Category Archives: Ask Mud Dog Anything

Chris Answers Questions: Tuesday

Chris Schisler

It is time for another fun Q&A article. Thanks to those who participated.

Question 1: @SAF4SAFF: @footballman58 who will miss the playoffs because one NFC South team MUST be in the playoff.

This is a great question, as the NFC South is looking awfully bad. The Saints are starting to get hot, despite a loss to the 49ers. It is quite possible that the 4-5 Saints could have a respectable record come playoff time. The team sitting on the outside looking in is either Seattle or San Francisco. The Cardinals will likely be the division champion even without Carson Palmer. The Seahawks and 49ers play each other twice. The winner of those games will decide a lot. The wild card slots right now would go to Dallas and Seattle. It seems doubtful that the NFC West would get 3 teams in. The Packers or Lions also could fall into this group of good teams that could miss postseason play. It is way to early for this prognostication but thats the best I got.

Question 2: @RealBobManning: Who are your award favorites at this point @footballman58

For me, the coach of the year is Mike Pettine. Pettine has changed the culture in Cleveland. They are no longer the laughable Browns but a division leader 10 weeks into the season. Pettine handled the Manziel madness perfectly and did not let public opinion sway his decision to start Brian Hoyer. Its getting harder and harder not to give Pettine and the Browns some credit.

At MVP it has to be Peyton Manning. Manning is the definition of most valuable player; he is the one player that makes Denver favorites in the AFC. The Broncos are a sensational team but it is Peyton Manning that makes everything go in Mile High.

I want to give the offensive player of the year award to DeMarco Murray. He may not be what Peyton Manning is but he should still get some credit for stellar performance. The defensive player of the year is Justin Houston. Houston leads the NFL in sacks and is a critical piece to the Chiefs defense.

There is no doubt in my mind that CJ Mosley is the rookie of the year. Mosley has played sensationally, making an impact on both run and pass defense. The offensive rookie of the year should go to Sammy Watkins, who is a budding star in Buffalo. Give me Steve Smith as my comeback player of the year. Smith was cut by the Panthers and as a Raven he made them pay.

Question 3:
@Tracy_Cole65: @footballman58 Why did we struggle against Bengals & Steelers when both teams got whooped by teams that statistically should of lost

The Ravens shot themselves in the foot in both of these games. In Pittsburgh the Taliaferro fumble changed everything. When Joe added in the interception, the game began to get away from them. The Bengals are a really bad match up for us. They took away our strengths and Joe forced passes. The Ravens secondary has shown to be problematic in these two losses as well.

In the NFL there are two never ending truths. First anything can happen in a game. The second is that match ups are more important than merit sometimes. The Jets are not a better team then Pittsburgh. The Steelers struggle on the road and the Jets had a great game plan. The Browns are a tough team, so its hard to fault the Bengals too much for their failings. It really just felt like a bad night for them.

@troy_wilmore: @footballman58 How do you see us playing with the remaining games after the bye?

Troy, I am cautiously optimistic that the Ravens can make the playoffs. The Ravens have nothing but winnable games on their schedule. The trip to the Superdome seems to be the tallest test of the last 6 games. The Ravens do not have consecutive road games on their schedule. If the ravens can win just 4 of the 6 games, they at least give themselves a chance to make the postseason.

I think we’ll see the Ravens best efforts. Obviously, problems won’t just vanish into thin air. The Ravens will regroup and will figure some things out. I think the Ravens will at the minimum make us proud of their effort.

@troy_wilmore: @footballman58 We’ve seen through Joe’s career that he can be up & down,you think he’ll ever improve that? Ik it’s not his fault, there’s other factors but will he be more consistent?

Every quarterback has good days and bad days. Joe Flacco is subject to this as much as anyone, but when he is out of rhythm it can get ugly. Flacco however is actually pretty consistent in the fact that he rarely has bad back to back games. The two division losses were bad performances and thats why this is such an in your mind question. Joe is who Joe is. He’ll have great days, good days, bad days and everything in between. I think Gary Kubiak is trying to get him to start out hot more consistently. We’ll see what happens.

You got Questions, I have Answers

-Chris Schisler

Question one comes from Victor Hensley IV (@Frezeal33):
Will the Panthers offense be surprisingly good or disastrously bad in 2014?

