Tag Archive | "1 Winning Drive"

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Wants Gaither Back, Thinks Oher Still LT of Future

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens held their annual “Season Review” press conference Thursday at 1 Winning Drive. Head Coach John Harbaugh, Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Team President Dick Cass all answered questions from reporters in both formal and informal settings.

Following the press conference, Harbaugh addressed the team’s offensive problems, specifically their issues in running the football. The team finished 14th in the NFL in 2010 with 114.4 rushing yards per game after finishing 5th in the league in 2009 with 137.5 rushing yards per game.

Harbaugh attributed the team’s running struggles both to “tweaks” made in the team’s rushing philosophy during Training Camp as well as the struggles of the offensive line.

“We had three new guys playing three new spots (on the line)” said Harbaugh. “I don’t think we ever were really able to overcome that.”

After moving 2nd year offensive tackle from Right Tackle (RT) to Left Tackle (LT) in the offseason; the Ravens had hoped OT Jared Gaither would successfully move from LT to RT. Unfortunately for the team, Gaither suffered a back injury while the team was preparing for the season at McDaniel College in Westminster, and he never saw the football field in 2010. With Gaither out, the team moved OL Marshal Yanda from Right Guard (RG) to RT, and asked reserve OL Chris Chester to play RG.

Harbaugh hopes the team’s problems can be addressed with the return of Gaither, who is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA).

“I would like to coach Jared Gaither” said Harbaugh. “He’s a very talented guy and I think he can be a factor for us next year. He’s definitely got the ability.  If the back is healed up and he can back to training and get the size and strength back, I certainly think he can (stabilize the line).”

Also amongst the Ravens’ UFA’s is Yanda, who Harbaugh would like to see return to RG.

“We want to find the right spots for the right guys” said the coach. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to get this done, but I like Marshal Yanda at RG. I think that’s his position. He’s a dominant puller, he’s physical. If you can put a nice big RT next to him, that would really help.”

Harbaugh also expressed confidence in Oher, who anchored an Offensive Line that allowed 40 sacks this season. FootballOutsiders.com ranked the unit 25th in the league in “Adjusted Sack Rate”, considering sacks and intentional grounding penalties per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance and opponent.

“I think Michael Oher can play either tackle” said Harbaugh. “I think he had a very good second year. The sky is the limit for him.”

Harbaugh did acknowledge Oher could be asked to move back to RT depending on what the team does to upgrade the line in the offseason. Amongst the potential free agents at OT around the league are Gaither, Matt Light (New England Patriots), Doug Free (Dallas Cowboys) and former Towson Tigers standout Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans Saints).

Free Agency cannot begin until the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“What side Mike ends up playing depends on who else is in the mix” said Harbaugh. “He really wants to be better. I still think he’s a home run.”

NEWSOME HOPES TO IMPROVE PRESSURE WITH PERSONNEL: With the transition from departing Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison to his replacement Chuck Pagano, the Ravens have stressed a desire to bring aggression defensively.

The team finished tied for the fifth lowest total in the league with just 27 sacks in 2010.

Newsome said he’d like to upgrade the team’s defensive personnel to improve their level of pressure.

“Are we going to try to continue to bring in some other people that can get to the passer, having (LB Terrell Suggs) to have a companion to go along with him as we did with (former Ravens LB) Peter (Boulware) and Suggs? That would be very helpful for the organization and it’s something that we’ll look into moving forward.”

After selecting Suggs in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the Ravens saw he and Boulware combine to tally 20.5 sacks in the 2003 season.

Amongst the rushers who could potentially be available in free agency this offseason are LB Tamba Hali (Kansas City Chiefs), LB Lamarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers), DE Ray Edwards (Minnesota Vikings) and DE Mathias Kiwanuka (New York Giants).

As with the Offensive Line, the team could also look for rush help in the NFL Draft.

Newsome believes an upgrade in personnel can solve the team’s rush problems.

“If we get enough good players where when we go up against whoever we play in our division, they can get in a one on one situation and win, we’ll have more pressure.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Newsome, Bisciotti and Cass now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……LB Jarret Johnson joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……The Ravens’ leadership said they had yet to speak to LB Ray Lewis about a Wednesday Yahoo! Sports report linking him to a banned supplement spray

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Says Cameron Will Remain Offensive Coordinator

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (13-5) returned to 1 Winning Drive Monday, less than 48 hours after their season ended with a 31-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) at Heinz Field in an AFC Divisional Round playoff game.

Head Coach John Harbaugh put to rest any rumors he would consider firing Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron Monday.

“Cam Cameron is our offensive coordinator” said Harbaugh. “That’s how we’re going forward. I know Cam is a tremendous coach.”

Harbaugh indicated no other coaches would be at risk of losing their jobs based on the team’s performance.

