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Our Ravens/Colts “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Colts “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 24-9 win over Indianapolis Colts in an AFC Wild Card playoff Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Ray Lewis

4. Haloti Ngata

3. Vonta Leach

2. Bernard Pierce

1. Anquan Boldin (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Your Monday Reality Check: Ravens should absolutely play to win in Cincinnati

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Your Monday Reality Check: Ravens should absolutely play to win in Cincinnati

Posted on 24 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’m amazed by how many people I had to explain it to Sunday night. I honestly had to give up after a little while.

The stupidity of the statement “I’d rather the Baltimore Ravens be the four seed because the path looks easier to me” is unbelievable.

I was impressed by a number of things I saw from the Baltimore Ravens Sunday (weren’t we all?), but one that probably went unnoticed by many was how head coach John Harbaugh addressed the question of how the team would handle next week’s game.

“The thing we’re going to do for sure is we’re going to try to win the game” Harbaugh explained. “We’re also going to try to make sure we’re as healthy as we can be going into the playoffs so I think we’ll merge those two considerations.”

Bingo. The Baltimore Ravens absolutely MUST try to win their Week 17 date with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

By virtue of their 33-14 win over the New York Giants Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens clinched the AFC North title and a home playoff game. They are guaranteed to play on Wild Card weekend of the NFL Playoffs, but they are not yet locked into the four seed. The Ravens could still clinch the three seed in the AFC Playoffs with a win over the Bengals and a New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The difference in the third seed and fourth seed isn’t necessarily significant, but it has the potential to be. Getting the third seed could be the difference in whether the Ravens are able to host the AFC Championship Game.

It seems like an unlikely scenario, but it’s not impossible. Should the Ravens and Patriots end up as the third and fourth seeds but each win their first two playoff games, they would meet in the AFC title game. If the Pats are the three seed and the Ravens the four, the Pats would host the game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. I vaguely remember such a game happening there before.

But if the Ravens were to finish as the three seed and the Patriots the fourth seed, the game would then be played in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, the place where the Baltimore Ravens have won 15 of their last 17 games (including playoffs).

Which scenario would you prefer?

I got this question Sunday night. “This seems so unlikely. When was the last time something like this even happened?”

The person who asked was right. It IS an unlikely scenario. But if the Ravens are to return to the AFC Championship Game at all, they will HAVE to knock off one of the top two seeds. The Pats would then only need to win a game either in Houston or Denver, neither of which seems like an impossible scenario.

And if you’ll allow your memory to serve you right, you’ll be reminded that the Ravens were a second half collapse away from having this scenario play out in January 2011. The New York Jets stunned the Patriots in Foxborough, so had the Ravens avoided blowing a fourteen point halftime lead to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, they would have hosted the AFC Championship Game as a five seed.

Some people argued to me “Glenn, I think the road is easier as a four seed because I’d rather play Indianapolis and Houston than Cincinnati and Denver.”

I have absolutely no idea why there is a sudden fear of the Cincinnati Bengals amongst Ravens fans. The difference between the Bengals and Colts is minimal at best. Bengals QB Andy Dalton has thrown for three touchdowns and five interceptions over the course of the last three weeks, is 0-3 in his career against the Ravens and thus far in his NFL career has not defeated a team that has clinched a postseason berth (although that could change next week if the Washington Redskins or New York Giants get in).

The Houston argument is more compelling. Despite the fact that the Ravens suffered a 43-13 shellacking earlier this season in Houston, it’s easy to understand why fans would believe that task more likely to be accomplished than a Ravens win in Denver. What’s forgotten in this scenario is that the Texans have not yet clinched the top seed in the AFC. They will need to do something they’ve never done in franchise history-win in Indianapolis-next Sunday in order to nail down the top spot, and RB Arian Foster’s availability could be an issue after he left Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings with an irregular heartbeat.

Should the Texans lose (as well as the Patriots) and the Broncos win, the Broncos would be the one seed and the Texans would be the two seed. Which scenario is better for the Ravens at that point?

The NFL did the Ravens no favors in scheduling, as their tilt with the Bengals will kick off at 1pm Sunday, while the Patriots won’t kick off until some three hours later. The Ravens will not have the benefit of knowing what the Patriots are doing to decide if there’s a point where they want to pull their starters.

Instead, they’ll simply have to channel former NFL coach Herm Edwards and “play to win the game.”

That doesn’t mean they should go crazy.

