Thursday, January 1, 2009

In Defense of Willis McGahee

As the Ravens prepare for their playoff game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Willis McGahee got in trouble for some comments that he made, including saying "I can't play for no one else but me" and "I'm used to competing, but with the injuries and whatnot holding me back, I look at it as a loss." He also has blamed injuries and the change in coaching philosophy for his lack of production. The Baltimore Sun's Bill Ordine has the quotes and thoughts on the situation.

McGahee's comments have reminded people of why the Buffalo Bills traded him, because he was publicly unhappy with the situation, and now with these comments, the Baltimore media is all over him now in a time where the Ravens are trying to compete in the playoffs. Some in the media, including David Steele and Peter Schmuck of the Sun have criticized McGahee for his comments, calling him "selfish" and "self-centered."

However, I do not believe McGahee's comments are as bad as they seem. I agree, this is probably not the right time to bring out comments like these. But you have to feel for McGahee. When healthy, he is an extraordinary talent. He has suffered injuries in the worst possible times, including a terrible knee injury in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl with the University of Miami plus his injuries this season, and he has to fight very hard to get back to playing shape. You cannot question his work ethic on the field; he puts 100% every game, and even though he has struggled, he still fights. His touchdown against Dallas was key in keeping the Ravens in command of that game, subsequently assisting greatly in the playoff race.

He has had four different head coaches in the last four years, including Mike Mularkey and Dick Jauron of the Buffalo Bills then Brian Billick and John Harbaugh with the Ravens, plus a number of different quarterbacks from J.P. Losman to Steve McNair to Joe Flacco and it is difficult to constantly change your system to accompany all the new things with a different head coach and a different offense. There has not been much consistency that McGahee can work with. Not to mention this season, it had to be hard seeing the Ravens draft a new running back in the second round after he rushed 1200 yards the previous season. We all agree that Ray Rice has done a good job, but in McGahee's shoes, that had to be seen as a blow to him.

McGahee came to Baltimore with a positive attitude, and he wants to compete. Of course he is going to be upset, he wants to help the Ravens out and be a good player. So he wants to play for himself, so what? Shouldn't every player want to be their best? McGahee does not have a good choice of words, but there is no question that McGahee wants to do well, and I doubt this will be a detrement to the Ravens. If this gets worse, then the Ravens will have to deal with it in the offseason, but for now, the focus is on Miami.

(Photo credit: NFL)

1 comment:

maryann said...

Hi guys -- I was looking for contact info, but couldn't find it on your blog.

Could one of y'all shoot me an e-mail to maryann.james [at] You've been nominated for a Mobbie, and I'd like to send y'all some info about the voting and blogging. :)