Ravens, Rants and Ratings

September 15, 2009 |

Ravens, Rants and Ratings – week 1

Ravens 38 – Chiefs 24. Good win, weird game!!
First of all, thanks for covering, I have gotten beat more times then I care to count on back door covers. Glad to see it works the other way on occasion. My check book thanks you, Ravens!!
The game was a lot closer then the stats would dictate…or then it should have been. The Chiefs made some big plays and took advantage of the Ravens putting it in cruise control after they scored a quick ten points. Remember boys and girls, everybody gets paid in the NFL; if you let the underdog hang around, that can come back to bite you in the rear end.
On the positive side I really like the pseudo “no huddle” offense they came out in and also employed late in the game. It gave the Ravens a crisp pace and jump started the Raven’s offensive game. The offense carried the day. The defense should thank them.

Joe Flacco, 26 of 43 for 307yds an 3 TD’s. Read that stat line again and remember we are talking about a Baltimore Ravens quarterback. Yes he threw an interception, and he was high on a few throws, but this isn’t your father’s Raven’s quarterback. This kid is special. The first touchdown throw to McGahee was a terrific play, moving in the pocket to extend the play and keeping his eyes down field to find the open receiver. Dare I say it was very “Roethlisberger like”? He is going to be the type of game changer that makes your team a viable contender year after year…FINALLY!!!

The Ravens threw the ball the first 6 plays of the game and a total of 43 times. I LOVE the fact that they have that faith in QB 5; but I think it is important that while Harbaugh and Cameron want to increase the production from the passing game, that they not forget our smash mouth roots. You don’t beat Pittsburgh by being “cute-sy”…I’m just saying.

I thought it was interesting that Chris Chester got the start over Marshall Yanda. It will be curious to see if Chester has beat out Yanda or if the Ravens are just being cautious because of Yanda coming back from the knee injury. Chester played better then I have expected over the last year, but I still like the toughness that Yanda brings. This offensive line is going to be something else. Flacco had a ton of time to throw and in the second half the backs had room to run.

Someone send out a search party for Demetrius Williams. When the Ravens went 4 wide, Todd Heap and Troy Smith were split out more frequently then Demetrius Williams. It appeared that Williams was healthy at the end of training camp. I wonder why he is not playing all of a sudden. Wasn’t it Harbaugh that was saying what a great pre-season Demetrius had? Kelley Washington is going to prove to be a valuable edition to the receiving core. Mark Clayton, after being out all of training camp, was a force at receiver. He looked more in sync with Flacco then did Mason, who uncharacteristically struggled. He bobbled balls all day and had problems with his footwork. By the way, the first long ball that Mason juggled at the back of the end zone early in the game, was a ball that maybe only 5 or 6 quarterbacks in this league can throw.

First an inept defense, then constant clock management issues, now putrid special teams play. Please fix the special teams now!! I just want to see a game where we are not penalized repeatedly in the return game. For a team whose head coach is a formal special team’s ace and with a separate special teams coordinator/assistant head coach our special teams are atrocious. Please stop trying to be cute. Just line up and play football. Max protect, make sure tackles, kick the ball and catch the ball and I will be happy. Steve Hauschka, good luck! When he missed that field goal there was a palpable angst all thru the purple palace. Hauschka seems like a good guy and his kick offs were strong. There is definitely a difference when the other team starts inside the 25 yard line instead of starting at the 35 yard line. Here is hoping that he goes on a long streak of making field goals so the ghost of Matt Stover fades away. I think everyone in the stadium yesterday was praying that the game did not come down to a field goal chance. I still think this team ought to burn a roster spot for automatic Matt.

Defensively, we played fine but there were some definite bumps in the road. I am not convinced that our corners can hold up over the course of the entire season. Also I don’t think they have the ability to play physical bump and run, nor do I like their abilities in run support. The Chiefs did not challenger Foxworth much all day, but Fabian Washington had some serious lapses in coverage. The other thing about Washington is even when he has the opportunity to make a play, he fails to do so. The defense also had trouble getting to the QB unless they blitzed. Jarrett Johnson is a great football player that no one talks about. Great game JJ. It is really nice to see Kelly Gregg back on the football field. No turnovers by the Ravens defense that is definitely not Raven football.

