Landry's status is still unknown

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Safety has sprained right knee

Reed seeks additional Gulf relief

October 24, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Rookie strong safety Dawan Landry said yesterday that his sprained right knee is improving, but he wasn't sure whether he would be able to play when the Ravens take on the host New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Landry, the team's fifth-round draft pick, was present during the portion of yesterday's practice that was open to the media, but he did not participate in drills and did not bring his helmet.

"I'm just taking it one day at a time," Landry said. "I'm just hoping for the best and hopefully I'll be out there. ... I just want to go out there and help my team in any way possible."

Landry said he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 23-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers nine days ago when he was making a block on a kickoff return and a Carolina player rolled into the knee.

Landry said the soreness has subsided.

"It was pretty stiff the first two days, but I went home over the bye week and got a lot of rehab and things like that," he said. "I've got a lot of range of motion right now."

If Landry can't play, Gerome Sapp would likely start alongside free safety Ed Reed.

Landry's presence, however, could benefit a Ravens defense that is ranked seventh in the NFL, but allowed 414 yards to the Panthers.

After that loss, several players said breakdowns in communication were a contributing factor. Reed, who was caught out of position on Steve Smith's 72-yard touchdown reception, said the defense has been motivated to erase those mistakes.

"You just have to get better this week," Reed said. "When things like that happen, a loss is a loss and you learn from it. Even when you win, your job is to learn from the mistakes - whatever it may be. Whether it's technical or communication, your job is to get better the next week."

Helping New Orleans

After yesterday's practice, Reed placed a flier in each player's locker, asking for a donation to Habitat for Humanity to help residents of the New Orleans area displaced by Hurricane Katrina last year.

Although the area is rebuilding, Reed - a native of St. Rose, La., about 20 miles outside of New Orleans - said there is still a lot of work to be done.

"The picture that's being painted is not the truth," he said. "There are houses that still haven't even been searched and people are still finding loved ones and that type of thing. Football is so minor to what is really going on, and there's still a lot going on."

Good starts

The Ravens are the only team not to begin a drive from inside their own 20-yard line.

"That's an interesting stat, but I think it's just that the guys have done a good job," special teams coordinator Frank Gansz Jr. said. "I think they know that we've left a lot of good plays out there because every time they come back, they say, `We should have done this, Coach.' And I think B.J. [Sams, return specialist] does a great job of getting up the field and getting north-south."

The Ravens lead the NFL in average starts on kickoff returns, beginning their possessions from at least the 31. And Sams is fifth in the league in kickoff returns with a 26.5-yard average.

Williams focusing

Rookie Demetrius Williams is the first to acknowledge that his transition to the NFL is a work in progress.

But he is one of only three wide receivers - starters Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton are the others - to play in the Ravens' first six games. The fourth-round draft pick, Williams had his best outing of the season when he turned a short catch over the middle into a 35-yard gain in the fourth quarter against Carolina.

"I don't think I'll ever be comfortable this season," said Williams, who had three receptions for 24 yards before the game against the Panthers. "There's a lot of things as a rookie that you've got to make sure that you focus on the little details and stuff like that. Kyle [Boller] made a good throw, and I had to make the catch. It just opened up, and I tried to do what I could."

Trial date for Sams

Sams is set to go to trial Dec. 4 after being charged for driving under the influence earlier this month.

It marks the second time in 14 months that Sams has been charged with drunken driving.

If he had been placed in the NFL substance abuse program after his first arrest - which is considered strictly confidential by the league - Sams could receive a four-game suspension if convicted in December. His trial is set for the Baltimore County Courthouse in Towson.edward.lee@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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