(IF I WROTE FOR A NEWSPAPER, THIS WOULD BE BIRDCAGE MATERIAL…
But at least I still retain my sense of humor…this was written at 8 a.m. Monday morning)
Because the "Is Brian Billick getting fired?" uproar around town has begun yet again, due to Jay Glazer’s report regarding players giving Steve Bisciotti direct feedback, it’s time once again to set the record straight (as we always try to do here at WNST.net).
Brian Billick is NOT getting fired on Wednesday.
Sure, there will be MANY changes in the offseason — the Ravens will change lots of players, a few coaches, obtain a new offensive coordinator (here are six names: Cam Cameron, Mike Mularkey, Ron Turner, Scott Linehan, Mike Martz and Mike Tice) and might even have some changes coming in the player personnel area do to inevitable poaching — but Billick and Ozzie Newsome will not be forced out of Owings Mills.
Several sources indicate that if anything, Bisciotti is MUCH more angry at the many players who have under-acheived, been injured or have been busy attempting to throw the coaching staff under the bus during the past 10 weeks.
Perhaps Glazer’s report was partially correct, Bisciotti might’ve been fishing around to see who was "with the program" and who felt like they didn’t wanna get back on the bus in Westminster with Billick and the rest of the organization in July.
The players might’ve thought Bisciotti was taking a "straw poll" on Billick’s popularity, but he might’ve really been accumulating information in his own mind as to whether the players’ own biases were a bigger part of the problem.
One source said bluntly: "What you’re reading in the papers is 180 degrees from what’s really happening here. If anything, Billick and Newsome are trying to keep Bisciotti from firing players on Wednesday!"
So much for the inmates running the asylum in Steve Bisciotti’s world.
Losing bothers everyone in Owings Mills, as it should.
But as long as there have been coaches and players, bosses and workers, chiefs and squaws, there has been conflict. It is heightened enormously when injuries and egos and losing and the "machismo" of professional football is thrown into the mix.
Not to mention the built-in immaturity of young men in their 20’s and early 30’s who are multi-millionaires and have been coddled since junior high school.
Do the players like Brian Billick? As you can well imagine, some do, some don’t.
Trevor Pryce always told me the ONLY thing the players in Denver all had in common was that they all hated Mike Shanahan. They won a couple of Super Bowls with that "arrangement."
I have a feeling many of the Patriots players wouldn’t want to be stuck on a deserted island with Bill Belichick, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t do their jobs on Sunday.
Billy Martin was never popular. Earl Weaver was never popular. And Bobby Knight turned sourpuss into a cottage industry while he won games.
But liking the coach is different from doing the job that Bisciotti is paying these players millions of dollars to do.
At some point the organization is going to need to weigh whether having Ray Lewis and Brian Billick not always being simpatico can be worked out to achieve victories in the future. Ditto Ed Reed or Chris McAlister or Jon Ogden or Derrick Mason or anyone else who has been disgruntled either on the record or behind closed doors with the Mike Prestons or Jay Glazers of the world.
Again: coaches get smarter and wiser as they get older, players lose their value as they age.
At some point, Billick and the front office will need to repair the damage or clean house. Marvin Lewis was very blunt about his "cleaning house" quotes over the weekend, and he has similar problems in Cincinnati with the likes of Chad Johnson, whom he coddled to the point of near-football suicide.
As anyone who has ever managed people knows: you just CAN’T let the employees run the company. It just doesn’t work!
I think one thing we’ll definitely see in the future is a much tighter ship in Owings Mills in regard to the players knowing who the boss is and that playing football at a high level is the REAL job no matter who the "head coach" is.
If Bisciotti can accomplish that on Wednesday, he’ll be making strides in the right direction for the future of the organization.
But because Bisciotti only "speaks" once a year in this fashion, it’s always a major day for the paparazzi to fuel speculation and conjecture.
It’s going to be very interesting to hear what Bisciotti has to say in regard to Billick and the organization as a whole, because he’s not stupid: he hears the noise of the fans in the community and he’s now heard the noise from his own locker room.
He made his fortune making adjustments and managing people.
This is another chance for him to exert his will on his franchise and business.
Pass the popcorn, this is gonna be good!