Ravens Senior PR Director Kevin Byrne was interviewed on WNST The Fan yesterday(I always tend to listen a bit harder when he or Aaron Wilson come on) and he, as usual, had some great insight on the inner-workings of our beloved Baltimore Ravens.
The topics discussed were mostly about the Ravens wheelings and dealings in free agency, or lack thereof, but one thing really caught my attention. When Byrne was asked about the PR disaster that will be the retirement of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis sometime in the near future, he gave a response that deviated from the normal scripted Ravens PR gibberish.
Byrne said that the Ravens were not worried about it as much because they fully expect that Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata will be fully entrenched as the leaders of this team by then, but that is not what surprised me. He also said that the Ravens have two other budding young superstars in Terrence Cody and Jimmy Smith.
It's not that I am surprised that the team is so hopeful that these two young players will continue to improve, It's just how matter-of-factually he put it. Like he and everyone else inside the organization already knew these guys were destined for greatness.
I also think Jimmy Smith will be a great player but it's hard to get more than a peep out of the guys in the Ravens front office sometimes. I mean John Harbaugh will talk your ear off about the game of football and what great guys he gets to coach but they very rarely will put any of their young players on a pedestal. The Ravens must see something in these two for such a respected man inside the organization to label them as the future superstars of this already star studded team.
A quote by Ozzie on Jimmy Smith:
"My staff tells each other not to fall in love with a player, but I fell in love all over again with Jimmy. You watch him at Colorado and you say to yourself: ‘That’s the way they make the good ones.’ He has those long arms and legs. It’s just hard to complete a ball on him. He’s so smooth – I am being awfully effusive about him. Ray (Lewis), Ed (Reed), (Terrell) Suggs and Haloti (Ngata) see it. They know what he can eventually bring to the defense."
One would expect to hear about Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Lardarius Webb, Paul Kruger or Pernell McPhee in these types of situation but the fact that these two were mentioned above the rest may show us fans a glimpse of the big picture inside the organization that they will rarely let anyone see. Every move they make is scripted and for a reason and many of them may be based on having players like these develop as expected. One thing that Smith and Cody have in common is that they were both brought along slowly by the organization. Neither were thrust into the mix too early and that may show how important their development to this team is.
This is the second time Terrance Cody has been mentioned as a player to be watched by someone within the Ravens organization. Before last season Ozzie Newsome also mentioned him in an interview on WNST. Newsome said:
"We expect big things from Terrence in the very near future."