Aggressive play helping Martin gain in stature


5-10 cornerback likes to jam big receivers

Pro football

October 20, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Despite being one of the shortest Ravens cornerbacks, Derrick Martin, 5 feet 10, 202 pounds, said he prefers jamming big receivers at the line of scrimmage rather than backing away and giving them a cushion.

"I'm aggressive," he said. "I've got a lot of power with being able to use my hands at the line and things of that sort."

That physical nature paid off in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 22-3 win against the St. Louis Rams. Lined up against wide receiver Torry Holt, Martin played tight against the six-time Pro Bowl pick and intercepted a pass from Gus Frerotte to end a Rams drive in Ravens territory.

For Martin, making his first career interception lifted a weight off his shoulders.

"It was just good to get my first one out of the way," he said. "I feel like once you get that first one, you can get on a roll. That's what I'm working on now."

It appears Martin has validated the front office's decision last year to spend a sixth-round pick on the former Wyoming player. Not only is he second on the team in special teams tackles with eight, but Martin also was the first cornerback off the bench when Samari Rolle missed games against the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

Martin is expected to be the nickel back tomorrow against the Buffalo Bills because of cornerback Chris McAlister's strained right knee.

"Derrick is fun to watch," coach Brian Billick said. "He is lively out at practice and at games. He's the ultimate in [that] he forgets what happened the previous play. Eighty-yard touchdown or interception for a touchdown, he's going on to the next play. ... And he's a solid special teamer for us."

Martin said he owes a good deal of his development to learning from McAlister and Rolle.

"Chris is a great man-to-man guy, and he's very aggressive. And he's taught me how to get my hands on people at the line, to move my feet first and use my hands later," Martin said. "Samari does that, too, and he's real quick with his feet. I kind of put both of them together and try to use it all."

Another reunion

In addition to Willis McGahee, defensive tackle Justin Bannan will be returning to Buffalo for the first time since he left the Bills as a free agent after the 2005 season.

Bannan, who was drafted by Buffalo in the fifth round in 2002, said he talked to Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel on Tuesday, but would catch up with the rest of his former teammates after the game.

"Obviously, you're going to have some emotions, but as soon as that ball is snapped, you've got to play football," he said. "All of that stuff just goes out the door. You still have to win. I'll save all of those emotions for after the game, and if it's a good game, I'll enjoy it even a lot more."

Pro Bowl prep

Rookie offensive tackle Jared Gaither might face a challenging matchup in Schobel, who went to the Pro Bowl last season on the strength of 14 sacks - third in the NFL.

But when it was suggested to Gaither that taking on Rams defensive end Leonard Little might have helped him prepare for Schobel, Gaither politely disagreed.

"Going against [Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell] Suggs every day and going against those guys have prepared me for pretty much anybody I'll see," Gaither said.

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