Live BLOG from D.C.: It’s Billick and Baldinger together in my living room…

September 14, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

Obviously, my personal dateminder says I was supposed to be in Houston right now eating tacos, drinking margaritas and waiting for kickoff of Joe Flacco’s second NFL game.

Instead, I’m in Baltimore on my couch watching two of my best media pals — Brian Billick and Brian Baldinger — call an NFL game from 37 miles away. It’s Saints at Skins.

I’ll be on the couch today with a live blog while I watch the games.

I figure, “How often do I actually get to DO this…sit on the couch and watch football, drink beer, eat chili and grill up sausages with peppers and onions?”

I’m a blogger today…this blog will run here backtimed.

4:08 p.m. — Brees threw a pick. Campbell is taking a knee. The Redskins are 1-1. It’s Jim Zorn’s first win as a head coach. I’m onto peppers and onions and sausages. Plenty here to read (if you can get through it). But this is what I did today. It was a fun game to watch despite the ugly outcome.

3:56 – This game has been crazy. The Redskins have just driven twice (well the second one was a bomb from Campbell to Moss) to take the lead. And Detroit jump hijacked Green Bay in Detroit. The Skins fans are singing “Hail To The Redskins.” I can’t believe the Saints could suck this bad after taking the lead and fighting so hard.

Here comes Dree Brees…gonna be a good finish.

3:36 – With the Redskins down by nine points (as Baldinger suggested), Campbell just threw short on a 3rd and long and Billick instantly defended his position over the years.

“I used to get this one shoved down my throat but you can see that play was designed to go down the field. But the defense gets paid and watches film, too. There was nothing there and he had to drop it off short. Here come the boos.”

3:28 p.m. – Billick moves back to the feeling and ire of being an NFL head coach when players do stupid stuff. “I love passionate guys. I’ve always loved passionate guys. But you have to be smart passionate.”

Billick is incensed about Reggie Bush’s taunting penalty at the goal line upon returning a punt for a touchdown. Billick has gone back it to THREE times, even saying “I’m sorry” to Baldinger, who said “No you’re not” with a laugh.

Reggie Bush just got them seven points but also has put them in a position of kicking off from their own 15-yard line. The kickoff was fielded at the 18. The Redskins will start the fourth quarter at the 39-yard line.

I bet Billick isn’t done talking about it if the Redskins get points on this drive.

3:11 — Billick and Baldinger have both jumped on Jim Zorn here in the third quarter. The Skins have driven the field and scored a potentially game-tying touchdown.

Billick questioned it before the break and Baldinger piled on once the Skins’ Jason Campbell threw a pick on a two-point conversion attempt. Everyone in the both thought Zorn was making a mistake.

Baldinger: “Now if the Saints score a touchdown, you do down nine points and you need two scores.” It’s 17-15 Saints.

Billick has praised Drew Brees all day. Baldinger added a trivial note that I didn’t know. Brees actually beat Andy Roddick at tennis when he was a kid.

Billick has now started to talk about the Saints adding the “vertical component.”

Only one “have at it” so far and now we’ve gotten our first “vertical” reference.

2:59 p.m. – Billick just said: “I’m the poster boy for the argument” regarding getting seven points vs. getting three in the red zone.

The Redskins got burned at the end of the first half. After slapping the Saints all over Raljon in the first half, the Saints and Drew Brees moved the ball down the field with a little more than one minute remaining to kick a go-ahead field goal at the end of the first half to lead 10-9.

Billick was very wary of the Saints decision (mainly Sean Payton’s) that the team try to move the ball with only one timeout remaining. Billick almost conceded he would’ve sat on the ball.

After the field goal, Billick then said that when you have that kind of confidence in your quarterback, it’s something special. Billick had a few guys he might’ve trusted – Grbac, Cunningham and McNair, perhaps – but not as many as he would’ve liked. Or at least ONE he could’ve kept.

The Saints have just driven the length of the field and have taken a 17-9 lead in this one.

The Southwest Airlines ads are the best ones on television right now. As a very, very happy Southwest customer (they are the best business I do business with and have been for 15 years), I always get a laugh because I really do love flying Southwest.

I wish I would’ve flown Southwest to Houston yesterday. If the world were perfect, I’d be in the parking lot right now looking for Ravens fans to shoot for wnsTV.

But instead I’m frying up some Ostrowski Italian sausage right now. I don’t know if I’d buy Roma’s polish sausage but for some reason we do buy Ostrowski’s Italians? I think we should have a sausage cookoff one day to find the best ones.

But they all are made better by peppers and onions…and a good potato hoagie roll.

2:40 p.m. – If you look in my previous notes, you’ll see that Billick hypothetically referenced a player coming into his office and said “as screwed up as Hogan’s goat.” My wife and I both looked at each other and agreed: “We’ve never heard of that one before.”

Through the beauty of the internet it’s not easy to learn about these randomly trivial phrases. So, if something’s like “Hogan’s goat,” what the hell does that mean?

After one google search: here’s an easy answer.

Charles Earle Funk, in “Heavens to Betsy!,” Harper & Row, New York, 1955, has an entry for “Hogan’s goat” that says when one says something is “like Hogan’s goat,” it means it “stinks terrifically.” He says “Poor old Hogan is merely an innocent bystander in this modern Americanism. Just as with ‘Hogan’s brickyard,’ a slang designation of a baseball diamond, the goat could be the property of Jones, Smith, or Rockefeller…”

This is what makes WNST.net fun.

We all get to learn something, right?

2:30 p.m. – God do the Lions suck! I’m still trying to come to the grips with our fate as Ravens fans this year being disillusioned for another week about how good our team might be.

