Brian Billick explains how Ravens will defeat Giants days before Super Bowl XXXV in classic conversation

Brian Billick tells Nestor how Ravens will defeat Giants before Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa for Sporting News Radio 2001
Brian Billick tells Nestor how Ravens will defeat Giants before Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa for Sporting News Radio 2001
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The Ravens Ring of Honor coach chatted with Nestor days before facing New York in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.


ray lewis, game, trent, brian billick, players, week, play, media, special teams, curfew, coach, team, people, ozzie newsome, sam adams, quarterbacks, super bowl, year, tampa, ravens


Nestor Aparicio, Brian Billick

Nestor Aparicio  00:18

parts Welcome back. Nasty nationwide live from Tampa, we welcome in head coach of the Baltimore Ravens Brian Billick spending some time with us this week. First off just some thoughts on all the Ray Lewis madness. And certainly your press conference was quite a show. Well, it’s

Brian Billick  00:36

just a matter of restating something that we stated after the incident, we raise standard after raise the dropping of charges, we restated in the beginning of training camp. And obviously, given the way it’s been brought to light in some organizations choose to retry this in the court of public appeal. I guess, we’re just restating our opinion, again, which is the fact that we have moved beyond this, we’re not going to address it any further while we’re down here. And to pursue it any further is in nobody’s best interest. And we simply re clarify that. And we won’t talk about it any further the rest of the week, this is supposed to be a great time for the fans of Baltimore, New York for great football fans for the National Football League. And that’s where the focus ought to be.

Nestor Aparicio  01:14

But you know, the negativity it’s got to follow. Generally 3000 media people here, and they’re looking for some some trash to bring up well,

Brian Billick  01:23

that and I said in the news conference, as well, I’m not as naive to think that all of a sudden, now this is going to go away. We simply stated we’re not going to be involved with the dialog. It just serves no purpose for those who want to talk about it. They’re going to do so without us. And from what I’ve seen, they’re also going to do so without a whole lot of facts or a whole lot of purpose in mind.

Nestor Aparicio  01:43


Ray Lewis as a football player, Hall of Famer buck is single, all the Atlanta stuff last year side. I think what has come out of this, in addition to the the media muckraking is, it’s always prefaced by Ray Lewis, who could be headed to the Hall of Fame. No one takes the football ability away from it. I think that may be the one positive thing to come out of this from race perspective, Defensive Player of the Year and certainly the leader of one of the greatest defenses in the history of the game.

Brian Billick  02:09

Well, we have to go a while longer it to put it in proper historical context in terms of just sheer ability, passion for the for the game, focus and intensity and in preparation, production on a very short career so far, clearly is heading in that direction with regards to a Hall of Fame. The challenge to Ray as it is to any player is to stretch that thing out with regards to you know, maintaining over certain certain period of time

Nestor Aparicio  02:36

additions to this year’s team, Sam Adams and Shannon Sharpe Shannon Sharpe with a lot of fanfare, and his work with Ray When Ray was in Atlanta, but Sam Adams was 1x factor. You guys weren’t even all that interested in Sam Adams. And I guess it came as a shock that on draft day, Sam Adams came and it came at a cheaper price against the salary cap, which builds to winning, and Sam Adams is going to the Pro Bowl next week. Either way, well, it’s

Brian Billick  03:02

when you get to this point. As a coach, it’s overwhelming to recognize how many things just have to kind of go your way you orchestrate what you can. But sometimes fate has to play a hand and it’s clearly due with regards to Sam Adams because of Larry Webster situation, the fact that Sam was available, the fact that he would fit in and the way that we thought he could fit in here that he was at a point where again, Cap wise it was manageable. I mean, a lot of things had to happen. And I give a lot of credit again to Ozzie to Shaq Harris, Director of Personnel that was on top of the situation that saw that Sam was was a viability, we got Sam in here and we’re able to get them signed up and there again, it was one of those things where fate takes a hand.


