Tag Archive | "Adrian Peterson"

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Week 4 Coach Speak

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Brian Billick

After my broadcast partner, Thom Brennaman, and I called an exciting overtime game in New Orleans when the Falcons beat the Saints, I taped this week’s edition of CoachSpeak for FOXSports.com.

I talked to the winning coach of the Atlanta-New Orleans game (and my brother-in-law), the Falcons’ Mike Smith on why he went for it on fourth down so much against the Saints and how he plans to keep his team focused this week after such a big win. I also spoke to the losing coach, Sean Payton, about how last Monday night’s game at San Francisco did to his team’s schedule, and the adjustments coaches have to make in that situation.

In my Billick 101 segment, we get a look at the Vikings check system with quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson through the eyes of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. We also go on the field with Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, who shows us the keys to a proper QB-RB exchange on handoffs.

I take a look at the 49ers’ firing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye this week, what that might mean to head coach Mike Singletary down the line, and what new OC Mike Johnson needs to do to help turn around the 0-3 49ers fortunes.

Lastly, we check out the Never Say Never Moment of the Week, including Leon Washington’s two kickoff returns for TDs for the Seahawks.

Here is this week’s version of CoachSpeak:

Video: Coach Speak: Week 4

This Sunday, Thom, field reporter Charissa Thompson and I head to Green Bay this Sunday as the Packers try to bounce back after a tough loss at Chicago as they host Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions on FOX.

But before that, I will be on WNST several times to talk about what’s going on in the NFL. If you miss any of those appearances, please check out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen to all of the great interviews on WNST.

Talk to you next week …

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Week 4 Coach Speak

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Brian Billick

After my broadcast partner, Thom Brennaman, and I called an exciting overtime game in New Orleans when the Falcons beat the Saints, I taped this week’s edition of CoachSpeak for FOXSports.com.

I talked to the winning coach of the Atlanta-New Orleans game (and my brother-in-law), the Falcons’ Mike Smith on why he went for it on fourth down so much against the Saints and how he plans to keep his team focused this week after such a big win. I also spoke to the losing coach, Sean Payton, about how last Monday night’s game at San Francisco did to his team’s schedule, and the adjustments coaches have to make in that situation.

In my Billick 101 segment, we get a look at the Vikings check system with quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson through the eyes of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. We also go on the field with Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, who shows us the keys to a proper QB-RB exchange on handoffs.

I take a look at the 49ers’ firing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye this week, what that might mean to head coach Mike Singletary down the line, and what new OC Mike Johnson needs to do to help turn around the 0-3 49ers fortunes.

Lastly, we check out the Never Say Never Moment of the Week, including Leon Washington’s two kickoff returns for TDs for the Seahawks.

Here is this week’s version of CoachSpeak:

Video: Coach Speak: Week 4

This Sunday, Thom, field reporter Charissa Thompson and I head to Green Bay this Sunday as the Packers try to bounce back after a tough loss at Chicago as they host Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions on FOX.

But before that, I will be on WNST several times to talk about what’s going on in the NFL. If you miss any of those appearances, please check out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen to all of the great interviews on WNST.

Talk to you next week …

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Peyton Hillis Joins Elite Company .....

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Peyton Hillis Joins Elite Company …..

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Rex Snider

With Sunday’s virtual “field day” of running and doing as he pleased, Peyton Hillis joined an exclusive and rare group of running backs who’ve experienced a BIG GAME at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens Defense.

Trust me, I understand the overall importance of each game. Winning supercedes anything and everything. But, on Sunday we witnessed something that sparingly occurs. In 14+ seasons, only 23 running backs have posted triple digits in rushing against the Ravens.

Perhaps, one of the most meaningful distinctions of this reality has been the abilities of Ray Lewis and his castmates to shut down some of the best running backs in the NFL. With Sunday’s 144 yard ground game, Peyton Hillis joins a select group of players who’ve overcome a very aggressive defensive attack, as well as the 100 yard threshhold …..
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Terrell Davis – Broncos
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Karim Abdul Jabbar – Dolphins
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James Allen – Bears
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Marshall Faulk – Colts
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Eddie George – Titans
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Amos Zereoue – Steelers
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Deuce McAllister – Saints
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Fred Taylor – Jaguars
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Ricky Williams – Dolphins
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Ladanian Tomlinson
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Jerome Bettis – Steelers
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Corey Dillon – Patriots & Bengals
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Curtis Martin – Jets
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Priest Holmes – Chiefs
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Domanick Williams – Texans
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Rudi Johnson – Bengals
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Greg Jones – Jaguars
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Thomas Jones – Bears
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Larry Johnson – Chiefs
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Travis Henry – Titans
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Adrian Peterson – Vikings
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Cedric Benson – Bengals
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Peyton Hillis – Browns
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Of the above list, some fun trivia questions are born …..

Have the Ravens ever allowed a 200 yard rushing performance? No

Can you name the running back who’s gained the most single-game yardage against the Ravens? Terrell Davis – 194 yards (1996)

The only running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Ravens, while playing for two different teams? Corey Dillon – Bengals & Patriots

Which running back has rushed for the most 100 yard games against the Ravens? Jerome Bettis – 5 times

Has a Hall Of Famer ever rushed for 100 yards against the Ravens? As of today, the answer is NO. However, that will change with the future enshrinements of Curtis Martin, Marshall Faulk, Jerome Bettis and Ladanian Tomlinson.

And, finally, you’ll have to wait a couple years to allow the most recent event to escape our short-term memories, before asking this question …..

Has a white running back ever rushed for 100 yards against the Ravens? Yes, Peyton Hillis

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2010 NFL Forecast: Will the Ravens raise the Lombardi Trophy?