Answer: With Cam Newton, a good offensive line and a decent running game the Panthers will not be terrible offensively. However with a bunch of second and third receivers its hard to imagine them being amazing. I think Carolina managed to break even; they are in the same boat they were last year. The defense will be great, Cam Newton will get better and better and there will nit be enough offense around him. The Panthers are a good team, however they lack explosive playmakers.

Question two comes from Yogolaada (@Yogolaada):
What record will win the number 1 seed in the AFC? What record will the 6th seed be?

I think 12-4 will get the number 1 seed in the AFC. The Broncos have been the number one seed two consecutive years. The AFC West is no longer a pushover division (with the exception of Oakland). The Patriots division has gotten a little tougher as well. 12 wins, maybe some tie breakers should win a conference where nobody has truly broken away as a clear cut favorite. The AFC will be better this year. I think even the 6 seed needs to have 10 wins. The AFC will be very competitive and have bunches of teams clumped together for the playoff spots. It should make for fun and meaningful football down the stretch.

Question three comes from Brian M. (@Briski715):
John Harbaugh has been very successful in his first 6 years as a HC. His decisions seem to be calculated and for the most part successful. He will be tested as the Ravens get younger on both sides of the ball. He has shown a penchant for veterans to start over rookies (with a few rare exceptions). He has made a huge change this year in going with an offense that is not from the coaching tree that he was bred. Is this a transition year as a coach where he becomes open to new ideas an possibly lets some rookie like maybe J Butler or a C Gillmore Start without earning their stripes on special teams or IR? Curious if you think he is evolving as a HC?

Answer: I think John Harbaugh is learning, Brian. He comes from a line of stubborn but highly intelligent coaches. He let Matt Elam start last year after Huff showed he couldn’t do the job. I believe that there is less reservation to start rookies than you think, in Harbaugh. I do however think that players have to earn his trust as well as their place on the depth chart. CJ Mosley and Terrence Brooks will start. As for changing the offense he is not insane. The definition of insanity according to Einstein is to try the same thing and expect different results. Harbaugh is the same Harbaugh we know and love. This just means he has learned that he needs to change as the needs of his team changes.

Question four comes from B.Black (@BBlack_9): Who is the Ravens most complete player?

Like anything, this depends on your definitions. To me, the most complete player is Terrell Suggs. He is often good against the run and is a dominant pass rusher. Because. He can do it all and he is a leader, he is the most complete player.

Question 5 comes from Bobby M. (Not on Twitter): Do the Ravens have enough depth at running back?

The question is not depth, its quality. The Ravens have the bodies in the backfield with Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Lorrenzo Taliaferro and Justin Forsett. Rice is coming off a bad season and will miss the beginning of the year with a suspension. Bernard Pierce is coming off injury. Taliaferro is a rookie. Forsett is a quality veteran back with experience in Kubiak’s offense. Speaking of Gary Kubiak, he has had good running backs every where he has gone. The Ravens have 4 options at running back and should be okay.

I Answer Your Football Questions

Chris Schisler

The first several questions come from Bobby Manning. He is a young aspiring sports writer in his own right. His Twitter handle is @RealBobManning and he covers New England sports.

Question 1: Who Is your favorite for the Super Bowl right now?

Answer: I think the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are the two best teams. I think the winner of the NFC West, which is the league’s best division will be the frontrunner. The Super Bowl winner usually does poorly the next season. I will go with San Francisco. Green Bay has a legitimate chance, however San Francisco is the more complete team.

In the AFC its really wide open. Denver is the obvious frontrunner. New England is a contender. I truly think the Ravens have a shot . Also dark horses like the Colts (pun-intended) and the Chargers have to be taken seriously. If I had to bet right now, give me the 49ers over the Broncos.

Question 2: How far is Baltimore from competing again?

Answer: Even at 8-8 the Ravens were one win away from a postseason birth in 2013; they never stopped being competitive. I think the Ravens had a fantastic offseason (other than off the field drama) and they will once again be powers in the AFC. The Ravens offensive line should be dramatically better in 2014. The Ravens all of the sudden have a bevy of weapons and a legitimate stud offensive coordinator. They improved every level of their 12th ranked defense. The defense could be dominant and the offense is going through a rebirth. Baltimore will win the AFC North.

Question 3: Do you not trust Cincinnati? Does McCarron steal Dalton’s staeting job?

Answer: The Bengals are a good team but not a great team. There is a reason they don’t win playoff games. Andy Dalton struggles to live up to the big moment. Say what you want about Flacco he has the clutch gene that Dalton never shows. Dalton’s job is safe…at least for now. McCarron has many issues in his game. Dalton is better than the rookie.

