Ozzie Being Ozzie
The 2015 season for the Baltimore Ravens was absolute disgrace. There is no sugar coating it. From the very beginning, it felt as though everything that could go wrong with the team, would. The Ravens first round draft pick, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, never touched the field in 2015. In game one, defensive leader and perennial pro bowler Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles and was lost for the season. And honestly, the snowball just went downhill from there.
Coming into the offseason, I’m not going to lie, I leaped a lot pf pressure on General Manger Ozzie Newsome’s shoulders. In Baltimore, Ozzie is like a god like figure that gets a lot of the credit for many of the great players the Ravens have been able to draft or sign over the years. I too have always been a fan of Ozzie. But lately, there have been some questionable moves that really left me questioning his recent record. Truth be told, Ozzie’s lack of success at key positions such as wide receiver and corner back has left many fans wondering why he continues to ignore or fail in these two areas, which have directly cost the Ravens chance to make championship runs.
Well, with all that being said, Ozzie entered into this off season with a few major issues he had to address. Don’t get wrong, some of those issues are still prevalent, but we must give Ozzie credit for the moves he has made so far.
Heading into the off season, the number one need for Ozzie was to restructure the contract of Joe Flacco. Any true knowledgeable football fan knew that this was the plan all along when Flacco signed that huge deal after the Superbowl. He was never going to see all that money, and it would eventually be restructured when the big money years approached.
Like planned, Ozzie and Joe's management worked another "big money" contract that would give him a lot of money up front that would cost against the cap, and take care of Joe for doing the team and solid, while not hurting us from making moves. This was very important and a great job by Ozzie.
To help the offense, Ozzie wen t out and signed free agent Tight end Ben Watson to help bolster that tight end position. While many felt we were just fine with Crockett Gilmore and Max Williams, I thought this was great move. Sure, its easy to look at the year Watson had with Drew Brees, who loves tight ends, last year and get fooled. But I truly think Watson can be a big help to our offense.
With so much inconsistency at that position due to injuries and suspensions, it was imperative to go get a veteran to help sure it up. Pitta is a mystery who may never play again, Boyle is suspended for PED's, Gilmore, while should great progression last year, has shown to injury issues, and Williams is still learning. I like the addition of veteran which will help bolster the two TE sets and help in the running game. Great move.
Perhaps the biggest signing so far has come on the defensive side of the ball, as Ozzie recruited and signed Eric Weddle from the San Diego Chargers. I have been an admirer of Weddle's game and he is a very good safety. I hope that age and attrition has not decreased the game we have come to expect from him, but I believe he will help sure up that safety spot has doomed us for years since Ed Reed left.
I still feel their are other areas that need to be addressed on that back end. I didn't like the resigning of Sharice Wright, but hopefully, with more time to gel and mesh with the unit in the off season, the secondary can improve. I'm still unsure what the plan is for Ladarious Webb either. My gut says they need to explore options closely in this upcoming draft.
And finally, the Ravens added some much needed depth to the receiving core by going out ad signing Mike Wallace. Wallace used to be a burner for the Steelers, and was misused in Miami and Minnesota. Hopefully Joe will be able to link up with him downfield and really stretch the defenses. The problem the Ravens have been having is a lack of diversity at receiver, and I feel this signing will really help that.
Many have said that Wallace does the same the thing Perriman does, but I understand Ozzie's move. We need options. Th best teams have more than one guy who can go down field, and that is clearly Joe's strength. Plus, we haven't seen Perriman play a snap. Who knows if he will even pan out. Also injuries are reality in this league, and the more depth you have going into the season, the better. I think its a great move.
Overall, while it is early, I have been extremely happy with the moves so far and I'm excited to see what is next. We have to just relax some times and let Ozzie do work. More often than not, he gets it done.