Week 9: Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston

Baltimoresun.com staff

Steve: Mike, I see this team coming unglued after the Steelers debacle. Is there any chemistry left on this team, or are we about to see the unraveling of a once proud organization?

Mike Preston: Actually, I don't think chemistry is a problem at the time. There are a lot of proven veterans on this squad, and they've been through a lot. It will be interesting to see how the team rebounds Sunday against the Bengals. But if the offense continues to falter, we could see a mutiny by the fans and the players. Enough is enough.

Shawn: Given that he's coming off a 13-3 season and received a contract extension, is there a realistic chance that based on his performance, Brian Billick could be fired before next year?

Mike Preston: I can't answer that one. I've given up on trying to figure out guys over at The Castle. We've been through almost a decade of inept offense, but Ravens officials turned their heads in the past because the defense compensated for Billick's weaknesses. All we kept hearing was "a win is a win." Now, the defense can't bail the offense out anymore, and the weaknesses have become glaring. I guess a "loss isn't a loss." The Ravens would look almost as silly as they did Monday night if they got rid of Billick now after giving him a contract extension. Steve Bisciotti would look like an impulsive, meddling owner. But Bisciotti has deep pockets. He has never been a big fan of Billick's, but he does listen to Newsome. Ultimately, it will be Bisciotti's call, but Newsome will have whispered in his ear.

Chris: What's wrong with Steve McNair? What has happened to his skills from a year ago?

Mike Preston: Athletes don't believe you just wake up one day, and those skills are gone. Well, it happens. You're done. It's gone. See ya. Adios. It may not be a substantial loss overnight, but a gradual process. But you can't put all the blame on McNair, or put your finger on one spot. The Ravens have a lot of problem areas and have had a lot of injuries. If they could fix this team by giving McNair a bottle of Geritol, they would do it. Honestly, they might need a case for some of the other older players as well. Some of these players aged as fast as McNair within the last year.

Fran: Is the season over? What, if anything, should Ravens fans be hopeful for?

Mike Preston: Thanksgiving is coming up soon, and then Christmas will be just around the corner. Merry Christmas, Fran.

Erik: Why is it that Ozzie Newsome has yet to take any heat for the lack of depth that this team has?

Mike Preston: Maybe it's because the team doesn't suffer from a lack of depth. You can criticize Newsome for not being able to draft a good quarterback, but this team has good young talent at just about every position. Look at the offensive line, tight end, linebackers. The backup cornerbacks are struggling, but every team in the NFL has a weakness. I think you're trying to find something that isn't there.

Lenny: What steps should the Ravens take in the offseason to be competitive next year?

Mike Preston: You're trying to set me up. You want me to start the "Fire Billick Fan Club." But I'm not biting. They should make him turn his offense over to an offensive coordinator, not just another friend or yes-man like he has hired the past two times. Then they should find a good, young quarterback of the future because the other teams in the AFC North have one. Next up, find a cornerback and then a left offensive tackle. That's where I would start (P.S. Fan club application forms will be out next week).

Stanley: Why did players on defense like Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis continue to talk trash when the Ravens were getting their tails handed to them?

Mike Preston: Because they're childish. That really looked stupid on TV, and it was embarrassing for the city. Here the Ravens were getting beat 35-0, and Suggs does a dance after sacking Ben Roethlisberger. I call it "The Ozzie Dance." He wanted to make sure Newsome saw him because he is trying to get a new contract deal.

I understand football is an emotional game. I don't mind the spikes and the end zone dances even though I prefer not to see them at all. I can even take the trash talking, especially when a team is playing well. But the Ravens were getting their butts kicked. The old-time Steelers and the announcers were joking all over them, and the Ravens kept giving them more ammunition. "Here guys, shoot us some more. We're not dead yet, so slap us around a few more times." And the announcers couldn't get enough of clowning on the Ravens. I'm from the old school. When you get in a fight and the other person kicks your tail, you shake his hand, shut up and go home. It was just a horrible show for the entire organization Monday night.

Todd: Why do the Ravens take Willis McGahee out on third-down passing situations? Isn't he a decent receiver out of the backfield?

Mike Preston: I think Billick is trying to outsmart himself again. Even if he doesn't go out for a pass, McGahee is excellent as a pass blocker. There are a lot of things I have seen this year that I question, and that is one of them. But at this point, I know I can't figure it out because Billick is so much smarter than me. I've learned to live with that fact.

Ben: Mike, was this the worst performance in Ravens history? If not, what was?

Mike Preston: Ben, you almost have to go out of your way to only get 104 yards of total offense. Not only was it the worst performance in Ravens history, it may have been the worst performance in Baltimore's professional football history. I thought the Ravens were part of the Steelers' celebration of the organization's 75 years in Pittsburgh. I thought the Ravens were trying to let them win, 75-0.

Rodney: Mike, do you have any information on Samari Rolle's mysterious injury?

Mike Preston: Yes, I do, but I'm not telling. If it was an injury related to football, then I would disclose it. But since it's an illness, that makes it personal. Sorry.

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