Tag Archive | "Steve Bisciotti"

Timing everything as Flacco becomes highest-paid player in NFL history

Tags: , , , , , ,

Timing everything as Flacco becomes highest-paid player in NFL history

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Luke Jones

It was the perfect storm of circumstances for Joe Flacco to become the highest-paid player in NFL history, regardless of whether you think the Ravens quarterback is truly deserving of the title.

Believing Flacco isn’t the best quarterback in the league is more than fair, but it didn’t hold any weight at the negotiating table this time around as general manager Ozzie Newsome, owner Steve Bisciotti, and the entire organization were just fitted for their championship rings a few weeks ago. His play over the final four games of the season pushed him into the top tier of quarterbacks and that’s all that’s needed to fetch the richest contract in league history when it’s your turn in line.

That will become evident in the near future when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers receives his payday that will likely eclipse the Baltimore quarterback’s deal.

Yes, Flacco bet on himself last summer by turning down the Ravens’ best offer — rumored to be a contract in the $16 million-per-year range — and proved everyone wrong by completing arguably the greatest postseason performance in NFL history. With Flacco leading his team to victory in Super Bowl XLVII, arguments over whether he was elite or where he ultimately ranked in the hierarchy of NFL quarterbacks became irrelevant.

The sight of Flacco raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl MVP in New Orleans was all that was needed to predict what will become official on Monday when he signs a six-year, $120.6 million. Timing is everything when it comes to contract negotiations, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of a professional athlete seizing the opportunity.

Flacco, his agent Joe Linta, and the Ravens all knew there was no other outcome after the 28-year-old was at his best on the biggest stage possible.

Even if they paid more than they would have liked in a perfect world, the Ravens knew there was no way they could let their franchise quarterback go after he did exactly what they asked of him by throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four postseason games, topping two of the greatest quarterbacks in league history along the way. Their salary-cap restrictions prohibited them from trying to play hardball as the use of the pricy franchise tag would have meant virtually no chance for the Ravens to make any other moves of significant note this offseason, in terms of re-signing their other unrestricted free agents or pursuing other talent on the open market.

The choice was simple: sign their franchise quarterback to a long-term deal now — even if it meant overpaying in some critics’ minds — or lose a number of other players and risk alienating Flacco and his representation further by using the franchise tag. And even though there was no tangible fear of losing their quarterback, the Ravens’ memory of lackluster play from the likes of Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright, Chris Redman, and virtually every other quarterback in town prior to 2008 was enough to provide a final nudge if necessary.

It wasn’t a choice at all, really, and that’s why critics arguing that Flacco’s new-found fortune is too much are wasting their breath. Negotiations don’t take place in a vacuum as Flacco’s side had all the leverage in the world. Taking a stand is a lot easier when you’re standing on the sideline, and Newsome and the Ravens had no such luxury.

The year-by-year breakdown of the deal has yet to be revealed, but the Ravens are likely to receive some relief for 2013 in comparison to the cap figure Flacco would have carried if slapped with the franchise tag. As any team paying a top quarterback will tell you, the Ravens hope the league’s new television deal will inflate the salary cap substantially starting in 2015 to ease the pain of what will be some gigantic cap numbers over the next few years.

But none of that talk can dampen the satisfaction of knowing the Ravens have their man locked up for the next six years.

The pressure will now be on Flacco to live up to the terms of his record-breaking deal. Observers will expect more performances like he showed in the postseason instead of the modest 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions he threw during the regular season.

The cost of business clearly went up in terms of the quarterback’s compensation, so the expectations will justifiably rise as well.

And that’s a compliment to Flacco as he enters the prime of his career with a full offseason to work with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, whose December promotion paid dividends for the Baltimore offense. Higher expectations will be there because Flacco showed he was fully capable of playing at that elite level against the best competition the NFL had to offer.

Flacco reached the pinnacle for the first time in his career last month and now he will be asked to do it again every year — even if we know that’s not really possible.

It may sound too harsh, but there are 120 million reasons why that’s a reasonable demand.

And knowing the Ravens quarterback, that’s perfectly fine with him.

