A Baltimore analogy- Hauschka = Doug DeCinces

November 17, 2009 | Keith Melchior

Steve Hauschka is the Doug DeCinces of the Baltimore Ravens.  Think about it. DeCinces had the tall task of replacing a legend in Baltimore at 3rd base. Brooks Robinson played 23 seasons with the Orioles and won 16 Gold Gloves.  Although he had some success, there were always the detractors who claimed, “Brooksie would have had that one in his back pocket”, or “Brooks would have made that play down the line easily”  DeCinces went on to have a decent career with the Angels, but the Orioles haven’t had anyone play more than 4 full seasons at 3rd until Melvin Mora came to the club.

Hauschka has been given the difficult, if not impossible,  task of replacing a legend in Matt Stover. Ever since the game winning miss in Minnesota, nothing he does will be EVER good enough. Sadly, like DeCinces, he will not make it in this town because people won’t let the past go and move forward. Best to let him go now than to have to endure the wrath of the fans.

I remember 2 seasons ago when Stover missed 3 of his first 4 FG attempts. People were complaining it was time for him to go and that he was getting old and was washed up as a kicker. He couldn’t kick off anymore and his max range was around 40 yards. He rebounded after those misses and put together 2 good seasons. Because of salary cap reasons, Stover was let go. Until the Adam Vinatieri injury in Indianapolis, not one team expressed an interest in him, so the Ravens may have made the right decision…….until Hauschka missed the FG against the Vikings.

For you fans of the Baltimore Colts… How many quarterbacks did the franchise go through since Johnny Unitas was traded to San Diego in 1972?  Other than Bert Jones short stint in the 70’s, how many can you remember really did anything outstanding for that team?  Art Schlichter? Marty Domres? Mike Pagel? Mark Hermann? 

Fast forward to 2011….

Ray Lewis has retired.. Now what? Who becomes the leader of the team? Who can play with the intensity of Lewis week after week?  Who is going to do the pre-game dance to fire up the crowd? Who will patrol the middle of the field and strike fear into opposing quarterbacks?  Whoever it is, I feel sorry for him already. He will probably never achieve half the success of Ray Lewis as a Raven.

Baltimore isn’t the only NFL team to experience this “changing of the guard.”  Here are a few players who replaced legendary players in the NFL and have done pretty well. Steve Young replaced Joe Montana in SF….. Aaron Rodgers replaced Brett Favre in Green Bay……Steven Gostkowski replaced Adam Vinatieri in New England…

How many quarterbacks have had success in Miami since Dan Marino retired?  Has anyone stepped up to replace John Elway in Denver?  Have the 49ers found that franchise QB to replace Steve Young?  The Bears haven’t had any decent quarterbacks since Jim McMahon left, not that McMahon was great but he did win a Super Bowl. Until Drew Brees signed with New Orleans, does anyone remember some of the guys who followed Archie Manning?  The Redskins haven’t found that guy since Joe Thiesmann. Dallas has gone through a few decent quarterbacks since Roger Staubach’s days.  Danny White and Troy Aikman stepped in and had very good careers, but since Troy Aikman’s retirement, have the Cowboys  had that can’t miss stud at the QB position?  Since Terry Bradshaw led the Steelers to 4 championships, Pittsburgh has had their share of QB flops until Ben Roethlisberger revitalized that franchise in the last 5 seasons.

It took 13 seasons for the Ravens to find their franchise QB in Joe Flacco. Hopefully Flacco will achieve the same success as an Aikman, Favre, Brady and Manning.  All teams will go through the change eventually.  What is going to happen in New England after Tom Brady and Indianapolis after Peyton Manning?  Will those teams struggle to find “the next___________?”

Sometimes it’s hard to replace a legend.