Nestor Aparicio  03:46

Trent Dilfer, Super Bowl champion, he could be going to Disneyland this week when it’s all over with for you a backup quarterback when he came in, he convinced you that he was the guy you had, I think some concerns about whether he could be a backup quarterback. There’s a certain mentality that goes into that. I think you had the same concerns about Tony banks when he first came in behind Scott Mitchell a year and a half ago. Yet it’s come full circle and Trent Dilfer is the guy now he is the poster boy, your relationship with him your thoughts about him because you work with so many quarterbacks and you bring up the Sean Salisbury but the Warren moons and Brad Johnson’s and the Randall Cunningham. So where does he fit in all of that?

Brian Billick  04:24

Well, Trent is a winner. He’s a throwback. He’s got the passion we talked about earlier the passion for the game. Probably one of the smartest quarterbacks I’ve ever been around and has a great sense for the game of what he needs to do. And what he doesn’t need to do for us to win a game to come in in the situation he did to be sitting here as a starter at 10. And one the most common question I get asked during the course of the year is can Trent Dilfer take you to a Super Bowl and most people ask that question in their mind saying I don’t think so. So I’ll ask you well You’re wrong. We’re here with Trent Dilfer. And when I say you I’m talking rhetorically is Carrie Collins a Super Bowl caliber quarterback? A lot of people question it, but you know what they’re here with Carrie Collins. I think that’s the nature of the game right now, I think you’re gonna see a lot of teams that are going to have quarterbacks that have been elsewhere, with limited mass access. That’s why they’re available. They’ll still be those teams that draft and able to take a guy and nurture them and turn you know, turn into a legitimate starting quarterback for them. But I think you’re gonna see this scenario time and time again. And it’s been great. It’s been particularly for Trent to come back here. It’s just another great storyline in a great year.

Nestor Aparicio  05:40

Brian Billick joining us here on nasty nationwide discussing a variety of different topics including Trent Dilfer and Trent Dilfer will get the ball and the call 48 hours from now. Super Bowl 35 The Ravens and the New York football Giants Brian Baldinger is now on the scene. Papa Joe is here I’m not sure which one we may do some legendary radio when we get back we may have Brian Baldinger and Papa Joe Chevalier in the same segment with myself. So this is this will be some A must listen radio. I mean, it’s gonna be amazing, but he’s your mic hot. Is it hot? Yes, it is hot.

Brian Billick  06:14

I know hot. I know. I

Nestor Aparicio  06:16

mean people just want to touch me. I know one thing. Baldy will be with us when we continue. Papa Joe is moving over into the catbird seat here. Baldy man you missed a good show. Welcome back. Great to have Greg cosell aboard from NFL films. And it’s nasty nationwide on the Friday football frenzy expecting Warren Moon to drop it later on in the program. Right now. We’re gonna go back in time to Monday night sat down at a little dinner with Brian Billick in some football chatter. The Ravens have been the least injured team in the National Football League this year. And we discussed injuries or lack thereof. And how do you get to the Super Bowl when your team doesn’t get injured but Brian Billick injuries haven’t happened this year. And I guess one of the things you put together with your coaching staff you try to get the best coaches and the best tacticians. But a lot of your players and your coaches have said to me personally, they think the strength and conditioning program that you have in your system is second to none, and it’s kept your players healthy. And I think that’s one story that we’re not going to hear a whole lot about this week’s not to be written about. But the bottom line is you guys have been the least injured team in the league. And that may be a contributor to you being here in Tampa,

