'The Weatherman' Daniels Delivers Forecast
I have a feeling Owens Daniels is going to fit right in with Dennis Pitta and Joe Flacco.
And I'm not just talking about on the field (which I'll get to below).
The personality of these three guys should easily gel.
Pending a passed physical today, the Ravens not only signed a No. 2 tight end to complement Pitta, but they also signed "the weatherman." That's not just a nickname Ravens fans can use with Daniels.
He's actually a meteorologist.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Daniels graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. He apparently has made it known that after his playing days, he would like to pick up a new career in meteorology.
He's gotten plenty of work to keep his skills sharp.
The internet is sprinkled with various videos of Daniels delivering the forecast, including with KHOU in Houston, the NFL Network, the Weather Channel and he even joined Al Roker on the "Today Show" as part of Super Bowl week last February.
Check out his skills in a couple clips below (mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page).
I especially like how he uses this first weather gig to talk trash with the Oakland Raiders …
— Prolanthropy (@prolanthropy) January 31, 2014
Why Daniels Is Such An Important Move
This is a Flacco-friendly signing.
Daniels represents an immediate upgrade at the tight end position.
Instead of throwing to an "undependable" and "aging" Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark combo, Flacco will have a more "reliable" and "clutch" tandem in Owens and Pitta, says ESPN's Jamison Hensley. Having a productive two tight end set is critical in Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's system.
"The Baltimore Ravens don't expect Owen Daniels to be their No. 1 tight end," Jamison Hensley. "They don't project him to put up Pro Bowl numbers or relive past glory in Gary Kubiak's offense.
"So, why is a one-year deal with Daniels such a significant move for the Ravens? Essentially, Daniels will be what Steve Smith is to Torrey Smith. Daniels is an excellent complement to Dennis Pitta and provides a clutch secondary option behind a young player hitting his prime. His history says you can count on him for 50 catches, timely third-down conversions and yards after the catch."
Daniels may even have a leg up on Smith in mentoring this season because Daniels already knows Kubiak and Tight Ends Coach Brian Pariani after working with them in Houston since he was drafted in 2006. The 6-foot-3, 249-pounder will be a key factor in helping teach Kubiak's offense.
The Ravens stayed in contact with Dickson and explored the idea of re-signing the 2010 third-rounder, but they ultimately opted for Daniels, who is more proven. Daniels, 31, ranks second in Texans franchise history, behind wide receiver Andre Johnson, in career receptions (385), receiving yards (4,617) and receiving touchdowns (29).
"There was no one available who could have made a more immediate impact than Daniels," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens could've re-signed Dickson, but Flacco had no confidence in him last season. They could've drafted a tight end, although it was unlikely that the No. 1 prospect Eric Ebron was going to fall to the Ravens at No. 17."
The reason why Daniels was still on the market more than three weeks after free agency doors opened is because he broke his fibula last season and only played in five games. Daniels went unsigned after visits with the Packers and Redskins.
He's been limited to 11 games or fewer in three of the past five seasons, but when is healthy, history shows you can count on him for a solid 50 catches per season.
Combine that production with a healthy Pitta, and you get Baltimore's version of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Hensley is already on record as saying that the receiving corps is the best in Baltimore history with the Smiths, Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones.
And what about the tight ends corps?
"Daniels was the Ravens' sure bet at tight end, and he gives the Ravens the best one-two punch at tight end in their history," Hensley wrote.
Rolando May Meet With Ozzie Today
Today could be a big day for linebacker Rolando McClain.
With Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome reportedly heading to Alabama today, McClain expects to meet with him to discuss his plan to come out of retirement and possibly return to Baltimore, according to The Carroll County Times' Matt Zenitz.
If Newsome is open to re-signing McClain (the Ravens own his rights after he abruptly retired last offseason) the 24-year-old linebacker told Zenitz that he plans to be in Baltimore for voluntary workouts on April 21.
"I'm excited about the game again," McClain said. "I'm excited to play. I'm excited to be around some damn teammates."
McClain retired May 23, 2013 after he had several off-the-field issues, including three arrests in two years. But he says he been working out regularly and is in his best shape since being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior at Alabama in 2009.
