Posts tagged ‘Baltimore Ravens’

General Manager 2.0

scott-pioliI’ll first start out by saying that I have absolutely no experience in any kind of management field, especially that of a professional NFL franchise. I also understand that millions of people across the country log onto a computer each day and voice their opinion about their favorite teams and act like they would be the best candidate for the team’s general manager job. Consider this another one of “those”. My General Manager 2.0 theory is most comparable to those books entitled “Such-and-Such for Dummies” and it only consists of two easy rules. The General Manager 2.0 theory of building an NFL contending team is very simple, very basic, and very much to the point. If you have a couple minutes to waste, please hear me out.

The model can be used for any NFL franchise. I, however, will try my best to use the Washington Deadskins as my example of what NOT to do. Out of all the teams in the NFL, the Skins’ generate the most revenue and are second only to the Dallas Cowboys (due to new stadium) in franchise estimated value. Many people ask the same question; how in the hell are the two highest-valued teams repeat playoff absentees? The answer…money hungry owners who think they can do EVERYTHING. Because Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and Skins’ owner Dan Snyder think that running an NFL franchise is as easy as running a fantasy football team on Yahoo.. But let’s not get carried away, here’s my take…

Rule #1 – This may not really constitute as a rule technically, but an aspiring GM has to find the job.

Owners should always hire a General Manager. Why? GM’s are an essential part of any football team that is looking to succeed. Whether a team employs a GM/Coach like Mike Shanahan or a one-job GM such as Scott Pioli, a team MUST have a GM. The GM is in-charge of the personnel, not the owner. Sure the owner signs the checks, but the GM is what essentially keeps the team oiled up and working…hence the job title GENERAL MANAGER. Owners must also be aware that they are there for the sole purpose of providing dollars and having a passion for winning. With that said, owners must also understand that their football knowledge is either minimal or not anywhere close to the football knowledge of their GM (assuming the owner hired a GM with some proven skills). Therefore, owners should not be assuming the role of general manager. Take Skins’ owner Dan Snyder for example, he thinks he’s the greatest GM in the country. Is he? Absolutely not. In fact, he is the proof in the pudding that some owners believe running an NFL franchise (the highest grossing) is as easy as a Madden video game. Look at Jerry Jones. Is his input on signing Pacman Jones necessary? No. Any GM in their right mind wouldn’t have signed that idiot. BUT, Jerry thinks he knows more than any GM and he signed Pacman anyway. And, how did that turn out? Now look at owners like Robert Kraft, the Rooney Family, and Steve Bisciotti. Those teams have had great success over the years and their players have come from effective GM’s and their expertise in the world of football. Kraft’s former GM, Scott Pioli, assembled a dynasty of the modern day. You can love or hate the Patriots, but you have to admit that the team was a damn good football team. Pioli drafted guys that no one had heard of and they turned out to be solid players in the league, if not Super Bowl MVP’s. The Rooney Family’s GM Kevin Colbert, has helped build a very solid team in Pittsburgh – a team that has had its fair share of playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win in recent years. And finally, Bisciotti understands that he doesn’t have all the knowledge necessary to build a football team, so he hires a guy like Ozzie Newsome. Newsome’s work with the Baltimore Ravens has made them into one of the most-feared defenses in the league. He has also done an outstanding job with the offensive line, bringing in players that no one thought of and turning them into Pro-Bowlers. Newsome, like Pioli and Colbert, understand that their reputation is built from the players they draft after the 1st round.

Rule # 2 – Build your team through the draft, not through free agency.

