Tag Archive | "garrett"

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Eagles coach Andy Reid’s oldest son found dead

Posted on 05 August 2012 by WNST Staff

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Orioles circa 2010: We know they’ll lie, but will they lie down again?

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I know, I’m like a freaking broken record. Every year I write about how I’ve wrongfully had my media pass revoked and every year the Orioles make up some more lies to justify all of their mean-spiritedness and lack of professionalism. It’s Opening Day, I’ve again been deemed “not a media member” but that’s just the “off the field” stuff.

On the field, the word “improvement” has been thrown around all offseason in regard to the Orioles. As I’ve said many times, when you lose 98 games it’s hard NOT to improve the following season. It can’t get much worse, really.

As sickening as it is that I’ve taken a myriad of phone calls, emails and correspondence wondering “if the Orioles can win 78 games” – as though this disgracefully low bar somehow passes for “improvement” – I am officially one of the optimistic orange Kool Aid drinkers circa April 5th regarding the 2010 season.

It is my belief that this is the best team the Orioles have fielded this century. In 2004, the Orioles “best” performance was indeed 78 wins. Las Vegas has the 2010 Orioles over/under at 74 ½. If I were a betting man, I’d honestly take the “over” for the 2010 Orioles.

But this might be the year they finally prove they were right all along over these past 13 years of “rebuilding” and buying the bats and growing the arms.

Apparently, 78 wins will get a number of people here in Baltimore excited. At least that’s what people think until they realize that even that lofty “goal” would still be 25 games out of first place in AL East and the season would once again be effectively over right around June 20.

People have asked me every day for a month: “What do you think of the Orioles?”

My answer: “It begins with Kevin Millwood.”

Millwood is an unwitting victim of the wrong end of a big contract and the overlooking of putting Baltimore on his “not to visit” list when he inked his last contract in Texas. But, alas, he’s here now and needs to selfishly pitch well, even in MLB’s version of Siberia. He can set the tone with a big effort tonight in Tampa Bay.

It was different when guys like Scott Erickson and Sidney Ponson were poisoning the next generation of Erik Bedard’s with their antics of bush-league, lack of professionalism. Millwood needs to be the “anti-aging” Orioles starting pitcher. He needs to be more like Rick Sutcliffe and less like the aforementioned bunch of vermin who spread their foul temperament and antics through the franchise like baseball’s version of a clubhouse cancer.

I’m not sure what kind of guy Millwood is – and again, therein lies the Orioles ability to unlawfully deny me a chance to do my job after all of these years – but I hope he acclimates, pitches well and leads by example for kids like Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman, who seem like the real thing.

Matusz might win 15 games this year if he stays healthy. And while that certainly IS progress, it’s not really much different than what Rodrigo Lopez and Eric Bedard both did twice in orange en route to meaningless, forgettable seasons for the Orioles.

But, as stated before, I’m bullish on the Orioles in 2010 in regard to “progress.” I think they might be OK and quite competitive against teams not named New York and Boston — if pieces fall into place and if good health can be found.

If the starting pitching can get them to the 6th or 7th inning five nights a week, that will allow for a more rested bullpen and a real chance for .500.

I’m sold on Miguel Tejada as a relevant third baseman in the AL East. I think he’ll hit .300 and be an RBI machine like he’s always been. He might be 50 years old for all we know, but I think he’ll be the least of the Orioles concerns at this point in his career. He’s coming as a complimentary player not the leader and “franchise” guy he was counted on to be six years ago. His lies, transgressions and B-12 shots will not even be a factor this summer in Baltimore.

Of course, this would be a good year for SOMEONE to step up and be the REAL franchise player.

Is it Nick Markakis, who is quietly putting together a nice Orioles career?

Or could it be Adam Jones, whose Tweets are fun to follow when he’s not up all night in San Diego?

Or will it be Matt Wieters, whose hype seemed justified over the final two months of 2009 when it appeared he was ready to become a star?

At least there are several All Star Game candidates in orange this summer. It’s not another summer of David Segui, B.J. Surhoff and Gregg Zaun playing out their late 30’s at Camden Yards.

I’m not a Dave Trembley fan – the team tanked and quit down the stretch last year and each of those 98 losses were well-earned late last summer. Again, when the owner is the cheapest in the game and when Trembley will manage for 1/10th of what the best managers in MLB yield for a salary, I get what the team is doing.

