MAILBAG: Ravens Regrets? Flacco’s Replacement?

Fantasy MAILBAG: Ravens Regrets? Flacco’s Replacement?

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Do the Ravens regret giving up their best key players now? Besides Ray Lewis retired. ~ Chereese Barrett

Actually Chereese, I don’t even think the Ravens miss Ray! But now that you’ve asked, let’s touch on the “departed” players of significance.

Dannell Ellerbe: At 5 years, $35M the Ravens could not afford Ellerbe who at times is an explosive player but he struggles with nagging injuries that limit his playing time. He has no sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles this season for his new employer. NO REGRETS

Paul Kruger: Left for Cleveland after signing a 5 year, $41M deal and so far has registered 2 ½ sacks in 8 games with no forced fumbles. Elvis Dumervil has 5 ½ sacks and 2 FF in 7 games and cost the Ravens 5 years, $35M. NO REGRETS

Cary Williams: Plays now for the 3-5 Philadelphia Eagles. With Jimmy Smith’s development, Williams is hardly missed. NO REGRETS

Bernard Pollard: The intimidator is a liability in coverage, a penalty machine and a suspension waiting to happen. James Ihedigo, although struggling as of late, represents a slight upgrade over Pollard. There’s a reason he’s played for 4 teams in his 7+ seasons. NO REGRETS

Ed Reed: The Ravens future HOF representative should have retired. In 5 games he’s played in for the Texans (all losses) Reed has a total of 14 tackles (none for a loss), no interceptions, no passes defensed, no FF’s. NO REGRETS

Anquan Boldin: After losing Dennis Pitta for most of the season, this loss grew more acute. Boldin had a big game to start the season against Green Bay but in the 7 games since he’s had 25 catches for 343 yards and 1 TD. Replacement Marlon Brown in 6 games has had 21 catches for 243 yards and 3 TD’s. JURY OUT

Matt Birk: Who would have thought that Birk’s retirement would impact the team more than all of the other aforementioned players combined? REGRETS

Are there any low key moves to help the offense in process? ~ Robo Robert Dorsey

The Ravens just signed RB Bernard Scott and he should provide decent depth to a backfield that isn’t healthy. He might also help the Ravens to identify and expose some weaknesses of the division leading Bengals. At wide receiver I expect the team to remain status quo. A possible move would be for a veteran offensive lineman but we’ll find out for sure by 4PM today – the NFL’s trading deadline.

Do you think we will fire Juan Castillo? Do you think his scheme change is the largest reason for the offensive lines struggles? ~ Chad Racine

Castillo is a very fine coach who may be miscast with the Ravens and their offensive line personnel. I think some of the things shared by Bryant McKinnie with Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun suggest the same. That said I doubt that he is fired but he’ll have to adjust his approach. If the linemen aren’t buying into it, it’s hard to expect improved results.

As for Castillo being THE culprit of a struggling offense, I think it’s more than that. Injuries to Osemele and Yanda have contributed along with Gradkowski’s inexperience and some very substandard play calling by Jim Caldwell.

Are the Ravens gonna do anything to improve the C position? Currently lowest graded in the NFL. ~ Dawn Hudson

If the Ravens don’t make a trade today the only way the position will improve is if:

  1. Gradkowski matures with experience
  2. AQ Shipley emerges from the bye as an improved starter; or
  3. Rookie Ryan Jensen magically absorbs the offense and takes over

I’m not holding my breath for any of the above.

Will we start games faster? Will we stop this zone blocking scheme? Are we going to trade for a receiver? ~ Leroy Green

Starting faster would help immensely and it’s time the Ravens stop talking about it and start doing it. The most obvious way to get them off the block quickly would be to unleash Joe Flacco and let him run the offense from his comfort zone – the sugar huddle.

As for the zone blocking, it won’t end but I do expect them to not rely upon it exclusively. We saw hints of that last week in Pittsburgh.

Lastly, don’t count on a new receiver. There really aren’t affordable receivers out there who can make more of an impact than those the Ravens already employ.

Are we drafting a new quarter back this year? I love Flacco but it’s getting really close to that time… Flacco needs to train someone! ~ Margee Leigh Kimmel

Interesting thought but probably not one the Ravens will act on in a meaningful way during the course of the next couple of drafts. But it would be interesting nonetheless if for no other reason, the Ravens could get one of their best athletes out on the field – Tyrod Taylor. Their inability to find ways to use his unique talents is an indictment on the coaching staff.

Is it true that the Ravens [are] looking to trade for Larry Fitzgerald? ~ Marcus G. Bond Jr.

It won’t happen Marcus and here’s why >>> LINK

Why are we still holding on to Brandon Stokley I don’t think the team needs him? ~ Starlin Fatts

Brandon provides a veteran presence to a young receiving corps and while he hasn’t been productive on the field, he is a nice resource to have around. The Ravens have to pay him as a vested veteran either way so it doesn’t hurt to keep Stokely around until his spot is needed.

Are all the Ravens on their knees for Obama? ~ Kurt Henning

Kurt, the Ravens have suggested that their support of Obamacare is much like their support of any of their paying customers. The Ravens received $130,000 to promote the message supporting the controversial topic.

Regardless of your political position on this, I think it was a bad business move as I explain HERE. For the record, here’s the Ravens official statement on their decision to accept the $130,000:

“We have a sponsorship/advertising agreement with the Maryland Health Connection, a Maryland state agency charged with creating a health insurance marketplace in Maryland. Under its agreement with the Ravens, Maryland Health Connection will have radio ads during our game broadcasts and other Ravens-related radio and television shows, plus have exposure on Raven digital media properties and some stadium signage for two games. The advertising package with the Maryland Heath Connection is comparable to many other sponsorship agreements the Ravens have sold, including ones with the Maryland Lottery and the Maryland National Guard, as well as corporations like Giant Foods and Verizon.”

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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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