Monday, February 18, 2008

DE a better investment than CB...Calling Billy Volek?

Let’s face it, like the double play is to a pitcher a pass rush is to a cornerback. Give a QB time to throw and even the most average of quarterbacks can look like a Pro Bowler or Super Bowl Champ/MVP (Mark Rypien, Doug Williams come to mind?).

Even Darrell Green or Deion Sanders while in their prime couldn’t hang with a receiver if the opposing QB had time to stand back and recall details of his previous night’s date with a supermodel.

So if given a choice between Prime Time and Reggie White, I’ll take Reggie White all day long. Even if Sanders can stay with Jerry Rice 24/7 if I’m Steve Young, I can still look for Brent Jones or John Taylor or Roger Craig if I don’t have to worry about a player like White.

So with that in mind, I say invest in the trenches. Go for a DE that can disrupt at the line of scrimmage. That’s an investment that pays more predictable dividends and helps to offset some questionable investments in a defensive “portfolio” like David Pittman and Derrick Martin. Let’s hope the Ravens keep that in mind on draft day ’08.

Some have suggested to me via email that the Ravens should leverage their solid relationship with the Patriots and do a little tag and trade deal involving Terrell Suggs and Asante Samuel. As much as I like Samuel’s ball skills, I think New England would get the better of that deal.

First of all, Suggs is 25 while Samuel is 27. When corners creep up into the thirtysomething zone, they can often be a drag on a team’s cap. Last offseason the 49ers opened their vault and poured $80 million over 8 years into the coffers of the then 27 year old Nate Clements including a $22 million signing bonus. What kind of bonus do you think Samuel will want? $30 million? Stretch that over 8 seasons and you get a 34 year old corner who will cost no less than $7.5 million to dump.

I don’t think so…see the DE v. CB argument above. Samuel equals right player, wrong price, right Ozzie?

A player who could be the right player at the right price is soon to be unrestricted free agent Billy Volek. Volek is a rather intriguing player for Ravens’ fans. Here’s a guy who has played behind Steve McNair in Nashville and for Ravens new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in San Diego.

Now Volek is hardly a savior. But he is familiar with Cameron’s system and he could be viewed as an economical two-year gap solution until Cameron and the Ravens can bring along Troy Smith and some young and currently unattained quarterback from the 2008 or 2009 NFL Draft. But if the Ravens don’t go that route with Volek (and chances are they will NOT), look for them to go through the motions of a QB competition but ultimately hand it over to McNair while visions of John Elway and Brett Favre playing well at advanced ages dance through their heads.

But it won’t go as they plan because there’s only so much that new paint and new tires can do for a broken down vehicle like the Ravens’ No. 9.

As for Kyle Boller, the huggers out there will blame the team for throwing him to the wolves and “ruining” him by starting him as a rookie. And while I would agree that was a mistake (the Bengals’ handling of Carson Palmer was the way to go) doesn’t the onus of improvement at quarterback fall on Boller at some point? After four more seasons following his rookie campaign which included ample playing time, is he that far removed from a rookie quarterback? He’s really the same player – one who shows flashes of brilliance which can suck in coaches, scouts and fans alike who collectively wait for the proverbial light bulb to come on for Boller. No one asked me but I’m not expecting GE to visit Jesus with Cleats any time soon.

Hey, maybe the Ravens can get a third or fourth rounder for Boller – maybe someone who thinks they can “bring good things to light” for the (can you believe it) veteran entering his sixth season.

If not what the Ravens do with Boller if a QB is drafted or a vet is acquired will be interesting to watch.

Maybe they can hole him up in a Motel 6.

At least they leave the light on.


ravcol said...

They a'int got the Cohibas to sign Volek. Anyway, they need a line first, and second, and, as Tom Brady would say, third and final.