Why Ravens Could Seriously Consider Keeping A Whopping Five Tight Ends
It sounds absurd.
Five tight ends? Really?
The Ravens usually keep three tight ends on their 53-man roster, but extending it to four is manageable. It'd be worth a little roster tweaking for a group so deep and full of impact players, especially given Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman's tight-end friendly system.
Five tight ends would be really stretching it and something I've personally never considered as a real possibility, but before we write off the idea completely, let's ponder what the fifth tight end could bring to the table. That fifth tight end being converted wide receiver and second-year player Darren Waller.
Any other year, keeping Waller would be a much easier decision. He's a young player whose potential gets coaches excited because he's a versatile, big-bodied weapon (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) who can help at receiver, tight end and in the red zone. As a reminder of that potential, check out his diving catch in mandatory minicamp.
But that's not really the reason to keep him this year. As exciting as his potential is as a receiving threat, there are four other tight ends ahead of him: Crockett Gillmore, Dennis Pitta, Benjamin Watson and Maxx Williams. Tight end Nick Boyle "would be ahead of Waller too" if it weren't for his 10-game suspension to open the season, says The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
In addition to his potential and versatility on offense, the reason to keep Waller this year has more to do with his contributions elsewhere.
"The Ravens don't normally keep four tight ends, never mind five, but it would be foolish to dismiss Waller’s roster chances," wrote Jeff Zrebiec. "The Ravens build the back end of their roster with special teams in mind and Waller shined on special teams last year."
"Darren Waller should make the team on his special-teams ability alone, but how many teams have ever carried five tight ends?" added ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Good question, Jamison. Maybe you can get your colleagues at ESPN Stats and Information to dig into the books to find out. Whatever the exact number, we can bet it's between little to zero times.
And that's the dilemma.
One of the Ravens' core special teams players just happens to play at an already loaded position. Do coaches risk less depth at another roster spot to bolster the special teams unit?
It's something worth considering.
Joe Flacco Gets Some Serious, Serious Love
Finally a break from the "Is Joe Flacco elite?" debate, and somebody is simply giving him some serious props.
The NFL Network ranked the top five performances in playoff history, and not only did Flacco make the list, he topped it.
He beat some ridiculously amazing competition, including 49ers quarterback Joe Montana's historic Super Bowl-winning campaign from 1989.
Here's the final list:
No. 5, Larry Fitzgerald (2008): 30 receptions, 546 yards, seven touchdowns in four games
No. 4, Terrell Davis (1997): 112 rushes, 581 yards, eight touchdowns in four games
No. 3, John Riggins (1982): 136 rushes, 610 yards, four touchdowns in four games
No. 2, Joe Montana (1989): 78.3 completion percentage, 800 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions in three games
No. 1, Joe Flacco (2012): 57.9 completion percentage, 1,140 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions in four games
The folks at NFL Media didn't explain their reasoning behind the rankings, but my guess is that Flacco topped Montana because he threw for 300-plus more yards. Check out the video here.
Flacco Death Hoax Represents Everything Wrong With Internet
You had to be hiding under a rock to miss the Flacco death hoax that went viral on social media last week.
Shoot, I was trying to stay away from the internet while on vacation on a small island off the coast of Maine last week and I even heard about it. No major repercussions came from somebody killing off the Ravens quarterback, and Flacco had a little fun on Twitter with it himself.
But The Baltimore Sun's Mark Selig makes an excellent point, in my opinion.
"It's amazing such an uproar could be caused by someone with the maturity of Bart Simpson calling Moe's Tavern. Who does this? … What’s your end game, pal?" he asked.
"The web is a vast world of information and misinformation, and some people derive pleasure out of presenting the latter. It's a subculture I don't understand, but one that's becoming easier to see through. Idiots will be idiots and we're all potential victims."
An Argument To Move NFL's Draft Weekend
Here's an idea that I'd guess Head Coach John Harbaugh would be in favor of, considering he likes to get as much time as possible developing young rookies. Maybe General Manager Ozzie Newsome would also like it to better help with the timing of the draft and free agency.
The MMQB.com's Peter King believes the NFL should move up the draft by nearly two months to allow teams to better incorporate rookies into their plans and enter free agency with a better idea of holes needed to be filled.
He points to other professional sports leagues to illustrate how long the NFL waits after the season ends:
- National Football League: 81 days
- National Hockey League: 12 days
- National Basketball Association: 4 days
- Major League Baseball: 0 days (held in the middle of the baseball season in June)
"If I'm ever commissioner of the NFL, one of the first things on my agenda would be moving the draft to the first week of March," wrote King. "I'd be giving NFL employees their lives back, and I'd be giving every team the chance to build the right way with plenty of time in the offseason to incorporate rookies and free agents into planning for the new season.
"That's right: free agency would start a week or so after the draft and the signing of undrafted college free agents. Teams would fill holes after the draft, not before."