By baltimoresun.com staff
1:16 PM EDT, September 3, 2008
• The Washington Times' Mike Jones talks about John Harbaugh and the Ravens' decision to hire someone with no prior NFL head-coaching experience:
So the Ravens turned their attention to [John] Harbaugh, who despite his lack of head coaching experience and his relatively young age was far from green.
The 45-year-old Harbaugh's genetic makeup is laced with football, and he had 25 years of coaching experience. He's the son of 41-year coaching veteran Jack Harbaugh -- former head coach at both Western Michigan and Western Kentucky -- and brother to 13-year NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, now the head football coach at Stanford.
• Cory Mull of The (Hanover, Pa.) Evening Sun thinks the Ravens could be in for a long season after deciding to name rookie Joe Flacco as their starting quarterback:
Baltimore should know better. History has proven the cases time and again.
If you force your No. 1 quarterback prospect of the future into the limelight early, you're taking a very calculated risk. Think of all of the former No. 1 guys who aren't even in the league anymore, or in Matt Leinhart's case at least, scouring the crowd for "mad hotties."
Ryan Leaf. Tim Couch. Akili Smith. David Carr. Joey Harrington (Hey! Baltimore almost signed him; wait, they still might!). The aforementioned [Kyle] Boller. Leinhart. Alex Smith.
• For fantasy football fans, SI.com tries to settle the debate on the best offensive weapon in the NFL. Writer Ray Flowers uses the Player Rater Tool to help you pick the best players for your team. The tool has the Ravens' Willis McGahee ranked eighth among running backs, just behind former Raven Jamal Lewis:
Willis McGahee, Ravens -- How many backs rushed for over 1,200 yards and caught at least 40 passes last season? Try four: [San Diego's LaDainian] Tomlinson, [Philadelphia's Brian] Westbrook, [Washington's Clinton] Portis and, you guessed it, McGahee who rushed for 1,207 yards and caught 43 balls.
• SI.com's Don Banks offers his thoughts on each team's prospects this season, including these comments about the Ravens:
Baltimore (5-11) -- I look for Ravens rookie head coach John Harbaugh to spend his first season figuring out which guys he can win with, and which guys are part of the problem. The culture change he has begun in Baltimore won't pay dividends right away, but give him time.
• Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com offers 43 predictions about the upcoming season. While previewing the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wojciechowski says that he was going to pick the Ravens to win the AFC North, but changed his mind:
Pittsburgh Steelers -- I was going to pick Baltimore, but the Ed Reed shoulder/neck injury and the Ravens' offense (or lack of it -- rookie Joe Flacco gets the first start at quarterback) was enough to give me the heebie jeebies. So I'll take the Steelers, though I'm not exactly thrilled about their prospects.
He ultimately picks the Ravens to finish third in the division and again mentions Reed's health as a key factor:
The Ravens need Reed at safety. If his shoulder doesn't hold up, then Baltimore's defense is driving without a few lug nuts attached to the tires. His replacement, Jim Leonhard, didn't exactly distinguish himself while with the Bills. The less said about the offense, the better. Injuries have the quarterback position in flux.
• The Oregonian's Aaron Fentress picks the Ravens to finish in last place in the AFC North:
4. Baltimore (6-10): The Ravens aging defense is in decline and the offense remains as lethargic as ever.
Fentress also selects defensive tackle Haloti Ngata as a rising star in the division:
Haloti Ngata, defensive tackle, Baltimore: He won't get much fanfare but Ngata's ability to occupy offensive linemen allows the Ravens' linebackers to shine.
• Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson said yesterday that he'll be healthy enough to play against the Ravens in Sunday's regular-season opener, but he didn't want to talk about his recent name change:
Johnson did not want to discuss his legal name change to Ocho Cinco in his first interview since the news became public. Asked if he would try to get the name on his jersey for the season opener at Baltimore, Johnson said, "It don't matter what it says. It don't matter. If it ain't about the Ravens, I don't want to talk."
• SI.com's Dr. Z lists the Ravens at No. 25 in his power rankings this week:
Why is it every time I hear the name, Joe Flacco, I think of the movie, Guys and Dolls? I think in the updated version I'll have him played by Sean Penn.
• ESPN.com has the Ravens at No. 24 in the latest power rankings, which is down three spots from the team's position in the preseason list:
24. Ravens -- Quarterback issues could plague this team all year. The defense will have to play lights out for Baltimore to have a chance to win most games.
• The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer ranks the Ravens 31st out of 32 teams in his power rankings. Only the Kansas City Chiefs trail the Ravens on his list:
31. Baltimore Ravens. With key injuries piling up, key players getting older and a tough schedule for a 5-11 finisher, John Harbaugh is bound for a bumpy first year in office.
• Pete Prisco of CBSSportsline.com ranks the Ravens 26th in his rankings:
It must be tough for all those older Baltimore football fans who saw [John] Unitas play to stomach the quarterbacking they've seen from the Ravens in their history. It will be the undoing again.
• FoxSports.com puts the Ravens at No. 25:
Forget their obvious question marks at quarterback. It's the super young, super inexperienced offensive line that scares me most about the Ravens. Long gone are the days of Jonathan Ogden holding the unit together.
[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]
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