Abiamiri comes home with changes

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

August 14, 2007|By Don Markus and Edward Lee | Don Markus and Edward Lee,Sun Reporters

Making his NFL debut last night for the Philadelphia Eagles, Victor Abiamiri returned to his hometown stadium midway through the second quarter, unable to feel much, only to find himself sitting on the field with a stinging pain in his left shoulder and arm.

It happened shortly after Abiamiri, the former Gilman star and Notre Dame standout who was picked in the second round by the Eagles this year, entered the game in what turned out to be of a 29-3 loss to the Ravens in the preseason opener for both teams.

The injury occurred after Abiamiri had tackled Ravens running back Musa Smith.

"Whenever something like that happens, I just kind of get a state of the union in my body, and try to figure out in my mind how serious it actually is," Abiamiri said later. "After a few seconds, it's like, `OK, this is not too bad, I'll be able to come back into the game.'"

He came out briefly, and, after the pain subsided, returned to play most of the final three quarters. What was interesting for his family and friends who came to watch him play was seeing Abiamiri, a defensive end in high school and college, play both left end and defensive tackle.

"It's just another testament to Coach [Jim] Johnson's defense, to put versatile guys in there and be able to bump them inside, bump them outside, drop them back into coverage," Abiamiri said. "Initially it was a little challenging, but the more I got into it in camp, I got more comfortable playing different positions."

It wasn't only an adjustment for Abiamiri, but also for his brother, Rob, a former Ravens practice squad player.

"I'm not used to seeing him play inside," Rob Abiamiri, who came to the game with his parents and another brother, said in a telephone interview last night. "He did all right. I think he looked a little hesitant. I didn't know if that's because of the injury or playing a different position."

Abiamiri, who finished with five tackles, impressed at least one of his veteran teammates.

"He did awesome, as long as he played," said former All-Pro Jevon Kearse, who starts at left defensive end. "We got us a man, and not a boy."

Sack attack

The Ravens defense's aggressive style was in full bloom last night.

The Ravens, who set a franchise record with 60 sacks last season, registered a sack in each of the Eagles four series of the second quarter.

The Ravens sacked an Eagles quarterback on all four series of the second quarter. First rookie linebacker Antwan Barnes sacked Kelly Holcomb on the first play of the period. Then cornerback Ronnie Prude evaded a block by running back Ryan Moats and sacked Holcomb.

Rookie linebacker Prescott Burgess got to Holcomb on the next series, and safety Gerome Sapp closed out the second quarter by sacking rookie quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Defensive end Bill Swancutt also sacked Kolb in the fourth quarter.

Relentless pressure has been a hallmark of schemes crafted by defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who said the unit could have had more sacks.

"What we liked is that the first two groups played fast and aggressively," Ryan said at halftime.

Injury report

The Ravens escaped last night's game with no serious injuries. Right guard Chris Chester sprained his foot, and running back P.J. Daniels tweaked his hamstring during warm-ups.

The team had deactivated defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (thigh bruise), tight end Daniel Wilcox (ankle sprain) and had three players on the physically-unable-to-perform list: offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe) and linebackers Mike Smith (shoulder surgery) and Dan Cody (knee surgery).

Rookie Jared Gaither started in place of Ogden at left tackle, and Justin Bannan replaced Gregg.

Moats suffered the game's most severe injury, a fractured left ankle. It occurred when he was tackled by Burgess on a running play in the third quarter.

Extra points

Tight end Quinn Sypniewski, who recorded the Ravens' first touchdown with a 6-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Steve McNair, said he is enjoying his second season in the NFL. "Everything is slowing down," Sypniewski said. "I'm getting more comfortable in there. And it's just good to be able to hit somebody else besides our own guys." ... The Ravens committed just three penalties and did not turn over the ball. ... The Ravens released wide receiver Leo Bookman, but kicker Rhys Lloyd, who has been held up in England because of visa issues, is still on the roster.

don.markus@baltsun.com

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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