J. Lewis dialed in against Cleveland

Ravens Notebook

September 21, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Three years ago, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis and Cleveland Browns linebacker Andra Davis engaged in a little trash-talking over the phone, and Lewis backed up his promise to enjoy a "career day" against the Browns by rushing for 295 yards, an NFL single-game record.

With another matchup against the Browns looming Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium at 4 p.m., Lewis said yesterday that he won't participate in another phone call with Davis.

"Actually, my friend that set up that phone call last time called me and said, `What are you going to do?' I said, `I'm not playing those games this year,'" Lewis said. "Everybody's going to make a big deal out of that, I'm sure, but it's just same old, same old. It's football, and we've just got to go out and execute."

Lewis' modesty disguises the success the seven-year veteran has enjoyed against Cleveland. His 1,329 rushing yards against the Browns are the most he has gained against any team.

Lewis has posted five of his 26 career 100-yard games against Cleveland. (Only the Cincinnati Bengals have been more generous, surrendering at least 100 yards to Lewis eight times.) Lewis' top three rushing totals have been against the Browns, including 205 yards in 2003 and 187 in 2002.

But since that season - in which Lewis rushed for 2,066 yards, the second most in league history - Lewis hasn't topped 90 yards in each of four games and has scored just one touchdown.

Lewis said Cleveland, which uses a three-linemen, four-linebacker defensive alignment, typically drops an eighth player into the box to combat the run, and he expects to see a similar arrangement Sunday.

"You would think that they would. They should. Why wouldn't they?" Lewis said. "Ever since that year, they've gotten better with personnel and they've gotten better defensively. I think they really overemphasize stopping the run when we do get ready to play them."

The Browns (0-2) have surrendered an average of 161.5 rushing yards in two games, and Bengals running back Rudi Johnson gained 145 yards and had two touchdowns Sunday.

"I haven't liked the fact that we've given up 150 yards a game, and that's not very good," coach Romeo Crennel said. "We're going to have to do a better job against the run to give ourselves a chance if we want to try and win a game."

Injury report

More than a third of the Ravens' starting defense missed a portion of yesterday's practice. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis (neck), linebacker Adalius Thomas (foot), cornerback Samari Rolle (foot) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (back) are listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Also, running backs Lewis (thigh) and Musa Smith (knee), offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (knee) and defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin (thigh) are questionable.

For Cleveland, three starters - cornerback Gary Baxter (pectoral), defensive end Orpheus Roye (shoulder) and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius (ribs) - are doubtful.

Two more starters - linebacker Willie McGinest (calf) and running back Reuben Droughns (shoulder) - are questionable, and tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) is probable.

Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce, who spent three seasons with Droughns on the Denver Broncos, didn't put much stock in the injury report. "Reuben is one of the toughest guys I've ever been around," Pryce said.

Showing his worth

The trip to Cleveland brings back some interesting memories for Ravens linebacker Bart Scott.

The defense's second-leading tackler was wooed by the Browns during the offseason, meeting with team officials in March. But Scott agreed to a three-year, $13.5 million deal with the Ravens while he was still inside Cleveland's practice facility.

"It made me look like a genius. It looks like I made a great decision," said Scott, who also leads the team in sacks with three and is tied for first with three deflected passes. "But it is deja vu going back there and playing against some of the guys."

Crennel seemed disappointed that Scott returned to the Ravens. "I think we came close [with] being able to sell to him that this was the place, but then [the Ravens] realized his importance ... and decided to keep him," Crennel said yesterday. "And he's showing why [the Ravens] decided to keep him."

Extra points

Derek Anderson - drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round in 2005 - is listed by the Browns as the backup quarterback behind Charlie Frye. Ken Dorsey is third on the depth chart. ... Besides Baxter and Anderson, former Ravens players on the Browns include punter Dave Zastudil and tight end Darnell Dinkins.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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