- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

WESTMINSTER, Md. Running back Terry Allen makes his Baltimore Ravens debut tonight in a less than ideal situation.

In his first attempt to win the vacant feature back job, Allen must make a favorable impression running behind the team's reserve offensive linemen. Injuries to tackles Leon Searcy, Jonathan Ogden and left guard Edwin Mulitalo have left a makeshift line.

For tonight's second preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at PSINet Stadium, right guard Kipp Vickers will play left tackle, backup Orlando Bobo will start at left guard, starter Mike Flynn at center, rookie Bennie Anderson at right guard and reserve Sammy Williams at right tackle for the defending Super Bowl champions.

"The offensive line will be pushed longer, and then we we'll learn a lot about them," coach Brian Billick said.

Billick's plan for Allen, 33, is to have the former Washington Redskins running back see action on six to 10 plays.

"Terry will go much like it was the first preseason game and get four or five carries," Billick said.

Allen played in just four games last season for the New Orleans Saints and gained 179 yards on 46 carries filling in for injured Ricky Williams. The Ravens signed Allen, an 11-year veteran, on Aug. 11 after starter Jamal Lewis suffered a season-ending tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Allen played three seasons (1992-94) with the Minnesota Vikings when Billick was the team's offensive coordinator. For now, the Ravens will not consider signing another running back unless Allen and second-year man Jason Brookins, who gained 37 yards on nine carries Saturday against the New York Jets, cannot adequately replace Lewis.

The Ravens' first-team offense would like to improve on its performance in the 16-3 loss to the Jets. Even though Baltimore moved the ball and new quarterback Elvis Grbac looked sharp in his two series, completing five of eight passes for 62 yards, the Ravens did not find the end zone.

"There are a lot of circumstances that go into a drive, but at the same time we want to see improvement more than anything else," Grbac said. "You want to see us eliminating mistakes, and if we execute then good things will happen… . The most important thing we can do is improve on what we did last week."

Billick plans to play his starters for the entire first half. When asked why Grbac didn't take the bulk of the snaps yesterday in practice, Billick replied, "He's ready to go."

Notes Veteran cornerback James Trapp will start in place of injured Duane Starks (knee) tonight… . Safety Corey Harris practiced yesterday after missing the past 11 days because of a family matter… .

Ravens owner Art Modell said a pregame ceremony will honor the Super Bowl victory before the Sept. 9 season opener against the Chicago Bears at PSINet. Modell also said the Ravens have contacted representatives of Baltimore Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken about honoring baseball's Iron Man during a game… . WBC and IBF heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman attended yesterday's morning practice.

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