Ravens notebook - Clayton could start Sunday

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Mark Clayton is in line for increased playing time, and the first-round draft pick indicated he could possibly start Sunday depending on the team's initial personnel grouping against the New York Jets.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said that there will continue to be a receiver rotation that will also include Clarence Moore and Randy Hymes. Moore started the first two games, but has more dropped passes (three) than catches (two).

"You know my mantra on starters, but Mark's had an appreciable amount of time," Billick said. "That will increase based on his talents and what he can do, but it also means we need to get Randy Hymes and Clarence Moore equitably involved."
When asked if the change is a reflection of Clayton and Moore's contrasting performances, Billick replied: "To a degree. It's a reflection that we want to get Mark more and more involved. He has some dynamic talent.

"He's only going to get better by playing more, but we have to have faith in Clarence and Randy Hymes. I'd love to get Randy Hymes involved more, but there's one ball and I've got 11 players for 65 snaps. It only divides up so many ways."
Through two games, Clayton has caught seven passes for 61 yards and is the second-ranked wide receiver in receptions behind two-time Pro Bowl selection Derrick Mason.

Clayton said there was a much greater chance that he would start as his repetitions have increased when the Ravens have lined up in two wide receiver sets this week. He had been operating as the third wide receiver.

"It's like a dream," Clayton said. "It's cool. I'll find out if I'm starting soon enough. I can say this: There's going to be more rotating and I'm playing a lot more in two-wide receiver sets than I used to."

STILL BREATHING: Billick delivered a colorful address after observing multiple reports regarding the hard-luck, wobbly Jets.

The Jets (1-2) are down to third-string quarterback Brooks Bollinger after Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler incurred major shoulder injuries within a span of seven plays last week. Predictably, the New York press is already forecasting the remainder of the season in gloomy fashion and has dismissed hopes of a playoff run as unrealistic.

"Tomorrow we're going to take up a donation for the New York Jets relief fund because based on what I'm reading and hearing I can't imagine these guys showing up," Billick quipped. "The game is on, isn't it? Good lord. I know that the Jets aren't thinking that way.

"I can't turn on the TV without seeing Katrina, Rita and oh my god, the Jets. .. I know their resolve. .. Good lord, I'm digging in my pockets for money. Do we have to house them? I don't know how we're going to get them down here."

Billick made his remarks moments after addressing his team and reminded them about the presence of running back Curtis Martin, center Kevin Mawae and cornerback Ty Law along with fiery former Ravens assistant Donnie Henderson at defensive coordinator.

"Absolutely, I like to see what is going on in the world, but if I see one more, ‘Oh my God, what are the Jets going to do?'" Billick said. "Good lord, I've already donated a lot now. Katrina, Rita and I'm getting a little low on cash."

Las Vegas thinks the Ravens will win handily, installing them as a seven-point favorite.

Could this game represent a potential trap for the winless Ravens? Doubtful, according to Billick, no matter how many New York tabloids they peruse.

"Only if we let it, only if we actually believe what we read and see," Billick said. "I know the Jets don't think that way. I know that they are not feeling sorry for themselves."

IMPACT?: Middle linebacker Ray Lewis downplayed the significance of the Jets losing Pennington when posed a hypothetical on what it would do to Baltimore if he was subtracted from the lineup.

"That's a totally different situation," Lewis said with a laugh. "A quarterback 60 percent of the time is just handing the ball off to his running back. I'm not. There's a lot of other stuff that I do on the field. It's not even a comparison."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens added tight end Todd Heap (toe) and running back Jamal Lewis (illness) to their injury report with probable listings, meaning there's a virtual certainty they'll play at their normal capability. Both players practiced.

The Jets made no changes to their injury report, but offensive tackle Jason Fabini (knee) did practice after being held out Wednesday. He's still listed as questionable, connoting a 50-percent chance he won't play.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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