Tag Archive | "Antwan Barnes"

Greatest Ravens by jersey number (41-60)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Greatest Ravens by jersey number (41-60)

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Luke Jones

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

Part 1 and Part 2 covered jersey numbers 1 through 40 if you missed them.

Part 3 (41-60) presents the most obvious choice on the list—who was also chosen as the greatest player to wear his number in the history of the National Football League—as well as two of the most obscure numbers in team history.

41 Frank Walker (2008-09)

He was never popular among fans due to his propensity for drawing penalty flags, but Walker was not as bad as some made him out to be. Injuries often forced the backup into starter duty where his weaknesses were exposed.

His only competition for this number was Ralph Staten, a once-promising safety who was jettisoned from the team due to character issues in the spring of 1999. Regardless of where you stand with Walker, he is a pretty clear choice and has at least one big fan on YouTube.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ8A0kF5Gz0[/youtube]

Knowing Walker, it would not be a complete shock to find out he made this video himself.

42 Anthony Mitchell (2000-02)

I went back and forth between Mitchell and fullback Lorenzo Neal, but Mitchell’s three seasons in Baltimore allowed him to grab the honor. Mitchell spent his first two seasons with the Ravens as a special teams contributor before his workload in the secondary increased in 2002, starting six games and grabbing three interceptions.

Of course, the mere mention of Mitchell makes Baltimore think about a certain blocked field goal return in Nashville (check the 3:30 mark).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIiiXqnQ44k[/youtube]

43 Haruki Nakamura (2008-present)

Despite a promising future, Nakamura has done little to distinguish himself other than contributing on special teams in his first two seasons. However, it tops the work of other defensive backs like Vashone Adams and Anthony Poindexter.

44 Jason Brookins (2000-01)

The big tailback rushed for 551 yards in 2001, beating out the likes of Tony Vinson and Willie Gaston. Brookins is most remembered for leaving the Packers camp a year later after the staff asked him for his playbook, the traditional sign that a player is being cut. It turns out the coaching staff only wanted to add some new plays and by the time Brookins received the message, Green Bay coach Mike Sherman decided to cut the running back.

And the Baltimore coaching staff questioned his decision-making and intelligence while with the Ravens. Imagine that.

45 Corey Harris (1998-2001)

Harris

Harris spent most of his Ravens career as a backup and solid return man, but stepped up in a big way when safety Kim Herring went down with a sprained ankle in the 2000 playoffs. He started against Tennessee and Oakland and started all 16 at strong safety the following season.

46 B.J. Ward (2005)

The Florida State safety played in 15 games in 2005, making 11 tackles and forcing a fumble. Why is he the pick at No. 46? There is no record of any other player wearing the number in the regular season for the Ravens.

47 Will Demps (2002-2005)

The undrafted rookie was the surprise of training camp in 2002, not only winning a roster spot but becoming a starting safety next to Ed Reed for four seasons. Demps returned an interception for a touchdown in the Ravens’ only playoff game during his time in Baltimore, a 20-17 loss to the Titans in January 2004.

48 Frank Hartley (1996)

If linebacker Edgar Jones — who had previously worn Nos. 91 and 84 before switching to 48 this offseason — makes the 53-man roster this season, he immediately grabs the distinction. Until then, the tight end Hartley holds this spot despite never making a catch in eight games in 1996.

Don’t worry, I didn’t remember him either.

49 Chad Williams (2002-05)

Chad Williams

Williams is the easy choice after playing four seasons in Baltimore, registering eight interceptions and scoring three touchdowns as a backup safety.

50 Antwan Barnes (2007-present)

Though Dunbar graduate Tommy Polley and reserve linebacker Brad Jackson earn strong consideration, Barnes wins the honor with five career sacks and strong special teams play over his first three seasons with the Ravens. Despite a high ceiling, Barnes has yet to provide a consist impact as a pass rusher off the edge, something he hopes to change this season.

