Does Anyone Here Know How To Run A Football Team?Posted on August 09, 2011
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
Ozzie Newsome and Company are known to be shrewd football guys. So, the tendency is to almost want to bend over backward in giving the Ravens' front office brass the benefit of the doubt. And with just more than 30 days until the opening game -- a match up at M&T Bank Stadium with the Ravens' arch-rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers -- there is plenty of time to acquire the talent to plug holes and make the whole stronger.
But given that the Ravens, like every other team, did not had the benefit of OTAs, a normal gestation period of incorporating rookies and new free agents to the system, this looks as if it could be messy.
|Matt Birk, who has started every regular-season game for the Ravens over the past two seasons, is out for at least a month. (Sabina Moran/PressBox)|
I understand that what Newsome is up against can be a lot like the tortoise versus the hare, and with 350 plus free agents still out there, answers might abound. But, can those answers be placed in positions to help the Ravens immediately?
If it's not bad enough that the Ravens backup quarterback is rookie Tyrod Taylor, the sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech, starting center Matt Birk is down for at least a month. That leaves the No. 1 quarterback taking snaps and being protected during these meaningless preseason games by none other than Bryan Mattison, a converted defensive lineman now listed as a guard. His claim to fame is he comes from good stock, being the son of former Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who took the same position at Michigan.
The Ravens will, of course, play it safe and keep new fullback Vonta Leach in the backfield to serve as Joe Flacco's personal bodyguard for the two series he'll be in the game. But, is that an ideal situation with so much ground to cover in getting familiar with his receivers?
Speaking of receivers, management and coaching are clear that they want Flacco to take more ownership of the offense. So, how did they choose to help him? By immediately putting at risk two key players from his rather limited bag of tricks -- Todd Heap and Derrick Mason. Both have since found employment elsewhere.
To their credit, the Ravens have strengthened the "Play Like A Raven" mentality in their running game by adding Leach and Ricky Williams to back up Ray Rice. Yet, with the aforementioned issue at center and the likelihood that rookie Jah Reid may well start at right tackle, will this line be able to maximize the potential in the running game?
|Jah Reid is a 6-foot-7, 324-pound rookie out of Central Florida. (Sabina Moran/PressBox)|
History tells us that the Ravens will get it right. But, this offseason has given way to a new world order in the NFL. It also has presented the Ravens with precious little time to start answering the myriad of questions that keep springing up. Thank goodness that this year still offers four preseason games.
Posted Aug. 9, 2011