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Uruk-Hai

*** Official Baltimore Ravens 2012/13 SB Champs Thread ***

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Tough way to end the season, but we may as well start looking ahead.In no particular order, my list of concerns:1. Something has to be done with the O-line. I don't know if it's scheme, personnel, playcalling, or what. This group should be better than they play. Oher seems to have backslid, though he's gotten better at not getting false-start penalties. Birk looks done to me and McKinnie's schizo. I have very little confidence in their pass-blocking abilities (fully realizing that Flacco can get the ball out quicker) and the run blocking is extremely erratic.2. Need some help at S. I feel better than I have in a while with the CBs. Webb had a fine year & you can see Jimmy Smith coming. But Reed may be done and Pollard is really only good at playing the run. Zbikowski is what he is - a good nickle-type. They need more athleticism back there with coverage skills.3. LB upgrade. Here's another area where they need an athletic upgrade. Lewis is still very good but he doesn't have the speed he once did. Jarrett Johnson seemed like he's slipped to me - don't know if he's been hurt or just getting old. Ellerbe & McClain are average at best.4. They need another speed rusher. Suggs floundered at the end of the season and the Ravens got almost zero pressure the last few games. I'm hoping Ngata was hurt because he did nothing the last month.5. WR #3. I'm fine with Boldin & Smith, and with the TEs. I would like to see someone with more presence at #3 than Evans, though.I'm not up on either the Ravens contract situations or anyone else's, so I'm not sure what'll be available in FA but I think they need to be a player in it.Thoughts?

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Ray Rice is a free agent, right? Thats probably the first and biggest decision to make.

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Ray Rice is a free agent, right? Thats probably the first and biggest decision to make.

I'm assuming he'll be taken care of, so I didn't bother with mentioning it.

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Just heard Ray Rice on the "Herd". What an amazing interview. That's the kind of guy you want on your team. I've admired the guy as a player with what he brings on gameday but he seems like a real class act. :thumbup:

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Ray Rice is a free agent, right? Thats probably the first and biggest decision to make.

Definitely. Here's a list of the other FAs: http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/baltimore-ravens/... With that list it's tough for me to see Birk being back, and maybe them letting go of Johnson, Redding, Zbikowski, Kindle, Ellerbe. Grubbs will get the tag, I think. And I pray Lewis takes a pay cut. (Can't believe Cundiff's on for 3yrs@15 million.) This team will be competitive for the next 2-3 years easy. Does anyone know of a list of potential draftees falling to late round selections? I think it seem like FS/LB could be a selection for them in the first and then potentially LB/FS/C with the second?? Take the best player available at respective position. I think if Vontaze Burfict is available that would be interesting. Suggs is from ASU as well. Are there any FS type players that could make an impact that might fall to 30?

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Step one: grind up Billy Cundiff and feed him to Ngata.

Step two: follow Ngata around with a bucket for his #2 business.

Step three: make Lee Evans eat the contents of the bucket.

Yes I'm still mad!!!!!

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I am a Steelers fan so I hate the Ravens, but I "love" to hate the Ravens, if you know what I mean.

This is why.

See you next year, boys.

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I am a Steelers fan so I hate the Ravens, but I "love" to hate the Ravens, if you know what I mean.

This is why.

See you next year, boys.

NFL took the video down but I heard the audio on ESPN yesterday. It was Ray's post-game speech to the team and was fantastic.

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Well, who's the new DC gonna be? And how many assistants will Pagano take with him?

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For some reason, losing Pagano is more worrisome than losing the ones before him. Maybe because I think the defense is going to need a man of his skills in the years to come more so than before. His creativity and energy will be hard to replace.

I'm still very surprised that he got the job after only one year as a DC, exceptional though it was. He must have really impressed at the interviews and Indy must be intending to blow things up. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star was on PTI and Kornheiser's radio show Tuesday, after interviewing Peyton Manning Monday night, and said that Peyton was pretty much resigned to being gone, as much as because of the coaching staff turnover as anything else.

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I feel the same about losing Pagano. Is Pees the top choice? He did pretty well as NE's DC, didn't he?

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Every year, pretty much half of the previous season's playoff teams don't make the playoffs the next season. After a good four-year run, 2012 is feeling like the year the Ravens might not make the playoffs.

Maybe we get through one more year with a patchwork offensive line - Gurode moving in for Birk, McKinnie playing the final season of his two-year deal, and I don't know what they do at LG with Grubbs almost certainly gone in free agency. I know they'd love to keep him, but they also have to pay Rice, and find money for Flacco.

The D is still sturdy, but it hasn't gotten the infusion of top round talent who turn into stars in recent drafts. Tavares Gooden, Kruger, Kindle, and even Terrence Cody are top picks who aren't moving the needle. Webb is a star and Jimmy Smith looks like a top CB, but a great secondary can make up for weakness up front. It's interesting that with those 2, plus Cary Williams, CB might be a real strength of this team moving forward, after so many years of being the weak spot. I like McPhee, but don't see him as an every down 3-4 DE and Redding is getting old. Plus Jarrett Johnson is a free agent and is slowing down too - I wonder if Pagano might want him to grab him like Rex grabbed Bart Scott to help set a tone and institute a system. On the bright side, Ngata was hurt this year and will probably play much better next year, and Suggs is at the top of his game. But I see the warning signs of a D that struggles to get pressure and can be shoved around on the ground sometimes. They REALLY, REALLY need to draft an ILB with size and speed who can make an immediate impact - to be pretty much the guy that Tavares Gooden was supposed to be.

