Ravens Thoughts

September 14, 2007 | Ed Frankovic

So I see Mike Preston is bashing Brian Billick again saying Billick "doesn’t have a feel for calling the games." So what else is new??!! Did he forget the Ravens went 13-3 last year and overall are 75-54 in the regular season and 5-3 in the playoffs with Billick as coach? Who does Mike want to coach this team? I have no problem with being critical of a coach or a player about certain situations or overall if the guy isn’t getting things done. Mike does get paid to give his opinion and that is a part of the job for the media, but sometimes his attacks on Billick border on being personal and over the top. Besides it gets old after awhile, especially given Billick’s overall success here in Baltimore. Anytime the Ravens lose his first move is to criticize Billick and last time I checked he doesn’t run, block, pass, kick, or tackle. Was I critical of some of Billick’s calls the other night? Yes. But I didn’t blame the game on him and I pointed out many of the other things that went wrong and were more important (see the turnovers). Billick’s track record as coach speaks for itself. AS Billick likes to say "Coaches coach and players play." Sure he makes mistakes sometimes but what coach doesn’t? I’ll take Billick as our coach in Baltimore any time. On the other hand, if I’m Brian Billick, I’d much rather have Mike Preston taking shots at me than my players.

The Ravens and their fans got great news on Wednesday when it was determined that Ray Lewis’ injury is not season ending. There are several guys on this team the Ravens cannot win a Super Bowl without and Ray Lewis is definitely one of them (despite what Peter King or some of the national media say–we here know what he can do on a weekly basis and the influence he has on the field with this defense–just ask Rex Ryan). It was also good to see and hear Ray on the sidelines tonight at the Terps game. Seeing that Lewis smile reconfirmed to me that Ray is okay healthwise. (BTW, I thought Ray did a very nice job of analysis and providing insight while on the air with the ESPN guys–too bad MD lost though).

Another guy the Ravens cannot win the Super Bowl without is QB Steve McNair. Despite the fact that McNair had a bad game in Cinncy he is still the guy this team needs behind center when the chips are down. That is why I believe it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to get him healthy with this groin injury. I don’t know the extent of the injury but if I am Brian Billick I am sitting him the next 2 home games and having Kyle Boller start. Now I know you Boller bashers out there are going to go nuts but if you examine Kyle’s record as a starter you will see that it is 18-16, however, Kyle is 13-4 at home. So why not play Kyle this week vs. the Jets and the following week against Arizona, let McNair rest his groin, and then bring Steve back for the road games at Cleveland and San Fran when his veteran leadership is needed? Besides, one of McNair’s big strengths is his mobility and with a bad groin he just opens himself up to the possibility of more serious injuries. I expect to see #7 starting this week.

You can’t win the Super Bowl in September but you can certainly lose it and a chronically injured Ray Lewis or Steve McNair dooms the Ravens in December, January, and February. The team just needs to get wins now and not worry about style points.

Other than the injury situation and staying healthy, the most critical thing that needs to occur with this football team is for the offensive line to start playing well as a unit. With 4 young guys starting on the line and 2 others waiting in the wings this group has enormous potential. If the Ravens can get this line playing well than the sky is the limit for the offense. OL coach Chris Foerster just might have the most important job on the coaching staff right now. This is a group with tremendous upside.

Personnally, I look for a big Ravens win this week against the Jets. I know the Ravens fans will be cranked up and ready to support the team. If the Ravens protect the ball they should have no problem and I’d definitely like to see the turnover ratio go the other way this week. I also look for a big day from Willis McGahee. Enjoy the game.