They’re making money. They’re hoping these kids pan out and selling it to what’s left of a tortured fan base and using their media moles to “plant the seed” of hope. At least they can say they “were patient” while Andy MacPhail built what this cake turns out to be circa 2013, when it allegedly will mature. (They’re always two years away from competing with the Yankees and Red Sox, aren’t they?)

So, are the baby Birds ready to fly? Can the team be relevant enough to compete through the All Star break without falling 15 games behind Boston and/or New York?

We’ll see. But for the first time in a long time, they can legitimately threaten to be a .500 team if they stay healthy and have some key young prospects step up the way the insider pundits around the sport believe they will.

If Matusz is real?

If Wieters is real?

If Adam Jones can improve?

If Nick Markakis can remain consistent?

If Brian Roberts’ back can stay healthy?

If all of the young starters can get to the 7th inning with consistency?

If Tejada still has it?

And this is before we start projecting the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Garrett Atkins, Luke Scott, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimond, who are all a literal box of chocolates. Does anyone really know what any of these guys will wind up doing come mid-summer? And what does anyone know about the bullpen, led by Mike Gonzalez?

Again – it’s the worst run franchise in professional sports. It’s not even close. That much has been borne out in living color over the past 13 summers. That will never change, even if Brooks Robinson is throwing out the first pitch on Friday. They are the worst group of people I’ve met in my 42 years on the planet — pure evil in their deeds, intents and actions.

But, perhaps this is the summer that all of their bloody deeds since 1997 are justified and they get people in Baltimore truly excited and energized about baseball.

If Tampa Bay could do it two years ago there’s no reason to believe the likes of Matusz, Wieters, Reimold, Bergesen, Tillman and company can’t step up to become very productive, young major leaguers and all hit their stride this summer.

It’s certainly a lot more possible than during the era of Omar Daal, Marty Cordova and Kevin Millar or any of the past sins of Peter Angelos’ ugly stewardship as the suddenly disappearing owner.

My real prediction: 78 wins.

I don’t think they can be above .500 with 54 games coming in the division against New York, Boston and Tampa Bay. But I think they will certainly be far better and more interesting on the field than we’ve seen here in Baltimore over the last 13 years.

But given the history, let’s all sip the orange Kool Aid one ounce at a time…

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Rain drops Koji: Birds lose to Mariners 6-3

Posted on 11 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

My new favorite Oriole, Matt Wieters, was the featured Bird tonight but didn’t play. Koji Uehara looked pretty good until the rain came. The Orioles lost again.

Mired in an offensive slump, tonight’s Birds lineup was another head-scratcher with Ty Wiggington, Gregg Zaun and Robert Andino at the bottom of the order. To their credit (and perhaps Dave Trembley, who filled out the card) they combined for 3 of the Orioles’ 7 hits tonight in a 6-3 loss.

Uehara gave up three runs in the sixth inning and another in the fifth, while Brian Bass pitched 1 2/3 of rocky relief.

Uehara looked like he was affected by the rain and Trembley’s postgame indicated that as well. He said the hamstring wasn’t an issue.

The Mariners got a big night from Russell Branyan, who hit a home run off Bass further than any ball I can remember, landing the last row of the bleachers below the scoreboard in deep, deep right centerfield. They called it 450-feet. They said it’s the sixth furthest shot in the history of Camden Yards. I don’t believe it. It looked like it was at least 475 and was just amazing.

The Orioles had a semi-rally in the first inning that got them two runs but could’ve been much worse. Former Oriole Garrett Olson was on the ropes yet survived five innings and got his first win of the season, which must’ve tasted good coming against the team that shipped him out for lowly Felix Pie back in January. After Luke Scott homered in the first, Olson settled down and did enough to survive.

Trembley lamented in the postgame about the offensive struggles of the team. “When it rains it pours” is how Trembley put it. “You stick with your guys, you back them up and there’s not a whole of other things you can do.”

As an aside, I think Ichiro Suzuki is one of the best baseball players I’ve ever seen. He exciting to watch, even when he strikes out looking silly at the hands of Brian Bass. I wish he was an Oriole!

The Orioles will welcome the Atlanta Braves to Camden Yards for three games.

Please feel free to join Bob Haynie at The Next Friday night before the game for an ice cold Bud Light.

