Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ravens fish for quarterback, Reed for answers

If you have ever seen the animated movie Finding Nemo, you will likely recall the scene during which carnivorous sharks attend a recovery group meeting akin to Alcoholic’s Anonymous. Their mission is to abstain from eating fish.

All appears to be going well until Dory hits her nose and the scent of blood drifts through the water and knocks the great white shark Bruce off the wagon and into a fish feeding frenzy.

Let’s hope the Ravens defensive front seven have seen the pictures of Carson Palmer's bloody nose and that their determination to get to the Bengals QB is as inspired as Bruce’s to get to fish. They will need it. A trip to M&T Bank Stadium for Carson Palmer is like that of a 7 year-old boy visiting Toys R Us.

And that’s when the Ravens’ secondary is healthy. Rex Ryan’s current edition is anything but.

Chris McAlister is practicing but is not at 100% and he has not been battle tested at all in ’08. He failed to take a single preseason snap and he’s been a regular bystander during practice. Samari Rolle has also been very limited and hasn’t quite shaken off the rust of inactivity. Fabian Washington is suspended for the contest and he has been plagued by minor injuries. Derrick Martin’s season is in jeopardy due to an injured right labrum. He had offseason surgery on the labrum and sutures to stabilize the labrum were torn after a sideline collision against Minnesota.

If McAlister and Rolle aren’t at 100% by game time, the Ravens could be forced to use Corey Ivy and/or Frank Walker and both have proven to be inviting targets for quarterbacks far less accomplished than Carson Palmer. CB Anwar Phillips is still looking for his first career snap in regular season action.

And then there is Ed Reed. Reed is suffering from a neck and shoulder impingement – an injury that apparently has no short-term cure and Reed is taking the necessary precautions to make sure the injury doesn’t threaten his career. He also doesn’t sound like a player anywhere near ready to take on the Bengals.

"It's a long season and I feel like the team is going to need me more down the line than earlier and having to get hurt and can't play again."

If this injury forces Ed Reed into an early retirement in ’09, not only would the team lose a player generally regarded as the league’s best free safety, they would also take a big cap hit. Hypothetically speaking, if the Ravens absorbed Reed’s retirement prior to June 1 of ’09, they would carry $8.2 million in dead money next season. If they take the retirement hit after June 1, they will carry $2.8 million in dead money in ’09 and another $5.4 million in ’10.

Perhaps the team had an inkling of things to come with Reed during the offseason by bringing in the veteran Jim Leonhard and drafting promising rookies Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura. But if the Ravens don’t pressure Palmer on Sunday, school will be in session for the three newcomers.

And while we are on the topic of school, the Ravens will place Joe Flacco behind center to start the 2008 regular season for a bit of on-the-job training. Flacco will look to handle his baptism by fire more efficiently than Kyle Boller did back in 2003.

Heading into the season, the club wanted either Kyle Boller or Troy Smith to step up and direct Cam Cameron’s offense. But due to a bizarre sequence of events, neither Boller (shoulder injury) nor Smith (viral infection) will be available to the team against the Bengals. Adding to the chaos is the possibility that the team will go into the game with a back-up quarterback who has not taken a single snap with the team or during an NFL regular season game since 2005 -- Todd Bauman.

Word is that the team preferred Simms but the two sides couldn’t find common ground on a contract. Let's consider the inability to get Harrington signed as the team's first win of the season. Harrington is just a bad NFL quarterback.

Who knows, maybe the club is opting for the veteran minimum Bouman to save some dough for Willie Anderson, the four-time Pro Bowl tackle recently cut loose by the Cincinnati Bengals. Anderson refused to take a pay cut in Cincinnati and was then given the pink slip. He signed a five year, $32 million extension with the Bengals just prior to the 2006 season. Anderson, 33, is being courted by the Chargers and the Bears as well. He is from Mobile, Alabama and has business interests (Fatburger) in Atlanta.

Even if the Ravens do decide to bring in Anderson, don’t be surprised if they wait a week to make an official announcement. The delay in a signing could stem from the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision that permits a player with four or more years of service to collect “termination pay” if he is on a roster at the start of the season and subsequently released. Article XXIII of the CBA creates a vested veteran’s right to receive the balance of his salary as termination pay. It’s available to each player once in his NFL career.This provision could also inspire some gamesmanship on the part of GM’s around the league to cut vested veterans only to re-sign them after Week One.

After all it’s just business, right?


Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Sept 5th
...I wanted to start my comments on the NEMO article with: all teams are even as of today; But something changed that opening remark; Our friends 40 miles down Rt 95 (REDSKINS) put on a less than memorable performance in the Meadow Lands last night.
... What were they thinking?..Sauntering up to the Line of Scrimmage losing by 9 points with 5 minutes to go in the game. I brought this up, to make reference to the way STEVE MC NAIR ran the two minute drill while he was a Raven. I'M HOPING THAT THE CAMERON OFFENSE, IF NOTHING ELSE, APPROACHES THE LINE WITH CRISPNESS and determination: What happens after the Snap of the Ball Remains to be seen!
...Whomever the Ravens have on the DEFENSE to start the game on Sunday, lets hope that Rex Ryan has shown them the bloody face of Carson Palmer. I must admit, that was a nasty hit that Palmer took in preseason. I'm not suggesting that the Ravens inflict that kind of punishment on Palmer: I just want to see them put him on his BACK so that OCHO CINCO and TJ WHOSE-YOUR-MOMA are not running wild in our secondard like its a practice game out there.
...I am an eternal optimist, but the way the RAVENS are Banged up, I'm not looking for much from them on Sunday, especailly since we will be Starting a Rookie at Quarterback.
.. However, I like what I have seen from JOE so far and wish him a healthy season in 2008, if not a productive one.
... Awaiting the RETURN of GAME TIME to the RADIO AIR WAVES. I read in the papers that a new station with JERRY COLEMAN hosting some of the sports talk will be on the air soon on AM 1370...could GAMETIME Re-surface there?
...Harry O 29 Sykesville