“I really like our coaching staff” said Harbaugh. “I think we have a great, great coaching staff. Top to bottom-that includes all three coordinators, that includes every one of our position coaches, there’s not a guy that I’m disappointed in.”

The Ravens finished just 22nd in the NFL in total offense in 2010, despite the additions of WR’s Anquan Boldin, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth in the offseason, as well as the draft selections of TE’s Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta

Harbaugh said the statistics didn’t affect his decision process with Cameron.

“He’s the same guy that was the offensive coordinator three years ago when everybody said we (outperformed) our expectations, and even last year. We had a tough year statistically, but we did win a lot of football games with that offense. There are things we can do a lot better, and we’re going to go to work on those things.”

FOCUS ON FREE AGENTS: The Ravens enter an offseason which will be based in as much uncertainty as the league itself.

The team has 17 unrestricted free agents, eight additional restricted free agents and five exclusive rights free agents.

The team’s unrestricted free agents are Houshmandzadeh, Stallworth, DT Haloti Ngata, FB Le’Ron McClain, CB Josh Wilson, CB Chris Carr, OT Jared Gaither, OL Marshal Yanda, OL Chris Chester, OL Tony Moll, S Dawan Landry, CB Fabian Washington, K Billy Cundiff, P Sam Koch, QB Marc Bulger, LB Prescott Burgess and LS Kevin Houser.

The restricted free agents are S Tom Zbikowski, S Haruki Nakamura, LB Tavares Gooden, LB Jameel McClain, WR Marcus Smith, OT Oniel Cousins, DT Lamar Divens and RB Jalen Parmele. LB Sergio Kindle, DT Kelly Talavou, TE Davon Drew, CB Cary Williams and LB Dannell Ellerbe are exclusive rights free agents.

Harbaugh said Monday the team will focus offseason plans on retaining their own free agents.

“We’re going to try to get back as many of these guys as we possibly can” said the coach. “Because we like our players.”

Harbaugh said he had high hopes that many of the team’s free agents would return.

“Talking to the guys today, the vast majority of guys really want to be here.”

Coming off a second straight Pro Bowl selection and a season in which he was voted the team’s MVP, Ngata is the most important player to get back according to Harbaugh.

“I believe Haloti Ngata will be a Raven for life” said the coach. “That’s the goal. He’s told me he wants to be here. I believe the organization wants him here. It’s priority number one to have Haloti Ngata here.”

Houshmandzadeh said he’d like to return to Charm City, but admitted an expanded role would play a significant part in making his decision.

“I want to come back because I had fun here and I enjoyed myself” said the receiver. “I do want to be a starter. I do because that’s what I’ve been. It’s hard to adjust.”

Free agency cannot begin until owners and the NFLPA agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Houshmandzadeh, L. McClain, Houshmandzadeh, Stallworth, Cundiff, Koch, Washington, Wilson, Kindle, Bulger, QB Joe Flacco, LB Ray Lewis, LB Jarret Johnson, C Matt Birk and WR Derrick Mason now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……L. McClain joined Rex Snider Monday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is also available in the Audio Vault……The Ravens will select 26th in the 2011 NFL Draft……A team source told WNST’s Drew Forrester a contract extension for Harbaugh should be considered “imminent”……The Ravens signed all seven practice squad players to reserve/future contracts. WR Justin Harper, RB Curtis Steele, CB Danny Gorrer, QB Hunter Cantwell, OL Andre Ramsey, OL Brady Bond and LB Albert McClellan joined former Buffalo Bills WR James Hardy in getting such contracts……Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome, Team President Dick Cass and owner Steve Bisciotti will hold their season review press conference Thursday afternoon in Owings Mills

-G

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Not “Great Enough” to Beat Steelers, So Ravens Now Forced to Evaluate Everything

Posted on 16 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — After suffering another crushing playoff defeat Saturday, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh offered a telling postgame statement.

“We just weren’t great enough today to win that football game.”

His team certainly wasn’t.

It was one more crushing defeat for the Ravens (13-5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4), this time a 31-24 meltdown in the AFC divisional round at Heinz Field.

In three seasons under Harbaugh, the Ravens have suffered more than their fair share of such losses.

This one was likely the most crushing of the Harbaugh era, if not the most crushing in franchise history.

Leading 21-7 at the half, the Ravens appeared well on their way to a trip to the AFC Championship Game and well on their way to finally vanquishing their AFC North nemesis in the process.

Three turnovers later, the Ravens found themselves in a dogfight they wouldn’t win.

They were close.

For moments, they were great.

But in the end, Harbaugh was right. They weren’t great enough.

(Here’s the part where fans can feel free to add in the word “again.”)

Not being “great enough” is frustrating. It’s more frustrating when there’s no obvious answer regarding how the team can get there.

