The Ravens' announcement that they'll release defensive tackle Terrence Cody, who is the subject of an animal cruelty probe, after the Super Bowl doesn't seem like a significant statement, given that Cody played just one game this past season, is a pending free agent and was unlikely to be back anyway. But at the very least, it is a departure from how the Ravens have handled potential discipline matters in the past. The Ravens normally say that they're gathering facts and they'll let due process take its course. Perhaps this is the first indication that the Ravens, who had five players arrested last offseason, will have less tolerance of player misconduct this year. Coach John Harbaugh said as much earlier this month. But it remains to be seen how the Ravens will handle things if one of their top players happens to get in trouble this offseason.
Longtime NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell, who had one of his best seasons while being coached by new Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman with the Detroit Lions in 2007, acknowledged that he is shocked that Trestman didn't get more out of enigmatic Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Asked about how Joe Flacco will benefit from having Trestman around, Mitchell said that will be up to the Ravens quarterback. "Marc went places with some guys that were pretty established, and he was able to get more out of them," said Mithcell, who played two games with the Ravens in 1999. "It's just a question of will a guy who has won a Super Bowl and has had a lot of success be willing to learn something new or buy into a new process that maybe takes him to a different level than where he is now? If he buys into it, I think [Flacco] will have a great experience with Marc. Marc gets quarterbacks and understands what it takes for an offense to work. Quite frankly, I wish I had that when I was in Baltimore."
The start of free agency is still six weeks away (March 10) and the draft (April 30-May 2) is more than three months away, but here's one man's opinion on the Ravens' current top five positions of need in order of importance: 1. Defensive backs – I'm not exactly going out on a limb here. Even with the expectation that Jimmy Smith returns healthy, the Ravens need a veteran starting-caliber cornerback, and they should draft one as well. They also should look at adding a veteran safety because it has been proven that it takes a while for young safeties to develop and the Ravens need help immediately. 2. Wide receivers – Whether Torrey Smith is re-signed or not, the Ravens need a big and physical receiver who can make contested catches and be a red-zone threat. 3. Tight end – See below. Crockett Gillmore is the only certainty at the position for next year, and he's not ready to be a No. 1 tight end; 4. Pass rusher – Pernell McPhee likely is not coming back and Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil aren't getting any younger; 5. Running back – I'm not a believer in spending big on a running back, but if the Ravens can't re-sign Justin Forsett, they'll have to add somebody.
Congratulations to tight end Owen Daniels, who was inducted into the Naperville Central High School (Ill.) Hall of Fame on Friday night. Daniels led the Redhawks to a state championship in 1999 as a quarterback. He didn't make the transition to tight end until he was at the University of Wisconsin and yet he has managed to put together a solid nine-year NFL career. Daniels, who will be a free agent this offseason, wants to keep playing and he showed this past season that he is still an effective tight end. With it unclear whether Dennis Pitta will ever play again, re-signing Daniels should be a priority for the Ravens. But they probably will have some competition, including from Gary Kubiak's Denver Broncos whose star tight end, Julius Thomas, is also a free agent.
Speaking of Pitta, Harbaugh provided an update on the tight end, who is trying to recover from another fractured and dislocated hip injury, during the offensive coordinator conference call last week. "Dennis has met with some specialists that we talked about," Harbaugh said. "I did get kind of an overview of that report from our trainer that I wouldn't really want to share until Dennis has had a chance to kind of consider all of the ramifications of it. But I think we'll have something on that in a couple of weeks, kind of on Dennis' timeframe. We'll see where that goes." It would be completely unfair to Harbaugh – and Pitta for that matter – to speculate on what that all could mean. But I don't think it's unfair to point out that the response lacked the optimism that Harbaugh had expressed the previous couple of times that he had been asked about Pitta.
Ed Reed, the Ravens' secondary coach? Don't laugh. Other than queries about who is going to be the next Ravens' offensive coordinator, that's the question I've probably gotten the most over the past 10 days. And my answer has been the same: Things happen that surprise me, but I can't see any circumstance where that happens. One, Reed hasn't officially retired and he was tweeting a couple of weeks ago about training for the 2015 season. Two, just because Reed was a Hall of Fame player and a great leader, and obviously had remarkable instincts and film study habits, that doesn't necessarily mean that would transition to the coaching side. Let's just say that few people could do what Reed does in the manner that he does it. It wouldn't surprise me if Reed, who very much marches to the beat of his own drummer, stops by training camp or works with the Ravens' defensive backs from time-to-time, but a full-time coach? Can't see it.
This, however, should be the year that Reed goes into the Ravens' Ring of Honor, assuming he doesn't return to the league as a player. The Ravens wanted to do it last season, but they weren't sure whether Reed would play or not.