So Byron Leftwich was let go in Jacksonville yesterday. Remember that crazy draft day back in 2003 when the Ravens were trying to trade up with Minnesota to get him but the phone at the league draft table was supposedly busy causing Minnesota’s time to expire? I remember watching in amazement as the Jaguars then rushed in and picked Leftwich before the Vikings could select and then right away the Panthers swooped in and took T Jordan Gross (who hasn’t lived up to being the 8th pick in the draft) before Minnesota finally took their pick and they chose DT Kevin Williams with the 9th pick. It was crazy stuff that allowed the Ravens to draft at the 10th pick — Terrell Suggs!!! Sometimes things just work out for a reason and the Ravens were once again the victors in that draft day scenario like many others (see Nestor’s book "Purple Reign" for some good past draft day stories).
Shortly thereafter the Ravens then traded up to get Kyle Boller with the 19th pick in the first round and we all know that hasn’t gone as planned. Kyle’s shown us flashes of brilliance (see Minn and GB games in 2005 not to mention that throw to Williams the other night) and times where you wonder how the guy is in the league with his bobbled snaps and terrible habit of tripping over his feet. However, if the stories out of Jax are true then Leftwich is a team killer and Kyle Boller, while not playing up to his potential on the field, has never been a team killer from an attitude standpoint. He has always been a stand up guy and supported the team. That’s not what I read about Leftwich and add to the fact that he is a statue in the pocket (no mobility) I see NO REASON why the Ravens should have any interest him. If Jack Del Rio can’t get this guy to get in shape and be a team player then we don’t need him here in Baltimore. With the connections the Ravens organization has with Del Rio and James Harris in JAX I would imagine that Ozzie and Billick have all the dirt on Byron and will shy away from going after him. Besides, we’ve got a QB here for hopefully 2 more years. As I said in my previous blog drafting and developing a QB is not easy to do so once again I stress — Let’s cross that bridge when it’s necessary and just focus on beating Cincinnati this week — which won’t be an easy task.
The Ravens lost only 3 games last year and one of them was in Cinncy (on a very short week). My big concern, like many other people in town, is the offensive line. It will likely take some time for these guys to jell and remember JO is still nursing a bad toe (something that will likely bother him the rest of the year). One thing the Ravens have going for them is that Chris Henry is out of the lineup for Cinncy. He gives the Bengals that 3rd WR threat and can stretch the field. The Ravens haven’t won in Cinncy since 2004 and they will be underdogs again this week. It will be a very tough game and coming out with a win would really set up the early part of the season but a loss is the more likely scenario just because it is so tough to win on the road. Regardless of the outcome we all have to remind ourselves that it is just one game and there are 15 more to go. The season is a marathon and you will have peaks and valleys.The Ravens had the talent to win it all last year but unfortunately the offense picked the wrong time to have a slump plus Indy played well (the other guys get paid to play too!). You have to be good, stay healthy, and have some luck to win the Super Bowl. Peaking at the right time is the key (see the 2000 Ravens, the 2005 Steelers, and the 2006 Colts) so let’s hope it goes our way this season. Right now I’m just enjoying the fact that pre-season is over and the games now count.