In end, Billick couldn't overcome offensive struggles

They didn't respect his knowledge of the game. Star players such as Reed and Lewis would occasionally turn their backs on him when he addressed the team. Lewis even called him out about play-calling during the season.

When younger players see that, they believe they can act the same way, too, which is why the Ravens are so undisciplined.

Billick's personality and message had gotten stale, and his lack of discipline contributed to the problems this season.

Before yesterday, the Ravens and Billick had agreed to bring in a new offensive coordinator for the 2008 season, but that would have been a Band-Aid.

It's hard to justify having two highly paid coordinators running your team. That would have been another indictment of Billick. What was Billick supposed to do? Go to the first 20 minutes of practice and then take a nap?

Billick was on his way to becoming a figurehead, a once-powerful coach who kept losing more control every year since 2005, when Bisciotti publicly reprimanded him.

Billick was working in reverse. Over extended periods of time, great coaches such as Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells gain more power and become general managers and presidents as well as coaches. But Billick's power base was eroding.

His time in Baltimore was well spent. He was what this franchise needed in 1999. Back then, the Ravens needed energy, direction and organization.

Billick was the perfect fit. He exuded confidence to the point of arrogance. He was tall, strong and emotional, the perfect public relations machine. He had a love for the game and a passion for power and money.

But through the years, the façade began breaking down and the magic faded away. And this season, more than ever, Billick had to prove himself as a difference-maker. Instead, he proved he was actually more smoke than substance when it came to the games on the field.

mike.preston@baltsun.com
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