MIKE PRESTON'S REPORT CARD

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Quarterback

C-

In a perfect world, Kyle Boller is the perfect quarterback. But under duress, he can't consistently make plays. He is inaccurate and often throws high and behind receivers. He had a chance for three touchdown passes yesterday and missed on all of them. Bottom line: Boller isn't consistent from week to week.

Offensive line

C-

The group had progressed in recent weeks, but that was against weak competition. Cleveland hid its blitzes much better than Minnesota and Green Bay, and the Ravens couldn't handle them. The right side of the offensive line was ineffective, and the Ravens didn't get much push except on the left side.

Running backs

B-

Jamal Lewis ran hard, but there weren't many holes. He finished with 89 yards on 20 carries, sometimes carrying four or five tacklers with him. Chester Taylor was ineffective as a runner but made some plays as a receiver out of the backfield. The backs' most glaring weakness was in pass protection.

Receivers

C

Neither wide-out Mark Clayton nor Derrick Mason was effective, except on short passes. With Boller not playing well, coach Brian Billick was content to stay with the short stuff. Tight end Todd Heap was effective short over the middle, but he has become a major liability in run blocking.

Defensive line

C

Tony Weaver kept getting penetration against right tackle Ryan Tucker to disrupt running plays, and fellow end Terrell Suggs beat up on Tucker in passing situations. The Browns could not run the ball up the middle against tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Kelly Gregg.

Linebackers

C

Bart Scott and Tommy Polley sealed off running plays up the middle. Adalius Thomas kept constant pressure on quarterback Charlie Frye, forcing him to scramble a few times up the middle. But because of the blitzes, the Ravens got caught a couple of times for big gains on passes over the middle.

Secondary

C

Cleveland's passing game was out of sync early, but the Browns went after the Ravens with short hitch passes on the outside and quick ones over the middle. The Browns weren't afraid to go after Deion Sanders, who was starting in place of cornerback Chris McAlister. It's time for Sanders to retire.

Special teams

F

Hopefully, Jamel White won't return any more kickoffs because he is indecisive and lacks explosion. A 54-yard kickoff return led to one Cleveland touchdown, and the Browns' Dennis Northcutt scored on a 62-yard punt return in the third quarter that provided the winning points.

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