QB Controversy Brewing in B’more?
The most popular player in many NFL towns is the backup quarterback. And given the struggles of Lamar Jackson prior to his ankle injury coupled with the success that Tyler Huntley has enjoyed in Lamar’s absence, suddenly, Baltimore is no exception. Is a quarterback controversy brewing?
Jackson’s struggles are hard to pinpoint because there are several contributing factors. The running game isn’t as productive; the offensive line in pass pro has been a sieve; route combinations are too often poorly designed – not only do they sometimes fail to spread the field, they shockingly bring receivers together, failing to stress defenses. And of course the Ravens inability to attack the blitz has served to only invite more of it.
But in his reserve role, Huntley faces the same obstacles yet the offense appears more productive than it is with Lamar at the controls. And given Jackson’s contract status and the looming deal that will drop a load on the Ravens’ cap, it’s only natural to wonder, given Huntley’s productivity, if the money earmarked for Lamar might be better spent on reinforcements elsewhere.
That thought has sparked conversation throughout The Land of Pleasant Living quite often over the past couple of weeks. It has also forced many fans to wonder about what Huntley’s contract status after the 2021 season. RSR’s capologist Brian McFarland explains:
If Huntley’s performances are indicative of things to come, extending Lamar via a record-setting deal certainly has its risks. Might Huntley and $30M+ cap dollars be more enticing than Lamar on his own? The unknown is whether or not Huntley can perform consistently, so there are inherent risks in that as well.
To borrow from former Ravens head coach Brian Billick, the prudent thing to do is just to have Lamar play next season behind a stronger offensive line accompanied by Messrs. Dobbins and Edwards. The Ravens still control both quarterbacks. So why not take advantage of that before making a franchise-altering decision?
NFL WEEKDAY DOUBLEHEADERS
Not sure how many of you tuned into the four games over the past two days (Seahawks at Rams had limited availability), but if you did, the quality of play was anything but desirable. It looked more like preseason football given the challenges presented by COVID – AGAIN!
The games were barely watchable and if they didn’t carry playoff implications, you have to wonder who might watch. It will be interesting to see how the TV ratings on those games play out.
Let’s be honest, at the core of the NFL’s collective heart sits greed. Roger Greedell can talk about player safety and the fan experience and the integrity of the game until he’s blue in the face and I’m not buying an ounce of it. It’s all lip service.
Player safety? It’s Week 16 and the Browns, Rams and Seahawks all have to play on 4 days rest during the most important stretch of the season. Fan experience? I’m a football junkie and I opted to watch The Slow Hustle on HBO Max instead of the garbage going down in Philly on Tuesday night. Integrity of the game? We all know that the NFL and gambling now share the same bed and teams are sending out quarterbacks that have been with a team for three days as betting lines move all over the place like a volatile NASDAQ stock. It just feels dirty. Because it is dirty.
Perhaps the only thing that persuades the league to make the necessary changes is if TV ratings plummet. Bad games lead to fewer sponsors which leads to plummeting ad revenues. Shady lineups affected by COVID challenge fantasy leagues. Fewer leagues, fewer viewers, downward spiraling ad revenues. And as for the gambling, if bettors have no clue about lineups, they’ll be a bit more hesitant to wager. Fewer bettors equals fewer viewers equals tanking ad revenues and sinking shared betting income.
Speaking of the integrity of the game, as the season plows forward and playoff implications intensify, the impact of poor officiating becomes more painful. Consider the following Tweets below, all showing pass plays during which pass interference came into question. The first involves the Ravens where Kevon Seymour was flagged for DPI. The second indirectly involved the Ravens where the Browns’ Greedy Williams (there’s a name for Roger) was NOT flagged for DPI. And the last, the most egregious of the three (borrowing from Brian Billick again), was not called yet benefitted a playoff bound team in a huge TV market at the expense of one that will be sitting at home come mid-January.
Sometimes I don't know how NFL Officials sleep at night… pic.twitter.com/D1NK71WOyQ
— Tony Lombardi (@RSRLombardi) December 20, 2021
I have no idea what a DPI is anymore pic.twitter.com/7Po68vgXjh
— Tony Lombardi (@RSRLombardi) December 21, 2021
You'll never see a more obvious pass interference than this.
No call. pic.twitter.com/ZlwzaJbZfg
— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) December 22, 2021
The league has the technology to fix this BS. The fact that they don’t suggests that they really don’t give a shit! Oh and one more thing…
RAVENS NEWS & NOTES
— Darin J. McCann (@DarinMccann) December 21, 2021
Another New Corner
The Ravens have added CB Daryl Worley to their Practice Squad, per Jeff Zrebiec’s Tweet above. Worley was a third-round pick (77th overall) of the Carolina Panthers in the 2016 NFL Draft. Besides the Panthers, Worley has worn the colors of the Raiders, Bills, Cowboys and Lions before donning the purple and black. Worley has started 54 games in his 6-year career posting 5 interceptions and 37 passes defensed.
One scouting report on Worley upon entering the 2016 draft suggested that, “if a team and coaching staff could maximize his size, length, athletic ability, and instincts under the right scheme, he could be one of the players looked back upon as a massive steal”.
