Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Ngata not the same down the stretch

Ozzie Newsome found outstanding value in the free agent signings of Bernard Pollard and Vonta Leach. Pollard who arrived with a reputation as a thumper with limited cover skills was actually and upgrade to the departed Dawan Landry in both areas at less than half the cost. Leach is the prototypical fullback who embraces the role and undoubtedly fits the profile of a Raven. His predecessor Le’Ron McClain, who always found the “me” in team, did not!

Word is Haloti Ngata has shared with one source close to 24x7 that he was NOT injured late in the season contrary to the court of popular opinion. That has to be somewhat concerning to the Ravens since his production fell markedly after the season’s ¾ pole. Ngata worked hard prior to the 2011 season and reported in outstanding shape – lighter and quicker than in past seasons. And those efforts were rewarded early on. But the team’s strength and conditioning coaches will need to take a long look at Ngata’s training regimen to determine if it contributed to the All Pro’s “fade route” late in the season.

Look for the Ravens to bring in serious competition for Billy Cundiff in training camp. While the team outwardly continues to express confidence in the 2011 Pro Bowler they will need to keep the kicker squarely in the crosshairs of special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg’s microscope. Will that miss in the AFCC game haunt Cundiff? Did his injury genuinely affect performance in 2011 on accuracy and kickoff depth? Was his 2010 season a fluke? Having a quality alternative to turn to if a mental meltdown is in Cundiff’s future will be critical given the club’s lofty aspirations.


Jerry B said...

I refuse to blame Cundiff for missing a kick that would have benefited from a time out. There is no rational explanation for failure to use their last time out to "settle" the kicking team and kicker and, Harbaugh's explanation that he never considered taking a time out in that situation speaks volumes about one of his most glaring weaknesses.....clock management!