51 Cornell Brown (1997-2000, 2002-04)

Some will argue special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo for this spot, but Cornell Brown is the obvious choice despite wearing No. 90 in his second stint with the Ravens. Brown made 25 starts and was very good against the run, ofter sharing time with Peter Boulware when the Pro Bowl linebacker was ailing.

52 Ray Lewis (1996-present)

Never mind that Lewis was selected by SI.com as the best ever to wear the jersey number in the NFL. When you think of the Baltimore Ravens, No. 52 is the image that overwhelmingly comes to mind.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfKuYYl1bRI&feature=fvst[/youtube]

One of the greatest defensive players ever.

53 Jameel McClain (2008-present)

Tyrell Peters, T.J. Slaughter, and the injury-cursed Dan Cody also wore the number, but McClain has done just enough in special teams and passing downs to grab the distinction. His stature can rise even higher if he earns the starting job at inside linebacker this season.

54 Roderick Green (2004-05)

Green never realized his full potential as a Raven, but he is a marginally-better choice than Tyrus McCloud, Shannon Taylor, or current linebacker Prescott Burgess for No. 54.

55 Terrell Suggs (2003-present)

Many feel Suggs has never lived up the hype or the record-setting contract inked in 2009, but he is one of the most complete outside linebackers in the league when healthy and motivated. His two-sack performance against the Steelers in the AFC Championship two seasons ago was borderline heroic after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Titans a week earlier.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R26q5IudxRc[/youtube]

More sentimental fans will argue for Jamie Sharper — who would be a unanimous choice for any linebacker number other than 55, 52, or 58 — but Suggs has had the superior career.

56 Ed Hartwell (2001-04)

Hartwell put his name on the Baltimore linebacker map when he led the team in tackles in 2002 after Ray Lewis was sidelined with a shoulder injury. A good linebacker in his own right, Hartwell was overshadowed in his last two seasons with the Ravens, a palpable frustration he even voiced before departing for Atlanta in 2005.

57 Bart Scott (2002-08)

Just as popular with the media as he was with the fans, Scott was an undrafted linebacker who made himself into a Pro Bowl force during his seven seasons with the Ravens. His “hot sauce” tackle of Reggie Bush gained notoriety, but the linebacker will always be remembered for a hit he laid on a certain Pittsburgh quarterback.

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

The number is currently reserved in honor of the heroic O.J. Brigance — who is certainly deserving as he continues to fight ALS — but Brigance would be the first to tell you Scott is the greatest Raven to don the No. 57.

58 Peter Boulware (1997-2005)

Boulware

The franchise’s all-time sack leader dealt with knee and shoulder injuries during his career, but he was a force as a pass rusher and made himself into an every-down linebacker after playing defensive end at Florida State. Boulware earned four trips to the Pro Bowl, won the 1997 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and is a member of the Ravens Ring of Honor.

59 Dannell Ellerbe (2009-present)

Ellerbe

Prior to the 2009 season, long snapper Joe Maese (2001-04) was the clear-cut selection here, but the undrafted Ellerbe made the 53-man roster and eventually wrestled away the starting inside linebacker spot from Tavares Gooden in the final month of his rookie season. Ellerbe’s interception against Oakland in Week 17 helped preserve a 21-13 win and a postseason berth for the 9-7 Ravens.

60 Jason Brown (2005-08)

Super Bowl-winning center Jeff Mitchell was blossoming into a Pro Bowl-caliber player before signing with the Carolina Panthers in 2001, allowing Jason Brown to seize recognition for this number. Drafted in the fourth round in 2005, Brown began his NFL career at left guard before moving to his college position of center in 2008. It earned him a huge payday with the St. Louis Rams the following offseason, as the Ravens could not afford to keep Brown.

Next up: For numbers 61-80, we will dive into the trenches with the offensive line, with a few obvious choices and several integers where we need to look long and hard to find a representative.

