Letters 2 TL: The Lynch Mob

Lombardi's Way Letters 2 TL: The Lynch Mob

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JAMAL & JO…WILL BOTH GO?
 
Tony,
 
Everything you say about [Jamal] Lewis is correct, and I’m satisfied he’s gone and McGahee is here.  But I don’t begrudge him blowing hot air.  I don’t think he really believes anything he said.  He’s just posing for his new audience.  Personally, I’m happy the Browns paid that kind of money for him.  He’s done.   Frankly, when I hear/read some sports writers in town whining about his departure, I wonder what stats sheet they are looking at. 
 
Are you getting tired of the will-he-stay-or-will-he-go stuff regarding Ogden? I am!  I’d love to see him come back.  But if it’s such a damn hard choice for him to make, if the presence or absence of other players on the team or the schedule we have is such a determining factor in his decision, then maybe he just doesn’t want it enough, and should just go ahead and sit in his lounge chair and drink a beer come August. 
 
All the hand-wringing is getting really tiresome.  We’ll be worse off without him, but that’s reality in the NFL 2007. 
 
Bill from North East 
 
Bill,
 
I hope you are right about Jamal Lewis and that he was simply grandstanding.  I’m hoping that with time and after another miserable season in Cleveland by a former Raven that he comes to his senses and can smooth out the rough edges he’s cut with the fans of Baltimore.  The Browns will feel compelled to hand Jamal the ball. Defenses will collapse around him in Cleveland the way they have in Baltimore over the past 3 years and it will be a bit of déjà vu for the man who once carried the Ravens’ offense.  I wonder what his excuses will be during or after the ’07 season.
 
As for Ogden, that is a tough one.  None of us walk in his shoes but there does seem to be some unnecessary drama unfolding here regarding his career status.  I think that Ogden owes it to the Ravens to commit no later than the week prior to the draft.  That would equate to well over 3 months to make up his mind and if he hasn’t done so by then, I’m with you – it’s time to move on.  I would hope that the Ravens learned from allowing Ray Lewis to influence personnel decisions.  Ozzie doesn’t tell J.O. how to play tackle or criticize him after a bad game.  J.O. shouldn’t whine publicly over the way Ozzie manages the club. 
 
I did find Ogden’s comments on the schedule to be interesting: "Next season we’re going to play a really tough schedule." I think he meant more than just the strength of the opponents.  I think he’s looking at the three west coast trips and the amount of travel ahead and pondering whether it’s worth it.  If that competitive fire doesn’t burn in his belly anymore, he will have more questions than answers – more doubt than conviction.  Without the fire, can he still perform at the level we’ve grown accustomed to and could that pave the way to injuries?
 
Some close to Ogden say he’ll return.  But if he’s not in it mentally, he’ll be out of it physically on the field.
 
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick,
 
TL
 
WILL WE RAVENS’ FANS REGRET GIVING JAMAL TO A DIVISIONAL RIVAL?
 
TL,
 
To answer this question, you have to take a few things into consideration.  One, what has happened in the past with players we let go?  Two, what kind of team is the player going to, and three, how much does that player have left?
 
Let’s look at some of the ex-Ravens’ performances after they jumped ship.  You could go back as far as Vinny Testaverde.  He left after a Pro Bowl appearance and was supposed to be the last piece of the puzzle in New York.  Vinny had his moments, but if you remember the game at home in 2000, the Jets would probably have won that game had it not been for Vinny’s fumble and INT that went nearly 100 yards for a TD (oh and Jermaine Lewis had a pretty good day as well). 
 
Then, there was Brandon Stokely, who we let go because he couldn’t stay healthy, but played well for the Colts, but couldn’t stay healthy.  Derek Alexander and Casey Rabach both did ok, and Rod Woodson held up well in Oakland [during his final] years. 
 
Now, let’s look at some other names that did not do so well with other teams after leaving:
 
Gary Baxter, Kim Herring, Lamont Brightful, Marques Douglas, Edgerton Hartwell, Maake Kemoeatu,  Anthony Weaver, Bam Morris, Jamie Sharper, Jermaine Lewis, Lionel Dalton, Everett Lindsay, Trent Dilfer, Kyle Richardson, Duane Starks, Ethan Brooks, Quadry Ismail, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, Patrick Johnson and David Zastudil.
 
If you will notice, there is one glaring omission to that list, Priest Holmes.  He left to go play behind arguably the best offensive line in football, and sets the single season TD record, makes Pro Bowls, and is recognized as one of the best RB’s in the league.  Now, you could make a case that Bam Morris played well in Kansas City, but ultimately ended up taking the dreaded prison shower.
 