 

Comments (3)

Of course ticket prices are increasing for the Ravens

Tags: , ,

Of course ticket prices are increasing for the Ravens

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Drew Forrester

Complaining about the Ravens raising ticket prices is like moaning about a yellow light that suddenly turns to red.

What, you thought it was going to stay yellow forever?

I’m not a ticket buyer, so naturally it’s easy for me to just sit back and say, “deal with it”.  But, honestly, ticket prices have to go up every couple of years, particularly in a market like Baltimore where the team’s new revenue sources are few and far between.

The team defended themselves on Tuesday by citing “player costs” as a reason for the increase.  A couple of folks e-mailed me to complain, using the argument of “but the salary cap isn’t going up in 2013″ to justify why the Ravens were wrong for raising the prices.  No, sirs, you’re wrong.

When the Ravens are forced to fork over forty or fifty million to Joe Flacco sometime in the next two weeks, where do you folks think that money comes from?

What about the ten million they’ll have to give Dannell Ellerbe if they keep him around?

If Ed Reed stays, who ponies up his five million signing bonus?

Hint:  You know the guy.

It’s you.

Yes, sure, Steve Bisciotti owns the team.  And he might literally be forced to “loan his company” forty million to appease Flacco and his agent.  But that money goes right back to the owner when it’s in and available for repayment.  Steve Bisciotti himself doesn’t pay Joe Flacco or any player out of his own pocket.  He might initially be involved in a transaction because he has that kind of cash availability, but once all the team monies are collected and deposited, the owner eventually gets repaid the dough he shelled out.

When the Ravens cite “player costs” as a reason for increasing their ticket prices, an increase in the salary cap isn’t necessarily part of the equation.  Some people just assumed that was the case.  It’s not, though.

I also had to LOL on Tuesday when I heard a couple of geniuses say something like this on the radio: “Bisciotti makes so much money on the team it’s sickening.  Every team in the league is making fifty million a year.”

No, gentlemen, they are most certainly NOT making fifty million a year.

In fact, over the last two seasons – prior to 2012 – the Ravens have made a little more than sixteen million in profit.  Yes, the owner of every NFL team draws a one million salary from the club.  That’s a fact.  But in 2010 and 2011, the team combined for slightly more than sixteen million in profit.  ”That’s it?” you’re asking.  Yes, that’s really it.  Steve Bisciotti, if you believe him – and I do – told some of us in the media a couple of Januarys ago that it’s not at all rare for the Ravens to break even or generate very little profit in a given season.  If you just do the simple match, it’s easy to believe him.  The football team has $120 million in expenses before a ball ever gets kicked off.  This season, the TV money ($118mm) and the salary cap ($120mm) were nearly identical. You haven’t employed a staff member, flown a plane or bought insurance for anyone yet, let alone pay the light bill at the team’s facility.  I have no idea what the Ravens made in 2012, but I bet it wasn’t much.  Maybe twelve million bucks?

That will all change in 2014, though.  Given the new TV monies coming into the league, each NFL team stands to receive $200 million from the pool of money paid to the league.  Not surprisingly, the salary cap is expected to rise by potentially as much as $18 million per-team — but that’s not until NEXT season.

And, oh, by the way, aren’t football teams allowed to make a profit?  Remember, I’m the guy who has told you this little secret for about ten years now:  Owners of sports teams don’t REALLY own the club — the community owns the club.  They merely own the right to make a profit off the team.

Any economist would tell you that a company worth $700 million (Ravens) generating a profit of only $7mm to $10mm a year is doing something woefully wrong.  Yes, the football team is a winning business proposition for the owner, but it’s not returning nearly as much as you think it would based on the overall value.

Steve Bisciotti has every right to make a profit off the team.  That’s why he paid $600 million for it.  And despite what anyone might think, how much of a profit he makes while he owns the team really isn’t anyone’s business AS LONG AS HE’S RUNNING THE CLUB IN A MANNER THAT REWARDS THE INVESTMENT MADE BY THE FANS AND THE SPONSORS.

