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Brian Billick

Brian Billick

 

Brian Billick is a Super Bowl-winning coach who led the Ravens to the Lombardi Trophy in 2000. He spent nine seasons as Baltimore's head coach (1999-2007) after previously working as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator (1994-98). In addition to writing for NFL.com, Billick is an analyst on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" and other shows.


November

At first glance, the wide receiver position appears to be the easiest at which to transition from college to the NFL. To a large degree, receivers rely on sheer physical ability and do not have to work in conjunction with a lot of other players. Compare... more

Losing in the NFL is never an easy proposition. When you are 3-7, like the Washington Redskins, and have just received a righteous beatdown from the previously 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at home, to the tune of 27-7 -- well, let's just say it's not a... more

Ten weeks into his fourth pro season, Ryan Mallett had yet to start a game at quarterback in the NFL. He hadn't seen the field since the Houston Texans' blowout win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 2 , when he took one snap and dropped to his knee to run... more

My duties on NFL Network constantly require me to comment on which teams are good and which are bad, who is playing well and who isn't, and -- most importantly -- who is going to win from one week to the next. Faced with these challenges, I'm annually... more

As I wrote earlier this season , the apparent promise of starting a backup quarterback -- that a diamond in the rough will rise to heroic status when given an opportunity -- usually proves to be a mirage. More often than not, the dream comes to a crashing... more

Take a look at the way conventional wisdom about the best team in football has changed in the first two months of the season, and you can see why many believe NFL really stands for "Not For Long." Seattle looked unbeatable during the season opener ...... more

In the most general sense, coaches in the NFL have three goals, two of which go hand in hand: win the division, make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. When I was coaching, I tried to simplify the regular season with the first two goals in mind.... more

October

Halfway through the 2014 NFL season, a few things are clear: The Broncos are good, the NFC West is a bear, and rumors of the Patriots' demise have been greatly exaggerated. But it's still difficult to sort out the genuine contenders from the teams that... more

It's only the midway point, but for several NFL teams, the die seems to be cast: This is a lost season. People constantly ask me, How do you handle a team in this dire situation? But the situations these teams find themselves in, although similar in... more

The Football Gods have repeatedly shown a keen sense of humor, particularly when bestowing success on some coaches. I've seen it firsthand. In 1998, as offensive coordinator for the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings, I was blessed with an extraordinary group... more

The football world is all a Twitter -- pun intended -- over the Dallas Cowboys and their 30-23 win over the Seahawks in Seattle. It's not just that so many people expected the Cowboys to be dreadful this season. It's that the old Dallas script -- of... more

Coaching decisions are viewed strictly through the prism of hindsight: If they work, you're brilliant; if they don't, you're the village idiot. Mike McCarthy walked that fine line in the Green Bay Packers' come-from-behind, last-second win over the... more

We're in a golden age of quarterback play. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are likely Hall of Famers. Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning each have a pair of Super Bowl rings in their back pockets, and could reach the Hall with a... more

When Baltimore traveled to Indianapolis , the game was set up to be an intriguing matchup of two of the best teams in the AFC, with both the Ravens and Colts riding an offensive explosion of productivity. After opening up the season with a pair of... more

You hear it almost weekly, when coaches talk about their next opponent and what it will take to beat them. Invariably, a coach will mention an opposing player and state a simple directive: "We have to account for him on every play." Brooks:... more

September

Somewhere between an opening scoring drive that included 14 plays and a postgame expletive that involved a New York Jets fan , Geno Smith might have cost Rex Ryan his job. Make no mistake about it: Despite the contract extension he signed in January ,... more

The love of backup quarterbacks is as old as the game itself. The romantic notion of the unheralded understudy persists: He comes off the bench to save the day, then turns out to be the gridiron equivalent of Lou Gehrig replacing Wally Pipp. There have... more

Each Monday, Brian Billick provides a coach's perspective on a consequential decision from Sunday, as well as a compelling take on a trending topic. Here are his thoughts from Week 3: The coach's decision: Jacksonville made the only call it could at... more

When you consider some of the contracts recently signed by quarterbacks across the NFL -- including Tony Romo (six years, $108 million ), Joe Flacco (six years, $120.6 million ) and Colin Kaepernick (six years, up to $126 million ) -- it's clear there can... more

Each Monday, Brian Billick provides a coach's perspective on a consequential decision from Sunday, as well as a compelling take on a trending topic. Here are his thoughts from Week 2: The coach's decision: The logic behind deactivating a starting... more

Last week on NFL Network's "Playbook,"  Sterling Sharpe asked me what the first-time head coaches were thinking heading into their regular-season debuts. I answered by referencing former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's famous 2002 press conference... more

What NFL themes emerged from the opening Sunday of the 2014 season? Our resident coach, Brian Billick, provides five major takeaways: 1) The 18-game schedule is going to be a tough sell A significant injury can alter the course of a team's season, but... more

