Thursday, June 28, 2007

BOSTON HERALD WRITER TAKES SHOTS AT RAVENS


In an article entitled “History Favors Thomas, Ex-Ravens Get a Bad Rap”, the Boston Herald’s John Tomase strongly suggests that the locally held opinion that Ravens’ defenders that leave for the greener grass don’t always fail outside of Baltimore. Tomase goes on to say that such a hypothesis isn’t even remotely supported by fact.

First, let me be clear that I don’t think for a second that Adalius Thomas will be a failure in New England. Outside of Baltimore, AD’s skills are probably best suited for New England. There are strong synergies there.

But about this premise from Tomase…

Let’s take a look at the evidence he uses to support his argument (in italics followed by my rebuttal):

“Massive nose tackle Sam Adams was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Ravens who went on to earn another trip to Honolulu with the Bills after leaving Baltimore in 2002.”

True but as we’ve seen often, Pro Bowl nominations are often the byproduct of a reputation. Adams has hardly been the player he was in 2000 and 2001, both seasons as a Raven when he established that reputation.

“Linebacker Jamie Sharper led the NFL in tackles (166) with the Texans in 2003, two years after bidding farewell to Baltimore. While tackles can be a misleading stat and Sharper was not considered as dominating a player in Houston, he remained productive.”

I think Tomase just admitted in the above statement that Sharper wasn’t as good in colors other than purple, didn’t he?

“Ageless defensive back Rod Woodson authored maybe the best season of his Hall of Fame career with the Raiders in 2002, recording 82 tackles and a career-high eight interceptions - including two returned for touchdowns.”

Woodson wasn’t a product of the Ravens system. I would argue his best years were as a Steeler yet he certainly was a contributing member of the Ravens. If you recall, Woodson was a struggling corner with the San Francisco 49ers and some thought he was done, probably even the Niners. How else do you explain that they opted for former Raven Antonio Langham (another example of a former Ravens’ defender fading away) to replace Woodson at corner? Simply put the Ravens helped revive Woodson’s career and they recognized something that the Niners didn’t – that Woodson, like former Niner Ronnie Lott, could extend his career by moving to safety.

“Safety Will Demps was limited to 11 games with Baltimore in 2005, but rebounded to post a career-high 100 tackles with the Giants last year.”

Demps was injured during 2005 and while he may have posted a career high 100 tackles in ‘06, his team’s defense ranked 25th overall last season and 28th against the pass. Given that Dawan Landry was far more productive as a rookie at a fraction of the cost…well you can guess the rest. And by the way, is 100 tackles for a safety a good thing?

Tomase also mentions a few offensive players as evidence that former Ravens don’t venture into a performance abyss. Those players include: Casey Rabach, Shannon Sharpe, Chester Taylor and Marcus Robinson. Of those four only Rabach was a miss (Sharpe, Taylor and Robinson were cap decisions) but the original premise of former Ravens failing outside of Baltimore focuses on defensive players.

Tomase points towards DB Corey Harris, DE Marques Douglas and DT Maake Kemoeatu as further evidence that new homes for old Ravens aren’t all that bad.

Did he mean financially?

Corey Harris? Nice role player but how can you compare his meaningful stats with the Ravens, partly as a back up to those that he accumulated as a member of the hapless Detroit Lions where he probably had significantly more snaps because the Lions defense couldn’t get off the field?

Marques Douglas? Another nice player in the Ravens D-line rotation. But over his last two seasons as a Raven, Douglas had 133 tackles and 10 sacks compared to 119 and 4 in ’05 and ’06 as a 49er. And clearly those contributions are on a far inferior defense to Baltimore’s.

Maake Kemoeatu? The former nice guy Raven who signed his new contract 1 minute after the free agency period opened? That Maake Kemoeatu? Nice payday for the undrafted free agent. Kemo had 34 tackles in ’06 as a Panther compared to his 40 as a Raven the year before…and those certainly were far more costly tackles for Carolina given the hefty $23 million contract.

Tomase does mention Ed Hartwell as a former Raven who flamed out. He also mentions Duane Starks, Gary Baxter and Tommy Polley.

