Ivy's injury generates Oglesby's opportunity

The Baltimore Sun

Evan Oglesby is conflicted.

On one hand, the second-year Ravens cornerback is thrilled about the opportunity to get extended playing time in place of Corey Ivy in tomorrow's game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T; Bank Stadium.

On the other hand, Oglesby wishes the circumstances surrounding Ivy's absence were different.

"It's unfortunate that a great player like Corey, a leader, got a freak injury like that," Oglesby said, referring to a kidney tear that Ivy suffered in Monday night's 13-3 loss to the Denver Broncos and will sideline him for at least a few weeks. "But ... when an opportunity presents itself, I've got to be prepared and stay focused. I've got some big shoes to fill."

A former practice squad player who made the Ravens' 53-man roster, Oglesby was tabbed by the coaching staff to replace starting cornerback Samari Rolle when the nine-year veteran sprained his right foot in the first half of the team's 28-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 17.

Oglesby said he has been encouraged by the coaches' confidence in him.

"Hopefully, by me coming in ready to work and ready to get better every day in practice, that will kind of build up the confidence from the coaches," he said.

Oglesby likely will get most of the action when the defense goes to its nickel package (five defensive backs). Undrafted rookie Ronnie Prude will play, too. Linebacker Ray Lewis said the veterans have faith in Oglesby and Prude.

"We made them adjust to how comfortable we are on defense by saying, 'Just do what you do. We're going to react off of you,'" Lewis said.

Ivy drops in on practice

Ivy made an appearance at yesterday's practice. Although Ivy declined to talk to the media, coach Brian Billick said he was surprised to see him there.

"He was there at the team meeting," Billick said. "Just what Corey represents - his toughness, his oneness to give it up for the team - the guys really appreciate that, love him and are glad that he's back and feeling better."

In other injury-related news, wide receiver Mark Clayton was added to the team's report with a neck injury. Clayton, listed as questionable, wore a padded brace around his neck and said he couldn't talk because he was late for a meeting.

Four Ravens starters listed as questionable - linebacker Terrell Suggs (thigh), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee/chest), tight end Todd Heap (ankle/leg) and fullback Justin Green (thigh) - were upgraded to probable.

Stover to handle kickoffs

Kicker Matt Stover said yesterday that he has resumed kickoff duties after rookie punter Sam Koch pulled his quadriceps several weeks ago.

Stover, who hasn't been the team's full-time kickoff specialist since 2000, said Koch's injury wasn't serious.

Pashos faces daunting duty

The challenges just keep coming for offensive tackle Tony Pashos.

Pashos, who did not give up a sack to Oakland's Derrick Burgess, San Diego's Luis Castillo and Denver's Kenard Lang in the past four weeks, faces Carolina's Julius Peppers, who leads the team with six sacks and 14 quarterback hits.

Fassel, Fox to reunite

Mentor and student will meet for the first time on opposing sidelines when Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel and Panthers coach John Fox face each other.

Fassel spent seven seasons (1997 to 2003) as coach of the New York Giants, guiding them to the January 2001 Super Bowl. Fox was the team's defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2001.

Fox said he didn't think his relationship with Fassel would produce insight into the Ravens' offense.

"[It's] no more [advantageous] than his familiarity with me," Fox said. "I think that negates those things."


Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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