Baltimore Ravens story lines a week before training camp
ESPN says Joe Flacco is the player with the hottest seat in the AFC North
"Joe Cool" should be feeling the heat in 2018, according to reporters at ESPN.
In an AFC North Q&A, Baltimore Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley and Cleveland Browns reporter Pat McManamon pegged quarterback Joe Flacco as the person with the hottest seat in the division. Baltimore's franchise signal caller was the only player nominated, with Browns coach Hugh Jackson getting the nod from Cincinnati Bengals reporter Katherine Terrell and Pittsburgh Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler.
"That’s what happens when the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player fails to live up to a big-money contract and the team then drafts a quarterback in the first round," Hensley said. "Ravens officials have repeatedly insisted Flacco is the starting quarterback this season after Baltimore selected Lamar Jackson with the No. 32 pick. The uncertainty is Flacco’s future."
Hensley pointed out that every first round quarterback in the last 10 years has started during either their first or second season. Not since Aaron Rodgers has a first round passer waited more than two years for his first start.
The familiar critique of Flacco is that his middling numbers have not lived up to his rich NFL contract, regardless of his revolving door of receivers and only having one running back break 1,000 yards since he won the Super Bowl.
"He has gone from eighth in Total QBR in 2014 to 25th to 19th to 23rd last season," McManamon said. "His passer rating last season was 80.4, 25th in the league. His yards per attempt has dropped from 7.2 in 2014 to 6.1 to 6.0 to 5.3 and last in the NFL in 2017."
The expectation both inside and out of the Ravens' organization is that Flacco be the driving force in turning around the league's 29th ranked pass attack. He drew rave reviews from coaches and media during Organized Team Activities. A quarterback shouldering the brunt of the blame for his team's struggles is a staple of the game of football. Though Ravens' fans may be scratching their heads to see a Super Bowl MVP lumped in with a coach who jumped into Lake Erie because he did not win a game last season.
Ravens rookies are NFL's first players to report to training camp...and the timing is perfect
The Baltimore Ravens could not have picked a better time to get a head start on training camp, particularly for the 2018 rookie class.
The newest Ravens were the first players league-wide to head back to team facilities Wednesday thanks to their upcoming appearance in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton in August. And with the unique level of pressure and scrutiny facing this draft class, the chance for extra prep time is most fortuitous.
Top draft selection Hayden Hurst has shown himself to be a reliable presence on the practice field but his advanced age and Baltimore's immediate need for a tight end have created lofty expectations for his rookie season. Tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is expected by many to takeover the starting right tackle spot while striving to honor his father's legacy. Tight end Mark Andrews is working to develop as a blocker, cornerback Anthony Averett finds himself looking up at a stacked depth chart and wide receivers Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott will be trying to end the Ravens' bad luck at drafting that position.
One could write a small book on everything quarterback Lamar Jackson has dealt with.
Now the rookies have the chance to tune all the distractions out and get back to football.
Amid abuse allegations, LeSean McCoy hires lawyer who defended Ray Lewis
Days after being accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has hired an attorney who helped defend Ray Lewis.
McCoy is not currently facing any charges, but Milton Police are investigating a break-in and robbery Tuesday at his Atlanta mansion that sent his former girlfriend Delicia Cordon to the hospital. That same day, an Instagram post with a graphic image of Cordon's injuries went viral. The post, which has been deleted, accused McCoy of being a "woman beater" who was responsible for Cordon's injuries.
Cordon's attorney Tanya Mitchell Graham claims McCoy orchestrated the attack.
In light of the accusations, defense attorney Don Samuel is now representing McCoy, ESPN confirmed Wednesday.
Samuel was part of the legal team that defended Lewis when he was charged with murder in 2000 before the charges were dropped. In 2010, Samuel was part of the group that represented Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when he was accused of sexual assault.
Police say a lone intruder "specifically targeted" McCoy's house and Cordon's attorneys say he assaulted her after demanding specific items of jewelry.
Whatever happened to "Camp Flacco?"
Ravens' fans rejoiced when they heard the news that Flacco would finally be gathering his receivers for private passing sessions during the break between OTAs and training camp.
“There’s no doubt that stuff is important, and we’ll do it," Flacco told reporters back in April. "We’ve already talked about it with John [Brown] and Mike [Crabtree]."
But the days to training camp are winding down and there has been zero noise about workouts featuring Flacco and the Ravens' receiving corps.
"While Flacco could have very well gotten together with his newest receivers on some remote field with absolutely no one seeing them, the lack of any evidence or even the faintest of whispers points to the contrary," RavensWire's Matthew Stevens wrote on Monday. "...There’s still time, but this continues a troubling pattern with Flacco that’s hard to ignore."
Fans have been particularly vocal on this issue during Flacco's career, also worrying that it signals a lack of commitment. But while quarterbacks like Peyton Manning have demonstrated the benefits of these throwing sessions, others like Mark Sanchez have shown they are not necessarily the ultimate measure of a quarterback.
"Obviously, there are benefits to throwing and the physical aspect of it, but I think building that relationship when you have new guys is just as much, or more, important than all that stuff," Flacco said earlier in the year.
-As expected, the Ravens did not engage in the NFL Supplemental Draft this season, leaving the Washington Redskins to take Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander and the New York Giants to grab Western Michigan's Sam Beal. This means that Ozzie Newsome will end his time as the team's general manager only ever making one supplemental draft pick: Maryland offensive tackle Jared Gaither in 2007.
-Wide receiver, sports reporter...and quarterback? Is there anything Steve Smith Sr. can't do?
-America is falling in love with a new reality TV star: Former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler. The ex-signal caller is stealing the spotlight on wife Kristin Cavallari's show "Very Cavallari." What would a reality show featuring the Flacco family look like?