Flare-ups relative for Cousins

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

August 11, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Rookie Oniel Cousins knew he was going to run with the first offense, and that was before offensive line coach John Matsko gave him the news Saturday night.

Cousins replaced Mike Kracalik as the right tackle yesterday at training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster. Cousins, a third-round pick out of Texas-El Paso in April's draft, said he had been prepared for such a possibility.

"Coach has this mentality that everybody on the offensive line is a starter," he said. "So that's how you've got to prepare yourself and be ready to go."

Cousins, 6 feet 4 and 310 pounds, is unpolished but has the athleticism and strength to contribute significantly to the offensive line. However, that potential has been overshadowed at times by Cousins' involvement in skirmishes.

After tangling with linebacker Dan Cody and defensive tackle Amon Gordon during the Ravens' organized team activities in the offseason, Cousins got into it with linebacker Antwan Barnes yesterday.

Cousins took a swing at Barnes, who responded by shoving and kicking Cousins. Linebacker Jarret Johnson reached into the fracas and tore off Cousins' helmet before order was restored.

Afterward, Barnes and Cousins downplayed the incident.

"We're all brothers," Cousins said. "We're out there competing, and sometimes stuff goes on like that. But back in the locker room, we pretend like it didn't happen."

Coach John Harbaugh said the coaching staff has counseled Cousins on tempering his emotions to concentrate on the real objective.

"The priority is the football part of it," Harbaugh said. "It's not like you're going to say to guys, 'Don't fight.' They understand that there's not really a lot of value in it. Tempers are going to flare. Guys are competing. Our guys got right back on the line, and practice didn't suffer for it."

Getting in gear

Linebacker Ray Lewis played only a few series wearing the defensive radio helmet against New England Patriots, but he seems to like it so far.

This past offseason, NFL owners approved the installation of defensive transmitters in helmets. Quarterbacks have used offensive helmet transmitters since the policy was adopted in 1994.

"It's cool," Lewis said. "It gives you the same advantage our offense has had. I think you will be able to test it more once you get in front of the crowd and not have to run to the sideline every play or signal in for three or four guys. So I think that's going to be great."

End zone

The team got a brief scare yesterday morning when left offensive tackle Chad Slaughter went down with what appeared to be a right knee injury. But Slaughter returned to practice with little difficulty. ... Linebacker Gary Stills, wide receiver Darnerien McCants and tight end Aaron Walker did not participate in the afternoon session. ... Former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his family attended the morning session yesterday.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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