Another pending bright spot for this team is the passing attack. To me, Torrey Smith looks like he can be a Mike Wallace - not just someone who runs go patterns, but also someone who can catch a bubble screen and jet (like in the AFCC game) and even run crossing routes. Dickson either needs to learn to catch this off-season, or else Pitta becomes the primary TE target. He dropped SO MANY passes this year, not just that critical third-and-two in the Pats' game. I think Lee Evans is gone - for the $1M bonus he is due, plus something like $2.8M in salary, they can shop on the open market for a quality third WR. I would love to see Boldin become a slot guy, with Smith and another fast WR on the outside lifting the top of the defense to open up room underneath for Boldin, who is a much better WR once he has the ball than he is before he catches it.

Next year's schedule:

Home (6-2)

PIT - W

CIN - W

CLE - W

DAL - W/L

NYG - W/L (they'll split with these two NFC East teams, not sure which one they'll beat and which one they'll lose to)

KC - W

DEN - W

NE - L

Road (3-5)

PIT - L

Cin - L

CLE - W

PHI - L

WASH - W

SD - L

OAK - W

HOU - L

So their defense and running game will be a little worse, their passing attack a little better, and they'll go 9-7 and be on edge for a Wild Card.

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What do the ravens fans think about flacco moving forward? Confident? Worried? Unimpressed?

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What do the ravens fans think about flacco moving forward? Confident? Worried? Unimpressed?

They can win a SB with Flacco if they're solid everywhere else. He played really well against NE last week - maybe that was his long-awaited coming-out party and he carries it over. He is what he is - he doesn't seem to have the pocket instincts that the elite QBs have but has a lot of positives to help offset that (arm, touch). The playcalling is a little spotty and doesn't always play to his strengths. On the flip side, he's not nearly consistent enough throwing across the middle and that limits the plays that can be called. I think there's a bit of chicken-egg with all of this. Overall, I'm pretty happy to have him but I don't think he'll ever be top-tier.

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Every year, pretty much half of the previous season's playoff teams don't make the playoffs the next season. After a good four-year run, 2012 is feeling like the year the Ravens might not make the playoffs.Maybe we get through one more year with a patchwork offensive line - Gurode moving in for Birk, McKinnie playing the final season of his two-year deal, and I don't know what they do at LG with Grubbs almost certainly gone in free agency. I know they'd love to keep him, but they also have to pay Rice, and find money for Flacco.The D is still sturdy, but it hasn't gotten the infusion of top round talent who turn into stars in recent drafts. Tavares Gooden, Kruger, Kindle, and even Terrence Cody are top picks who aren't moving the needle. Webb is a star and Jimmy Smith looks like a top CB, but a great secondary can make up for weakness up front. It's interesting that with those 2, plus Cary Williams, CB might be a real strength of this team moving forward, after so many years of being the weak spot. I like McPhee, but don't see him as an every down 3-4 DE and Redding is getting old. Plus Jarrett Johnson is a free agent and is slowing down too - I wonder if Pagano might want him to grab him like Rex grabbed Bart Scott to help set a tone and institute a system. On the bright side, Ngata was hurt this year and will probably play much better next year, and Suggs is at the top of his game. But I see the warning signs of a D that struggles to get pressure and can be shoved around on the ground sometimes. They REALLY, REALLY need to draft an ILB with size and speed who can make an immediate impact - to be pretty much the guy that Tavares Gooden was supposed to be. Another pending bright spot for this team is the passing attack. To me, Torrey Smith looks like he can be a Mike Wallace - not just someone who runs go patterns, but also someone who can catch a bubble screen and jet (like in the AFCC game) and even run crossing routes. Dickson either needs to learn to catch this off-season, or else Pitta becomes the primary TE target. He dropped SO MANY passes this year, not just that critical third-and-two in the Pats' game. I think Lee Evans is gone - for the $1M bonus he is due, plus something like $2.8M in salary, they can shop on the open market for a quality third WR. I would love to see Boldin become a slot guy, with Smith and another fast WR on the outside lifting the top of the defense to open up room underneath for Boldin, who is a much better WR once he has the ball than he is before he catches it.Next year's schedule:Home (6-2)PIT - WCIN - WCLE - WDAL - W/LNYG - W/L (they'll split with these two NFC East teams, not sure which one they'll beat and which one they'll lose to)KC - WDEN - WNE - LRoad (3-5)PIT - LCin - LCLE - WPHI - LWASH - WSD - LOAK - WHOU - LSo their defense and running game will be a little worse, their passing attack a little better, and they'll go 9-7 and be on edge for a Wild Card.

:goodposting: That schedule looks a tad unfriendly, but I'm not quite as pessimistic as you are (yet). What worries me the most is something that's hard to quantify - that the Ravens got almost every conceivable break this season and didn't take full advantage (last week's game could easily have been in Charm City). They have no guarantee of getting those breaks again next year.Agree with you that, somehow, they've got to solidify that OL. Heresy I know but, if it came down to Rice vs Grubbs, I'd have to think about that for a minute. Years of drafting low in the first round has meant they get no shot at the elite LTs, but the Ravens still need one to build with. No clue how to get one, though.LB has been a pet peeve of mine all season. Not talking about Ray - he is what he is at this point and is still the best they have. As you say, they've semi-whiffed on a bunch of 'em here recently. I thought Kindle would give the Ravens the extra playmaker they needed there, but I'm not sure he'll ever see much action. I've been following the various mock threads and it appears that there could be some athletic LBs when the Ravens pick in the 1st :fingerscrossed:

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Ravens name Dean Pees defensive coordinator per @jeffzrebiecsun

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What do the ravens fans think about flacco moving forward? Confident? Worried? Unimpressed?

