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A tale of two tackles: Ravens no stranger to adding veterans late in preseason

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A tale of two tackles: Ravens no stranger to adding veterans late in preseason

Posted on 23 August 2011 by Luke Jones

You can finally exhale with the Ravens’ major question at right tackle now answered with the addition of veteran Bryant McKinnie, right?

Let’s take a step back toward reality.

If the 31-year-old McKinnie’s conditioning and questionable character weren’t enough, the Ravens can look no further than their own history of bringing in veterans late in the preseason to strengthen the right tackle position. Unsurprisingly, the results are mixed.

In John Harbaugh’s first season in Baltimore, the Ravens were looking for help at tackle with Jared Gaither and Adam Terry slated to start in Joe Flacco’s rookie season. Only days after veteran Willie Anderson was released after 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore signed the 33-year-old to a three-year contract.

The Ravens often used max protection and Terry as a blocking tight end on Anderson’s side, but the veteran stabilized the right tackle position by playing in 14 games, starting 11 of them. As a result, Flacco was better protected, and the Ravens exceeded everyone’s expectations with an 11-5 record and an appearance in the AFC championship game.

Anderson retired after the 2008 season, but his contributions and veteran leadership were crucial for a young offensive line that was able to open lanes for the three-headed running attack of Le’Ron McClain, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee. Anderson received the icing on the cake with the Ravens twice defeating the team that kicked him to the curb prior to the start of the season.

While the Ravens reaped the fruits of Anderson’s final season in the NFL, they struck out trying to harvest one more season from former Cowboys tackle Erik Williams in 2001.

After prize free agent Leon Searcy was lost for the season with a torn triceps early in training camp, the defending Super Bowl champions found a huge void on the right side and hoped the four-time Pro Bowl tackle could step in as the starter when the Ravens signed him to a one-year deal at the end of August. Williams had started all 16 games for Dallas in 2000 and appeared to be a far more attractive option than unproven tackles Sammy Williams and Kipp Vickers.

Despite coach Brian Billick’s optimism that Williams would be ready to assume starting right tackle duties by the third or fourth week of the season, it was apparent right away the 33-year-old was a shell of the tackle who had once opened truck-sized holes for Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith to run through in Dallas’ three Super Bowl victories in the 1990s.

Williams never made a start, playing in only five games while the Ravens eventually settled on Vickers to assume the position, though not with the prettiest results in a 10-6 season.

McKinnie — who will turn 32 next month — is younger than both Anderson and Williams were when they were signed, but he comes with far more baggage than Anderson and arguably more than Williams, who was no stranger to run-ins with the law during his playing career.

The Ravens are taking a modest risk in offering the former Viking tackle a second chance, but McKinnie will have to be fully committed to make it successful. And considering how little he apparently worked during the 134-day lockout, that commitment is far from guaranteed.

Whether McKinnie’s time in Baltimore winds up more like Anderson’s success or Williams’ whimpering exit remains to be seen, but the arrival of “Mount McKinnie” definitely adds spice to the current right tackle equation.

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (61-80)

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (61-80)

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number recently, we continue to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 covered jersey numbers 1 through 60 if you missed them.

Part 4 (61-80) mostly looks at the trenches of the offensive line, with a few obvious choices and several where we need to look long and hard to find a representative.

61 Casey Rabach (2001-04)

Though in the shadow of Mike Flynn for three seasons before finally getting an opportunity to start at center in 2004, Rabach was a solid backup who has become one of the best centers in the NFC while playing for the Washington Redskins.

62 Mike Flynn (1997-2007)
Flynn

Flynn made 115 starts in his 11 seasons with the Ravens, most of them at center. He was the starting right guard on the Super Bowl XXXV team and moved to center after Jeff Mitchell’s departure for Carolina the following season. Undrafted from Maine, Flynn is one of the great underdog stories in franchise history.

63 Wally Williams (1996-98)

A versatile interior lineman who played center and both guard positions in his time with the Ravens, Williams became the team’s first franchise player in 1998 before departing for the New Orleans Saints in 1999.

64 Edwin Mulitalo (1999-06)
Mulitalo

In addition to coining the term “Festivus” for the playoffs in the Charm City, Mulitalo combined with tackle Jonathan Ogden to form an impenetrable left side of the offensive line in their eight seasons together.

65 Chris Chester (2006-present)
Chester

Though Chester came into the league undersized, he has made himself into an invaluable reserve with his ability to play all three interior positions on the offensive line. The former Oklahoma Sooner has made 33 starts in his career.

66 Ben Grubbs (2007-present)

1996 tackle Tony Jones and former guard Bennie Anderson both wore the same number, but Grubbs is the clear choice for No. 66. Though he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, Grubbs’ 44 career starts in three seasons puts him on the cusp of receiving the honor.

67 Quentin Neujahr (1996-97)

A backup for two years at center, Neujahr wins the honor, because there are no other candidates to consider.

68 Keydrick Vincent (2005-06)
Vincent

Largely considered a disappointment after coming to Baltimore from the Steelers, Vincent made 21 starts at right guard over two seasons and is the only legitimate player to have worn the number.

69 Jeff Blackshear (1996-99)

Though a forgotten name from the early years of the franchise, Blackshear made 60 starts at right guard in his four seasons with the Ravens and had a productive nine-year run in the NFL.

70 Harry Swayne (1999-2000)

The recently-departed long snapper Matt Katula can stake a legitimate claim to this number, but it is hard to overlook Swayne’s 13 starts during the Ravens’ championship season, even if he was past his prime by the time he came to Baltimore.

71 Jared Gaither (2007-present)
Gaither

Gaither’s work ethic has always been in doubt, but his raw size and talent makes him the obvious choice for the number. A fifth-round selection in the 2007 supplemental draft, Gaither has easily outplayed expectations, even if he has caused a few headaches on the Baltimore coaching staff.

72 Damion Cook (2002-04)

Fans would much rather have seen Leon Searcy as the choice here had he actually played a snap for the Ravens in 2001. As a result, Cook and his 13 games over three seasons earn the distinction.

73 Marshal Yanda (2007-present)

Despite suffering a devastating knee injury in 2008, Yanda has rebounded quickly to regain his right guard spot and is versatile enough to slide to right tackle in a pinch, where he started 12 games as a rookie in 2007.

74 Michael Oher (2009-present)
Oher

Already a celebrity before ever taking a snap in Baltimore, Oher amazingly had the ability to switch back and forth from right to left tackle as a rookie when filling in for the injured Gaither. He will now be in charge of protecting Joe Flacco’s “blind side” for many years to come.

