Ravens Report Card

October 05, 2004|By MIKE PRESTON

Quarterback: Kyle Boller has trouble scanning the defensive front and reading blitzes. He needs a lead and a strong running game to be effective. After four games, Boller is often inconsistent on throws. Against good teams, the Ravens are going to need a quarterback who can make tough throws and big plays in the final two minutes.

GRADE: C-

Running backs: Halfback Jamal Lewis gets better as the game goes along, but he had little opportunity in the first half with seven carries for 31 yards. He was the major force in a fourth-quarter drive. He tried to set the tone; the Ravens didn't follow.

GRADE: C+

Receivers: Coach Brian Billick should just go ahead and make Randy Hymes a starter even when Travis Taylor returns from injury. Hymes attacks the ball; Taylor waits for it. Terry Jones is a decent replacement for Todd Heap at tight end but has inconsistent hands and doesn't run well after the catch. The Ravens are still in search of a vertical threat and a game plan to get them open.

GRADE: C

Offensive line: There were too many holding penalties, especially in the middle with center Casey Rabach and guard Edwin Mulitalo. Once the Ravens fall behind, the weaknesses of right guard Bennie Anderson and right offensive tackle Orlando Brown as pass blockers are exposed.Late in the fourth quarter, especially on the last drive, the unit had several meltdowns. This can't happen on championship-caliber teams.

GRADE: C-

Defensive line: Kansas City's weight advantage on the offensive line gave the Ravens trouble. Chiefs offensive tackles Willie Roaf and John Welbourn destroyed ends Marques Douglas and Tony Weaver. The Ravens haven't been beaten this badly since the playoff loss to Tennessee. The Chiefs also did a good job blocking down and hooking with their tight ends to give running back Priest Holmes room on the perimeter.

GRADE: D

Linebackers: Ray Lewis was all miked up, but he was all jacked up by Chiefs guards Will Shields and Brian Waters. Lewis is the type who can run sideline to sideline, but not take on and shed blockers. Most of the Chiefs' yards came right up the gut.

GRADE: D

Secondary: This group had no clue. Cornerbacks Gary Baxter and Chris McAlister got schooled by slow receivers Johnnie Morton and Chris Horn. The Chiefs found that fifth defensive back Ray Walls is the weak link in the Ravens' nickel coverage. This group is often out of position gambling for big plays.

GRADE: D

Special teams: If it weren't for special teams, the Ravens would have gotten blown out of the stadium. B.J. Sams had returns of 25, 20, 44 and 41 yards before he returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown. Matt Stover had a 50-yard field goal, and the Ravens had fantastic field position all night. The unit couldn't have played any better.

GRADE: A+

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