RANTS

1. I really am over the Colts to Indianapolis thing, really I am. But the broadcasting that Peyton Manning just tied Johnny Unitas in wins for the Colts franchise still pissed me off. Just make a delineation between the two teams. Nothing against Peyton Manning, he is a great football player, but I don’t want to see continuous comparisons between the Baltimore Colts and the Indianapolis Colts. Leave my memories alone dammit!

2. Serena Williams, lose some weight girl, you are a professional athlete. In all seriousness that tirade she threw at the US Open looked very calculated to me. The Williams sisters long had a heated rivalry with the Belgian players, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. I think she was looking for a way out without actually losing. Williams is known to only play the major tournaments, because she detests the tour life, and to her credit she usually does very well. But I think the fact that she could not just will herself to a win over one of her most hated opponents in a tournament she sees as her own, got to her. The fact the Kim Clijsters is coming out of retirement after giving birth and was assumed not to be in tip top shape had to wear on Serena. Turn about is fair play Serena. How do you think all the other players, who take their profession seriously and play week in and week out, feel after they lose to you after you show up in questionable shape and only when you feel like it?
3. How about a Maryland football player who actually has some success. Shaun Hill was 18 for 31 for 209 yards for the SF 49ers. On the game winning drive he was 9 for 13 for 57 yards. Shaun Hill harkens back to the glory days of the Friedgen era at Maryland. Way to go Shaun Hill.

4. Fat men can’t coach. How can anybody associated with the Maryland football team be happy about beating James Madison University in overtime? The university of Maryland supposedly a major Division I college program has 2 walk-ons starting on the offensive line. Charlie Weis is cost his team the game on Saturday against Michigan. The University Of Notre Dame does not have the ability to make adjustments in the game plan. They were flat out coached at Michigan and shoddy coaching decisions late put the last nails in the coffin. The winds of change cannot come fast enough.

5. The Seattle Seahawks are a solid yet stunning unspectacular football team. They have a strong running game, they upgraded their receivers and the defense is fast and aggressive. If Matt Hasselback stays healthy they will win the NFC West in a walk. Mark that one down.

6. How bad must it stink to be a Cincinnati Bengal’s fan? Neither Cincinnati nor the Denver Broncos will factor in the playoffs this year, but Cincinnati seems to invent new ways to lose. Losing a game like they did, on that tipped miracle catch and run, may destroy that team for the rest of the year. I would not want to be Marvin Lewis right now.

7. What the hell was Kanye West thinking? He absolutely ruined a magical moment for the girl, Taylor Swift. If I was Ms. Swift I would have wound up and kicked him right in the 5 hole. At least Beyonce tried to save the night with a class move at the end of the Music Awards, raising Taylor Swift’s arm in triumph. Kanye West is a punk, the clock is ticking, and your 15 minutes is almost up Kanye.

8. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I have ever seen. For years, everyone always chided Michael Jordan for not speaking out, for not expressing his opinion. Now that he opens up at his Hall of Fame induction, maybe he was right for keeping quiet all those years. On a night of celebration, Mr. Jordan could not resist taking one more stab at all those people he battled and feuded with throughout his career. He couched his venom by saying that is what drove his competitive passion. He could have made his point without throwing a bunch of well respected people under the bus. David Robinson and John Stockton were the epitome of class.

9. Did anyone catch Brian Matusz against the Yankees this past Saturday afternoon? I actually turned off college football to watch him pitch. The kid was terrific and has been off the charts for his last 4 starts. He is going to be a real, real good one. Just stay healthy Brian. Now Andy McPhail, go get me John Lackey and Chone Figgins and maybe we are onto something.

