Leadership Is NOT One of The Ravens Concerns

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The question of leadership or the lack thereof has been bantered about quite a bit over the past few days since Ray Lewis said what he said on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown.

“We talk about the transition of losing so many guys, a guy like myself and Ed Reed and other guys that are based off leadership, I’ve said it earlier: ‘Where would the leadership come from?’ Because the leadership being strong in the locker room and winning games, listen — talent sometimes can win you games. But when you talk about what’s going on off the field, that’s the most important place where leadership steps up.

“When you think about the Baltimore Ravens and the transition that they went through, they’re missing leadership right now. When you have an incident like that, the first thing a leader is going to do is find some way to dissolve everything that’s going on and actually dissolve it before it comes to that type of head or even gets to this point. When you talk about the Baltimore Ravens they’re going to have to refocus and find some quick leaders in that locker room very quickly.”

Now that the dust has settled, let’s put some perspective on this.

Keep in mind that Ray Lewis is a rookie TV analyst. He’s passionate and he speaks from the heart. But let’s admit it, there have been times over the years when Ray has said things that when finished you’re not even sure what you just heard.

Ray choked under the national spotlight. He didn’t know what to say when asked about the Ravens’ leadership and started rambling. Unfortunately the result was this somewhat damning, somewhat incoherent soliloquy.

At the end of the day, what Ray thinks about the Ravens right here, right now, doesn’t matter. It will not affect the Ravens one iota. If leadership in football was based upon what happens to a leader’s teammates off the field, Ray Lewis during the Billick years really wasn’t much of a leader.

Yet we know that’s not the case and we also know that being a leader doesn’t mean being a babysitter. In time there will be consequences. The Sweet Pea incident, while not as bad as many are making it to be, will probably make this season the last for Jacoby Jones and Bryant McKinnie as Ravens.

But until then, the Ravens locker room seems to be at peace with McKinnie’s Love Bus and ready to turn their collective heads towards the Buffalo Bills. That alone suggests the presence of leadership even if “The General” isn’t around anymore.

“We’ve got a lot of leaders on this team” said Terrell Suggs on Wednesday. “I don’t think that’s one thing we stress a lot in the locker room [saying], ‘This is that … I’m the leader.’ We don’t worry about that. We worry about what we’re trying to do as a team. We have a lot of leaders on this team, and we like it that way.”

Maybe having a defacto leader isn’t as important as leadership.

And with players like Suggs, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Vonta Leach, Haloti Ngata and Elvis Dumeril to name a few, there are still plenty of dogs in the house to guide that ship.

Now if some of those dogs could only improve the running game…

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

8 Raves on “Leadership Is NOT One of The Ravens Concerns

  1. Jasamine Smith Broody on said:

    Why are we still discussing this? Ray meant one thing & it came out a different way. It happens. You said it, Tony. Ray is a “rookie” TV analyst. He is still learning. Is this what we’re going to go thru, every time Ray says something we don’t like? Let’s move on, and not waste anymore time writing, and discussing this.

    • RussellStReport on said:

      He made a mistake but as Joe Flacco said, Ray should know better. What might we be saying about this if Hines Ward criticized the Ravens leadership? Everyone would jump all over it but wouldn’t you expect that more from Ward? For Ray to say it is worse IMO. His words were a disservice to the current leaders in the locker room.

      • Jasamine Smith Broody on said:

        Point understood. But, I personally don’t think he meant what he was saying. I believe he used the wrong choice of words to get across his message. In my opinion, he meant one thing, and it was taken another way, based on his choice of words.

    • RussellStReport on said:

      Jacoby’s deal concludes at the end of the season. McKinnie’s deal is $3M more expensive to keep him around than to let him go in 2014. If they both perform very well in 2014 they could be back. But so far they haven’t and combined with this incident and Harbaugh’s tendency to steer clear of potential off-the-field disruptions, yes… I do think this is their last season. I wouldn’t buy any McKinnie or Jacoby jerseys. ~ TL

  2. JerryB on said:

    After further review, he probably should not have been asked to opine on this subject given the fact that he’s a novice at commentating. In fact, it could be argued that commenting on the Ravens might be better left to others, at least this season. However, he is eminently qualified to comment on the Ravens prowess……on the field!

    • Shas on said:

      I would have said that this is precisely the type of incident that Ray was hired to talk about — providing insights into things he has first-hand knowledge about, playing linebacker, defensive strategy, and what goes on inside the Ravens locker room in particular. He should be asked to provide this insight. But in this case he failed. He gave us no insight into the team or the incident — he merely talked about himself, in a round about way.

      I mean, am I the only one who hears what Ray says, shrugs, and thinks, ‘that’s just Ray being Ray. That is just his ego talking?’

      I always had the impression that Ray Lewis was Ray Lewis’ biggest fan — stemming from comments he’d make from time to time about, “my defense” and the like. Clearly Ray saw himself as having a role on the team that put him above his teammates, he assigned himself that leadership role from nearly the day he arrived here. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly something the team benefited from frequently over 15 years. He was a leader for many teammates. While other teammates rolled their eyes at speeches that were passionate but often difficult to decipher.

      The point is that Ray thought so highly of himself and his role in the Ravens locker room that he now can’t imagine how the locker room can function without him.

      His self-perception — and the current players’ reactions to his comments — tell you more about Ray than they tell you about the current locker room.

      It’s hard to retire gracefully.

      • Jasamine Smith Broody on said:

        I didn’t take it in the manner as you. No one complained about his leadership for 16years. Ray was not speaking of himself when he spoke his opinion. He clearly said, me, ed & others. Nothing about me. It’s sad that Rays words have been intertwined as something else. It’s sad that we are even having this discussion. I’ve heard plenty of players refer to “my team” “my city” what’s wrong with that?

        If Ray felt as though the locker room couldn’t function without him, he would not have made the decision to retire. He did retire gracefully, and a dimple question, had clearly turned into something else.

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