It’s the off-season (technically), and that awkward time between when 30 of the 32 teams in the NFL are no longer playing, and when the new league year begins in early March. Therefore, it’s fairly difficult to find storylines to write about (usually), and so I’ll only be writing The Chicken Box when… you guessed it… there’s stuff to write about.
Guess what, folks.
There’s stuff to write about. Let’s go.
The Dolphins seem to be in full rebuild mode.
The Miami Dolphins have a new head coach, various new assistant coaches, and rumors abound. Friday, another rumor (though it’s heavily verified by sources within the organization) popped up. The Dolphins, after six years, are moving on from starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
But why aren’t they trading him? Well, because of his $18.7M cap hit. Unlike similarly-contracted quarterbacks that are rumored to be traded or cut, Tannehill hasn’t enjoyed the greatest success, going 42-46, while throwing 123 touchdowns to 75 interceptions.
While a QB-needy team may be interested in trading for the 30-year-old former first rounder, to avoid a bidding war, it’s more likely that they’ll wait until he’s in free agency, and bring him in for a cheaper price, potentially as a backup quarterback. Keep in mind, Tannehill has been injured more often than not over recent seasons.
I love the dumpster fire that’s raging in Pittsburgh.
Antonio Brown has rainbow-colored braids and a blonde mustache. Juju Smith-Schuster is tired of the nonsense, and thinks everybody needs to stop acting like children. Former Steelers legend Hines Ward says ‘everybody is to blame.’ Former Steelers legend James Harrison says that Mike Tomlin is to blame.
I’m here for all of it. From Ben Roethlisberger calling out younger teammates, to former players speaking on the truth. Inject it into my veins.
The Ravens’ biggest rivals are slowing burning down before our eyes. Remember, folks: you can put up with anything when you’re winning. 9-6-1 isn’t winning, especially by western PA standards, and now the curtain is being drawn back.
Will it translate to losses in the 2019 season? Maybe, maybe not. But for now, let’s go ahead and just enjoy the drama that we don’t have to endure in Baltimore.
And can we please stop saying things like ‘Come to Baltimore, AB’? I don’t care how good you think he is (DeAndre Hopkins is the best receiver in the NFL), he’s not worth the trouble. Can you imagine the complaining when Lamar doesn’t throw to him, because he’s not a tight end? No thanks.
Eric DeCosta has a prime chance to reinvent the Ravens offense… again.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: wide receiver is a big area of need for the Baltimore Ravens this off-season. John Brown is likely moving to his third team in three years. Michael Crabtree was less-than-stellar in 2018. Beyond a solid Willie Snead, the Ravens receivers are Chris Moore, Jordan Lasley (obligatory reminder that he was a healthy scratch every game in 2018), Jaleel Scott, and Quincy Atta-boy-joe.
As I detailed in my Ravens Needs article, there are some solid options in the upcoming draft – my favorites are Kelvin Harmon, N’Keal Harry, A.J. Brown, and JJAW – that can be had on days one and two.
However, there are questions to be asked before spending a premium pick on another wideout, especially after drafting two in 2018 (Lasley and Scott).
Will they be utilized correctly? Outside of Snead, whose numbers actually had an uptick, the wide receivers were used primarily as blockers once Lamar Jackson took over at QB. If the Ravens are planning on doing the same in 2019, then a blocking wide receiver (Harmon, Harry) becomes a bigger priority than a speedster (Marquise Brown).
Will Lamar improve in his passing? Many of Jackson’s throws were off-target, although he did show flashes of what he can do once properly coached. If this doesn’t improve, then the Ravens will have to focus on wide receivers with great hands and a big catch radius in order to compensate. He also likes to test coverage, so a contested-catch specialist is necessary (really talking myself into Harmon, here).
EDC has a chance to do what Ozzie rarely did – bring a halfway decent passing game to the Baltimore Ravens. They have a wide receivers coach who has had success with developing wideouts, and a passing game. Now, fans will have to wait and see if he can put the pieces in place to bring an air attack to Baltimore.
That’s all I got, today. I’ll end with some shameless plugs. First, the Neutral Zone Infraction podcast will be having some off-season episodes, including free agency and the draft. But if it’s fun you’re looking for, pay attention to the #BrawltimoreDraft hashtag on Twitter, as Adam and I are doing mock drafts every week, with a group of bloggers/analysts/fans. We just finished up the one-round, initial draft, and next week’s will be a two-round draft. Go check it out!
Until next time, folks.. Until next time.