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Zbikowski poised to take next step for Ravens

Former Notre Dame safety wants to deliver big plays

July 24, 2010|By Ken Murray, The Baltimore Sun

"When you get in there, you start understanding how very, very good Ed is," Zbikowski said. "He studies the game. He's got a great feel for the game, and he's not afraid to go make big plays. Â You're never going to make the big play if you don't go for it. You never win big unless you bet big."

Zbikowski's newfound perspective is perhaps a sign of maturity. The timing might be perfect for the Ravens, who go to camp without Reed or cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb. They have added veterans Ken Hamlin at safety and Walt Harris at corner. But it's clear they expect Zbikowski to be the guy who replaces Reed, at least in the short term.

"Tom trained like a beast in the offseason," Pagano said. "He's leaner than he's ever been. He's explosive. He's got great range. You see the instincts, you see the ball skills, so I'm sure glad we got the kid."

Zbikowski's father can see the difference this summer, too.

"He's happy," Ed Zbikowski said. "Before, he was learning who he was and what he was about. Luckily, he stuck around and hung in. I think his attitude is 10 times better. He's more comfortable and understands his role."

Notes: The Ravens immediately sold out all eight home regular-season games Friday after putting their single-game tickets on sale. Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for the team's two preseason games. Â Revealing exactly how the Ravens haven't given him "support," Reed said during an interview on WBAL on Thursday that the team refused to give him game film when he requested it a couple of weeks ago. Reed said he was still able to watch old film that he had. A Ravens spokesman said if that happened, it was probably a misunderstanding.

ken.murray@baltsun.com

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