Third and Long: Stand at Attention

bal-ravens-and-bears-stood-during-the-national-anthem-20171015
Source: Baltimore Sun

 

After a week-long self-imposed Memorial Break I’m back to give my thoughts on three important topics. So let’s get into it.

  1. A New Policy – Last week Roger Goodell announced a new league wide mandate on the National Anthem. The most important aspects are that if you are on the field you must stand and respect the flag or face potential fines. However you may elect to stay in the locker room until after the anthem has performed if you choose to do so. I don’t think this should come as much of a surprise to anyone after last season’s controversies. The rule seems to attempt to strike a middle ground between honoring the country and allowing personal expression. Either way it won’t please everyone. Personally I wasn’t a fan of watching Americans kneel during our nation’s anthem but I also understood that the protest wasn’t about the flag or the military. Most Ravens who were asked to comment on the new rule seemed to want to keep the focus on football which was no doubt music to the league’s ears. I did like some of the comments from Marlon Humphrey the most on the subject probably because it seems more in line with my feelings.

“I’m not really sure. I think what Colin Kaepernick kind of started, it started getting swayed into the wrong direction. But I think the guys that want to help the community and help police brutality, they’ll still find a way to continue to do that without having such a controversial way to do it.”

2. Flacco is the Starter – There is no quarterback controversy. Joe Flacco is the starter and one day, in the future (like next season maybe) so will Lamar Jackson. During OTAs this week several media members remarked at how sharp Flacco looked during passing drills. He threw tight spirals and displayed a deft touch on deep passes. If Flacco is to have the bounce-back season that many are hoping from him he does have a few things in his favor, such as the same Offensive Coordinator in successive seasons, a clean bill of health, and several new offensive pieces. The one that I’d like to think will push him to renewed success is competition. When was the last time Baltimore had a back-up that could honestly challenge for playing time? For years the team only held on to one quarterback besides Flacco because he was able to avoid injury for many seasons. That’s all changed of course and with the Ravens picking Jackson at the end of the First Round I’m sure it made Joe take notice. A motivated and focused Joe Flacco may be the best version yet.

3. A New Attitude – It’s make or break time for former second rounder Kamalei Correa. He needs to impress during Training Camp or he could find his way squeezed out of a crowded linebacker corps. The recent reports out of drills are that he’s the first to arrive and the last to leave.

“As soon as we started up again, my mindset was different this year, I knew I needed to work hard with everything I got because I’m not sure what the outcome is going to be this year. I’ve been coming in early, I’ve been leaving late.”

It makes me wonder reading Correa’s comments what he thought for two seasons previous. What was his mindset then? Certainly his motivation is clear, he sees the handwriting on the wall and a visit from the Turk won’t be far behind if he doesn’t find his niche on this team. It remains to be seen if it happens but I hope he makes it. I’d hate to see another high draft pick’s potential go unfulfilled.

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