The Ravens are smart enough to know that the Patriots are unlikely to lose to the Dolphins and will most likely open the postseason by hosting the Colts in a playoff game for the second time in franchise history. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

As Harbaugh said, merging the two considerations is very plausible.

It would make total sense for the Ravens to consider giving oft-injured DT Haloti Ngata another week off (he rested for the team’s blowout win over the Oakland Raiders in November) and even LB Terrell Suggs (who has played the last two weeks after suffering a torn biceps tendon) the day off. Harbaugh also confirmed LB Ray Lewis wouldn’t be a consideration to return from Injured Reserve until the postseason. It wouldn’t be stunning to see S Bernard Pollard miss a third straight game either, and if WR Anquan Boldin’s shoulder is of significant concern it would be understandable to see him miss the finale as well.

But there is absolutely no reason for the Ravens to spend Sunday’s game with Tyrod Taylor handing the ball off to Anthony Allen all afternoon while Joe Flacco and Ray Rice watch in sweats. It’s one thing to be prudent. It’s quite another to just plain give up.

With something to play for still, there’s no reason the Ravens should do the latter. Judging by John Harbaugh’s comments, I’ll assume they won’t.

-G

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AFC Week 16 playoff picture

Posted on 19 December 2012 by Luke Jones

The task for the Ravens is clear against the New York Giants, even if it remains a difficult challenge with their recent struggles and three-game losing streak.

Win and they’re AFC North champions for the second straight season. A loss keeps their division hopes up in the air, regardless of what happens earlier Sunday between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Both the Bengals and the Steelers have a chance to win the division while the Ravens simply need one win in their final two weeks of the regular season to guarantee the division title.

Via the three-way head-to-head tiebreaker, Pittsburgh would win the AFC North if the Ravens lose their final two games and the Steelers win their last two. The Bengals are the AFC North champions if they beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore in their final two games (with the Ravens falling in Week 16, of course).

The Ravens could still win the AFC North without winning another game should the Bengals lose to the Steelers on Sunday and Pittsburgh fall to Cleveland in the final week of the season.

Here are the AFC’s Week 16 scenarios for the Ravens as well as the rest of the conference:

**Clinched playoff spots: New England (AFC East champion); Denver (AFC West champion); Houston (AFC South champion); Baltimore (playoff spot)

BALTIMORE (vs. New York Giants)

The Ravens clinch the AFC North with:

1. BAL win OR

2. BAL tie + CIN loss or tie

HOUSTON (vs. Minnesota)

The Texans clinch a first-round bye with:

1. HOU win or tie OR

2. NE loss or tie OR

3) DEN loss

The Texans clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with:

1. HOU win OR

2. HOU tie + DEN loss or tie OR

3. NE loss or tie + DEN loss

DENVER (vs. Cleveland)

The Broncos clinch a first-round bye with:

1. DEN win + NE loss or tie OR

2. DEN tie + NE loss

INDIANAPOLIS (at Kansas City)

The Colts clinch a playoff spot with:

1. IND win or tie OR

2. IND clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over CIN OR

3. PIT loss or tie

CINCINNATI (at Pittsburgh)

The Bengals clinch a playoff spot with:

1. CIN win

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Monday Reality Check: I Get Why You’re Saying You’d Prefer Blowouts

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Your Monday Reality Check: I Get Why You’re Saying You’d Prefer Blowouts

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

It didn’t take long.

“The thing is-I’d prefer them to be getting blown out than losing the way they’re losing.”

I can’t remember who it was, and I apologize if it was you. It wasn’t long into “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” Sunday night on WNST that I got the first one. And it wasn’t the only time I heard/read it Sunday. I got it in a few emails and social media messages.

It wasn’t the most infuriating thing I heard Sunday night. In fact, it wasn’t really infuriating at all.

I get it. Honestly, I get it.

I mean, I hope all of us who were greatly bothered by seeing the Baltimore Ravens suffer a second consecutive loss Sunday (this time in overtime at the Washington Redskins) are understanding that 1-the team’s season is FAR from over and 2-no organization with a 9-4 record in a NFL season can EVER be vastly concerned about the following season or any seasons to come.

The only thing the organization can be concerned about is winning their next game, a visit from the Denver Broncos in the case of the Baltimore Ravens.

While you’re questioning the future of the Offensive Coordinator, the quarterback, who stays and goes on the defensive side of the ball and who could be cut to free room under the salary cap; the organization is ONLY concerned about how to break a lengthy losing streak against Peyton Manning and how a maligned Offensive Line can contain Von Miller.