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Harbaugh and Bisciotti celebrate Festivus

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Bisciotti and Harbaugh walk ‘arm in arm’ into 2009 Festivus

Posted on 29 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

What a difference 52 weeks makes. It will be a year ago this Wednesday — on New Year’s Eve — when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti walked into Brian Billick’s office and abruptly fired the head coach who led his franchise to its only Super Bowl win. It was the biggest story in the city for weeks, and many folks were surprised and many questions were asked. For me, it wasn’t so much the actual firing of Billick as much as the “I changed my mind” reasoning so closely removed from a 13-3 season and the fact that Ozzie Newsome was clearly kept out of the decision. At the time I was a loud critic of the move, especially considering that Bisciotti didn’t have a clear vision of where the franchise was headed or who he wanted to hire as a head coach.

The thinking was this: Who is Bisciotti going to hire who is better than Billick?

Three weeks later, after getting turned down by Dallas offensive coordinator Jason
Garrett and eliminating defensive coordinator Rex Ryan from contention, Bisciotti turned to a “low mileage” young special teams coordinator whose QB brother was far better known not only in Baltimore but throughout the league and in college circles as the head coach at Stanford.

Bisciotti, who is a self-made billionaire and who did it by hiring great people, was pretty offended last winter at the mere notion that his decisions and pick to lead the organization on the field would be questioned. It’s one of the few times I’ve ever seen him publicly “chippy.”

Harbaugh and Bisciotti celebrate Festivus

Harbaugh came to this job as a universally revered “coach’s coach,” the son of a football coach and the brother of a very successful NFL quarterback. I had at least 20 NFL “insiders” who immediately called me and told me that Harbaugh would be a “great” NFL coach. Harbaugh had ZERO detractors. Even Brian Billick privately applauded Bisciotti’s choice to replace him as being “a great move.” Yesterday, as the clock struck zero and Harbaugh had led Bisciotti’s franchise full-circle and back into the NFL postseason, the two men embraced in as genuine a lock as you’d ever want to see on the field at M&T Bank Stadium. You can see the moment on video here… and it was celebrated with the fans.

We can revisit all of the details of last January’s semi-bizarre job search and all of the possibilities and permutations and fallout of a bloody, unexpected firing of a Super Bowl champion coach amidst a locker room full of revolt, dissent and mouthy and aging players. All of my January Bisciotti/Garrett/Harbaugh blogs are still here in the archives if you care to read them.

Here’s the point: Bisciotti has made three MAJOR calls in 2009. First he fired Billick, while owing him $18 million, a ballsy and risky move if there ever was one. Then, he hand-picked unproven John Harbaugh to lead his football team in January. And finally — you might never get anyone to admit this on the record within the franchise — Bisciotti absolutely JUMPED on the table in the draft room in April and insisted that Ozzie Newsome trade up into the 18th pick to take a New Jersey kid from “small school” University of Delaware named Joe Flacco to be his franchise quarterback.

Considering our history with sports franchise poobahs in Baltimore (think Irsay, Jacobs, EBW & Abe Pollin), we’re far from believing that owners should get overly involved in the day-to-day operations of a sports franchise in most circumstances – and this is your chance to fill in the holiday Peter Angelos joke of your choice right here – but obviously an NFL owner’s choice of a head coach and a franchise quarterback has never looked better than it does this morning, exactly 52 weeks to the day that Bisciotti was clearly shaken by the removal of Billick, whom he had deep affection and respect for as a person and a leader of men.

If you’re excited about the Ravens this week and you’ve got purple fever, sure it’s fashionable to give all of the credit to Flacco and Harbaugh (as well as Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Le’Ron McClain, Cam Cameron, etc.) but today is a day we should consider giving the credit to the “mastermind” of several of the most significant 2009 calls that have landed the Ravens in the postseason and headed to Miami this Sunday at 1 p.m.

Steve Bisciotti has played a MAJOR role in the Ravens’ turnaround by making moves that have been greeted with at least extreme “curiosity” inside his own building and amongst his experts. Who would’ve thought that Rex Ryan could get passed over for the head coaching job here for a special teams coordinator and respond in a fashion that has made him the front-runner for the St. Louis Rams job 52 weeks later? Human nature might’ve said, “You can’t bring Ryan back as defensive coordinator” given the strange circumstances.

But over the course of his life, Bisciotti has shown an uncanny ability to find and retain quality people as employees. It’s his “gift” as a business owner, bringing in people who he’ll brag are “better” than him. He’s always told me that it’s the secret of his success.

