A Meeting of the Minds photo: Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk A Meeting of the Minds

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The Ravens’ brass reportedly met at owner Steve Bisciotti’s home in Florida over the past weekend to discuss the direction of the team.

It would not be far-fetched that they also discussed strategies for a potential “State of the Ravens” press conference over the next few weeks, or scrapping that plan altogether.

The meeting in Florida generally consists of team president Dick Cass, general manager Ozzie Newsome, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, senior vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty, coach John Harbaugh and Biscotti.

This year, there were a myriad of issues to discuss, namely sagging attendance at home games, missing out on the playoffs for three straight seasons and continued backlash from player protests.

The only certainty is there are no obvious answers to some of the team’s challenges. The Ravens need playmakers to better compete, but they might be limited because of their salary cap situation. This directly correlates to attendance, which could get a boost by simply winning.

The Ravens have gone 40-40 since winning Super Bowl XLVII and there has been growing apathy toward the team, which Biscotti disdains the most.

“I said apathy is the worst emotion, in the past,” Biscotti said at at the 2017 State of Ravens presser. “There’s a lot more disappointment and anger than apathy, so I don’t think we’re at any kind of critical stage there. The fact that our renewals have always – good times and bad, even back in the ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07 area – our renewals are kind of always in the 97.5 to 98, 99 percent. We have other people willing to buy those PSLs and come in. We’ve kind of been through the same slump.”

There’s no question the tickets are sold, but more people are simply opting not to attend the games. Sometimes, this means eating the cost of the ticket.

The Ravens have some tough decisions to make in 2018 and must decide whether to retain several key free agents, most notably receiver Mike Wallace, center Ryan Jensen and versatile offensive lineman James Hurst. The team could create some cap space by cutting Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Carr or Danny Woodhead, but how would that improve the team?

The franchise could also restructure the contracts of offensive lineman Marshal Yanda and Joe Flacco, but again, that would not completely solve the problems. Furthermore, this is not a great free agent market for receivers or tight ends, two of the team’s biggest areas of need.

As a result, the Ravens are going to need a superb 2018 NFL Draft to get them back into a short-term plan rebuild a Super Bowl-contending team. Part of that process could be drafting a quarterback to replace Flacco, who turned 33 on Jan. 16 and has dealt with knee and back issues over the past three seasons.

However, the Ravens drafting and personnel department has been in about a five-year slump. There might be a need for a new voice in one of those departments.

So now, the fans will wait to hear Bisciotti’s perspective on the current state of the team. It’s certainly a voice that needs to be heard … possibly more than ever.

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich
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