Ravens

Quick Links

Bisciotti's 2nd Super Bowl far different than 1st

201301311807652618753-p2.jpeg

Bisciotti's 2nd Super Bowl far different than 1st

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Steve Bisciotti is wearing a plaid sports jacket, crisp checkered shirt and multicolored pocket square. Sunglasses hang from the jacket pocket, and the Super Bowl ring he earned 12 years earlier sits heavily and prominently on his right hand.

Bisciotti, the 52-year-old owner of the Baltimore Ravens, doesn't like to talk about himself and is rarely seen around the team complex. Yet on Thursday, three days before one of the most important days of his life, he agreed to an interview with several reporters.

When the Ravens won their only Super Bowl in 2001, majority owner Art Modell proudly thrust the trophy into the air to celebrate. Bisciotti, who had purchased a small portion of the team a few months earlier, had little involvement in the formal proceedings.

He was more of a fan. He rented a tent, hired a band and arranged to take 250 friends with him to Tampa.

Bisciotti gained majority ownership in 2004 and has since been doing his best to get Baltimore back in the Super Bowl. The moment has arrived, and if the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Bisciotti will be on the podium as the confetti falls from the roof of the Superdome.

``The last time, I was kind of a fly on the wall for the whole experience. It was still Art's team,'' Bisciotti said. ``It's a lot different this time. (Senior vice president) Kevin Byrne wasn't dragging me around making me do interviews 12 years ago.''

After the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 in that Super Bowl long ago, Bisciotti figured it would only be a short while before the team added to its collection of championships.

``It was a great thrill,'' he said, ``but like Cal Ripken in his second year, you think, `Boy, this is pretty cool.' Then, here we are 12 years later before we've got a chance to do it again, and all we've done is gotten here. The last time, we won it. It's certainly not going to be fulfilled if we don't win it.''

Bisciotti has the ring from the previous Super Bowl, but he doesn't have the satisfaction that comes with seeing your important decisions and investments bear fruit. He made millions by creating the largest privately-held staffing firm in the United States, and the hands-on approach he displayed in that endeavor is evident in his handling of the Ravens.

``From an organizational standpoint, I'm very involved,'' Bisciotti said. ``I want my questions answered before they make their decision, but I would hope that when I do get involved in the important decisions that my participation actually lends itself to helping them make a better decision. I don't just say, `It's your job, do it.' I can't learn unless I understand their line of thinking.''

Bisciotti is aware of all that goes on with the team, but his deep tan suggests he does not micromanage. He is content to let general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh tend to many of the details involved around running the team - with the understanding that he's always a phone call away.

Odds are, when Bisciotti takes that call, he will be someplace warm with his wife, Renee.

``I'm at practice maybe once a week. We're empty-nesters,'' Bisciotti said. ``We spend most of our fall and winter in Florida. If I can get up and do a Friday practice and meet with John and Ozzie and hear the game plan and where they think the team is mentally, that's good for me. I can go out and see my friends Friday night, I can take my boat up to the harbor and enjoy Saturday night with friends, meet my family in my suite for the game, and maybe head back to Florida again on Monday for four days.''

It seems as if Bisciotti treats ownership of the Ravens as a sidelight to the casual lifestyle. That could not be further from the truth.

``He's a very strong guy. He's a very smart man,'' Harbaugh said. ``He's involved in really almost everything we do. He's the guy that establishes the vision for the organization, and I think Steve deserves a lot of credit. He's not a guy that wants the limelight, he's not a guy that wants to be out front banging his chest. He's a humble man, just a great role model for all of us.''

Newsome was with Bisciotti from the beginning. The two have forged a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

``He is a very humble person. He's not afraid to challenge the issues, but he's a very good listener,'' Newsome said. ``I tell you what, he has some unbelievable insight when you have a chance to sit and talk with him. I've had a chance to watch him grow.

