Perriman Just Made Things A Lot More Complicated This Offseason
The Internet has a conspiracy theory on Breshad Perriman.
The theory is a fun joke, yet it also underlies a problem the Ravens legitimately have heading into the offseason.
Ready for the theory?
Breshad Perriman doesn't really exist. He is a figment of our imaginations.
How else do you explain the situation to fans when they've never seen the Ravens' first-round pick, who was originally only estimated to miss a day or two with a bruised knee in training camp? Now, for the first time in the Ravens' 20 years as a franchise, a first-rounder will miss his entire rookie season.
It's one of the strangest injuries of all-time.
I can attest that Perriman is indeed real. He's a super nice guy and a competitor at heart. My guess is he's 10 times more frustrated with how his NFL career began than any Ravens fan.
Perriman took to Twitter last night and described his first season as a "huge disappointment" and vowed to come back "harder than ever."
I personally feel bad for Perriman. Sure, his reported signing bonus of $4.5 million softens the blow. But no competitor likes to watch the game he loves from the sideline. Here's hoping he proves all the doubters wrong in his second season.
Until that actually happens, however, the Ravens have a bit of a problem on their hands.
The truth is Perriman has been non-existent this season. He has been a version of Where's Waldo?, and the Ravens never found him. They kept him on the roster for 2.5 months, holding out hope that he'd make an appearance for at least four games.
That never happened, so the Ravens don't really know what they have in Perriman moving forward. At this point, they really don't know a whole lot more about him than when they drafted him in April.
"[It] adds another question mark to the Baltimore Ravens' uncertain wide receiver situation for 2016," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Is Perriman going to be an immediate starter and playmaker like Amari Cooper? Or will he need time to develop as a backup like DeVante Parker?
"…Ravens officials don't have the luxury to guess or cross their fingers."
That's because Perriman's absence makes an already cloudy situation even murkier. The Ravens don't know whether their top playmaker, Steve Smith Sr., will back next season. Even if he doesn't retire, he'd be coming off a major Achilles injury at 37 years old.
"The Ravens horribly assessed their wide receiver position this offseason, and they can't afford to do it again next season," wrote Hensley. "Baltimore has to take the blame for its current situation of starting Kamar Aiken and Chris Givens, both of whom would probably not be starting for another team in the league. The lack of playmakers is the result of a misjudgment by General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the other Ravens' decision-makers.
"The Ravens placed too much faith in a rookie receiver and a 36-year-old one. Instead of signing a free agent like Michael Crabtree, Baltimore banked on a career journeyman in Aiken, who is too inconsistent in catching the ball, and third-year undrafted player Marlon Brown, who is now at the bottom of the depth chart because he can't get separation."
Not to mention,* *quarterback Joe Flacco and front office officials are expected to sit back down at the negotiating table this offseason to re-work his $120 million contract. Flacco's cap hit is scheduled to jump to $28.6 million.
They likely don't want to give Flacco another lucrative deal without giving him some reliable weapons with which to work. If they don't, Hensley believes it could cost them another trip to the playoffs in what could be two consecutive seasons.
"If the Ravens want to get back to being a playoff contender next season, they need to look at the AFC teams that are in competition with them," he wrote. "The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals have multiple weapons who can get open, stretch the field and break tackles. … Baltimore has plenty of work to do this offseason to play catch-up with the rest of the contenders at the wide receiver position."
Refs Will Not Be Suspended For Game-Changing Blunder
If you're wondering what the repercussions will be for the officials who caused the Ravens to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, I can tell you it won't be much.
Per ESPN's Kevin Seifert, the league is not expected to suspend anyone on Pete Morelli's crew,* *despite it admitting that they erred for not calling a false start on the last play of scrimmage, which would have ended the game with the Ravens on top 20-19.
So what will happen to the refs?
"The error will be reflected in the crew's weekly evaluation by the NFL office," wrote Seifert.
The league has suspended officials in the past, but it is rare, and not usually after a "judgment call" was made. A referee on Morelli's crew was suspended last month for an administrative blunder.
"Mistakes in judgment are part of officiating, and the NFL does not plan to make them subject to suspension," Seifert explained. "It's possible a member of Morelli's crew could be reassigned for Week 11, but the league does not confirm its full crews until the day of games."
The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck says the NFL's admission of the mistake, without any corrective action, offers no consolation to Baltimore.
"[W]hy doesn't the league have the ability to correct that error by changing the records of the two teams?" Schmuck asked. "Sound ridiculous? I don't think so."
The Sun columnist points out that Major League Baseball has a system that allows for corrective action. It wouldn't work in the NFL because it can't get two football teams to resume a game from the point of a bad decision.
But when the error is so clear on the outcome of the game, like it was in Baltimore Sunday, there's nothing stopping the NFL from reversing the result. People have pointed to Vegas, and Schmuck dismisses it by saying Vegas can make it clear to gamblers that payouts are based on results at the end of the game. Besides, the NFL doesn't support gambling anyway.
Schmuck also says all plays should be reviewable within the last two minutes. If broadcast television needs to move on to their next program, they can make their choice about moving on and report the update in the second game. He also suggests the league make officiating a full-time job in order to improve the calls.
"We've been hearing for years from the suits that run the NFL that it's all about getting the calls right," Schmuck wrote. "And they keep getting it wrong. But hey, the Ravens really won that game. Don't you feel better now?"
Time For Ravens To Play Young Talent
Head Coach John Harbaugh will never stop trying to win football games this season, no matter how dire things get.
But if you ask some of the media around town, it's time to start evaluating for next season. And that means giving some of your young talent some significant playing time.
"I'm not saying it's time to pack it in and lose every game by any means," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Matthew Stevens.
"But it is time to see what you have in your young talent. Begin to mix things up, experiment with new schemes and players at different spots. The Ravens have started down that path by pushing cornerback Lardarius Webb to the safety spot, but they need to do more."
Stevens wants to see more of guys like receiver Jeremy Butler and cornerback Tray Walker. The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec wants to see more of safety Terrence Brooks and linebacker Arthur Brown.
Harbaugh acknowledged on Monday that some of the young guys will get chances if they flash in practice. And we already started to see more of Brown last week against the Jags.
It's not crazy to think others could get a chance too.
"[T]he Ravens' season is truly over from a competitive standpoint," wrote Stevens. "It's time to test the roster in order to trim the fat and let the players that deserve their pay checks rise up."
Browns Name Manziel Starter
The Cleveland Browns are enjoying their bye this week, but when they return against the Ravens in Week 12, they'll do it with their newly-named starter, Johnny Manziel.
It will be the second week in a row the Ravens will face a team just after it made a change at quarterback. The Rams announced Monday that Case Keenum will take over the starting role when they visit Baltimore.
Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine announced the change yesterday, two days after Manziel tossed the rock for 372 yards in a 30-9 loss at Pittsburgh. Previous starter, veteran Josh McCown, has gone 1-6 at the helm.
This gives Manziel six games to prove he deserves to be the franchise quarterback in Cleveland, and Baltimore would like nothing more than to give him a rough start to his campaign.
"It's big news for me,'' said Manziel, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I wanted the chance to be the guy and that was always my goal. I couldn't be more excited.''