Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Ravens Infirmary and McNair's Struggles


The Ravens have been very tight-lipped about the illness that kept Samari Rolle sidelined for a few weeks. Recently John Czarnecki from Fox Sports reported that Rolle was plagued by a heart ailment. One Ravens source, while not revealing Rolle’s true medical issue emphatically denied that it was heart related.

Injuries are a way of life in the NFL. After the first kick of the season, no team is ever 100%. Outside of the injuries that are reported each week to the league, there are hundreds of other minor injuries seldom reported. Chris McAlister has played with a sore knee for a couple of weeks; after each game Haloti Ngata’s knee is about the size of his head – the effects of repeated collisions and bursitis; Bart Scott’s knee has been troublesome for quite a while and is only recently near 100%.

These athletes play with pain. It is a way of life. Some play through it better than others and those that do earn major respect from their peers. They are viewed as foxhole guys who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the overall good of the team.

Steve McNair has earned the reputation of “warrior” during his outstanding career yet one has to wonder if that reputation now works against McNair. He’s older and subsequently when he fights through the pain of one injury and favors other parts of his body, the favored parts begin to break down too. And perhaps for McNair, there’s a feeling that he needs to continue to live up to that reputation.

McNair’s delivery is much different than it was this time last year because of the groin injury. It affects his accuracy and it affects his velocity. To make things even worse, McNair has developed a penchant for unloading the football prematurely and it’s possible that that is his way of avoiding further contact.

Add it all up and it’s easy to understand why he has been so quick to throw short. And opponents have taken note.

Another somewhat disturbing habit that McNair has developed is a very deliberate pace in and out of the huddle. He may be the slowest quarterback in the league from huddle to snap but the quickest from snap to release. The slow tempo reduces time for pre-snap reads on the part of McNair and his offensive line signal caller. It also dictates the snap count. It was very obvious on Sunday that the Kyle Boller-led offense clearly had a better tempo in and out of the huddle.

Despite the more desirable tempo, the red zone efficiency continues to fall woefully short of expectations. The Ravens have scored just six touchdowns in 21 red-zone shots for a 28.5 percent success rate, which ranks them ahead of only the Rams and Falcons.


"It kind of tells you [the red zone failures are] not the quarterback, doesn't it," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Not necessarily. It probably tells you that it’s both quarterbacks.

The Ravens QB play in the red zone leaves much to be desired and the organization is painfully aware that the continued failure during scoring opportunities will bite them against the more formidable competition they will face after the bye on October 28.

Don’t be surprised to see the Ravens make a strong play for their QB of the future in the ’08 NFL Draft.

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

"It kind of tells you [the red zone failures are] not the quarterback, doesn't it," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Not necessarily. It probably tells you that it’s both quarterbacks.

The Ravens QB play in the red zone leaves much to be desired and the organization is painfully aware that the continued failure during scoring opportunities will bite them against the more formidable competition they will face after the bye on October 28.

Don’t be surprised to see the Ravens make a strong play for their QB of the future in the ’08 NFL Draft.


Wow. I can hardly wait. Then let's see...it'll take a couple years for the new QB savior to develop. But by then the defense will probably have a few less pro bowlers. And then the WRs will be gone. And then the O-line will have some holes. And then the RB will be an issue. And then the O-line coach will be an issue. And let's see...by that time...Brian Billick should be due for another 5 year extension. Wow. I can hardly wait.

ravcol said...

Actually Billick is correct. He placed himself in a precarious situation by taking the blame off of the key offensive player. What else is left? The one thing that has been constant the last eight years. Lousy offensive scoring and the same mastermind. Will Billick take a page out of last year and make a change at the break? Or is offensive scoring not really that important?

Harryos29 said...

I agree with Anonymous. And, Billick did take the Heat off the TWO QB's who are on the field for the team now. I'd love to see Billick Take himself out of the Offensive Equation period. Let Rick Neuheisel call the plays. Billick is a lot like Peter Angelos. Always meddling and not quite sure how to solve a problem with his team.
As I have Blogged Peter Schmuck many times. A good manager hires good people,...then backs off....and lets them do their Job.

Also, I'd try to Draft the QB from Lousiville, Brohm (sp?). Baltimore is batting .500 with Quarterbacks out of Louisville.. Unitas worked out...Redman did not. Lets try to tip the scales in our favor.
Harry O 29
Sykesville, Md