Part 1, in which RavensInsider writer Aaron Wilson answers pertinent and thought provoking questions from Browns fans through the use of message boards and other clever technology. Look for Part 2 soon.
Question: Rumor has it in
the media and around the NFL that Billick has "lost control" of the team.
What are sources "close to the team" (if any) saying about the overall mood
in the locker room? Any dissension or is everyone reciting the party line?
Answer: Publicly, there's
no dissension. Privately, everyone is wondering about the future of Brian
Billick. He has declined to address his job security. The players are
preaching the party line. It's questionable how much longer that will last,
though. A win on Sunday is critical to the Ravens and Billick's respective
Question: Would a loss to
the Browns at home be a knockout punch to the Raven's season?
Answer: You hit the nail on
the head. It would be checkmate, a death knell, final curtain time, however
you choose to phrase it.
Question: What is the
contract status of both Ma'ake Kemoeatu and Anthony Weaver? Both are FA's
after this year, but are there any rumblings through their front office that
they're trying hard to resign either/both?
Answer: I think they'll try
to re-sign both so long as they are reasonable. Kemoeatu is worth more on
the open market than Weaver. Weaver is a solid player, but Kemoeatu is
excellent against the run.
Question: What effect would
a Browns' win have on Billick's hold on the [head coach] position? What
punishments will the NFL meter out for the player who was ejected
incorrectly? What about the player who was supposed to be ejected, but
Answer: It could cripple
his chances of salvaging the season and keeping his job. They didn't punish
B.J. Ward, who was wrongfully ejected. Ed Reed was fined $15,000.
Question: Penalties aside,
what aspect of the Ravens team is most disappointing? Which FA acquisition
hasn't lived up to his/her potential?
Answer: They are minus-9 in
turnovers, 31st in the NFL, absolutely terrible. Keydrick Vincent hasn't
been so sharp at right guard.
Question: What has the
impact of your rookies been?
Answer: Zilch. Mark Clayton
is starting, but hasn't done much to make an impact. Dan Cody is out for the
year with a knee injury. Rookie special teams ace B.J. Ward is the best
rookie so far.
Question: Does Modell have
a presence in town or with the team?? Does he do interviews?? Is he at
games?? Is he at the teams facility during the week?
Answer: Art Modell goes to
games, does occasional interviews. He's not at the facility much, but he's
definitely welcome. His portrait is in the lobby of the $31 million training
Question: I recently
attended a family function where I spoke with a long time Bama booster, an
old-timer who knew Bear Bryant.
I asked him if he had met alum Ozzie Newsome, and he said yes, and
eventually said that he has been mentioned as a future head coach for Bama.
I said, "do you mean as the AD?" He said no, as coach, in the future. What
do you say happens with Ozzie when his contract is up?
Answer: Athletic director
at Alabama, maybe, never going to be a coach. He's too smart for that.
Question: Will there ever
be a legit QB in a Ravens uniform? Since Dilfer there hasn't been a
gunslinger of quality. Is this a top priority in the draft or FA. Is Billick
able to admit the mistake of Boller?
Answer: I doubt it. I think
they will try to address the mistake. Billick is incapable of admitting a
mistake ever. He reluctantly acknowledges that maybe keeping Trent Dilfer
would have been a good idea.
Question: The Defense overall is ranked #2, but the takeaways (3) are
30th, the Sacks (7) tied for 25th, scoring allowed 19th. Is there any
apprehension about switching to the 46D, or do they stick with it as if this
is just an adjustment period?
Answer: They'll stick with
it to an extent, but they've been running it less and less. There's
virtually no pass rush and hardly any threat to intercept a pass.
Question: Is there a
remnant of Colts fans in Baltimore from the old days and if so how big and
how loyal are they?
Answer: They still have
some Colts fans who remember the good ol' days. A lot of them are Ravens
Question: The Colts used to
have a marching band (or am I thinking of the wrong team?), does that band
still exist at all?
Answer: They joined the
purple and black empire. The Marching Ravens appear at every home game.
Question: Who taught Terrell Suggs what "malice" means? Jokes aside I
was wondering how much of Jamal Lewis' slow start is an effect of the jail
Answer: Pretty funny about
Suggs. I think he understands it means you had bad intentions. Jamal Lewis'
incarceration is one of the negative factors affecting him along with his
right ankle surgery. He's beginning to play better, though.
Question: Are the Ravens
focusing on the Browns this week, or on the Ravens?
Answer: Both, but they are
spending a lot of time trying to get their own house in order.
Question: As for their insiders, I'd like to know their opinion of
how the fines and penalties are being handled internally - are the players
responding positively to the hands-off approach Billick took, or is there
some discord in the locker room resulting from either the handling of the
situation or the game itself?
Answer: Billick isn't
allowed to fine the players on top of the NFL fines except for invoking
conduct detrimental clause, which he won't. That means a whole game check.
He's too soft to do that. He's not going to alienate players he hopes will
help him salvage the season and save his job.
Question: What is the
problem with J.Ogden. He has looked a bit tentative this year....maybe
hiding an injury or just getting old?
Answer: He's aging and angry. He's mad that they cut his younger
brother, Marques Ogden.
Question: Anthony Wright has been looking good this year. When are
the Ravens finally gonna lock him up with a long-term deal?
Seriously, what are the Ravens cap issues?
Answer: They don't have
cap issues. They're in good shape in that area. They just need to spend
their money wisely.