Ravens' Billick admits he needs to change

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick acknowledged Thursday that his management style and how he interacts with his players could stand for some improvement.

Billick reiterated comments he made in his weekly online diary, alluding to a commitment to rededicate himself and rearrange his priorities to include a more hands-on approach with the team.

Under contract through 2007 and the subject of rampant speculation on whether he'll be retained by owner Steve Bisciotti for next season, Billick discussed changing his approach after seven years in Baltimore.

"Obviously, my mind has to start to look back on what it is I can do differently," Billick said. "I want to use these next two games to refocus my energies on what my priorities and how I can best help this team.

"I'm not sure in an analysis of myself over the last couple of years that I don't owe the players a little more with the focus I can bring to them. Specifically, how I can help them as a coach, as a teacher along with the other duties that I have. I can do it a whole lot better than I've done."

ABC analyst John Madden said during the Ravens' Monday night rout of the Green Bay Packers that he believes Billick will be retained based on their conversation prior to kickoff.

"The way he was talking, I'm sure he's been assured he's coming back," Madden said.

Bisciotti has a policy of not talking to reporters during the season, so Billick's status won't be defined publicly until after the Jan. 1 season finale.

"Whenever you have a rough season like this, everyone is kind of concerned with what's going to happen for next season," offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "You give it your best shot and let the chips fall where they may."

MOURNING DUNGY'S SON: The tragic, apparent suicide of James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, hit home with Billick. Billick knows the Dungy family well from when he and Tony Dungy were the coordinators for the Minnesota Vikings' offense and defense.

"I have known that young man for a long time," said a visibly emotional Billick. "That is not something I can address right now, personally. Obviously, our hearts go out to Tony and Lauren."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens downgraded tight end Daniel Wilcox (ankle) to doubtful. With tight end Darnell Dinkins (ankle) upgraded to probable, they won't be quite as shorthanded as they feared for Sunday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

"With only two tight ends, it could leave us a little vulnerable with some of the things we like to do," Billick said.

Fullback Justin Green, who has recovered from a broken wrist, is expected to return Sunday after missing the past few games.

Center Mike Flynn (ankle) was added to the injury report as probable.

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis remains in South Florida following hamstring surgery. Billick stressed that Lewis has been advised to stay there because of concern about potential infection.

"He was strongly advised to stay put," Billick said. "The rehab that he can do does not require him to be here. At some point, he will be back here with our guys, but being down in Florida is the best thing for him.

"We miss having him here. You saw Ray before the surgery on the sidelines, interactive, coaching his butt off. It had to be hard for him to sit and watch that game Monday night."

QUICK HITS: Billick discussed his theory on why versatile linebacker Adalius Thomas didn't make the Pro Bowl. "At what position?" he said. "He's a victim of the value he gives to us because he does so many different things. I wish there was a slot for that, because he is deserving of it." … Despite undergoing offseason shoulder and ankle surgeries, tight end Todd Heap is having a career-best season with 69 receptions. "With the kind of season that he's had off a rehab offseason, we talked about how he is excited to get a full offseason of just getting ready for the season," Billick said. … Billick quipped that offensive tackle Orlando Brown, who's on injured reserve, followed his advice too literally. "He was emptying trash the other day," Billick said. "I think he took what I told him a little too far when I told him, ‘I want you around. I want you helping.'"


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