J. Lewis misses practice


status for Friday unclear

But back gives `guarantee' that he will play in opener

August 24, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Jamal Lewis is uncertain whether he will play this week after missing practice yesterday.

The Ravens had hoped the running back would be ready for Friday's preseason game against the Saints in New Orleans and planned to give him four or five carries. Lewis, who was a late scratch for last week's preseason game, said he would know if he can play by today or tomorrow.

"I'll touch the field when Jamal Lewis is ready," Lewis said. "If that's this weekend, that's this weekend. If that's next weekend, it's next weekend. I guarantee you I'll be out there Sept. 11 [the regular-season opener]."

The Ravens are taking a cautious approach with Lewis, who missed all the offseason camps because he spent four months in federal prison and two months in a halfway house. He first suited up for the Ravens on Aug. 9 and had not missed a practice until yesterday.

"We'll see how he progresses," coach Brian Billick said. "He is still in training mode, and I want to be careful how we proceed with him."

Mughelli to come off bench

Ovie Mughelli's two-week run as the Ravens' starting fullback is expected to end Friday, when Alan Ricard will return from a calf injury.

Mughelli was the lead blocker for Chester Taylor, who has rushed for 102 yards in three quarters of work. It's probably not coincidence that Mughelli is playing his best after the Ravens drafted fullback Justin Green in the fifth round four months ago.

"I definitely wanted to show the coaches this year that I can be a starting fullback here or anywhere else in the league," said Mughelli, a fourth-round pick in 2003. "I wanted them to see that I can finally realize my potential."

Heap working on mobility

Todd Heap's biggest obstacle remains his shoulder. But the tight end isn't worried how it will hold up against contact.

"Everybody I've talked to has said the same thing, that taking hits is not going to be the big thing," Heap said. "I feel like the strength is back. It's the mobility. It takes some time because there's a lot of scar tissue built up in here, and it's something that needs to be worked out."

Heap was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list Monday. He had surgery on his ankle in January and had his shoulder repaired in April.

Specialists not so special

The Ravens' kickoff specialist battle has yet to heat up.

Neither Rhys Lloyd nor Owen Pochman was able to hit a kickoff inside the 5-yard line in three combined tries Saturday.

Asked how the competition was going, Billick said: "Based on what I saw the other night, not real well. So, it's going to have to be a whole lot better."

Pochman, who was signed last week, said: "If you're not good enough, you're not good enough. But to not even show what you're capable of ... I just need to do a better job."

Anderson eager to play

Third-string quarterback Derek Anderson understood he would not play last week because the Ravens wanted to split the game between Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright.

The rookie, however, wants a chance to redeem himself after fumbling his first preseason snap and throwing an interception in the end zone on his last throw.

"You just want to get out there and play, especially after the Atlanta game was frustrating," Anderson said. "It didn't happen but so we'll see what happens this week."

End zone

Besides Lewis, cornerbacks Samari Rolle (knee) and Deion Sanders (day off) did not practice. ... One worry the Ravens won't have is the Superdome's playing surface. New Orleans removed the old, carpet-like playing surface before last season and replaced it with Sportexe Momentum, the same turf used at M&T Bank Stadium. If they hadn't, Billick joked yesterday that "we would have boycotted [the game]." ... The Ravens' three-week training camp, which ended last week, drew 86,872 people - the second-most in team history.

Next for Ravens

Preseason matchup: Ravens (0-2) at New Orleans Saints (1-1)

When: Friday, 8 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 45, Comcast SportsNet/1300 AM, 102.7 FM

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