Late For Work 6/8: Chad Ochocinco Not A Good Fit For Ravens

Thompson making WR contest interesting. Flacco praise not lip service. Reid’s strained back.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, June 8th, 2012 at 9:08 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ochocinco Not A Good Fit For Ravens

Chad Ochocinco was cut by the New England Patriots yesterday, and CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg wants to stop the Ochocinco-to-Baltimore chatter before it begins.

Oops. Too late.

PFT.com’s Mike Florio already named Baltimore as a potential suitor. (He also tossed out 11 other teams, more than a third of the league, so you may not want to put too much stock in that one.)

Let’s be honest, Ochocinco would be an endlessly entertaining addition to the Ravens locker room and he‘s had a terrific NFL career. But you don’t pay millions to a player to make you laugh, or for the catches he’s made in the past for another team.

Eisenberg offers three reasons why the 34-year-old receiver wouldn’t make sense in a Ravens uniform:

  • He’s too old and his best football is behind him. “The Ravens are trying to get younger and faster at receiver, not older and louder,” wrote Eisenberg.
  • Baltimore has been there and done that with T.J. Housmandzadeh and Lee Evans. “Enough already with the names,” he said.
  • The Ravens have limited and precious salary-cap space left. The little money they did have, they already spent (reportedly $7 million for two years) on receiver Jacoby Jones. Jones, 27, is younger, faster and entering his prime. See point No. 1.

Ochocinco could be primed for a bounce-back season after the New England experiment failed (he caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown), but Eisenberg doesn’t think that’s enough reason to take a chance on the likable 12-year veteran.

“[T]he Ravens’ reaction to his availability should be quick, immediate and easy to summarize,” he wrote.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

Rookie D. Thompson Making WR Competition More Interesting

Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Deonte Thompson is turning heads.

At least three journalists – Eisenberg and The Sun’s Matt Vensel and Jeff Zrebiec – have picked Thompson as a player likely to follow in the footsteps of Bart Scott, Jameel McClain and LaQuan Williams and earn a roster spot as a longshot.

“[H]e has stood out in the workouts open to the media, primarily because of his speed, which landed him a spot on Florida’s track team,” Zrebiec wrote.

“Thompson, who saw some time as the third receiver alongside Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones yesterday, has also apparently gotten the attention of Flacco, who was working and communicating with the receiver after different plays and drills.”

Thompson was once one of the nation’s top recruits, but his college career with the Florida Gators didn’t live up to expectations. He notched just 21 receptions for 264 yards and one touchdown in a relatively disappointing senior year.

But he isn’t giving up yet, and now he is “emerging from the masses,” says Eisenberg.

The Ravens already have plenty of options at wide receiver and a strong competition behind starters Anquan Boldin and Smith, including Jones, Williams, David Reed, Tandon Doss and Tommy Streeter.

Despite the crowded receiver corps, it’s a real possibility that Thompson nabs a roster spot.

“The Ravens have a ton of receivers but it wouldn’t surprise me if Thompson proves a keeper,” Zrebiec wrote.  

Flacco Praise Not Just Lip Service

Both Head Coach John Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron have praised Flacco for his offseason thus far. Harbaugh did so unprompted in front of the media after Wednesday’s practice.

Despite looming contract negotiations and his first child on the way later this month, the coaches dubbed this offseason Flacco’s most consistent.

But you expect coaches to heap on that kind of praise for a franchise quarterback, right? Especially considering how much scrutiny Flacco receives from the media and fans. 

Zrebiec vouches for Harbaugh and Cameron’s comments, saying they’re not simply providing lip service.

“[Flacco] has looked in complete control,” Zrebiec wrote. “During the workouts open to the media, Flacco has taken a ton of reps, thrown plenty of nice balls and been extremely active talking and working with his young receivers.

“The pressure on him will only increase as we get closer to the season, but just watching how Flacco is going about his business these days, it’s easy to believe him when he says that his contract situation is not on his mind. The arrival of his first child – Flacco’s wife is due to give birth in less than two weeks – probably is, but you wouldn’t know that by watching him either.”

Reid Has Strained Lower Back

I mentioned yesterday that speculation surrounding second-year tackle/guard Jah Reid and a potential injury was increasing because he hasn’t participated in the past two organized team activities (OTAs) open to the media.

Turns out, Reid has been sidelined with a strained lower back, according to The Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson.

Combine that with the undisclosed injury to rookie offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, who also hasn’t participated in the last two open practices, and the competition for the starting left guard spot has stalled.

Reid, Osemele and rookie Gino Gradkowski are widely considered the three favorites to win the job. Gradkowski has spent much of his time practicing at center and Justin Boren has taken many of the snaps at left guard.

“It’s safe to say that none of the three young players competing to replace Ben Grubbs took a strong step forward,” Eisenberg wrote. “To be continued in training camp.”

Quick Hits

  • Nobody seems to be worried about running back Ray Rice conditioning, despite missing offseason workouts with his team. So where is Rice working out in order to stay in Pro Bowl form? Jason La Canfora writes about a secluded gym tucked away in a nondescript industrial park between Baltimore and Washington that has become a sanctuary for many NFL players. The stars travel to the gym, surrounded by woods and refineries, to work out while they wait for contract negotiations to play out or look for a new team. “It was impossible to workout anywhere else,” Rice said, because people would constantly ask for autographs and photos. [CBSSports.com]
  • Crushboy31 [Bernard Pollard]: So I’m getting spatted in the training room and I come across this picture… Lol @MichaelOher I had to do it!!! [Twitter]
  • MichaelOher: @Crushboy31 So that’s how you do bro!!! I got you I promise you that!!![Twitter]
  • RavensInsider: Forgot to mention this yesterday, but rookie kicker Justin Tucker hit a 45-yarder at OTA that would have been good from 50-plus. Both Justin Tucker and former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff have been very accurate during practice sessions. [Twitter]

Tags: , , , , ,