 Sure, I understand that free agency is an asset to the league and a decent way to fill a void. However, drafting your players and developing them is the most effective way to build a successful team. Referring back to Dan Snyder’s fantasy football style, he came into D.C. and brought in 800-year-old gargoyles like Mark Carrier, Jessie Armstead, and Jeff George. To put it nicely, it never worked out. Now we take a look at teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Ravens. The Patriots made something out of nothing, seeing different things in players that no other general managers did (see: Tom Brady). The Steelers are probably the greatest drafting team in the league. Of their 22 starting players, 18 of them were drafted by the franchise. Now, take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ history and success. The Baltimore Ravens have created a defense by drafting players like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Jonathan Ogden. Free agency is often the most entertaining talent pool to look at during the off-season because of the immediate impact a veteran can have. But one must also remember that veterans are usually late 20’s at best, they have established themselves and have developed their own attitude or play-style, and they have been accustomed to the tradition of their former team rather than yours. If every free agent could come to a new team and play with the exact same style and attitude as their new team, then possibly free agency would be more beneficial. But I believe a kid drafted out of Ohio State to play in New England would be better off in the long run than signing a 29-year-old veteran who has played in Dallas for his first six years (especially under Wade Phillips).

So what I have to say may not really matter to anyone, but that’s why it’s an opinion. The General Manager 2.0 model is short, simple, and easy so that boneheads like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder can understand it. And the next time you’re researching a successful team, look into their general manager as well.


January 27, 2009 at 5:40 am Leave a comment

Big Hit on Willis McGahee. MUST SEE!

The Steelers/Ravens match-up was very entertaining Sunday, living up to the expected defensive battle. Hard hits and blind-side blocks happened throughout the game, but one particular hit summed up the ways of the Steelers defense. Towards the end of the game, Ravens’ running back Willis McGahee felt the thunder from safety Ryan Clark. It has been reported that McGahee has feeling in his arms and legs but is suffering from some neck pain. Check it out…

January 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

No longer whacko for Flacco?

Ravens Giants FootballAsk me at the start of the season about what I thought of Joe Flacco, I would have said he’ll get smacked around. But then this guy leads a team to the playoffs after being just one year removed from the University of Deleware, where he played schools such as Richmond, James Madison, and Towson. That’s impressive.

However, notice what happened to the rookie in the playoffs….how the mighty have fallen. I know the playoffs are a different time in the NFL, more competetive, hard-hitting, everything goes, etc. I also understand that a rookie quarterback has no place in the playoffs, it’s too brutal. But I happen to live in a region where the “Whacko for Flacco” hype got way too out-of-hand. I don’t dislike Flacco. I don’t dislike his style. I actually enjoy his attitude. But the hype that this guy received for throwing 14 touchdowns during the regular season while his running backs and defense won the games was getting to be a little much.

After his first playoff win came by way of his backfield, followed by a second win that came from his defense and a little bit of luck, finally Flacco lost a game because his defense and running backs were tired of being the EVERYTHING. They were worn down, and that isn’t a cut. Flacco may have impressed people during the season but he didn’t turn in the play that his team needed when it came down to the nitty gritty. In three playoff games, Flacco posted impressive numbers like completing 44% of his passes. Throwing for 437 yards and one touchdown. Throwing 3 interceptions and being sacked 3 times in the AFC Championship game. And finally ending the postseason with a 50.8 rating.

I know Flacco is a rookie and he has a lot of time to grow up and get better. He has the arm, the build, and sometimes the vision to make for a promising future. Once again, Ozzie Newsome made an intelligent pick when he selected Flacco and there’s no doubt in my mind that Cool Joe will turn out to be a good player. But when the hype builds and builds and builds, as an opposing fan you just wait to see that specific person fall. I thought Joe would go down hard against Tennesse (which he did) but his defense bailed him out a few times. In his game against Pittsburgh, the Steelers exposed Flacco.

In the end, whether I’m a jerk, hater, or Ravens basher, people should still be “Whacko for Flacco”.