``I talked to a lot of the other GMs in our business, and they always say that Steve had it done the right way. He was able to come in to be a minority owner to learn and watch and then become an owner. Some of these other guys aren't having the opportunity, so therefore they make a lot of mistakes. I don't know if there is a more humble, honest, sometimes fiery, guy then Steve Bisciotti. He enjoys it, but he also believes one thing - that he hires people to do their job. Let them do their job.''

Bisciotti is deeply involved with the Ravens' salary cap, and he's got several important decisions looming. At the top of the list is how to handle quarterback Joe Flacco, whose contract expires after this season.

``I'm just very comfortable that it will get done,'' Bisciotti said, noting that the Ravens offered Flacco a contract last year in which the average pay per season exceeded what the quarterback would receive with the franchise tag. ``I trust Ozzie, that he and Joe are going to come to an agreement that Joe's happy with and I'm happy with.''

There's also the matter of safety Ed Reed, an 11-year veteran who has spent his entire career with Baltimore. Reed's contract is also about to end, and Bisciotti must determine whether to offer the 34-year-old a long-term deal or let him become a free agent. The Ravens let standout linebacker Ray Lewis investigate free agency a few years back before offering him a contract that suited both sides and Bisciotti suspects that might happen with Reed, who says he wants to play next season but just might retire after the Super Bowl.

``First we have to find out where Ed's head is,'' Bisciotti said. ``I think that win or lose Sunday, Ed needs a couple of weeks. By that time, we will have done our personnel meetings and our cap meetings and we'll know what kind of deal that we can make Ed. I assume we'll make a deal that we made with Ray a few years ago. If Ed wants to test the market like Ray did, that's what we have to do.''

All that can wait. Right now, Bisciotti is focused on winning the Super Bowl.

``I would be lying if I didn't say that I feel like the first one is half mine,'' he said. ``I'm 52. I don't want to be 62, saying it's been 22 years since our Super Bowl. Then you'll have one person like my mother saying, `Well, it's one in 32. You know, there's 32 teams,' and I'll say, `Sorry, Mom, you're not making me feel any better.'''

A victory, he says, would put Baltimore in the upper echelon of teams in the Super Bowl era.

``It means that Baltimore gets to be world champions again, and we get to be one of the dozen or 11 teams that has multiples,'' Bisciotti said. ``I'm very aware of the fact that if we win this, the Ravens get to step up into that top third of being multiple Super Bowl winners in only 17 years of existence, and it would make me very happy for Baltimore.''

Quick Links

Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale welcomes second chance at role

martindale.png
AP Images

Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale welcomes second chance at role

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Don Martindale wondered if he would ever get a second chance to be an NFL defensive coordinator after his one-and-done disaster with the Denver Broncos in 2010.

The Broncos went 4-12 that season and gave up more points (29.4 per game) and yards (390.8) than any team in the league. Those miserable numbers, not surprisingly, cost Martindale his job.

He latched on with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 as linebackers coach. After working diligently with several stars, including Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Zachary Orr and C.J. Mosley, the 54-year-old Martindale last week was promoted to defensive coordinator.

RELATED: WHO WERE THE RAVENS' MVP'S IN 2017?

To say he's pleased to be in charge of an NFL defense again would be a profound understatement.

"Without a doubt," Martindale said Thursday. "My family knows it. Everybody knows it. My players know it. I can't wait."

His performance in Denver eight years ago is hardly worth putting on a resume, but Martindale believes it was a worthwhile experience.

"Even though the stats were what they were, I was really proud with how we played," he said. "I'm glad I went through that process because I think that makes me a better coach today. It's like I tell my guys: You either win or you learn."

Martindale's new job with the Ravens carries the responsibility of overseeing a unit that has long been among the best in the NFL, thriving under notable leaders such as Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees, who retired on Jan. 1.

"I've been preparing for this job all my life," Martindale said. "It's very humbling, but I understand the pressure and I look forward to the challenge."

Martindale takes over a defense that this season ranked 12th in net yards allowed, first in takeaways (34) and sixth in fewest points allowed (18.9). He has no plans to revamp the unit or change the philosophy, especially since head coach John Harbaugh stressed the need to retain continuity before launching his search for Pees' replacement.

