Never bet against the Baltimore Ravens
By Terry Swayne
The Wizard, Ozzie Newsome.
The Baltimore Ravens were huge underdogs against the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers in last season’s playoffs, but as you all know….the Ravens beat all three teams. You would think that after winning the Super Bowl, Baltimore would get the benefit of the doubt. Nope….the National media will NEVER learn….don’t ever bet against the BALTIMORE RAVENS!
After two weeks of free agent losses, I heard it all…. “it’s going to be a bad year in Baltimore” , “the Ravens are going to finish last in the AFC North” , “the rebuilding process has started in Baltimore” , “the Ravens are a sinking ship” … Well, where are all of the nay-sayers now? As I stated last week, “Ozzie Newsome has a plan” and yesterday, with the signing of Elvis Dumervil, you saw first hand why the Baltimore Ravens are the reigning Super Bowl champions
Ozzie Newsome is the best GM in professional sports, period! The man has ice in his veins, and is nothing less then a a genius. Was it tough to lose Anquan Bolden, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Dannel Ellerbe, and Cary Williams? Sure, but a smart GM doesn’t let emotion get in the way. Signing players to outrageous contracts is the “norm” for many teams, but not for the Baltimore Ravens.
Ozzie Newsome, and the Ravens, are the NFL’s version of “MONEYBALL.” Ozzie understands that the Ravens are like a mathematical equation. You lose 11 starting players, and all 11 players had a certain value in the team’s “success equation” last season. Now, it’s about finding a group of players whose collective value is greater then the players you have lost…it’s that “simple”. They may not have the biggest names, but they understand and fit into your system. They fill your team’s needs, make up for your teams losses, and hopefully, you can find a bargain or two, to stay below the salary cap.
Ozzie Newsome places a “price tag” that he’s willing to pay each player on the Ravens. Once Ozzie determines that the perceived value of the player is less then the cap space he’s taking up….bam, said player is a former Raven. In the salary cap era, you can’t keep every player. After winning a Super Bowl, every team has their sights set on your free agents. It’s a business, and no one understands this better than Ozzie Newsome.
Yesterday was a great example of Ozzie being a great GM. He loses Paul Kruger to the Cleveland Browns for a 5 year/$40 million contract. Then yesterday, he signs Elvis Dumervil to a 5 year / $35 million dollar deal(base salary of 5 year/ 26 million). Dumervil has 63.5 sacks in six seasons, while Kruger has only started 7 NFL games in four seasons, and has 15.5 sacks in his career. Is Kruger a bad player? No, but the guy probably wasn’t worth the $40 million dollar contract he got, especially when you consider that the Ravens got a better player in Dumervil for $5(or $14) million dollars less.
The teams that make the biggest splash in March, usually are not the ones playing deep into the postseason. The Philadelphia Eagles learned this two years ago as their “dream team” never made it to the playoffs. I suspect the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns will learn the same lesson this year too. Those teams are getting the headlines now, but the Ravens get the headlines when it counts most….in the playoffs.
The Wizard of Oz isn’t done yet though. FS-Michael Huff is coming in next and he would fill the hole vacated by Ed Reed. Then the Ravens have to 12 picks in next months NFL draft. This bodes well for Baltimore. With their draft history, the Ravens will surely find 1-2 starters and the rest of the picks will help fill the depth charts with younger, faster (and cheaper) talent.
My advise to the National media…..bet against the Ravens??? NEVERMORE!