Bisciotti Not Worried By End Of Cap

State Of The Ravens

February 04, 2010|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,ken.murray@baltsun.com

Team owner Steve Bisciotti was strikingly candid, general manager Ozzie Newsome subtly expansive and coach John Harbaugh predictably consistent at the "State of the Ravens" news conference Wednesday. Here are the bullet points:

* Time to shine: : Bisciotti isn't daunted by the uncapped season the NFL is about to enter. In fact, he's almost ebullient about the prospect. "I don't see it hampering us in our ability to do things," he said, indicating that he expects the roster to stay pretty much intact.

With team president Dick Cass, Newsome and the scouting department, and Harbaugh's coaching staff, Bisciotti said, his management group is more than capable of meeting the challenge of an uncapped year if no new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

"I don't think the problems with the CBA are going to impact me in any way, shape or form more" than any other team, he said. "If anything I think it'll be less because of the talent we have in this building. I'm looking forward to the constrictions. If there are any constraints, to me, it makes your decisions that much more important."

* Bargaining leverage: : Newsome is ready to seize on some built-in advantages of the uncapped year, like the fact it will take six years for a veteran to become an unrestricted free agent instead of four. He said he's already looking at extending some players with four- or five-year contracts.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, a four-year veteran, just finished his first contract with the Ravens but won't be unrestricted for two more years. He would be a high priority for the Ravens to extend. So, too, are four-year players such as offensive linemen Marshal Yanda, Ben Grubbs and Jared Gaither. Wide receiver Mark Clayton, a five-year vet, could get an extension as well.

* Missing in action: : Last offseason, Newsome played down the Ravens' need for a speedy wide receiver, saying they already had their man in Demetrius Williams. Didn't happen. Williams barely got onto the field until late in the season and finished with just eight catches and one touchdown. His halfhearted attempt to catch a key pass late in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts was a fitting conclusion to a wretched season. What happened?

"What happened to Demetrius was Mark [Clayton] and Kelley Washington," Newsome said. "We created a competitive situation there, and John and Cam [Cameron] had the responsibility of putting the best three receivers on the field when we go to the three-wide receiver set, and the best two on the field when we were in a two-wide receiver set. I think the competition at that position lent itself to Demetrius being the No. 4 receiver."

Harbaugh said Williams didn't do enough to warrant more playing time: "He's got to be able to run the kind of routes, catch the ball in pressure situations, break things off at the right depth, make the right adjustments in pressure situations, and do the kinds of things that are going to help us move the football and win games. Those other three guys did that better - offseason, training camp, throughout the year. I think we tried to put Demetrius in situations to be successful as much as we could. And we need more."

* Brandon Marshall an option? : Newsome speculated that some "real good players are going to get cut" in the offseason because of contracts, increasing the Ravens' options to improve at several positions, including receiver. But it was a comment from Harbaugh that might have given a hint about where the Ravens will start their search.

Addressing the team's policy on players with baggage, Harbaugh said there was no one he could think of during his two years in Baltimore who was ruled out for character issues. Well, we know they talked about Marshall, the Denver Broncos' brilliant but enigmatic receiver, last summer. So does that mean they would be open to that trade? Newsome did not preclude trading his No. 1 draft pick for a player who would improve the team. And Marshall qualifies.

* Slimming down Suggs: : Bisciotti said Terrell Suggs came to camp out of shape this season but also said he still considered the hybrid linebacker a dominant player. Bisciotti said the team has received assurances Suggs will remain in Baltimore in the offseason to work on his conditioning. Considering Suggs had just 4.5 sacks this season, it's the least he can do.

"To me," Harbaugh said, "it's vitally important that he's here."

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