Report card

November 15, 1999|By Mike Preston

Quarterbacks -- C -- Tony Banks and Stoney Case played reasonable well considering the team's poor field position. It's hard to be effective when the average drive starts at your 19-yard line against the No. 1 defense in the league. But Ravens coach Brian Billick should take a few more chances with Banks and let him throw downfield more.

Running backs -- C- -- Errict Rhett had 50 yards on 19 carries, but there weren't many holes. The Ravens' running game suffered when fullback Chuck Evans had to leave in the first half with elbow and triceps injuries. Basically, the running game was not much of a factor.

Receivers -- D -- Jermaine Lewis was atrocious with three dropped passes, and he never challenged for position on a long pass in the second quarter that was nearly intercepted by the Jaguars' Aaron Beasley. Tight end Aaron Pierce dropped a key pass during a drive in the second quarter and committed a critical fumble. The Ravens had 17 catches for 176 yards, but again, they don't have a go-to receiver in the red zone.

Offensive line -- C- -- The Jaguars had four sacks, but some of them were because of great coverage in the secondary. Left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden bounced end Tony Brackens around as usual, but guards Jeff Blackshear and Edwin Mulitalo and center Jeff Mitchell had some problems up the middle, especially with the Jaguars' stunts.

Defensive line -- A -- Defensive tackles Larry Webster and Lional Dalton dominated inside. When they weren't taking on blockers for middle linebacker Ray Lewis, they made penetration to disrupt the play or made the tackles themselves. Defensive end Michael McCrary had a standoff with left tackle Tony Boselli, and fellow end Rob Burnett had five tackles.

Linebackers -- A -- Ray Lewis was tied for game-high honors with eight tackles and increased his level of play as the game went on. Strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware had 1 1/2 sacks, both on great athletic plays. Weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper eats up everything on his side and whatever Lewis doesn't get to in the middle.

Defensive backs -- B+ -- Cornerback DeRon Jenkins had one of his best tackling days with eight unassisted stops. The Ravens also got range and solid performances from safeties Kim Herring and Rod Woodson. Jacksonville didn't test the cornerbacks deep, which was strange considering their past success against the Ravens.

Special teams -- D -- Has the punt return team thrown a block for return man Jermaine Lewis all season? Punter Kyle Richardson picked yesterday to have his worst game of the year, but Matt Stover did well on kickoffs. The Jaguars also blocked a Richardson punt to set up Mike Hollis' first 28-yard field goal. By the way, the Ravens haven't blocked a punt since the team moved from Cleveland to Baltimore.

Keys to the game

1 The Jaguars' Bryan Barker kept the Ravens pinned deep in their own territory most of the afternoon, dropping eight punts inside the 20-yard line.

2 The Ravens didn't get many big plays from their skill-position players. Most disappointing was wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, who dropped three passes and made several other errors.

3 In a game between the two best defenses in the league, the Ravens didn't get much support from their offense or special teams.

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