Douglas, Weaver off injury list

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Billick has yet to decide if starting defensive ends will play preseason finale

Pro Football

August 31, 2004|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' starting defensive ends were declared healthy yesterday and are expected to play in the season opener Sept. 12 against the Browns in Cleveland.

Coach Brian Billick made the announcement about Marques Douglas and Tony Weaver after a brief morning walk-through practice, but said it is unlikely either will play Thursday night against the New York Giants in the team's final preseason game.

Douglas had been expected to miss the opener, and possibly the second game, because of a dislocated elbow. Weaver had been considered day-to-day because of a sprained ankle.

"I will have the final say as to whether they [play] Thursday," Billick said.

The coach might have to hold Douglas down. The fifth-year veteran out of Howard University missed 11 games in 2002 because of knee surgery. He hates being on the sideline.

"I have no discomfort," said Douglas, who added that he hasn't lost much as far as conditioning despite missing nearly two weeks.

"Actually, I have practiced," he said. "I've done foot drills, bag drills; now it's just working into game situations. We can err on the side of caution because I have time on my side, but I've got to get out there and play."

Seeking a comfort zone

The Ravens had familiar faces on the offensive line against the Detroit Lions on Saturday night, but two of them weren't comfortable.

Guard Casey Rabach was subbing for injured center Mike Flynn, who is out six to eight weeks with a broken collarbone. Right offensive tackle Orlando Brown was making his first start after missing the first two preseason games because of an illness in his family.

As a unit, the offensive line struggled because of individual breakdowns. The Ravens believe they can make the necessary adjustments because Rabach needs more playing time at a new position, and Brown just needs to work himself into better playing condition.

Billick said yesterday Flynn might be available against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 10, but he might hold him out until Oct. 24 against the Buffalo Bills because the Ravens have a bye Oct. 17.

"It felt good playing; obviously, there are some things we need to keep working on," Rabach said. "We sputtered at times, but the good thing is it's preseason and we've still got a little ways to go."

Brown said: "Those days off really helped me. Mentally, I had to relax my mind. My head still isn't right, but I'll be ready to play. I played all right Saturday night. ... We'll be all right."

T. Smith on IR again

Tight end Trent Smith will spend his second consecutive season on injured reserve.

Smith broke his leg in the first preseason game last season and has not fully recovered. The Ravens had hoped Smith would be ready by the start of training camp, but the former seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma has been unable to run without a hitch.

Daniel Wilcox, thought to be a long shot to make the roster when he signed in June, is all but assured a spot as the Ravens' third tight end.

Smith could have been placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list for the first six weeks of the season, but team officials decided to give him ample time to fully recover.

"Unlike a lot of places in this league, I really believe they have my best interests in mind as well as the organization's," Smith said. "If I come back next year and have a great season, then everybody will be saying what a great idea that was, and I will be the one leading the bandwagon on that."

More roster moves

The Ravens waived safety Marcell Allmond, running back Kory Chapman, offensive tackles Brendan Darby and Eric Dumas, quarterback Brian Gaither, linebacker John Garrett, defensive tackles Douglas Goodwin and Bryan Save, punter Clinton Greathouse, receivers Kareem Kelly and Cecil Moore, cornerback Sam Massey and long snapper Don Muhlbach.

Return specialist Derek Abney (shoulder) and cornerback Fred Weary (quadriceps) were placed on IR. The Ravens have 71 players on their roster, six more than the league-mandated 65.

Receiver Todd Devoe, defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin, offensive tackle Tony Pashos and Wilcox are exempted from the roster because of their participation in NFL Europe.

Linebacker Peter Boulware and quarterback Anthony Wright are on the physically-unable-to-perform list and do not count against the roster total.

The Ravens must cut down to 53 players by Monday.

Sun staff writer Brent Jones contributed to this article.

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