Edwards keeps hopes up

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Though he hasn't dressed for either game, defensive lineman's work ethic stays strong

October 01, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

As Dwan Edwards came off the practice field earlier this week, he showed no telltale signs of a moping player.

His head was held high. His uniform displayed that of a hard day's work. And his attitude, addressed as he headed toward the locker room, remained positive.

"I've just got to take it day by day and come out here and get better until I can get a part of that rotation," said Edwards, inactive the first two games of the season. "I can't take any steps backward. I'm going to keep looking forward, keep improving, and I'll be out there."

Edwards has gone from a guy who was supposed to challenge Maake Kemoeatu for a starting defensive tackle spot before training camp to one that has not dressed with the team for either game this season.

The prospect of Edwards playing tomorrow against the New York Jets is an iffy one at best, but the Ravens second-round pick in 2004 is banking on his services being needed as the season progresses.

"I talk a lot to my D-linemen," Edwards said. "They all know I can play and the situation I'm in. It's a good bunch of guys to be around."

Kemoeatu earned the starting job early in training camp, leaving Edwards to fight for one of the reserve spots. The Ravens generally dress seven defensive linemen.

That leaves Edwards competing for the final spot against a player that is more stout against the run in Aubrayo Franklin and one that specializes in rushing the passer in Peter Boulware. Jarret Johnson is the top backup and will likely dress every game, as will special teams ace Roderick Green.

It is a similar situation for Edwards to his rookie year, when he played in just four games. With no resolution in sight for Edwards, coaches still see him working hard.

"He's coming out here everyday and prepared exactly the same way as if [he were going to play] ... because he really doesn't know until Sunday an hour or so before the game whether it's going to happen or not," defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. "I have no doubt, if and when he becomes active, if we put him in a game, he'll perform well."

A new spin

With the game being at home, Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams may have avoided the tricky winds of Giants Stadium, but his job remains a bit more daunting.

Sams is facing a punter in Ben Graham that has a background in Australian Rules football. Ben Graham takes choppier steps than most punters, and his kicks tend to turn over like a knuckleball.

"He has the different spin and a different way of kicking the ball," Sams said. "It's all because of his form, the way he walks and his approach. I just mainly have to, before he kicks it, if he walks one way, that's the way I've got to hurry up and run to."

Extra points

Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller will have the brace removed from his leg Monday. ... Former Ravens owner Art Modell, 80, fell Thursday night and was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Modell is in good condition. ... The Ravens added receiver Randy Hymes (elbow) and defensive end Tony Weaver (knee) to the injury report as probables. Both players practiced yesterday along with tight end Todd Heap (toe, probable).

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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