Brian Billick  07:22

well, that has their again, that has a little bit of fate. You have to be lucky in that regard. But in that regard, you can also make your own luck, the structure that I have, it’s a proven structure. It stems back to the bill Walsh days of developing an offseason program, training camp mentality, the way you prepare during the course of the season, how you taper off physically go from pads to shells to shorts to then shell shorts and shorts to eventually where you’re just in shorts the latter part of the season with the idea of playing your best football in November in December. And when you look over the last two years, no one has played any better or has any better record over November, December and now January than we do over the last two years. And I think the system works in that regard. And more importantly, the players believe in it. They know that we’re going to take care of them. So that when we’re on the field, whether it’s training camp during the regular season when we’re in the classroom, if I if we’ve got a 45 minute meeting, give me a 45 minute meeting. If you do then it doesn’t have to be an hour and a half meeting. If you can give me a high spirited high tempo, hour and a half practice and it doesn’t have to be a two and a half hour practice in the long run. That’s what’s gonna keep us fresh.

Nestor Aparicio  08:31

One of the things they say that breaks Super Bowl teams good Super Bowl teams, how they lose is coming to the Superbowl weekend getting lost in it all so much was made about Jim fossil giving a curfew. You’re not giving a curfew. But it’s weird for players to be cooped up and coaches and yourself to be cooped up in a hotel room for a week and basically held hostage to the situation that you don’t want to go out. You don’t want to get in trouble. You want to be in a car accident. You don’t want to have anything go wrong. And you’re here and you have never experienced this yet. Marvin Lewis has Rob Woodson has Shannon Sharpe has Harry Swain is one of the people that have experienced this told you about it and how have you made yourself so prepared because it’s pretty infamous that you’d made a list of every single day back in November that you are going to be at the Superbowl, you’re going to be at Tampa. And right now you’re sitting exactly where you thought you’d be sitting.

Brian Billick  09:17

Well, part of the job is to be prepared and to prepare your players for what they can expect. The most common bit of advice I get from anybody that’s been here, coaches or player like and I’ve cam this many over the last few years, is you’ve got to do what you normally do. You’ve got to keep routine. You can’t change what you do dramatically because of the nature of the game. You have to appreciate and understand that when you get down to wherever the Super Bowl site is. It’s an arena that you can’t imagine having never been there. But you’ve got to mean you’ve got to stay true to who you are. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve come through an arduous month of playing Denver here, going on the road to Tennessee going on the road to Oakland in anticipation of that the key for us is to now stay fresh. So our approach last week was minimal with regards to the physical exertion, but very high in terms of the meaning meaning time when we were trying to get done mentally, what we’ll try to do here and why we came in on Monday, some people were questioning why didn’t we come in on Sunday, because these guys have not spent a Sunday with their families since August. We normally begin our work week on Monday. And that’s exactly what we did. This week, we had a weight workout, which is what they normally do on a Monday, we then traveled down here, they’ll have Tuesday off all but with the additional media requirements. And then we’ll begin Wednesday, like any other week that we’ve begun, and go through the same teaching progression we’ve gone before. And keeping that routine, I think, is the best way for our players to play their best because it’s a routine that they’re comfortable with curfew. Well. When I got here, in Baltimore, there were two things that I had the very first meeting I had with my players, I said, there are two things that we’re going to do. One, we’re going to play with passion, and I’m going to do everything I can to show you give you examples, put people in front of you that know about what the passionate takes to play in the National Football League. This team plays with passion. Anybody that has seen this team plays know that they do that. The second thing was accountability, that we had some good athletes here. But I made it clear right from the get go. Do you want to go to the Pro Bowl? Or do you want to go the Super Bowl, because sometimes it’s a conscious choice. You have to give up personal things for Team successes and accountability. As part of that. We’ve had curfews like everybody, we have curfew and training camp, we have curfew on the road the night before game and the curfew before where you play a home game. But I have no bed check. These are grown men. I told you, if you act like men, then I’ll treat you like men. And for two years, it has never been a problem. They know what the structure is. They know what the routine is. They know they need to stay rested. They know what’s at stake. I trust them to do the right thing. They are grown men, I’m going to treat them like men. I want to give them the best structure I can. But if I have to babysit these guys, at this point to get them to do what they know they need to do to get ready for the game in the biggest game of their life as well. There. We don’t have much of a chance on Sunday. If that’s the kind of guys that I have.

