Tag Archive | "Andy Reid"

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Week 3 Coach Speak

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Brian Billick

This week on the show I host on FOXSports.com, Coach Speak, I talk with Eagles head coach Andy Reid about his two quarterbacks, Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, I give my best “never say never” moments of the NFL’s Week 2 schedule, we get a tutorial from Jets’ defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman on how cornerbacks use press coverage techniques, Chargers’ tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski tells us about San Diego’s two-TE formation, I give my thoughts about not panicking when you have an 0-2 start like the Cowboys and Vikings have right now and I talk to Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh about one of his favorite subjects this week — too much protection for the quarterback.

Make sure you catch my on-air visits each week talking about the NFL on WNST during the football season. Here is Week 3′s Coach Speak …

Video: Coach Speak: Week 3

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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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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won’t Get It ….

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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won’t Get It ….

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Rex Snider

While I’m not a passionate fan of Michael Vick’s play on the football field, I have been quietly rooting for him since last season’s return.

To be honest, my hope in seeing him overcome his past has no real tie to football or athletic achievements, at all. I’ve really hoped he would leave his sordid transgressions and the associated lifestyle in the rear view mirror, while proving to himself and others that he is indeed a “CHANGED MAN.”

Better yet, I thought Michael Vick could motivate a growing generation of adolescents who’ve made poor personal choices in their young lives. Maybe, just maybe, his story and ultimate rise from self-destruction would help others in an inspirational way.

There is just one “catch” ….. this anticipated story of a compassionate comeback needs to stay on track.

As recently as a couple weeks ago, things were looking very opimistic.

Today, I’m not so sure.

As the world now knows, Michael Vick celebrated his 30th birthday with a BIG BASH at a Virginia Beach nightclub, on Thursday night. It was promoted and advertised to the general public, via Facebook, Twitter and informal means.
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While some people might think that hosting parties and momentous celebrations are an expressed inclusion of our freedoms, many of us also realize that such events are an invitation to more than just dancing, drinking and eating birthday cake.

And, discerning between these two considerations is probably where Michael Vick screwed up.

I don’t care that he’s a convicted felon and federal parolee; I don’t simply assume he’s done something illegal. He’s paid his debt to society – he has every right to attend charity functions at Martins West, movie premieres in Hollywood and parties thrown in his honor.

However, a clearly distinct line distinguishes the difference between the “RIGHT” to do something, and whether it’s “RIGHT” to do something. I’m certain celebrities employ such decision making methods when considering their presence and involvement at events – both public and private in nature.

It doesn’t matter if they organize or host the event, if a BIG NAME is in attendance and something goes wrong, they’ll be forever tied to it. Just ask TMZ’s Harvey Levin …..

When is the last time this guy did something DUMB or ill-advised in a social setting?
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Good luck finding such an incident. You’ll likely search for days and still never find any smoking guns. And, there is a very plausible reason behind striking out on any quest in finding dirt on Peyton Manning – HE KNOWS BETTER.

Peyton Manning is aware of his image, reputation and obligation to an array of different people. The list includes …..
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His Team
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His Wife
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His Business Partners
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His Family’s Name
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I’m sure you see my point – even if you disagree. But, the names go beyond Peyton Manning. I’m confident this list of guys will not be arrested, accused of criminal conduct or attending a party where another attendee is SHOT, in 2010 ….. Drew Brees, Derek Jeter, Steve Nash, Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Albert Pujols, Hines Ward, Tim Duncan, Jeff Gordon, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco …..

How about this ….. I can think of a list of guys who have endured legal troubles, while making some very poor choices in their respectives pasts. But, they’ve given us every reason to believe we won’t be seeing their name associated with crime and punishment, by year’s end. For me, the list starts with Ray Lewis.

It’s been a decade since Ray ran afoul of the legal system or found himself in a public meltdown of poor judgement. He’s way beyond such indiscretions – he values his reputation and image. He has plenty of company among those who’ve had troubles and overcame them, like ….. Kobe Bryant, Ricky Williams, Josh Hamilton, Kurt Busch, Bernard Hopkins, Brett Favre and Jamal Lewis.

Of course, the final group is those who’ve committed multiple transgressions. Arrested? Yes. Stupid decisions? Yes. Numerous occurences of one or both? Yes. These are the guys you’re most likely going to be hearing about during a BREAKING NEWS segment, early in the morning. This is where you’ll find Brandon Marshall, Elijah Dukes, Sidney Ponson, Marshawn Lynch, Mike Tyson, John Daly, Jeremy Mayfield, Cedric Benson, Allen Iverson, Matt Jones, Delonte West and Michael Vick.

Hey, it’s accurate.

Michael Vick may very well have intended to celebrate an innocent occasion, last Thursday. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on it. He doesn’t want to screw up – he doesn’t want to be out of a job – he doesn’t want to go back to prison. I honestly believe these things.

However, I also believe Michael Vick lacks the sensibility to dissect a proposed action or decision, while considering the ramifications of the FALLOUT if something goes wrong. That’s exactly what he should’ve done when the idea of his birthday party being held at a nightclub, and open to the general public was tabled.
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Why?

Well, there are a few reasons. Foremost, there is very little positive exposure to be gained in a nightclub environment. While nightclubs attract girls dressed in their sexiest wares, they also serve as a hotspot for people with checkered characters. Say what you will – Mike should be whoring himself to more “feel good” opportunities than President Obama, Tom Cruise and the CEO of BP, combined.

Another consideration is Michael Vick should not host, endorse or attach his likeness to ANY EVENT, unless he has direct control over it. I don’t care if a promoter really handled the party, its got the name MICHAEL VICK forever stamped to it. In the future (or in hindsight), he should celebrate his birthday with a party at home or in an establishment that can offer a respected reputation and a high degree of decorum.

If he wants to get CRAZEE and dance with some hotties, while fondling an expensive champagne bottle, he should have the party at home – and make all guests leave their cellphones at the door. Be assured, that’s what happens at Diddy’s house. And, he has much less to worry about than Mike does.

You don’t think Alex Rodriguez enjoyed the arrival of his 30th birthday? How about Ladanian Tomlinson? Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Shaq? They just make good decisions when it comes to enjoying themslves.

As we sit here today, Michael Vick has problems. He might not face any legal sanctions with his Probation Officer. But, I think that everything else is in limbo. I’d bet my HOUSE that a certain group of individuals are angry as HELL. They’ve attached themselves to Michael Vick and he has let them down. Of course, the most important one is obvious …..
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However, you can also include Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Tony Dungy and Arthur Blank. Each of them went to bat for him, helped him or had a HUGE part in giving him this most recent chance to make a living as a member of the National Football League.

What could they do differently, specifically ask “Michael, will you be celebrating your 30th birthday in a nightclub” ??? They should’ve expected that he would exercise better judgement. No doubt, they rightfully expected it from him.

With each passing hour, more and more details regarding the NIGHTLIFE of Michael Vick are surfacing. Welcome to the age of Twitter, Facebook and online tabloids. We now know Vick hosted parties in May, as well as April.

