Q&A with Mike Preston

Q AND A WITH...Mike Preston

Sun columnist answers questions about the Ravens' loss to the Jaguars



Michelle, Baltimore: Why didn't Chester Taylor play against the Jaguars?

Mike Preston: It's a secret. Huge. Maybe it's because Chester is a weapon of mass destruction. Billick said Monday that Taylor missed the week of practice for personal reasons, and he didn't feel comfortable putting him in on offense because he wasn't fully prepared. I understand that decision. What I don't understand is how he can't understand the offense. You read the playbook for five minutes, and that's enough. Anyway, it wouldn't have made a difference if Taylor had played.

Dean, Delaware: Why is it that Chester Taylor has been used less often since the fans and media started pushing for him to play more? Is it coaching ego getting in the way of what is best for the team? Isn't it time to give him a legitimate shot as the lead running back? Jamal Lewis had more carries (14) in the Jaquars game than Taylor has had in the past four games (13). Let's see what Taylor and Musa Smith can do the rest of the way and park Jamal Lewis on the bench.

Mike Preston: Dean, you answered your own question. I told people a couple of weeks ago that if fans and the media started campaigning for Jamal Lewis to remain the starter, Billick would have started Chester. No one can suggest or tell him what to do. It goes back to his reluctance to run the ball in 2000, and continued with his not playing Randall Cunningham over Elvis Grbac. Playing Taylor might make the coach look bad, especially now that the team is out of contention. I suggest you keep asking for Jamal, and you might get Chester. As for Musa Smith, I think he needs to be put in the mix with the other two. With seven games remaining, there is plenty of playing time for all three running backs.

Chris, Baltimore: Did the Ravens just take a step backwards by putting Boller back in? The virtually non-existant vertical game is now totally gone. Seems that Wright would at least move the team without the benefit of a running game. What are the chances of an open QB competition next year if they stick with Boller and Wright?

Mike Preston: If there is an open competition between Wright and Boller for the starting job next season, the Ravens are doomed. Do you hear me? Doomed. They're both serviceable, but no better than backups in the NFL. Wright has a stronger arm, and he does give the Ravens more of a vertical attack. But without a strong offensive line, neither player can get it done in Baltimore. The Ravens need to go out and find a legitimate, quality quarterback. They need to add some athletic, versatile offensive linemen and then junk the present offensive system. It's atrocious, poorly designed and ineffective. Boller vs Wright? Oh puh-leeze, no mas.

Mike, Charlestown: Do you think Kyle Boller would be any better if he were with any other team? How do you think Peyton Manning would do in the Ravens' terrible offense?

Mike Preston: Boller needs to play for a team where everything is already in place. He can't carry a team. He isn't a playmaker, but a caretaker (I learned to rhyme from Jesse Jackson). In Baltimore, where they're going to rebuild, they're going to need a player stronger than Boller and Wright at the quarterback position. Of course, the Ravens would be better with Peyton Manning. They would be better with Brett Favre or Tom Brady, but I'm not sure any of those guys could remain healthy playing behind this offensive line. Body armor is needed here. Playing quarterback in Baltimore is like smoking cigarettes: it can be hazardous to your health.

Dave, North East: While watching Sunday's offensive outburst against the Jags, I began to wonder: How does the Ravens sorry scoring output this season rank against the NFL's all-time most inept offenses? Also, how does the Ravens offense during Brian Billick's tenure stack up against the rest of the league during that same period?

Mike Preston: I'm not a big stat guy. Worse yet, I don't feel like looking the stuff up. Dave, you've watched this horrible offensive show over the years. It's third-and-10, and the Ravens run a 5-yard pattern. Wow. For the first three or four years in the Billick offense, the Ravens favorite pass plays were either ally-oops or fades. What creativity? Their two-minute offense is an embarrassment, and the Ravens quarterbacks have been some of the worst fumbling, bumbling, stumbling boobs in the league over the past seven years. They have Pro Bowl players at four key offensive positions, and they can't score a touchdown. Not one rotten, stinkin', freakin', blinkin' touchdown. You look up inept in the dictionary, and there is a picture of the Ravens offense next to it.

Sean, Columiba: So Mike, now that we've assured ourselves of a top-5 draft pick, what should we do with it and who should we get? We definitely need an O-line, but Reggie Bush would be too good to pass up if we were to trade up. What do you think?

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