Steve Bisciotti Teasing Joe Flacco Suggests Injury Isn't Too Serious
If you were on Twitter yesterday morning, you may have seen one of several tweets like this from various reporters, who snagged a picture of Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti and starting quarterback Joe Flacco talking together after practice.
Looks like a pretty serious conversation, doesn't it? Maybe they're talking about Flacco's back injury, which has prevented him from participating in training camp practices so far.
Nope, that wasn't it.
"Oh, it's just about golf," Bisciotti told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "That's all we ever talk about."
Then, Bisciotti turned the questioning around on the radio hosts.
"Did you ask him how his back is," he asked. "He looks pretty healthy doesn't he? He looks about as sick as I did when I used to tell my mother I had a cold or I had a stomach ache, when I *really *had a spelling test that day."
That comment incited big laughter on the set, and one couldn't help but think Flacco and his back are going to be just fine.
"[Bisciotti's] lighthearted mood seems to suggest that the former Super Bowl MVP's health is nothing much to worry about, so Flacco should be back soon enough," wrote LarryBrownSports.com's Darryn Albert.
How soon could Flacco be back?
"Pretty soon," the Ravens quarterback said.
Miller and Kirwan gave Flacco an incredibly vague window to work with.
"Before the leaves come off the trees?" they asked.
"Yeah, before the leaves come off the trees," Flacco replied. "We'll leave it at that."
"Flacco has already missed nearly two weeks of practice, which is substantial for an offense that was tweaked in the offseason," wrote WNST's Luke Jones. "He also hasn't been able to build much rapport with Jeremy Maclin. The lost time isn't insurmountable, but it certainly sets up for some early-season growing pains."
Here are some other notes from Bisciotti and Flacco's interviews with SiriusXM NFL Radio.
- The offensive line tinkering isn't over. The unit features talented young players in Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis, along with perennial Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda. Bisciotti said he's "really happy" about the Austin Howard signing. "Nine out of 10 analysts would say the [offensive line] is our weak spot, and it is, but we really like our offensive line coach. We think he's doing a good job with some of these guys. And things will shake out. We have a month to go and some of these guys are going to emerge and we're going to be watching every other preseason game to see who they try to sneak on their practice squad. They do it to us. We do it to them." Added Flacco: "I think the biggest thing is that we've gotten rid of Jeremy Zuttah and just replacing him."
- Flacco thinks the running game is going to be "a lot better."He said, "I think bringing in Greg Roman, I think we're going to do some good things in the running game. I think our linemen are going to like what we're doing. I think our running backs are going to work well off of what they're doing. We got a good group of guys. I think Danny [Woodhead] is going to help out with mismatches in the passing game and he's going to be good at a handful of runs for us. I'm excited about that. We needed to run the ball a little bit better and I think we're going to."
- Bisciotti feels "lucky" to have John Harbaugh as his head coach. The owner was asked whether he will get in front of the team to help deliver a "Ravens tradition" message for all the new players that are still learning the culture. "No, I'd probably feel more compelled to do that if I felt I was augmenting John. If John asked me to do it, I would. But that tradition lies in John Harbaugh now in his 10th year. I like the message that he brings. He does not talk like a guy who has been here 10 years. It's amazing how he tends to rejuvenate himself and his message. I'm lucky to have a leader like him."
- Bisciotti "can't stand" not being able to put pressure on the quarterback and thinks the offseason moves will fix that problem."I know we had some question marks on offense, but I think what was understated was the 31 sacks last year," Bisciotti said. "It was the lowest in the history of the Ravens, and I can't stand not putting pressure on a quarterback. To me, without that, it's like a slow death." So, the team focused on adding defensive players that could fix that. He specifically said third-round defensive end Chris Wormley has pass-rush ability. And with Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser on the edge, he said the Ravens can move Matthew Judon around and you don't have to take "a big boy" like him off the field. He's also excited about Kamalei Correa's ability to get after the quarterback even from the inside linebacker position, and compared him to Bart Scott in terms of flying to the football.
- It's not all doom and gloom. Bisciotti was reminded that there could potentially be 11 new starters this year, which is half of the lineup. The owner said that while that sounds like a lot, the team wasn't "searching" for who might fill most of those spots. Many open starting positions already had players in waiting that were already groomed to take over. One example he pointed to is Correa, who the team thought might start last year, but Zachary Orr came out of nowhere and beat him. As such, Bisciotti said they are only searching for around three new starters. "So, it's not all doom and gloom," he said.
Did Jimmy Smith Notch the Best INT of Training Camp?
It was dubbed the best play of Tuesday's Ravens training camp practice by ESPN's Jamison Hensley. And it might have been the best overall pick of camp too.
"[It's] Jimmy Smith's slick interception," wrote Hensley. "The veteran cornerback ran stride for stride with Mike Wallace and then tapped down Ryan Mallet's deep pass with his right hand before pulling it in."
The play is a good sign that Smith feels fine after missing three straight practices last week. He's practiced for the last two days.
"[His absence] reminded [us] just how critical he is to the defense," wrote Jones. "Yes, having Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey should prevent a 2016-like collapse, but this defense needs to be special and likely won't be if Smith can't stay on the field."
Full Breakdown of Austin Howard's Three-Year Deal
The numbers for recently signed right tackle Austin Howard's contract have been reported.
Russell Street Report's cap guru Brian McFarland says the three-year deal is worth up to $15 million, but 2018 and 2019 are option years. So the Ravens can decide whether they want to stick with Howard that long based on his performance and health after each season.
This is similar to the way they set up wide receiver Mike Wallace's contract when he was signed in 2016. Only after Wallace put up more than 1,000 receiving yards did the Ravens pick up his 2017 option.
Howard hasn't practiced since signing the deal with the Ravens on Friday. Harbaugh said his Ravens practice debut is "in the trainers' hands."
"It isn't clear whether Howard's absence is a result of his offseason shoulder surgery or another injury problem cropped up in recent days," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Harbaugh said after Saturday night's practice at Navy that Howard was going to practice Monday, but he has not been on the field.
"Howard obviously won't play in Thursday night's preseason game, but the Ravens would certainly like to get him on the practice field as soon as possible so he can start building some chemistry with the rest of the offensive line."
- "As if rookie free agents Quincy Adeboyejo and Tim White haven't received enough early-camp attention as receivers, Jerry Rosburg loudly praised their efforts as gunners on the punt team during Tuesday's practice," wrote Jones. "Standing out on special teams would boost their roster chances even more." [WNST]