It’s hard to determine who has lost their way more: the Ravens…or the fans.
The Ravens at least have an explanation for their situation. They’re in the midst of an injury riddled pre-season that has seen them lose two quarterbacks in the last week.
The fans, though, just can’t seem to understand that the team is in the bind of all binds right now and they’re forced to do something – anything – to get ready for next Sunday’s opener against the Bengals in Baltimore. The Ravens have a football game to win next Sunday and to do that, you need a couple of quarterbacks at least – preferably one that’s actually played in a game that mattered…and not a NFL Europe game or a bowl game against (insert college opponent here).
One quick trip around Baltimore’s various football/Ravens related fan message boards tells you all you need to know about today’s supposed turn of events. People are trying to find their way to the Hanover Street bridge…if you know what I mean.
Have the Ravens signed Joey Harrington, Chris Simms or, perhaps, both? Maybe. The Ravens aren’t really saying anything today, except three QB’s came in for a work out and Joe Flacco is going to start next Sunday against the Bengals. There are reports floating around that Harrington has signed. Or that Simms has signed. Or that both have signed. Who knows?
But if they have added Harrington and/or Simms, what’s the big deal?
They have to bring SOMEONE on board between now and tomorrow. What if Flacco pulls his groin in Wednesday’s practice? Who goes on Sunday in that case, Mark Clayton?
So, with nowhere else to turn – and with Kyle Boller likely out for an extended period of time and Troy Smith telling folks he might not be ready for 2-3 more weeks – the Ravens need to bring someone in who has quarterbacked in the NFL before, right?
And it’s NOT Casey Bramlet.
Joey Harrington has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his career (so has Daunte Culpepper by the way, a stat which surprised me…) and Simms is no great shakes either. How do I know Harrington and Simms aren’t prime options at this point? Easy. Harrington just got beat out in Atlanta by Chris Redman and Tampa Bay chose Jeff Garcia over Simms.
But they probably represent the BEST options available to the Ravens right now. They’re not great options (that’s why they’re available a week before the season) but they ARE options and they DO have NFL experience.
You can throw your hands up in the air and bellyache about it all you want, but the bottom line in the NFL is this: there’s a SEVERE shortage of high-level talent among back-up quarterbacks in the league.
And the Ravens, like a bunch of teams, are paying the price for it right now.
That’s why they took Joe Flacco last April.
In a couple of years, if the football gods will leave the Ravens quarterback position out of their daily “who do we mess with?” diary, Joe Flacco will be running the show and we won’t give much concern to who the #2 and #3 quarterbacks are in Baltimore.
For now, though, everyone needs to take a chill pill and get through the first Sunday against the Bengals.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.