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THE WATER COOLER: Ravens Need a Roster Mulligan

Street Talk THE WATER COOLER: Ravens Need a Roster Mulligan

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10+ Comments Jimmy Dundalk says Correct Orange Neons , and it may just keep us out of the playoffs,,,,,I'll say again , where are all the tough guys ??????
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The Ravens 53 man roster is a curious configuration and it’s difficult to determine from the outside looking in just exactly what the coaching staff was thinking when they decided to keep 5 safeties and expose RB Bobby Rainey, now the primary kick returner for the Cleveland Browns.

Rainey, generally regarded as a poor man’s Ray Rice, provides little in the way of special teams play other than as a returner but what his presence on the Ravens roster would have done is allow Jim Caldwell to implement personnel packages that include both Rice and Bernard Pierce.

Without Rainey or any other No. 3 back on the depth chart, the likelihood of Rice and Pierce taking the field together is about as certain as Tandon Doss making a tough catch across the middle with a safety lying in wait (sorry Torrey Smith).

The Ravens brought in free agent tight ends Jake Ballard and Matthew Mulligan for a look yesterday according to The Baltimore Sun. Ballard 25, a former New York Giant, sat out the 2012 campaign after suffering a knee injury in Super Bowl XLVI. In 2011 Ballard had 38 catches for 604 yards and 4 scores. Thirty-one of Ballard’s receptions went for first downs.

The 28-year-old Mulligan has bounced around the league with brief stints in Miami, Tennessee, New York (Jets), St. Louis, Green Bay and New England.

Is the Ravens interest in these tight ends genuine or is the team trying to send a message to struggling tight ends Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark?

As for Clark, count me among the minority who actually believe he will become a solid player for the Ravens. No he isn’t off to a great start and the dropped touchdown will be his defining moment as a Raven until he alters that perception. But let’s not forget that his training camp was relatively short and he’s just now rounding into football shape.

Look for better things from Dallas in Baltimore…otherwise the headlines could read:

“Ravens take a Mulligan and cut Clark” (thanks @jurgenhadley)

Staying with tight ends for a moment, Todd Heap was spotted in downtown Baltimore recently by our former intern Tyler Seabolt. Tyler tells us that Heap is in great shape and seemingly ready to re-enter the ranks of the NFL. Currently Billy Bajema wears Heap’s old No. 86…just sayin’.

Anquan Boldin sure did have himself a debut in San Francisco, corralling 13 passes for 208 yards and a score. Those who are still upset by the Ravens’ trade of the star receiver, instrumental to the team’s postseason success in 2012, clearly have been fed more evidence to support their case.

But in Ozzie Newsome’s defense, the team expected the injured Dennis Pitta to absorb some of those contested catches in tight quarters, particularly in the red zone that were traditional pegged for Boldin. Pitta’s injury clearly put a wrinkle in those best laid plans.

Hindsight is 20-20 but for the moment and until the investments made with the money that would have been Boldin’s (Messrs. Huff, Canty, Spears, Dumervil) pay dividends, that trade to San Francisco for a 6th round pick won’t exactly put a new shine on Newsome’s resume.

“I don’t know, but somebody, somewhere might have made a boo-boo,” San Francisco offensive lineman Alex Boone said when asked his thoughts of getting Boldin for such a low price.

Besides Pitta, Tandon Doss was also expected to help distribute the Boldin targets but he’s been a bust. That said Doss will get a second chance with the Ravens as the team has re-signed the former Hoosier.

“It helps to have a guy that’s been here, certainly”, said John Harbaugh during yesterday’s press conference.

“When you can bring someone back like Tandon [Doss], who knows the offense and is ready to plug right in and play for us, [it helps]. There’s no teaching we have to do; he knows what to do. It’s a big plus for us, and we’re very fortunate that he was available for us.”

That John Harbaugh is a funny guy…

Speaking of which, here’s what Harbs, looking for the silver lining in last Thursday’s loss in Denver, took away from the Mile High City performance.

“There were a lot of good things. We played well in a lot of ways, but you can’t make the mistakes we made. We had, on defense, 309 yards on seven plays. Take away seven plays, and you’re looking at a pretty darn good game against Peyton Manning – about 200 yards.”

Right and if Jim Johnson didn’t have all those blown saves the Orioles would be in first place.

Bring on the Browns!

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. 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's new Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

Rainey can do more things than Rice. And he can get our biggest nemesis -third and two- that our other RB can't seem to.