I don't want to bury the lead, so I'll put my conclusion right up top: If you take a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft and you're not sure if you should start him from Day 1, then you probably took the wrong guy. As is the case in most... more

February

The end of the season, whether it comes during the Super Bowl or earlier in the process of elimination, carries a jarring finality -- as well as a nearly instant rebirth. I've been on both sides. I walked off the field in Tampa after Super Bowl XXXV... more

January

Even more so than Most Valuable Player or Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year is a subjective evaluation. Debate: Coach of the Year? Andy Reid engineered a nine-win improvement in Year 1 with the Chiefs. Does this merit some hardware? Let's debate!... more

I've been watching football for virtually my whole life. And I'm still learning about the game. Here are a few things I'll take away from the 2013 season, as it nears its culmination: » Sometimes a single play can change a rule in the NFL. The... more

It happens a lot in the NFL: The dazzling revolutions of September and October -- the promise of a new-fangled Wildcat or read-option or run-and-shoot paradigm that will change everything -- often fall by the wayside in the bitter rain and snow and cold... more

Looking at the eight teams left in the NFL playoffs, one thing quickly jumps out at you: eight elite quarterbacks. You might not think the eight QBs remaining are the eight best signal-callers in football, but they all probably fall somewhere within the... more

For almost every one of the 12 teams left in the NFL's championship tournament , playoff football doesn't come as a surprise. Many of these teams have known since October that they likely were going to be playing in the postseason. And when a team... more

December

It is a regrettable fact of life in the NFL that the holiday season is also the firing season. Either you or someone you care about is on the proverbial hot seat, facing a firing and all the consequences that come with it. There's a reason coaches refer... more

If you've been in the game long enough, you see some controversies coming from a ways off. The playoff picture How would your team's prospects look if the season ended today? See where each team stands in the playoff picture midway through the season.... more

In the weeks ahead, you'll hear a lot of talk about momentum , and how essential it is for teams entering the playoffs. The playoff picture How would your team's prospects look if the season ended today? See where each team stands in the playoff... more

They didn't stop the game or take out a full-page ad in any newspaper, but another NFL record fell Sunday. Tom Brady When Tom Brady threw his second scoring strike Sunday, a dink to Shane Vereen that went for 9 yards in the New England... more

November

Football players are creatures of habit. In many ways, they have the most conventional schedule among professional athletes in the major American sports. A five-day work week, a weekend of sorts (Monday and Tuesday, give or take injury rehab and/or film... more

With the results of games Sunday and Monday night, the league is facing an unusual situation: In each conference, two of the best teams play in the same division (New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers in the NFC South, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver... more

We're 10 weeks into the 2013 season, and besides the six elite teams at the top (Seahawks, Saints, Panthers, Chiefs, Broncos, Patriots), it's hard to get a clear reading on much of the league. Are the Lions for real? Are the Colts and Bengals contenders... more

On consecutive days last weekend, John Fox was hospitalized after feeling light-headed while golfing during the Denver Broncos' bye week, and Gary Kubiak fell to his knees while coming off the sideline at halftime of Sunday night's game between his... more

October

"The key to success is reaching out, extending yourself, striking, and then, if you fail, bouncing back and doing it again -- being so resourceful that finally, when the moment comes again, you won't hesitate. What makes this possible is having a plan... more

The oldest -- and perhaps truest -- cliché in football is that you build your team around your quarterback. But at what point do you decide you made a mistake and start over? It's a question that the leaders of every NFL franchise must ponder sooner... more

As we take a look at the trends that are shaping the 2013 NFL campaign, it's clear that we've gotten a long way from the ground-game glory days of Eric Dickerson, O.J. Simpson and Jim Brown. Six weeks into this season, just two players -- LeSean McCoy... more

The NFL has become more and more of a homogeneous league, with parity pushing all teams to the middle, but some extreme outliers still exist just beyond the quarter pole of the 2013 season. Entering Week 6, there are three teams sitting at 5-0 and four... more

Every NFL season is a learning process. Preconceived notions of the summer often are turned on their head by Halloween (if not sooner), while players whose names might not have even appeared in their team's preseason previews wind up being a cause for... more

September

It was late, and he'd probably had a few, but Jerry Jones spoke for a lot of owners one night in 1993 when he said "any one of 500 coaches could have won" the two Super Bowls claimed by the Dallas Cowboys under coach Jimmy Johnson. The obvious message... more

Ask an average fan to name the easiest transition from college to the NFL, position-wise, and you're likely draw one common answer: wide receiver. The thought is that the relevant skills -- speed, hands and body positioning -- translate directly to the... more

There are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but there aren't really 32 players who can succeed at being a starting quarterback in the NFL. If you don't have a proven commodity at the position, the preseason can be a period during which you're... more