So instead of a potential 2-0 game against the Browns, the Browns might be 0-2 coming in to take on the undefeated, well-rested 1-0 Ravens. It also gives rest to Kelly Gregg, Ed Reed, Chris McAlister, Willis McGahee and anyone else with a purple jersey who has been injured lately.

The Steelers-Browns game will be very interesting this evening. The Browns usually pee a yellow streak the instant they see the color black so we’ll see how Derek Anderson fares tonight. These days of sitting around and watching games on TV are great. One day I’ll be old and won’t be chasing the Ravens anymore and I’ll be in a cabin somewhere in woods just watching football with a giant wall of TV’s with every game.

Strange interesting note of the week. Did you know that Mel Kiper watches all of his football on one HDTV set? I thought he’d have a dish with 58 monitors from 35 states. I always pictured a “NASA suite,” like Baldinger’s basement.

The Redskins have slapped the Saints around all day and are now losing, 7-6. The Redskins holder was sloppy and they just missed a field goal. Jim Zorn just threw some phantom tantrums. He was pissed and it was apparent.

Billick: “It’s frustration and that’s where Jim Zorn is gonna learn that your emotional tenor, so to speak, on the sidelines is something that the players are gonna pick up on. There’s a time to be upset and frustrated. There’s a time to be calm.”

2:01 p.m. – Tough decision in the red zone for Jim Zorn.

Go for it on 4th and a long 1 from the four yard line or “go for it”?

Billick’s take: “The head coach won the battle with the offensive coordinator. Take those points!”

Zorn is both the head coach and offensive coordinator, like Billick was the final two seasons of his tenure with the Ravens.

Billick took notice of the Redskins sending a blitz package on the 4th and 18.

“You’re feeling pretty good about yourself if you’re sending pressure on 4th and forever,” Billick said. Usually you just want to get off the field. The Saints punted on the next play and recovered to have the ball near the Skins’ 30 yard line.

“If you’re the Redskins and your defense hold them to a field goal here, you feel good about this,” Billick said.

1:47 p.m. — Stockton to Billick after a wild out of bounds hit by of Carlos Rodgers of the Redskins.
Stockton: “Coach, your team ever guilty of that kind of thing.”
Billick (laughing): “No, no. We never did that!”
Billick went immediately into coach speak to no one in particular: “Know where you are on the field!”
Sounds like he’s talking to Chris McAlister right now.

It looks like it’s hot as Hades in Raljon today. We honestly thought about going down to the game, just because we like going to games but the thought of sitting in the A/C with the refrigerator and remote a reach away was intoxicating.

Nice move by the Redskins today, forcing the Saints into their black uniforms on a 90-plus degree day. It’ll be a factor. I see cramping becoming a factor.

Shockey just caught a first down pass only to fumble in the flat. Billick caught some video of Payton coming over to give Shockey the “attaboy” speech and commented on how a coach reacts to these mistakes.

Baldinger then goaded Billick into a discussion of Clinton Portis’ comments this week, calling out members of the offensive line in the media.

Billick then retorted to Baldinger, asking him how an offensive lineman would feel if a running back said those things. Baldinger seemingly ended the conversation with his gripes.

But Billick came storming back.

“Not to belabor it, but as a coach, look if you want to come into my office and say, ‘I don’t like this, I don’t like that, you’re as messed up as Hogan’s goat, fine!’ That’s family, right? But why do you take it outside the family? What are you trying to do? And I’ve never understood that!”

Baldinger: “And if you’re Jim Zorn, a rookie coach, you don’t want a guy who is perceived as being your leader (Portis) doing that.”

One last note: Curt Menafee sent it back after a game break to the group and asked whether the new team would be referred to as “The Killer Bees” or “Double Bee Squared.”

Billick: “Give us a chance to trademark that.”

Baldinger: “Yeah, you’re the business man.”

Billick: “I gotta be now that I don’t have a job.”
Baldiner: “You still have some checks coming in from what I hear.”

Stockton: “You’re not broke.”

Billick nodded and laughed. “Not yet.”

1:38 p.m. – Who is Laura Okmin? She’s the fourth member of this team. Does Fox need FOUR people to call a football game?

Good day of football, I think. I never get the chance to sit on the couch and just watch games on Sunday because I’m always with the Ravens, so this is a super treat for me. And the chili is outstanding!

The Cincinnati-Tennessee game looks interesting to me, especially with all the drama around Vince Young.

The Raiders are talking about firing Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinator (and brother or Rex, son of Buddy) Rob Ryan is cussing a lot in press conferences. He called it the “NationalfXXXingfootballleague.”

That’ll be an all-timer amongst my friends. We’ll be referring to it as the NFFL from here to fore…

So far so good on the Billick-Baldinger.

Billick just said he expects Jeremy Shockey to get a lot of action with Marques Colston down for the Saints. Sounds like he chatted at length with Sean Payton before the game.

1:25 p.m. – Baldinger has the Redskins side of the ball. Billick has the Saints side of the ball. Stockton called it “different take” on calling an NFL game. Mainly, I think they’re trying to “reinvent” the three-man booth. Personally, I think those are two great, big personalities and I’d love to hear a more “Monday Night Football” approach.

So far, it’s been all football.

No good stories or tales “off the ball” yet. It’s all X’s and O’s.

Fair enough.

(P.S. I hate the Redskins. I really do…)

1:08 p.m. – This is interesting to me. Home instead of in Houston watching two guys who I’ve done hundreds of hours of radio with and a thousand hours of “real life” with.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this crew, led by Dick Stockton (a challenge onto itself based on seeing the preseason games the last decade), gels.

But the “Brians” know as much about football and life as any two people in my life. They’re both super guys but will they be a “super team.”

We’ll see…

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