I’d say, based on that game the Ravens just won in New Orleans three weeks ago, Mr. Bisciotti is doing a pretty fair job of running the football team.

Ticket prices going up?

You bet they are.

The Ravens just won the Super Bowl, pal.

If you can’t raise the prices after you’ve won the world championship, when CAN you raise them?

 

Comments (13)

Offseason begins and ends with resolving Flacco contract

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Offseason begins and ends with resolving Flacco contract

Posted on 07 February 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Even after winning their second Super Bowl only days ago, the Ravens wasted no time in beginning preparations for the 2013 season.

A day after celebrating with a downtown parade and a rally at M&T Bank Stadium, general manager Ozzie Newsome, head coach John Harbaugh, and the front office were back at it with a 10-hour personnel meeting on Wednesday in which they evaluated 70 to 75 players. It’s no secret the Ravens face a tight salary cap this offseason, leaving many to wonder if they’d go the same route used in the offseason following Super Bowl XXXV in which the organization put cap ramifications on the back burner in favor of making another run at a championship.

Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti put that possibility to rest at the Ravens’ season-review press conference on Thursday.

“We will not repeat what we did in 2001 because we’re trying to build where we can win Super Bowls more than just one more time,” Newsome said. “I think our team is structured differently this time also. We do have some veterans that will probably be retiring, but we’ve got a great nucleus of young players and players that are just heading into their prime that we’re going to build this team around. We are not going to be restructuring contracts or doing all of those different things to be able to just maintain this team to make another run. We’re not doing that.

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to try to go and repeat.”

That reality means the Ravens will likely say goodbye to a number of their 13 unrestricted free agents, which include safety Ed Reed, linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, cornerback Cary Williams, and quarterback Joe Flacco. Of those players, Flacco is the only one certain to return as the Ravens will try to reach a long-term agreement with the Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player prior to the deadline for using the franchise tag on March 4.

Even with a long-term contract completed with the quarterback, the Ravens are unlikely to maintain the services of Kruger or Williams, who will both receive significant offers on the free-agent market in mid-March. According to several reports, the Ravens are expected to have roughly $15 million in cap space including the money saved from Ray Lewis’ retirement, but that doesn’t account for money needed for the tag for Flacco and for tenders offered to restricted and exclusive-rights free agents. Of course, additional money could come via the retirement of veterans such as Matt Birk or Bobbie Williams or by releasing other veterans.

“We’re not going to get caught up in the moment and do things to our salary cap and make decisions in the euphoria of winning that could hurt us in 2014 and 2015 like we did in 2001,” owner Steve Bisciotti said. “Every single veteran was restructured, I think, so that every single veteran could stay and then we ended up losing so many people the next year. We don’t want to do that.”

In order to maintain any real sense of continuity, the Ravens must agree on a long-term contract with Flacco, but agent Joe Linta has said he’s aiming for his client to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league. The 2008 first-round pick is believed to be seeking $20 million per season with a significant portion of the deal including guaranteed money.

Bisciotti said Thursday the organization offered Flacco a “top-5″ contract last summer and believes winning the Super Bowl this season would not hinder negotiations more than if the Ravens had exited in the first round of the playoffs.

“We’re looking to get a fair deal with Joe and, yes, the franchise number does consume a lot of cap room,” Newsome said. “We’re looking for a fair deal; Joe Linta is looking for a fair deal. If we are able to get a deal done, it will allow us to be able to participate more in the market if we so choose. But we understand what the priority is.”

That priority would include being forced to use the franchise tag to keep Flacco in Baltimore, which would cost $14.6 million for the 2013 season. However, that is only the price for a non-exclusive designation, meaning teams could sign Flacco to an offer sheet if they’d be willing to fork over two first-round picks should the Ravens not match the offer.

The exclusive rights tag would cost roughly $20 million, but it would prohibit teams desperate enough for a quarterback to negotiate with Flacco. Last year, the Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for the second overall pick to draft Robert Griffin III.

“What you have to look at is what the Redskins did this past year to move up to get Robert Griffin,” Newsome said. “If someone thinks that a quarterback is that valuable and I’m sure you can talk to [the Washington front office], they’re very happy with [Griffin] right now and they don’t mind not having those draft picks. I don’t know what 31 other teams are doing, so we have to prepare ourselves for it.”