As I traveled around the country this past month -- watching games, talking with coaches, preparing for the 2013 season -- one question came up most often, capturing the imagination of both the people who work in football and the fans who watch it: What... more

June

We are a long way from knowing the complete set of circumstances that led to Aaron Hernandez being arrested and charged in the murder of Odin Lloyd . Hernandez will have his day in court. But although it has no legal impact, the New England Patriots'... more

NFL.com caught up with NFL Network analyst -- and former NFL head coach -- Brian Billick for a quick question-and-answer session to get his thoughts on the New England Patriots' decision to bring on controversial quarterback Tim Tebow. Q: Why do you... more

December

Associated Press Adrian Peterson (left) and Peyton Manning have overcome major health obstacles to have successful 2012 seasons. Much like the MVP award should change its name to the MVQB, the Comeback Player of the Year might as well be the... more

Associated Press Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice and Houston Texans RB Arian Foster will play crucial roles in a thrilling Week 15. The outcome of a game often turns on the performance of a single player. Can the star running back take control, or... more

A handful of observations as we turn the page on Week 13 and head into Week 14: » Bears really bring it. The Chicago Bears got another turnover on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks . When Brian Urlacher punched the ball away from running back... more

November

Three observations as we turn the page on Week 12 and head into Week 13: San Francisco's simply the best Harrison: Week 13 Power Rankings Twenty-six of the NFL's 32 teams are on the move -- some up, some down -- in Elliot Harrison 's updated pecking... more

Last Sunday, we saw two fake punts by the St. Louis Rams, a fake field goal for a touchdown by the Baltimore Ravens, a punt return for a touchdown by the Denver Broncos (albeit on a play that should have actually resulted in a touchback ) and a punt... more

October

Amid flying rumors and opining analysts, Andy Reid announced Wednesday that he would not replace Michael Vick as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. And you can hardly blame him. Benching Vick would have been the same as waving a... more

By now, most of you have probably seen the great hustle play by New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who ran down Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson on a 95-yard pass play, tackling him just before the goal line. While that moment was... more

G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press Kansas City Chiefs QB Brady Quinn continued to struggle as a starter Sunday, dropping his career record to 3-10. A handful of observations as we turn the page on Week 6 and head into Week 7: » New... more

A handful of observations as we turn the page on Week 5 and head into Week 6: » Next man up in Houston. Brian Cushing's season-ending ACL injury obviously is a blow to the Houston Texans, but I don't believe it will send the team into a tailspin.... more

Ed Zurga/Associated Press Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles has lost two fumbles in four games this season, matching his total from the 2010 season. A handful of observations as we turn the page on Week 4 and head into Week 5: » The fumbling... more

September

I'm not going to spend much time discussing what happened in Seattle on Monday night , but the class displayed by Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy shouldn't go unnoticed. Coaches' postgame news conferences have provided some pretty intense (and often... more

A handful of observations as we turn the page on Week 2 and head into Week 3: Breer: Why are young QBs thriving? Ten teams are starting QBs with less than two years' experience. Is it working? Albert Breer explores in his weekly notes. More ...... more

April

As made clear in Parts 1-6, teams need an elite quarterback to compete in today's NFL. But getting one is the biggest risk an organization can take. It is easy to identify the qualities it takes to be successful as a quarterback in this league, but... more

When projecting the potential of any quarterback, you have to look at the environment he is entering. Signal callers develop differently in different systems, and a QB's brilliance and development can be stifled by the wrong setup. Archie Manning might... more

The task of identifying the quarterbacks of the future isn't getting easier. There's an apple-and-oranges problem that's only getting worse. It's difficult to project quarterbacks from the spread offenses so prevalent in college into the multiple... more

It is obvious that finding the right quarterback is the key to success in the NFL. So, you're thinking to yourself: Find an expert. Find someone who knows. Someone with a track record. Over the past 25 years, no one has had a better track record than... more

The only thing that scares coaches and personnel people more than selecting a first-round quarterback who becomes a bust is not taking one who develops into a franchise player. Think about the teams that needed quarterbacks, yet passed on Aaron Rodgers,... more

If you're the general manager of a team that drafts the right quarterback -- like the Steelers, who took Terry Bradshaw in 1970, the Cowboys, who picked Troy Aikman in 1989, or the Colts, who picked Peyton Manning in 1998 -- you will feel that you have a... more

Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Marathon Man") says there is a key rule that you must always remember to understand the way things work in Hollywood: "Nobody knows anything." When it comes to... more

March

Ed Zurga/Associated Press In the NFL's current replay system, referees go under the hood to review multiple angles on a TV monitor. One of the more subtle points of intrigue at the NFL Annual Meeting this week in Palm Beach, Fla., is the proposal... more

