The Ravens were recently fined for overly physical practices during OTAs. They were also forced to forfeit two scheduled practices last week. It’s the team’s third such offense since 2010.
Color me unconcerned.
Word is that the Ravens defensive backs were a bit too touchy-feely with the team’s receiving corps, a positional group that really needs to step up its game in 2018 if the Ravens hope to be a postseason participant. Smart move if you ask me.
The Best in The NFL
Pro Football Focus recently published its list of the NFL’s 50 best players. The only Raven to appear on the list is probable Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda, who settled in at No. 9.
Coming off a broken leg, Yanda played just 102 snaps in 2017 before being lost for the year, but those 102 snaps were the same dominant display we have become accustomed to from the league’s best offensive lineman. Yanda has outstanding NFL tape at three different positions along the line (both guard spots and right tackle) and has only surrendered one sack since the start of the 2015 season. Yanda remains one of the most underrated players in the game because he plays an unglamorous position, but there are few more consistent, and consistently outstanding players in the league today.
In a similar poll, the result of a survey of NFL players, only 1 Raven, C.J. Mosley, is in the league’s Top 100, so far. Players 1 through 30 have yet to be announced.
Back in March a buddy of mine who is known to place a bet or two, brought to my attention that the over/under number for Orioles wins was 72 ½. I thought the number was just about right because the Orioles were really no different than the team that produced a (19-31) record over its last 50 games in 2017.
When the Orioles signed Alex Cobb and the over/under number didn’t move, I called my buddy to place a bet for me. “Give me the O’s to go over the 72 ½ win mark!”
So what do you know, the O’s are on pace to win 48 games in 2018. For me to win my bet, they’ll need to go 54-44 the rest of the way. I’d have better odds with online video slots.
After going to the playoffs in six of John Harbaugh’s first seven years, the Ravens have missed out the past three seasons, and any questions regarding Joe Flacco and “elite” have thus been answered. Don’t be confused by last year’s 9-7 record, where the Ravens were in the playoff hunt in Week 17. Baltimore went 0-5 against would-be playoff teams and 9-2 against all others. Flacco’s yards-per-attempt slipped to a career-low 5.7 last season, when his best receiving option was 31-year-old Mike Wallace. The Ravens bolstered that group with John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, but this year isn’t about Flacco finding his magic again. It’s is about when Lamar Jackson will be ready to take over.
Speaking of Flacco and Jackson, the pair will receive a ton of scrutiny during training camp and throughout the preseason and regular season. Look for the Ravens Super Bowl 47 MVP to step up his game. He responds to pressure, he’s healthier than he’s been since 2014 and he’s equipped with arguably the best collection of weapons since his arrival in 2008.
So look for Jackson to be an observer for most of 2018, save for a few packages Marty Mornhinweg installs to glean some productivity from the rookie QB’s unique skill set.
However, if I’m wrong and Flacco struggles and is ultimately benched, or gets hurt, look for the Ravens to turn to Robert Griffin, III – not Jackson. RGIII will stick around because he’s matured as a man and his experiences could be extremely valuable to Jackson given their similar talents and paths to the NFL. Handing the offensive reins to a veteran during a tumultuous season is the more prudent approach. Jackson could certainly get his feet wet and use the experience to set up for 2019.
It’s been a while since the Ravens retained three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster but this season, it just makes sense to do so, despite the probable logjam at a few positions.
Hall of Shame
His teammates knew it. His coaches knew it. And the voting members of the Hall of Fame committee knew it and that’s why some couldn’t get comfortable with his induction. Now that he’s been selected, he’s trying to one up the Hall.
The networks covering the Hall of Fame ceremonies are likely to go on endlessly about Owens’ absence. And that’s a shame for this special class of 2018 inductees that includes Ray Lewis.
“The worst teammate in the history of professional football is now going to be the worst teammate in the history of the Hall of Fame… This is typical @terrellowens and I think the voters made a mistake putting him in.” — @WhitlockJason pic.twitter.com/LWySUxHbdD
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) June 7, 2018
Frequent Flyer Miles
According to CBS Sports, only 6 teams will travel less than the Ravens during the 2018 season. With 11,548 miles the Ravens rank 26th in the league. The Carolina Panthers clock in with the fewest miles in their travel plans with 6,938 while the Oakland Raiders will be the league’s leading globetrotters with 31,732 miles of friendly skies flying.
This Day in Music History
1960, Drummer Tommy Moore made the fateful decision to quit The Beatles and return to his job of driving a forklift at Garston Bottle Works.
2011, Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon, re-entered the Billboard Album chart at No. 47, and reached the milestone of 1,000 weeks on Billboard’s charts.