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Luke Jones

With the beginning of the 2010 NFL season only hours away, expectations have never been higher in Baltimore as the Ravens have their eyes fixed on their first Super Bowl title since the 2000 season.

Questions remain in the secondary and whether Joe Flacco can reach elite status with an abundance of new weapons in the Baltimore offense, but contenders and pretenders alike face some level of uncertainty on the eve of Week 1.

Easy schedules — and the unsophisticated attempts to predict a team’s fate week by week — in early September frequently transform into daunting slates in the unpredictable nature of the NFL. An injury to a key performer at the wrong position can derail even the strongest teams’ championship aspirations.

Inevitably, a sexy preseason contender or two will collapse under fatal flaws, and an anonymous outfit that no one is even pondering as a victor will find itself playing long into January.

We just never can tell.

And with that digression, I toss my hat into the futile, but enjoyable, pool of forecasting the 2010 season. If nothing else, predictions offer damning proof that most of us (all of us?) really don’t know what we’re talking about when the dust settles in early February.

AFC East
New England – The Jets will continue to steal the headlines, but the Patriots will happily take the division title.
New York – Rex Ryan speaks loudly and carries a big stick, but Mark Sanchez is not ready for the big stage yet.
Miami – No one is happier about Brandon Marshall’s arrival in South Beach than Chad Henne.
Buffalo – Did Chan Gailey really get another head coaching gig in the NFL?

AFC North
Baltimore – Can Joe Flacco keep three former Pro Bowl receivers happy in a potentially explosive passing game?
Cincinnati* – Coordinator Mike Zimmer and the defense will prove their No. 4 ranking in 2009 was no fluke.
Pittsburgh – An aging defense and a shaky offensive line will not be able to overcome Ben Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension and ensuing rust.
Cleveland – It’s rarely a good thing when all people want to talk about is the new front office.

AFC South
Indianapolis – Would the NFL have tweaked the umpire’s positioning if Peyton Manning had not been the one to complain the loudest?
Houston* – After being the chic pick for a couple seasons, Gary Kubiak and the Texans finally crack the postseason.
Tennessee – Does Chris Johnson hold up long enough to touch the ball over 400 times again?
Jacksonville – Three straight losing seasons could spell the end of Jack Del Rio’s eight-year stay with the Jaguars.

AFC West
San Diego – Ryan Mathews won’t make Chargers fans forget LaDainian Tomlinson, but the rookie back is poised for a dynamic rookie campaign.
Oakland – Picking the Raiders any place other than last seems foreign, but Tom Cable has some semblance of a football team if Al Davis doesn’t meddle too much. Good luck with that.
Denver – Kyle Orton is serviceable but not enough to make a difference in the Broncos’ fate.
Kansas City – Safety Eric Berry is a future star and one of several young players giving the Chiefs hope for the future.

NFC East
Dallas – No Cowboys coach has lasted longer than four seasons since Jimmy Johnson (1989-93), so Wade Phillips (entering his fourth year) needs a big season in Big D.
New York – The Giants’ Steve Smith (107 receptions in 2009) has officially turned the Carolina wideout into the “other” one.
Philadelphia – Kevin Kolb will seal Andy Reid’s fate as a genius or mark the beginning of the end for the coach in Philadelphia.
Washington – Donovan McNabb will limp through a hapless season without enough talent surrounding him.

NFC North
Green Bay – This might be the year that Aaron Rodgers exorcises the ghost of Favre by bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown.
Minnesota* – The absence of Sidney Rice will hurt more than Brett Favre’s ankle, taking the Vikings down a small notch.
Chicago – A fortune was spent for Jay Cutler a year ago and Julius Peppers this offseason, but a small return this season will mark the end for Lovie Smith.
Detroit – Rookies Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best give Lions fans two reasons to be excited for the future.

NFC South
New Orleans – Drew Brees might be the one quarterback in the league you wouldn’t grow tired of seeing in the Super Bowl.
Atlanta* – Though he took a step back in his sophomore year, far too many people are overlooking Matt Ryan and the Falcons this season.
Carolina – Whether the Panthers surprise or wilt with Matt Moore at the helm, it looks like this is the final act in Charlotte for John Fox, whose contract expires after the season.
Tampa Bay – At least they have those “creamsicle” throwbacks to look forward to at some point this season, right?

NFC West
San Francisco – Alex Smith is no Joe Montana or Steve Young — or even Jeff Garcia — but the 49ers are the strongest team in a pedestrian division.
Arizona – Cardinals fans wish Kurt Warner would be more like Brett Favre in his retirement practices.
Seattle – As if his first two go-rounds in the NFL weren’t bad enough, the shadow of the sanctions at USC makes Pete Carroll an easy guy to root against.
St. Louis – Sam Bradford has 50 million reasons to smile while he takes a beating in his rookie season.

* = Wild-card berth

Wild-Card Round
New England over Cincinnati
Houston over San Diego
Minnesota over San Francisco
Atlanta over Dallas

Divisional Round
Indianapolis over Houston
Baltimore over New England
New Orleans over Atlanta
Green Bay over Minnesota

AFC Championship
Baltimore over Indianapolis

NFC Championship
Green Bay over New Orleans

Super Bowl XLV
Baltimore over Green Bay

MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ryan Mathews
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ndamukong Suh
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh

The exhilarating journey begins Thursday night.

Enjoy the ride.

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Woodson

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (21-40)

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Luke Jones

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

Numbers 1 through 20 included greats such as Matt Stover and Ed Reed as well as lackluster selections such as David Tyree and Wally Richardson.

Part two (21-40) provides a few interesting debates with a few more selections of attrition.

