“Looks like we’re going 4-12 next season” (said the dummy who tells people he knows football)

March 13, 2013 | Drew Forrester

And I certainly don’t blame the Ravens for not trying to overbid for Ellerbe or Kruger.  I use the word “decent” when describing them for a reason.  That’s what they are, frankly.  They’re good, decent football players.  Nothing more than that.  Both of them were slow starters in Baltimore because they initially weren’t able to grasp the NFL playbook in the same quick fashion that others before them did.  As their media guide bio reveals, it took both players a couple of years to break into the starting team and then, the only reason they did was because of departures by others (Jarret Johnson in Kruger’s case) or injuries to starters who were ahead of them on the depth chart (Ray Lewis for Ellerbe).

To suggest that Kruger and Ellerbe were ultra-important to the Ravens moving forward is just plain wrong.  They will be replaced, quite easily I assume, either through the current Baltimore roster, free agency or the upcoming NFL draft.  I’m not saying those two were duds — they both played a key role for the Ravens last season.  But they aren’t Pro Bowl caliber players.

The panic that set in following the departure of those two was side-splitting funny.  It was as if Ozzie Newsome was literally tearing down the team just for the hell of it.

“Well, looks like we’re going 4-12 next season,” someone wrote to me about a half-hour after Ellerbe signed in Miami.

“We already have the 5th toughest schedule in the league in 2013, now we’re going to have play those teams with no good players on defense,” said a fan on Twitter.

“Can’t believe we’re having this fire sale,” was authored by another expert.

Hilarious.  No team has drafted a player yet.  A lot of teams haven’t signed a quality free agent yet.  No one’s key player has been injured in training camp yet.  But, somehow, the Ravens are already doomed because they play the 5th toughest schedule in the league next season.  Two players leave via free agency and one player who refused to take a pay cut gets sent to an NFL West team and, suddenly, it’s a “fire sale”.

Give me another minute or so to explain some more logic, please.

When you win, which the Ravens have done with great regularity, it sets up a process that makes the NFL “supposedly” fair, by allowing teams with worse records to draft higher the following season.  This is how scrub teams like the Browns and Dolphins, for example, are reasonably expected to get better.  It also means, with perennial winners like Baltimore, that clubs who pick in the lower end of the draft should reasonably expect to have a down year or two because they’re getting the short end of the stick.

Except something weird has happened over the last decade.  Baltimore, Indianapolis, New England, Pittsburgh — they’ve all been fairly consistent winners and playoff participants.  In fact, those four teams have all won multiple Super Bowls since 2000 with the exception of the Colts, who went twice and won once.  The Dolphins and Browns have basically stunk for the last decade.  So have the Jaguars.  And the Bills have been woeful, too.

Would you trust that the Dolphins and Browns made the right moves yesterday by signing Kruger and Ellerbe?  With all due respect to those two players, they’re both going to the NFL’s version of the great abyss.  We might not see much of them again.

The Ravens, meanwhile, have this annual spring house cleaning and never seem to fare any worse the following season.  Isn’t that strange?  Remember these players, won’t you?  Mason, McGahee, Gregg, Heap, Redding, Johnson, Nakamura, Zbikowski. They were all March departures in various forms over the last few years and somehow life went on in Baltimore.

When Bart Scott left for the Jets, panic set in.  How about the great Jim Leonhard?  Remember him?  He was a fan favorite for some weird reason, even though he was barely a good player.  “Holy cow, how can we let Jim Leonhard go?” folks cried.  Yeah, boy, we never recovered from that departure, did we?

(Please see next page)

16 Comments For This Post

  1. Lisa, Aberdeen Says:

    Well written Drew. It’s ashame some people still won’t get it after reading this.

  2. Lisa, Aberdeen Says:

    Well written Drew. It’s ashame some people still won’t get it after reading this.

    If being a GM in the NFL was such an easy job, just ask some of these fans you mentioned in your blog, the league would be flooded with such GM talent (note: sarcasm).

