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March 1, 2009

Ravens: What does it all mean?

While the Ravens work to get Ray Lewis back under contract this weekend, it's hard not to look back on the past season and wonder just what I was missing. The team appeared to be as tight as it has been in years, performing well above expectations and responding to new coach John Harbaugh, but on the first day of free agent activity Friday, a key offensive player (Jason Brown) and a key defensive player (Bart Scott) jumped ship and rumors were flying all over the place that Ray Lewis was harboring some deep-seated resentment toward the team.

Maybe those rumors about Ray were totally erroneous. We'll find out soon enough. But Brown and Scott are gone, taking a chunk of this team's big heart with them.

I've never believed Lewis would leave, and it looks like he won't, but if he does, this is going to be a team with more question marks than anybody ever imagined.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:35 AM | | Comments (62)
Categories: Just football
        

Comments

There seems to be some passive-aggressive posturing going on in the midst of all the success of an AFC Championship caliber season.

I guess it comes down to people just looking out for number one and trying to make excuses, and cop attitudes to justify it. It's a free country, so have at it, but don't be surprised when the fans lose their passion for you when you enter the stadium, or the big media city of NY doesn't give a crap about an unproven linebacker wanting his own radio show, or demanding to be leader of the defense.

Jason Brown is a perfect example of where one should be careful what you wish for. He admits he wanted to stay here where he might have become a future Ogden-like presence in town on the Ravens O-line. Instead, he's in moribund St. Louis where he already stepped in it by admitting he'd have rather stayed here.

I think the problem is mostly agents promoting the posturing and aggressive pronouncements by the players to the media, because each million or so dollars is another 10% in their pockets - stature and happiness of the players and fans be damned. That world needs more Ron Shapiro's in it.

I'm afraid of the chance we'll get a pi***-off Ray Lewis back, and he won't be the same charismatic atack dog, but rather a sullen guy who's going to pout about the league not appreciating him. I hope he's above all that.

I also predict Bart Scott and Rex Ryan won't have two good seasons in NYC before they're gone one way or the other. I just don't think they're up for that meat-grinder of an atmosphere.

Wow, no smart-ass remarks in the entire post!

Are Antwan Barnes' legs broke? Didn't they draft Tavares Jackson to play football? Didn't Jameel McClain look like he enjoyed being on the field and might want to play some more? Did Chris Chester forget how to snap the ball? I haven't even mentioned Brendon Ayenbadejo. Also I heard there's this thing called "draft" coming up where you can replace old players with new ones.

Before you panic, Pete, let's take a moment to remember the great Ed Hartwell. It's hard to remember him, because he fell off the map after leaving Baltimore, but we should try anyway. And how about all those Super Bowls Jeff Mitchell and Adalius Thomas have racked up since leaving the Ravens (0)!

Quit worrying about the Ravens, Pete, and keep an eye on those pichers for us.

Pete,
I think when your "team leader" either makes statements or allows statements to be made for him that disparage the team, all of his followers will lose cohesion. If Ray had said "Baltimore is the place to be, so I hope they can match my numbers" no one would have thought any less of him. But he let people think "out there" was the place to be, so Jason Brown started seeing himself a guard and Bart Scott decided he wanted to be the "Ray Lewis" of the Jets, rather than follow some empty leader in the "Ray Lewis" of the Ravens.
I've heard Anita Marks say ad naseum that this is a "business"...well if some brand told me that they didn't want the Baltimore market share and that there were much better markets than Baltimore, that business would suffer. Now the jersey that Ray wears in the Sobe and Under Armor commercials (white shirt) represents the same team he put himself on. I'll still cheer for the guy, but where else did Ray have the chance to be a city legend than Baltimore? He gave that up. Sentences including Cal Ripken and Johnny Unitas will now be a name shorter.

Doesnt Ray always harbor deep resentments? He resented Billicks offensive game plans publicly on the radio. He resented that the team didnt sign him on HIS time table LAST time he negotiated a new contract. He resents it this time again plus resenting that the team actually let him explore other options. I am sure he will resent that the ravens wont let him moonlight as a Cowboy this year. I am sure he resents that Ozzie is paying the other 52 Raven players money that should rightfully be his. He probably resents it if you wear a Hawaiian shirt that isnt purple.

I'm not sure how Scott will fare in NY without the kind of supporting cast he had here ( Adalius who ? ) . Baltimore seems to be pretty deep at linebacker , and have several capable of stepping up . Brown got over-paid by a non-contender . Good luck with that . As far as Ray goes , did he really expect to have everyone drooling after him ? It now seems he might be in a save face mode . In the end I think he'll re-sign and he and the fans will kiss and make-up . Remember , everyone thought that the world was going to end when J.O. left . (retired).

