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Thread: Interesting read on the Ravens

  1. #1
    Hall Of Fame
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    Oct 2011
    New York

    Interesting read on the Ravens

    Just watched some highlights from the presser and I came away very impressed with the dynamics of the Ravens organization. There were some fascinating parts where Ozzie discusses his past failures and how they will not repeat them. Steve Bisciotti talked about how he works with his FO. He tells a great story about the 2002 draft.

    Question: After the 2000 Super Bowl win, you tried to keep the team together and it became a tough salary cap situation. Will that experience play into what you might do this year, even though the salary cap seems like it will go up in 2014? (Stan White)

    • (NEWSOME) "Yes. We will not repeat what we did in 2001, because we are trying to build where we can win Super Bowls more than just one more time. But, I think our team is structured differently this time also. We do have some veterans that will probably be retiring, but we have a great nucleus of young players. [We have] players who are just hitting into their prime that we are going to build this team around. But, we are not going to be restructuring contracts and do all of those different things to be able just to maintain this team to make another run. We’re not doing that. But, all that being said, John and I have talked about it, and we have talked to the coaches, [and] that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to try to go and repeat.”

    Question: Steve, when the franchise passed from Art Modell to you, you’ve been charged with all the changes, and it’s your organization. Can you break down the three to five top decisions you made or didn’t make that led to the Lombardi Trophy? (Nestor Aparicio)

    • (BISCIOTTI) “Geez. Hiring him. (pointing to Harbaugh) I don’t have a list of three or five. I haven’t done that much. (laughing) Look around, with Ozzie and Eric and [senior vice president of public and community relations] Kevin Byrne. Kevin doesn’t get nearly as much credit as a confidant to all of us. He should be the fifth guy up here, really. I rely on Ozzie and John to counsel to me through the football stuff. I rely on Dick and Kevin to counsel me through the business side. Other than that, as you guys know, this place hasn’t changed much. There is not much that I can hang my hat on. I’m happy that I had that window of four years to see that we had such a quality organization and then be able to maintain it. So really, other than replacing the head coach, that’s about the only major decision I’ve made in all these years, unless you can come up with something that I did. I am willing to accept credit for anything else you can throw out there.” (laughing)

    Question: What about player and football decisions on draft day and signing free agents that you are brought into in some way? (Nestor Aparicio)

    • (BISCIOTTI) “I love being closer to the decision than all the fans and all the reporters, because I get to hear these guys out and see what they like. Eric and I are on the phone all the time, because he (pointing to Newsome) stops taking my calls. (laughter) But, personnel decisions, Eric will tell me, ‘Look at this guy. Watch this guy. Watch this guy.’ And I do. So when leading up to draft, when they send me players to look at, I look at, and I sit there and tell them why I think we could do better with this guy over that guy if they are even. But, I remember going back to 2002 when the top two guys left on the board were Lito Sheppard and Ed Reed. We had Ed Reed above Lito, and I said to Ozzie, ‘I don’t understand this. If they both have the same grade, why would you not take a corner over a safety? It seems like that’s a more important position.’ Ozzie said, ‘Because I am true to my board.’ We took Ed Reed instead of Lito Sheppard, so I kind of learned from that point on that I better not engage too much and try and alter their decision-making, or else we would have had Lito.”

    Question: Steve, having achieved great success in business and now being at the pinnacle of the NFL, what is your personal philosophy about maintaining a drive and hunger to continue to succeed and do it again? (Mark Viviano)

    • (BISCIOTTI) “Ozzie kind of spoke on it. We are not going to get caught up in the moment and do things to our salary cap and make decisions in the euphoria of winning that could hurt us in 2014 and 2015, like we did in 2001. Every single veteran was restructured, I think, so that every single veteran could stay, and then we ended up losing so many people the next year [in 2002]. We don’t want to do that. You have to make sure that the excitement of the day doesn’t cloud what we promise to build, and that was a consistent winner. I am just proud for Baltimore, and there is a great pressure off of us. This is what we work for, and you know as you get closer that it’s like, ‘If we don’t get it this time …’ We felt that way last year. We have to get to it this time when we went up to New England, and we were devastated when we lost because we know how hard it is to get back there. Pittsburgh won two Super Bowls, and then didn’t make the playoffs the next year. So, we’re going to try and do that. We’re going to try and build a consistent winner. We’ve got this one in the bank. Like John said, you can never take it away from us. I’m just proud for Baltimore for everybody that gets to bask in this.”

