O. Brown in a hurry to slow Mathis

Ravens notebook

Speedy defensive end is assignment for Raven

September 09, 2005|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown knows his opponent only by number and image.

For Brown, No. 98 equals speed.

"He's a fast, little dude," Brown said of Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis. "I've just got to go at him, be me and stay in front of him."

Brown's task is nearly as daunting as the assignment given to left tackle Jonathan Ogden, who will line up against Pro Bowl end Dwight Freeney for most of Sunday night's regular-season opener. In fact, some around the Colts' camp claim Mathis' first step and quickness sometimes match Freeney's.

Mathis, 6 feet 2, 235 pounds, registered 10 1/2 sacks coming in on passing downs in place of Raheem Brock. Brown helped render Mathis a non-factor when the teams met last year. He knows the Colts' game plan as well as his own.

"You get little guys like that, you have to get in their way," Brown said. "But you've got to catch them first because their coach isn't stupid. They're not going to play us head up. They're going to slant, move, play us on an angle. He's going to play me out wide and work in space. On running plays, they're going to slant. A guy like that you just got to move your feet and get your hands on him."

Whether Brown will have help from backup Tony Pashos remains to be seen.

Brown and Pashos rotated the last preseason game against the Washington Redskins, but the team has not yet informed Brown that will be the case Sunday.

Nelson on Colts

Backup middle linebacker Jim Nelson has been chatting it up with Ray Lewis this week, offering small tidbits that might come in handy when Lewis leads the defense Sunday.

Nelson played the previous two seasons with the Colts as a backup who was responsible for calling out signals against Peyton Manning in practice.

"I don't really want to tip my hand or anything about the things that I told him," Nelson said. "I have communication with Ray, and we talked about some of the things that I learned when I was there."

Ravens help Sanders effort

Cornerback Deion Sanders called on his NFL colleagues to raise $1.5 million to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, but the Ravens' organization is approaching half that number on its own.

Ravens players donated $165,000, a number matched by owner Steve Bisciotti and his wife Renee's foundation. Ravens minority owner Art Modell and his wife, Pat, also matched that number, along with the Ravens' organization.

The team will also match fan contributions taken outside M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night. "We are seeing every day that the devastation in the Gulf Coast states is far more extensive than originally portrayed, and we've also been inspired by the generosity of our players," team president Dick Cass said.

Tough opener for Indy

The Ravens have complained in the past about how unfriendly the schedule-makers are to them, but they have no argument in comparison to the Colts. Sunday night's game will be the sixth straight season opener on the road for the Colts, the longest stretch in the league.

Indianapolis is 4-1 in those games, but coach Tony Dungy said he is growing tired of kicking off the season on the road.

"We've been on the road every year I've been here and a couple of years before that," Dungy said. "They say it's just coincidence, so we're looking for our next six to be home over the next six years."

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