Shoved-around Lindsay vows to push

Ravens notebook

Tackle blames self-doubt for problems vs. Bengals

Stover receives AFC honor

November 25, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Ravens right tackle Everett Lindsay admittedly lost too many battles Sunday against Cincinnati Bengals defensive end John Copeland. So Lindsay vowed he would not fall into the same trap Sunday against Jacksonville Jaguars ends Joel Smeenge and Renaldo Wynn.

That trap is self-doubt. Sometimes, when a lineman gets beat early in a game, his confidence begins to dissolve and his play becomes defensive. That's the way Lindsay described his performance in Cincinnati.

Lindsay, who started the first eight games of the year at left guard, started at right tackle two weeks ago against the Jaguars and played well. Then came the disaster in Cincinnati, where Copeland beat him early and repeatedly disrupted running plays and pressured quarterback Tony Banks.

"I let myself get into trouble. I got some confidence from playing the position in Jacksonville, and I didn't settle myself there last week," said Lindsay, who has played every position on the line during his six-year career.

"I didn't take care of my footwork or my handwork as well as I should have. Copeland grooved me a little bit early, and my technique started falling apart after that."

By the end of the first half, Lindsay was in the worst mental state a lineman can face during a game.

"You start worrying more about getting beat than you do about taking it to your opponent," he said. "You don't ever want to get into that frame of mind."

Ravens coach Brian Billick said that Lindsay is best suited inside at guard. But with right tackle Harry Swayne on injured reserve and Spencer Folau nearly recovered from a sprained knee, Billick said it's best for Lindsay to go outside for now.

"I don't know that tackle is Everett's best position. Right now, that's where he has to play," Billick said. "Everett is more natural probably at guard or center. We don't have that kind of latitude right now. In our opinion, he's our best option at right tackle."

AFC honors Stover

Kicker Matt Stover was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week yesterday.

Stover kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Bengals on Sunday, 34-31. He also kicked a 25-yarder to open the scoring for the Ravens, who erased a 14-point deficit by scoring 31 unanswered points, before blowing a 31-14 lead and ultimately turning to Stover for the victory.

This marks the second time Stover has won the Player of the Week award in his 10-year career. He also beat the Bengals in overtime on Oct. 29, 1995, a day on which he kicked five field goals to help the Cleveland Browns edge Cincinnati, 29-26.

Stover also was named the AFC's Special Teams Player of the Month in September of 1997.

Hurting pair get a rest

As expected, outside linebacker Peter Boulware (shoulder) and tight end A. J. Ofodile (knee) did not practice yesterday. Both are listed as questionable for the Jacksonville game.

Billick sounded mildly optimistic that Boulware would be able to play on Sunday. Boulware, who has played all year with a harness to protect his damaged right shoulder, has never missed a start in his three-year career.

"Up until this week, [Boulware] has gotten into a groove and gotten pretty comfortable [playing with the injury]," Billick said. "Clearly, this is the sorest he's been. The doctors are fairly optimistic for Sunday.

"We're at the point [with Boulware] where we knew we would be [eventually]. I'm surprised we're here this late. If he can work it out for the rest of the season, it would be a huge plus."

Boulware ranks fifth in the NFL with eight sacks.

He likely will have surgery to repair his shoulder, which has been dislocated several times during the season.

Free-lancing perils

Billick said one of the reasons the Ravens' defense has ranked among the league's best this year is its mastery of the art of team defense, with a minimum of free-lancing.

The free-lancing was back in abundance against the Bengals. For one, middle linebacker Ray Lewis was caught spying on quarterback Jeff Blake. On one occasion, Lewis left running back Corey Dillon all alone in the flat to catch a pass that went for 15 yards and fueled Cincinnati's final scoring drive that tied the game at 31.

"We've all been in games where it turns into a track meet and takes on a frenetic personality," Billick said. "We had interceptions, punt returns that went for touchdowns, you name it. Our defense kind of got caught up in that and didn't play true team defense."

Said Lewis: "We'll let a back catch the ball before we let a man catch the ball deep. We don't think a back can catch a ball in the flat and beat us. If a deep man catches one, we've got problems."

If Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor (hamstring) is healthy enough to play on Sunday, gets wide open in the flat and catches a pass from Mark Brunell, the Ravens could be facing big problems.

Taylor is listed as questionable.

Et cetera

The Ravens are hosts to an American Red Cross blood drive tomorrow at PSINet Stadium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The drive, organized by Kim Billick and Nancy Cavanaugh, wives of the head coach and Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, will take place on the southwest club level of the stadium. Free parking is available in Lot D on the stadium's south side. Wide receiver Patrick Johnson purchased Thanksgiving dinners for 13 needy families and distributed them last night through the Grant-A-Wish Foundation. Cornerback Duane Starks has won two defensive game balls since being benched after the fourth game of the season.

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