Pete , it's simply other teams needed Bart and Jason more than the Ravens and were willing to pay for them , good for them , it's the business side of the game.................Ray over valued Ray , the Ravens didn't..............We have plenty of nice players to step up now and continue to grow as a team..............

Are you ready for some football?


no matter what these guys ALL have huge egos. I remember when Jamie Sharper was "drafted" b the Texans in the expansion, I spoke to his sister and she did nothing but bad mouth the Ravens and said He was glad to get away from Ray. I think maybe intense people cause people to get irritated.

btw to quote your article today:: News item:
Imprisoned NFL superstar Michael Vick reportedly has been approved for home confinement and could be released to his Virginia home in May.


My take:
It's going to be lonely hanging around home all the time. He should probably get a pet or something.
YOU are a very bad boy. go to your room.

Unfortunately, the age of Free Agency dictates that you are going to lose players and the change is inevitable.
We are going to miss both Brown and Scott. yet we have Tavares Gooden and Chris Chester, on our Roster, to use as their replacemements.
There are Centers available in FA and in the upcoming Draft.
We do need to pick up another ILB somewhere.
That could be a lower tier FA or in the Draft also.
I think the theme we have seen is for the younger players to receive the big money. A 33 year old ILB , with a Hall of Fame statue awaiting ?
He doesn't fit a need for these other 31 teams.
The Jets?
Ryan was targeting Scott all along. He's 5 years younger than Ray and a bit more versatile , at this point in time. Not hard to figure out, that Ryan had Bart and his agent on the horn at 12:01 A.M. Friday morning.
Dallas?
Keith Brooking was more in their price range and needs.
Denver?
They signed Andra Davis? Andra Davis, for crying out loud !
Jason Brown would have liked to have stayed, but he knew the Ravens weren't going to be able to shell out $20M of guaranteed money to him.
Bart would have liked to stayed. If we could have offered him the same 6 year deal at $8M per season, he'd still be in Baltimore.
However, that extra year of $8M would have cut into Ray's deal or another FA signing.
Ray has made a lot of money and all of it came from Modell's or Bisciotti's pockets.
He'll get about $17M of guaranteed money. What's not to be thankful for?
You couple that with his previous contracts? His last one was for around $50M and he collected $19M in guarantees. He made $50M .
Not a bad payday, for 15 or 16 years of service ......to the Company.
He just wanted that last big NFL paystub. .And yeah, he probably overpriced his true worth. These men play a youthful game and get paid as adults, for being entertainers.
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. Without the players, there is no NFL. This is why they ask for the money, that they do.
To think otherwise.....is pure foolishness.

Pete-

It just goes to prove that the game is played off the field as well as on it. If Ray's comments about wanting to jump ship prove to be true, then shame on him. The way this city and organization have backed him since he first arrived here is not to be glossed over. Need proof? Just look around this city and you'll see young and old, black and white, proudly wearing Ray's number 52 jersey. Scott's and Brown's departures were a matter of expendible parts who can be replaced. Ray, however, is the very personification of Baltimore.

Money talks and players walk ( or run ) !!! If the rumors of the number of fathered children are true, he needs all the money he can get. In the process of masagging his ego with his usual stupid p.r. blather, he has cost himself a few mill, and in the process insulted tens of thousands of rabid Raven fans who have supported him from the early days of his hook to the ' hood ' till now. A sad scenario to say the least. This is not about God Ray, this is about arrogant pride.

Why does someone ink a deal on the first day of free agency? Answer: Certainty that the deal won't get any better, especially when you are a Raven and Newsome has told your agent that.

GM Oz is obviously quite confident about his beliefs and negotiating abilities. The franchise suffrered from his "Trent Dilfer ain't good enough" decision until McNair was signed. He can make mistakes

Pete,

Could this mean a re-defining of the team? I mean losing Scott and Brown are not to go unmentioned, but is there much to worry about? Are the Ravens looking for a big offensive addition or something like that? Because if they are, the team could obtain a new leader in the locker room.

