C. Taylor is ready to carry the load


Back is `looking forward' to taking on more of a role during Lewis' suspension

Pro Football

October 09, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Tomorrow night's game will serve as a final tuneup for Ravens backup running back Chester Taylor.

Taylor may not get more than his usual handful of carries against the Washington Redskins, but he knows he will have to make them count as it will be his last chances before he has to assume the bulk of the duties.

With Jamal Lewis facing a two-game suspension after the Redskins game, Taylor and Musa Smith will try to fill what looks to be an enormous void.

"I know I can," Taylor said. "I just needed the opportunity to see if I can. But I know it will come for me. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

Taylor has rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries this season, including a career-high 76 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was that game that cemented Taylor's status as a viable replacement for Lewis.

"We obviously had a plan for whatever the contingency, whether it's no games, two games, four games, a season," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We have prepared for any and all."

It looks as though the preparation will not include an overhaul of the play-calling.

"It's going to be the same offense," Taylor said. "They aren't going to change a thing. It seems like every year I feel more comfortable with the offense. The offensive line does a great job blocking, and I just try to get to the hole quick."

Billick on Beltway battle

If Billick has any say, the Beltway battle would be an annual thing.

The Redskins and Ravens will not play again until 2008 when Washington makes its first trip to M&T Bank Stadium. Until then, the preseason remains the only option.

"Obviously, it's not going to happen during the regular season because of the scheduling for the next umpteen years, but it would be criminal for us not to play them at least in the preseason every year," Billick said. "But again, we only have so much control of that."

T. Taylor 70 percent

Receiver Travis Taylor practiced for the second straight day and estimated himself at 70 percent.

That number, though, is probably not high enough to make him active for tomorrow night's game. Taylor reinjured his groin in the first game of the season and has not played since.

Taylor has run primarily with the scout team during the practices.

"I wanted to get back out there and see what it feels like, get some of the scar tissue out," Taylor said. "I want to make sure I'm completely healed.

"I haven't played a full game in almost a year now, so I'm ready to get back on the football field and feel the energy."

The Ravens made no adjustments to their injury report.

Edwards not playing

Rookie second-round pick Dwan Edwards has been inactive the past three games, a streak that may not be coming to an end anytime soon.

Edwards has fallen behind Aubrayo Franklin on the defensive line rotation, mainly because Franklin is capable of playing all three positions.

"We've always had him as the fifth or sixth guy," defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said of Edwards. "Our plan was to alternate he and Aubrayo Franklin. But Aubrayo has played so well, and he's got more versatility having been a nose guard and an end. It has allowed us to keep him on the roster. Dwan doesn't have the versatility; he's a left end."

Preseason memory

The last time the Ravens and Redskins were on the field, the Redskins dominated in a 24-3 win in the 2003 preseason. The Redskins were successful on a flea flicker in that game, a rarity because teams usually shy away from trick plays in the preseason.

It meant little then and even less now for Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

"The one thing that we know about the preseason is that it doesn't count," Lewis said. "Like I said, once we step on the field, you will see the true emotions come out."

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