Friday, August 05, 2011

Smash Mouth Returning to M&T?

I’m all about judging a General Manager’s offseason in its totality and a GM in general by the number of wins and losses. Clearly that’s the ultimate measuring stick.

The “game” is anything but over and the outcome without question lies in the balance. But that said, there have been some first half errors made here by the team’s front office that has them down on the scoreboard and forced to play catch up.

The smart guys in the Ravens ivory tower came out flat at best when the free agency bell rang. Because of limited cap space they released three starters and a quality reserve player. Why wasn’t the cap managed more efficiently? Is it time to upgrade at the position of capologist?

That $2.5 million in cap space that the team could have gleaned from a March release of Willis McGahee (click here for details) would have given the team at least some free agent flexibility.

The inability to extend Haloti Ngata has the front office handcuffed – I get that. But why are other teams like the Steelers and Jaguars and God forbid, the Raiders able to effectively extend franchised or highly paid players in order to free up needed cap space to augment their rosters or get in under the cap?

The Ravens need a backup running back and a center – any center with experience at this point might do just fine!

Cam Cameron needs a wide receiver. Do the Ravens even have a No. 2 receiver at the moment? Their inability to bring in Malcom Floyd now has them collectively looking at Derrick Mason like he’s the old aging girlfriend they tried to abandon at the bar when they flirted with the younger, taller one. Now new girl has left for some SoCal surfer dude.

What if after this introspective weekend of meditation as Mason ponders his future in the NFL he says, “No thanks guys, I’m staying here in Nashville” or “It was fun Ozzie but I’m going to the Big Apple”.

What then?

Are we going to turn to highly inexperienced players like Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and David Reed to be difference makers when they haven’t had the luxury of OTA’s?

Randy Moss…Randy Moss…paging Mr. Randy Moss.

Even if Mason does come back, will the offense be any better? Will they even be as good?

Sure they’ve added a solid player in Vonta Leach but can Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta pick up the slack for Todd Heap? Even if they do catch as many balls, can they be the blocker that Heap was?

Can Anthony Allen or Damien Berry spell Ray Rice the way Willis McGahee did?

And let’s not forget that the Ravens need a backup quarterback. Spare me all the Tyrod Taylor accolades please. If the Ravens need to turn to Taylor because Flacco can’t go on a given week (or more) it’s not going to be pretty. And the frustrating thing about this situation, is that the club knew back in March that Bulger was going to retire.

Yet we’re all here watching Taylor and the great Hunter Cantwell as Nos. 2 and 3 on the QB depth chart.


Forget about those lofty passing expectations for No. 5. Instead get ready for three yards and a pile of rubber pellets football at M&T Bank Stadium this year.

On a brighter note, I do think the defense will improve. Pagano seems to have restored some of that Ravens swagger and several of the players look like they are ready to step up their games. And like his predecessor Harbaugh will be riding the Ravens defense, managing time of possession and hoping Sam Koch can help give the Ravens short fields.

At this point in the new season after falling behind during free agency, what other choices does Harbaugh have?


Jerry B said...

All legitimate arguments and concerns, TL, appears that the Ravens may be taking a page out of the Patriots' playbook by retaining core talent and complementing them with younger talent and some free agents to stay competitive. It's certainly worked well for New England and if we can emulate them, why not?! I am also convinced that Cameron will return to the running game as a method of "protecting" his QB like he did in Flacco's rookie year because the OL line looks like it may struggle again this year. Only time will tell.........

richie in dallas said...

TL, You nailed it - the wizOfoz apologists won't admit it, as usual. That cap thing was bungled!
they missed on many guys at positions of need.
And, I hope they do not bring Mason back (I think they will) because that will impede/delay Flacco's chemistry w/the next-men-up. This will be a step-back transition year; hopefully they can still make the playoffs.