THE GRAPEVINE: RAVENS’ QB TAKES A EUROPEAN VACATION

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: RAVENS’ QB TAKES A EUROPEAN VACATION

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The position of quarterback has been the source of frustration over the years for many Ravens’ fans, coaches, executives and even the players.  The Dolphins are feeling a bit of that same frustration.  Since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season, quarterback play has been less than stellar in South Florida given the likes of Jay Fiedler, Brian Griese, Ken Lucas, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte and Joey Harrington.
 
Daunte Culpepper was supposed to end this string of mediocre QB’s but he and Miami’s medical staff may have overestimated his recovery from a devastating knee injury.  The only CL that Culpepper didn’t tear is made by Acura.
 
Now the Fins are looking elsewhere again for QB help.  They missed out on the David Carr sweepstakes and now they are looking towards Kansas City’s Trent Green.  The Chiefs want a second and a seventh for Green while Miami is offering only a sixth round pick.  That qualifies for miles apart.  Miami would be wise to simply wait.  Green wants out of KC and no one is really knocking down GM Carl Peterson’s door for a shot at Green.  The Browns are said to have some interest but really why bother?  Green looked like a deer in headlights after his return from a severe concussion last season.  He appears to be thinking about getting hit too much and it affects his performance on the field.
 
But back to Culpepper…
 
If Miami completes a trade for Green, Culpepper could be cut loose and if he isn’t, he’s likely to sit for awhile. If the Ravens can’t get a desirable QB in the 2007 draft, Culpepper might be a consideration in ’08 assuming he’s available.  By then, he may have fully recovered from his injuries and he might even rediscover that Minnesota mojo.  That said, Culpepper’s effectiveness was often tied to his legs and his ability to throw on the run.
 
Ravens’ Practice Squad QB Drew Olson is taking his fair share of snaps for the Amsterdam Admirals and the results through two games have been mixed at best.  Olson’s Admirals are 0-2.  The former UCLA Bruin has thrown 65 passes completing 38 for a 58.5 completion percentage good for 375 yards, 2 scores, 2 interceptions and a QB Rating of 72.3.  That’s hardly the stuff that NFL QB’s are made of but Olson is young and it is early in the 2007 NFL Europe season.
 
Still, it’s difficult to project Olson as anything more than a backup in the NFL.  He lacks size and a big league arm.  And while the same could be said about QB’s like Jeff Garcia, at least Garcia has great pocket awareness and mobility to find throwing lanes to offset his physical shortcomings hence his success in a West Coast style offense.  Olson may never be a match for the Ravens’ system.  Again, it’s early but for those expecting Olson to be the answer, don’t!
 
Rumors of a Derrick Mason trade have swirled recently but I’m not buying.  Mason’s worth is probably no greater than a fourth round pick.  Given that the Ravens will need to produce more offense to advance further in the playoffs and given the team’s lack of depth at the receiver position, a Mason trade just doesn’t make sense for a team harboring such high Super Bowl aspirations.
 
According to ESPN’s John Clayton, Kelly Gregg has signed a contract extension that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2011 season.  The deal includes an additional $3.5 million in guarantees.
 
Gregg is a highly underrated player outside of Baltimore but certainly appreciated here by fans and teammates alike.  When I sat down with Bart Scott earlier this month, he did not hesitate to describe Kelly Gregg as the most important player on the Ravens’ defense and that each member of that defense was more upset about Gregg’s lack of national attention than Gregg himself.  Good proactive move by the Ravens to lock up a solid soldier for the balance of his best years ahead.
 
Around The League…Many have projected Cal’s Marshawn Lynch as the No. 16 pick in this Saturday’s NFL Draft.  Lynch is a player with some character issues but that aside he would appear to be a good fit for the Packers at No. 16.  But character issues these days in the NFL can’t be cast aside.  Somehow, Lynch and the city of Green Bay don’t seem to be such a good match…Word is that the Lions want to play a little ball with that No. 2 pick in the draft and the carrot that they hope to dangle is Calvin Johnson if he makes his way past the Raiders.  A couple of trading partners could be Tampa Bay at No. 4 and Atlanta at No. 8. The Falcons according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are rumored to be very interested in Johnson.  The Yellow Jacket is a local talent that could become a needed drawing card in Atlanta after a couple of disappointing seasons and Michael Vick’s off the field issues.  Plus Johnson fills a definite need for the Falcons and despite his recent admission of marijuana use while in college he would bring a welcomed boost of character to the team’s locker room.
 
More Falcons’ news…Michael Vick was scheduled to speak to members of Congress about the need to increase funding for after school programs.  He didn’t post.  They said he failed to board a re-scheduled flight.  For someone who has an airline endorsement deal (AirTran), Vick certainly has his fair share of problems boarding flights.
 
Water Bottle anyone?
 
Hey, maybe it’s time that someone kept Vick after school to teach him a few lessons…

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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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