Worley is more of a press corner and if receivers can overcome the press, the 6’1”, 204 pound CB out of West Virginia lacks the recovery speed (4.64-40) to make a play.
The Bell Tolls in Tampa
The Tampa Bay Bucs have added Le’Veon Bell to their roster, presumably to replace the injured Leonard Fournette who according to Adam Schefter (as of this writing) is likely to be out for the balance of the season. The Bucs are also without the services of Giovani Bernard who they’ve used as a change-of-pace, pass catcher out of the backfield.
The 29-year-old Bell has had nothing but good things to say about his time in Baltimore and his addition to the Bucs roster could pave the way to his first Super Bowl ring. The bet here is that Tampa with Tom Brady will find a way to employ Bell’s pass catching skills, something that the Ravens were unable to unleash in Charm City.
— NFL (@NFL) December 21, 2021
Ravens Giving Back
The Ravens have always been heavily involved in the community on many different levels supporting multiple platforms. Here’s yet another heart-warming example of how they affect lives in a positive way.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 21, 2021
* The great Kevin Harlan and Trent Green are on the call for the Ravens at Bengals with Melanie Collins handling sideline duties. The Ravens are 2 ½ point underdogs. The weather forecast calls for a high of 62 degrees in Cincinnati with periods of clouds and sunshine. Winds are expected to gust to 16 mph with a 25% chance of rain.
* The Ravens lead the all-time series with Cincinnati, 27-24. Baltimore has won five of the past six games, while under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 14-13 vs. Cincy.
* Five tight ends in NFL history have recorded multiple career games with at least 10 catches, 125 yards and 2 TDs: Mark Andrews (two), Zach Ertz (two), Travis Kelce (two), Shannon Sharpe (two) and Kellen Winslow Sr. (two).
* Seven Ravens’ games have been decided by 3-or-fewer points this year, marking the NFL’s most such contests. The Ravens are 4-3 in these games, with the three losses coming by a combined 4 points.
Forty-five years ago on December 19, the Pittsburgh Steelers demolished the Baltimore Colts by the score of 40-14 at Memorial Stadium. The (11-3) Colts hosted the (10-4) Steelers, the visitors were 3 ½ point favorites. Kickoff was at 2PM (per then Maryland State Blue Laws) and the temperature was 36 degrees – unless of course you were on the Steelers sideline where temps were sizzling.
The Steelers posted 526 yards of offense to the Colts 170. Bert Jones threw two interceptions and was sacked 5 times. It was a dominant performance by Pittsburgh and a complete train wreck for the Colts. But that wasn’t the only Baltimore wreck that afternoon. A single-engine plane crashed into the upper deck after the game. I attended the game that day, a birthday present from my Dad. We sat a couple of sections to the left but we were well gone by then, inspired by the disappointing blowout.
Here’s Tom Davis, Artie Donovan, Chuck Thompson and Vince Bagli on the call…
On the arm and legs of @_SNOOP1, and the hands of @Mandrews_81, the Ravens almost pulled off the improbable comeback win. @_QuoththeRavens breaks down the 5 most important plays of the day in Tale of the Tape. https://t.co/ipi1twvjwJ
— Russell St. Report (@RussellStReport) December 21, 2021
Reporter: "I think you got a really got a chance to finish with more career wins as an interim coach than Urban has a HC."
Bevell's reaction: pic.twitter.com/jVl5li7hgI
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) December 16, 2021
— Russell St. Report (@RussellStReport) December 21, 2021
— Ryan (@ryinohio) December 19, 2021
In honor of it being Bengals week for the Ravens, here’s a video of Joe Flacco connecting with Steve Smith Sr. on an incredible 80-yard touchdown strike that featured a nasty stiff arm pic.twitter.com/ZbAgJN5rqg
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) December 21, 2021
MY SINGLE FRIEND
My Single Friend once had that conversation with his ex that all guys dread, but he handled it in his unique way…
Girl: “I really don’t like the way my hair looks and making matters worse, these pants make me look fat, don’t they? Please give me a compliment, I really need one.”
MSF: “Your eyesight is damn near perfect!”
Ed Neenan is a charismatic musical artist with a great sense of humor and powerful vocals who plays with passion. He’s a tireless performer driven by a potpourri of musical influences. You will want to check him out on Facebook to see where he’s playing next. Ed’s performances in the edition of Music Fanimal can be seen at the 11:37 (Rocket Man, Elton John), 26:57 (I Started a Joke ~ The BeeGees) and 45:35 (Rabbit Hole ~ Ed Neenan ) marks.
This lovely manger scene was once my grandmother’s and as a child I always admired it and the story it tells. Whenever I visited her during the Holidays I would take the time to appreciate it, to absorb its message.
When she passed my family knew that it should be mine. To this day I still take the time, usually late at night when all through the house, not a creature is stirring…not even our old girl Lilly. And in its own way it re-connects me to the reason for the season and of course my beautiful grandmother.
Merry Christmas everyone. May your Holidays be enriched by love, kindness, peace, serenity and the gift that is Jesus.