Where does Anderson Rank?

February 29, 2008 |

The Ravens have a pretty good track record when it comes to augmenting their squad with veteran players. Ozzie Newsome and his staff don’t often make huge splashes during the free agency period, but they have generally done a good job of filling holes with guys like Michael McCrary, Tony Siragusa, Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, Derrick Mason and Trevor Pryce. There have been a few duds over the years (Carnell Lake and Frank Sanders immediately come to mind), but those are few and far between.
 
All of which brings me to Mike Anderson. Is it possible that Anderson is the biggest blunder for the Ravens’ front office? Anderson signed a 4-year contract at $2 million per year with a $2 million signing bonus. In exchange, the Ravens got 245 yards on 54 carries and one touchdown, along with 13 receptions for 80 yards. And while Anderson was always considered a good soldier (what else would you expect from a former Marine?), he did miss the Ravens’ first couple of games this year for mysterious non-injury reasons and had a horrendous fumble when trying to return a kick-off during the debacle in San Diego last November.
 
To be fair, while I’m sure any of us would take Anderson’s compensation for the amount of work he performed here, his salary didn’t exactly cause the Ravens’ checking account to be hit with an over-draft fee. And we all know (or at least should know) the history behind his signing: in 2006, the Ravens assumed Jamal Lewis would sign elsewhere so they were in desperate need of an experienced back to take his place. Anderson was coming off a year in which he led the Denver Broncos in rushing and scored 15 touchdowns, and, let’s face it, after dealing with Jamal for his entire career, the Ravens were probably looking forward to having a featured back with no baggage. Low and behold, circumstances allow Jamal to return to the Ravens, and suddenly Anderson has no clear-cut role with the team.
 
So maybe the re-signing of Jamal Lewis, who was still hobbled by his surgically-repaired ankle and never regained his old form (until last year for Cleveland of course) was the real blunder, not necessarily the signing of Anderson? In any event, for a team that doesn’t make too many mistakes in free agency, Mike Anderson’s tenure in Baltimore will always be a smudge on the Ravens’ otherwise impressive personnel record.
 
I’m trying, I really am
 
After getting blasted a few weeks ago for writing that I wasn’t looking forward to the 2008 Orioles season, I agreed to bite my tongue and happily spend the year watching the maturation of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and the other Baby Birds. In fact, according to one respondent, this year could be a repeat of the 1989 “Why Not?” season, so I’m already on the edge of my seat in anticipation of that. I just hope the O’s closer (whoever that will be this season) doesn’t bounce a pitch in the dirt vs. the Blue Jays to end the magical season the way Gregg Olsen did in 1989.
 
So here I am all excited for a thrilling season of Orioles baseball when yesterday a co-worker tunes his radio to WHFS, unaware that the station is broadcasting the Orioles exhibition game vs. the Florida Marlins. The first thing we hear is Fred Manfra reading an advertisement for Floppy Hat Night at the ballpark (sponsored of course by Miller Lite – it’s just no fun wearing a floppy hat when you’re sober). The second thing that Fred tells us is the Orioles have just changed pitchers and are trailing the Marlins by 10 runs.
 
I know, I know. It’s February. It’s Florida. It doesn’t mean a thing. But, c’mon, that can’t be a good omen for the long-term success of my new positive outlook on the O’s.
 
Have a fabulous and safe weekend!

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