Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh were having dinner Wednesday night when the two started breaking down the team’s 90-man roster.
It didn’t take long for Bisciotti to start thinking a couple of months ahead and pondering the agonizing decisions that the front office and coaching staff will have to make toward the end of preseason and training camp.
“We went down the roster and barring injuries, there are six guys that I’m scared to death are not going to make the 53-man [roster],” Bisciotti said in an interview with The Sun yesterday. “When we looked at the guys, there are 74 out of 90 guys that we think have a chance to make the team.”
Bisciotti’s comments came before the Ravens had agreed to terms with veteran guard Bobbie Williams who is expected to compete with rookie Kelechi Osemele and second-year tackle Jah Reid to fill the vacancy at left guard created by Ben Grubbs’ departure.
Of course, more veteran additions before the start of the season are not just possible but probable. Consider last offseason when the Ravens augmented their roster late in the process by trading for veteran wide receiver Lee Evans and signing running back Ricky Williams and offensive linemen Bryant McKinnie and Andre Gurode.
Possible positions that the front office still could address in the coming weeks are running back, where the team lacks a veteran backup to Ray Rice after Williams’ retirement, and along the defensive line. The Ravens are a little thin there after losing rush linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive end Michael McAdoo to potentially season-ending Achilles’ injuries.
“I think the injuries could dictate whether we could make any other outside additions,” Bisciotti said. “We’ve got guys that I was looking forward to getting off the practice squad and getting on the team or draft choices that we like a lot [and] are invested in even though they are late-round draft choices … You’re talking about a lot of guys that we need to work hard in August to make sure we got the best ones. That’s a good problem to have.”
By now you’ve probably seen Bisciotti’s thoughts on the criticism some of the Ravens’ veterans have received for not showing up to the voluntary offseason team activities the past couple of weeks. If you haven’t, here is the Cliff notes version: Bisciotti thinks such talk is foolish and he’d prefer his younger and less proven players getting the repetitions anyway.
However, he did acknowledge that many of the players not participating have been in the team facility rehabbing injuries including tackle/guard Jah Reid who is dealing with a back strain, and defensive end Pernell McPhee who has been sidelined by an undisclosed injury. A number of other players, including wide receivers Tandon Doss, David Reed and Rodney Bradley, guards Howard Barbieri and Kelechi Osemele, linebacker Cody Glenn, defensive tackle Bryan Hall and cornerback Cary Williams, were spotted either on the sidelines or in the locker room, a sign that they are also nursing injuries.
We’ll see who is out there Tuesday when the mandatory mini-camp begins but it goes without saying that now is not the time to be taking chances with guys who are nicked up.