Montgomery gives kicking game a leg up Veteran punter's skills diminish coach's concern


Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda has concern about almost every position on his team except for the kicking game, especially punter Greg Montgomery.

Montgomery was obtained in the off-season as a free agent. He sat out last season after failing to reach a contract agreement with the Detroit Lions.

"We just couldn't get a contract done," said Montgomery. "So I still continued to work out, figuring I would be back in the league this season."

Montgomery has been impressive in camp, showing some of the form that led him to his career-best average of 46.9 yards per kick with the Houston Oilers in 1992. Montgomery averaged 44.2 with the Lions in 1995.

Montgomery has been working more on technique than height and distance.

"I'm basically working on my drop step and getting the ball off a little quicker," said Montgomery. "When all things are going well, my hang time is usually between 4.8 and 5.3 seconds."

Injury report

Running back Leroy Hoard's blood test was inconclusive, and the respiratory virus that may be causing his migraine headaches forced him to miss both practices yesterday.

"Basically, I don't expect any problems, and I think everything will work out fine," Marchibroda said.

Fullback Carwell Gardner also did not practice yesterday because of a groin injury.

"I think it's just a little stressed, and they wanted me to rest it so I wouldn't pull or tear it," said Gardner.

Wide receiver Floyd Turner, bothered by a sprained knee, expects to get an arthroscope today.

Planning the defense

Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis expects to have his complete defense installed by tonight, and says the team probably will begin preparing for season-opening opponents Oakland and Pittsburgh next week.

"We've been focusing on getting the terminology down because sometimes it's difficult to adjust after a team has been doing it a certain way for five years," said Lewis.

"We're going to refine what we've been doing for the remainder of the week, and then possibly put in the schematic focus for the Raiders and Steelers some time next week."

Johnson to return?

The agent for linebacker Pepper Johnson said he is looking for a contract with a base salary of $600,000-700,000 (plus incentives) for the former Brown and said there is a real chance Johnson may return to the team.

Kevin Granader, the agent, said Johnson has talked to six teams, and the 10-year veteran is down to 253 pounds.

"He is looking like he is 25 with something to prove," said Granader. "He is getting a little anxious."

If the Ravens re-sign Johnson, it will be interesting to see who wears Johnson's old No. 52 since it has been given to rookie Ray Lewis, who replaced Johnson in the middle.

Ravens practice

What: Ravens workout, preceded by 15-minute autograph session.

Where: Memorial Stadium When: Tomorrow, 3: 45 p.m. Gates open at 3.

Admission: Free

Ticket update: The ticket office will be open to answer questions from season ticket-holders and to sell the remaining 1,400 season tickets.

Ravens roll call

Jeff Blackshear

Pos.: Offensive guard

Height: 6-6

Weight: 323

Age: 27

College: NE Louisiana

Pro experience: 3

How acquired: Trade with Seattle, March 1996

Highlights: Appeared in all 16 games for Seahawks last season, starting the final three at left guard. Also played on field-goal and extra-point protect teams. Started all 16 games in 1994 and didn't miss a play.

Personal: Played tight end and defensive end at Westwood High in Fort Pierce, Fla. Two-year starter as guard at Northeast Louisiana, earning Kodak first-team All-America honors as a senior. Was criminal justice major. Single.

Pub Date: 7/26/96

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