Nestor Aparicio  12:07

Ryan bellick speaking on Monday to me regarding the team’s chances and the injuries and the curfew and so much the stories of Superbowl week in the media have really taken on lives of their own. I mean, I guess it all started with the Ray Lewis story. There was the curfew story that came out of the gym fossil situation. And then it became the anti Ray Lewis thing where Shannon Sharpe stands up to defend Ray Lewis and teammates like Chris McAllister and Tony Siragusa have come out to defend parts. Welcome back. Nasty nationwide shattered with Brian Billick. Earlier this week on Monday night. We continue our conversation with Brian Billick regarding winning a Super Bowl with a defense Brian Billick joining us here on nasty nationwide. Some thoughts on the offensive side of the ball. You called it the dark side? I think it’s kind of facetiously Is it the dark side, if you have a Super Bowl ring five days from now, with an offense that may generate nine points and a nine three win this week.

Brian Billick  13:07

You know, when you look at some of the great games in the past and the 1714 scores and the 1410 scores, it’s kind of interesting, it kind of takes on a personality in of itself. Not many people are talking about the Giants offense in the same regard as us. But when you look at statistically over the course of the season, the amount of yards gain the point score, the third down conversion rate, we’re kind of marriage was one another. So sometimes it’s more perception than reality. We’ve done what we’ve needed to do on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball and special teams to be where we’re at. And we’re very proud of that.

Nestor Aparicio  13:41

You’ve heard that your offense stinks all week, yet you score more points in the Giants this year. Explain that.

Brian Billick  13:46

Well, perception versus reality there again, you have a lot of people commenting on things that it’s interesting, particularly in this environment, and I’ve tried to warn the players about it. There is so much competition. I think they gave us a figure today that there are 2700 media credentials, and however many just show up. That’s a lot of storylines. That’s a lot of information that a person can say something to one media person. And within the span of about 15 minutes. It can go 180 degrees the other way as it passes from one media member to the next you see it on the national broadcasts. Last to call a phone booth. I think exactly. Shawn Solsbury who played for me is doing a great job with ESPN goes on last night about wondering why we had a padded practice last week. Which is amazing to me in that we had 150 People crawling all over that building last week, you would think one of them maybe one might notice that we didn’t have a padded practice last week. But there again, one guy tells this guy this than the other all of a sudden now here’s a national prominent broadcast. questioning why we were in pads last week when we weren’t.

Nestor Aparicio  14:55

And you’re that’s just gonna be the first of many things that are this week. Absolutely. You worked In the media, you’re trained in the media.

Brian Billick  15:01

Absolutely. So you hold it at arm’s length. Some of it, you look kind of humorously and wondering how it got to be that way. Tuesday’s media briefing or media day is going to is amazing thing to behold. And it’s it’s kind of fun to sit back and watch, you all just kind of crawl over one another, trying to come up with some kind of different storyline, when we’re all kind of saying the same thing. For you cocky,

Nestor Aparicio  15:25

arrogant, self confident, ego, maniacal, all those and those

Brian Billick  15:29

are those are the good ones.

Nestor Aparicio  15:31

Those are just the good ones. For you, take you you take in the lightning for the team this week. I mean, are you trying to be the media guy and say, Leave Trent alone? Leave Ray alone? Leave my guys alone, Shannon and I will do all the talking. And we’re just gonna play the game on Sunday. No, I’m

