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Late for Work 8/9: Potential Criticism For Offering Joe Flacco Too Much

Bisciotti defends McKinnie. Ravens’ attack package similar to Pats’. Upshaw has company.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 9:33 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Programming Note: Due to WBAL’s Olympic coverage, the Ravens preseason game against Atlanta will air on WMAR (ABC) locally. The game can also be seen on WBAL Plus, WJLA-TV and WHTM-TV and heard on the radio at 98Rock and WBAL-1090 AM. For fans outside of Baltimore: Listen Live | Watch Live

Potential Criticism For Offering Flacco Too Much

When asked about quarterback Joe Flacco’s contract negotiations, which are still ongoing with nothing imminent at this point, Owner Steve Biscotti told WBAL Radio’s Brett Hollander:

“I don’t really care about the contract.”

Well that makes two people – the Ravens owner and the franchise quarterback himself. They are both letting their representatives, Ravens Vice President of Football Administration Pat Moriarty and agent Joe Linta, take care of that side of the business.

That doesn’t mean neither Bisciotti nor Flacco care about extending their relationship. On the contrary, they both appear so confident that it will work out that they can focus on other things.

“What I care about is Joe and the demeanor that he’s showing and the ownership of the offense that people here believe in him,” Bisciotti said. “He’s a father and a husband and I see his maturation and I think we’re going to see the best that Joe Flacco has to offer right now.”

While Bisciotti didn’t reveal any more about contract negotiations, CBSSports.com’s Pat Kirwan said he learned during his visit to Owings Mills, Md., that the Ravens feel very good about their offer on the table.

One unnamed Ravens executive told him, “We might have some fans that will criticize us for the offer we have on the table because it’s too much.”

While Kirwan doesn’t believe that offer will change much between now and the end of the season, he did say the Ravens are prepared to raise their offer if he has a great season. But if he doesn’t, the deal on the table will stand and Flacco can choose to sign it or take the franchise tag.

Bisciotti Defends McKinnie, Says He’s In Shape

Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie has come under intense scrutiny this offseason, and Bisciotti isn’t sure he deserves it.

“I honestly think it’s a little unfair to him,” he said.

The media’s microscope has focused tightly in on the 11-year veteran after Head Coach John Harbaugh held the offensive lineman from full participation during the offseason mandatory minicamp for “conditioning purposes.” McKinnie says he has also been given a target weight of 348 pounds – which was his college weight. He hasn’t yet been able to achieve that goal, but he is about 10 pounds lighter than where he played last season.

When McKinnie surprisingly missed the first four days of training camp and failed his conditioning test, the bright lights only got hotter.

But Bisciotti points to McKinnie’s long-term track record to show he deserves more credit than people are giving him.

“He’s been a great teammate,” Bisciotti said. “We brought him in [and] last year he played heavier than he is right now and he started 18 games for us. I don’t know that the guy’s missed a game in his entire career.”

Bisciotti is just about right. McKinnie hasn’t missed a game due to injury in his 10-year NFL career, playing in 132 consecutive games. He missed the first four games of the 2008 season due to an NFL suspension for violation of the personal conduct policy.

“So he’s a very prideful guy,” the owner added. “He wants to get to the weight that Coach Harbaugh wants and I believe he’s going to get there.”

While he admits that he doesn’t know football as well as the men he’s hired to manage his team, Bisciotti believes that McKinnie is in good conditioning shape.

“[There's] people that know football better than me and talk about knee bend and all those things,” Bisciott said. “Bryant McKinnie is an enormous man and at 6-foot-8, I don’t know the difference and I don’t think I would know the difference whether he’s 360 or 345. So if that’s their goal …

“But for a 360-pound man to go out and pass our conditioning test, which is brutal, he’s in pretty good shape.”

McKinnie To Play A Lot In Atlanta

Harbaugh said that generally starters will only play one quarter in the Ravens preseason opener in Atlanta, but some may play more or less depending on individual circumstances.

Count McKinnie as one who will play more, and maybe a lot more.

When asked on Twitter whether he will play in the game, Big Mac responded:

“Yup! Gonna play a lot, haven’t had much practice.”

