Thursday, August 23, 2007

IT'S THE PRESEASON FOR BRIAN BILLICK TOO


So there’s 3:50 to go in the first quarter of the Ravens v. Giants game and the Ravens are facing a fourth and 1 at the Giants 20. If this had been a regular season game, Matt Stover would have trotted out on to the field, uncoiled his leg in a perfect arc much like Tiger Woods sets up with his pitching wedge and nailed a would be chip shot from 37 yards out.

But this is the preseason and things are different. During the preseason teams look to improve, they look to repair weaknesses. One of the Ravens weaknesses in ’06 was converting third and fourth down short yardage situations. Jamal Lewis was abysmal.

So if you buy that the preseason is for working out the kinks and if you buy that the Ravens have tweaked their offensive line and their backfield to improve in this key part of their running game, why in the world would you call for a quarterback sneak? I think Steve McNair has a pretty good idea of how a QB sneak works. And why even risk your No. 1 signal caller in that situation? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter. The Ravens are down by four with 2:39 while facing a fourth and 7 from the Giants 20 -- again. So what does Brian Billick decide? Let’s kick the field goal. It's up...it's good!

Now they are down by 1 with 2 timeouts and the 2 minute warning to help them stop the clock. One first down by the Giants would for all intents and purposes kill any chance for a comeback and even then, the Ravens would have to navigate a long stretch of real estate in a short amount of time to take a shot at the winning field goal.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to go for the fourth and seven and take the same reckless approach that they took in the first quarter? I mean this is after all just a preseason game and I like my chances with the rookie Troy Smith a bit more in that situation than asking him to advance the ball 40 yards with very little time left.

I guess coaches need the practice too…

3 comments :

Ravcol said...

Bill Walsh he a'int...

Anonymous said...

Devil's advocate (aka Billick apologist) - Going for it on 4th in the 1st quarter is more practice for a newly formed O-Line (who obviously needs the work). Kicking the final field goal was practice for Rhys Lloyd. - John from Westminster

Eric said...

I would have preferred to see Le'Ron McClain get a chance on the play that McNair ran the sneak' and they definitely should have gone for the 4th and 7 late in the game.

Billick needs serious help with managing a game; always has; always will.