at 33 years of age, ray lewis is still a child. his behavior during the period leading up to free agency has made that clear. that said, should we really have expected anything different? the ravens recognized the potential for problems from day 1. remember, guys like rod woodson and shannon sharpe, smart guys that would never have found themselves in a situation like the one ray put himself in in atlanta, were brought here in part to keep ray in check. the reason they continue to advise him today is because he needs them. the record shows that left to himself, hes not likely to make good decisions. does anyone really think that ray lewis is that much different today than he was in 2000? i dont. he wasnt smart then and hes not smart now. the way hes run his mouth of late makes it clear that he has not become a genius. i dont for a minute buy the whole disciple of god thing. he cant spew all that pious nonsense and at the same time turn on the organization and the city that backed him in his darkest hour. he's certainly not become a shrewd businessman, an issue we can discuss over some bad barbecue. at the end of the day, its a damn good thing ray lewis can play football, because once you get past his skill on the field, whats left appears to be little more than a dumb punk. lets be honest, how many people really believe that were it not for his amazing ability on the field, ray lewis wouldnt be in prison somewhere? no doubt, as a player, ray has been exceptional. too bad the same cant be said of ray as a person.

In the off season before this last year's stunning playoff finish, Ozzie showed us all why he is one of the best GM's in football!! It was the free agent signings just before the draft, coupled with the draft itself that showed his mettle! Prior to that off season there were many fans calling for his removal. As for me, I have complete confidence in Ozzie and his staff to get us through this malaise and allow the Raven ' fist ' to pound away in 2009!!

Jason Brown wanted a top guard's salary and the Rams offered that. Although he did give up a chance to be on a playoff contender to be on a pretty bad Rams team.

Bart Scott said he was courted hard by the Jets and I'm guessing he maybe wanted to get out of Ray's shadow. I know he talked about wanting to stay together as a group and all that, but we see now that it was just talk.

Let's hope they re-sign Ray and the younger LBs behind him (Barnes, McClain, et. al.) mesh and have a great year.

I agree with this post but in a positive light. 2004, 2005, and 2007 were disappointing seasons and losing to the Colts at home in 2006 well lets not go there.

Change was needed and with so many contracts coming due, everyone had their best face showing.
Now it is possible that many Billick era veterans liked the easier routine and the style after all, minus the negatives from losing. The real surprise of Harbaugh keeping the team together may have its real fissures.

I think the success of the young offensive line, young tailbacks were a good sign of Harbaugh's energy. I was never a big believer in Rex Ryan, his squads let up in the big big games in the fourth quarter, had lots of penalties, and some of that following wants to go with him.

See ya.

The Jets will never win a bowl with Ryan. Lots of penalties and big egos will take over like his Baltimore squads before Harbaugh.

I think the difference this year will Coach Harbaugh and Joe Flacco at quarterback. In the past, Billick's teams were soft and if you pulled a piece they didn't respond well. Harbaugh's teams will have a toughness beat into them and will be more resilient and unified. Also having an established quarterback will provide a great stability constant for the team. Of course the constant through it all is Ozzie Newsome. I believe he's the absolute best GM in football and that he'll get things to work out, especially with the quarterback mystery solved.

At least this is what I hope.

I think Ray will sign with no other teams making significant offers. If he does sign, I think the Ravens will be fine. They've got some young linebackers in place of Scott.

But, I do worry about the offensive line. Is there anyone who can replace Jason Brown?

While Bart Scott was great during his time in Baltimore, I honestly don't believe it'll be that huge of a hit to the team. The Ravens have always done a terrific job of replacing their linebackers and Tavares Gooden really showed the signs of a future great player last year before injury.

On the other hand, the loss of Jason Brown is a big hit to the team. He was by far the second best lineman on the team (behind Ben Grubbs) and was able to solidify the interior of the line. The hope has to be that Chris Chester, off a good year at guard, can adjust to the challenge of kicking inside to center. Also, as evidence from last year, the Ravens struggle with depth along the line and losing Brown only furthered that problem.

Just let him walk !

I don't think Bart and Jason's departure have anything to do with the team not being as "tight" as they seemed and more about how they could make more money to take care of thier loved ones. Good luck Bart and Jason and thanks for all the good memories.

Peter,

Jason Brown: all Ozzie wanted to do was make Jason the highest paid center in the NFL, and he balked. Then to make it worse, Brown calls out the team saying it is defense first.

Lets go back to 2007: as a guard playing next to JO he had one of his best games against New England, trashing their run defense in the infamous Monday Night Meltdown.

Then in 2008: The coaches think Center is his position since he played it in college at North Carolina. The need for a guard to explode at the snap is more important than at the center position. I said then, switching him back to center was change just for changes sake, and the NFL game is different, so Guard is his better position. He didn't shine so brightly without JO next to him.

