Thin offensive line may need help

Ravens notebook

If Ogden not available, practice-squad player likely would be promoted

September 09, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' offense is nearing the end of its line.

With center Mike Flynn (broken collarbone) out for a month and left tackle Jonathan Ogden (sprained knee) questionable, the Ravens might have to address their depth on the offensive front by the end of the week.

Two of their backups - center Casey Rabach and tackle Ethan Brooks - are working with the starters, leaving Damion Cook as the top reserve for every position (center, guard and tackle). If team officials decide Ogden can't go - the All Pro didn't practice yesterday - the Ravens likely would promote someone off the practice squad (perhaps Tony Pashos).

"We can't go into a game with just six [healthy linemen]," offensive line coach Jim Colletto said. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Ogden, who sprained his left knee in last week's preseason finale, trained off to the side. He has shown improvement, jogging on the sideline and working on his drop in pass protection.

Asked if Ogden would play Sunday in Cleveland, coach Brian Billick said, "I don't know. We'll see how tomorrow goes."

Ogden and Flynn started all 16 games last season when Jamal Lewis rushed for 2,066 yards, including two 200-yard games against the Browns.

Left guard Edwin Mulitalo said not having either of them beside him on the line has been strange, adding, "It's kind of like being the Lone Ranger out there."

Besides Ogden and Flynn, the only other injury concerns are nose tackle Kelly Gregg and linebacker Adalius Thomas, both of whom missed portions of the team drills with knee injuries.

Waiting for call

A year ago, Lewis rushed for an NFL-record 295 yards against the Browns, days after predicting he would have a "career day" in a trash-talking session over the phone with Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis.

Have any of the Browns dialed Lewis lately?

"I haven't had any phone conversations this week," Lewis said. "But the week is not over. I'll be listening."

Browns' Suggs doubtful

Browns running back Lee Suggs, who appeared to have won the starting job over William Green this preseason, is listed as doubtful with a neck injury, although coach Butch Davis hinted otherwise.

"He's making very, very good progress," Davis said. "At any given moment, it could be completely 100 percent."

Neither Suggs (68 yards in the second meeting) nor Green (54 yards in the first game) was effective against the Ravens last year.

Ready for regular season

The rain forced the Ravens to move practice three miles down the road to their new indoor facility. But that wasn't the only change.

"Today is the first real day of the regular season for these guys," Billick said. "You could tell by the temperament, tempo and focus in practice. It was excellent."

On the road again

When asked about his players not trying to get hyped up for the opener, Billick himself went on an emotional tangent.

"We've opened up, what, once at home in six years?" Billick said. "I don't want to start taking it personally, but good Lord, one in six years. But we're used to it. `What, on the road? Yep, we must be Baltimore.' "

Under Billick, the Ravens are 2-3 in season openers. One of those victories in that stretch was the lone home game to start the season (2001 against the Chicago Bears).

End zone

Receiver Devard Darling participated in all the drills in practice. Ravens officials said they were going to try to determine this week whether he needed to be placed on injured reserve because of a quadriceps injury. He is listed as probable on the initial injury report. ... Tight end Todd Heap, who missed the last two preseason games with a shoulder injury, was not listed on the report. ... Minnesota Twins outfielders Torii Hunter and Shannon Stewart, who are in town playing the Orioles, attended Ravens practice as guests of Deion Sanders.

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