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New Ravens Approach Leaves Some on the Outside Looking In

Lombardi's Way New Ravens Approach Leaves Some on the Outside Looking In

Posted in Lombardi's Way
21+ Comments says It would be more accurate to say the Ravens are to be.........TOASTED! That's what champions deserve.......
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The release of Bernard Pollard to save no more than $1M in cap dollars has left many scratching their heads – some in shock.

It shouldn’t.

The league is changing and the days when teams can overlook poor coverage skills from their strong safety provided he’s a thumper and can play in the box are over. This is the new NFL, dominated by passing.

If you need proof of Pollard’s weak coverage skills, go back and watch Super Bowl XLVII. He almost single-handedly lost the game for the Ravens. The expression, “He couldn’t cover a corpse with a blanket” comes to mind.

The Ravens are making a serious push to get younger and faster on defense. Ellerbe was a fit for the new modus operandi but he was too expensive. Pollard isn’t. Brendon Ayanbadejo and Jameel McClain might soon find out the hard way as well.

But back to Pollard, let’s not easily dismiss that he’s also a penalty machine. With the league’s increasingly annoying attention to physical hits, even those that really aren’t helmet-to-helmet, the yellow laundry flies even more frequently and at some point you have to wonder when Roger Goodell will step in with a suspension for the emotionally charge journeyman safety.

And with the defensive emphasis on younger and faster, you have to wonder where Ed Reed fits in. Clearly those descriptive terms don’t match the direction of Reed’s career. Without Reed patrolling centerfield, Pollard’s substandard cover skills become an even bigger liability.

As for Reed, the All-World free safety is now feeling what Ray Lewis felt a few years back. His resume doesn’t translate to dollars.

Reed still views himself as elite and is deliriously hoping for a contract that averages in the range of what Dashon Goldson (5 years, $41.25M, Tampa) or Laron Landry (4 years, $24M, Indianapolis) recently signed for.

That’s not happening and with the Landry signing, it removes a BIG potential landing spot for Reed. Think about it this way…

If Chuck Pagano, the coach who recruited the New Orleans native out of high school doesn’t want Reed for the Benjamins he seeks opting instead for Landry (who is hardly a choir boy) AND Jim Harbaugh reportedly preferring Charles Woodson over Reed in San Francisco, where does that leave the Ravens’ sure-fire Hall of Famer?

New England?

Houston?

Baltimore with his tail tucked between his legs, accepting what he will surely view as a less than worthy contract?

Or maybe, the prideful Reed, not really needing the money, might just retire after all.

Count me among those hoping for the later.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony on Twitter @RussellStReport. More from Tony Lombardi
17 comments
Ahmad
Ahmad

Nice post. Thanks. As stated, LT and WR worry me, but the defense definitely needed to be upgraded. Ozzie is the best football evaluator in the league. He knows what he is doing and we should be thankful that we have him. The 1st round WR at Jacksonville, is he available? He had a weak rookie year.

Anonymous
Anonymous

these comments make me laugh. i cant believe how dumb ravens fans are. i feel like i am the only one that has any sense!

Anonymous
Anonymous

right player, right price. the ravens will not overpay. you think they should have given kruger 40 million or ellerbe 35? come on man. ideally you do want to keep the guys that you develop, but thats not always logical. and how do you know its harbaugh's ego? because thats why they say on 105.7? you are assuming things.

jai
jai

This is ridiculous. It doesn't matter that they didn't "start." You're right. It's largely a rotational/situational league. But, you can't keep everybody. they just got $ that the ravens are too prudent to spend. The rich get plundered and then reaccumilate wealth. It IS all good. There is no delusion. What's delusional is fans who think they know more or have put more thought/energy into it than Ozzie/Harbs/the staff, or that Biscotti, the Ravens being a huge investment of his, would sign off on a half baked plan. That's delusional.

john
john

Ravens are toast!!!!

Jerry
Jerry

The line between free and strong safeties has become blurred with teams wanting 2 players capable of covering receivers and tight ends. It's a bonus if your safety can play up in the box as a traditional strong safety, and while Pollard was one of the best at that, the Ravens should get along just fine without a run-stopping safety. It's also possible that the team sees Ihedigbo, who offers a playing style similar to Pollard's, as only a minor downgrade. The free agent market has a glut of mediocre safeties, and after the top few get snatched up by the big spenders there will be capable players available on 1-2 year contracts in the 1-4 mill/year range. Pollard was an exciting player, but an average one once you consider both his excellent play against the run and his poor play against the pass. While I'll always be a fan, creating cap room for 2014 is essential, and Pollard's release did exactly that. I think the Ravens will smartly wait out the market and snatch up a few mediocre starters as stopgap solutions. That's probably bad news for Ed Reed in addition to Pollard, and it could mean the end of Jameel McClain's days as a Raven if the team feels that it can find an approximately equivalent player with the $1.8 million in 2013 cap space that his release would create. Even more important than freeing up that $1.8 million this year is getting rid of McClain's 2014 cap hit of $4.4 million. With Pollard, McClain, and perhaps Koch or another player off the books for 2014, an extension for Pitta should be easy to work out, and the Ravens could have some money to spend on free agents in 2014.