21 Chris McAlister (1999-2008)

The paradoxical cornerback’s exit under the new regime of John Harbaugh was unfortunate, but there was no questioning McAlister’s talent when his mind was focused on football. The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2003-04, 2006) is the best cornerback in franchise history.

McAlister will eventually be a part of the Ring of Honor, where he will become the second honoree to wear No. 21, but the only deserving one. Earnest Byner had a good NFL career in Cleveland (with the exception of “The Fumble”) and Washington, but he being the first member of the Ravens Ring of Honor is solely a product of Art Modell’s affection for the running back.

22 Duane Starks (1998-2001)

McAlister’s counterpart receives the nod in a close race with cornerback Samari Rolle. Starks lacked consistency in his four-year career with the Ravens, but his play reached new heights during the team’s postseason run that ended with the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa. Starks intercepted two passes in the AFC Championship and returned a Kerry Collins attempt the other way 49 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl (check out the 0:46 mark below).

23 Willis McGahee (2007-present)

McGahee’s career in Baltimore has declined after a 1,200-yard season in 2007, but the veteran runner easily tops the list of players to wear the number, which includes Moe Williams, Jamaine Winborne, Earnest Hunter, and Dameon Hunter.

Though no longer a premier back, McGahee can take consolation in a certain moment in Oakland last season.

24 Domonique Foxworth (2009-present)

Despite playing only one season with the Ravens so far (and missing his second with a torn ACL), Foxworth’s performance in 2009 trumps the likes of Corey Fuller, Donny Brady, Alvin Porter, and 2006 third-round bust David Pittman.

25 Chris Carr (2009-present)

Despite a number of players wearing the number, Chris Carr wins out over inadequate cornerbacks such as DeRon Jenkins, Evan Oglesby, and Clarence Love.

26 Rod Woodson (1998-2001)
Woodson

The veteran transitioned from cornerback to safety and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl during his four-year stay in Baltimore. Dawan Landry deserves a mention and Priest Holmes wore the number his rookie season, but Woodson is the unanimous choice here.

27 Ray Rice (2008-present)

Safety Stevon Moore was one of the few competent members of the Baltimore defense in the early years, but Rice’s breakout 2009 campaign makes him a slam-dunk choice for No. 27. Entering his third season, Rice hopes he can make the number as synonymous with Ravens football as No. 52 and 75.

28 Gary Baxter (2001-04)

McAlister wore the number his rookie season and Tom Zbikowski is making a name for himself, but Baxter was a solid member of the Baltimore secondary before ditching the Ravens for Cleveland, where his career was essentially ruined by patella tendon tears in both knees in 2006.

29 Chester Taylor (2002-05)

Taylor was a dependable backup in 2004 and 2005 when Jamal Lewis’ body began breaking down. His performance eventually earned him a nice payday in Minnesota before the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson. Two players deserving posthumous recognition are safety Eric Turner and fullback Chuck Evans. Terry Allen also wore the number in the running back-starved season of 2001.

30 Obafemi Ayanbadejo (1999-2001)

With Eugene Daniel and Jamel White his only real competition, the man with probably the coolest name in the history of the franchise earns the honor despite spending the latter half of the Super Bowl season on Injured Reserve.

31 Jamal Lewis (2000-2006)

With a bruising style unlike any other, Lewis was an unstoppable force in 2003, rushing for 2,066 yards and a then-record 295 against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. In his prime, Lewis was the type of runner defensive players were afraid to tackle. He is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

32 Sam Gash (2000-02)

The veteran fullback led the way for Lewis in his rookie season and is the most deserving of a group of backs that includes Musa Smith and Errict Rhett. Gash was the epitome of an “old-school” fullback.

33 Le’Ron McClain (2007-present)

Some will argue Priest Holmes as a deserving choice for this number—the first back to have a 1,000-yard season in team history in 1998—but McClain’s two Pro Bowl selections and improbable 2008 season in which he rushed for 902 yards earn him the honor.

McClain

McClain’s running style reminds you a little bit of Bam Morris, another back to wear the number in 1996 and 1997. Unlike the troubled Morris, however, McClain has managed to keep his nose clean, literally and figuratively.

34 Ovie Mughelli (2003-06)

Though he was a late bloomer in Baltimore, Mughelli grabs the brass ring with his only real competition being Jay Graham and current return man Jalen Parmele. The latter still has an opportunity to stake a claim in the future, but Graham’s injury-riddled career fell off a cliff after rushing for an amazing 154 yards in his first career start in 1997.

35 Corey Ivy (2006-08, 2009)

Despite his small stature at 5-foot-9, Ivy was a steady nickelback with the ability to blitz effectively. His standout moment with the Ravens came during a dominant 27-0 win over the Steelers in 2006 in which the defensive back grabbed an interception, sacked Ben Roethlisberger, and forced a fumble. Ivy edges Robert Bailey, the nickel during the 2000 season, and fullback Carwell Gardner (1996).

36 Jim Leonhard (2008)

B.J. Sams was a good return specialist for four seasons with the Ravens, but Leonhard personified the Ravens’ underdog season in 2008 in which they advanced to the AFC Championship game with a rookie head coach and quarterback.

The undersized safety’s play was a major asset in place of the injured Dawan Landry and earned him a nice contract with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets the following season.

37 Bennie Thompson (1996-1999)

Deion Sanders earned the most attention with his two-year stint in Baltimore, but Thompson was a special teams standout during the infancy of the franchise. Thompson played the game with the crazed demeanor needed to launch oneself into the wedge of the opposition’s return team. Thompson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1998 for his special teams prowess.

38 James Trapp (1999-2002)

Despite being an ordained minister, Trapp is remembered most for being ejected from a game in 2002 after stomping on the head of Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress, a move many in Baltimore didn’t mind a bit. Trapp was a quality backup in the Ravens secondary for four seasons and edged out the likes of Antonio Langham, Mike Anderson, and Raymond Walls.

