This morning I was asked to fill in for Bob Haynie and expected to take the usual post Ravens game calls related to the ineptitude of the offense, Billick’s status as head coach and whether or not Troy Smith can be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL.
I was verbally abused by both a caller (thanks Fergie) and Ray Bachman for trying to point out that injuries can’t begin to tell the whole story of why the Ravens were a train wreck this season. I believed Jay Glazer’s report last night that problems between the players and Billick had been brought to owner Steve Bisciotti’s attention. I’ve been saying for weeks that wholesale changes were imminent and, in professional sports, those changes ALWAYS begin with the head coach. Some questions to ponder-
Will the Ravens be better with a new head coach and new staff?
Will the next "administration" handle adversity (ie- injuries) better than Billick and Co. did?
Is there a guy out there who can come in, evaluate the talent on the roster and figure out who stays and who goes in in an effective enough way that regaining playoff form is a realistic ’08 goal?
Billick is gone because his team failed to live up to expectations. He was fired because a team that, given the plethora of injuries, should’ve ended the season 7-9 or 8-8 but, instead, finished 5-11 and LOST TO THE MIAMI DOLPHINS! Is it all Billick’s fault? Of course not. Billick has had a pretty successful run as head coach. After all, he notched a Super Bowl victory in only his second season with the team. He has a career head coaching record well over .500. He’s a bright guy who will certainly land with another team.
However, he managed exactly ONE playoff victory since that Super Bowl year. He was the leader of a team of players who seemed unable to deal with adversity. Over the last few years, there’s been as much talent on the Ravens, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL, as almost any team in football yet every time there was a hint of trouble the team seemed to tank it. It just wasn’t feasible to keep him in Baltimore any longer. I don’t believe this is an example of the lunatics running the asylum. I don’t believe Billick is gone because the players wanted him gone or refused to play for him. Billick is gone because 2000 was a long time ago and today’s NFL has changed. So has the personnel. The Ravens need a fresh start. I said today on the air that wholesale changes were necessary and at 1:40pm or so those changes began.
Let’s avoid conspiracy theories. Let’s not concern ourselves with the "who", "what" and "why". Billick is gone. And you should be glad he is.
Well, unitl the next guy goes 4-12.