Like two people with varying stories of the same fender-bender, Ravens coach Brian Billick and Miami cornerback Sam Madison relayed vastly different versions of a conversation that took place during the Dolphins' 26-7 win Sunday.
Madison said after the game that Billick taunted him with his Super Bowl ring, saying that will be the closest Madison will ever come to one. Billick responded yesterday by saying he did not have on his Super Bowl ring and made no such taunt.
"That one caught me a little off guard," Billick said. "First off, I don't wear my ring at the games. I don't wear it during the season very much.
"He's a very vocal player. He was jawing at the receivers; he was jawing with the coaches; he was jawing with me. I do believe at one point I said, `Hey, just play the game and save that for the Super Bowl.' It was of that nature, in a half-complimentary way, saying I think that is a very good football team. But I don't wear my ring, so whatever he thought he saw or heard, I can't address."
That is a far cry from what Madison said Sunday, describing Billick as frustrated and upset that his team was down 20-7 in the third quarter.
"I guess the way we were kicking butt, he needed to get something off his chest," Madison said.
Receiver Travis Taylor, who was matched up against Madison much of the evening, said the entire conversation escaped him.
"Actually, I didn't hear any of it," Taylor said. "Me and Sam are pretty good friends. He didn't talk any trash the whole game while I was out there. But I guess he had something going on with the other receivers as well. But I didn't hear any of it."
R. Lewis sore, but OK
The Ravens were encouraged with the day-after analysis of linebacker Ray Lewis, who experienced soreness in his left shoulder but no major problems following his extensive workload against Miami.
Lewis played nearly every snap, his first action since Oct. 6 at Cleveland. Receiver Brandon Stokley (foot) and cornerback Chris McAlister (ankle) missed the game, but could practice tomorrow. Stokley said he plans to run today for the first time since suffering the injury against Cincinnati on Nov. 10.
[Lewis] is sore but OK," Billick said. "He played a little bit more than I probably would have liked, but you knew that was going to happen as well. Actually, I think we are in fairly good shape. We anticipate Stokley and McAlister being back. We'll wait to see on Wednesday and will probably list them as questionable."
Bad game for Taylor
Taylor remained upset with himself for dropping three passes against the Dolphins.
Taylor was part of an offensive performance that yielded 157 total yards, 10 first downs and a 2-for-13 third-down conversion ratio.
"I just have to make plays," Taylor said. "I didn't make the plays that needed to be made [Sunday]. A lot of the things that happened, I blame myself for a lot of it."
Brooks not to blame
Billick defended Ethan Brooks' play against the Dolphins and would not let his right tackle be the scapegoat for the offensive line's woes.
Brooks gave up at least two of the Dolphins' seven sacks, including an 11-yarder by Jason Taylor that caused Jeff Blake to fumble.
"I'm not OK with anything, not when you get beat like that and are 4-6," Billick said. "But there is no reason to isolate Ethan because Ethan played about as well as anybody out there, and actually played pretty well. Whatever it looked like, Ethan Brooks wasn't the problems for the pressures and the sacks. He's played better, but some of it was not Ethan's fault."
Defensive end Adalius Thomas took exception to CBS broadcaster Randy Cross' on-air comments Sunday. Cross said Thomas changed the pronunciation of his first name after he became a more prominent player, which is not true. Thomas gave the correct pronunciation of his first name when a reporter asked last week in the wake of an interception returned for a touchdown against Cincinnati. "I'm looking for Randy Cross. Tell Randy Cross to call me," Thomas said. ... The Ravens doubled Lewis' tackle total to 18 after reviewing coaches' video. ... The Ravens will hold the sixth annual Family Food Drive before Sunday's game, and volunteers will be stationed outside gates from 11 a.m. until kickoff collecting non-perishable food items and money. Players will sign autographs at Sam's Club in Owings Mills on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. in exchange for canned goods.