Always fast, Reed is now becoming furious hitter, too

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens notebook

December 27, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

Taking a page out of a basketball player's philosophy, Ravens safety Ed Reed worked on adding another dimension to his game during the offseason.

Reed, known more for his instincts and speed than hitting prowess, worked on the latter, and he may soon develop a reputation as a thumper as well.

In the Ravens' win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Reed laid out receiver Koren Robinson in the second quarter after a 2-yard reception. The hit would have prevented a first down if not for a defensive penalty away from the ball.

"It felt good," Reed said. "Obviously we had a flag on the play. But to make those kinds of hits shows another part of my game. It's my job to make those hits on third downs."

It was the second straight week Reed made a bone-jarring tackle. Against the Green Bay Packers, Reed nailed receiver Donald Driver in the middle of the field in the second quarter after a 20-yard reception.

The big hits have helped take some of the sting away from Reed's six dropped interception chances in the past two games.

"The biggest thing is he just ties the back end together so well, the communication, the expectations of where you're supposed to be, what you're supposed to be doing," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Reed.

Weaver back on field

End Tony Weaver returned to the starting lineup against the Vikings, but he is far from taking his usual heavy load of snaps.

Weaver, nursing a sore back that almost put him on injured reserve, was limited to about half his normal repetitions. Despite the decreased playing time, Weaver was part of one of the game's biggest plays, recovering a Brad Johnson fumble caused by Adalius Thomas at the Vikings' 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter to set up a field goal that put the Ravens ahead by 10.

"I've been out for a few games this season, so whenever I have a chance to step on the field, I'm going to go full speed," Weaver said.

Injured Sams sits

Return specialist B.J. Sams missed the first game of his two-year career Sunday, but he is expected to return to practice this week.

Sams' injured knee left the punt-return duties to Mark Clayton, who had two fair catches. The Ravens suffered no injuries in the game.

"Health-wise, we're in pretty good shape," Billick said. " ... It looks like we could very well get B.J. Sams back."

To McAlister's defense

Although Chris McAlister was part of a communication breakdown that led to a touchdown and was hit with illegal-contact and holding penalties that gave the Vikings automatic first downs, Billick is not concerned about his cornerback's focus.

Billick, instead, defended McAlister's play.

"I was very upset with one because the call came from very deep, from across the field," Billick said. "I won't question what [the official] thought he saw. I don't know that that is his call all the way across the field. I thought it was good coverage. Sometimes it gets called, sometimes it doesn't."

Band strikes a chord

For the second time this season, there is controversy involving the Ravens' band. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Mike Harmon, the Vikings' director of marketing, filed a complaint with an NFL official against the band for playing while the play clock ran down during the game.

Harmon complained that when the Vikings had the ball, the band would play music until the final few seconds remained on the play clock during the first half. Nothing much came from the complaint.

"I was in Minnesota in the Metrodome for seven years. I wouldn't talk a great deal about exterior noises," Billick said. "Our band gets cranked up, and they do a phenomenal job, so whether it was too loud or not, I'll leave that to the other officials."

Earlier this season, members of the band and Cleveland Browns players got into a verbal altercation before the start of a game.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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