State of the Baltimore Ravens Press Conference Recap: Ozzie Newsome stepping down in 2019
During Owner Steve Bisciotti’s press conference, it was announced that Ozzie Newsome will be stepping down as the General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL season.
This may come to a surprise for many, but Baltimore Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti explained how this was in the process 4 years ago and why keeping Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta was so pivotal for the future for the Baltimore Ravens. Newsome will not be the GM in 2019 but will still be involved with the Ravens, whether it’s with scouting or some other type of role. Bisciotti knew he had to keep DeCosta till Ozzie’s 5-year contract is up to ensure that the GM position is filled for the future.
DeCosta has been a coveted general manager candidate every offseason for other teams and has declined many interviews and in 2017, he denied an interview opportunity for the Green Bay Packers job as a GM.
The six years DeCosta has been the assistant GM and under the tutelage of Newsome, the Ravens have lost some veteran scouts and this year, they will look to bring in more experienced scouts to get more out of their drafts; especially in the early portion of the NFL Draft. Since next year will be the year DeCosta will be in charge of the 53-man roster, the 2018 offseason could hint at more influence from him than any other offseason.
Firing Head coach John Harbaugh after the 2017 NFL season was a “thought” but Bisciotti wanted to keep the continuity and stability with keeping Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
Bisciotti let the media know that he will not give a playoff or bust mandate to John Harbaugh as he has been under fire the last couple seasons and rightfully so. The Baltimore Ravens have missed the playoffs the last 5 seasons and have had 4 different offensive coordinators during that time. After receiving a one-year contract extension before the 2017 NFL season, Harbaugh was extended into 2019 so it makes sense not to do a whole roster turnover with the GM change in the near future and coordinator changes the Ravens have made recently.
As a middle of the pack team and with some stability for once on the offensive coaching side, an upgraded defense that played well till late in the year, and an improving offense despite the talent gives Bisciotti some hope that with an offensive focused 2018 offseason, the Ravens could make a turnaround in 2018.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was kept as the offense was progressively getting better as the season went on. And with the earlier move to promote Wink Martindale after Dean Pees retired then moved on to the Tennessee Titans, some stability in the coaching staff was definitely needed. Even though the Ravens have had subpar seasons those past few years, Bisciotti responded to the media and fans to say that the Ravens are “Disappointed, embarrassed…” how 2017 turned out but are “not stagnant” and are “determined” for 2018.
Quarterback Joe Flacco is here to stay for a couple years, grooming his successor is not the big priority for the 2018 NFL Offseason.
Due to the herniated disc Flacco sustained before the preseason, Bisciotti explained how that affected the play calling early in the season and why it was very conservative on offense. However, as the year went on, Flacco did get more comfortable and showed improvement throughout the year. And when he was asked if finding Flacco’s successor is a priority in the near future, Bisciotti said that most franchise quarterbacks do not retire at ages “33-35” anymore and is “not really something that we’re worried about right now”. I would think a quarterback in the middle to late rounds of the NFL Draft is a consideration as backup Ryan Mallett has looked subpar when he has played and the Ravens did work out Ryan Nassib earlier this week as a younger, cheaper option if they do not want to spend a draft pick on one.
If the Ravens restructure a few contracts and free up some cap room, they could find a way to make it happen and get the top free agent at wide receiver in Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins.
With a defensive heavy NFL Draft in 2017, the Ravens thought the additions of Danny Woodhead, Jeremy Maclin, and Austin Howard would be enough to take the offense over the top. This year, the offseason game plan is flipped as the Ravens will primarily look at offense to finally get more talent and depth. With a few key decisions the Ravens have to make on offense with resignings this offseason, especially Mike Wallace and Ryan Jensen; they could end up not bringing anyone back as the cap is very limited this year. The prioritized position has to be at wide receiver as Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman produced very little and getting Flacco some weapons has been something uttered many times in 2017. Even with very little cap space, Bisciotti still wants to find a way to make a splash in free agency and/or the NFL draft.