They can win a SB with Flacco if they're solid everywhere else. He played really well against NE last week - maybe that was his long-awaited coming-out party and he carries it over. He is what he is - he doesn't seem to have the pocket instincts that the elite QBs have but has a lot of positives to help offset that (arm, touch). The playcalling is a little spotty and doesn't always play to his strengths. On the flip side, he's not nearly consistent enough throwing across the middle and that limits the plays that can be called. I think there's a bit of chicken-egg with all of this. Overall, I'm pretty happy to have him but I don't think he'll ever be top-tier.
:goodposting: Though I disagree that the NE game was his coming out party. As Flacco himself said, that's how he plays every game, more or less. For example, last year at NE, he was 27 of 35 for 285 and 2 TDs. The Ravens played 12 games vs. Top 10 defenses this year, so that tended to deflate his numbers. But when he played a bad defense like the Pats, he looked like a good QB. When he plays a very good D, like the Steelers, he looks pretty average (his 92-yard last minute game-winning drive in Pburgh this year not withstanding).I like his make-up for the team and the division. He has the huge arm that's important playing outside in the AFC North and playoffs in bad weather. He can stand up to the pounding that tough opposing defenses and his own O line subject him to (he hasn't missed a drive in 64 regular season and 9 playoff games over four years). And he really doesn't give a crap about putting up big numbers if his running game and defense can win games. More to the point, where are the Ravens going to find someone better? If Tier One of AFC QBs is Brady and Ben, and Tier Two is Rivers and Schaub, then I probably put Flacco at the top of the next group that includes Cassel, Fitzpatrick, maybe Palmer, Moore and Dalton.I also think this year is his floor for the next 4-5 years -- he certainly won't play any worse than this. And his ceiling is 4,000 yards, 30 TDs and 10 INTs.

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Kinda bummed. I always liked Ricky.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/07/ricky-williams-is-ready-to-retire-but-it-may-not-stick/

The long, strange NFL trip of Ricky Williams may be over.

Mike Florio reports via a league source that Williams has informed Ravens officials of his plan to retire. We say only that it “may be over” because Florio was told there’s a belief Ricky’s decision to retire won’t stick.

Williams is often full of surprises, and veterans that decide to retire shortly after a devastating playoff loss often change their mind by training camp.

The news comes as a surprise to Baltimore. Williams said a few weeks ago he planned to continue playing and the Ravens would have gladly welcomed him back after a solid 2011 campaign. He was under contract to the Ravens for another season.

If this is really it, Williams concluded one of the most fascinating and often under-appreciated careers in recent NFL history. He’s 26th all-time in rushing yards.

When Williams first “retired” in 2004 to search the globe, it was hard to imagine he would carve out six more seasons, mostly as a hard-working role player. He was also suspended for all of 2006, but returned to the Dolphins and wound up topping 1,000 yards rushing in 2009 for the fifth time in his career.

The NFL is a less interesting place without Williams in it. But we have a feeling Ricky may not be done running just yet.

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Kinda bummed. I always liked Ricky. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/07/ricky-williams-is-ready-to-retire-but-it-may-not-stick/The long, strange NFL trip of Ricky Williams may be over.Mike Florio reports via a league source that Williams has informed Ravens officials of his plan to retire. We say only that it “may be over” because Florio was told there’s a belief Ricky’s decision to retire won’t stick.Williams is often full of surprises, and veterans that decide to retire shortly after a devastating playoff loss often change their mind by training camp.The news comes as a surprise to Baltimore. Williams said a few weeks ago he planned to continue playing and the Ravens would have gladly welcomed him back after a solid 2011 campaign. He was under contract to the Ravens for another season.If this is really it, Williams concluded one of the most fascinating and often under-appreciated careers in recent NFL history. He’s 26th all-time in rushing yards.When Williams first “retired” in 2004 to search the globe, it was hard to imagine he would carve out six more seasons, mostly as a hard-working role player. He was also suspended for all of 2006, but returned to the Dolphins and wound up topping 1,000 yards rushing in 2009 for the fifth time in his career.The NFL is a less interesting place without Williams in it. But we have a feeling Ricky may not be done running just yet.

Very capable backup and a unique and interesting individual. It would be fun to get high with him and hear some of his football and life stories.

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Rumors are wafting around Baltimore that his retirement might have something to do with a drug test - I wonder how that would work. You know you're going to flunk, so you retire before taking the test and then a couple of months later if/when you're clean, you suddenly unretire.

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Draft needs: Baltimore Ravens

By Clark Judge | CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

The window of opportunity is shrinking for the Baltimore Ravens, basically because two of their defensive mainstays -- Ray Lewis and Ed Reed -- are getting older.

I didn't say old; older, with both going season to season.

Yes, the Ravens were one catch from reaching their first Super Bowl under John Harbaugh, and, no, there's no reason to believe they can't be that close again. But the clock is ticking.

QB: In every one of Joe Flacco's four years in the NFL, the Ravens reached the playoffs -- twice advancing to the conference championship game. And in every one of those playoffs, Flacco won at least once. That's good. In the 2011 conference championship game, he drove the Ravens the length of the field on Baltimore's last drive for a game-winning touchdown ... except Lee Evans dropped the pass. So, the Ravens took the game-tying field goal ... except it went wide. Don't blame Flacco. The guy has a 48-24 record, including the playoffs, and last season finally beat Ben Roethlisberger -- twice, no less. He is solid, he is durable, he is entrenched and he's in line for a big raise sometime between now and 2013 -- especially after coach John Harbaugh called him "a premier player" at this week's owners' meetings.

RB: Ray Rice isn't just the team's best offensive player; he might be the team's best player, period. He can run. He can catch. He can block. He scores touchdowns. In short, he's the most important part of an offense that carried Baltimore to its second conference championship game in four years. But here's the question: Who's his backup? For the moment, it's Anthony Allen, a seventh-round draft pick who's a big but inexperienced back. Harbaugh said he'd like to add another via free agency, but the cupboard is nearly bare. My guess: The Ravens find that next guy in the draft. They don't, however, have to look for their next fullback. Vonta Leach is one of the best in the business.

