Heap's chances for Sunday good

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Tight end likely to play against Browns after suffering concussion, coach says

September 25, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Ravens tight end Todd Heap is not expected to miss Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Heap, who caught four passes for 60 yards in the Ravens' 26-23 win against the Arizona Cardinals, suffered what the team called a mild concussion after getting hit on the helmet by safety Adrian Wilson on the final series of Sunday's game.

After the game, Heap, who did not return after the tackle, said he was feeling better, and coach Brian Billick said during his weekly news conference yesterday that Heap would likely play against the Browns.

"He had a mild concussion, which means that it wasn't you or I that had the concussion. That's what mild means to me," Billick said. "It was more in terms of the neck and the stinger. I think Todd will be fine. We'll see on Wednesday. He took a heck of a hit."

Wilson was assessed a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, but several of his teammates argued that Wilson led with his shoulder, not his forearm as referee Jerome Boger had stated.

Billick said he felt that the penalty was justified.

"He's a heck of a player, and he's physical, and as someone who has a secondary and a defense that can play that kind of physical play, there's always a fine line there," Billick said. "It's debatable and it's always tough, but given the rules and the way they are written, yeah, I think it was clear-cut."

The only player ruled out for Sunday is defensive end Trevor Pryce (broken wrist).

The Ravens will monitor offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden's progress from a hyperextended toe and sprained left foot that have sidelined him the past two weeks. Cornerback Samari Rolle (illness) is expected to return, Billick said.

Too much excitement

Billick did not protest the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty given to wide receiver Devard Darling for jumping into the stands after rookie Yamon Figurs' 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Although he pointed out that Darling was simply "excited" after helping spring Figurs on the return 55 seconds before halftime, Billick said he understood why the flag was thrown.

"That is the rule, and you cover it in training camp and the officials showed them on the tape," he said. "Yeah, you hate to see it, but I've sat through the meetings, and I know why they do it, and you sign off on it and hopefully, they won't do it again."

Complementary role

At 6 feet, 232 pounds, Musa Smith provides the Ravens with a change-of-pace running back that prevents opposing defenses from getting too comfortable.

Smith has carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards and a touchdown this season, and has caught five passes for 51 yards. On Sunday, he caught a 17-yard screen pass that helped the Ravens get a 3-0 lead against the Cardinals.

"The more reps you get, the more you're going to feel comfortable," said Smith, who, along with featured back Willis McGahee, has been the only Ravens tailback active for all three games. "I think [defenses are] starting to respect me more, especially with some of the screens that we do. We just mix it up so that they have to stay on their toes."

End zone

Despite the promising play of a young offensive line, Billick defended the decision to play Ogden in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. "We did not push J.O. ahead of the sequencing," he said. "Training camp, the rehab, when he came back, how he would play, all was according what we had talked about with J.O., the doctors and set that plan all along. And so there was no `Oh, my God, let's force him back into it.' He felt like he could go." ... Billick lauded the play of Browns quarterback Derek Anderson, but didn't go so far as to say the team made a mistake in waiving the former Raven at the end of training camp in 2005. "We thought we'd get him on the developmental squad," Billick said. "But you make those decisions. It's tough. ... We'd love to have him here, but you can't keep them all."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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