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Late For Work 5/31: The Three Guarantees In Life

Plus the Ravens’ Achilles’ heel, Ellerbe competing for starting gig and a Foxworth analysis.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 9:33 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

The Three Guarantees In Life

There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes and the Ravens ruling the Draft.

These life lessons came from FoxSports.com’s Adam Schein, who ranked the Ravens’ organization fourth on his list of the NFL’s top franchises.

“The Baltimore Ravens always dominate the offseason, the business season,” Schein said.

“Whether it’s making trades, like Anquan Boldin, whether it’s signing a free agent like Donte’ Stallworth under the radar, whether it’s sheer domination, once again, in the NFL Draft.”

Schein ranked franchises 1 to 32 based upon: owner, front office, head coach, coaching staff, QB and “intangibles,” – a combo of fan support, facilities, stadium and PR. Teams were scored 1 (lowest) to 10 (Peyton Manning) in each group.

Baltimore scored 50.5 out of a possible 60 points, placing them behind the Patriots (54), Colts (52), and Saints (51). The Packers followed the Ravens at No. 5 with 50 points.

Here are Baltimore’s scores in each category:

Owner: 9
Front office: 10
Intangibles: 9
Coaching Staff: 8
Quarterback: 7
Head Coach: 7.5

Because of his love affair with the Ravens’ business decisions, Schein gives his highest marks to Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s staff and the Ravens’ business and PR staffs (intangibles).

But looking at the team scores ahead of the Ravens (Patriots, Colts and Saints), they got the edge on Schein’s overall list because of higher marks in the quarterback and head coach categories.

I respect that.

Not because quarterback Joe Flacco and Head Coach John Harbaugh are slouches. Quite the opposite.

It’s simply because they are still in their infancy, both with just two seasons under their belt. Experience-wise, they are grasshoppers compared to quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Head Coach Bill Belichick.

Flacco and Coach Harbaugh are ring shopping, and if they make a big-time purchase in 2010, they may be considered among these elite.

Ravens’ Achilles’ Heel

Every team has an Achilles’ heel.

Even after being ranked as the No. 4 best franchise in the NFL, what would you consider the Ravens’ weakness?

Brian Smith of FoxSports.com believes the Ravens desperately need to find a consistent leg kicking field goals.

Without any competition thus far this offseason, Billy Cundiff is the only kicker on Baltimore’s roster and reports say the veteran is making a solid case to stick around for another year.

But Smith wonders if that is enough.

“The combination of an outdoor stadium and a defensive-minded team means a solid kicker could make the difference between 10 wins and 7 wins for the Ravens this season,” Smith said. “Will they remain confident enough in Cundiff to keep him as the starter?”

Cundiff has converted 73.6 percent of 106 field goal attempts during his six-year career, and hit 12 of 17 as a Raven in 2009.

The Ravens have often said that they will add another kicker this offseason, and Cundiff knows he will be fighting for the job.

Ellerbe Best Bet To Start?

Even though Coach Harbaugh isn’t ready to deem Dannell Ellerbe the starting inside linebacker next to Ray Lewis, Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun believes Ellerbe is the best bet for the gig.

An undrafted rookie out of Georgia, Ellerbe filled in at the position for the final three regular season games when Tavares Gooden went down with an injury.

“When Gooden was healthy enough to play in the postseason, Ellerbe remained the starter,” Hensley said.

“Some Ravens observers think Ellerbe could eventually become better than Bart Scott, who didn’t start until his fourth NFL season after being an undrafted rookie.”

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