OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 23: Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens addresses a news conference with his wife Janay at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Michael Schottey, a lead NFL writer for Bleacher Report, talks about the latest happenings within NFL training camps.
Often lost among the many crucial aspects of training camp is the importance of rookie coaches’ first impressions.
“You don’t get a second chance to have your first training camp. Because frankly, if your guys don’t understand your scheme by the time camp ends, you’re already behind the eight ball,” said Schottey.
While the Ravens do have a rookie coach within their own division, other division seem to be a lot more polished and highly competitive going into opening week.
“There are two divisions, the NFC North and the NFC South, that really intrigue me. It’s dealer’s choice with those teams,” said Schottey. “I think those are two divisions I’m going to be looking at very closely, because of all the good teams there.”
Although there are questions on the field within NFL divisions, there seem to be just as many off the field this season, including the prolonged situation of the Browns’ Josh Gordon.
“With Josh Gordon, it’s a tricky situation because you want to give every player the benefit of the doubt. And the idea of everyone being innocent until proven guilty is different for a public figure,” said Schottey.
“You have to at least hear [Gordon] out. If you can’t prove him guilty, so be it. That’s the way this is supposed to work.”
It’s well documented that the Ravens have a similar off the field dilemma of their own.
“The ravens don’t seem to have a handle on this situation from a PR standpoint. It all just seems tone deaf to me,” Schottey said. “The idea that would make sense to me is to hide this guy from the media. Don’t let him do his talking.”
“The Ravens seem to be doing the opposite of that. They seem to be pushing a redemption story already, before Rice has done literally anything.”
Though Schottey does not agree with Baltimore’s approach to the Rice situation, he does see a lot of potential with where they could finish in the AFC North standings this season.
“I think the AFC in many ways is wide open. I’ve actually put the Ravens up there as the surprise team because the offense will be better with Steve Smith and Kubiak calling plays. The defense was better than the super bowl team, and they’ll be even better this year,” Schottey said.