Brian Billick  15:46

not that smart, am I? I don’t know, maybe you are. You do whatever, you have to get your team ready for the biggest game in their lives. This is an arena that not many are have been through before. We’re fortunate in that we have some guys, I think we have seven guys that have been in this game before. So that’s a huge resource for us to really be able to look the players in the eyes and say, Look, this is what’s going to happen, this is how this is going to be, you can try to lay it out as a coach for them and prepare them. But the players that have been there can tell them about media day can tell them how the week winds down what the atmosphere is at the stadium when you go to the stadium. And that’s invaluable for us. So we’re just trying to set the stage, we’re gonna have fun along the way. But that doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean we’re not serious about this. People may very well misunderstand our demeanor. This is a team that all year long, has enjoyed what they do, and they enjoy being out of practice. But when it comes time for whatever portion of practice they’re involved with, they got to focus, they can snap it back into focus. And they’ve proven that. So they’re going to enjoy themselves here. They’re going to remain focused, we’ll get our preparation done in the way that we’ve done it all along. And we’re going to go out and play the best game we can on Sunday. And but we’re not going to let this experience get away from us and have to look back and go, geez, I wish I would have I would have absorbed the moment a little bit more. Three things

Nestor Aparicio  17:07

concerns feelings you have about the game this week that were concerns to you. If This Then That this is how we screw up. This is how we lose. This is how we lost the Miami game, the Washington game, you only lost four times, and it’s been 10 weeks since you’ve lost your concerns coming down. You’re the things that could go wrong. The pitfalls. The

Brian Billick  17:25

first concern has been, although I’m feeling better about it, but still is how fresh are we? It’s been a long road here. So the nature of what we did last week, I’m going to be very careful about what we do this week. But we still have to prepare. So that’s a very fine line to walk. So that’s my biggest concern. The second concern has to be the focus on special teams. I think these two teams are so evenly matched that I think, and it’s a bit cliche, because typically special teams are always going to play a big factor in but I think special teams, whether it be field position, or a team getting a score out of the special teams, meaning upon return kickoff return a blocked punt, something of that nature, a blocked field goal is going to play a big part in it. So our special teams have to play a big part in what we’re doing. And then the other thing is obviously, to handle the distractions of what’s going on. And and the fact that you really can’t prepare for it. But at some point, you’ve got to find that emotional spot to where you can isolate yourself from what’s going on and stay focused on the game

Nestor Aparicio  18:31

three days away from Superbowl 35 That was coach Brian Billick of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens will take on the Giants at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. We’re in Tampa we’ll be joined by Donnie Abraham from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Next one on one. Sparks Purple is the color of Aquarius. So you’ll be safe go with the purple words of wisdom live words of wisdom. We chatted with the leader of the many purple head coach Brian Billick little dinner with Brian on Monday, we had some excerpts of our conversation. We talked about what it takes to turn a franchise around in just over 100 weeks. 100 weeks ago today, Brian Billy takes the job. Now they’re in the Superbowl. And here’s our conversation. So you’re as shocked as the media. You’re as shocked as the fans of Baltimore, you are as shocked as maybe even some of your players that you’re sitting here on the eve of a Super Bowl. The 100 weeks after taking a job

Brian Billick  19:43

I don’t know if it shocked is the right term, but it’s certainly unconventional. It’s not something I don’t know that anybody has taken and I don’t say this in a self serving manner. I’m saying this as a compliment to the players the entire coaching staff. The organization Ozzie Newsome, the MO Delos clearly, I don’t know of anybody that has taken a losing organization, or I should say a losing team. And in taking that losing team in such a short period of time, from beginning to end, two years going to the Super Bowl. So it’s a little unconventional. But it’s obviously very gratifying.

Nestor Aparicio  20:19

Let’s get back to Ozzie Newsome, your former tight end, never really achieved as much in your career as

Brian Billick  20:26

using my name and Aziz name and the word tight end in the same paragraph is that I don’t know if I can allow that, that. I’ve got a ways to go before like, what what some 900 catches?

