Baltimore fan invades Colts blog!

Baltimore Beatdown
Rexx, the head blogger over at Baltimore Beatdown, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the old Baltimore Colts, Johnny U., and (of course) the game this Sunday between the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts.

He even let my hold his Kyle Boller action figure! Actually, no. I'm lying. I didn't hold the figure. But, dare to dream!

BBS: First off, were you a Baltimore Colts fan before becoming a Baltimore Ravens fan? If so, what was your reaction in 1984 when the Colts moved?

Rexx: The team had sunk to the depths of the NFL by then and attendance was at an all-time low. Irsay had been recently interviewed as he appeared drunk and said he wasn't moving the team. To steal them out in the middle of a snowy night showed what type of person he was and his lack of any integrity. The least he could have done was be more like Art Modell was when he moved the Browns from Cleveland and leave the team name colors.

BBS: I think we can both agree that Bob Irsay was not the best of owners. What's your opinion of his son, Jim Irsay, who now owns the Colts and seems to be the stark opposite of his father?

Rexx: Once an Irsay, always an Irsay. He was produced using the seed of his father. Therefore, if I can speak for all of Baltimore, we're glad to be done with the entire family. While deep down seeing the blue horseshoe on the helmet evokes good old memories, the Ravens are our team now and the Colts are yours.

BBS: After the Super Bowl last year, I recall many former-Baltimore Colts (I can't remember their names) saying Peyton Manning reminded them of John Unitas. One went so far to say Peyton walked like John. Do you think Manning deserves to be mentioned in the same category as Unitas? Why or why not?

Rexx: Absolutely yes. Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He also seems very respectful of the legend of Johnny U., even petitioning the league (unsuccessfully, I believe) to allow him to wear hightops like Unitas. My opinion is that Unitas was one of the best, but Manning is right up there with him. However, Manning is a much better actor!

BBS: It looks like Brian Billick will get fired after this season. It's my opinion that this should have been done a looooooong time ago in Baltimore. What's your assessment of Billick? Should he stay, and if he doesn't what is his legacy?

Rexx: Up until this season I was a huge Brian Billick fan. He is a great motivator and sticks up for his players, treating them better than most coaches in the league, according to the free agents that come in here. Sometimes, arrogance is a requirement to be the coach of a NFL team. However, the repeated poor playcalling and clock management during critical junctures in games this season has convinced me he should go. Unfortunately, he just signed a four year extension after last season's 13-3 record and with three years and $15 million still due, there's just no way ownership pulls the plug on him after this year.

BBS: And finally, what are your key match-ups in this upcoming game? Will Baltimore use a similar defensive plan against Manning that they used against Brady last week? Or, will they do what they normally do against Peyton and drop everyone into coverage?

Rexx: The key to beating the Colts will be to put pressure on Manning when he drops back into the pocket. If the Ravens can continue to play defense like they did against the Patriots, they will make it surprisingly tough for Manning and the Colts. Offensively, the Ravens will need to repeat their rushing performance against the Colts in order to allow Kyle Boller the luxury of pass protection to find his receivers and limit his mistakes. If the Ravens can control the game like they did against New England, they can make a game of it and perhaps even upset the Colts. I never would have said this before the Pats game. However, for the first time all season, the Ravens played the way they were expected to play.

BBS: Bonus question: Game outcome and why?

Rexx: While the Colts are pretty close to a double digit favorite, they will be hard pressed to earn the victory, as despite the Ravens woes this season, the defense has never given up. Both cornerbacks are back for just about the first time in a couple of months and there is still not another middle linebacker who affects the game like Ray Lewis continues to do. Don't underestimate this angry and frustrated Ravens team. If they can control their emotions, they will spring the upset Sunday night. You heard it here first: Ravens 24, Colts 23!

Thanks to Rexx for the chat. Rexx blogs over at Baltimore Beatdown, and will have my answers to his questions up soon.
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