Sidelined the previous week with a minor knee sprain, the 6-foot-4, 340-pound
first-round draft pick had a quiet evening as he grappled with the Eagles’
veteran offensive line. He wasn't a major factor against the run or pass.
“The game felt fast,” said Ngata, the 12th overall pick from Oregon. “The
blockers were firing off the line fast. They were doing a quick offense and
playing very fast. I had to kind of think about it when I need to be reacting.
“It's an adjustment from college football. I’m anxious to see the film so I can
see how I really did. I’m glad to have that game under my belt.”
Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was hoping to see a few one-on-one encounters
between Ngata and Pro Bowl alternate offensive guard Shawn Andrews, but that
never really materialized.
“We never went head-to-head much, so it was a lot of me trying to go around him
and shoot the gap,” Ngata said. “He’s a good player, so it was a nice test for
me. My knee felt fine and I’m sure I’ll get better and better every week.”
EMERGING THREAT: It’s only the preseason, but Musa Smith has overshadowed
veteran runners Jamal Lewis and Mike Anderson in a way that goes beyond his
inspiring comeback story from a gruesome broken leg two years ago.
Smith is running with outstanding body lean and power, flashing a bit of
breakaway speed in the third quarter.
His 43-yard touchdown burst in the third quarter propelled him to a 55-yard
outing on four carries. He also demonstrated his agility when he hurdled
offensive tackle Adam Terry on a 36-yard screen pass that nearly went for a
A week ago, Smith led the Ravens in rushing with 61 yards on four carries and
receptions with four. He has registered three of the Ravens’ four longest plays
“I'm just really trying to soak in every moment that I have since I've been
given a second chance," Smith said. "When I was on the operating table, and I
was told there was a 50-50 chance I could come back, I knew I had to set my mind
on coming back. It's been a long road and a lot of hard work, but it’s
definitely paying off. The leg feels really good right now."
Drafted in the third round out of Georgia in 2003, the Ravens initially tabbed
Smith as a future replacement for Lewis. However, his career was nearly ended in
2004 on Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams’ horse-collar tackle that caused a
compound fracture of his tibia. Smith ended each of the past two seasons on
Lewis is entrenched as the starter and Anderson figures to be the primary
backup, but Smith is projected to be the third-down back in addition to his
"He's practicing with such joy," Ravens coach Billick said. "He's loving being
out there, and he's playing the same way. It's great to see him having the
success he deserves."
UNBOWED: One week after a stumbling, bumbling performance that appeared to
confirm why he was benched in favor of Steve McNair, backup quarterback Kyle Boller redeemed himself.
Not only did he endure being sacked five times because of the shortcomings of
the reserve offensive line, but Boller appeared much more relaxed and
“Kyle’s got a lot of things going on with the group he’s with,” Billick said.
“He did some great things.”
The results were a 4-for-7 night for 115 yards and a 141.4 passer rating as
Boller connected on a 42-yard completion to Devard Darling. He also delivered a
27-yard touchdown strike to Darling.
“I prepare like I’m the starter,” Boller said. “I have to be ready because you
never know when you’re going to have to go in. That doesn’t change for me in the
QUICK HITS: McNair, who wasn’t sacked last week, was sacked twice. One occurred
when McNair got tangled up with center Mike Flynn and fell to the ground. The
other happened when Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse ran past right tackle Tony Pashos to force McNair to fumble. Pashos was also flagged for holding Kearse,
and left tackle Adam Terry was penalized for a false start. “There are going to
be growing pains,” offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo said. “It’s part of us getting
used to Steve and him getting used to us." ... Rookie wide receiver Demetrius Williams threw a key block on Smith’s screen pass. … Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards led Baltimore with a game-high six tackles. … Running back Mike Anderson
was limited because of a sprained foot that isn’t regarded as serious. … Rookie
punter Sam Koch averaged 39.8 yards on four punts as veteran Leo Araguz punted
once for 42 yards.