Chix Chat Pro Football

By now we've all talked about the Boldin signing over and over.

And, yes, Derrick Mason is coming back for another two years.

So, what's next?

Before Boldin, the biggest news of the off-season had been the Ravens' signing of WR Donte Stallworth. I thought this was a very good value signing, and still do after the other moves made at the position. However, it's worth being realistic about just what you're getting with Stallworth.

Outside of his rookie season and 2005, he has been an inconsistent player at best. In those other 4 seasons, he's averaged 36 catches, 711 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Now, those are pretty good numbers for a 3rd WR, especially when you consider the blazing speed Stallworth brings to the table. If he's on the field, he's going to have plenty of chances to run by the opposing defense and make some big plays, but that's a very big if. Stallworth's injury report reads like a who's-who of things you don't want to see for a receiver, from hamstrings to quadriceps.

After Stallworth, we're left with the all too familiar Mark Clayton. Clayton's report reads a lot like Stallworth's; a first-round pick who pretty much flopped, a guy with speed who's always battling a nagging hamstring injury, and someone you can't necessarily count on to make a play when you need him to.

Will the addition of Boldin and Stallworth help Clayton on the field, or is what we've seen for the past five seasons all we're ever going to get from the former Sooner?

And then there's Demetrius Williams. We've all heard how high on him Ozzie was last year, and we've also heard about how much time he's spent in John Harbaugh's doghouse. He's also someone who battles the nagging injuries, and reportedly has “practice issues.”

Still, he's a fairly tall, fairly speedy guy who showed some flashes of having big play ability last year. Is it time to give up on Williams, or to see what he can do with two pass catching beasts around him?

Considering players who were on the team last year but are currently UFA's, I thought Kelley Washington was under-utilized last season. He's not going to carry anyone's passing game on his shoulders, but he's a big, strong, wideout who can make some plays over the middle, and emerged as a credible 3rd down weapon for a while last season. He's also a very good special teams player, which makes him more useful than a 4th or 5th receiver who can't cover kicks.

If the Ravens aren't content with the guys they currently have on the roster, other options are dwindling. The free agent market is thinning, with the biggest target left being T.O. But do the Ravens really need a big, relatively slow, possession receiver with a tendency to drop balls? There's always the draft, but do you really want to spend a 1st round pick on a receiver at this point, given that you just traded a 3rd and a 4th round pick for one, and considering the track record of 1st round receivers?

And who would realistically be available when the Ravens pick? Dez Bryant's stock is falling as more and more people question his work ethic and commitment, but is a talent like that really going to fall that far? I suppose it's very possible Arrelious Benn will be available, but is he likely to be a better pick than a TE, CB, or pass rusher?

Obviously a lot of this depends on the larger plan Ozzie has for the roster, and what the scouts are saying about the various potential draft picks.

But if it were up to you, what would you do?

What would you most like to address with the first draft pick?

Would you try to add more help at WR, either in the draft or free agency, or do you feel good about the players currently on the roster?

And who do you see adding the most production after Boldin and Mason?

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If ESPN gets their way the Ravens will be playing their #1 rival to kick off Monday Night Football for the 2010 season. This will be completely different than last season when we didn’t play the Steelers for the first time until the end of November.

I love the sound of this. It would be a great way to start off the season. (As long as we win, of course)

However, rumor has it that this all depends on what happens with Ben Roethlisberger’s current legal issues.

Who wants to showcase a team who is led by a man who has been accused of sexual assault TWICE in less than a year?

Let us indulge ourselves and peek a little further into this situation.

As hardcore Ravens fans, we all share the same passion for our team as well as a passion for hating the Steelers. Don’t deny that anytime you see someone repping for our biggest enemy in the football world that you can’t think of anything but wanting to burn the Steelers hat, shirt, coat, tie, scarf, or whatever it may be to ashes.

While we’re being honest here (and with all due respect to the alleged victim), let’s not deny that we were a little happy inside to hear of Mr. Roethlisberger’s sexual assault allegations. We all know he was accused of the same crime last year. This time it seems a bit fishier. Ben’s attorney, Ed Garland (who was Ray Lewis’ attorney over 10 years ago in a murder case) isn’t agreeing to let Georgia Police acquire a DNA sample as requested nor is he stating when Ben will have his next interview.

Whether the allegations are true or false, the Steelers organization isn’t very happy with these Roethlisberger’s shenanigans. Over the next 5 years the organization is schedule to pay Big Ben up to $54 Million. If indicted, the NFL will most likely suspend him indefinitely. (i.e. Michael Vick being indicted on dog fighting charges)

Could we be seeing the beginning of the end for one of the most loved AND hated players in the NFL?

We shall see my friends.

Whatever the outcome, when we play the Steelers no matter what week in the season it may be; we all know it will be a challenge as it always is, and I cannot wait to see our team this upcoming season given all the great changes we have made thus far during the off season.

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