Comments Off

Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I’ve been waiting days to name our “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” They couldn’t be more different. The NEW version of the “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” is a song that has been popularly passed around on Facebook (add me as a friend by searching “Glenn Clark” and click on the guy drinking Orange Kool-Aid because he lost a Buck Showalter-related bet to Ed in Park Heights), and is so good I might have to stop this segment altogether.

Note: Cee-Lo uses a LOT of naughty language in this song. It is VERY NSFW! Unless of course you work somewhere like the Gold Club. In which case, you should really stop by the studio when you get the chance…

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeidub_cee-lo-green-fuck-you_music[/dailymotion]

Now for something COMPLETELY different. The CLASSIC “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” is a song I once sang on my knees to a young lady in Mexico, I once sang to a dude for free drinks at The Big Bang in Tempe, Arizona and I most recently sang in barbershop quartet form this weekend at a shindig in Towson. If you don’t like the Righteous Brothers (or at least Top Gun), there’s really something wrong with you…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhs3Rj71gpo[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Sergio Kindle headed to Charm City for evaluation; John Harbaugh won’t rule him out for season

Don’t bother with the “wouldn’t the Ravens have to give him a contract?” comments. The Ravens have ALWAYS planned on giving their 2nd round pick out of Texas a contract. Once he’s been cleared by the doctors that will look at him in Baltimore, the Ravens can move forward with the process of getting a contract done and getting him to Owings Mills.

Kindle will start the season on PUP, but if he were to be able to return by Week 7 it could be a great benefit to this football team. While Antwan Barnes has had a decent preseason, the team could use as much help as they could get from outside backers and in the pass rush area in general.

Kindle would be unable to practice-but could greatly benefit from classroom hours and team meetings after having missed Training Camp. Once activated, he would likely be a scratch the first few weeks as he gets back on the practice field. If at that point he could back on the football field and make some level of impact-that’s a help.

It isn’t a “bonus” necessarily, as NFL teams always expect 2nd round picks to make an impact. But it is MUCH better than what could have been after Kindle was hurt in an accident at a friend’s house in Austin.

I say “if” in all of this, as I also wouldn’t be completely surprised if it didn’t work out the way John Harbaugh and company are hoping it will.

2. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says ‘no quarterback controversy” between Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger

The frustrating part here is that we even have to address this. It is typically Baltimore to wonder about the other quarterbacks on the roster, as there is a history of having quarterbacks of similar value stacked up. The difference between Kyle Boller and Chris Redman or Elvis Grbac and Randall Cunningham or Scott Mitchell and Tony Banks was just never that great.

I understand this city’s obsession with backup QB’s.

But it’s time to stop.

Hell, it’s long PAST time to stop.

The Ravens have a quarterback. He’s THE guy. He’s the FRANCHISE quarterback. He’s the only quarterback that gives them a chance (if he can improve to “elite” status this season) to win a Super Bowl.

Don’t worry about what other QB’s do against backups in preseason games. It’s completely irrelevant. In fact, don’t worry that there’s even a backup QB on the roster unless (knock on wood) Joe Flacco were to get hurt.

He’s the guy. End of story.

Can we PLEASE agree to stop talking about this moving forward?

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Jared Gaither has ‘no timetable’ for return from thoracic disc injury

And after talking to Jared yesterday, I have NO gut feeling as to whether or not he will be available September 13 when the Ravens face the New York Jets.

I DO have a gut feeling that I will be spending too much looking at Anya Monzikova today courtesy of Busted Coverage/NextRound.net!

monzikova

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Lardarius Webb ‘unlikely’ to get involved with return game this year

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things:

-The Ravens are back on the practice field today at 1 Winning Drive, and John Harbaugh will speak to the media at 11:30(ish). Make sure you follow us on Twitter (@WNST), and listen to Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider throughout the day as we keep you updated LIVE with everything happening in Owings Mills.