75 Jonathan Ogden (1996-2007)

The indisputable choice for second-greatest Raven of all time behind linebacker Ray Lewis, Ogden anchored the left side of the Baltimore offensive line for 12 seasons and would have played longer if not for a toe injury. In addition to mauling defensive linemen every Sunday, Ogden also had an incredible amount of athleticism at 6-foot-9, 340 pounds, catching two touchdowns in his career.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgspNvFqRw4[/youtube]

76 Jarret Johnson (2003-present)
Johnson

Yes, Johnson is more commonly known for wearing No. 95, but he wore a different number his rookie season when he played 15 games and started once, good enough to grab the honor for this jersey number. A past-his-prime Erik Williams and defensive tackle Amon Gordon barely warrant a mention here.

77 Orlando Brown (1996-98, 2003-05)

Though his temper rivaled his massive size, “Zeus” was a powerful force on the right side of the offensive line in two different stints with the Ravens. His comeback from an injury that nearly left him blind in one eye—thanks to an errant penalty flag—is worth mentioning, and his career trumps reserve Ethan Brooks and only one season from current veteran center Matt Birk for the distinction at No. 77.

78 Adam Terry (2005-09)

Brown wore this number in the first two years of his second stint with the Ravens, but Terry did just enough in a disappointing career with the Ravens to grab the honor. Though he would never stabilize the right tackle position as the organization hoped, Terry proved to be a viable backup to Ogden at left tackle despite battling injuries throughout his time in Baltimore.

79 Larry Webster (1996-2001)

Right tackle Tony Pashos earns serious consideration here, but Webster was a key member of the defensive line rotation in his time with the Ravens. Though he faced multiple suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Webster gets the nod over Pashos and Willie Anderson’s one-year stint in Baltimore.

80 Brandon Stokley (1999-2002)

He struggled to stay healthy and never realized his full potential until moving on to Indianapolis, but Stokley is famous for ending the 2000 team’s five-game touchdown drought with a touchdown catch in Cincinnati and catching the first score in the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory (see the 1:00 mark below).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgzX1umIFfg[/youtube]

Next up: We wrap up our list of the greatest Ravens by jersey number by looking at Nos. 81-99 and an impressive group of players in the history of the franchise.

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Clarifying the Physically Unable to Perform List

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Luke Jones

With so much discussion over the PUP (physically unable to perform) list over the last couple weeks regarding Ed Reed and today’s announcement that 10 players—including second-round pick Terrence Cody—have been placed on PUP, it’s easy to get confused with the meaning of the designatioin.

In Reed’s case, the discussion in recent weeks is in regards to the reserve PUP list, which states:

This list designates players with serious injuries that will keep them from being able to start a season on the 53-man roster but may be able to return to the roster during the regular season. The players must be placed on this roster at or before the league-wide 65-man summer roster cutdown to be eligible for this designation, and they must stay on this list for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. After this time, teams have three weeks to evaluate such players, after which each such player must be placed on the 53-man roster, injured reserve, or waivers.

This morning’s designation (Reed, Cody, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Oniel Cousins, Walt Harris, Matt Lawrence, Prince Miller, and Rodelin Anthony) was for the active PUP list, which is the first step taken to place a player on the aforementioned reserve list. It states:

Once they are designated as physically unable to perform, they are prohibited from practicing with the team. They can, however, rehabilitate individually and participate in team meetings. If a player begins training camp on the PUP list, they can be moved to the active roster at any time, even after one practice. A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.

The active PUP list still counts against the 80-man training camp roster, so there is no added roster flexibility but players are allowed to come off the list at any time. However, if Reed or any of the other nine players participates in a practice and would suffer a new injury or re-injure a preexisting condition, they would no longer be eligible for the PUP list in either capacity.

To put it simply, the active PUP is the necessary procedure for potentially placing any player on the reserve PUP in which he’d miss the start of the regular season. With most players, this doesn’t happen and they’re able to return to the practice field at some point during training camp.

For some perspective, the players who started on the active PUP list at the start of training camp last season were Willis McGahee, Lamar Divens, Davon Drew, Yamon Figurs, Ben Grubbs, Adam Terry, Jason Phillips, Samari Rolle, Lou Saucedo, Marshal Yanda, Kelley Washington, and Joe Reitz.

McGahee, Grubbs, Yanda, and Washington all went on to make key contributions for the 2009 Ravens.

While it certainly won’t make anyone happy seeing these 10 names on the list, it’s not always the major concern some perceive it to be.

Unless you’re talking about an All-Pro safety.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It was a Happy Friday for me because…

1-the Morgan State thing was AMAZING last night

and 2-With sentencing being oft-delayed for Lil’ Wayne (it looks like Monday now), I’m just gonna go ahead and give props to Weezy today, since I don’t want this to keep dragging out. Dude is getting the Plaxico Burress treatment in New York, which is unfortunate. But props to Weezy.

“One Way Trip” is my favorite track off of “Rebirth” (Language NSFW)….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNlVQ8G5USI[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

1. The AP says Reggie Holmes’ 36 lead Morgan State in rout of Coppin State

I can’t say enough about what an incredible night it was at Hill Field House.

Was it like Senior Night and Maryland/Duke in College Park? Maybe not, but the raw emotion was very similar.

Reggie Holmes has staked his claim as one of the greatest college basketball players in Baltimore history, and last night was some form of coronation. With some of the greatest players in Charm City history present (including Sam Cassell, the reigning Dean of Baltimore Basketball), Holmes put on a show for the ages against an Eagles team-that even in a down year-remains the Bears’ biggest rival.

But the event was so much more than that. It was chilling. It came in front of a packed house, where fans would have waited hours for the chance to see Holmes’ night. A group of 30 or so fans rushed the floor BEFORE the game to help celebrate Holmes (who surpassed Marvin “The Eraser” Webster as the all-time leading scorer in MSU history in the win). Coach Todd Bozeman told us after the game that it was “Cherry Hill” that rushed the floor-and joked that the team had thought about playing the game in that particular Baltimore neighborhood.

It was just special. If you weren’t there, I’m sorry. Both the Bears and Eagles are now off until the MEAC Tournament. Coppin State is the 11 seed, they’ll face UMES in the Opening Round Wednesday. Morgan State is the 1 seed, they’ll face the Howard/North Carolina A&T winner Wednesday night.

2. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps rolling towards Top 4 seed in NCAA Tournament

Of course, Patrick didn’t give me much better news than that. For travel reasons, I’m hoping the Terps end up in Providence or Buffalo, but neither seems likely. If it can’t be one of those locations, then I would hope it would be somewhere nice. For example, Jacksonville….

jax

…but Patrick says San Jose is more likely…..

siliconvalley

I’m hoping for New Orleans…..

http://www.partyonwheelsusa.com/images/party_girls.jpg

….But Patrick says Spokane is much more likely….

nothing

3. Fredericksburg Free Lance Star’s Steve DeShazo says Terps can clinch at least share of ACC regular season title for first time since ’02 with win tomorrow at Virginia

I’ll be in Charlottesville tomorrow afternoon, live blogging at WNST.net. Luke Jones and I will chime in via Twitter, make sure you follow us (@WNST) during the game.

I can’t stand the Wahoos myself, I think “Auld Lang Syne” is a stupid fight song, and I think the only people who should wear ties to a game are coaches. At least it isn’t football, so I don’t have to see them do the stupid “arms around each other” thing after touchdowns.

The Cavs didn’t offer much when they came to Comcast Center, but I don’t imagine they’ll just roll over at John Paul Jones Arena. Sylven Landesberg played 36 minutes against Boston College despite a thigh injury, and should be good to go tomorrow. The good news is that Mamdi Diane graduated a season ago, meaning he can’t kill the Terps again.

If they can get the job done, they get a banner. That’s pretty special.

4. Washington Post’s Gene Wang says Maryland women topped North Carolina, will face Duke today in ACC Tournament quarterfinals

Congratulations to Brenda Frese and the Terps, who need to keep winning to have a shot at returning to the NCAA Tournament.

They played Duke tough for 40 minutes in College Park, and for 30-some minutes at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Now, I have to pose a question that apparently someone told me was sexist. With no offense to the Terps-as I’ll watch any game they play, but as far as the rest of the ACC Women’s Tournament is concerned-I think I’ll choose cole slaw wrestling instead…

coleslaw

5. UNC Wilmington Official Site previews today’s CAA Tournament opener against Towson

This is a matchup that Pat Kennedy’s club SHOULD win, but that obviously doesn’t mean they will. Even if they do, a date with Old Dominion looms Saturday in Richmond, meaning this will likely be a short trip for the Tigers.

That being said, there will be a LOT of good basketball at the CAA Tournament this weekend, most of which will air live on the Comcast Network. Work taking a poke at-especially on Sunday when there really isn’t anything else on. (NASCAR?)

6. Loyola Official Site previews tonight’s MAAC Tournament opener against Manhattan

Much like Towson, this is a very winnable game for the Greyhounds up in Albany; but that certainly doesn’t mean they WILL win.

I don’t think new AD Jim Paquette was brought to Loyola to clean house or make drastic changes (most young AD’s aren’t brought in for that reason), but there’s clearly some heat on Jimmy Patsos. A couple of wins this weekend could really ease that.

7. Inside Lacrosse’s Terry Foy says Maryland’s Ryan Young, Hopkins’ Kyle Wharton, Loyola’s Collin Finnerty worth watching at M&T Bank Stadium tomorrow

If I were staying in Baltimore, TRUST ME I would be at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic tomorrow. It’s a great event (as is the Day of Rivals event IL does), and there’s a really cool atmosphere to it.

These are big games for these teams, too.

Maryland scored a ton of goals-but they really needed a minor miracle to beat Georgetown. Duke barely beat Bucknell and lost to Notre Dame, meaning this could be a clash of ACC rivals who have shown some signs of being “pretenders.”

Coaching changes always cause trouble, but Chris Bates is hoping to keep Princeton in the Top 10 nationally. They gave up 14 goals in a win over Hofstra to open the season. Hopkins is 3-0, but they’re coming off an 8-7 nailbiter over Siena.

Loyola is off to a hot start as well, but facing an Irish team that as I just mentioned has already topped the Blue Devils this season. The Hounds lost a close game to the Fighting Irish in Atlanta a season ago, this would be a real statement for Charley Toomey’s team before opening the Ridley Athletic Complex.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Mark Clayton, Marshal Yanda got 2nd round tenders, Adam Terry not tendered by Ravens

Going with the 2nd round tender instead of the 1st round tender means that while the Ravens want to bring both Clayton and Yanda back, but would be willing to accept solid compensation if another NFL team is REALLY interested in them.

Clayton would come back with a cheap price tag (the type of price tag that means he wouldn’t necessarily have to be guaranteed a roster spot), as I just don’t see teams being interested in offering a 2nd round pick for him. Yanda will be a bit intriguing, but I think will ultimately end up returning as well.

Adam Terry could also return, as teams are not likely to be banging down the door of an oft-injured OT.

9. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Anquan Boldin, Kevin Water most likely WR options for Ravens

Walter is the easy call. The Ravens could bring him by 1 Winning Drive this weekend and try to make sure he doesn’t leave. There’s no off the field concerns, even if he isn’t your typical #1 receiver. He’s still 6’3″, and the Ravens DESPERATELY need a taller receiver.

Boldin is attractive, as the Cardinals are rumored to be looking for no more than a 3rd round pick in return. But he’s got some question marks-including a few injury issues and some tangles with coaches in the past-including former offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

It always works that way. They’re attractive, but you’re just not 100% certain they’re a perfect fit. Sorta like Nicki Minaj….

minaj

10. ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports’ Gregg Rosenthal says Broncos pursuing Dwan Edwards, Justin Bannan

Sadly, this is the business of football. The Ravens don’t want to see either of these players walk away-but with money tied up elsewhere, a team like Denver could easily view these players with a higher value than the Ravens could match.

The Ravens love Bannan off the field, but they’re deep at DT-and a Kelly Talavou or Brandon McKinney could move into the D-Line rotation. Dwan Edwards found a real role for himself (despite making way for Trevor Pryce in obvious passing situations), and I get the feeling the Ravens will really try to get him back.

11. Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Matusz gave up 2 run homer in Orioles’ loss to Rays Thursday

Apparently it wasn’t exactly a ball that was crushed, but it was a home run nonetheless.

The Birds return to action tonight against the Pirates in Sarasota, Chris Tillman gets his first Grapefruit League start against Zach Duke.

12. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says Andy MacPhail had approached Tejada about moving to 3B before trading him to Houston

It’s a pretty good read about how both Tejada and Placido Polanco are making the move to third base this season.

You can read it…..or you could watch the video of Brittney Griner punching Jordan Barncastle again. Your call.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtaPtQnu370[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

Have you heard the story about…ahem….”actress” Samantha Ryan?

samantharyan

According to the Huffington Post, Ryan is a BIG Kansas Jayhawks fan, and Wednesday night’s game against Kansas State fell on her birthday, so she put out on Twitter than she was looking for tickets. She got them, apparently thanks to assistant coach Kurtis Townsend.

