Monday, March 23, 2009

Baltimore Ravens fans are the best, Samari rolls on...

Newly acquired nickel back and kick returner Chris Carr certainly knows how to warm his way into the hearts of Ravens’ fans. During a recent conference call with the Baltimore media, Carr commented on his decision to play for the purple and black.

"I just always had a feeling about Baltimore and how it would be cool to play for them," Carr said. "Playing in Baltimore, the two times I've played there in my career, I was like, 'Man, these are the best fans.' There's no better place to play."

Speaking of playing in Baltimore, the Ravens are moving in on free agent offensive tackle Orlando Pace. According to one source, the Ravens are in the driver’s seat for Pace, “if they want him.” Word is the Ravens would like to replace Willie Anderson with Pace if they can make the numbers work. The team is concerned about Anderson’s blossoming waist line.

If Pace does become a Raven, he’ll be forced to do something that Adam Terry has struggled with – move from left tackle to right tackle. Jeremy Green, the director of pro scouting for Scouts Inc. not only thinks that Pace could play right tackle, he should play right tackle at this point in his career.

“I think he could play right tackle and it might almost be better for him to play right tackle. He's not going to be as physical in the running game as you might like, but he's also not going to be facing the opponents' best speed rusher like he was on the left side. He has really struggled with some guys that can really rush the passer. It was getting to the point where guys were running around him. But even if he's at 80 percent, I think he can handle the guys on the other side. You could do a lot worse than having a player who is 80 percent of what Orlando Pace once was, especially on the right side.”

My colleague Michael Popovec wrote today about the importance of depth at the position of cornerback. Clearly the Ravens have struggled with that due to injury over the past couple of seasons. Mix in Fabian Washington’s propensity to miss plays while under the care of the medical staff on the sidelines for intermittent minor nicks and depth becomes an even bigger issue.

But I have to disagree with Michael’s position on Samari Rolle. To pay Rolle $4.1 million to be a nickel just doesn’t make any sense regardless of the need for depth. Moreover, Rolle really isn’t built to be a nickel at this point in his career and he’s not dependable enough to be a starter. Age has taken away some of the fluidity in Rolle’s hips and that is a vital trait for nickel backs taking on slot receivers.

I do expect the Ravens to add depth to the secondary via the draft but not necessarily on Day 1. The matchup of their draft board and available players when Ozzie is on the clock will determine that. That said, keep this name in mind (except when traveling through Cleveland’s airport) – Derrick Martin.

Martin played extremely well during camp last August and prior to his injury he was the best reserve corner in preseason contests. He has fully recovered from his labrum injury so look for D-Mart to provide quality depth for secondary coaches Chuck Pagano and Mark Carrier.


Anonymous said...

I thought i was the only one who noticed. Derrick Martin is our NICKEL. FACT!

Jerry B said...

Agree again, TL. I really like what Pace would bring to the right tackle spot, particularly since Adam Terry is obviously not the answer. As for the wide receiver conundrum, it's becoming almost as much of a "crap shoot" in the draft as selecting a QB! But....we finally got our QB and, with a little luck, this year we'll land that big, fast wide receiver who can stretch the field!

Anonymous said...

All you have to know about Samari Rolle is the Ravens were 10-2 with him starting. It's a huge loss. This was a lose-lose decision to cut him. The team gets worse for next year in its CB depth. If Washington or Foxworth miss any time, we're in serious trouble.

It's also a really stupid decision for Rolle to push for the release. So, he felt slighted being the 3rd corner on the team and pines for Rex Ryan. Well, he can sign with the Jets, but he'll also be their 3rd corner, and I guarantee he won't make $4M in that role. Stupid stupid stupid Rolle.