I posed the question to Harbaugh following the season ending defeat.

How does this team become “great enough”?

“That’s what we’ll have to study” responded Harbaugh. “We’ll go to work in the offseason and try to build our team the best way we can. Things come up and things happen, you’ve got to adjust and you’ve got to adapt. You never know on a journey what bend the road’s gonna take. You gotta overcome some adversity and some obstacles and we’ll have to build our team the best way we can to be great enough to these kind of games.”

I know what you’re thinking. It sounds like coach speak. It is to some extent. But there’s truth to it.

The truth is that the team really is close to being “great enough”.

On Saturday, it took a blown 14 point lead, those three turnovers, crucial late drops from WR’s Anquan Boldin & TJ Houshmandzadeh and a miraculous 58 yard pass from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown for the Ravens to be eliminated.

They were about as close to finally getting past the Steelers as possible without actually picking up a victory.

I asked Harbaugh after the game if after another crushing defeat he still believed the team was close to being “great enough”. He agreed, but he added one more thought.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

That’s the reality. The reality is that the Ravens are unbelievably close to turning the corner.

On Saturday night, they actually came to a stop right at the corner. They just couldn’t quite make the turn.

But turning the corner is still going to take a lot of work.

The Ravens have played three seasons with Harbaugh as head coach. In two of those seasons, losing came directly at the hands of the Steelers.

In breaking news (but not necessarily first reported by WNST), the Steelers aren’t coming off the schedule next season.

To become “great enough”, the Ravens are going to have to figure out a way to get past the Steelers.

As DT Haloti Ngata told me after the game, “something has to change, because it’s always them.”

There will be plenty of theories tossed around about how the Ravens can get over the hump.

Many in the fanbase will point their frustration towards Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, whose offense struggled to get out of their own way for the bulk of the 2nd half in the Steel City. Others will direct their frustration towards Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, who continued to employ a three man rush in 3rd and long situations, including the 58 yarder that set up the game winning touchdown.

Personnel wise, the Ravens will have clear needs in their offensive line and pass rush, but will likely have to re-examine their receiving corps and defensive backfield as well.

Some changes could be out of their hands. Asked about his future after the game, WR Derrick Mason said “I’m not gonna think about it right now.”

C Matt Birk, S Ed Reed and TE Todd Heap could all be forced to similarly consider whether or not they will indeed return to the NFL next season.

FB Le’Ron McClain, RB Willis McGahee and Houshmandzadeh have never hid their displeasure with their roles in Cameron’s offense. Boldin has been less vocal, but has often looked frustrated.

McClain and Houshmandzadeh are joined in (at least potential) free agency this offseason by other valuable contributors like WR Donte’ Stallworth, OT Jared Gaither, OL Marshal Yanda, CB’s Chris Carr & Josh Wilson, S Dawan Landry, P Sam Koch, Ngata and more.

And then there’s the quarterback.

A week after finally putting together a “breakthrough” playoff performance in a Wild Card round win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Joe Flacco returned to a more “pedestrian” level in the loss to the Steelers.

He was 16/30 for 125 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble.

On the team’s final drive of the game he wildly overthrew Heap and threw a very poor deep ball to Mason before getting sacked. On 4th and long he threw a decent pass but it was dropped by Houshmandzadeh.

Following the loss, fans immediately took to Facebook and Twitter to ask a familiar question.

“Does Flacco have ‘it’?”

GM Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh will have to answer that question this offseason.

Harbaugh wasn’t just throwing around coach speak when he addressed what it would take to reach greatness. He was offering a truthful reflection regarding what the organization was going to have to this offseason.

The answer just wasn’t quite as fulfilling as some fans would want.

They were unbelievably close Saturday night. They were close enough that the Steelers needed a near miracle to win at home.

Yet this offseason will be one where they have to evaluate all aspects of their organization in order to determine what it will take to finally get past the Steelers.

Unreal.

At halftime, they were 30 minutes away from one of the greatest moments in franchise history.

In those 30 minutes, the collapse wasn’t suffered by the players and coaches alone.

The collapse was suffered by the entire organization.

-G

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Mason, McClain, Ngata, Houshmandzadeh, LB Ray Lewis, WR Marcus Smith, CB Lardarius Webb, LB Terrell Suggs and RB Ray Rice following the loss now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Rice played despite flu-like symptoms Friday night, he said following the game he hadn’t eaten solid food in two days……The Ravens will return to 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills Monday to clean out their lockers. Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media

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A Ravens-Steelers Week Propaganda Roundup

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A Ravens-Steelers Week Propaganda Roundup

Posted on 13 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Always my favorite part of every rivalry, the propaganda surrounding Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field has reached a fever pitch.

The pictures, videos, jokes, etc. are FANTASTIC.

