Morris, offensive line run aground Group fails to generate significant rushing attack

Ravens notebook

November 26, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Just when it appeared the Ravens' running game was the least of their problems, an inconsistent rushing attack has crept back onto their list of concerns.

Take Sunday's 28-25 overtime loss to Jacksonville. The Ravens managed a respectable 104 yards on the ground, but for the second straight week, their offensive line could not get feature back Bam Morris (22 carries, 60 yards) untracked.

Twice in the first half, the Ravens had first downs inside the Jacksonville 15-yard line, but had to settle for Matt Stover field goals after stalling on the ground. In all, the Ravens averaged only 3.5 yards a carry, a total that was augmented by quarterback Vinny Testaverde's 8.5-yard average on four carries.

In last week's 38-20 loss to San Francisco, they produced 109 yards rushing, but Morris gained only 62 yards on 20 attempts.

"Defenses are scheming to come up with a game plan to stop us on the ground, and they've been taking us out of sync," said center Wally Williams, who has filled in for the injured Steve Everitt for the past month. "Linebackers are shooting a lot of gaps, tackles are slanting on us.

"It's what we expected. Nobody is going to play us straight up, man-to-man up front. We're too big for that. Defenses are trying to take us out of our running game and make us beat them with the pass. The last two weeks, they've done that."

Langham on mend

Cornerback Antonio Langham's right hamstring is still tender, but judging by his performance Sunday, his health is much improved.

One week after playing sparingly against San Francisco -- and two weeks after missing his first game of the year -- Langham started against Jacksonville and played well, producing seven solo tackles and batting down two passes. He also forced a fumble that was overruled by an inadvertent whistle call.

Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell spent much of the day ignoring Langham and throwing to the opposite side against Donny Brady and Dorian Brew.

"I really thought they [the Jaguars] would come into the game thinking let's see how that hamstring holds up, especially since I was only in for six plays against San Francisco," Langham said. "I felt like I played a decent game. It [the hamstring] tightened up on me a little bit in the fourth quarter and in overtime, but overall it held up pretty good." A week ago, the talk was that rookie linebacker Ray Lewis would be out possibly until mid-December after severely spraining his ankle against Jacksonville on Nov. 10.

Lewis returned to the practice field last Thursday, then returned to the playing field in the first half Sunday. He recorded five tackles and a sack and figures to be healthier this week against visiting Pittsburgh.

"I did everything I could to rest it whenever I could," Lewis said. "As much as I wanted to work while I was out, rest was the best thing for it."

Trainer Bill Tessendorf attributes Lewis' rapid recovery to "the benefits of youth. And he did everything right to take care of it."

Extra points

Offensive tackle Tony Jones was in Georgia yesterday, attending the funeral of a cousin who was killed last week in a car accident. Recurring knee soreness caused tight end Eric Green's deactivation for the Jacksonville game. Safety Stevon Moore's hip pointer is not expected to keep him out Sunday, but it will limit his practice time this week. Second-year linebacker Craig Powell's season is over after surgery to repair a damaged rotator cuff yesterday.

Pub Date: 11/26/96

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.