They’ve thought about some of those same things, but they’ll worry about them after the season.

Some of you are struggling with the notion that the season hasn’t ended for the Baltimore Ravens in the course of the last eight days. It was rain falling today in Charm City, but it felt like it was the sky.

If the Ravens HAD been blown out in their last two games and hadn’t managed to pull off a few miracles (a missed Dan Bailey field goal lifting them past the Dallas Cowboys, the impossible 4th & 29 conversion in San Diego) or hold on in some of the uglier games in recent franchise history (wins at Kansas City and Pittsburgh that came without a single offensive touchdown), the Baltimore Ravens would sit at 5-8 and feel much more comfortable about declaring both the season over and welcoming panic within the building at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Instead, they have all but clinched a fifth consecutive postseason appearance and are in no ways guaranteed to not be able to make a run towards a second consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance.

When you tell me you’d prefer blowouts, I understand what you’re really saying. You’re REALLY saying you don’t think the Ravens are going to make that type of run and you’d prefer to see the organization start answering more difficult questions now than have to wait another four or five weeks.

It’s understandable. The most likely scenario for the Ravens is that they’ll enter the playoffs as the AFC North champion (they need only one more win in any game the rest of the way to lock it up) but having lost anywhere from two to four (or I guess even all five) of their final five games. It’s reasonable to assume they won’t enter the postseason playing a particularly consistent level of football.

It’s easier for us to discuss long term questions like “should Cam Cameron be fired?”, “how much is Joe Flacco worth?”, “what do you do with Michael Oher?”, “has Jimmy Smith made enough progress to feel comfortable letting Cary Williams walk?”, “is there any future for Ed Reed here?” and “would cutting Anquan Boldin provide the cap room the organization needs?”

But the only real questions at the moment are more along the lines of “what will the team do if they’re missing Marshal Yanda for a significant amount of time?”, “can Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe and Terrell Suggs return in time to face Denver?” and “should Corey Graham still start after Smith returns?”

None of those questions sound like they’ll make the type of difference necessary to see the Ravens look like Super Bowl contenders again.

That’s where the organization is after 14 weeks of the 2012 NFL season.

I know you don’t REALLY mean you’d rather see the Ravens getting blown out right now, but I understand why it feels that way.

-G

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For the Baltimore Ravens, this Season is About Timely Plays, Not Big Ones

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For the Baltimore Ravens, this Season is About Timely Plays, Not Big Ones

Posted on 14 July 2012 by andrewtomlinson

Losing Terrell Suggs is obviously a huge loss for the Baltimore Ravens defense, but the team does not need to look to replace him to get back to the AFC Championship Game, instead they simply need to play well in big spots.

There is no way a team can play at the same level or achieve the same things when it loses its top player. Whether it be offense or defense, losing a key member to a unit hurts on the field, in the locker room and in the huddle, but it does not mean all is lost for the Ravens. They are not anywhere close to being perfect defensively and there are a lot of holes and question marks, but the team just needs to pick its spots to perform well.

Racking up the sacks, turnovers, 90-yard runs and bomb passes for touchdowns are sexy and certainly make a team fun to watch, but they aren’t necessary to win the game. For a team to succeed in the NFL, they simply have to prevent the opposing team from getting into the end zone just enough so they can get into the end zone more. This may sound like a condescending lesson on the football basics, but so often people forget it is about stopping the other team from scoring, not lighting up a stat sheet.

Suggs is a huge member of the defensive core, is a leader and provides pressure off the edge on practically every down. He is a nice weapon to have, but it isn’t like he is the only weapon the Ravens have. His loss will be missed but with Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody in the middle joined by Pernell McPhee and Courtney Upshaw coming off the end, the Ravens should be able to stop the opposition from gaining first downs and driving down the field.

What the group is going to need to learn is that stopping the running back short by a yard on third and three, gets the same result as blowing him up in the backfield does. Sure, it may change the net field position you gain after a punt by a few yards, but then it is up to Joe Flacco and the offense to maintain the same consistency.

Which brings up another point of, what do the Ravens do if they don’t have Ray Rice too?

Rice is incredibly important to this team. He is their home run threat, the five-tool player — can you tell I have been watching a lot of baseball? — and a can’t miss guy when it comes to predicting performance. Yet he isn’t an integral part of the team’s success and if he holds out for part of the season for a new contract, the Ravens can still win. Again, just like the defense, the offense comes down to consistency. It isn’t about scoring the fastest or in the fewest plays, it is instead about scoring often and more than the other team.

