Firesale For Future

People want to talk about how the Ravens “lost their entire team” every time football comes up. They try to accuse Flacco of being the issue. Let’s take a look at it shall we?

Joe Flacco- Just signed a new contract worth $120 million over 6 years. What people don’t realize, is that this contract is cap friendly through 2016. Joe will renegotiate by then as $55 million of this is guaranteed to help the Ravens stay afloat. The biggest thing people need to know however, is Joe’s cap hit for the 2013 season. Any guesses? $6 million for the 2013-2014 season. Yup, All Joe’s fault that the team lost a bunch of starters…..

Ray Lewis- Retired after 17 seasons. Yes, he was a motivational leader. At his age, he had lost a step or two though. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking he was able to cover tight ends like Vernon Davis or Rob Gronkowski. The replacing Arthur Brown looked very great in college and should bring back that lost step. He may not have the same football sense Ray did, but being able to keep up with the game will balance that out. He can hit hard and takes good angles on the ball carrier.

Ed Reed- Already missing the first week(s) of the season. One of the greatest to ever play his position and can still make plays. However his body just isn’t holding up anymore. With mounting injuries and the fact that he’s not getting any younger, it’s better to let go now instead of after paying him to run the PUP list. First round draft pick Matt Elam looks to be a playmaker and can lay the lumber on ball carriers. He won’t be the ball hawk Reed was, but can still fill in the void nicely. Michael Huff can also fill in should the Ravens use Elam at strong safety for the void left by Bernard Pollard.

Bernard Pollard- A very good safety that delivered devastating hits at crucial moments. He was a bit of a liability in the passing game and seemed not to get along with the coaching staff. A mixture of new comer Matt Elam/Michael Huff/James Ihedigbo will work just fine without the drama created by Pollard. I mean, 4 teams in 5 years kind of screams prima donna, no?

Paul Kruger- He was a great situational player off the edge. He only was effective when Terrell Suggs was on the other side. Kruger had a good season in Baltimore, but was not worth the huge contract the Browns gave him. A cheaper choice was found who is better than Kruger and will supplement Suggs in a big way. Elvis (Dumervil) is now in the building.

Dannell Ellerbe- He was lucky to fall into the position he did. With the first and second string linebackers injured, Ellerbe got his chance to shine. He did pretty good. He lead the team in tackles during the post season, mostly because he was viewed as the weakest link which teams tried to exploit. Ellerbe was a safe option, but not worth the money Miami gave him. Instead, for yet again a lower price, the Ravens added Daryl Smith to fill that void. Smith is a veteran with the stats to back him up. He lead the Jaguars in tackles most of his career and is the Jaguars all time leader in tackles.

Cary Williams- Williams only started because second year player Jimmy Smith was unable to play due to injury. He was a liability in coverage most of his career. He recorded his first career interception last season off a deflected pass. He has yet to record an interception that was not deflected or on target with the receiver. After getting to Philadelphia, Williams missed all workouts and fell to a third string cornerback due to his lack of commitment and knowledge of the playbook. Lardarius Webb returns from a season ending ACL injury, Jimmy Smith is healthy, Corey Graham is ready to go, as are a few second year players and a rookie. Not a very big loss for the Ravens.

Matt Birk- He was solid up the middle for Baltimore, but was also at the end of his career. Second year player Gino Gradkowski looks to anchor the line and A.Q. Shipley was brought over from Indianapolis to help out.

Vonta Leach- He’s back. Even if he hadn’t returned, he wouldn’t have been worth his asking price. While it is true that Leach is the best lead blocking fullback in the league, his reputation precedes him. Last season, Ray Rice had more yards per carry with Leach on the sidelines than with him on the field. Leach also only played 42% of the offensive snaps. Leach comes from a dying generation of the game which will ultimately bring his retirement given all the concussion cases and the new rules put in play to prevent the type of play that Leach excels at. Kyle Jusczyk is the new kid on the block who offers a duel threat combo that will fit into the evolving offense of the Ravens. A versatile back with speed and hands, defenses won’t know whether to expect the run or pass.

Anquan Boldin- Boldin still had a good year left in him, however the Ravens were unwilling to pay him $6 million for the simple fact that his production during the regular season did not match the salary. During the regular season, Boldin only scored four touchdowns while accumulating less than 1,000 yards. It is obvious that Boldin’s best years are behind him and the Ravens are focusing on the future, not the past. To fill that void, third year receiver Tandon Doss looks like the third down go-to guy. He spent his first two seasons under Boldin learning and looks to challenge for a starting spot this season.

Dennis Pitta- He’s still a Raven, however his season is already over. Unfortunately for Pitta and the Ravens, this was the final year of his contract. While Pitta was huge for Flacco last season, it is unsure if he will return to 100% this early in his rehab. Pitta will need a hip replacement and a little luck to return in 2014. Being a contract year, will Pitta get a contract he feels he is worth or will he test the free agent market? Expect to see him test the water unless The Great Oz gets a good look into his crystal ball. In the meantime, the Ravens signed veteran Visanthe Shiancoe to a one year contract. He looks to be more of a blocking tight end while Pitta’s counterpart Ed Dickson looks to step it up when the team needs him. Billy Bajema is back as well, but will be used in goalline formations. Rookie Matt Furstenburg also looks to come up in Pitta’s absence.

