Lombardi’s Way

Ravens Meanderings: More Free Agent Spending?

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Free agents who remain on the open market at this time lose leverage and therefore money with each passing day. Representatives for these agents have more than likely drawn proverbial lines in the sand in an attempt to set market value for their clients. Yet as the draft draws nearer, their clients’ cases grow weaker and those lines become less defined. Of the remaining unrestricted free agents, those most frequently discussed as potential Ravens are Owen Daniels and LeGarrette Blount. Daniels on the surface would appear to be a natural...

NFL Proposes Rule Changes, Only Few Make Sense

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The NFL Owners’ Meetings begin this week and among the things that will be discussed are rule changes. Why the league’s brain trust feels compelled to make material changes to a game that is wildly popular is in some ways unconscionable and in other ways simply arrogant. But be that as it may, they’ll convene this week and discuss 13 different proposed changes to the game. Maybe they should spend their collective time discussing ways to improve the fan experience at the game such as NASA powered wifi, free access...

Ravens Meanderings: A Free Safety Solution?

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The Ravens made it known that they would target a playmaker at free safety this offseason yet there are really none that stand out from a rather pedestrian list of remaining players that fit that description. The dearth of available talent has many believing the Ravens will look to the draft to fill the need. Others have suggested that the player Ozzie Newsome covets is already on the team’s roster. He wears No. 21. Let’s put this idea to bed now. You don’t take a young, up-and-coming corner who is...

Who is Baltimore’s Second Greatest QB?

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Vinny Cerrato as he often does, has been spewing venom on 105.7 The Fan. He has unfairly targeted Haloti Ngata and Jacoby Jones in the past for conjured up reasons. Maybe that’s his shtick. Maybe that’s what he’s paid to do, like a plunger in a clogged toilet. You get the picture. It would be interesting to hear how he might critique his own work as a twice-fired NFL GM, but I digress… Now Cerrato’s venom is aimed at Joe Flacco whom he claims doesn’t love the game and isn’t...

Ravens Meanderings: Just Say “No” to Ryan Clark

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Ozzie Newsome made it perfectly clear during the State of the Ravens presser that free safety is a position of interest. Unfortunately if free agency was the intended means to address the need, the talent there has quickly dried up with the Dolphins Chris Clemons arguably being the best of the un-signed UFA safeties. But yesterday, according to the Baltimore Sun, a new candidate has emerged. Ryan Clark! There’s a reason Clark is no longer in Pittsburgh. Given Troy Polamalu’s coverage weaknesses, the Steelers couldn’t pair him up with another...

Price Might Not be Right For Daryl Smith

NFL: Preseason-Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens
Daryl Smith showed the world during the 2013 season that his NFL career wasn’t finished. He led the Ravens in tackles (123), was second in interceptions (3), second in forced fumbles (2), third in sacks (5) and he had the team’s only defensive touchdown, a pick 6 against the Houston Texans. Smith also helped make the transition from the Ray Lewis era as seamless as possible while wearing the green dot as the defensive signal caller. Essentially Smith did everything the Ravens hoped and then some. But now he’s a...

When Considering Julian Edelman, Buyer Beware!

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It’s interesting how so many fans, even members of the media suggest that the Ravens should scrap the idea of drafting a receiver and just sign a free agent pass catcher instead. The rationale has its roots in the team’s history of drafting wide receivers, which admittedly has been anything but stellar. But such opinions are narrow-minded and shortsighted. Naturally proponents of such thinking will point to Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Devard Darling and Tandon Doss as evidence to support their claims. And while the argument is compelling to some...

Rice, Pierce and a Player to be Named

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Ozzie Newsome has said it, Steve Bisciotti has said it, John Harbaugh has said it and so has Dennis Pitta. It’s important for the Ravens to improve their running game. Talk about a statement of the obvious! Let’s not belabor the painfully woeful stats from the 2013 season. Instead let’s borrow a line from John Lennon in The Beatles’ Getting Better… “It can’t get any worse.” We all know that the coaching staff is hell bent on fixing the offense’s groundless attack. But whom will the Ravens employ to get...

Koch is Safe…For Now

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Sam Koch has been the best Ravens punter in team history. But that doesn’t change the fact that he was just a slightly better than average punter in 2013. Unless you are the Pittsburgh Steelers who apparently believe otherwise given recent extensions to Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu, nostalgia doesn’t work in the modern day NFL. NFL means Not For Long on many levels. Front office execs around the league whose livelihoods rest on their ability to maximize the return on their team’s salary cap, have no choice but to...

Coining a New Slogan For The Ravens 2014 Season

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Since John Harbaugh’s arrival the Ravens have coined a slogan for each new season. Perhaps the concept’s roots date back to Harbaugh’s description of his roster as “53 Mighty Men”, one later borrowed by his brother Jim with a dotted line to father Jack. Since John arrived in Charm City we’ve been treated to annual themes such as: 2008: What’s Our Name? 2009: Play Like a Raven 2010: W.I.N. 2011: Relentless 2012: TEAM 2013: Here We Are Most of the themes carry good stories – they tell a tale and...