Big plays are needed and at times you need to go deep, but the Ravens should not get away from just taking the little gains. Three plays of at least four yards gets you a first down and if you can string together a lot of four yard plays, before you know it you are in the end zone. For the offense, this may be key if only because that is how they will have to play in the postseason.

Too often team’s get caught up in the big plays and explosive shows of force, but in the playoffs those big plays seem to disappear. As a result, it is the teams who can methodically move down the field who often come out on top. The Ravens were not that team against the Patriots last year and need to instead pick their spots to go for it all on both offense and defense.

With potentially several key play makers missing on defense and at least one or two questions on offense, the Ravens are going to need to pick when they want go for the big sack, interception or pass. They have the ability to make the plays, but it isn’t like years past where a missed play on first down can be rectified by a big play on second or third. This team is going to have to make sure it plays within its limitations and understand they are not super human.

If they can play smart football, which by all accounts they will based on the leadership and coaching staff they have, the Ravens will be one of the best teams in football again this year. It is not inconceivable to think they can capture the North and make it back to the AFC Championship Game. That said, the team may look a little different than years past and instead of being a threat to make big plays on every down, fans may have to hold on and wait for the plays to happen at the right time.

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Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

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Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

Posted on 04 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

It was as if there were some in the sports broadcasting universe that wanted to remind me that the Baltimore Orioles have been struggling mightily as of late.

Sure, they’re just one game out of first place at the time I type this, but the Birds sadly appear to be in a downward spiral that unfortunately most of us expected.

I’ve been a regular “Baltimore expert” for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio since the channel’s inception, and I rotate having conversations with hosts about the O’s and the Baltimore Ravens. When I received a call last week asking me to appear on the channel, I assumed the conversation would go in the direction of the O’s, as I’ve made about four Orioles-related guest spots already this season.

But when the producer asked me if I’d be interested in talking some Ravens football, I was admittedly caught off guard. “It’s still baseball season” I thought. Just one night later I received a call from another producer on the channel, also asking me to make an appearance to discuss the Purple & Black.

So on both Friday & Saturday night of this past weekend I found myself talking Ravens football across the country on SXM. It was perhaps the single greatest reminder that in Charm City, a “June Swoon” is a great reminder that Training Camp isn’t particularly far away.

As the 2011 football season ended, there were two main narratives surrounding the defending AFC North Champs. One was surrounding the pending free agency of RB Ray Rice. The other surrounded the future of QB Joe Flacco, who was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens’ season ended 132 days ago in Foxborough (at least as of the time I wrote this) and yet seemingly little progress has been made regarding either situation.

It leads to the question (at least for me), “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?”

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio said in a recent appearance on “The Reality Check” (an excellent afternoon radio program on AM1570 WNST.net) that Rice’s agent Todd France was dead set on getting a deal similar to contracts given to Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (seven years, $100 million with $36 million guaranteed) or Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson (four years, $53 million with $30 million guaranteed). The Ravens are believed to be more interested in a deal similar to those recently given to Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (five years, $45 million with $20.76 million guaranteed) or Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (five years, $43.5 million with $20.75 guaranteed).

On top of that, a source with knowledge of talks revealed to me in recent weeks the Rice camp has a desire to see the running back’s deal exceed the overall value of Flacco’s.

A Carroll County Times report this weekend indicated the Ravens “aren’t anywhere close” to getting a deal done with Flacco. Flacco’s negotiating ability has been limited by the fact that contracts signed by quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning this offseason have been less than overwhelming financially. Manning landed a five year, $96 million deal, but if he’s healthy the Denver Broncos believe him capable of being Peyton Manning. The highlights of other QB contracts this offseason have been San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith (three years, worth up to $33 million with with $16.5 million guaranteed) and Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Flynn (three years, $26 million with $10 million guaranteed).

Neither deal is helpful to Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, although despite all of the goofy conversation nationally about Flacco’s standing against other National Football League quarterbacks, there simply could not be any argument either of those two quarterbacks have accomplished as much as Flacco. Humorously, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s deal is up a season after Flacco’s. There had been rumors the Chicago Bears were interested in getting a new deal done with QB Jay Cutler, a decision that could have been helpful in figuring out the parameters of a Flacco contract.

Remember when I asked “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?” Yeah, I’m aware that I’ve essentially answered my own question.

In both of my chats on SiriusXM this weekend I was asked what expected would ultimately happen with these situations. It was remarkably difficult to answer.

