Ravens, Rants and Rankings – week 2
Ravens 31 – Chargers 28. We have witnessed a lot of defining moments in the career of Ray Lewis; his Super Bowl performance, his open field stick of Eddie George that knocked him out of the game, his interception and return for a touchdown in the playoffs against Tennessee, and now this destruction of the San Diego Chargers last play from scrimmage as they are driving for the go ahead score. If you have the chance to see a replay of the game, check out Ray moving before the snap closing into the gap, really a thing of beauty.
At this time, I would like to thank Norv (why does everybody think I am a good coach) Turner for choosing to run the ball on 4th and 2 at the 11 yard line. The Chargers were gashing the Ravens like Freddy Kruger with the pass, and on the most important play of the game they go away from what they had success with all day. I don’t have a problem getting the ball to Sproles, but get the ball to him in space and let him make a play for you.
Again special teams hurt the Ravens chance of putting the game away earlier. After scoring to take a 21-13 lead with 2 minutes to go in the first half, they allow Darren Sproles to return the ball back over the 50 yard line. Luckily, the defense was able to deny the touchdown, but giving up 3 points there changes it from a 2 score game to a 1 score game. If you hold them without points there, you open the second half with the ball, then you have a chance to put them in a 15 point hole. You don’t even kick the ball to Sproles in that situation. The special teams have to get better. Koch and Hauschka were very solid.
Defensively, the team showed a lot of heart, and you still can’t run on this offense, but the inability to get to the quarterback and our lack of ability to play physical and tackle at the corner position needs to be corrected. With regards to Foxworth and Washington, I really did not see a lot wrong with their ability to stay with the receivers. In most cases they were running stride for stride with them; but I didn’t get a sense that they wanted to compete. By that I didn’t get the sense they wanted to make a play, when the ball was up in the air it seems that they were content to let the receivers make a play and then tackle them. Fabian Washington can’t tackle at all. I never want to see anyone get hurt, but we benefited by Frank Walker having to replace Washington at the end of the game. I cannot believe I am praising Frank Walker…Geesh!
The offense did not put up 500 yards like last week but was very effective. They took advantage of the Chargers lack of depth on the front line and effectively pounded the ball with the run. Willis McGahee was the more effective back on this day. He ran decisively and with power. Ray Rice did not have as good a game as the week before, he was bottled up as a runner bobbled the throw back pass late in the game which could have went for a big play. Joe Flacco played a terrific game and the threat of him throwing the ball down the field keeps that 8th man out of the box and makes the running game that much more effective. We didn’t throw the ball as much as the previous week but that was by design considering the bad shape the Chargers interior line was in. You have to love the way Cam Cameron takes advantage of the defense’s weaknesses.
In any case we are 2-0 and it is Cleveland week. This is a game at home that we should win. Just don’t kick the ball to Josh Cribbs.
When an onside kick is not an onside kick – I have watched football for a lot of years but I was watching the Notre Dame – Michigan State game over the weekend and I saw something I have never seen and I am still not sure about the call that was made. After scoring a touchdown, Michigan State kicked an onside kick from the 30 yard line. The ball bound untouched just passed the 40 (the required 10 yards) and the next bounce it bounded backwards to the 38 yard line. Michigan State fell on the ball and was awarded possession. I guess that once the ball goes 10 yards it can go anywhere and it is still a live ball. Interesting.
I am becoming a Boise State fan – Every year Boise State is a factor on the National Stage. Chris Peterson, the head coach, is 37-4 in 4 years. They consistently handle the teams in their conference and make a habit of beating “higher quality” programs. They play an exciting brand of offensive football that puts a lot of points on the board. I also find it interesting that ESPN routinely shows 3 or 4 of their football games on Friday nights throughout the college season. This in effect makes them the only show in town as a kick off for each football weekend. How long will it be before some big time school comes calling to hire Coach Peterson?
Tim Tebow is a terrific college football player. He very well may end up being the most decorated college football player in history. I love his passion and I love to watch him play, but he will never make it as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars have stated that they want to draft Tebow and feature him as their centerpiece on the team and in their marketing ventures. That is a bold declaration and a terrific gamble for a player that most experts are still on the fence about being an impact player at the quarterback position in the NFL.
You went to St. Joe’s don’t embarrass me – Delonte West, who had the best game I ever saw a major college basketball player have, going 10 for 10 from the field and 6 for 6 from the foul line as St Joe’s beat Xavier in 2004, was arrested in PG County over the weekend. He was arrested for speeding on a motorcycle when he cut off a police cruiser. He was stopped and had a guitar case strapped to his back packed with 2 loaded hand guns and a shot gun. Where was the guitar? If you are speeding on a motorcycle carrying weapons in a guitar case, why would you even attempt to pass a police cruiser much less cut him off? It was reported he was cooperative with the police…I guess so.
When the police asked him what he was doing, Delonte reportedly said that he was speeding because he was late to meet Lonnie Baxter down by the White House.
