Billick not second-guessing play-calling against Titans

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Coach defends his usage of J. Lewis, says Titans' defense `did a great job'

Pro Football

January 05, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Despite a number of NFL television broadcasters questioning the usage of running back Jamal Lewis, Ravens coach Brian Billick yesterday stood firm in his team's play-calling.

Lewis carried the ball just 14 times, his lowest total of the season, and gained a season-low 35 yards in the Ravens' 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in an AFC wild-card game Saturday. The Ravens called more than twice as many passing plays as running plays in an attempt to take advantage of one-on-one opportunities with the receivers.

Lewis' longest run of the game was for 8 yards.

"They committed the resources to stopping the run, and they did a great job," Billick said. "They paid a price, certainly to a degree, outside that we need to enhance even more, and we are going to have to do in the future. Like I said before, you can stop anything you want. And they are an excellent team and are capable of doing that."

The Titans have the NFL's top rush defense and generally commit eight guys close to the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

Lewis has faced that alignment before, but the Titans missed no tackles on Lewis and provided few running lanes.

The Ravens usually depend on Lewis breaking at least one tackle when facing eight-man fronts. But Lewis never got more than two carries in a row and did not have back-to-back carries in the second half.

"The first half of the game in particular, it was hard to get into a flow," Billick said. "You can't get into a flow the way you'd like to. I guess my point would be, which of those throws on that [71-yard touchdown] drive would you have liked for me to hand it off to Jamal?

"They were set to stop the run, and we made some plays outside, but obviously not enough. I can't concern myself with it. The young man ran for over 2,000 yards. I think we handed it to him enough."

Boulware to have surgery

Linebacker Peter Boulware will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee some time over the next couple of weeks.

The surgery will force Boulware out of the Pro Bowl. Boulware missed the Ravens' final two games after sustaining the injury against the Cleveland Browns. He was listed as questionable heading into the Titans game.

"If I could have gotten the swelling out of it, I would have been able to play," Boulware said. "But it never turned the corner."

Jets looking at Henderson

The New York Jets have requested permission to talk with Ravens secondary coach Donnie Henderson about their vacant defensive coordinator position.

The Jets finished 21st in defense this season, leading to coordinator Ted Cottrell's firing. Although Henderson would not confirm if he would meet with the Jets, it is expected he will speak with coach Herman Edwards over the next week.

"I think how you deal with some of the calls that come in is you have to be selective," Henderson said. "And you have to be open-minded about the people who are calling and find out what their structures are.

"My dream might be to be a defensive coordinator, but I'm not going to jump out there just because it's a coordinator's position. I got a great job here."

Redman's swan song?

Quarterback Chris Redman, once thought of as the Ravens' quarterback of the future, likely suited up for the last time with the team Saturday.

Redman is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and he will likely sign elsewhere after losing a quarterback competition to Kyle Boller in the preseason. Redman was eventually demoted to third-string quarterback after struggling in his two appearances this season.

"Obviously it was frustrating and disappointing not getting to play as much as you want," said Redman, the team's third-round draft pick in 2000. "But that is life in the NFL, and you just got to learn from it. I met a lot of great guys and good quarterbacks I learned from. I feel like I have a lot of football left.

"I love Baltimore. The community has been great, and it's been a great place to stay. But I'm going to do what's best for me."

O. Brown coming back?

Right tackle Orlando Brown wants to re-sign with the Ravens, and team officials seem to want the same, but Brown is not sure how that will go over in the community.

Brown believes the two personal fouls against him in the Titans game has soured some of the team's fans.

"I don't know if everybody wants me back here," Brown said. "I was listening to the radio, and I'm the bad guy.

"That's just football. I reacted in a football way. If you go back and look at the film, you'll see me talking to one ref. [The defensive lineman] had my man [Terry Jones] in a bad position, and I was just trying to get him off."

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.