Now if history repeats itself by position, Jamal could end up doing very well in Cleveland, who to me is trying to take its team back one player at a time, but that seems like a long shot.  Jamal is a big back with less speed and maneuverability than he had in 2003, and his stats bear that out.
 
However, if Cleveland pieces together a good enough O-line, Jamal could end up being what Jerome Bettis was in Pittsburgh, and be effective straight lining and running down hill.  The Browns will also have to get a decent QB for that to happen, or defenses will do the same thing that they did against us, and stack the line of scrimmage and stop the run.  Either way I liked Jamal, he was exciting, and I will miss him.
 
So, let the tippy toeing begin!  Soon we could see that same footwork from him on Dancing with the Stars!
 
Mark Considine
 
Mark,
 
Personally I think Jamal has a better chance of flat-lining than straight-lining in Cleveland.  It will be very interesting and very unusual to see him in a Browns uniform at The Vault this fall. 
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Cleveland is where former Ravens go to die.
 
Brown & Out,
 
TL
 
P.S. If Jamal does follow Emmitt’s lead, I hope he partners with Heather Mills and flattens her.
 
THE GALLOWS POLE FOR LYNCH?
 
Tony,

[Marshawn Lynch] is a talent but he is poor as a receiver and as a blocker. If we sign McGahee, the Ravens may select Levi Brown as their first choice.

He is a talent — good pass and run blocking-just needs to be aggressive. I think that the Ravens will select two offensive linemen if Mulitalo does not return (note the Redskins just lost Dockery and maybe would be interested).

I also think that an inside linebacker and cornerback will be chosen, plus a kick returner like a Steve Breaston from Michigan.  And if any are available they will select a quarterback.

Thanks!

Greg Gummer 
 
Greg,  
 
From what I’ve been told there could be some off the field issues with Lynch that will surface as the draft approaches.  Then again, the draft can be dirty business and the dissemination of misinformation is a strategy that could work for teams at the bottom of round one waiting for Lynch with open arms. 
 
He has good size and strength and is dangerous in the open field where his elusiveness wreaks havoc on defenses as evidenced by his 35 touchdowns in 35 collegiate games. 
 
The McGahee acquisition makes a Lynch selection by the Ravens a bit obsolete but if the team can get comfortable with lingering character questions and he falls to them, it will certainly be interesting to see what they do. 
 
Just remember a few perennial Pro Bowlers who fell like rocks in a pond on draft day due to character issues – Warren Sapp and Randy Moss. 
 
The NFL…365/24×7, 
 
TL 
 
PAY ME NOW OR GET PAID LATER
 
Hi Tony, 
 
Do you have a feel for how the Ravens will fare when the compensatory picks are announced? I believe around the end of March or so.
 
Thanks,
 
West River Mike
 
Mike,
 
My guess is that the Ravens will land three or four compensatory picks.  Last year they lost Maake Kemoeatu, Tony Weaver, Chester Taylor, Will Demps, Dave Zastudil and Darnell Dinkins to free agency.  None of those players were cap casualties.
 
The Ravens picked up Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan and Mike Anderson.  Pryce and Anderson were both cap casualties and as a result they won’t factor into the equation of compensatory picks similar to the way that Derek Mason and Samari Rolle didn’t factor into the ’06 compensatory picks.
 
Bannan’s injury, playing time, stats and salary will likely not be much of a factor in the equation.  My guess is that the Ravens will get four compensatory picks and they will be a four, two fives and a seven.  But that’s purely a guess based upon past observations.  We’ll find out about one month before the draft which is scheduled for April 28-29.
 
Cheers,
 
TL
 
 
TL,
 
If I were you, I’d look before I leapt. The Great Oz has shown a propensity for fortifying the defense, but NOT the offense. And, year in and year out, the offense is embarrassingly anemic. This year, against, Indy, it was downright pathetic. So now that Pashos is gone, and Ovie is gone, and the ONLY RB being talked about with any seriousness whatsoever is LEWIS, the WONDER (why he’s still even being considered) BACK, I’d think very carefully before rushing headlong for that Ozzie cheerleading section. (Unless, of course, you’re considering trying out for being the Ravens feature RB.)
 
Actually, go ahead…leap all you want. Just don’t expect anyone to follow you.
 
GO RAVENS!!!
 
Skaybaltimore
 
Skay,
 
Is it skay as in Eskay? Because the smell of baloney is nearly overwhelming.   It certainly doesn’t sound like, “the skay’s the limit.”
 
You are certainly entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to disagree.  But hey, if we always agreed with each other, the world might be a boring place and we might render ourselves meaningless, right?
 
Hot dog,
 
TL

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 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 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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