As the Ravens continue to organize their list of priorities for the 2013 offseason, the fate of Flacco remains at the top of the list as a long-term agreement is a must in order to maintain hope of re-signing or acquiring any impact players.

But time is running out as Newsome joked that the Ravens are “five weeks behind” the rest of the league after winning the Super Bowl. Much has changed with the perception of Flacco, who just completed one of the greatest playoff performances in NFL history.

“I’m coming away today thinking that we can get a deal done,” Newsome said. “We’ve gotten deals done with Haloti [Ngata], [Jonathan Ogden], Ray [Lewis], Ray Rice, Ed Reed, [Terrell] Suggs. I’ve got a very good owner who understands the business [and] understands the importance of certain positions, so I’m optimistic.”

Biggest need up the middle

Asked to assess the biggest area of need for next season, Newsome admitted the middle of the Baltimore defense needed to be improved, in part because of the failure of young players to step up but also due to a number of possible departures.

With Lewis retiring and Ellerbe and Reed potentially hitting the open market, the Ravens could look very different at the linebacker and safety positions next season. Jameel McClain, Josh Bynes, and Brendon Ayanbadejo would be the top returning inside linebackers while 2012 fourth-round pick Christian Thompson would be the next man up on the depth chart at the safety position.

The combination of third-year player Terrence Cody and veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu was also severely disappointing at the nose tackle position.

“As we talked about it, the middle of the defense [is a priority],” Newsome said. “We think we’ve got to get better at defensive tackle. We know we have one linebacker retiring and another that’s a free agent. We have a safety that’s a free agent and some young guys that have yet to step up. We would say the middle of the defense is the one area that we would concentrate on.

“In saying that, we realized that pass rushers and guys that can cover, we felt pretty good about that.”

The Ravens might not feel as good about their pass rush with the expected departure of Kruger, but Terrell Suggs figures to bounce back from an injury-plagued season and rookie Courtney Upshaw played effectively against the run and should continue to develop in his first full offseason with the team.

Newsome expressed no specific concerns on the offensive side of the football beyond the need to secure Flacco long-term.

“Offensively, we will not turn down a good player if that player is available for us on the offensive side of the ball,” Newsome said. “We just won’t do it, because you can never have enough depth.”

Chance of Reed return?

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

Comments (0)

Ravens have plans for ring, statue in works

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens have plans for ring, statue in works

Posted on 07 February 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The statue of Johnny Unitas will receive some company outside M&T Bank Stadium sooner rather than later.

At the Ravens’ season-review press conference on Tuesday, owner Steve Bisciotti was asked whether the organization had plans to erect a statue of retiring linebacker Ray Lewis, who played his final game in winning Super Bowl XLVII after 17 years in Baltimore. The owner confirmed it’s simply a matter of when — not if — it will happen.

“We have to work that out [as far as] where and how long it takes, but yes,” Bisciotti said. “I think he set himself apart in Baltimore sports history, and we will certainly look into it. I would not be surprised if there’s one there in the next year or two.”

Lewis will become eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

The Ravens have also begun working on designs for their Super Bowl championship ring, but Bisciotti confirmed what they will be made from after polling his players prior to the downtown parade on Tuesday.

“They wanted white gold instead of gold,” Bisciotti said. “We talked in the locker room while we were preparing for the parade. That was the only question I asked. I said we were going to start working on the designs. We have no idea what the design is going to be.”

Based on the history of NFL championship rings in recent years, you can expect the jewelry to be gaudy and flashy in celebration of the Ravens’ second world championship in their 17-year history.

“Steve assured me that he is going to design a ring that I will never wear,” said team president Dick Cass as he laughed.

 

Comments (0)

BLIZZARD SPECIAL: Get both Purple Reign books on Ravens for price of one!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

BLIZZARD SPECIAL: Get both Purple Reign books on Ravens for price of one!

Posted on 21 January 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a great day for reading!

