'House' has felt too much like home to foes Team plays 4 of final 6 at home, where it is 1-3

Ravens Notebook

Alexander may not start

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

If the Ravens are to have even the slightest chance of making the playoffs, they must win at home, which the team hasn't done often this season.

The Ravens are 1-3 at Memorial Stadium but have four of their next six games at home -- the Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Oilers. The Eagles and Cardinals have losing records.

The Ravens want to make a statement in their house Sunday against the Eagles.

"Four of six games at home -- that's good," said defensive tackle Larry Webster. "We haven't had success at home, but that's not something we can't fix. We have to keep working at it in practice, cut down on the turnovers and we'll have a better record here.

"You can't have teams come into your house and beat you. Once we eliminate the mistakes, we'll be a lot better ballclub."

Coach Ted Marchibroda had a similar message to his team earlier this week.

"We tell the team that they're coming into our house. We want to make sure that when they're coming into Baltimore, they're going to be playing a tough, physical football team," he said. "They better be ready to play."

Alexander may sit

Don't be surprised if wide receiver Derrick Alexander doesn't start against the Eagles, because he missed two team meetings including Wednesday's, and has been a little lackadaisical in practice. Alexander won't be held out long, but Marchibroda is sending a message to the team.

Alexander is the team's leading receiver with 45 receptions for 614 yards and two touchdowns. But since the San Diego Chargers game six weeks ago, neither Alexander nor the rest of the receivers has played up to standards, partly due to injuries to Michael Jackson (ruptured biceps) and Jermaine Lewis (ankle and knee problems).

Alexander is a free agent after the season, is in the prime of his career, and a great year would surely bring lucrative contract offers.

"The final decision will be Coach Marchibroda's," said receivers coach Richard Mann. "When you go through tough times like we're going through, sometimes you have to reassess, refocus so we can finish strong. I'll be checking with the coach, because we need to take care of business in our house on and off the field."

If Alexander doesn't start, the Ravens will go with second-year player James Roe. Alexander, though, took a lot of snaps with the first team yesterday.

When asked if he would start, Alexander said: "Go ask the coach."

No tampering violation

The league is no longer looking into possible tampering

violations by Bill Belichick, the former Cleveland Browns coach who is now the New York Jets' defensive coordinator. Why? Because the league basically has no rules regarding contact between players and opposing coaches.

Belichick allegedly made phone calls to Ravens offensive linemen Wally Williams and Orlando Brown the week of the Jets-Ravens game.

"The issue is being reviewed," said league spokesman Greg Aiello. "The focus has shifted to what is appropriate contact between players and another team and what should be the league-wide policy. That's what is under review."

Meanwhile, Brown and Williams are joking about the "investigation." Both are friends with Eagles center Steve Everitt, who started for the Ravens last season.

"I haven't talked to Steve at all, not yet," Williams said. "I hope to talk to him before the week is out. Then again, I don't know if I want to speak with him. I don't want to get caught up in a tampering situation."

Brown said: "Oh no, not that. That's tampering, man."

Siragusa gets prepared

Defensive tackle Tony Siragusa watched film of the Eagles' Monday night game against San Francisco and saw 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield dominate left guard Bubba Miller.

Siragusa will match up against Miller on Sunday, but he has no expectations.

"I will prepare for him just like he is All-Pro," Siragusa said. "That man gets paid just like I do. In this league, you better be prepared to play hard every week."

Ravens left guard Ben Cavil, who was with the Eagles last year, said he speaks with Miller and Philadelphia left offensive tackle Jermane Mayberry every week.

And no, there have been no tampering charges against him.

"Bubba is a good friend; we always talk," Cavil said. "We talked about his game and told him don't worry about it, it was his first start and it was against Stubblefield. I told him to keep his head up."

Cotton healing

One day after spraining his knee, fullback Kenyon Cotton was back in practice, even though he didn't participate. Cotton will be evaluated on a daily basis, but he was walking without a noticeable limp yesterday.

"It was a pass pattern," Cotton said. "I was trying to make a move, but my foot went one way and my knee went the other. They say it's going to be a day-to-day thing, so I'm not that concerned."

Cotton and Lewis were the only Ravens who didn't practice yesterday.

Working on snaps

During the last couple of games, the Ravens have had problems with the snap from center Williams to quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde and Eric Zeier.

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