Another day, another injury, and another far-fetched ‘fix’ being pitched.
In case you live under a rock or simply went to bed early last night (which is foolish because, hello! Shark Week!) you may have missed this hot pile of garbage debacle befallen on the Ravens.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 27, 2017
First and foremost, let’s grab that stress ball and run through the usual emotions: SERIOUSLY?! THE RAVENS HAVE AWFUL LUCK WITH INJURIES! THIS IS HARBAUGH’S FAULT! FIRE SOMEBODY! WHY ARE WE CURSED?! FIRST YOUNG THEN DIXON AND NOW FLACCO?! COME ON FOOTBALL GODS, GIVE US A BREAK IN BALTIMORE!!
Ah. Much better.
So let’s try to process this: according to Rapopopoport (I always miscount the po’s, like banana or Mississippi) Flacco hurt his back. We know that much. But the time frame is… confusing. ‘Preparing’ to miss 3-6 weeks, but also, out ‘at least a week or 2.’ So… anywhere from a week to six weeks? Or 3-6 weeks with the potential to miss a ‘week or 2’ of the regular season? Which wouldn’t make sense because the regular season for Baltimore kicks off on September 10th and six weeks out from now is September 6th.
Something doesn’t add up, Ian. Check those sources again!
Regardless, the Twitterverse is ablaze with fans and sports talking heads alike, using Flacco’s injury to dig up that poor deceased equine one more time and give him a thorough railing (they’re beating a dead horse).
So many folks coming out of the woodwork from three- and four- letter networks suggesting the Ravens needs to sign Kaepernick because… well, they mention the Harbaugh tie with Kaep playing for JIM Harbaugh (so not even a real tie), and playing under Greg Roman (who isn’t the OC for the Ravens), and… that’s about it.
But here’s the thing folks: the Ravens? They don’t need Kaepernick.
Let’s immediately disregard the politics here. I don’t do that garbage. Sit, stand, lay down, curl up into fetal position… we’re not going there. I’m taking all of that out of the equation and looking at Colin Kaepernick as an NFL quarterback, while looking at the Ravens as a team, and still? The fit is not there.
‘Why not?’ cries the same talking heads from before?
3 simple reasons.
1- The Timeline
Go back to Rappaport’s tweet. Even at the extreme end of six weeks out, Flacco is back before the regular season starts. Best case scenario, it’s a week and he’s back before the 1st preseason game. In either case, the timeline of his return falls into the Ravens preseason, and not the regular season.
With that in mind, why should the Ravens entertain the idea of bringing in a Kaepernick- let alone any vet QB who won’t sign for pennies on the dollar- if their starter in Flacco is expected to be full go by Week 1?
2- Other Options
First and foremost, Kaepernick isn’t the only free agent quarterback on the market. Why not more hype for RGIII? Maybe Christian Ponder could stand tall in the pocket during the preseason? No Johnny Manziel chatter?
I’m sorry, that last one was a joke.
Another angle: given that the timeline for Flacco’s injury falls into the preseason window, and not the regular season, why wouldn’t the Ravens look at a young arm instead of a vet when they already have one of those?
Look at the Chargers – they just traded a conditional 7th round pick to the Bills for former OSU QB Cardale Jones to see if there’s a chance they can develop the young QB, while they also have veteran-bum Kellen Clemens on the roster. If the young arm works out they keep him around. If not, so be it. The Ravens would benefit from taking a similar path here.
If if they can’t find a young QB on the market now, perhaps they could do so via trade on a conditional pick like the Chargers, or even add a camp arm now and possibly a young body after cuts.
There’s many options to go around other than ‘just sign Kaepernick.’
3- The Aftermath
Okay, so say the Ravens do sign Kaepernick. Say the fanbase is overall okay-to-happy with the decision. Fine. Now say Flacco comes back healthy, Ryan Mallet is still his backup after spending the back-end of 2016 and 2017 under the Marty Mornihnweg system with Joe, and it’s time to cut Kaepernick.
Suddenly, the Ravens get crucified for a football decision. Those who praised the team for adding him and killing them for cutting him loose when he was no longer needed. And honestly, could you blame the Ravens at that point? They had their 1-2 punch before hand, the most Kaepernick could show would be in a few weeks of camp and a few preseason games, and unless he resoundingly outperforms Mallet (possible, but it’s preseason so how much stock do you take in it?) there’s no way the Ravens would opt to keep a guy they just signed off the street instead of Mallet, who’s spent a few years with the franchise and is a serviceable backup.
Ultimately, I just can’t see any justification. Those clamoring for the Ravens to sign Kaepernick are thinking with their hearts, and not their heads. They want to see a man that they view as vilified and blackballed get another chance in the NFL. They aren’t thinking clearly about it from a football side, be it by choice or by an undying affinity for Kaep as a person, not a player.
And honestly? That’s fine. Pull for your man! Show him some love and support!
But at the end of the day, don’t expect the Ravens to pull the trigger on Colin Kaepernick as they wait for Joe to get back on the field.