Monday night report card

August 26, 1998

Running backs

It is hard to grade Jay Graham because the offensive line was so inconsistent. He still runs timid and has to be able to beat a safety one-on-one to break a long run. Errict Rhett has played better in three preseason games, but coach Ted Marchibroda still wants Graham as his starter. Fullbacks Roosevelt Potts and Kenyon Cotton both ran and played hard.



Jim Harbaugh looked like he was competing for a marathon in the first two quarters. Despite poor pass blocking, he made several big plays, but threw an ugly early interception. Backup Eric Zeier has improved in every preseason game and threw a great touchdown pass to rookie Patrick Johnson in the third quarter.



Johnson continues to make big plays and had two great receptions, one for the touchdown and another for 50 yards. James Roe also had a big game in the slot. According to Marchibroda, Michael Jackson didn't have a reception, because the Eagles used double coverage on him and the Ravens also were content to run the ball in the first half. When the Eagles went to single coverage in the second half, Jackson was out of the game.


Offensive linemen

They stank. Right tackle Orlando Brown had trouble pass blocking and left guard Wally Williams showed rust from his 24-day holdout. First-year center Jeff Mitchell turned in a solid game, but left tackle Jonathan Ogden didn't perform up to par. The rest of the unit was consistent.


Defensive linemen

Despite back and neck problems, Tony Siragusa played well, getting lots of penetration along with fellow tackles James Jones and Lional Dalton, a rookie. There hasn't been an offensive tackle tandem yet that has controlled defensive ends Michael McCrary, Rob Burnett and Keith Washington.



When the defensive tackles play well, so does middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who had six tackles. Outside linebackers Peter Boulware and Jamie Sharper played well, with Sharper more aggressive and intense than he has been all preseason.


Defensive backs

Left cornerback Rod Woodson may have lost a step, but he has already made plays that Antonio Langham hadn't made in two years. The Ravens' pass rush has been so fierce that cornerbacks DeRon Jenkins and Duane Starks and free safety Kim Herring didn't have to make plays. Strong safety Ralph Staten plays pass defense as though he's still playing linebacker at Alabama. He can't cover deep and takes wrong pursuit angles.


Special teams

They weren't so special, and ace Bennie Thompson had a rare off-day. The Ravens also gave up kickoff returns of 39 and 28 yards. The punting battle isn't turning into much of a contest, with Kyle Richardson not proving he is much better than veteran incumbent Greg Montgomery. Kicker Matt Stover is hot, converting on field goals of 38, 33 and 25 yards against the Eagles.


Pub Date: 8/26/98

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