Eisenberg: No Need for Ravens to "Panic" or "Rush"

Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta during Mini Camp at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, MD.

What moves have the Ravens NOT made to improve their roster since they missed the AFC playoffs in 2021?

Well, they haven't traded for Russell Wilson, Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams or Deshaun Watson, as have other teams in the AFC.

They haven't spent $120 million to land Von Miller, as the Buffalo Bills did.

Not that they've been idle or cheap. They've spent $70 million on a playmaking free safety, Marcus Williams. They've solidified the right side of their offensive line with a 335-pound tackle, Morgan Moses. They've fortified their D-line with Michael Pierce and retained fullback Patrick Ricard, a key offensive piece.

More additions are coming if the succession of defensive free agents visiting Baltimore are any indication.

But while the Ravens have addressed several issues and made themselves better, they haven't generated massive headlines and/or stunned fans across the country with their moves, as have other teams with various big-name trades and acquisitions.

I get the feeling at least some Baltimore fans are a bit envious.

It's human nature, right? According to Spotrac, 18 other teams, including 11 in the AFC, had doled out more contract dollars than the Ravens so far this offseason. Who doesn't envy the big spenders in the neighborhood bringing home shiny, new toys everyone is talking about?

But that isn't how the Ravens operate – never has been, probably never will be.

They see offseason roster-building as a methodical, painstaking, months-long process designed to pay dividends in the end, not attract attention in real time. They've made big moves before, and signing Williams was another, but generally, they try to add a bunch of useful pieces rather than one giant, expensive centerpiece.

Don't expect them to be the ones generating screaming headlines.

Remember what now-General Manager Eric DeCosta said when, as an assistant, he was asked to identify the biggest lesson he'd gleaned from his mentor and predecessor, Ozzie Newsome?

"Patience, probably," DeCosta said in 2017. "Just don't panic. Take your time and consider everything, and don't rush the process. Don't create something. Let it come to you."

In his 23 years in charge, Newsome seldom made moves that stunned fans. He slowly built the roster using each of the many tools available -- free agency, the draft, cap cuts, trades, undrafted rookie free agency.

It worked well. The Ravens won two Super Bowls and made 11 playoff appearances in his 23 years, quite a record considering the state of the roster when the team arrived from Cleveland in 1996.

Since DeCosta became GM in 2019, the Ravens have gone 33-16 during the regular season, made two playoff appearances and won a division title. They need more playoff success to complete the picture, but the overall numbers suggest the franchise's default approach to roster-building continues to work.

But it isn't as easy for the Ravens to proceed as usual and not draw criticism when some of their AFC rivals are making big, bold moves, and when the latest Super Bowl champion won with an "all in" approach, i.e., by making splashy moves that forsake the future in return for immediate gratification – a very un-Ravens idea.

I've read/heard it suggested that DeCosta should abandon his default approach and go "all in." The Ravens' Super Bowl odds have dropped from 18-1 to 22-1 this month, according to one online sportsbook, while the Browns, Broncos and Chargers have leapfrogged them after their big acquisitions.

But I don't like the idea of them changing their approach. Going "all in" may have worked once, but many more teams have tried and failed with it.

The Ravens' usual course feels fine to me. They already have a franchise quarterback and a highly competitive roster when it isn't decimated by injuries. They have plenty of issues to address, starting with the offensive and defensive lines, the lack of turnovers in 2021 and the pass rush, but they've started addressing those issues and have plenty of time to keep addressing them. They don't play a game for another five-plus months.

The last thing they need to do is "panic" or "rush." The goal isn't to make a splash in March, but rather, during the season.

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