WR: Despite missing two games, Anquan Boldin led this group in catches and was the go-to guy when the club needed a second-half rally -- as it did in a come-from-behind victory over Arizona. But he turns 32 this season and is slowing down. Besides, he's not a true No. 1 receiver. Rookie Torrey Smith was impressive, especially down the field, but he has to be more consistent. He drops too many passes and doesn't run precise routes. Undrafted LaQuan Williams jumped Tandon Doss on the depth chart, but he's little more than average, and I think you get the picture. With the Ravens due to make a commitment to Flacco, they should make a commitment to getting him another quality receiver.

TE: Dennis Pitta has the best hands of this group, and Ed Dickson the worst. Still, Dickson led the team's tight ends in catches. If there's a need, it's for someone who can block.

OL: The loss of left guard Ben Grubbs is huge, with the Ravens thinking maybe, just maybe, they could plug the hole with free-agent Evan Mathis ... until, that is, he re-signed with Philadelphia. Re-signing Matt Birk was significant, but he's near the end of his career and is good for one more season, tops. The Ravens must start grooming someone to take his place. Michael Oher was OK at right tackle but needs to improve. That's another way of saying that while he was a star in the movies, he was not on the football field. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie must improve, too, and first things first: He needs to lose weight. He's too heavy and participating in an offseason program is essential. There are needs galore here, with the club looking for help at all positions and a replacement for Birk after this season.

DL: Haloti Ngata was superb the first half of the season, and nothing special the second, and there's a reason -- he played hurt down the stretch, bothered by a deep thigh bruise. He returns to right end, while Pernell McPhee or Arthur Jones takes over for Cody Redding on the left side. McPhee is the logical choice, producing six sacks in his rookie season. Terrence Cody is the starter at nose tackle, and he needs to be in better shape this time around. Though he was adequate, he tended to fade in the second half of games.

LB: Paul Kruger probably moves from defensive end to outside linebacker to take Jarret Johnson's place, and that isn't just a change of position; it's a change of tactics. Johnson was a terrific run stuffer, someone who could set the edge; Kruger is a pass rusher, producing 5.5 sacks last season. Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs anchors the other side, with Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain (who was signed to a three-year deal) in the middle. On the surface, it appears a strong unit ... and it is ... for the moment. But Lewis is near the end of his career, and the Ravens must find an understudy. Sergio Kindle is still in the team's plans at outside linebacker, but it's time for him to make something happen.

DB: Lardarius Webb emerged as a dependable cornerback with a season where he led the team interceptions during the regular season and the league in interceptions in the playoffs. The other cornerback, Cary Williams, is physical and dependable -- leading the team in deflected passes -- and Jimmy Smith and special-teams standout Corey Graham are decent options if someone is hurt. Safety Bernard Pollard is an aggressive, physical presence known for big hits -- with one of them toppling New England tight end Rob Gronkowski in the playoffs. All-Pro Ed Reed is near the end of the line, but he's still one of the best in the game. While the Ravens lost Tom Zbikowski and Corey Nakamura, they signed overachiever Sean Considine as backup help.

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That's a good summary above. Offensive line is a big concern heading into the season -- again. Though to be fair, it was questionable in the preseason as well last year but came together pretty nicely. Still, I really thought that Ben Grubbs might have been the best player on it and losing him will hurt.

I know Kruger can rush the passer, it seems like he had a big sack every game in about a 6-week stretch in the middle of the '11 season, but can he play linebacker? Can he stop the run? He hasn't really had to yet. If he can, it will be huge for the defense.

I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

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I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

Great point. The Ravens will face a murderers row of teams with good qb's and potentialy strong passing games:SchaubBradyManningRiversThe Other ManningRomoVick(and D. Jackson)Roethlisberger 2xHonorable Mention:Andy Dalton 2xFor those that can't count, that's 11 out of 16 games that will test the secondary. ouch.

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I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

Great point. The Ravens will face a murderers row of teams with good qb's and potentialy strong passing games:SchaubBradyManningRiversThe Other ManningRomoVick(and D. Jackson)Roethlisberger 2xHonorable Mention:Andy Dalton 2xFor those that can't count, that's 11 out of 16 games that will test the secondary. ouch.
They beat HOU, PITT, CIN twice last year, lol... Houston got worse on the right side of the line, Pit is doing nothing but restructuring and cutting. Cincy is sitting back and building through the draft, just like Baltimore. P.Manning might play his last game against that defense. Brady should have fun too, in Baltimore. And Vick will have a season high turnovers in that game, bank it. I can honestly see this team going 14-2 and no less that 12-4 barring injuries. The most difficult matchups come from NYG, SD, DAL. I hate the fact that SD's starting OLB come from Blt. And they have to travel there again. Other than that NYG might sleep through the season again and DAL can be a pushover.

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I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

Great point. The Ravens will face a murderers row of teams with good qb's and potentialy strong passing games:

Schaub

Brady

Manning

Rivers

The Other Manning

Romo

Vick(and D. Jackson)

Roethlisberger 2x

Honorable Mention:

Andy Dalton 2x

For those that can't count, that's 11 out of 16 games that will test the secondary. ouch.

They beat HOU, PITT, CIN twice last year, lol... Houston got worse on the right side of the line, Pit is doing nothing but restructuring and cutting. Cincy is sitting back and building through the draft, just like Baltimore. P.Manning might play his last game against that defense. Brady should have fun too, in Baltimore. And Vick will have a season high turnovers in that game, bank it. I can honestly see this team going 14-2 and no less that 12-4 barring injuries. The most difficult matchups come from NYG, SD, DAL. I hate the fact that SD's starting OLB come from Blt. And they have to travel there again. Other than that NYG might sleep through the season again and DAL can be a pushover.
Whoa. Are you from around here?

