Ravens know how to turn out more than a few good linebackers

Full story: Baltimore Sun

And it continues today with rookie linebackers Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain, who like Lewis weren't the prototypes on the height and weight charts.
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1 - 20 of 46 Comments Last updated Nov 4, 2008
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Ravens_Flock

Chico, CA

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#1
Oct 31, 2008
 
It would be a dream scenario, to keep all three. But believe it or not, the most important one to keep, in my mind, is Ray Lewis. Not only is the he STILL the leading tackler and best linebacker on our team, in his 13th season, but he's also been the the SOUL of not just our defense, but this team and franchise, ever since it's inception. He IS the Baltimore Ravens, and it would be heartbreaking and a crime, honestly, to ever see him wear another team's uniform. Just like Jon Odgen, the other long time pillar of our team (along with, in fairness, Matt Stover), Ray Lewis deserves to play his whole career as a Raven. He has more than earned it, with year after year of amazing plays, incredible passion, and an intangible element of leadership that we'll never be able to replace.

Don't get me wrong, we need to keep Scott, and even though I'm still pissed at his offseason premadonna act, I still think it would be wise to try and keep Suggs as well. But Ray is Ray, no other player will ever be able to truly replace him, and while he may be in his 30s now, and not as GREAT as he was in his prime, he's still great, he's still one of the best in the game today, and his leadership in the lockeroom and on the field alone are worth whatever money he's going to wind up asking for. Point being....we need to keep Ray around as long as he still wants to play. Period. There is no two ways about that, and it would be quite frankly tragic, if we were not re-sign him.

As for Scott and Suggs? I'm torn. Earlier this season, I would have said keep Scott, let Suggs go get his money elsewhere, like Adalius Thomas did. I don't WANT Suggs to leave, he's an amazing player, but of the three, we are likely going to have the hardest time keeping him. So far, he is having a more explosive season than Scott, but you can't undervalue what Bart brings to the table, and he and Ray make a HELL of an inside backer combo. They are the reason our D is so good against the run.

But yeah, we do have a lot of great young talent. Barnes, Gooden, and McClaine could all wind up being our next big defensive players. Now if only we were so lucky fostering young cornerbacks. I am still really disappointed that we cut Pittman after putting him on IR. I still think we should have kept him over Martin. But, at the very least, I think Fabian Washington is going to develop into a great starter for us, given time.
Mr Football

Mount Rainier, MD

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#2
Oct 31, 2008
 
The Ravens will have a ton of cap room next year because Ogden, McNair, and probably Boller will be off the books. They should sign Ray Lewis and Suggs and let Bart Scott go. Scott is the easiest to replace of the three and in my mind more of a system player like Hartwell and other guys we've let go.

DEK

Since: Jun 08

Fort Huachuca, AZ

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#3
Oct 31, 2008
 
I agree with Ravens_Flock that Ray has earned the right to remain a Raven. The total package that he brings to the table far surpasses what he brings to the field. It would sicken me to see him doing the same thing for another team. I said it before, if we lose Ray, he will go to a contender where he is the missing link. I am not ready to see him hoisting the super bowl trophy for another team after what he has meant to the Ravenís organization. I wish we can keep all of the linebackers, but Ray has to be the priority.
Bob

Pasadena, MD

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#4
Oct 31, 2008
 
The Ravens should sign to long term contracts...B.Scott and T.Suggs...and offer R.Lewis a coaching position....Even though Ray is still one of the best linebackers in the game..its time for him to "teach" the young guy's....and its time Ray go's to the Hall Of Fame...
Peej

Atlanta, GA

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#5
Oct 31, 2008
 
In my opinion, the priority should be 1) Ray - Let him play for two more years, while going behind the scenes to convince him to enter coaching.

2) Terrell - He is on the cusp of becoming the elite player.

3) Bart - The quiet warrior (on the field of course).