Here’s a chance to get the original Purple Reign (2001) paperback and Purple Reign: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013) hardback for just $32.99 with FREE shipping.

Here are three links to excerpts from Purple Reign 2:

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

Here’s another from Chapter 10 involving Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti’s cash showdown in August 2012.

And the firing of Cam Cameron and the aftermath is covered in Chapter 15 here.

 

Get BOTH Purple Reign Both Books — the original softback cover from 2001 and the new hardback edition of 2013 championship:

Includes:

Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013)

Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac (2001) ORIGINAL SOFT COVER – now out of print!

$49.99 plus S&H

NOW: $32.99 with FREE SHIPPING

 

Comments (0)

Ravens’ improbable run may not be fate, but sure feels like storybook

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens’ improbable run may not be fate, but sure feels like storybook

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Luke Jones

At some point over the final seven minutes of regulation in Denver on Saturday night, Steve Bisciotti saw the big picture while everyone else wondered if the Ravens’ season was coming to an end after Peyton Manning threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas midway through the fourth quarter.

Under the weather and unable to make the trip to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Ravens owner did something he’d never done before by reaching out to John Harbaugh as the fourth quarter pressed on. Bisciotti knew the head coach wouldn’t see the text message until after the game, of course, but he wanted Harbaugh to know how impressed he was with such a valiant effort against the No. 1 seed Broncos.

“I’ve never texted you during a game,” Harbaugh read to his team following the 38-35 double-overtime win. “We are down 35-28. And I think it’s the best game I’ve ever seen us in the playoffs since 2000. Win or lose, I am so proud of the team and proud of you.”

Though not prophetic in the sense that Bisciotti predicted the final outcome or could foresee what would unfold, the gesture was just the latest in a list of special occurrences that make you wonder about these Ravens. Harbaugh and inside linebacker Ray Lewis have consistently referenced their faith and while I don’t subscribe to the idea that God or any divine being is concerned with the outcome of football games, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support that notion if you so choose.

The Ravens’ run to a second consecutive AFC championship game may not be fate, but it sure feels like a storybook tale, filled with trials, tragedy, and triumph. Perhaps that’s what Bisciotti was acknowledging in reaching out to his head coach in those closing minutes of regulation on Saturday night. Harbaugh couldn’t help but share it with his team following one of the greatest wins in the history of the franchise.

“It was just something I thought the team needed to hear, coming from him,” Harbaugh said. “He is a great leader. Our players love him. They love when he is around. He is an inspiration to all of our guys. To me, this organization, he sets the tone here. It’s a great organization because of his vision. The guys needed to hear that in that moment. I’ll tell you, I think they appreciated hearing it.”

And why wouldn’t they after such a remarkable season, filled with highs and lows?

The Ravens lost their original owner Arthur B. Modell just days before the start of the regular season. The man responsible for the very existence of the franchise here in Baltimore has been memorialized with a simple patch reading “Art” on the team’s jerseys all season long.

Personal tragedy struck young wide receiver Torrey Smith when his younger brother Tevin was killed in a motorcyle accident the night before the Ravens’ Week 3 meeting with the New England Patriots. Unsure if he would play earlier in the day, Smith caught two touchdown passes to lead the Ravens to a 31-30 victory as a national audience marveled at his courage on that Sunday night in September.

Injuries that would have devastated most teams have only strengthened the Ravens’ will as only two defensive players started all 16 games this season. Linebacker Terrell Suggs overcame a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason to return in mid-October before having to play through another debilitating injury when he suffered a torn biceps to begin the month of December. Playing nowhere near full strength all season, Suggs’ two sacks of Manning were critical in Saturday’s divisional-round win.

Ray Lewis, the face of the franchise playing in his 17th season, tore his right triceps on Oct. 14 as nearly everyone but the linebacker thought his season — and potentially his career — was over. Instead, the 37-year-old returned to action just in time for the playoffs and announced he would retire at the end of this “final ride” in the postseason.

