Billick denies edge vs. Vikings


The familiarity will balance itself out.

According to Ravens coach Brian Billick, neither his team nor the Minnesota Vikings should have an advantage in Monday night's game at PSINet Stadium.

Billick was offensive coordinator in Minnesota from 1993 to 1998 under current Vikings coach Dennis Green.

"My familiarity with them is countered by their familiarity with me," Billick said. "It's been a long time. You have different people there, different combinations of talent. I think the familiarity is probably negligible."

As for his personal feelings about going against his former team, Billick will keep those away from his players. But five current Ravens (Qadry Ismail, Orlando Bobo, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, Randall Cunningham and Moe Williams) also played in Minnesota.

"Everybody has an emotional attachment to whoever you are playing," Billick said. "[Offensive coordinator] Matt Cavanaugh I'm sure carried a certain emotional attachment to the game [Sunday] with the Bears, having been with the Bears, than maybe some of us did.

"There's any number of guys here who have been with the Vikings who will carry a certain emotional attachment - will be up a little bit more because of it. It's not like we need any more to be up than the fact that it is the second game, it's a team that many people are picking to go to the Super Bowl, it's a Monday night game. But for those who were in Minnesota, it adds a different quality to it."

Bobo's back

Bobo returned to the Ravens yesterday, a week after the guard was released.

Billick said he told Bobo all along that the team had the intention of bringing him back and made the original move for salary cap purposes, but Bobo took nothing for granted. The team cut rookie free agent Delvin Hughley to make room for Bobo.

"They wanted to bring me back," Bobo said. "They are a man of their word. I thank God for giving me another opportunity to play in this league."

E. Williams 2 weeks away

Expect to see tackle Erik Williams in uniform in two weeks.

Williams, who signed with the Ravens on Aug. 28 to give the team depth at offensive line, is expected to compete with Sammy Williams for the right tackle position - that is until starter Leon Searcy returns from a torn triceps midway through the season.

In order for his $500,000 salary not to be locked in for the year, Erik Williams was cut by the team Saturday to remove him from its season-opening roster. By re-signing him yesterday, the team is only responsible for four weeks' pay, after which he would be paid on a week-to-week basis.

Erik Williams said he is running on a treadmill, and will soon begin working on lateral movement drills. He was not in any team's training camp after Dallas released him during the off-season.

McCrary answers Matthews

End Michael McCrary took exception yesterday to comments made by Chicago Bears quarterback Shane Matthews in the wake of the Ravens' 17-6 win Sunday.

Matthews called a McCrary hit late in the fourth quarter a "cheap shot" and said he will be fined by the NFL. Matthews said McCrary came in low at him, and went on to say that is how McCrary gets his sacks.

McCrary said he expects the league to take no action and added, "[Matthews] must have thought he was back in nursery school for him to be whining like that. This is football. He should be focusing on why he couldn't get his passes off."

Late night

Many of his teammates are excited about Monday night's game against the Vikings, but safety Rod Woodson views the national exposure as more of an inconvenience.

Primarily, it's cutting into his sleep time.

"I hate it," said Woodson, who experienced a number of Monday night games while with the Pittsburgh Steelers. "It's too long, 9 to 12:30. I want to go to sleep at halftime. I'm in bed by 10:30, 11 o'clock most days."

Fan critique, Part 2

Billick critiqued the fans for the second straight day, again expressing his disappointment in the lack of crowd noise from the nearly 70,000 at PSINet Stadium Sunday.

He did, however, offer an explanation in the form of the pre-game ceremony.

"I've never been in a pre-game warm-up where there was louder noise, more energy," Billick said. "Maybe we started too early. Kickoff was phenomenal. But somewhere between the kickoff and when [the Bears] came out with the no-huddle [offense], we lost a little focus. Our fans are as loud as any in the league, but they need to be a little more focused."

Injury update

Cornerback Duane Starks is expected to play Monday. Starks sat out Sunday's win with a sore knee but will practice tomorrow. Rob Burnett and Woodson are suffering from back spasms, and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

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