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10 reasons the Ravens should re-sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh

T.J. Houshmandzadeh's underwhelming statistics last season were more of a result of underutilization than regression.

Most people in Baltimore would probably be happy to see T.J. Houshmandzadeh just go on his way and never play in a Ravens uniform again. Last year the team seemed to be going into the season with a great receiving corp. but everybody underachieved, Houshmandzadeh included. But with a need for a veteran receiver and Houshmandzadeh still sitting out there the Ravens should look to brink him back for many reasons.

1. He knows the system

One of the big reasons he struggled last season was because he came into the system late and didn’t have much time to learn it. Bringing in anybody else at this point, with only two days before the team’s first preseason game, would likely lead to the same situation. But with a year now having learned the system Houshmandzadeh has to go be the best option in that regard.

2. He still has big play ability

Believe it or not Houshmandzadeh is still a guy that can go up and make a big time play. Last season Houshmandzadeh only caught 30 passes all season but seven of them were for 20 yards or more. Against the Carolina Panthers Housmanhdzadeh caught two passes, one for a 56-yard gain and another for a 23-yard gain. He also has a 28-yard reception against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs and a 27-yard reception against the Jets week one. Against the very tough Pittsburgh Steelers in week four at Pittsburgh, he had a 21-yard reception. His 18-yard reception later in the game was the game-winning touchdown.

3. He wants to be back

There were times when Houshmandzadeh was so frustrated with the way Cam Cameron underutilized him he said he wanted out of Baltimore and couldn’t wait to leave. But, recently he’s really changed his tune about that and has expressed a desire to return to Baltimore. Houshmandzadeh recognized what went wrong last season. He admitted that the reason he was so under utilized was because he put himself in a situation where he wore out his welcome in Seattle, got cut, and had to sign with a new team just before the season started, giving him very little time to actually learn the playbook and system. That won’t be a problem and…

4. He feels like he has something to prove

Any time a player has such an underwhelming season with a team like Houshmandzadeh did, they want to prove to the organization that took a chance on them that it was the right decision. Houshmandzadeh wants to prove to the Ravens and the Raven fans that he still is a good player and the Ravens made the right decision to invest in him. He’s out to prove something and players with something to prove to not only a team and fan base but also themselves, can end up being incredibly dangerous.

5. He should be fairly cheap

With each passing day that Houshmandzadeh remains on the free agent market his price drops lower and lower. With barely and cash left to spend on free agents the Ravens would be hard-pressed to find a better player for such a cheap rate.

6. He’s a veteran

Outside Anquan Boldin the Ravens have virtually no experience at wide receiver. James Hardy has the second most career catches on the team after Boldin with only 10. The Ravens are going to be headed into the 2011 season banking on a bunch of inexperience and unproven players, whether they’re rookies, second-year players, or third-year players with hardly any playing experience. Other than quarterback, wide receiver is the hardest position to transition from college to the NFL because the coverage schemes are so complex. While it’s fine and dandy that those young players are going to get some experience this year, going into a season needing that many unproven players is a huge risk.

7. He has decent size

There are three components that make up a wide receiver in the NFL: speed, hands, and height. Houhsmandzadeh may no longer be the fastest guy out on the field but despite a couple bad drops in the playoffs he has pretty decent hands. But the thing that still makes him very valuable is that he is 6-foot-2. That may not seem all that tall but when you consider the average height of a cornerback in the NFL is 5-foot-10 it’s pretty good size. The reason height is so important at wide receiver is pretty obvious, it gives him an advantage when he’s trying to catch the ball and quarterbacks can throw it higher, over the cornerback. But what most people don’t realize is that height is a great assent in not only the redzone but also down the sidelines. Mason was a very reliable side line receiver but in order to make a catch he had to be underneath the coverage, making long gains after the catch nearly impossible. With Houshmandzadeh, however, he can be behind the coverage and catch a jump ball, allowing him to go farther down field and giving him more opportunities to make big gains after the catch.

8. He knows the division

With a significant portion of his career spent in Cincinnati Houshmandzadeh knows exactly what he’s facing in the AFC North. Not only does Houshmandzadeh know exactly what to expect from Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals defense, but he also knows what to expect when he goes up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Cleveland changed coaches and systems, remember, Pat Shurmur came over from St. Louis, a team Houshmandzadeh played twice while he was with the Seattle Seahawks. Which brings me to my next point…

9. He knows the NFC West

Four of the Ravens games this season are against the NFC West. While the division isn’t amazing, it is definitely going to be better than it was last season and it is a very good thing that Houshmandzadeh knows the competition. While he didn’t play for Seattle and go through a year of practices under Pete Carroll, he did go through training camp and OTAs with him. Arizona may have changed their defensive coordinator but they brought in Ray Horton, a guy that was with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most of the time Houshmandzadeh was in Cincinnati and St. Louis has kept their defensive-minded head coach and defensive coordinator the same since Houshmandzadeh played against them twice in Seattle. San Francisco may have changed their whole staff but their new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, coaches in Baltimore from 2006 to 2009, and their head coach is John Harbaugh’s brother. So not only is the Ravens staff familiar with their staff, but Houshmandzadeh played against Fangio for three seasons while in Cincinnati.

10. Actually, he’s not over the hill

Some people may see a season with 30 receptions and only 398 yards and say he’s done but last season Houshmandzadeh averaged 13.3 yards per catch, which was the second most in his career – his best per catch average was in 2004 when he averaged 13.4 yards per reception. Before last season Houhsmandzadeh recorded six-straight with at least 70 receptions and 900 yards. Also, last season he scored on 10-percent of his receptions, which tied his career best in 2006 when he scored nine times with 90 receptions.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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