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Major Takeaways From Eric DeCosta’s Introductory Press Conference

January 31, 2019 - 12:23 am
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By Joe Schiller 

On Wednesday morning, Eric DeCosta took the podium at 1 Winning Drive alone.

For the first time as general manager of the the Baltimore Ravens, DeCosta met with the media ahead of arguably one of the most pivotal offseasons in team history.

This time there wasn’t the ability to defer questions to his counterparts – as the new face of the Ravens’ front office, DeCosta spent the 45 or so minutes answering with his words only.

Here are my big takeaways from his introductory press conference.

 

He’s a man from humble beginnings, and he knows it

It’s a big deal anytime a new general manager is hired at the professional level in the sporting world but this one didn’t feel like a splash.

I don’t mean that in a negative way.

Maybe it’s because DeCosta has spent the better part of 23 years with the Ravens. Or maybe it’s because he provided the ultimate example of patience, starting out as an intern and working his way up through the ranks to assistant general manager while passing up numerous outside opportunities. Maybe it’s even because he spoke about trying to find the cheapest spot to take Ted Marchibroda's car for an oil change just so he could keep the extra money. 

The Ravens seem to pride themselves on internal hires at all levels and DeCosta made sure to make note of his humble beginnings, now at the highest point in his career.

On the surface, any rifts between DeCosta and John Harbaugh are non-existent

Along with DeCosta’s appointment as general manager, John Harbaugh signed a four-year deal to remain as head coach in Baltimore through the 2022 season.

The two are paired together for the foreseeable future and despite previous reports of a fractured relationship, DeCosta dispelled any concerns in that department.

“Yes, it did bother me,” said DeCosta, when asked about the speculation. “There’s a word I like to use sometimes – I was an English major – and it’s called subterfuge. I would see that, and I would read it, and all I would think to myself is, ‘We have enemies out there who are trying to create divisions and cracks and fissures and things like that.’ I get it. It’s what we do around draft time …  But it did upset me a little bit, I think, because it just wasn’t true, and it was a personal thing. It wasn’t work-related; it wasn’t a game or something that would affect the outcome of a game or strategy. It was personal, and it was simply not true.”

The working relationship between a GM and head coach is vitally important to a franchise’s success but lets make sure to put an emphasis on the word “working.” There’s a clear difference between liking someone personally and getting along with them on a professional level.

So whether you believe DeCosta’s statement or not, both he and Harbaugh are professionals. That shouldn’t affect what the Ravens are looking to accomplish.

 

The priority is to re-sign C.J. Mosley, but at what cost?

Of the many tough personnel decisions DeCosta will be tasked with in his new role, C.J. Mosley’s impending free agency ranks among the top.

Like Harbaugh, DeCosta echoed a similar tone, expressing his desire to re-sign the fifth-year linebacker.

“We’re in the business of keeping our good football players,” he said. “Talent wins in the NFL, and he’s a Pro Bowl linebacker, so we’re going to do what we can to make sure that C.J. is back on the team.”

The question becomes, at what cost?

Mosley will likely seek top-five linebacker pay, which falls into the range of $10-12 million a year. The franchise tag is always an option but that would mean signing him to a one-year deal upwards of $13-14 million. It would also signal that both sides couldn’t agree to a long-term deal, which wouldn’t bode well moving forward.

The Ravens would be smart to keep Mosley around as one of the core pieces of the their defense but they also can't afford to overpay. 

 

As much as the Ravens must focus on building around Lamar Jackson, they also need nsurance

Having a talented quarterback on a rookie deal provides DeCosta and the front office a golden opportunity to use needed cap flexibility to build a solid foundation around the 53-man roster.

But with a mobile quarterback like Lamar Jackson, that also means having a capable backup, maybe even two.

“Having two quarterbacks is essential in the NFL,” said DeCosta. “There’s no faster way to ruin your season than to get your starting quarterback hurt and not having an effective backup quarterback. Your season is basically over at that point. We never want to be in that position again.”

The Ravens kept three quarterbacks last season and there’s a strong chance they could do the same again. Jackson’s mobility is unprecedented and unlike many other quarterbacks but it also subjects him to big hits from defenders. With that comes the potential for major injury. 


Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeSchiller123


 


Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeSchiller123