Prior to Tuesday’s pre-draft media event at the Under Armour Performance Center, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome hadn’t pubically spoken since he sat beside the franchise’s newly won Vince Lombardi Trophy. Even though Newsome smiled often over the past couple months, you could tell he needed to be elsewhere. Owner Steve Bisciotti even joked and thanked Newsome for allowing him to have a day off for the teams victory parade.
As if picking 32nd in the draft wasn’t already enough of a disadvantage, Newsome and the Ravens were behind as the majority of the NFL began planning five weeks before they could.
“I’ll take that five weeks behind the league every year,” Newsome jokingly said at the time.
Since then, ten weeks have passed and Newsome feels that he and the rest of those responsible for the draft are prepared and up to speed.
“Since the owners’ meetings, the world has slowed down for all of us,” Newsome said. “We’ve been able to have some great meetings last week, where we got coaches involved.”
“I think the coaches are still able to do some football in the morning and then do draft and free agency in the afternoon. So, I think we have been able to catch up right now, and I feel very good about where we are, getting ready to get started next Thursday.”
To make up for lost time, Newsome admittedly had to rely on his supporting cast, led by assistant general manager Eric DeCosta and director or college scouting Joe Hortiz more than in years past.
Newsome may receive most of the credit but guys like DeCosta, Hortiz and regional scouts have been doing the grunt work to build successful Baltimore teams on a consistent basis. Now that the Ravens are undoubtedly entering a new era in franchise history, their work under pressure may be the key to just how sturdy of a foundation is laid for the future.