Mike Wallace's Failed Conditioning Test Being Blown Out Of Proportion
New Ravens wideout Mike Wallace is going to be just fine.
Yes, he failed the Ravens' infamously rigorous conditioning test upon reporting on the first day of training camp Wednesday. Is it what Wallace or anyone at the Ravens wanted? Uh, no.
But, let's not blow this out of proportion.
The team is not overly concerned because it expects Wallace to attempt the test again very soon, and pass. Heck, by the time you read this, he may have already done so. Wallace hit five of the six timed benchmarks for receivers, and we don't know how far off he was on the sixth and final time.
Unless he fails it multiple times or looks sluggish on the field, I'm going to chalk this up to a "Welcome to Baltimore" moment for a guy who is new to Head Coach John Harbaugh's system. The conditioning test is no joke, and even quarterback Joe Flacco bragged yesterday about how he avoided it by meeting the 80-percent requirement of offseason participation.
"This isn't a major concern for the Ravens," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
"Though it's not the ideal way to begin his first camp with the Ravens, it's not uncommon to see a veteran or two — especially those new to the organization — fail the conditioning test at the start of camp and Wallace is expected to pass and be on the practice field within the next couple days," added WNST's Luke Jones.
Other Ravens who failed the test in the past include defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Lardarius Webb and wide receiver Jacoby Jones. And before you write off the big man's failed test, remember each one is tailored to specific position groups. Ngata was not expected to hit the same timed benchmarks as Wallace.
Perhaps the reason media members aren't as worried as some fans is because they've seen Wallace practice all offseason. He's quietly been one of the more consistently impressive receivers on the field. While Wallace admitted he may not be as lightning fast as he was during his Pittsburgh days, he can still turn on the burners. He's notched many impressive catches this offseason, including deep touchdowns.
One conditioning test doesn't erase all that.
"It's not the best first step, but it should be forgotten fairly soon if Wallace is on the field soon and making plays down the field once games start," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Josh Alper.
You mean plays like this?
Terrell Suggs Endorses 'Game of Thrones' Ticket For 2016 Election
Can I say it was an absolute joy to listen to Terrell Suggs yesterday?
It had been almost a year since we last heard from him, and it was well worth the wait. Doubters thought Suggs may have lost the desire to play football after a grueling second Achilles rehab process.
But it had the complete opposite effect.
Suggs is as motivated as we've ever seen him, saying he's heard all the naysayers and is licking his chops to prove them wrong. Not only is he not thinking about retirement, but he even tossed out playing when he's 37 years old or older. Oh yes, the swagger, accompanied by the foul language, is back.
Check out the best soundbites in Garrett Downing's "Final Drive" below.
Also, if you're looking for an alternative to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump this election cycle, Suggs introduced a third option with his "Game of Thrones" T-shirt.
Sizzle has officially endorsed the Stark/Targaryen ticket.
Pump The Brakes On Jake Long, Ravens Sign Two More Players
Remember how yesterday I gave five reasons why it was smart for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to sign former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long?
Uh, yeah, let's pump the Brakes on the Long hype train.
The whole premise was based on Long passing his physical once he arrived at the Under Armour Performance Center, but the veteran left tackle went to see Dr. James Andrews today to further evaluate his knee. If Andrews gives the thumbs up, the smart move stands.
"I think anytime you can add a veteran lineman, especially one of his caliber, it helps out the team," Flacco said Wednesday. "Do we know exactly what that role is going to be yet? Probably not. But I think depth at that position – especially veteran guys that have done it and have been around – it can always be a huge asset."
In the meantime, the Ravens signed two other veterans Wednesday afternoon in veteran linebacker Kavell Conner and former Canadian Football League wide receiver Dobson Collins.
It makes sense for the Ravens to add Conner because the inside linebacker unit could use veteran leadership and even competition for the starting role. Conner has played in 78 career games, starting 46, for the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers.
But why add a receiver to an already crowded unit?
"The Ravens had previously announced that wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman would start camp on the physically unable to perform list, and Mike Wallace did not pass his conditioning test Wednesday, so Collins should be in line for reps at the start of camp," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Zac Jackson.
Should Ravens Add Return Man Devin Hester?
Wide receiver/returner Devin Hester was released this week by the Atlanta Falcons. And, as is typical when a well-known name is on market, Ravens fans want to know if it would make sense to bring him to Baltimore.
"I've been consistent in saying this, but I don't believe the Ravens have enough roster flexibility to be able to keep a player strictly for returns," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"In the current NFL with new rules and strategies in place that have further lessened the impact a return man can have on a game, I'm not sure it even makes sense to use a precious 53-man spot on an exclusive return man."
While they don't have the experience that Hester has, the Ravens already have three main options for returners: Michael Campanaro, Keenan Reynolds and Kaelin Clay. The player that can best contribute on both special teams and offense will likely be the one that gets the job.
Former Ravens Finding New Work
The last couple of days have been good to former Ravens who are trying to extend their NFL careers beyond Baltimore.
After Anquan Boldin signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Monday, another former receiver followed that up with a contract of his own. Marlon Brown will reunite with former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak in Denver after signing a one-year deal with the Broncos.
And with injury concerns at running back, the New York Jets signed former Raven Bernard Pierce. Before Pierce can make his Jets debut, he has to serve a two-game suspension because of a DUI arrest in March 2015 while still in Baltimore. He was released by the team shortly thereafter.
There's No Predicting How Good Ravens Wil Be
It's prediction season around the NFL, and the Ravens will give prognosticators an especially difficult time this year. All teams have a level of uncertainty at the start of training camp, but Baltimore has so many more "ifs" surrounding its team.
"It's just that each reason for renewed optimism is also a question that really hasn't been answered yet," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Pete Schmuck.
Flacco was upbeat yesterday and looks primed for a comeback. Suggs could make good on all the promises he's made. Justin Forsett could return to Pro Bowl form. Eric Weddle could elevate the secondary. Steve Smith Sr. could end his career with a bang.
But will they?
"Sure, if all that happens and the Ravens get solid production from this year's draft class, they could take advantage of a more forgiving schedule than last year and jump back into the playoff hunt," Schmuck wrote. "They were considered a serious Super Bowl contender at this time last year, but there is so much to be determined during training camp that a case could be made for them ending this season at either end of the competitive spectrum."