-A number of Ravens were not present during the portion of practice open to the media yesterday, including Terrence Cody and Cory Redding-who are not known to be hurt. Hopefully we’ll get some clarification on that today.

-The Ravens will hold their annual Countdown to Kickoff Barbecue tonight at M&T Bank Stadium; and Team President Dick Cass will hold a press conference at 7pm to announce a new fight song for the team-which is expected to be to the tune of the old Baltimore Colts fight song.

5. The AP says Gordon Beckham homered, Gavin Floyd dazzled as Chicago White Sox topped Orioles at US Cellular Field

And with that, the O’s have officially clinched their 13th straight losing season! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Traditionally, the gift to give on the 13th anniversary is lace. The modern gift to give on the 13th anniversary is textiles or furs. In this case, I’m thinking THIS is a more appropriate gift…

crap

Last night’s game was actually fairly entertaining to watch. Felix Pie and Ty Wigginton made some spectacular defensive plays, and the Birds actually put together a decent 9th inning rally before falling short at the end.

But being excited about a loss is usually only something that happens when you’re watching a team that is mired in a 13th straight losing season.

Ugh.

6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

The good news? Luke Scott crushed a BOMB-his 25th of the season; and Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis collected 2 hits and 1 RBI apiece.

The bad news? Over 6.2 innings, Jeremy Guthrie gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits; walking 2 and striking out 3.

You know you don’t want to look at these numbers. Instead, look at Erica Fabjan and Simona Fabjan-courtesy of Don Chavez. They’re from Slovenia and they play volleyball. What else do you need to know???

fabjan

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Adam Jones forced to leave Pale Hose game with shoulder contusion

Which he apparently doesn’t believe to be serious. In fact, here’s what he had to say about it via Twitter…

“All goodie bmore. Imma be back in no time.

And while we’re on the subject of Adam Jones’ Twitter account, I will be forced to admit that his profile picture is pretty freaking awesome…

adamjones

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Jim Johnson threw two scoreless innings for Bowie Baysox win over Akron Aeros in rehab appearance on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things:

-The Birds and White Sox get together again tonight in the Windy City, with Brian Matusz facing Mark Buehrle. First pitch is at 8:10pm and the game can be seen on MASN2.

-Did you miss Baysox pitcher Richard Zagone with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today at WNST.net to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Dannell Ellerbe (Ravens LB)-who woke up early to chat with Drew this morning
  • Rich Lord (KILT 610 Houston)-who previewed the Texans (Ravens Week 14 opponent) with Drew this morning as well
  • All sorts of audio from Owings Mills yesterday, including John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Jared Gaither and Matt Birk
  • Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (UFC Fighter)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • Allen McCallum (WNST Baseball Analyst)-who joined Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” Tuesday

and even more. It’s all in the Audio Vault, so check it out today. Oh…and…you’re welcome for planning your day for you.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens mocks Navy to Poinsettia Bowl, doesn’t think Maryland reaches bowl game

And in fairness, not much of anyone really thinks Ralph Friedgen’s team is going to find their way to the postseason this year. Of course, one win over the Midshipmen could change a lot of that. Maybe.

Navy is tied in to a trip to San Diego unless they somehow run the table and get themselves in the BCS picture. It’s not impossible either. The tough games on their schedule are Notre Dame (in East Rutherford), Wake Forest, Duke and Maryland. There isn’t an impossible game to win in the mix.

Now-Navy is also a team that has lost some inexplicable games in past years. A loss to Delaware comes to mind-but that was a Delaware team that had a pretty decent quarterback. Fella with eyebrows if I remember right…

10. UMTerps.com’s Shawn Nestor says Dexter McDougle has ‘slight edge’ over Trenton Hughes to start opposite Cameron Chism at CB for Terrapins

Damn! I was really hoping Jo Garcia would win the job. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

jogarcia

And finally, I leave you with this.

