Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Money and politics not performance, could keep Frank Walker on Ravens' roster


Frank Walker has been beaten regularly in the preseason and even by camp fodder during training camp. Receivers like Kerry Reed and Patrick Carter looked like more like Jerry Reed and Chris Carter when matched up against Walker. One of our staff writers here on 24x7 jested recently that the Ravens should put a couple of chairs at corner to replace Walker and Corey Ivy. At least the receivers might trip over the chairs.

Yet in the opinion of this writer, both will stick.

Let’s first touch on Ivy. Ivy on the edge is clearly a fish out of water. He doesn’t have closing speed and he’s just too small to take on receivers who are taller and regularly out jump him for the football. He sometimes looks like Mugsy Bogues trying to defend LaBron James. However inside the numbers in the slot, Ivy is very competent plus he supports the run well and is an effective blitzer off the edge.

Walker on the other hand shows me nothing. He can’t cover, he doesn’t have the prerequisite fluid hips to cover receivers in the slot, he misses tackles and despite a reputation for being a solid special teams player, I haven’t seen anything there either.

So why does he stick?

Money and politics, politics and money – that’s how.

The Ravens gave Walker a $1.2 million signing bonus to become a member of Rex Ryan’s defense. And while the cap hit for admitting the mistake isn’t significant, it’s probably enough for them to take pause and give Ozzie Newsome and Director of Pro Personnel George Kokinis the benefit of the doubt. How embarrassing would it be to cut someone that you outbid for?

It’s not too difficult to imagine a scenario whereby Kokinis convinces Ozzie to give Walker a chance and the Ravens’ GM then strong arms his first year head coach into finding a way to keep Walker on the squad.

Take away the money and the politics and Walker would be walking. Instead money and politics will keep Walker talking as a member of the Baltimore Ravens secondary.

Speaking of talking, the name Daunte Culpepper keeps popping up around town. “Let’s give Culpepper a shot – what do have we to lose”, is a comment that has approached mantra status here in The Land of Pleasant Living. But if he was really worth anything, don’t you think that another team would have given him a shot already?

The Steelers chose Byron Leftwich over Culpepper to replace the injured Charlie Batch as Ben Roethlisberger’s back up. Something isn’t right with Culpepper and I think it’s more than just a bum knee. Some have speculated that player agents are floating bad stories out there about the former Pro Bowl quarterback and Love Boat passenger as a means of protest. Remember Culpepper is not represented by an agent. He represents himself and apparently not very well.

Don’t the Ravens have enough QB problems? They are probably better off waiting for Smith’s viral symptoms to fade and Boller’s bad throwing wing to heal than to add to the problems.

Anyone subscribe to WNST’s text messaging service? They do a nice job keeping subscribers up to date on the latest sports news in the Baltimore area. The station promises that they won’t spam those who sign up and will only deliver worthy news items. For the most part, I would agree that they’ve lived up to this promise and I’ve found the service to be particularly useful when I’m out of town and these fingers are detached from the pulse of the local sports scene.

Now you know there’s a “but” coming…

But, did we really need to be woken up by messages like this at 6:03 a.m.: “Orioles send P Kam Mickolio to Norfolk, recall Brian Burress who will start vs. Chi. 2nite. More with Drew on WNST.” Was that really necessary? Might that be considered spam?

What will the text be tomorrow?

“Willis McGahee wears purple Speedos in pool while rehabilitating injured knee. More with Drew on WNST.”

Come to think of it, that might be more riveting “news” at 6 in the morning than Brian Burress starting tonight.

That’s a wake up call?

ZZZZZZZZZZ
Photo by Kevin Moore

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Tony,

I totally agree with your comments on Frank Walker. When the Ravens make a draft pick, or overpay a player, they stick with them thick or thin, because they hate to admitt they made a mistake. Travis Taylor is another key example that comes to mind.

As far as WNST's text service, I totally agree with you there. I was paying $.20 per text message on my Verizon phone. At first, I really liked all of the timely news about the Ravens. Then they started texting me all of this insignificant Oriole news and other garbage sports tidbits. I cancelled the service because what they were sending to me was no longer relevant or news worthy, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

The Ravens FO failed to make the right calls to at least TRY to fix the holes in the offense and defense; now we're all going to pay the price. To keep Walker -- despite the money and politics -- is just flat out stupid. And the Ravens are showing themselves to be a stupid organization.

Ozzie needed to be gone along with Billick. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Now, what's happening is the inevitable consequence of an inept FO that gets way too much credit, and way too little accountability.

Donna said...

Tony,
I agree with your assessment of Frank "g-string" walker, but I have to think that Steve B is a very sound businessman and could give this advice to Ozze and George K - cut your losses, take the hit, it will cost you less than 1.2 million down the road
Imagine how hard it will be when should you decide to keep the worthless g- string that can't cover anything and he costs us several games by giving up touchdowns and long plays.
Maybe Ozzie should look forward and realize that the inability to acknowledge this mistake in signing Walker could do more than just cost the team 1.2 million it could cost Ozzie his job.
Cut him now, take the hit, stand up ackowledge your mistake in judging his talent and ability, it will serve you more in the end and will help the ravens in the end as well, so we can pick up a couple chairs off the waiver wires in the coming days that can do more than fill the void when G-String is finally cut.