A three-game losing streak in December that included the dismissal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and the promotion of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell threatened to dismantle the good vibes of a 9-2 start, but the Ravens rebounded to beat the New York Giants in convincing fashion to clinch their second straight AFC North division title in Week 16. An offense described as schizophrenic for most of the season has looked as potent as any in the NFL in disposing of the Indianapolis Colts and outscoring the powerful Denver Broncos in two playoff wins.

It’s rarely been easy or pretty, but here the Ravens stand in the middle of January, one of four remaining teams with a chance of raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the first Sunday in February.

“I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be here,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “For us to overcome a lot of things, not only injuries but some family problems with Torrey’s family, everything that has happened with our team, I think we all just understand that we’re a family here, and we can lean on each other and depend on each other.”

The highs have been as fun as any in franchise history as “Fourth and 29″ and “The Prayer in Thin Air” are words that will now live forever in Baltimore football lore.

Under-the-radar performers such as Corey Graham and Jacoby Jones, signed largely for their special-teams abilities, have been critical to the Ravens’ success in ways few would have envisioned in the offseason. Even the former punchline of the 53-man roster, veteran offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, has finally regained his starting job to bolster an offensive line playing better now than it did all season.

Rookie kicker Justin Tucker, anointed by the Ravens to replace Billy Cundiff after a heartbreaking 32-yard miss in last year’s AFC Championship, rewarded the organization for its decision by nailing the game-winning 47-yard field goal in double overtime Saturday to send Baltimore back to the conference championship game.

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

Comments (2)

Ravens get blasted by Broncos; Flacco, Harbaugh have long days ahead

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens get blasted by Broncos; Flacco, Harbaugh have long days ahead

Posted on 16 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

After the Ravens were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs on January 15, 2011, lots of folks in town were bellyaching about the (hopeful) removal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

At the team’s “State of the Ravens” press conference a week or so later, owner Steve Bisciotti  explained his personal philosophy for retaining Cameron despite an up-and-down offensive performance from the unit he supervised during the regular season and playoffs.

“I know John’s feeling is we like Cam under fire next season as our offensive coordinator,” Bisciotti said that day, effectively supporting his coach by not ursurping his authority and firing Cameron because he has the right to make such a move.

Well, Cameron is gone now, having been dismissed by Bisciotti last Sunday night after the Ravens fell in Washington, 31-28 in OT just hours before.

So, Cameron is no longer under fire.

But someone else is and his name is Joe Flacco.

The Ravens dropped a 3rd straight game on Sunday, getting run out of the gym by the Denver Broncos, 34-17 at M&T Bank Stadium.  It would have been 41-17 or 48-17 if Denver needed bonus points on their checking account.  They basically just walked around throughout the 4th quarter and played keep-away with a 21-point lead.

And with the fan’s scapegoat, Cameron, now no longer part of the problem, Flacco has clearly become public enemy #1.

There’s an argument that he should be, based mainly on a horrible throw at the end of the first half that completely changed the game.  With Denver up 10-0, Flacco drove the offense down the field and had a first and goal on the 4-yard line when the 5th year quarterback tried a quick snap throw in the flat to Anquan Boldin.  The ball was picked off and returned 98 yards for a TD and a 10-7 game suddenly became 17-0.  And, of course, that was all she wrote, as Baltimore fell to 9-5 and dropped consecutive home games for the first time in five seasons.

Should Harbaugh and/or Flacco have called a time-out there?  Absolutely.  They had three to burn – and a rookie offensive coordinator in the booth.  Get a time-out there, get yourself situated, and make the game a 3-point affair heading to the locker room.

Blame that on Harbaugh if you want, or Flacco, since he’s a big boy and he’s been around long enough to know better, but one way or the other, someone has to call a time-out there and get things settled down.

Yes, that throw and the resulting interception return for a TD changed the game.

But I don’t think it cost the Ravens the game.

They weren’t winning this one, no matter how many times they got down there to the 4-yard line.  An undermanned Ravens defense actually did well to only allow Denver 27 points.

This one, honestly, was on Flacco and the offense.  Again.

But the quarterback doesn’t deserve all the blame.  The offensive line continues to be a trainwreck.  The wide receivers looked disinterested most of the afternoon.  And once it got to be 31-3, it almost looked like some guys had – ahem – “stopped trying” if you know what I mean.

