- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2002

Ravens Notes

BALTIMORE There's no quarterback controversy for now, but it remains to be seen how much longer Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick can be patient after yesterday's offensive debacle.
Billick, who has gone through seven starting quarterbacks in four seasons, refused to bench starting quarterback Chris Redman during his team's 25-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Redman, who threw an ill-advised red-zone interception that was returned 97 yards for a touchdown by Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, concluded his second pro start with a paltry passer rating of 41.7.
On the first play of the second half, a fumbled handoff between Redman and running back Jamal Lewis at the Ravens' 22 led to a Buccaneers safety.
Redman, a third-year pro out of Louisville, completed just 16 of 38 passes for 141 yards. The Ravens offense and play-calling was lustily booed by fans in the third quarter. Veteran backup Jeff Blake, who statistically enjoyed a better preseason than Redman, remains on standby while the offense struggles.
"If Chris Redman is truly going to progress given an opportunity to play pro quarterback, he's got to be the first question," Billick said. "Taking him out would do no good."
Redman missed wide open receiver Brandon Stokley on a post route at the Tampa Bay 42 that could have resulted in a touchdown. Redman hurried many of his throws and never seemed to get the Ravens offense into a rhythm.
"It just wasn't [Redmans] day today and we weren't going to let it be," said Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

True confessions
After watching the Buccaneers defense manhandle his team, Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis admitted that his once-proud defense has lost its swagger.
Two years ago, the Ravens set the NFL season record for fewest points allowed (165) and rushing yards allowed (970). The league's salary cap, expansion and free agency forced the Ravens to dismantle their dominant defense. Only four defensive starters Lewis, linebacker Peter Boulware, end Michael McCrary and cornerback Chris McAlister remain from the Ravens' Super Bowl-winning team.
Lewis was asked how he felt watching Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp body-slam rookie running back Chester Taylor to the ground, which drew a 15-yard personal foul.
"That's one of the best defensive tackles of all-time doing that," Lewis said. "When guys don't respond to it, they feel they can do it. That's what you talk about when you say swagger. We once had that swagger. Sapp has always had that."

Now, that's an intro
Fred Astaire has nothing on Ray Lewis. Lewis, the Ravens' five-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, broke out some serious dance steps. When the defense was introduced before the game, Lewis had a musical surprise for the home folks.
Lewis, who was the last member of the defense to be introduced, came out and performed his trademark dance routine, but this time it was accompanied by music. Lewis stomped and jerked to rapper Nelly's smash hit "It's Getting Hot in Here." Many Ravens' insiders believe it was Lewis' best introduction of his six-year career.

Alstott hits milestones
Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott reached a couple of personal milestones at the expense of the Ravens defense yesterday. On a 1-yard second-quarter plunge, Alstott reached 4,000 rushing yards in his career. Six plays later, Alstott reached 1,500 receiving yards in his career when he caught a 5-yard pass in the right flat.
For the game, Alstott ran 11 times for 23 yards (2.1 avg.) and caught five passes for 25 yards.


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