Lombardi’s Way

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

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins
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

Sam Koch
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

Pregame warmups
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

Baltimore Ravens v Chicago Bears
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”

Pitta Super Bowl XLVII
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

Rice Terrible Towel
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

Rice Palmer
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

The Greatest of the Greatest.  - 8
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

sam adams sbxxxv
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?

Mason close up
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...

APOLOGY NECESSARY: Harbaugh a BIG Factor in Kubiak Hiring

John Harbaugh, Gary Kubiak
Back during the second season of this site’s existence when we operated as Ravens24x7.com I received a call from a friend who had a friend working in the NFL’s offices in New York. The NFL employee shared the 2004 Ravens schedule with our mutual friend who then shared it with me. The information was golden because it had not yet been released to the public. I posted the schedule on 24×7. It was dead on – flawless. Web traffic soared and in some ways it helped put us on the...

Super Bowl XXXV or XLVII?

XXXV and XLVII
Yesterday marked the 13th anniversary of the Ravens Super Bowl XXXV victory at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The date triggers emotions and memories for all Ravens’ fans – a day that will go down as an unforgettable one in Baltimore folklore. During the summer leading into the 2000 season, a friend and I vowed to make our way down to Tampa for the Super Bowl without regard for the participants and for no defining reason other than a desire to witness the grandest stage in all of professional sports....

Humbling Harbaugh

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Ed. Note: The opinion expressed below was later recanted. Please CLICK HERE for the subsequent apology and for more information.  Just like it wasn’t John Harbaugh’s choice to part ways with former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in 2012, it wasn’t his choice to hire Gary Kubiak to replace Jim Caldwell in 2014. Harbaugh is fiercely loyal. He genuinely believes in the abilities of his staff individually and collectively and has an unwavering faith in their potential to persevere and work through problems. Harbaugh’s choice was Jim Hostler. Word is...

Harbaugh’s Loyalty Could Prove Costly

Fix Harbaugh
John Harbaugh has been a very successful coach in the NFL. The numbers are all there for you to study and absorb if that’s your thing. 5 straight trips to the playoffs 3 AFC Championship Game appearances 1 Super Bowl victory There are franchises around the league that would die for such success yet here in Baltimore we stop just short of ridiculing it because this season wasn’t such a good one for Harbaugh. You see 2013 was Harbaugh’s first as a head coach without Messrs. Lewis and Reed. Whether...

A Baltimore Homecoming for Boldin is Doubtful

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He was instrumental in the Ravens unforgettable playoff romp to close out the 2012 season. He brought attitude and toughness to an offense that needed it. He made contested catches in the clutch. And then they traded him! Anquan Boldin, a Ravens star in Super Bowl XLVII has just abruptly concluded his first and possibly last season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. And he will soon become an unrestricted free agent. Fans in Baltimore want the Ravens front office to correct what they believe to be a...

The NFL’s Best Kept Secret

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I’ve had the pleasure of being on the sidelines during Ravens practices. I have knelt with notepad in hand and watched 250 pound chiseled athletes who run at abnormal speeds for bodies that big, race past me from about 5 yards away. Just a few fleeting seconds after they pass you feel a breeze go by, the byproduct of mass and velocity. And then you can’t help but be left with the thought, “What if someone that big and that fast hit you when you weren’t looking?” It happens every...
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