There is a common phrase for Baltimore Ravens fans- "In Ozzie we trust." Ozzie Newsome is the Hall of Fame tight end who now serves as General Manager for the Ravens. Newsome has brought the Ravens super bowls with 2 completely different teams, and has built the Ravens into perennial contenders, relying on stellar drafting, bargain free agents, and accumulating extra compensatory picks for departing players at a significantly higher rate than any other franchise.
"In Ozzie we trust" may mean different things to different people. For most of us, it means we trust Ozzie's judgement over our own. This was put to the test yesterday, with the surprising release of one of the Ravens top defenders, Will Hill III. At the time, the release seemed questionable- a top defender, in his prime, with a reasonable contract. Most of us- myself included, questioned Ozzie and the Ravens organization following the move. The other safeties on the roster all had flaws, or were inexperienced.
Shortly after, the news broke of a 10 game suspension for Hill and it all came into focus. Hill, who was cut by the New York Giants in 2014 following his last drug suspension which led to him being signed by the Ravens, was likely told one offence and he was gone, which explains the cut. The secondary's stellar second half of 2015 which Hill was not a starter for may have contributed also, although overall he was graded as a top safety in 2015 by Pro Football Focus.
This leads back to the catch-phrase, "In Ozzie we trust." This sequence left me questioning if most Ravens fans, myself included, actually believe it, or just use it to defend any move Ozzie makes. If we can be made to question it so easily, in a scenario where in retrospect we did not possess all the relevant facts, then I am not sure the majority of us really "trust" Ozzie like we say we do. It is not to say that Ozzie is infallible- we have now missed the playoffs 2 of the last 3 seasons, albeit with major injuries. However many of those injuries could have been mitigated with better depth at certain positions, like CB in 2014 and OLB in 2015, which is undoubtedly Ozzie's department.
So what does the phrase mean to you? To me, it means that more times than not his moves work out. He isn't infallible, but no one is, and I think we can agree there is not a GM in the league we would take over him. So for the future, I think those of us who believe in him should reserve judgement, because he is the best there is. Some food for thought for your weekend.