All appears to be going well until Dory hits her nose and the scent of blood drifts through the water and knocks the great white Bruce off the wagon and into a fish feeding frenzy.
Let’s hope the Ravens defensive front seven have seen the pictures of Carson Palmer’s bloody nose and that their determination to get to the Bengals QB is as inspired as Bruce’s to get to fish. They will need it. A trip to M&T Bank Stadium for Carson Palmer is like that of a 7 year-old boy visiting Toys R Us.
And that’s when the Ravens’ secondary is healthy. Rex Ryan’s current edition is anything but.
Chris McAlister is practicing but is not at 100% and he has not been battle tested at all in ’08. He failed to take a single preseason snap and he’s been a regular bystander during practice. Samari Rolle has also been very limited and hasn’t quite shaken off the rust of inactivity. Fabian Washington is suspended for the contest and he has been plagued by minor injuries. Derrick Martin’s season is in jeopardy due to an injured right labrum. He had offseason surgery on the labrum and sutures to stabilize the labrum were torn after a sideline collision against
If McAlister and Rolle aren’t at 100% by game time, the Ravens could be forced to use Corey Ivy and/or Frank Walker and both have proven to be inviting targets for quarterbacks far less accomplished than Carson Palmer. CB Anwar Phillips is still looking for his first career snap in regular season action.
And then there is Ed Reed. Reed is suffering from a neck and shoulder impingement – an injury that apparently has no short-term cure and Reed is taking the necessary precautions to make sure the injury doesn’t threaten his career. He also doesn’t sound like a player anywhere near ready to take on the Bengals.
"It’s a long season and I feel like the team is going to need me more down the line than earlier and having to get hurt and can’t play again."
If this injury forces Ed Reed into an early retirement in ’09, not only would the team lose a player generally regarded as the league’s best free safety, they would also take a big cap hit. Hypothetically speaking, if the Ravens absorbed Reed’s retirement prior to June 1 of ’09, they would carry $8.2 million in dead money next season. If they take the retirement hit after June 1, they will carry $2.8 million in dead money in ’09 and another $5.4 million in ’10.
Perhaps the team had an inkling of things to come with Reed during the offseason by bringing in the veteran Jim Leonhard and drafting promising rookies Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura. But if the Ravens don’t pressure Palmer on Sunday, school will be in session for the three newcomers.
And while we are on the topic of school, the Ravens will place Joe Flacco behind center to start the 2008 regular season for a bit of on-the-job training. Flacco will look to handle his baptism by fire more efficiently than Kyle Boller did back in 2003.
Heading into the season, the club wanted either Kyle Boller or Troy Smith to step up and direct Cam Cameron’s offense. But due to a bizarre sequence of events, neither Boller (shoulder injury) nor Smith (viral infection) will be available to the team against the Bengals. Adding to the chaos is the fact that the team will go into the game with a back-up quarterback who has not taken a single snap with the team and they are looking at a QB scrap heap that includes Chris Simms, Joey Harrington and Todd Bauman.
Word is that the team preferred Simms but the two sides couldn’t find common ground on a contract. Unfortunately Harrington seems to be the player that the club will turn to although as of this writing nothing has been confirmed by the club. If anything, at least Harrington will make the rest of the Ravens quarterbacks look more competent. Harrington was awful facing the Ravens prior to being cut by the Falcons.
Maybe the club is opting for Harrington to save some dough for Willie Anderson, the four-time Pro Bowl tackle recently cut loose by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Even if the Ravens do decide to bring in
The delay in a signing could stem from the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision that permits a player with four or more years of service to collect “termination pay” if he is on a roster at the start of the season and subsequently released.
Article XXIII of the CBA creates a vested veteran’s right to receive the balance of his salary as termination pay. It’s available to each player once in his NFL career.
This provision could also inspire some gamesmanship on the part of GM’s around the league to cut vested veterans only to re-sign them after Week One.
After all it’s just business, right?