39 Alan Ricard (2000-05)

After much painful debate, I decided against Daren Stone, the culprit of one of the dumbest penalties in franchise history, as the all-time No. 39.
stone

Ricard was the lead blocker and a Pro Bowl alternate in Jamal Lewis’ record-breaking 2003 season and was a great fullback for several seasons.

40 Cory Ross (2006-07)

Though he wore the number for just one season (switching to No. 34 in 2007), Ross filled in for injured return specialist B.J. Sams during the latter portion of the 2006 season, which was enough to earn the distinction for a very insignificant number in team history.

Cory Ross

The deceased Kenyon Cotton and current bubble defensive back K.J. Gerard are the only other competitors in an underwhelming group of No. 40s.

Next up: For numbers 41 though 60, we’ll find who grabbed the honors for No. 46 and 48 (Impressive if you have names off the top of your head), and I’ll end the suspense surrounding the pick for No. 52. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Lay Rewis.

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I Can Save The Pro Bowl .....

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I Can Save The Pro Bowl …..

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Rex Snider

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Question – Name the pro sports league that owns the distinction of hosting the most SIGNIFICANT and INSIGNIFICANT athletic events of the year ….. just a week apart?

Answer – That’s right, it’s the National Football League – proud owners of the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl games …..
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In just nine days, the NFL is rolling out the red carpet and pagentry for the annual unveiling of its crowned jewel. The Super Bowl and it’s week-long events is a celebration likened to the coronation of a King or Queen. It’s more than a big deal …..

Yet, this Sunday – in the same stadium, Roger Goodell and his colleagues will do their best to dab some makeup and lipstick on the “ugly step sister” ….. or better yet, they’re opening the doors to the party nobody wants to attend.

And, it’s featuring a few guys nobody wants to see – because many REAL STARS backed out.

To be honest, this is an inherent problem for the NFL. Although, I’ve gotta dole out some credit; they’re trying to address the situation and improve the overall lure of the Pro Bowl for everyone involved. The league has made tangible changes.

And, the primary hurdle has been cleared by moving the game from a location that’s not exactly “convenient” to reach …..
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Unless you had alot of disposable income, a week’s vacation and nothing better to do ….. OR you lived in Hawaii, the Pro Bowl just wasn’t in the offing in past years, right? Well, the NFL has corrected that problem.

As the football world knows, the game is being played at the site of the Super Bowl, in Miami, just a couple weeks earlier.

Problem solved, right? WRONG. Tickets are selling for as little as 20 bucks on the street, players are still backing out and subsequently, fans just don’t seem to care. It’s also worth mentioning that rules are still tightened and blitzing is not allowed. That matters – if you love the game of football.

I think it’s logical to say the NFL corrected the largest factor contributing to the disconnect between fans and the Pro Bowl. It’s being played on the mainland !!!!

But, the next biggest problem still exists. This guy isn’t attending …..
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This guy’s bosses are BITCHINGLY complaining about him attending …..
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This guy isn’t attending …..
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This guy’s bosses are also complaining about him attending …..
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You get the picture(s), right? It’s gonna be virtually impossible to attract fans and relevant attention to a showcase event, without the showcase quarterbacks participating in one way or another. God bless Vince Young, but football fans aren’t universally interested in dedicating a day to watching him play.

Let me be very clear about this ….. I have no qualms with ANY of the above guys pulling out of the Pro Bowl’s on-field commitments. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have a BIGGER on-field obligation. Tom Brady is beaten and bruised. And, Brett Favre can barely run.

Their bodies have been punished for the last four months. But, are any of them exempt from attending the league’s GIVE BACK weekend? I suppose that’s debatable.

After all, the Pro Bowl is not really billed as being “For The Fans & About The Fans” which contradicts the missions of MLB, NBA and NHL endeavors. To be blunt, I’m not really certain about the appeal or desired result of the game.

However, if the NFL is intent on making it successful, they’ve gotta find an incentive for players to attend (even if they’re not playing), while actually displaying some enthusiasm and devotion to the people who support the game.

An initial consideration will likely regard MONEY. It always does. But, that won’t work – the amounts are likely not significant enough to gain the attention of the biggest stars. They’ve already got plenty of money. So, they’re off doing what they wanna do …..
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A few dollars and a free trip to South Florida (a week earlier than desired) will not inspire these guys to make the journey – if they gotta practice and play football. Sure, some of them will pitch a product on radio row – NEXT WEEK – while working the room at a party or two. But, they’re not breaking a sweat.

Trust me, if the NFL really wants to salvage the Pro Bowl and make it a well publicized, worthwhile occasion, they need to read this blog.

Are you ready? Here goes …..

Upon determining the Super Bowl’s host city, the league needs to award the Pro Bowl to the nearest, neighboring NFL locale. For example, this year’s Pro Bowl would’ve been hosted by Tampa. I’ll agree, the folks in Tampa are accustomed to putting on the ritz for Super Bowl festivities, but they won’t reject the Pro Bowl – and they’re already hosting a HUGE PARTY, this weekend.
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Have you heard of Gasparilla? It’s a “Pirate Themed Spring Break – for Adults.” In fact, it’s very much like Mardi Gras. It’s an awesome time – TRUST ME !!!!
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The fine people of Tampa are already having the BIGGEST PARTY, in Florida, this weekend. The Pro Bowl would’ve been a natural and fun fit for the town. The Gasparilla event is on Saturday and the Pro Bowl could’ve been on Sunday.

Just take a look at where the next three Super Bowls are being played – and where the prospective Pro Bowls could be played …..

