- John Harbaugh is the new Ravens head coach - An excellent choice. I know I have been trumpeting the abilities of Rex Ryan as a head coach, and I will fully admit to fervently backing him as the successor to Brian Billick when the whole search first started (and even before Billick got fired if the truth is to be told), but in the grand scheme of things I think that John Harbaugh will be a better overall choice. There is a reason that Ryan didn't get the job with the San Diego Chargers after 2006 and both the Atlanta Falcons and the Ravens after 2007. It seems that he might be a little TOO "straight from the hip" as it were. Ryan even said as much after it came to light that the main reason he didn't get the Falcons job (it went to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith) was because of the tenor and tone of some of his responses to questions in the 2nd interview. It seems that he might have a little too much of his father (Buddy Ryan) in him. I am beginning to think that he will either remain a coordinator for his entire career or he will have one or two unsuccessful to moderately successful head coaching gigs in between his stints as a defensive coordinator. I really do like him as a coach so I hope that I am wrong. But with all that said, Harbaugh's specialty for the last decade has been special teams. Personally I have always wondered why special teams coaches don't get the recognition that offensive and defensive coaches do. Especially when you realize that while special teams play is at LEAST as important to the game as the offense and defense (when you consider the amount of impact a good or bad special teams play can have on the outcome of a game and compare it to the amount of time special teams units are on the field compared to offense and defense, it may be MORE important). Add to that that most special teams players are a mixture of backups and probably never-will-be off. and def. position players, and that the special teams coach is the only coach besides the HEAD coach that deals with players from both sides of the ball, and special teams coaches seem to me to be uniquely qualified to be head coaches. They are like the backup catcher in baseball (who always seem to make the best managers because they have to know EVERYTHING about not only their team but the other team and spend a lot of time on the bench sizing up how their hunches play out when compared to what actually happens during the course of a game). There is an excellent chance that Harbaugh will not only do well, but also open the doors for more special teams coaches to run teams. Special teams is all about building a unit out of castoffs, formation and execution. Let's see what Harbaugh does with that mentality while running an entire team. Jason Garrett might be an excellent head coach one day, but I don't know if he is really ready, and he has only had one year of success (and that was with a loaded squad). I want to see Mike Singletary run a defense before I give him the keys to a team.
- The Bedard Trade - It is finally done, and if you look at the package that the Orioles got for him (especially if you compare it to the package that the Minnesota Twins got for Johann Santana - a better pitcher) might turn out to be the deal of the year. I am preaching patience to all the Orioles' fans this year (and probably next). And along that vein I hope that MacPhail completes the trade of Brian Roberts, but at this point not only am I not going to give him grief for not making it already, I am going to praise him for waiting as long as he feels he needs to in order to get the deal that he wants. Looking at what he did with the Twins and the Chicago Cubs, he gets more than the benefit of the doubt, he gets a free pass until he proves that he doesn't deserve it any more. I don't see that time coming any time soon.
- The NFL Draft - I said previously that I think the Ravens should trade down in order to collect more picks, since I don't see anyone of the value of the 8th pick that would fill one of the Ravens dire needs, at least not anyone that the Ravens couldn't get later on. The Ravens are picking 8th. None of the mock drafts I see are anywhere close to agreeing on anything. I have seen Matt Ryan going from 1st to 8th, and Glenn Dorsey going from 1st to 5th. An intriguing possibility is Darren McFadden, who I have seen going to the Oakland Raiders, but also with wildly varying draft positions. I know that the Dallas Cowboys have expressed some serious interest in him (especially with Marion Barber as a restricted free agent and Julius Jones as an unrestricted free agent). I also know that Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones is an Arkansas alum who would love to add him to the team. To me, that smells like trade bait, and willing trade bait. I can only hope that Ozzie Newsome pulls one of his patented awesome moves*.
Okay, unfortunately I must abruptly wrap this up now, but as always feel free to ask questions you want answered, either about things I have covered or just things you are curious about. And I also promise to (hopefully) make the next post much more coherent and theme based and less bullet point-y.
*Moves not actually patented, but are universally classified as awesome with enough consistency by the community at large that the awesomeness of his moves are not to be questioned.