Facing Winslow, Reed's got it covered

Raven knows tight end from college at Miami

September 10, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

If Ed Reed has something special planned for the Ravens' opener Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, he is not letting on.

Reed, a meticulous student of film who says he can tell where a receiver wants to run his route using the slightest of clues (like where his hands are placed before the snap), should be familiar with tight end Kellen Winslow, the Browns' newest go-to guy.

Although Winslow is just a rookie, the Browns have been raving about him since he arrived at training camp, and coach Butch Davis has not been shy in saying that Winslow will be a focal point of the offense.

Considering that Reed played against Winslow every day at practice when the two were at the University of Miami in 2001, one would think the Pro Bowl safety has Winslow's idiosyncrasies down pat.

Good luck getting him to admit as much.

"I'm going to play my responsibilities," said Reed, who made many of his team-leading seven interceptions last season by anticipating where the ball was going to be thrown. "We're not game-planning for one person. It's not about what I did against Kevin at Miami. That was college, and it was more practice than anything.

"I know him, but we're not scheming anything for him. It's nothing special about it. I might not even be on his side."

Known more as a team that prefers to get the ball to its trio of speedy receivers, Winslow gives the Browns a dimension not seen since Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome was in his prime in the 1980s.

Winslow finished the preseason with three catches for 42 yards in limited action. Last year's starter, Steve Heiden, will be sidelined with a knee injury, so expect Winslow to play the entire game.

"You'd certainly like to think he's got the potential to be a playmaker," Davis said. "He's got speed, he's a tremendous competitor. He's got a good chance to be a very significant contributor to the offense."

Winslow does not talk to the media, so it's hard to gauge his feelings heading into his first professional game.

The Ravens are determined to make it an unhappy affair.

Last season, the Ravens' defense allowed three touchdowns to tight ends, and the Cincinnati Bengals' Matt Schobel's 62 receiving yards was the highest single-game total. The two most prolific tight ends the Ravens faced - Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez and Denver's Shannon Sharpe - combined for 28 yards on five catches.

The Browns' tight ends caught one pass for 5 yards in the two games. Seems like a tough draw for Winslow, who won the John Mackey Award as the nation's premier college tight end last season.

Containing Winslow, as is the Ravens' philosophy with all tight ends, will be up to all 11 players on defense - linebackers jam him within the 5-yard zone, safeties pick him up after that.

"One thing about our defense, we never really have one-on-ones," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "So I will never be matched up against him one-on-one. It will probably be more of a him and Ed thing. He's a great player, has great abilities. He's also young. Hopefully, he catches on. All the best for him."

Lewis, who was quoted in a national publication as saying he looked forward to hitting Winslow, reiterated that after the compliments.

"Why wouldn't I? Anybody putting on a different color uniform I'm looking forward to hitting," Lewis said. "He's not nothing special. Not like that."

Chances are, as his sixth overall pick in the draft status would attest to, Winslow will be special soon.

"When I watched him last year, I was really impressed with his passion," Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. "I know some of it may not be controlled as much as you'd like, but anytime you can get a passionate player, you want to grab him. It's like that wild horse that is fast as hell, you just want to find a way contain it.

"I think he's going to be a very good player."

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns in opener

Site: Cleveland Browns Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line: Ravens by 3

Inside

Tough talk: Browns say J. Lewis is "just another running back." Page 8E

Ravens schedule

Date Opponent Time TV

Sept. 12 at Cleveland 1 p.m. 13

Sept. 19 Pittsburgh 1 p.m. 13

Sept. 26 at Cincinnati 1 p.m. 13

Oct. 4 Kansas City 9 p.m. 2

Oct. 10 at Washington 8:30 p.m. 13, ESPN

Oct. 17 Open date

Oct. 24 Buffalo 1 p.m. 13

Oct. 31 at Philadelphia 1 p.m. 13

Nov. 7 Cleveland 8:30 p.m. 2, ESPN

Nov. 14 at N.Y. Jets 1 p.m. 13

Nov. 21 Dallas 1 p.m. 45

Nov. 28 at New England 1 p.m. 13

Dec. 5 Cincinnati 1 p.m. 13

Dec. 12 N.Y. Giants 1 p.m. 45

Dec. 19 at Indianapolis 8:30 p.m. 13, ESPN

Dec. 26 at Pittsburgh 1 p.m. 13

Jan. 2 Miami 1 p.m. 13

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