What about Anthony Weaver and Kim Herring?

Tomase seems to be defending the Patriots free agent choice of AD and that’s fine. But what has to factor into the equation here is not only what the former Ravens’ defenders didn’t do when they left, but also the value they received from the replacements for these high priced free agents.

For example, Bart Scott is a superior player to Hartwell at a much lower price. Weaver had a bigger signing bonus than Trevor Pryce and there is clearly no comparison as to which of those two is a greater impact player.

Kemo’s dollars and cents went to Haloti Ngata, a far superior player with a much higher ceiling and probably a longer career still ahead.

In many ways, the Ravens roster management is similar to that of the Patriots. They’ve learned the hard way not to attach themselves emotionally to players at the risk of poor cap management. AD is a perfect case in point. And John, fyi…the Ravens did not opt to not tag AD in order to extend Bart Scott. Bart has two more years remaining on a three year deal he did last year. The Ravens chose not to extend AD because they recognize that they can’t afford both he and Terrell Suggs. Suggs has a higher ceiling than AD and at 24 he clearly has many more years ahead of him than the new Patriot.

Nice try Tomase. I think YOUR argument isn’t even remotely supported by fact unless of course you include offensive players who weren’t even part of the original perception held by the local media that free agent DEFENDERS generally aren’t as productive when they leave Baltimore.

It looks like you’ve conveniently overlooked that to support your argument.

And that begs the question, “Why not include the most obvious former Raven who outperformed his seasons in Baltimore more so than any other ex-Raven?”

Answer: Priest Holmes

Do your homework Johnny!


Good luck AD!

8 comments :

Rick said...

Hey Tony, you must have been reading that article at the same time I was. Since his online paper doesn't have a comments section I was going to email the guy with essentially the same things you said. I also think he doesn't differentiate between players that the Ravens decide to let go after their contract ends versus players who were taken from us by the expansion draft or were released during a necessary salary cap purge a few years after the Superbowl win. Where I think the Ravens excel is the decision to not overpay for a player that they think they can replace with a younger, cheaper player. In the salary cap you have to think like this so you don’t end up with a team that is made up of a small number of older well paid players and a large number of cheap not-as-talented players (i.e. Raiders). That is why the Ravens have been consistently a winning franchise for a long time. Of those players he mentioned failing, most of them were not re-signed for that purpose. They have all been replaced by younger drafted players that have done as good of job if no better. There is nothing wrong with AD and I’m sure he will do wonderful in NE, but the Ravens are thinking long term and saving money for a much younger Suggs.

Paulie Walnuts said...

This Tomase sounds like he's from the Brooklyn mob and he needs to be whacked! What is he, the New England answer to Mike Preston. Like TL said, do your homework!

Anonymous said...

TL FOR PRESIDENT

Tony Lombardi said...

You can check out this related link too:

http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/patriots/?p=1276

Perry said...

I'm assuming there's been some discussion amongst Patriot faithful about what happens with former Raven free agents and that sparked the article. Had to make the locals feel better about it. Personally, I like AD and think he'll remain a B'more favorite (except when we play him). If anyone deserves to be blessed with the fruits of his labor it's him.

Rashad Gray's Blog said...

You know what the funny thing is, no one realizes that we pretty much own the AFC North division. Cleveland is starting a rookie quarterback(Brady Quinn)that in my opinion is overrated. Ben hasn't been the same since his motorcycle accident, and if we can topple Cincinatti, the division championship and a playoff spot is ours. For any real Ravens fan, 2006 was only a preview of better things to come.

Baltimore Department of Sewage & Sanitation said...

This article is garbage. We took care of it.

Tomase makes Preston look like a Pulitzer Prize winner!!!

Anonymous said...

"You know what the funny thing is, no one realizes that we pretty much own the AFC North division. Cleveland is starting a rookie quarterback(Brady Quinn)that in my opinion is overrated. Ben hasn't been the same since his motorcycle accident, and if we can topple Cincinatti, the division championship and a playoff spot is ours. For any real Ravens fan, 2006 was only a preview of better things to come."


BWAHAHAHA How'd that work out for you guys?