Please insert your own “Friends with Benefits” joke here.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Blog & Tackle: 2010 NFL Free Agency primer

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL free agency period began March 5 with 531 players who can negotiate with all 32 clubs, and the landscape in an uncapped year is much different. Here are the Ravens players directly impacted by free agency, and some of the rules going forward in the 2010 season.

Restricted free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed three, four or five accrued seasons and whose contracts have expired. They have received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are free to negotiate with any club until April 15, at which time their rights revert to their original club. If a player accepts an offer from a new club, the old club will have the right to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elects not to match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, and the player receives the June 1 tender from his old club, the player’s rights revert exclusively to his old club on June 1.

Restricted free agents who received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are subject to the first refusal/compensation system of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The old club has a right of first refusal to all players listed below.  Compensation is as listed in the column on the right. If the old club has only a right of first refusal but is not entitled to any compensation, the designation “ROFR” appears in the column. In order to submit an offer sheet, a new club must have available the required choice or choices, defined as its own or better choices in the applicable rounds, in the 2010 NFL Draft. Offer sheets may be submitted to an old club by no later than 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on Friday, April 15.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School, Compensation)
Barnes, Antwan  LB  Florida International 4th
Beck, John  QB  Brigham Young  3rd
Burgess, Prescott  LB  Michigan  6th
Chester, Chris  G  Oklahoma  3rd
Clayton, Mark  WR  Oklahoma  2nd
Cundiff, Billy  K  Drake  ROFR
Gaither, Jared  T  Maryland  1st
Koch, Sam  P  Nebraska  2nd
Landry, Dawan  DB  Georgia Tech  2nd
McClain, Le’Ron  RB  Alabama  1st
Moll, Tony  T  Nevada  5th
Smith, Troy  QB  Ohio State  5th
Washington, Fabian  DB  Nebraska  2nd
Williams, Demetrius  WR  Oregon  4th
Yanda, Marshal  G  Iowa  2nd
 
Unrestricted veteran free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed six or more accrued seasons whose contracts have expired. They are free to sign with any club, with no compensation owed to their old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). At that point, their rights revert to their old club if it made a “tender” offer (110 percent of last year’s salary) to the player by June 1. Their old club then has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 16) to sign the player. If the player does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.

Unrestricted free agents with six or more accrued seasons. Subject to the CBA’s “Final Eight Plan” rules, the players in this category may be signed by any club in the league until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first training camp, whichever is later), with no rights of any character held by the old club.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School)
Bannan, Justin  DT  Colorado
Edwards, Dwan  DE  Oregon State
Ivy, Corey  DB  Oklahoma
Mason, Derrick  WR  Michigan State
Smith, L.J.  TE  Rutgers
Tyree, David  WR  Syracuse
Walker, Frank  DB  Tuskegee
Washington, Kelley  WR  Tennessee
 
Players with fewer than six accrued seasons who received no qualifying offer or no minimum tender from their old club.  The players in this category may be signed immediately with no rights of any character held by the old club. There is no signing deadline applicable to these players.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School)
Jones, Edgar  TE Southeast Missouri
Ryan, Greg  C  Western Kentucky
Saucedo, Lou  T  Montana State
Terry, Adam  T  Syracuse
 
Here are some of the rules pertaining to the above players, especially in light of the “Final Eight Plan” currently in place that impacts the Ravens for the 2010 NFL season.

Q. What is the time period for free agency signings this year?
A. For restricted free agents, from March 5 to April 15.  For unrestricted free agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior Club, from March 5 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). For franchise players, from March 5 until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the regular-season (November 16).  If he does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. There are no transition player designations this year.
 
Q. What is the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?
A. In the 2010 League Year, players become restricted free agents when they complete three, four or five accrued seasons and their contract expires. Unrestricted free agents have completed six or more accrued seasons. An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no compensation owed to his old club.
 
Q. What constitutes an “accrued season?”
A. Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved-injured or “physically unable to perform” lists.
 
Q. What is the Final Eight Plan?
A. During the Final League Year, the eight clubs that make the Divisional Playoffs in the previous season have additional restrictions that limit their ability to sign unrestricted free agents from other clubs. In general, the four clubs participating in the championship games are limited in the number of unrestricted free agents that they may sign; the limit is determined by the number of their own unrestricted free agents signing with other clubs. They cannot sign any UFAs unless one of theirs is signed by another team.
 
For the four clubs that lost in the Divisional Playoffs (including the Ravens), in addition to having the ability to sign unrestricted free agents based on the number of their own unrestricted free agents signing with other clubs, they may also sign players based on specific financial parameters. Those four only will be permitted to sign one unrestricted free agent for $5,807,475 million or more in year one of the contract, plus the number of their UFAs who sign with another team. They also can sign any unrestricted free agents for no more than $3,861,823 million in year one of the contract with limitations on the per year increases.
           
In the case of all final eight teams, the first year salary of UFAs they sign to replace those lost cannot exceed the first year salary of the player lost with limitations on the per year increases.

Q. Is there an Entering Player Pool in the Final League Year?
A. Yes. The CBA provides that the league has the right to keep the rookie pool in the Final League Year.
 
Q. Is there a Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year?
A. There is no Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year.
 
Q. Are there individual player minimum salaries in the Final League Year?
A. Yes, but they rise at a rate somewhat slower than player minimum salaries rise in capped years.
 
Q. Do any player contract rules from capped years remain in place for the Final League Year?
A. Yes. Some rules like the “30% increase rule” are still in effect in the Final League Year for player contracts signed in capped years. That rule restricts salary increases from 2009 to 2010 and beyond. For example: a player with a $500,000 salary in 2009 would be limited to annual salary increases of $150,000 ($500,000 x 30%) beginning in 2010.

To follow Chris Pika on Twitter, click here (@BlogAndTackle)

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me, because after discovering Christina Hendricks yesterday, some of you did the right thing and directed me to some of the other hottest chicks on TV, including Kaley Cuoco from “The Big Bang Theory”….

cuoco

Please…..PLEASE…..to be directing me to others that I might not know of yet.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…..

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens taking chance on ‘troubled’ WR Donte’ Stallworth

Which has obviously lead to a day’s worth of discussion regarding whether or not A-Stallworth deserves a 2nd chance after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter last year, and B-Stallworth is good enough for the Ravens to consider him an “upgrade” over their current receivers.

Let me address the 2nd part of that first (naturally). While Stallworth has never had 1,000 yards in any of his 7 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns; he DOES have 32 career TD grabs. In their careers; Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams have combined for 27.

