It sounds like some a great novel or some Choose Your Own Adventure book that I read in Middle School.
Why was C-Mac benched? Or Maybe the Case of the Missing Corner, that has a nice ring to it.
In all seriousness, it’s the one question and concern on the minds of Ravens fans right now as the Ravens return from South Florida with its first road win in over a year.
So let me try and pull my best Sherlock or Matlock or even Monk imitation and try to detect the clues that might lead me to the conclusion that people are after.
Solution #1: Chris McAlister was benched because he was injured.
This is a possibility. McAlister has had knee issues in the past, in fact earlier in the season his right knee did swell up on him after the first few games, which limited him in practice. However when asked directly the corner simply responded, “ My knee is excellent.” And when the same question was posed to John Harbaugh he reiterated the same reply, that McAlister was healthy.
Solution #2: Chris McAlister was benched because his poor on field performance.
This doesn’t seem as likely either. Since everyone on the roster from the coaching staff to the ball boys had an awful game against the Colts in week 6 I can’t see this being the reason even though Marvin Harrison flat out owned him on several crisp routes and had him guessing. McAlister also gave up a huge gain to Hines Ward on MNF that could have led to a game-ending touchdown. But, when the Ravens are currently having injury issues in the secondary and your options are Frank Walker and Corey Ivy instead of even a slumping McAlister it doesn’t make much sense to not play him for that reason.
Solution #3: Chris McAlister was benched for disciplinary reasons.
Ah, now we are getting somewhere! McAlister has had a history of off-field issues during his nine-year tenure with the team and this explanation seems the most plausible. He was charged with marijuana possession in 2000 (charges were dropped due to lack of evidence), acquitted of a DUI in Virginia and skipped a team meeting and was deactivated for the Chargers game in 2003.
Regardless of what people think, the head coach is in full denial mode.
“We don’t tie any kind of punishment to pulling a guy off the field,” Harbaugh said. “We have a discipline policy in place. It’s very clear-cut, and the players know what it is. That’s not something that’s for publication.”
So which is it? Which of these conclusions should we believe?
Well, it’s at this point in the show that I reveal an “ace in the hole” or a character that jumps in out of nowhere to shed some light on the subject. I have spoken to sources close to the team that say that the move is without a doubt a disciplinary move and that McAlister has been at odds with the new coaching staff since training camp. No other specifics were mentioned other than a “last straw” type incident occurred and the McAlister was used only in 6 or 7 DB situations during the Miami game last Sunday.
So if that is true then where do things go from here? Will McAlister come back into the fold and start this Sunday against Oakland? There was hope that Samari Rolle and possibly Dawan Landry might return and be active for the game as well, to bolster the injury plagued unit. Are the problems with the staff temporary or a sign that his tenure as a Raven may be over at the end of the season? He has two years left on his contract that would pay him close to eight million dollars a year. That money could be used elsewhere as the Ravens try and plan for the future. And let’s be honest with a new coach you have to now expect some player changes, he needs to install “his” type of players and if the Ravens are to shed their undisciplined bully image some members of the roster will need to go.
But, as I continue to speculate and pile on fuel to the fire like any good mystery we will have to tune in next week to see what the next chapter brings us.