwing the ball than he did in Friday's preseason game. Of course, it helped that the drills were in shorts. ... The starting defense recorded back-to-back stops (a Kyle Boller throwaway and a Boller scramble after five seconds in the pocket) during 7-on-7 drills. ... Ray Lewis chased down Chester Taylor in the open field.

Thumbs down: Boller short-hopped a pass on a 5-yard out pattern.

Quotable: "I saw some mistakes that I know we know better, and that's the encouraging thing." - coach Brian Billick, on the game film from Friday night.

Injuries: OLB Peter Boulware (knee), CB Fred Weary (quadriceps), CB Corey Fuller (leg), DT Matt Zielinski (knee), DE Marques Douglas (elbow), DE Tony Weaver (ankle), QB Anthony Wright (shoulder), TE Trent Smith (leg), TE Todd Heap (shoulder), WR Devard Darling (quadriceps), WR Travis Taylor (groin) and WR Derek Abney (arm) did not practice. CB Chris McAlister (contract dispute) is not in camp. Alan Ricard (leg) and Casey Rabach (knee) were limited.

Today's schedule: Full-team pratice, 8:45 a.m.-11 a.m., 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Countdown to season opener: 20 days.

- Brent Jones

Next for Ravens

Preseason matchup: Detroit Lions (1-1) vs. Ravens (1-1)

Site: M&T Bank Stadium

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 45, Comcast SportsNet/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

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