(Continued on Page 2)

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Your Monday Reality Check-Best team all season ending up winning title

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Your Monday Reality Check-Best team all season ending up winning title

Posted on 28 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

It’s a particular shame Monday’s NCAA lacrosse Championship Game was in Foxborough instead of right here at M&T Bank Stadium. It would have been a special celebration of a beloved game in Charm City.

Instead, Memorial Day became a special celebration of a deserving champion at Gillette Stadium.

I was at Ridley Athletic Complex Saturday, March 10 to see the Loyola University Maryland Greyhounds face the Duke Blue Devils. The Hounds had gotten off to a nice 4-0 start at that point in the season, reaching double digit goals in every game and holding their opponent to single digits in every game as well.

The issue at that point was the competition. Home wins over Delaware and Towson and road victories at Bellarmine and Michigan did little to convince anyone the Greyhounds were on the cusp of a breakthrough campaign.

It changed that day.

Star attackman and eventual Tewaaraton Award finalist Mike Sawyer put on an absolute clinic for Charley Toomey’s team, scoring six goals and leading the Hounds to a 13-8 win over the Devils. The Hounds were actually ranked ahead of the Devils in one of the recognized college lacrosse polls, but the victory still had the feel of an upset, as Duke was viewed as a legitimate national title contender.

From the opening whistle, it was apparent the Hounds were the more focused, determined squad. The 13-8 final didn’t even necessarily reflect the nature of the game, as Loyola held a 12-5 advantage after three quarters and appeared to let up late. The win came just after Toomey installed Jack Runkel as his starting goalie ahead of Michael Bonitatibus, a move that he would not have to reconsider at all the rest of the season.

On that day at Ridley Athletic Complex, the Loyola Greyhounds became more than just a team with a capable combination of scorers (Sawyer and graduate student Eric Lusby). They became more than just a fun team to watch. They became a legitimate threat to make a run to the Final Four.

Two and a half months later, they found themselves there. It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a run of good fortune. It wasn’t about bad luck for other teams. It wasn’t about an easy schedule.

This Loyola team proved that for the 2012 NCAA lacrosse season, they were unquestionably the best team in the country.

In Monday’s NCAA Championship Game, the Hounds dominated the University of Maryland in a way that perfectly encapsulated their entire season. They showed an incredible ability to score goals at times, but also showed that their midfield unit was as capable as their attack. Their wings battled for balls when face-offs appeared to be lost. Their defense was SUFFOCATING, preventing even a single goal from Maryland for a stretch of more than two and a half quarters, stifling a unit that had tallied 16 just two days prior against those same Duke Blue Devils. On top of all of that, Runkel was spectacular for a second straight game.

They left no doubt not only about who was the best team on Memorial Day Monday, but who was the best team in the country. They were a deserving #1 seed and they worked to become a deserving national champion.

A deserving national champion that didn’t play a single game on television until the postseason.

They lost just one game along the way, an overtime heartbreaker to a fine Johns Hopkins squad. They won THREE games over ECAC rival Denver University, two of those wins coming in the Mile High City. They recorded a win over every team that reached Memorial Day weekend.

Lusby and Sawyer now have name recognition, but the work of Runkel, Scott Ratliff, Chris Layne, Josh Hawkins, Pat Byrnes, Davis Butts, Justin Ward, Joe Fletcher, Nikko Pontrello, Patrick Fanshaw, Kevin Ryan, Phil Dobson, Sean O’Sullivan, Dylan Grimm, Pat Laconi, Kevin Moriarty and J.P. Dalton were deserving of having their names typed in a column like this as well.

Loyola becomes the smallest school to ever win a national championship in lacrosse. The title is the first and only Division 1 title in any sport for the school. The team was unranked before the season started. Toomey was able to accomplish the feat after being on the losing end as a goalie in the school’s only ever run to the National Championship Game back in 1990. Lusby broke the record for most goals in a single NCAA Tournament in the process.

The word amazing keeps coming to mind.

The title drought continues for the Terrapins, as they have not held the trophy since 1974. John Tillman has been to the title game twice in his two seasons in College Park, but the inability to win the big one will now already become a topic of conversation for the Terps’ alumni and fan base. They were a remarkably young team this season and will likely be right back in the title picture a year from now. It won’t help the sting of a Championship Game loss, but they showed many signs of being a team on the verge of greatness.

Loyola however was the definition of greatness. They were exceptional. And perhaps they even earned a measure of revenge for the city of Baltimore on the field where the Ravens saw their season end months earlier in the AFC Championship Game.

