Fuller to start at corner Baxter as safety

OWINGS MILLS - Days after the Baltimore Ravens' defense shut down the top-ranked St. Louis Rams' offense, change is afoot in the secondary. Because veteran cornerback Corey Fuller's groin and hamstring problems have cleared up, he was back in the first defensive huddle Wednesday preparing for Sunday's contest against the Miami Dolphins. Gary Baxter has shifted back to free safety.

"I'm back," Fuller said. "I'm feeling good and I'm ready to go. I'm playing cornerback with the first defense. Where else would I play?" 

The Ravens held the Rams to a season-low 121 yards in a 33-22 loss Sunday night as Rams quarterback Marc Bulger was intercepted twice for a 29.3 quarterback rating. Wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce combined for just five receptions and 51 yards. "I don't think we have a problem," defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson said. "I've got two good football players back there. Corey is going to start at corner and Gary is going back to safety and we'll roll from there. "The good thing about what I've got going on back there is the versatility. It's about managing the personalities and making sure that everybody understands and accepts their roles." 

Baxter, 24, has started three games at cornerback, two in relief of Fuller, the other when Chris McAlister was benched for violating team rules before a win over the San Diego Chargers. He ranks third on the team with 63 tackles to go with two interceptions and eight pass deflections. Both of his interceptions have come at cornerback. "Wherever they put me, I'm going to do my best," Baxter said. "It's not a big thing for me. We've got enough things going on this week. "I don't want to be a topic of any distraction of where I'm playing at. Going back and forth has become a routine for me." 

Fuller, 32, has 22 tackles, no interceptions and six pass deflections. Baxter's position change takes Will Demps out of the starting lineup. Henderson indicated that Tom Knight will remain the nickel back. Knight has 11 tackles, a half-sack and a fumble recovery. "Tom has been consistently doing the right things out there," Henderson said. "I can't ask anything more from him other than for him to get a couple of picks." 

DOLPHINS STARTER DECLARED: Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt has decided to start Brian Griese on Sunday for the fourth consecutive game. Griese committed seven turnovers in losses to Indianapolis and Tennessee, but former starter Jay Fiedler's mobility remains limited because of a sprained left knee ligament. "The most disappointing thing is the turnovers," Wannstedt said. "You can't win in this league if you turn the ball over." 

INJURY UPDATE: Rookie quarterback Kyle Boller is out after undergoing surgery on his left quadriceps Tuesday. He immediately began rehabbing his leg. "I am definitely a fast healer," Boller said. "I had surgery on my right shoulder my freshman year of college and I was back throwing the ball within two months, and that was a major reconstruction of my shoulder. "I'm going to do everything the doctors tell me to do. We've got a timeline set up." Tight end John Jones (leg) and wide receiver Frank Sanders (ankle) are doubtful, although Billick has ruled them out. Wide receiver Marcus Robinson (leg), running back Chester Taylor (leg) and wide receiver Travis Taylor (chest) are listed as probable. The Dolphins' lengthy injury report includes: Fiedler (knee), center Tim Ruddy (knee), cornerback Patrick Surtain (ankle) and linebacker Zach Thomas (groin) as questionable with defensive tackle Larry Chester (hamstring, quad), offensive guard Jamie Nails (elbow) offensive guard Todd Perry (eye), running back Ricky Williams (calf) and safety Shawn Wooden (knee) as probable. Thomas and Surtain practiced, but Ruddy was held out. 

QUOTABLE: NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis on the attention he receives from defenses: "They're all my friends. It's like I'm the sexiest woman in the world back there. They're just looking at me like, 'Here he comes.' It gets real interesting out there. "I got my guys to take care of me, my bodyguards. They don't want none of them to touch me. They want to keep me all to themselves." 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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