Dallas/Houston
Indianapolis/Cincinnati (hey, they picked Indy – they’re stuck with Cincy)
New Orleans/Houston

Having the resounding support of the host municipality would be key and it would really be the only occasion for some cities, like Cincinnati, to ever host such a meaningful event. It could and would work from the local perspectives.

But, how do you get this guy (and his goat) to show up?
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I’ll admit, a bunch of girls running around – scantilly clad in pirate outfits won’t do it. In fact, the Tampa situation is just a convenient one year deal. But, there is a group of people; a FAN BASE that would really put the players in an obligatory, selfless situation.

If the NFL wanted a full stadium and successful Pro Bowl event on their hands, they need to make their ALL STAR game about GIVING BACK to the people who are most deserving of such an event. And, they could coordinate it through one organization …..
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That’s right, regardless of the host city, fill the Pro Bowl Stadium with America’s REAL HEROES. Distribute the tickets to enlisted personnel representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Don’t sell the tickets – give them away. And, just require an accompanying Military ID at the gate.

Think about it ….. how much money is the NFL making on the Pro Bowl gate? It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket for them. And, the potential TV audience will not be tuned in for this Sunday’s game.

However, if the NFL truly GAVE BACK and made the event about these folks, the TV audience could skyrocket …..
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I recognize the NFL has been instrumental in USO causes. In fact, John Harbaugh and a group of head coaches visited the troops, in Iraq, last year. And, if you attend a Ravens game, our military brethren are always recognized and remembered.

But, making the Pro Bowl “THEIR” event, on U.S. mainland soil would be a gigantic public relations win for the NFL – and citizens would care about the energy surrounding the game. It’s not about competition or providing better on-field production. It’s about hosting a game with a greater, selfless purpose.

My suggested format would not render Tom Brady healthy and willing to play in the game. But, I’d bet he wouldn’t blow it off. Neither would Brett Favre. Doing so, would be incredibly damaging to their public images.

They would show up and interact with FANS during pre-game festivities. They would take part in some facet of the game. They would have a REAL REASON to be there. In fact, the reasons OFF-FIELD are just as important as ON-FIELD …..
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Oh, I’m sure one of the players would “dip his toe in the water” when considering the prospect of blowing off the game and resulting celebration. But, I’d sense their agent or PR guy would say, “Tom (Brett), you can’t dig this hole ….. you’ll never climb out of it.”

The NFL’s players would do the right thing.

Heck, maybe guys like Bill Polian would finally SHUT THEIR MOUTHS. The Colts President has been crying and complaining about his Pro Bowl players being obligated to travel to Miami, a little early, because they might “spend too much time on their feet.” Are you serious, Bill?

Have you considered how much time this kid spends on his feet?
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Give me a break.

If the Pro Bowl becomes a celebration of the people who truly deserve a game to call their own, it would become a grand success – REGARDLESS OF WHO IS ON THE FIELD.

Give back, guys. It’s really that simple …..

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Ravens-Vikings

Posted on 16 October 2009 by Chris Pika

Two weeks, two late losses for the Ravens to drop them to 3-2. It does not get any easier for Baltimore as they travel to the 5-0 Vikings on Sunday.

Minnesota has gotten its legs under them after QB Brett Favre’s signing very late in training camp. The Vikings, despite Favre’s strong passing in the revenge game against Green Bay two weeks ago, are still primarily built to run the ball first. But as the Packers’ game proved, if you stuff the box with seven or eight men trying to stop RB Adrian Peterson, the Vikings’ speedy receivers will make you pay downfield.

A lot of national media are calling this one for the Ravens, and the Vegas oddsmakers give the Vikings just the customary home-field number of 3 points, which means they see it going either way.

(By the way, we’ll discuss this game and every other result in Week 6 in the Sunday Night Purple Haze on WNST.net. We had well over 250 folks last Sunday — join WNST hosts and analysts at 7 pm until halftime of the Bears-Falcons game. Click here for more info: http://wnst.net/wordpress/section/live-chat/ Look forward to seeing you there.)

The problems that the Ravens defense has had over the course of the season are well-documented. No push on the quarterback by the defensive line means time to find receivers against a secondary that has struggled at times. Runners who can get to the outside or cut back slash for big yards. Penalties (including the $25k hit by Ray Lewis) have been costly in both losses.

The decision the Ravens (and every Minnesota opponent) will make is: Which player we choose to stop is the most crucial to the Vikings’ success? The answer for the Ravens is Peterson. Stronger and quicker than Cedric Benson, Peterson is a nightmare for defenses because of his explosive gains. Defending Peterson is like defending the Wildcat formation. Stay in lanes and don’t freelance. When run coverage breaks down, Peterson is at his best in finding gaps.

He hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since the opener, so he’s due to see the ball a lot in this one. The Vikings like to run to the left side, and not so much up the middle (into the Ravens’ strength).

Baltimore’s defense has to slow Peterson down as much as possible to put the ball in the hands of Favre to win. Ed Reed is a veteran who has proven, especially against Cincy, that he still has radar to get to a poorly-thrown pass. Favre isn’t perfect, but has been effective because he’s had time. He has been interception-prone, but not as much so far this season (only two in 149 attempts).

Farve has found six different receivers for 10 or more catches this season, led by RB Chester Taylor out of the backfield (21 rec., 187 yds.). Favre has thrown 65 passes short right, eighth-most in the league. The veteran QB has only tried 28 deep passes (15+ yards) downfield. His bread-and-butter is finding receivers in the soft zone between the linemen geared to stop the run and the defensive backs.

Baltimore’s defensive line must not allow Favre to get set in the pocket, but also guard against play-action runs against agressive pass-rushing. Favre has only been hit 24 times and sacked 11 times. The Ravens’ D has 19 QB hits and 11 sacks.