Ravenwoman
Ravenwoman

The 2012 Raven team is DONE. Our defense was horrible last year and we won the Super Bowl by the skin of our teeth. I welcome the changes as I am a fan of the team and not the players! I am awaiting the announcement that Ed Reed is the newest member of the Houston Texans!

Rumor Ray
Rumor Ray

TL ... Great Read as always. The real issue is that most FANS forget to read the important information and target their post on rumors, hearsay and false facts. I love the "FACT" that Joe Flacco is the focus of the fans blame for the CAP ISSUE when in fact he is a much lower number then most guys. NFL Fans forget that when you have a Team Loaded with Pro Bowl Players you end up with a HIGH Payroll. As Mystery Man points out (even if he has Ngata spelled wrong) that is just some of the players taking up a large amount of cap room, however we can not replace those players today at those rates so they stay on the team. The Ravens had drafted well at LB and can develop a player out of the draft to hit the field right away so that does not worry me. The draft is loaded with SS and FS so finding a needed younger replacement for Reed should not be an issue either. Face it, ED REED is not getting younger and I recall so called Baltimore Fans calling for him to be replaced early this season when our D was ranked at the bottom of the NFL. Funny how one ring changed all that? I would like to see Reed retire a Raven and walk away as a Champion Player that got drafted by the Ravens, never played for another team and is should be a 1st Ballot Hall Of Famer. The truth is in the NFL that does not happen many times now and who can blame a guy for wanting a couple extra Million Bucks? I surely can't ask a man to take less money so that I a FAN feels better? Trust in the Great OZ !!!! NEXT MAN UP !!!!!!

Jerry B
Jerry B

Addendum RE: Ed Reed. I don't know if he will be back, but what he lacks in tackling ability is more than compensated for by his "ball-hawking" ability. QB's are still reluctant to throw in his direction.......

Sharon
Sharon

How long do they need to "develop"? Kruger was in Baltimore for 4 years with nothing to show for it. Same with Ellerbe. They were good down the stretch but not enough to be overpaid by the Ravens. As much as Polamalu has fallen off, he is still better than Pollard. If you are coach, you want to be the leader of the team not have some disgruntled players running the show.

Jerry B
Jerry B

As opined previously, the "D" was old, slow and mediocre last year, but were able to win a Super Bowl with an infusion of some young talent. They MUST get younger and faster to get better on "D" and, the good news is that it won't really take a whole to improve! Finally, fans who think they know more about personnel moves than Ozzie Newsome and company are simply.....delusional!

Dave
Dave

Good article Tony. It really puts the Pollard situation into proper perspective.

gianna onorato
gianna onorato

This yrs draft is loaded with fast and physical lb. Look at ogletree and brown in round 1. Minder and Roddick in round 2. You have maybe the beat of them all in Bostic from Florida in round 3-4 and Bruce Taylor in rounds 5-7. And there is more. Draft Bostic to pair up with Bynes or a FA like mauluga and we are ok. The biggest need we have now is LT and WR. We can get Chris Harper or Cobi Hamilton in the mid rounds that are Boldin clones but LT is nowhere in the draft that we can get. So we need to jump on a big tix.e LT now!!!

mystery man
mystery man

Tony , you are right on and I do agree with you, ,,,,,,,MY problem is the contracts for Suggs , Gnata , Webb and Rice will not allow for adequate replacements for the LB core and therefore leave the middle of the field wide open for teams to control games against us,,,,,,,,,,,,The secondary and D-line will be fine but the LBs are my big concern,,,,,,,,,,Joe may not be able to run the score up enough to cover for an inept LB corp.............just my thoughts.................

raj
raj

Texans? Isn't he meeting them today? What do you think? Thanks Raj

Chad
Chad

Why is everyone getting so upset about guys leaving that IMHO are role players who got paid because of a stretch run. Reminds me of when Al Davis signed Howard and Allen when they won the SB MVP. Kruger - 6 starts in 4 years and gets 8/M per? WOW! Good pass OZ! Ellerbe - 14 starts in 4 years and has a carrer high of 89 tackles, yep a career high at MLB. He gets over 7/M per. Good pass Oz. Pollard - Yes teams leading tackler but his coverage skills are awful Very hard to watch him play on Sunday's especially at the Bank when you could get a full field view of how bad he was covering. Good pass OZ. Simple OZ has a plan and sticks to it. BTW people need to stop saying that we let all these people walk because of Flacco. His cap hits for the next three years are very good and extrememly team friendly.

jai
jai

I bet you said that after the broncos loss. maybe even after the texans blowout. If you're being facetious, please forgive me, I rescind my comment.

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