RELATED: CALVIN RIDLEY A TOP PROSPECT FOR RAVENS IN 2018 DRAFT

Martindale will, however, put his own stamp on the unit.

"I think personality-wise, and just calls, there's going to be some things that are the same. And then there are going to be sometimes where I'm going to pressure more," Martindale said. "I just think I have a more aggressive personality in calling the game. Sometimes, too aggressive. That's some of the things I've learned from the past."

His most daunting task will be finding a way to make the defense to come up big late in the game. In 2016, a fourth-quarter collapse in Pittsburgh cost Baltimore a playoff berth. This season, a fourth-down touchdown pass in the final minute by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton bounced the Ravens from the postseason chase.

"Our mantra has always been to finish," Martindale said. "We're close. Obviously, the last two years, it's been the last play that's knocked us out of it. We are going to work diligently -- all of us -- with our package and situational football.

"That's going to be the next step, I think, that will skyrocket us. That's the big thing that I see. We were really good. Let's make it great."

Quick Links

Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

mvps.png
USA Today Sports

Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

The Ravens' season had it's ups and down, but out of it came some bright spots.

The defense continued to prove dominate and the offense found its groove during the second half of the season, but who stood out the most?

Offensive MVP: RB Alex Collins

Collins was a late preseason pickup after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks and Ravens fans are grateful they let him go. After new acquisition Danny Woodhead injured his hamstring on the first drive in Week 1 and Terrance West injured his calf Week 5 in Oakland, Allen emerged as a saving grace. He finished the season with 973 yards, six touchdowns and 212 attempts averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry. His longest rushing attempt was 50-yards against the Steelers in Week 4, and then in Week 14, rushed 120-yards on their defense. 

RELATED: RAVENS' 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP

Defensive MVP: OLB Terrell Suggs

This one was a toss up between Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but considering the level at which Sizzle is playing at in his 15th season, his 2017 performance is MVP worthy.

The 35-year old finished the season with 49 combined tackles, 12 assist, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. Suggs ranks 11th in the league in sacks and was voted to his seventh Pro Bowl, something that should be expected from the leader of a defense that finished the regular season ranked sixth in points allowed. During the Ravens' Week 12 matchup, Suggs proved he doesn't age when he strip sacked Texans QB Tom Savage with 4:44 remaining in the fourth, shifting the momentum back to the Ravens who were clinging on to a 23-16 win. He's suffered two Achilles tears and a torn bicep over the last 5.5 seasons but has remained Hall of Fame worthy. As of right now, T-Sizzle has no plans of retiring. 

RELATED: FIVE OFFSEASON QUESTIONS RAVENS MUST ANSWER

Rookie of the Year: CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens' 2017 first-round pick stepped up to the plate when starting CB Jimmy Smith's season was over after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 13. The rookie out of Alabama finished the season with 34 combined tackles, four assists and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Humphrey the fifth-best cover corner in the league. QBs only had a 53.5 rating when they threw in his direction. PFF also gave Humphrey a 82.7 rookie rating. 

Humphrey will continue to prove his worth during the 2018 season if Jimmy Smith is still recovering come Week 1.

RELATED: IMPORTANT 2018 OFFSEASON DATES

Special Teams MVP: P Sam Koch

Koch is in his 12th season with the Ravens and he's continuing to prove how efficient that leg of his is. He had a season long of 67-yards and placed 40 of 84 punts inside the 20-yard line. Koch's accuracy earned him AFC special teams player of the week not once, but twice this season. The first came in Week 12 against the Houston Texans when he not only placed five punts inside the 20-yard line, but also faked a punt and threw a 22-yard pass to Chris Moore for a first down. The second honor came in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns after placing four punts inside the 20-yard line, three of them inside the five. While neither Koch or kicker Justin Tucker were named to the Pro Bowl, Ravens fans never break a sweat when the game is in their hands, or should we say, legs.