Nestor Aparicio  20:37

Well, in using them in the same breath, you were in the same breath and you took a job where you’re under Ozzie Newsome, how much of the legend of Ozzy as a receiver goes into I mean, getting him getting the job with art is obviously a family relationship. But now you come in, and you’re not only working with executive, you don’t know. And we weren’t even sure of his competency. We know he was a great player. And to find yourself in such a great working relationship was there a little, I don’t want to say intimidation, because lord knows you, you work through all the years with the 40 Niners. But there has to be a little bit of that God gives a

Brian Billick  21:09

huge, huge amount of respect. And as he is a is fairly egoless. Man, you know, he’s all about winning. He doesn’t want the limelight, which works out real good, because it compensates for my oversight. But the thing that I think has helped between Ozzy and i is, is Ozzy has has coached. And so he understands, I think more readily the pressures I have to deal with. And the perspective I’ve had unique to my two most coaches backgrounds, I’ve been on the administrative side. And so I think I maybe understand that aspect of it just a little bit better than maybe a coach who’s never been exposed to the administration of the NFL and in the inner workings of a team from that perspective. So we have a great appreciation for what the other guy has to do, and and the pressures he has to deal with. So, you know, when I, when I first talked with Ozzy about it, I made a comment to him that would be no compromise. When we had disagreed on an issue, and I’m not sure, then he understood what I was saying, but I think he does now from the standpoint that if you compromise, there’s no accountability. And that’s not good. It’s his job to convince me to his way of thinking, or it’s my job to convince him to my way of thinking if we get to an issue that we disagree, and we’ve always been able to do that. And that’s the key to our ability to kind of piece this thing together.

Nestor Aparicio  22:30

All the players, Ray Lewis as a football player, did you have any idea maybe even in the one game, you coach, the Minnesota Vikings as an offensive coordinator three years ago, and came in with let’s be honest, the great one of the greatest offensive in history, the game, that the Ravens shut you down for a while in that game. And Ray Lewis was certainly a part of it

Brian Billick  22:46

very much. So they’ve got a great deal. Like I said, they had a great deal of talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of the guys that you see now, and played with a tremendous lot of attrezzata passion at a time where a lot of teams maybe wouldn’t do that. And they did they that’s what drew me to Marvin Lewis, because I think he did an excellent job. Even though I think this final score was 38 to 14, or something like that. That was not indicative of how close a game It really was. It was kind of a funny game with the kickoff returns. We we had we ran something like 45 plays to 50 plays in the first half alone, got down into the red zone can repeatedly and could only come away with field goals. It took our kickoff return for a touchdown to kind of break the ice. So you knew then that they had some pretty good talent.

Nestor Aparicio  23:32

I’ve talked to 50 people this week, and they’ve all brought up the one way to beat the Baltimore Ravens do what the Jets did on Christmas Eve. Not many people around the country saw what the Jets did. But the Jets marched down the field twice in your home building using a no huddle offense, keeping your base package defense on the field, and just rammed it down your throats twice in a row that’s happened once before, but the habit happened twice. You know, the giants are looking at that tape. My answer to that riddle is always well, the Ravens have that tape too. And they’re trying to fix what went wrong. Some thoughts about the one time something really did go wrong. And obviously you won that football game, but they’ll say you won it with special teams, and certainly one of the big plays on defense. Sure.

Brian Billick  24:11

And then that’s the ultimate again, keep in mind the situation the Jets came in, needing a win to make the playoffs. We had virtually no stake in the game. Yeah, there was the chance that Tennessee might lose the Dallas I don’t think people gave that much chance. So really, we didn’t have anything vested in the game other than at home wanting to play

Nestor Aparicio  24:31

well. And get home for Christmas eve dinner.

Brian Billick  24:34

Exactly right. And and the the game took on a certain personality. I will tell you what this team we gained from that experience having to come back from 14 points down and win the way we did much more so particularly going into the playoffs had we come out from the get go kind of controlled it like we had the previous six or seven games we played and won that way. And so this team learned what it was To come back under those circumstances yes someone can look at that film and say let’s try to do this if someone wants to try to come out totally abandon the running game and throw the ball 70 times

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