Bracing for pair of Browns

Ravens' ends tackle 15-year man Lomas, ex-teammate Orlando

September 25, 1999|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN STAFF

In his 15th NFL season, Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Lomas Brown has seen about every move from every fierce pass rusher in the league.

So what could Ravens end Michael McCrary have in store for Brown tomorrow at PSINet Stadium when the Ravens face Cleveland?

"Nothing," McCrary said. "I stopped doing tricks. Now, I just rush hard on every play. That's all I try and do. I don't resort to tricks. You try not to worry about what he knows. I'll just do my thing and see if he can stop it; if he's able to, then I'll have to counter and work something else."

Brown and McCrary are half of an interesting matchup between the Browns' tackles and the Ravens' ends. On the other side of the line, Rob Burnett -- and, at times, Peter Boulware -- will face ex-Raven Orlando Brown.

Orlando Brown spent the previous three seasons in Baltimore, starting 45 games and developing a reputation as one of the NFL's toughest players.

Boulware said there has been an absence in the locker room since Brown departed for the team that signed him as a free agent out of South Carolina State in 1993.

"Anytime you lose a player of personality, you lose something," Boulware said. "The team takes on a different identity. Different people step up in different places. You just move on."

Harry Swayne came over from the Super Bowl-champion Denver Broncos to spell Brown, who has struggled in his first two games.

Tennessee defensive end Jevon Kearse had three sacks of quarterback Tim Couch in the Titans' 26-9 win over the Browns last week, although only one was considered Brown's fault.

Still, at the end of the game, Brown took responsibility for the sacks. Now, he faces two players who know him better than the rookie Kearse did.

"Orlando is a guy that I've known since he's come in the league," Burnett said. "We've grown together and helped each other get to where we are today. He's a big, strong, aggressive player. He knows me as well as anyone in the league because he's played against and practiced against me more than anyone. So he'll be ready. It will be fun."

Orlando Brown is a trash talker. And he will also do anything to get a competitive edge.

"He might say something," said Boulware, who will be wearing a harness on his problem shoulder. "That's part of it. Some people talk noise."

Said Orlando Brown: "I don't look at is as revenge. I'm taking it as an AFC Central game. I don't want to play overaggressive and do the wrong thing."

In Lomas Brown, Cleveland has a seven-time Pro Bowler who has played in 212 games, starting 211 of them.

Lomas Brown was the sixth overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1985 draft. He played 11 seasons in Detroit before spending the previous three with the Cardinals.

He faced McCrary once before, in 1997. Lomas Brown said he hadn't practiced the two weeks before facing McCrary because of an injury, but was still able to hold him without a sack.

McCrary finished that season with nine sacks and has 36 over his past 40 games.

"He's real aggressive," Lomas Brown said. "The thing with him is that he works the whole game. So I'll have to work all game long. I'll have my hands full. This time, I'll be more prepared."

Lomas Brown said much of his and Orlando Brown's success will depend on whether Cleveland can run the ball.

Run blocking is Orlando Brown's specialty, and Cleveland has journeymen runners in Terry Kirby and Sedrick Shaw.

The two rushed for 43 yards on 11 carries in the loss to the Titans. The week before, against Pittsburgh, Shaw and Kirby totaled 9 yards on seven carries.

The Ravens held Steelers running back Jerome Bettis to 46 yards on 16 carries last week, and St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk to 54 yards on 19 carries in the opener. Both Faulk and Bettis have made the Pro Bowl.

"Hopefully, we'll get the ground game going," Lomas Brown said, "so we don't get stuck in long-yardage situations."

If not, it could be another long day for Couch. Boulware already has two sacks and McCrary one.

"I'm sure [Ravens defensive coordinator] Marvin [Lewis] will come up with something, especially after seeing Tennessee," said Browns cornerback Antonio Langham, who also played in Baltimore with Boulware, Brown, Burnett and McCrary in 1997. "I'm sure he'll do something."

NOTES: The Ravens might be 12-point favorites, but coach Brian Billick scoffed at the notion his team is overconfident. "We're sitting here at 0-2. We don't have to caution anybody about overlooking anybody," he said. The Ravens have beaten only four teams by more than 12 points in their four-year history. Outside linebacker Jamie Sharper is second on the team with 16 tackles.

Sun staff writer Gary Lambrecht contributed to this article

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Site: PSINet Stadium

When: Tomorrow, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM) Line: Ravens by 12 Tickets: Sold out

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Pub Date: 9/25/99

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