Mike Preston's Report Card

December 12, 2005|By MIKE PRESTON

Quarterback

F

There are no more words left to describe Kyle Boller except that he has great character.

Offensive line

C

For a hodge-podge outfit, the line handled the Denver blitzes fairly well. It occasionally got beat at the point of attack on running plays, but right tackle Tony Pashos made some blocks into the second level on running plays. Pashos and right guard Brian Rimpf ran well on traps and counters.

Receivers

B

Finally, there can be no more blame on the receivers. The Ravens have the weapons; they just need a quarterback to get them the ball. Derrick Mason had six catches for 53 yards and rookie Mark Clayton played his second straight good game with seven catches for 105 yards.

Running backs

C-

Chester Taylor ran hard, but at times Denver overloaded the line of scrimmage. Maybe Jamal Lewis was right when he said it wasn't all his fault. Taylor's fumble in the third quarter led to Denver's only touchdown. As a group, the running backs handle Denver blitzes fairly well.

Defensive line

B-

Denver wanted to wear down the Ravens' front seven. The Broncos pounded the ball 32 times but only had 96 yards rushing. Tackle Kelly Gregg was a battler, and tackles Aubrayo Franklin and Dwan Edwards were impressive. Both guys worked down the line of scrimmage in pursuing ball carriers.

Linebackers

C+

The Ravens have no fear of the Broncos' offensive line. Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas is having a Pro Bowl-caliber year, and he led the Ravens in tackles with eight, tied with inside linebacker Bart Scott, who has played well since Ray Lewis was sidelined. Tommy Polley had six tackles.

Secondary

C+

It seemed only a matter of time before cornerback Chris McAlister picked off one of Jake Plummer's fluttering passes. McAlister had five tackles and knocked down three passes. The Broncos didn't challenge the Ravens' cornerbacks, content to throw short into the flats and over the middle.

Special teams

B+

B.J. Sams returned the opening kickoff 87 yards, but the Broncos kept pinning him inside the 20 on punt returns. Punter Dave Zastudil has had a great season, but this was perhaps his worst game, averaging only 35.7 yards on three punts. The Ravens were decent on punt and kickoff coverage.

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