Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ravens and Suggs agree on hybrid designation...WNST serves up chuckles

Speaking of placing your best players in places to promote the greatest team success (picking up from my last blog topic), don’t be surprised to see the Ravens use three wide receiver sets much more frequently. Cam Cameron is a big proponent of putting his best eleven on the field and a strong argument can be made for Derrick Mason, Demetrius Williams and Mark Clayton to be among Cameron’s Eleven.

Moreover, the Ravens are extremely thin at tight end. The only healthy tight end at the moment is Todd Heap and those who have followed Heap’s career know that his health is about as stable as gas prices these days. That said Daniel Wilcox is hardly an Iron Man candidate having missed 16 games over the past three seasons due to various ailments. It might be time for the Ravens to think about a journeyman tight end to augment their current roster.

John Harbaugh has reportedly decided to put the clamps on the Ravens TV show “Wired” this season because it promotes individualism. Now that could be debated and some might make the argument that it unifies the team. But apparently the call has been made and producers for RaveTV will have to take another angle. The move does however bring into question the plethora of player radio shows. Last year Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Jonathan Ogden, Willis McGahee and Derrick Mason all had their own radio shows. One has to wonder if Harbaugh will exert his influence upon these players and keep them off the airwaves.

The Ravens and Terrell Suggs have reached a compromise and that could be a sign that the two camps are once again talking. As you are probably aware, Suggs filed a grievance against the Ravens claiming that the majority of his snaps were taken from the position of defensive end and therefore his franchise tag tender should be that of a defensive end and not a linebacker. The franchise tender for a defensive end is $8.879 million while that of a linebacker is a paltry sum of $8.065 million.

Suggs agent Gary Wichard said that the two sides have created a new designation – a hybrid defensive end/linebacker with an agreed upon tender of $8.5 million. The sides are awaiting league approval.

Might this new designation open up Pandora’s Box for the Ravens and the NFL? Soon safeties who play up in the box for the majority of their snaps might want a linebacker’s tender if they are franchised. If Ray Lewis is franchised next year, he may argue that he is deserving of a hybrid tender that takes into account his experiences at linebacker, defensive coordinator, general manager and assistant to the owner.

A theory has been spun by Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders. Tanier claims that the hiring of John Harbaugh coupled with the Ravens’ first two draft choices in ’08 (Joe Flacco and Ray Rice) are part of an effort to lure disgruntled South New Jersey based Philadelphia Eagles’ fans into Raven Nation. Certainly Steve Bisciotti would be all for that. More on Tanier’s theory here.

And finally props to WNST’s Drew Forrester for successfully utilizing the unique “skills” of Rick from Reisterstown on his morning program. The timely chuckle or two helps drivers sift through gridlock and avoid entering the dangerous waters of road rage. Apparently Forrester’s willingness to air Rick’s altered state of sports consciousness meets the approval of the majority of WNST listeners. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon your perspective) the same listeners of 1570 don’t approve of the Fighting Ungers. Several that called into Forrester suggested that Rick from Reisterstown take over for the Ungers’ during the 6-8 PM slot Monday through Friday. No truth to the rumor that Nestor Aparicio is considering moving the Ungers to 6-8PM exclusively from November to March when the sun has set by 6 rendering WNST’s signal useless. For you Rick from Reisterstown fans, he will be in studio with Forrester this Friday. Be careful while driving.