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Vegas Losing Faith In Ravens
Are the Ravens capable of overcoming the loss of Terrell Suggs for some or all of next season? Can they do it with the fourth-toughest schedule in 2012? And with core stars another year older?
Ultimately, the answers to these questions will only come once the season’s fate is played out.
But it looks like Vegas is already making up its mind.
According to the Station Casinos’ books, the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds have dropped seven spots from their fourth-place opening numbers of 8/1 to their current odds of 15/1.
“A tough schedule and the loss of Terrell Suggs have the Ravens headed in the wrong direction at the sportsbooks,” wrote National Football Post’s Joe Fortenbaugh. “Plus, it’s not like Joe Flacco is inspiring the masses to rush to the counters with Baltimore love in their collective hearts.”
The Ravens now sit at No. 11 in Super Bowl odds behind the Packers (4/1), 49ers (4/1), Patriots (6/1), Bears (10/1), Broncos (10/1), Eagles (12/1), Steelers (12/1), Texans (12/1), Giants (12/1) and Lions (14/1).
Baltimore isn’t the only team heading south. In fact, the purple and black’s dive pales in comparison to the Saints (from 6/1 to 18/1), who are dealing with the bounty scandal and renegotiating Drew Brees’ contract, and the Colts (from 35/1 to 80/1). Manning is gone. Nuff said there.
Dilfer’s Career Proves L.T.’s Controversial Comments Right
Whose career would you rather have: Trent Dilfer’s or Dan Marino’s?
An honest answer to that question will solve the debate over NFL running back and future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson’s recent comments, says WJZ’s Steve Davis.
L.T. created quite the stir when he said he isn’t upset that he never earned a Super Bowl ring because he’d rather be in Canton. Tomlinson has since caught some heat for being “selfish” because he prefers an individual award over a team accomplishment in the ultimate team sport.
But if people are willing to give the honest answer about Dilfer vs. Marino’s career, then most would agree with Tomlinson even though they may not want admit it, says Davis.
“Dilfer was on a team that won a title, but Marino is considered one of the ten greatest QBs ever. He made more money, received more accolades and is in higher regard. Here’s how I look at it: 60 or so guys win a Super Bowl every year, 6 or 7 or 8 go to the Hall. It’s harder to get in the Hall of Fame.”
Flacco Best Bargain On Ravens Payroll
General Manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t have a reputation for reaching on big-name free agents and handing out bloated contracts.
That’s probably why you don’t see a Ravens player on Jason La Canfora’s list of the worst contracts in the NFL.
(The Jets have one, though, in linebacker Bart Scott. He was lured out of Baltimore for a lucrative deal in 2009, but now New York can’t trade him and are stuck with his $7 million contract this year despite his [add h] fall in production, says La Canfora.)
The Ravens do have a player listed among CBSSports.com’s best bargains in the league – franchise quarterback Joe Flacco. Although he may not be a huge bargain for much longer as Flacco’s agent and team officials are working on a contract extension.
But until (if) that happens, Flacco’s $6.76 million contract for 2012 is a pretty sweet deal for a team that is seriously close (less than $1 million) to the salary-cap limit.
“[Flacco] is the subject of much debate, but through four years in the NFL, all he has managed to do is win at least one playoff game every year, he has won four road playoff games already, and he came a Lee Evans drop away from making his first Super Bowl appearance,” wrote La Canfora.
“And when you look at what he’s making relative to guys like Sanchez and Bradford, and when you factor in that Flacco’s earnings in 2012 put him in line with what stop-gap, end-of-their-career guys like Matt Hasselbeck make, then this is an absolute steal for a young quality starting quarterback. He makes less than Kolb and Matt Flynn in 2012.”
Ravens Dynamic Duos
Baltimore has a duo of dynamic duos.
Scouts Inc.’s Gary Horton believes there are some players that are good – or even elite – on their own, but when they work in a tandem, they become something “truly special.”
Some of those truly special tandems were listed in Horton’s top 10 of the most dynamic duos in the AFC. The Ravens took up two of the 10 spots: fullback Vonta Leach with running back Ray Rice and linebacker Ray Lewis with safety Ed Reed.
Here’s Horton’s take:
Leach/Rice: “We all know how skilled Rice is, but a lot of his success comes from the holes Leach creates in front of him. Rice amassed a whopping 2,068 combined yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving), and not only is Leach a punishing lead blocker in their I formation, he is also solid in pass protection and blitz pickup. Leach is great at attacking LBs on the second level on isolation blocks, and Rice has great trust in him to follow through the hole and wait for the block to develop before he turns it loose.”
Lewis/Reed: “They may be close to the end of Hall of Fame careers, but they are still amazingly productive and the unquestioned leaders of this defense. Lewis is still an effective two-down run defender (he led the Ravens with 95 tackles a year ago), but he is a liability versus the pass. Reed can still play very well as a center fielder, but his tackling skills are starting to decline. They stabilize this defense and they make everybody around them better, but this is likely the last season that we will see them both on the field.”
The NFL is moving late Sunday afternoon kickoffs from 4:15 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET to reduce the overlap with 1 p.m. ET games. “The bathroom-break window between the early and late games on Sunday afternoon is growing,” wrote Mike Florio. [ProFootballTalk.com]
Former Ravens practice squad quarterback Hunter Cantwell turned down a chance to be the Jacksonville Jaguars’ third QB in favor of becoming an assistant coach at an NAIA college. [ProFootballTalk.com]