Report card

September 27, 1999|By Mike Preston

Quarterback

C-

Sooner or later, defenses are going to make Stoney Case beat them with passes longer than 10 to 12 yards. Case might suffice for 1999, but he is not the type of quarterback to build your team around. Despite his inconsistent play, Tony Banks still might be the best choice for the Ravens this season. Maybe coach Brian Billick should take a leap of faith with Banks.

Running backs

B

Errict Rhett ran with authority and he'll keep Priest Holmes out of the starting lineup for another week. Fullback Chuck Evans did a nice job as a lead blocker and as a receiver out of the backfield. Evans had two catches for 37 yards.

Receivers

C-

It seems as though the Ravens don't like to work the middle of the field with their receivers. Either they didn't get much separation from the Cleveland defenders, or Case wasn't getting a lot of time to throw. Qadry Ismail came up big for the Ravens with a 45-yard reception, plus a tackle and fumble recovery after an interception by Case.

Offensive line

B

Billick has to use this group more often as far as running the ball. The team got a good, balanced performance from both sides, and right guard Jeff Blackshear and right tackle Harry Swayne dominated in the second half. Blackshear's pancake block of middle linebacker Wali Rainer without a helmet was highlight material.

Defensive line

B

The Browns had some success up the middle with running back Terry Kirby, but Cleveland couldn't handle ends Michael McCrary and Rob Burnett. The tandem made the Browns' Brown boys, tackles Orlando and Lomas, look slow and old.

Linebackers

B

Weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper has played well this season and he was under control yesterday. Sharper was tied with middle linebacker Ray Lewis for the team lead in tackles with 10. The Browns had no answer for strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware, who had two sacks and owned the outside perimeter.

Defensive backs

C

This unit basically had the day off except for safety Rod Woodson nailing tight end Mark Campbell on a pass across the middle. Cornerback Duane Starks gave up a touchdown pass, but he and fellow cornerbacks DeRon Jenkins and Chris McAlister played the Cleveland slant-in patterns well.

Special teams

C+

Punter Kyle Richardson kept the Browns pinned down and reserve safety Bennie Thompson played extremely well in coverage. Matt Stover had some length on his kickoffs except for one. But Jermaine Lewis looked lost on a couple of punt returns and has to get in sync with the rest of the unit.

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