Browns Primetime Bound and Wary of Lewis

Mike McLain reports on the Browns concerns as they get ready for their primetime contest with the Ravens. There is one new concern and one old one on the Raven offense.

CLEVELAND - For the first time since the 1999 season opener, the Browns will play a regular-season game in primetime.

The result of the first primetime game after the Browns' return to the NFL was a 43-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach Butch Davis expects a better outcome when the Browns host the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.

"This football team is looking for respect," Davis said. "It could be the precursor to getting an opportunity to play in a Monday Night game. Guys who have Pro Bowl aspirations, these are games that everybody in the country gets to take a look at."

The Ravens dominated the series in 1999 and 2000, winning four games by a combined score of 114-26. Although Baltimore advanced to the playoffs last season, it had problems against Cleveland. The Browns won both contests by scores of 24-14 and 27-17.

Browns quarterback Tim Couch figures that the Ravens will be thinking about revenge.

"I'm sure they remember that," Couch said. "When we beat them here the first time, they said it was a fluke and that we shouldn't have won that game. Then we went to Baltimore and won that game. I'm sure they're not happy with the way it turned out last year.

Ravens coach Brian Billick speaks highly of the Browns, who are trying to shake off the effects of a 16-13 loss to the Steelers.

"I went on record in training camp saying that Cleveland is a team that would seriously challenge Pittsburgh for the division championship," Billick said. "They're four years into it. They're stock full of talented first-round draft choices. They're comfortable now in the second year of the scheme.

"They have great balance on offense and defense. They're very explosive on the outside with their receiving corps. It looks like Tim Couch is very comfortable with the system he's operating. They're an excellent, playoff-caliber football team."

The biggest change since the last time the teams met is that third-year veteran Chris Redman is at quarterback for the Ravens. Redman struggled in his first two games, but he picked up the pace in a 34-23 win over Denver last Monday by completing 13 of 24 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

"It's Chris' time, under tough circumstances," Billick said. "That's the hardest thing for him. As we evaluate and progress with Chris, we make sure we identify those things that Chris is capable of doing and those things around him where we just hold him arbitrarily responsible for a lack of productivity in certain areas."

The Ravens have running back Jamal Lewis back. Lewis missed the 2001 season with a knee injury. He isn't 100 percent, but Billick said that he's getting closer each week.

"It seems like every week we face a terrific running back," Davis said. "You can see why they missed him last year. He can break tackles and has runaway speed."

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