R. Lewis out early; backups play big

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Linebacker Ray Lewis' short night led to a productive one for his backups.

Lewis did a three-and-out as the first-team defense did not allow a first down on the opening possession of last night's scrimmage at Bair Stadium. With Lewis gone, Bart Scott and Chris Brown had the defensive plays of the night.

Scott planted tight end John Jones after a 3-yard gain on the offense's second possession - the hardest hit of training camp so far - and Brown dragged down Chester Taylor for a 5-yard loss on the opening play of the second half.

"It's always hard to tell until you look at the film, but from what I saw, I thought Bart did a good job of running the defense when he was out there and taking control," linebackers coach Mike Singletary said. "And he made some plays. Chris Brown made some plays, as well as [Brenden] Givan."

Brown has been one of the biggest surprises of camp, and there is a good chance the undrafted rookie out of Hawaii will make the team.

As for Lewis, he showed no hesitation after having season-ending shoulder surgery last year. It was his first totally live action of the season.

"We came out here and got what we needed to get done," Lewis said.

Boller gets some work

A spectator during the scrimmage, newly signed first-round pick Kyle Boller did get some work in during the morning practice.

Quarterback Boller was 6-for-8 in seven-on-seven drills and showed the velocity on his throws the coaches love. Boller was perfect on his first toss, a 20-yarder down the seam to Frank Sanders.

"I actually felt pretty good," Boller said. "The little time off while the contract was being done wasn't a vacation for me. I was working out, getting ready."

He said he was a little frustrated about all the problems with his contract, but understood the process.

"The players have been very supportive," Boller said. "This team is very close, and I feel blessed to be a part of it."

T. Smith catches up

Rookie tight end Trent Smith made up for a rough practice earlier this week by catching two passes last night, both of which converted third downs.

Smith was second on the Ravens with 41 receiving yards, finding holes in the middle of the defense a la Todd Heap, who sat out with back spasms.

"I know the reason they drafted me is because of my abilities in catching the ball, and I'm not going to make this squad if I don't do stuff like that," Smith said.

Franklin in a rush

Not known for having major pass-rushing ability, tackle Aubrayo Franklin showcased a little last night, sacking Grant Noel on the second-to-last play of the scrimmage.

Franklin, who at 307 pounds is a true nose tackle, used a quick step to shoot through the line and get Noel right after the ball was snapped. He joined fellow rookie Jarret Johnson as the only players to record sacks last night. Johnson's came two players earlier and was for 8 yards. Franklin's sack came on a third-and-18.

End zone

There are approximately 1,000 tickets left for next Saturday's preseason game at M&T; Bank Stadium against the Buffalo Bills. ... NFL officials met with the team yesterday and stressed there will be more enforcement of the 5-yard jam rule for defensive backs.

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