We’ve all seen the classics. Every time the teams play, we’re used to seeing pictures of some of our favorite Steelers fans…

biggirl

huge butt

stillerfan

fan

And there’s always one particular Heath Miller/Todd Heap bit that everyone enjoys. It’s a little offensive, but it’s the Steelers we’re talking about…

heapmiller

This particular version of this picture is more Cleveland Browns-related; but I’ve certainly been texted a version of this that has the dog wearing a purple collar in the past…

dog

Joe Evans sent me a pretty good variation of the above that I really like…

evans

UPDATE: Perry Hall High School alum Billy Apostolou just gave me another one. Winner…

toilet

Leave it to Ravens LB Terrell Suggs to kick things up a notch. After getting everyone riled up out at McDaniel College in Westminster during Training Camp by wearing THIS shirt…

suggs

…He whipped the 1 Winning Drive facility out in Owings Mills into a frenzy when he donned this one Wednesday…

suggsfinger

New this year? A Ben Roethlisberger take on an Antoine Dodson classic. Thanks Barry Aparicio…

hideyourkids

Which lead to this fantastic musical variation from our friend Samantha Sankovich…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q6cq_Ta4vE[/youtube]

And that lead to a funny segment Daniel Tosh did with Dodson on Tosh.O the other night on Comedy Central. Sorry for the poor video quality from YouTube…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNQ9k4sF4qc[/youtube]

As we’ve said all week, Big Ben was never convicted of raping anyone.

In an unrelated story, “No means No.”

It was unrelated. I promise.

Gil from Perry Hall and Tim Kaiser both let me in on a shot of the Steel City that I hadn’t seen before…

gil from Perry Hall

Nick Persico hit me up with this one. I like it…

hate

Here’s an update from Kathleen Smero’s Facebook page. I think my girlfriend needs this shirt…

smero

It’s not really propaganda, but it’s always a good memory. As Luke Jones shared this week at WNST.net, our favorite Ravens-Steelers memory involves former LB Bart Scott…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZoDDYkoKi4[/youtube]

Well, I guess we like this toss from QB Joe Flacco to WR TJ Houshmandzadeh toss too…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rISOdUdpTk[/youtube]

Former WNST intern Michael Pomerantz took the Wiz Khalifa song “Black and Yellow” (which had damn well BETTER be banned from Charm City radio stations this week) and turned it into the much more appealing “Black and Purple.” You can download it here, it sounds like this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sekV7BeT4wg[/youtube]

Our friend Rob Fahey (you’ll remember his band “The Ravyns”) has a new tribute to Roethlisberger this season. He joined Drew Forrester and I in studio Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to play it…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF3lf5G6xro[/youtube]

In the meantime, my buddy Rich in Westminster couldn’t help but notice that the broken nose handed to Roethlisberger looks an awful lot like the result we’re hoping the Steelers will be handed Saturday…

ben

My buddy Kevin Richardson over at the Baltimore Sun put together a pretty good Ray Lewis remix video worth checking out…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2AlZXUI4VA[/youtube]

Our friends at B-More Bird’s Nest also put together a video this week…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOO81_FYomU[/youtube]

Our own Derek Arnold also passed this along to me…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSXEFyIhd9E[/youtube]

And he directed me to a funny picture Kissing Suzy Kolber posted yesterday. I apologize for the language…

steelers

UPDATE: Scott Price just sent me this one. I love it….

price

When Flacco was told about the existence of this “Last Supper” picture, he got nervous. I don’t blame him…

last supper

After seeing the photo, maybe some folks around the state of Maryland are praying this prayer…

Our Flacco who art in Pittsburgh, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Bowl will come. It will be won, in Dallas as it is in the Dome.

Give us this Saturday, our weekly win, give us Touchdown passes but do not let others pass against us.

Lead us not into frustration, but deliver us to the Superbowl.

For thine is the MVP, the best of the NFL and the glory of the Purple & Black now and forever.

Amen.

That’s not bad. Neither is this joke our buddy Ron Pierro posted in Facebook…

“A Ravens fan, a Bengals fan and a Steelers fan are climbing a mountain and arguing about who loves his team more. The Bengals fan insists he is the most loyal. ‘This is for the Bengals!’ he yells, and jumps off the side of the mountain. Not to be outdone, the Ravens fan is next to profess his love for his team. He yells, ‘This is for the Ravens!’ and pushes the Steelers fan off the mountain.”

Here’s another joke pulled from Facebook…

“On the seventh day, God said ‘Let there be football.’

And it was good.

Later that day, God said ‘Let there be one team to rule the others and set the standard for excellence.’

With that, he plucked stars from the heavens and placed it on the helmet of black and gold.

God said, ‘Let it be called The Pittsburgh Steelers.’