This move works football-wise if it is paired with the return of Derrick Mason and the acquisition of a taller wide receiver.

As far as whether or not he deserves the second chance, I’m in general the type of person who believes in second chances. For example, when I heard Tara Reid was going to pose in Playboy, I was willing to give her a second chance despite how brutal she had looked in recent years….and that move paid off….

reid

(Edit from GMC: Someone is currently thinking “Are you making a joke about a situation that involved a man dying? The answer is no. I’m making a joke about Tara Reid. Don’t sweat the details.)

2. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ravens taking ‘gamble’, but not ‘major gamble’ on Stallworth

In my story yesterday, I wrote about some conversations I had with former Stallworth teammates (including current Ravens TE LJ Smith-who was teammates with Stallworth in Philly, and Saints TE Darnell Dinkins, who was teammates with Stallworth in Cleveland). I also had conversations with other former teammates that I can’t make public, and I heard the conversation Ray Bachman and Rex Snider had with Stallworth’s former Saints teammate Spencer Folau yesterday.

Every single conversation has netted the following reaction:

“Great guy, made a bad decision. He deserves the second chance.”

The best news for the Ravens is that Stallworth cost them only $900,000; and if he can’t play, they’ll let him go after Training Camp. He’s a low risk guy, as the only risk (which Drew points out) is a level of fan backlash. The good news for the Ravens is that they’re in a place right now where Ozzie Newsome and company will PROBABLY be given the benefit of the doubt from the fanbase if the signing doesn’t work out.

3. The Sun’s Mike Preston says Stallworth ‘not the answer’ for Ravens

There’s just no doubt about this. Stallworth has been a good player, but he’s 6’0″. The Ravens didn’t lack for undersized receivers whether they brought back Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton or not. What they lack is a size guy. They need someone who can just go up and be counted on grabbing the football, and they just don’t have that yet.

Brandon Marshall (6’4″) is out there-but unlikely. Malcolm Floyd (6’5″) is out there-and the chances of him ending up in Baltimore have everything to do with what the cost will be. Dez Bryant (6’2″) could end up slipping a bit in the NFL Draft. Danario Alexander (6’5″) from Missouri and Demaryius Thomas (6’4″) from Georgia Tech will likely both slide into later rounds of the Draft, especially after Thomas broke his foot yesterday.

The point is, without grabbing a receiver with size, the Ravens will leave themselves in a very bad place even with a guy like Donte’ Stallworth.

4. Ravens Official Site’s Ryan Mink says team released TE Sypniewski after he failed physical

I think a lot of people who enjoy hard-nosed football were really disappointed to hear this, as Sypniewski was certainly a hard-nosed player. He was a tough, physical guy who the Ravens liked enough to hold on to him despite the fact that he missed the last two seasons. Unfortunately, the knee injury ultimately did him in even after another recent cleanup procedure.

With Sypniewski gone, I guess the “best hair” award now defaults to Adam Terry???

adamterry

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens discussing new deal with Derrick Mason

I’m not COMPLETELY certain that Derrick Mason will return to Baltimore, but I would lean that way, that’s for sure. I get less of a feeling every day that he’s coming back and going to Tennessee to re-join the Titans, I know that much. I still think there’s a real chance he retires, but I’m more than 50% on him coming back to Baltimore.

Addressing the other big discussion point from yesterday regarding the Ravens (and I already addressed this on Twitter, so make sure you follow us @WNST); the Ravens will NOT be dealing Willis McGahee for Antonio Cromartie. I get that the Chargers have dangled Cromartie and they’re looking for a Running Back; but NO ONE is interested in trading anything legitimate for McGahee.

Could McGahee be a throwaway to make the money work in a deal for Cromartie? Maybe. But the deal would have to be a Draft pick for Cromartie, and I don’t see the Ravens being interested in dealing a Thursday or Friday night pick (Rounds 1-3) for a Corner right now. Even beyond that, Cromartie was a first round pick, so I think the Chargers will be looking for 1st round equivalency. Tashard Choice and a draft pick seems like a much more likely combo to possibly head to San Diego.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Maryland overcame ‘tired’ first half performance to rally past NC State in Raleigh

Clearly the sting of playing 3 games in 5 days was showing for this Maryland team for the first 25-30 minutes of their trip to the RBC Center. After a strong start from the field, they really struggled late in the first half; and once again failed to score 70 points on the road en route to a 67-58 victory.

Once again, Jordan Williams was a HUGE difference maker last night. When the Terps couldn’t get their feet under them and were struggling from the field, he didn’t let Tracy Smith establish himself inside, pulled down some boards and got some easy hoops. Once Greivis Vasquez (and Adrian Bowie) got something going offensively, Williams had kept things close enough that the Terps could pull away.

Sometimes conference road games are tougher than they should be. It was fitting that on the same night, Duke had to rally from down 12 in the second half to beat Miami. These types of things happen.

They get some rest now-but not much. 61 hours exactly before Saturday’s tilt with Georgia Tech.

7. The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Gary Williams thought Vasquez wasn’t “going to let (Terps) lose”

Obviously this was a showing of will from the Venezuelan senior in the 2nd half, as he was totally determined to make sure his team didn’t fall to the worst team in the ACC. He isn’t the first Maryland guard during the Gary Williams era to do those types of things, as John Gilchrist and Juan Dixon helped carry their teams to Championships doing almost the exact same thing.

Of course, there were also a couple times last night when Vasquez chucked up a wild 3 in transition or in a totally unnecessary situation. That’s the Vasquez lore. The one he hit at the shot clock buzzer was pretty impressive.

Now at 8-3 in ACC play, the Terps are in great shape. I know that a certain host of the “Comcast Morning Show” speculated this morning that the Terps needed to win 11 or 12 ACC games to clinch a trip to the NCAA Tournament; but there appears to be no chance of that being true. Given the lack of teams with Tournament resumes in the power conferences, there is just no chance an ACC team that wins 10 conference games will be left out of March Madness. However, I will say there is a chance that if the Terps were to lose 4 of their last 5 and finish 9-7 (unless the win is over Duke); they’ll get left out.

There’s just not enough teams elsewhere in the country to leave a 10 win ACC team out of the picture, even if the ACC is going through a down year. The Tournament committee won’t just take another CAA or Horizon League team just for the sake of taking someone else. A CAA team with one win over an ACC team earlier in the season does not have the resume of an ACC team with 10 wins over other ACC teams.

8. Raleigh News & Observer’s J.P. Giglio says Wolfpack blew double digit 2nd half lead in loss to Terrapins

There was ALMOST a moment last night where you felt bad for Sidney Lowe.