Question 4: Whats the Ravens Biggest weakness, will it hurt them badly?

Answer: The Ravens biggest issue, on a pretty stacked roster, is the right tackle position. While I do believe the Ravens will get adequate play from Ricky Wagner; its definitely a wait and see kind of thing. The second issue is a new offense and a lot of new pieces. It may take time for them to gel. There are no huge areas of concern for the Ravens other than that.

Question 5: Who would you take for this season: Darrell Revis or Aqib Talib?

Answer: Give me Revis. At this point they are about equal in skill but I think Talib lets things get to his head. I don’t want a hot head at corner.

Question 6 comes from Caty (@MarylandGirl89): Do you think Joe Flacco will settle into the new offense quickly or will it take him some time to ease into it?

Answer: I think Joe will be just fine. When he was a rookie the Ravens went to the AFC Championship game. We know he can quickly pick up an offense. I think the Ravens will be efficient in the new offense to start the 2014 season. Now, I do believe it will be best late in the season but there is too much talent to fail.

Question 7 comes from @SupermanRob2914 Who will be the top rookies at each position group?
Answer:

QB: Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings : Easily the best situation for a rookie QB.

RB: Bishop Sankey, Titans: Sankey is great as a receiver out of the backfield, as well as a powerful runner inside the tackles.

WR: Odell Beckham Jr, Giants: He is a speedy playmaker and has the best QB situation of all the top rookie wide receivers.

TE: Jace Amaro, Jets: Whether Geno Smith or Mike Vick is the starting quarterback they will lean on Amaro.

OL: Gregg Robinson, Rams: This is a freak of nature athlete at left tackle.

DL: Aaron Donald: His addition makes the Rams the scariest defensive line in football.

LB: CJ Mosley: if you read this blog, you know how I feel about Mosley. He is going to be sensational.

Secondary: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: This ballhawk will have to be accounted for before every play.

Brian M (@briski715) asks: I have a strange feeling that there will be a familiar guy wearing number 20 back in our secondary this season. Your thoughts?

Answer: As much as I love Ed Reed, its not happening. That chapter is over, the Ravens are fully committed to Terrance Brooks and Reed is not what he used to be. It would be cool to see him coaching in some capacity. I doubt that happens either.

Tracy Cole (@Tracy_Cole65) asks: If Ray Rice is Suspended does his suspension start in the preseason or the regular season?

He will be suspended and it will start in the beginning of the regular season.

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Weekend Q&A presented by Yogolaada

-Chris Schisler

The first question is from Baltimore Dave (@BmoreDaveS): Who are your top 5 QB’s of all time?

This question is always hard to answer. It seems that everybody has a different top 5 and it is probably the most fun football debate. I look for a few different criterion. First the quarterback has to be historically significant. It needs to be hard to write the history of the game without this player. Secondly I look for accomplishment. Super Bowl wins (especially if Super Bowl MVP) weigh heavily. Records and accolades are counted here as well. Finally there has to be something unique and special about quarterbacks on this list. Now that I have explained my selection process, here is my top 5 quarterbacks of all time:
1.) Joe Montana: There is no one with the resume of Joe Montana. The original “Joe Cool” won 4 Super Bowls. He may be the most iconic figure in the history of football. At first the 49ers “west coast” approach was laughed at. Super Bowls championships showed however that this style of football was here to stay. Those 49ers teams were revolutionary. Montana meets all the requirements and then some.
2.) Tom Brady: I know calling Tom Brady the number 2 QB of all time won’t be popular on a Baltimore based blog. However he has three Super Bowl rings and has been great for well over a decade. He won 100 games quicker than any quarterback in NFL history. The Patriots have been contenders in almost every season of his career. Brady has had some of the most clutch moments in the history of the game, especially in his Super Bowl wins.
3.) Peyton Manning: From a statistical standpoint, at least in the regular season no one compares to Peyton Manning. Manning is a football mastermind and is maybe the most gifted passer I have ever seen. Manning however has only one Super Bowl win in three Super Bowl appearances. He is 11-12 in the playoffs despite always seeming to be the favorite. Manning is amazing, amazing enough that with his bad playoff losses he is still number 3.
4.) Brett Favre: Love him or hate him, Favre was one of the greatest. Much like Manning, Favre will always be remembered as much for his greatness as his failures. When the streaky, Brett Favre was hot, there was never a better quarterback. He made magic happen and was fun to watch because of his child-like enthusiasm. Favre made a big impact on my life as he was my childhood hero. I looked up to him as this tough football player who seemed to enjoy the game more than anyone else. Brett Favre, the old gunslinger will always be special to me.
5.) Johnny Unitas: Unitas was the first great quarterback. He may have been the toughest quarterback of all time; he would stand in there not afraid to get hit as he swung his majestic arm. Unitas practically invented the 2 minute drill. He was the beloved leader of those great Baltimore Colts teams. Johnny U is on the list because he was the first to show us what a great quarterback is.