Later that day, God said ‘Even Steelers need a**holes.’

So he made their fans.”

UPDATE: One of my best friends in the world…Sara Mulieri…just posted a weather forecast for Pittsburgh Saturday. I like it…

***WARNING*** The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Pittsburgh PA & surrounding areas for Saturday the 15th of January. This warning will be in effect from 4:30pm until 8:30pm. This Flash Flood will be caused by the tears of the Steelers Fans as they realize the Blackbird Nation has ruined all hopes of another Superbowl appearance. Crying will intensify as the game goes on.

This is a good start, but I know there’s more. If you have something you’d like to add. Please email me (glenn@wnst.net), pass along via Facebook (search “Glenn Clark”) or via Twitter (@WNST).

I love this stuff.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Suggs Takes Shot at Steelers With Shirt

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Live From Owings Mills: Suggs Takes Shot at Steelers With Shirt

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (13-4) returned to practice Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Heinz Field.

Unlike the other AFC divisional showdown this weekend, (New England Patriots-New York Jets), the buildup to the AFC North rematch had included little in the way of bulletin board material.

LB Terrell Suggs changed that Wednesday when he stepped to the podium.

suggs
(Photo property of WNST.netApologies for offensive imagery)

Suggs wore a “Hey Pittsburgh!” shirt during his media availability session Wednesday. The shirt was showing a purple bird giving the middle finger.

“(This) ain’t no message” said the Pro Bowl pass rusher. “Like I always say, I put on for my city. They rep their city and I’m repping mine.”

Suggs said the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry holds a special place in his heart.

“To me, it’s definitely the best rivalry in sports. When it comes to football, it’s the most physical game of the year. It’s going to be a physical gang fight, just like the first two games were.”

According to Suggs, this wasn’t the first time the middle finger has been involved in the series.

“When we go down there, they always hit us with the ‘Number Ones’. I don’t know how they act here because I’ve been in the locker room by the time all the fans get here. I’m pretty sure we’ve been hitting them with the ‘Number Ones’.”

When asked if he was worried the shirt could give the Steelers some extra motivation, Suggs was confident in his answer.

“Do I seem worried? This game is going to be what it is regardless. It’s a physical dogfight. I’m not expecting (anything) different. This is the shirt I wore this morning, this is just the shirt I chose.”

Future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis was much more guarded when asked if he ‘liked’ the Steelers.

“I like pizza” said Lewis. “I like a lot of things, there’s a lot of things I don’t like. Are the Steelers in the ‘like’ or ‘don’t like’ category? Well since I’m a Baltimore person, I’m going to say ‘don’t like’.”

Lewis’ message when he saw Suggs’ shirt?

“You’re going to start a war.”

RAVENS SIGN HARDY: The Ravens have signed WR James Hardy to a reserve/future contract, per a FoxSports.com report.

Hardy was a 2nd round (41st overall) pick by the Buffalo Bills out of Indiana in the 2008 NFL Draft. He was cut by the Bills before the start of the 2010 season.

In his brief NFL career, Hardy has just 10 catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He was a first team All-Big Ten performer in his junior (and final) season with the Hoosiers.

As a reserve/future signing, Hardy does not go on the team’s 53 man roster and is not eligible to participate in the postseason. Instead, he will have the opportunity to make the team out of Training Camp this summer (should he remain on the roster through OTA’s).

Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron is also an Indiana alum.

PRACTICE REPORT: All Ravens who missed the Wild Card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium were on the practice field Wednesday.

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and S Tom Zbikowski (back) were full participants. WR/KR David Reed (wrist) was not even listed on the injury report.

C Matt Birk (knee) did not participate in practice, neither did WR Donte’ Stallworth (illess). CB Chris Carr (thigh) was a limited participant with what is believed to be a pulled hamstring.

Suggs (knee) and S Ed Reed (ribs) were not listed on the injury report.

Multiple Ravens players again switched jersey numbers for Wednesday’s session. Among them was Suggs, who wore the #4 of punter Sam Koch.

For the Steelers, S Troy Polamalu (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday. CB Bryant McFadden (abdomen) and DE Aaron Smith (triceps) were limited participants.

NOTES: Hear from Lewis, Suggs, QB Joe Flacco, TE Todd Heap, RB Ray Rice, WR Anquan Boldin and DE Cory Redding now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta & LB Dannell Ellerbe joined Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, both chats are also available in the Audio Vault……Jeff Triplette will officiate Sunday’s game, his crew will include members of Ed Hochuli’s regular crew……The Ravens will hold their final open practice of the week Thursday, Head Coach John Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with reporters

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh, Ravens Face Short Week of Prep For Steelers Battle

Posted on 10 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Players from the Baltimore Ravens (13-4) took Monday off, but Head Coach John Harbaugh returned to 1 Winning Drive following a 30-7 AFC Wild Card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs (10-7) 24 hours earlier at Arrowhead Stadium.

