Eagles fans can boo with best, says Billick, who expects worst


Oakland's `Black Hole' isn't close, coach says

October 29, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

If playing the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles wasn't a tough enough challenge, the Ravens have to deal with some of the NFL's most unruly fans.

These are the same fans who once booed Santa Claus before Christmas. They are the same ones whose behavior led to four jail cells being built inside Lincoln Financial Field.

The Ravens have never played a regular-season game in Philadelphia in their brief history, venturing 90 miles north only for preseason games. But playing before half-filled stadiums, Ravens coach Brian Billick said, isn't "a fair barometer" to judge the notorious Eagles fan base.

"The Black Hole in Oakland is tough, but Philadelphia fans would kick the hell out of Oakland fans," Billick said. "They're tough and it's a tough place to play."

Beating a winning team on the road has been anything but easy for the Ravens.

They have lost seven straight away from home to teams with a winning record. The last time the Ravens accomplished that feat in the regular season was Nov. 4, 2001, when they edged the Pittsburgh Steelers, 13-10.

Boller holds no `TO' grudge

One of the reasons why receiver Terrell Owens was so adamant about playing with the Eagles rather than the Ravens was the quarterback situation, wanting to catch passes from Donovan McNabb rather than Kyle Boller.

"I've never met Terrell," Boller said. "The way everything went down is in the past. We're in the future now. I've completely forgotten about that whole side of it."

Boller is 32nd among NFL quarterbacks in rating (61.8) and 27th in efficiency (56.3 percent).

Slow starts

The Ravens' draft has not paid immediate dividends.

Defensive end Dwan Edwards, the second-round pick, has been inactive for four of six games. Receiver Devard Darling, a third-rounder, has caught only two passes for 5 yards in an injury-filled start to his career.

Darling, who was slowed earlier this season with a quadriceps injury, is now questionable with a heel injury.

Asked about his limited action, Darling said, "It's been hard on me, but I've got to deal with it. I'm going to go out there and practice hard and try to get healthy in the training room. When my opportunity comes, I've got to be there and be ready."

End zone

Tight end Todd Heap (sprained ankle) was limited in practice for a second straight day and remained questionable. The only change in the injury report was the addition of return specialist B.J. Sams (back), who is probable. ... Jonathan Ogden's likely replacement, Ethan Brooks, is practicing with a protective covering for his broken left thumb. "I shouldn't get any holding calls," Brooks said. ... The Ravens are second in the AFC with 18 sacks. ... There have been just nine backs to crack 100 yards against the Ravens since 2000, the fewest allowed in the NFL over that span.

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