Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Can Brunell, Jaguars measure Ravens, too?


They are a brash bunch, and they maintained their claim that they are the greatest defense in NFL history, even after Brett Favre embarrassed them in a 31-23 win two Sundays ago.

But what about now, after having lost in Cleveland?

Neither the Baltimore Ravens (3-3) nor their coach, Brian Billick, lack confidence. The defending Super Bowl champions, the roughest, toughest collection of football players in the world, have little respect for any team other than themselves. Witness this remark by Billick last week, as his team prepared to play the Cleveland Browns.

"Tim Couch is an excellent quarterback and he's going to have every opportunity to show if he can make those same kind of plays that a Brett Favre did," Billick said, then adding: "You're talking about a unique breed of cat (in Favre). Taking nothing away from Tim Couch, Mark Brunell and Kordell Stewart -- all of those guys we're going to play over the next little bit -- but they have a little ways to go before they push themselves into Brett Favre's level."

Wow! Those would seem to be unnecessarily sharp remarks by a coach whose team was about to face Couch, Brunell and Stewart on consecutive Sundays.

Hand it to the Ravens. They don't back down.

Nevertheless, they're going to have to prove themselves worthy of their self-acclaim, following a six-game start to their season that hasn't met their championship standards. Their critics are poised, waiting for more cracks in the armor to show themselves, and this Sunday's game in Baltimore against the Jaguars would seem to present an interesting observation opportunity.

Last year, in a week-two game in Baltimore, Brunell torched the Ravens for 386 yards and three touchdowns. Jimmy Smith beat cornerbacks Duane Starks and Chris McAlister for 15 catches, 291 yards and all three of Brunell's TD tosses.

"You ain't humbling this defense," defensive tackle Tony Siragusa said. "We went out and Brett Favre had a great game. We're going to be back.

"It's not a one-game season," Siragusa added. "We might even lose another one down the road. Who knows? But we're still going to get up the next day, get a little more teed off and come back at you and try to rip your throat out."

Wow! again. That's heady stuff from a team that had just allowed more points than it had in 23 games, and saw its defensive ranking tumble from the top spot in the league.

The Ravens began a six-game stretch of games against AFC Central Division opponents with a loss at Cleveland this past Sunday. Following this Sunday's game against the Jaguars, the Ravens will travel to Pittsburgh and Tennessee, host the Browns, then go to Jacksonville. It's a stretch of schedule that may determine the AFC Central title race, since all of the division's teams are locked in mortal combat over that period of time.

You would think a team not playing its best football would be more cautious in the way it talks, but that's not the Ravens' way.

"It's not about us stopping them. It's about them stopping us," middle linebacker Ray Lewis said of opposing offenses.

Then there's Starks, who was the weak link in the Ravens' defense until the second half of last season.

"I want to take my anger out on each remaining game, not just the next. We're going to get right back on top," Starks said.

Who else is capable of silencing this Baltimore bravado? Favre and the Packers and Couch and the Browns are the latest to do it. Mark Brunell and the Jaguars be capable of doing the same?

Lewis says no.

"There's something special about our defense. Every dog has its day and the Packers had their day. There won't be too many more," Lewis said.


This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content