Billick weighs in on Super Bowl matchup

OWINGS MILLS -- Former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick was as opinionated as usual while weighing in on today's Super Bowl matchup between the undefeated New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Here are a few excerpts of Billick's responses during an interview on HBO's "Inside the NFL" program:

On Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss: "Randy presents a dynamic that no other team has, and you have got to account for him. You can stop him, but what price are you willing to pay? When you have a Laurence Maroney, a Wes Welker, you are going to pay a price.

"Anytime you bring someone in with that level of personality, you have to ask yourself what do I have in my locker room? Our ability to draft Randy Moss had a lot to do with what we knew Cris Carter could do in mentoring him. With Tom Brady there, I don't know of too many other presences at quarterback that could handle Randy Moss. We can do a lot of damage here, but we can't fight with each other, we have to be on the same page."

On the Ravens' loss to New England: "It's the proverbial keep them off the field. You have to play a physical game, we ran the ball well, so you have a chance at the end of the game. We had a chance at the end of the game, but don't let Tom Brady go 80 yards to beat you, which he did. That's the only way you're going to keep it close and have a chance.

"Can you be that one team that keeps him from going 80 yards or that keeps the ball and can you go the distance with that last chance? They're just too good a team to think it's going to be any other way."

On the Giants' prospects: "The matchup across the board is difficult, and you have to present different matchups on the back end. What on the football field has Tom Brady not seen? If you think you're going to sit in a single coverage, you're dead.

"You're going to have to do the man, the press, and it's okay to press Randy Moss, but you had better have the second man behind him ready to blow him up. You have to do a combination of things to not let Tom Brady get comfortable. You have to put the pressure on him. We wanted to make him get the ball out of his hand quick."

On Giants quarterback Eli Manning: "It's tough because obviously this game is going to be about Eli Manning. He doesn't have to carry his team on his shoulders because they've got a running game with Brandon Jacobs that could put them in a bunch of 3rd-and-2s, 3rd-and-3s, 3rd-and-4s.

"At the end of the day, it means Eli Manning is going to have to make those conversions. It's going to come back to the quarterback anyway. Eli Manning can establish himself as one of the guys in the league that can take a team to the championship or it's going to make him vulnerable. My experience is about the 30th game he either understands it or he doesn't. The phrase is, 'The game seems to slow down.' The game has slowed down for Eli Manning. The key is can he take it to that next step."

On Tom Brady versus Joe Montana: "Well, the thing that jumped out to you about Joe even as a rookie is how unflappable he was. There was a calm behind the eyes of a Joe Montana. It didn't mean he wasn't anxious, it didn't mean he wasn't nervous, but there's a calm about him and Tom Brady, too. Tom Brady knows what you're doing. At some point, he's going to know exactly what he's going to do."

On Tom Brady's ankle injury: "Certainly, you want to take advantage if there's a lack of mobility, but his mobility is not from running all over the field. He's a great athlete in the pocket. I don't think the injury is going to bother him as much. You can bring the pressure, but there may be a price. I would imagine he's going to be able to move around."

On not having a quarterback like Tom Brady: "When we won the championship, there was a void in the league of quarterback play. Guys like Dan Marino and Jim Kelly and Troy Aikman and Steve Young had kind of transitioned out of the game and you could play great defense and run the ball and win the game. Not today, you've got to have the guy at quarterback. There's only a handful and Tom Brady leads the list."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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