Since I couldn’t attend today’s press conference and ask questions, I figured the next best thing would be to respond to what I heard actually transpired and offer my own suggestions to the Ravens now that the 2009 season has ended and 2010 is underway.
Consider this an open letter to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh:
Greetings from Fort Lauderdale and Super Bowl 44. To borrow a phrase from Pink Floyd…”Wish you were here”.
Playing in the game, that is.
I completely understand that with the pending labor strife, there’s no way to tell what might transpire with the Ravens and other teams in the league over the next year or two.
So understand that what I’m offering today is nothing more than a general note of “off the cuff” thoughts.
I’ll sum it up like this for you guys: Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Don’t change.
Now that DOESN’T mean you all should ignore the needs of the team. You need wide receivers. I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, of course. An upgrade at cornerback would be a good thing…as would someone to potentially replace Trevor Pryce either this year or next. In fact, given Pryce’s expertise and willingness to teach, bringing in a defensive end now and giving him a year to serve as Trevor’s understudy might be a terrific move. There are a few tight ends available in the draft who would be useful down the road as well.
So please — understand this: When I say “keep doing what you’re doing”, don’t take that as a suggestion to stand pat with your roster.
But don’t cave in and throw away all the hard work you’ve done in cleaning up the locker room over the last two years. That’s my message to you guys.
Character still counts.
I spent four hours with one of your former players yesterday on radio row, Daniel Wilcox, and it reminded me of how important it is in sports to have good people working for you.
There will be pressure to trade for Brandon Marshall. Terrell Owens will tweet – probably within a week or so – that Baltimore would be a nice place to live, an open hint to the Ravens to seek his services. The Bengals might even get tired of losing big games with Chad Johnson on their team and make him available.
Drew says: Don’t give in. Only add people of quality.
Now, if in your expert opinion Brandon Marshall can come to Baltimore and conform AND be productive, go ahead and bring him in. If you believe Terrell Owens is tired of being a career-loser and would willingly shift the focus from himself to the team and help you win, I’m cool with that too. I doubt very seriously that Chad Johnson can do anything except call attention to himself and contribute to a .500 record for your team, but in the event that he’s ready to fall in line and become a successful team player, bring him on board if you’re convinced that he can change for the better.
Go get one of these pass catching misfits if you feel in your heart of hearts they can be reformed. I have complete faith that you’ll make the right decision on any player you bring in, because your record (on the field and in signing/drafting) indicates that you’ll make the correct assessment. Most of the fans feel the same way.
But don’t sell your soul for anyone in the league. Don’t sell your soul for a receiver, a cornerback, a defensive end, a tight end or anyone else…either a free agent or a college player coming out in the draft…that might not fit with your philosophy.
Make sure any new players you sign or draft can “Play Like A Raven” and “Act Like A Raven”.
If they can’t measure up to the professionalism and talent of guys like Matt Stover, Jason Brown, Mark Clayton, Daniel Wilcox, Trevor Pryce, Jarret Johnson, Ray Rice and Gary Stills – some of the best MEN you’ve ever had in your locker room – then don’t bring them in.
Standards are important.
Bring in good people and win with them.
That’s my advice to you guys.
I’ll be back later this week to shovel snow with you all.
In the meantime…wish you were here.
Maybe next year.