Published: Saturday, November 17, 2007
Browns fans don't hold Ravens in high esteem
Baltimore will start Kyle Boller on Sunday.
BEREA Browns vs. Ravens used to be where everybody went to renew their hatred for Art Modell.
With Modell four seasons removed from cashing out of the franchise he took from Cleveland in 1996, though, the rivalry has developed other targets worthy of reviling.
Ray Lewis' chicken dance coming out of the Baltimore tunnel tends to make Ohioans wish for a cup of Pepto Bismol. He's been doing it since the team arrived in Baltimore.
The antics seem harmless now that the Ravens are 4-5, on a three-game losing streak, and on a nine-game "where's-the-offense?" streak. He has 183 career tackles against the expansion-variety Browns.
If you wonder what it would have been like cheering for Lewis had the Browns never left, similar curiosity applies to Brian Billick.
During his good years as the Ravens' head coach, Billick ran to taste. Now he's stuck in a sour year, with his reputation for arrogance, bluster and verbosity not playing well.
"If bull[bleep] was electricity," a former Browns higher-up said this week, "he'd be a powerhouse."
Try to think of Cleveland sports leaders, regardless of sport, who have seemed as full of themselves as Billick. One brainstorm: John Hart ... Mike Fratello ... Butch Davis.
The act played better for Billick when he won, and he used to, a lot. His record in eight-plus years is 84-61. He's no Blanton Collier (79-38-2 in eight old-Browns seasons), but his number is way better than Bill Belichick's 37-45 during another Cleveland run.
The bad news for Billick: Over the last six years, he has one more playoff win than Cleveland's big fat zero.
Zero doubles as the number of quarterbacks who have worked out since the franchise skipped C-Town. Yes, Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl. Ty Detmer could have won two Super Bowls with that defense.
The Ravens will start Kyle Boller when the Browns' defense takes the field Sunday. He was drafted a few years too early, at No. 19 in 2003, to be the subject of the Arby's advertising campaign.
What was Phil Savage thinking when he passed on nose tackle Haloti Ngata in last year's draft?
The Ravens have been awful on offense, but they still play the "D," with Ngata breaking through on one of the best lines in the league.
Kamerion Wimbley, the defender Savage preferred, is having a quiet year.
Ngata seemed like a very nice man at the NFL Combine. If Ngata doesn't cooperate Sunday and helps keep Cleveland from going to 6-4, well, Browns fans could learn to hate him, too.
Browns nose tackle Shaun Smith missed practice Friday with an unspecified knee injury and is listed as questionable for Cleveland's game on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith was injured during practice Thursday, the team said.
The Browns' defensive front seven is already banged up as linebackers D'Qwell Jackson (ankle), Willie McGinest (hamstring) and Atwan Peek (knee) were limited in their workouts this week.
Also, fullback Lawrence Vickers didn't practice Friday because he was forced to visit the dentist.
Jackson has missed the past two games with his ankle sprain and was also listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. He was limited in the Browns' final practice before heading to Baltimore.