It's coaching. If it happened a few times a year, you might say the receiver is cheating on the route, and that can happen. But it happens so much, you have to point your finger at coaching. But maybe help is on the way. They did run a double screen. It didn't work, but at least they tried it. I suggest the Ravens blow up the first down markers, make them 20 feet tall and paint them bright orange. Maybe then, the receivers will know to work to the marker or two yards beyond, and then come back for the ball.
Dave, Upperco: The Ravens continue to be plagued with penalties. What gives? Is the only solution to can Brian Billick at the end of the season?
I'll agree that penalties are a sign of lack of discipline. It's something to keep an eye on. But let's look beyond that. A lot of these aren't offsides, illegal shifts, or too many men on the field penalties. Most of these are holding on both sides of the ball. Defensive tackles are getting caught for holding because they're trying hard to keep offensive linemen off Ray Lewis. Offensive linemen are holding because they're getting beat physically. There is no other reason to hold. O-linemen hold because your opponents either has better leverage, is quicker or physically stronger. I think the Ravens should make the offensive linemen play with their hands tied behind their backs.
Now, for Billick, let's get this straight for the record one more time. Unless the Ravens play several more games like the lackluster effort in Tennessee or act like fools like they did in Detroit, Billick should remain the head coach and be allowed to work this team out of the funk. Regardless of any arguments against him, he has won a lot of games in Baltimore, and the Ravens OWE him that opportunity.
Rob, Baltimore: In your opinion, how is Rex Ryan doing as a first-year defensive coordinator?
Mike Preston: Ryan knows the game, and his players go hard for him. Sometimes, he makes it a little too complex with all the jumping around and movement along the line of scrimmage. Sometimes, I think they're confused which is why you see busted coverages. A good team might hit four or five big plays on the Ravens in a game. That's giving up way too much.
Bob, Phoenix, Az.: Mike. I really like your tell-it-as-you-see-it style, but how has that gone over with the players and the coaches?
Mike Preston: I'm still alive.
Despite criticism from some of my peers who have said no one talks to me, everybody hates me, blah, blah, blah...I get along with the players fairly well. They know that I'm going to write whatever I want without fear of them or the Ravens coaching staff or management. I still talk to a lot of players who have come and gone through Baltimore as well as coaches like Mike Shepherd, Pat Hill, Jim Schwartz, Kirk Ferentz, Donnie Henderson, Marvin Lewis, Earnest Byner, Ted Marchibroda and so on.
I'm not here to be a cheerleader, but to offer an opinion. If people don't like what I write, don't read it. I don't care. It's America. Turn it on or turn it off.