Harbaugh met with reporters Monday to look ahead to Saturday’s AFC Divisional Round playoff battle with the Ravens’ AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Heinz Field.

The Steelers will come into Saturday’s game well rested, having not played since a Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns January 2nd. The Ravens however will play Sunday just six days after their first playoff contest.

“There is definitely an advantage to having the time off from a rest perspective” the coach said Monday.

Harbaugh did argue that the Ravens could gain an advantage over the Steelers thanks to a solid performance in KC.

“There’s probably an advantage to playing from a ‘being sharp’ perspective. We’ll try to take advantage of the things that are strengths in our factor and hope the things that are strengths in their factor will be minimized by the way that we approach what we do. I’m very confident we can get our guys rested and recovered and ready to go on Saturday.”

Harbaugh also expressed his belief that the Ravens defense will benefit from having not been taxed much in the Wild Card playoff win.

“I think it’s a factor” said the Coach. “We had 40 plays. It’s better than playing 80 plays.”

The Ravens gave players off Monday (instead of the customary NFL Tuesday off-day) and delayed practice to 3:30 Tuesday afternoon to try to create more rest.

INJURY UPDATE
: Two Ravens who missed Sunday’s game probably could have been able to play, according to Harbaugh.

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and WR/KR David Reed (wrist) both missed the playoff opener despite practicing in the week leading up to the game.

“We had some guys that were just more healthy” Harbaugh said Monday. “I think David can go. He’s getting better catching the ball, he made a lot of progress last week. Tavares could have played, but the more healthy probably gave us a little more at that point.”

Aside from Reed & Gooden, S Tom Zbikowski (back) also missed Sunday’s game due to injury. The Ravens reported nothing on their official postgame injury report, meaning no players left the game and were unable to return.

Harbaugh also noted the possibility S Ed Reed may miss some practice this week as he deals with the apparent death of his brother (Brian Reed) with family in Louisiana.

“We’ve left that up to Ed” said the coach. “I know that Ed knows this team inside and out. We haven’t talked to him yet today. So I think it’s going to kind of depend on the circumstances down there, what he feels he needs to do with his family. But we’ll give him a lot of leeway.”

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……C Matt Birk joined Drew Forrester Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will call Saturday’s game for CBS……The Ravens will return to practice Tuesday afternoon, Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with reporters following practice

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Reed’s Brother Missing, Harbaugh Reacts to Jim’s Hiring, Suggs & Ngata Questionable

Posted on 07 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (12-4) held their final open practice Friday at 1 Winning Drive ahead of Sunday’s AFC Wild Card playoff showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) at Arrowhead Stadium.

The brother of Ravens safety Ed Reed (Brian Reed) went missing Friday in Louisiana, according to WWL-TV in New Orleans.

The younger Reed reportedly jumped into the Mississippi River in St. Charles, La. to elude authorities. Police attempted to stop Brian Reed Friday morning when his car matched the description of a car believed to have driven another car off the road.

According to the WWL report, police believe the younger Reed may have been driving a stolen car.

When reached for comment Friday by WNST.net, a source very close to Ed Reed said the Pro Bowl safety had no comment and was continuing to gather information.

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said in a Friday night conference call he had not yet had a chance to talk to his star defender.

“I love Ed Reed” said Harbaugh. “Our thoughts and our prayers are with the Reed family. We’re just praying like crazy that Ed’s brother is okay.”

INJURY REPORT: After missing practice Wednesday & Thursday, DT Haloti Ngata (thigh) and LB Terrell Suggs (knee) both returned to practice Friday.

Harbaugh said Friday “I feel good about them” and added “I think they’ll be okay” for Sunday’s game.

Suggs was a bit more coy about his status for Sunday’s game, claiming he was “50-50″ to play.

Ngata and Suggs were both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, as were S Tom Zbikowski (back), LB Dannell Ellerbe (head), LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder), CB Josh Wilson (head) and S Ed Reed (chest). Those six were all listed as limited participants Thursday.

Five Ravens were listed as probable for Sunday’s game; LB Jameel McClain (back), C Matt Birk (knee), WR Derrick Mason (abs/ankle), OT Michael Oher (knee/ankle) and WR/KR David Reed (wrist).

For the Chiefs, G Brian Waters (illness) and WR Quinten Lawrence (illness) were listed as probable for Sunday’s game.

HARBAUGH’S BROTHER JOINS NFL RANKS: Jim Harbaugh, the younger brother of John Harbaugh and a former Ravens quarterback; agreed Friday to a five year deal to leave Stanford and become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’m very happy he’s not in the AFC” the elder Harbaugh said Friday night in a conference call.

