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Ravens lose, 23-7, gain rookie insight Sharper, Brown shine in scrimmage vs. Eagles

BETHLEHEM, PA. — BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Ravens may have lost, 23-7, in a scrimmage to the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday at Lehigh University, but they made considerable gains in evaluating their rookie talent.

The Ravens got a glimpse of their future, and early indications are that rookie draft picks such as linebackers Jamie Sharper and Cornell Brown and running back Jay Graham could be as good as advertised.

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Third-year center Quentin Neujahr also passed his first test, and the Ravens got a strong performance from first-year guard/tackle Spencer Folau. Coach Ted Marchibroda was pleased with the first units on offense and defense that played about two series, but said the intensity level dropped off with the reserves, who gave up two touchdowns.

"I think we got out of the scrimmage what we intended to see," Marchibroda said. "We wanted our first group to be physical and we did that by going down the field on our first drive. Our defensive line was dominating and our defense held up.

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"But our play fell off with our backup units and it looks like we're going to have to get those units more reps."

Graham, the Ravens' third-round pick out of Tennessee, started with the first-string offense, as Marchibroda gave Bam Morris and Earnest Byner, his top two running backs, the day off.

Graham finished with 35 yards rushing on eight attempts, showing good change of direction at the line of scrimmage and breaking tackles on several runs.

"It looked like Jay Graham really stepped up today," said Al Lavan, the Ravens' running backs coach. "He was quick and explosive. I was really happy with what I saw with him. We had talked about him attacking the line of scrimmage, that's an area he improved in."

Said Graham: "I think I did all right. My reads were OK, but I just have to cheat back further on my runs. I just want to get better every day, and I think everything worked out well."

Sharper, the Ravens' second-round pick out of Virginia, played well, especially considering he has been in training camp only three days after a nine-day holdout. Sharper led the Ravens in tackles with five, but didn't exactly get a ringing endorsement from Marchibroda.

Maybe that will change today after the coaching staff evaluates the film.

"I have practice speed, scrimmage speed and game speed," said Sharper, smiling. "Today, it was scrimmage speed. Seriously, I'm not at full speed yet. When my legs recover next week, I'll be there."

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Marchibroda said: "It seemed like Jamie's name was called a whole lot. I hope it was because he was making big plays, not plays after the catch."

Brown, filling in for top draft pick Peter Boulware, who is in the 13th day of a holdout, had two tackles but several quarterback hurries. He left the scrimmage with a groin injury, but returned shortly with it wrapped.

Brown's hustle and pass rushing is a good sign for the Ravens, who had only 30 sacks last season. The team also got constant pressure from defensive end Michael McCrary, who teammed with tackles Tony Siragusa and James Jones on the first unit to shut down the Eagles' running game.

Marchibroda saw a major positive on the other side of the line of scrimmage with Neujahr, who was making his first start after mostly playing on special teams the past three years.

Neujahr held his own during individual drills as well as in the game. Folau also had a strong showing playing guard and tackle. Folau has been playing guard for just one day.

"We moved the ball well with Quentin working with the first unit," Marchibroda said. "He passed his first test."

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Second-year wide receiver James Roe (three receptions, 24 yards) also drew praise from Marchibroda. He was one of the few bright spots on the reserve units.

Next for Ravens

Preseason opener

Opponent: New York Giants

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: Saturday, 8: 05 p.m.

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TV/Radio: Ch. 45/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Camp at a glance

Where: Western Maryland College, Westminster

Practices: Camp runs through Aug. 14. All practices are free and open to the public. Times are from 9 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m. and 2: 45 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Today: The Ravens will practice at Memorial Stadium at 2: 30 p.m.

Hotline: 410-261-FANS

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Directions from Baltimore: Take I-695 to Exit 19 to I-795 north to its end. Follow signs to Westminster via Route 140 north to Route 97 north. Turn left on exit ramp onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Go about 1 mile and turn left on Monroe Street. Turn right at Winters Alley. Parking lot is on left.

Preseason schedule:

Date .. .. .. .. ..Opponent .. .. .. ..Time

Aug. 2 .. .. .. ...N.Y. Giants .. .. .8 p.m.

Aug. 8 .. .. .. ...at N.Y. Jets .. . .8 p.m.

Aug. 16 .. .. .. ..at Philadelphia ...8 p.m.

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Aug. 22 .. .. .. ..Buffalo .. ....7: 30 p.m.

Regular-season schedule:

Aug. 31 .. .. .. ..Jacksonville .. ...4 p.m.

Sept. 7 .. .. .. ..Cincinnati .. .. ..1 p.m.

Sept. 14 .. .. .. .at N.Y. Giants .. .1 p.m.

Sept. 21 .. .. .. .at Tennessee .. ...1 p.m.

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Sept. 28 .. .. .. .at San Diego .. ...4 p.m.

Oct. 5 .. .. .. ...Pittsburgh .. .. ..1 p.m.

Oct. 12 .. .. .. ..Open

Oct. 19 .. .. .. ..Miami .. .. .. .. .4 p.m.

Oct. 26 .. .. .. ..at Washington .. ..1 p.m.

Nov. 2 .. .. .. ...at N.Y. Jets .. ...1 p.m.

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Nov. 9 .. .. .. ...at Pittsburgh .. ..8 p.m.

Nov. 16 .. .. .. ..Philadelphia .. ...1 p.m.

Nov. 23 .. .. ... .Arizona .. .. .. ..1 p.m.

Nov. 30 .. .. .. ..at Jacksonville ...1 p.m.

Dec. 7 .. .. .. ...Seattle .. .. .. ..1 p.m.

Dec. 14 .. .. .. ..Tennessee .. .. ...1 p.m.

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Dec. 21 .. .. .. ..at Cincinnati .. ..1 p.m.

Pub Date: 7/27/97


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