A Cleveland Browns defense that couldn't stop the running of the Ravens' Jamal Lewis apparently can't stop running its collective mouth, either.
Speaking to Cleveland reporters on Wednesday, defensive end Kenard Lang boastfully said Lewis "ain't going to break the first line of defense," and safety Earl Little continued the surprising comments by saying Lewis is "just another running back."
Lewis ran for 500 yards against the Browns last season, earning an NFL-record 295 yards the first time and 205 yards in the next meeting.
"They're thumping their chest, so let's show up on Sunday and have at it," left guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "I'm not going to lie, I'm expecting a dogfight."
Other quotes coming out of Cleveland included middle linebacker Andra Davis saying, "I don't think they have anybody [receivers] who can run by our defensive backs," and offensive lineman Kelvin Garmon saying he doesn't think Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis "takes on blocks as well as some linebackers."
"There's nothing to comment on," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "They're confident, and I imagine our guys will buoy themselves the same way. It's to be expected, and it's a genuine confidence on their part."
Asked if he would make his players aware of these comments, Billick said, "We don't have a bulletin board here."
But don't be surprised if the quotes make it to tomorrow's team meeting.
Sanders ready to go
Deion Sanders, the Ravens' new nickel back, was confident in how he will perform Sunday, which will be his first game action in three years.
"I think a lot of you are making it more difficult than it really is. I'm playing nickel," said Sanders, who has taken all the snaps in the Ravens' nickel package this week in practice. "How can somebody say I'm not qualified or capable of playing a nickel back?"
The seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback did admit one worry.
"What suit am I going to wear?" Sanders said. "Maybe I'll take two: one there and one back. That's the only thing I'm concerned about. I don't know if I brought all of my shoes to match my shoes as well as the hat."
As the time to make a decision about Jonathan Ogden's status grows shorter, so has Billick's comments regarding the All-Pro left tackle.
"Tune in Sunday," Billick said. Ogden remains questionable, and it is unknown how much he participated in team drills. Practice was entirely closed to the media, and players were unavailable after their workout at the team's indoor facility.
The other Ravens listed as questionable, nose tackle Kelly Gregg and linebacker Adalius Thomas, were expected to participate in a majority of the team drills despite knee injuries. Gregg seemed optimistic about playing, and Thomas "guaranteed" he would start.
When asked what exactly was wrong with his knee, Gregg said, "They used a lot of big words. You know it was Chinese to me."
Distancing from the past
The Ravens have further distanced themselves from their Browns past this year, when Steve Bisciotti took over as majority owner for Art Modell.
Modell owned the Browns in Cleveland for 34 years before relocating the franchise before the 1996 season.
"Has it widened the gap? Yes. But getting rid of it? Never," said kicker Matt Stover, the only Raven remaining from the team that moved from Cleveland in 1996. "I don't think those Browns fans will ever forget."
The Ravens re-signed veteran special teams standout Harold Morrow only four days after releasing him. They have cut quarterback Josh Harris but intend to sign him to the practice squad as early as today if he clears waivers. The Ravens have only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster (starter Kyle Boller and backup Kordell Stewart). ... Former Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe visited the Owings Mills practice facility for a sit-down with Sanders, Billick and Ray Lewis for a segment that will air on CBS's pre-game show. It was Sharpe's first assignment in his new television role.