Offensively, Ravens QB Joe Flacco completed 71 percent of his passes against Cincy, but averaged just six yards per attempt and was intercepted twice. Ball control and a strong run game will help those averages come up. Control the line of scrimmage, win the game. C Matt Birk knows how loud the Metrodome can be when the opponents have the ball. The only advantage the offense has in a situation like is the snap count, audible or (in this case) silent.

The Ravens have to take their chances against the Vikings’ “Williams Wall.” If the offensive line can push open holes, RBs Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, and maybe even Le’Ron McClain can get big yards and keep some pressure off Flacco.

Ultimately, the Vikings will dare Flacco to throw when he is not being harassed by the interior linemen. The Ravens have to try to play-action and stretch the defense at times to slow down the run-stuffing Minnesota D.

PREDICTION: You’ll see the same gameplan from both defenses: Stop the run, and make the quarterback throw to win. The Vikings receiving corps is better against a Ravens’ secondary that has struggled because of pash-rush problems. The more Favre gets knocked down, the better chance the Ravens have of winning, but I see Minnesota holding down Flacco’s production and getting Peterson loose. The Ravens will cut down on penalties, but they have to play catch-up through the air in the second half, and it won’t be enough. Minnesota 23, Baltimore 17.

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Ravens vs. Vikings

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Ravens (3-2) @ Vikings (5-0)

Posted on 16 October 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Vikings

Ravens vs. Vikes Stats

The Ravens will try to end their 2-game losing skid on Sunday in Minneapolis, the only city in which the purple and black have never played a regular season game. The Ravens lead the all time series between the two clubs, 2-1, with all three contests having been played in B’More, the last in 2005.

If I were to tell you that, one team enters this game with the 10th ranked defense and the 5th ranked offense, and the other with the 14th ranked defense and the 19th ranked offense, and one of those teams was undefeated – you would probably assume it was the 10/5 team right? Wrong. As you can see above, the 5-0 Vikings lag behind the Ravens in most statistical categories. Nonetheless, they remain perfect, while the Ravens are scuffling.

When looking around the web at all the “expert’s” picks, I was curious how so many could be going with the Ravens this week, until I looked closer at the Vikes’ numbers and schedule to date. When I thought about this game on Monday, back when the sky was falling after the Bengals loss, I was thinking something like 27-13 Minnesota. Four days of clearer thinking, along with the added optimism that comes with every impending weekend though, have me backing away from the ledge.

Let’s dive into the game a little further.

While “5-0 is 5-0,” and “you can only play the teams on your schedule,” and blah, blah, blah…closer inspection reveals that the Vikes haven’t exactly been tearing through playoff teams so far in 2009. Their victories?

Week 1: Browns (1-4)
Week 2: Lions (1-4)
Week 3: 49ers (3-2, a game they needed a miracle to win)
Week 4: Packers (2-2, and Brett’s Super Bowl)
Week 5: Rams (0-5)

I’m not taking anything away from Minnesota; just pointing out that the Ravens will be, by far, the best team they have faced this season.

Favre Waffle 1

One area where the Vikings do unquestionably dominate is in getting to the quarterback. They lead the league with 18 sacks, and DE Jared Allen has racked up 6.5 (4.5 of those coming two weeks ago against Green Bay). Allen will be a handful for either Jared Gaither (who is still trying to come back from the neck injury suffered in New England and is yet to practice since) or rookie Michael Oher. As I said a few weeks ago, I am confident in Oher 1-on-1 against pretty much anybody in the NFL – an assertion that is likely to be put to quite the test in the Metrodome.

I’d like to see Cam Cameron and the Ravens’ offense approach this contest with a similar game plan to the one they used against another top-notch pass rusher in an extremely loud stadium last season – Demarcus Ware and Dallas in Week 16. Despite the fact that Joe Flacco was sacked five times in that game, the Ravens were still able to rack up 388 yards of total offense; and they did it by showing the kind of BALANCE (30 passes, 31 rushes) that we have yet to see in 2009.

I agree completely with what Luke Jones wrote earlier this week. It’s time for the Ravens offense to swallow their pride about “we’re not just a running team any more,” and get back to the formula that served them so well in 2008 – controlling the clock and the pace of the game with Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain, and Ray Rice.

Favre Waffle 2

The Ravens are currently 15th in the NFL in time of possession, holding the ball 30:07 per game. In 2008, they were #1 in that category, at 33:22. While Greg Mattison’s defense tries to work out their issues, which include pressuring the quarterback, coverage in the secondary, and tackling, it would be a tremendous help to them if the offense could stay on the field 2-3 additional minutes every game.

Running the ball against the Vikings is no small task, especially inside where they feature DTs Kevin and Pat Williams. However, even those two will get tired of tackling “Pain Train” McClain at some point.

Please, Cam…we’re begging you. We know you and Joe Cool can throw the ball now if you want to…we know. So does everybody else. But right now it’s time to get back to basics and find our offensive identity – as a run-first team that can move the ball through the air when needed.

And what about that Ravens defense? The one that just had their “no 100-yard rusher” streak ended by Cedric (expletive) Benson. How in the world, if they can’t stop Benson, do they plan on stopping Adrian “All Day” Peterson, possibly the best runner of this generation? Well, if it makes you feel any better, Benson is currently the NFL’s leading rusher, while AD is #2. Peterson, though, is still averaging 4.9 yards per carry (nearly a full yard less than Ray Rice, mind you) and leads the NFL with 7 rushing scores. Keeping him in check will be no small task, but as Ray Lewis is always quick to tell us, “it’s just football.” As in, enough missing tackles – it’s as simple (and as complicated) as that. Let’s hope that Ray-Ray and company will take last week’s embarrassment and use it as motivation to prove that they are still a dominant run defense – a claim nobody will be able to dispute, should they shut down #28.

