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Brian Billick emphasizes that since he is no longer the head coach of the Ravens, any observations he might have on the Ravens are from an outsider's point of view -- albeit from an outsider who has spent 20 years in the NFL.

But he was willing to comment on this year's version of the franchise he had a hand in shaping for nine seasons. Speaking at Della Rose's Tavern in Baltimore to announce a partnership with WNST (1570 AM), Billick pointed out that injuries (Kyle Boller's right shoulder) and illness (Troy Smith's tonsils) have played a more prominent role in determining rookie Joe Flacco's role as the starting quarterback against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

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"Obviously, there's not a lot of decisions to be made," Billick said. "I noticed that they signed one of my old quarterbacks, Todd Bouman. I tried to get Todd a few years ago, but I couldn't talk Ozzie into it. Todd's a good man and a good quarterback. [The setbacks to Boller and Smith have] kind of made the decision for them, which kind of makes it easier. I like what I see in Joe Flacco, but obviously there's going to be a growth spurt."

With his work on FOX and his new project on WNST, Billick said he hasn't made it a point to study the Ravens' preseason struggles.

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"Quite frankly, I've been absorbing other things and probably on purpose," he said. "But I talk with [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] once a week and [team spokesman] Kevin Byrne. We tend not to go there. We talk about a few things. So I've been aware of it on the peripheral, but it's kind of standard operating procedure in the NFL. You deal with injuries, you deal with transition. Anytime you start a rookie quarterback, now you'll remember we went 10-6 when we started our rookie quarterback. That doesn't necessarily dictate that it's going to be one way or the other, but it is a challenge."

But Billick said he won't be reluctant to offer his commentary on what's wrong and what's right with the Ravens.

"I'm not going to criticize anybody just to criticize," he said. "I'm certainly going to comment, I'm going to critique, and I'm going to give my opinion. Sometimes that will be well-received and sometimes that won't. It's an opinion. That's all it really is."

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