Ravens Report Card

Ravens Gameday

Browns 20, Ravens 3

September 13, 2004|By MIKE PRESTON

Quarterback: Kyle Boller, in his second year, looked nervous but seemed to get better in the second half. He had a hard time on touch passes and often held the ball too long, sometimes patting it once or twice. It wasn't a great start and he didn't show much improvement from last season.


Offensive line: In all fairness, this group has not had much of a chance to work together this season because of injury. The Ravens were missing two starters. But guards Edwin Mulitalo, Bennie Anderson and center Casey Rabach had trouble picking up blitzes in the middle, and reserve left tackle Ethan Brooks had trouble pass blocking the entire game.


Running back: Halfback Jamal Lewis had 57 yards rushing on 20 carries, but he never got into a rhythm. He started wearing down the Browns in the third quarter, but the Ravens went more to the passing game. Fullback Alan Ricard wasn't much of a factor, but the Ravens should start using him in short-yardage situations. He has never been stopped on a third-and-one situation.


Receivers: The Ravens stayed with a lot of short routes, which they had been using in training camp. Tight end Todd Heap and wide-out Kevin Johnson were effective, but for this type of passing game to work the Ravens are going to need receivers to break tackles after catches to gain more yards, or provide big plays.


Defensive line: End Marques Douglas, who finished with five tackles, got penetration early in the game. As usual, nose tackle Kelly Gregg clogged up the middle. But the Ravens need to get a pass rusher out of this group. Most of the pressure comes from off the edge with the linebackers or secondary players.


Linebackers: Inside linebacker Ray Lewis finished as the game's leading tackler with 14, and outside linebacker Adalius Thomas had eight. Also, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs kept constant pressure on the quarterback. But like the defensive line, this group wore down late in the game as Cleveland took control.


Secondary: Cornerbacks Chris McAlister, Gary Baxter and Deion Sanders were seldom tested because of the Browns' short passing game. There seemed to be a mix-up in coverages between safeties Will Demps and Ed Reed on two deep passes, or they simply got beat. Neither was fessing up after the game.


Special teams: These units had three penalties that forced the Ravens to forfeit critical field position. Several of Dave Zastudil's punts wobbled like Billy Kilmer passes, and Wade Richey, the long-distance kickoff specialist, kicked one out of bounds in the third quarter. B.J. Sams was indecisive in fielding punts, much like predecessor Lamont Brightful, but he did hang onto the ball.


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