Posted on July 27, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Many stories tend to unfold and evolve during the NFL offseason. But with training camp in swing, the vast majority of them have come to a close or soon will as new ones develop. There is one story that few expected to have a happy ending—or any ending at all – that may finally have a resolution.
What does the future hold for free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick?
A situation may have finally developed that could give Kaepernick an opportunity to get back in the game. Longtime Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco recently suffered a back injury while lifting weights. Initial reports had him out for three to six weeks. That timeline has since been amended to he’ll miss the first week of training camp.
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That leaves the team with Ryan Mallett, Dustin Vaughan, and rookie Aaron Bailey on the roster. The choices are not exactly awe inspiring.
But now that we are just talking about training camp, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Flacco wouldn’t be playing much during the preseason anyway. Now, he’ll probably not play at all. So, the Ravens should be fine with what they have on the roster.
However, what if the injury comes back? Back issues are notorious for lingering and coming back at the most inopportune times. What if a week or two of rest is not enough? Or what if he comes back and aggravates it? What if it then becomes something serious?
Do the Ravens really want to put the fate of their season in the hands of Ryan Mallett?
It’s not like they can count on the running game (that ranked 28th last season) to help much. Kenneth Dixon is out for the season. Terrance West has shown some promise during his career, but he only had one 100-yard game last season. Defenses are not going to fear him much (if at all).
The success the Ravens did have last season was because of their defense and passing game. Without Flacco, the passing game will die leaving the defense to carry the team. While that worked once before for the Ravens, the current defense is not at that level.
They will need a quarterback to have any hope of success this season. Should Flacco go down, the season could go bad quickly. Unless they think Mallett can get the job done, they need to bring in someone else.
It sounds like they might—Colin Kaepernick. After practice Thursday, head coach John Harbaugh said the team is interested in bringing in another quarterback. He also said the team is open to bringing in the controversial Kaepernick.
“He’s a really good football player,” Harbaugh said after Thursday’s practice (via ESPN). “I believe he’s a really good person. It all depends on a lot of things. It depends on Colin first of all and what’s his passion, what’s his priority, what’s he want to do, what kind of shape he’s in. So, we’ll just see where it goes. I don’t think it’s different for us than any other team.”
From a game standpoint, he could be what they need. He does have more experience than Mallett and has certainly played better (although that doesn’t really say much). If the team needed someone to step in for a few games, Kaepernick would definitely be the better choice.
But the real question may be whether the team wants to take the PR hit that will come with signing Kaepernick. According to a survey conducted by J.D. Power (h/t ESPN), the national anthem protests led by Kaepernick last season were the No. 1 reason for the dip in ratings (26 percent).
Other reasons included off-field issues (24 percent), commercials/advertising (20 percent), and the presidential election (16 percent).
Kaepernick could help them win games, but would the PR hit be worth it?