OWINGS MILLS –Team president Dick Cass emphasized that this isn’t the appropriate time to raise ticket prices.
One reason why the team made that choice to keep ticket prices the same is due to the labor strife surrounding the league.
"We looked at it this year and decided it was not a good time to raise prices, so ticket prices are remaining the same," Cass said. “We will send out invoices for season tickets in the next week or so, and we’ll announce our plan in there on refunding money in the event any games are cancelled this year.
“One thing we are going to do is, we’ll pay interest on money if we do have games cancelled. And we’re not going to try to finance any work stoppage with the money we get from season ticket holders. We will hold that separate. That’s our plan.”
Usually, the Ravens raise ticket prices every other year.
However, the Ravens aren’t in a situation this year where next season, or a full season, is guaranteed due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
“One factor was the uncertainly over labor, for sure.,” Harbaugh said. “And then we looked around the league, and there weren’t a lot of teams raising ticket prices this year. So, that was another factor.
“Our fans have been tremendous for us. When you look around the league, I think this year season ticket sales were all 5-percent around the league, and we were solid again. So, we’re just grateful for the support we’ve gotten. We really are.”
LAST STRAW FOR MOELLER: Andy Moeller has been arrested three times for charges involving alcohol over the past four years, including two driving while under the influence brushes with the law last year.
For Moeller to remain employed as the Baltimore Ravens’ newly-promoted offensive line coach, there can’t be a fourth incident involving alcohol.
While expressing support for Moeller, who has been getting help for his drinking problem, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made it abundantly clear that the assistant coach is down to his last strike.
"Yes, we’re very concerned," Bisciotti said. “All we can do at this stage is see how Andy responds to this. He’s taking the right steps. Obviously, it’s a very personal issue. I don’t think there’s anybody in this room who hasn’t been affected by alcohol.
“That’s not a character trait, that’s a disease. That’s a problem. As long as he is doing what he is expected to do, then he has our support, the caveat being that it’s his last chance, and he knows that. I don’t think he would mind me saying that.”
Moeller was acquitted of one DWI charge in Carroll County last May, but is still facing an April 11 court date for a separate DWI case as well as negligent driving and five other traffic charges in Baltimore County stemming from an August traffic stop on Greenspring Ave.
When Moeller was coaching at the University of Michigan, the former All-Big Ten Conference linebacker was charged with failure to stop his car following an accident, driving under the influence of alcohol and refusal to take a field sobriety test.
The DWI charge was reduced to a lesser charge of driving while visibly impaired.
Moeller successfully completed his probation, which mandated alcohol counseling at an aftercare facility and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“He’s either going to get it under control, or he’s going to spend a lifetime in misery like other people that are affected by that,” Bisciotti said. “So, we’re behind him as long as he earns that trust and continues to earn that trust. But he knows he’s one step away from not being a Raven, and then probably not being in the NFL at all."
Moeller replaces veteran offensive line coach John Matsko, who was fired Wednesday afternoon during a meeting with coach John Harbaugh.
Matsko wasn’t out of work long, being hired Thursday as the Carolina Panthers’ offensive line coach.
The Ravens allowed 40 sacks during the regular season and nine more during the playoffs.
They slumped to 14th in the league in rushing.
"John is a good man and a good coach," Harbaugh said. "We felt like a change there would give us a chance to get better. I know John understands that, and he’ll be coaching real quickly in this league. We appreciate what he did for us, no doubt about it, and he’s a good friend.”
Harbaugh attended the same Michigan high school as Moeller: Pioneer High in Ann Arbor.
"Andy Moeller, I’m excited about that,” Harbaugh said. “I know the players are excited about it. Andy is a young and up-and-coming coach. He’s a fiery coach, a very smart guy. The players really like him."
NGATA IS ITEM NO. 1: The Ravens’ negotiating priorities haven’t changed. Their top goal is to re-sign two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who’s regarded as one of the most dominant interior linemen in the league.
“I know John has said this, going back to the last owner’s meeting in March, that Haloti is a priority, and he is a priority,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “That’s not just John saying it, that’s Steve saying it, that’s Ozzie saying it, that’s Dick saying it. There are some issues that we have going forward based on an uncapped year with the potential of going to a capped year that could create some problems in getting a deal done before a work stoppage.
“I don’t think, other than maybe preparing for the draft, there is any other thing that has the most importance to me than to bring a player like Haloti, get him under contract. History within this organization proves that we will do that.”
Ngata recorded a career-high 5 ½ sacks last season.
Signing Ngata is going to be an extremely expensive proposition, but Ngata is interested in staying.
“No,” Ngata said Wednesday when asked if his decision will be influenced by defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano being hired. “Nah, I really don’t want to go anywhere else.”
SAUNDERS LEAVES: Ravens senior offensive assistant Al Saunders was hired as the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator.
Saunders has strong ties to new Raiders coach Hue Jackson, a former Ravens quarterbacks coach who went to Oakland last season.
Saunders is known as an upbeat, detail-oriented players coach who has a thick playbook.
"Al’s a great coach," Harbaugh said.
Saunders is a former San Diego Chargers head coach who has been an offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams and associate head coach with the Washington Redskins.
PEES STAYING PUT: With conflicting reports about whether Dean Pees was interviewing for the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator job, Harbaugh confirmed that the linebackers coach is staying with the Ravens.
The former New England Patriots defensive coordinator and Ken State coach isn’t going to pursue the job.
"No, he’s not interviewing with the Eagles,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh confirmed that quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery and wide receivers coach Jim Hostler are remaining on the staff.
When asked if other coaches might be leaving, Harbaugh said. "I don’t really want to say definitely because guys could get calls from other teams. So, you never know about tomorrow."