Without the benefit or the responsibility of coaching and analyzing players, John Harbaugh and his staff have turned to analyzing themselves.
Last week during The Coach’s Buzz program on ESPN 1300, Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta assured us all that the time is being invested wisely.
“[The coaches] have taken the opportunity to do a lot of self-scouting. What has worked and what hasn’t, studying tendencies. We’ve really re-evaluated a lot of different things which I think is critical if you’re trying to get better as a team.”
The front office has been busy as well, preparing for what promises to be a fast and furious hunting season when free agency opens up following a new collective bargaining agreement. According to DeCosta the Baltimore Ravens have evaluated every potential free agent and they’ve formulated a plan to augment their roster.
And like they have in the past, augmentation is more likely than a big free agent splash.
“The biggest thing is not to panic”, explains DeCosta. “And that has been one of Ozzie’s greatest strengths as general manager.”
Have you ever put on a pair of shorts after breaking them out from a long winter’s nap and after sliding into them, you notice that there’s something in the pocket? You reach in and pull out money that somehow escaped your notice when the previous summer’s sun set for the final time.
In the case of the Baltimore Ravens, what they found in their proverbial pocket is a pass rush linebacker named Sergio Kindle. And for the Ravens in 2011 Kindle is the equivalent of another second round draft pick and potential a big win for them.
Recently the former Texas Longhorn was given medical clearance to play and despite lingering hearing problems in his left year, the Ravens’ coaches and front office are excited by the talents the playmaking linebacker exhibited during team OTA’s in 2010. He’s been compared to his former collegiate teammate and current Washington Redskin, Brian Orakpo.
The team expects Kindle to make an impact on third down and as a pursuit strong side linebacker. The issues with his hearing aren’t expected to alter their plans for Kindle because his assignments won’t be much more complicated than going after the opposing player standing behind center.
Here’s more on Kindle and several Ravens related topics including Terrence Cody, Paul Kruger, Torrey Smith and more with Ravens’ Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, heard on The Coach’s Buzz on ESPN Radio 1300.
Joe Flacco has been the focal point of many discussions and debates this offseason with topics ranging from his proficiencies in the vertical passing game to his ability (or lack thereof) to deliver in the clutch. Even his leadership skills have been called into question.
Back on May 25 several Ravens players gathered for an informal workout organized by Derrick Mason and for the most part guided by Flacco. It was a signal to his teammates and observers that he is prepared to step up as the offensive maestro – another milestone in the fourth year signal caller’s maturation process. His favorite pitch and catch mate certainly took notice.
“Joe is playing with a big chip on his shoulder now”, said the fourteen year veteran Mason. “I think Joe is tired of hearing from those who say he can’t win the big games or deliver in the playoffs. He won’t admit it and he’s not likely to share that with the media but it’s there and I think that it will provide even more motivation for Joe. And in the end it will be a good thing for him and the Baltimore Ravens.”
Perhaps even more fuel for this propelling and swelling proverbial mass is the team’s apparent unwillingness to discuss a contract extension with Flacco who is entering year four of his five year rookie deal. Both sides claim to want the extension but the front office is taking a wait-and-see approach with Flacco – perhaps they even see what Mason sees.
That chip, that beautiful and growing chip could provide just the right boost of grit and determination to have Flacco slay his demons.
And if Mason and the Ravens are right we all just might live happily ever after.