Friday, May 23, 2008

Ravens and O's should be happy they were jilted...Improvements planned for M&T

The hits keep coming for the New England Patriots. Now Ross Tucker, a former journeyman offensive lineman who suited up in five different uniforms including that of the Patriots during his 7 year career is calling out Bill Belichick & Co.

Tucker claims that the Pats allowed players placed on Injured Reserve to practice with the team – a no-no in the NFL. According to Tucker, "Basically, the Patriots would put a player on IR, knowing it meant he couldn't play in a game or practice with the team for the remainder of the season. By skirting the rules and practicing him anyway, it allowed them to develop his skills during the year. A side benefit is that they were also able to give some of the older players less repetitions and, therefore, additional rest."

Not a bad idea really but once again – BUSTED!

That said, Tucker sounds a bit like a scorned needy lover seeking an audience for his sob story particularly when he admits that using a player on injured reserve during practice is of "minimal" benefit.

The NFL owners are crying poor over the paltry estimated sum of $4 billion that fill their collective coffers on an annual basis. They want a little more and consequently they’ve opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement.

One of the issues the owners have focuses upon rookie salaries which are totally whacked. This week Matt Ryan agreed to (as if he needed his arm twisted) a 6 year, $72 million deal that includes $34.75 million of guaranteed ch-ching. Now that is a ton of coin for someone who has yet to take a snap in the NFL.

Is Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank nuts? Or did he fall on a grenade for his fellow owners just to prove a point?

At the end of the day – well really at the end of the eleventh hour prior to 2010 when the current CBA expires, look for the players to make a concession here. Why? The veterans are supremely envious of first round picks who have done nothing to merit such outrageous contracts while they’ve paid their dues and play for much less.

To put it in perspective, over his entire career sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer Ray Lewis has not been paid anywhere near $34.75 million in guaranteed money.

Speaking of money, the NFL’s resident Evil Knievel is looking for more from the Cleveland Browns. Word is Kellen Winslow is not attending the team's voluntary workouts and with the able bodied assistance of pot stirrer Drew Rosenhaus, he is positioning himself for more payola or a trade or both.

Hey Kellen, didn’t the Browns pay you despite your idiocy on that crotch rocket that you unintentionally wrapped your body around a few years back? How many passes did you catch during your first two seasons? Five? How many key blocks did you make? Didn't the checks keep coming?

Granted these are voluntary workouts and Winslow and his agent contend that the talented but forgetful tight end will be at mandatory workouts and camps, this is probably going to get ugly. The Browns were wise to select a tight end in the 2008 draft (Martin Rucker in the fourth) as an insurance policy. If the Browns are smart they will not cave in to Winslow and Rosenhaus. Given the Browns’ track record that’s a big “if.”

The Ravens are one of three teams that have been given permission by the league to schedule stadium improvements. In the Ravens case, that’s $9 million to move forward with their plans.

Personally speaking I don’t know that the stadium has many flaws although I’d like to see more accurate scores and stats on the TV’s in the concourse area to go along with more highlights from around the league. Come to think of it, it would be nice to see a few TV’s in the men’s room to help make the lengthy wait more tolerable especially when Mother Nature comes inconveniently calling when there isn’t a TV timeout.

That said the cash won’t be used to satisfy my wishes. Instead it will be used to improve the luxury suites. Gee, an upgrade to the sushi menu and finer crystal wine glasses are exactly what we all need, right?

Now that John Harbaugh has elbowed Ravens Wired many have predicted that the player radio shows are next. And we all know that those shows were the main culprit in a 2007 season gone awry, right? Ray Lewis’ show hurt his season, right? Derrick Mason, c’mon he may have had 120 catches instead of 103 last year had it not been for his weekly banter with Steve Davis. J.O., if he wasn’t holding that microphone his toe would have felt 100% better. Bart, without his show he could have blitzed more regularly and not been forced into coverage in shallow areas outside of the hash marks. And let’s now forget Willis McGahee’s show. Maybe he could have played on third down more often if he didn’t wear himself out with Anita Marks.

Oh, and Adalius Thomas’ show certainly hurt his value in the free agent market, didn’t it?

The dripping sarcasm aside, so many shows certainly proved to be overkill and overkill led to less compelling radio. But let’s all get over the foolish notion that the shows affected performance. No one was complaining about A.D. when the team was 13-3 and he was named to the NFL All-Pro Team.

And the 2012 Super Bowl goes to one of the nation’s most treasured tourist towns in February – Indianapolis. And some thought Detroit was bad. What’s next, Cleveland?

He might enjoy Dancing with the Stars but he will no longer be dancing with the fish…or so it seems. DWTS finalist Jason Taylor may be on the outside looking in with the new age Dolphins led by Bill Parcells. Parcells is being the bully and brow beating Taylor for skipping voluntary team workouts opting instead for the Cha-Cha.

The brow beating has morphed into a feud and according to new head coach Tony Sparano, Taylor has informed the team that he will now not report to mandatory workouts.

Taylor has been a model player and a leader for a rather hapless team and he keeps himself in excellent shape. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All Pro, 2006 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recipient in 2007.

Parcells might want to pick his battles a bit better to “urinate” all over Dolphins Stadium in an effort to establish his territory and superiority. For me the Phins were a team that I could give a rat’s you know what about. Now, they’ve just become another team to root against.

Shifting gears, let’s all thank our lucky stars that Baltimore was jilted by two skippers within the last year. First Jason Garrett turned up his Ivy League nose at Steve Bisciotti. Prior to that, Joe Girardi made the Orioles look like fools when he stiff-armed Andy McPhail.

Be careful what you wish for there Joe. Now you are in a place where you are expected to win. Add to the mix the over-the-top involvement in the team’s daily activities by Hank Steinbrenner and your realized wish could be short-lived. Just what the doctor ordered for a guy whose proven nothing yet is so full of himself.

The Sun’s Rick Maese did a piece on the infamous Earl Weaver Manager’s Corner piece that has been floating around for the better part of two decades. I first heard the tape in the mid 80’s and while highly entertaining and classic Weaver, even the most gullible of listeners would know that the R-rated edition of Manager’s Corner was nothing more than Weaver and host Tom Marr having fun. I guess Maese was up next and didn’t have much to write about. Anyway if you haven’t heard the tape, it’s here on YouTube. Then judge for yourself how gullible Maese is or pretended to be. Warning, this video is not suitable for children.

And finally, when I first started this blog entry, my girlfriend had Good Morning America on in the kitchen. Their musical guest this morning was Counting Crows. The band's leader Adam Duritz has lost it in my opinion and with each new album this once promising band releases, it makes me realize that the excellence of their outstanding debut, August and Everything After will never be approached again by the Pikesville native and his band. Perhaps their debut was the musical equivalent of a blind squirrel finding an acorn.

Ain't that a shame?


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but to my way of thinking, the radio shows should be eliminated. The only people who should have those sorts of shows are the coaches -- not the players. Do they actually do any harm? I don't know. But they are Ravens-related, and I could see how they could foster "ME-ness" rather than team spirit. The players are paid to PLAY, not comment about their playing. I personally could care less what Ray Lewis or Bart Scott or any other player thinks about the Ravens. The only thing I'm interested in is seeing what they do on the field.