Q&A with Mike Preston



Sun columnist answers questions about the Ravens' win over the Steelers

Johnny, Beverly Hills, Calif.: Hey Mike, what gives with the Ravens? They can't win for winning. The only thing this loss does is give false hope and Billick another escape act. C'mon, don't you think the Ravens with their anemic offense would have been thumped if the Steelers had a quarterback other than Maddox? I mean really, 16 points? Next we are going to hear them say that Boller is starting to show signs. Maybe they should come live here in beverly hills, where dreams do come true.

Mike Preston: This is a big win in Baltimore sports history. Didn't you see the Ravens carrying Matt Stover off the field on their shoulders? The Ravens actually scored a touchdown. Banks and schools are closed. It's a national holiday. They just gave Billick the key to the city. Wait a minute. The Ravens motorcade just passed outside my door. If you drink from the purple fountain, then you found great pleasure watching the Ravens SHUT DOWN the Tommy Maddox-led offense. If you have a clue, you just say 'Whoopee' and thank the football gods that Big Ben didn't play or the Ravens would be 2-8.

Mike D., Lutherville: Keep writing your usual columns, Mike. We've beaten the Browns (Dilfer), Jets (Bollinger) and Steelers with 'Terrible Tommy.' My question is, how is Billick going to spin the Jamal Lewis/Chester Taylor situation because you and I both know Billick will never start our boy Chester.

Mike Preston: Oh ye of little faith? Come on Mike, after watching Maddox play, you didn't get the impression that he was Terry Bradshaw or Jefferson Street Joe Gilliam. One time in the first half Hines Ward was open for about 10 minutes, and by the time Maddox got the ball there, they were giving out the two-minute warning for the end of the game. The Ravens are giant killers. Dilfer, Bollinger, Maddox. You can go back to last season. Eli Manning and Carson Palmer when they were babes.

As for Taylor versus Lewis, you know where I stand, and you know Billick is going to stand in the opposite corner. So, we're continuing with 'Jamal Lewis Must Start' fan club. That's right, keep Lewis in the game. I think fans should write the Ravens letters in support of Lewis. If Taylor gains 100 yards next week, and Lewis gains only 10, then keep supporting Lewis. Because as we all know, media and fans don't know what they're talking about. We never played in the NFL. We never wore orange jump suits. We don't know about passion and emotion. We don't know about schematics or profiles. We don't know jack.

Bill, Salisbury: So, any chance of the Ravens franchising Jamal Lewis and signing Chester Taylor to a deal? I suppose the whole works is complicated by the fact they may still end up in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes when they finish with 3 wins or so.

Mike Preston: Bill, let's take a moment of silence this morning in honor of Jamal Lewis. Remove your cap. Bow your head. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. Okay. Enough.

After the Pittsburgh game, Lewis was disappointed and mad. He doesn't think he'll be around next season, and most likely he is right. The relationship is beyond repair, unless of course, the Ravens ante up a big contract. I don't think that's going to happen. Lewis is unhappy with general manager Ozzie Newsome and Billick, and they may never be forgiven. For both parties, it appears it's time to move on.

David, Grasonville: Hey Mike, I think its ridiculous that all these so-called 'die-hard' Ravens fans are selling their tickets and claiming they'll never watch a Ravens game again. Whatever happened to sticking with your team through thick and thin? Do you consider a majority of the fans in Baltimore fair-weather fans?

Mike Preston: A lot of the true die-hard fans don't attend Ravens games because they couldn't afford the PSLs. The average blue-collar worker can't afford to shell out that kind of money. The Ravens got what they paid for. It's like Oriole Park. Some of the Ravens fans are part of the cell phone crowd. They are there because it's the in place to be, not because they have a passion for the game. Even though real fans don't always show up, they're still monitoring the team in some capacity at home on the TV.

Now, with that said, I understand those who don't show up because the games aren't entertaining. The Ravens don't score points. Their games are dreadful and boring. I love football. I have a passion for the game, but I wouldn't pay money to watch the Ravens' offense. Hell, I get paid to watch the Ravens play and still struggle with their games. Overall, Ravens fans are no different than in other cities where they have to pay PSL fees. The days of the old, loyal crowds like the ones formerly in Baltimore and the Dawg Pound in Cleveland, have been replaced by the Yuppie folks who can afford the PSLs and ticket prices.

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