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The Ravens are in the process of analyzing their entire roster and measuring each players relevance to the team’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 isn’t buying.
“We’re not going to run this team with windows opening and closing”, claims Bisciotti. “Our 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.”
That philosophical approach could open the door to the departure of Adalius Thomas.  The Ravens can’t over invest on one side of the football.  We’ve witnessed how even a team that features the league’s best defense and kept Peyton Manning out of the end zone in the post season can’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 AD’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 didn’t enjoy the luxury of playing with commanding leads often and Freeney’s sack totals tumbled to 5 ½ 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 – 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, “Will Jimmy Irsay acknowledge the Baltimore Colts Super Bowl V championship in the ring’s design?”  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 wouldn’t stoop to such depths now would he?
Speaking of going low, what’s up with this little piece from SI’s Peter King in his post Super Bowl Monday Morning QB: “Marvin 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.”
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.  Let’s just hope Eric Steinbach wasn’t skippering the vessel.
In Dallas the new skipper is Wade Phillips.  Phillips is the second coordinator to leave Marty Schottenheimer since San Diego’s abrupt end to their season and Charger fans are said to be fearing the mighty return of "Martyball."  Perhaps Cowboys’ 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, I’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 Prince’s song “Delirious” Bears’ offensive coordinator Ron Turner had this to say about Chicago’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!  That’s exactly what law enforcement officials in Philly did recently for head coach Andy Reid’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 Garrett’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 Kiper’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
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
Arizona Cardinals: *Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Washington Redskins: *Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
Minnesota Vikings: Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Houston Texans: *Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Miami Dolphins: *Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio St.
Atlanta Falcons: LaRon Landry, S, LSU
San Francisco 49ers: *Reggie Nelson, DB, Florida
Buffalo Bills: Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
St. Louis Rams: *Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
Carolina Panthers: Levi Brown, OT, Penn St.
Pittsburgh Steelers: *Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
Green Bay Packers: *Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Jacksonville Jaguars: *Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Cincinnati Bengals: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Tennessee Titans: *Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
New York Giants: *Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida St.
Denver Broncos: Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
Dallas Cowboys: *Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Kansas City Chiefs: Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
New England Patriots (from Seattle): *Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
New York Jets: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Philadelphia Eagles: Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
New Orleans Saints: Daymeion Hughes, CB, California
28. New England Patriots: *Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio St.
Baltimore Ravens: Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue
San Diego Chargers: Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi
Chicago Bears: *Greg Olsen, TE, Miami (Fla)
Indianapolis Colts: Tank Tyler, DT, NC St.
Comings & Goings…According to The Wisconsin State Journal Brett Favre wasn’t offended by Randy Moss’ moon a few post seasons ago.  Word is Favre wants the Pack to upgrade their “O” and consider trading for the disgruntled Raider…NFL Network’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 Titans’ new GM.  Mike Holmgren must be happy…Looks like Travis Taylor isn’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 Fitz…In Texas, Gary Kubiak is said to be open to the idea of bringing in his former protégé 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: “With 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 hasn’t played since 2005 and worked out for Chucky’s boys to see if he has any giddy-up left in those knees.  Fellow Seminole Andre Wadworth also had a look from Gruden’s staff.  Let’s hope Pete comes to his senses and remains a career-long man of purple.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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