Marchibroda to make call on QB tomorrow Zeier expects to be healthy, but starter for G.B. not set

Ravens notebook

October 20, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said he will decide by tomorrow whether to reinsert Jim Harbaugh over Eric Zeier as his starting quarterback against Green Bay on Sunday. It appears Zeier's health will not be a major factor in Marchibroda's decision.

Follow-up X-rays on Zeier's injured right thumb yesterday were negative. As he followed through after passing, Zeier strained a ligament when he hit his thumb on the helmet of offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, while the Ravens were running their two-minute offense late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 16-6 loss to Pittsburgh.

During the game, Zeier also suffered a contusion on his throwing elbow.

"I don't think either [injury] is serious or game-threatening, especially as tough as Eric is," said team doctor Claude T. Moorman.

Zeier suffered in other ways against the Steelers. He took five sacks while throwing for only 173 yards and failing for the second straight game to find the end zone. In his last two starts, Zeier has completed 42 of 70 passes for 420 yards and two interceptions, while absorbing eight sacks.

Harbaugh, playing for the first time since getting pulled with injuries to the finger and elbow on his throwing hand four weeks ago, went 0-for-6 with two interceptions.

And the Ravens continue as the league's worst offense inside the opponent's 20. They have gone 10 straight quarters without a touchdown.

"I can't blame it on one thing or the other. It's different breakdowns," Marchibroda said. "We had a touchdown, but we didn't get enough time to throw the football. We had another touchdown, and we overthrew the receiver. Sometimes it's the pass protection, sometimes it's the quarterbacks overthrowing. If you don't make enough big plays to get the job done, that's the reason you lose."

Zeier's frustration reached its height late in the third quarter, after he had driven the Ravens to the Pittsburgh 14 with the Steelers clinging to a 10-6 advantage. On second-and-eight, Zeier and wide-out Floyd Turner failed to communicate.

The play originally called for Turner to run a fade to the back of the end zone against cornerback Carnell Lake, but Turner decided at the line of scrimmage to run a slant-in, since Lake was taking away the outside with his positioning.

Turner was open. Zeier's pass sailed out of reach.

"We weren't on the same page," said Turner, who started in place of the injured Michael Jackson (groin) and had trouble getting open for much of the afternoon.

Said Zeier: "Floyd made an adjustment and ran a slant. I threw more toward where the fade route would have gone. One of those things. Obviously, I wish I could have it back again, so I could drill it in there to him."

Ravens took pounding

The Ravens were beaten and beaten up by the Steelers. They announced 11 injuries after the game -- easily a season high -- and that list didn't include center Jeff Mitchell.

"He strained his groin more seriously than we thought," Moorman said. "He's probable [for Green Bay].

"We really got shelled," Moorman added. "It's one of the worst games I've seen since I've been here. We've got a lot of guys who are going to be sore for the rest of the season from what they got in Pittsburgh."

The Ravens' locker room featured numerous wounded yesterday.

"My knee hurts, my fingers hurt, my back hurts, my head hurts. I'm just getting old," said defensive end Michael McCrary, 28, who recorded a sack to increase his team lead to 7 1/2 .

The artificial turf at Three Rivers Stadium contributed to the pain. Backup running back Jay Graham sprained his left knee when his foot stuck in the turf as he practiced a spin move during pre-game warm-ups. Graham said he originally hurt the knee against the New York Jets on Sept. 13.

Michael Jackson, who played sparingly against Pittsburgh, said he re-aggravated the groin injury he suffered 11 days ago. Marchibroda said he expects Jackson to start in Green Bay.

Defensive tackle Tony Siragusa said he hurt his right heel after his foot got stuck in the turf. Siragusa also suffered a shoulder injury during the game, and over the previous week, he had a cut on the bridge of his nose closed three times with stitches.

Marchibroda unfazed

Marchibroda fielded questions about his job security without batting an eye yesterday. When asked if the thought of getting fired after the season has been on his mind lately, Marchibroda did not hesitate to respond.

"It's part of the job. You're out front. I've been in that situation before, and I've been able to come out of it," he said, while knocking lightly on the wooden podium he stood behind. "You don't even think about it [during the season]. You're so busy looking at film during the week, you don't give it a thought."

Another test for Jenkins

Third-year cornerback DeRon Jenkins turned in another solid effort against Pittsburgh. Jenkins' only bad moment came when he cost the Ravens 42 yards on one play with about five minutes left in the game. He allowed a 27-yard completion to Courtney Hawkins, then was flagged for a 15-yard face-mask penalty, which did not appear to be flagrant.

Next up for Jenkins is Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre. Jenkins expects to be tested early and often.

"Anytime you play on the opposite side of a guy like Rod Woodson, you know [opposing quarterbacks] are going to come your way. I prepare that way," Jenkins said.

Pub Date: 10/20/98

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