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Late For Work 1/5: Three Teams Request To Interview DeCosta

Fans vs. media in Baltimore, Big Ben suffers ‘setback,’ AFC playoff teams’ fatal flaws.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 9:09 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Three Teams Request To Interview DeCosta

St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis are believed to have requested permission to interview Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta for their general manager openings, according to SI.com’s Don Banks. At least the Colts were granted permission, reports Gerry Sandusky.

Banks adds that Oakland also has DeCosta “on its radar screen” and is expected to seek permission to include him in their search “shortly.”

None of the interviews have taken place yet, but Banks’ sources tell him that DeCosta will decide whether he will interview in the next couple of days.

DeCosta, 40, may have a tough decision on his hands if a team presents an offer he can’t refuse.

“It is believed he will be prepared to leave Baltimore if a credible offer is forthcoming,” wrote Banks.

He adds, “Chicago is thought to be the most attractive potential landing spot for DeCosta, but there are factors that might appeal to him with both the Rams and Colts as well. All three teams have solid and patient ownership situations, and attractive starting quarterback options.”

It would take an “ideal situation” to lure DeCosta away from Baltimore, reports The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

One of the highest regarded young personnel executives in the league, DeCosta has remained loyal to Baltimore when teams have sought him in the past. He “is known to love” working with General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Owner Steve Bisciotti, writes Banks, and considers being Baltimore’s GM “his dream job.”

DeCosta has been with the Ravens since its inception 16 years ago in 1996. His young family is entrenched in the area. During his time as the college scouting director, the Ravens selected Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Haloti Ngata, Ben Grubbs, Ray Rice and Joe Flacco.

Given his history in Baltimore and his future goals, Banks says its “unlikely” that he will leave.

“While it’s conceivable Chicago could make an offer that entices DeCosta to leave Baltimore … it’s still considered unlikely given his loyalty to Bisciotti and his familiarity with the franchise,” writes Banks.

“Baltimore could perhaps again act preemptively in the coming days in a bid to retain the in-demand DeCosta, enhancing his title or contract situation in exchange for remaining in town as Newsome’s eventual successor.”

Fans vs. Media In Baltimore

There is a feud brewing in Baltimore between Ravens fans and local media, says WJZ and 105.7 The Fan’s Mark Viviano.

The feud has gone on all week over the notion that two Hall of Famers– linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed – should be taken off the field on certain plays during the playoffs.

Some fans are outraged that the media could raise such a topic with two highly productive leaders of one of the best defenses in the league.

Of course, not all media believe Lewis and Reed should sit – in fact most don’t – including The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Cowherd who wrote, “You know the old saying about rocking the boat? The Ravens do, too. Which is why there is absolutely zero chance they’ll address the declining productivity of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed anytime soon.

“That’s an issue for the offseason, not for a team with its sights set on the Super Bowl. It’s too explosive. That wouldn’t be just rocking the boat. That would be lobbing a stick of dynamite in the boat, too.”

Ravens fans loved Cowherd’s column so much that they started a thank-you thread on The Flock message boards.

But whether journalists and analysts agree or disagree with Cowherd, Viviano says he wants to “get something straight” with fans.

“Know your role,” wrote Viviano. “If you’re a fan, you root for your team. As a reporter, I can’t root for the Ravens. That would compromise my role as a credible reporter. I can’t root for the Orioles or the Terps either. You do that if you’re a fan – reporters don’t (or shouldn’t) do that.”

Viviano said he was called a hater for predicting the Ravens would lose to the Bengals last Sunday, but it was just an opinion. He says he’s also been called a homer because he believes the Ravens are the best team in the AFC, but that’s also just an opinion.

“I’m a proud Baltimore resident and have been for 15 years,” writes Viviano. “I’ve made Baltimore my home. I recognize that it’s beneficial to the city and surrounding areas that the local teams do well.

“So, I’m glad to see the results of the local teams having success – I just can’t ‘root’ for it, not in the professional role that I have and take seriously. … We’re just doing our job. And win or lose, it’s a job I feel very fortunate to have.”

Roethlisberger (Ankle) Suffers ‘A Little Setback’

John Harbaugh told ESPN’s Ashley Fox, “It’s nice to send [the Steelers] on the road.”

That’s especially without a bye week to rest their injured players. And it’s especially, especially true now that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered “a little setback” in his recovery from an ankle injury in his season finale in Cleveland last Sunday.

I had a little setback early in the third quarter,” Roethlisberger told reporters in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. “We’re working really hard with the trainers and doctors to get back to even where we were before the Cleveland game. I felt pretty good going in and moved a little bit at the beginning of that game. It’s a little setback but we’ll get moving.”

The Steelers are favorites to beat the Broncos in Sunday’s wild-card game. But in addition to Big Ben’s bum ankle, the Steelers will be without running back Rashard Mendenhall and safety Ryan Clark.

“With Roethlisberger still gimpy, perhaps the home team [Denver] has some hope,” wrote ESPN’s Bill Williamson. “There’s no doubt Roethlisberger’s play has been affected by the injury.”

Fatal Flaw Of Each AFC Playoff Team

It’s easier for fans and media to see the warts of their local team.

The Ravens’ weaknesses have been scrutinized, criticized and analyzed ad nauseam.

But all the playoff teams have flaws, and Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole points out the flaw that could be fatal for each remaining AFC squad:

No. 1 seed New England Patriots (13-3)
Flaw:
Leaky D

No. 2 Baltimore Ravens (12-4)
Flaw:
Bad travelers

No. 3 Houston Texans (10-6)
Flaw:
Injured beyond belief

No. 4 Denver Broncos (8-8)
Flaw:
Pass-deficient QB

No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
Flaw:
Upfront ugliness

No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals (9-7)
Flaw:
Too darn young

Quick Hits

  • RavensInsider: John Harbaugh on Billy Cundiff: ‘The way he pounded the ball through, we all felt good about that. He looks like he’s 100 percent.’ [Twitter]
  • RavensInsider: John Harbaugh on Jimmy Smith, Tom Zbikowski, Dannell Ellerbe ‘Haven’t been cleared yet through testing but they’re all making good progress’ [Twitter]
  • John Clayton hands out his regular-season grades to all AFC teams. The Ravens’ A- grade was the third best, with the Bengals and Texans each getting an A. [ESPN]
  • Rice savors ‘most productive’ season of career [Associated Press]
  • In light of Marshal Yanda’s gutsy performance Sunday with bruised ribs and thigh, Kevin Van Valkenburg explores what it means to man up, and the brutal, beautiful violent game of football. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is urging city residents and business to “light the city purple” in support of the Baltimore Ravens’ latest playoff run. [Baltimore Business Journal]
  • This year’s Ravens remind middle linebacker Ray Lewis of the Super Bowl-winning team he played on 11 years ago. [CSNBaltimore.com]

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