Bergen grabs opportunity

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

With Heap, Wilcox sidelined, tight end has impressed

Notebook

August 22, 2008|By Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley | Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTERS

Tight end Adam Bergen has gone from the unemployment line to the top of the Ravens' depth chart.

Less than a year removed from being waived by the Dallas Cowboys before the start of the 2007 season, Bergen found himself running with the first offense, starting in the Ravens' two preseason games this summer.

While two-time Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap (right calf) and Daniel Wilcox (offseason toe surgery) have been sidelined, Bergen, 6 feet 4, 267 pounds, who was signed by the Ravens on July 22, has impressed coaches with his durability and pass-catching skills.

"I think no matter what happens, you have to view everything as an opportunity," said Bergen, 24. "People are healthy, people get injured, and you can't really look at that. ... You've just got to come out here every day and concentrate on yourself and make sure that you improve each and every day."

Bergen caught 43 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. But the Cardinals waived Bergen after the 2006 season, during which he was sidelined with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

"Sometimes guys who have been on the street for a year come back pretty hungry," tight ends coach Wade Harmon said. "Obviously, that's true with him. We weren't sure what we were getting, but he's been very durable. He's taken a lot of snaps through training camp and preseason games. He's stood up and kept going, and he's going strong."

Noisy practice

The Ravens decided to practice indoors, and it had nothing to do with the weather.

To get ready for the loud dome in St. Louis, coach John Harbaugh had crowd noise piped into the indoor field house. The Ravens' previous coach, Brian Billick, decided against this during his nine seasons with the team because he believed it wore the players down mentally during practice.

"It's better than going out there Saturday and getting the crowd noise and being shocked with it," Harbaugh said. "We had a few issues that we improved on."

Heap, Gregg out

Harbaugh essentially ruled out Heap and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (knee) from the next two preseason games, but both are expected to play in the Sept. 7 regular-season opener.

"I would like to get a lot more reps before we start the regular season, but I've got to be smart," Heap said. "Being ready for the season is the most important thing right now."

Said Harbaugh: "Our stance with Todd is that if he's 100 percent, we're going to have him out on the field."

End zone

Four Ravens could play their first preseason game of the year: offensive tackle Adam Terry (ankle), cornerback Samari Rolle (leg), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee) and Wilcox (toe). "He's trying like heck to get in and play" Harbaugh said of Wilcox, "so there's a good chance he'll play if we don't have a setback between now and then." ... Jim Leonhard is expected to make his third straight start at free safety in place of Ed Reed (shoulder). ... Harbaugh expressed concern over the new communication system that will allow defensive players to receive calls from coaches. He said the radios have been "spotty" during games and practice. "They need to be able to hear the radios," he said. "We're studying that right now, and we want to make sure we have it right, because when they don't get the call, then we're not on the same page." ... The Ravens are expected to meet the agent for free-agent offensive tackle Fred Miller in St. Louis but no deal is imminent.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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