The Ravens are in the process of analyzing their entire roster and measuring each players relevance to the teamâ€™s success both in 2007 and beyond. Many have said that the Ravens have one more year to take a shot at the title. Some say they missed out on their opportunity this year and that in 2008 pressures stemming from the salary cap will force a roster purge that approaches that of 2002. The window as they say, could be closing. Steve Bisciotti isnâ€™t buying.
â€œWe’re not going to run this team with windows opening and closingâ€, claims Bisciotti. â€œOur goal is to figure out how to run this team so that that window never closes. I think that we’re getting closer to feeling confident that we can do that based on what we’re all learning about it, and actually getting the coaches involved in understanding the cap and the implications.â€
That philosophical approach could open the door to the departure of Adalius Thomas. The Ravens canâ€™t over invest on one side of the football. Weâ€™ve witnessed how even a team that features the leagueâ€™s best defense and kept Peyton Manning out of the end zone in the post season canâ€™t overcome an offense that lacks balance. There has to be improvement on offense otherwise, why should we expect the end result to be any better next season?
No one wants to see AD leave. Ravens officials remain optimistic that the team can keep their All Pro LB in the nest but the reality of the situation is that at this point, such thoughts are nothing more than wishful thinking. The market will dictate ADâ€™s future. The bet here is that the only way AD returns is if prospective new employers see AD as a product of a system that best utilizes his multi-dimensional talents. But in order to do that, there has to be others on the defense that are nearly as versatile as AD in order to free him to do what he does best.
One player who could help the Ravens indirectly is Dwight Freeney. Freeney will certainly get looks on the open market because he is the quintessential speed rusher. Should the 49ers become enamored with Freeney it could cost AD some leverage. But keep this in mind about Freeney, he benefited from playing with a lead most of the time during his Colts career while recording almost 13 sacks per season on average prior to ’06. This year, the Colts didnâ€™t enjoy the luxury of playing with commanding leads often and Freeneyâ€™s sack totals tumbled to 5 Â½ sacks, 3 of those sacks at the expense of the Bengals on 12/18/06. Freeney also disappeared in the postseason save the KC game. Against Messrs. Jonathan Ogden and John Tait, Freeney had a TOTAL of 0 tackles, 0 assists and 0 sacks.
But Freeney did earn a ring â€“ a Super Bowl ring. The design of that ring is currently underway and one question fans in these parts are curious to have answered is, â€œWill Jimmy Irsay acknowledge the Baltimore Colts Super Bowl V championship in the ringâ€™s design?â€ If you are one of the Indianapolis Colts, such a design could cheapen the allure of the ring in the future. It might only inspire unwanted debate and discussion over the piece in the future. Jimmy Irsay wouldnâ€™t stoop to such depths now would he?
Speaking of going low, whatâ€™s up with this little piece from SIâ€™s Peter King in his post Super Bowl Monday Morning QB: â€œMarvin Lewis, I’m told, quite reliably, that a few of your lads were in a place on South Beach called the Jersey Diner Friday morning around 5. Yes, Friday at 5 a.m.â€
Hmm, violation of media code there Pete? Hey, maybe they were going fishing and wanted some bacon and eggs prior to heading out to the high seas. Letâ€™s just hope Eric Steinbach wasnâ€™t skippering the vessel.
In Dallas the new skipper is Wade Phillips. Phillips is the second coordinator to leave Marty Schottenheimer since San Diegoâ€™s abrupt end to their season and Charger fans are said to be fearing the mighty return of "Martyball." Perhaps Cowboysâ€™ owner Jerry Jones has some fears of his own. Jones was said to be very emotional about the introduction of Phillips as the replacement for the departed Bill Parcells. "We needed to get it right," Jones said, pausing as tears welled up in his eyes. "In my mind, we got it right." For some reason, Iâ€™m not convinced. Maybe Jerry just misses Bill. Wonder how the Captain Kangaroo look-a-like Phillips will handle Ms. Owens.
