Center Rabach happy as D.C. man in middle


Ex-Raven says 2 teams are very much alike

Pro Football

August 10, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Casey Rabach said he will always have a fondness for the Ravens, the team that gave birth to his NFL career. But will he miss them?


"I'm not going to lie to you: it's a great organization, it's well-run, it has a great coaching staff and a great group of guys up there," Rabach said yesterday after practice at Redskins Park. "But that's in the past now and this is my future here."

Rabach's future began in Washington once the team signed him to a five-year, $13.75 million contract on March 2, the first day of free agency.

As he did for the Ravens and Jamal Lewis, Rabach, 6 feet 4, 301 pounds, is expected to anchor an offensive line to open holes for running back Clinton Portis and provide protection for quarterback Patrick Ramsey.

Rabach, who spent four years in Baltimore and started 15 games at center and one game at guard for the Ravens last year, said he has noticed some similarities between his former and current teams.

"We're both physical-style teams," said Rabach, 27. "We both have really good defenses, and we rely on the running game."

Rabach joins an experienced line in Washington. Starting tackles Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels have been with the organization for seven and six years, respectively, and guards Randy Thomas and Derrick Dockery are entering their third season with the Redskins.

But Rabach's athleticism and toughness have helped him develop a cohesion with his linemates quickly, according to coach Joe Gibbs.

"We did a lot of research on him because our centers have to do so much," Gibbs said. "He's really, really bright. He's fit right in - like a glove."

At Saturday's scrimmage in Baltimore, the Ravens' defense had five sacks, four against Ramsey and a first-team unit that was missing Samuels.

But Rabach remained optimistic about the line's progress.

"I think in our offseason work - our OTAs [offseason training activities] and minicamps - we really busted our butts, and that's paying dividends right now. We're real close to being where we need to be and definitely by Sept. 11 [the regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears], we'll be there."

Campbell impresses

Aside from being forced to serenade the veterans with a Boyz II Men song and toting some helmets, rookie quarterback Jason Campbell's first week in the NFL has been relatively mild.

The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Auburn alumnus has impressed coaches with a strong arm and knack for avoiding pressure when the pocket collapses. He's still third on the depth chart behind Ramsey and backup Mark Brunell, but Campbell knows that anything can happen.

"You've always got to stay ready," said Campbell, who connected with Billy Baber for the offense's only touchdown in the scrimmage against the Ravens. "Football is a game that is very physical. There are just a lot of different things, and the main thing I need to do is work hard in practice and make sure I stay on top of everything."

End zone

Several players who practiced in the morning session skipped the afternoon portion. Wide receiver Santana Moss (stomach virus) and offensive lineman Ray Brown (bruised quad) were absent. Cornerback Shawn Springs (tight hamstring) and defensive end Phillip Daniels (sore wrist) were present, but did not practice. Cornerbacks Artrell Hawkins (strained hamstring) and Garnell Wilds (bruised thigh) missed both sessions. ... Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said linebacker LaVar Arrington passed a conditioning test "with flying colors" and could participate in limited practice as early as next week.

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