Having put a hurt on QBs, Ravens take aim at Collins

Ravens notebook

Last three have left early

Bills deny M. Lewis story

January 26, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - In the playoffs, the Ravens' defense has left a painful impression.

The Ravens have injured the past three starting quarterbacks they have faced and have set their sights on their next target, the New York Giants' Kerry Collins.

Peter Boulware hyper-extended the left knee of Denver's Gus Frerotte. Ray Lewis sprained the left shoulder of Tennessee's Steve McNair. And Tony Siragusa nearly separated the shoulder of Oakland's Rich Gannon.

"Anytime you change a team's game plan, it disrupts what they want to do - especially with the starting quarterback," defensive tackle Sam Adams said. "It has something big to do with the outcome of the game. It's like taking the heart out of the offense."

Although none of the hits drew flags, Lewis and Siragusa were fined a total of $17,500. But those fines won't alter the Ravens' attitude.

"I'm a football player, and that's what I do," Siragusa said. "We are taught to play the game a certain way, and we always have been. I am not going to change. If I was to go and have that play over again, I would hit him the same way, even if I got fined $10,000 or $50,000."

So is Collins aware of what awaits him in the Super Bowl?

"I certainly do know what they've done to starting quarterbacks," he said. "But I think that threat is there every day. This is a violent game. So I don't hold any special fear going into this game."

Bills dispute M. Lewis story

Buffalo Bills new president and general manager Tom Donahoe Wednesday vehemently denied a report in The Sun that cited two Ravens sources and suggested the Bills have reached "a back-room deal" with Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis to become the team's next head coach.

"The article is completely inaccurate and irresponsible in its insinuation that we have even spoken with Marvin regarding the head coaching position, let alone making a deal with him," Donahoe said. "I can assure you that we abided by all league rules that clearly state that a team is not permitted to speak with a member of a Super Bowl team concerning possible future employment until the game has been played."

Donahoe, however, said he hopes Lewis will be a Bills candidate once the Super Bowl is over.

From the mouths of babes

As if the opposing teams, coaches and media weren't enough, now the children aren't giving the Ravens respect.

More than 1,500 children polled by a nasal strip maker voted 901-741 for a Giants victory.

"We've been the underdog in every game," said defensive tackle Lional Dalton. "And every time we're the underdog, we come out on top."

Prediction, please

There's been a weekly routine where Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe has asked Marvin Lewis how many points he needs from the offense to win.

The answer was three points against Denver, three at Tennessee and seven vs. the Raiders. Sharpe intends to ask Lewis about the Super Bowl today.

"I'm sure I'll be surprised at what he says," Sharpe said. "I want to be surprised."

Lewis, for his part, said he keeps his requests vague.

"I just tell him, `Whatever it takes, Shannon,' " the defensive coordinator said. "He took that answer a week ago. It just didn't sound as good on `SportsCenter.' "

Simms on spy mission?

The Ravens practiced in shorts for 1 hour, 55 minutes going over red-zone, short-yardage and goal-line situations. Every player participated including strong safety Kim Herring, who had missed the past two games with a bruised ankle.

"I'll make sure I'm able to play," Herring said. "If I'm not, I'm not going to put myself out there."

Former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, CBS' color analyst, attended practice and was asked to turn off his tape recorder at one point.

"Don't tell them about the wishbone stuff we're working on," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Officiating crew named

Gerry Austin, who was the referee in the 1997 Super Bowl and the side judge in the 1990 game, will lead Sunday's officiating crew.

He will be joined by side judge Doug Toole, umpire Chad Brown, head linesman Tony Veteri, line judge Walter Anderson, field judge Bill Lovett and back judge Bill Schmitz.

Sharpe to studio?

Sharpe was asked if his interruption of Ray Lewis' interview session Wednesday only brought his teammate more attention.

"I actually just felt like padding my resume because I want to do this thing when I'm done with football, maybe take John Clayton's job [with ESPN]," Sharpe said.

Calm down, fellas

Ray Lewis said he was excited about the way his team practiced on Wednesday.

"It was so high-intensity, Coach had to calm us down," Lewis said.

Sun staff writers Edward Lee and Christian Ewell and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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