I wonder if dog fighting co-defendant, Quanis Phillips, attended those events. Probably not. Why did he attend this one? Well, it was held near his home. But, most importantly, he attended last Thursday’s party, because he could.

NOBODY and/or NO PLAN was in place to stop such a situation. And, if they did plan for it, they failed …. which is even worse, if you really think about it.

Thursday’s incident is a loud, distinct message to one of Michael Vick’s former endorsers, as if they have really considered resurrecting his marketability …..
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You can bet the folks in Beaverton, Oregon, are thinking one thing …. “MIKE AIN”T WORTH THE RISK.” And, if Nike is scared off, so is McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Visa and Under Armor. Like humans, corporations are known to forgive and reconcile, but they arguably take far less chances than people do.

Over the last few days, we’ve heard the typical “we will wait until all the facts are known before addressing the situation” line. It’s the SAFE thing to say …. and it may very well apply to the United States Justice Department’s role in the life of Michael Vick.

But, rest assured, NFL spokeman, Greg Aiello, was better off giving the politically correct statement, rather than saying “Roger is done with this experiment.”

As for the Eagles, did you expect them to say “Mr. Lurie is knee deep in trying to void Michael Vick’s contract.” Oh and “Jeff Garcia is visiting team headquarters, later this week.”

Perhaps, both Mr. Goodell and Mr. Lurie haven’t exercised such drastic measures. But, you can bet they’re not sitting on their hands while waiting for an outcome, either. Not a chance …..

They know what they need to know.

Michael Vick may never, EVER be involved in another incident of violence. He may never pose for another mugshot in his life.

But, he cannot be trusted to really think about a potential outcome to the hair-brained ideas of family, friends and cohorts. No doubt, he’s as spontaneously reactive to his cultural ideals as Paris Hilton is to shopping for shoes.

He’s evidently incapable of change. He is who he is …..

He just can’t be trusted to do the RIGHT thing.

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Wednesday’s PM Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Wednesday’s PM Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 31 March 2010 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Eagles falling apart in Philly.  You know, I guess I can understand the Eagles’ hesitance in trading Donovan McNabb.  Over the last decade the Philadelphia Eagles have been, if nothing else, one of the most consistent franchises in the National Football League.  Coming off a 3-13 record in ’98, team owner Jeffrey Lurie finally put in place the integral pieces of a puzzle that would result in 5 NFC East Titles, and 8 Playoff births over the next 12 years.  He hired Andy Reid as Head Coach, who in turn hired Jim Johnson as Defensive Coordinator, and the organization selected Donovan McNabb with the #2 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.  By 2001 Brian Westbrook was an undrafted rookie making an impact and the Eagles were on their way to 5 NFC Championship Games.  On January 18th, 2008 it seems the Eagles franchise officially began their rebuilding faze.  They lost 32-25 to the Arizona Cardinals that day in the desert and a tumultuous two year time span has ensued.  In the summer of ’09 Jim Johnson, after 40 years of service to the game of football, passed away after a bout with cancer and Brian Westbrook, due to continuous concussion issues, was released by the team this off-season after 10,000 yards and 66 TD’s combined rushing and receiving.  Andy Reid is still the head coach; and yes, he and McNabb are still attached at the hip… for the moment.  But as rumors, speculation, and proposed ‘front’-runners’ for McNabb’s services continue to emerge, it seems all the more likely his football marriage with Philadelphia appears headed for divorce.  It’s a shame, too.  If Jeffrey Lurie hadn’t decided to bring Michael Vick back into the league as his third-string quarterback and paid his $1.5M roster bonus this off-season, McNabb might stand in a better position with the only team he’s ever played for.  But as it stands now, Jeffrey Lurie, the man who facilitated bringing in the foundation of Reid, Johnson, McNabb, and Westbrook in the first place, may now have to hammer home the last spoke to break apart the final two, all by trading the best QB in Eagles franchise history.  Must be a tough trade trigger to have to pull.

Suggested Reading

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “Steelers are no better than the Bengals.” Strong headline from Ron Cook, who’s not talking about talent, or even winning games, on the field.

Deadspin: Editor Will Leitch takes a look at Baltimore’s very own Orioles in, “The Stacked Deck.” While the title gives the impression of a very positive, upbeat write-up, Leitch comes to this by the end, “Is this what this new plan is leading to? A 78-win season in 2013? That’ll sell some tickets.”  Haha.

SI.com:  Thirteen Sports Illustrated Baseball Experts give their predictions for the 2010 season in their very appropriately named, “2010 MLB Preseason Predictions.” In case you’re wondering, Matusz was named as A.L. ROY on 7 of 13 ballots.

New York Post:  More Tiger details from David K. Li in, “The naked truth on tomcat Tiger.” Apparently we’ll have a long ‘Vanity Fair’ cover story on Tiger’s mistresses coming up very soon.  The Post scoops in for a preview.

Deadspin: Barry Petchesky looks at, “The (other) Least Desireable Gig in College Basketball.” I gave St. John’s a hard time, but it seems they ended up doing decently for themselves with Lavin.  Who does DePaul turn to?

Video of the Day

Who doesn’t love ‘Ridiculous Shots That Don’t Count’ videos?  Here’s Flip Murray’s from last night… pretty incredible.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St2L0fvXYC0[/youtube]

Tweets of the Day

WNST Comcast Morning Show Producer, Glenn Clark – WNST

GMC: #Ravens vs. #Carolina 8/12 on #ESPN; @ #Skins Aug. 20 or 21; vs. #Giants 8/27 or 8/28; @ #Rams 9/2 in preseason

WNST NFL Correspondent, Chris Pika – WNST

Chris Pika: Former #Maryland hoops player/asst. coach Dave Dickerson is out as #Tulane head coach after 5 seasons, according to media reports.

New York Times College Basketball Columnist, Pete Thamel – PeteThamelNYT

Theme song from Indy: “Its the end of the world as we know it.” Jim Delany (Big Ten Commissioner) tells USA Today that expanded tourney “probable.”

ESPN College Basketball Insider, Andy Katz – ESPNAndyKatz

News conference at Pitt this afternoon to announce coach Jamie Dixon — getting an extension. Not leaving for Oregon as expected.

D1scourse Blogger, Patrick Stevens – D1scourse

So, if Carolina wins tomorrow, will the banner in the Dean Dome read “NIT champion” or “A-10 semifinalist”?

Baltimore Sun National Baseball Writer, Dan Connolley – danconnollysun #Orioles getting clubbed in 5th inn by Red Sox, 9-1. Lester has allowed 2 hits. Maybe both clubs are ready for the season

ESPN NFL Insider, Chris Mortensen – mortreport

Next QB Class: Washington’s Jake Locker, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett could all be top 5 picks in 2011.

ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter – Adam_Schefter

Waiting on Donovan McNabb gives us something to do while we’re waiting on Brett Favre.

