Ravens' Thomas tired of hearing about Favre

OWINGS MILLS -- The conversation topic wasn't changing, and being bombarded with questions about Brett Favre eventually got under the skin of Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Adalius Thomas.

Heading into Monday night's game against the Green Bay Packers' legendary quarterback, Thomas' frustration regarding Favre overload was nearly matched by his feelings about a season-long shortcoming: the imbalance between a good defense and one of the lowest-scoring offenses in the league.

Mostly, though, it quickly grew old for Thomas to discuss his fellow Southern Mississippi football alum.

"Everybody's talking about Brett Favre like he's just the greatest thing to ever walk the earth," Thomas said. "That's kind of getting on my nerves. It's not us against Brett Favre. We're going to go out there and try to win the game regardless of who's their quarterback.

"Everybody wants to talk about Brett Favre. I'm so tired of hearing that from here in our own damn locker room to everywhere else. Nothing against Brett Favre, there's two sides to the ball."

A true statement, yet for Baltimore (4-9) there's a clear inequity between a stingy defense and the inability of the offense to consistently generate points.

A prime example is last week's 12-10 loss to the Denver Broncos where the offense failed to score a touchdown in three red-zone trips and committed four turnovers. Meanwhile, the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL limited the Broncos' second-ranked rushing offense to 96 yards, which is 66 yards below its season average.

Earlier this season, the Ravens took a 10-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. And the offense failed to produce a first down in the first half of a 25-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

"I'm going to take the gray out: At some point, we have to step up all the way across the board, not just on defense because everybody knows you have to score to win," Thomas said. "We can stop Brett Favre all day, but if we don't score, we don't win.

"The defense playing well is always the key. If we don't play well, we don't win, period. If the defense doesn't play well, probably 99.9 percent we're not going to win."

Ranked second-to-last in scoring with 13.2 points per game and only having surpassed 20 points once, the Ravens have been outscored 253 to 171.

The Ravens' offense ranks 26th overall, producing only 278.8 yards per game. The defense is allowing just 290.2 yards per game.

"Sometimes, you feel like you let the defense down," running back Jamal Lewis admitted. "We've got to get better."

Thomas wasn't necessarily deriding the offense. He was merely stating the obvious about the division between a viable defense and a moribund offense with a slumbering running game and an anemic passing game quarterbacked by Kyle Boller, the second-lowest rated starter in the NFL.

"When you hold teams to 10 and 12 points, you should come out with a win," said Thomas, who leads the Ravens with six sacks. "It can't just be the defense that's frustrated. The offense should be frustrated, too. We should be frustrated as a team, as an organization.

"Us giving up 12 points and losing, we shouldn't be more frustrated than the offense is. It's not like they're going out there and trying to lose the game. You got to think they're just as frustrated as we are and we just hope it doesn't continue to happen."

The Packers (3-10) are having a sub-par season illustrated by their record, season-ending injuries to running back Ahman Green and wide receiver Javon Walker plus Favre having thrown 22 interceptions to go with his 19 touchdown passes.

However, it could be argued that the Ravens' underachieving season is even more disappointing considering they entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations and feature 15 former Pro Bowl selections.

With the offense clearly not doing its part, it's been a familiar losing storyline more often than not for the AFC North's last-place team.

"It's the Packers against the Ravens. When everyone starts to see it that way, we'll be better off as a team," middle linebacker Tommy Polley said. "Seems like we're going into the game thinking defense has got to win the game. If we go into a game thinking special teams can run back a punt or the offense can't score, then what are we going into the game for?

"It's got to be a team effort. We're already in the mindset that we're not going to do well in those areas. We can't go into the game with the defense saying, ‘We've got to shut them out.' Everybody has to do their job."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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