Q&A with Mike Preston

Q and A with ...Mike Preston

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


September 21, 2005|By Baltimoresun.com Staff

Bill, Salisbury: Will the Ravens win a game this year? I mean, seriously - will they win a game? The O-line is bad, the QBs are worse, and Jamal Lewis can't get out of his own way.

Mike Preston: Bill, I'm sure the Ravens will win a game, maybe two, maybe more. You sound so pessimistic, so jaded, so cynical. You ought to write a football column for The Sun. Actually, I confess, Bill is my double. Love him to death. But don't be unfaithful. According to head coach Brian Billick, there is "sheer love" working out of an 0-2 hole, so I say hallelujah, raise the roof and pass the plate. 1-15 will bring ecstasy. 0-16 will put you in heaven.

Sometimes Brian says the craziest stuff. It might be time for some new speech writers. Anyway, I'm going out right now and tear a knee ligament because I want to experience the sheer love of rehabilitation and coming back.

Can I get an Amen?

Jim, Towson: OK Mike, when will Brian Billick start admitting that we have serious problems? Of course he isn't going to come out and say it, but there are some big concerns with this team. At this point the play on the field is disturbing and the denial from the coaching staff is even more disturbing.

Mike Preston: The coaching staff isn't in denial, they're in mourning. The only thing Billick can do now is not panic which would indicate desperation. He needs to start working some of those young linemen like OT Adam Terry and C/G Jason Brown into the lineup if the line continues to struggle, and buy receiver Clarence Moore a one way ticket to the bench. He'll have to modify his offense with more sprint and roll outs so his quarterback doesn't get killed, and come up with some trick plays because this team can't sustain drives. The Ravens will eventually need to rebuild their offensive line, and still need to find a quarterback and nickel back of the future.

Other than that Jim, and running back Jamal Lewis and safety Ed Reed sulking because they haven't received contract extensions, there aren't many problems.

Problems? What problems?

Joe, Annapolis: How can so many "experts" pick the Ravens to be good this year and yet they still stink? Easy, because Brian Billick can't prepare a team loaded with talent, and can't prepare a sound game plan to save his life. I hate to say it, but the Ravens' Super Bowl win was a fluke. The planets were aligned just right and a defense like that won't come around too often. How long until Steve Bisciotti gives this guy the boot? Talent is there. Preparation and game plan are not. That is coaching, or lack of it in this case. Time to bring some respect back to Baltimore football. and Camp Cream Puff isn't gonna get us there.

Mike Preston: Now Joe, is that any way to treat the head coach?

Seriously, regardless of his style or demeanor, you've got to give Billick ample time, and the benefit of the doubt. He has won a lot of games here in Baltimore, including a Super Bowl, and he deserves time to fix any current problems. If this team continues to play like this at the end of the season, it's time to make changes.

David, Franklin, Pa.: I've just about seen enough. What gives with this offense? How can it possibly be this bad with the players they have? Is it time to try other guys on the line? It seems to me that they just aren't opening holes for the running game at all, and their pass-blocking defeciencies are well known. This looks like it could be a long season already.

Mike Preston: No argument here. A day after training camp opened, I wrote that offensive and defensive line play would be the key to the season. During the draft in April, I suggested the Ravens take an offensive tackle in the first round. This unit never could pass block, but now they can't run block either. They've gotten old at once. People believe that you win Super Bowls with flashy quarterbacks, receivers, linebackers and cornerbacks, but you win games by dominating line play. There is nothing more demoralizing in sports than to have a team conduct a 14-play, smash-mouth drive, and you can't do anything about it. The Ravens went out this season and got flash - Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, but they didn't get substance. The big guys win the games, not the pretty boys.

Eric, Harrisburg, Pa.: The Ravens offense is obviously in disarray. What changes can they make to the offensive line so they can salavage this season before it is a complete waste? Also, I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait for Kyle Boller to come back. This pathetic showing by the offense has made me realize it is not Boller's fault for the poor play recently, but the entire offense is to blame.

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