Demps already has McNabb's attention


Eagles QB is planning to give safety a first look at the line of scrimmage

Pro Football

October 30, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Earlier this week, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was asked about the Ravens' defense, and his analysis began in the most unexpected place.

Rather than rattle off platitudes on Pro Bowl players Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, or discuss the pass-rushing prowess of Terrell Suggs, McNabb said the first person he plans to identify when he comes to the line of scrimmage is safety Will Demps.

Demps understands why.

"You have to know where the safeties are at in general," Demps said. "I guess he's looking at me because certain weeks, I'll blitz a lot or move around a lot to dictate certain coverages. But this week I'm concentrating on moving around to throw him off so he doesn't get a pre-snap read."

The Ravens gained experience from the preseason game against the Eagles in knowing how dangerous McNabb can be when he recognizes where he has one-on-one coverage.

Demps came on a blitz the first play of the game when the teams met in August, leaving cornerback Gary Baxter one-on-one with Terrell Owens. The play turned into an 81-yard touchdown for Owens.

The Ravens' secondary has solidified over the past three games, though Demps is the only member to not have either an interception or a forced fumble. He had a great chance at an interception against the Buffalo Bills, but was out-fought by Eric Moulds on a 49-yard catch.

Demps figures to have ample opportunity to reverse that when the Ravens play at Philadelphia tomorrow.

"I'm surrounded by such great people," Demps said. "Everybody has their job. My job is to make sure everybody is communicating on the back end at free safety."

Suggs has a shot

Suggs said Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22 1/2 has not crossed his mind, but at the rate he is going, it may pretty soon.

Suggs has seven sacks through the first six games. Suggs will have to pick up the pace -- he would finish with 19 at the current rate -- though he has recorded two sacks in three of the past four games.

Peter Boulware's expected return the next few weeks should help Suggs' pursuit.

"It hasn't come in my mind yet, but I have a feeling it will," Suggs said. "A couple of games down the line, it might."

Underdog, not watchdog

The Eagles are favored by 7 1/2 points to beat the Ravens, a point spread cornerback Chris McAlister assumes is the usual.

"We've always been the underdog," McAlister said.

Actually, the Ravens were favored in every game this season.

"It's the first time this year? Oh well, I've always felt like we've been the underdog," McAlister said. "Going into Philly, they're 6-0, we're supposed to be the underdog. At 4-2, who would pick us to beat them in their stadium with all the injuries that we have to our team?"

An Owens admirer

Owens has an ally for his often over-the-top end zone celebrations in Ravens nickel back Deion Sanders.

Sanders, known for his brash behavior, went on to admit that he wished he would have come up with some of Owens' stunts, especially autographing the football after a touchdown.

"That's some funny stuff," Sanders said. "It's humorous. The game needs a little flair, a little drama, and I think he brings that as a player and a person. The guy is creative, you have to give it to him. If you don't want him to do it, stop him from getting into the end zone."

Green gets in

Rookie pass-rushing linebacker Roderick Green got his first playing time from scrimmage against the Bills, playing in a handful of snaps and applying pressure to Drew Bledsoe late in the game.

Green, the Ravens' fifth-round pick, was the highest draft pick active for the game.

"It was a great thing for me," he said. "When I got out there, I knew I was going to have fun like those other cats out there. I missed the quarterback by just an inch, but whenever I get back in there, I'll get back on that.

"I get good playing time on special teams. Once I get my chance to go back out there on defense, I'll be ready for it."

End zone

The Ravens officially declared Jonathan Ogden (hamstring) out for tomorrow's game. ... Tight end Todd Heap (ankle) was downgraded from questionable to doubtful. Asked if Heap was going to be a game-time decision, Ravens coach Brian Billick said, "Sure. I like that." ...

Receiver Devard Darling was placed on injured reserve with a heel injury. The move ends a mostly frustrating season for the third-round pick who was expected to compete to be the third receiver this year but was plagued by injuries. ...

Tight end Darnell Dinkins was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster.

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