October 06, 2002

It's perfectly justifiable to criticize M. Lewis

I would like to respond to Mike Preston's column regarding critics of Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis ["Having doubts about M. Lewis is indefensible," Sept. 26].

I was not disappointed at the departure of Lewis from the Ravens and was pleased that he landed with the Redskins.

Now, why Mike Preston would waste his time writing about a Washington coach and why he would think that was a service to his readers, I will never know. But that's another story.

My point is that while Lewis' defensive tactical plan may be revolutionary and complex, he is still charged with the responsibility to execute and motivate his players to his level of complexity. He is not getting the job done. That makes him a target for criticism, and justifiably.

Mr. Preston has to remember that Lewis is being paid a handsome sum of money for an intangible product that, so far, he has not delivered.

That makes me wonder that maybe, just maybe, Lewis' aura of defensive ingenuity is 10 percent genius and 90 percent tools.

Larry Lawson Severn

O's argument on D.C. doesn't hold water

The Oakland A's, who play across a bay from another major-league team, won their division this year and are in the playoffs for the third straight year. The Minnesota Twins, reportedly on Bud Selig's contraction list, also have won their division and are in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, our Orioles have finished with a losing record and in fourth place for the fifth straight season. In 2002, the Orioles lost 32 of their final 36 games, and attendance was down 11 percent.

Sorry, Mr. Angelos, but you can not make the case that a team in D.C. will cause more harm to the Orioles than you and your "team" in the warehouse have already done.

William Smith Lutherville

How in the world did O's scouts win awards?

Would someone explain to me how Orioles scouting director Tony DeMacio was named Executive of the Year by the Mid-Atlantic Scouts Association and how Dean Albany was named Associate Scout of the Year?

If they were so great in their jobs, where have all the Orioles prospects been for the past five years, and why did all minor-league Orioles affiliates finish last except for a couple who were not far from last?

Owen Connolly Baldwin

Even in defeat, fans showed love of Unitas

Of all the on-field John Unitas stories, one in particular has been apparently overlooked by fans and media.

On a drizzly, overcast December Sunday in 1966, the Colts faced the Packers at Memorial Stadium in a game that would decide the Western Conference champs that year.

After the Packers had just taken the lead late in the fourth quarter, Unitas was marching the Colts' offense down the field in an all-too-familiar late-game comeback.

After completing a 20-yard pass to Raymond Berry at the Packers' 25, John faded to throw once again. Seeing that no one was open, he took off up the middle of the field. After gaining sufficient yardage for a first down, he was hit by Packers linebacker LeRoy Caffey and coughed up the football. The Packers recovered, ran out the clock, and won the game and the Western Conference championship.

Right after the fumble, as Unitas slowly got up and trotted toward the Colts' sideline, nearly all, if not all, of the 60,000 in attendance rose from their seats and gave him a thunderous ovation.

Amazingly, the fans chose this instance of a play failure to convey their heartfelt appreciation and respect for the man who had "saved the day" numerous times before and would do it again, successfully, just a year later at Memorial Stadium against the very same Packers.

This man was so great and heroic, he was cheered and applauded even after one of his uncommon on-field setbacks.

This is my greatest Unitas memory, the day and the play his gridiron immortality and football legend was confirmed.

James C. DeWald Baltimore

Baugh was great, too, as all-around player

Johnny Unitas indisputably may have been the greatest offensive quarterback that ever played in professional football, but as a longtime Washington Redskins fan remembering that era, I contend that Sammy Baugh was the greatest all-around player that ever played that position.

In an era when athletes played both offense and defense, Sammy Baugh was not only the best passer of his era, but also one of the premier punters and an outstanding defensive player.

I am willing to concede the preeminence of Unitas as a passing quarterback if Baltimore fans will acknowledge the same status for Baugh as an all-around player at that position.

Nelson Marans Silver Spring

Unitas stood tall as ultimate role model

A man's worth is not measured in dollars and cents or property owned, nor is it measured in the power control over others. The true measure of a person is the impact he or she has made upon their fellow man in their lifetime.

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