Sports Illustrated Soccer Columnist, Grant Wahl – GrantWahl

Wayne Rooney out 2-4 weeks w/ankle sprain. Could impact ManUtd in Prem/CL, but not England for WC. http://bit.ly/9sIbeJ

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7

Posted on 10 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

This morning Drew named the top six players and one coach he would take on his team.

7. Mike Nolan
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6. Matt Hasselbeck
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5. Brian Urlacher
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4. Wes Welker
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3. Donovan McNabb
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2. Greg Jennings
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1. Hines Ward
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While Glenn did the opposite, naming six players and one coach he would NOT take.

7. Ike Taylor
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6. Jeremy Shockey
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5. Jay Cutler
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4. Andy Reid
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3. Albert Haynesworth
haynesworth

2. Miles Austin
austin

1. Adrian Peterson
peterson

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Head Coach Wanted – No Experience Necessary

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Head Coach Wanted – No Experience Necessary

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

The NFL is a copycat league, there’s no denying that. Every off season, like clockwork, teams of little fortune try like mad to emulate the successful practices that they’ve seen implemented by other clubs. It’s a league of trends, and those left behind said trends are likely to find themselves out of contention and likewise out of favor with their fans.

One of the interesting new trends in the NFL of late has been the propensity of teams to look beyond the usual suspects in attempting to fill their head coaching positions. Perhaps in no small part due to the recent success of such upstart coaches as Mike Tomlin of the Steelers or the trio of rookie coaches in John Harbaugh, Mike Smith and Tony Sparano who all led their teams to playoff appearances in their rookie campaigns last season, teams have all seemingly begun to reach for the next young star in coaching.

 

After the early successes of Harbaugh, Smith and Sparano, the NFL reacted in kind. Eight head coaches were hired last off-season, and among them, only Mike Singletary who had coached a handful of games as the interim coach had previous NFL head coaching experience. What’s more, at the start of the 2009 season, only 3 of 32 NFL coaches even had rings as head coaches, Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Mike Tomlin.

 

It’s probably a good thing that Superbowl credentialed coaches like Brian Billick, Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher have settled nicely into the TV ranks, because based on current trends, it could be quite some time before the league could consider them attractive coaching candidates again. Guys like those are left hoping these days that the likes of Coughlin or Mike Shanahan can do big things in regard to reversing the current trend.

 

Look no further than Shanahan’s own situation to illustrate how far the plight of the recycled head coach has come. Do you really think that Washington was on Shanahan’s short list of attractive destinations before gauging the lack of perceived interest that the market seemingly had in him?

 

If this season had proven anything however, it may have proven that finding the next young rock star coach may be easier said than done. Of the 8 aforementioned head coaching positions filled last off-season, only Rex Ryan and Jim Caldwell saw their fortunes advance beyond the regular season. The rest of those teams are left to ponder whether their leap of faith was actually the right move.

 

In the playoffs however, a surprising, if not disturbing trend has arisen this season. In the 8 playoff games staged so far this season, all but one have been won by the teams with the least experienced coaches. Among the 3 coaches who went into 2009 with   Superbowl hardware, only one even qualified for the playoffs, and for his efforts, Belichick’s Patriots were rewarded with perhaps the playoffs’ most unceremonious ouster.

 

In the opening weekend, second year coach John Harbaugh watched his Ravens bounce the Patriots along with Bill Belichick, his 15 seasons of experience (10 in New England) and his three Superbowl rings right out of the playoffs. Additionally, Ken Whisenhunt, in his 3rd season saw his Cardinals eliminate the Packers led by Mike McCarthy in his 4th season at the helm. Rookie Jets’ coach Rex Ryan saw his team take out Marvin Lewis’ Bengals, in Lewis’ 7th season as head coach. And in the read between the lines match up, Andy Reid in his 11th season in charge of the Eagles lost to Wade Phillips, whose coaching career began 6 seasons before Reid’s, but Phillips only has 8 total seasons spread out over 3 cities of head coaching experience, and has only been in charge of the Cowboys since 2007.

 

The second round saw the only upset to the trend when 4th year coach Sean Payton saw his Saints eliminate Whisenhunt’s Cardinals. Otherwise, Brad Childress in his 4th season and the Vikings took out Phillips’ Cowboys, and a pair of rookies in Rex Ryan and Jim Caldwell beat out the oft-recycled Norv Turner and the grizzled second year vet in Harbaugh.

 

None of that likely gives us any indication of which way to go this weekend, as both championship games will feature head coaches of equal tenure. Childress and Payton, both in the head coaching ranks since 2006 will meet on the NFC side, while a couple of rookies in Caldwell and Ryan will duel it out for the AFC. And once the dust settles in 3 weeks, one thing will be for sure, there will be one more coach going into next season with that elusive Superbowl hardware, as a first timer is now guaranteed to win; it’s just matter of which first timer.

 

Experience is a funny thing. In a 16 game NFL season, every game is bound to pose a new quandary, we’ve seen evidence of that here in Baltimore over the last 2 seasons, as Harbaugh has found his way admirably, but has also endured a lot of lessons learned on the job. For years, we’ll be left to debate whether the Ravens’ success over the last two seasons happened as a result of the Harbaugh regime, or despite it. Hindsight will surely show that at least a few of the young coaches who saw success this season would fall into the latter category.

 

One thing that’s probably not debatable though, is that Harbaugh is surely a better coach today than he was two years ago. Heck, he’s probably a better coach today than he was on Saturday in Indy. Experience is what’s made him better, and what will continue to do so.

 

Why experience is no longer seemingly valued in the NFL is beyond me, but that seems to be the trend. It could make things very interesting going forward, as most of the veteran candidates for head coaching jobs will likely have to gravitate to college or coordinators’ jobs until their stocks rise again. If the NFL is a coordinators league anyway, the impact on the field could be interesting.

 

Once upon a time, experience made you rich; now, in the NFL at least, it just makes you undesirable. In this league though, everything is subject to change on a moment’s notice. Something tells me that there are a lot of former coaches secretly cheering for Coughlin and Shanahan.

 

 

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Where Did Ravens Go Wrong in ’09? Look No Further Than Final 5 Minutes

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

It was fitting to see the Ravens fall apart in the final 5 minutes of the first half Saturday night in Indianapolis. Fitting because the final 5 minutes of halves are exactly where everything went wrong for this team throughout the season in dropping 8 games.

Need a refresher?

Week 4 @ New England:
Final 5 minutes of 1st half-The Patriots were ahead 10-7, but a Sammy Morris 12 yard TD followed by a Joe Flacco interception put the Pats up 17-7 at the break.
2nd half-After driving the length of the field, a hopeful game-winning drive faltered when Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton dropped passes to finish the Ravens’ chances.

Week 5 vs. Cincinnati:
1st half-After getting into Bengals territory with :33 to play in the half, the Ravens were unable to get even as much as a FG attempt before the half. They were forced to burn their final timeout at the :33 mark because an 8 yard pass to Todd Heap was in the middle of the field. (The Ravens ultimately lost by a field goal.)
2nd half-Carson Palmer converted a 4th and 1 to continue a hopeful game-winning drive, then Ray Lewis’ personal foul on Chad Ochocinco and Ed Reed/Frank Walker’s pass interference on a 3rd & 16 put Cincy in scoring position. They cashed in, as Palmer found Andre Caldwell for the winner.

