Thursday, January 24, 2008

Random Ravens Ponderings...

Random ponderings on a Thursday afternoon while awaiting that first snowflake…

Junior Seau is clearly a role model of sorts for Ray Lewis. Most thought that Seau had reached the twilight of his career, particularly the Chargers. Arguably he was to the Chargers what Ray is to the Ravens yet like other hometown heroes affected by the salary cap (Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott) Seau was jettisoned yet his passion for the game has guided him to more success.

Bill Belichick’s handling of Seau as a situational player has extended Seau’s career and deepened his wealth. Might someone do the same for Ray? The handwriting appears to be on the wall because these kind of career transitions for highly paid players almost always end with the player leaving his long time employer. Where might Ray end up in 2009? Your guess is as good as mine or the weatherman who predicted snow today.

I think my colleague Dev Panchwagh is on to something with the tag and trade scenario involving Terrell Suggs. If the Ravens can find a way to combine the productivity of a maturing Antwan Barnes with that of a rookie (No. 8 pick) like Vernon Gholston and add a player like Larry Fitzgerald through the tag and trade….in my best Jim Carrey voice, “I like it a LOT!”

What is The Sun's David Steele thinking about with Cleo Lemon? Lemon is the answer to the Ravens QB woes? Please. I would prefer Troy Smith working with Cam Cameron in a New York nanosecond to the former Ravens’ camp fodder QB. Haven’t the Ravens had enough lemons at quarterback? Give Cam a chance to work with Smith, a player who is very coachable and one with great leadership skills. Seems to me someone with those qualities who is also vertically challenged did pretty well for Cameron. Anyone familiar with Drew Brees?

Staying with the Ravens QB situation, does anyone really believe that Steve McNair will be the team’s starter on Opening Day 2008? Don’t count me among those that do. Brian Billick while he still believed he would be the Ravens head coach in 2008, hinted strongly that McNair may have played his last down for the Ravens and that’s coming from someone who has mastered the art of holding a press conference without saying a single meaningful word.

The Ravens can’t win with McNair. He ran out of gas in ’06 when the Ravens were good. Why would anyone think that he would be any better in ’08 after another surgery and two more years of wear and tear than he was in ’06? Save the money, make the cut, thank him for 2006 and move on.

Clearly the Ravens have done well with their first round picks over the years. But it seems to me they fall in love with those picks too and shell out way too much money to keep them. Want proof? They wear the numbers 20, 21 and 86.

Some believe that Chris McAlister could transition well to safety and extend his career given his physical style, much like Rod Woodson did. But McAlister doesn’t have the maturity or leadership of Woodson and he isn’t exactly a student of the game. McAlister might follow that path but let him do it elsewhere.

The older I get the more I hate winter. Ok, go ahead and call me a wuss. I am when it comes to cold weather. I felt like an even bigger wuss watching the Packers’ bikini girls out there by the frozen tundra. Brrrrrrrrr…

I am so appreciative of J.O. and his contributions to the Ravens and I will be like a proud brother when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That said count me among those that hope he hangs up the big toe and calls it a career. It’s time to move Adam Terry to left tackle and see if Jared Gaither can step in at right tackle. Move Yanda to right guard and shift Ben Grubbs back to his collegiate position of left guard. Given the girth of nose tackles these days, I don’t think that Chris Chester can handle them consistently. Jason Brown can. Move him to center.

If I’m Cam Cameron one of the first things I’d do is find a great teacher to fill in as my offensive line coach. A similar move did wonders for the Green Bay Packers. Cam might also consider James Lofton to coach his receivers. Lofton worked well with Cameron in San Diego.

If Rex Ryan can swallow the prerequisite humble pie, his return could work although the move would not be without risk. There is always the chance for sour grapes to rear their ugly heads and there is also a chance that Rex could leave after ’08 anyway. If Rex comes back the Ravens should identify a candidate in house who could take over for Rex should his return be a one and done deal. If they don't bringing Rex back is a waste of time.

Still no snowflakes…


Harryos29 said...

Harry o 29 Jan 24th
Tony, a boring thursday: First No snow; it was so boring in DC that RIGGO took the afternoon off; Cancelled his 5 pm show and went to the Boat Show. Still no Coach for the Redskins; I only mention this because Rex Ryan is in the mix..some where?
... At a Recent Ravens Nest meeting, our guest speaker predicted that Mc Nair may be the Starting Qb in 2008: I think all of that may change now, with Cameron in the fold. Yes, bring in James Lofton, surely he could help, Williams , Clayton and Darling, not to mention Mason and Heap. He would be WELL respected after his HOF NFL Career.
I could see Ray having a final year with a Championship caliber team like the Patriots; But it would make me happy to see Ray play his entire Career in Baltimore.
Random thought; Lets pull down Ernest Byner from the Ring of Honor and replace it with Billick; Brian did lead the team to a Super Bowl.Byner was on the sidelines with the Redskins the last time I saw him.
...David Steele must have had too much coffee? LEMON in a Ravens Uniform?
... Dev has a terrific Idea which I thought of myself as soon as the Franchise Tag was mentioned.And, after seeing the Interview with Suggs in Arizona.... Anybody who truly does not want to be here should be sent Packing. Besides that trade would give the Ravens the Wide Receiver they need to strike Fear in the hearts of other teams in the AFC North Division.
I agree with you on the J.O. issue of retiring; Hey, he is the best ever at that position, but there comes a time when the team needs to say "NEXT MAN UP"
Still no snow flakes at 10:30 pm?

Anonymous said...

One of the criticisms I have had with the front office (all of them) is the handling of the cap situation and how they overpay veterans. The Ravens and their fans fall head over heels for players who have been great in the past, thinking these players will play at the same level going 5 to 7 years into the future. It doesn't work that way. Past performance does not guarantee future performance, particularly in football. To me, once a player reaches the age of 32, he should only be retained if they are willing to sign for less money and shorter contracts, and limited bonuses. The thought of resigning Ray Lewis may be great for the fan base and marketing of the team; but it won't help on the football field. Hopefully the new coaching staff will do a complete evaluation of who is worth keeping and who should be traded. It is better to let someone go who has a little left in the tank and get a draft pick, rather than waiting until the player has zero value.

Everyone cited injuries last year as a reason why we failed as a team. Look at who was injured--Trevor Price, Jon Ogden, Ray Lewis, Samari Rolle, Steve McNair, etc. All players well over the age of 30. It is not to say a younger player doesn't suffer injuries, but the fact remains that there is a greater likelyhood of getting hurt and taking longer to heal than someone who is 25.

Harryos29 said...

To Anonymous. Harry o 29 Jan 26th
...I agree with your ASSESSMENT %100! The Ravens need to look 400 miles to the north, and use the Template used by the New England Patriots. Example, I've got $10 bucks on the table now to anyone who can NAME the 3 Wide Receivers who started for New England all year in 2006? I cannot Name them? ...They have a system and the players are replaceable parts! ...Everyone over the age of 30 knows, that this is strictly a business. Gone are the days of the owner plunking down a loan for someone Like Alan Ameche to open up a Restaurant chain. It doesn't happen any more. The players have no loyalty to any organization any more. Their loyalty is to the almighty dollar.
...Sure, the fans want to have their STARS to be around for a while and Ray Lewis and J.O. have been here, for longer than most NFL Careers last.
...Bring in some young players from the draft and coach them up and lets get on with it! The veteran players will be leaving sooner or later and I say let them go Sooner!