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Late for Work 8/2: Ozzie Newsome Could Be the First Two-Time Hall of Famer

Former Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome
Former Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome

Ozzie Newsome Could Be the First Two-Time Hall of Famer

This week, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will host a ceremony to enshrine nine new members in Canton, Ohio. Although no former Ravens will be getting a bronze bust this year, the event has sparked conversation around a possible second induction of former Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Newsome's decorated 13-year career as a tight end with the Cleveland Browns earned him the gold jacket as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 1999, however, NFL media analyst Scott Pioli argues Newsome's playing career was not his best contribution to professional football.

Pioli instead believes Newsome's work in the Ravens' front office supersedes that on the field.

"Newsome enjoyed a decorated 13-year playing career as a tight end with the Cleveland Browns that was defined by stellar production, durability and leadership," Pioli wrote. "Yet, as impressive as his TE tenure was, Newsome's second NFL act as a vital figure in the Baltimore Ravens' front office for more than two decades deserves equal -- if not greater – praise."

While people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame for their multiple roles within an organization, if inducted, Newsome would be the first with multiple enshrinements.

Newsome served as the Ravens' chief of personnel from the team's inception in 1996 before being named the team's general manager in 2002. He held that position through 2018, when he was succeeded by Eric DeCosta. Newsome still works for the team as an executive vice president.

Aside from the two Super Bowl wins under Newsome' tenure, he was also responsible for acquiring 38 Pro Bowlers and 17 All-Pros, of which six are Hall of Famers.

It couldn't have started any better than Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis with his first two draft picks in 1996, and it couldn't have ended any better than MVP Lamar Jackson, Orlando Brown Jr., Mark Andrews and multiple others starters in his final draft class in 2018.

In addition, Pioli reminds that Newsome was the first African American general manager in the NFL, a feat that set a precedent for other teams in the league.

"I strongly believe Ozzie should be the first person inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame TWICE, with the second ceremony honoring his trailblazing work in Baltimore's front office," Pioli wrote. "He truly deserves it -- there's no debate to be had."

Risers and Fallers in Week 1 of Training Camp

Tuesday marked the Ravens' second padded practice, and media have begun to evaluate the players' performances.

The Baltimore Banner's Kris Rhim listed players he thinks have looked to be consistently improving and those who have gotten off to a slower start.

Tarik Black, WR

"In the Ravens' first practice in pads, Black was arguably the team's most impressive receiver. Black caught a pass down one sideline over Rock Ya-Sin for a long gain and followed up with another over Jalyn Armour-Davis on the opposite side," Rhim wrote. "It was a day reflective of the kind of camp Black has been having, productive with catches each day and few errors.

"The Ravens have a deep wide-receiving core, and Black is still far from a favorite to make the roster, but he has given himself a chance."

In yesterday’s LFW, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec also took stock of Black. Like Rhim, Zrebiec also identified Black as a roster long shot but did point out Black's size at 6-foot-3, 217 pounds could be an asset in Baltimore's receiving room.

Sala Aumavae-Laulu, G

"The Ravens drafted Aumavae-Laulu in the sixth round in this year's draft after his final season at the University of Oregon; he seemed to be a long shot to be the starter with Ben Cleveland and John Simpson on the roster," Rhim wrote. "And yet, Aumavae-Laulu has taken reps with the first team throughout camp. Aumavae-Laulu hasn't been perfect in the first week, but on the second day with pads, he made adjustments that led to significant gains and a longer time to throw for Lamar Jackson."

Zay Flowers, WR

"On Flowers' first day of practice, he made a move that made linebacker Roquan Smith stumble, caught more passes from Lamar Jackson than Jackson had incompletions, and looked like the Ravens' best wide receiver," Rhim wrote. "Since then, Flowers has missed two practices with an illness, but he has continued to justify the Ravens selecting him in the first round, as he has consistently made plays each day."

Justin Madubuike, DT

"The first five days of Ravens training camp were without pads, which often makes line play challenging to evaluate. Still, Madubuike had been in the mix for stops and getting in the backfield, and when the pads did come on Monday, Madubuike had the biggest day of anyone on the defense," Rhim wrote. "He had two sacks and was a catalyst in clogging the running lanes as the Ravens' ground game struggled to do much."

Players on Rhim's list of "fallers" are the Ravens' running backs, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, guard Ben Cleveland, and quarterback Anthony Brown.

