The Ravens reported that backup quarterback Trent Dilfer underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday, but that doesn't mean the team won't be hurting.
The Ravens have decided to move rookie Chris Redman up to backup and not sign another quarterback for the two games Dilfer could miss. The team would rather risk going with two healthy quarterbacks for the short term than cutting anyone off its 53-man roster.
"Now, we're vulnerable," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "There's no question about it. But I think we'll kind of roll that dice right now and see where we're at."
Dilfer, a seven-year veteran, was listed as the Ravens backup Sunday night, only two days after tearing ligaments in his left knee at the end of practice. But once the team's plane landed here yesterday morning, Dilfer was taken to Kernan Hospital, where team physician Dr. Claude Moorman repaired his knee.
Billick speculated that Dilfer still could be the third quarterback Sunday. If Dilfer is out, the other options would include: searching for an emergency quarterback from their roster, going to a wing-T formation or having direct snaps to their running backs.
"The surgery went very, very well," Billick said. "I don't know exactly how we'll list him for the weekend. We'll have to wait and see how that comes along. They're optimistic that he could return ready to go in two weeks for Cleveland. But again, we'll see how it comes along."
Conditions to kick about
Matt Stover couldn't catch a break, much less his balance Sunday night. The 11-year veteran called the soggy infield on the one end of Miami's Pro Player Stadium the worst half of a field he's ever kicked on.
On the blocked 30-yard field-goal attempt that ended his NFL-leading consecutive streak at 22, Stover slipped on the "soupy" dirt and hit the ball with his ankle, not his toe. He then curled a kickoff out of bounds in the fourth quarter because of the treacherous footing.
"That was the difference," Stover said. "It affected me greatly. But I'm not making excuses. I'm good enough to still make those kicks."
Carrying key to victory
The Dolphins grinded out the victory by running the ball 34 times, becoming the first Ravens opponent to produce 30-plus carries in nearly a year.
But it's a winning formula. Since 1998, 18 of the 19 teams to break the 30-carry mark against the Ravens have won, including the last 13.
"The bottom line is that they were ready and we weren't," defensive end Rob Burnett said. "I think we were initially surprised that they decided to run it right at us. But once we realized that, we weren't able to do anything about it to stop them. We didn't play up to our potential."
R. Lewis, Tagliabue to meet
Middle linebacker Ray Lewis reportedly will have a conference call with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue today, discussing the $250,000 fine imposed on Lewis by the league on Aug. 17.
The league fined Lewis for obstructing a police investigation of a double murder after the Super Bowl last January. It is believed to be the largest fine ever levied by the NFL against a player other than in cases of substance abuse.
Waiting on Ismail
The status of receiver Qadry Ismail will be evaluated tomorrow, according to Billick. Ismail missed his first game as a Raven on Sunday, when he was inactive after spraining a knee ligament the previous week.
"We can wait and see how he's doing on Wednesday," Billick said. "He seems to be progressing very well. We're fairly optimistic for him on Wednesday. But we'll make that classification then."
The Ravens wide receivers didn't have a catch in the first half Sunday and finished with four receptions for 33 yards.
The Ravens fell to 1-4 on national television and have lost by an average margin of 20 1/2 points. It's a trend that the team is not proud to have continued.
"If you put your best foot forward, and you've played well and you get beat, maybe there's some honor in that," Billick said. "But when you played the way we played, there can't be a man out there that isn't embarrassed by the performance that we had on a national forum."
Of the season-high six sacks given up by the Ravens, Billick said only two of them should be blamed on the offensive line. ... James Trapp was credited with an interception and a fumble in the second quarter, when he coughed up the ball after being hit by Thurman Thomas. It was thought that Burnett, who caught the fumble before it hit the ground, was given the interception. ... Defensive tackle Sam Adams will speak at Baltimore's Booker T. Washington Middle School today as part of Junior Achievement, a program focused on motivating children. ... Mount St. Joseph's Mike Working was named the Ravens' high school coach of the week. ... Randallstown High quarterback Tyrell Brown was selected to compete in the Ravens/Toyota Quarterback Challenge at halftime Sunday. ... Tight end Shannon Sharpe will announce today the plans for his Gridiron Halloween Party, a fund-raiser for Goodwill.