Many sources today are “breaking the news” that Marc Bulger has retired. As mentioned in our Tweets @Ravens_247 on July 31 and in a blog on August 1, Bulger informed the Ravens back in March that he would retire. The Ravens were very interested in bringing Bulger back but his priorities are now with his family. We wish him the best.
The news leaves the Ravens frighteningly vulnerable at quarterback. Behind Joe Flacco there is rookie Tyrod Taylor and Hunter Cantwell. Cam Cameron can boast all he wants about Taylor, but if Flacco misses any time due to injury, the season will spin out of control if the rookie from Virginia Tech is called upon to guide Cameron’s offense.
The Ravens owe it to the veterans on the team to go out and get an insurance policy like Bulger.
A couple other positions that appear a bit thin are wide receiver and running back. Yesterday during practice the first team offense included Anquan Boldin, Justin Harper and Brandon Jones. Not exactly the stuff prolific offenses are made of.
On the sidelines – Torrey Smith (hamstring), David Reed (wrist) and James Hardy (hamstring). Smith will be back on the field as early as today while Reed expects to be ready and off PUP sometime next week. Hardy could return soon as well and he better – he has hardly been impressive and his most memorable plays unfortunately have been drops.
Reed is a candidate to be the No. 3 WR but he’ll need to get on the field soon. He’s losing valuable reps and needs to get in synch with Flacco. We witnessed last season with Flacco and TJ Houshmandzadeh how important training camp (or the lack thereof) is to developing a pass-catch rapport.
Even if T. Smith, Reed and Hardy get back on the field soon, the receiving corps still needs a boost and it could come in the form of Malcom Floyd who just might be able to take the top off defenses that play close to the line of scrimmage against the Ravens, including that team from northwest PA.
At running back the Ravens have a collection of unproven talent behind Ray Rice. You may recall the not so comfortable box the team found themselves in back in 2001 when Jamal Lewis went down and Priest Holmes had moved on to KC. The Ravens were forced to turn to the scrap heap for Terry Allen and chubby rookie Jason Brookins.
It is doubtful that Ozzie Newsome would allow that to happen again so it would seem likely that the team will reach out to a free agent RB soon. If not that is an indication that they are happy with rookie Anthony Allen and possibly UDFA Damien Berry. For the moment, Allen has the edge on Berry.
Speaking of the edge, Osi Umenyiora’s name has been tied to the Ravens over the past few weeks. The connection makes sense on paper – the Ravens need an edge rusher and Umenyiora wants out of New York. One source has consistently shared with Ravens24x7.com that the Giants’ sack specialist isn’t a schematic fit for the Ravens plus there are lingering health concerns.
And let’s not forget that the Ravens don’t like to part with high end draft picks and even a No. 2 might be an uncomfortable price to pay particularly when you consider the new contract the 29 year old native of London will demand.
Perhaps a value free agent like Matt Roth is a better way to go for the Ravens.
Le’Ron McClain remains unemployed which leads most to believe that his contractual demands are too high and his aspirations of being a featured back a bit unrealistic. His lengthy campaign to see more carries (McClain4RB) is likely forcing teams to question his desire to be a lead blocker. Throw in the Ravens relatively expensive decision to hire Vonta Leach and it could be raising even more red flags tied to McClain as a blocker.
And then there was this Twitter post from the Ravens official site:
1WinningDrive Unlike @LeRonMcClain33, newest #Raven @vleach44 is only interested in playing FB and blocking the way for @RayRice27: bmob.us/17c
McClain viewed this as a bit of a shot and it evoked a few testy responses, most of which were removed from Twitter, more than likely because they hurt McClain’s marketability. Here are a couple:
LeRonMcClain33 @1WinningDrive don’t use this to talk down on me* I put in work for the Ravens for 4 years!! Great 4 years. So don’t play me like that*
LeRonMcClain33 @1WinningDrive will not forget this boss**
Finally, the next couple of days could be very busy ones in the free agent market. Teams must comply with the cap number of $120.375M by August 4. You may see some veteran cuts that just might be the bargains Ozzie Newsome is seemingly waiting for.