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I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

Great point. The Ravens will face a murderers row of teams with good qb's and potentialy strong passing games:

Schaub

Brady

Manning

Rivers

The Other Manning

Romo

Vick(and D. Jackson)

Roethlisberger 2x

Honorable Mention:

Andy Dalton 2x

For those that can't count, that's 11 out of 16 games that will test the secondary. ouch.

They beat HOU, PITT, CIN twice last year, lol... Houston got worse on the right side of the line, Pit is doing nothing but restructuring and cutting. Cincy is sitting back and building through the draft, just like Baltimore. P.Manning might play his last game against that defense. Brady should have fun too, in Baltimore. And Vick will have a season high turnovers in that game, bank it. I can honestly see this team going 14-2 and no less that 12-4 barring injuries. The most difficult matchups come from NYG, SD, DAL. I hate the fact that SD's starting OLB come from Blt. And they have to travel there again. Other than that NYG might sleep through the season again and DAL can be a pushover.
Whoa. Are you from around here?
Yes. No... What are you asking? I don't see what the big deal is. Is there something wrong with my reasoning? They have gone 12-4 the last two years, and they have certainly improved this offseason. Not only that but they are consistently one of the better drafting teams. Cap situation is solid. Core players are all getting better. Plus they have 2 candidates for the hall of fame on the D. The QB has had a solid start to his career and now has a QB coach that has worked with the best. I love the odds of Flacco taking the next step. Whats not to like? All they did this offseason is replace two aging veterans with 4 guys that come at a fraction of the cost and at least two of them will, in all likelihood, be better than the guys they replaced. Their biggest hole came from losing Grubbs, but this just happens to be a year strong for interior lineman. If the team gels together like they should then a field goal on 4th and goal, dropped td pass and missed field goal wont stop them from getting that superbowl. Seriously what is not to like? Find me one spot that they are not average at worst, and that they cant improve this offseason. Most other teams have many more holes. The only other team thats ready to play for the AFC is NE. The Manning signing is a hail mary that reeks of bad karma, Houston can't stay healthy, Cincy is still young and on deck, Pittsburgh is on the cusp of rebuilding. I'm adamant that the players in the AFC, given what we know right now, will be Baltimore and New England.

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I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

Great point. The Ravens will face a murderers row of teams with good qb's and potentialy strong passing games:

Schaub

Brady

Manning

Rivers

The Other Manning

Romo

Vick(and D. Jackson)

Roethlisberger 2x

Honorable Mention:

Andy Dalton 2x

For those that can't count, that's 11 out of 16 games that will test the secondary. ouch.

They beat HOU, PITT, CIN twice last year, lol... Houston got worse on the right side of the line, Pit is doing nothing but restructuring and cutting. Cincy is sitting back and building through the draft, just like Baltimore. P.Manning might play his last game against that defense. Brady should have fun too, in Baltimore. And Vick will have a season high turnovers in that game, bank it. I can honestly see this team going 14-2 and no less that 12-4 barring injuries. The most difficult matchups come from NYG, SD, DAL. I hate the fact that SD's starting OLB come from Blt. And they have to travel there again. Other than that NYG might sleep through the season again and DAL can be a pushover.
Whoa. Are you from around here?
Yes. No... What are you asking? I don't see what the big deal is. Is there something wrong with my reasoning? They have gone 12-4 the last two years, and they have certainly improved this offseason. Not only that but they are consistently one of the better drafting teams. Cap situation is solid. Core players are all getting better. Plus they have 2 candidates for the hall of fame on the D. The QB has had a solid start to his career and now has a QB coach that has worked with the best. I love the odds of Flacco taking the next step. Whats not to like? All they did this offseason is replace two aging veterans with 4 guys that come at a fraction of the cost and at least two of them will, in all likelihood, be better than the guys they replaced. Their biggest hole came from losing Grubbs, but this just happens to be a year strong for interior lineman. If the team gels together like they should then a field goal on 4th and goal, dropped td pass and missed field goal wont stop them from getting that superbowl. Seriously what is not to like? Find me one spot that they are not average at worst, and that they cant improve this offseason. Most other teams have many more holes. The only other team thats ready to play for the AFC is NE. The Manning signing is a hail mary that reeks of bad karma, Houston can't stay healthy, Cincy is still young and on deck, Pittsburgh is on the cusp of rebuilding. I'm adamant that the players in the AFC, given what we know right now, will be Baltimore and New England.
We're just not used to such optimism around here. :)

Where I'm going to disagree with that kind of optimism is (1) that I think their key younger stars (Rice, Flacco, Oher) have plateaued, (2) their key older stars (Lewis, Reed) are on the decline, (3) they've lost several quality people who will be difficult to replace via the draft and (4) everything went right for them last year and they managed a shaky 12-4, if 12-4 can indeed be considered shaky at all.

Under today's passing-friendly rules, I think the surrounding cast has to be top 3 in the league to offset having about the 12th best QB in the league and right now I don't think it is.

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I actually like the way the secondary is shaping up, despite losing valuable depth at safety which is even more important considering Reed's increasing fragility. But it must be noted again that the Ravens missed out on facing most of the league's real gunslingers last year and got lit up by one of the few they did face (Rivers). With fully half of their schedule against 2011 playoff teams this year, they won't get that kind of a break in 2012.

