Brian Billick Previews Game 4 vs. New Orleans, Reflects on Preseason


We are approaching the final act of our three-part play, but before we dive into the final week of the preseason, I just want to express how much fun I’ve had being a part of the Ravens broadcast team this preseason. Gerry Sandusky is a first-class broadcaster and works extremely hard at his craft. He makes what I do easy and I appreciate the opportunity to work alongside him in the booth and all the other talented people behind the scenes that bring our games to life for you, the fans.

Additionally, it was a real pleasure being back in the bowels of the stadium and seeing familiar faces throughout the concourses as I made the walk to and from the pressbox each week. The interaction with the fans inside and outside of the stadium was truly remarkable.  Thank you to everyone for all the smiles and the warm welcome back.

Now, onto football.

The Ravens sit at 3-0 and, while in the grand scheme of things, the preseason record doesn’t mean a whole lot, it’s definitely a lot better feeling than sitting at 0-3. As is typical in the NFL preseason, we have seen the ups and downs of a team trying to find its offensive identity. We have seen what was already a pretty darn good defense in 2016 add some key pieces that may put the finishing touches on a 2017 defensive unit that can truly be something special. We have introduced you to the players, both new and old. We have laid out some stress points as well as identified the things this team does very well. But what does all of that really mean as we look to close the curtain on the four-game preseason and enter the games that truly matter?  I’ll try and answer that below.

During the broadcast of the Week 2 game against the Dolphins, we made the comparison of how this year’s defense is built in the same mold of some of the historically great Baltimore teams. In Week 3, we saw another dominant defensive outing in which the depth players actually outplayed the Buffalo Bills’ starting lineup in the second quarter (albeit without Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who entered concussion protocol early in the game).

If anything, John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens’ front office are going to have a tough time trying to maneuver the defensive roster simply because they are so talented across the board, top to bottom. The defensive line alone, not including outside pass rushers, has eight players that could all play significant roles in the NFL, but it’s just impossible to keep all of them. Because of the depth and talent at defensive tackle and defensive end, I would very much expect other teams to be reaching out and seeing who may be available via trade. With the recent need to replace Albert McClellan, who is lost for the season with a knee injury, the Ravens are thin at inside backer and missing a very impactful special teamer. That could be a position of interest for Baltimore. Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see a trade take place before the final defensive line roster is set in stone.

I am already on record as saying this may be the best defensive secondary in the NFL and that was even before I saw Marlon Humphrey take a snap and definitely before I witnessed Jaylen Hill break out…

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