Thursday, July 16, 2009

Free Kicks- Thursday Ravens/Towson Catholic Edition

Windsor is working so hard on his Prospect Report (I know, I am excited too) that he just can’t get the post up until tonight. However, I am pushing back Free Kicks a day so that we can try to have daily content on this thing. Thank you for your wonderful comments about my Towson Catholic post, I appreciate all the work y’all are doing to try to save this institution from the people who were supposed to run it. Let’s line up for the kick…

Towson Catholic Update

Well, Monsignor Tinder is arguing that he fought hard to keep the school open, and I am actually sure he did. I am sure he tried to cut costs, find ways to get tuition money from those who hadn’t paid it on time, and even looked at ways to boost enrollment. But again, the issue isn’t what he did internally- it is what he didn’t do externally. He didn’t ask for help, he didn’t raise money, and he didn’t make his fight external. I am sure he loves Towson Catholic and wanted it to remain open with all his heart, but he didn’t realize at any point that there was a great resource available to him in the alumni. He even remarked that alumni “ultimately were one of the pillars on which the future of the school stood” but he never reached out to them for help.

The fact that it took Towson Catholic until just a couple years ago to hire anyone to coordinate alumni and raise money is really telling- every private school needs someone to build that endowment and (sorry parents) seek additional funding so that the school can survive times like this. The issue is not with how much Tinder loved the school or wanted it to stay open, just as it isn’t about whether someone wants to stop the guy who is mugging the pedestrian, or whether someone wishes that a project will get done on time, it is about what you do to make that happen. No matter what he did it was insufficient because he never used the most obvious resource available- asking for help. Whether by ignorance or hubris, Monsignor Tinder is still responsible.

Suggs Signs 6-year Deal, Will Remain a Raven
This is the first great development of the post-draft offseason for the Ravens, with their most dynamic pass-rushing threat locked into a new 6-year, $63 million deal. Baltimore is now likely right up against the cap, but it may have actually helped their cap condition versus taking on the franchise tag for another season. Moreover, it ensures that at least one Raven won’t be up for a new deal anytime soon. Let’s not automatically think, however, that Terrell Suggs is going to remain a Raven until he is 32. The way these deals are made in the NFL, the first 3 or 4 years are set but after that the deal can easily be reworked or even ended without much compensation to the player. Suggs was smart in getting the amount of guaranteed money that he did, but consider this a 3 year deal with a bit of angst after that point if the former Defensive Rookie of the Year is underperforming.

Suggs hasn’t always been explosive, having several less-than-stellar seasons, including the 2007 campaign. In fact, his best season might have been back in 2004, when he registered 60 total tackles to go with 10.5 sacks. He hasn’t had a double-digit sack year since. Hopefully his new contract will give him more motivation than in previous years to live up to his record setting deal. I am not sold that Terrell Suggs is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. But he is a very good one, and that alone makes him worth the money.

Not So Fast- Harbaugh to try to Keep Mason from Retiring
I thought that Ravens’ players and coaches would try to convince Derrick Mason to reconsider his decision to retire after 12 seasons, but I did not expect it to be as public as this. According to the Baltimore Sun, Coach Harbaugh has already exchanged text messages with Mason and is planning to meet with him soon to discuss his retirement. Honestly I don’t know what affect his is going to have on Mason. It is likely that Mason’s decision to leave the game was rooted in family and personal issues, not anything that can be solved by money or more football. If Harbaugh does manage to bring Mason back to the team, it will reveal his ability to relate to his players on a personal level and serve as a friend and mentor as a coach. I am not expecting anything, and I am not leaping to the conclusion that the wide receiver is going to change his mind suddenly. Derrick Mason was never a player who I thought needed the game so much that he couldn’t step away. If he feels he has done what he wants to do with football and is ready to do other things, I don’t know what will convince him to come back. Either way, this saga is just beginning.

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