Only problem is : Ben Grubbs, 1st round draft choice, stole Browns job from under his nose. Then Yanda moves from tacke to guard. Then the biggest surprise was Chris Chester finally blossoming - the ravens don't need Jason Brown to play guard. Let him go. I'm a little surprised he went as cheap as he did to the Rams at $7mil...at $8 mil or more, the ravens would have been comped at least a 3rd round pick, equating Browns draft position.

All said, Ozzie made a very smart and sound decision by not offering anything more than elite Center money...I'm a little disappointed in Browns comments, therefore not so sad to see him go.

Bart Scott : No brainer! He made his choice for reasons similar to Mark Texiera, "bright lights, big city"...I'm a Bart fan, and I will root for he, Rex and the Jets, unless they are playing the ravens.

Lets face it, the big happy family is the NFL free agent players family, not the Baltimore one. I'm gonna root for the guys in purple...period.

Pete, you know it's all about the money. As soon as the fans realize that and understand the city/fans are secondary the sooner we can get on with next season. GO RAVENS!!

He's the leader of this team, sure it's Harbaugh's team, but Ray is definitely the motivational leader that pushes the Ravens to get out there and place 110%. It would be a tragedy if Ray left, which he probably isn't.

Sometimes trite phrases like "sending a message" or "putting someone in their place" are so appropriate. This is one of those opportunities for the Ravens, Bisciotti and Harbaugh. Lewis overplayed his hand by allowing his gigantic ego to distort his real value in the eyes of everyone else in the league except himself. He needs to be "brought back down to earth" by taking the first, overly generous $24 million offer off the table, and paying him what he's really worth. Bisciotti may be very rich, but he's also very human. Anyone, especially a so-called friend, would be intensely offended and deeply hurt by Lewis' comments to the NFL Network at the combine about the Jets and Cowboys and those relayed recently by Demarcus Ware about Lewis and the Cowboys. The Ravens have done nothing but support Lewis, especiallly when his career and even his whole personal future was in serious jeopardy after the Atlanta murders. They have also always extended his contract and rewarded him with hefty signing bonuses well before the previous contracts ended. Lewis should be grateful and loyal instead of arrogant, self-centered and overly impressed with himself. He's still sitting by a phone that hasn't rung, but he's still "getting the message". Or, is he?

screw Lewis his mouth got him in the spot where he is now sorry to see scott go. hope we can keep Leonard he play real good last year.don't know much about Foxworth,but i hope he better then McAlister

Ray will sign with the Ravens....all that hype was just posturing and probably more than a bit overblown by the media.
Jason Brown and Bart Scott left because the dollars were way more in their new locations. Ozzie Newsome has made many astute calls in the business of managing the Ravens salary cap vs. building talent year to year and I trust these calls will turn out just as well.
I wish they could find the dollars for Jim Leonhard though...I loved his tough play last year..particularly his punt return capabilities.

I don't think you missed anything Peter, just reading too much into it. Questions? Not really. Bart decided to take $48 mil over $42 mil. With potential replacements on hand (McClain, Burgess, Barnes) I can see why the Ravens did not go any higher. With an apparently cool relationship with Harbaugh and a great relationship with Ryan, I can easily see why Bart took the higher offer. Is Bart another Ed Hartwell and Jamie Sharper? I don't know since I thought both of them would be able to duplicate the success they had here. We will find out.

As for Brown, again, he took the most money. Apparently Ozzie feels Chris Chester showed enough last season to put the position in his hands. As he says all the time, "right player, right price."

I would have loved to keep them both and let Ray walk, but ultimately I want this to be Harbaugh's team with his players. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made and with the players slotted to come in and take both Bart and Jason's places, the cost/value/production ratio I believe is firmly on the Raven's side.

Peter, a couple of things....

First, Ozzie would never have let Scott and Brown go unless he thought he had the pieces to replace them.

Second, what would the writers in this town have said if the Ravens had given a similar contract to Bart, a player who's made exactly one (1) Pro Bowl in his tenure here?

I'll miss Jason Brown too, but but not at 37 million like he got from the Rams. We have assets already on the team plus there is the draft and free agents out there.

Lastly, Ozzie is playing this Ray-Ray thing like a violin. Right player, right price. He knows the big money is not out there for Lewis, and at 24 million over 3 years he is probably overpaying him as it is.

What exactly is Ray "resentful" about? The team stood behind him during the Buckhead incident and made him, at the time, the richest defensive player in the league. Ray, never, ever took a hometown discount from the club. Now he wants the Ravens to overpay?

I guess the theme of my message is "In Ozzie I trust."

Pete,

I have no worries on this team at all. We have Gooden and Burgess waiting. I would sign Derrick Brooks and give him 2 years and 11 million. Say goodbye to Ray.