Look, he’s clearly not cut out for a big time job in the ACC, or what you imagine the ‘Pack want from a head coach. When a couple of things went Maryland’s way in the 2nd half, he just didn’t have an answer. He had no switches, he had no ideas, he really had nothing. His players acted accordingly.

I have to imagine that despite the fact that he’s an alum, they’re going to give him the Sendek treatment down there, right? If so, does he get to keep his jacket???

lowe

9. Morgan State Official Site says 17 from Reggie Holmes, double double from Kevin Thompson lead Bears to win at Delaware State

I got a text from Todd Bozeman after the game last night, he described it simply as “hard fought.” Which is exactly what he had to expect from a Hornets team that had MEAC Championship dreams of their own.

With just one more conference win, the Bears will clinch at least a tie for the MEAC regular season championship. Not to play spoiler, but they’re going to get it.

They’re back in action Saturday with a BRUTAL trip to Kentucky to face Murray State in an ESPN BracketBuster matchup. The game tips at noon and can be seen on ESPNU.

10. The AP says J’Hared Hall lead Loyola with 12, but Hounds fell to St. Peter’s at Reitz Arena

That’s another really tough loss for Jimmy Patsos’ crew. I’m not going to try to paint a picture that I’m a Greyhounds expert, but it looks like there’s an issue when the guys coming off your bench tend to be your leading scorers, and the most points you’re getting from a starter are Shane Walker’s 10.

They now fall to 5-11 in MAAC play after their loss to the Peacocks. They step out of conference play for an ESPN BracketBuster matchup against New Hampshire at home Saturday.

11. The Sun’s Mike Klingaman says former Boston College fundraiser Jim Paquette to replace Joe Boylan as Loyola Athletic Director

His experience in the catholic environment at BC will certainly help him make this transition; but raising money might be a bit more difficult here due to the fact that he won’t have football to fall back on.

I don’t know too much about Paquette, but we’ll be getting him on the air shortly here at WNST to make sure we introduce him to Baltimore.

12. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Bergesen to return to mound for Orioles within 2 weeks

There is no doubt that Andy MacPhail and every human being in the entire O’s organization is hoping for the exact same thing. The quicker he returns to the mound in Spring Training, the less “MASN commercial” jokes we can make.

For the record, pitchers and catchers reported yesterday. I really do wish I was in Sarasota.

And finally, I leave you with this.

The lineup for Bonnaroo 2010 was announced yesterday, and umm….it’s not too bad.

Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Weezer, Tenacious D, Nas, Damian Marley, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Flaming Lips, Norah Jones, John Fogerty, Jeff Beck, Dropkick Murphys, Wale, Zac Brown Band, The Dead Weather, Tori Amos, Rise Against, and so many more. One of those more is Kings of Leon, who is…not even a little bit bad….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuQiBrBD2JE[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me for a few reasons….

1-Obviously, Maryland was very impressive last night.

2-I did NOT open the email my buddy sent me yesterday with the subject “WTF Greg Oden?!?!”

3-AND…..I’m not a NFL GM interested in Terrence Cody from Alabama………..

cody

The Andre Smith workout plan is clearly still effective in Tuscaloosa. Let’s see what everyone has to say….

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ed Reed has told others he intends to return

I explained everything I know there in the blog. I reported via Twitter (@WNST) that a source VERY close to Ed told me last week Ed intended to return to the Ravens. There are still some reasons why Ed hasn’t made an announcement-mostly because he has to continue to monitor his health. Saying Ed “wants” to come back and saying he IS coming back are clearly two very different things.

2. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Jim Zorn, Al Saunders candidates to replace Hue Jackson as Ravens QB Coach

Is this just an excuse for me to add another awesome podium pose from Jim Zorn? You better believe it….

zorn

Saunders is the easy choice because obviously he was working with John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron just last season. That being said, Jim Zorn has a VERY solid record as a QB coach in the NFL-and I think Matt Hasselbeck would be a solid mold for Zorn to use in trying to work hand in hand with Joe Flacco.

3. The Sun’s Ron Fritz says Dean Pees believes coming to Ravens ‘privilege and honor’

The other piece of news here is that Vic Fangio WILL be leaving the team, with an announcement about his future coming “soon”-which tends to make me think he may be retiring.

Best of luck to Dean Pees. He inherits a ton of talent-even beyond Ray Lewis-with Jarret Johnson and Dannell Ellerbe being other important parts of the future of the team. I expect Pees will have success here quickly.

4. Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Samari Rolle, Fabian Washington, Adam Terry, Lardarius Webb, Brendon Ayanbadejo amongst 13 players trying to bounce back from IR

This is a group that will have a profound impact on the 2010 Baltimore Ravens. Lardarius Webb might have been penciled in to be a starter on the team, but his health (as well as the health of guys like Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington) will be part of what shapes CB depth next season. Adam Terry is interesting as well-as the Ravens may have to make a decision on Jared Gaither’s longterm future with the team, and Adam Terry’s health will have to be considered in that decision.

5. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne each scored 16 as Terps blew out Miami

As I tweeted last night, did Longwood get confused and show up for a second straight week wearing Miami uniforms?

Also, you know a team is defeated when Greivis Vasquez goes into his “shimmy” in front of their bench and the players (and coach Frank Haith) just really don’t seem to care.

You know the shimmy. It isn’t this one (I couldn’t find video of the one last night), but it looks a lot like this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cui-p0_efMI[/youtube]

6. Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps alone in first place in ACC after win over Hurricanes

Virginia will have a chance to move back into a 1st place tie when they play Virginia Tech Thursday night.

It really doesn’t mean much to be in first place right now, but it does mean something to be 4-1. As we’ve mentioned a couple times this week on “The Comcast Morning Show”, Gary Williams’ team needs to only go 6-5 the rest of the way in conference play to finish 10-6, which we all believe will clinch them another trip to the NCAA Tournament.

7. Towson Official Site previews Tigers’ trip to VCU tonight

I’ll make this quick. Pat Kennedy’s ballclub needs another CAA win. I don’t think it’s coming tonight. But I do think they’ll manage to cover the 18.5.

8. UMBC Official Site previews Retrievers’ tussle with Binghamton tonight at RAC Arena

I’ll make this quick as quick as well. Randy Monroe’s ballclub needs their first America East win. I think there’s a minimal chance it could come tonight. It’s a better chance than Towson tonight anyway.

9. Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says Maryland finishing deal to play Notre Dame at FedEx Field in 2011

PLEASE.MAKE.THIS.HAPPEN.IMMEDIATELY.

THEN.CHANGE.FEDEX.FIELD.TO.ANYWHERE.ELSE.

Of course, it might be a BIT embarrassing when there are more Irish fans at the game than there are Terrapins fans.

(Edit from GMC: For the record, I was unable to get further information on these negotiations from my guys in College Park. But they have told me in the past that they’d like to play a game every other year in Baltimore and the District of Columbia.)

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says former Terrapins FB Cory Jackson added to Senior Bowl roster

This is a great chance for Cory Jackson to make an impact before the NFL Draft. He may have missed the first couple of chances to practice in front of scouts and the NFL Network cameras, but there is still plenty going on in Mobile this week for him to impress.

11. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Tejada’s Orioles introduction delayed by humanitarian trip to Haiti

Which is VERY commendable.

Nothing to beat up here. God bless Miguel Tejada for taking it upon himself to go to Haiti and do the right thing.

12. MLB.com’s Spencer Fordin says Tejada never sold home in Charm City even after being traded to Houston

Really?

Okay…..

And finally, I leave you with this.

The best part about Tuesday was that Dave Matthews Band introduced their summer touring plans-including a stop at Nationals Park on July 23rd with Zac Brown Band. I will be there. Hoping for this….

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

Talk to you later today.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……

-G

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Friday Morning’s Purple Crabs & Beer, Weekend Picks

Posted on 11 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens 31, Lions 17

Make no mistake-the Lions’ ability to play jump ball with Calvin Johnson will allow them to score; but this will be a one possession game in the 2nd half. The Ravens will win the game, but NO ONE will feel better about their Wild Card chances come Monday-even though they’ll be back above .500.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Cundiff, McKinney, Suggs all limited in practice

Rex Snider thinks Harbaugh should be more like Belichick

And from the rest of the world….

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Cam Cameron knows Lions will give Flacco ‘single coverage’ looks he should be able to take advantage of

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says John Harbaugh particularly defensive of brother Jim Harbaugh, father Jack Harbaugh on sideline

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says T-Sizzle practicing, but not certain of status for Sunday yet

The Official Site says Ray Rice, Lardarius Webb, Jared Gaither, Joe Flacco, Adam Terry, Ray Lewis will be out in community next week

The Official Site says Ngata honored by USA Football, NFLPA for ‘fundamentals’

The Official Site says Zbikowski was getting advice from Ed Reed on sideline during Monday Night Football game

Lions Official Site’s Chrissie Wywrot says safety Delmas models himself after Ed Reed

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Mt. St. Joseph grad Jim Schwartz to make ‘homecoming’ Sunday in Baltimore

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens 7-2 against backup QB’s since ’07, including wins over Dennis Dixon, Brodie Croyle this season

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens can’t have too many penalties, allow Calvin Johnson to go crazy, be hurt too much by injuries to Ed Reed, Fabian Washington, Terrell Suggs etc.

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens must get improved play from Flacco, hold on to ball in red zone, keep focus

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ed Reed, Jarret Johnson, Mark Clayton, Jared Gaither, David Hale, LJ Smith all didn’t practice again yesterday

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ben Grubbs thinks O-Line needs to be more ‘consistent’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Le’Ron McClain not in ‘doghouse’

7 of 7 Sun analysts pick Ravens

The Sun remembers Ravens’ 1998 win over Lions in Marchibroda’s final game

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Grady Jackson, Matthew Stafford didn’t practice for Detroit

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Greg Mattison believes Ngata solid combination of talent, fundamentals

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Suggs couldn’t talk about restraining order, lawsuit

The Sun’s Edward Lee says 4 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Maryland National Guard will flyover M&T Bank Stadium Sunday

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Suggs sued for $70 million by Candace Williams

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Matt Birk has ‘confidence’ O-Line will bounce back

Detroit Free Press’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika says Jim Schwartz has no explanation for Lions’ 3rd quarter issues

Detroit Free Press’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika says Lions staff thinks Kevin Smith deserves more credit for ‘tough’ running

Detroit News’ Tim Twentyman says team being ‘cautious’ regarding TE Casey FitzSimmons

Detroit News’ Tim Twentyman says Drew Stanton will get chance to backup Daunte Culpepper Sunday

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 30-10

3 of 3 Yahoo! Sports analysts pick Ravens

NFL.com’s Vic Carucci says Ravens look like they ‘don’t belong’ in AFC playoffs

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt looking forward to Calvin Johnson-Lardarius Webb matchup

Fanhouse.com’s Dave Goldberg picks Ravens 31-20

Fanhouse.com’s R.J. White thinks Ray Rice tremendous fantasy play

Fox Sports’ Adam Schein says Ravens’ struggles about execution, not coaching

ESPN.com’s James Walker picks Ravens 27-10

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ray Lewis one tackle away from 12th 100 tackle season

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-My other weekend picks:

Navy 27, Army 23

This is a better Black Knights team than the Mids have faced in recent years. Rich Ellerson has implemented the option, and it is working to at least some level. But the Midshipmen are still better right now; and will prove that again tomorrow afternoon in Philadelphia. I’ll be at Lincoln Financial Field to talk to you during the game at WNST.net.

Maryland 81, Eastern Kentucky 63

If they were playing Western Kentucky, the game would be single digits.

George Washington 81, Towson 70

I’m not certain the Tigers can keep it this close, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Rider 75, UMBC 69

I’ll make this bet-Randy Monroe’s Retrievers won’t go winless this season.

Morgan State 74, Manhattan 62

How much has this Bears team that we were talking up as world beaters fallen off since their Arkansas/Louisville trip? They need to win, and they will.

West Virginia 101, Coppin State 68

It probably WON’T be this close.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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Live from Westminster: The swan song from McDaniel College

Posted on 22 August 2009 by Luke Jones

4:05 p.m. – I chatted with Frank Walker as he walked off the field, and he was definitely glad to be breaking camp, though he emphasized it was a great experience in Westminster.

Even though the players were eager to leave summer camp behind, they continued to sign autographs for the fans out here in Westminster this afternoon.  You can tell these guys genuinely enjoy interacting with the fans.  The organization does things the right way, and it’s why the Ravens are king in this town.

4:00 p.m. – The special teams practice has concluded, as has the Ravens’ 2009 training camp here in Westminster.  The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow morning (closed to the media and public) before breaking camp.

The hour-long afternoon practice was uneventful, but tackle Oniel Cousins did not practice with the other young offensive linemen.  There was no word on any injury, but I did overhear offensive line coach John Matsko asking Cousins if he’d be able to play Monday as they were leaving the field toward the end of practice.

Cousins is the team’s top reserve tackle, so this will definitely be a situation to monitor leading up to Monday night’s game with the Jets.  The Ravens are thin at the position with veteran tackle Adam Terry already on injured reserve.

