Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less on Dick Cass and Sashi Brown

Left: Dick Cass; Right: Future Ravens President Sashi Brown

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

Dick Cass has been the conscience of the Ravens since his hiring as team president in 2004. Notable for his lack of ego (so rare in sports) and reasoned, right-on instincts, Cass deserves a prolonged standing ovation from anyone who cares about the Ravens as he heads into retirement.

It's worth noting that the Ravens' organizational structure won't change when Sashi Brown replaces Cass later this spring. John Harbaugh is in charge of coaching. Eric DeCosta is in charge of personnel. Brown runs the business side. You know the old saying. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

After hearing DeCosta Friday, I think it's clear the lack of forced turnovers in 2021 was a major factor in the calculus that led to a change at defensive coordinator. Only the lowly Jets and Jaguars forced fewer than the Ravens and DeCosta called it "an issue."

Issue, indeed. In their six games against AFC North rivals in 2021, the Ravens forced four turnovers while losing 12. I dare you to top that minus-8 ratio as an explanation for why they went 1-5 in the division and finished in last place for the first time since 2007.

It doesn't sound as if DeCosta is in any hurry to sign Lamar Jackson to a new contract, and when Jackson spoke in January, he didn't seem especially anxious to get it done, either. These situations can change quickly, but I wouldn't count on a deal coming anytime soon.

No surprise, I'm giving a big thumbs-up to DeCosta's statement that improving the offensive line will be a "point of emphasis" in 2022. Yes, the D-line, pass rush and secondary also need addressing, but giving Jackson more time to do his thing is the team's No. 1 issue. 

I'm also giving a thumbs-up to DeCosta's decision to pick up Marquise Brown's fifth-year option. Some things about his 2021 season weren't ideal, but his catches and receiving yardage have gone up every year. As DeCosta said, Brown is already providing what the Ravens would want from anyone replacing him. 

He didn't say it directly, but it sure seems DeCosta wants a solid backup plan in place at running back in case J.K. Dobbins and/or Gus Edwards aren't 100 percent ready to go. I'd look for the Ravens to add a running back at the right price in free agency. 

Understandably, Jackson doesn't get too worked up about anything he sees on social media. But I'm guessing he was truly humbled by Tom Brady's gracious if grammatically-challenged salute in an Instagram post ("your next"). In just two words, Brady offered high praise, optimism and encouragement from the top. 

Other than the Giants, who went 2-0 against him in Super Bowls, the Ravens competed with Brady as well as anyone in the playoffs. They beat him in 2009 and 2012, barely missed going to overtime with him (cough) in 2011 and blew two 14-point leads to him in 2014.

Need insight into the measure of Mike Macdonald's challenge as he takes over as defensive coordinator? Add up the defensive players he can count on to start in 2022 after finishing 2021 relatively healthy. I've got Chuck Clark, Patrick Queen, Odafe Oweh, maybe Justin Madubuike. You only need one hand.

It was one thing for former Ravens safety Eric Weddle to sign with the Rams and play a few snaps as an emergency fill-in two years after he retired from the NFL. But in the NFC title game, he played every snap and led the Rams in tackles. C'mon, man.

Related Content