- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 28, 2001

OWINGS MILLS, Md. The Jacksonville Jaguars had to build a defensive game plan for two Baltimore quarterbacks this week. They had no choice. A game-time decision will determine which will start for the Ravens when they face the Jaguars in an AFC Central game today at PSINet Stadium.
Starter Elvis Grbac, a pocket passer, hasn't practiced all week because of the bruised ribs he suffered on a third-quarter sack in last week's loss in Cleveland. If Grbac can't play, mobile 38-year-old backup Randall Cunningham will run the Ravens' offense.
Coach Brian Billick said his decision will occur "about 30 seconds before we come out of the tunnel."
Cunningham, a 16-year NFL veteran and the NFL's all-time leading rushing quarterback, worked with the first team all week and is expected to start. In the past two weeks, Cunningham has come on for Grbac in the second half of losses. Grbac, the Ravens $30 million quarterback, was knocked out of those games because of injuries sustained on sacks.
"I want to compete and do the best I can do, I like to play," Cunningham said.
The Ravens (3-3) feel comfortable with Cunningham. In his two relief appearances, he completed just 47.2 percent of his passes (17 of 36), but threw one touchdown, no interceptions and rushed five times for 45 yards.
"[The Jaguars] are going to have to account for Randall's mobility and the things that he presents and has his entire career," Billick said.
The Jaguars (2-3) also will have to prepare for first-year running back Jason Brookins, a 6-foot, 235-pound bruiser out of tiny Lane College who will start in place of Terry Allen, who sprained his ankle last week.
Brookins may be inexperienced, but he could be the answer to the Ravens inconsistent running game. He runs hard, and his 4.4 yard average is better than Allen's 3.6. Brookins has rushed 42 times for 186 yards with two touchdowns, equaling Allen's TD production.
With back Fred Taylor injured and the league's 23rd-rated ground attack, the Jaguars may have to take to the air, and they feel they can exploit the Ravens' secondary. Their confidence about throwing against the Ravens stems from a Week 2 game last season when wide receiver Jimmy Smith caught 15 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns one of the greatest individual performances by a wideout in league history. Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell torched the Ravens for 386 yards in that game.
Smith, currently the AFC's third-leading receiver with 36 receptions for 420 yards, did most of his damage against cornerback Duane Starks. In the Ravens last two losses, Starks and cornerback Chris McAlister have been victimized.
Two weeks ago, Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre exposed the Ravens' young corners when he completed 27 of 34 for 337 yards and three TDs. Last week, Browns quarterback Tim Couch tossed two TD passes and beat the 5-10 Starks both times.
"Everyone is going to bring their 'A' game against us, and we have to bring our 'A' game against them," Starks said. "Things haven't been going right. We've been here before. October has not been a great month for us. Last year it wasn't and this year it's not."
The Ravens, coming off those two straight losses, play just their third home game of the season. The Jaguars have lost three straight and are coming off a 13-10 home loss to the previously winless Buffalo Bills.
"[Our players] understand the urgency of this game. This is not a game we can really afford to let get away, and it's certainly not one [the Jaguars] can afford to let get away," Billick said.

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