Tag Archive | "Steve Bisciotti"

An Open Letter to Bisciotti, Cass and the Ravens

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An Open Letter to Bisciotti, Cass and the Ravens

Posted on 06 August 2012 by Drew Forrester

Dear Steve, Dick and the rest of the Ravens organization:

Please consider this as a follow-up note to something I wrote about last December when you all announced that training camp was being relocated from Westminster to Owings Mills for 2012.

You guys took a lot of grief from the fans – and some media members – for that decision, although I can proudly say I was one of the folks who implored everyone to exercise some patience and wait and see how the Ravens handled everything before making a full judgement.

I predicted, quite quickly after your decision was announced, that the Ravens would go above and beyond the call-of-duty to make sure  the fans were “taken care of”.  I suggested that fans simply wait and see what plans were made for the summer of 2012 and that my guess was they wouldn’t be disappointed.  I just happen to have a copy of that piece I wrote, in fact.  You can read it HERE. 

As you can see, my prediction was right.

Once again, you all came through.

I was out at Owings Mills last week to witness first-hand how the 250 fans who were “invited guests” were treated.  I watched them interact with the players afterwards and I saw the smiling faces of both parties.  I even took a picture for a family of four from Annapolis out in front of The Castle.  I asked them how their day went and 11-year old Amanda said, “Joe Flacco said ‘I like your braces!’ to me!!”.

That Flacco, what a touch, huh?  By the way…if I haven’t told you this, I will now.  That kid is a helluva quarterback and a terrific representative of your franchise.  I’d go on to tell you to pay him and keep him here long-term, but I know you’re already trying to do that.

Anyway, back to training camp.

I was impressed with what I saw at Owings Mills, but the real litmus test for those promises you made would come on Saturday at the first of the three open practices.

Let me first say this:  I completely understand how much of a pain in the ass it is to move camp to the big stadium for one day.  Most fans (and even some media members) don’t really see how difficult that was to manufacture on Saturday, but I do.

As is usually the case with the Ravens, you all pulled it off like a road win in Cleveland.  With ease.

The practice moved along smoothly and the fans were always aware of the drill that was taking place on the field.  No one was bored.  If watching practice can be considered exciting – and to the 20,000 who were there, it was – then Saturday’s event delivered the goods for everyone.

I watched all of the players make their way around the bowl of the stadium and sign autographs.  I’m sure everyone who wanted one didn’t succeed because of the sheer volume of people, but I’ll tell you what I didn’t see.  I didn’t see one player sign for 25 people and then casually stroll down the steps and off the field.  And I stood there and watched, trust me.  Every guy signed hundreds of autographs.  And then some.

So, congratulations on following through on your promise to keep the fans involved as best as you possibly can.

You won’t get many of these letters, because folks are always quick to bash you but slow to say “Well Done!”.

I’m here to say “Well Done!”

Best wishes for a successful 2012.

DF

P.S. I won’t be this nice to you guys if you lose to the Steelers this season.

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Suggs facing reality of difficult road back to field for 2012 season

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Suggs facing reality of difficult road back to field for 2012 season

Posted on 14 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Typically this time of year is one linebacker Terrell Suggs doesn’t enjoy as the Ravens conclude another off-season program.

Like many veterans, Suggs could do without the formality of organized team activities and mandatory minicamps at the team’s Owings Mills facility weeks before the start of training camp in late July. However, everything changed for the five-time Pro Bowl defender after suffering a partially-torn Achilles tendon in late April.

Now, he wishes he could experience the monotony of taking the field for workouts geared more toward rookies and younger players than a 10th-year linebacker coming off the best season of his career.

“This is a very unfamiliar feeling for me,” Suggs said. “I used to dread this. I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got minicamp.’ Ease us all back and go out in the sun. But now, I’ve never appreciated it so much, because I’ve never had to sit and watch my brothers go to battle without me.”