McClain says he weighs about 253 pounds now, seven pounds lighter than when he was at Alabama.
Will the Ravens agree to take McClain back?
"To me, it all depends on a couple things," Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. "Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up? He had a lot of growing up to do obviously. And how hard he's working, how hard he's working at Alabama right now.
"If he's working his rear end off, then I'm kind of excited about him. If he's not, then I've got no interest in him being on our team."
Falcons Take Flacco In 2008 Draft Do-Over
Joe Flacco as the Atlanta Falcons franchise quarterback and not Matt Ryan?
That's the way things could have gone down if teams had the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, says NFL Media's Bucky Brooks in his 2008 NFL Draft do-over.
So why wouldn't the Falcons have taken Ryan again?
It's not because Brooks believes that Flacco is better – even though he does have a Super Bowl ring and Ryan has just one playoff win. It's because Ryan would have been selected by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 1 overall pick.
That leaves Flacco as the second-ranked quarterback in the draft. And instead of being selected at No. 18 with the Ravens, he goes at No. 3.
"It's hard to poke holes at Joe Flacco's suggestion that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when you look at his Super Bowl ring and overall winning percentage," Brooks wrote. "He consistently leads his teams into the playoffs, which is a significant deal in a league that's all about winning."
With Flacco off the board, Brooks has the Ravens taking defensive end Calais Campbell at No. 18.
"Ozzie Newsome has done a great job of identifying 'football players' in the draft," wrote Brooks. "Campbell doesn't garner significant attention on the national scope, but he has been one of the top defenders in the league the past two seasons."
OT Zack Martin Or S Calvin Pryor?
One could argue that the two biggest needs remaining on the Ravens roster is right tackle and free safety.
So who should the team select if both Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin and Louisville safety Calvin Pryor are available when the Ravens are on the clock at No. 17?
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper says he gives "the slight nod" to Martin, who is rated as the 20th-best player* *(two spots behind Pryor) on Kiper's board.
"He can play left tackle if [Eugene] Monroe got hurt," Kiper said. "You can immediately pencil him in as a starter at right tackle. He can play guard, too.
"Pryor didn't test that well but he played very, very well at Louisville. He was one of [coach] Charlie Strong's favorite players. On performance, he'd be a top-15 pick. His workouts weren't impressive as a first-rounder. But you put it all together, he'll probably be a late one."
- The Detroit Lions signed backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who worked with Kubiak for two seasons. Rex Grossman is another free**agent quarterback who has ties with Kubiak. Harbaugh said the Ravens are considering backups with history with Kubiak. [ESPN]
- Smith says he's not Anquan Boldin. Buuuuut … "Statistically speaking, Smith and Boldin are the same player. Over the past five seasons, Smith has produced 4,849 yards receiving and Boldin has totaled 4,848 yards," wrote Hensley. "Yes, exactly one yard separates them." [ESPN]
- "Would the Ravens consider taking Minnesota defensive lineman Ra’Shede Hageman with their first-round pick?" asks Clifton Brown. "The Ravens' two best defensive linemen are also their oldest - Haloti Ngata (30 years old) and Chris Canty (31 years old). And the Ravens lost Arthur Jones, their most consistent defensive lineman last season, to the Colts in free agency." [CSNBaltimore.com]
- "The Ravens questions at running back don't end with Ray Rice and his legal problems," wrote Bo Smolka. "Bernard Pierce, entering his third season with the Ravens, is coming off offseason shoulder surgery and a subpar second season with the Ravens. The time is now for him to show that he can stay healthy and be a key component in the Ravens running game for the foreseeable future." [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick says Flacco and the Ravens offense will have plenty of time to learn Kubiak system after they report on April 21. [WNST]
- @profootballtalk: Release could be coming as Chris Johnson tweets he's traveling to Tennessee.* *[Twitter]
- @ryanmink: This #Ravens offense is starting to look nasty. Another offensive lineman and some RB security and it's good to go. [Twitter]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: Smith said he has spoken to Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith and several other players and he's been studying play book. [Twitter]
- @LWebb21: June 1, 2014 M&T Bank Stadium @Ravens @TorreySmithWR @vleach44 @TheRealJacoby12 @UnitedWay @MichaelOher @ElamVsElo [Twitter]