1:33 p.m. – I’m getting ready to head out to the field for the last public workout of the summer.  If the hotel lobby is any indication, I may be the only member of the local media out there this afternoon.

The ESPN Monday Night Football crew is here, as they prepare to broadcast Monday night’s game.  I saw Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden chatting with Harbaugh and Joe Flacco during lunch.

12:03 p.m. – As previously mentioned below, Suggs and Clayton were again absent from practice.

Harbaugh once again described Suggs’ Achilles strain as a “nagging injury” but admitted he thought the star linebacker would have returned by this point.  Suggs has been riding the exercise bike to maintain his conditioning.

Suggs injured the heel on Aug. 2 and has missed the last 20 days of training camp.

Clayton was working out after practice, catching passes from quarterback John Beck.  He appears to be making progress, but it’s doubtful we’ll see the receiver before the last preseason game, if not the regular season opener.

12:00 p.m. – When asked how long the first team would play against the Jets on Monday night, Harbaugh suggested we’ll see the starting units into the second quarter if not the entire half.  It will all depend on the number of plays they receive in the first quarter or so.

Of course, Harbaugh did say the amount of time will vary from player to player, so one would think veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will not play as long as younger starters such as Tavares Gooden or Michael Oher.

11:56 a.m. – The last Ravens practice open to the public and media will take place at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  It will only be a special teams practice, so many of the big names will not be present.

The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow (closed to the media and general public) before breaking camp and returning to the Owings Mills facility.  It’s obvious to see how eager the players are to break camp and get back to their normal lives and routines without the two-a-days in the August heat.

11:47 a.m. – I spoke to Kevin Byrne after practice, and while there is no official number yet, the Ravens expect to set a new record for a camp that did not include a scrimmage.  The overall record of 111,492 fans was set in 2001—the year following the Super Bowl XXXV victory.

If you ever wondered how the team comes up with those training camp attendance figures, no, it’s not the job of a new intern or long snapper Matt Katula, as it was suggested by one reporter.

The team uses the number of parked cars and multiplies it by 3 to get their estimated figures.

11:42 a.m. – Derrick Mason was once again wearing No. 85 in practice.  There was no word on whether the NFL has squashed his plan to honor the late Steve McNair by wearing No. 9 during practices.

11:37 a.m. – Harbaugh speculated with reporters about having the longest camp in the NFL.  When Philadelphia was mentioned as having a longer camp, the Ravens head coach jokingly suggested they’ll try to have the longest one next year.

He was pleased with the work his players have completed this summer and described the defense’s transition from Ryan to Mattison as “seamless.”

11:27 a.m. – Willis McGahee is expecting the second preseason game to be more intense than usual when considering who will be coaching on the other sideline.

With Rex Ryan returning to Baltimore as the head coach of the New York Jets, McGahee expects both sides to really go after each other compared to what you would normally see in the preseason.

When asked about his former teammate Bart Scott and his propensity for trash talk, McGahee playfully replied, “Bart’s going to be Bart.”

Monday night clearly won’t resemble a postseason game, but it’s definitely  more compelling than what you’ll typically find during an August football game.  As Glenn Clark has said all week, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ryan mix in more blitzing than normal in a preseason game.

11:22 a.m. – When asked about the differences between Rex Ryan and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Pryce noted that Mattison gives the defense more time to meet with positional coaches.  The defensive schemes are very similar with just a few minor tweaks.

The veteran defensive lineman also noted that both men clearly have a passion for football, but everyone’s personality is different.

11:18 a.m. – Pryce spoke to reporters after practice and said this is the deepest defensive line on which he has ever played, an impressive statement considering Pryce played on two Super Bowl-winning defenses in Denver.

He emphasized how big the return of Dwan Edwards to the rotation will be for the defense.  Edwards missed the entire 2008 season with a back injury.

11:16 a.m. – The defensive play of the morning came from cornerback Domonique Foxworth when he picked off a Cleo Lemon pass.

The former Terp has had a very solid training camp and looks very comfortable playing in the Ravens defense.

11:13 a.m. – Rookie Eron Riley had the catch of the morning, grabbing a jump ball in a crowd on a pass thrown by John Beck.

The former Duke receiver has good size at 6-3 but hasn’t really done enough to warrant serious consideration for a roster spot.

11:08 a.m. – It will be interesting to see where Jayson Foster fits into the plans on Monday night.  Though mostly working with the second offense, he continues to receive a few reps with the first unit.

His shining play of the morning was a 33-yard touchdown reception from Troy Smith.

While he still may be on the outside looking in when the team trims the roster to 53, Foster is certainly one of the biggest surprises of training camp, even earning comparisons to Wes Welker from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this week.

11:04 a.m. – The Ravens worked on fake field goals at the beginning of practice before focusing on various third-down packages on defense.

The scout team offense showed a few Wildcat looks to the defense, but they were not very impressive.  Cedric Peerman will never be confused with Ronnie Brown as he threw a wounded duck that was easily picked off by Ed Reed (sporting the red jersey today).

On the next play, Yamon Figurs tried to take the shotgun snap but fumbled.  Needless to say, it was a comedy of errors from the Wildcat scout team.

11:02 a.m. – Terrell Suggs (Achilles heel), Mark Clayton (hamstring), and Dannell Ellerbe (knee) did not practice today, and Trevor Pryce did not participate in any team drills.

Pryce spoke to the media after practice and basically equated it to a morning off with no significant injury.

10:58 a.m. – The Ravens held their last full-squad workout this morning, a brief hour and a half practice in shorts and shells.

John Harbaugh eliminated the individual portions of practice, leaving only the team drills to execute.  The team practiced on the lower field due to the torrential rains that swept through the area last night, leaving the upper grass fields very slick.

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Training Camp Q&A

Posted on 09 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’ve officially reached the dog days of training camp in Westminster, but the Ravens will play their first preseason game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night.

The offensive line has suddenly come into question with Adam Terry being placed on injured reserve and Jared Gaither, Michael Oher, Ben Grubbs, and Oniel Cousins battling minor ailments.  In addition to the injuries on the line, Mark Clayton (hamstring) will miss at least two or three preseason games, and it looks doubtful that Terrell Suggs (heel) will play against Washington.

Despite the injury problems, the Ravens are undoubtedly ready to hit another team after only matching up against each other for two weeks—yesterday’s fight proved this.

With the first preseason game just days away, I’m here to answer your questions or respond to your comments about the Ravens.

Just leave your questions in the comments section below, and I’ll be back later tonight to answer them.

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