Instead of thinking about traditional two-a-days and lining up with the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata this summer, Suggs has his own version of training camp. The 29-year-old rehabs every day by working out, rehabbing his foot, resting and icing his foot, and then repeating the process.

Boldly proclaiming on the day his injury become public knowledge on May 3 he planned to return by November at the latest, Suggs must settle for baby steps now. Earlier this week, he longer required the use of crutches as he can now move around with a walking boot on his right foot.

Asked once again on Thursday if he still targeted November at the latest as his time to return to the field for the Ravens, Suggs offered a more measured perspective while still reinforcing the notion that he’ll do what many think he can’t in 2012.

“I am not a doctor, so [November was] just a guess,” Suggs said. “It feels good now, I guess. We’ll know in my progression when I will actually be able to come back. But like I said before when I first got injured, I will be in a Baltimore Ravens uniform in 2012. The only question is when.”

One of the biggest challenges in recovering from such a devastating injury is following the advice of the doctors and training staff and adhering to the schedule put in place. For a player like Suggs who enters this season having missed only three games in the first nine seasons of his NFL player, it’s only natural to want to push the issue when feeling good in the rehabilitation process.

While the rest of the Ravens organization has expressed cautious optimism and support for Suggs’ claim that he’ll return to play this season, they also understand how challenging that task will be and do not want the talented linebacker to put the rest of his career in jeopardy by pushing too far too fast.

“You work hard, but you do it within the boundaries of what you are able to do at the time,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We have a lot of people who are professional at that. Nothing really needs to be said other than to get back as soon as we can, and part of that is no setback. Professionals take care of that.”

One thing Suggs won’t have to worry about is the organization trying to withhold his base salary this season with him suffering a non-football injury away from the Ravens’ training facility. Suggs once again dismissed reports of him suffering the injury while playing basketball when asked about it on Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 linebacker explained his relationship with the organization was too strong to expect it to go after his 2012 salary, a sentiment shared by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti in comments made last week.

“They’ve always been behind me no matter what was going on or what was happening in my life,” Suggs said. “We’ve got an understanding. I consider this organization my family.”

Suggs’ first public comments about the Achilles injury confirmed once again that no one — including the Ravens’ all-time sacks lead — really knows if he will see the field at some point this fall. But that uncertainty isn’t going to prevent Suggs from trying to do what many consider to be nearly impossible.

For now, he can’t worry about moving past a left tackle or getting to the quarterback as quickly as he can.

The battle is against himself.

“You’ve got to know your body,” Suggs said. “They constantly keep trying to tell me, ‘Rehab and rest. Work as hard as you can.’ Right now, rehab is my football field and until I master it, I won’t be out there. So, I’m definitely trying to become All-Pro at that [as soon as possible].”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear the entire Terrell Suggs press conference HERE.

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Bisciotti confirms Ravens won’t go after injured Suggs’ salary

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Bisciotti confirms Ravens won’t go after injured Suggs’ salary

Posted on 08 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It’s been speculated for several weeks the Ravens would not attempt to withhold injured linebacker Terrell Suggs’ 2012 salary after he sustained a partially-torn Achilles tendon in late April.

Owner Steve Bisciotti confirmed it Friday, admitting he’d have a difficult time walking in the team’s Owings Mills facility if he made such a decision to jeopardize the organization’s relationship with the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year and five-time Pro Bowl selection.

“I’d be scared to come to work,” Bisciotti said. “I think it would be a terrible message.”

Instead of questioning the nature of the injury or criticizing his star defensive player, the Baltimore owner acknowledged how hard his players work in the off-season. He wouldn’t want Suggs or any other player choosing to take it easy as the Ravens look to make a Super Bowl run in 2012.

The 52-year-old owner expressed his admiration for players’ ability to work hard when the spotlight of the season isn’t on them.

“I would be more upset if he hurt himself sleeping on his couch all season, you know,” Bisciotti said. “To me, if our players are engaged in activities that kept them in shape, then I’m proud of them for doing it. I don’t know if I would be working out in April the way these guys do what they do.”