Question 2 comes from Super Elite Rob (SupermanRob2914): What are the chances that the Seahawks repeat as Super Bowl Champions?

The Seahawks are a good team, in a good conference, in a great division. It certainly won’t be easy. That being said its hard to picture Seattle not making the playoffs. They are still the best team in the NFC. The offense is only getting better and the defense will still be dominant. All they have to do is make the playoffs and then they have a real shot at it. The road will be tough but if there is a team set up for it, its the Seattle Seahawks.
This article is brought to you by:

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Question 3 and 4 comes from @RavensHypeMan : What do you think about the Ravens inside linebacking core?

CJ Mosley will start on the weak side next to Darryl Smith. Arthur Brown will rotate in, but remember Mosley and Smith are good on all downs. Albert McClellan also gives the Ravens some depth at the position.

Question 4: Will Terrence Brooks start?

I have said it before, I will say it again: Terrence Brooks will start from day 1. Brooks is a great athlete, with a great football IQ. There will be some growing pains, but it will be worth it for Baltimore.

Question 5 comes from Tracy Cole: Will the Ravens offense and defense both finish top 10?

The Ravens offense could be a brand new, well oiled machine. That being said there are a lot of new pieces in place. It will take a few games fir it all to come together. Im not sure that it will be a top 10 offense right away, but it will be very good. The defense looks like it could be scary good. I fully expect the Ravens to have a top 10 defense in 2014.

Question 6 comes from Ramis Adnan (@AdnanRamis): Where will Brandon Flowers go? What impact will he have?

Flowers was cut by Kansas City because of salary cap concerns. Flowers may no longer be a dominant cornerback, but he is still very good. He will go to a team who desperately needs help in the secondary, that is not afraid to pay for it. San Francisco, Dallas and the New York Giants come to my mind as sensible fits for Flowers. Flowers will be a number two corner or a nickel back. He is a good player and can make a team better. Therefore he is a very attractive free agent.

Ask Mud Dog Anything On This Rainy Maryland Day

 

Ask Mud Dog Anything On This Rainy Maryland Day

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Baltimore Dave (@BaltimoreDaveS) asks: What should the Ravens do at backup QB.

Dave, the backup quarterback is a very important void to fill. You hope nothing happens to Joe and you never have to see the backup but you always need to be prepared. There are two different approaches to finding an understudy for your franchise quarterback. The first option is to sign a free agent. If you want an experienced passer this is the route you take. The second option is to draft a rookie and develop him for the just in case moment.

From a purely football standpoint signing a free agent is the best option. I want a quarterback who has some sort of veteran savvy to him. He needs to be able to come in and learn the playbook; and must be ready at a moment’s notice to play the game. The best option I could come up with is Josh Freeman. Freeman may not have proven himself to be a franchise QB, but we don’t need him to be. Freeman is good enough to win us a few games if Flacco cannot go. The best part of Freeman is that he is a big tall guy like Joe and we would not have to change the offense completely for him.

From an organizational standpoint the best option is signing a rookie and developing him. If the rookie dazzles in the preseason or in a regular season game he will become an enticing option for teams to trade for. Matt Flynn proved to be a terrible QB but the Packers won in a trade to the Seahawks for his services.

I would like to see the Ravens go after a free agent with at least some experience if I had my druthers.

Troy Wilmore (@troywilmore_) asks: what positions do you think the Ravens address in the 1st and 2nd rounds of the draft?

 

The truth is that the Ravens could do absolutely anything in the first two rounds of the NFL draft this May. This is because they took care of business in free agency. The Ravens do have needs going into the draft but there is no position the Ravens are especially hurting at. This is kind of a tough question to answer because we can only theorize at this point.

