Special welcome for Bush being prepared by defense

The Baltimore Sun

Linebacker Ray Lewis was emphatic that there's no need for New Orleans Saints rookie Reggie Bush to introduce himself before the Ravens' game tomorrow.

"He doesn't have to look for me," Lewis said with a smile. "I'll find him."

Finding Bush has been one thing, but containing the versatile running back has been another.

Bush, the second overall pick in April's draft, is the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, as he ranks tied for seventh in the NFL in receptions (38) and fourth in the NFC in punt-return average (10.7 yards per return).

Bush, 6 feet and 203 pounds from Southern California, is second on New Orleans in rushing yards and attempts (196 yards on 65 carries) and third in receiving yards (285).

Bush has been most dangerous lining up in the slot on passing downs and exploiting opposing defenses concerned about hawking wide receivers Joe Horn and Marques Colston.

It seemed the Ravens were more preoccupied with Bush's abilities as a receiver than as a rusher.

"He definitely creates a lot of problems," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "He's got a mismatch against any linebacker in the league and he [nearly] has one really versus every safety in the league. There are some definite concerns there."

Bush's reputation precedes him, but that doesn't mean the Ravens are awed by his accomplishments.

"It's football. It's not trash-talking. It's none of that," Lewis said. "He's done a lot in college, but now, it's a totally different league. Like I said, he doesn't have to look for me. I'll find him."

Injury report

Two starters - quarterback Steve McNair (concussion) and strong safety Dawan Landry (sprained right knee) - were upgraded from questionable to probable yesterday.

"I feel good to play," Landry said. "I'm ready."

Backup safety Gerome Sapp (thigh) was also moved up to probable. Punter Sam Koch (illness) remained probable.

Elusive Brees

Defensive end Trevor Pryce barely blinked when he was informed that Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been sacked a league-low six times this season.

Pryce, a former Denver Bronco, is well aware of the elusiveness of Brees, a former San Diego Charger.

"I've played against him at least 12 times, and I've sacked him once," Pryce said. "I think he fell, and when he tried to get back up, I jumped on top of him. Other than that, I've chased him around for so long that I know how fast he is. He doesn't have to watch the rush; he feels the rush. You've just got to keep working it and keep him in front of you."

Added Bart Scott, who is tied with fellow linebacker Adalius Thomas for the team lead in sacks with five: "We'll have to really play our looks and play tight coverage to make him have to hold that football. I hope we can get to him because that does send a message and set the tempo for the game for us also."

Mulitalo on the mend

Nearly a month after undergoing successful surgery to repair a torn right triceps muscle, left guard Edwin Mulitalo was back at the Ravens' practice facility on Thursday improving his cardiovascular conditioning.

Mulitalo, who sported a wrap around his right elbow after tearing the muscle during the team's three-point win against San Diego on Oct. 1, said he plans to resume weightlifting in about a month.

"Hopefully by January, I'll be done with rehab and go into the offseason 100 percent," he said. "That's my goal, and I'm excited about that."

Ravens Nest aid

A sizable contingent of Ravens fans will be in New Orleans today to help repair a playground damaged by Hurricane Katrina a year ago.

Lisa Gilbert, president of Ravens Nest 34 in Sparrows Point, said more than 100 members will be refurbishing Goretti Playground. The project is part of a season-long plan in which the city of New Orleans asks fans of visiting NFL franchises to volunteer their time.

"There was no hesitation at all on our part," said Gilbert, who was contacted by several New Orleans community activists during the Ravens' bye week. "We are honored. We wanted to contribute whatever we could."


Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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