 

The team looks to have had a quietly productive offseason. People are still worried about the starters from last season but still fail to look at their position last year. Last years defense was mediocre and one of the worst in the last decade for Baltimore. Look to see the defense rebound with a revamped line that should cause a lot of chaos. Haloti Ngata is 100% which is bad news for opposing offenses. Around him is Art Jones and Pernell McPhee who showed flashes of great play last season. Veterans Chris Canty and Marcus Spears provide depth and leadership on the line. The Baltimore defensive unit looks solid. If Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce can be the duo Jim Caldwell predicts, Flacco will playing in his sixth straight playoffs. 

Arguments Versus Opinions

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With a lot happening in football now that the draft is over, a lot of opinions are being stated and arguments being made. What people seem to not understand is that while opinions are to be respected, they are not arguments. An argument is something with factual data to back up the issue and stance at hand. When one makes an argument, they have something behind it to explain why they feel the way they do. An opinion is what a person feels about a certain subject, however they do not have solid evidence to back up what they feel. For instance:

One states that Tim Tebow is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Fine. They cannot however present any statistics on why he is one of the best. That is an opinion.

Someone else states that while Tim Tebow is a tremendous athlete, he is not a very strong quarterback. They then explain that his career completion percentage in the NFL is about 46% while his touchdown to interception ratio is less than 2:1 (17 touchdowns to 9 interceptions). That is a valid argument. They have an opinion and back it up with solid data to explain why they feel the way that they do.

This has been getting out of hand as of late. Loyalty has a place in sports, however people need to stop using invalid points to serve their opinion. While I hate Tebow as a quarterback, I cannot use his religious stance as an argument. That would fall under a totally different topic. I shall post a few of my arguments here and add to them how people use invalid opinions to solidify them.

Tony Romo. Before you even get started with the Homo jokes, hear me out. Tony Romo is a good, not great, quarterback. You may feel he sucks because of the Cowboys playoff record. That isn’t on him. You need to remember the other 52 players on the roster that aren’t pulling their own weight. Evidence to support? Yeah I got it right here. With the exception of his first season under center full time, Tomo Romo has posted crazy numbers. Every season that he started all 16 games, he has posted over 4,000 yards as well as a completion percentage of 64%. Add 26 touchdowns as his lowest total in a 16 game season, but as many as 36 to that. I would say that is pretty good. Now if you look at the Dallas defense in those same years, you get a picture of why he hasn’t had so much success. Yes, he made a mistake that cost his team the game in his first playoff appearance. That unfortunately defines his whole career. He has had some trouble with turnovers, but he bounces back and puts his team in a position to win it.

Philip Rivers. I hate this guy. Unfortunately my opinion has no solid backing. While I can’t stand him as a player, he puts up numbers that challenge Brady, Manning, and Brees. Once again, his defense gives games away. With the exception of his first two seasons when Tomlinson was getting 100 carries a game, Rivers put up over 3,600 yards. Add to the stat sheet a 63% completion percentage and 26-34 touchdowns a season. Damn near Pro Bowl numbers. His stain is his interception percentage the last two seasons. With that has been the horrid offensive line he has been dealing with along with the ever rotating receiving corps that he has. Losing Vincent Jackson was a huge blow. It was even worse when they lost Darren Sproles. Antonio Gates can’t be the only receiver for Rivers. With the addition of Keenan Allen, look to see Rivers put up better numbers this year.

Tom Brady. Is there anybody I hate to respect more? While you can make a very valid argument that Montana is the greatest of all time, Brady combats it with astronomical numbers. And don’t say Moss was the reason. If it was Moss, than Anthony Wright and Aaron Brooks wouldn’t still be looking for a second job outside bagging groceries. Brady’s run has been tarnished as of late due to lack of success in the playoffs. Some forget what he did from 2003-2007. You can use “Spygate” as an excuse, but please don’t fool yourself in thinking that Brady wasn’t good enough to win anyways. While recent years he hasn’t won a Super Bowl (he was there last year), he still puts up monster numbers. Last year alone his defense was ranked dead last in the league. You can’t win without a complete team. Oh, and for the facts I said you needed to make an argument: 44,806 career passing yards. Over 3,500 every season minus his ACL ending season in Week 1 of 2008. 63.7% completion percentage. 334 touchdowns as to 123 interceptions, over 3:1. To top it off, a career 96.6 quarterback rating. Commence hating opinions with non-existent data to back up opinions.

Ray Lewis. My personal favorite player of all time. Most state that he is a murderer or something along those lines. That is your opinion, however I wasn’t aware that you had new evidence to support your claim. You claim that he paid off the family, whatever. You weren’t there and are just speaking out of hate. Regardless of all that, those things are not football. On the football field, this guy is a future Hall of Famer. He brought severe intensity to the game which helped him be great. He is the only member of the 40+ sack/30+ interception club. He was a two time defensive player of the year. He was voted by his peers into the Pro Bowl 13 times. He consistently lead the team in tackles. You can hate him all you want, but there is no denying that Ray Lewis was one of the greatest linebackers of all time. And what’s with everyone hating him for his religious stance? Yeah I get that it got obnoxious at times but here’s my issue. You hate Ray Lewis for it, yet you love Tim Tebow who is way more extreme?

