Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ray, Ray, Ray...the little things you say!

Ray Lewis’ comments about Adalius Thomas and Brian Billick during his weekly radio program have set off a firestorm of commentary in print, on the web and along radio and TV airwaves throughout the continent. Ray’s words are the things local beat writers dream of during bye weeks.

I have to tell you as a fan of the team and as a fan of Ray Lewis and Adalius Thomas, I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed because I thought the two were friends and friends can settle differences, either real or media conjured, with a simple phone call. Instead both took the media bait and chomped down hard.

Sometime between now and the moment the opening kickoff knifes its way through the cold night on December 3rd, Ray and AD will kiss and make up and they will publicly pledge their renewed solidarity and write it all off as a misunderstanding. And while they will likely forgive, will they forget?

It would make for interesting drama if the two actually had to face each other on the field.

AD certainly made a valid point when he suggested that perhaps Ray was the coward given that he went public with his disapproval of Brian Billick’s offense and play calling instead of brokering a behind-closed-doors powwow with Billick. Didn’t Ray in essence do exactly what he accused AD of doing?

That said, maybe Ray publicly calling out Billick is a good thing.

Look the Ravens have miraculously kept the team on the same page since 2000 and that is a credit to Brian Billick. How many other organizations could have successfully navigated away from an organizational implosion when one side of the football is clearly more dominant than the other side year in and year out? How there hasn’t been a mutiny or enough finger pointing to rival an episode of Jerry Springer is pretty impressive.

What isn’t impressive and never has been is the Ravens’ offense under Brian Billick. Billick has always stressed accountability but has he been accountable as it relates to the offense? Over the course of the last 4 ½ seasons the Ravens are dead last in the league in red zone efficiency.

Since Billick arrived the Ravens have been in the top 10 in points scored in the NFL only once, back in 2003 when Jamal Lewis ran for over 2,000 yards. On average they have ranked 17th. What makes that statistic even more staggering is the fact that the Ravens defense has been ranked in the top 3 during five of Billick’s seasons and they’ve been sixth or higher in every season except one – the cap purge season of 2002. Plus they’ve been among the league leaders in defensive touchdowns.

So I ask where is the accountability of this offense? It doesn’t matter if Matt Cavanaugh, Jim Fassell or Brian Billick is calling the plays this team can’t score. Willis McGahee is on pace to approach 1,500 yards rushing yet he only projects to 4 touchdowns!

Can someone please send in the demolition crew in the offseason and raze this thing?

The Ravens scouting department is studying collegiate quarterbacking talent feverishly. What if they land their guy in the 2008 draft? Do the Ravens have the coaching to develop the quarterback of the future? Is their offensive system conducive to successful quarterbacking?

Watch any NFL game that the Ravens aren’t involved in. At some point during the game there will be a receiver on one of the two teams absolutely wide open. When is the last time a Ravens receiver was wide open?

Some may ask why Ray threw his head coach under the proverbial bus because of the team’s offensive woes.

As for me I just ask, “What took so long?”


Anonymous said...

As usual Tony you couldn't be more wrong. Brian has never thrown any of his players under the bus when they get arrested(hint), leave the team mid season(hint), or rip him on TV and say no comment if they want the coach back(hint,hint). Having one of our supposed leaders ripping the coach publicly is another sign that the team is about to fall apart. And you think that's a good thing??? Get a clue. As usual your irrational hatred/jealousy of Billick is clouding what little judgement you have.


Harryos29 said...

I'm not sure who is wrong and who is right. Tony made some good Points. Not sure that ERIC understood Tonys point in his BLOG.
but My question is.. how can Redskins Reject..Sage Rosenfels come off the Bench for Houston, vs the Titans..and throw 4 TD passes in less than 14 minutes in the 4 th Qtr.. That is a MONTH of production for this Sorry Offense. Brian...OPEN IT UP..
harry o 29 Sykesville

Anonymous said...

What I'm disappointed in is that you've chosen to throw more fuel onto the "tempest in a teapot" media-hyped non-issue fire. Knowing the Ravens and the media the way you do, I'd have expected more from you. You really can do better than to jump onto the Hensley/Preston/Cowherd dung heap.

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric...who do you think you are, man? I thought I was the only one who came here to rip Master Tony!

(j/k. But can you possibly say that Tony hates Billick? Yeah...sometimes he posts his typical "post game F-bomb-laced tirades". But then he always turns right around and stokes the hand that feeds him, doesn't he? It's admittedly a Jekyll/Hyde deal. But be honest -- it's definitely not a one-sided affair, is it? He takes it right to the brink -- but always gives BB another chance. In today's atmosphere, that's about as good a deal as BB is going to get.)

Harryos29 said...

Who are these GUTLESS Anonymous writers??? If they are going to TEAR you apart for your OPINIONS...and that is all any of this is...ONE Mans least they should have the courtesy to Sign their names!!!

Bottom Line folks...and I know this sounds Like Bruce Laird, Mr. Billick signed a 4 year Extension worth a reportedly $18 mil... I do not see..Mr Biscotti the businessman..showing the Coach the GATE at One Winning Drive, any time soon!
Harry O 29
Sykesville, Md

Anonymous said...

Who are these GUTLESS Anonymous writers??? If they are going to TEAR you apart for your OPINIONS...and that is all any of this is...ONE Mans least they should have the courtesy to Sign their names!!!

Bottom Line folks...and I know this sounds Like Bruce Laird, Mr. Billick signed a 4 year Extension worth a reportedly $18 mil... I do not see..Mr Biscotti the businessman..showing the Coach the GATE at One Winning Drive, any time soon!
Harry O 29
Sykesville, Md

LOL. "Harry O 29 of Sykesville Maryland" is a real name (vs. "anonymous")?!! Too funny Harry. The next time I'm in Sykesville, I'll look you up, ok man?

With regard to the contract -- since they're all secret in the Ravens organization, it's impossible to really know how it is structured. But to begin with, it never should have been proffered in the first place. Second, if there isn't some sort of escape clause to deal with a coach who is under-performing and not getting the job done, then that's just plain stupid on Bisciotti's part, and he deserves to eat whatever part of the contract he has to. And finally, if there is a clause to fire the coach for not doing a good job, Bisciotti needs to exercise it. But even if Bisciotti has to eat it, in the long run, 18M is a drop in the bucket considering what a lousy, inept job Billick has done for nine years now.

Joe Blow 72
Baltimore, MD

(There...ya happy now, Harry?)

Harryos29 said...

My full name is harry thomas O'Sullivan and the "29" is the number I wear on my jacket. I've been a high school Baseball umpire for a long time. I worked High School Baseball with Bobby Nyk for many years...
I chose "29" youngest son pitched for Liberty High school and wore #29 way back in the 1980's... that's my story and I'm stickin too it....
p.s Tony Lombardi knows exactly where I live..he can hook us up when you come to Sykesville...
harry O'29

Mike Riskin said...

Lil side note for you all. It isn't just inept playcalling... that is what happens to players out on the field, but it is also POOR decision making skills from the managment dept too. Derek Anderson (and i told Billick this to his face, via radio talk show, in 2006) looked, is looking, and will look better than any QB on our roster. It seems like they wait for these guys to throw 3 td's in a game, just so they can cut em. It was 4 days after Anderson blew up in preseason that he got cut, and now Drew olsen is following in his footsteps as well... Letting AD go was also a piss poor desicion. This organization needs a fresh start, and new faces (Mike Matrz perhaps???) to spark new life. Billick message is dead, and so is McNairs arm... so, like i said before, lower your expectations for the rest of the year, and just hope we can beat New England... somehow......oh, and Indy... ok, i'm asking too much..

Anonymous said...

Mike Riskin:

You're correct -- and the problems within the Ravens organization are going to continue to undermine and compromise the team's ability to garner genuine top tier results on the field until they are adequately addressed. No "bye week" quick fix is even going to come close. And that's my beef with Tony and the whole "magical thinking" approach.

The fact that the Ravens have been able to basically eek out what essentially boils down to little more than just above .500 results by beating up on sub-par teams (the result of NFL "parity") because of a very dominant defense has not helped propel this team into the upper echelon tier regardless of what the yearly W/L, or home record, or playoff appearances, or having won one Super Bowl, might otherwise indicate. All the latter has done is help to obscure the deeper underlying problems.

And those problems are systemic -- which becomes more and more apparent with each passing year. If Steve Bisciotti does not adequately address the problems they will only continue to persist and proliferate. Maybe we all needed to see how New England's dominance burst the bubble that just "being good enough" was actually good enough. It's not. And in truth, it never really was. It was all just one big purple illusion. And now it's all just one big purple and black bruise.

Harryos29 said...

Mike Riskin has Nailed it once again. Today is Sunday and Jamal Lewis only scored 4 Touchdowns this week for 67 yards. Derek Anderson was 29/48 for 364 yards...
I hope OZZIE watched the Browns game. After all..he went into the HOF as a BROWN. I can never ever forgive this Organization for Letting Derek Anderson go and keeping...Patrick Johnson...thank you Special Teams Coach Gary Zauner where ever you are (Texas)??
This may not turn out to be the same or as BIG a mistake as Pittsburgh in 1956, keeping Ted Marchabroda and cutting never know. Derek completes passes...Our current stable of QB's do not!
Oh by the way..the Browns Defeated the SeaHawks today 33-30 in OT.
Waiting patiently in Sykesville for MNF and the other shoe to drop. If Big Ben Rothlisberger has his way with Derek Martin and Corey Ivy, it will be a long long winter for Ravens Fans.
Harry O 29, Sykesivlle

Anonymous said...

To Harry O:

It might have been a typo, but Lewis only gained 37 yards, not 67. On 20 carries. Yes. He did bang in 4 TD's. But his YPC was a WHOPPING 1.9, with a longest run of 5. I'm more than satisfied with Willis at this point, although I'll fess up and state that I was not pleased with the decision to bring him in back in the spring.

What Lewis's accomplishment might highlight, however, is the fact that the Ravens can't quite figure out how to use Mike Anderson properly. I think he's more than capable of banging it home in the red zone, especially since Willis seems to get tired or something in some of those situations. But there's just no excuse to not use Anderson. The fact that he's not being more fully/properly utilized because he doesn't participate on special teams -- as Eric DeCosta said in an interview with TL last year -- is simply absurd, especially given our gaping red zone woes.

Hats off to the Browns -- the former laughingstock of the AFC North. Watching Derek Anderson rack up the yards and TDs just further drives home the point of how inept this franchise is at spotting and developing QBs in particular, and offense in general. As did watching Moss and T.O. yesterday. It would have been a joke to bring either one of those top tier WRs here to this JV joke of an NFL offense.

I could also hear echoes of homer Ravens posters who were yammering on endlessly about how lousy a QB Romo was. And even how lousy a QB Roethlisberger is. At least the FO has a lot of company when it comes to not being able to assess QB talent. The problem is...that's what they're getting paid to do.

Tonight: Steelers by at least 2 TDs. And that's if it doesn't rain.