Ravens staff set to return Marchibroda gives Marvin Lewis credit for improved defense

'Comfortable with staff'

Early defensive woes attributed to injuries

December 18, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said that he expects to retain all of his assistant coaches for the 1998 season and that he likes the way the defense has improved under second-year defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.

Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, said the decision to fire or hire assistants was strictly Marchibroda's.

The defense had been under scrutiny for nearly a year and a half in the Ravens' first two seasons in Baltimore. But since the defense was ranked No. 30 earlier in the season, the unit has progressed steadily.

The Ravens are currently ranked No. 25 overall -- 13th against the rush, allowing 108.3 yards a game, and 26th against the pass, allowing 229.1

"Marvin will be our defensive coordinator next season," Marchibroda said. "I think we've said all along that we would play good defense, but we would only play good defense once everybody became healthy. We had a lot of people playing with pain early in the season."

Starting defensive ends Michael McCrary and Rob Burnett and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa all rehabilitated from off-season knee surgery and missed practice time during training camp. The Ravens also started two rookie linebackers in Peter Boulware and Jamie Sharper at the beginning of the season, and they now have four in the lineup with rookie safeties Kim Herring and Ralph Staten.

A meeting to map off-season strategy is set for Jan. 16 and will include coaches, front-office personnel and owner Art Modell.

"I'm comfortable with our coaching staff," Marchibroda said. "The meeting we're having on Jan. 16 is not about our coaching staff, but strictly player evaluation, that kind of stuff."

Pub Date: 12/18/97

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