Week 6 @ Minnesota:
1st half-Trailing 14-0, the Ravens had a golden opportunity to make the game a 1 possession game with a 1st & 10 from the Vikings 12 yard line and 2 timeouts. Unfortunately, all they could muster was a 1 yard completion to Ray Rice, and they were forced to kick a FG. (The extra 4 points would have made up the eventual 2 point difference.)
2nd half-After what seemed like an impossible rally, the Ravens went ahead 31-30. It took Brett Favre little time to turn things around for the Vikes-as he went 58 yards to Sidney Rice on a play where Frank Walker couldn’t have interfered more. After a Ryan Longwell FG put the Vikings back ahead, the Ravens had a chance to win the game, but a bad snap from Matt Katula lead to a bad miss from Steve Hauschka at the gun.

Week 9 @ Cincinnati:
1st half-Trailing 17-0, the Ravens got the ball back with 2:52 to play and a chance to do SOMETHING before going to the locker room. It took just one play for Joe Flacco to be picked by Leon Hall on an unnecessary deep ball, and the Bengals took that same advantage to the locker room.
2nd half-Despite a Steve Hauschka miss with 6:12 to play, the Ravens still had a chance trailing 17-7 late. Approaching midfield on the better side of the 2 minute warning and with timeouts still in their pockets, everything fell apart. Joe Flacco was sacked on 3 straight plays, and the Bengals essentially clinched the AFC North.

Week 11 vs. Indianapolis:
1st half-The Colts punctuated an 80 yard drive with a 5 yard TD by Joseph Addai to put the Colts ahead 14-9. After some strange play-calling, the Ravens DID still manage to cut the Colts’ lead to 14-12 going to the break, but better use of the clock could have taken them the extra 18 yards into the endzone.
2nd half-Trailing 17-15, the Ravens were marching towards a sure-fire FG or a hopeful TD to re-take the lead. But the drive fell apart when Joe Flacco was intercepted by Gary Brackett on a short pass over the middle. After getting a stop, the Ravens had one more chance-but Ed Reed fumbled away a punt return on an unthinkable lateral attempt.

Week 13 @ Green Bay:
1st half-The Ravens had given up just 3 points when there were 5 minutes left on the clock. By the time they went to the half, they had given up 17. Sound familiar? Jermichael Finley and Donald Driver caught Aaron Rodgers TD’s to extend the lead. Unbelievably, the Ravens actually had a chance to get points before the half when they got the ball at the GB 37 with :32 to play and 2 timeouts-but they could get just 12 yards.
2nd half-Due to Joe Flacco throwing one of the worst interceptions in Ravens history, the final 5 minutes at Lambeau Field were mostly unnecessary. But the Pack rubbed salt in the wounds anyway, adding a Mason Crosby FG and finishing things with a Clay Matthews sack to finalize a 27-14 victory.

Week 16 @ Pittsburgh:
1st half-After driving into Steelers territory, a drive to tie the game or potentially go ahead was thwarted by an Ike Taylor sack. The Steelers responded by marching downfield, and a Ben Roethlisberger-Santonio Holmes TD extended their lead to 20-10. John Harbaugh decided for some inexplicable reason to call his final 2 timeouts in the last 35 seconds-saying he had hoped for a pass to set up a Hail Mary. It doesn’t make any more sense now than it did at the time.
2nd half-Trailing 23-20, the Ravens marched into PITT territory and were approaching Billy Cundiff FG range at the 35 when they faced 3rd and 7. Two LaMarr Woodley sacks later, the threat was over. The Ravens had the chance to get the ball back one more time thanks to a Tom Zbikowski INT return, but the play was negated by a Frank Walker illegal contact call.

Divisional Round @ Indianapolis:
1st half-Tied at 3, the Colts faced a 4th and 4 from the Baltimore 35 that had the Ravens stopped-they would have been in great position to try to take the lead going to the half. Not only did Joseph Addai pick up the first down, Peyton Manning ultimately found Austin Collie for what would end up being the game-winning TD. The Ravens got the ball back, but mixed a 1st down run with 2 incomplete passes-giving Indy one more chance. They made it count, as Reggie Wayne hauled in a short TD to take a 17-3 lead.
2nd half-As was the case in Green Bay, the final 5 minutes were mostly unnecessary. But the Colts made sure the Ravens didn’t get even as much as a glimmer of hope-as Antoine Bethea and Jerraud Powers wrapped the playoff victory up with interceptions.

As you can see, the struggles over the final 5 minutes were in every phase of the game. Untimely mistakes, bad play calling, clock mismanagement, errors in judgment, and lapses from the defense, offense and special teams. It wasn’t a season where Joe Flacco, the secondary, the O-Line or the coaching staff struggled in the final 5 minutes of halves-it was a season where EVERYONE struggled in the final 5 minutes of halves.

Ultimately, the responsibility to win the final 5 minutes probably does fall on the head coach. Managing what tend to be frenzied situations and having to make quick decisions are the responsibility of the man in charge-as there can only be one voice in the panic. The final 5 minutes would be the time where John Harbaugh needs to be able to veto a call from Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison OR Jerry Rosburg-or just make a call on his own.

But even if he chooses not to do that, the final 5 minutes are where attention to detail is most critical from a head coach. This has plagued Andy Reid throughout his career in Philadelphia, and is probably the biggest reason why Reid is thought of as a really good coach instead of a Super Bowl winning coach.

John Harbaugh just wrapped up his 2nd year as a head coach. He has time to change things. But with every issue the team faced this season-the final 5 minutes of each half were the most obvious place where this team lost 8 games.

Losing 8 games won’t be acceptable if this team wants to take steps forward in the future.

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 09 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

David Hernandez is a fine trade chip for the Baltimore Orioles, but not for a short rental of Kevin Millwood. If the Orioles are going to trade David Hernandez, they should be trading him for a legitimate major league player who could be around for a couple years-you know, when the Orioles are planning on getting “good.”

