Offense rushing to make extremely physical statement

The Baltimore Sun

Big plays on defense have become common in Baltimore since the 2000 Super Bowl season, but the Ravens finally have an offense that can complement it.

The Ravens aren't fancy and don't have players who constantly make big plays, but coordinator Cam Cameron gets every ounce of energy out of the offense.

The Ravens' frenetic offensive pace, which includes going no-huddle, wears down opposing teams and the Ravens get a little something out of all their players.

By the middle of the third quarter yesterday, the Ravens had sucked most of the life out of the Cleveland Browns. And they just kept bringing fresh players off the bench, alternating running backs Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain and Ray Rice.

And when they went to their jumbo package, they brought in fullback Lorenzo Neal and Pro Bowl offensive tackle Willie Anderson off the bench.

There were times when guards Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda, tackle Adam Terry and center Jason Brown were driving defensive linemen 7 to 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. And tackle Jared Gaither dominated the left side.

It was basic football, folks, where you smash-mouth a team into submission. It doesn't get any better than this.

Ways to success

There appear to be two major keys for the Ravens the remainder of the season.

One is the health of the secondary. The Ravens are only two games into the season and are banged up. Cornerback Samari Rolle got hurt twice yesterday, but he came back. Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed is clearly protecting his shoulder and neck while tackling, and the Ravens might not know until later in the week the availability of safety Dawan Landry, who suffered a spinal cord concussion yesterday.

It will be interesting to see how the secondary holds up when playing against a team that likes to run the ball.

Of course, the other key is the development of Joe Flacco. Rookie quarterbacks often have ups and downs, and yesterday wasn't a high moment for the first-round draft pick.

Big hits

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis pounded tight end Kellen Winslow on a short pass early in the third quarter, which led to an interception, but the most violent collision came later in the period, when Browns running back Jamal Lewis caught a short pass in the flat and Bart Scott launched into Lewis like a missile.

Both went down and jumped back up immediately.

"Ask Jamal. He knows who won," Scott said.

Not beating themselves

The Ravens are a well-coached football team. They had five penalties for 40 yards, but they rotated a lot of guys through the lineup, and there weren't a lot of breakdowns.

They went after Cleveland's young cornerbacks on the outside but never got away from running the ball.

Jim Leonhard replaced Yamon Figurs as the return specialist and played well.

The Ravens don't beat themselves. The Ravens had two turnovers in the first half and trailed 10-7 at the half. Last year, they would have quit. This year, they came out and trounced the Browns.

Edwards comes up short

The Browns need to make a statement to receiver Braylon Edwards. He short-armed two passes in the first half, and the one he refused to dive for on second-and-six from the Ravens' 19 late in the first half should have put him on the bench.

He'll get a lot of stares from his teammates when they watch the game film.

Foul on Walker, again

Another Ravens defensive back got called for a personal foul late in the first half. If you guessed it was on cornerback Frank Walker, then you win the prize.

Before this season is over, Walker might just play himself right out of a Ravens uniform and the NFL.

Make the switch

Browns quarterback Derek Anderson was so bad I was wondering when Cleveland general manager Phil Savage was going to call coach Romeo Crennel and demand Brady Quinn replace Anderson.

Savage should have told Crennel: "Either Anderson loses his job, or you lose yours."

Listen to Mike Preston every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Fox 1370 (AM) Sports.

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