Thursday, February 07, 2008

Just say "McNO" to McNabb!

Most believe that the Ravens’ core “in-competency” is the position of quarterback. No argument here. If you look at most Super Bowl winning teams particularly in the salary cap era, they’ve had a stud behind center. Not only does the salary cap demand above average to great play at quarterback to produce consistent success, the morphing rules of the game that are pro-offense suggest the same. Teams need franchise quarterbacks.

One look at the Ravens roster is all an observer needs, to realize the franchise QB isn’t there for Steve Bisciotti’s team. So where do the Ravens go from here to find their missing link?

The national media has attempted to direct the Ravens’ sights northward and they’ve made strong overtures (ESPN’s Chris Mortensen) that Ozzie Newsome will make a play for Donovan McNabb. To this suggestion Ozzie recently said in a telephone interview, “We have not had any dialogue on our players, or any other players. We’ve just been hiring assistant coaches. We don’t have a quarterbacks coach yet.”

“We are hiring coaches,” Newsome added. “That’s what we’re concentrating on.”

Nowhere in there do I see a denial. If I’m Kyle Boller or Steve McNair I would not be totally comfortable with that answer particularly when John Harbaugh had this to say about the quarterback position during his introductory press conference:

“Whether it's someone on the roster right now that can be developed or whether it's someone we have to go out and get, I know we're shoulder-deep in that evaluation already before I even get here. I'm ready to jump in and get to work on that."

So which is it? Have the Ravens not had any dialogue about their players as Ozzie suggests or are they “shoulder-deep” as Harbaugh claims?

Of course I could be looking at this a bit too closely but if in fact Mortensen is remotely close to the truth regarding the Ravens interest in McNabb, please just say McNo! Haven’t we been down that path already with Steve McNair? Two years after giving him an $11 million signing bonus most folks in these parts are ready to say bon voyage! Couldn’t the same happen with McNabb?

McNabb has missed a lot of playing time. Since the 2002 season McNabb has played the entire 16 game season a grand total of one time. Over the course of the last 3 years he’s missed 15 regular season games – nearly a full season.

Comparatively speaking, since 2002 McNair has played 2 full seasons and over the past 3 season he’s missed a total of 12 regular season games.

Not only would the Ravens be banking McNabb's brittle bones holding up, they would also have to spend significantly more to get him than they did McNair who only cost the Ravens a No. 4 in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Maybe the Titans knew something about McNair before they let him go. Maybe the Eagles willingness to part with McNabb may suggest the same – BUYER BEWARE!

So if it’s not going to be McNabb and if none of the remaining merry band of QB characters on the Ravens’ roster is the answer, then what is? Should they look to the draft and if they do, which merry band member goes? McNair? Boller? Smith?

Boller might be the easiest to let go. Clearly he isn’t a consistent NFL starter and he can’t win on the road. I think the Giants showed the world how important that is. Boller signed a 1 year extension for $3million. We don’t know how much of that was a signing bonus but given the price of a quarterback with Boller’s youth and game experience, as checkered as it is, $3 million is not a bad deal for the team.

It also might be an attractive deal to a potential acquiring team. Boller will be 27 when the season starts and there may be some team that believes that Boller’s development was stunted by Brian Billick. After all Derek Anderson left, became the Browns starter and is now going to Hawaii to participate in the Pro Bowl.

Could the Ravens get a third round pick for Boller? How about a fourth to offset the cost of McNair? That could free up a spot on the roster for a Day 1 QB draft selection.

Or might the Ravens stay with what they’ve got. Now the spin doctors are busy telling us that Steve McNair is working out and that he’s determined to prove the naysayers wrong and so on and so forth.

So what if he comes back in great shape! Will that put any more mustard on his fastball? He reported in ’07 in better shape than in ’06. You saw what that got him. Even in ’06 when he was a Pro Bowl alternate, McNair was running on fumes in Week 17 ’06 against Buffalo and clearly in the playoff game against Indianapolis he had nothing in the tank.

I don’t think that’s changed a bit – he still has nothing and to give him the football another season delays the development of his successor, whoever that might be. If you believe that a Steve McNair in better shape will improve his production, then I'll show you a 60 year old woman who just had breast augmentation and now thinks she's Jessica Alba.

A QB that you should keep in the back of your mind is Billy Volek. According to Volek is an unrestricted free agent and he is familiar with Cam Cameron’s offense from the time the shared in San Diego. He may not be the long-term solution but he could be a stop gap measure to help develop a newly drafted QB.

And that’s a much better and more cost effective idea than bringing in Donovan McNabb.


Anonymous said...

Our front office has serious problems if it thinks we should trade a first rounder for McNabb. We could probably get Derek Anderson with our first rounder if Cleveland doesn't sign him. I know they could give him a 1st and third tender, but couldn't we just trade down with another team and get a first and a third, then sign DA and effectively lose only our first? However, this isn't a good idea either, just speculation. Truth be told, I can't think of any "good" solution to the quarterback situation in Baltimore