Though many of questioned Suggs’ motive for lying — if an ESPN report saying the linebacker was playing basketball instead of doing conditioning drills when the injury took place is true — Bisciotti echoed the sentiment of those who have pointed out the Achilles injury didn’t occur doing a reckless stunt or extreme sport.

Reading between the lines of the owner’s comments, you might even get the sense he believes the ESPN report to be true. But he sounded perfectly fine with that reality, empathizing with a player’s need to work out in a variety of ways.

“I want these guys striving [to work out] and it gets pretty boring in the weight room,” Bisciotti said. “He wasn’t kite-boarding. I’d like to see that some day — Terrell trying to kite-board — but if he’s playing basketball, that’s great.”

Bisciotti reminded critics of a few years ago when Suggs’ conditioning was questioned on the heels of signing a six-year, $63 million contract that included $38 million guaranteed in the summer of 2009. Suggs reported to camp out of shape and played at a sub-par level by his standards, vowing he would never repeat that kind of a season in which he missed three games due to a knee injury and posted a career-low 4 1/2 sacks

Suggs had 14 sacks and a franchise-record seven forced fumbles in 2011, becoming the third player in franchise history to be recognized as the top defensive player in the NFL.

“I’m proud of Terrell,” Bisciotti said. “He got criticized for being out of shape a couple years ago, and he said it would never happen again. He made the Pro Bowl [in 2010], and he made Defensive Player of the Year this [past] year.”

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Ravens to rename practice facility Under Armour Performance Center

Posted on 08 June 2012 by WNST Staff

Baltimore, MD (June 8, 2012) – The Baltimore Ravens, who play at M&T Bank Stadium in Camden Yards, and Under Armour (NYSE: UA), the leader in performance apparel, footwear and accessories, whose global headquarters are located downtown at Locust Point, are joining forces in a wide-ranging collaboration that will feature multiple community-focused initiatives. The ten-year agreement also includes naming rights for the Ravens’ practice facility in Owings Mills, which will be renamed the Under Armour Performance Center.

These dynamic organizations are led by nationally-recognized business and civic leaders.  Both Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens, and Kevin Plank, the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Under Armour, have enjoyed tremendous success both in the United States and abroad.

“I love the Under Armour brand and am proud that it is Baltimore-based,” Bisciotti said. “They started with football wear that players wanted, and still do. They produce great products. Under Armour is the only partner for our training center. Their success has been off the charts, and this partnership will serve as a long-term platform that will showcase to the nation the best of what two of Baltimore’s strongest companies have to offer.

“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Steve and the Ravens over the years.  The Under Armour Performance Center is a facility that reflects our shared commitment to making all athletes better and to help the Ravens players excel on game-day,” said Plank. “We are even more excited that our partnership extends off-the-field, and will allow both of us to implement meaningful changes in the community.”

While both the Ravens and Under Armour have been active in improving the community, the two companies will combine to empower local youth and schools through football initiatives.  Specific youth football programs include the creation of annual grants, multiple clinics and statewide competitions.  Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his assistants will play an active role in some of these programs, including a free Under Armour-sponsored clinic for over 400 Carroll County youth on June 16 at McDaniel College.

The creation of an annual 7-on-7 high school flag-football tournament, which already has attracted registration from 72 schools and more than 1,400 students for 2012, highlights the competitive elements of the agreement.

A visible component of the partnership is the renaming of the Ravens’ practice facility to the Under Armour Performance Center, which will host local and national media throughout the year and will showcase two of the city’s most successful corporate entities.

Under Armour recently announced the launch of a local community-based empowerment program, entitled “WIN Baltimore.” The platform is designed to spark positive social change throughout Baltimore and its surrounding neighborhoods by fueling the social, educational and physical advancement of the boys and girls who will serve as the future business and community leaders of the region.

