With today’s news that Steve McNair will not be around to quarterback the Ravens in 2008, fans are reacting in a variety of ways. Many are ecstatic that McNair will not be returning, as when they look at him now they only see the “Error” version that looked old, crippled, and well….just plain terrible in 2007, as opposed to the “Air” version that led the purple and black to their best ever record, 13-3, in 2006. These happy haters are basically split into two camps: those that now see the opening necessary for Troy Smith to seize the reigns of the Ravens’ offense and lead us to the promise land; and those that are now CERTAIN the Ravens will do everything in their power to secure Matt Ryan on April 26 (also, there are probably a handful of people – yes, you, Bob – that are jumping for joy because now Kyle Boller will finally take the starting job that is rightfully his.
I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with all of them. That’s right, they are ALL wrong. In the upcoming 2008 NFL season, a **HEALTHY** Steve McNair would have given the Ravens a better chance to win than Boller, Smith, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Daunte Culpepper, Byron Leftwich, Paul Blake, Shane Falco, or Johnny Moxon. Unfortunately for you, the delusional Smith-lover to your left, and myself, Steve – despite getting himself in his best shape in years this offseason – felt that the amount of work it would take to keep himself in game shape was just not feasible week in and week out. Put another way, he knew that 2008 would be much like 2007: nagging injury, other small injury, interception, small injury made worse by nagging injury, nagging injury made worse by nagging wife and unsatisfied fan base, fumble, ear drums ruptured by booing, brain fart caused by blood leaking from eardrum into gray matter……no fun for anyone.
So what’s the point? Well, the point is that I’m extremely disappointed by the news that Steve can’t do it anymore. I was very intrigued by John Harbaugh’s glowing review of McNair’s offseason regimen and dedication, and was banking on him rebounding from his 2007 stinker in a big way. Perhaps that wasn’t gonna happen anyway, and by October all of B-More would be clamoring for Smith, or Moxson, or whoever happened to be carrying a clipboard on the sidelines at M&T Bank. But I’d rather have had McNair trotting out there against the Bungles on September 7 than any of the Ravens’ current options (unless of course this wrangler jeans-wearin mofo wants to don some purple).
Life after Steve starts today, and this should NOT affect the Ravens draft day strategy whatsoever. I have a sneaking suspicion that the last thing Ozzie & Co. want to happen on draft day is for the QB out of BC to be still sitting there doing his best Brady Quinn impression (not that, this) when our turn comes up. The pressure to pick Ryan from the fan base may be too much for even the level-headed B-More brass to resist. Have we not learned our lesson? Don’t spend a first round draft pick on a quarterback! Especially on a team that has so many other glaring needs. The Ravens strategy at MSG should be to draft the best player available at #8 – and unless each of the first 7 teams somehow manages to pick twice in the first round, Matt Ryan will not be the best player available. Period. Pick up a Leodis McKelvin, a Sedrick Ellis, or a Vernon Gholston, and move on. See which QBs are still lurking when your turn comes up in the 2nd or 3rd, and get a Chad Henne or Joe Flacco.
This is the part where you yell at me and call me names in the comments….