How long before the Terps basketball season starts? – That powerhouse Middle Tennessee State got Maryland again this year, beating the Terps 32-31 . How long can this farce of a football team continue to represent a Major Division 1A University? I was reading the reports of the game and press conference, and I cannot believe the things the head coach believes and is saying. He stated after this loss, “we are going to do things the right way.” Gee Ralph, wasn’t that the idea from the get go? You are an eyelash away from being 0-3 and you are now just going about doing things the right way. Give me a break. The good news is fans, that while Friedgen’s time may be limited (they have anointed James Franklin as his successor) the succeeding coach is already waist deep in the abyss known as Maryland football. I don’t see that as a recipe for success. Can Gary Williams coach football??
A real nice gesture – Vince Young, who has taken his share of criticism over the last 2 years, took time out of his week to show up at Steve McNair’s house to escort his sons to a father/son event at their school. That is a pretty impressive and compassionate act. Way to go Vince Young.
Who’s Number 2 – I don’t think there is any question that the Florida Gators are the best team in college football, but who is the next best team? Is it Texas, a healthy Oklahoma, or Alabama? It appears to me that the only team fast enough to play with the Gators is the University of Miami. I am still not convinced that they have enough talent, but if they get through the next 2 weeks (against Va. Tech and Oklahoma), they can easily run the table in a weak ACC. Are the college football fans ready for the 4th reincarnation of the Hurricanes?
No. 19 Forever – On Mike and Mike National Morning show on Tues. Sept 22, 2009. There was a very open debate comparing Peyton Manning and John Unitas. I think Peyton Manning is a wonderful quarterback, but he is able to do what he does, because of Johnny Unitas. While I think that comparisons like this are pretty ridiculous because of the different eras, there were certain aspects that came to light because of this debate. First of all, I give credit to Peyton Manning for the class he showed in paying the proper reverence to John Unitas. Secondly, the prevailing opinion of all the talking heads was that the records of the Baltimore Colts need to be separated from those of the Indianapolis Colts. I know that such a distinction would have the overwhelming support of the people of Baltimore. Maybe this debate will help further this cause.
- New York Giants – There is a lot to like about this team. Not the least of which is to go into Dallas and beat America’s team on their opening night.
- New York Jets – If you are going to talk the talk, you got to walk the walk. This is not a bad football team.
- Baltimore Ravens – You got to give them their due, they were not perfect, but they got the job done. Big time win for the 1st place Ravens.
- New Orleans Saints – easily the most impressive team of the early season, my only concern is that their 2 wins are against Detroit and a “McNabb-less” Eagles.
- Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons went into Carolina and beat a talented team that was utterly embarrassed the weak before.
- Indianapolis Colts – still a very dangerous team, get dominated by the Dolphins and they still find a way to win. They had the ball less then 15 minutes for the entire game.
- San Francisco 49ers – This team is really starting to remind me of the old Ravens. Run, run and run again, then play defense. Tough minded football team.
- Minnesota Vikings – they may be better then this ranking, but they have only beat the Lions and Browns.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – how many times have I waited for Jeff Reed to miss kicks against the Ravens. Let’s see how they like to do the chasing.
- Philadelphia Eagles – tough loss to a real hot team without their quarterback. I can’t penalize them to much for that.
- Chicago Bears – Monsters of the midway? No, but pretty effective football team which now has a good quarterback.
- San Diego Chargers – Threw at will on the Ravens, God bless Norv Turner.
- Tennessee Titans – I think they are a good football team, but they are in a big hole. They cannot win a shoot out with Kerry Collins.
- New England Patriots– there are problems here. The defense is too inexperienced, but there is also tremendous offensive talent. They will get better as the year goes on.
- Arizona Cardinals– I am going to give them a mulligan for the first week, because I think the 49ers might be pretty decent. Warner looked great against Jacksonville.
- Dallas Cowboys – Played Giants tough and won the first week, but there is something not quite right here.
- Green Bay Packers – loosing to Cincinnati at Lambeau is troubling. Keep an eye on this team.
- Denver Broncos – Defense playing well, but Kyle Orton is still the quarterback.
- Seattle Seahawks – Still like this team, but only when Matt Hasselback is calling signals.
- Houston Texans – I can’t get their first week stinko out of my head. Beat a real sound football team in the Titans.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – I am afraid this team is on a slippery slope. This is not a good way to build the fan base.
- Buffalo Bills – Played New England tough and soundly beat the Buccaneers. They will get better if the offensive line doesn’t get Trent Edwards killed first.
- Miami Dolphins – this is not a bad team, but they have a brutal schedule, starting off 0-2 will come back to haunt them.
- Washington Redskins – we are one more loss away from sheer chaos among Redskins fans. The Rams game was an ultimate embarrassment.
- Cincinnati Bengals – dug themselves out of a huge hole with the win at Green Bay. They have potential, but they are still the Bengals.
- Oakland Raiders – this team is one player away from being a respectable team, unfortunately that player is quarterback.
- Detroit Lions - they are going to win 3-5 games this year. There is definitely good talent here, just not enough of it.
- Carolina Panthers – played respectably against the Falcons. Still have a long way to go.
- Kansas City Chiefs – played better on the road against the Ravens with Brody Croyle at the helm, then at home against the Raiders with Matt Cassell at the helm…hmmm.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – think they miss John Gruden yet?
- Cleveland Browns – Defense is not very good and offense is worse. Will play next week like it is a playoff game, but will it be enough.
- St Louis Rams – the Kyle Boller watch has begun, and I am rooting for him.