Sure, he subtracted Brian Billick who I clearly think is one of the better people I’ve met on the planet and a person that I’m supremely thrilled to have on my WNST.net team, but he also added another quality guy in John Harbaugh — as well as a new staff — and the change has obviously worked out fabulously in Year 1. (For the record, Billick had Cam Cameron flying into Baltimore to be his offensive coordinator a year ago today as well, had he not been fired…just a fact!)

The firing of Billick was a change, as I stated last Janaury, that I wouldn’t have made. Many concurred with my assessment. But that’s why he’s Steve Bisciotti and that’s why he’s worth a billion dollars. As the old Indiana Jones movie said, “He chose wisely.”

Many NFL jobs will begin popping open today. Brian Billick might even get another shot to lead an NFL franchise at some point in the next few weeks. Of course, he might be enjoying his quality of life watching football on Fox and doing radio shows and writing a blog here at WNST.net while building his life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

But 363 days later, you would be hard-pressed to make the argument that Billick might’ve gotten this team to 11-5, with or without a quarterback like Flacco. Or maybe not. But at this point, that’s not an argument anyone in Baltimore wants or needs to make. In reality, we’re all in a better place 52 weeks later.

The NFL job carousel will get crazy this week. I’m glad we’re on the other side of this one this season covering a playoff team instead of a job search and all of the messiness involved. Phil Savage is the first of many fired friends of mine this week.

For now here in Baltimore, it’s Festivus for the rest of us.

Bring on the Fish…

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Orioles appear to dump Ramon Hernandez off to the Reds

Posted on 09 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

As has been reported all day from the winter meetings in Las Vegas, it appears as though the Orioles and the Reds have finally completed the transaction to send catcher Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati for outfielder Ryan Freel and a pair of prospects.

The $1 million in cash involved in the transaction will need to be approved by Bud Selig.

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com was the first with the story. He’s had a phenomenal running blog from Sin City…

The rumors regarding Garrett Olson for Felix Pie continue to swirl. But they’re only rumors at this point.

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Sunday Night Flight of Ideas

Posted on 15 September 2008 by John Novak

  • Anyone catch the interview of Ed Hale by Drew on the Comcast Morning this past Thursday? I laughed when Hale told the story of the phone call he received from then Governor Schaefer regarding Hale’s attempts to build an arena at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Other comments made explained why the regular season finale against Detroit was such a great game – the players knew that it would probably be the last time they would play against each other.
  • Does the world need to know personal details regarding Vince Young’s state of mind? What about Vince Young, the man?  Doesn’t he deserve a bit more privacy?  Jeff Fisher is concerned about his mental state, tells the police, and next thing you know Fisher’s concerns about Young are being quoted on the web and in the papers.  Surely Fisher didn’t want that information to become public.
  • What would you rather have in your city – having to deal with your NFL football team having to more or less forfeit their bye week and have to play 15 straight games, or having to deal with city-wide destruction from a hurricane? I’ll count my blessings and gladly take the former.
  • Maryland beats Cal – as my son would say “Didn’t see that one coming”.
  • Ask any referee or player – a soccer match played on a hot day is at least 10 degrees hotter than playing on natural grass.
  • The nerve of Orioles.com describing how they beat the Twins on Sunday by the score of 7-3 as a “pounding” when the Twins had defeated the Orioles 12-2 and 12-6 in the true double header on Saturday.  While I listening to some of it on the radio, I could actually hear loud and clear cheering for the Twins. Later I moved to the television for the night cap, and watched as Garrett Olson couldn’t even make it through the first inning. Then Randor Bierd was wilder than wild in relief.

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Jason Garrett Got What HE Wanted…Will The Ravens?

Posted on 18 January 2008 by Mark Suchy

First and foremost, the National Football League is a business.  It has exactly 32 franchises and each of those teams has one Head Coach.  These extremely fortunate men average approximately $2 to 3 million dollars a year to decide whether or not to punt on 4th and 2 at the opponents’ 41 yard line or what 23 year old defensive back gives their special teams better coverage.  It’s big dollars for sandlot decisions.

