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Late For Work 6/9: Early Insider Opinion On Kubiak-Flacco Marriage


Early Insider Opinion On Kubiak-Flacco Marriage

As the Ravens continue their grind in organized team activities (OTAs), coaches and executives from opposing NFL teams are forming early opinions of the Gary Kubiak-Joe Flacco marriage in Baltimore.

Unnamed "league insiders" gave ESPN's Mike Sando their impressions of how Kubiak and Flacco might fit together, and their opinions were "all over the map."

It's important the two quickly get on the same page with three straight division games scheduled to start the season. In fact, it's so important that Sando placed Kubiak at the top of his "most critical" new coordinators list in 2014.

That's the most critical of 21 new coordinators hired since the end of last season.

Flacco is currently hard at work learning the West Coast system and terminology that Kubiak is installing. While we know there will be expanded zone concepts combined with the bootleg in Baltimore, Sando points out we won't know if there will be a full or partial change until the season starts because coordinators often adjust for personnel and head coach preferences.

Here are some of the opinions of these league insiders, described only by their positions:

Established offensive coach
"I am a huge Kubiak fan," the coach told Sando. "In my opinion, Flacco is controlling too many things there. You need to grab ahold of him and tell him to just go play. He's had the keys to the car and hasn't gotten it started, so Kubiak needs to say, 'Here is what we are going to do.' I think Kubiak can do that." 

Former personnel director working in another capacity"I think Flacco is what Flacco is – he doesn't care," he told Sando, disagreeing with the offensive coach. "He will do what he wants to do. Look at how he handled the contract negotiations. You've gotta be careful how much you're going to change him, I would think." 

General manager"One general manager questioned whether the towering Flacco was a good fit for what Kubiak wants to run," Sando summarized. "Others suggested Flacco's athleticism is underrated and that he'll be fine in the system. The GM who questioned Flacco's fit in the offense said he thought Ray Rice could flourish with the concepts Kubiak prefers, while a coordinator who thought Rice looked old last season expected Kubiak's offense to help spring receiver Torrey Smith on deeper routes."

To get a local perspective for how well Flacco and the offense are digesting Kubiak's new system, our own John Eisenberg provided his observations to Glenn Younes and Bob Haynie on 105.7 The Fan.

Eisenberg admitted it is hard to get a true gauge in OTAs, but said he believes the players are absorbing everything well, but that it's a work in progress with a long way to go.

"[Kubiak] is a very intense guy on the practice field," Eisenberg said. "It is a class room. I enjoy watching him at practice. He is a chessboard, X's and O's, now that he has been freed of the head-coaching job, he is back to the real nuts and bolts of it and he is lasered in. It is really interesting.

"I know he is running a lot of meetings where a lot is expected out of these guys. He is a big presence there. Behind the scenes, we're not seeing a lot of it. He is not a loud guy on the practice field, but he is a coach that believes, 'This system works, so you guys need to get my system down.'"

A Closer Look At Kaepernick's Contract

Early opinion on quarterback Colin Kaepernick's contract has quickly changed after a closer look at the deal.

"It appears that I was overzealous in putting the 'overpaid' label on Kaepernick," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. 

It was reported that Kaepernick would receive $61 million in "guaranteed" money, which would be the highest of NFL quarterbacks, but contract details reveal a portion of Kaepernick's contract is guaranteed for injury only and contains de-escalators. If certain incentives aren't reached, his base salary can decrease by $2 million.'s Jason La Canfora says Kaepernick has "rolling guarantees," but his "true guarantee" is $13 million.

In order to make clearer comparisons between Kaepernick and Flacco's contracts (and other NFL quarterbacks), La Canfora breaks down a stat he says most executives look at.

"[L]et's take a look at the metric that most NFL cap guys I speak to regularly focus on: the three-year average of the deal," wrote La Canfora, noting most of these types of contracts are re-done after three years.

If Kaepernick is saddled with the de-escalators, his average salary over the first three years of the deal is $18.66 million, per La Canfora. If he expunges all the de-escalators, he will get $20.666 million.  What is Flacco's average annual salary in the first three years? Reportedly $20.666 million.

Here's how those numbers compare to other NFL quarterbacks:

Matt Ryan ($22.916M)
Aaron Rodgers ($22.666M)
Joe Flacco ($20.666M)
Drew Brees ($20.333M)
Peyton Manning ($19.333M)
Colin Kaepernick ($18.666M)
Jay Cutler ($18M)
Tony Romo ($18M)

Flacco's Brother Drafted By Phillies

The Flacco family tree has some pretty impressive athletic genes.

After Joe Flacco's youngest brother, Tom, was drafted by his hometown Philadelphia Phillies in the 32nd round of MLB draft, a third Flacco could be playing in professional sports.

Mike Flacco was drafted by the Orioles in the 31st round in 2009, and he eventually crossed over to football and signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent this May.

It's still up in the air as to whether Tom Flacco will play baseball. He reportedly has a football scholarship from Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer he was likely to stick with football, but wouldn't rule out signing with the Phillies without more discussions with the club.

"I didn't even know they were following me," Tom Flacco said. "It's a great honor.

"I got so many texts of congratulations. It put it in perspective."

Will Ravens Sign Vet CB? Maybe Asante Samuel?

With the departure of cornerback Corey Graham via free agency, some are still wondering whether the Ravens will sign another veteran to help fill his shoes at the nickel spot.

For now, the Ravens are giving a shot to two youngsters on the team: Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson.

A fan asked Hensley whether the Ravens would consider a veteran like Asante Samuel.

"Don't see the Ravens picking up a cornerback until the final major cutdown," Hensley wrote. "The available corners, like Samuel, are either aging or coming off injury. I expect the Ravens to stick with the group they have and evaluate them. Then, if there is still a hole, they can sign someone let go after the final preseason game. "

Quick Hits

  • Former Panthers teammate Luke Kuechly talked about what it will be like to face Steve Smith Sr. as a Raven this season. "Oh yeah. I think it'll be funny," he said.  "It's interesting because he's a different dude off the field than on the field. Off the field, he's a great guy. I had two years of watching him on the field and now I'll be going against him, so I'm interested in seeing Steve Smith on an opposing team." []  
  • It's not a big deal yet that some of the Ravens aren't attending voluntary OTAs, says Hensley.  "Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Chris Canty, guard Marshal Yanda and inside linebacker Daryl Smith all know what they're doing on the field and they know their roles," he wrote.  "Even though some of these players – Suggs, Ngata and Canty – are coming off disappointing seasons, they're really not going to benefit much from running drills in their shorts. The criticism becomes legitimate in two weeks if these players report to mandatory minicamp in poor shape. That's when you can make the argument that they should've been training at team headquarters instead of their hometowns."
  • Rookie defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan is off to a fast start. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman won the "Madden 15” cover vote, and he doesn't believe in any curses. []
  • Lardarius Webb's community work is still going strong. Coming off his charity softball tournament and donating $15,000 to the Baltimore Boys and Girls club, Webb conducted his football camp over the weekend in his Alabama hometown. [Instagram]
  • @owendaniels: I'd say strong to quite strong "@meccapatches: Still kicking strong 1 yr later #happyanniversary @owendaniels [Twitter]
  • @TyrodTaylor: Wounded Warriors softball game with the Fam. #hokies mike7vick @MVFive @NFLJoshMorgan [Instagram]
  • @89SteveSmith: It's great to be on the field again .. Sun out Guns out  #ravennation.#agent89 #stevesmith [Twitter]
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