Favre Waffle 3

As far as the pass defense – well, that’s quite another story. Even assuming the Ravens are able to hold down Peterson, and force Brett Favre to beat them through the air, who’s to say that the back end will be able to hold up? Especially after the way we’ve seen them get torched by Rivers, Brady, and Palmer in recent weeks? All I can say is, I hope Greg Mattison has made some adjustments this week. For starters, Chris Carr should not be “covering” anybody – put Ledarius Webb out there as the nickel back. Perhaps convince Dominique Foxworth that he isn’t Jared Gaither, and he can, in fact, turn his head to look for the ball. And don’t just tell us that “the pass rush needs to get better,” make it happen!

Favre has thrown 9 TDs and only 2 picks so far this year. Last year with the Jets, he was at 13/6 after five games, showing that he is, indeed, accepting his role as “game manager” a bit more in his old age. We know the old gunslinger is still in there though, and he is due for one of his patented 3-pick days. Fast Eddie Reed, fresh off his best performance of the season, is just the man to help Favre get there. It all starts up front – defensive line and backers stop the run and get pressure, secondary cleans up the Vikes’ mistakes.

Not saying it WILL happen…just that it CAN.

I’m not jumping off the bandwagon just yet. The Ravens have their backs against the wall, and have no desire to take a 3-game losing streak into the bye. I believe they can, and will, respond. If not…well, I’ll see you at the ledge.

Favre Waffle 4

Ravens 24 Vikings 23

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Ravens, Rants and Rankings – week 5

Posted on 15 October 2009 by kevinpb

Cincinnati 17 – Ravens 14. Yuk! Well Ravens, you played a stinko! There was nothing of any merit in your effort this week. The Bengals dominated you on both sides of the ball, and I am sure you will point to late penalties as a reason for your defeat, but you lost the game long before that final drive. After the disappointment of last week and before they go against a red hot Minnesota team next week, Coach Harbaugh needs to get a hold of this team and set the course straight or we could be looking at being 3-3 going into the bye week.
Offensively, Ray Rice came to play. His touchdown on the swing pass from Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty. Joe Flacco did not have a great day and was 22-31 for 186 yards 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Nothing awful here, but the interceptions are mounting. Did anybody see Derrick Mason on Sunday. Joe Flacco sure didn’t. Michael Oher did a nice job at left tackle, but I think our offense was handicapped by a poor game plan. I am all for striking balance between running and throwing the ball, but on Sunday when we threw the ball we took very few shots down the field. I did not understand the reluctance to throw the ball down the field. Aside from a late throw down the seam to Kelley Washington and an attempt at Mark Clayton down the side line that was just missed, Flacco took no shots down the field. The Bengals played a lot of cover 2 which kept 2 safeties back, and when we dumped the ball off they flew to the ball.
Defensively, Cincinnati did enough at the line of scrimmage to keep us off balance and open up holes for Cedric Benson to run through. The Ravens, owners of one of the most overrated stats in all of football, finally let one back rush for 100 yards in a game. This stat has hung like an albatross around this football team. I understand what it symbolizes, but in the real world it is totally meaningless. I remember last year the Giants ran all over the Ravens with 3 different backs but because 1 of those backs did not accumulate 100 yards personally, the record remained in tact. It is meaningless, it is good to get passed it.
The real problem with the defense is 2 fold. We cannot consistently pressure the quarterback and our cornerbacks are not playing up to expectations. Great cover corners can hide a lack of a pass rush and vice versa, but when both aspects our performing under par, then you are asking for trouble. The next tackle Washington or Foxworth makes will be their first. Now they will try and pull you down, they will throw their bodies at the defenders legs but neither one of them will man up and make a tackle, wrapping up and driving through the ball carrier. They are very disappointing. Our secondary as a whole seems to have a problem locating the ball or finding the ball in the air. After Ed Reed took the interception to the house the next series fully illustrated the problems plaguing this defense. Palmer back to pass and moved around the pocket to extend the play far longer they it should have been throws the ball down the Baltimore sideline. The ball is caught by Chris Henry as Foxworth is running side by side with him. You can’t tell me our bench didn’t let him know the ball was coming, but he never looked for the ball. Henry catches it and takes it to the 4 yard line. This was a chance for us to make a statement and we let them right back in the game by allowing this big play. Not acceptable.
Ray Lewis is a Hall of Famer, no doubt, but the hit he laid on Chad Ocho Cinco was totally unnecessary. Not only that, but it was stupid. The last 2 games I have gotten the impression that this team is teetering on the edge. They remind me more of the team that melted down in Detroit a few years back and the team that went bezerk against New England 2 years ago, then the professional workmanlike team they like to portray. Just what does “play like a Raven” mean anyway?

Rants

The Drive 15 years later – Denver beat New England Sunday by holding the Patriots scoreless in the second half and making 2 long drives in the game to tie the score late. Kyle Orton does his best John Elway imitation taking the Broncos 98 yards late in the 4th quarter to tie the game. Orton was confident and strong in the pocket mixing the throw and run effectively. There haven’t been many drives better then this one in the history of the game. Raise your hands all of you who saw this happening in Denver. A journeyman quarterback and an unproven rookie have the Broncos at 5-0 and climbing. That is what makes this game so great.

Who’s better – Last week the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals faced off. The game’s best two receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson, were on the field. It was a really good game in the second half, the Cardinals held on for the victory with a last second goal line stand. The Cardinals built a large lead and the Texans were battling back most of the second half. On the touchdown drive to make it 28-21 late in the game, Andre Johnson caught a ball down the middle of the field at about the 5 yard line. Three different Cardinals tried to stop him from getting in the end zone. Johnson ran over all three to score. The catch itself was pedestrian, but the 5 yard run to get the ball in the end zone was a thing of beauty. Try and catch it on replays or on line it is truly amazing.

