OWINGS MILLS – Ravens coach Brian Billick explained his decision regarding an unsuccessful 4th-and-1 rushing attempt by running back Jamal Lewis on Sunday.
In the first quarter of a 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with the football at the Chiefs' 8, Billick opted to attempt a sweep with Lewis instead of having Matt Stover kick a 35-yard field goal. Lewis fell down and was tackled by cornerback Dexter McCleon. "We did the same thing against Cleveland and it worked," Billick said. "That seemed to be smarter then that it is now, I guess. The idea was to get Jamal on the edge with their cornerback, which we did. "Unfortunately, he stumbled and didn't get it. It was a chance to make an impact on the game early that we thought was prudent to do. That's why we ran it."
DIMINISHING RETURNS: Once return specialist Lamont Brightful suffered a mild concussion, safety Ed Reed took over his punt return duties. He returned three punts for 13 yards, fumbling his final one away in the final minutes. "I don't want Ed or Chris [McAlister] returning punts, but Ed's our best fielder of a punt once Brightful goes down," Billick said. "I told Ed to just fair-catch. "As soon as I put him in on a regular basis and he gets hurt, you are going to be on my butt for having him in there. Pick your poison, right?"
McALISTER RETURNS: One week after being benched against the San Diego Chargers and fined for reportedly breaking curfew and missing a team meeting, franchise player Chris McAlister started at cornerback and recorded four tackles. "Chris played very well, very focused," Billick said.
INJURY UPDATE: Billick said he expects Brightful to recover from his mild concussion before the Ravens' Oct. 12 game against former Baltimore starting quarterback Jeff Blake and the Arizona Cardinals.
QUOTABLE: Billick reflecting on Baltimore Orioles manager Mike Hargrove being fired Monday: "It's an unfortunate part of the business. I hope we never dehumanize it to the point that you're just dismissive of that. You're talking about a man's career, his livelihood, his family and it's always unfortunate when something like that happens."
QUICK HITS: The Ravens don't return to practice until Sunday. … Billick congratulated former Ravens defensive coordinator and Finksburg resident Marvin Lewis for his first win as a head coach with the Cincinnati Bengals. "That's a special time for a coach," Billick said. Billick said he's likely to accept an invitation to be a guest on ESPN's NFL Edge Matchup with former NFL players Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski: "I can think of worse places to spend my time than spend six hours looking at film from around the league with a couple of guys. I might find something."
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.