Defense takes aim at R. Johnson

Ravens notebook

Ravens are out to handle Bengals' featured back as they handled Dillon

Pro Football

September 24, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Though the Ravens usually handled Corey Dillon, they appear to like their chances even more against the Cincinnati Bengals' new featured back, Rudi Johnson.

Cincinnati decided to go with Johnson this offseason, trading the disgruntled Dillon to the New England Patriots. Last season, the Ravens held Johnson to 15 yards on seven carries.

"They have Rudi Johnson, who has made a couple of good plays here or there, but I don't know if I would put him up there with Corey Dillon just yet," Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis said. "Missing Corey is going to be big."

The Ravens have not given up 100 yards to a running back in eight straight games, a streak that is second only to the Jacksonville Jaguars (17 games).

Injury update

There were no changes on the Ravens' injury report, which suggests they will go without five starters Sunday.

In addition to outside linebacker Peter Boulware (knee, physically-unable-to-perform list), center Mike Flynn (collarbone), tight end Todd Heap (ankle), receiver Travis Taylor (groin) and nose tackle Kelly Gregg (knee) did not practice. Nickel back Deion Sanders (hamstring) also did not participate in drills.

"I was hoping to come back [this week]," Gregg said. "The mind wants to, but the leg, well ... "

Moore is third receiver

Clarence Moore, the rookie receiver known for his jumping ability, has officially leapfrogged Devard Darling on the depth chart.

Moore was a sixth-round pick taken 116 players after Darling, a third-rounder. Based on their recent play, coaches decided to use Moore as the third receiver and deactivate Darling in Sunday's win over Pittsburgh.

"He has a certain toughness," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Moore.

"He has stepped up to the challenge of being a low-round draft choice that no one ever expected anything out of and he has fought his way up to that position. You have to respect that."

Now, Moore is looking forward to running his first route. The former Northern Arizona standout was involved in four offensive plays, all of which were runs.

Cowher's take

Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher agreed with the Ravens that Steelers linebacker Joey Porter should not have shoved the already-injured Heap to the ground Sunday.

"We talked about it. It was not condoned," Cowher said. "I think a lot more has been made of it than needs to be."

End zone

Kicker Matt Stover ranks fifth on the NFL's active scoring list with 1,379 points. Fifteen percent of them (216 points) have come against Cincinnati. ... Receiver Kevin Johnson has recorded a catch in 81 straight games. ... Lewis has recorded 119 tackles in 13 games against Cincinnati, an average of nine per meeting.

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