January 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

NFC Wildcard Sunday; lets turn it around

donovan-mcnabbThere’s nothing like going 0 for 2 on football picks, but I won’t let that keep me down. I’m going to try and even it up with Sunday’s games.  Unfortunately for Atlanta, their lack of experience really stood out in their loss to Arizona on Saturday. They couldn’t execute, they dropped passes, and committed three turnovers, all of which will cause any team to lose. And the Chargers held strong even without LT, which I thought would eventually lead to their defeat. Back-up running back Darren Sproles had 328 all-purpose yards and helped his team to victory in overtime. Let me try to shake it off and pick my Sunday winners…

Baltimore @ Miami (1:00pm) – After watching Atlanta and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, trends would imply that Ravens’ rookie Joe Flacco doesn’t get the win. Miami has done very well this season because they protect the football and base their offense off efficiency. Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the NFL and Ed Reed, alone, could collect some takeaways from the Dolphins. I have been fortunate enough to watch a lot of Ravens’ games and I think this team could do some things in the playoffs. I’ll take the Ravens to win the game based on the defense they bring on the field and their overall physicality.

Philadelphia @ Minnesota (4:30pm) – Does anyone really have faith in a banged up Vikings team with Tavaris Jackson at the healm? Apparently not, the team was on the verge of a blackout because of the weak fan support. But they do have one guy named Adrian Peterson who I think is pretty good. Too bad for AP, he may not be able to beat the #3 Eagles defense by himself. And don’t forget that the Vikings’ defense then has to stop McNabb, Westbrook, DeSean Jackson’s speed, etc. Philly is Philly and I never go into a season thinking they aren’t a threat, and this year is no different. McNabb needs to do big things in order to stay in Philly, there’s no better time to do it.  Philly wins the game in the half-empty Metrodome.

Good luck.

January 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm Leave a comment

NFL Sunday Picks: 09/21/08

So last week wasn’t so good, especially the college half. So what’s the easiest fix? Give it another shot. It seems like you would be fine this week if you picked the home team for every game, but watch out for a few games on Sunday. Pay attention to these:

Arizona @ Washington (-3)

Both teams are coming off some pretty nice wins in Week 2, but this is more of a pick ’em game with the edge going to D.C. because it’s played on their turf. The truth is, Washington’s secondary isn’t all that great. The guys going against that secondary are half past great. That match-up alone could prove the outcome of this game. However, the Skins have a lot of confidence this week and they look to shake up Kurt Warner. Andre Carter and Jason Taylor on the ends will mean trouble against a quarterback, Warner, that is 87-years-old with lead in his shoes. Stick with the Skins, 24 – 21

Tampa Bay @ Chicago (-3)

Again, the favorites are do to the homefield. But the Bears are no slouch this year. I have zero confidence in Kyle Orton, but I think he can control the ball. Not to mention that Matt Forte is showing to be the 2008 version of Adrian Peterson. Tampa Bay has a good defense but Derrick Brooks (future HOF) has a hamstring issue and he won’t have the range that he normally does. With Kyle Orton looking to pass to his backs and tight ends often, Brooks might not be able to hold up with their speed this Sunday. The flip side is that Brian Griese knows the Bears defense from when he used to play in Chicago. This will be more of a defensive battle. Take the Bears, 23 – 20

Cleveland @ Baltimore (-2)

People are already labeling the Browns as “busts” for the season, yet their first two opponents could very well be the same teams that are playing in the Super Bowl. So, lay off. The Browns will smack up the Ravens on their home field in Baltimore. Cleveland might not be a Super Bowl team this year, but they can damn sure beat the Flacco-driven Ravens. Who have the Ravens beat this season? The Bengals (two-person applause). The Browns, however, allowed only ten points last week against the Steelers. Stop looking down on the Browns and realize that they will have no problem beating crappy teams. Browns, 23 – 14

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (-3)

I thought Philly’s game last Monday was awesome. Sure they lost, but McNabb looked like himself and that is always exciting. Their defense is never their weak point, but their receivers are. The Steelers, on the other hand, look like a SB contending team. Roethlisberger’s shoulder is banged up, which is not a good thing against someone like Philly. I like both teams, both quarterbacks, both running backs, both defenses, but the Steelers get the edge when it comes to wide receivers. The game will be close, and the Eagles will probably win, but when it comes to betting purposes I would take the upset. Pittsburgh, 20 – 17

September 20, 2008 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

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