Associated Press Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael (left) and DC Steve Spagnuolo are candidates to replace Sean Payton in 2012. What now? The most difficult aspect of the path forward for the New Orleans Saints and coach Sean Payton is that... more

Associated Press Cedric Benson (left) and Brandon Lloyd are two players who still merit interest from several teams in free agency. Now that we are through the first flurry of free agency, it gets very interesting with regards to the value a team... more

February

When the NFL Network rolled out its Top 100 players in the NFL series last summer, eyebrows were raised by Eli Manning's complete absence from the list. The Giants quarterback was coming off a 25-interception season and in the eyes of his peers, who... more

January

The NFL season began with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning making a statement to a New York radio station that he considered himself to be among the league's elite at the position. At the time, it was a highly debatable topic. Now, having a shot at... more

Back in my coaching days, I would set aside time every year to take a hard look at the final four teams that were playing on Championship Sunday. These teams obviously represent the most successful franchises of each particular season. The objective is to... more

Rematches have been a hot topic this week, sparked by Monday night's BCS title game between Alabama and LSU. The Tigers won the regular-season meeting, but the Tide took round two and left New Orleans with a national championship. In the NFL, rematches... more

As Mark Twain was fond of saying, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics." People can use statistics to serve whatever argument they might want to support. Coaches are the first to dismiss statistics as irrelevant to the game. They often say that the... more

December

This is my annual futile attempt to propose to the NFL that it is time to consider reseeding the playoffs once the teams have been established. How Billick would reseed playoffs Teams would get in by winning the division and there would be two wild... more

I have called Detroit Lions games a couple of times in the past month and will have them once again to finish the season next weekend against the Green Bay Packers. Of all the things you can point to in identifying how they have transformed from the... more

With the firings of Todd Haley and Tony Sparano this week, the annual coaching frenzy officially has begun. The three dismissals (Jacksonville canned Jack Del Rio earlier in the season) nearly match the number of coaches who were let go during the season... more

When the calendar flips to 2012 next month, the country will be focused on three things: 1. Who will win the Iowa caucuses? 2. Will the Broncos stay with Tim Tebow at QB? 3. Will the Colts draft Andrew Luck? The Colts-Luck situation will be the... more

A few quick thoughts around the league: Selfish Stevie Steve Johnson is the type of player who keeps me from getting back into coaching. His TD celebration was a selfish act that said this is all about "me" and not about "us." Johnson's celebration had... more

November

Jim Brown/US Presswire Danieal Manning (38) and the Texans have 14 interceptions as a team this season, third best in the NFL.   People are constantly looking for the right combination of stats to indicate the probable success of a team. What... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Aaron Rogers, left, lobbied in the offseason for the Packers to re-sign wide receiver James Jones.   After calling the Packers-Chargers game for Fox last Sunday, I was told via Twitter that I might have a slight... more

Every team has a tough schedule in the NFL. But when and where specific games are scheduled plays a huge part in the momentum it takes to get into the playoffs. Case in point, the NFC East. After Dallas was beat down in Philadelphia , Cowboys owner... more

October

As we approach the midway point of the NFL season, the inevitable march to the first firing of a coach has begun. Based on last year's record number of in-season firings coupled with the performance of some of the teams thus far, we know the day is... more

Associated Press/US Presswire Alex Smith (left) and Frank Gore have helped lead the Niners to a surprising 5-1 start to the season. It's unfortunate the incident between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz overshadowed one of the best defensive... more

When it comes to age, they say 50 is the new 40. When it comes to fashion, gray is the new black. And when it comes to passing yardage, 400 is the new 300. It used to be that if a quarterback threw for 300-plus yards, it was something special... more

The Philadelphia Eagles' defense is in full crisis mode, and new coordinator Juan Castillo needs to find a way to adjust his strategies to fit the considerable assets the unit has acquired. Lombardi: What's wrong in Philly? Frustration has set in for... more

September

I have been on the offensive side of the ball for virtually my entire football career. I love the passing game and the artistry it represents. Heading into Week 4, NFL quarterbacks have thrown for better than 300 yards 34 times, obliterating the previous... more

Winning on the road is the hardest thing to do -- not just in the NFL but in all of professional team sports. The time-honored formula to be a good team is to win at home, split on the road, beat the teams you are supposed to beat and split with the ones... more

Tim Heitman/US Presswire Quarterback Kevin Kolb threw for 309 yards and led the Cardinals to victory in his first game. Lost in all the excitement over Tom Brady's 517-yard night and Cam Newton's 422-yard debut in Week 1 was another... more

Former NFL coach Brian Billick, who led the Ravens to a Super Bowl XXXV title, is now an analyst for NFL Network. This is his first column for NFL.com. Due to the lockout and the unique nature of this year's offseason, there are three criteria I am... more

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