Managing Uncertainty

Street Talk Managing Uncertainty

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The Ravens roster has already come into focus.

A formidable front seven and talented secondary could harken back to the days of the “Baltimore Bullies.”

General manager Eric DeCosta has returned the franchise to its roots by building a defense that has the potential to be among the best in the NFL.

The additions of defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers provide a physical interior presence. Both players are capable of stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.

Defensive coordinator Don Martindale is not going to be hesitant to turn each of those players loose and put them in position to be game-wreckers.

On the flip side, the Ravens parted ways with Michael Pierce and Chris Wormley, but that was a trade-off that works in the team’s favor.

It appears the Ravens are also prepared to hang onto linebacker Matt Judon, who led the team with 9.5 sacks last season. The tag costs the team $15.8 million in 2020, but that’s a relative steal compared to the asking price of other edge rushers that are asking for more than $20 million annually.

It’s a strange time with COVID-19 wreaking havoc across the globe. There’s no telling when the United States will get back to some sense of normalcy. However, it will be almost impossible for some of the professional and college sports to recoup their losses after having to postpone or cancel their seasons.

The NFL has done its best to forge ahead.

The Ravens have certainly provided a much-needed distraction to the somber news that has been emerging each day. DeCosta and the rest of the NFL have done a fine job striking an effective balance between work and being sympathetic to those affected by this pandemic.

“We continue to make the well-being and safety of our organization and community top priorities during this critical public health situation,” DeCosta said. “In compliance with a recent memo sent by the NFL Management Council, we will withhold official announcement of any personnel moves until prospective players have safely executed a physical examination and signed a contract.

“Despite these circumstances, we are excited about the steps we’ve taken – and will continue to take – to improve our team during this free agency period. We look forward to announcing our moves at the appropriate time.”

The next major order of business is the NFL Draft, which will also have an entirely different look when it proceeds as scheduled from April 23 to 25 in Las Vegas. All public events around the event have been cancelled. All fans will have to follow the draft on TV, and the “NFL is exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will share that information as it becomes available,” the league said in a statement.

This decision will also not dramatically affect the Ravens or their fanbase. DeCosta, much like his predecessor Ozzie Newsome, manages the draft from the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills and Ravens fans are not exactly known for booing the team’s selection, as are fans of some teams (those in the NFC East come to mind).

The Ravens have nine selections in the draft and should be able to fill the remaining gaps in the roster. The extra selections fit perfectly into DeCosta’s strengths and his draft board is just about primed and ready.

The hope is the NFL doesn’t have to delay the start of training camp or the regular season because of COVID-19. Teams are preparing as if the schedule will indeed start on time.

The wider public longs for the days when the focus is on the battle at right guard as opposed to illnesses, quarantines and overall uncertainty.

The Ravens appear fully ready to engage whenever the moment arrives.

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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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