Landry's drive not intercepted

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Success doesn't sap safety's passion

three players return from injuries

Notebook

August 07, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

He was a rookie last year, whose role on the Ravens had yet to be defined.

A year wiser, Dawan Landry said he sometimes still feels like a rookie but with one notable exception.

There's no question that he's the starting strong safety.

"The mind-set is still the same," Landry said, comparing his approach this summer to last summer. "I'm going out there and competing and trying to get better each day. As far as the mental aspect, I know a lot more this year as opposed to last year when I was learning on the run and trying to study a lot. I know a lot more plays this year, so it's more natural this year."

He seemed a natural fit last season after the Ravens decided to leapfrog the Georgia Tech product over Gerome Sapp, who was thought to be the favorite to start alongside Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed.

Landry, who started 14 of 16 regular-season games and the team's lone playoff appearance, recorded 89 tackles, three sacks and five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

Because of that, he was the top recipient of the league's performance-based pay system, which compensates players based on a comparison of playing time to salary.

But Reed said that Landry, who more than doubled his 2006 salary, has not let that success change him.

"Dawan is definitely getting better - and eager to get better," Reed said. "He's willing to learn as much as you can give him."

Landry said the greatest benefit of playing a lot last season was his immersion in the pace of the game.

"The speed of the game is a lot slower now, as well as the mental aspect," he said. "I'm not thinking as much on the field as I am reacting."

Returning to practice

Fullback Justin Green (knee surgery) and offensive tackle Mike Kracalik (sprained ankle) were activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list and joined rookie linebacker Antwan Barnes (twisted ankle) in returning to practice yesterday.

Green, who hasn't played since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 30, said he was thrilled to be back at practice.

"It seems like it's been forever," he said after completing a series of sprints from end zone to end zone with rookie fullback Le'Ron McClain. "I'm just glad to get one day behind me and keep building on each practice."

The team released safety Donnie Johnson and defensive end Travis Leitko, and signed linebacker Ryan Riddle and defensive end Bill Swancutt.

Letting them know

Morning practice was extended 18 minutes, and coach Brian Billick chided the offense on mistakes.

Billick did not seem particularly happy, as the team was coming off a good showing in Saturday's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins.

"Offensively, we didn't do as well this morning as we needed to do following up on a very, very good scrimmage," he said. "We have some things to get done in the next three days [before the players' scheduled day off Thursday]. ... It wasn't good enough on the offensive side, and we have to do better."

So close, but so far away

Wide receiver Matt Willis needed 1 more yard to bolster his hopes of becoming a Raven.

Willis, a rookie from UCLA, caught a pass from quarterback Kyle Boller on third-and-goal from the 6-yard line, but was stopped 1 yard short by Redskins cornerback John Eubanks.

"I wanted to get into the end zone," Willis said. "I was kind of mad that I didn't."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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