The Ravens would like to find a young receiver still despite signing Steve Smith to a three year deal. It would not be shocking, knowing Gary Kubiak’s prefrences to see the Ravens draft a tight end to pair with Dennis Pitta in 12 personnel sets. The Ravens still probably need to bring in a free safety. If Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fell it would be tough to pass on him. The Ravens are essentially short one offensive lineman due to Osemele’s flexibility to play guard or tackle; unless the Harbaugh is comfortable with Ricky Wagner as his right tackle. The Ravens have needs but expect them to draft the best player available in a really strong draft class at most positions.

I think the plan was to draft an offensive weapon in round one and I would expect Ozzie Newsome to do so. The Ravens draft possibilities are endless and that is a good thing.

Orioles Rob (@SupermanRob2914) asks: Is Osemele going to start at guard or tackle?

Rob, Osemele is best as a guard and that is where the Ravens want him. Osemele is the worst case scenario right tackle (Which is not a terrifying worst case scenario). The key is the confidence the Ravens have with Ricky Wagner and where they want to play him. Wagner can also play tackle and guard. If the Ravens are stuck in a situation where Wagner has to start this makes it interesting. I would say that Wagner will be the right tackle and the left guard would be Osemele. If Wagner is overwhelmed at right tackle the two will likely switch. This being said I expect the Ravens to bring in another tackle to assure Osemele plays at his dominant left guard position.

@BBlack_9 asks: Do you think we (Ravens) sign a veteran CB or let Chykie and Asa battle it out for the nickel spot?

I fully expect Asa Jackson to be the nickel. Jackson is far more athletic and is less prone to the dumb pass interference penalty than Chykie Brown. I do not think the Ravens would waste money on a third corner when they have two decent ones to fill the Corey Graham void. Graham flourished in Baltimore but he was a luxury. As long as Asa does nothing stupid to earn another suspension the job will be won by him.

Sticking with Ravens defensive backs, Brian M (@briski715) asks: Do you think Omar Brown has a future as a starter on defense? Why or why not?

I think Omar Brown is stuck as a special teams stud/ back up safety. He has been with the Ravens for a while now and he has not gotten that opportunity. Brown could be a nice player in the future because he has a lot of talent. I just think the Ravens would have given him the opportunity to start by now if he was going to. The Ravens are not satisfied with their safeties and I expect they draft the starting free safety of the future this May. The position though is wide open and he could steal it with a strong preseason.

Q&A Friday

The first question is from William S. Carroll (@BCarroll138): Will the Ravens look for a RB in the middle rounds?

I think the Ravens would definitely target a running back at some point in this draft. There is uncertainty and a likely suspension over Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce was not a world beater in 2013. I would think anywhere from the 3rd round onward the Ravens will look to get another running back for their backfield. If Bishop Sankey somehow falls to the 3rd round he would be the obvious choice. I would think a Charles Simms or even the hometown Terrance West would be the Ravens best bets in the draft.

Question 2 is from Toya P (@LaLaLaLaToya): Are any of the FA Centers a potential fit for the Ravens?

The Cleveland Browns put the transitional tag on the only one I’d get excited about. Alex Mack is the only center I really believe is worth the money. At the right price Evan Dietrich-Smith would be an option. The Ravens can’t do a thing until the offensive tackle position is taken care of.

The next question is from Tracy Cole (@Tracy_Cole65): @Tracy_Cole65: 1st if Monroe not re-signed how big a problem will that be 2nd how much is he actually worth/not what he wants ?

If Monroe is not resigned the Ravens are quite literally in desperation mode. Both of the Ravens tackles are free agents which is horrible timing. We assumed Oher was out the door but without Monroe that could change. The Ravens would have to get Brandon Albert or settle for the tackle we know in Michael Oher. Our hand would be forced in the draft come May if we could not solidify the left tackle position.

Monroe in my opinion is a good player in a position I want a great player. He would think he should get top 5 tackle money which would be around a $12 million average salary per year. I would like to pay him under $10 million per season if possible. His market value is high and the Ravens will have to overpay to keep him. They may agree with my assessment, the franchise tag was steep and they decided against it.

Ask Mud Dog Anything Ravens Offseason Edition

By Chris Schisler (@footballman58)

Question 1 comes from Orioles Rob (@SupermanRob2914): If the Ravens part ways with Ray Rice who is a possible draft replacement?
Rob, this is a very good question. First off let me say I doubt the Ravens part ways with Ray Rice. The Ravens have stood behind players in the past and it makes little business sense to let go of Rice. Rice however will be suspended. The Ravens will get some cap space back from the games Rice is serving his suspension. The reason that this is such a great question is that the Ravens may look for a replacement for Rice anyway. The Ravens veteran rusher is coming off his worst statistical season. With running backs it is always better to find a replacement sooner than later, as the position’s shelf life is so short. It is also good to have several backs with different skill sets to make a running back by committee situation.

