After the Ravens conducted their annual “State of the Ravens Address”, it was clear that the brass of the organization wants to make 2014 much more successful.
First up perhaps is attacking the contract negotiations of Terrell Suggs who is entering the final year of his deal. If the Ravens do not decide to bring him back they would save $7.8 million off their cap. The goal is to keep Suggs in Baltimore because he is 31 years old. The team might want to consider extending his contract, but General Manger Ozzie Newsome did not shy away of the possibility of not bringing him back.
“Terrell is a really good football player. He not only shows up in the pass game, but he shows up in the run game. That being said, we let a good football player go last year, so we’re not afraid. I’m not a virgin when it comes to letting guys walk out the door,” Newsome said. The brass will talk about more in depth when they have their meeting in Jupiter, Florida at Biscotti’s house next week.
Tight End Dennis Pitta is another priority that Newsome highlighted during the press conference. They pointed out that they want to keep the veteran TE who is eligible for the franchise-tag this year. If Pitta is tagged, that will keep him in a Baltimore uniform for another season plus he would get paid the average salary of the top five players at his position. Pitta played an essential role to the team winning the Super Bowl just 11 months ago. “He is a mismatch problem for defenses,” Newsome said. “There are no guarantees; [that is] one thing about this business.” If the team wants to be better than 8-8, they will need him. Since they had a lot of struggles on offense, such as with the running game and the offensive-line, QB Joe Flacco will require all the help he can get.
As far as the future of the “embattled” Juan Castillo, Coach Harbaugh did acknowledge he made a mistake in naming him his “run game coordinator” “I can understand why Juan [Castillo] is a lightning rod right now because of the way that was set up and structured,” Harbaugh said. “Then, we go into the season, and we have our worst year ever running the ball.” Now, his new title will be the offensive-line coach since that was his primary job in 2013 even though his job description was toward the run game.
With the lack of the running game, and the missed presence of Anquan Boldin, plus the injury to Pitta, it was a domino effect of missed execution. Regardless, the Ravens still had a chance to make the playoffs on the last Sunday of the regular season and failed to take advantage of that opportunity.
Owner Steve Bisciotti believed the Ravens could have beaten the Bengals, like the Chargers did. Adding: “I was more disappointed two years ago after losing to New England [in the AFC Championship] because it hurts worse. It doesn’t mean that our team was worse. Our team obviously wasn’t worse, or we wouldn’t have gotten there. The next step is a trip to Biscotti’s estate in Florida regarding player and coach personnel. Sorting out all the confusion.