MAILBAG: Is Arthur Jones Gone in 2014?

Art Jones SB XLVII

Michael Lippert: Why are we not using Vonta Leach in the run game? We have the best blocking FB in the National Football league and we never use him anymore.

At this point re-signing Vonta seems like a big mistake and a waste of cap space. However I could see a coming out party for Leach this Sunday. The Patriots are struggling to stop the run, particularly with their banged up defensive line.

Mary Mehalick Torres: Why can’t we score touchdowns?

It seems that as of late teams are rushing the Ravens with 3 and 4 defenders and dropping more into coverage when in the red zone. Joe Flacco, while running more in 2013 isn’t really a red zone threat to score with his legs. These two issues and an inept running game trigger the red zone difficulties.

Doug Belton: [The Ravens] rely too much on Ray Rice, he can’t do running game for the entire damn game. And when is Flacco gonna earn that check/contract! They should just split Flacco’s checks up right now, half goes to Tucker!

There are many contributors to the Ravens ineffective rushing attack. The blocking has been suspect; the backs have been impatient and neither is 100% healthy. Plus the tight ends haven’t pressured opposing linebackers who as a result can sell out to stop the run.

As for Flacco, it’s a tough year to really assess his performance with so many moving and oftentimes failing parts. Clearly he has to do better to live up to that contract, otherwise it will eventually choke the organization.

And lastly about Tucker, great kicker and he represents a player who is playing well beyond the value of his contract and that’s something the Ravens can enjoy for a couple more seasons before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. THEN they’ll have to pay the man.

Peggy Warren: Is Justin Tucker going to try and Beat the 63-yard kick that was made earlier this year?

Actually that was a 61-yard kick yet clearly the best in Ravens’ history. Will he try and top it? If the game situation calls for it and there are few to no other options I could see John Harbaugh giving him the chance but I don’t think the weather will allow for it in December and January. There’s a possibility that the Ravens could play Indianapolis indoors but other than that, I doubt such a FGA will even be contemplated during the balance of the 2013 season.

Bennie Gia: How tall is Justin Tucker?

He’s 6 feet tall.

Susan Jacobs: Why are we the most disrespected Super Bowl champs and why does the NFL hate the Ravens so much?

If you went around the country and asked fans of other teams if their respective teams get the proper respect they would all say no for some reason or another. With that said, I do understand your frustration and I pin the perceived lack of respect on the fact that the Ravens aren’t a sexy team.

We live in a pro football world driven by high scoring offense and fantasy football. Unfortunately the Ravens aren’t built that way. They don’t satisfy the appetite of those looking for highlight reel scoring plays and gaudy stats – and therefore they are not thought of as sexy.

Sex sells in the NFL and that means high-flying offense. Until the Ravens provide that consistently, the networks and the league with their promo packages will appear to neglect and hate our team, to which I say, “Just win baby!”

Mary Ellen Zinkand-Shapiro: How is Joe’s leg?

Joe will play with a supportive brace on his left knee tomorrow and he should be able to make the throws we are accustomed to seeing. Where it could negatively impact Joe is with his ability to move and slide in the pocket, extend plays or take off on a short gallop to move the chains, something we’ve seen more of in 2013.

Right-handed quarterbacks who slide after a short run typically tuck their left leg. Wearing a brace on that leg could make such a slide a bit sticky. Consequently that part of Joe’s game might not be in the mix as long as he wears that brace.

Chad Racine: Understanding the salary cap alone is a giant headache and how we manage the cap etc. Another puzzling thing to me is the difference in unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents. For instance everyone says Arthur Jones is playing his way out of Baltimore and he is an unrestricted free agent. What makes him an unrestricted free agent vs. a restricted free agent? I understand the difference in unrestricted and restricted but what I don’t understand is why they are restricted or unrestricted. If I understand that than maybe I understand why we’d have to let Arthur Jones go over Ngata. I’d rather give up Ngata cause he’s closer to the end of his career than Jones and he’s way more expensive. Please shed some light.

Chad, our capologist Brian McFarland provides answers to just about all of your cap questions HERE. Spend some time with it. He does an excellent job.

But to your primary questions, time of service determines whether a player is restricted or unrestricted. Jones, a fourth year player, is playing the 2013 as a restricted free agent, signing a second round tender prior to the season. In 2014 he’ll be unrestricted and can seek the highest bidder for his services. The Ravens will be tight against the cap in 2014 and consequently most observers believe that will chase Jones out of town in the same manner that sent Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger packing.

Haloti Ngata is unlikely to go anywhere. His cap number is $16M in 2014 and to release him would cost the Ravens $15M in dead cap money. It would be hard to replace Ngata’s productivity with a $1M player. He isn’t going anywhere.

Terry Barnes: When will we get a running back that can actually run?

Perhaps a better question is, “When will we get a RB that is healthy?” That probably won’t happen until 2014. Teams have shown that they can find productive backs that don’t cost a first round pick or even a second day pick. The Ravens might invest in such a back in the 2014 NFL Draft but don’t expect them to give up on Rice and Pierce too quickly.

Pat Burleson: Why do we still run the same plays? We need something different. Rice is not running why keep using him if he is not getting anywhere? I know we need a running game but it’s still the same moves. Do something different. We are way too predictable. Let’s Go Ravens! We need to shake up NE.

I agree that our running game is far too predictable. The Ravens don’t try to run outside the tackles nearly enough particularly in the red zone and their inside game is far too predictable based upon their personnel grouping and pre-snap positioning. Watch when the Ravens are lined up in the read-option formation. If the tailback is directly behind Joe, they will run it. Are they setting something up down the road for a big time play action connection? I guess we’ll see…maybe even tomorrow.

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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

9 Raves on “MAILBAG: Is Arthur Jones Gone in 2014?

  1. Joshua on said:

    I know they will be up for new contracts in different offseasons, but who in your mind is a bigger priority long-term, Torrey or Pitta?

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Great question, tough to answer. I think they need to find a way to bring them both back but if we have to lose one, I’d part with Pitta. The Ravens have had more success drafting tight ends than they have WR’s.

    • Bill on said:

      No reason why they can’t bring both back. Suggs will either be off the books or extended at a cheaper cap price when Torrey’s contract is up, and Ngata will be in the same situation 2 years from now. The first year of a new deal is typically the cheapest cap wise. Pitta probably won’t get a big deal anyway, while Joe loves him and he makes plays at key times, he’s not in the realm of top 5 TE as far as production goes and TE’s are pretty cheap compared to other skill positions. Also, the cap will be going up more the next few years than it has the last few years because of tv contracts.

  2. Nup on said:

    The reason Leach hasn’t played is because he wasn’t effective when he did play. Maybe he his body needed a break. Maybe he needed the wake up call. Either way it would be great to see him at or near 2011/12 form upon return. If he played the McKinnie role in this year’s run I’d be fine with that.

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