    Question: Ozzie, before the season, you hired Sandy Weil to do statistical analysis. What were the benefits of that, and how does the front office weigh what he’s passing along against what you guys are seeing with your own eyes? (Matt Vensel)

    • (NEWSOME) “That’s still a work in progress. What he had to do was to come in and understand the football business part of it and then to mesh that with the analytical aspects of what he could bring. But, what we’ve been concentrating [on] is he tried to help John and [defensive quality control coach] Matt Weiss through some things this offseason, but his main objective was to gather all of the information that we have over the last seven or eight years, compile it, and see what that information is going to present to us. We’ll be looking at some of that information as we move toward the draft.”

    Question: Both of you guys and Ozzie mentioned player development a little bit and depth – John, the faith that you have in your coaching staff to develop the players, Oz, the faith you have in your scouts. A couple of years ago you cut the cord with Derrick [Mason] and Kelly Gregg and Todd [Heap]. A lot of people around here said it was wide-spread panic almost, because they thought you were rebuilding. You have been able to maintain an unbelievable level of achievement since then with player development and scouting. Can you talk about the faith you have in that system that you’ve put together now when you have to make some tough calls? (Keith Mills)

    • (NEWSOME) “I would say it in two different ways: I think the key to any team’s success year-in and year-out is the depth that they have on their football team. That’s what John and I – we discuss on a daily basis of the depth. The depth goes all the way to our practice squad, having those guys and having those guys practice. But what combines it are our coaches having the ability to develop the players, spend the extra time with them and stand out on the field with them, getting them extra reps. We did something this year in training camp, and I think it was a little taxing, but it was very good. John split up the practices, and he had the young guys on one field and the veteran guys on the other field. Therefore, we didn’t have to stay out there for three hours, but we had guys getting reps. Those reps, I think, paid dividends for us, because I don’t know how many reps Chykie Brown took during that time, but if we would have just had a conventional practice, he wouldn’t have gotten as many. I think I realized and John realized the importance of depth. But John and his coaches and our staff – my personnel staff – we realized that the development of players is an ultimate thing that we have to do.”

    • (HARBAUGH) “I concur. The thing that we have here that is probably pretty unique around the National Football League – this is something that Steve doesn’t take much credit for anything – but what he has laid is an organizational structure where everybody works together. There really aren’t clear lines of demarcation between people – scouts and coaches work together. Front office and coaches and scouts work together. Everybody is involved with one another. It’s not like … We are all responsible for our areas, but we all seek help. I can walk into [director of pro personnel] Vince Newsome’s office at any time and just ask him what he thinks and how we are bringing along a player or something along those lines. That’s just huge for us. I know that all of the scouts feel the same way. Ozzie and I do it all the time, but it’s not just us two. It’s not just Steve and Dick or Kevin; it’s everybody throughout the whole organization. It’s just interwoven together. To me, that’s the key to any success that we have.”

    Question: You guys are always mindful about not putting things on the credit card as far as cap goes[/SIZE], and you’ve already mentioned that you’re not going to re-do a bunch of deals just to repeat, but there is availability for cap space, specifically with some of your larger-ticket players. How do you balance the not credit card versus not much cap space? (Glenn Younes)