Eli Manning. I have trouble on him as a quarterback. I think he rides on the coattails of a great defense. He gets credit for winning the Super Bowl twice. What people don’t consider, especially Giants fans, is that the Giants held football’s most prolific offense to 17 and 14 points in both Super Bowl appearances. 14 points being the undefeated season in which the Patriots broke the single season scoring record. Eli gets’s credit for that based off of one pass where David Tyree saved him. Mario Manningham did the same in 2012 (2011 season). Granted Eli made a great throw, Manningham made one hell of a catch keeping his toes inbounds. You also have to consider that Eli only managed to put up 21 points, 14 being from rushing, field goals, and a safety by Brady, on the league’s worst defense. How is that “elite”? Why does Eli get so much credit for what his teammates did for him? Here are some stats to back it up:

2004- 6 touchdowns to 9 interceptions.

2005- 24 touchdowns to 17 interceptions

2006- 24 touchdowns to 18 interceptions

2007- 23 touchdowns to 20 interceptions

2008- 21 touchdowns to 10 interceptions (first and last season above 2:1…..barely)

2009- 27 touchdowns to 14 interceptions

2010- 31 touchdowns to 25 interceptions

2011- 39 touchdowns to 16 interceptions

2012- 26 touchdowns to 15 interceptions

People need to start putting facts with their arguments. If you can’t do that, then you need to stop jumping on people for something you don’t agree with. Someone who can clearly explain why they feel the way they do AND use factual data to back it up, well you have yourself an argument there. But if you just disagree because you don’t like someone for whatever reason and have nothing other than that, don’t even bother speaking. You can state your opinion, but don’t get upset when someone challenges you or doesn’t respect your opinion at that point.

Disagree? Let me know how you feel about this! Please remember to keep it respectful and professional. Thanks again!

First Rant EVER PUBLISHED!

As a first article, I decided what better than my first sports rant ever? I refuse to use twitter and facebook hates my rants. So here we are.

I think I will start with the perception that the Redskins are the number one team in Maryland from another blogger named “logicalvoicesays”. How horrifying! One could not be so naive. I realize that hometown pride and reppin’ your team is one thing. Giving them false credit over the current World Champs is another. He brings the argument that the Redskins “beat the Ravens on and off the field every year.” Please elaborate? Oh I think I shall do that for you!

The Ravens became a team in Baltimore in 1996 after Art Modell moved them from Cleveland. I don’t count the years before that because I feel that the Cleveland Browns should get that success or failure as it is their city. With that being said, 1996 was the Ravens first season on the field. Since 1996, the Ravens have won two Super Bowls, 2000 and 2012. Also in that time span they have made the playoffs nice times.

I hate the “rings” argument. That is fine for teams with a similar amount of history if you’re older and been around. If you started watching football in 1995 or later, you have no argument. It’s easy to pick a team that was recently a great team such as the Cowboys, or switch to one that is currently doing great such as the Steelers. If you started watching football, or any sport for that matter, after 1995 then the only championships you have to use is the ones after that year. I also try to keep the timelines even. So in this case, I will do just that. 

The Washington Redskins, since 1996, have won ZERO Super Bowls. They haven’t even been to one. They made the playoffs just four times including the emergence of RGIII. And no, it wasn’t thanks to him. Take a team effort. Alfred Morris deserves a lot of credit here as does their stout defense. That’s pretty meager for a team that is apparently a better team on and off the field than the reigning Champs.

Also since 1996, the Ravens have drafted at least, AT LEAST, two Hall of Fame bound players. (Ray Lewis and Ed Reed) Haloti Ngata is looking like he wants a bust there as well as Ray Rice. Give Flacco one or two more rings and he will probably end up there being a quarterback. If Todd Heap had stayed healthy, who knows? The Redskins haven’t brought in may players even worthy of probowl status. Orakpo is about it. Ryan Kerrigan is pretty good but fails to stay healthy. RGIII didn’t give us a good reading in his first season due to injury. I’m also not completely sold on scrambling quarterbacks yet either. Thanks Michael Vick. Alfred Morris was great, but so was Roy Helu and Evan Royster. What are they up to now? Clinton Portis deserves a bust in Canton, but I’m not one of the voters. Still, seems to me that the Ravens won that one too.

All this guy has going for him is that the Redskins won the game in the end of 2012 when the Ravens were dealing with a bunch of injuries while riding a two game lead in the division. Take that win, we took the Super Bowl.

So that, in a nut shell, is my first publicized rant for professional football. You can expect more everyday based on the actions of players, coaches, and Roger Goodell. Thanks for taking the time to read. If you have an comments, please be sure to keep them professional and considerate! Is there something you would like my opinion or perception on? Just ask!