- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md. The Baltimore Ravens spent $30 million on a guy who is only going to hand off the football.
That's not money well spent.
Turnover-prone quarterback Elvis Grbac is being asked by his teammates to not mess up. The Ravens plan to take the ball out of Grbac's hands and return to the NFL's Dark Ages run the football and play great defense so they can get back to the Super Bowl.
It all starts with Sunday's AFC wild-card game against the Miami Dolphins (11-5) at Pro Player Stadium. The Ravens' ground game features Terry Allen (168 carries for 658 yards), who has had both knees reconstructed, first-year man Jason Brookins (151 carries for 551 yards) and Moe Williams (65 rushes for 291 yards). Collectively, it's fine, but who is the man?
Grbac has thrown 18 interceptions and just 15 touchdowns. He has fumbled nine times and lost five.
"There is never ever the sense of, 'Don't screw it up,' and that's the big difference in this league," Grbac said. "You go through 16 games and the ups and downs and you finally get the opportunity to get in the playoffs and just lay it on the line. Don't look at it as, 'Oh, man, I better not screw this thing up.'"
The Ravens (10-6) went 8-1 this season when Grbac threw two or fewer interceptions in a game.
Coach Brian Billick stands by his man. Remember, Billick has gone through Tony Banks, Scott Mitchell, Stoney Case, and Trent Dilfer as his starting quarterbacks in the past three seasons.
"We probably have a totally different feel than what some people are feeling about us and our chances and that type of thing," Billick said.
Pro Bowl tight end Shannon Sharpe said it's time to keep the Ravens' offense simple.
"The past two or three weeks, I think we're rounding back into shape the defense that we saw last year," Sharpe said. "If they can be that, we're definitely going to take care of the football. If I have to put tape over Brian's and Matt's [offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh] mouth and just call run plays myself, we're going to run the football. We're going to take care of the football. We're not going to haphazardly throw it up and down the field."
That has been the problem all season. Grbac has used poor judgment on many passes and, because of that, the Ravens have handed away many games.
For example, in a 21-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Grbac tossed three interceptions one was returned 66 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 6:04 left.
Knowing Grbac's track record, the Ravens are going to use the same formula that won them a Super Bowl championship last season.
Elvis, please leave the building.
"We're a very confident ballclub," Sharpe said. "We know on any given Sunday that our defense can dominate a ballgame and we don't need to do a whole lot on offense. Our job [offense] is real easy. Right now, we're going back to the basics. We're going back to what we know works and that's running the football and not throwing the football all over the field. When he [Grbac] has to do it, he can do it. We just need for him to be smart when he does throw it."

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