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Ravens News & Notes - 2018 Schedule Released, Ravens Sign Willie Snead, And A Little RGIII Talk

snead

Here we are, one week away from the draft and the Ravens offseason is in full swing. They haven’t exactly made any huge splashes, but they’ve made a collection of decisive moves to address the WR and backup QB positions. They’ve pretty much avoided any significant losses outside of center Ryan Jensen, so one would think the only place for this team to go after a 9-7 season is up. Things are starting to fall into place, and that starts with last night’s release of the 2018 schedule:

ESPN ravens sch

Quick rapid fire thoughts on the schedule:

– 2 primetime games is surprisingly low for the Ravens, as they usually end up with 4 or 5. Everyone gets a Thursday night game, and at least one if not both Steelers games are primetime games, so they were really given the bare minimum here. Should we feel slighted?  Eh… probably but the schedule isn’t exactly built with big market teams. You could make a case for the Atlanta and Kansas City games for having some big game hype, but nothing really sticks out as a national must-watch game. Is what it is.

– What’s not surprising is that both those primetime games are on the road. We’ve gotten used to it at this point. Since the Super Bowl year, we’ve played 9 non-TNF primetime games and 6 of those have been on the road. A part of me still think it stems from that deafening manure chant from early that year.

– Divisional game set-up is pretty interesting. Go see the Bengals on a short week in Week 2, and then get them again after the bye week at home. Finally we have a year where we don’t close the season against them, and I’ll leave it at that. Catching both Steelers games before the bye is tough, but we know we can leave it all on the field in Week 9 with a week’s rest on the way. And then closing the season at home against the Browns is a nice touch. All in all, the 4 meaningful division games will be completed by Week 11. They should be able to get out to a stronger start than last year with Flacco healthy and getting training camp reps this time around.

– The AFC West and NFC South are definitely interesting draws. A lot of people have been a bit rattled about that draw, but I think both divisions have teams that played a bit over their heads last season. Then again, I don’t think it would surprise anyone if the Broncos, Raiders, and Bucs have bounce-back seasons. Buffalo and Tennessee are the “competitive balance” matchups, which is an even mix as Buffalo is definitely trending down and Tennessee is probably trending up. All in all, the non-division games are a mixed bag and I wouldn’t read too much into this schedule being “too hard” or “too easy”. It’s the NFL, gotta suit up and be ready to go every week.

– This utterly disgusts me.

As I mentioned before, the Ravens really only lost Ryan Jensen. Maclin and Wallace are gone, but Crabtree and John Brown are pretty much an even swap there, if not an upgrade. Willie Snead is likely on the way (more on that below) too. So why in the hell would an underachieving 9-7 team that had a +92 point differential (only 6 points worse than Pittsburgh) fall back to 6-10 next year? It makes no sense. Flacco will be healthy and have a full training camp (knock on wood), Marshal Yanda and Alex Lewis will be back, and we’ll even get a full season of Alex Collins. The guy was rated the best RB in football by PFF during that half-season he played. So yeah. 6-10 my ass.

– TLDR the Ravens are going 16-0.

Willie Snead Signs (Possibly?) To The Ravens

snead ravens

This morning the Ravens and Snead agreed to a 2-yr offer sheet worth $7M with about $3.5M in bonus incentives. Not too expensive for a guy who has approached 1,000 yards a couple times in his career. It’s possible for the Saints to match the offer within 5 days, but they’re not expected to given they just signed Cameron Meredith.

So what’s the word on Willie Snead? He’s a slot receiver with sure hands who can catch the ball between the numbers. Good fit right? Maybe… but the knock on him was that he fell off the face of the earth in New Orleans last year. He may have been in Sean Payton’s doghouse, but you don’t end up there accidentally. My personal concern is that he’s mainly been a benefactor of a great quarterback in a pass-heavy offense. These slot guys eat up receptions and rack up yards with ease in those kinds of set ups. We need one of those guys, but I can’t say for sure whether he’s any better than somebody we may have been able to get in the middle rounds of the draft. We’ll have to wait and see.

The other side of the coin on the Snead signing is who the Ravens AREN’T signing… and that’s Dez Bryant. Not to go all #scoopcity on everyone (but definitely go #scoopcity on you fools) I’ve heard from multiple #sources that the Ravens offered Dez more moolah than any of his other suitors… but Dez has essentially declined citing concerns about being a fit with Joe Flacco. Ouch. Not good for my brand, but what the hell does Dez Bryant know about Super Bowl MVP’s anyway? To hell with him.

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That Whole Backup QB Thing

RGIII

So this storyline is a couple weeks old at this point, but I didn’t really go on record on the blog with my take on it. Obviously I raced to the blog as soon as it broke to get something up, but Natey Pageviews was all over it. What can a guy do? If it’s RGIII, it’s out of my hands.

Really the jist of the take is this.

Huh?

Yeah, I don’t really see him as a fit in Baltimore, and I don’t think anyone else does. That’s not really a knock on his ability per se, but moreso as he relates to the Ravens. I mean, you want your backup QB to pretty much be a poor man’s version of your starter. We had that in Ryan Mallett. Tall, strong-armed QB who isn’t all that mobile. That’s Joe Flacco to a T. Bobby Subway is the exact opposite of that, and he’s got baggage too. He can throw footballs at stationary trees, which isn’t all that different from Ravens’ receivers over the years but that’s about all I’ve got. It makes no damn sense and I’ve been trying to figure it out for weeks now. I probably never will.

That’s all I got for this week, but next week is a big week. Draft weekend baby. Just because the Ravens have signed 3 WR’s doesn’t mean they’re set for years to come. I’m locked in on a receiver in the 1st or 2nd round, and I’ll touch on that moore next week.