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Casserly Weighs In On Ravens


PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

When they are open to the media, the Ravens' Organized Team Activities (OTAs) host a bevy of local reporters, but this week, CBS NFL analyst Charley Casserly represented the national network.

Casserly is also regarded by many as one of the most respected evaluators of talent during a longtime tenure in NFL front offices.

He spent 23 years with the Washington Redskins, during which the team went to four Super Bowls, and was the main architect behind the expansion of the Houston Texans from 2000-06.

After meeting with several key Ravens, from Head Coach John Harbaugh to General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn to quarterback Joe Flacco, Casserly spent some time with for a quick question and answer session. After visiting with some staff members and players, what are your overall impressions of the Ravens as they now stand?

Casserly: "I think it's a team that is very well coached, always prepared on Sundays. Ozzie and Eric do a great job of getting players here. When you look at the current state of the team, it is obviously better than it was last season. You have Boldin, and you know what he brings. With Stallworth, there isn't a lot invested, so there is a chance for a bonus. The two young tight ends are both really good pass-catchers and could have an immediate impact. You have a young offensive line that looks solid. Ray Rice proved last year that he's an excellent back.

"And with Joe Flacco, he's proven he can take a team to the playoffs in his first two seasons. Not many guys can say that."
What is your evaluation of Flacco as he enters his third season?

"With Joe, I like his physical skills. Coming out of Delaware, you might think it would take a couple of years. Now, you've seen him a couple of years and have two playoff appearances under his belt. That's pretty good. Joe is a big, strong-armed guy, No. 1. Second, he has a deceptive ability to move around, and that's an underrated skill. Of course, he's continually learning to get better. He'll want to cut the turnovers down, but that's part of the learning process. I don't know why he can't do it."

The Ravens seemed to have a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish this offseason. Do you see it that way?

"You have to go into the offseason with a plan, and I think the Ravens absolutely executed theirs, with what they added at receiver and tight end. It was obvious on defense that they wanted to add some youth to the front seven, and they got that done. Again, I think it's a team that will continue to get better. If I'm a Ravens fan, I'd be fired up, especially for that opener."

As an analyst, is the Ravens/New York Jets matchups one of the games you look forward to watching?

"It's going to be a fun game. You have the Jets, who went to the AFC Championship and added some players this offseason. They're going to be opening their new stadium, so a lot of people are going to write off Baltimore. But, that's the position you want to be in when you're going into hostile territory."
Watching the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints reach the Super Bowl, one would surmise that the game is now heavily reliant on the pass and pass rush. What is your assessment of that statement?

"The Colts have been a pass-first team, and I'm sure they would like to run the ball a little better. I think that was one of their objectives this offseason, because it hurt them in the Super Bowl. The Saints are a great passing team, but if you ask them, they fancy themselves a running team. They do a good job of running the football.

"Balance is the key. You have to be able to execute in the elements, hold a lead and sometimes eat up time on the clock. The Ravens have the potential to do both."

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