Game film not suitable for all Ravens Coach gives players option of watching tape of rout

Ravens notebook

November 11, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens usually are required to spend Monday mornings reviewing their latest game on videotape. But after Sunday night's unusually sloppy, 37-0 rout by Pittsburgh, a game that featured seven turnovers and 11 penalties by the Ravens, coach Ted Marchibroda gave players the option of watching the tape of the fiasco.

"I don't think it would have done any good," Marchibroda said. "The better team won. We have no excuses. We were out-coached, outplayed and out-hit. I can't ever remember being involved in a game with that many turnovers [six] in the first half. We've got to get our house in order. We've got to move the football without all of those turnovers and penalties."

Backup quarterback Eric Zeier, who took his first snaps of the season when he replaced starter Vinny Testaverde (bruised ribs, flu, three interceptions) early in the second quarter, completed only two of seven passes for 16 yards. He threw one interception and lost two fumbles. Zeier passed on the chance to watch the game on tape.

"What we need to do now is concentrate on Philly [Sunday's game against the visiting Eagles]," Zeier said. "We don't need to rehash what happened [Sunday]. We'd get nothing out of it. Let's worry about the rest of our games. If we get to the playoffs, this will look like just another loss. Maybe."

Center Wally Williams and the rest of the offensive line exercised their option by watching the tape.

"It seems like a waste of time to watch [the tape]. I was there. I know what happened," Williams said. "Nobody wants to look at film like that, but we have to build on something."

R. Lewis a bright spot

While the Ravens continue to struggle, middle linebacker Ray Lewis continues to pile up tackles at an astonishing rate.

Lewis recorded 17 tackles, 14 solo, against the Steelers, giving him 140 tackles for the season. He leads the team by far in that category, and Lewis needs only two tackles to equal the total of his rookie season last year.

"I've basically committed myself to taking my game to another level," Lewis said. "I'm healthier and taking better care of myself this year. I'm learning what it takes to be the best."

Lewis downplayed his desire to make it to his first Pro Bowl.

"The Pro Bowl would be a great accomplishment, but the main thing I want to do is help my teammates win," he said.

Graham irks coach Lavan

Rookie running back Jay Graham's big mistake -- getting tackled on a second-quarter kickoff return by Pittsburgh kicker Norm Johnson and fumbling on the play -- did not sit well with running backs coach Al Lavan.

"The worst part [of the play] was when [Graham] made contact, he was standing straight up. That's the thing that infuriates me," Lavan said. "He didn't get his pads down to protect himself or the football, and he's got to correct that. The ball is always going to pop up in that position.

"A football player didn't hit him. That was a kicker."

Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher loved everything about Johnson's stop.

"It was a great tackle," Cowher said. "The amazing thing is, we had the [return] pinned. You're looking at a ball that should have been downed inside the 10, and if Norm doesn't make that tackle, [Graham] is gone. It was a big-time hit. He had the look in his eye coming off the field, too. I like that. Maybe we'll have some more depth in the secondary."

The only face-saving part of Graham's miscue -- he muffed the kick before scooping it up inside the 1 -- was that reserve safety Bennie Thompson recovered the fumble.

Not many injuries

With the exception of wide receiver Michael Jackson, who aggravated his right biceps injury Sunday night, partly by getting hit in the triceps on the same arm, the injury news was encouraging for the Ravens.

X-rays on tight end Eric Green's hand were negative, and Green is expected to practice tomorrow. Cornerbacks Eugene Daniel and Antonio Langham went into the Steelers game with sore hamstrings, but emerged from the game in good shape. Testaverde (bruised ribs) should practice as well.

Running back Bam Morris (toe) and linebacker Peter Boulware (thigh bruise) are questionable for tomorrow's practice.

Said Jackson: "I feel a little worse than I did before the game. I probably won't do too much [tomorrow at practice]."


Before they committed 11 penalties for 73 yards against Pittsburgh, the Ravens were the least-penalized team in the NFL, with 51 flags against them over the season's first nine games. Four of the Ravens' last six games are at home.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

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