Friday, April 01, 2011

Baltimore Ravens: Cameron still on thin ice? Zbikowski to give up football?

Plus a shocking development with Torrey Smith & more...

The Ravens will bring a bit of nostalgia back to M&T Bank Stadium during the 2011 Season and it will undoubtedly be a welcomed addition to the array of concessions that are served. Word is that Gino Marchetti and the Ravens have struck a deal to make the Ravens' crib the first return locale of Gino's to Baltimore.

As of this writing there were no definitive plans from the club as to where Gino's will be located but early signs point towards at least 2 areas, one in the upper deck and another in the lower bowl on the Unitas Plaza side of the stadium.

The cynic may chuckle at such talk of stadium concessions given the league's labor uncertainties but rest assured, there will be football in 2011 and the bet here is that the league will play a full 16 game schedule. That said, what is at risk is training camp at McDaniel College and the CBA or lack thereof is being fingered as the culprit.

However there have been some unsubstantiated rumblings that despite the public support, the team really isn't all that enamored with McDaniel College and there are some who feel that Stevenson University is lurking in the shadows, courting the Ravens in a big way. Don't be surprised if the good folks of Westminster, MD feel the economy's pinch even more and are on the outside looking in during those hot, hazy, humid days of late July and early August.

Some have opined (myself included) that Cam Cameron's job was saved by the ongoing labor strife. The threat of an extended lockout was viewed as a huge deterrent to success for any new coordinator since he would not have the luxury of off season classroom study and a full complement of organized team activities. However one source has indicated that if Judge Susan Nelson (hearing the NFL case on April 6) acts as swiftly as some believe and she places an injunction on the owner's lockout, a full season is back in play and will revert back to the 2010 uncapped rules. Should that happen Cameron could again be at risk, and if so remember this name - Charlie Weis.

A name that Cam Cameron could not remember during the 2010 season was that of Donte Stallworth. Stallworth has been working out with Maryland speedster Torrey Smith and from what we hear Smith's interview with the Ravens went extremely poorly - so much so that the Ravens are likely to pass on the Terp even if he falls to them in Round 2.

Could Stallworth's less than pleasant one year stint with Cameron have tainted Smith's impression of the team so much so that he was willing to tank an interview with a contending team? Might his opinion change if the Ravens bring back Smith's good buddy for a second tour of duty in purple and black?

Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make. You may recall that during the 2010 NFL Draft, the Ravens attempted to move up in the draft to select the then plummeting Dez Bryant. But the Patriots wanted a third round pick from the Ravens to move up just one slot. Those demands from Bill Belichick were greeted by a complimentary dial tone from Ozzie Newsome.

Or so we were led to believe...

The truth be told, the Ravens phone connection to the Patriots that night was somehow severed and while they tried in vain to connect with Belichick when on the clock, the call came in from Denver who wanted Tim Tebow badly. As you know the Ravens unloaded their No. 1 and turned it into a second, third and fourth round picks.

From what we've gathered, the Ravens believe that Bryant and his agent Eugene Parker are somehow connected to that disconnected line with the Patriots. Bryant wanted to play for the Cowboys and Parker has never enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Ravens. The mind boggling things here, are the obvious extremes agents will go to in order to deliver for their clients.

With their second round pick from Denver during the 2010 NFL Draft the Ravens selected Texas LB Sergio Kindle. The Ravens still hold out hope that their resident Humpty Dumpty will get it together in 2011 and make his way on to the playing field. But not so fast...

Howard County Judge, the honorable Keakhim Indabalz, who will be hearing Kindle's DUI case in May is extremely hard on careless athletes who take their God-given abilities for granted and behave recklessly. And while Kindle's prior offences do not fall within Indabalz' jurisdiction, his courtroom history suggests that they certainly influence his sentencing. It would not be inconceivable to see Kindle be the sacrificial lamb of Howard County's intolerable court system when it comes to DUI, much like Plaxico Burress fell to similarly stringent hang gun laws in New York.

Marc Bulger's name has been kicked around as a potential starting quarterback in Arizona. That would seem to be a natural fit for the quick-triggered Bulger who followed Kurt Warner in St. Louis and ran the spread West Coast offense very effectively earning 2 Pro Bowl nominations in the process. Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt believes that Bulger can just as effectively fill Warner's shoes in the desert, something that Derek Anderson & Co. failed to do in 2010.

But there's one hitch in this plan for Bulger. Word has leaked out that Warner plans to come out of retirement and once again pick up a big paycheck, something he doesn't do at NFL Network as an analyst. Those close to Warner say he experienced an awakening of sorts seeing Tiki Barber scrambling back to the NFL in search of more Benjamins. The Cardinals are said to be interested and that would make Bulger the odd man out. If things go down as expected and Warner makes that comeback, look for Bulger to stay in Baltimore even if he doesn't command the $4 million he earned last season as the world's most expensive clipboard carrier.

Finally, Ravens' safety Tom Zbikowski has received a slew of attention for his boxing ring prowess during the owner's lockout. His skills have even captured the attention of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward. But are Zibby's skills really that good or has Steward been lured in by the potential marketing opportunities stemming from the former Golden Domer's unique two-sport athleticism?

There may be some truth to that but what we hear, Steward brought in former protégé Thomas "The Hit Man" Hearns to spar with Zbikowski and after being crushed by a nearly lethal combination that included a left hook to the ribs and a jolting upper cut to the jaw that left Hearns unconcsious for minutes on the canvas, Steward was sold!

Don't be surprised if Zbikowski never wears a Ravens uniform again!

No matter how you look at it... !



Harryos29 said...

April 19th. Tony..I can hear those commercials again...EVERYBODY GOES TO GINO"S. I think if Ginos does get a concession at the Vault; it will be very successful.

Harryos29 said...

The April fools Blog was a classic ..which I fell for ; hook line and sinker!