Rookie Prude making impact


Undrafted free-agent cornerback has `opened some eyes,' Billick says



Undrafted rookie free agents often enter training camp as long shots to make the final 53-man roster, but cornerback Ronnie Prude's chances of making the Ravens' final roster appear to be good.

In the first NFL action of his career, Prude led the Ravens defense with four solo tackles in Friday night's game against the New York Giants, and the rookie from Louisiana State has impressed coach Brian Billick with his performance in camp.

"I really like him," Billick said. "For an undrafted free agent, he's really opened some eyes. He had some good exposure the other night, and he's going to have [more] come Thursday [against the Philadelphia Eagles]."

Prude stressed that he still needs to correct some mistakes, but he feels he has adapted well to being a part of the Ravens' defense, especially with the help he has received from the team's veteran cornerbacks.

"Chris McAlister talks to me a lot," Prude said. "He's taken me under his wing and is showing me the ropes every way he can and I really appreciate that. He's a role model in my eyes.

"The biggest transition for me I would say is game speed. ... We ran a pro-style defense at LSU, so I'm really familiar with the pro-style defense we're running here."

Although Prude has performed well, he isn't guaranteed a roster spot. Billick said Prude must show he is able to maintain his level of play.

Prude said he is intent on making the most of his opportunity.

"I'm just trying to help the defense out the best way that I can," he said. "Just to stay on, make plays and make a name for myself."

Rimpf says pain subsiding

Guard Brian Rimpf, who has missed the past six days of practice because of a sore left hamstring, said he is optimistic about returning to the field soon.

Rimpf, who started the final seven games at right guard last season, did not give a timetable for his return, but the 6-foot-5, 319-pound offensive lineman said the throbbing pain that hobbled him last week is subsiding.

Morning practice blues

Billick was less than pleased with what he saw at yesterday morning's practice.

The defense made four interceptions and nearly had a fifth when linebacker Ray Lewis dropped a pass from Drew Olson. Wide receiver Derrick Mason false-started, and several screen-pass plays never developed.

"It needs to be better," Billick said. "It's late in camp, they're tired, they're probably feeling a little bit sorry for themselves. It needs to be a little bit sharper with the game [against the Eagles ] as imminent as it is."

Kicking long

With two touchbacks in the first preseason game, kicker Aaron Elling matched the total number of touchbacks he had in nine regular-season games with the Ravens in 2005.

"I needed that; it felt good to hit the ball again," said Elling, who is competing with rookie kicker Sam Koch (who also kicks off) for a roster spot. "I'm still trying to find the groove with my field goals but the kickoffs feel really, really good. So right now, it's just staying healthy and just hitting the ball nice and smooth."

Breaking camp early

The Ravens have decided to break training camp a few days early, which means today's practice will be their last this year at McDaniel College. The final workout is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Ravens will return Saturday to their training complex in Owings Mills, where practices are closed to the public.

Sun reporters Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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