Keep Calm And Trust Ozzie Newsome
Here's what the stress-inducing Labor Day weekend boiled down to …
General Manager Ozzie Newsome essentially found a way to keep 55 players when the league mandated that he cut down to 53.
He had his cake and ate it too by keeping safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Carl Davis on the roster long enough to make them eligible to return once moved to injured reserve. He "agreed to terms" with prolific returner Devin Hester, but waited to officially sign him until he could move Elam and Davis. And, he built such a strong relationship of trust with Justin Forsett that he could cut and re-sign the starting running back once the IR situation was settled.
"Ravens deftly orchestrate roster maneuver with Justin Forsett," read an ESPN headline.
"Forsett didn't miss any preparation for Sunday's season opener against the Buffalo Bills," Jamison Hensley wrote in the article. "The Ravens didn't practice the past two days that Forsett was technically off the roster. On Tuesday, when the Ravens take the practice field for the first time this week, Forsett will line up behind quarterback Joe Flacco and it'll be like he was never gone."
Right, it'll be like Forsett was never gone.
"[T]his was the Ravens' plan all along," added The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
It would have been nice if Newsome revealed his Jedi mind tricks with Ravens fans to save them from pulling out all their hair. Wouldn't it be nice if he had a Twitter account and could just ease everyone's concerns?
Alas, that will never, ever happen, which is why Phil Gentile, co-host of the Purple Reign show, posted this annual reminder:
Forsett sure showed his trust in Ozzie. Big time.
Plenty could have gone wrong. For example, if the Ravens didn't re-sign him until after Week 1, his contract wouldn't have been guaranteed. Or, what if he wasn't re-signed at all and was left looking for new work the week leading up to the season opener?
Not only did Forsett trust in Ozzie (and vice versa), but I gotta say, it looked like the 30-year-old veteran had fun with the unusual process. Forsett tweeted "the plot thickens" with a thinking emoji when first cut. He posted about being built for all phases of a storm when the mystery of his release was at its height. And he told fans to "stay tuned" for when he made a move.
"He apparently enjoyed the drama that his brief departure created," wrote Hensley.
The best tweet of all came when he officially re-signed, announcing his comeback "Undertaker" style. This has to be in the running for the best tweet of the year.
Oh, and by the way, the trust that Forsett and Newsome placed in each other paid off. Newsome got his roster set as planned and Forsett reportedly got the same contract as before he was cut.
Josh Johnson Lands A Job With Giants
After a strong training camp and preseason, the Ravens didn't have room for quarterback Josh Johnson on their 53-man roster, but he did find a new home.
Johnson signed with the New York Giants just two days after being cut by Baltimore.
The 30-year-old journeyman made the competition with Ryan Mallett for the backup role to Joe Flacco interesting all summer. Johnson finished the preseason going 41-for-57 for 365 yards and a score. He added 18 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens kept just two quarterbacks for the seventh consecutive year, but Johnson made the Giants' squad as the third signal caller behind Eli Manning and Ryan Nassib. Per NJ.com, Johnson was signed in order to push Nassib, who has struggled this summer.
"We're going to give Ryan (Nassib) a little bit of competition with Josh (Johnson). He's a good player. He's been around the block," Head Coach Ben McAdoo said. "It'll bring out the best in both of them."
Victor Ochi Fails Physical, Not Signed By Jets After All
Undrafted rookie Victor Ochi didn't sign with the New York Jets practice squad after all. At least, not yet.
Apparently, the team's public relations department made an error by announcing Ochi's signing.
"The team's public-relations department admitted it made a clerical error Sunday when it announced via its official website that the former Stony Brook and Ravens edge rusher had been signed to the practice squad," wrote Kimberley Martin of Newsday. "Ochi visited the Jets' facility but did not sign, the PR department clarified.
"On Monday, a source said the Jets were unaware that Ochi injured his shoulder in Baltimore's final preseason game because the Ravens waived him Saturday without an injury designation. As a result, the Jets assumed they were signing a healthy player, but the former Seawolves star failed his physical during his visit."
Per the report, Ochi's injury isn't considered serious and should only sideline him for a week or two. The team still plans on signing him to the practice squad once he's fully healed.
Ronnie Stanley Named To Mel Kiper's Preseason All-Rookie Team
It comes as no surprise that Ravens rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley was named to ESPN Mel Kiper's preseason All-Rookie team.
"Stanley was drafted with the full intention that he'd be able to take over at left tackle right away," wrote Kiper. "He'll have his struggles, but the potential is there."
The No. 6 overall pick and first tackle taken off the board in 2016 finished the preseason as the highest-graded rookie tackle by Pro Football Focus after not allowing a sack or quarterback pressure in 48 snaps.
"There was some debate on draft day, when the Ravens chose Stanley over Laremy Tunsil with the No. 6 overall pick," wrote Hensley. "Tunsil is starting at left guard for the Miami Dolphins, who are going with Branden Albert at left tackle. After a slow start, Tunsil didn't allow a quarterback pressure in the preseason and made Kiper's All-Rookie team as a guard."
Benjamin Watson Praised For His Post On Colin Kaepernick And National Anthem
Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson is well-known for his thoughtful and inspiring posts whenever the nation is facing controversy and divide. His theme always seems to be unity while respecting everyone's differing points of view.