The sixth pick the Ravens got for Bolding was packaged to allow them to move up in the second round to draft LB Arthur Brown. I love Anquan. He is one of my all-time favorite Ravens. However, by letting his salary go we were able to spread that cash out over Elvis, Huff, Canty, Spears and don't forget Daryl Smith. - AND the draft pick that allowed us to trade up in the second round for Brown. As Ozzie said - you can think of it almost as a 5-1 or even 6-1 trade. Put me in the minority, but I would make that deal again today. I don't buy into the internet chatter that this was Harbaugh getting rid of strong personalities like Boldin. I think this is the Ravens following the Patriot blueprint of right player -right price and jettisoning veterans, without sentiment, a year early rather than a year late. Ozzie said that he was not building for a repeat, but rather sustainability from not only a winning perspective, but also from a fiscal management standpoint. He has a track record of being more right than wrong (nobody is 100%) - and he gets the benefit of the doubt from me. It is a 15 game season in the AFC North right now. I like our chances as much as any other team and we will be in the hunt along with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh - who contrary to popular opinion is not on life support in a division where each team has some glaring holes. They will likely bounce back as their talented core and coaches, like ours, has a track record and are not simply going to lay lay down. Buckle up - it is going to be a ride - and as long as we have a team that can stay in the playoff hunt - I don't think you can ask for much more this particular year.


The answers might just be there already in Matt Furstenburg and the sure-handed Harvard rookie, who is on the Special Teams, which is another typical Harbaugh trait!

Hut Guy
Hut Guy

"HEAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Excellent comments on the Boldin trade, though I disagree.....I was against it then and obviously it has backfired. My take on it is this. Ravens have a poor history of drafting and developing WR's. There like the Orioles with pitchers.....none of em seems to work out. They spent many years trying to put together a quality receiving corps with little success, Derrick Mason was the best receiver on this team for years.....nuff said.....They acquire Boldin and then misuse him for 2.5 years because Harbs has his OC buddy mismanaging the talent on offense. Finally, finally, finally last year, the heavens part, Cam is forced out. Caldwell unleashes Flacco/Boldin and this offense FINALLY plays to its potential. Boldin clearly was a beast when it counted the most and nobody on the team played more like a RAVEN then Boldin. So, given the Ravens long history of being WR challenged, they finally develop an impressive aerial attack and the star wide out, who made meaningful catch after catch after catch in the playoff's and who embodied the very essence of what the Ravens had been looking for in the past is essentially given away over a two million salary difference? How is it that Vonte Leach is on this team @ 2M a year but Boldin is not? Vonte is more valuable to the offense than Boldin? There's the two million difference right there. The whole salary cap argument is bogus and a front for whatever the real reasons were. So the Ravens have gone from a team with a feared aerial attach to a team struggling to find a second receiver who can actually catch the ball. And the first domino to fall was Boldin who was arguably the most important receiver on the team. He made Torrey and Pitta better and without the trade of Boldin the Ravens injuries at TE and WR would not be so damaging to this team. All this over two million because the Ravens wanted to cut Boldins salary. He contributed to the success of last years team substantially more than either Ngata or Suggs and there salaries were much higher, leaving more room to cut. Neither of these players were asked to give up a million or so. Boldin was targeted. At the time it looked foolish, it still does and all the Ravens beat writers refuse to acknowledge that it was foolish. Bottom line. the two million the Ravens were looking to trim could have easily have been trimmed elsewhere. They paid a very high price in lost productivity over a very small cap savings in the grand scheme of things.

Jimmy Dundalk
Jimmy Dundalk

Absolutely wrong here,,,,,,Davis Reed blows away your right player =right price theory (Ozzie uses this as an excuse) ; we have five million in cap space now , there were other ways to get those players ; strong personalities ? where are they now ,Harbs has his 'yes men ' in place and we will see how they perform , I still say you need some tough guys ; I'm asking for more , I'm asking for a better 53........................

Jimmy Dundalk
Jimmy Dundalk

Correct Orange Neons , and it may just keep us out of the playoffs,,,,,I'll say again , where are all the tough guys ??????


I disagree. If we had kept Boldin at 4M, we would have used to the 2M savings along with the 2M from not keeping Leach and used it to fill in the holes in the roster. We would have gotten Huff, D.Smith, and Canty for that money. But we would have been unable to afford to bring in Dumervil. So the options were: Huff, Canty, D.Smith and Boldin @4M, or Dumervil, Canty, D.Smith, Leach and Huff. Since Boldin was unwilling to take that paycut, we needed to let him go rather than forgo filling all our defensive holes. Imagine if we had kept Boldin at 6M and let Leach go- we would be looking at Arthur Brown and Bynes at ILB with no depth, Upshaw at OLB with unproven depth (Simon, McPhee), a shallow d-line of Jones, Ngata, B.Williams, Tyson, and Cody with maybe a minimum player as depth, and we would probably have still brought in Huff to play at safety. Not horrible, but with Pitta around trading Boldin was definitely the right move. Pitta getting injured MIGHT have made them not trade Q, but I think they still would have traded him.


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