The Ravens franchise, founded in 1996, won Super Bowl XXXV in January of 2001. The team has earned playoffs berths in five of the last six seasons, and they are the NFL’s only team to appear in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons – posting at least one victory in each of those postseasons. Long recognized for their community involvement, the Ravens’ mission is to win football games, serve their fans and be a positive force in the community.

About Under Armour, Inc.

Under Armour® (NYSE: UA) is a leading developer, marketer, and distributor of branded performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and worn by athletes at all levels, from youth to professional, on playing fields around the globe. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland, with European headquarters in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, and additional offices in Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Guangzhou, China. For further information, please visit the Company’s website at www.ua.com.

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Do you really care how Suggs was injured?

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Do you really care how Suggs was injured?

Posted on 06 June 2012 by Luke Jones

It’s no secret there was a cloud of uncertainty regarding the circumstances of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs’ partially-torn Achilles tendon suffered in the final weekend of April.

While the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year maintains he injured himself doing conditioning work, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter’s Tuesday report of multiple witnesses claiming Suggs tore the tendon playing basketball in Arizona confirmed initial reports that circulated when the news first broke on May 3.

Over a month after the injury was made public, does it really matter how Suggs was injured?

The Ravens have never commented publicly regarding the circumstances surrounding the Suggs injury, but it’s nearly impossible to believe the organization didn’t do its own investigating over what exactly happened when the star player was injured. In other words, Tuesday’s news was hardly surprising to the Ravens.

However, Tuesday’s revelation forces Suggs — and perhaps the organization — to address the story as the 29-year-old linebacker appears to have been caught in a lie if you believe multiple accounts from the Akchin Gymnasium in Maricopa. If in fact he was injured playing basketball, Suggs was likely fearful of any potential action taken by the Ravens to withhold his salary or fine him. Judging from his initial comments following the injury, it was clear how despondent Suggs was for letting down teammates and fans, another factor that may have led to him withholding the truth behind the incident.

Though it’s within their right as an organization to withhold his salary due to a non-football injury, the Ravens have given no indication they plan to do so, a course of action with which I agree. It’s understandable to be upset with Suggs over choosing to lie — if that’s ultimately what he did — but the reality is this injury could have taken place any number of ways.

Owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, and fans would love to put star players in bubble wrap during the off-season, but it’s not reality. If you’re familiar with any of the off-season workouts players put their bodies through to prepare for the upcoming season, you know it puts the individual at far more risk than a light jog or simply raising a five-pound dumbbell. While Suggs’ participation in a basketball tournament wasn’t approved by team officials, he just as easily could have suffered the injury in Torrey Smith’s charity basketball tournament earlier this year or Lardarius Webb’s charity softball game this past weekend — events cleared by the Ravens.

The injury remains unfortunate and damaging to the Ravens’ Super Bowl aspirations for the 2012 season, but the altered cause of the injury doesn’t affect my opinion of Suggs unless we suddenly learned he tore the Achilles doing something egregiously reckless such as performing wheelies on a motorcycle or parachuting off a building.

If Schefter’s report is true, Suggs should come clean and apologize, which would allow all invested parties to move on from the incident once and for all. It doesn’t impact his recovery time or make the injury any better or worse, but addressing the issue now eliminates the lingering doubt and will allow the five-time Pro Bowl defensive player to focus on his rehabilitation with minimal media distractions after this latest wave of scrutiny.

Yes, Suggs used questionable judgment if he did hurt himself playing basketball and proceeded to lie about it, but it’s not worth holding a grudge against a player who’s been a standout member of the organization for nearly a decade.

He and the Ravens have suffered enough already.

