I know many of you are not Orioles fans so in the effort to give equal time I would like to throw out some thoughts about the Ravens.
I think that the Matt Birk signing may have been the best signing of the off-season. Jason Brown wanted far too much money for the position and Birk is an experienced veteran and a former Pro-Bowler.
The offensive line should be a strength in general now that the team has depth at all of the positions. If Marshal Yanda can return to form the line will go beast mode on people every Sunday.
I think that it is smart of Ozzie to look at signing Jared Gaither to an extension now before his asking price becomes to exorbitant. And I am liking the drafting of Michael Oher more and more each day.
As for an addition at receiver the team seems to be looking at Kelley Washington as a possible signing. He has good size but played almost exclusively on special teams when he was with the Patriots. This move begs the question of how many special teams players do the Ravens really need?
I think releasing Todd Bouman in favor of John Beck was a solid move and I look at Beck as the number two guy behind Joe Flacco this season. Troy Smith will serve as the gimmick guy if Cam Cameron decides to run any T-Sizzle packages this year.
Speaking of Cam Cameron I think the offense will only develop even further this year under his tutelage. Cam may be wishing he could put the genie back in the bottle as far as Le’Ron McClain running the ball is concerned.
With Lorenzo Neal signing in Oakland McClain will have to resume more of a traditional fullback role, one I don’t think he is all too pleased about. He should still see goal line touches and will probably be the short yardage back.
It is good to see ol’ Buddy Lee is back and healthy I missed him last year. If he can play like his former self then the Ravens will have a great defensive tackle rotation considering the emergence of Justin Bannan last year.
The defense shouldn’t miss a beat under Greg Mattison because the unit has seen change before and done well despite it.
I am still worried about Dawan Landry’s health. I hope he can come back and play effectively but one would have to think after a career threatening injury he may be a little gun-shy. If Landry cannot return to form then Nakamura and or Zbikowski better be ready to step in. Next man up…..
If Joe Flacco added some weight in the off-season he should be much stronger in the pocket. Last year he was stripped far too easily when teams got pressure on him.
The addition of LJ Smith should take some pressure off of Todd Heap that is if Smith ever suits up and plays. If Heap doesn’t produce this year it may be time to look in a different direction because two oft injured tight ends on one roster doesn’t bode well for depth.
I really like Cedric Peerman and I hope he makes the roster in some capacity. He showed good leadership on a poor Virginia team last season.
Last but not least I hope that Ray Lewis will be able to maintain a high level of play because the Ravens will be counting on him to get all of the new faces on board with what the Ravens do. I don’t know if Tavares Gooden is the answer to fill Bart Scott’s shoes but I do like the decision to draft Jason Phillips.