Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ravens Offseason Wishlist

A season of discontent sows the seeds of offseason speculation. Clearly the Ravens ’07 season was a huge disappointment and that will help to fuel an interesting Spring for the purple and black.

We all have our own opinions on what the Ravens need to do to reverse their misfortunes including yours truly. So with that in mind, these are the offseason moves I’d like to see the team make to set the stage for sustained and consistent success going forward (in no particular order).

1. Extend Jason Brown’s contract now! Not after the ’08 season when he becomes a free agent – now! And while you’re at it, put him at center. Chris Chester may have dazzled some coaches and scouts with his athleticism and his ability to get to the second level but there are serious doubts as to whether he can hold firm at the point of attack against some of the behemoth nose guards and defensive tackles the Ravens encounter in the AFC North. It’s beginning to look like he is yet another second round mistake by the Ravens.

2. Restructure Chris McAlister's contract. The Ravens will need the $4+ million in cap space that a C-Mac restructure can provide the Ravens and given his size, McAlister could mirror the career path established by other physical corners like Rod Woodson and Ronnie Lott who have migrated from corner to safety. Some might say, “Well what about Dawan Landry?” To them I say, “What about Dawan Landry?” Isn’t Ed Reed as a deep centerfielder statement enough that Landry is a liability in coverage?

3. Speaking of Reed, isn’t it time to reel him in? No more of this wagging (aka Wild Ass Guessing). He needs to stick to his assignments and stop leaving corners vulnerable to big plays. Reed’s best season was in 2004 when Mike Nolan seemed to have a better handle than Rex Ryan on how to utilize his unique playmaking skills. Ryan allows Reed to roam as he pleases without consequence. It’s time to put a hook in that!

4. Fix the quarterback position! This doesn’t mean a one year fix. The Ravens need stability and consistency at the position, something they’ve yet to enjoy in their 12 year history. Clearly this is easier said and done but don’t anoint Steve McNair the starter and just say McNo to McNabb. Even the Ravens at this point don’t know what the answer is at QB for ’08 but it makes no sense to implement short-term fixes at the expense of long-term stability. If Cam Cameron thinks that free agent QB Billy Volek can work short-term (he coached him in San Diego), then get Volek on a two year deal at about $3 mil per and draft a quarterback to compete with Troy Smith. Take the haircut on McNair if Volek comes and see what Boller could bring in a trade.

5. Lose the band once and for all. Instead of increasing ticket prices as expected again in ’09, why not boot the band from the end zone seats, sell PSL’s and season tickets and soften the blow to the remaining PSL owners. Aren't we all tired of subsidizing such unnecessary nostalgia?

6. Get a playmaker receiver! Some may argue that Demetrius Williams is a playmaker if given the chance and it would be short-sighted to say that he couldn’t fit that role. The problem with your friendly neighborhood Spiderman is that he is very lanky and needs to fill out that frame. He's vulnerable to injuries. The Ravens need someone to stretch the field and someone that has good ball skills – a receiver that can get the ball up high. Of course having a quarterback who can get it there is a prerequisite but you get the picture, don’t you?

7. Admit that signing Mike Anderson was a mistake. After two seasons and 53 carries (at roughly $90,000 per carry) Anderson has contributed next to nothing and he’s a drag on the roster because he makes little to no impact on special teams. Ozzie, with this former Marine maybe you’ve taken semper fi to extremes.

8. Beef up the pass rush…If we learned anything from the Ravens in ’07 and from the Giants in the Super Bowl, to win in the NFL you have to get to the quarterback. With that in mind the Ravens should bring back Terrell Suggs for at least another season and hope that a player like Vernon Gholston falls to them at No. 8 on draft day. Gholston, Suggs, Trevor Pryce and Antwan Barnes as a pass rushing unit could be ferocious.

9. Do not reach for a corner at No. 8. The draft seems deep in capable corners yet lacking in talent worthy of No. 8. Real quick, who were the Giants’ starting corners in the Super Bowl? See what I mean? It’s all about the push from the front four.

Other odds and ends…Note to Cam Cameron: Please leave your best offensive player in the game on third down. If Willis McGahee needs a rest, take him off the field after you get the first down, not before…And while you are at it Cam do you think we can see a no huddle offense to help change the game’s tempo at some point in the game other than inside of two minutes? Be brave, have courage, if not go to Oz.

It once worked for a cowardly lion.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the list for the most part. The thing I don't get is all the hate for Mike Anderson. The day after he was hired to replace Jamal Lewis, the Ravens turned around and re-hired Lewis. And was it Anderson who chose to ride the pine, or was it Billick? Anderson has been the ultimate team player, and yet you single him out as if he were a franchise tag camp holdout. I for one applaud the way Mike Anderson has handled an obviously very difficult situation that appears to me to have been totally out of his control.

Anonymous said...

hahah you were wrong about REED!!!!!!!! he roamed free this year and had the best year of his career!!!!! and got ryan a H.C JOB!!