Q&A with Mike Preston

Q and A with ...Mike Preston

Sun columnist answers readers' questions about the Ravens' loss to the Colts

September 12, 2005|By Baltimoresun.com Staff

Paul, Ontario, Canada: Who's our leader, Mike? And don't tell me it's Billick, Ozzie, Boller, Ray, Steve or Jim. They don't have one and you know it. Print the truth. Yeah, it hurts, all right.

Mike Preston: Well, if it ain't Billick, Ozzie, Boller, Ray, Steve or Jim, maybe it's Manny, Moe or Jack, or Moe, Larry and Curley. How about Jesse Jackson? If the national media can make him my leader, which I despise, then maybe I can make him yours.

The Ravens certainly have enough leaders on defense with Ray, not to be confused with Sugar or Charles, as the main leader. The defense will be fine. The problem is that they haven't and still don't have a leader on offense. Tackle Jonathan Ogden is not that kind of guy, and Jamal Lewis is quiet. Receiver Derrick Mason could become one if he becomes productive on the field. The bottom line is that your quarterback has to become a leader, and neither Kyle Boller nor Anthony Wright command that kind of respect. The Ravens haven't had an offensive leader since Shannon Sharpe.

Markus, Abingdon: Why is Clarence Moore a starter and Randy Hymes sitting on the bench? Moore is scared to death of getting hit and Hymes has great hands. Does Hymes run the wrong routes or something?

Mike Preston: One game into the season, and I would have Clarence Moore either on the bench, or on the sideline wearing a baseball cap backwards with a clipboard. He dropped passes in the preseason and it continued Sunday night. When it comes to going over the middle, he isn't even in the same zip code. Forget about the middle, he can't catch on the sidelines, either. Randy Hymes didn't exactly set the world on fire in training camp. The Ravens drafted Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton with the first pick of the draft, so let's see the kid play. He has great hands, runs good routes, and can make yards after the catch. If not, then go to Randy Hymes. If not Hymes, bring back Justin Armour or Qadry Ismail. Shoot, Raymond Berry, if necessary. Just get someone who can hold onto the ball.

Alex, D.C.: With this terrible offense and confused defense do you see the Ravens in the Matt Leinart sweepstakes?

Mike Preston: Wow Alex, one game and you have the Ravens in the tank already. Despite how horrific, terrible, abysmal, inept, sorry, nasty and downright pathetic the offense was last night, the Ravens defense will be good enough to win a lot of games. If by some chance, they get a shot at USC's Leinart, if I were the kid, I would tell the Ravens no. Hell no. I ain't coming. This is the graveyard for quarterbacks. The Ravens are similar to last season. They're good enough to beat most teams, but have to find some playmakers on offense, especially a quarterback, to compete with the great ones. A few good offensive linemen wouldn't hurt either.

Cliff, Kansas City, Mo.: As a native Baltimorean and a Ravens fan it was painful to watch too many mistakes, missed field goals, an inept QB and obviously a sub-par Jamal Lewis. Is there hope this year, or is this team overrated?

Mike Preston: Another cliff jumper here. Guys, what gives? You've got to still smell the roses, sip the purple Kool-Aid. It's one game. Take a deep breath and repeat after me: It's just one game. There's 15 left, and Tennessee is up next. If the Ravens lose that one, well... But it's a long season. The defense will only get better, and the offense can't get much worse.

The Ravens will be in playoff contention again, there is little doubt about that. What really scares me was the play-calling Sunday. The Ravens were down only 3-0 at the half, and they open the third quarter with the ball at their own 49. But of the first 13 offensive plays, Jamal Lewis touches the ball only one time, and that's after the Colts already have a 17-0 lead. This looks just like last season when Matt Cavanaugh was calling the plays. Billick and Jim Fassel need to learn that they can't win depending on the arms of Boller or Wright.

Down 3-0, they should have kept pounding the ball with Lewis or Chester Taylor keeping the ball out of the hands of Manning. Not the Ravens. They want to throw the ball. Stupid. Regardless, it's still a long season. Anything can happen. Maybe Wright steps up his game. Maybe Matt Stover gets his groove back. But if the Ravens re-sign quarterback Stoney Case this week, we all should meet at the top of the Bay Bridge. Jump!!!

Steve, Edgewood: Announcer Joe Theismann wondered aloud in the first half whether the Ravens would have enough stamina coming back in the second half. You had reported during preseason that the starters had not played sufficient time together. Is this a team that will take four games into the regular season to get in football shape? If so, are we being shortsighted and should we be more aware of the 16-game schedule?

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