Youth act getting old for Ravens Team's immaturity is obstacle, Newsome and Marchibroda say

'They have to grow up'

Changes in personnel may be made this week

November 17, 1998|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

Youth is not always served in the National Football League.

That was the message from Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda and the team's vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome yesterday as they sifted through the wreckage of the team's 3-7 season.

In the wake of the poor showing in the 14-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers Sunday, both said the team's youth is one of the problems it has yet to overcome.

"I think it's maturity," Newsome said. "That's probably the biggest point. You have to understand how to win. We have a young team. We haven't crossed that hurdle yet. There will be struggles with young players."

Marchibroda said: "It's just youth. You don't realize what is necessary in order to win. They have to grow up and they have to grow up in a hurry in order for us to win."

The problem for Marchibroda is that the Ravens, who have 15 players in uniform who've been drafted since they moved to Baltimore, may not grow up in time for him to save his job.

With the Ravens at 3-7, they'd have to win their final six games to reach the 9-7 mark that owner Art Modell set as the goal that would show "considerable progress."

Meanwhile, rumors have been swirling for weeks that Marchibroda is in trouble. Newsome, though, said neither he nor "anyone else in this organization that I'm aware of" has had contact with any potential coaching candidates.

Marchibroda and Newsome stressed they can salvage something out of this season, and Marchibroda said he doesn't think about the future.

"I just keep on going," he added.

Marchibroda said the team could make some personnel changes this week and Newsome said he'll be scouring the waiver wire today.

Newsome said a strong finish could set up better things for next year.

"Look at what Atlanta did last year. They started 1-7 and finished 6-2. Look where they're at right now [8-2]. [Look at] Tampa the year before [they started 1-8 and finished 5-2 in 1996 and went to the playoffs in 1997]. There's a value in winning in November and December whether you're shooting for a playoff spot for not," he said.

L The young players have to step up for the Ravens to rebound.

Marchibroda said after the game that some of them are playing for themselves and he repeated it yesterday. "There's some. Not too many," he said.

He didn't name these players, but said they weren't the front-liners.

"For the most part our good guys are playing good football," he said.

The young players even seem to be frustrating some of the veterans. Safety Stevon Moore said after the game that some of the players just don't seem to care enough.

He said yesterday, "This team needs to play with a bit more urgency."

One of the young players, Donny Brady, who made a critical mistake Sunday with a 15-yard penalty on the Chargers' final punt, said, "I can't speak for other people, but I know I care."

Tony Siragusa blamed himself for missing a couple of plays Sunday and said, "I start with me."

He then added, "It doesn't bother some guys. I think that's the biggest problem."

Siragusa also said the coaches shouldn't be blamed.

"The problem's in the locker room. Guys got to look at themselves. Players in this locker room don't understand that our actions determine if the coach's kids go to college. We're job security for the coaches. Guys think they'll go to another team. If you can't be trusted and that word gets around the league, you're not going anywhere," he said.

Siragusa said that when players who are doing their job see players who aren't, they try to do more and, "then total chaos comes."

The Ravens seem to be at that point, even though Marchibroda's been harping on mistakes all year.

"The team is still working. What else can I do as a coach? What else do you suggest? I talk to these guys. Sure," Marchibroda said.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

Site: Cinergy Field, Cincinnati

When: Sunday, 4: 15 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Line: Bengals by 1 1/2

Pub Date: 11/17/98

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