I am not sure that too much money could be spent on that trio of incredible defensive players.
Shawn

Merchantville, NJ

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#6
Oct 31, 2008
 
I don't see why we can't sign all three. As of right now, 2010 will be played without a salary cap and there is little or no chance that will be resolved prior to that season (the players union doesn't even have a president at this point). Structure the contracts with large roster bonuses that could be paid that season. Everybody signs for (relatively) small base salaries with a big signing bonus and a big roster bonus. Lewis and Suggs should be given 5 years at a minimum. Suggs because he's still young and playing great football, and Lewis has earned the right to wear Purple and Black for his entire career. Let him know that he's going to be a Raven for life. If Scott doesn't want to sign for a 3 year deal, franchise him. The Ravens can afford to bite that bullet for one year (Especially with Ogden, McNair, Boller, and possibly McAlister off the books). This gives Gooden and Burgess another year to learn and then be ready to step in.
veedub

Englewood, CO

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#7
Oct 31, 2008
 
Bart Scott is definitely the odd man out after this year. Although we do have a bunch of contracts coming off the books (don't forget CMac's 8M), we need to spread some money around on BOTH sides of the football.

Baltimore Ravens = Linebacker factory
Randy

Baltimore, MD

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#8
Oct 31, 2008
 
How cool is it that year after year we have strength in the middle, the very heart of a defense? Don't take it for granted. Just enjoy it week in and week out.
Wolfe

Waynesboro, PA

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#9
Oct 31, 2008
 
The team is in the process of bringing in new talented young corners on this team. I love the progress of Frank Walker and Fabian Washington. In the draft next year, I would expect the team to take another CB within the first two rounds. Having said that, I think Samari's time may be up as a Raven, and CMac's best years might be behind him. This should leave us with plenty of cap room, along with the release of Boller, to sign all three of our linebackers. Suggs will get a big contract. I think Bart will be happy with a nice signing bonus and a 3 yr. deal along with Ray getting the same.
Mike B

Waynesboro, PA

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#10
Oct 31, 2008
 
One reader suggested Ray Lewis should be used as a coach to mentor and teach the younger guys, that is hogwash! Ray still has at least 2 years of high quality play in hi IF he satys healthy. In a couple of years it would bve great to have him as a coach , IF that is what he wanted to do, but Ray alewis still has a deep desire and passion tko PLAY the game . HE should be able to play as long as he can contribute as a player. Hopefully he is the type of player that could be objective and know himself when he can;t perform at a high level, even if many players don't realize`when their skills have diminished to the point where it hurts the team. I thiunk Ray Lewis has to much pride in his on field performance to stay longer than he thinks he should and can still perform. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt on that one because in my opinoin he has earned that one. No matter what you think of Ray Lewis you can take it to the bank that you wil get 200% from him each and every time he laces up his shoes and puts on his pads!!!
No Feathers

Houston, TX

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#11
Oct 31, 2008
 
Peej wrote:
In my opinion, the priority should be 1) Ray - Let him play for two more years, while going behind the scenes to convince him to enter coaching.
2) Terrell - He is on the cusp of becoming the elite player.
3) Bart - The quiet warrior (on the field of course).
I am not sure that too much money could be spent on that trio of incredible defensive players.
1) all this talent and the ravens can do is beat scrubs

2) they still suck.
Eric

Amherst, OH

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#12
Oct 31, 2008
 
Mr Football wrote:
They should sign Ray Lewis and Suggs and let Bart Scott go. Scott is the easiest to replace of the three and in my mind more of a system player like Hartwell and other guys we've let go.
I agree. I think people are WAY overvaluing Bart Scott. He's a total liability in pass coverage. Ray is still playing at high level and shows no signs of slowing down. While Suggs is a very good player, I've yet to see him get to the point where he can completely dominate the trenches (like a healthy Freeny, Peppers, Haynesworth, etc). If they somehow were able to manage a sign and trade for a premiere WR (like Boldin), I would do that in a heartbeat.
Ace

Pasadena, MD

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#13
Oct 31, 2008
 
Bob wrote:
The Ravens should sign to long term contracts...B.Scott and T.Suggs...and offer R.Lewis a coaching position....Even though Ray is still one of the best linebackers in the game..its time for him to "teach" the young guy's....and its time Ray go's to the Hall Of Fame...
Why is it time for Ray to become a coach? He's arguably the best MLB in the game right now. He has said he wants to play 4 more years. How do you think he would reach if the front office said, "we'd like you to be a coach." Your suggestion doesn't even qualify as wishful thinking because the best case scenario involves #52 on the field next year, not on the sidelines.
Bobby

New York, NY

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#14
Oct 31, 2008
 
I think with the depth we have at linebacker, Suggs can go. All he CAN do is pass rush, which is great, but he can not cover anything. Scott is better at coverage than Suggs. Suggs haven't had a double digit sack year in like 3 years and in my book that's get no money whatsoever. Let Dallas over pay you. As far as trading him goes, it seems feasible but not recklessly like Dallas did to get Roy Williams giving up first or second round picks. Suggs is a phenomenal talent, don't get me but believe it or not, he is expendable.
Ace

