Baltimore Ravens Team Notes - Saturday

OWINGS MILLS-Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick said he remains in denial in regard to Art Modell's impending transfer of ownership to Steve Bisciotti. Billick can't picture a day where Modell won't be observing practice from his golf cart. As if Sunday night's game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore didn't carry enough intrigue with the playoff implications for the Ravens and the Steelers' six-year winning streak in Baltimore, it also marks Modell's final regular-season game as majority owner.

He will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime when he'll be introduced by ESPN announcer Paul Maguire. Modell will be a consultant to Bisciotti and likely a minority shareholder. "There are so many subplots it gets to the point where you're saturated," Billick said. "Once you reach a certain level of emotional investment, that's it. It's hard for me to think in those terms because Art's going to be around. So, I don't think of it as the ending at all. I really don't." 

INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens and Steelers made no changes to their injury reports. Baltimore outside linebacker Peter Boulware's status is still a game-time decision. He's listed as questionable with a sprained knee and hasn't been able to fully participate in practice all week. Boulware might be utilized sparingly in obvious pass-rushing situations depending upon how he feels. If he's unavailable, rookie Terrell Suggs and Cornell Brown will be the starters. "They have had a really good week of practice," outside linebackers coach Phil Zacharias said. "Obviously, we have to act like Peter isn't going to play, and it's a bonus if he can. "We might let him go in some long-yardage situations if it's not a risk. Normally, the rule of thumb is if you don't practice, it's hard to play good or at all." 

Suggs leads all NFL rookies with a dozen sacks and is eyeing the rookie sack mark of 14 1/2 set by Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse in 1999. Brown has started once this season, and has 30 tackles and one sack. "Peter has played with one arm before," Brown said. "So, anything is possible. He can withstand a lot of pain. "If he can't go, I'm calm and the rook is calm. He's been imitating Lawrence Taylor, so he's all ready to go." 

Offensive guard Bennie Anderson (knee), tight end John Jones (leg) and linebacker Ed Hartwell (chest) are listed as questionable, but are expected to play. 

TURN OFF THE TV: Billick made clear his preference for how his players should spend their time, particularly on Sunday afternoon prior to kickoff. The coach didn't mention the Bengals-Browns contest specifically, but it was evident which particular game he doesn't want his team viewing. "It's a long way to Sunday night," Billick said. "I can't control it, but I prefer they not watch a lot of the games on Sunday. Like I said, it's not going to change anything, so don't get drawn into it. Don't waste the energy." 

PREDICTION: Downplaying scenarios where the Ravens' game and the AFC North title winner would be anticlimactic because of a Bengals loss to Cleveland, Billick prognosticated a Cincinnati victory. "Cincinnati is going to beat Cleveland," Billick said. "They just are. I have a tough time believing that Cleveland is going to go into Cincinnati and win where their mindset is now. "Their players last week said they wanted Cincinnati to win. So, we are approaching it only one way." 

QUOTABLE: When asked what it would mean to him if Jamal Lewis broke Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing mark, fullback Alan Ricard said: "That sounds really good to me. I could be the answer to a trivia question one day." 

GAME PLAN: Jamal Lewis leads the NFL with 1,952 rushing yards and in total yards from scrimmage with 2,144 yards. He needs 48 yards to become the fifth back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards and 154 yards to surpass Dickerson's record. "The best way to take Jamal Lewis out of the game is to get a lead where the option to run is not an option because of the clock," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "If they get a lead and he starts to pound, he gets stronger as the game goes on." 

QUICK HITS: The Ravens have won four of their last five games. ... The Steelers have won seven division titles in the last 12 years, advanced to four AFC title games and the Super Bowl in 1995. A loss to the Dallas Cowboys, however, meant no Super Bowl wins since the 1979 campaign. ... The Ravens haven't won a division title since their inception, but won the Super Bowl three years ago. ... Joining the chorus of anti-Baltimore sentiment, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told Cincinnati reporters that he's rooting for Steelers runner Jerome Bettis to have a big game: "I'm with the Bus. Lube him up and get him going. Check them tires, man." 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


Ravens Insider Top Stories