Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Nov 2005

Window Closes on Title Chance

Once upon a time, the 46 defense was supposed to revitalize the Baltimore Ravens, while Derrick Mason finally turned Kyle Boller into a real life NFL quarterback. It was not to be. With Brian Billick likely gone after this season, what steps should Baltimore take to begin the rebuilding process? (Free registration required)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Nov 2005

19 comments, Last at 12 Dec 2005, 4:17pm by JOHN DEIBEL

Comments

1
by Luz (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 7:04pm

as a steelers fan i have to say i think they should just leave everything as is.

2
by Luz (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 7:05pm

besides where else will the ravens find an offensive genius like billick? i mean he even wrote a book about how to build an offense...

hey, wait a minute...

3
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 7:18pm

I hear Elvis Grbac is available.

4
by Yuri (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 7:28pm

I honestly wouldn't read much into this--because I've read this article time and time again, not necessarily about the Ravens. "Our team has been struggling for several years, which means years ago bad 'strategic' decisions were made" is all there is to it. Maybe it's true and may it isn't... there are may different ways to explain bad results.

5
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 7:32pm

great comments so far :)

6
by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 8:43pm

I continue to be baffled as to why people thought the Ravens would be good this season.

How was Derrick Mason going to make a horrible QB like Boller look anything other than below-average?

How was switching to a defensive formation that has been used successfully by only one team (Hmmm... wonder why?) going to mask the simple fact that Ray Ray is ORDINARY? Yeah, that's right. Ray Ray isn't just overrated anymore; he's not even above average. Of course, with all the dancing around he does, you'd think he was God come down to earth to play football.

And enough with the Brian Billick as offensive genius garbage. Randy Moss made Billick a "genius." Without Randy Moss, Billick has been an incompetent coach who lucked into a strong defensive team and managed not to eff it up just long enough to win a Super Bowl against a Kerry Collins-led team. Wow, I'm impressed...

In the meantime, the "Genius" has put together an undiscplined band of punks and criminals that gets overhyped every year, and every year falls on its face.

7
by JasonK (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 8:47pm

#2:

Don't forget that the Ravens have a backup offensive genius on the staff in Jim Fassel. Fassel is a pretty good sub for Billick-- best career move for both has been hiring a DC who is a better coach than they are.

8
by JMK (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 9:41pm

Re 3:

What about Stony Case and Scott Mitchell?

9
by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 9:55pm

Or Tony Banks.

10
by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:00pm

And one can't forget Chris Redman

11
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:51pm

It feels like just yesterday that everyone was praising the Ravens for competing every year with consistently young teams. While I hate the way Brian Billick has put together a prison work force on the field and I think it's time the Ravens move on to a new head coach, it is only his second losing season in seven years and I think he could catch on somewhere else where he has less say over the talent.

12
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:52pm

As an aside, what's the most plausible explanation as to why their wide receivers have long been terrible? Bad coaching? Bad play design? Bad personnel moves? Bad quarterback? Without any knowledge of the situation, my hunch is 2 and 3.

13
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 12:41am

As an aside, what’s the most plausible explanation as to why their wide receivers have long been terrible? Bad coaching? Bad play design? Bad personnel moves? Bad quarterback? Without any knowledge of the situation, my hunch is 2 and 3.

It's generally attributed to -

1) Poor play calling - The playcalling for the Ravens has consistantly been some of the worst in the league. They set up the run by doing short 4-6 yard passes. Defenses they play against just sit on short routes all day.

2) Unstable at QB - This is partly number 2 as well - They don't trust their QBs. They don't let their QBs ever throw deep - If you want to be a dominant run-first team, you need to take a page from the Panthers and the Steelers and throw deep when you do. They've changed QBs nearly every season - and Kyle Boller has been hurt a lot so far.

3) Terrible pass-blocking - The Ravens O-line if you ever watch them is embarassing in pass protection - They consistantly get trashed in this area.

4) The WRs themselves - These guys consistantly struggle to get open. They get little to no seperation. Part of this is due to terrible play calling and the fact that CBs sit on short routes, which is all the Ravens run - but they rarely make plays on the ball.

14
by noahpoah (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 11:49am

Without Randy Moss, Billick has been an incompetent coach who lucked into a strong defensive team and managed not to eff it up just long enough to win a Super Bowl against a Kerry Collins-led team. Wow, I’m impressed…

You forgot to mention that it was probably the worst superbowl in recent memory. If not, it's a close second to the Rich Gannon Audible Hoe-Down.

As much as I'd like to see someone other than the Pats play in a good one and/or win one, every superbowl they've been in has been fantastic to watch.

15
by Mike B. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 11:50am

Re: #10 -

I dunno, he seemed quite easily forgotten.

Honestly, I think this team was overrated when they won the Super Bowl - does anyone really think they win if the Vikings don't choke in the NFC Championship Game?

The radio in Baltimore has been discussing the idea that maybe Ozzie Newsome isn't quite as good an eveluator of talent as he's given credit for, given that exactly two "star" offensive skill players have emerged from the Ravens, and one was let go (for nothing) so the other could take over.

Predictably, of course, the one that left WASN'T a criminal.

(Kudos, #13, you're spot on. These are the things they need to fix, which basically means an offensive overhaul, from the coach on down.)

16
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 12:29pm

I would also add that Boller's confidence has to be shot by now with all of this change.

17
by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 12:40pm

"does anyone really think they win if the Vikings don’t choke in the NFC Championship Game?"

I do. The Vikings' defense was absolutely horrible that year. So bad that you'd have to give the edge to the Ravens' offense. If you honestly think the Vikings were better than the Ravens that year, I'm guessing your memory is to blame and you're confusing that Vikings team with the one that went 15-1 a couple years earlier.

18
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 12:53pm

Noahpoah (#14 )--

Actually, Superbowl 20 (Bears 46, Patriots 10) was among the worst ever, unless you're a Bears fan. Superbowl 31 (Packers 35, Patriots 21) wasn't all that competetive, either.

These three recent ones, yes, they were fairly exciting.

19
by JOHN DEIBEL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 4:17pm

ALL YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE QUICK TO BLAME BILLICK. IF YOU THINK FOR A SECOND BILLICK IS THE ONLY PROBLEM THEN YOU ARE A BUNCH OF IDIOTS. THIS WILL BE ONLY HIS SECOND LOSING SEASON AND I DONT CARE HOW BAD THE SUPERBOWL WAS. IT STILL BEATS NO SUPERBOWL. TELL ME WHO YOU'RE GOING TO REPLACE BILLICK WITH. STEVE MERRIUCCI?