Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ravens bigger, better with Bulger

If you are looking for someone who can escape even the highly skilled and intuitive eye of 24's Jack Bauer while on a top secret reconnaissance mission, well that guy just might be Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome.

Did anyone see the signing of QB Marc Bulger coming?

Upon first hearing the news I immediately blasted a few text messages to confirm and provide insight to the report - a report which even after rehashing several times still seemed hard to believe.

After the move to get Bulger soaked in a bit it I reached the conclusion that the acquisition was no less than a stroke of genius. And perhaps even more importantly for Ravens' fans it suggests that your team really has its collective eye on the ultimate prize being awarded in Dallas in February.

You hear the Ravens, more specifically Ozzie, often recite the team credo, "right player, right price." Yet it is rare, perhaps even unprecedented that the team has been willing to invest $3.8 million in a backup quarterback particularly when the starter has never missed a game.

But the more you ponder the move, the more brilliant it seems.

Critics will argue that the team should have invested the money in a pass rusher or a cornerback.


Name one pass rusher or corner on the market today who can be had for a 1 year, $3.8 million deal who is better than what the Ravens already have on their roster. Any that might be able to make as big of an impact as Bulger?

Go ahead, I'll give you a month to contemplate that. You'll need the time.

And while you're chewing on that, think about this too...

What would be more damaging to the Ravens post season aspirations? An injury to Joe Flacco or an injury to backup corner Chris Carr subbing for recovering Fabian Washington?

Do you really think that Troy Smith or John Beck could keep the Ravens' offense moving? Apparently the Ravens don't.

Last season one of the best kept secrets (there goes that Ozzie again) was the extent of Flacco's injuries. He was beaten up from the Vikings game forward. To his credit Flacco did not use his physical shortcomings as an excuse for poor performances down the stretch.

Might the Ravens have been wise to rest Flacco and allow his injuries to heal at least partially?

Perhaps but that assumes they had at least some confidence in Smith or Beck.They don't!

Enter Marc Bulger.

Smith apologists will argue that if given the chance he would be more than adequate as a starter. Really? I guess that's why the Browns opted for the great Seneca Wallace over Smith.

During the 2007 season, Brian Billick called upon Smith to start twice - once against the Seahawks and once against the lame duck Steelers in the '07 finale. The Ravens lost in Seattle 27-6 and they squeaked by a Pittsburgh team (27-21) that mailed it in and had nothing to play for since their playoff seeding was already set regardless of that game's outcome.

With Bulger the Ravens get a quality quarterback who is a two-time Pro Bowler and one who has played a significant amount of meaningful football. Had he been the backup in '09 it's quite possible that the Ravens would have rested Flacco in order to rest his ailing body a bit.

But because Smith and Beck are NOT as capable as Bulger, they asked Joe the QB to suck it up, they shot him up and sent his bruised and battered body out on the field to manage the game.

Bulger brings experience. He could potentially be a mentor for Flacco.

Could Smith or Beck offer that?

Does it really make sense to have three quarterbacks on the roster who are so close in age?

Bulger is also very familiar with the Ravens offensive system, one that is very similar to the Mike Martz system both of which have roots steeped in the Ernie Zampese/Norv Turner schemes.

And let's not forget that Bulger is just flat out better than either Smith or Beck and consequently the Ravens just got better at the most important position on the field.

So for everyone who thinks the Ravens are better off with Dre Bly or Ty Law coming off the bench at corner over Marc Bulger at quarterback just ask yourself this question...

Without Bulger on the roster, what season ending injury would worry you most, one to Joe Flacco or one to Fabian Washington?

Oh and let's not forget that by obtaining Bulger, the Ravens eliminated another option for the Steelers should more trouble surface in Pittsburgh.

Somewhere Jack Bauer is tipping his cap to Ozzie.


Phil from Frostburg said...

Well, OK, can't argue with trying to find a better backup QB, but the real lack of depth still lies at CB and at OT. There's no credible nickel CB on the team as it stands with Washington and Webb likely to sit out at least half the year on PUP recovering from their ACL tears. Just think if Foxworth goes down. As for OT, O'Neill Cousins is a sprained ankle away from trying not to get Flacco killed. Every Ravens fan should lose sleep over this.

Phil from Frostburg said...

I stand slightly corrected about CB. I see that Walt Harris changed his mind and just signed with the Ravens. I don't know much about him other than he's old, but at least the team finally recognizes Washington and Webb will NOT be in playing shape by the opening game and it needs to find some decent depth at the position.

JimmyM said...

Ossie is the "man" amongst boys and can see possible future happenings like a gypsy. What happens if Flacco goes down in the first game of the season like Tom Brady did a few years back? Troy smith and John Beck to me equals a 7-9 record at best. The signing of Bulger by Ozzie is pure genius He was an All-Pro a few years ago and is a pure passer with a ton of experience. I just hope his last few years in a Rams uniform and the shots he took didn't make him shellshocked. Way to go to Ozzie for looking out for the What if's in a sport where nothings assured