(Please see next page) 

Comments (17)

Rice says Cameron firing is “wake up call for everybody” with Ravens

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rice says Cameron firing is “wake up call for everybody” with Ravens

Posted on 12 December 2012 by WNSTV

Comments (0)

Does Ozzie Newsome deserve some blame in the Flacco-Cameron saga?

Tags: , , , , , ,

Does Ozzie Newsome deserve some blame in the Flacco-Cameron saga?

Posted on 11 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

If you’re one of those who like to play the blame-game, Monday’s dismissal of Cam Cameron offers you a smorgasbord of options on which to feast.

In no specific order, you have the following:

John Harbaugh, the man who employed Cam for the last 4+ seasons, and the person in charge of the on-field product, which includes being in touch with his players and their festering aggravation with one of his coaches.

Steve Bisciotti, who, while rightfully considered in general a “good owner”, has spent a little too much time over the years hob-knobbing with the players to the extent he might be closer with them then he should be.

Joe Flacco, perhaps the main spoke in the Cameron firing-wheel, and the guy who potentially might have suffered the most while working under his now former boss.  But, if Cameron was inconsistent as a play-caller and offensive coordinator, Flacco has to wear the same basic scarlet letter, for he, too, hasn’t exactly been a shining beacon of consistency in the last four months.

The Ravens defense, which has been occasionally superb but more often a liability this season, particularly in the final 5 minutes of the team’s most two recent losses to the Steelers and Redskins.  True, they were very good earlier in the year against the Chiefs and the Browns and the Chargers.  They were also woefully exposed by the Cowboys, Texans, Steelers (with a bum at quarterback) and Redskins.

The Ravens offense, with players in key positions not playing up to par week-in and week-out.  I’m all for Jim Caldwell taking over at this point, but I’d be shocked if he can give back to Anquan Boldin that step he’s lost over the last year or so…or turn Michael Oher into a premier pass blocker as a left tackle…or heal Marshal Yanda’s bad ankle within two weeks…or get Torrey Smith to run his routes to completion the way they’re designed in the playbook.

And then, there’s one other name to add to the mix:  Ozzie Newsome.

Let the continuing story of “how Cam got canned” be examined with Ozzie’s name in mind, for it’s Newsome who wasn’t able to ink a new deal with his team’s franchise quarterback, thus paving the way for Joe Flacco to play the 2012 campaign as a “lame duck”.

Yes, there always remains the option of the franchise tag for Flacco.  But, as any player will tell you, that’s a band-aid – a nice, lucrative one – he’d rather not wear if it’s possible.

The easiest way to start any conversation about Joe Flacco and his contract situation is to simply say this about him and his future in Baltimore:  The Ravens want him back in 2013 and Flacco would like to return for a 6th season.

There’s no debating that at this point.  The two parties are still in love.

But – and here’s where we start the dissection of how things are off kilter – these are very complicated times in Owings Mills, particularly when it comes to assessing Flacco’s value.

And who’s fault is that?

If you ask Flacco and/or his agent, Joe Linta, they’re going to place the blame squarely on the employer — the Ravens, the offense and, naturally, Cam Cameron.

Linta, as a natural reaction to his Flacco’s contract status being in the spotlight, would argue up and down that with each passing game where the Baltimore offense was stagnant or stuck in neutral because of Cameron’s inconsistency, his client was effectively “losing money”.

Honestly — he’s right.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that his client doesn’t bear some of that responsibility.  He, Flacco, that is, might be costing himself money with every incompletion or strip-sack or poor audible.

But the agent would never admit that to the general manager of the team.

Instead – and if you close your eyes and let the movie play out in your head, you’ll hear it for yourself – I’m quite certain with every “new conversation” Linta and Newsome have had over the few months that Joe’s representative has reminded Ozzie in no uncertain terms that Cameron and the on-again, off-again Ravens offense is costing the quarterback big money.

