Monday, June 29, 2009

Need a babysitter? Why not try Ray Lewis?

Whenever an NFL player becomes available who might be a match for the Ravens on the field yet is a problem off the field or in the locker room, fans inevitably look to Ray Lewis and conclude that he can be the voice of reason and stave off any potential issues.

Fans think that Ray can turn a drama queen into his own little dancing queen who will march to his beat on demand. Look up babysitter in the NFL Glossary and fans expect to see the willing and smiling face of Ray Lewis.

And given this widely held belief among fans, they precipitously conclude that the problem child flavor of the month can be the missing ingredient for the Ravens – particularly if the player is a wide receiver.

Plaxico Burress – bring him on!

Brandon Marshall – no worries, besides what has he been CONVICTED of…
If either gets out of line, Ray will be there to B-slap some sense into him.

Gee, that theory really worked well with Chris McAlister didn’t it?

It’s working well with Willis McGahee, right?

Look it isn’t Ray’s job to be a babysitter. And how could he even affect a player on offense? During the week, the offense installs their game plan and all of the unit meetings, film study, etc. are conducted independent of the defense. During the game, Ray is on the field when the offense isn’t and vice versa.

How and when is the mentoring to actually take place assuming Ray and/or his protégé is even willing?

The truth is players like Brandon Marshall and Plaxico Burress seldom listen to anyone. They are coddled and have been coddled for so long. Things come easily to them and when they don’t they push back. There’s resistance.

Warren Sapp, one of my personal favorites among the new player-turned-studio-analyst added recently as reported by SI’s Peter King that the game is different and the respect that young players have for the veterans has changed. He used Vince Young as his case in point.

“Look at Vince Young. Why wouldn't he listen to Kerry Collings? I'm sure Vince thinks, 'Nobody's been through what I'm going through. Nobody's been through my kind of pressure.' Are you kidding me! Kerry Collins, fifth pick in the draft, has all the ups and downs, gets benched, makes those racist comments, has the alcohol problems, moves from team to team, comes back, has success ... Vince Young should suck up all the knowledge Kerry Collins has to offer! There's no better role model for him.''

If the Ravens take a chance on a player like Burress or Marshall (and the bet here is that it will NEVER happen) they will do so because the risk v. reward ratio works.

Not because Ray Lewis’ presence will help turn a malcontent into a choir boy.


Sulley said...

I agree that Ray's influence is often over-exaggerated but the reference you made about McGahee and McAlister are different from the Marshall situation because all of Marshall's problems have occurred in his personal life rather than being conflicts with coaches. I am not one of those people that believes that if this kid is put in the same locker room as Ray he will turn into a saint out of fear, but I do believe that being around people of high character like Ray, Harbaugh, Flacco, Burk, Mason, etc...(as opposed to cry babies like Jay Cutler or delinquents like Travis Henry) could have a positive impact on his life and could cause some dramatic maturation. I know Marshall is portrayed as a bad guy by the national media, but many people close to him claim he is a good kid (only 24 remember) who made some bad choices. I know people close to you are supposed to support you, but if they are right and I am right that being around high character guys will cause change, then bringing in Marshall could create one of the most dominant QB-WR tandems of the next decade. I know the risks are relatively high but to me its worth the risk because bringing in Marshall could propel us into a dominant team.