Jason Garrett probably has a better sense of the realities of the modern NFL as a big business than anyone has realized.  He skillfully utilized the system that the league has developed to ensure himself a financially certain future.  If we learned anything about the financial health and general well being of the NFL during the “Garrett Episode”, if you will, it’s that individual franchises are so flush with disposable income that they’re willing to wreck their internal salary structures for the sake of retaining valued assistants.

That’s just good business sense, on the part of both Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones.

Any business owner would likely follow suit.  If you value a certain employee and a competitor tries to lure that person away, isn’t it in your professional best interest to do everything possible to retain him/her?  Do you think it’s good business sense to allow company operation secrets to walk away to your competition if you can satisfy their financial demands?  The risk usually outweighs the long-term rewards for any business owner.

So let Jason Garrett stay in Dallas and increase his annual salary.  Let Jerry Jones continue to groom him as his Head Coach-In-Waiting.  They’re each going to continue to make plenty of money doing their respective jobs.

Give credit to Jason Garrett: He played the position very skillfully.  He and his agent leveraged TWO NFL franchises to get their fondest wish granted.  Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys.  With a nice fat raise on top of it.

This was never about the Baltimore Ravens and their locker room, their ownership, their facilities or their stature as an “elite” franchise.  This was the entire front office getting manipulated by a man and his agent under the “rules of the game” clause.  It’s a rare instance for any assistant coach to so skillfully manuever the pieces in his favor.  And in the process deliver larger financial paydays to your fellow assistant coaches throughout the league in the very near future.

This was just about Jason Garrett and his future.

One can only hope that whomever the Ravens hire is not so disingenous and transparent as he.

THAT should be the moral of this chapter in the continuing story of this search.

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GUT FEELINGS??!!??

Posted on 17 January 2008 by KZ

So, a good friend of mine and lifelong STEELER fan called me today. He told me how stupid Jason Garrett is. He said “I am not a Ravens fan, but you have to say they are a well run, first class organization.” Which got me thinking….I know maybe my first issue…but…

So Jason Garrett wants to be the head coach in Dallas…I have no issue with it. Good luck to him!  HE better pray the the Cowboys don’t win the SuperBowl next season. HE better hope that Romo’s hand is not a cronic issue. HE better keep  Marion Barber and Jason Whitten healthy.

So my question is…has our owner taken this from a well run, first class organization to a big WARNING SIGN. Did the way he fired Billick shake the club to its core? Is the fact that the players seem to have so much say in what the owner does, make any potential coach leery? Does the fact that OZZIE, seemed to not be on board with the firing, make him insignificant in the hirering process?

Do potential candidates look here and say…what if the OWNER wakes up one morning and decides he does not want me as the coach?

Did this organization go from first to worst on a gut feeling?

Scares me!

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The situation room: Jason Garrett and Steve Bisciotti

Posted on 17 January 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

So, today the Ravens might have a new coach, and as we’ve seen over the past 72 hours,  maybe they WON’T.

Predictions are out this window at this point, and there are as many “scenarios” as there are coaching candidates.

Below I will try to give you the flavor of what I’ve been sifting through as a 24-year journalist over the past few days. (I’ve gone old school here, calling upon every resource I have in the league trying to figure out what’s happening here!)

Everyone in the league is buzzing about all of the changes on the coaching carousel and the six days off between games in mid-January usually lend themselves to the rumorama that comes with owners, coaches, agents and executives all jockeying for seats in the boardrooms of 32 NFL teams.

Incidentally, almost unanimously my sources say that the stunt that Garrett pulled on Tuesday was very against the “etiquette” of how these job situations are handled. The whole notion of a “second interview” means that you’re coming to take the job. No doubt, Bisciotti talked money with Garrett’s team before he got on the plane Monday night. Garrett, and his slippery agent David Dunn, apparently didn’t get that memo, as Dunn leaked information on both sides of the ball, playing all of the potential suitors against each other with a trigger-happy media flood that only served to garner Garrett some perceived leverage..

The truth is pretty simple: As a first-time head coach, Garrett will get somewhere between $2 and $3 million per year – maybe a little more because he’s “hot” right now, but the money will not be the issue holding up his coronation.

How Steve Bisciotti  actually feels about Tuesday’s “charade” will come out in the wash. If the Ravens didn’t think they still had a chance with Garrett, they would’ve “removed” his name from consideration right around 6 p.m. on Monday night when the limo made the turn outta The Bellagio for BWI.

