We’ve seen this before from Ozzie Newsome – a slow methodical approach to free agency, completely pushing his “right player, right price” credo to its limits.
As fans we watched a team in 2011 come so close to making it to the Super Bowl. Most of the Baltimore Ravens’ faithful would bet their homes that the club would have beaten the Giants. But we’ll never know for sure.
So why not do a little extra this offseason to get over the hump and take one more giant step (pun intended) into the post season?
If it was only that easy…
The odds are the Ravens will NOT make it back to the playoffs in 2012. A daunting first place schedule of opponents coupled with the fact that it has been quite some time since a team made it to the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, makes it difficult for the Ravens to go all-in financially in 2012. If they do and fail, the 2013 cap situation may be worse than that of 2012.
Perhaps the real criticism of Ozzie Newsome should be why they allowed their cap to be so tight to the ceiling while other good teams like the Patriots, Eagles, Chargers, Saints and 49ers find ways of augmenting the rosters in a plus way through free agency.
That said, let’s assess who and what the Ravens have lost so far.
Ben Grubbs by far is the biggest loss of the offseason and the way it looks right now the Ravens are planning on replacing a Pro Bowl guard with an inexperienced player playing a new position (Jah Reid). Second-tier free agent left guard prospects are unclear at this point. Eric Stein(achy)bach anyone?
Jarret Johnson, a team favorite who is a two-down player these days showed signs of fatigue down the stretch and recapturing his productivity shouldn’t be such a tall task. His veteran presence will be missed but the Ravens locker room isn’t one lacking in the leadership department.
Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski, represent nothing more than decent depth that the club will have to replenish. It won’t be difficult. Think Will Demps and Jim Leonhard when they departed.
Cory Redding was a solid player who the team couldn’t commit three years to like the Indianapolis Colts did. Like Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta to Todd Heap, look for Pernell McPhee and Art Jones to pull up the slack for Redding.
But let’s consider the big picture.
What teams need to focus in on first and foremost is to win their division.
Secondly they need to be a stronger team at the end of the season than they were at the beginning of the season.
Think New York Giants here.
Now to the notion of getting better as the season goes on…
Time will tell but it stands to reason that a younger team gets stronger relatively speaking as the season winds down and as they gain experience.
So before you go and write the Ravens off, a season isn’t won during the free agency signing period.
Just ask last season’s “Dream Team.”