Game Notebook: DBs Take the Blame

Why are the defensive backs getting the blame, even though the Ravens didn't pass much? Mike answers that question, plus a lot more notes on today's dismal outing...

CLEVELAND - Browns defensive backs were the source of criticism after the 35-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Coach Butch Davis said that the undersized secondary needs to start tackling better. Poor tackling by the defensive backs was obvious on touchdown runs of 72 and 24 yards by Ravens running back Jamal Lewis.

Cornerback Roosevelt Williams and free safety Earl Little missed Lewis on the 72-yard run. Little also missed a tackle on Lewis' second touchdown run.

"The same issues happened today that happened the first time we played them," Davis said. "The ball was stopped at the point of attack and got spilled out to the back side. We had some missed tackles. All of a sudden what should have been a 4- or 5-yard gain goes for a touchdown.

"On the defensive side of the football, that's an issue we have to fix. We have to get better tackling from the secondary. It can't be feast or famine. It can't be get them down, get them down, and then have the long run."

When Griffith was informed of the comment about small defensive backs, he said, "I'm not getting any bigger."

Free safety Earl Little had his sixth interception of the season, but he was missing in action  when trying to stop Lewis, who finished with 205 yards on 22 carries.

"It's our job to make tackles, and we didn't do that," Little said. "We just didn't make the plays. We played pretty good defense in the first half, but I don't know what happened in the second half. We definitely got our butts kicked."

WARREN A NON-STARTER: Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren didn't play on the first Ravens' offensive possession. Warren's absence was announced in the press box as a coach's decision. Warren was on the field the next time the Ravens had the ball.

Warren confirmed that he didn't start because he was late for a team meeting Saturday night at the team hotel.

MORE WOUNDED: Browns offensive guard Paul Zukauskas limped off the field in the second quarter with a left knee injury and didn't return. He was replaced by Enoch DeMar. Left tackle Ryan Tucker sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter but was back on the field on the Browns' next offensive possession. Rookie defensive lineman Antonio Garay had X-rays taken on an injured leg.

SUGGS GETS HIS SHOT: Rookie running back Lee Suggs saw his most extensive time of the season. He had 20 carries for 68 yards, often making the most out of little running room.

With William Green's off-the-field problems hanging over the organization in the offseason, Suggs might be a starter next season.

"I'm starting to get a chance now, and I'm trying to do everything I did when I was watching," Suggs said.

CHILLED GRASS: Although a heating system was built below the playing surface of Cleveland Browns Stadium, the field was frozen. The Browns decided to not use the heating system. It might have had something to do with Lewis carrying the ball for the Ravens.

REMEMBERING #14: The Browns honored late Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham prior to kick off with a moment of silence and a video tribute. Graham passed away last Wednesday.

Graham's four grandchildren (Kent Graham, Kyle Graham, Erik VanName and Ryan VanName) served as honorary captains.

ROSTER NOTES: Roosevelt Williams started in place of Anthony Henry at cornerback. Henry was placed in reserve-injured last week after having arthroscopic knee surgery.

Inactive for the Browns were defensive backs Ron Israel and Anthony Henry; linebacker Mason Unck; defensive lineman Felipe Claybrooks; offensive lineman Craig Osika; receiver C.J. Jones and punter-kicker Derrick Frost.


The OBR Top Stories