Boller giving Plummer a run for QB lead

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

74 yards rushing leave Raven second to Bronco

Moore savors first catch

Pro Football

October 02, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer has two more rushing attempts than the Ravens' Kyle Boller this year in an AFC race that figures to be tight until the end of the season.

Plummer, known as a scrambling quarterback, and Boller, quickly developing a reputation as one, lead the conference in attempts, combining for 30 rushes through three games this season.

Both are adapt at throwing on the run, though most of Boller's passes when rolling out of the pocket have been unsuccessful. When sitting in the pocket, Boller has been aggressive in tucking the football and running before the protection around him breaks down.

Boller had a 7-yard touchdown run when a lane opened up for him in the first quarter of the Ravens' win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

"When I can use my feet, I'll use them," said Boller, who was 2 yards away from scoring before fumbling after a 19-yard scramble in the second quarter. "I'm not always looking to run. I want to throw the ball if I can. But sometimes if everyone is covered, then my last resort is to run. As long as they keep giving me lanes to go, I'm going to take off and protect the ball."

Boller's 74 yards on the ground is already 12 more than he had in nine games all of last season. Wary of not wanting to throw an interception, Boller, in many respects, is doing nearly as much damage with his feet as in throwing the ball.

The Ravens converted just four first downs through the air against the Bengals.

"I'm not so sure my running is going to affect [opposing teams]. They are still going to be keying in on Jamal Lewis the whole time," Boller said. "Maybe one of these days they'll have to respect me and my running game. I still want to establish my passing game and get that going.

"I'm definitely not [Atlanta Falcons quarterback] Michael Vick, that's for sure."

Now Boller has to work on securing the ball better starting Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Boller lost two fumbles against the Bengals.

"That comes with his pocket presence, becoming more secure, recognizing when is a good time to run it and when not," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We hope we can continue with that because that adds another element."

Strzelczyk memories

Backup quarterback Kordell Stewart played four seasons with former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, who died Thursday morning in a fiery collision with a tractor-trailer near Herkimer, N.Y., after leading police on a 40-mile high-speed chase on the New York State Thruway.

Strzelczyk, 36, was driving on the wrong side of the thruway when his green pickup truck collided with the tractor-trailer, which was carrying hazardous materials. Strzelczyk was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stewart remembers him as a funny guy who did strange things in the huddle.

"He used to say some crazy things," Stewart said. "He always kept things light. He used to be in the huddle spitting on himself, just comedy that we would carry over into the locker room the next day."

Camera-ready Moore

As the ball was in the air, Ravens receiver Clarence Moore literally became a wide-eyed rookie. Moore hauled in his first catch as a professional against the Bengals, showing the savvy of a veteran by breaking off a route on a corner blitz.

"I wish the camera could have seen my face," Moore said. "My eyes opened up so wide, I just braced myself because I knew it was coming my way."

Injury report

The Ravens upgraded fullback Ovie Mughelli (hamstring) and offensive tackle Ethan Brooks (knee) from doubtful to questionable. Both players practiced yesterday, as well as nickel back Deion Sanders (hamstring) and nose guard Kelly Gregg (knee).

For the Chiefs, starting defensive tackle Ryan Sims (ankle) and cornerback Eric Warfield (back) were added to the injury report as probable. Warfield did not practice yesterday. Receiver Eddie Kennison (hamstring) missed his second straight day of practice and is questionable, but kick returner Dante Hall (infected lip) was back at practice.

End zone

Billick anticipates Sanders will play 15 to 30 snaps against the Chiefs.

To make sure he is able to handle such a load, Sanders plans to do a better job of keeping his body warm between plays.

"We'll definitely have bicycles on the sideline to keep me warm," Sanders said. "Hopefully I'm more involved and we can keep them in three-receiver sub packages." ...

Team officials are asking fans to remain in their seats during halftime of Monday night's game as the team inducts former defensive end Michael McCrary in the Ravens' Ring of Honor.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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