Eh…they were the best lacrosse team in the country. We’ll be more than happy to have that in Charm City.

-G

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Perhaps Trade Good Business, But Ravens Need Good Players

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Perhaps Trade Good Business, But Ravens Need Good Players

Posted on 27 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — I almost thought about just re-posting the column I wrote two years ago.

I DEFINITELY thought about writing nothing at all.

But after the Baltimore Ravens traded their first round pick in the NFL Draft to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the Vikes’ 2nd and 4th round picks Thursday night, I had a few thoughts cross my mind.

After making the trade, General Manager Ozzie Newsome described the decision as “good business” for the Ravens. He might very well be correct. According to the famous Jimmy Johnson trade chart, the Ravens’ 29th overall pick was worth 640 points. The two picks acquired by the Ravens (35th and 98th overall) are worth a combined 658 points. Based on the chart alone, the trade really does appear to be “good business.”

Let’s drag this out a little bit though. The combined value of having the 129th-160th picks in the Draft (or ROUGHLY the entire 5th round) is 1,093.5 points. The 14th pick in the first round of the draft is 1,100 points. The value is almost exactly the same.

So with that in mind-which would you rather have? Would you rather have the 14th pick in the NFL Draft or the entire 5th round in the NFL Draft?

Don’t think about this TOO much. I don’t think there’s really a correct answer here.

The point I’m trying to drive home is that the acquisition of an additional pick or the breakdown of picks based on a numerical chart does not guarantee a selection in the draft is necessarily “good business.”

The last time the Ravens traded out of the first round was in 2010, when the team famously dealt the 25th overall pick in the first round of the Draft to the Denver Broncos for the 43rd, 70th and 114th overall picks in the Draft. The team would go on to select LB Sergio Kindle with the 43rd pick, TE Ed Dickson with the 70th and TE Dennis Pitta with the 114th. While Kindle has been almost a complete non-factor in the two seasons since the deal (and it is hard to imagine him becoming much more than that), Dickson and Pitta have established themselves as capable contributors at the pro level.

The player selected in the 25th spot was now New York Jets QB (and Special Teamer?) Tim Tebow. At first blush, the deal appears to have been “good business” indeed for the Baltimore Ravens.

But if we step back even a bit more, it’s worth identifying some of the players selected between the 25th and 43rd spot in the 2010 Draft. The list includes New England Patriots Pro Bowl CB Devin McCourty and TE Rob Gronkowski, as well as players like New Orleans Saints CB Patrick Robinson (4 interceptions in 2011), Miami Dolphins DL Jared Odrick (6 sacks in 2011), Detroit Lions RB Jahvid Best (over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 6 combined TD’s in 2010 before an injury shortened 2011 campaign) and other promising young players.

The Ravens picked up Kindle, Dickson and Pitta but could have had Gronkowski.

This “which would you rather?” argument is nearly as compelling as the earlier one presented. In the spirit of full disclosure, the Ravens have said Gronkowski failed a physical before the 2010 Draft that took him off their board.

The 2010 deal could perhaps prove to ultimately be known as “good business” or it could ultimately be known as the year the Ravens missed on a chance to get one of the more dynamic players in the National Football League. Moreover, two of the players selected between the time the Ravens traded out of the 25th pick and ultimately selected with the 43rd pick in 2010 went on to help a Pats team eliminate the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship Game and prevent the Purple & Black from reaching their first Super Bowl in over a decade.

So while we’re quick to accept the idea that trading out of the first round with talented players still on the board like LB Courtney Upshaw, WR Stephen Hill, OL Peter Konz and OT Jonathan Martin was “good business” for the Ravens Thursday night, let’s tell the whole story and paint the entire picture. Trading out of the first round MIGHT have been good business for the Ravens.

It MIGHT be looked upon as the time the Ravens missed out on a future superstar like Vikings S Harrison Smith, San Francisco 49ers WR AJ Jenkins, New York Giants RB David Wilson or (perhaps) Indianapolis Colts LB Upshaw.

As the headline of this column suggested, the Baltimore Ravens may have pulled off “good business” by dealing out of the first round, but the more important need for the team is to acquire good players. If the Ravens acquire good players with the 35th and 98th picks this year, the deal will ultimately prove to truly be good business.

If the Ravens instead miss out on those picks, the deal will be known more as the year where a team looking to make the next step towards a Super Bowl title failed to acquire good players.

