Ricard demoted to backup at fullback


Team's depth chart lists Mughelli over veteran, who was inactive Sunday



September 13, 2005|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ravens fullback Alan Ricard was deactivated for Sunday night's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, a surprising move that had nothing to do with his health.

An explanation came yesterday when Ovie Mughelli was listed as a starter over Ricard in the team's revised depth chart. Ricard had been a starter the past three seasons and had not been inactive for a game for non-injury reasons since 2001.

Last season, Ricard helped Jamal Lewis rush for 130 yards in a game against the Colts.

Asked if the move surprised him, Ricard said, "It did. Just the competitiveness in me, I want to play. I want to help the team any way possible. ... I guess the game plan was for other people to make plays, and I just hope that this week I'll be able to get back in there."

He might not. The Ravens are not likely to keep three fullbacks active. Rookie Justin Green saw action on special teams, and tight end Daniel Wilcox played a number of snaps at fullback in the Ravens' two-tight end set.

"I'm going to roll with it," Ricard said. "I prepare myself like I'm going to play, and I'm going to continue to do it."

Ricard has developed a reputation as one of the league's best blocking fullbacks, developing a rapport with Lewis that led to Lewis' 2,000-yard season in 2003 and 1,000-yard season last year.

Ricard suffered a calf injury during the preseason that forced him out of the last two exhibition games, but he said he's completely healthy.

Wilcox, meanwhile, lined up as a fullback and blocked for Lewis against the Colts, and also had eight catches for 78 yards.

"If it was up to me, I would have been out there [Sunday night]," Ricard said. "But it isn't up to me. So we'll just see what the game plan is for this week."

Will Moore hold onto spot?

After his crucial dropped pass late in the first half against the Colts - a play that could have set up a game-tying field-goal attempt - receiver Clarence Moore did not speculate on whether his starting job was in jeopardy.

Moore also dropped several passes in the preseason.

"I have no idea," Moore said. "It's a business. Whatever comes next, you just have to go along with it. You've just got to accept your role in what the offense wants you to do.

"If anything were to happen, I still know that they want me to be part of this offense in a big way."

Moore also was penalized for a false start after the drop.

Getting reps for Wright

Billick said he spoke with Colts coach Tony Dungy about the bizarre way Sunday's game ended.

Down 24-0 with less than two minutes left, the Ravens called timeouts even though Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had been content to run out the clock by twice taking a knee.

But on third down, after the Ravens had used two of their timeouts, Manning threw for Marvin Harrison in the end zone from 42 yards out. The pass sailed over Harrison's head, and Manning glared at the Ravens' sideline.

Billick said he was just trying to get backup quarterback Anthony Wright more snaps in place of the injured Kyle Boller, and the Ravens had a touchdown drive after the Colts were forced to punt.

"[Dungy] said he understood totally now, given the length of Kyle's injury and understanding Anthony's situation having been out a year," Billick said. "He needed the reps. I wanted to get as many viable snaps, game snaps with Anthony Wright as I could."

Stover pinpoints problem

Players spent much of the afternoon looking at game film, a session that included kicker Matt Stover.

Stover missed three field-goal attempts for the first time in seven years. Watching the tape showed him why.

"Technique-wise, I was in too fast on the ball," Stover said. "The snaps and holds were so good, I thought that I needed to jump on it a little bit. They were set up really nice, and I was just too fast.

"My time is usually five-, six-, seven-one-hundredths of a second slower, and, believe it or not, that makes a difference on a field-goal kick."

No talks for J. Lewis

There have been no negotiations between the Ravens and Lewis, the running back's agent said yesterday.

Mitch Frankel said he gave the Ravens a contract extension proposal when Lewis reported to training camp Aug. 8. Lewis is in the final year of his deal.

"We have had discussions but I have not received any proposals back from them," Frankel said.

Sun staff writer Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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