The Favre option

QB great in purple and black? Team should pass

On the Ravens

July 10, 2008|By PETER SCHMUCK

The Ravens announced the names of their two newest additions yesterday, and you're not going to be happy if you were hoping one of those names would be Brett.

The team, unshaken by the disapproval of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, conducted an Internet fan poll to decide what to call the two African white nape ravens that are going to be added to this year's pre-game festivities at M&T Bank Stadium. The new mascots will be called Rise and Conquer, which is fine by me, but I'm using them only as a literary device to burst your bubble if you've been fantasizing about the possibility that the Green Bay Packers will resist Brett Favre's rumored comeback overture and the Ravens will swoop in and sign him.

(In fact, you could make the case that I'm now the one exploiting a couple of innocent birds for my own selfish purposes, which I can only hope leads to an angry personal visit from PETA activist Pamela Anderson.)

There must be some logic to the Favre fantasy, because the Ravens have been mentioned by some national publications and Web sites as a potential alternative if the Packers tell him to stay retired. They lost Steve McNair to retirement and are faced with some difficult choices as they prepare to open training camp. Favre, theoretically, would give them an elite short-term quarterback and serve as a perfect mentor for QB-in-waiting Joe Flacco.

No question, Favre would upgrade the position and improve the Ravens' marginal postseason prospects, and he certainly would raise excitement about the coming season to a new level. The guy is a total gamer, and he proved last year he can still lead a team deep into the postseason - sometimes by the force of his amazing will - so it's not easy to argue against the Ravens' showing an interest in him if he's available.

Sorry, I'm going to do it anyway.

The same argument can be made in Baltimore that apparently is being made behind the scenes in the Packers' front office. There comes a time when you need to choose a direction and commit to it. The Packers took Favre at his word when he announced his retirement and have spent the offseason gearing the offense to Aaron Rodgers.

The Ravens have legitimate concerns about the viability of Kyle Boller and Troy Smith, but they have installed a new coach and a new offensive coordinator and appear to be in the midst of a dynamic transition that could be sidetracked if the team gave into the temptation to go for a quick fix behind center.

Favre is a wonderful player, but he had become a bit of a headache for the Packers with his annual retirement ritual. Presumably, any team that decided to sign him for the 2008 season would face the same kind of uncertainty a year from now. The Ravens, in particular, have had their share of Band-Aid quarterbacks, so it's hard to imagine them doing anything that might alter the timetable for Flacco's emergence as a franchise player.

The economics don't work, either. The Ravens would have to do somersaults to get Favre's $8 million salary to fit under the cap, especially with the 2008 payroll already burdened by the pro-rated portion of McNair's signing bonus.

This is one time when the Ravens might want to take a page from the Orioles' front office playbook. The O's spent a decade haphazardly plugging holes in their roster, which cost them valuable player development time and took them nowhere.

Though it's impossible to draw perfect parallels between an NFL team and a Major League Baseball franchise (the business models are too different), the Ravens might be better off settling for less this season and keeping their eyes on the horizon. We'll still have our new friends Rise and Conquer to put a charge in the crowd, and let's not forget about Poe, who was recently named the NFL's Fiercest Mascot in a bracket poll on CBSSports.com. And, if all goes well, Pamela Anderson might even stop by to lecture us on animal etiquette. I believe the fork goes on the left, but I'll try to keep an open mind.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on most Saturdays and Sundays.

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