Great point. The Ravens will face a murderers row of teams with good qb's and potentialy strong passing games:

Schaub

Brady

Manning

Rivers

The Other Manning

Romo

Vick(and D. Jackson)

Roethlisberger 2x

Honorable Mention:

Andy Dalton 2x

For those that can't count, that's 11 out of 16 games that will test the secondary. ouch.

They beat HOU, PITT, CIN twice last year, lol... Houston got worse on the right side of the line, Pit is doing nothing but restructuring and cutting. Cincy is sitting back and building through the draft, just like Baltimore. P.Manning might play his last game against that defense. Brady should have fun too, in Baltimore. And Vick will have a season high turnovers in that game, bank it. I can honestly see this team going 14-2 and no less that 12-4 barring injuries. The most difficult matchups come from NYG, SD, DAL. I hate the fact that SD's starting OLB come from Blt. And they have to travel there again. Other than that NYG might sleep through the season again and DAL can be a pushover.
Whoa. Are you from around here?
Yes. No... What are you asking? I don't see what the big deal is. Is there something wrong with my reasoning? They have gone 12-4 the last two years, and they have certainly improved this offseason. Not only that but they are consistently one of the better drafting teams. Cap situation is solid. Core players are all getting better. Plus they have 2 candidates for the hall of fame on the D. The QB has had a solid start to his career and now has a QB coach that has worked with the best. I love the odds of Flacco taking the next step. Whats not to like? All they did this offseason is replace two aging veterans with 4 guys that come at a fraction of the cost and at least two of them will, in all likelihood, be better than the guys they replaced. Their biggest hole came from losing Grubbs, but this just happens to be a year strong for interior lineman. If the team gels together like they should then a field goal on 4th and goal, dropped td pass and missed field goal wont stop them from getting that superbowl. Seriously what is not to like? Find me one spot that they are not average at worst, and that they cant improve this offseason. Most other teams have many more holes. The only other team thats ready to play for the AFC is NE. The Manning signing is a hail mary that reeks of bad karma, Houston can't stay healthy, Cincy is still young and on deck, Pittsburgh is on the cusp of rebuilding. I'm adamant that the players in the AFC, given what we know right now, will be Baltimore and New England.
We're just not used to such optimism around here. :)

Where I'm going to disagree with that kind of optimism is (1) that I think their key younger stars (Rice, Flacco, Oher) have plateaued, (2) their key older stars (Lewis, Reed) are on the decline, (3) they've lost several quality people who will be difficult to replace via the draft and (4) everything went right for them last year and they managed a shaky 12-4, if 12-4 can indeed be considered shaky at all.

Under today's passing-friendly rules, I think the surrounding cast has to be top 3 in the league to offset having about the 12th best QB in the league and right now I don't think it is.

Yes, I suppose I'm very optimistic. I'm a huge NFL fan. Even more so a Baltimore Ravens fan. Having said that I think people are really discounting Flacco. Dude the guy had two games last year passing for 300 yards with no touchdowns. He played 12 or so top 10 defenses. He lost 3 key receivers. And he lost his QB coach. On top of all that, he still looked top 10 to me. The only quarterbacks I would rather have than Flacco right now are: Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and maybe Stafford. The guys first four years have been solid in comparison to the best in the league. Remember, this was a guy that was thrown to the wolves and that wasn't a true first round pick by any means. Moreover, I don't think Rice has plateaued, and Oher has his replacement in line. Let him have some positional consistency before making a judgement though. He was still one of the better RT last year.... Lewis and Reed this, Lewis and Reed that. They've been replaced. Move on. Everyone that they lost, including Grubbs is replaceable in the draft, or on the roster.

And I don't see how everything went right for them last year? If anything, everything went wrong. They lost three games on missed field goals. They lost to Tennessee after destroying PITT. They were a couple of bounces from 15-1, home field advantage. And NE got dominated in the AFC championship. Here's a stat, out of 112 postseason games in which one team has outgained their opponent by 50+ yards and 2+ turnover, only two have lost.

One of the mock draft threads out there BLT got Chandler Jones and Michael Brewster in the first and second respectively. If they can get that, and, say, a guy like T.Y. Hilton who is a big play guy and a returner, then the team has improved leaps and bounds considering how spectacular their cap situation is next year with around $20 million coming off the books just on Reed and Ngata. Moreover, since the Ravens continue to bring in corners, it suggest they might play Webb at safety if they get the guy they want.

Dude, optimism galore. :football:

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Breaking news: Ravens sign Lardarius Webb to six year deal for $50 with $10 million signing bonus.

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Breaking news: Ravens sign Lardarius Webb to six year deal for $50 with $10 million signing bonus.

What does that do for their salary cap?! I thought they were up against it already, now this?

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It either freed up around $1 million or did nothing. But, it looks like Ed Reed could be on his way out...

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It either freed up around $1 million or did nothing. But, it looks like Ed Reed could be on his way out...

I don't follow, Reed is a S while Webb is a CB. What's the connection?

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Webb was a safety coming out of college. Notice too that the Ravens have brought in around plenty of corners for workouts in the week after the combine and pro days. I think that with his $10 million cap hit, they may be thinking of cutting him unless he signs an extension or a completely new deal. Good thing is he needs BLT more so than BLT needs Reed. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get cutsince that would avoid having to restructure a contract, say, Ngata's for instance. This year his hit is $17 million; whereas, in 2013 it is $9, I think. I mean, if Danny Gorrer, Williams, Smith, and even Brown step up their game, then there is no need for Reed. I really can't see him being the highest paid safety in the league next year, even though he is a great, no, phenomenal piece to the defence. In last year's playoffs he sealed Houston's last two drives, and the Patriots last drive. He was the one who blew up the Jets game. Reed played really well, but he's still too pricey relative to the alternatives. But that's just my opinion.