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Sticking With Cameron is Still Ravens’ Right Move

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Sticking With Cameron is Still Ravens’ Right Move

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

With a fresh new batch of Ravens in tow Ozzie Newsome is once again in the fans’ good graces and discord has predictably shifted back toward Cam Cameron. I’ll take the role of devil’s advocate on this on and make a case for keeping him. In the interest of full disclosure I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t in love with the Cameron hire when it was made. I was concerned about the reports of the degree to which he had apparently alienated his locker room during his 1-15 season at the helm of the Miami Dolphins, I was aware that both Drew Brees and Philip Rivers seemed to improve mightily after being removed from Cameron’s tutelage and mostly I was concerned that Cameron had made his reputation while riding a predictable offense driven by two future hall of famers in Antonio Gates and Ladanian Tomlinson. During his time with the Chargers, Cameron’s offense typically had big wide receivers on the outside but rarely used them, instead doing most of their offensive work through Gates and Tomlinson and between the hash marks.

Here’s where my opinions have changed and why:

 

1 – Brees and Rivers

 

As mentioned, both Brees and Rivers seemed to thrive once removed from Cam’s influence. While that could serve as an indictment of sorts, some credit is surely due to Cameron for the foundation he built under those QBs. As Joe Flacco seemed to enter the league substantially behind each of those two on the learning curve, another year or two under Cameron at least could and should benefit his continued development, and sooner or later it’d be interesting to see what Cam could do with a QB if given an extended window to develop him. How many coaches have one QB the caliber of Brees or Rivers on their resumes, much less both?

 

 

2 – The Chance at an Extended Stay

 

As the Ravens have learned, NFL hiring practices are predictable and the current chic coaching hires in league circles are young coordinators of successful teams with little or no head coaching experience. The fact that Cameron is getting older and is still associated so easily with that 1-15 Dolphins team, makes it unlikely he’ll be finding his name on any short lists any time soon. If the Ravens could indeed find a comfort level with Cameron they could look to have him here and paired with Flacco for a long time to come. The kind of situation that Indianapolis and Pittsburgh each had for the better part of the last decade could certainly play well in Baltimore if we’ll just let it happen.

 

 

3- The Ravens are Deficient at Tight End

 

I like Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, but that doesn’t change the fact that in this the budding era of the tight end, those two aren’t measuring up to some of their star counterparts in the more productive offenses in the NFL. As I mentioned earlier regarding Cameron’s time in San Diego and as evidenced here in Baltimore with Todd Heap in the fold, Cameron not only will use the middle of the field, he wants to. That said, with Ed Dickson’s issues catching the ball this season, asking him to go up in traffic and impose his size by catching balls thrown up high is simply an invitation for an interception. The Ravens aren’t avoiding the middle of the field because they want to; they’re avoiding it because they have no weapons on whom they can rely there…yet.

 

 

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Ravens to open season hosting Cincinnati on Monday night

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Ravens to open season hosting Cincinnati on Monday night

Posted on 17 April 2012 by WNST Staff

After publicly campaigning to play a Monday night game in Baltimore, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti will finally get his wish.

WNST.net has learned the Ravens will open the season by welcoming the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals to town in a nationally-televised game on Monday, Sept. 10. It will be the first Monday night game played in Baltimore since the Ravens played the Patriots on Dec. 3, 2007, a game in which New England won in the closing seconds to remain undefeated.

Stay with WNST.net throughout the evening, follow WNST on Twitter, and be sure you’re subscribed to the WNST Text Service to have the entire schedule sent to your mobile device as the NFL officially announces the 2012 schedule at 7:00 p.m.

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I Answer Your Questions About Steve Bisciotti, Orioles Record, RGIII, More

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I Answer Your Questions About Steve Bisciotti, Orioles Record, RGIII, More

Posted on 03 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Harbaugh envisions Kruger at outside linebacker for Ravens

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Harbaugh envisions Kruger at outside linebacker for Ravens

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Luke Jones

After longtime linebacker Jarret Johnson signed a four-year contract with the San Diego Chargers two weeks ago, the Ravens began the process of finding his replacement at the strong-side linebacker position.

Pass rush specialist Paul Kruger is the consensus choice among options currently on the roster, and coach John Harbaugh confirmed that notion at the NFL owners’ meetings in Florida on Tuesday. Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, Kruger struggled to find a role on the defense in his first two seasons before becoming a regular contributor in passing situations last season.

