Ravens ponder offensive changes Cavil may replace Goeas

Jackson could split time with Lewis

October 14, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

After failing to establish a running game and blowing a 21-point lead in a 42-34 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, the Ravens are considering changes in the offense for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins at Memorial Stadium.

The Ravens (3-3) had 52 yards rushing against the Steelers, 26 in each half. With center Wally Williams returning to the starting lineup after missing the first six games with an injured Achilles' tendon, coach Ted Marchibroda is contemplating another change at left guard, with Ben Cavil replacing starter Leo Goeas.

Both Cavil and Goeas worked with the first unit yesterday, but Marchibroda was noncommittal. Also yesterday, Marchibroda and receiver Michael Jackson confirmed they had a meeting last week about Jackson's not being as productive as both would like.

"Any changes in the lineup are a possibility," said Marchibroda about Cavil's replacing Goeas.

Cavil was just as evasive.

"I think I took most of the reps today, but no one has said anything to me yet," said Cavil.

Cavil, 6 feet 2, 310 pounds, was obtained by the Ravens on Aug. 24 (one week before the season opener) from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a seventh-round pick. The former Oklahoma Sooner was signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers on April 27, 1995, and he spent last season on the Eagles' practice squad.

Goeas, 6-4, 300 pounds, has started at left guard and center this season, and Cavil has served mostly as Goeas' backup. The Ravens apparently feel Cavil is a more physical player and would provide a spark for their running game. Goeas, in his eighth season, was signed March 21 to a three-year, $2.85 million contract, which included a $600,000 signing bonus.

Jackson, who signed a three-year contract worth $8.4 million with a $3 million signing bonus on Feb. 27, leads the team with 29 catches for 427 yards and is on pace to approach last season, when he caught 76 passes for 1,201 yards. But Jackson, despite great diving attempts, failed to hold onto two long passes against the Steelers on Oct. 5. San Diego also had success against Jackson, even though the Chargers double-teamed him for most of the game.

There has been speculation from team officials that if the Ravens went to a two-back set, second-year receiver Jermaine Lewis might split time with Jackson as the outside receiver. Lewis, mainly working out of the slot, is having an impressive season, with 18 catches for 295 yards and four touchdowns.

"I have a lot of meetings with players during the season, so this is nothing out of the ordinary," said Marchibroda.

Jackson said: "I was concerned, and he showed just as much concern that I wasn't as much a part of the offense as I was last year. I said last week that I was concerned about my performance and that I needed to get more involved. I'm not a team official or a captain, but I feel as though I'm one of the leaders of the team, that when we need a big play, I'm one of the players who has to make it.

"We talked about a number of things, but I feel as though I have to be and will be more productive," he said.

Pub Date: 10/14/97

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