Boulware at a loss after another defeat Linebacker still adjusting to new position as rookie

Ravens notebook

no TDs again for Jackson

October 21, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The new experiences are getting to rookie linebacker Peter Boulware. As if learning to play a new position at the professional football level isn't tough enough, Boulware is now digesting a rare meal -- a three-game losing streak.

With a 3-4 record as they head into Sunday's midseason battle against Washington, the Ravens already have recorded as many losses as Boulware experienced during his three-year career at Florida State.

"This is tough. It really eats at you when you lose game after game, especially when you're not used to it," Boulware said.

Boulware still is getting used to a position that has looked increasingly foreign to him in recent weeks. A natural pass rusher at Florida State, where he led the nation with 19 sacks as a defensive end last fall, Boulware has not recorded a sack the past three games.

Against the Dolphins on Sunday, he didn't have many chances. For one, he spent much of the day dropping into pass coverage -- that is, when Miami elected to throw. Secondly, since the Dolphins took control of the game on the ground, then used the running game effectively to protect their lead, Boulware found himself mainly fighting through blocks behind the line of scrimmage. Without too much success.

For the first time in his brief career, Boulware was not credited with a tackle.

"They ran a lot of counter plays my way, and I usually had a guard and a fullback coming at me. My job is to occupy them so that another linebacker or a safety can make the play. I don't want to call it a sacrificial lamb situation, but it's unnatural to me," Boulware said.

"You have to be so disciplined [at linebacker]. You have to allow someone else to make a play. I love to rush the passer. In college, I could just fly to the ball. I make my biggest plays when I rush the passer. I'm at my best when I can do that."

Close, but no score

Receiver Michael Jackson thought he had broken a dubious streak late in Sunday's game. Jackson, who tied for the league lead with 14 touchdown receptions in 1996, has not scored since the fourth quarter of the Ravens' last victory, on Sept. 21 against Tennessee. He has only two touchdowns, and has gone 12 straight quarters without one.

Jackson appeared to score his third touchdown in the final seconds of Sunday's 24-13 loss. The Ravens were at the Miami 2-yard-line, when quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw a quick out pass to Jackson on the left. Replays showed that Jackson caught the ball in the end zone, fell on the goal line and rolled out to the 1-yard line, where Miami cornerback Calvin Jackson fell on him to record a tackle. The Ravens' comeback stalled for good after that.

"I had the ball across the plane [of the goal]. The ball and my feet were in the end zone," Jackson said. "I can't do anything about it now. But I told the official I'm having a hard enough time getting in the end zone, and you're taking this one away from me."

Daniel likely to play Sunday

Coach Ted Marchibroda said right cornerback Eugene Daniel, despite leaving Sunday's game with pulls in both hamstrings, stands a good chance of returning this week against the Redskins. If Daniel cannot play, Marchibroda said he probably would name DeRon Jenkins as the starter.

Marchibroda added that rookie Kim Herring may start in place of free safety Rondell Jones, who is still bothered by a knee injury.

Marchibroda also said that he plans to start Ben Cavil at left guard and Cornell Brown at weakside linebacker, even though both players were benched during the first half on Sunday.

Last week, the Ravens replaced Leo Goeas with Cavil and promoted Brown to replace second-round draft pick Jamie Sharper.

Cotton in custody dispute

Rookie fullback Kenyon Cotton has been ordered to appear in district court of New Iberia, La., on Nov. 6, to address a child custody dispute between him and a former girlfriend, Kirsten Broussard.

Broussard is requesting the couple be awarded joint custody of their 10-month-old child, with Broussard as the primary parent. Broussard also wants Cotton to pay an assigned child support amount.

"The child is mine and I have openly acknowledged that," Cotton said. "I have done everything I possibly can to take care of this child financially, and I have bank records and statements to prove it. In the off-season, I will head back home to be the best father I can be. I don't get along with the mother, so I believe that's what this is all about."

Miscellaneous

The Ravens had an extra week to prepare for the Dolphins, and allowed Miami to rush for its highest output of the season. The Oakland Raiders took better advantage of their bye week. They held Denver running back Terrell Davis, the AFC's leading rusher, to 85 yards on 23 carries, as the Raiders handed the Broncos their first loss, 28-25. The Ravens are now 1-3 at home, 2-1 on the road, and their next three opponents are all road games. Washington, the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers have a combined record of 14-8. Speaking about the Ravens' three-game losing streak, cornerback Antonio Langham said, "If we don't bounce back soon, we'll be headed in the same direction we went in last year. We have to pick it up." The Ravens went 2-10 over their last 12 games in 1996 to finish at 4-12.

Pub Date: 10/21/97

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