Brown was not worth 7 million a year and Scott could be the next Hartwell.

Ray had HIS chance to show loyalty on a fair contract to his city and team. I would rather have Brooks or no Brooks and the rest, then Ray back as a malcontent.

This is not dumping on Ray. He treated it as a business and so be it. We do too. I bet the Ravens sign another player today therefore allowign them to justify pulling the existing offer to Ray.

I would rather have Brooks who may be bitter and have something to prove, then a big mouth who I think people get tired of in the locker room but are afraid to speak up. It will be a tighter team without Ray.

There's no mystery or dissension here.

Jason Brown was offered, by most accounts, $2 million more a year by the Rams than the Ravens. He hoped the Ravens would match, they didn't. He'd be crazy not to take the Rams' offer.

Bart Scott was offered more money by the Jets, and apparently even gave the Ravens a chance to match. They didn't. He took the money. I don't blame him.

Ray Lewis had an inflated sense of his monetary worth, and was mad when the Ravens didn't give him what he wanted. His ego must have taken a severe hit to see Keith Brookings sign with the 'Boys, and he didn't even get an offer from them or another club. Now, he's in a position where he has to take what the Ravens will offer. I'm sorry his agent didn't offer him a more realistic picture of what offers would be, but them's the breaks. He will come back to the Ravens, or retire out of spite. But no one's gonna pay him $24 million over the next 3 years to be retired, so he will be back.

There's no mystery - Ozzie has a budget, and won't overpay- except, apparently, for cornerbacks who grew up in Baltimore.

Well,Pete,the Defense is going to be interesting anyway with a new coordinator but when the leader decides he might want a new ship to captain.....yeh,it stinks a little bit.I just think Jason B. does'nt want to play center; Bart needed more money and will be a favorite with Rex up north.Let's be prepared for " change" next season(that's a buzz word we're all getting used to hearing) but the offense should be developing better.Our team without Ray Lewis?Actually,if that happens,who is going to step in to replace him?

People are in such a panic over the recent free agent results and the moves made (or not made) by the Ravens.

Reality check- Chris McAllister and Samari Rolle have not been made any offers since becoming free agents. The two would be have made a combined $10M next year!

Jason Brown is now the highest-paid center in the NFL. I don't remember seeing him at the Pro Bowl.

Will anyone really miss Corey Ivy?

There are other players that are or will become available that fit in to the goals of the Ravens and are financially responsible. If the Ravens sign an offensive lineman, which is likely and are able to draft a Brandon Pettigrew, the menatlity will change.

Just a year ago, the sky was falling when McMair retired, JO was presummed done. etc.


When you have a salary cap you have to be careful of overpaying players since for every over paid player you will have to underpay somewhere else.
Brown was looking for top $$$ and winning teams/organization was secondary otherwise he wouldn't have gone with the Rams.
Scott wanted the money and preferred to stay with Ryan or the Ravens and the Ravens didn't need to over pay him since they do have LBs and have always been able to develop them.
Lewis seriously over valued himself. A soon to be 34 yr old LB isn't going to get a lot of attention from teams.
People may say they over paid for a CB but it was for a young player with speed and whose performance has been improving. It is also a position where the Ravens have had trouble filling from within and the ones they had (CM and Rolle) simply were unreliable (missing 50% of the games the last 2 seasons).
The Ravens seldom make the huge $$$ mistakes a team like the Redskins do (Hall and Haynesworth?). The Redskins have won 10 games once since 1991 and unfortunately for their fans, Snyder is a slow learner.

I am a die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan and besides the fact that we won the big one and we have never really been perfect in the free agency period ie.Alan Faneca,Rod Woodson Joey Porter etc.however with such a young and great promising franchise to see and up and coming center let go because of "Guard money to Center money"with a great young QB "Franchise" if you will.. losing a great DC and key players is not the way to go in the AFC North and to top all other things there is not yet 1(one) player on the Baltimore Ravens roster past or present to go down as the absolute best that there should be no reason what so ever that the front offic e should not even think about letting Mr.Ray Lewis walk and although he didn't get any looks in free agency is not a knock on him but a knock on the organization for not protecting the best player even to wear the ravins uniform..I dont know about now but just about 30 years ago give or take Organizations are formed by the greatest players from there past teams.Ozzie Newsome was a great WR or maybe even tight end and I remember how he used to kill the steelers when you guys were the Browns and guess what hes still there and no disrespect to Ozzie but he was not the motivater and leader of the Darn city let olone the team and without Ray could honestly say you guys would have made it to the afccg you guys should thank your lucky stars that someone maybe Ozzie decided to pick the greatest player in raven history.Oh and by the the impact that ray had and still should have on this team is a mirror reflection of somebody named Joe Green who changed the way a defense looked and prepared for a team. and Yes hes still there now just like ozzie the only difference is still only one ring and almost got two this past season but without pure leadership from a guy like ray it could be another 8 years for another ring,and please dont get me wrong although i love the Steelers without Ray the rivalry is not gone but diminished somewhat like Joeys absence roaming the 45-50 yard line at pregame.The best rivalry in football is slowly diminishing first joey then bart next ray oh next year maybe James Harrison before you know it,it will be steelers ravens/browns part 3 oh yeah remember that rivalry dead again too.