RANKINGS

1. Pittsburgh Steelers – …”to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man…Woooo!!” Truer words were never spoken.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – very tenuous ranking here with McNabb’s rib injury, but they were still very impressive Sunday.
3. New Orleans Saints – Still not sure about the running game or the defense, but Drew Brees, WOW!! MVP!!
4. New York Giants – Workman like win over a decent team. No flash here just a lot of substance.
5. New York Jets – A shout out to Rex Ryan. Man he looks good in a wet t-shirt. Way to go coach. Nice line for the rookie QB, 18-32 for 272 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Sanchez has got star written all over him.
6. Seattle Seahawks – I like the way this team played on Sunday. Good offensive line, workman like backs, speedy defense, capable QB and receivers and a lousy division.
7. Baltimore Ravens – Probably a bit high here; I am just giddy we have an offense.
8. Green Bay Packers – Showed great offense in the preseason, but defense may be the story here.
9. New England Patriots – Is there a crack in the foundation? They looked lost and slow against the Bills, until the last 5 minutes of course.
10. Minnesota Vikings – This great defense gave up 20 points to a bad offense. Adrian Petersen is a beast, 25 carries for 180 yards and 3 TD’s.
11. Atlanta Falcons – “Matty-Ice” good QB, lousy nickname.
12. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning, yada, yada, yada…
13. San Francisco 49ers – I am rooting for the 49ers, lots of young talent here, Singletary is a psycho. Go Shaun Hill Go.
14. Dallas Cowboys – They haven’t had any heart in Dallas for over 3 years. When the going gets tough, the Cowboys lose.
15. San Diego Chargers – LT was very quiet, the Oakland Raiders took them to the brink, and Norv Turner is still the coach. Always lots of talent, but I am not feeling it.
16. Tennessee Titans – Funny this team is more like the Baltimore Ravens, then the Baltimore Ravens are. Defend, run the ball and make sure you don’t turn the ball over.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Still a rough tough defense with a superior back. Is David Garrard enough to win in the NFL?
18. Arizona Cardinals – I am on the fence about this team. Immensely talented, but I think they just caught lightning in a bottle last year.
19. Washington Redskins – Defense is really tough, Haynesworth will make them better. It is put up or shut up time for Jason Campbell.
20. Chicago Bears – That might have been the most disappointing opening night I have seen in a long time. Add that to losing Brian Urlacher for the entire year, it might be a long season in the Windy City.
21. Miami Dolphins – Last season the stars were aligned for this team. I think they played a good team on Sunday so let’s keep an eye on the Fish.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Defense is not close to what it once was, but running attack was very good and Byron Leftwich had some good numbers.
23. Oakland Raiders – There is a pulse. Defense has been sturdy for a couple years and the offensive line was greatly improved. The passing game showed some life.
24. Denver Broncos – This team is in trouble and needed a miracle to beat the Bengals. This might get ugly in Denver.
25. Kansas City Chiefs – I like Todd Haley, he has a fire and passion. The Chiefs should some spunk when the Ravens gave them a gift to get back in the game. Let’s see what happens when Matt Cassel gets playing.
26. Buffalo Bills – First wide right, then the Music City Miracle, now the Foxboro faux pas.
27. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford showed some flashes. Kevin Smith is going to be a star and Calvin Johnson already is. Keep an eye on this team they will get better.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – Who dat, Who dat going to beat dem Bengals? Everybody, YUK!!! Can you say C-U-R-S-E?
29. Carolina Panthers – Easily the most disappointing team of opening weekend. They definitely spit the bit. Last 2 games for Jake Delhomme, 10 turnovers, 9 interceptions.
30. Cleveland Browns – This team is bad, but I love watch Josh Cribbs play football.
31. St. Louis Rams – they offered no challenge whatsoever to the Seahawks. It was pathetic to watch.
32. Houston Texans – Has there ever been a more over rated team. Year after year they are touted and fall flat on their face.

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