Perhaps as an off-handed ode to Princeâ€™s song â€œDeliriousâ€ Bearsâ€™ offensive coordinator Ron Turner had this to say about Chicagoâ€™s starting QB: ”Rex is a hell of a player, and he did a lot of good things this season. He had, obviously, a few games that weren’t real good, and he’s taken a lot of abuse over those games, but he’s a very good football player, and he took us pretty far. The next step is definitely consistency, and not just with Rex, with our entire offense.” Yeah ok, and Trent Dilfer won Super Bowl XXXV.
Reid me my rights! Thatâ€™s exactly what law enforcement officials in Philly did recently for head coach Andy Reidâ€™s sons. The oldest Garrett Reid, 23, was arrested after running into a car driven by a 55-year-old woman. By his own admission, Garrett was under the influence of heroin. Younger brother Britt was arrested after a road rage incident on the same day of Garrettâ€™s arrest. Britt apparently pointed a handgun at another driver after a dispute. He faces a felony charge of carrying a firearm without a license as well as misdemeanor charges of lying to authorities, simple assault, making terroristic threats and possession of a controlled substance.
Mel Kiperâ€™s initial first round projection is in. Take a look and clip and save it and see how it compares to the draft board on April 28:
1. Oakland Raiders: *JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
2. Detroit Lions: Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
3 or 4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: *Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
4 or 3. Cleveland Browns: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
5. Arizona Cardinals: *Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
6. Washington Redskins: *Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
7. Minnesota Vikings: Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
8. Houston Texans: *Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
9. Miami Dolphins: *Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio St.
10. Atlanta Falcons: LaRon Landry, S, LSU
11. San Francisco 49ers: *Reggie Nelson, DB, Florida
12. Buffalo Bills: Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
13. St. Louis Rams: *Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
14. Carolina Panthers: Levi Brown, OT, Penn St.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: *Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
16. Green Bay Packers: *Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
17. Jacksonville Jaguars: *Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
19. Tennessee Titans: *Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
20. New York Giants: *Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida St.
21. Denver Broncos: Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
22. Dallas Cowboys: *Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
24. New England Patriots (from Seattle): *Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
25. New York Jets: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
26. Philadelphia Eagles: Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
27. New Orleans Saints: Daymeion Hughes, CB, California
28. New England Patriots: *Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio St.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue
30. San Diego Chargers: Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi
31. Chicago Bears: *Greg Olsen, TE, Miami (Fla)
32. Indianapolis Colts: Tank Tyler, DT, NC St.
Comings & Goingsâ€¦According to The Wisconsin State Journal Brett Favre wasnâ€™t offended by Randy Mossâ€™ moon a few post seasons ago. Word is Favre wants the Pack to upgrade their â€œOâ€ and consider trading for the disgruntled Raiderâ€¦NFL Networkâ€™s Adam Schefter reports that the Titans have found a replacement for Floyd Reese. Mike Reinfeldt, the current VP of football administration in Seattle will be the Titansâ€™ new GM. Mike Holmgren must be happyâ€¦Looks like Travis Taylor isnâ€™t getting it done in Minnesota and from what we hear, Vikings Master Gunnery Sergeant Brad Childress would like to bring on soldier Larry Fitzgerald and Minnesota could be dangling their overall No. 7 pick, a Prince guitar and other considerations for Fitzâ€¦In Texas, Gary Kubiak is said to be open to the idea of bringing in his former protÃ©gÃ© Jake Plummer. What Kubiak really needs is Dr. Emmett Brown and his plutonium flux capacitor so they can go back in time and hear these words: â€œWith the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft the Houston Texans select Reggie Bush, University of Southern California.
And finally, according to the Tampa Tribune, Peter Boulware had a look see with the Bucs. A member of the Ravens Ring of Honor, Boulware hasnâ€™t played since 2005 and worked out for Chuckyâ€™s boys to see if he has any giddy-up left in those knees. Fellow Seminole Andre Wadworth also had a look from Grudenâ€™s staff. Letâ€™s hope Pete comes to his senses and remains a career-long man of purple.