News has been somewhat slow on the free agency front since the signing of Steve Smith on Friday. The Ravens have been linked to a few players here and there, notably former Steeler safety, Ryan Clark, and then if you want to call it news, there was news that there isn’t any on the Alex Mack front. It seems as though the Browns’ placement of the transition tag will serve its purpose of keeping Mack in brown and orange, as although Mack’s agent insists that he and teams would be able to work out a deal the Browns couldn’t match, it appears to be nothing more than lip service. The Browns are operating with the second most cap space of any team in the NFL, so any outside team would have to get extremely creative in order to pry him away.
But just because there hasn’t been any movement of players, doesn’t mean that the wheels aren’t turning within the organization. On Wednesday, the team announced that they have added two new spots to their staff, the first being the promotion of Chris Hewitt from special teams assistant to assistant secondary coach.
Hewitt played three seasons as a defensive back in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints after entering the league as an undrafted free agent. Prior to joining the Ravens’ staff in 2012, he served as the Rutgers’ secondary coach for two years (’08-’09) before spending two years as the running back coach (’10-’11). He will be working with a secondary that has holes to fill at free safety and nickel corner, however, it has three incumbent starters in Matt Elam, Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, all of whom are capable of playing at a Pro Bowl level (taking Elam’s first round pedigree into account).
The other addition to the staff is a bit more interesting, in my opinion. The team hired Billy DeLorbe to fill the newly created role of Cross-Training Specialist. DeLorbe had been working as a personal trainer for 12 years, the last ten at the Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center. His work focuses on specialized training regimens, and he also has worked with the new exercise trend called high intensity interval training, or HIIT. It is meant to alternate between periods of intense physical exertion with periods of relative downtime — the key is that the heart rate changes between the intervals of motion and rest. DeLorbe was a mathematics major before committing to a life of fitness education, so it reasons to believe that the Ravens will be implementing this in a somewhat analytical manner.
After announcing the hiring of DeLorbe, the team said he would be focusing on “improving players’ flexibility and mobility with an emphasis on core strengthening and improved balance.” The first thing this brings to mind is the offensive line and their transition to Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. The watermark of a successful zone-blocker is flexibility and balanced mobility, so this seems like a very linear move on the organization’s part.
With a little less than $9 million in cap space left ($8,981,000, to be exact), the Ravens probably aren’t done making moves. It is assumed that the draft will eat up between $2-3 million in cap, so that leaves Ozzie around $6 million to navigate the open market. Plenty of room to work some of his patented magic.