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Week 11: Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston
Chris: Will Brian Billick ever learn how to manage the clock? What was he doing throwing the ball on third-and-one on the Ravens' final possession of regulation? You'd think he would have learned after the Buffalo game.
Mike Preston: Or he would have learned after the first Cincy game or the first Cleveland game. Or from the previous eight years. All he had to do was run some clock or force Cleveland to use a timeout. If the Browns don't use one, then run it down to the last second and then send out one of the most successful kickers in NFL history in Matt Stover. But no, not Bri-Bri, he has to chuck one more pass into the left flat.
The Ravens desperately need to hire a coach who can manage the clock for this team. Or at minimum hire someone with a large watch who can tell time.
Drew: Mike, please evaluate this year's offensive line compared to last year's. What is the difference? How much does the team miss guys like Tony Pashos, Keydrick Vincent and Ovie Mughelli?
Mike Preston: The Ravens of last year were better because Jonathan Ogden was in playing shape, and Pashos is better than Adam Terry. Pashos had a nasty attitude. Terry is a softee. This group, though, has more potential because it is more athletic. With some time, this group can become dominant. But if the Ravens continue to lose, they might be better off by not forcing J.O. onto the playing field. Play the rookie. Ogden's heart and head may not be in the game.
Robert: What could the Ravens have done differently to limit Joshua Cribbs, and why did they keep kicking right to him?
Mike Preston: They could have squib-kicked the ball, or just shortened the kickoff so it didn't go back to Cribbs. They could have kicked it to one corner pinning him along the sideline, which they tried occasionally.
The best advice was just don't kick him the damn ball.
Bob: Please assess Kyle Boller's play against the Browns.
Mike Preston: In the first half, Kyle looked like "My Man" Kyle. I do think he laid on the field a little longer than usual after he threw the pick that turned into a Browns touchdown (Brodney Pool's 100-yard interception return). Guess you can't blame a guy who has so much practice at getting knocked down for taking a few extra minutes to collect his thoughts. In the second half, things just seemed to click. The Ravens got some first downs and they started to stretch the field with passes. Boller had some nice touch passes, but also some passes that floated and would have been picked off by a good defensive team.
Boller played OK, especially for a backup. But Bob, you still have to remember, these were the Cleveland Browns. Almost everyone can beat the Browns, except the Ravens.
A.D.: Mike, what was the deal with the field goal being overturned? Isn't that play not reviewable?
Mike Preston: The officials didn't review it. The head of officials [Pete Morelli] called a league representative upstairs in one of the booths, and he told him the play couldn't be reviewed. But I bet he also told him, "Look Pete, you guys have screwed this up. It was good, damnit. This is going to be played all over the country numerous times, so act like you're having a discussion, and change it before we fire you and the six other dwarfs out there with you."
Then it was good.
But we need to let it go. The Ravens are snake-bitten. If that had happened to any other team in the NFL, the officials would've just trotted off the field and said "oops my bad!" and the team would've had a win they didn't deserve.
Chris: What adjustments did the Ravens make on offense to have more success in the second half?
Mike Preston: The defense threatened to kick their butts if they went three-and-out again.
Kyle: Can we expect to see Devard Darling start to make plays like he did against the Browns, or do you think that was a one-game flash?
Mike Preston: Is your last name Boller? I bet you were just as surprised as the rest of us to see Darling catch those passes. It was a great day for the No. 81 around the league -- Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Darling. Wow, one day, and he jumped to the head of the class.
But as I said before, this was Cleveland. Sorry to say, but it probably was a burst of brilliance against a group that would be third-string on most other teams.
James: What was Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata thinking when he punched Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas in the first quarter? Do you think he should have been ejected?
Mike Preston: My guess is that Joe said something about Ngata's mama. And a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do. So ejected, no, but the league may still fine him.
Peter: Does Billick script plays for the first quarter? Why does this team always seem to get off to bad starts offensively?
Mike Preston: If that's a script, Brian needs to hire one of the striking writers from the screen guild. In answer to your second question, I guess they just have a lot of practice.
D.L.: Why was Rhys Lloyd off the active roster considering the quality of the Browns' return team?
Mike Preston: Are you talking about the same Lloyd who can sail kickoffs out of the stadium and onto Russell Street? Are you talking about the same Lloyd who was so impressive in training camp that the Ravens made a roster spot for him? Are you talking about the same Lloyd who can hit 50-plus-yard field goals?
I don't know where he is anymore, but I know where he wasn't on Sunday.