Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ravens Buzz: News & Rumors affecting the purple & black

You would be hard pressed to find anyone here in The Land of Pleasant Living to argue the point that the Ravens are ok at quarterback. We all know they are not. Steve McNair is like that 1992 Toyota Camry in your uncle’s driveway. Man was it a good and reliable car in its day but even the most precise Precision Tune on the planet can’t get that engine to run on 2 cylinders much less four.

Kyle Boller is like that car you take to the mechanic that won’t reproduce the engine knock that you hear when you are driving around town alone and then as soon as you go on the road out of town, the damn thing breaks down altogether.

Troy Smith is a nice, new compact vehicle that has a little giddy up and does pretty well in tight spaces but when it gets boxed in by a tractor trailer or two, the sight lines aren’t clean and you are forced to take chances while escaping congested areas.

Clearly QB issues remain part of the local landscape…

Making matters worse for area fans is the fact that rejected former Ravens QB Derek Anderson, a sixth round pick out of Oregon State in 2006, made his first trip across the pond to Honolulu representing an AFC North division rival. Is Anderson for real?

Count me among those that didn’t fret his departure at all. I watched him trip over his own feet many times in practice. Clearly I was wrong and clearly he’s improved. Yet I still think he’s overrated. Let’s see how he does with a tougher schedule, higher expectations and a big contract.

Word is he’s close to a 3 year deal that will pay him $20 million and guarantee him $10 mil. Not bad. Kyle Boller has yet to make $20 mil and he is a 5 year vet taken in round 1. Anderson should jump on the offer. Put me down as one of those that believes Phil Savage will live to regret this contract after 2008.

Remember David “You Can Drive My” Carr? The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft is now looking for a new home. The Carolina Panthers recently severed ties with Carr and he’s now a free agent. But Ravens fans, before you get yourself all lathered up over the possibilities of a new Carr, keep in mind that this old Carr was behind Vinny Testaverde and Chris Weinke on the Panthers’ depth chart last season. Should the Ravens bring him in, hopefully it will cost them no more than a Rent-a-Wreck.

Recently the Jets allowed their disgruntled inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma and his representatives to seek a trade partner provided that said partner isn’t coached by Bill Belichick. (Vilma would fill a need in New England as well with that aging merry band of LB's). No clear cut word on what the Jets asking price might be but clearly Vilma’s skills would fit nicely into the Ravens defensive structure but unfortunately probably not their cap structure.

The Jets are also said to be shopping defensive tackle DeWayne Robertson. The cap figure in 2008 for the disappointing former No. 4 overall pick (2003) is a whopping $11.2 million, roughly 1/10th of the team cap number. If the Jets successfully unload Robertson that could elevate the DT position on the team’s draft board. And if it does shake out that way, perhaps USC’s Sedrick Ellis climbs up the board a bit and helps to push a player like Vernon Gholston down towards No. 8 where the Ravens will be all too happy to dress the Ohio State Buckeye in purple.

The Ravens could be looking for a vertical threat in the 2008 NFL Draft. Some thought the Jaguars might be looking for the same but the recently acquired Troy Williamson might shift the Jags draft board around a bit. Williamson was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2005 draft by Minnesota after skyrocketing on draft boards following a very impressive combine outing. Unfortunately for the Vikings Williamson couldn’t catch a cold and Brad Childress will only get a sixth round pick as a return on his Williamson investment. Not a bad deal for the Jags who won’t have much to lose by bringing the Aiken, South Carolina native closer to home.

Character issues could force Arkansas RB Darren McFadden into a bit of a draft board tumble. Folks may recall how the highly touted Randy Moss tumbled all the way to No. 21 in 1998. In retrospect Moss was certainly worth the gamble but keep in mind that Moss’ early transgressions were policed and punished by Paul Tagliabue. New Sherriff Goodell won't be as forgiving to a young player who veers to far from what The Commish believes is acceptable behavior.

What if McFadden falls to the Ravens at No. 8? Would you take him or trade him? I’m sure Jerry Jones would love to see the Razorback with a star on the side of his new NFL helmet.