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It either freed up around $1 million or did nothing. But, it looks like Ed Reed could be on his way out...

:confused: The very good news of Webb's signing has no impact on Reed's status with the team, at least for 2012. Webb is the clear #1 CB, and Jimmy Smith should be #2 this year. By the end of last year, once Smith was acclimated and healthy, he was the #3 CB - Cary Williams was #2 and on passing downs, Smith would come in opposite him and Webb would move into the slot.I think the line-up this year will be Webb and Smith starting, with Webb moving into the slot when they bring in Williams as the nickel CB.But Pollard is very weak in pass coverage at Strong Safety, and the Ravens ILB's - the aging Ray Lewis and the stout but stiff McClain - are bad too. All the more reason to keep Reed as a Free Safety that can cover up their mistakes and make a QB think twice before throwing in the middle.Great move by the Ravens and a clear sign they consider Webb one of their cornerstones. I love the way they never let a true blue chip - Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Ngata - get away, even if it costs them a plus player like Bart Scott or Jarrett Johnson, and even if it means they can't be big players in the free agent market. That's why I am very confident they will reach deals with Rice and Flacco, too. Agents know the Ravens are willing to be fair and pay a player, within reason. Great ownership and management - pretty much the exact opposite of the baseball team in town.

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It either freed up around $1 million or did nothing. But, it looks like Ed Reed could be on his way out...

:confused:

The very good news of Webb's signing has no impact on Reed's status with the team, at least for 2012. Webb is the clear #1 CB, and Jimmy Smith should be #2 this year. By the end of last year, once Smith was acclimated and healthy, he was the #3 CB - Cary Williams was #2 and on passing downs, Smith would come in opposite him and Webb would move into the slot.

I think the line-up this year will be Webb and Smith starting, with Webb moving into the slot when they bring in Williams as the nickel CB.

But Pollard is very weak in pass coverage at Strong Safety, and the Ravens ILB's - the aging Ray Lewis and the stout but stiff McClain - are bad too. All the more reason to keep Reed as a Free Safety that can cover up their mistakes and make a QB think twice before throwing in the middle.

Great move by the Ravens and a clear sign they consider Webb one of their cornerstones. I love the way they never let a true blue chip - Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Ngata - get away, even if it costs them a plus player like Bart Scott or Jarrett Johnson, and even if it means they can't be big players in the free agent market. That's why I am very confident they will reach deals with Rice and Flacco, too. Agents know the Ravens are willing to be fair and pay a player, within reason. Great ownership and management - pretty much the exact opposite of the baseball team in town.

So you'd be shocked if the Ravens cut Reed?

This came out today as well

Don't get me wrong. Reed is good. But there is no value at rostering him for $10 million when there is a good chance by training camp's end there will be a stronger presence at corner and probably some free agents that could be had cheap than that. Not to mention to opportunity that cutting Ed Reed has for creating cap space for Flacco and Rice without skewing the payouts on those contracts to future years.

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It either freed up around $1 million or did nothing. But, it looks like Ed Reed could be on his way out...

:confused:

The very good news of Webb's signing has no impact on Reed's status with the team, at least for 2012. Webb is the clear #1 CB, and Jimmy Smith should be #2 this year. By the end of last year, once Smith was acclimated and healthy, he was the #3 CB - Cary Williams was #2 and on passing downs, Smith would come in opposite him and Webb would move into the slot.

I think the line-up this year will be Webb and Smith starting, with Webb moving into the slot when they bring in Williams as the nickel CB.

But Pollard is very weak in pass coverage at Strong Safety, and the Ravens ILB's - the aging Ray Lewis and the stout but stiff McClain - are bad too. All the more reason to keep Reed as a Free Safety that can cover up their mistakes and make a QB think twice before throwing in the middle.

Great move by the Ravens and a clear sign they consider Webb one of their cornerstones. I love the way they never let a true blue chip - Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Ngata - get away, even if it costs them a plus player like Bart Scott or Jarrett Johnson, and even if it means they can't be big players in the free agent market. That's why I am very confident they will reach deals with Rice and Flacco, too. Agents know the Ravens are willing to be fair and pay a player, within reason. Great ownership and management - pretty much the exact opposite of the baseball team in town.

So you'd be shocked if the Ravens cut Reed?

This came out today as well

Don't get me wrong. Reed is good. But there is no value at rostering him for $10 million when there is a good chance by training camp's end there will be a stronger presence at corner and probably some free agents that could be had cheap than that. Not to mention to opportunity that cutting Ed Reed has for creating cap space for Flacco and Rice without skewing the payouts on those contracts to future years.

I would be dumbfounded if the Ravens cut Reed. He says stupid stuff all the time. And then he shows up and plays. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ravens don't sign him after his contract expires at the end of the upcoming season, but they aren't cutting him now. For starters, they lost Zbikowski and Nakamura in free agency. Reed and Pollard - who really can't cover - are the only Safeties on the roster, other than some street gree agent Considine they just signed.

Ray reached the end of his contract a couple of years ago and the Ravens let him test the market. It was a cold dose of reality for Ray to learn that nobody in the NFL was interested in paying him more than the Ravens were willing to. So he came back. Maybe Ed has that same experience next year, or maybe someone like Pagano in Indy - who was once Baltimore's DB coach - gives him a final payday. But Reed will be in Baltimore this year, or he won't be playing in the NFL.

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AFC North draft needs

Baltimore Ravens Excerpt:

Overview: The Ravens were a play here or there from winning the AFC title for the first time since 2000, but this is a key draft for them because of an aging core and some free-agency losses. The Ravens got some key contributions from their 2011 draft class, with WR Torrey Smith becoming a big-play threat and DE Pernell McPhee and CB Jimmy Smith showing promise. The Ravens have eight draft picks, including two compensatory selections. One of the compensatory picks is in Round Four — a fortunate turn for Baltimore, which traded its original selection to Buffalo for WR Lee Evans.

