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Banks Will Deal With Backup Role

January 28, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD | From Staff Reports

TAMPA, Fla. — The Baltimore Ravens used to be Tony Banks' team.

No more.

Four games into the Ravens' five-game touchdown drought in October, Banks was benched for Trent Dilfer.

'I could be better, but it's cool. Here I am in the Super Bowl," Banks said. "I can't complain."

Banks was the starter until he threw three third-quarter interceptions in a 14-6 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 22.

Dilfer took over, and Coach Brian Billick retooled the Ravens into a run-oriented team that relied on running back Jamal Lewis and the occasional big play from tight end Shannon Sharpe.

Soon after, the Ravens took flight.

"We didn't have this identity when I was in there," Banks said. "We weren't just a running team that lived off defense and hoped for a couple of big plays. We were kind of a wide-open team. We were trying to do it all.

"Now Coach Billick has been able to establish an identity. We didn't really have one before. Now we're living off that great defense and trying to make plays and Trent's doing a great job working within that scheme."

Banks has to be ready today in case Dilfer is injured or plays poorly.

"I've been in a few situations where it's been difficult to keep your head in it," Banks said. "But I'm five years into this. There are some things a quarterback's got to go through. This is another one of those times I've got to be able to be strong and stay mentally into the game."


Should Kerry Collins get hurt, the New York Giants also have an experienced backup, Jason Garrett.

Garrett has started nine games in his eight-year NFL career, all with the Dallas Cowboys.


One of the few Ravens who hasn't talked trash in the days leading up to the game is cornerback Chris McAlister--a bit of a surprise since Billick and owner Art Modell basically told him to shut up and play earlier this season.

"If it wasn't such a big game like it is, I would probably be mouthing off," said McAlister, who played at Pasadena High, Mt. San Antonio College and Arizona and is the son of former UCLA running back James McAlister.

"I don't want to attract the spotlight. Then I'd have the other team gunning for me. If I play well, I'll get noticed. If I don't, I'll get noticed for not playing well."


Injury Report

The updated NFL injury report for today's Super Bowl as provided by the league:

NEW YORK GIANTS (14-4) VS. BALTIMORE (15-4)--New York: PROBABLE: CB Reggie Stephens (foot); FB Greg Comella (buttocks); WR Amani Toomer (ankle-knee); S Shaun Williams (hamstring). Baltimore: PROBABLE: LB Peter Boulware (shoulder); LB Cornell Brown (thigh); WR Billy Davis (knee); S Kim Herring (ankle).

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