Q&A with Mike Preston

Q AND A WITH...Mike Preston

Sun columnist discusses the Ravens' win over the Packers


Julie, Baltimore: OK, Mike, it's the beginning of the second half, and through one half, Boller looks pretty good. No turnovers, no stumbles, few incompletions, and 2 TDs. Green Bay's defense is supposed to be pretty good against the pass. Can you give Boller credit for playing well, or will you stoop to attributing it to Green Bay being a bad team? Come on, Mike, credit where credit is due.

Mike Preston: It's Christmas Julie, and I'm in the spirit of giving. A lot of people want fancy and expensive gifts, and all you want is praise for Kyle Boller. Oh, if I only had relatives like you. ... Boller was incredible. He was on fire. He performed like a combination of Joe Namath and John Unitas. He had the quick release and the rifle arm. It was his best game as a pro, and in the true spirit of Christmas, I'm willing to forgive all the mistakes he has made in the past three years. I'll take it even further. He showed great "character and toughness" rebounding from the Denver fiasco a week ago.

How's that Julie? You got your present early. And when you're under the mistletoe with Kyle and a cup of egg nog, give him my regards. One other thing, Merry Christmas.

Daniel, Baltimore: This game almost makes me angrier than seeing the Ravens lose. I know that this is not the Ravens that I know, or the ones that I have seen all year. My question is, do we have reason to believe that the Ravens are really this good? Maybe you were wrong about Kyle and Billick? Frustrating.

Mike Preston: Daniel, maybe I am wrong. That's always a possibility. I'm a sportswriter, not God. I'm basing my opinion and observations on what I have seen over the years.

But I do have a suggestion for you. I think you ought to go to the mirror, pour some cold water on your face and then slap yourself three times. Get a grip man. The Ravens have beaten Green Bay, New York Jets, Houston, Cleveland and rival Pittsburgh. This isn't murder's row. Green Bay players had no interest in playing this game, especially Brett Favre, who was a physical and mental a no-show. To answer your question, no the Ravens aren't that good. This was predictable. The Ravens win some games at the end of the season creating false hope, but inside The Castle they know they have a lot of work to do.

Matthew, Baltimore: Do you think this game will assure that Billick gets another shot next year? Merry (Oops) Happy Holidays.

Mike Preston: I have no idea. There have been rumors coming out of the training complex that he will be fired. There is speculation that he will return. There are rumors he will return but might have to fire some coaches. Maybe the Ravens bring him back because he has two years left on his contract worth about $4 million a season.

During the course of the year, I'm sure general manager Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti have discussed Billick's future several times. We all knew that if the Ravens made it to this point in the season they would win the final two or three games. Hopefully the Green Bay game, and the two to come, will not play a major factor in the decision because Minnesota and Cleveland aren't good teams. If you want to look at two games to judge this season and what happened, look at Detroit and Tennessee. Those games were played when the season was still meaningful, and should serve as the truer barometer. These games are meaningless.

Andrew, Westminster: Kyle Boller's visit to the mountaintop tonight against the Packers is the best thing that could have happened. Billick will be able to say "I told you so!" and "Kyle's sports psychologist did a great job!" and ride off into the sunset with a simle on his face. Everyone else who has an objective view of the sitiuation will see the Packers are really bad on defense, and the Ravens still need to be totally rebuilt.

Kyle Boller is a world-beater! Wherever BIllick goes, he can make a great sales pitch to bring Boller along. It's a wonderful day! How many core players do you see put into the lifeboat as Ozzie and Co. scuttle the ship?

Mike Preston: Excuse me, Andrew. Julie wants a "Kyle Day" so I'm giving her one. I've got your back Julie.

Now, the Ravens have already started the rebuilding process, even though it's a little late. They've already gotten rid of the right offensive tackle, and they need a right guard and center. They'll bring in a new quarterback (sorry Julie, but we're keeping it real) and possibly a new starting running back.

On the defensive side, they need a stud defensive tackle, an inside linebacker, a safety and some young defensive backs. You might see as many as eight new starters next season.

The real problem will come on offense again. It's easier to build on defense than on offense. With so many possible new faces, there is going to be a longer transition period.

Bill, Stevensville: Yeah, the players have really quit on Billick, haven't they?

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