Advertisement
News

Boller, Suggs hit some bumps

On a day of ill-fated injuries, the Ravens can consider themselves lucky after the reintroduction of their top picks.

The lasting image from the first full-scale training camp practice for both first-rounders was quarterback Kyle Boller dropping back and having his legs rolled out from under him by pass rusher Terrell Suggs.

Advertisement

The awkward collision drew gasps from fans and a smile from Boller, who quickly bounced back to his feet.

"It brought back old memories," said Boller, a Pac-10 rival of Suggs. "It feels good sometimes to get stuff like that, especially when you're not supposed to get hit. It gets you going."

Advertisement

Leaving practice unscathed became a challenge for the Ravens yesterday at McDaniel College.

The start of camp's second week was marred by major injuries to three backups: linebacker Bernardo Harris (fractured left fibula), receiver Javin Hunter (ruptured right Achilles') and safety Ray Perryman (dislocated left shoulder). Hunter is out for the season, Harris is lost for four to six weeks, and Perryman is sidelined indefinitely.

In the wake of these developments, Ravens coach Brian Billick still found a lighter side to the accidental contact involving his high-priced - and former holdout - rookies.

"That's good for Kyle to get contact," Billick said. "I didn't mind that $10 million knocking down that $7 million."

Despite those price tags, the Ravens' first-round picks ran with the second teams.

Boller, who finished 12-for-22 passing in team drills, had an up-and-down initiation to camp.

Here's the good: finding receiver Marcus Robinson on a 35-yard fly pattern and directing a 65-yard drive to end practice. Here's the bad: re-huddling twice to get the plays correct and going 2-for-8 in a choppy two-minute drill.

There were other factors - such as an interception resulting from tight end Terry Jones running the wrong route and Hunter dropping a long pass in the end zone - that were out of his control.

Advertisement

"He's got a good grasp of the offense," Billick said. "He's a sharp kid. But the nuances of it will still take awhile. He's still a week behind."

Boller received the most reps of the quarterbacks and followed Chris Redman, who worked with the starters, on most drills. But the rookie out of California isn't scrambling to try to catch up to compete against Redman for the starting job.

"I still have a long ways to go," Boller said. "One of the first things [quarterbacks coach David] Shaw said to me was, 'Just take things slow and don't try to do everything in one day. You go do things at your pace.'

"I think that's a good philosophy, because if you try to do too much, you get yourself in trouble. I did that a couple of times. You have to relax. I'm not going to make up the practices this whole week."

Suggs, on the other hand, was in a rush.

Playing with backup linebackers Harris, Bart Scott and Nick Stamper, Suggs registered three sacks, including the one in which he was blocked into the back of Boller by fullback Ovie Mughelli.

Advertisement

But the sacks didn't satisfy Suggs.

"I still have a lot to work on, especially my play against the run," Suggs said. "The pass rush is not hard for me to do. But against the run, I still have to be able to play my leverage and play my gap. I'm trying to fit in with the defense."

Working with the second team is a change for Suggs, who ran with the starters in all four offseason camps.

But Suggs' two-day holdout combined with his play against the run has elevated Cornell Brown ahead of him on the depth chart. Too often, Suggs has peeked in the backfield to make a play instead of playing containment to keep the run from bouncing to the outside.

"Everyone wants to start, but it's not a bad thing if Cornell Brown starts," Suggs said. "He knows what he is doing and I can learn a lot with him playing in front of me. I'm going to play. I'm not going to ride the pine all year. But it's good for Cornell and me to alternate like that."

Known for his strong play in stopping the run, Brown started 14 games for the Ravens last season and finished ninth on the team with 67 tackles.

Advertisement

"It's a vote of confidence," Brown said of practicing with the starters. "It's good for me and it's good to help Terrell along."

Billick said Brown is not just holding Suggs' spot until the rookie works his way back up to the first group.

"They'll go back and forth," Billick said. "Cornell gives us a certain presence and experience at the point of attack. Plus, Terrell is behind and I don't want to throw off the timing of that first unit. Cornell will be a factor and he will play a great deal for us."


Advertisement