As the Ravens bask in the glow of their Super Bowl victory over the 49ers in New Orleans last week, thoughts have already turned toward the future -- to the scouting combine, to the draft, to free agency, and to Joe Flacco's future, which by all indications will be in Baltimore and will include a very large pile of money.
But one thing that was again evident on Thursday, when the Ravens held their annual 'State of the Ravens' news conference, was that owner Steve Bisciotti will maintain his relatively hands-off approach to the nuts-and-bolts football decisions. Bisciotti brings the wallet, but by and large he leaves the work to the experts he has put in place, and it's a working environment that has proved to be highly successful.
That means vice president Pat Moriarty will crunch the cap numbers and work with general manager Ozzie Newsome on contracts, the most pressing of which involves a new deal for quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
"It’s up to Ozzie and (Flacco's agent) Joe Linta to work that out," Bisciotti said on Thursday as he sat a table a few feet from where the gleaming Vince Lombardi Trophy rested on a table. "Then Joe and I will go golfing or something like that, but I don’t negotiate with Joe.”
Likewise, when it comes to personnel decisions and the draft, Bisciotti loves to be involved and he said he will often review tapes of players the Ravens are interested in.
"I love being closer to the decision than all the fans and all the reporters," Bisciotti said, "because I get to hear these guys out and see what they like."
But, he said, he leaves the decision-making to the pros -- a team led by Newsome and assistant GM Eric DeCosta. Under Newsome, the Ravens' draft acumen has been praised for years, and Bisciotti said on Thursday that he learned a long time ago to stay out of the way.
"I remember going back to 2002 when the top two guys left on the board were Lito Sheppard and Ed Reed," Bisciotti said. "We had Ed Reed above Lito, and I said to Ozzie, ‘I don’t understand this. If they both have the same grade, why would you not take a corner over a safety? It seems like that’s a more important position.’
"Ozzie said, ‘Because I am true to my board.’ We took Ed Reed instead of Lito Sheppard, so I kind of learned from that point on that I better not engage too much and try and alter their decision-making.”