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

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester says Harbaugh should have had control of Ed Reed, Derrick Mason, etc Monday night

Derek Arnold says John Harbaugh looks like “Andy Reid Jr.” with time management

Rex Snider wonders where ‘offensive guru’ Cam Cameron disappeared to

Mark Suchy says loss to Packers ‘ugliest’ of season

Tom Clayton says Harbs needs to ‘take control’ of Ravens

Corey Johns says Retrievers lost to Nittany Lions last night without Robbie Jackson-who didn’t make trip due to concussion

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Flacco, Ray Rice accepted blame for turnovers in Monday Night Football loss

The Official Site’s John Eisenberg says despite being just a game out in AFC Wild Card race, Ravens not ‘playoff-caliber’ team

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ed Reed’s absence ‘disappointing’ to John Harbaugh

The Official Site says Ravens practicing later today after playing Monday night in Green Bay

The Official Site says Derrick Mason, Samari Rolle hosting holiday event Thursday at Target in Pikesville

The Official Site says former WR Michael Jackson now mayor of Tangipahoa, Louisiana

The Official Site says Talavou found it hard to stay warm at Lambeau Field without playing

Lions Official Site’s Chrissie Wywrot says Jim Schwartz wouldn’t say whether Stafford will play Sunday

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says 12 penalties in loss most by Ravens in Harbaugh era

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Mark Clayton’s injury could mean more time for Kelley Washington, Demetrius Williams

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Harbaugh confirmed Cundiff played with concussion

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens tied with Steelers, Dolphins, Jets a game back of Jags in playoff race

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says David Hale also suffered concussion in loss

Detroit Free-Press’ Carlos Monarrez says Lions dropped Ephraim Salaam, claimed Maurice Williams from Jacksonville

Detroit News’ Tim Twentyman says Calvin Johnson still can’t do everything by himself

The Sun says former Raven Gano signed by Redskins to replace Suisham

The AP says former Raven Chris McAlister cut by Saints

USA Today has Ravens 13th in power rankings

SI’s Peter King names Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed to “All-Decade Team”

NFL.com has Ravens 17th in power rankings

NFL.com’s Vic Carucci says Walt Anderson should have let Packers, Ravens ‘play’

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has Ravens 16th in power rankings

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says Ray Rice took to Twitter to apologize for comments about Green Bay

Fox Sports’ Adrian Hasenmayer has Ravens 13th in power rankings

Fanhouse’s Josh Alper has Ravens 15th in power rankings

ESPN.com has Ravens 16th in power rankings

ESPN.com’s James Walker still thinks Cam Cameron amongst best OC’s in NFL

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Andy MacPhail has had ‘multiple conversations’ with Rangers about Kevin Millwood

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says fans still interested in Birds despite losing (Pete-I love you, but this piece REALLY comes off as an audition for a job at MASNSports.com if The Sun makes more cuts.)

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says O’s considering trade for Padres’ Kouzmanoff 

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Derek Lowe, Joe Blanton could also be trade options for Orioles

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Andy MacPhail confirmed meeting with Aroldis Chapman’s representatives

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Giants, Twins also believed to be interested in Kouzmanoff

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says teams around MLB interested in Felix Pie

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Kouzmanoff would be more than ‘stop-gap’, as Orioles can’t be certain both Josh Bell, Brandon Snyder will be ready in ‘11

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Miguel Cabrera won’t be trade option

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Jordan Williams leading ACC freshmen in rebounding

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Sean Mosley clearly improved

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Eric Hayes must ‘stay aggressive’

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Greivis Vasquez had ‘another frustrating night’ against Wildcats Sunday

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says whether or not Dino Gregory returns to starting lineup Saturday, he will certainly play a great deal

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps were best against Villanova with James Padgett on floor, best this season with Mosley on floor

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

Towson Official Site says Tigers hope to “Pack the House” at Towson Center tomorrow night against Maryland

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken recaps season for Maryland commit Andre Monroe

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Terps must sign Florida DB prospect Tony Grimes to get DE prospect Clarence Murphy (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Terps battling with West Virginia, North Carolina, Stanford, and Virginia Tech for Virginia QB prospect Lafonte Thourogood (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Ross Leonhart updates DeMatha prospect Kendall Patterson’s recruitment (must subscribe)

MORGAN BASKETBALL:

The AP’s Jon Krawczynski says Reggie Holmes scored 26 points, but Bears blown out at Minnesota

UMBC BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Chris De La Rosa, Brian Neller each scored 10 points, but Retrievers fell at Penn State

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The AP says Jeff Brooks lead PSU with 14 in win over Retrievers

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s visit to Coppin State Physical Education Complex to face Eagles

The Official Site offers complete Hounds-Eagles release (pdf)

LOYOLA LACROSSE:

The Official Site says Greyhounds picked to win ECAC

The Sun says Hounds picked ahead of Ohio State, Denver in ECAC

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site’s Bob Socci says Army coach Rich Ellerson once recruited Midshipmen coach Niumatalolo at Hawaii

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Army will be playing for bowl eligibility similar to how Hawaii played to keep bowl hopes alive

Annapolis Capital’s Bob Hough says Greg Zingler finishing career in Annapolis as backup QB

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Niumatalolo believes having Army/Navy game as only TV game Saturday (on CBS) will help school in recruiting

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says FB Glen Woods hopes to become Navy SEAL

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Knights can clinch trip to EagleBank Bowl with win, first bowl appearance since ‘96

Sports Business Journal says Midshipmen players will receive $300 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Under Armour shirt/hat/backpack, Belt buckle for participating in Texas Bowl

ArmySports.com breaks down matchups between Mids-Black Knights

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Cajou lead Mountaineers with 13 in 64-38 loss to Old Dominion

The Official Site offers numerical  evidence of loss

Carroll County Times says Kelly Beidler scored 6 points, tallied 5 rebounds in loss to ODU

Frederick News Post says Milan Brown knows Eers not ‘good offensive basketball team’ after woeful output against Monarchs

UMES BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s battle with Navy in Princess Anne

BLAST:

The Official Site says game time Sunday in Monterrey moved to 6:05

BALTIMORE MARINERS:

The Official Site says AIFA team added Richan Gaskins, Delannie Spriggs, Damon Harrison to camp roster

TENNIS:

The Sun’s Sandra McKee says Pam Shriver excited for World TeamTennis format for tonight’s BCF Tennis Challenge at 1st Mariner Arena

BOXING:

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson
says Mark “TNT” Tucker defending USBO belt for first time Friday night at Carroll County Agricultural Center

BALTIMORE COLTS:

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman ‘catches up with’ former Colts FB Randy McMillan

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Tuesday Top 7 will be posted shortly.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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Harbaugh Should Have Shouldered Blame Following Ravens’ Crushing Loss to Colts

Posted on 22 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens’ 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium wasn’t Joe Flacco’s fault.

Sure, Joe threw a costly pick with the Ravens in field goal position at the end of the game, but it wasn’t his fault.

The Baltimore Ravens’ 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium wasn’t Ed Reed’s fault.

Sure, there was NO REASON to try to lateral the football on the final punt return of the game-but it wasn’t his fault.

The Baltimore Ravens’ 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium wasn’t Billy Cundiff’s fault.

Sure, if Cundiff had tacked on the 3 points he missed on a 30 yard field goal; the Ravens would have scored 18 to the Colts’ 17-but it wasn’t his fault.

The Baltimore Ravens’ 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium was the fault of everyone on the football team. From the one with the smallest role (Long Snapper Matt Katula); to the one with the greatest (Coach John Harbaugh).

But following the Ravens’ loss, John Harbaugh’s chat with the media would have better served his football team had it sounded like this…..

“Guys, this one is on me. I shouldn’t have called timeout there before the review. I shouldn’t have asked someone who isn’t a punt returner to return the game’s most important punt. I shouldn’t have allowed Joe Flacco to throw the ball over the middle to Ray Rice. All of this is my fault. And I’m going to spend this week trying to figure out how I can improve as a football coach.”