My sources tell me that the Ravens are patiently waiting on Garrett, whom they believe is honorable and is simply taking a few days to mull his many options. So, while you and I might feel like walking away from the Ravens’ job offer is insulting to Bisciotti, apparently he doesn’t feel that way. He sees it as Garrett “doing business.”

Let’s take some of the people and situations one at a time:

Jason Garrett

Garrett is apparently back in Dallas this morning mulling over the THREE offers he has to make in excess of $2 million per season next year, with two head coaching jobs there for the taking: Atlanta and Baltimore.

There are as many opinions on Garrett as there are people to call. The consensus among the people I know is that Jerry Jones will make him an offer he can’t refuse, because what he REALLY wants to be is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, not the Falcons or Ravens. (Shouldn’t this make Bisciotti nervous to begin with?) And Jones can make Garrett’s second season as an offensive coordinator a very profitable one, holding him in reserve and putting Wade Phillips into “lame duck” status. Jones has done this before, so it’s almost expected, especially with a groomed guy who won a pair of Super Bowl rings working for Jones in Dallas.

Many, many people I’ve chatted with believe that Garrett isn’t ready to be a head coach in the NFL, just three years removed from being a player. Some don’t believe he’ll ever be a great coach. Many don’t understand why the buzz is so white hot on a one-year coordinator, whom Jerry Jones has turned into the hottest chick at the dance.

A handful of people I spoke with yesterday believe that HE now believes he’s not ready to be a head coach just yet. Just based on the look of shock on his face meeting with the “Baltimore stakeout” on Tuesday worried me a bit if he’s the guy. He looked like a deer in the headlights and his first “act” as a potential head coach in Baltimore was to issue a silly statement, avoid all questions and jump in a limo and flee the scene.

We’ll learn a lot more about Garrett today, it appears.


John Harbaugh

A spirited guy, and another football lifer with roots all over the league, the knock on Harbaugh will be that he’s never been on the offensive side of the ball, only did the past year on defense and spent the overwhelming majority of his time in the NFL coaching special teams.

But he’s been at this game a long time, at virtually every level of the game, and could be bringing Cam Cameron with him as well to run the offense. He worked for Cameron at Indiana.

There have been many successful NFL coaches with special teams backgrounds (Cowher, Schottenheimer, etc.) so that’s not really an issue, although the local media will surely have a field day if Harbaugh is named the team’s third coach.

He might look like a “dark horse” to many in Baltimore, but all of my sources tell me that John Harbaugh is a great football man and will be an outstanding NFL head coach.

Harbaugh’s bio is here…quite impressive.

If Garrett backs out (as expected), Harbaugh might be the new Ravens coach by the end of the day.

Rex Ryan

His untimely entry into The Bellagio on Tuesday while Garrett was in the building interviewing for the head coaching job notwithstanding (he still has an office there, as strange as that sounds), Ryan is very much the man in limbo and is literally a hostage to Jason Garrett’s whims.

If Garrett stays in Dallas (still the best bet, but in no way a lock), Ryan could be named Atlanta’s head coach by tomorrow.

If Garrett comes to Baltimore, he STILL could be named head coach of the Falcons by tomorrow.

Of course, Atlanta might be blowing smoke. All you need to do is read ANY story on how the Falcons have handled their football business and you’ll see that they have become the worst franchise in the league, right up there with Oakland, Cincinnati and Arizona for whack-job ownership.

If the Falcons go back to the drawing board on their search, Ryan STILL could wind up running the defense here in Baltimore under Garrett and/or Harbaugh. Ryan has NOT been officially fired, is still under contract to the Ravens and has an office on the second floor of The Bellagio.

Overview of The 2008 Ravens

Being an inside observer to this “mating dance” several times since the Ravens came to town in 1995, I have my own opinions and observations that have been reached — not with rumors or conjecture — but with facts that the many league sources and friends have educated me about over the years.

First, the current state of the Ravens is a mess from virtually anyone on the outside. As one observer told me yesterday: “It’s not like the Ravens have leprosy, but it’s not far off.”

