If you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with the Baltimore Ravens, who better to ask than a guy who once led the franchise to a Super Bowl?
That, of course, would be Brian Billick, who coached the Ravens from 1999 to 2007.
So, coach, what’s wrong with Baltimore?
“Well, coming into the season, a lot of people – including myself – picked the Ravens to be a Super Bowl team,” the NFL Network analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It was based on the combination of their offensive and defensive lines and of course Joe Flacco. Well, now we get into Week 4, and there’s no Terrell Suggs, no Chris Canty. Eugene Monroe, the right tackle, has been out for a couple games. So all of a sudden, what was a strength (is no longer a strength), which now really brings to the forefront the weaknesses, which was the lack of a receiving corps outside of Steve Smith, and then the secondary, which is no better than it was last year. That combination was very evident against Cincinnati and is going to be on display against Pittsburgh.”
The Ravens led Cincinnati twice in the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold either lead. In fact, the Ravens allowed Andy Dalton to throw for 383 yards and three touchdowns.
Thursday, however, is a chance at redemption, and this is where Flacco’s calm demeanor is a positive. Staring 0-4 in the eye, Flacco will remain calm – and the Ravens will feed off that.
“Yeah, that’s part of it,” Billick said. “They’ve got the pedigree. It’d be a mistake to dismiss Baltimore. They’re at the abyss. If they lose tonight, it’s going to be tough sledding. But if they can pull out the win tonight, there’s a run of teams here (that they could beat). I could still see them maybe being a playoff team.”
But Baltimore would have to take care of business in the division.
“Cincinnati is for real,” Billick said. “Pittsburgh, they got Roethlisberger coming back, the skill positions are so talented in Pittsburgh, and the defense is okay. So tonight’s a big one. If they go 0-4, I may have to rethink that a little bit because as you look down the rest of the way, the remaining 12 games – if you’re figuring they’ve got to get to nine wins – are they going to win nine of the next 12? You look at it and that’s going to be a challenge. So tonight is a big one obviously, and Pittsburgh’s the same way. They got to show they can stay afloat with Mike Vick at home.
“But I’m not ready to write off the AFC North in terms of the depth that it (has),” Billick continued. “Cincinnati is kind of interesting. You know Green Bay and New England are good. They got the pedigree and it doesn’t surprise you. Cincinnati, it’s little like Arizona. Aren’t we waiting for the other shoe to drop? I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year – notwithstanding injury. I think these two teams are for real.”