Coach's brand of tough love pays off

From the Sidelines

September 02, 1996|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

It was time for the kindly grandfather to give the youngsters a scolding.

With the Ravens going nowhere early in the third quarter yesterday -- they had just intercepted a pass on the Oakland Raiders' 25, but wound up punting -- coach Ted Marchibroda called his offense together on the bench and gave it an old-fashioned chewing out.

What did he say?

"You don't want to print it," said center Steve Everitt. "It was deserved. [Our play] was pretty ugly. He came over and got us going."

Marchibroda brushed off the chat that came with his team trailing 14-7. "I don't remember what I told them," he said. "I wanted them to get together."

The animated tongue-lashing was a side of Marchibroda that he doesn't reveal very often, but it showed that he is tougher than he sometimes appears to be.

Whether it was the chewing out, the switch to the no-huddle offense or just the tenor he set, the Ravens' 19-14 opening game victory belonged to Marchibroda.

The change from former coach Bill Belichick to Marchibroda has given this team a new look in its new home.

L "We feel like we're a family," said tight end Brian Kinchen.

Without mentioning Belichick, Kinchen said, "When you have a head of the family who's not exactly the greatest guy in the world, that kind of filters down throughout the organization. I'm not labeling anybody, but Ted's just a great guy."

The Vinny file

Vinny Testaverde, who turned the ball over five times in the last three preseason games, didn't have a turnover yesterday. He passed for 254 yards and ran the no-huddle offense well.

A lot of skeptics didn't think Testaverde could run the no-huddle, but he had a command of it against the Raiders. If he keeps playing that well, he has a chance to be this year's Jim Harbaugh.

Give Marchibroda and quarterback coach Don Strock credit for believing Testaverde could do it.

The running game

What running game?

Earnest Byner got 14 yards in five carries in the first half and wound up with 43 in 14, just 1 yard more than Testaverde gained. If the running game doesn't get untracked, it's going to cost the Ravens.

Call of the game

After the Raiders got a first down at their 35, Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis sent Eric Turner on a blitz on the third play of the second half. Tim Brown didn't seem to read the blitz and Antonio Langham stepped in front of him for the interception.

The Ravens didn't capitalize on it, but it set the tone for the second half, and the Raiders got just two more first downs. "Sometimes, it just takes one play," Lewis said.

Eye-popping play of the game

On the Raiders' third possession of the second half, they called Brown on a reverse on a first-down play at their own 39.

Defensive tackle Tim Goad penetrated and threw Brown for a 9-yard loss; the Raiders punted two plays later.

Marvin Lewis had altered the defense to look for the reverse even though the Raiders hadn't used it during the preseason. But Goad said he just penetrated and spotted Brown.

"I don't think Tim Brown ever saw me coming," he said.

Pride and poise

Former Raiders coach John Madden used to say that discipline is not jumping offside on third down. By that standard, coach Mike White's team isn't very disciplined.

The Raiders were called for a dozen penalties, most of them for being offside, including the final one that gave the Ravens a first down with less than two minutes left and enabled them to run out the clock. "That is something we have to correct," White said.

The paycheck

Benched Ravens running back Leroy Hoard gained just 7 yards in two carries, but by playing in the game, he guaranteed himself half of his $1.5 million salary.

With the Ravens facing such severe salary cap problems that they only have 50 -- they're allowed 53 -- on the active roster, it's puzzling why they're paying a backup $1.5 million.

The outdoor team

Owner Art Modell wants to build his team an indoor facility similar to the one he had in Cleveland. But he may re-think that.

The Ravens wore down the Raiders in the heat. They should now get accustomed to playing outdoors in chilly December weather and get a reputation for being an outdoor team that can handle any climate. The Ravens should try to become an all-weather team.

The tight end

Brian Kinchen is one of those players always on the bubble, but he came up big in the opener with four catches for 57 yards. tTC Kinchen said the difference is that in Marchibroda's offense, he's out running patterns most of the time, rather than staying in to block. If he can keep secondaries occupied, he'll make the passing game better.

The fans

The Baltimore crowd came alive in the second half when the team rallied, but the fans mostly sat on their hands in the first half when the team struggled.

Looking ahead

The Ravens now go to Pittsburgh. The Browns were 4-23 at Three Rivers Stadium and lost their last seven games there. If the Ravens are really no longer Browns, they'll show they can win at Three Rivers.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

When Sunday, 1 p.m.

Site: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh

TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Yesterday: Steelers lost to Jaguars, 24-9.

Last year: Steelers beat the Browns twice: 20-3 in Pittsburgh and 20-17 in Cleveland.

Pub Date: 9/02/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.