    • (NEWSOME) “I think over the course of the last two years, we’ve probably re-done two deals – [Marshal] Yanda last year. The only time we consider restructuring guys’ deals is [if] there is a player that comes available that we think has great value and is worth us restructuring a deal to get it done. But it also, it has to be a player that we think has a pretty good chance of playing out his contract, because that’s when you get in trouble, if you restructure a deal then all the sudden that player’s abilities fall off the cliff, and you have to let him go. Then you have to eat all that acceleration right away. But we are of the mind right now … I think with the way John and his coaches develop players, the way Eric and Vince and [senior personnel assistant] George [Kokinis] and those guys go out and collect players, that we’ve got a good nucleus of young players that are still under their first contracts, that it’s going to allow us not to have to be able to do that. But, that’s something that we will talk about, and if there is a dynamic player out there, then there are a couple of guys that we could go to. But that’s, so far, that’s probably a last resort for us.”

    • (BISCIOTTI) “And, I will say that we’re more apt to create space to get a few really good veterans for small amounts. That’s how Ozzie ends up putting the icing on our cake every year, is that we end up getting those guys like [Corey] Graham and people like that, that don’t cost a ton. So we know, in order to fill a roster with professionals, while we’re waiting on the young guys to develop, that that last $7 million that we have left is probably better spent on three veterans instead of one dynamic player. And so, I’m more open to that when it comes to creating cap room, because he’s done such a good job with the last guys we put on the roster in the last couple years, like McKinnie and Corey Grahamand people like that. So, that to me is not being risky, it’s being prudent, and we’re going to see high-priced guys getting cut. I think it started a couple days ago. You all know them – some of the guys out there. And their team wanted to keep them. They just couldn’t. And [reporters] went and talked about two years ago when we let [Todd] Heap and [Derrick] Mason and Kelley Gregg go. That stands out because maybe, it stands out to you or some of the fans, but we were just as drastic last year. We let Haruki [Nakamura] go. We let [Tom] Zbikowski go. We let Cory Redding go. We let Jarret Johnson go. We let a Pro Bowl Ben Grubbs go. We don’t have the money for all of them, and the two safeties went and got starting jobs with Carolina and the Colts. So, we have to have guys ready to go, and that’s what we do. We’ve proven it two years in a row that we can kind of shock the world and disappoint our fans at the same time, by letting some of these guys go, but letting young guys fill in and then going out and getting good values on the free agent market.”

    Question: Steve, a couple years ago you sat up here and you said that you wanted to model yourself after the Steelers, because they had had so much success. Is it fair to wipe that off the table now, and are you hoping that other franchises will model themselves after the Ravens? (Mark Zinno)

    • (BISCIOTTI) “I think they do to a small degree. When you look at the ones that are winning – something like eight years in a row with the AFC in the Super Bowl, [the conference] was represented by New England, Pittsburgh and the Colts. So, we admire all those organizations and we’re always looking to steal from each other. This is a best practices-type of business. You look at the way they handle things – continuity of staff – they all have that same thing. Look at those three teams that represented us for eight years; they all have that, they all have continuity. They have [general managers] that have been around for a long time, they’ve got stable ownership, they’ve got stable coaching. They wanted [New York Giants head coach] [Tom] Coughlin’s head for two years before he won two Super Bowls, so yeah, that’s what we talked about – the brand. We now have two [Super Bowls] in 13 years, and we’re one of the handful. So, that’s our job, to keep winning. Get us a chance to win. The two seed didn’t do us as much good [in 2011] as the four seed did us this year. [But you must] get in the tournament. We say that, and other people take that as, ‘That’s not good enough.’ But you have to be there. We don’t want to repeat – we want to be one of the 12 teams that has a chance to win every year. And if you think that we can build this up to try and repeat, it’s fool’s gold, because we’re not the favorite to win next year. We’re not even in the Top 4 teams favored to win next year. So, we want to make sure that [in] 2015 we have as good a chance to win as 2013.”

  2. #2
    Hall Of Fame
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    New York

    Please move to the Strip. Not sure how it got here.

  3. #3
    What the eff. Get this sh!t outta here.

  4. #4
    Where's teh interesting part?

  5. #5
    Jets Insider VIP
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Unless those guys were interviewed in their underwear, this doesn't belong here.


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