You’ll probably tell me I’m being negative. I’d like to think I’m just being realistic.

-G

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Your Monday Reality Check-My Favorite Game Ever Happened Ten Years Ago

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Your Monday Reality Check-My Favorite Game Ever Happened Ten Years Ago

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

You’re going to have to indulge me on this one. I have no one to yell at and no incredible statement to make about a current sporting event.

Instead, if this column was called “Your Saturday Reality Check”, I would have gotten this perfectly to the date.

Ten years ago-Sunday, March 24, 2002-the University of Maryland met the University of Connecticut in the East Region Final (or the Elite 8 if you well) of the NCAA Tournament. The game was at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University.

For full disclosure, I wasn’t there. It was my freshman year at the University of Maryland, but I didn’t make the trip. I didn’t make the trip to the Georgia Dome for the Final Four either, which is one of the greatest regrets of my still very young life. I actually think our own Luke Jones was at the game, but I’m just rambling now.

You certainly remember the shots that defined the game. The Terrapins trailed the Huskies 77-74 with just under four minutes to play as Caron Butler simply wouldn’t let UConn go away quietly. Juan Dixon calmly sank a three pointer from near the top of the key to even the game back up. Then in the final minute, a previously scoreless Steve Blake altered a play call in the huddle and used a ball fake to create an open three for himself to put the Terps up 86-80, effectively the final nail in the coffin of a 90-82 victory.

What I remember was how the game felt like the most intense college basketball game I had ever witnessed. While Gary Williams likely ruined an expensive suit due to sweat that afternoon, Glenn Clark also ruined a number of t-shirts and a pair of pajama pants. This was a game where neither team ever appeared to have the upper hand. Lonny Baxter was absolutely dominant in the paint against future NBA standout Emeka Okafor, but Butler’s 32 points kept the Huskies at Maryland’s heels all afternoon.

We’re planning to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the University of Maryland’s only basketball championship throughout the week on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. I’ve admitted regularly that I openly wept at Cole Field House that early April night (the anniversary of the championship is this Sunday for those scoring at home) in College Park. I had two goals for my life from about the time I was eight years old. One was to become a professional broadcaster, the other was to attend the University of Maryland.

Being a “Terp” was in my blood. My grandmother (a journalism teacher in Baltimore County and later professor at Morgan State University) is a University of Maryland alum. While I was too young for the Bob Wade era of Maryland basketball to mean much to me, the early years of the Gary Williams era (which were not always pretty) shaped who I wanted to be when I stepped on a basketball court at Chapel Hill Elementary School or Perry Hall Middle School. I pretended to be Evers Burns. I pretended to be Kevin McLinton. I ABSOLUTELY pretended to be Walt “The Wizard” Williams, Joe Smith, Keith Booth and Sarunas Jasikevicius.

I really had no idea I’d ever witness my heroes playing in a Final Four or for a national championship. I had felt the 1999 team (lead by Steve Francis) had a legitimate chance, but Erick Barkley and St. John’s extinguished those hopes in the Sweet 16. Just weeks before Maryland’s initial Final Four run in 2001 there were calls for the head of Gary Williams after an embarrassing streak of five losses in six games (including a “rock bottom” defeat at the hands of Florida State on Valentine’s Day).

But there was something about the 2001-2002 Terps that made you believe the entire time that team was capable of finally breaking through. The heartbreak of blowing a big loss to Duke in the Final Four the year earlier seemed to fuel them to an ACC regular season championship and back to that afternoon at the Carrier Dome. The confidence of an incredible group of upperclassmen was never lacking at any point during the season.

Maryland’s run to the National Championship was unprecedented. After an opening round win over Siena, the Terps faced a modern day “Murderer’s Row” of basketball programs as they ran through Wisconsin, Kentucky, UConn and then Kansas and Indiana. Maryland faced the highest seed they could possibly face in every round as a 1 seed (16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1) as well. Yet somehow they never really seemed to be in danger of losing.

In the Final Four a huge second half lead was cut into by the Jayhawks, but it never appeared particularly nerve-racking. The Hoosiers briefly held a second half lead in the National Championship game, but a quick baseline jumper from Dixon turned the game back toward the favor of Maryland.

The only game that involved great drama was the UConn game. It was the type of drama that sees eight ties and seven lead changes in the final 13 minutes. It was the type of drama that almost could never be fairly described in words. (ESPN’s Dick Vitale described it as a “Maalox Masher” immediately after the game. He’s certainly a wordsmith if nothing else.)

