Monday Raven's notes: Weaver out for a month

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens defensive end Tony Weaver is expected to be out for four weeks after dislocating a toe in Sunday's 13-3 win against the New York Jets. Ravens coach Brian Billick said that the prognosis is "very, very good" as the fourth-year starter didn't incur major ligament or bone damage.

"From a ligament standpoint, from a bone standpoint, it could have been a lot worse," Billick said. "It was not and we're in good shape."
With Weaver in a protective boot, Jarret Johnson will start in his place. Johnson registered two tackles against the Jets.

"We're going to miss Tony," Johnson said. "He's a good player. Obviously, my playing time is going to go up and I'm ready for that."

Meanwhile, quarterback Kyle Boller had his cast removed Monday and began two to three weeks of rehabilitation for his hyperextended right big toe. Billick described the toe as sore and sensitive.

Billick indicated that Boller could possibly act as the third quarterback Oct. 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but said it's more likely that he could be available the following week against the Chicago Bears.

"The time frame hasn't changed," Billick said. "If he could be the third quarterback by the Cleveland game, that would be excellent.

"That may be ahead of the curve. It may be the week after that. The time frame is a little ambiguous."

Billick was dismissive when asked whether the artificial surface at M&T Bank Stadium is contributing to a growing list of toe injuries that now includes Weaver, Boller and Deion Sanders last year. The Ravens installed the Sportexe Momentum turf in 2003.

"No, we chart it very carefully based on the surfaces around the league, the propensity for a particular type of injury," Billick said. "There's nothing we see that there's more of a chance.

"Kyle's would have happened in a swimming pool. The way that he got pinned and turned had nothing to do with the turf. What we're examining quite closely, frankly, are the shoes."

CRITICAL MISTAKE: Return specialist B.J. Sams decided to try to catch a punt inside the Ravens' 5, and compounded the error by muffing the football. It caromed out of the back of the end zone for a touchback, but could have cost the Ravens some points with a different bounce.

Sams was immediately scolded by Billick and special teams coach Gary Zauner.

"The first one in the preseason I was a little more forgiving: ‘We're not going to do that again, right, B.J?'" Billick said of Sams, who averaged 14 yards on four punt returns. "He's not a rookie anymore. Our expectations are much more demanding. That's a critical error. He knows that."

IN THE BOOTH: Offensive coordinator Jim Fassel called the plays from the coaches' booth for the first time this season, and receivers coach David Shaw relayed the plays to quarterback Anthony Wright.

"I thought by putting Jim up in the booth, it would allow him to kind of remove himself from the fray to actually see and orchestrate the game more efficiently," Billick said. "To have that expertise for me up in that different perspective was a factor as well. I like the orchestration. I think the game showed it well."

DEBATE: Although aware that their two losses do count against them in the standings, the Ravens (1-2) continue to preach the mantra that they are now 1-0 and have begun a new season. Baltimore trails the Cincinnati Bengals (4-0) by 2 1/2 games in the AFC North and play three of their next four games on the road.

"We put ourselves in that situation and we will be accountable until the end of the season, but you can understand why we want to take this mindset," Billick said. "We don't expect you all to forget and not write about it and say, 'Well, we're going to put this at 1-0 and we're not going to make it 1-2.

"We've beaten ourselves up over that and hopefully made the corrections. It serves our purpose to have that mindset, but we're not being ridiculous about it either."

QUICK HITS: Billick praised nose guard Maake Kemoeatu for his performance against six-time Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae. The Ravens held running back Curtis Martin to 30 yards on 13 carries, and Kemoeatu kept Mawae off of middle linebacker Ray Lewis. "When you go against Kevin Mawae, one of the best centers in the league, when you look at the numbers at the end, that tells you that he was able to control the middle against the best center in football," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. Added Kemoeatu, a 6-foot-5, 350-pounder: "Our whole defense was blowing people up." ... Billick opted for an instant-replay challenge of officials' spot after a Mark Clayton reception, but the ruling on the field was upheld and cost the Ravens a timeout. "Was it worth a shot for half an inch?" Billick said. "Sure." … Billick awarded game balls to rush end Terrell Suggs (defense), center Mike Flynn (offense) and fullback Ovie Mughelli (special teams).

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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