The most highly featured athlete in all of sport.
The position is credited too much for a win, blamed too much for a loss.
A hero one Sunday, a villain the next.
So, it stands to reason that when a team makes a significant move at the position, it will trigger a buzz. Enter the Baltimore Ravens.
When the Ravens jumped back into the first-round to select Lamar Jackson, the message was clear – this will no longer be the same old Ravens. Things are about to change. Thankfully.
Last night I had the privilege of being the guest speaker for Ravens Nest 1 at 510 Johnny’s in Bel Air, MD. We discussed many things – some good, some not so good. But by far, the overriding topic, one still stuck in the collective craw of Ravens fans, is the player protests. The scar runs deep and I sense that fans will eventually let it go – but they’ll never forget.
Those 30,000 empty seats during the 2017 regular season finale, was essentially a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Thirty. Thousand. Empty. Seats. In your wildest nightmares, even during bad seasons such as 2005 and 2007, both played before sellout crowds, could you ever imagine a (9-6) Ravens team playing before just 40,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium?
Yet it happened and now the Ravens are doing all that they can to bring back those fans. They’ve reached out to season ticket holders with letters and personal calls from a team representative. Dick Cass made a personal visit to the Council of Ravens Roosts. They’ve dialed up their already admirable efforts in the community and they ponied up even more charitable dollars for worthy causes.
Now the Ravens want to deliver a more exciting brand of football with the hopes that they can awaken a “12th man” – one that was once among the NFL’s best.
And Lamar Jackson is just the guy to help make that happen.
When you think about it, the selection of Jackson was a surprise coming from a team that employs a coaching staff on the hot seat. Why invest so much draft capital in a player who is more than likely only going to carry a clipboard on Sundays this season? How does that help the team win in 2018?
Answer: It forces Joe Flacco to ramp up his game!
The Ravens are spending a lot of time and energy hyping Jackson. Flacco has yet to respond – verbally. What we all hope is that he responds on the field. Joe is at his best when the pressure is dialed up. The team’s success in 2018 and perhaps the future of a coaching staff, rests squarely on the shoulders on No. 5.
It will be interesting to see if he can get it done with new receivers, new tight ends plus improvements across the offensive line and in the backfield.
We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if the Ravens can fill those 30,000 empty seats.
Winning cures many ills in the NFL.
It even helps fans forget about player protests.
NEWS, NOTES & FUN STUFF
Listening to @AdamSchefter‘s recent podcast with @LincolnRiley. One thing that’s stood out is Riley’s thoughts on Orlando Brown: “I think he’s going to be tremendous… I don’t remember ever going into a game – no matter who we were playing… worried about his match up.”
— Lee Benson (@LeeBensonNews9) May 8, 2018
Former Ravens tackle Austin Howard recently signed on with the Colts. Many expected Howard to return in 2018 but there were medical concerns significant enough for the Ravens to take a pass on the team option to keep him in Baltimore. Howard’s signing will not factor into the comp pick equation because his signing came after May 8, the last day that an unrestricted free agent signing can affect compensatory picks…Don’t look now but Jeremy Maclin remains a free agent. His lack of passion and enthusiasm for the game was apparently obvious to more teams than just the Ravens. But as always, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
Here’s some biting commentary from a former Steeler about Joe Flacco. OUCH!
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 30, 2018