I guess the thing that surprises me the most is paying $28M for Foxworth who was available last yr from Den to Falcons for a 7th rd pick. Yet the Ravens wouldn't pay the market value for Brown at center, or Scott. How do they feel two players who wanted to stay. How do you offer Lewis barely more than you sigend Foxworth for?

It seems we entered this season with "more question marks than anyone could imagine" but were answered with clear and resounding answers, i.e a quarterback, a productive offense and a rebounding defense. With a few personal individaul highlighted perfomances, maybe Baltimore has a team again; whose success revolves around "team" and not stars...refreshing, I'm staying hopeful and optimistice about the team who produced unexpected answeres last season.


.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Yes, they did enter the season with a lot of question marks this past year. Don't know if you want to do that every year.

WE STILL GOT JOE BABY!

Pete,have to disagree with you on this one,it was a foregone conclusion that one of the linebackers had to go and the fact that it was Scott,was not surprising.And when your center wants guard money and can get the extra 2 million somewhere else,more power to him.WIth Yanda coming back we can find another center.I doubt Ray's play will be affected by his mouth,it never has been before and shouldn't be now.He is surrounded by plenty of very good young LB's,and Scott leaving reminds me a lot of Sharper,Hartwell,AD,etc,etc,etc.They never looked the same after leaving the Ravens.Jeff Saturday would look good in a Raven's uniform,if he hasn't already signed elsewhere.

Ozzie may have dug ditches all around this team and it seems some gapping holes have now opened up. If Bisciotti liked Leonhard and would like to see more players like him, why will we looking for a kick returner ? They should pay our players to stay and not be bargain shopping all the time. You can win when spend sometimes. Ray is another story but should rewarded for his hard work and dedication. He took the wrong approach and it back fired. Maybe the negoitating technics need to be revamped however you've lost a premier center, upper tier linebacker, kick-returner and signed cb. Wow ! Great start for free agency ! Patch-work quilts are not EnVogue this season gentleman. Marvel Smith has back problems. Most of all the tampering of players is not acceptable and you have the prime opportunity to capitalize on that mistake (Brown -deal).
Aleast look to move up to the slot they occupy in the first round. That signal is intended to send a clear message to teams and the league- Respect The Ravens. Keep the ball moving !!!

Pete,
Here's my question marks: did a Raven's insider really say "he (RayLew) couldn't cover a dead man with a blanket"??? If so, why don't they cut the cord now (a new leader will appear)?!?
And, why didn't the wizOoz lock up JB and/or BartS a year or so ago when he probably could have done so? Since he wouldn't/couldn't overpay when the current market price was revealed, he obviously must have great confidence in the "next-men-up" - who are they and how do the Ravens evaluate their talents?
Richard

Pete,

I have no worries on this team at all. We have Gooden and Burgess waiting. I would sign Derrick Brooks and give him 2 years and 11 million. Say goodbye to Ray.

Brown was not worth 7 million a year and Scott could be the next Hartwell.

Ray had HIS chance to show loyalty on a fair contract to his city and team. I would rather have Brooks or no Brooks and the rest, then Ray back as a malcontent.

This is not dumping on Ray. He treated it as a business and so be it. We do too. I bet the Ravens sign another player today therefore allowign them to justify pulling the existing offer to Ray.

I would rather have Brooks who may be bitter and have something to prove, then a big mouth who I think people get tired of in the locker room but are afraid to speak up. It will be a tighter team without Ray.

I can't believe the Ravens didn't lock up at least Bart Scott. I keep hearing Ray will be back but who really cares if he comes back at this point. Do you really think it will make a difference after his remarks about the team? I think we made a huge mistake not locking up Scott. I hear the younger guys will take his place but Scott wasn't injury prone like T. Gooden is. So what is your take on this?