It was the type of drama that made you think “whoever wins this game is winning a national championship” in the second half. At least it made me feel that way…and I was right.

To this day, this is still my absolute favorite game I’ve ever watched. More so than the Tennessee Titans/Baltimore Ravens AFC Divisional Playoff in 2001, more so than the Mike Mussina/Randy Johnson showdown at Camden Yards in Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS, even more so than the Andre Agassi/James Blake thriller at the 2005 U.S. Open. If your heart can take it, it’s worth reliving below.

I’m not sure mine can, but I’m still grateful for these memories some ten years later.

Carry on.

-G

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Broncos SB Odds Improve, Ravens Drop After Start of Free Agency

Posted on 19 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Peyton Manning Odds

Peyton Manning – Total Passing Yards in the 2012 Regular Season? 

Over/Under                    4000    

Peyton Manning – Total TD Passes in the 2012 Regular Season?       

Over/Under                    28½

Peyton Manning – Completion % in the 2012 Regular Season?          

Over/Under                    65%

Peyton Manning – Total Interceptions in the 2012 Regular Season?   

Over/Under                    16½

Peyton Manning – Will his first pass of the season be complete, incomplete, or an Interception?

Complete                      -180     (5/9)

Incomplete                    +150     (3/2)

Interception                   +1000   (10/1)

Peyton Manning – Will he win 2012 NFL MVP?           

Yes                              7/1       

Peyton Manning – Will he win 2012 Comeback Player of the Year?   

Yes                              1/1       

Tim Tebow Odds

Tim Tebow – Which team will he be on for Week 1 of the Regular Season?     

Jacksonville Jaguars                  3/2

Denver Broncos                         7/4

Miami Dolphins                          7/4

New England Patriots                 7/1

Cleveland Browns                       12/1

Tim Tebow – Will he start as a QB in the NFL Week 1 of the Regular Season?          

Yes                  EVEN  

No                    -140     

Broncos Odds

Denver Broncos – Regular Season Wins         

Over                              10        

Will the Denver Broncos play against The New York Giants in the 2013 Super Bowl?           

Yes                              50/1     

Will the Denver Broncos win the AFC?

Yes                              6/1

Will the Denver Broncos win the AFC West?

Yes                              2/3

2013 SUPER BOWL XLVII ODDS  (odds current, 3/19/2012)                  (odds on 2/6/2012)

Green Bay Packers                                13/2                                          6/1

New England Patriots                             15/2                                          7/1

New Orleans Saints                               10/1                                          8/1

Denver Broncos                                     12/1                                          50/1

Houston Texans                                     12/1                                          12/1

San Francisco 49ers                              14/1                                          18/1

Baltimore Ravens                                   15/1                                          14/1

Philadelphia Eagles                                15/1                                          12/1

New York Giants                                    16/1                                          15/1

Pittsburgh Steelers                                18/1                                          12/1

Dallas Cowboys                                     20/1                                          18/1

San Diego Chargers                               22/1                                          16/1

Chicago Bears                                       25/1                                          30/1

Detroit Lions                                          25/1                                          18/1

Atlanta Falcons                                     28/1                                          22/1

New York Jets                                       30/1                                          16/1

Carolina Panthers                                  40/1                                          50/1

Cincinnati Bengals                                 40/1                                          40/1

Miami Dolphins                                      40/1                                          35/1

Seattle Seahawks                                  40/1                                          60/1

Arizona Cardinals                                   50/1                                          30/1

Kansas City Chiefs                                50/1                                          50/1

Oakland Raiders                                    50/1                                          50/1

Tennessee Titans                                   50/1                                          40/1

Washington Redskins                            50/1                                          60/1

Buffalo Bills                                           75/1                                          60/1

St. Louis Rams                                      75/1                                          75/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                         75/1                                          75/1

Indianapolis Colts                                   100/1                                        50/1

Jacksonville Jaguars                               100/1                                        100/1

Minnesota Vikings                                 100/1                                        75/1

Cleveland Browns                                   150/1                                        100/1

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

“Our Super Bowl odds have been down for a couple weeks until we knew where Peyton would go since this signing would have such a huge impact on every team’s odds.  Denver who we had at 50-1 before we closed the odds have dropped to 12-1 and as I expected the public is taking them regardless as soon as we opened this morning.  We were a bit lucky that Denver came out of nowhere in the Manning Sweepstakes so not too many people bet them at 50-1.”

-Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager

 

 

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