"Todd Monken's offense is supposed to feature a significant increase in passing, but the running backs have struggled to do much so far," Rhim wrote. "On Tuesday, Keaton Mitchell broke off a few runs for the first sizable gains of camp, which could be a sign that things are headed in the right direction, but the running game has struggled for now."

Bleacher Report Names Ravens as One of Five Teams Most Likely to Disappoint

With a revamped wide receiver corps, a Lamar Jackson contract extension, and new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken in place, there is a lot of hype surrounding the Ravens to be a championship caliber team.

Bleacher Report's Alex Kay analyzed five teams predicted to finish over .500 by DraftKings Sportsbook that will come up short this season and the Ravens were listed at number five, tied with the Buffalo Bills.

Kay gave Baltimore a win projection of 10.5, citing the team's injury history as a deterrent to success.

"Jackson has been unable to finish either of the last two campaigns because of injuries, resulting in his Ravens missing a playoff berth in 2021 and quickly getting eliminated in the wild-card round last season," he wrote. "His health and production will be crucial for Baltimore to live up to its lofty win projection in 2023."

The depth of receivers should help Baltimore succeed, but Kay worries about a continued lack of production if not all receivers are readily available.

"The Ravens front office did its best to provide Jackson with more weapons this year as well," Kay wrote. "After going into last season with one of the league's weakest receiving corps, team brass brought in both a proven pass-catcher in Odell Beckham Jr. and a young prospect brimming with talent in first-round pick Zay Flowers.

"While the receiving overhaul was welcome, it will be difficult for Baltimore to max out its passing effectiveness if the ground game isn't firing on all cylinders. That will be easier said than done if top back J.K. Dobbins continues to be plagued by injuries. Dobbins missed the entire 2021 campaign and over half of last season with ailments."

The Ravens and Bills are in good company, as Kay also casts doubt upon the Cleveland Browns (9.5), New Orleans Saints (9.5) and New York Jets (9.5).

Three Ravens Are Fantasy Football Bounce-Back Candidates

Despite the beginning of football season still being a few weeks away, it's never too early to start thinking about fantasy football.

NFL Network researcher Matt Okada put together a list of 12 bounce-back candidates, and three Ravens made the cut:

Lamar Jackson, QB

"Since finishing as the fantasy QB1 in 2019, Lamar Jackson has repeatedly underperformed his draft price, finishing outside the top 12 at the quarterback position in each of the last two seasons. He missed 10 games and watched his touchdown rate plummet over that span," Okada wrote. "Cue the arrival of offensive coordinator Todd Monken and a cavalry of receiver reinforcements that includes Odell Beckham Jr., a (hopefully) healthy Rashod Bateman and the No. 22 overall draft selection, Zay Flowers. Jackson's supporting cast is the best it's ever been. Being the overall QB1 is in the cards again."

J.K. Dobbins, RB

"After an impressive rookie season in 2020, J.K. Dobbins missed all of 2021 and most of 2022 with a knee injury that continued to hamper his play when he was on the field. Still, Dobbins averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry and flashed his massive upside on several occasions last year," Okada wrote. "His average draft position (ADP) is hovering in the fourth or fifth round -- around the tail end of the top 24 running backs -- and he only needs around 150 touches to meet that value. Give Dobbins, who currently resides on the PUP list, a healthy season and 200-plus touches, and you have a screaming value on your hands."

Mark Andrews, TE

"'But Matt,' you might say, Mark Andrews was the TE4 last year, so why would he need to bounce back?' It's simple. In 2022, the Ravens tight end scored 111 fewer fantasy points than he did in his All-Pro season the year prior. Moreover, Andrews scored 60 percent of his fantasy points in the first six weeks of the season and was the TE19 from Week 7 on," Okada wrote. "At his ADP in the first few rounds, we expect more (especially in the fantasy playoffs). Given a return to health, Baltimore's new offensive system and additional weapons to draw defensive attention, more is in store."

Quick Hits

· PFF’s Sam Monson outlined the biggest weaknesses for each starting quarterback in the AFC, and Jackson's was predictably his ability to remain healthy. Monson cites Jackson's "passing ability and elite rushing production" as the two things that make him both hard to stop and also more prone to injury than the typical pocket passer.

· NFL Total Access’ David Carr predicts the Ravens will finish last in the AFC North in his pre-season power rankings. Carr surprisingly points to Monken and the installation of the new offense as the drawback for the Ravens. The rest of the division shakes out with the Cincinnati Bengals on top, followed by the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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