Ray may not leave but you have to wonder about his state of mind because if he comes back here it will be the last contract and a humbling experience. After all, the man who should know him better than anyone else , Ryan, just said it all by opting for Bart Scott. And we've already seen how disruptive Lewis can be when he is unhappy. Time will tell.

Unless you are the Pats, Steelers or Colts no team seems to be able to sustain serious contending Super Bowl status for more than one year or maybe two.

As far as I can tell, Harbaugh will have to start all over again, as will everyone else except for the Steelers, Pats and maybe the Colts. Too bad the Ravens didn't win the Super Bowl this year because then they could have broken up this unit and felt okay about it. Now they will just break it up.

Pete,
Here is what it all means. The Jets and the Rams agreed to pay Scott and Brown respectively a fair chunk of change more for their services than the Ravens were. A tight team can come loose quickly when a number of its starters enter free agency and are highly sought after. At this point it looks as though a lack of interest in Lewis by other teams will do more to keep him here than anything else.
Ozzie is going to have to do some serious reconstructive surgery during the draft and the off season to fill the hole in this teams heart.

Pete,
Here is what it all means. The Jets and the Rams agreed to pay Scott and Brown respectively a fair chunk of change more for their services than the Ravens were. A tight team can come loose quickly when a number of its starters enter free agency and are highly sought after. At this point it looks as though a lack of interest in Lewis by other teams will do more to keep him here than anything else.
Ozzie is going to have to do some serious reconstructive surgery during the draft and the off season to fill the hole in this teams heart.

one 33yr. old chicken dancer does not a team make!
leonard, scott,brown, ouch!!

Ray has got nowhere to go. The Ravens offer is the best on the table and he would be wise to accept it. Scott is a loss but there are some good linebackers waiting in the wings. We'll be all right.

I'm concerned that the Ravens were unable to sign Brown and Scott. I'm equally concerned that Jim Leonard and others may soon follow. That being said, I believe in the Ravens organization, and trust that the decisions they make in this offseason will not only make the Ravens competitive next year, but also in the years to come. It's not easy dealing with salary caps, agents, out of touch owners, and players egos. I give kudos to the Ravens for doing pretty darn well for themselves in the short time they have been in the league, and until they prove otherwise, i'll continue to support them with the same type of energy they display on the football field.

Pete,........ Brown & Scott got huge $$$$., that the Ravens did not want to match or beat............ I need you to give me some other evidence that they were having issues with the team,.......otherwise,......I don't think you were missing anything !

I think the biggest loss has been Rex Ryan. Plenty of defensive players have left before and became duds on their new teams.Ravens do seem like they're in shambles right now though,not SB contenders for sure.

I agree with you Pete about Lewis and Brown. It will be hard to replace Brown on the offensive line, he was a leader and a very solid blocker. It is in Lewis' and the Ravens best interest for him to stay in Baltimore. He will continue to provide leadership to the team while being a solid contributor on the defense. Lewis is valued more to the Ravens than any other team. Ray learned this on Friday when no team called him with an offer after being offered a more than generous contract from the Ravens.

I disagree with you however about Bart Scott. Scott is a replaceable entity, see Jaime Sharper and Ed Hartwell. A competition can be held in Training Camp between Antwan Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Nick Greisen, Brendan Ayanbadejo, and Jameel McClain for Scott's former position. Whoever would win the job would play his spot just fine and most likely even better.

We are slowly drifting into a new era with the Baltimore Ravens. For years this team has relied a lot on it's defense, and if Ray Lewis comes back (who would have ever thought anyone would be saying that?), he can still spark this team.

Though I think the Ravens will become more offensively minded especially with the new crops of players that they draft in, so long as Joe Flacco pans out as the franchise QB.

Oh Please, stop looking for trouble where there is none.
Brown and Scott both wanted to return, and the Ravens could have matched both if they wanted to and kept both players. But they are both going to be grossly overpaid in the coming seasons, so we let them walk. Nothing to do with not liking camp harbaugh. And Ray is just being a child, trying to use his being upset as a negotiatiating tactic to get us to give him more money, since he lost the leverage he attempted to create using the Jets and the Cowboys. He just wants his money, it has nothing to do with his happiness.

Grow up Shmuck. Seriously!

In Ozzy We Trust!

