Ravens' passing game ranked last again

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick reacted testily Thursday when he was reminded that his passing game is once again ranked last in the NFL.<br><br> The Ravens are averaging a modest 126.5 passing yards per contest, and second-year quarterback Kyle Boller has only delivered two touchdown passes, both to Randy Hymes. Yet, Baltimore won the AFC North title last year with a similarly one-dimensional offense that finished last in the league in passing.

"I don't give a rat's behind about statistics," Billick said. "You win or you lose."

The Ravens' lack of balance is glaring with 121 run attempts to 91 passes, a ratio weighted even more heavily to the ground game because of the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap. With 14 catches for 192 yards and two scores, Hymes has emerged as the most viable downfield threat.

Boller has posted 100 quarterback ratings for the last two weeks and has completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 569 yards, two scores, two interceptions and a 74.8 passer rating.

"The statistics are fun and they're great to banter about, but when you throw up these useless statistics, I don't have much of an answer because they don't mean a lot," Billick said.

During the two-minute drill in Monday's 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Boller struggled noticeably.

Two plays after Kevin Johnson recovered Boller's fumble, the quarterback was sacked before he threw three incomplete passes in a row.

"I learned that you need to be productive and efficient," Boller said. "The main thing is that inside two minutes, you need to move the chains."

DEION UPDATE: Nickel back Deion Sanders still has that burgundy suit in his closet.

And he possesses no enmity for Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who paid Sanders $8 million for his one season in Washington before retiring abruptly before the 2001 season.

"I had a tremendous relationship with Dan Snyder," Sanders said. "He has a lot of wonderful secretaries over there."

Sanders also claimed that former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer was not the reason he retired.

"I'm not going to blame everything on Marty Schottenheimer," Sanders said. "I'm not going to give him that much credit."

As for his playing status for Sunday night after missing two games in a row with a strained hamstring, Sanders was noncommittal. He's listed as questionable.

"I felt like last week, Monday, I was going to play," Sanders said, "but I'll definitely play Sunday, hopefully."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens and Redskins reported no changes to their injury reports. Wide receiver Travis Taylor (groin) returned to practice, but is listed as questionable and isn't expected to play.

Meanwhile, quarterback Anthony Wright said his shoulder is much stronger and feels he's on schedule to practice and come off the physically unable to perform list following the bye week.

QUICK HITS: Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan denied holding a grudge against Snyder, who fired him after the 1999 season. "If you have too many grudges, you'll hate everybody," Nolan said.

"I'd much rather be here than down there." … Billick scoffed at the notion that the game has passed by Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who has returned after retiring in 1992. "That's ludicrous," Billick said. "That's absurd. The man is a brilliant coach. This game is not that complicated, trust me."

Billick attempted to diffuse a controversy after Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said that Redskins running back Clinton Portis isn't the caliber of Priest Holmes, a stance he didn't back off of Thursday. "He's a hell of a back," Billick said of Portis. "Don't misunderstand that. We have a great deal of respect for him. Keep trying to stir it up."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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