With the Ravens slated to face the NFC West next season, the two coaches will have a chance to face off in Charm City.

“My dad (former Western Michigan & Western Kentucky coach Jack Harbaugh) said he’s just going to take a walk during that one” John Harbaugh joked.

Harbaugh told reporters his younger brother consulted with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti during his decision making process.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Suggs and Oher now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OL Marshal Yanda joined Drew Forrester Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……The Ravens practiced indoors Friday after practicing outside Wednesday & Thursday. The Ravens were in good spirits; with many players wearing each others’ jerseys. LB Ray Lewis and LB Jarret Johnson swapped jerseys, as did S Dawan Landry and DT Haloti Ngata. S Ed Reed wore QB Joe Flacco’s jersey, Suggs wore P Sam Koch’s jersey……Suggs was fined $15,000 for punching Bengals WR Jerome Simpson in the team’s Week 17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium……Weather.com/The Weather Channel predicts 34 degrees and snow showers for Sunday’s game in KC……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Saturday morning before traveling to Kansas City Saturday night. Saturday’s walkthrough will be closed to the media

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Mattison Says Suggs, Ngata Will “Be Fine” For Sunday

Posted on 06 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (12-4) returned to practice Thursday at 1 Winning Drive, inching closer to an AFC Wild Card playoff showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

After missing practice Wednesday, S Ed Reed (chest) and C Matt Birk (knee) each returned to the practice field Thursday. Reed was a limited participant, Birk participated fully.

DT Haloti Ngata (thigh) and LB Terrell Suggs (knee) did not participate in practice for a second straight day. Ngata was forced to leave the team’s Week 17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in the 2nd half.

“They’re boycotting, they don’t like the cold weather” joked Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison about the absence of the two Pro Bowl defenders. “It’s not a concern. They’ll both be fine. It’s us knowing where we are in the season, knowing we’ve had a lot of football games. Those two guys have played so well and they understand the defense so well that if they do have a little bump or bruise or something like that it’s best to get them 100% rather than running around.”

S Tom Zbikowski (back), was a limited participant in practice for the second straight day. He’s hoping to return to the field for the first time since leaving the team’s Week 14 win over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in the first half. Zbikowski was listed as a limited participant Wednesday.

Zbikowski told reporters Thursday he “feels better”, but wouldn’t commit to being ready to return to face KC.

LB Dannell Ellerbe (head), LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder), LB Jameel McClain (back) and CB Josh Wilson (head) were all limited participants in practice for a second straight day. WR Derrick Mason (abs/ankle), OT Michael Oher (knee/ankle) and WR/KR David Reed (wrist) were all full participants for a second straight day.

For the Chiefs, WR Dwayne Bowe (illness) returned to practice after missing Wednesday. Bowe was listed as a full participant. G Brian Waters (illness) missed a second straight day, WR Quinten Lawrence (illness) also missed practice Thursday.

NOTES: Hear from Mattison, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg and LB Jarret Johnson now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……CB Cary Williams joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……OL Marshal Yanda is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 7:15……Mike Carey’s crew will officiate Sunday’s game……The Ravens will return to practice Friday at 1 Winning Drive, Head Coach John Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with reporters following practice

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Haloti Ngata Named Ravens MVP

Posted on 05 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (12-4) returned to practice Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s AFC Wild Card playoff battle with the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) at Arrowhead Stadium.

DT Haloti Ngata was announced Wednesday as the Ravens 2010 Most Valuable Player award, as voted on by media members who cover the team on a daily basis. (This columnist was amongst those who voted for Ngata.)

Ngata set a career high with 5.5 sacks this season and tied career highs with 63 tackles and 5 pass deflections.

“That’s pretty cool” said Ngata after being informed he had won. “I felt like this year has been a little different just with my pass rush, I felt like I got a little better there. Hopefully I can continue to improve and just get better. Hopefully I can be around (Baltimore) more often, because I love being here, I love the guys, I love the fans.”

Ngata will be an important factor as the Ravens go up against the league’s top rushing offense (164.2 yards per game) Sunday in KC.

“(They’re a) great running team, I think everybody knows that” said Ngata. “Their O-Linemen (are) experienced, they’ve got a lot of guys who have been around and they do well moving guys around. Hopefully we can do what we want to do and stop the run first and make them a one dimensional team.”

Ngata was an important cog for a Ravens defense that was pretty good against the run (ranked 5th in the NFL), allowing just 93.9 yards per game.

“We love when teams like to run” added Ngata. “If we can take away their best thing, that’s an advantage for us.”

The Chiefs finished the year with two backs amongst the Top 20 in rushing in the league. RB Jamaal Charles (who finished 2nd in the league with 1,467 yards to go with give touchdowns) is somewhat similar to Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson according to Ngata.

