I am aiming (after the holidays when things calm down at one of he jobs at least) to post every Tuesday and Friday. Any questions or topics that anyone has questions on, send 'em in and I will try to cover them. But until then, a few random thoughts w / a smidgen of explanation...
- DO NOT START TROY SMITH IN EITHER OF THE LAST TWO GAMES!! DO YOU HEAR ME BILLICK?!?!? It is bad enough that you are guaranteed to come back next year (but I DO have a theory on that. More in a sec), do NOT ruin this kid like you did Boller when you threw Boller to the wolves after your "QB Competition" which was a bigger sham than the end of the US-USSR '72 Olympics basketball game (don't know what I am talking about? Go HERE). And for those who are clamoring for him, let's look at this honestly. Against Indy he was basically playing against the 3rd stringers. It was an exhibition game at that point. Against Miami he was playing against a prevent defense at the end of he game, and the drive in OT was all runs except for one pass for 4 yards. Troy Smith might wind up being a good QB. Ozzie Newsome thinks so, and he has shown himself to be a pretty good overall judge of talent so far. Let him stay on the bench and keep learning, let the game slow down for him a bit more before he is thrown to the wolves.
- Going for the field goal at the end of regulation was the right call I think everybody here knows I am not a Billick fan, but the fact remains that he made the right call at the end of the game. The fan in me was screaming for him to go for it, but it was 4th down, so it was do or die. The Ravens were mired in a (then) 7 game losing streak. A 5th round draft pick rookie just drove the team down the field (Darling should have rolled into the damn end zone. But that is another story). There was one possible positive outcome, a touchdown. Look at the negatives, and how many of them could have fallen on Smith. Incomplete pass, fumbled / muffed hand off, muffed QB / center exchange, interception...it just keeps going. Even with all I just said about what he did was against a prevent defense (everybody say it with me...what does a prevent defense prevent? VICTORY!), the fact that he did drive the team down the field by going 4-7 for 45 yards (not counting the spike to stop the clock), all of that could do nothing but give him the confidence that he can be a pro level QB. Why risk that positive momentum for him by putting him in a situation where he makes a mistake? At this point I am looking towards the future, and the negatives far outweighed the positives on that scenario. Billick going for the tie and OT was the sensible move (although I have no doubt that somewhere in the DC suburbs that Gregg Easterbrook was making his "Game Over" note in his notebook, and will undoubtedly have a smart yet pithy comment on that going for the tie instead of the win in his TMQ article this week. That being said, I am a huge admirer of Mr. Easterbrook, and read his column every week. I highly recommend you do the same).
- Billick back in 2008 I know it wasn't what I wanted, nor what a lot of others wanted. But I have my usual conspiracy theory on that. It is well known that the Ravens had at least preliminary talks with Bill Cowher. Not much as made of it, but in the wake of the Bobby Petrino quitting (another topic I will have to hit ASAP), when Atlanta contacted him it was made public that Cowher said he was planning on staying in the broadcast booth for at least one more year (which is about right for coaches taking a break where THEY decide to leave a team and not have a team tell them that it is time to go. 2 years is pretty average off "recharging the batteries" time. Now factor in that Billick has 3 years at about $5 million per, and how much it would cost to land a big fish the size of Cowher, and the fact that he wants another year to relax with his cushy studio gig). It is a lot more palatable to a team to eat $10 million and get the hottest coach on the market (assuming he is back on the market) than to eat $15 million and go with either an untested Off or Def Coord. or a retread head coach (after Petrino and Nick Saban, I don't think there will be many college coaches who haven't already coached in the NFL coming up any time soon). You see where this is going? Stay tuned and let's see how close I am on this one.
- The Mitchell Report I have to wrap this up, but I need to check in real quick on the Mitchell report. Honestly, it gained a LOT of credence after I saw THIS this morning. B-Rob was the one player that kept getting singled out as proof that the Mitchell Report was long on innuendo and short on facts. "A player said that another player said he tried steroids a couple of times, but he never saw him inject or take any steroids, never joined his housemates while they were cycling, and the one time the first player went to go buy steroids, the second player split before it happened"...I was just as ready to call bullshit over what sounded like a former teammate of Roberts (and close enough friend to have him in his wedding) who couldn't make it in the bigs and is now headed over to Japan to try and extend his career and is just jealous. But now, I just don't know what to think. I will touch on this again later, when I have time to really delve into the enormity of it all.
Okay, that is it for now. Talk to you soon (Hopefully it won't be a month and a half this time).