Ravens Camp Report: Brightful struggles

WESTMINSTER -- In a continuation of his recent downward spiral, Baltimore Ravens incumbent return specialist Lamont Brightful fumbled away two punts.<br><br> He was visibly frustrated with the miscues Wednesday morning at McDaniel College, which followed his fumble last week against the Atlanta Falcons. Undrafted rookie cornerback Lance Frazier will return punts in the second half Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I'm mad at myself because you want to be perfect and I know I'm pressing," said Brightful, whose status had been improving by default because of injuries to challengers Derek Abney (shoulder) and B.J. Sams (thumb). "I don't care how anybody judges me. I just don't want to mess things up for my teammates.

"There's always going to be somebody trying to take your job. I plan on being the guy, but I've got to perform.Whatever happens, happens."

Ravens coach Brian Billick acknowledged that the team would consider seeking outside help for the return game. He added that there's little he can do to assist a sixth-round draft pick from two years ago who slumped to 7.8 yards per punt return last season.

"He either has to believe in what he is doing, snap out of it, or he won't," Billick said. "Confidence is a personal thing. We've been down the road with Lamont before, but he's got to re-find that confidence to do what we know he can do. There is only so much you can do as a coach."
Receiver Randy Hymes said Brightful is presently his own worst enemy.

"I would tell him nobody's against you and to just keep your head up." Hymes said.

Meanwhile, Frazier becomes the latest to join the return game fray.

Frazier averaged 20.8 yards per punt return as a senior at West Virginia, including a 72-yard touchdown return.

More important, though, is what Frazier said he's liable not to do.

"I haven't dropped a punt in two years," he said. "I don't want to jinx it. I want to keep that going. My biggest thing is to be smart in there and, especially, to catch the ball."

DOUGLAS INJURED: Starting right defensive end Marques Douglas dislocated his right elbow while rushing the passer during the morning practice and will be out four to six weeks.

Douglas will be replaced in the starting lineup by second-year defensive end Jarret Johnson, last year's fourth-round draft pick from Alabama.

Last season, Douglas recorded a career-high 89 tackles and 4 ½ sacks in 16 starts. Johnson had 18 tackles with no sacks.

While Johnson is the primary backup, the emergence of reserve nose guard Maake Kemoeatu could allow the Ravens to use nose guard Kelly Gregg on occasion at right end. Plus, second-round pick Dwan Edwards is expected to play a lot in the rotation.

VERBAL EXCHANGE: Although it's a few days before kickoff, the Ravens and the Eagles are already in an aggressive mood.

The daily exchange of comments regarding All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens has raised the ire of Billick.

"Sometimes you guys are like petulant second graders going from one end of the school yard to the other," Billick said.

Philadelphia defensive tackle Hollis Thomas called Billick's prior comments regarding the Eagles' ability to handle the combustible Owens, "ignorant."

Billick's response: "My daughters got past that in the second grade."

TRAINING ROOM: Cornerback Fred Weary (quadriceps), linebacker Peter Boulware (knee), quarterback Anthony Wright (shoulder), tight end Trent Smith (leg), Sams (thumb), Abney (shoulder), defensive tackle Matt Zielinski (knee), offensive guard Casey Rabach (knee) and offensive tackle Orlando Brown (family illness) didn't practice. Rabach was scheduled to start ahead of Bennie Anderson at right guard Friday.

Quarterback Kordell Stewart returned to practice after missing the previous day with a sore shoulder. Sams estimated that he will be back in two weeks.

PRACTICE INTERRUPTED: Billick stopped practice to huddle the team after a generally sloppy workout.

"I didn't want to progress beyond that, and they snapped it back in," Billick said. "They knew that was not acceptable."

QUICK HIT: The fifth annual Ravens' Rally for Courage House Kids raised more than $120,000 to benefit St Vincent's Center and the team's foundation.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.
 


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