1:45-A Ravens executive has told me that he is not aware of any conversations the team has had with Willie Anderson regarding a possible comeback. He did remind me that Willie is a “very good player”, but might not be in current playing shape.
1:40-A reminder to sign up for the WNST Text Service! We will get you the cut/roster info tomorrow as SOON as it is available. I will also be available throughout the day at WNST.net for instant analysis. It takes a lot to interrupt a day of college football viewing for me, and I will absolutely NOT be available after 10pm when Maryland/Cal kicks off. But with the deadline coming at 6pm, I should have plenty of time.
1:30-As I mentioned with Drew this morning and later with Bob; if I were to make any changes to the 53 man mock roster I put together Wednesday; I would probably replace Matt Lawrence with WR Jayson Foster. I think Jayson offers special teams help and can play as a 5th receiver if need be. This is all contingent on the team not adding a WR who may be cut.
1:15-A lot is being made of the comments made by Willie Anderson via Twitter last night. I’m not sure how much to make of them, but I can tell you that I have reached out to Willie via personal email and via Twitter message to try to get some clarification. Willie is on Twitter using the name WillAnderson79, and made these comments last night:
“Just had to inform Raven’s coaching staff and manangement that for now I’m staying retired.”
“They’ve been in talks with me since May about coming back. I wanted to come back too!”
“Not saying that down the line if they need I won’t come back. I know I can play for 3 more years so who knows what may happen down the line”
“Plus I feel God has something great planned for me after Football. I wanna help try and save these kids out here in the world”
“But Who knows! We all say that till week 6 we feel like we wanna go back. I’m gon get a chance to celebrate my son’s bday for 1st time”
“He was born in Sept. I’m never home! I finally got a chance to seee him attend 1st day of school. I’ve spent so much time this August wi”
“I’ve been playing football in August since 1986. 11 years old playing for The Trinity Gardens little league midgets team”
“Then I went to JR High, High School 3 years of College, 13 years of Pro Football. 200 games to be exact!”
“Like I said who knows how I feel next week! I’m just trusting in God what I always believed that his plan will continue success for me!”
“That’s 200 games in the Pros for those of you keeping score or count. Lol”
So much to take from all of that, which is why I’m hoping for a response from Willie today. This all appears to have come about from Willie hearing that Andre Smith was hurt, and Tweeting earlier in the week that he couldn’t return to the Bengals because the Ravens hold his rights. John Harbaugh mentioned earlier this year that Willie had an emotional conversation with Ozzie Newsome regarding what it meant to be a retired football player. I’m not sure how that conversation would have lead to the Ravens asking Willie to come back to the team; but they CERTAINLY need help at the Offensive Tackle position.
Behind rookie Michael Oher and Jared Gaither, the team has Oniel Cousins (battling an ankle injury) and a group of players who likely won’t make the team (Stefan Rodgers, Tre Stallings, Joe Reitz). They will almost HAVE to scan the cut lists this week to see if anyone might become available. Willie Anderson would be a logical choice as they maintain his rights.
On the Willie Anderson side of the picture, he has every right to not want to race back and play football. However, the Ravens may not want Willie Anderson as much as they just want a veteran tackle. Should they choose to add another player; there is no guarantee they’ll still have interest in Willie if and when he feels like he’s ready to return.
1:06-Very awkward vibe coming from the Ravens locker room today. This morning’s practice was in shorts; but ran a half hour longer than scheduled. Following the practice, the mood in the locker room appeared to be a bit more awkward, as many players were unaware of their own personal futures, and others were unaware of what the future had in store for their friends and teammates. The team is not scheduled to gather again until after tomorrow’s cut, and there will be 22 fewer men on the roster when they gather.
I posted some sound in the Audio Vault at WNST.net from Lardarius Webb, Yamon Figurs, and Ray Rice. I also spent a few moments talking privately with some of the guys whose future is up in the air (Jason Cook, Matt Lawrence, Steve Hauschka, Prescott Burgess, etc.); and some of the guys intimated that they were playing the waiting game. They will learn their fate via phone call tomorrow; as they are not scheduled to be here in Owings Mills.
11:09-The Ravens have gathered this morning for some minimal on-field work. I’m not sure what the nature of the work is (may be nothing more than keeping guys crisp as they won’t go again until Wednesday), but it is obviously rare to do anything onfield the day after a game.
The bigger story today will be watching the attitudes of the players who are awaiting word on their professional future tomorrow. Last night’s win over the Falcons provided minimal clarity (if none at all), and a lot of guys are sweating out the next 18 hours or so as they await word.
One of the things we haven’t talked much about is the idea that some players could be hidden on IR this season. UFA LB Dannell Ellerbe and LB Jason Phillips jump out at me on that list. Ellerbe has battled a knee injury throughout the last weeks, and Phillips came into Training Camp off a knee injury at the NFL Draft Combine. Both are guys this organization likes, but both would be question marks on the 53 man roster.
I mentioned this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” with Drew Forrester that the one change I would make to my projected 53 man roster from Wednesday would be to take Matt Lawrence OFF the roster and replace him with Jayson Foster. I don’t know that Foster is ABSOLUTELY one of the 53 best football players on this team; but I do think the Ravens could line him up as a WR in an emergency situation and certainly use him on Special Teams.
All of this can change in an instant based on what players become available elsewhere in the NFL. I have warned before that the Ravens feel as though they have MORE than 53 good players (and John Harbaugh reiterated the sentiment post-game in Atlanta last night), but there are areas they will likely be willing to consider additions. A veteran receiver would be a possibilty, as would someone who could provide depth at OT. BUT, Ozzie Newsome is not thinking he HAS to add players like that. If the Eagles cut a Reggie Brown or Hank Baskett, that would be a natural fit. If a player like Willie Anderson (who the Ravens added last season) were available, that would ALSO be a natural fit. But they will NOT just go out and sign a receiver or Tackle for no reason.
The deadline to have the roster down to 53 is 6pm Saturday. I expect we will approach 6pm before we get the list.