Ravens Should Avoid Playing Tag With Monroe

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How the Ravens ultimately deal with Eugene Monroe by the close of business today will be very interesting. Monroe is generally considered to be an above average left tackle, ranking 12th in the NFL according to the drill down analytical machine called Pro Football Focus. Is Monroe deserving of the elite label that comes with the franchise tag? If the Ravens tag Monroe he’ll gobble up $11.654M of the team’s available cap space. That could handcuff Ozzie Newsome a bit as he tries to fill holes at the positions of...

80/20 Rule Could Bump Jones, Graham From Roster

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Ngata Safe…For Now Those within or close to the Ravens inner circle that influences changes in player personnel will tell you that the team subscribes to their own version of the 80/20 rule. If a player one notch down on the depth can provide 80% of the starter’s production for 20% of the price, said starter is in jeopardy. The rule allows the team to develop younger players and manage the salary cap. Jameel McClain and Vonta Leach lost out to the rule this week. And so too could free...

Franchise Tag For Pitta is Not “Right Player, Right Price”

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So the Ravens and Dennis Pitta aren’t closing the gap on a new contract. That should come as no surprise. It’s the nature of the negotiating beast during this time of the offseason. Perhaps the discussions will lead to a happy ending for both parties. Perhaps they won’t but regardless the Ravens should maintain a stiff upper lip and let the process play out without using the franchise tag on Pitta. “The tag” has been bantered about as a convenient option for Pitta because the number for tight ends is...

The Collateral Damage of Rice’s AC Journey

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The Ray Rice domestic violence case is unfortunate on many levels. Clearly it affects the lives of Rice, his fiancée Janay Palmer and their young daughter more than anyone else. The collateral damage for them is most costly. Still, regardless of Rice’s guilt or innocence the former All-Pro’s Atlantic City transgressions amount to a nightmare for the Baltimore Ravens both on and off the field. The Ravens gave Rice a huge contract in 2012 not just for his impressive statistical accomplishments but also for his leadership and the way he...

Let’s Not Jump to Conclusions

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If we’ve learned anything about the modern media and social media in recent years it’s that news travels quickly while bad news seemingly travels at the speed of light. Today has been a tsunami of bad news for Ravens running back Ray Rice. More than likely the full story has not yet been told so it’s premature to draw any definitive conclusions. Hopefully what happened between Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer, is simply a misunderstanding and that soon cooler heads and the truth, whatever that might be, will prevail....

Dissed by the ex-GM on FM

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When I first started Ravens24x7.com back in 2003 I honestly didn’t know where it might go. It began as a hobby and provided me with a forum to express my thoughts about the Baltimore Ravens. Somewhere along the line the site started to create a little bit of a buzz and I was asked to join Bob Haynie on air when he manned the 10-2 slot on WNST. The appearance on Bob’s show led to more including a couple of in studio visits. I will be forever grateful to Bob...

Great Things Can Happen if The Ravens Come Together

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During the early days of Russell Street Report (fka Ravens24x7.com), being a huge fan of The Beatles, I once posted columns labeled Blackbird Singing and Paperback Writer. Making matters worse (or getting better, depending upon your perspective), after clicking on those blogs, 10 seconds of the title song played. I thought it was cool until I received an email from a site visitor. “Tony, I love The Beatles too but the problem with those songs is that every time I jump on your site to read Blackbird or Paperback, the...

THE WATER COOLER: Defense Still Wins Championships

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Super Bowl XLVIII proved one thing – the more things change the more they stay the same. Roger Goodell and his merry band of rules tinkerers (otherwise known as the competition committee) have done all that they can to get the NFL to cater to the whims of fantasy football players and make the league look like Arena Football on PED’s. Yet despite all of the rules to open up scoring the Seattle Seahawks proved once again that defense wins championships. Comparisons were made between the 2013 Legion of Boom...

THE WATER COOLER: How About Mason for WR Coach?

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The Ravens are in search of a new wide receivers coach after Jim Hostler stormed out of town in a huff when Gary Kubiak nailed down the job he wanted – the team’s offensive coordinator. To replace Hostler perhaps John Harbaugh should look no further than towards an old friend – the franchise’s all-time pass receiving leader, Derrick Mason. Mason is a professional who has played the position at a high level and with that comes a level of respect that the Jim Hostlers of the world can only dream...

The Last Days as Champions

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One year ago we were basking in the glow of being a Super Bowl participant. Collectively we had a swagger. The Ravens were kings and we their humble servants. Together we steamrolled the franchise that broke our hearts in 1984, dropped a Mile High Miracle on Denver and carved the Patriots at Gillette Stadium with razor precision. There was just one more standing in our way in pursuit of another Lombardi – the San Francisco 49ers. Tens of thousands gathered at The Inner Harbor while many more watched on TV...
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