- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

OWINGS MILLS, Md. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens continue to get stronger by adding experience.
Yesterday, the Ravens agreed to a contract with free agent safety Carnell Lake, pending the results of today's physical.
Lake, an 11-year veteran, was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 2 in a salary cap move. If Lake, 34, passes his physical, he would be reunited with safety Rod Woodson, his longtime friend and former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate.
With rookie safety Gary Baxter out with an injured knee, the Ravens had only three safeties Woodson, Corey Harris and Anthony Mitchell available for Sunday's 17-6 season-opening defeat of the Chicago Bears.
Lake last made the Pro Bowl in 1999, when he helped the Jaguars reach the AFC Championship game, but missed all of last season with a stress fracture in his left foot. Lake has 25 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, 16 career interceptions and five touchdowns in his career.
"It does make you feel good as a player that [the Ravens' front office is] going to continually bring in people that can help this football team," said Woodson, who played with Lake in Pittsburgh from 1989 to 1996. "For me, Carney is a good friend of mine. I'm glad because I don't think [the Jaguars'] defense will be as good without him and our defense will be better with him."
The Oakland Raiders also were believed to be interested in Lake. The Jaguars saved $500,000 on this year's salary cap and $2.3 million on next season's cap by cutting him. Ravens coach Brian Billick said linebacker Cornell Brown's release last week gave the Ravens a little flexibility under the cap. Brown reportedly made $700,000 this season.
"We addressed him in a way we are very comfortable with," Billick said. "We waived a veteran, which gives you a little more [cap] room than when you waive a rookie."
The Ravens are looking at Lake to come in on nickel and dime packages and are not targeting Lake, a five-time Pro Bowl player, to start alongside Woodson. Lake also can play cornerback.
The Ravens' secondary has had injury problems of late. Starting cornerback Duane Starks was listed as inactive for Sunday's game against the Bears because of a knee injury suffered in the Ravens' first preseason game. Chris McAlister, the other starting corner, sat out of the Ravens' last preseason game as did Starks with a left ankle injury but started Sunday.
Meanwhile, Billick admitted the Ravens' running game, which mustered just 54 yards on 30 carries Sunday, needs "to get cranked up." Feature back Terry Allen carried the ball 20 times for 37 yards and one touchdown.
However, Billick defended Allen's production, or lack thereof, by saying that the Ravens' offensive line did not do its job.
"We were trying to be a little too horizontal. We needed to be more downhill as we did in the second half," Billick said. "Only so much of it can be attributed to Terry. Terry ran hard. The offensive line who did a magnificent job in pass protection really did not get off the ball the way we need to in the running game. We have a great deal of faith in Terry."
Billick said the Ravens will use Jason Brookins, a rookie out of tiny Lane College, and veteran Moe Williams more Monday against the Minnesota Vikings. Brookins carried the ball once for 8 yards against the Bears.
If the Ravens' running game continues to be unproductive, Billick isn't overly concerned.
"You're not going to lose Jamal Lewis and just think you are going to go out and do the same thing in the running game," Billick said. "If you are, then you're overpaying that man too much. The key is: Can we manufacture the same kind of offensive productivity? We showed some of that yesterday. I think we had four plays over 20 yards. That will lead the league. We made enough big plays and were efficient underneath. When you have four verticals and complete 80 percent of your passes, you are scratching around some pretty good things."

Notes The Ravens re-signed guard Orlando Bobo yesterday and waived rookie defensive back Delvin Hughley… .
The game against the Vikings is the first Monday night game in Baltimore since Nov. 6, 1978, when the Baltimore Colts defeated the Washington Redskins 21-17 at Memorial Stadium.


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