-- Baltimore Ravens Coach Brian Billick was asked earlier in the week if getting into the end zone was a priority during preseason games. The coach stared at the questioner and deadpanned, "No . . . I tell Kyle [Boller, the quarterback], 'Look, if you have the opportunity I don't want you to throw in there.' "
Of course the coach was kidding. But at the same time, Baltimore's offense has struggled to score, something the Ravens (1-1) hope to change on Saturday night when they host the Detroit Lions (1-1).
Boller has directed the starting offense on 10 drives, and only two have resulted in points: a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox against Atlanta, and a 36-yard field goal by Matt Stover against Philadelphia. One drive ended in a missed 48-yard field goal attempt, and another stalled at the Eagles 20 when the Ravens were unable to pick up a yard on third and fourth down.
The running game has been solid; Jamal Lewis and backups Musa Smith and Chester Taylor have combined for 226 yards on 53 carries. But Boller is still working on improving his accuracy; he is completing 51.7 percent of his passes (15 for 29), virtually the same rate that he had last season (51.8 percent).
"I need to settle myself down sometimes, you know, be a little smoother," Boller said. "I think I'm probably the fastest dropper in all of the NFL. I don't need to be that fast. If I can slow that down and get into a rhythm, I think I'll be all right."
Boller and the rest of the starters will play about a half against the Lions. With only one more exhibition remaining -- and the starters not likely to play a great deal against the New York Giants on Sept. 2 -- the offense wants to start clicking soon.
"We want to look good," Billick said. "There are a lot of priorities in preseason. That's the tough thing. During the regular season, there is one priority: Win. Period. Here, there are a lot of different things you're doing. So we're going to do everything we can to get into the end zone. . . .
"I would much rather, from a coaching standpoint, have a 10-play drive with all the teaching that would entail, than a 90-yard bomb for a touchdown. Believe me, I'll take the 90-yard bomb for a touchdown, it feels awful good, but you only get so much teaching in that one play."
Ravens Notes: Lewis's lawyers entered a not guilty plea on charges in an expanded drug conspiracy indictment on Friday in Atlanta, according to the Associated Press. Lewis, who was not present at the arraignment, was already facing federal drug conspiracy charges issued in February; an additional charge of attempting to possess cocaine was added on Aug. 17. Lewis's trial is set to begin on Nov. 1. . . .
The Ravens will be without seven starters against Detroit: tight end Todd Heap (shoulder), wide receiver Travis Taylor (groin), center Mike Flynn (broken collarbone), defensive end Anthony Weaver (high ankle sprain), defensive tackle Marques Douglas (dislocated elbow), linebacker Peter Boulware (knee) and cornerback Chris McAlister (contract dispute). Rookie defensive end Dwan Edwards, the Ravens' top pick in the 2004 draft (51st overall), likely will make his first start, in place of Weaver.