“Ozzie, I respect you and the organization and so does Joe,” Linta is likely saying.  ”But you can’t possibly think you’re doing my client a true service by having Cam Cameron operate that offense in such a manner that it’s clearly hindering his qualities as a high-level NFL player.  You’ve known for a year now that Cam and Joe can’t exist together in the long run.  They’ve tried to make it work and it’s just not going to happen.  All you’re doing by trying to force this Cameron-Flacco relationship on both of them is costing Joe Flacco money.  And, even though I make little in comparison to my client, you’re costing ME money, too.  Get this Cameron thing sorted out and let’s make Joe the $90 million player he deserves to be.”

I imagine a conversation like that has been going on nearly every Monday or so for the last 13 weeks.

(Please see next page)

Comments (9)

Ravens Identity Crisis

Tags: , , , ,

Ravens Identity Crisis

Posted on 01 November 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Before the Ravens can be who they want to be, they have to decide who they want to be. This team can’t know where they’re going until they decide who they are; and so far at least, who they are seems to be a team suffering from an identity crisis.

The Ravens have never in their history experienced a sustained level of success that matches what they’ve accomplished over the last four years. And despite all of the “sky is falling” prognostications they look like a team that’ll be tough to keep out of a 5th straight playoff appearance. That said, it appears a safe bet that this season will end like the other four that preceded it…short of the Super Bowl.

 

It is the burden of expectations; a problem that more than half of the league’s teams would kill to have, but that will be of little consolation to those who have been along for this 4+ year ride.

 

Regardless of their previous successes or failures, the Ravens have always had an identity. Often times it was a frustrating identity, that of a team that would play to the strength of their defense and running game and that of a team that was seemingly being passed by as the rest of the league and its philosophies evolved.

 

For the last several years the team has appeared to be one in transition. Behind their (first ever) franchise quarterback and the franchise’s most versatile running back, Ravens fans have been pining for the switch to be flipped. This has put the offensive coordinator in a tough spot. Fans love the wide-open offense when it’s working (there were no calls complaining about Ray Rice’s touch numbers after the Ravens took apart Cincinnati in week 1) but still default back to their old school philosophies (Rice needs 25 touches per game) when it’s not working.

 

Cam Cameron has been the easiest of targets because he’s been the guy charged with authoring that transition, and because until he does so successfully, no one has any reason to be loyal to him. Owner Steve Bisciotti didn’t help Cam’s plight when he declared him “under fire” after the 2010 season.

 

In Cam’s defense though, he hasn’t exactly been set up for success. Throughout the Cameron/Harbaugh/Flacco era, the offensive line has been makeshift at best, the wide receiver corps dynamic and short staffed. The team still lacks a “go up and get it” threat that they can have confidence in between the hash marks and has instead invested heavily in a Pro-Bowl caliber backfield that’d be best served grinding out yardage on the ground.

 

The guy in charge of supplying that talent, Ozzie Newsome, has delivered a Super Bowl. He has a documented track record of draft successes that is tough to question much less match. And he has for that reason earned a status that insures he’ll hold his job for as long as he wants. That said, it seems that Ozzie is still building the Ravens to be a team that wins on defense and through their running game, while everyone else (in the league) is going in a different direction.

 

Lately Newsome has compounded those problems by “being too cute” on draft day. The Wizard’s willingness (or need) to forego first round picks in favor of stacking late round picks seems sound based on his history, but lately that abundance of picks hasn’t borne much fruit.

 

What the Ravens have now is an aged and beleaguered defense and an offense not built to overcome them. They have a real need to work out a long term deal with a quarterback who’ll wind up hamstringing their spending ability otherwise if he has to wear the franchise tag. And they’re a team that looks nothing like the wide-open “modern offense” that many expected them to be by now.

 

Steve Bisciotti took a great deal of pride back in 2005 with changing the process of communication in the building. It seems that we’re back to a place where one hand isn’t talking to the other. And it seems that the one guy who’s not on board with opening up the offense is the one who’s making the personnel decisions. That quite simply can’t work.

 

Before these Ravens can figure out where they’re going, they’ll have to decide who they are…and father time remains undefeated.

 

 

Comments (1)