“I think Paul is probably the leading candidate for the ‘Sam’ linebacker job,” Harbaugh said. “I could very definitely see him doing that. When we lost [Johnson], I went back and watched all of Paul’s tape. I watched every one of his plays from last year just to try and get a feel just for whether or not we’d be comfortable with him in there. He did a nice job in coverage, he set the edge well.”

The 26-year-old Utah product collected 5 1/2 sacks while playing in all 16 games last season after struggling to simply avoid the inactive list in his first two seasons. Kruger had only one sack and five tackles over 20 games in 2009 and 2010 as the coaching staff evaluated whether he was better suited for defensive end or linebacker.

He and rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee became mainstays of the defensive line on third down last season as the pair combined for 11 1/2 of the Ravens’ 48 sacks. Now, new defensive coordinator Dean Pees will take a long look at Kruger as the replacement to the run-stopping, blue-collar Johnson, who started every game at strong-side linebacker over the last five seasons.

“Obviously, he’s a very good pass rusher,” Harbaugh said. “I believe Paul can do it. I think he will do it.”

Kruger’s ability to play the run and to drop in pass coverage remains a mystery after limited opportunities in his first three professional seasons. The Ravens will look hard at the draft if a prospect such as Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or North Carolina’s Zach Brown is available early, but with other positions to address and limited cap space to potentially add another veteran linebacker, Kruger may find himself in position to be the starter when the preseason begins.

“He wants to be that guy and he wants to do it as well or better than how it’s been done for the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what you want out of one of your players.”

Of course, Harbaugh’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt when you remember we’re four months away from the start of training camp. The coach is clearly going to show as much faith as he can in players currently on the roster without dwelling too much on hypothetical additions down the road.

The other player mentioned by some as a potential candidate to replace Johnson is 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle, but Harbaugh didn’t exactly speak about him in the same encouraging terms as he did with Kruger. Active for only two games last season, Kindle more closely resembles a player fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster than a viable starting option after the slow recovery he endured from a fractured skull just days before the start of the 2010 training camp.

While it’s true that Kindle has never had the benefit of a full offseason program at the team’s Owings Mills facility, it’s clear he has plenty of work to do before the Ravens can afford to keep him on the roster for a second straight season.

“If he comes back and becomes a player in the NFL, it’s going to be an unparalleled accomplishment,” Harbaugh said. “You know what? We think it can happen, and we’re going to know by the end of training camp.”

Cundiff competition

Ever since kicker Billy Cundiff missed a last-second 32-yard field goal that would have sent the AFC Championship game into overtime, fans and media alike have pondered how the Ravens should handle the kicker position next season.

As he did when he spoke to WNST.net at the NFL Combine last month, Harbaugh reiterated that he fully expects Cundiff to handle kicking duties again this fall. However, the Ravens are looking to create some competition for the incumbent kicker in the preseason.

Whether the Ravens choose to add a veteran or sign a rookie following the draft, Harbaugh sees no reason why they shouldn’t explore every avenue to get better — while clearly maintaining faith in the 2010 Pro Bowl selection.

“I say that so I’m not ruling anything out, but Billy is our kicker,” Harbaugh said. “I would anticipate Billy [being] our kicker for the opening game of the season. I think he’ll have a great preseason. I think he’ll have a great season next year, but everybody gets competition and he’s no exception.”

Running without Rice?

Continue >>>

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Your Monday Reality Check-I Got A Nice Reminder Sunday

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Your Monday Reality Check-I Got A Nice Reminder Sunday

Posted on 19 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

It’s been a tough start to National Football League free agency for Baltimore Ravens fans.

Even for the most realistic fan of the Purple And Black (I’d like to think of myself in that group), it’s impossible to be excited about a six day span that has seen five players (LB Jarret Johnson, DL Cory Redding, G Ben Grubbs, S Tom Zbikowski, S Haruki Nakamura) depart, just one free agent (C Matt Birk) return and no free agents added to the roster.

