Rookie Cook Makes An Impression

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Fullback Hopes To Claim Role As Mcclain's Backup

August 02, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Jason Cook has no illusions about his role with the Ravens.

Sure, the rookie fullback would like to touch the football, but Cook also understands that his primary responsibility is opening holes for running backs and keeping quarterbacks upright.

"Getting the ball every once in a while is nice, but if my role is to solely block, then I'm A-OK with that," he said. "I bring another body, another hardhat that's willing to go in there and hit. But ultimately, it's whatever they need me to be. Whatever Coach Cam [Cameron] and Coach [John] Harbaugh need me to be, that's what I'm going to be."

So far in training camp at McDaniel College, Cook has had mixed results. At times, he has used his 6-foot, 245-pound frame to his advantage, like the time he trucked linebacker Prescott Burgess on Saturday afternoon. There have also been occasions when he faltered, such as when rookie linebacker Dannell Ellerbe beat Cook to a hole.

He has gotten his hands on the ball sparingly, but running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said Cook has to impress the coaching staff with his skills as a blocker.

"He's a young man that has a lot of growth potential," Montgomery said. "He's not going to get all of the reps that a rookie will get, but he's got to take full advantage of a rep that is an opportunity presented to him. He's got to grade out high because if he doesn't grade out high, then he's going to lose out on his opportunities and someone else will win those opportunities. Right now, he has to show everybody that he belongs."

Although Cook was signed as an undrafted rookie, the club retained two fullbacks in Le'Ron McClain and Lorenzo Neal last season. With McClain perhaps getting a few snaps at tailback, Cook sounds optimistic that he might have a future with the Ravens.

"But at the same time, you can never be comfortable," he conceded. "It's just the nature of the business. They can bring somebody else in who does exactly what you can do. So like I said, every day I'm just plugging away, trying to stay in the playbook, trying to pay attention in meetings, and trying to get better with the little things however I can."

Seems like old times

Former St. Edward High School teammates Troy Smith and Haruki Naka-mura got into a little brouhaha during Saturday's morning session.

During a full-team passing drill, Smith's pass to tight end Edgar Jones was intercepted by Nakamura, who was on the receiving end of an additional push by Smith near the sideline. Nakamura threw the ball at fellow Ohio native Smith, who was also confronted by linebacker Antwan Barnes.

"That's just a little family love," Naka-mura said. "Me and him have got a long history together, a long past. We're really close friends. If he throws a pick and he throws it to me, of course, he's going to give me an extra shove. I wouldn't expect anything less."

End zone

Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo did not practice Saturday after spraining the second toe on his right foot during the morning session. Ayanbadejo wore a protective boot on his right foot in the lobby of the team hotel in Westminster.

"I planted and I heard a pop," he said, adding that doctors will re-examine the toe Monday. "Went and got MRIs [magnetic resonance imaging exams], and they're negative for a complete tear or break. They said there's a slight sprain in there."

In other injury news, defensive end Trevor Pryce and wide receiver Marcus Smith returned to practice after sitting out Friday's afternoon session. Pryce was stepped on during Friday morning's practice, and Smith had lost 10 pounds and was dealing with cramping. In the afternoon session, Smith limped off the field with a trainer.

Offensive tackle Joe Reitz (shoulder) was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list.

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