He shouldn’t have said that because the loss IS his fault-it isn’t. He should have said it because the team desperately needs the deflection following ANOTHER crushing loss. Whatever he’s tried to do with his guys so far this season just hasn’t worked.

This team feeds off emotional ploys. They willed themselves to the AFC Championship Game a season ago thanks in part to the spirit of their friend and “teammate” O.J. Brigance. John Harbaugh credited the win at Texas Stadium a season ago to informing the football team that Jerry Jones personally selected them to be served on a silver platter to the Dallas Cowboys. He’s rallied the team around Rex Ryan, he’s rallied the team around even their O-Line Coach John Matsko.

But whatever he’s trying to do emotionally with this team this season isn’t working. They just aren’t responding when they’re most needed to. Maybe the message isn’t “stale” as most argued Brian Billick’s had become-but the message needs a re-heating.

Emotionally, this team just isn’t there. It might be a lack of focus (they were pretty loose again Friday in preparation for today’s game), it might be the fact that Harbaugh spends a great deal of time during the week reminding players of what they can and cannot say (which MULTIPLE players have confirmed to me), it might be that the team has just accepted their fate following a few crushing losses (although no one I have talked to has given me that idea).

But the same response of “We all could have done better, me included” just isn’t cutting it. Saying “I don’t have any thoughts” on Ed Reed’s pitch isn’t accomplishing anything.

The easy retort to this is “How do you know John is handling these things behind closed doors?”

I don’t know. Even though I’ve been given the indication that he hasn’t tried much in the way of emotional ploys; I still don’t know. But it also doesn’t matter.

This team needs to have their issues brought to light, and they need to be willing to talk about it. It’s an emotional bunch-NOT an Andy Reid coached, tight-lipped bunch. These guys just don’t respond to the business-like mentality that their head coach is trying to preach. They respond to raw emotion. They respond to being allowed to go a little crazy.

John Harbaugh should have gone off the script a bit today. He should have tried to win his group back emotionally.

The easiest way to have done that would have been to put it on himself; and accept responsibility for a bad loss even if he didn’t deserve it.

Instead, he’ll have an entire week to figure out what he needs to do.

-G

—————————–

NOTES:

-Fabian Washington (knee sprain) is the only injury concern. He’ll have an MRI tomorrow.

-The Ravens scored 12 points in the first half; reaching double digits in the first 30 minutes for the first time since Week 3 against Cleveland.

-With 135 total yards of offense, Ray Rice surpassed the century mark for the 7th consecutive game.

-Hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, Billy Cundiff, Dwan Edwards, Cam Cameron, Matt Birk and Haloti Ngata NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net. At one point, Ray Rice said Peyton Manning was “foolish” if he thought he had a good game today. Of course, Peyton won one more football game than the Ravens did today…..

4:04-MAYBE he was down; but I don’t think you overturn that. Game over. 17-15 Colts. Ravens 5-5.

4:02-I would have NEVER put Ed Reed back there to return that. NEVER. Ed is just too lackadaisical with the football.

4:00-Joe is only going to be able to throw the ball here about two times. A sack ends the game, an incompletion ALL but dooms them.

3:55-That timeout BEFORE the challenge about kills the Ravens. You challenge it OR you call a timeout. You can’t do both. The Colts can take this down to about a minute left now.

3:51-He’s been beat up a lot, but Domonique Foxworth made a nice tackle there. I think Reggie Wayne’s stretch made it.

3:50-Ray Lewis delivered a VICIOUS hit there, but the Colts still have it 3rd and 1. Picking this up would ALMOST doom the Ravens.

3:48-Fabian Washington hurt…..he’s helped off. Can’t walk. This looks bad.

3:46-Unthinkable. Absolutely unthinkable. The Colts knew the Ravens would go to Ray Rice there, and Joe threw the ball despite the fact that there were 3 men in white shirts in the area. Gary Brackett with the pick.

3:44-I don’t know why Derrick Mason goes out of bounds there……idea would be to run the clock. But 8 catches and 137 yards allows you to get away with a couple mistakes.

3:43-That Ray Rice is some kind of special……

They need yards here. 51 yarder for Cundiff otherwise….

3:40-You have to wonder how this city will handle it if that last field goal by Matt Stover ends up being the difference in this game. I really don’t even want to think about it.

3:34-Ray got an extra shot in on Reggie Wayne after that one fell incomplete there.

This is a gimme for Stover. 17-15 Colts. 7:02 left. Ravens need to 1-run clock, 2-score. No pressure.

3:31-That being said, Ngata lead with his elbow; that’s a penalty. Really no doubt about it.

Foxworth with a costly missed tackle. Ravens have to keep Indy out of endzone here.

3:30-Gotta give secondary a TON of credit today. Without Terrell Suggs-the Ravens have gotten almost NO pass rush.

And Paul Kruger gets to make a big play thanks to one of the worst play calls I’ve ever seen.

Ray Lewis is not happy with the personal foul call on Haloti Ngata.

3:25-Cundiff tied Matt Stover’s franchise record of 5 field goals in a single game with that kick. Stover did it 4 times while he was in Baltimore.

3:23-I would also probably run the ball with Le’Ron McClain or have Ray Rice try to leap in. But that’s just me.

Cundiff bounces back, and puts the Ravens ahead 15-14. That’s costly not hitting paydirt there, though.

3:21-If I was an offensive coordinator, I’d run the ball 4 times here. Whatever you do, you can’t lose yards.

3:18-LJ Smith with the first down catch? Holy crap. I’m pretty sure he just said “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Forrester!”

3:12-Just the 2nd catch on the day for Todd Heap; but that’s 2 more than I thought he’d make today. Big grab.

TERRIBLE drop there from Derrick Mason. Just terrible. Almost enough for me to leave him off my Tuesday Top 7.

Okay maybe not. Nice job by Mase to shake that one off.

3:09-Big play to get off the field with a 3 and out and give the offense another chance here. Whatever happens, the Ravens CANNOT fall behind two possessions.

Tom Santi (neck) is questionable to return.

3:04-Put that one on Matt Katula-which is the same as I have said many times on Hauschka kicks this year. So much for Billy Cundiff replacing Sheila Dixon as mayor.

3:03-Great grab there by Mark Clayton, but the Ravens REALLY can’t afford to come up short here.

3:02-There have been a ton of times watching Ray Rice that I’ve asked myself “How is he still on his feet???”

3:01-John Parry took some extra time to look at that to see where the ball should have been spotted. Handled well.

2:57-McGahee was down there. It was a fun, wacky play; but he was DOWN there.

2:54-Game-changing play there by 52. Colts would have made this a 2 possession game if that had been 6.

I have NO IDEA if Derrick Mason actually caught that ball or not, but I will TAKE IT.

Credit Jerraud Powers for solid coverage on that play.

2:51-WOW what a momentum changer. WIW. Caldwell almost has to review that there…..but I’m almost 100% certain that was a fumble.