Pasadena, MD

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#15
Oct 31, 2008
 
Bobby wrote:
I think with the depth we have at linebacker, Suggs can go. All he CAN do is pass rush, which is great, but he can not cover anything. Scott is better at coverage than Suggs. Suggs haven't had a double digit sack year in like 3 years and in my book that's get no money whatsoever. Let Dallas over pay you. As far as trading him goes, it seems feasible but not recklessly like Dallas did to get Roy Williams giving up first or second round picks. Suggs is a phenomenal talent, don't get me but believe it or not, he is expendable.
I disagree.

1) We can't trade him unless we sign him or franchise him again.
2) He's highly effective against the run and the reason you don't see him in pass coverage is because he's so good at rushing.
3) He hasn't had 10 sacks in a bit, but he had 9.5 in 2006. We had like 4 or 5 players in 2006 with at least 9 sacks. There are only so many to go around and I guarantee you that if Suggs didn't get a particular sack, he was definitely part of the breakdown in pass protection that led to the sack.
4) You don't let your top players go. The salary cap does make it difficult to sign players from other teams, but it's high enough that you should be able to keep your own. That's why there are so many free agent busts in the NFL, because all the really good FAs stay with the teams that drafted them.

Keep Suggs and Lewis, let Scott go. He's already 30 and we have plenty of good young 'backers.
No Feathers

Houston, TX

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#16
Oct 31, 2008
 
so many sacks and too few victories...yep, keep them all.

Ravens Blow.
Bobby

New York, NY

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#17
Oct 31, 2008
 
Let's be clear, it would not make any sense to sign Suggs long-term because he is expendable. We have able 3 or younger and hungrier LB's who can pass rush AND play the run so that is what makes it a wash. Giving him a long term contract for say 5+ years makes no sense at all because it will strain not only our cap in future years but also our ability to makes improvements where we need them. Lets face it, we don't need Suggs. He is a phenomenal talent and I personally like Suggs but he is not irreplaceable like lewis. He can pass rush and play the run and that is IT. He has been tapering off for the past two years and in my opinion isn't deserving of big contact like he states he wants. He just isn't worth it. He says he want to be the highest paid defensive player. The big question GM's and owners need to start asking is what have you done for me lately. A prime example would be Dwight Freeney. He has gotten paid and has done nothing. In Suggs case, he really hasn't done anything lately referring to the two previous years. He will more than likely have a great year this year. It would be great to keep him but only for about 2-3 years. Scott can go too.
MNF Ref

Portland, OR

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#18
Oct 31, 2008
 
Peej wrote:
3) Bart - The quiet warrior (on the field of course).
are you kidding??!! He took my yellow flag and tossed it into the stands.
Poe

Baltimore, MD

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#19
Oct 31, 2008
 
Ray is #1, Suggs is #2, and Scott is an expendable #3. Ray is one of the best middle linebackers in the league, and is still able to combine his speed with the overwhelming knowledge of the game that he has. We can't let him go. As far as Suggs is concerned, do you guys remember earlier this season when he was covering TJ from Cinci? Houshmenzadeh?? Suggs is an amazing player who can rush the passer, drop back, and cover the run. As far as Scott is concerned...I've seen him get burned in the flats way too many times. It was him who blew that coverage on the third down play BEFORE Mewelde Moore converted that big play in overtime. Instead of signing Scott, we should...

Go after TJ Houshmanzadeh very heavily this offseason. If not him, then we should focus on finding a WR to give Flacco a major weapon. Scott has been around the ball a lot this year, but its always after the yards have been gained. Ray and Suggs have been getting the job done, and they need to be kept.
Johnson

Attleboro, MA

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#20
Oct 31, 2008
 
Definitely need Ray and Suggs. We let Adalius go so that we could keep Suggs, and he's a guy that the other team needs to game plan around. Suggs is a beast and Barnes, McClain, and maybe Gooden can platoon at Bart's old spot. He had a great 2006 season but the bottom line is he's no good in pass coverage and misses opportunities to make big plays. Ray and Suggs don't. Next year's backers = Suggs, Lewis, McClain, and JJ.

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