46 defense does fade

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ryan's creation had plenty of hype, but it hasn't been used much

October 15, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

All of the preseason hype surrounding the arrival of Rex Ryan's 46 defense has faded and been replaced with a vexing question: Where is it?

Where has the unorthodox, attacking formation that was supposed to turn offenses upside down been through the first quarter of the season?

"That was going to be just part of our package, but everyone wanted to say that was what we were going to be," Ryan said. "Well, let the media say that, and we'll just be like whatever. Let people think that.

"That was the plan. That was the advantage we had. People had no idea what we were going to play. Let [opposing teams] go back and pull out the old Bears tapes."

Rather than drop safety Will Demps next to linebacker Ray Lewis and move linebackers Tommy Polley and Adalius Thomas to the line of scrimmage, the Ravens have been more standard in their approach.

The Ravens have not used the basic 46 more than a handful of times in each of the past three games. It was assumed, especially after the Ravens put on a media workshop explaining the intricacies of the defense, that the 46 would be used often to create sacks and turnovers, but even when the Ravens have been in that formation, blitzes have been rare.

Ryan, though, says the 46 could be a major part of the team's package as the season progresses, but that may be another mind game.

"Again, it is something we could use a great deal of time as well," Ryan said. "If we think that is the right defense to be in that particular week, obviously there is going to be a heavier emphasis on it. It's more opponent-based. It's just like playing a 3-4, like playing a 4-3, an eight-man front. It's just part of what we can do."

Ricard questionable

Fullback Alan Ricard (calf) practiced yesterday, but he is still questionable for tomorrow's game against the Cleveland Browns. Ricard did not play against the Detroit Lions after his injury flared up last week.

Dwan Edwards (neck) and Maake Kemoeatu (knee) were added to the injury report as probable.

Return of Baxter

Browns cornerback Gary Baxter will play his first game against the team that made him a second-round draft choice in 2001.

Baxter left the Ravens after four years to sign a more lucrative contract with Cleveland. It was a bizarre ending for Baxter, whose tenure with the Ravens was marked by frequent moves between cornerback and safety.

Baxter thought he had a deal agreed upon with general manager Ozzie Newsome only to discover the amount of money was not what he thought it would be shortly before he was to sign the contract.

"Fans will welcome him back in their own right or wrong way into our stadium," cornerback Chris McAlister said. "Gary's a good guy. I wish him all the best of luck. He had to leave, he wasn't forced out, but it was a situation where he felt it was best if he left. It'll be good to see Gary again face-to-face on the field and off the field."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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