Ravens losing turnover battle

OWINGS MILLS -- It doesn't take a genius to identify one of the major reasons why the Baltimore Ravens are in last place in the AFC North.

They're one of the worst teams in the NFL at holding onto the football and taking it away.

Heading into Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens (1-3) are minus-9 in turnover margin. That's the second-worst showing in the league, last in the AFC.

"We've never been there before," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We've been a team that has always gotten turnovers, minimized turnovers to a degree.

"It always leaves you vulnerable. You're not going to win many games in the current turnover situation that we have right now." Traditionally, Baltimore has excelled in this critical aspect of football. Since 2000, the Ravens have forced the second-most turnovers in the NFL with 186 to trail only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 191.

However, this year quarterback Anthony Wright has thrown six interceptions and the Ravens have lost five fumbles.

"Turnovers have hurt us a lot," running back Jamal Lewis said. "We have to stop turning the ball over and take advantage of the opportunities that we have when we do have the ball.

"Every time we give the ball away, we miss an opportunity and put our defense back on the field. We have to keep it going and get into the end zone."

In a 35-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, Wright forced passes into coverage and was intercepted twice by Pro Bowl cornerback Dre' Bly.

Meanwhile, the defense has only intercepted two passes and recovered one fumble.

"We're turning the ball over too much and we are not getting enough [turnovers]," Wright said. "It's been kind of tough on us so far, but we still have time to change it around."

STAYING IN BALTIMORE: Because of the Pittsburgh Steelers' injuries at quarterback, they attempted to sign Brian St. Pierre off the Ravens' practice squad this week.

He declined the offer to rejoin the Steelers despite being guaranteed three weeks of active roster pay. St. Pierre makes roughly $4,000 a week on the practice squad.

"It's not about the money with me," St. Pierre said. "I feel a lot more comfortable here and I didn't like the way it ended in Pittsburgh for me. I didn't feel like I was given the opportunity I deserved.

"I wanted to move on and get a fresh start. I have no interest in going back to Pittsburgh. I like it here. I love playing football and I think I've got an opportunity here."

WRONGFULLY ACCUSED: Rookie safety B.J. Ward was an innocent bystander, but got tossed nonetheless Sunday while trying to hold back safety Ed Reed.

An undrafted free agent making the league minimum of $230,000, Ward was relieved he wasn't fined. Reed, who wasn't ejected, was fined $15,000.

"I've been cleared of all accusations, and I know I shouldn't have been thrown out," Ward said. "Fifteen thousand, wow, that would have been a bunch of my checks right there. At least they cleared my name."

BOLLER UPDATE: Billick said that quarterback Kyle Boller (toe) will not require surgery and is expected to be fully active at some point this season.

"That is my understanding," Billick said. "I have not been told anything different."

Boller has been ruled out for this game and might not be available to be the third quarterback next week against the Chicago Bears.

"That is in no way an indicator that he's behind progress or that there's something additionally wrong," Billick said. "The original prognosis was somewhere between four to six weeks for activity. It will be the six weeks."

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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