The Chamber of Commerce might want to consider handing out flyers this week to visitors warning that Charm City might be decidely less charming for the next few days. Jubulant Racial Slur fans would be wise not to parade their colors in local eating establishments for a while unless they enjoy their crabcakes served with a dash of Old Bay and a splash of New Bodily Fluids. A loss to the hated Slurs will never be taken lightly in this city, even in a meaningless preseason game.
Slur fans are quick to point out these beltway battles tend to mean more to Baltimore fans than they do to District heathens. Well, no duh. Baltimorians know it was Blotto Bob who took them out of the NFL, but they're also well aware it was JC Cooke cronyism that kept them out for thirteen long years- namely in the form of ex-Cooke employee and noted arts patron Paul "Museums are nifty" Tagliabue. Besides, why should Slur fans be concerned about the Ravens, an AFC team they play maybe once every three years? The Slurfan's rivalry dance card is filled. They'll tell you that being the eternal bitch of the powerhouse Dallas Cowboys is already a full time job, but thanks for asking. Now onto the alleged game...
RAVEN GAME HIGHLIGHTS: • Nobody was injured. We hope you enjoyed this week's "game highlights" portion of the WATR column. Tune in next week for more in-depth analysis.
Actually, you really can't stress that enough. The preseason is nothing more than a gauntlet of trumped-up practice skirmishes with the only true "winners" being the teams who make it to the regular season with their best players in one piece. End of story. Anybody feeling sorry for his or herself after witnessing Saturday's mistake-filled fiasco need only get in touch with a Jets or Falcons fan for a quick dose of perspective. Besides, if you took this game as gospel you'd come to the conclusion that a healthy Jamal Lewis is going to average half-a-yard a carry this year and Ol' ball coach's comittee of fourteen tiny RBs are going to ride roughshod over the league. Anybody ready to purchase that stock in bulk? Of course not. So tell all the doomsayers hyperventilating on a Ravens message board near you to breathe into the paper bag their bottle came in. Let Rev. RayRay ease your troubled minds, parishioners - "I think the fans would gladly trade a win in Pittsburgh for a win in this game. That's where my mind's at right now." Amen, brother.
OBTW, if you didn't see the game you'll be glad to know the aforementioned Legend is now fully recovered from his 2002 shoulder injury. He is 100% healthy and looks eager to make opposing running games 100% unhealthy. Forget about the pathetic and desperate Slurs hitting on that gimmick play in a preseason game and instead remember that your MLB quickly picked up the read on said play and unbelievably stayed almost stride-for-stride with one of the fastest players in the game, Lavernius Coles. Pretty amazing. How old is Ray again? Call me when Arrington, Brooks or Urlacher can do that. And speaking of Ray-light...
Racial Slurs Demand Respect! Anybody catch Arrington's tongue-in-cheek postgame interview on Comcast where he continued whining about the Ravens always getting top billing over Slurs coverage on the network? The talented Slur LB does have a point because I'm happy to report that's my perception as well viewing Comcast. The Slurs do seem to be the second class citizens of their football coverage, but LaVar misses the big picture entirely... They should be. Seriously, what have the Slurs done lately to deserve top billing over the Ravens in the new millenium? Marty ball? The Spurrier hire? Hijacking half the Jet's roster? Oh sure, Snyder always orchestrates some offseason "big splash" headline grab, but it's all hype until the Slurs start winning some games.
Foghorn Leghorn got schooled last year on a supposed playoff contender and nobody is mistaking the 2002 Jets talent pool with the 2002 Buccaneers. On the field is what matters, and between the lines the Ravens have consistently overachieved and exceeded expectations while the Deadskins have consistently underachieved and, well...to quote the philosopher, "sucked on the big one like a good ho' should." (Flavor Flavius, 460-390 BC) Plus, La Var needs to be reminded that his team is run by an weasely midget, and that's a big turn-off to TV viewers. If there's one thing I know about my country, it's that we Americans don't like our midgets weasely. We prefer them jovial and fun loving. Meglomaniacle and snake-like are qualities we're definitely not looking for in our wee folk, sorry. Actually, one another thing came from Saturday's debacle. Whether it's good or not depends on whom you're talking to...
What QB Debate? It's over, but unlike some people I'm still not convinced it ever really existed. Chris Redman was going to be the starter this year pending his back holding up, and that's as it should be. Sure, nobody is in love with Redman's weenie arm and his physical ability pales in comparison to Boller, but Redman never really lost the starting job and deserves the chance injury denied him last year.
I know, I know..."Deserve" ain't got nuthin' to do with it. (Clint Eastwood said that. Or Trent Dilfer, I forget which...) Draft status makes it obvious that the Raven's future is Boller, but Saturday's game at FedEx made it clear that the "future" shouldn't be September 7th. Boller has a lot to learn and starting a rookie QB on a team supposedly gearing up for a playoff run should definitely be a last resort option. Frankly, I'm convinced this whole "open competition" thing was merely a Billick ploy to keep Redman from getting complacent. Whether it worked or not remains to be seen, but as green as Redman still is (six pro starts) thus far in the preseason he's looks like George Blanda compared to the skittish, understandably jumpy rookie.
Of course, Redman's poise in the pocket thus far hasn't translated into a lot of points, but let's at least wait until he's played four quarters (in a row, preferrably) with the starting unit before we start screaming for the Boller era to begin in earnest. Don't let Billick's bluffing fool you. It's still Redman-time, mother violators...until further notice.