“(He’s) just real shifty and quick to the hole. He’s just so fast and quick, he does a lot of things really well. He definitely is different from last year.”

Chiefs RB Thomas Jones also ranked in the Top 20 amongst the league’s rushing leaders; finishing with 896 yards and 6 TD’s.

“Jones is a little bigger” said Ngata. “I think he’s able to hit between the tackles a little bit better. He’s a little bit more patient than Charles.”

In their 2009 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens allowed the Chiefs just 29 yards rushing, including only 8 yards for Charles.

Ngata succeeds RB Ray Rice, who was voted the team’s MVP in 2009.

CARR NAMED “GOOD GUY”: In addition to Team MVP, reporters covering the team on a daily basis also voted a winner of the annual “Media Good Guy” award.

CB Chris Carr was announced as the winner of the award for the 2010 season Wednesday.

“If I won, everybody else must be pretty bad” Carr joked. “I understand that the fans want to hear truth. I try never to lie. Maybe I won’t say how I really feel, but I won’t go up there and give a lie to you guys. I always try to be insightful and truthful to everybody because fans want to hear stuff. They want to be honest and they want accountability as well. I just try to do that every week.

LB Jarret Johnson had received the award in 2009.

INJURY REPORT: Four Ravens did not participate in practice Wednesday.

C Matt Birk (knee), LB Terrell Suggs (knee), S Ed Reed (chest) and Ngata (thigh) were all held out. None are believed to be in serious jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game.

S Tom Zbikowski (back) returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time since leaving the team’s Week 14 win over the Houston Texans early. He was one of five Ravens who were limited participants in practice. LB Dannell Ellerbe (head), LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder), LB Jameel McClain (back) and CB Josh Wilson (head) were also limited participants.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said he’s “optimistic” Zbikowski can see the field Sunday.

WR/KR David Reed (wrist/head) was a full participant in practice Wednesday; he hasn’t played since suffering a concussion in the team’s Week 15 win over the New Orleans Saints. WR Derrick Mason (abs/ankle) and OT Michael Oher (knee/ankle) were also full participants.

Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe (illness) missed practice Wednesday. Head Coach Todd Haley did not seem concerned about Bowe’s Sunday status during his Wednesday conference call with Charm City reporters.

Chiefs G Brian Waters (illness) also missed practice Wednesday.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Ngata, Carr, Rice, QB Joe Flacco and LB Ray Lewis now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Jim Nantz will call Sunday’s game for CBS, he joined Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. That chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……CB Cary Williams is scheduled to join Forrester Thursday at 7:15am……The Ravens will return to practice Thursday, Coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Says Ravens Offense Needs to “Translate It To Sunday”

Posted on 03 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (12-4) returned to 1 Winning Drive Monday, less 24 hours removed from a 13-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals (4-12) at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens began preparations for their AFC Wild Card playoff matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Head Coach John Harbaugh addressed the Ravens’ inconsistent offensive performance in Sunday’s game, saying he wasn’t surprised by the concerned nature of offensive players (including WR Derrick Mason) following the game.

“I’m glad they feel that way” said Harbaugh. “That’s what I expect them to feel. When you watch that game, there’s a lot of little things. You can’t really boil it down to anything other than execution. There’s some things that you want to do better. There’s some things that you want to call better. There’s blocking schemes that can be executed better. There’s throws that can be seen better, there’s routes that can be run better.”

The Ravens mustered only 199 yards of total offense in the victory, finishing the season 22nd in the NFL with 322.9 yards per game.

“I really think we’re really close” said Harbaugh. “I watch our offense every single day in practice. I know how good we can be and how close we are to being really good. I think we’ve got really talented players and really talented coaches who are working really hard to be really good.”

Most disturbing for Coordinator Cam Cameron’s offense is the fact that the unit failed to reach 300 yards in four of their final five regular season games. (They tallied 356 in a Week 15 win over the New Orleans Saints.)

“We can be a much more potent offense” said Harbaugh. “I see it in practice. Friday’s practice was as good a practice as you’re ever going to see. That’s there. I want it to translate to Sunday, and that’s what we’re working on as coaches to do.”

Harbaugh said there wasn’t one particular part of the offense that he could identify as a reason for the recent struggles. He instead the entire unit needs to continue making progress.

“You keep chopping wood, you keep coaching, you keep practicing hard and we’ll break out and play good offense. That’s a certainty.”

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……LB Jarret Johnson joined Drew Forrester Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is also available in the Audio Vault……Jim Nantz & Phil Simms will call Sunday’s game for CBS……The Ravens will be off Tuesday (mandatory NFL off day) before returning to practice Wednesday. Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and LB Ray Lewis are amongst the players expected to meet with the media Wednesday

-G

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