Bernard Pierce is still young and has a promising career in front of him and it would seem like the bulk of the workload would fall to him. Here are three to be rookie rushers the Ravens may want to put in their backfield.

1.) Charles Simms, WVU: Simms was one of the few bright spots on the Mountaineer offense. He has great vision and is a natural runner. Simms was the sparkplug that West Virginia so desperately needed. This is a flat out playmaker.

2.) Bishop Sankey, Washington: Sankey averaged 5.8 yards per carry last season. Sankey is a physical runner who gets yards after contact. Sankey reminds me of a more shifty Marshawn Lynch.

3.) Terrance West, Towson: The Ravens drafting Terrance West would be such a beautiful moment. West walked on to the local Towson Tigers football program. Given nothing, Terrance West earned his place in college football. West is a hard runner and has an intriguing combination of speed and size. He is a very patient runner. It is hard not to be a fan of this local running back.

Question 2 comes from Dave S (@BaltimoreDaveS): What do you see the Ravens doing in the first round?

Dave, I think we have to get Joe Flacco a dominant pass catching machine of a player. This is the offense’s off season, there is little question of that. The selection is dependent on who is on the board. If Mike Evans is available it is hard to imagine the Ravens passing on him. If Evans is not on the board two players that would make sense would be Eric Ebron and Odell Beckham Jr. Eric Ebron is a freakishly gifted athlete and as a tight end is a matchup nightmare for any defense. Beckham Jr. is a speedy play maker with all the physical tools you look for in a wide receiver.

Question 3 comes from Regan Yant (@ReganFP). By the way everyone should check out Regan’s awesome site fakepigskin.com

Regan asks: Which player helped their draft stock at the combine?

Regan, I will give you three players, because I’m in a good mood.

1.) Devante Adams, WR Fresno St: Adams has a lot of competition in this year’s draft class. The combine is where Adams knew he needed to make a statement. Adams had a 38.5 inch vertical jump which was the third best among receiver prospects. NFL decision makers will be ecxited about what he can do in the red zone with a jumping ability like that.

2.) Taylor Lewan OT Michigan: Lewan ran the fastest 40 of any offensive lineman in this year’s combine. He also did well in the drills. There was some concern about Taylor Lewan because he is still a little raw as a tackle. I think the NFL saw what it needed to see from Lewan. He has too much physical talent to pass up on the opportunity to draft him.

3.) Michael Sam Pass Rusher Missouri: Going into the combine the biggest story was Michael Sam on his path to being the first openly gay football player. In uncharted territory the media was obsessed with this story. In his time at the podium Michael Sam was asked question after question about his orientation. Sam was poised and calm and answered the questions with a smile. It became very clear that the league did not care that he was gay but the media was desperate to make it an issue. Any notion that drafting Michael Sam would cause problems was put to rest as he came off as a very likable and focused young man. The way he handled himself was a huge thing for his draft stock in my opinion.

Regan also asks: What player hurt their draft stock at the combine?
Without a doubt this is Cyrus Kuandijo. The Alabama offensive tackle has been reported to fail multiple team physicals. His 40 time was horrible and his bench press numbers were uninspiring. This is the worst possible combine for the offensive tackle that many believed to be a first round draft pick.

@BBlack_9 asks: What free agent center do you think the Ravens will target?
I think if Alex Mack hits the open market the Ravens would want to go get him. Not only would the Ravens be getting a good player at a much needed position but they would steal him from their divisional rival the Cleveland Browns. Evan Dietrich-Smith would be the other option if he does not resign in Green Bay.

Robert Ellingsworth (@BY1959) asks: Does the raise in salary cap keep the Ravens from having to use the franchise tag, would they use it on Arthur Jones?

The cap raise of 5% helps, but it does not eliminate the franchise tag as an option. I do not think the Ravens would tag Arthur Jones. Jones is an expensive luxury when you have a lot of talent on the defensive line with or without him. I still believe the Ravens are reserving the franchise tag for Dennis Pitta, if they cannot agree to a long term contract. This whole WR/ TE dispute has complicated the matter. The Ravens best bet is signing Pitta to a long term deal before March 3rd.

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