After their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it appears as if the Ravens are going to stick things out with the current coaching staff. I don’t necessarily agree with the decision but I understand it, as Steve Bisciotti has always emphasized stability within the organization. However, in a press conference on Monday, John Harbaugh made an interesting point in saying that there is “no timetable” for Lamar Jackson’s first NFL start, but that it would happen “eventually.” In addition, he suggested that the coaches have considered leaving Jackson in for entire series instead of pulling him after one or two plays. What does this mean? Well, to me, it means that the Lamar Jackson era is coming – perhaps sooner than we anticipated. I don’t want to spend too much time on the Ravens, as I’m going to take the BYE week to talk Maryland sports as a whole, but I think that if they fall to Cincinnati in two weeks time, Jackson will find himself at the helm against Oakland the next Sunday.
As I eluded to, with the Ravens in their week off, I think it’s time I take a step back and talk about the other teams in the region, just to remind you all of how brutal our situation as fans is. As the obvious choice, I’m going to start with the Baltimore Orioles.
The O’s are lucky I’ve had the Ravens to write about over the past 2 and a half months, because they have really turned my optimism about the franchise’s direction into nervousness. First, they failed to sign any of the three premier international targets, who it seemed like their flurry of deadline-day trades were directed towards. Of course, they will have the opportunity to make a ton of minor signings to add volume to their minor league overhaul, but the inability to pick up even one of Sandy Gaston and the Mesa brothers may prove to be a sizeable mistake. On top of that, there have been absolutely no rumors about the vacancies at President, General Manager, or Manager. At first, we could chalk this up to the brass’ desire to keep things quiet, but now, a few weeks after the World Series, it’s beginning to feel like they’ve just been slow to take action. As many pundits have stated over social media, the fact that the Orioles didn’t have a list of names already prepared by August is mind-boggling and shows the lack of initiative the franchise takes in righting the ship.
With so much uncertainty about the future of the Baltimore Orioles, it’s impossible to still hold excitement for the rebuild they’re about to embark on. Until they make a move that I find overwhelmingly positive, I just can’t feel good about where they’re headed.
Next, of course, there’s the Maryland Terrapins football program and all the nonsense that unfolded last week. The action taken by the board of regions and the school as a whole was despicable; they severely underestimated the reaction that the public and the players would have to the decision to keep Durkin on board. As a result, they looked like fools when they let him go a day later. The big question that I have in the aftermath of all that’s happened is how the hell any coach that’s hired is going to recruit players to the program. As Jason stated in this week’s podcast, other coaches like James Franklin will be reverse-recruiting Maryland heavily – and it will probably work. If I were a parent, I wouldn’t let my son even entertain an offer from UMD, much less commit to playing there.
And last, but by no means not least, come the Washington Wizards. This team is dreadful. I’ve tried watching a few games in my free time but I simply can’t. And when I have a chance to turn it on, like I did last night, my ESPN app reminds me not to, saying “Mavericks – 70, Wizards – 49 at Halftime.” As if I’m going to turn that on. The fact that the Wizards have two or three potential All-Stars on their roster but can’t even begin to contend in the Eastern Conference is embarrassing, and I think it’s time that they are dismantled. Trade John Wall, trade Brad Beal, and if possible, trade Dwight Howard. Go get Zion Williamson or another one of those insane Duke 5-stars to revamp this Washington squad in a few years.
If you’re like me and these are four of your favorite sports teams to follow, it might be time to find other interests for a while; we could be entering four (!!!) rebuilds. For the Orioles, we already know that the reconstruction is upon us, but the Ravens will look entirely different next year, potentially having a new set of safeties, a new set of wideouts, a new running back, and new linebackers alongside their new franchise quarterback. Maryland is going to have even bigger problems, as they will find it incredibly difficult to attract young athletes and pull them away from bigger, better, cleaner programs. And finally, the Washington Wizards, who were never that good to begin with, may attempt to restock and wait for the Warriors, Rockets, and Celtics to collapse. Maybe they’ll build their own dream team in a few seasons, but if Ernie Grunfeld still holds the safest job in sports, something tells me that won’t happen.
Get ready, Maryland sports fans, dark days are ahead.