The Rams have no chance at repeating as Super Bowl champions.
I’m sorry to Rams fans. They just can’t do it. You see, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford isn’t throwing during the team’s voluntary OTA’s, so they have no chance at repeating and should maybe think about starting some sort of rebuild now.
You hear how stupid that sounds, right? You DO hear how stupid that sounds as you read it, of course. Because that’s what I’ve heard any time someone has tried to make it seem like it mattered whatsoever that Lamar Jackson hasn’t been present so far during Ravens OTA’s.
It’s … breathtaking stupidity.
The Super Bowl is not determined during OTA’s. It is absolutely irrelevant that Lamar Jackson wasn’t present as the Ravens began their offseason work. Absolutely irrelevant. And I think that most of you know that. I just think you’re kind of bored because there’s not really all that much otherwise to talk about that’s football related.
Sure, you might say to yourself, “But wouldn’t it be nice for Lamar to be spending some extra time with his rookie center?” And to be sure, it probably wouldn’t hurt! But the idea that an entire training camp and preseason wouldn’t be enough but a few extra days of May/June soft scrimmaging would be exactly what made the difference in that relationship is a Tyson Fury-level reach.
And maybe you’re saying to yourself, “The receivers are young and wildly inexperienced. Couldn’t it be helpful for Lamar to spend some more time with them?” And my first response would be that it’s nice that we’re admitting there’s a wide receiver problem now! My second response is that I have good news, friend! He’s already done that. In fact, he’s done a lot of that! So they win the Super Bowl now, right? Because I feel like there was another quarterback in Baltimore who didn’t hold as many public throwing sessions with receivers throughout the years and everyone seemed to think that mattered a lot so … you know what? I digress.
You get the point. A team’s voluntary OTA’s are so minimally important in process of building a Super Bowl champion that pretending like Jackson’s absence is relevant to the Ravens’ success is a bridge much, much, much too far. It’s not likely that it would have hurt the team’s chances had he been there, it’s just impossible to pinpoint a way in which it definitively provides tangible (not esoteric) help.
It simply doesn’t matter. At least not for now. Get back to me on June 14.
Because that’s when this gets interesting, right? If Jackson ends up appearing at mandatory minicamp (or makes an appearance this week ahead of mandatory minicamp), this entire exercise was nothing more than a veteran player choosing not to participate in a team activity where his presence is not required. But the moment he skips out on the things he “has” to do, then we know something’s up.
If Lamar Jackson isn’t there on June 14, there’s no more “we will operate based on his urgency” or “the kid is so obsessed with winning a Super Bowl, that I think deep down he doesn’t think he’s worthy.” There’s no scenario where Jackson is just choosing not to do a deal right now. The moment he skips minicamp, we know there’s a bigger problem. We know Jackson wants the megadeal he’s earned, he wants it now and he’s prepared to do whatever is necessary in order to make sure it happens.
But we’re not there yet. Right now we just have a quarterback deciding he probably doesn’t really NEED to be there for some late spring practices. Right now we have what is a weird situation between the team and their quarterback, but just that. Weird. Not adversarial. Weird. We’re not used to players simply choosing not to use their leverage to force an issue. It’s weird! But if he’s not there on June 14, it’s a bit more than “weird.” At that point it falls somewhere between “a true problem” and “utter and complete panic.”
But in the meantime, Jackson continues to work. And so do the Ravens who are in attendance! And when these two paths cross, there is every reason to believe both parties will be in pretty good shape.
We’d just like the paths to cross pretty quickly because we don’t want to have to think about what it means if they don’t.
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