I guess maybe he isn’t reviewing?

2:49-Tavares Gooden and Domonique Foxworth were in trouble there on that pass to Reggie Wayne.

For everything made about Paul Kruger this week-anyone noticed him?

2:41-Colts DE Keyunta Dawson is questionable to return.

Billy Cundiff’s 4 Field Goals in the 1st half matched a team record for a half set by Matt Stover 11/17/04 against Cleveland.

2:26-I guess with Matt Stover here in Baltimore-the Ravens were REALLY confused. They’ve gone back to the old no-TD offense they used to have with Matt. 14-12 Colts.

2:23-Mistake to call a timeout there. THAT’S where you spike the ball. I don’t usually agree with spikes, but that’s where you do it.

2:22-Big conversion there to make sure Indy didn’t get it back, not they have to try to do something. 36 ticks and 1 timeout left from their own 47…..

2:18-And despite all of the good things the Ravens have done in the 1st half, the Colts plunge back ahead. 14-9 Colts with 1:23 to play.

2:13-Boy he is so good and finding someone along the edge. That’s a great example of why Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Famer.

Harbaugh will challenge-haven’t seen anything definitive on the replay yet. Will keep watching.

Oh, Harbaugh not challenging? You can do that after you throw the red flag? Weird……

2:12-Lardarius Webb had NOTHING to offer there against Tom Santi. Who knew Tom Santi was such a weapon???

2:10-The Ravens have confirmed that the Colts are the only team that does not get the team NAME on the scoreboard here at M&T Bank Stadium.

2:08-71,320 here at “The Bank” today. The NFL STILL thinks Jacksonville was a better choice.

2:06-Billy Cundiff is currently more popular than Stacy Keibler, Willy Don Schaefer, and Nestor Aparicio combined. 9-7 Ravens.

2:04-Ray Lewis battling an ankle issue. He didn’t leave the game, but he’s in pain on sideline. Not getting any attention from medical staff.

Meanwhile, Ray Rice continues to play like the Team MVP.

2:03-Nice point made by “TheGipper” on Twitter. On the scoreboard in the stadium, the Colts are listed as “Indy” instead of “Colts.” The Ravens are listed as “Ravens.” Nice touch by the staff here.

1:58-The Ravens have had decent coverage thus far today. It hasn’t been perfect, but they’ve certainly rallied from their struggles on the first drive.

And just like that, Ed Reed is sitting back in center field to pick off Manning and get the ball back out to about midfield.

HUGE game for this defense after the initial drive. Just HUGE.

1:55-Peyton Manning forced to burn a 2nd timeout; credit the crowd here at “The Bank.”

1:52-The stop on Donald Brown gives the defense another chance to get off the field after 3 plays. Doesn’t happen; as Austin Collie comes back to make a nice catch.

1:50-Michael Oher’s hold hurt the Ravens in trying to do something on that drive. Thankfully De’Von Hall helped them out on the punt return.

Speaking of Oher-despite the fact that I’m told many showings of “The Blind Side” were sold out in the Baltimore area, I’m pretty sure New Moon will win the weekend box office battle……

1:42-Everyone in the crowd here at M&T Bank Stadium owes Jeff Saturday a big thank you for that hold. I would have taken the Colts to convert that EVERY time.

Nice decision there by Chris Carr to call for a fair catch. NO reason to risk it when you’re getting the ball at the 10.

1:41-Jim Caldwell HAS to go for it here in no man’s land. Stover can’t make this kick, and you only gain 17 yards of field position if Pat McAfee’s punt goes to the endzone-which it very well might.

1:39-Ray is currently letting Dannell Ellerbe know he missed the assignment on the long completion to Santi. Kudos to Drew Forrester for pointing that out up here.

1:38-A Tom Santi sighting!

If Joseph Addai breaks off a few more runs like that, the Ravens will have difficulty stopping Peyton in short yardage situations.

Tom Santi is on fire…..Ray Lewis had not shot at getting that.

1:36-TJ Rushing returned that one for Indy instead of Chad Simpson. Colts probably thought they should have gotten more on first two kickoffs given line drive nature of Cundiff’s kicks. Freddy Keiaho’s penalty didn’t help them.

1:33-Tim Jennings made the play on Mason after Flacco hung another one up.

Cundiff comes in and knocks another one through. Hitting your first will do wonders for your confidence. 7-6 Colts. The bad news here is that despite the Ravens really having outplayed the Colts now for the better part of the first 11 minutes, they still trail.

1:32-Flacco has hung 2 now. He’s fortunate that Melvin Bullitt didn’t even TRY to intercept that.

1:30-Talk about a big play. Wow. Dawan Landry with the INT off Fabian Washington’s tip. Landry is starting to quiet a few of the “We should have never let Jim Leonhard go” fans.

1:28-Good coverage again there on a bit of a line drive kick. Ravens can’t afford to fall multiple possessions behind so early.

Some on Ravens’ sideline encouraging crowd to get louder.

1:25-By far and away the biggest ovation I’ve EVER seen for a first quarter field goal here……even though he JUST barely got it through the uprights. Boy that was close. 7-3 Colts.

1:24-No pressure on Cundiff here, huh?

1:22-Heck, McGahee even makes a catch. Cam Cameron doesn’t trust him as a pass-catcher, which is why they stick with Ray Rice when they’re playing from behind and need to throw.

Flacco let that one hang up a bit to Mason there, which allowed Jacob Lacey to make a play on it.

1:20-And Derrick Mason gets involved early as well. This is already better than anything we’ve seen offensively in the first half than what we’ve seen in the last couple weeks.

Willis McGahee gets to come into the game because the Ravens put together an extended drive. Good news.

Ravens forced to take a timeout there because Chris Chester couldn’t get his shoe on. Hard to lose a timeout that way.

1:18-Le’Ron McClain gets involved to pick up the first down. Ravens must move ball methodically like this today knowing Peyton Manning is sitting on opposing sideline.

1:16-Big pitch and catch there by Joe Flacco and Kelley Washington on 3rd down. You can’t give the Colts the ball back after a 3 and out right now….

1:15-I’m a bit surprised John Parry overturned that. It might have been the right call, I’m just surprised he saw that on the replay. Good decision by Harbaugh to challenge.

1:12-Dallas Clark (321) just broke John Mackey’s franchise record for career receptions. That’s a bit awkward.

Also, that fumble by Lardarius Webb is the EXACT reason why the Ravens are sticking with Chris Carr as a punt returner. Possession is much more important than yards gained on a return.

1:08-Domonique Foxworth was BADLY confused on that play, and Dallas Clark has put the Colts ahead 7-0 early.

You CAN’T just let Peyton Manning have the ball first to start a game. Not a good decision.

1:06-This is why I don’t think you can give Indy the ball to start the game. Pierre Garcon can ABUSE Fabian Washington all day if he so chooses. Ouch.

Nothing brewing for Joseph Addai early, that’s not really a surprise.