I never quite understood why we were spending so much time (and money) chasing Ray Lewis, and letting all the younger talent jump ship. So now we have to replace Bart Scott and Jason Brown. I see Scott as replaceable, but Brown should have been a #1 priority. I can't understand what Newsome is thinking. Perhaps what Jason said has some merit - that we only spend big money on defensive stars. It's kind of ironic that we don't spend money on players that actually will help our new QB - that is supposed to be our future...right? This worries me as a fan. It seems we have no eye (Newsome) for offensive talent, or at least a need to retain quality players on that side of the ball. Maybe they have an eye on another center that can replace him? I doubt it. Ray Lewis, as much as I like him as a player, this posturing and comments he left in the media should have all but sealed his fate with re-signing. Now we have to worry about Rex fleecing our team it seems. Looks like Leonhard is probably going to the Jets......why do we not want him as our player?

Ray Lewis is a man of God. Who is this Money God, Ray speaks of?

Loosing Bart Scott is not that big, our organization has always had a plethora of linebackers waiting in the wings. On the other hand our organization/Ozzie & co have always had a lack of respect for O linemen. So far the only linemen we were willing to pay were JO and now Grubbs. there was always talk of signings ie, Wally Williams, Quentin Neujahr and others but they were always let go for the same old philosophy of "we'll just plug some one else in". Fact: the teams with the top offenses usually have the better offensive lines, ie, Colts, Steelers, Patriots etc. The Ravens in 08 finally develope a respectable offense mainly because of the "O Line" and now Ozzie goes back to his old ways of only careing about the defense. I will admit that Chester played much better last season but he is still no Jason Brown. I've seen Chester get pushed around too often to believe that he is going to be able to handle the likes of Casey Hampton, Shaun Rogers or Albert Haynesworth to name a few. Since we didn't sign Scott why not pay Jason a little more and maybe pay Foxworth who only had one interception last year a little less? But then there we go again, Foxworth is getting paid because he is on Ozzie's favorite side of the ball, or at least the $$$ say so.

Pete, you're just confused because your fellow Sun reporters have been lying to us all. They are so intent on painting a rosy picture of the post-Billick Ravens that they suppressed or ignored obvious signs of trouble.

For instance, the team was supposed to be tougher under Harbaugh but crumbled in the 4th quarter in three losses to the Steelers; they were supposed to be more disciplined but spit in opposing players' faces and committed crucial personal fouls (especially the one on the punt return late in the AFC Championship, which was completely ignored by the Sun in the next day's paper); our offensive rankings were worse in almost every category than they were in 2006 yet the Sun awarded Cam Camerson with "Offensive MVP"; and the recent handling of Chris McAllister was a red flag for anyone without an agenda that Harbaugh is a weak leader (didn't have the guts to fire McAllister to his face).

Now, we see a mass exodus of free agents and yet another reshuffling of the offensive line. But, if we are to believe the Sun, everything will be fine because Billick isn't around anymore. That is "what it all means."

I'm sad we lost Scott. But the bidding war and Lewis' current situation means I get to say "I told you so."

If we are actually to believe the Sun, Brown and Scott both wanted to come back, I imagine Leonard does as well - or at the very least would want to play for Rex.

But looking at the way Ryan supposedly showed up at Scott's house at 12:01 points to something a lot of people seem to have forgotten:

This defense has been a family in its own right ever since Billick started playing favorites after the super-bowl. And Ryan has been their coordinator and friend for awhile now. The defensive backs that go out to the Jets are just following uncle Rex.

Everyone else we lose is the result of "In Ozz We Trust" Newsome, who's judgement I question severely at this point.

Overall I think Ozzie the businessman is what's eating the players right now. Samari's claims of mistreatment point pretty heavily in Newsome's direction.

And it's the offseason. They're not really a team right now. The atmosphere is completely different when you're not on the field with your teammates on a regular basis.

But I have to say Pete, I can't blame you for being unsettled. There's good reason for it, I think. No matter what the actual cause is, nothing seems to be going right in Baltimore.

Would we be talking about Leonard if Landry hadn't been injured? They couldn't guarantee Leonhard a starting job, and only give Landry a minimum tender? Someone must have some faith in Nakamura and Zbowski (sp).

As I recall the O line was a disaster in the pre-season, and it got fixed enough for most of the year.

Ray needs to teach the new kids film study out the wazoo and tell them to not get in trouble like he did and be glad he can hide behind Ngata to make tackles for another year or two. He isn't articulate enough or polished enough to be a TV commentator, so he needs to make hay while the sun shines in the West.

We will forget Jason Brown by the start of the 09 pre-season.

Just my .02

Ravens making unpopular PR, how do you raise ticket prices, gain salary cap by jettising Mc C, losing o-line staters,& the fantastic Jim Leonard,
the 2 factors don.t add up. I would hope the reporters ask these questions.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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