Relive The Brilliance! (The World According to R.)

<p>What a season 2002 was, eh people? Youngest team in league history did damage even without RayRay and even with Shakey Blakey. You know you loved it. Anyway, before looking ahead to what promises to be a pretty exciting 2003 campaign, I went back and culled thru some of my ramblings from a year ago in this space, just to see how they panned out. And brilliant ramblings they were. You remember, don't you? </p>

Of course you do! . . . . You don't remember a damn thing, do you? That's ok, I understand. Life is hectic. Plus, you drink heavily as we all know so there's that. Fortunately, while you carelessly forgot to take notes from the 2002 WATR columns, I saved all the magic in Note Pad. Let's relive a small portion of it now as I blow my own horn so you don't have to:

On the drafting of Ed Reed, I said - "Reed is smallish, but mark my words- in 3 years Ed Reed will be considered the best natural safety ever to wear a Ravens uni, and will eventually surpass grampa Rod's noble acheivements in purple. Clip n' save, my legions of enemies. The Ravens are due to bust on a 1st rounder eventually (the jury is still out on Travis Taylor ) but it won't be Reed. Man's a playmaker. End of story." I'm looking golden here. Reed is definitely Pro Bowl material and may end up being one of the best safeties the league has seen in quite a while, nevermind the Ravens. Meanwhile, Sun scribe Mike Preston had this to say about the selection: "The Reed pick has no pizzaz." Pizzaz? Insert your own "Queer Eye for the Fat Guy" joke here. Decidedly unbrilliant commentary from Presto, we can agree. Advantage: R.

Five years earlier, "Presto" was hoping the ex-Clowns would "make a big splash" and draft scary Larry Phillips with their #1 overall pick. Oh sure, Phillips liked to drag co-eds down stairs by their hair Flintstone style...but he did it with pizzaz!!

You've also probably forgotten that I pimped the living hell out of signing free agent WR Antonio Freeman last summer. He of course went on to contribute handily to the Eagle's run to the postseason after we decided to pass on his vet-minimum salary and go all rookie in the #3 WR slot. Well, that blew up huge in RavenOrg's face. The rook WRs were virtually invisible most of the season. Advantage: R-Man. Show him the love. Freeman could have helped us last year, possibly to a playoff berth. But NOOOOOOOOOO... In fairness however, like Mikey P I can have my less-than-brilliant moments.

From the "Just Say Noben To Oben" (ugh) column last year: "Please tell Roman Oben to take his jacked-up salary demands and slide them up his bulbous, buick-sized posterior. Pretty please? We are rebuilding. The fans have accepted this fact. Now is NOT the time to start caving in to mediocre NFL saddletramps looking for steal more cavier paychecks in return for Cheez-Wiz performance. This is the surest way to sabotage a rebuilding project- letting aged, perfunctory career "never-weres" swipe valuable PT from hungry youngsters who have something to prove and still have a spark of competitive fire in their over-zealous young frames.

Um, yeah. I still stand by a lot of that sentiment, but the fact is Oben's demands were met by the Bucs and he was a valuable albeit unspectacular veteran contributor to a championship season. Actually, if we hadn't been a playoff contender in 2002 I think I would have been correct in my Oben meanderings, but considering we just missed the postseason by a hair, it's hard to not speculate on what might have been had we signed a couple of affordable vets like Oben and Freeman to help out such a young and inexperienced team. Ah well, water under the proverbial bridge. It was still a great season for the Birds under the circumstances. Stellar effort of coaching. Who could rightfully complain, besides a clownfan? Anyway, I think you'll agree the important point here is that I'm stinking brilliant and my hefty brain is quite fearsome and swolen with football knowledge. And speaking of massive brain and bitter clownies...

The Noodle Era: 1999-2002 Personally, I enjoyed it immensely! How 'bout you? Y'know (sniff) it's seems like only yesterday I was laughing my can off at ClownOrg for squandering their first #1 overall pick in 1999- bypassing a QB out of Syracuse who had all the tools and ran a pro-style offense in college- for a college-armed doof who wasn't used to things like "playbooks" and such. Oh the insolence I suffered over the years from the Rantclown minions; propping this overmatched hillbilly to the heavens while daring to question R-Man's football acumen. All the endless denial in the face of unyielding boneheadism. All the churlish scapegoating and buck-passing. All that Stepford-like pimping from the Klowny Krishnas for their annointed savior the Rev. Sum Dum Noodle. If you've spent even ten minutes on the Insider's AFCN Rant board in the past four years, you know what I'm talking about. "The next Elway" they sputtered breathlessly! "The next Ailkman/Bledsoe/Kelly/etc" they'd squeel and then type out a bunch of worthless stat comparisons designed to hopefully convince all the non-ClownAid™ drinkers that their eyes were deceiving them in viewing Noodle's obvious incompetence week after week.

Was it worth it to making all those lame excuses for the Kenneth Lay of the NFL QB Club, clownfans? And what lesson should we take from all this? How 'bout: "When you delude yourself, you're only fooling an idiot." Yep, (sniff)'s been a great ride, Timmuh! Thanks for not making me look stupid. See ya Sept 14th. Don't forget to wave your clipboard at us!

Ravenfans and Brownsfans tend to be at polar-opposite ends of the spectrum in the player enablement scale. Brownsfans tend to make too many excuses for their young players, and conversely spoiled Ravenfans tend to rather unfairly expect results from their rookies starting yesterday. Food for thought. Anyway, the important point once again is I'm scary brilliant. But apparently not as scary nor as brilliant as...

Psychic RayRay Network... How unsettling do Ray's comments preceding the Falcons game sound now in light of what transpired? Quoteth the Ray-ven: "I said it in 2000 and I'll say it again, I really don't think people realize how fast our defense is," Lewis said. "When we start coming, it's like, huh? The Falcons are not ready for us." Cue Twilight Zone theme. But wait, it gets creepier: "You look at [Atlanta coach] Dan Reeves and say, 'Are you that out there to prove a point and risk him getting hurt in preseason?'" Lewis said. "It's a free game in between the lines and that's all I'm saying." Yep, that's all he's saying. Yikes. Vick's injury was a damn shame and you hate to see it (as we hated to see Jamal and Ray himself go down in consecutive seasons) but it's times like these you fully understand why opposing fans playa' hate so much on our superstar MLB. The truth hurts. Ray was right, they weren't ready. And anybody eager to play the blame game on this subject need only look in the general direction of the NFL owner's box. The preseason is four free paydays and they're not giving them back anytime soon. College football doesn't have a preseason, and the NFL probably shouldn't have one either (at least not four games worth anyway) but naturally it's all about the Benjis, as my smug-ass drug dealer is always so quick to point out. (Um...Steve, get that in editing. Sometimes big brain gets careless.) And speaking of creepiness, sleepiness and blatant drug endorsement, a final note..

King Of The Zocor™ Falcons coach Dan Reeves IS Hank Hill from the Fox series King of the Hill. Think about it. Am I right...or am I RIGHT? "Yup."


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