Billick: Suggs being unfairly penalized


Ravens notebook


Ravens coach Brian Billick backed linebacker Terrell Suggs yesterday, saying his Pro Bowl player was a "marked man" instead of admonishing his penalty-laden play.

Suggs was called for another roughing-the-passer penalty in Sunday's 10-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Suggs pushed the Bears' Kyle Orton to the ground after a third-down incompletion, a seemingly innocuous act that took on greater meeting, according to Billick, because of the player responsible for the shove.

"There is no question in my mind that Terrell Suggs is a marked man," Billick said.

"Now having said that, we can't just say, `OK, that's the way it's going to be.' We've got to find a way. How do we help Terrell? How do we teach him in given situations on how he now has to approach it because if it's even close, he's going to get a flag?"

Suggs is just part of the Ravens' problem. The Ravens had 11 penalties on Sunday, the third straight game they reached double digits. The Ravens are fifth in the NFL with 64 penalties, with two of the teams ahead of them, New Orleans (68) and Cincinnati (65), having played an extra game.

Of the penalties against the Ravens, four on defense netted automatic first downs for Chicago, while three on offense were for holding.

"I tell you what, I don't have time to think about what the refs are doing," said cornerback Dale Carter, called for illegal use of hands, an automatic first down, in the first quarter. "He's doing his job, and we're doing our job. We can't complain about that."

The Ravens' strategies for dealing with the penalties will not include having officials at practice. Billick has tried that in previous seasons to no avail.

"The holding penalties, again, very frustrating," Billick said. "Same as I said last week, you can look at it, and you can't just dismiss it and go, `Boy I just don't see it.' You can emphasize it.

"I've brought officials in before to try and emphasize it. Quite frankly, the tempo at practice can't match that of a game. So you can lull yourself into a false sense of `OK, we've focused on it this week, and it's not going to happen.' Then you get into the tempo of the game, and it's just not the same. Same thing with pass interferences or that illegal-contact rule."

So what is the answer?

"You find whatever way you can to try and bring focus to the players by looking at the film, by practicing, by bringing attention to it," Billick said. "Sometimes you have to look at structurally, are we putting players in position where we're isolating them too much?

"We're putting a great deal of focus on chipping on the tackles. Are we asking our center and guards to do a little bit too much? Do we need to change that up?"

Not going deep

Quarterback Anthony Wright attempted one pass over 35 yards against the Bears, a low number considering the team's struggles driving down the field.

Wright's pass to Derrick Mason on first down from the Ravens' 48-yard line in the fourth quarter traveled about 50 yards in the air, but sailed over the receiver's head.

"During the course of the game, there were some shots to be had that we need to take, but again, we need to help Anthony recognize what those are," Billick said.

Extra time

Ravens players have today and tomorrow off, a later start to their preparation because the game is on Monday night.

"It's good that we have a couple of extra days to let this one get behind us," Billick said. "Come Thursday, which is when our work week will begin ... we'll approach it the way we always do. A Monday night in Pittsburgh, you can't ask for much more than that."

Polley honor

Linebacker Tommy Polley's high school jersey will be retired at Dunbar High today. Polley donated $10,000 to the school's athletic program.

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