Baseball playoffs – The New York Yankees are a good baseball team, and probably the odds on favorite to win the World Series this year. Major League Baseball maintains a hierarchy of the “haves” and “have-nots” that caters to the large market teams. They are good enough to win on their own but when the umpires conspire to make calls that slopes the playing field even more, it casts the game in a bad light. The umpires are paid to get the calls right. The game should be embarrassed by the lack of professionalism displayed. As bad as the calls were in the Yankee series were, was there a prettier sight then watching Boston loose it’s third game in a row with Jonathan Papelbon loosing the series clincher. Papelbon will tell anyone who listens how good he is. I want to personally thank the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for sticking that smugness up his…

How Pompous can you be? Early last week the story broke that Rush Limbaugh was part of a group looking to buy the St. Louis Rams. I am not a Rush Limbaugh fan and always thought that he was a pompous windbag, but regardless of what your think about Rush the radio host, this country affords him the opportunity to do business in any avenue he decides to pursue. The fact that he is a polarizing figure and a lot of people don’t share his views should not be factored into whether he should be allowed to pursue ownership of a NFL franchise. This is business not a Senate confirmation hearing for a sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The fact that this league employs some reformed convicted criminals, and has always prided itself in giving those deserving a second chance, would support the position that this man is not good enough to own a franchise because of his ideas and opinions, is two faced and pompous.

WJFK disaster – Coming out of the Ravens-Bengals game and waiting to exit the parking lot we were listening to several post game shows. On WJFK, the panel consisted of Spencer Falou, Mike Flynn, Gary Stein, Jeremy Conn and Anita Marks. I joined the conversation in mid stream but it was clear they were discussing the problems the Ravens are having in the secondary and Chris McAlister’s name was being bantered about. The discussion was about whether he could help the Ravens or not and whether he would be brought back. They were discussing his physical ability and health and dancing around some of the problems he had that led to his dismissal from the team. The guys on the panel were beating up Anita Marks who was defending Chris McAlister and the idea of taking a look at him as an option. She was getting beat up pretty good and was becoming heated. I don’t think it is news in Baltimore any longer that Chris McAlister is believed to have a drinking problem. I am paraphrasing but Marks stated that it should not be considered a big deal, that there are airline pilots that take bong hits before they get on a plane and fly passengers to destinations. There was silence. The show then went to break and when they came back on Anita Marks was replaced by Scott Garceau. Nothing was said, but that couldn’t have been a coincidence.

Rankings

1. New York Giants – On auto pilot, dismissed Raiders with ease. Most complete team across the board. Big game against the Saints this week.
2. New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees is otherworldly, but Greg Williams and Darren Sharper are the real difference.
3. Indianapolis Colts – Haven’t missed a beat without Dungy, defense is lightning quick and still playing without Bob Sanders.
4. Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson has been quiet for 3 weeks, Jared Allen has not.
5. Denver Broncos – I still don’t know how they are doing it, but I am a believer, right now it is their year.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – playing well and have their star quarterback again.
7. Atlanta Falcons – coming off the loss to New England and a bye week, the throttle a good 49ers team. They are improving weekly.
8. Chicago Bears – Since the week 1 debacle, Jay Cutler has been pretty impressive.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – see Denver Bronco comments. It might be there year.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Wasn’t pretty but they beat the Lions. They still aren’t quite right, but still a dangerous team.
11. New England Patriots – they aren’t the dominant team they once were, but still always a tough out. Need to get defense straightened out.
12. Baltimore Ravens – I think they have a problem on defense, but they are still a good football team, tough game this week though.
13. Seattle Seahawks – I like this team and with Hasselback returning they will make a run at the NFC west title.
14. San Francisco 49ers – Michael Crabtree signed. Let’s see if he can provide another option on offense. I don’t think Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are enough.
15. San Diego Chargers – playing for their season in week 6. They can’t afford to loose, should make for a compelling contest.
16. Miami Dolphins – Great win against the Jets. Seems like they have righted the ship. Chad Henne has been impressive.
17. New York Jets – Rex Ryan is great for sound bites. Calls out his defense after loss to Dolphins. He is a real chip off the old block.
18. Dallas Cowboys – had to go to overtime to beat the Chiefs. Still can’t get passed the fact that this team should be better then they show.
19. Green Bay Packers – off last week, hope they found some offensive lineman to protect Aaron Rodgers.
20. Arizona Cardinals – good win against Houston Texans. Goal line stand at end was terrific. They are showing signs of life.
21. Houston Texans – played Cardinals tough, but got behind to much to come back all the way. Andre Johnson is a beast.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars – what a stinker against the Seahawks. That had to be a long plane ride home.
23. Tennessee Titans – I know they are not this bad. I think we are one more loss away from the Vince Young era, part II.
24. Detroit Lions – played the Steelers tough. Jim Schwartz has made them a better team.
25. Carolina Panthers – Maybe Beason should call out Julius Peppers every week.
26. Washington Redskins – the players are asking for amnesty for their head coach. This is going to end bad.
27. Cleveland Browns – set football back 50 years in their game with the Bills last week. At least they won.
28. Buffalo Bills – See above and they lost. Fans want to toss out Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – Played with passion against the Cowboys, they are still competitive.
30. Oakland Raiders – their quarterback sucks, and their coach may go to jail. Other then that, everything is great in Oakland.
31. St Louis Rams – really bad, only reason they do not come in last is because I like Kyle Boller and still route for him.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – yuk, where’s John Gruden when you need him.

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