The realistic Ravens fan knew this could be coming. Between them, the five players share just one Pro Bowl appearance (Grubbs was invited to Hawaii this season as an injury replacement) and all were able to cash in on the open market. The Ravens, having spent significant money during the regular season to extend would-be free agent DT Haloti Ngata decided none were “cornerstone” players and wouldn’t overpay to keep them.

The Ravens are instead working to spend a boatload of money to extend QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice, both players they do believe are “cornerstone” parts of the organization.

The realistic fan also knows the Ravens still have work to do in free agency before the process is finished. It was revealed this week that return specialist (and part time Wide Receiver) Ted Ginn Jr. visited Owings Mills last week. The team could still look to find help along the Offensive Line and at Linebacker as well, and could even add another Safety at some point.

Additionally, the realistic fan is aware that the upcoming NFL Draft is likely to help shape the 2012 season for the defending AFC North champs, with some players (like WR Torrey Smith and DE Pernell McPhee) not likely to fully develop into contributors until after the season has started.

AND the realistic fan knows the 2012 season will also be defined in part by the continued development of young players. Entering the 2011 season, the team’s secondary was considered to be one of the bigger question marks about the roster. Just months later, the CB trio of Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith represents one of the more solid units in football.

Yet even the most realistic Ravens fan still agonizes over the thought “can enough be done to get this team over the hump and into a Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years?”

A reasonable level of concern is understandable at this point. In addition to the pre-existing question marks facing the team (uneven O-Line play, lack of a size receiver, age and injury related decline from defensive playmakers, Special Teams issues), there are additional depth issues created by the first batch of free agent departures.

It’s an uneasy time for Ravens fans.

The majority of Ravens fans have not swayed far from reality in how they’ve viewed Week 1 of the actual NFL offseason. As can be expected, some have gone off the deep end entirely. The reminder I got Sunday could serve as a nice “reality check” itself for fans in both groups. It’s probably something you already know about.

I assume you’ve heard that free agent quarterback Matt Flynn agreed to a three year, $26 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. As the deal involved only $10 million of guaranteed money, most analysts agreed it was a particularly fair and perhaps very good deal for a team that is trying to improve on a third place finish in the NFC West last season.

I actually think the deal was a great move for the Seahawks. In fact, just days ago during our weekly “Free Advice” segment on “The Reality Check” (weekdays 2-6pm on AM1570 WNST.net for the one of you that doesn’t listen already) I encouraged the Seahawks to pull the trigger on the move. I can only assume my endorsement was the final approval the team needed to get the deal done.

But the facts about Flynn don’t change. The quarterback was believed to have so little pro talent coming out of LSU that he slid to the seventh round of the NFL Draft. While they’ve been impressive, he’s made only two starts with the Green Bay Packers as is still mostly an unknown commodity.

An unknown commodity who has $10 million guaranteed coming his way.

You see, the Seahawks are in a place where they had to make a significant move that could backfire. Matt Flynn might be more Rick Mirer than Matt Hasselbeck in the Emerald City, which could possibly doom Pete Carroll’s tenure.

Yet if the team didn’t pull the trigger, they could face a reality that involves more Tavaris Jackson. That would almost certainly doom Carroll to a sub .500 record until he was dismissed.

The Seahawks had to pull the trigger partly due to desperation. It’s a feeling the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in the past with mixed results. It’s a feeling that Baltimore Ravens fans should enjoy not experiencing this year.

The Ravens haven’t been able to accomplish much during free agency, but they haven’t had to. They’re not a desperate organization seeking a single fix to exit mediocrity. They’re a superior organization merely looking to make a few moves to reach “the next level.”

The Ravens have a quarterback. The Ravens have talented players at other offensive skill positions. The Ravens (still) have one of the best defenses in the league.

Desperation isn’t a word General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Owner Steve Bisciotti even have to consider. Neither do Ravens fans.

It’s a significantly better place to be. I appreciated the reminder.

Carry on.

-G

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