Need No. 1: Offensive line

The Ravens have needs throughout the offensive line. Guard might be the biggest area of concern after OLG Ben Grubbs' departure, but Baltimore's depth throughout the line is shaky. Also, C Matt Birk is nearing the end of his career, and OLT Bryant McKinnie is in the last year of his contract. Five years ago, the Ravens drafted Grubbs in Round One and selected Pro Bowl ORG Marshal Yanda in Round Three; oh, for a draft like that one for the Ravens.

Need No. 2: Wide receiver

Smith's solid play gave the offense a big-time lift last season, and he could become the Ravens' go-to target in time. Veteran Anquan Boldin is a solid starter in his own right, so the Ravens are set at the outside WR spots for 2012. However, the Ravens' wideout depth is not a strength. Evans, who struggled a season ago, was released, and there is no clear-cut favorite for the No. 3 WR spot.

Need No. 3: Safety

FS Ed Reed is on the back end of a Hall of Fame-caliber career, and ideally, the Ravens would groom a center fielder to step in to replace him. This draft is not deep at safety, and the Ravens usually don't reach to fill needs, so it will be interesting to see whether they add to this position. They lost safeties Haruki Nakamura (Panthers) and Tom Zbikowski (Colts) in free agency; both had proven they could contribute on defense and special teams, but each left for other opportunities.

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It either freed up around $1 million or did nothing. But, it looks like Ed Reed could be on his way out...

:confused:

The very good news of Webb's signing has no impact on Reed's status with the team, at least for 2012. Webb is the clear #1 CB, and Jimmy Smith should be #2 this year. By the end of last year, once Smith was acclimated and healthy, he was the #3 CB - Cary Williams was #2 and on passing downs, Smith would come in opposite him and Webb would move into the slot.

I think the line-up this year will be Webb and Smith starting, with Webb moving into the slot when they bring in Williams as the nickel CB.

But Pollard is very weak in pass coverage at Strong Safety, and the Ravens ILB's - the aging Ray Lewis and the stout but stiff McClain - are bad too. All the more reason to keep Reed as a Free Safety that can cover up their mistakes and make a QB think twice before throwing in the middle.

Great move by the Ravens and a clear sign they consider Webb one of their cornerstones. I love the way they never let a true blue chip - Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Ngata - get away, even if it costs them a plus player like Bart Scott or Jarrett Johnson, and even if it means they can't be big players in the free agent market. That's why I am very confident they will reach deals with Rice and Flacco, too. Agents know the Ravens are willing to be fair and pay a player, within reason. Great ownership and management - pretty much the exact opposite of the baseball team in town.

So you'd be shocked if the Ravens cut Reed?

This came out today as well

Don't get me wrong. Reed is good. But there is no value at rostering him for $10 million when there is a good chance by training camp's end there will be a stronger presence at corner and probably some free agents that could be had cheap than that. Not to mention to opportunity that cutting Ed Reed has for creating cap space for Flacco and Rice without skewing the payouts on those contracts to future years.

I would be dumbfounded if the Ravens cut Reed. He says stupid stuff all the time. And then he shows up and plays. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ravens don't sign him after his contract expires at the end of the upcoming season, but they aren't cutting him now. For starters, they lost Zbikowski and Nakamura in free agency. Reed and Pollard - who really can't cover - are the only Safeties on the roster, other than some street gree agent Considine they just signed.

Ray reached the end of his contract a couple of years ago and the Ravens let him test the market. It was a cold dose of reality for Ray to learn that nobody in the NFL was interested in paying him more than the Ravens were willing to. So he came back. Maybe Ed has that same experience next year, or maybe someone like Pagano in Indy - who was once Baltimore's DB coach - gives him a final payday. But Reed will be in Baltimore this year, or he won't be playing in the NFL.

I never said that there wasn't value for him at less than $10 million. Suppose the Ravens land better players on offense in the draft than they do on defense, and Nick Collins gets cut before training camp; or a player like Janzen Jackson is available on the second day, or Mark Barron is available in the second round at around 23-29. It think it's plausible that if they see value in a player, which isn't there in Ed Reed, (because we both agree that his market value is less than his book value, that is that Ed Reed needs Baltimore more than Baltimore needs Ed Reed,) then they wont hesitate to cut Reed.

Not to mention that they will avoid having to restructure some contracts. Heck, any one of the corners on the roster could step up and create room for Webb to move to safety. The guy is a ball-hawk, and solid tackler. And his coverage numbers look good. But his talent may be better suited in a position other than corner. Don't forget that he wasn't tested this year. He didn't have to cover a Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Nicks, Cruz, Jackson. He's the number one guy and do you really think that between now and September some player that can cover these guys better than Webb won't appear? Stephen Gilmore, Jamell Fleming, Janzen Jackson are a bunch of good prospects at corner. Heck, the first set of players the Ravens brought in were cornerbacks.

I agree that they would always take him at the right price. The Webb signing gives them many options. If there is a higher value to some alternative, then... Don't be dumbfounded.

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"Some player that can cover these guys better than Webb" is not going to magically appear between now and September. They just gave him a $50 million deal ($20 million guaranteed) to be their shutdown CB. For the record, Webb didn't give up a TD catch last year and opposing QBs had a 55.6 rating when they threw at him. Whether or not you think he is a shutdown CB, the Ravens do think so and are paying him to be one. They're not suddenly going to move him to Safety.

And they're not going to cut Reed. If they were going to cut him, they would have done it before now to free up the money to keep Grubbs.

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