Will Hill Wants Ravens To Sign Safety Antrel Rolle
Can you picture Giants free-agent safety Antrel Rolle patrolling the back* *end of the Ravens defense alongside Will Hill?
He campaigned on his Instagram account for the two to be reunited after they started 10 games together in New York in 2013. Hill posted four pictures of the pair celebrating together as Giants, writing "if things go the way I want me and big bro will be reunited."
The two may have chemistry, but the 32-year-old Rolle doesn't appear to be an upgrade over the current safeties on the roster that had at least 300 snaps last season. Here are their Pro Football Focus (PFF) rankings and stats from the 2014 season:
No. 14 Will Hill (plus-9.3 overall grade)584 snaps, 30 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PDs
42.1% of the 19 passes thrown at him were completed for 83 yards and 2 TDs
No. 23 Jeromy Miles (plus-5.4 overall grade)
335 snaps, 18 tackles, 1 INT, 0 PDs
33.3% of the 9 passes thrown at him were completed for 31 yards and 0 TDs
No. 30 Darian Stewart (plus-3.0 overall grade)
782 snaps, 45 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PDs
72.4% of the 29 passes thrown at him were completed for 293 yards and 2 TDs
No. 78 Matt Elam (minus-11.1 overall grade)
439 snaps, 18 tackles, 0 INTs, 1 PDs
*73.9% of the 23 passes thrown at him were completed for 277 yards and 1 TD*
No. 81 Antrel Rolle (minus-13.9 overall grade)1,071 snaps, 70 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 PDs63.8% of the 47 passes thrown at him were completed for 428 yards and 2 TDs
Rolle's 81st ranking was a steep decline from 2013 when he was playing with Hill. That year, Rolle ranked No. 9 and Hill was No. 3.
For Hill's dream to come true, the Ravens first have to offer him a restricted free-agent tender to keep him in Baltimore. Then, both General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Rolle would have to be convinced. Rolle's heart still appears to be in New York.
"I want to go back to the Giants for the fact I feel like I still have work to do," Rolle told Sirius XM NFL Radio Wednesday. "No matter how good or bad the season may have been for myself, you know, we've got one championship and I feel like that's not enough. I feel like there's more, obviously there's more in the tank and more I need to provide as far as my services with that organization to try and help them win another title.
"I don't like to leave anything undone and I feel like my time there is undone for whatever reason. I don't know why I feel that way but it's just the way I feel. If, God forbid, it doesn't happen, then obviously I'm a man. I know that this league is a business and I don't try to take anything personal. That for me, right now, that's what my mindset is."
Zrebiec: Safety More Pressing Than Corner
Even if Rolle isn't the answer, safety is still a high priority this offseason after the Ravens ranked No. 23 in pass defense.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec believes safety is even a more pressing need than cornerback. The Ravens only have two safeties under contract for 2015: Elam and last year's third-round pick Terrence Brooks, who landed on injured reserve with a knee injury in December.
"It's too early to call Elam a bust, but the early indications aren't good," asserts Zrebiec. "He regressed badly in his sophomore season, proving to be a liability in coverage and consistently missing open-field tackles.
"The Ravens have to hope that Elam regains some confidence and can be salvaged. Either way, it would be tough to consider him a viable starting candidate based on how he performed last season. As for Brooks, even if he makes a quick recovery from his knee injury, he looked nowhere near ready to be an every-down starter during limited opportunities last year, and he'll obviously miss out on many reps in the various offseason minicamps and organized team activities."
The Ravens will "probably retain" exclusive rights free agent Brynden Trawick and restricted free agents Hill and Anthony Levine (converted to corner last year). Stewart and Miles are both pending unrestricted free agents.
"So the Ravens will head into the heart of the offseason with a tentative starting safety pairing of Hill and Elam, which won't exactly inspire a lot of confidence with the team's fan base," asserts Zrebiec.
Zrebiec says there aren't ideal solutions in either the draft or free agency. Safety is one the toughest positions to transition from college to the NFL, so a rookie might not provide immediate help. Meanwhile, the Ravens don't have much salary cap space to spend on a safety and the free agents aren't "overwhelmingly impressive."
"Any way you look at it, the Ravens have plenty of questions at safety and no clear answers," Zrebiec wrote. "The good news is they have several months to find them."
McCown Says Starting Role Not A Prerequisite
Yesterday, we looked at how recently-released quarterback Josh McCown would make a lot of sense for the Ravens (at a veteran minimum deal), but the Ravens may not make much sense for McCown.
That was based off the assumption that McCown would be looking for a chance to start (along with starter money), which he wouldn't get in Baltimore as long as Joe Flacco is healthy.
But the 35-year-old journeyman said that starting isn't a necessity when he signs his next contract.
"I don't think being a starter is a prerequisite at all," McCown told PFT Live. "I know that those opportunities are less and less as I get older."
McCown has been around long enough that he understands getting phone calls from interested teams is good news in and of itself (and he has already received calls). He confirmed that he doesn't plan on retiring and simply wants to find the right fit.
Would Baltimore be the right fit, given a potential reuniting with Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman?
"It's natural to make that connection," McCown told NFL Media's Adam Schein on Sirius XM/Mad Dog Sports Radio. "I have a ton of respect for Marc, there's no doubt that's a natural and easy connection."
Oh, and another one of his goals: a Lombardi Trophy. Baltimore would certainly give him that opportunity.
"Even if I'm not a starter, I still want to walk away from this game with a ring," he said.
How Flacco, Taylor Compare In ESPN QB Survey
ESPN polled 128 quarterbacks on 15 questions that ranged from high school schemes,to their family backgrounds to their ethnicity.
Jamison Hensley revealed how Ravens quarterbacks Flacco and Tyrod Taylor compare in some of the trends of current and past quarterbacks. I've summed up the answers in the chart below:
|The League||Joe Flacco||Tyrod Taylor|
|Age when they first|
threw the ball
|79.5% between 1-5||13||5|
|Attending camps in youth||61.6% attended||No||Yes|
|Parents||89.8% in 2-parent house||2-parent house||2-parent house|
|Children in family||67.7% 3 kids or more||oldest of 6 kids||only child|
|Scholarship offers||N/A||5 offers||60-80 offers|
|Age they knew they|
could play professionally
Forsett Reiterates His Top Priority Is A Long-Term Commitment
Pending unrestricted free agent running back Justin Forsett has said multiple times that he would like to return to Baltimore, but he reiterated on Sirius XM NFL radio that his top priority is a long-term commitment.
Forsett has been with four different teams in as many years, and you can't blame him for wanting some stability, especially as he turns 30 years old next October.
"Yeah, definitely, I want to return back in Baltimore and play in this city but I'm really looking for a commitment," Forsett said. "Throughout my whole career, bouncing back and forth — I want a stable place, stable team. Wherever that comes, you know, I'm open for it. So, I'm just playing it by ear right now and of course, I'll listen to any offers out there right now. …
"They [Ravens] expressed interest before I left the facility, so we'll just have to see how it turns out."
- The predicted outcome with defensive end Chris Canty, who heads into the final year of his contract and reportedly counts as $3.3 million against the cap: "Canty won't [be] a part of the Ravens in 2015," Hensley predicts. "He'll either get cut by the Ravens or he'll decide to retire. Canty, 32, who has been laying the groundwork for a career in television, acknowledged that he has contemplated calling it quits after 10 seasons. … Even if Canty doesn't retire, the Ravens are expected to cut him because they have younger and cheaper players who can play just as well as Canty. This is a no-brainer." [ESPN]