1:04-Antwan Barnes was actually the first player to get a crack at Suggs’ spot; but he was rotated out after the first play. Clearly the Ravens plan to rotate all day.

That WOULD HAVE been a huge play for the Ravens to get off the field 3 and out. Reggie Wayne is going to do that, though.

1:02-No hang time on the kickoff, but the Ravens STILL do a great job in coverage to not allow Chad Simpson (Morgan State) to get the ball back to the 20.

Crowd is NUTS to start the game.

1:00-Ravens win toss, they’ll defer. Peyton Manning gets the ball first. Yikes.

12:56-Both Trevor Pryce and Dwan Edwards were listed as defensive starters. Maybe Pryce is sliding out to play Suggs’ spot?

12:53-Cundiff just missed 2 45 yarders, then hit a 3rd off the post. 4th was wide left again, 5th finally went straight through. Fans behind goalposts in state of utter panic.

12:11-Ravens in purple tops and white pants, Colts in white tops and white pants.

12:09-Both Matt Stover and Billy Cundiff have made 50+ yard field goals during warm-ups. Of course, those are with no snapper and no holder; and we saw Steve Hauscka make 50+ yarders in warm-ups as well. Not sure if we can make anything of that.

11:46-Here are your inactives:

Ravens:
QB John Beck (3rd QB)
RB Jalen Parmele
RB Matt Lawrence
OT Oniel Cousins
OT Tony Moll
LB Terrell Suggs
DT Kelly Talavou
DT Brandon McKinney

Colts:
QB Jim Sorgi (3rd QB)
K Adam Vinatieri
WR Anthony Gonzalez
DB Kelvin Hayden
RB Mike Hart
DB Aaron Francisco
TE Gijon Robinson
OT Mike Pollak

Colts made roster moves……OT Daniel Federkeil placed on IR; S De’Von Hall signed and is ACTIVE.

CB Jacob Lacey will start for Indy in place of Kelvin Hayden.

Obviously, Todd Heap and Haloti Ngata are both ACTIVE.

11:32-To answer a question many of you have asked this week, there is no type of video tribute to Matt Stover scheduled for today’s game. I know the Titans did something like that for Steve McNair when he returned to Nashville-but according to a team official who I spoke to on Friday-the Ravens do not intend to recognize Matt at all today; not even by putting him up on the jumbotron to allow fans a chance to applaud him.

11:23-Let’s try to clarify what everyone is chatting about over on Twitter right now-the report Sal Paolantonio just gave to ESPN.

First of all, John Harbaugh is NOT out on the field with Haloti Ngata. Clarence Brooks was watching Ngata go up against Kelly Talavou. He looked fine to me, but I guess there’s a chance they were concerned about something in his motion. However, Haloti has been practicing for over a week, and was VERY confident he’d play.

Also-Terrell Suggs being out for a month is NOT news. We all knew that. I believe I reported it EVERY DAY this week. It was a 3-4 week injury at best. You do not sprain/tear a knee ligament and return in a week, no matter how much Coach Harbs and T-Sizzle try to convince everyone it is possible.

Matt Stover was out chatting with friends at midfield, including WR Mark Clayton. Both Stover and Clayton are very religious, they were very close here in Baltimore.

10:51-Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore; where the 5-4 Baltimore Ravens face a pivotal contest with the 9-0 Indianapolis Colts today at 1pm. The game will air on CBS (WJZ 13 locally) with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf on the call. The Ravens need the victory to stay in the mix in the AFC Wild Card picture; as they currently trail the Steelers (6-3) and the Broncos/Chargers (both 6-3) by a game. The good news for the Ravens is that with a win-they will tie the loser of today’s game between San Diego and Denver; and they hold a tiebreaker over both teams.

I couldn’t help but notice a bunch of horseshoes and blue and white jerseys around M&T Bank Stadium today. While I’m certain that many of them came from “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest”, I am concerned that there are still fans around Charm City that root for Indy because “they just can’t root against those helmets.” I hope none of you reading this fall into that category.

Todd Heap (chest/ribs) is the biggest question mark for today’s game. My gut tells me he doesn’t play-but he was out here running a bit. Haloti Ngata (ankle) is not a question mark at all-he’s gonna go today.

We’ll have scratches out shortly. Make sure you sign up for the WNST Text Service-sent a text with “WNST” in the body to 68255.

-G

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog(11/17/09)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog(11/17/09)

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Jack McManus

9:32-

A caller brings up the struggles of the offensive line in the last few games. Drew believes that the team’s guards did not have good games last night. With matchups against Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis coming up, the line needs to step up.

mathis

9:18-

A caller compares the Ravens offense to that of the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams rely on a small running back to carry much of the load. This could very well be due to John Harbaugh’s long tenure under Andy Reid. Drew thinks the team over-relies on Ray Rice. This makes that team too easy to plan for.

 rice

9:06-

Tommy Polley is now on with Drew to talk some football. Polley talks about his participation in games that are simply very boring, like the one last night. He moves on to the Ravens’ improved talking last night. You must take whatever you can from a game like that. Polley next talks about playing against Peyton Manning. He states that he learned that football is more of a mental game than it is a physical game.

polley

8:50-

Pete from Downtown is the next caller. He explains that the Ravens will not be prepared to play the Colts on Sunday. He blames this on the coaching. He thinks the team should protest the people coaching the team, similar to what the Browns did last night.

harbaugh 

8:36-

A caller points out the fact that the Ravens were out of timeouts halfway through the first quarter. Drew does not understand what the coaching staff was looking at on the early challenge.

8:23-

Merton now joins from way over in Indianapolis. He asks if the Baltimore fans heard the 50 million people turning their TVs off. He states that the Ravens do not belong on the same field as Peyton Manning and the Colts. He leaves us by telling Baltimore that the curse of Robert Irsay will not go away until the city builds a statue of him in front of the stadium.

8:19-

Another caller brings up the Ravens’ recent struggles. He believes that Marvin Lewis must have figured out how to defeat the Ravens. He explains that ever since the team’s first loss, every other team has taken the same strategy and it has been effective.

8:03-

A caller blames the fact that the Ravens struggle to start off games on the team’s struggles on 3rd down. In order to fix that the Ravens need to be more dedicated to running the football. Another caller supports this point. He hopes that the team will change the game plan. The use of different backs will hopefully catch their opponents by surprise.

7:43-

Another caller talks about how the Ravens got Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain more involved in the offense. Drew thinks that the team is still too predictable on offense by not utilizing these two players. Someone else calls in and agrees with this point. He states that other teams seem to mix up their running backs more effectively than the Ravens.

7:40-

A caller talks with Drew about the impact of last night’s game. Drew explains that the only way to take the game is as “a win is a win.” The caller states that the Ravens have had too much difficulty in the passing game right now.

7:30-

Glenn is joining us this morning to talk about the Ravens Browns game last night. He and drew discuss the kicking situation. Drew will not make any excuses for any kicker missing a field goal less than 40 yards. However, he does not think the team makes a change because of the short week. Glenn agrees, but states that at some point Steve Hauschka must prove he can make points.

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