The Ravens are a franchise that:

1.    Has a team full of disgruntled and very well-paid players who basically instituted a mutiny on their nine-year, Super Bowl-winning coach a year removed from a 13-3 season.
2.    Has an owner who told a Super Bowl-winning coach repeatedly that he was “safe” and then “Corleoned” him quite publicly less than 12 hours after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers to end the season, reportedly owing him $15 million.
3.    Has a tremendously distressful salary cap situation and an aging roster. (People around the league look at McAlister, Lewis, Ogden, McNair, Pryce and Rolle as ALL having played their best football in the rearview mirror.)
4.    Has a management structure that appears in upheaval (if not poisonous), especially once word got around that GM Ozzie Newsome didn’t endorse, approve of or even know about Billick’s firing until it essentially had been determined/endorsed by the team’s attorney/president.
5.    Has a VERY agitated fan base with tremendously unrealistic expectations for this to be turned around on a dime. Baltimore is among the most “collegiate” coaching experiences in the league (and that’s not a compliment if you consider what Alabama, Notre Dame and most SEC coaches deal with). Some believe the fans’ voices contributed greatly to Bisciotti’s decision to fire Billick.
6.    Oh, and there’s the biggest problem of all in many eyes: the franchise has no quarterback. At least when Marvin Lewis and Mike Nolan inherited turd franchises, they had the No. 1 pick and a quarterback was there to take. The Ravens’ new coach won’t be so lucky.

In the end, there are only 32 jobs in the world like it. It still pays in excess of $2 million per year and there are thousands of coaches who would line up to be the Ravens’ head coach. (Hell, Rex Ryan is salivating at the opportunity to take over the Falcons, so you KNOW plenty of guys covet these jobs.)

The question here isn’t totally about salary or control or years or even football knowledge. It’s a blend.

In almost every instance, here are the relevant questions that smart people around the league would ask:

1.    Can it be fixed and quickly? (Most say, “Yes, it can be fixed, but NOT quickly given the amount of money, age and personalities involved.” Every source I spoke with told me that a housecleaning is mandatory.)
2.    What is the strategy/remedy and who is really making the decisions on the 53-man roster. Does Ozzie Newsome pick the players or does the coach?
3.    Will the owner hit the eject button and fire me if the 2008 Ravens go 2-14, which is a realistic scenario, especially if they “clean house” with the current players.

Everyone I talked to said this is the KEY factor in a coach taking the job:

“If Chris McAlister quits or mouths off to me, or if Bart Scott throws flags at officials or if Ray Lewis goes on a radio show and blasts my coaching acumen, am I empowered to do anything about it? And who will have my back, especially considering they ALL make more money than I do and essentially got Billick fired?”

This is what I know…as Billick would say, “Have at it!”

Comments might be a little slow to be posted today. I’m doing a lot of running around. Thanks!

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Mrs. Garrett running the show

Posted on 16 January 2008 by johnrallo

Seems to me that Mrs. Garrett is in charge of negotiations. As a Harvard Law School Grad maybe she should be. I do not like the message I got today by him leaving and the wife looking pissed, walking 3 feet ahead of him and getting into the car. Hopefully it means nothing. But sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

No way he left here with any intention on taking the Atlanta job. Why would you want your first job as a HC in a city where you are set up to fail? Atlanta has no QB, a weak oline, an aging, undersized RB and very little talent on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe Mrs. Garrett is just trying to make the Ravens sweat and cough up the extra 500K they want.

Maybe he left here without signing to speak to Jerry Jones in person about the offer. His trip to Atlanta is a smoke screen so he does not tip his hand to the Ravens. I actually respect him if he wants to speak to JJ in person before he takes the job here. I think he should be loyal to Jerry and speak to him before accepting any job.

I did not want Garrett as our HC. I feel he has not accomplished anything warranting consideration for our HC job. the man has been an OC for 1 year. He is coaching a team loaded with talent. His numbers were no more impressive than the numbers Sporano put up in 2006 when he was calling plays for Parcells. I want a more accomplished man at the helm of our team.

Then I read his coordinators would be Dom Capers (DC) and Cam Cameron (OC). IF this is true I just hopped on the Garrett band wagon. These are two solid coordinators who would help our team reestablish itself as a winner. Capers has coached many successful defenses. With the talent we have on that side of the ball we can expect more top 5 finishes from the D. Cameron was very successful in SD as the OC. He was number 1 and number 5 in scoring offense his last two years in SD.

So I hope that Garrett is just being honorable and waiting to see Jerry in person to tell him the news. I hope his wife just looked unhappy and wasn’t actually upset with the process. I hope if the hold up is 500K Bisciotti shows him the money. I would like to get him in Bmore ASAP if he is our first choice. We have scouting to do.

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