Rumblings from Raven Nation

From the purple heart of Baltimore, a simulated Super Bowl Sunday lament.

Observations

February 03, 2002|By Barry Levinson | Barry Levinson,Special to the Sun

Overheard at the diner: Joe: If his name wasn't Elvis, he never would have gotten the attention, ever. His name was special, not his ability, that's all I'm saying.

Don: That's why? Get outta here.

Joe: The Elvis name separated him from the crowd, made people pay attention to him. As a quarterback, he was never that good. Never will be.

Don: You think a guy like Billick is going to buy into that? Like, he doesn't know any better?

Joe: All I'm saying is, Bill Walsh, who is a brilliant judge of quarterbacks -- Montana, Young, both hall of famers -- he had Elvis, dumped him, now they have Garcia. Case closed.

Don: Give Billick some slack. He won a Super Bowl -- Super Bowl, you hear me?

Joe: And that, my friend, sewed the seeds for disaster. He's too enamored -- enamored is a word I like ...

Don: Yes, you do.

Joe: ... enamored with himself. He's going to stand by Elvis and go down with the ship. Case closed.

Don: Get outta here.

Joe: It happens. He's in a defensive mode -- defending Billick is his game plan now.

Don: You don't think he sees the big picture? The man is a genius -- genius, you hear me?

Joe: He's the Mike Hargrove of football.

Don: What? Have you lost your mind?

Joe: The Orioles are not a good team, granted, but Hargrove kept playing Brady Anderson -- played him to his last at-bat -- when he happened to strike out in front of Ripken. If he doesn't strike out, Ripken goes to the plate for his last appearance in a major league uniform with the bases loaded. It doesn't get any better than that. Instead, Anderson strikes out. All he had to do was take the pitch. No umpire would have called him out. Not in this situation.

Don: So, these things happen.

Joe: The season was over in August, the team has no chance for a pennant run, try the new guys, see what talent you have. Instead he plays Anderson, who hits two hundred and he is too old, but he sticks with Brady Anderson. Don't get me started on the O's right now. I'm still sick over the Ravens.

Don: What does Hargrove have to do with Billick?

Joe: I got sidetracked.

Don: Billick said whoever would have been quarterbacking wouldn't have made a difference against Pittsburgh.

Joe: Sure. He believes that -- he has to, but ... but ... go with me here ... everyone knows Grbac throws way too many interceptions. The team's nervous about him. Especially with a big game on the line. Second play of the game -- interception. You don't think that's a punch in the gut for the other guys?

Don: That's hard, yeah. But the defense made mistakes too.

Joe: Yeah, because the defense was on the field the whole game ... they were exhausted.

Don: So, this all Grbac's fault?

Joe: No, you're missing the point. It's Billick's fault, and he's gonna stick with Elvis until the ship sinks.

Don: You're over-reacting. You always over-react.

Joe: Let me put the final knock on this guy. He was never an offensive guru. He got lucky in Minnesota with Randy Moss, Culpepper, Carter and a younger Terry Allen. Billick didn't even realize that Jamal Lewis was that good until halfway into last season.

Don: We had Priest Holmes ...

Joe: We should have been using both of those guys more effectively, and mind you, they never should have let Priest Holmes go.

Don: Hindsight.

Joe: ... and you ever heard of a quarterback who can't take the snap from the shotgun? Elvis can't. We pay this guy six million dollars a year and he's not comfortable in the shotgun? Plus, he tips the count, letting the defense know when he's going to snap. Six million dollars! He can't stop doing that?

Don: OK, I'll give you that one. That cost them.

Joe: I'll tell you one more thing: Billick doesn't know quarterback talent.

Don: You're off the deep end now.

Joe: He liked Scott Mitchell -- that was gonna be his guy. A dud. He wanted Brad Johnson, we didn't get him -- he goes down to Tampa, he shows me nothing.

Don: You always overstate the case and you never give credit where credit is due.

Joe: I'm a fan. I love this team. I love the Ravens, but I see the seeds of disaster.

Don: Seeds of disaster? You're a fair weather fan. Period.

Joe: I'm telling you, Billick and Elvis ... seeds for disaster.

Filmmaker Barry Levinson is a Baltimore native and a Ravens season ticketholder.

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