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    Was a bit surprised to hear about Ellerbe.I always liked how this kid played. Don’t forget he was forced into a starter role last season by injuries to Ray and McClain at ILB in a 3-4 defense.Going back several years Ellerbe stood out to me in preseason games and I often questioned why McClain got the nod the last 2 years. I think it goes back to a preseason game where Ellerbe intercepted a pass and ran it in for a score then taunted the defender with the ball. Harbs came running off the bench and got into his face like I have never seen him do since. I think Daniel has been in the doghouse from that point on ala McKinnie.Either way he is gone and the Dolphins did overpay him. Crazy world of pro sports strikes again.

  4. Vince Says:

    Name one Ravens free agent casualty that made Ozzie look dumb for letting him go, I can’t think of one. The guy makes a living not overpaying for talent, and telling players to go get paid somewhere else. Adalius Thomas and Gary Baxter come to mind recently, it was like they disappeared when they left Baltimore. I have utmost faith in Ozzie, zero in the Orioles. Not a low blow, just a fact.

  5. Troy Says:

    I feel much better now. Thanks Drew!

  6. charlie Says:

    thanks for being a voice of sanity on this one, drew. the team just won the darn super bowl, for heaven’s sake. when that happens, other teams overpay for some of the residual magic that supposedly adheres to players on the roster. if the defending champs are stupid, they’ll overreact, treat each player as indispensable, blow their cap. . . and then we’ll really hear from some angry fans.

    even though the ‘q’ loss stings, this front office deserves better than for us to hit that panic button.

  7. matt Says:

    when flacco got his contract i predicted the ravens would miss the playoffs, regardless of if those bums went to other teams. so im with you on the ‘step back’ thing. 7-9 or 8-8 with the bengals winning the division

  8. Steve From Sandpoint Says:

    Just how many March departures from the past have really come back to haunt us, none that I can remember. Let Ozzie & his staff do there thing for God’s sake !!!

  9. The Armchair QB Says:

    Same fans, no doubt, that had dire predictions after we let Mason, Heap, McClain, Gregg and McGahee go. Also, many who predicted the Eagles would win the Super Bowl prior to the 2011 season because of all their free agent acquisitions as well as predicting the Colts to have a losing season last year due to rookie QB,personnel changes, new head coach and front office changes. What the average football fan doesn’t know about football would fill volumes…..

  10. Such Says:

    It’s Chicken Little Season in Baltimore again. “The sky is falling!” Fans have no patience. I’m sure glad the Front Office does. Come off the ledge, people,you’re exhausting…

  11. matt Says:

    stuff just got real with pollard leaving though

  12. jpetrosino Says:

    I think it’s a positive the Raven fans to voice their frustration b/c that shows that we care about the team unlike the Orioles. In fact, the Orioles have turned off their fan base to a point we don’t care or, to be honest, don’t notice.

    For me, there is only one sport in town and that’s football 365.

    Go ahead, let the Yanks, Sox, Phills, Dodgers buy all the players and they can play amongst themselves.

  13. Jackie Says:

    Call me a ‘girl’ but the thing I LOVE about the Ravens is not just how awesome they are on the field, but how classy they are off the field. I’m glad to see the players be a part if their community. That’s the piece I hope we don’t lose with all the moves.

    Since you brought up dem O’s… As someone who still follows BMore sports, even though I live half way across the country, let me see I couldn’t name a single O’s player today (after having followed them religiously since I was about 10). I won’t recognize them as anything having to do with my hometown until Angelo’s is gone!!!

    Will travel for Ravens (and have)!!!! Orioles – where do they play?

  14. The Armchair QB Says:

    It bears repeating that fans who think they know more about personnel moves than Ozzie Newsome are simply….delusional!

  15. Robbie Says:

    Have Pollard and Williams and probably Reed leaving changed your opinion at all? Will there be a point that you won’t “trust Ozzie?” (DF: Nothing about my opinion changes until we see what the Ravens roster looks like in September. They haven’t signed any players yet.)

  16. f4phantomphreak Says:

    Who really cares, they gave Flacco all the cash and now they’re a one man team, I shall follow my O’s all the way to the playoffs baby, all the way!

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