R. Lewis scolds media for focusing on negative

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Linebacker says talk is `always about yesterday'

Pro Football

December 09, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ray Lewis let loose on the media yesterday, insisting the focus on all the negatives in losses the past two games outweigh the positives of a winning record and the Ravens' having primary control of their playoff fate.

Lewis' voice steadily rose during a 10-minute session in which he shunned talking about the defensive breakdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots and any lingering frustrations that might exist.

Instead, Lewis shifted the focus to those who asked about the problems.

"You don't treat it with the same respect," Lewis said. "That's all I'm trying to tell you, treat it with the same respect when we play good, when we play bad. That's the same reason why it's so hard always coming in here trying to talk because it's always about yesterday. It's never about where we're trying to go.

"It's always about, `What about this frustration, what about that frustration?' A loss is a loss, a win is a win. We're 7-5 right now, but everybody is acting like it's the end of the world. But as soon as we make the playoffs, then, it's ... this is the way we've done it. We've never done anything easy around here. Even in 2000 when we won the Super Bowl, we've never done it easy."

After Sunday's game against the Bengals, Lewis made reference to a "gut check," a term he was asked about during his diatribe.

Lewis was far more conciliatory yesterday.

"I think gut-check comes whenever it's over," Lewis said. "Whenever you realize yesterday is gone, and don't let nobody keep bringing up yesterday. You deal with right now, and that's all you can deal with."

The bottom line, as far as Lewis is concerned, is for the Ravens to focus on Sunday's game against the New York Giants. A loss to the 5-7 Giants might just bring the team to its breaking point.

"I see the way this keeps going, and it's all about frustrations, all about this and that," Lewis said. "We're playing the Giants, and that's how I am. We lost to the Bengals, it's over. Whatever went wrong, it went wrong.

"If you bring these frustrations in to Wednesday, then you've already lost against the Giants."

Zastudil appears ready

Running back Jamal Lewis (ankle), right tackle Orlando Brown (knee), nickel back Deion Sanders (foot), cornerback Gary Baxter (shoulder) and receiver Travis Taylor (back) practiced in a limited capacity yesterday and are all questionable for the game.

Punter Dave Zastudil (shoulder) is also questionable but appears set to kick for the first time in three games. Nick Murphy has averaged 43.2 yards in Zastudil's absence. "[Zastudil's] in that group where we'll see how the week progresses," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Even if David can go, Nick's done a great job for us, and we'll keep him around for a while just to make sure that shoulder is OK."

McAlister harsh on himself

Cornerback Chris McAlister was one of the rare players to take a final look at the Bengals' game, giving an assessment of his own performance.

Bengals receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh combined for 20 catches and three touchdowns. McAlister was often matched up against Johnson.

"Personally, I can say it was a bad performance on my part and I'm extremely unhappy with the circumstances I put my team in," McAlister said. "I look forward to this week against the Giants to get the chance again ... one more week to prove who you are and what you are capable of doing, and that is what is in front of us now."

Fassel to attend Sunday

Ravens senior offensive consultant Jim Fassel will attend Sunday's game against his former team but will not have too strong of a voice in devising a way to beat it during this week.

Fassel was replaced by Tom Coughlin following seven seasons as the Giants' coach. Receivers Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard, running back Tiki Barber and tight end Jeremy Shockey are a few of the skill players who remain.

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