Ravens’ Attack Package Similar To Patriots’

After watching the Ravens offense in action, Kirwan came away feeling impressed with what he saw.

The analyst saw key offensive weapons that can be as dangerous as the folks in New England.

“From Flacco to Ed Dickson to Torrey Smith, there is real excitement about how good this team can be in the no-huddle,” wrote Kirwan. “Baltimore has a chance to have a similar attack package that the Patriots use.”

When the unit gets into a 12- personnel set with one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers it can “really present problems for any defense.”

The tight ends can pose as matchup problems for a base defense, says Kirwan, as they can both block and flex as slot receivers. And opponents will have to choose between trying to stop the passing game or Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice.

“At practice the offense featured the no-huddle, two-minute package and it was effective, especially if defenses overplay the passing game and let Rice dominate,” Kirwan concluded.

Upshaw Isn’t Only AFC North Rookie Off To Rough Start

Harbaugh admitted that Ravens 2012 top rookie pick Courtney Upshaw’s development has been a little delayed after missing a week of training camp practice with a shoulder injury.

But Upshaw is back and has time to get plenty of reps at outside linebacker.

Interestingly enough, Upshaw isn’t the only top rookie in the AFC North who is off to a “rough start,” says ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

Browns No. 3 overall pick in running back Trent Richardson is tentatively scheduled to have minor arthroscopic surgery to remove a “hang nail particle” of loose cartilage, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. He is expected to return for the season opener.

The Bengals’ top pick of 2012, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, is on the non-football injury list. He hurt his leg before camp began, and will also miss the preseason.

Steelers rookie guard David DeCastro is healthy, and expected to start in their preseason game tonight against the Eagles, but he is experiencing some growing pains. He told quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that he is struggling with the physical part of the game.

Quick Hits

  • “Haloti Ngata told me early in camp he fell into the trap of thinking he had to do more to overcome the loss of Suggs but now realizes he has to just do his job,” wrote Kirwan. [CBSSports.com]
  • Ray Lewis may already be nurturing his successor as the leader of the Ravens. “[I]t is clear to me that Rice is closing in on the inspirational leader role,” wrote Kirwan. “Rice said with a big smile that he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to do the Ray Lewis pregame routine on the field but he knows his day is coming and it comes with Lewis’ blessing.”
  • Fans have to be itching to see the new Joe Flacco that everyone is talking about. Here’s another interesting quote about how different he is this season, this time from Harbaugh: “He’s not a different guy, but it’s almost like, ‘Is this the real Joe Flacco now?’ He’s funny, and he’s engaged more. I think he’s coming out. He’s different. I don’t know what it is. He’s blossoming, I guess. His personality is starting to pop. Maybe it comes with confidence. Maybe he feels, OK, it’s starting to fall in place for him. It’s starting to click maybe somehow.” [ESPN]
  • Receiver Torrey Smith liked the picture sent to him, in which is he making a diving touchdown leap both in high school and the pros … @TorreySmithWR: #staffordhigh #baltimoreravens pretty cool  [Twitter]
  • @Dgorrer36: It brings water to my eyes to see me on the TV….yall wouldn understand the route it took me to get here tho! I Deserve It…. [Twitter]
  • @MaakeKemoeatu: I’m excited to play tomorrow preseason game in ATL. after missing a full season of football last year. I can’t wait lets get it on GO RAVENS [Twitter]
  • @Tandondoss: So @TorreySmithWR is my roomate as always… This dude has his security guards outside the room.. I had to get patted down jus to get in… [Twitter]
  • Fans are trying to make enough noise for the Ravens and Harbaugh to hear that they want to keep Billy Cundiff. But that noise might be canceled out by the clamor from another group of fans that want Harbaugh to know that Justin Tucker should be the new kicker. You can join either group – they’re both asking you to sign your name on their petition. [Ravens Flock Message Boards]
  • Last but not least … you didn’t think we were going to have a Ravens-Falcons matchup without a Flacco-Matt Ryan debate did you? Well here it is: which 2008 draft pick will have a better season? [NFL.com]

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