As posted by Deadspin, this is the worst thing I have ever seen from a Little League World Series player…

miley

This kid should be ashamed of himself. Heck, his whole country should be ashamed…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens have wrapped up Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster and have now settled in at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

They’ve won their first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, and have just two more preseason contests left (they host the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium and visit the St. Louis Rams a week from Thursday) before they open the regular season September 13th at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets on the national stage of Monday Night Football.

Before they get there, they’ll have to make some major roster decisions. After the game against the Giants, they’ll have to trim the roster slightly before the Tuesday (August 31) deadline to be down to 75 players. Following that, they’ll have just 4 days to make final decisions before the roster is cut to 53 on Saturday, September 4.

There are no changes to the physical roster (except where we expect Lardarius Webb to be when the season begins) since my 4th “Mocking the 53″ update, but there are some changes to the 53 itself. Before we get to that, a reminder of the explanation of the list I wrote before the initial version…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s look again at how the Top 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. OT Michael Oher
oher
4. WR Anquan Boldin
5. DT Haloti Ngata
6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

Only one real change in the Top 10, and it comes from someone who hasn’t performed much at all. Ray Rice has played little at all through two preseason games, and it has shown you everything you need to know about the importance of the 3rd year back from Rutgers. His place in this Ravens offense is INCREDIBLY significant, and without him heavily involved, they are just not the same-no matter who is playing receiver.

Otherwise, everything about the Top 10 remains the same. I know Michael Oher has struggled a bit in the first two preseason games-but Oher is a very good player. He was a bit of a 2nd half guy a season ago (remember his struggles in the first half against Jared Allen when the Ravens visited the Minnesota Vikings but his stellar 2nd half in the same game), and might be a player who just needs some more rhythm to shine. I’m not concerned yet myself.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
16. FB Le’Ron McClain
17. OL Marshal Yanda
yanda
18. C Matt Birk
19. S Dawan Landry
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Almost all of this group remains the same as well. Tom Zbikowski enters the Top 20, as he has played very well knowing he will be in the starting lineup with the Ravens visit East Rutherford Week 1 barring some sort of Ed Reed miracle. I also think it is worth pointing out that while John Harbaugh may have claimed that he ISN’T voting “McClain 4 RB”, Le’Ron McClain has been very good during the preseason-and it would be surprising if he didn’t make more of an impact in the offense this season.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. OT Jared Gaither
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. TE Ed Dickson
25. S Haruki Nakamura
nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. K Shayne Graham
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. LB Dannell Ellerbe

There are some subtle changes in this group-starting with Jared Gaither. Gaither falls out of the Top 20 because we just don’t know what to make of his health. The initial prognosis surrounding his back tear made us believe that he should be available before the Ravens head to New Jersey on Sept. 13. Of course, at this point we’re starting to reach a place where “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Dannell Ellerbe moves back into the Top 30 this week. After watching the other interior LB’s competing for the starting JACK spot against the Skins, I get the feeling that Ellerbe’s ability to play the pass will ultimately get him back into the starting lineup.

Lardarius Webb re-enters “The 53″ at #26. As we see more of what he’s capable of doing early on, we will see how quickly he can rise on the list. Shayne Graham drops a few spots as well despite the fact that I truly believe he’ll be the kicker of record come MNF on Sept. 13. I just somehow needed to reflect the fact that Billy Cundiff has kicked well recently, including 2 makes Saturday night at FedEx Field.

31. P Sam Koch
32. RB Willis McGahee
mcgahee
33. WR Donte’ Stallworth
34. DT Kelly Gregg
35. TE Dennis Pitta
36. LB Jameel McClain
37. LB Tavares Gooden
38. CB Cary Williams
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. OT Oniel Cousins

There are a few significant risers in this group. One is Sam Koch, who was tremendous again Saturday night in DC. His contract situation is an uncomfortable spot for the team, as he is going to get paid SOMEWHERE-but the team has set a precedent in the past that they won’t give big money to a punter (see Kyle Richardson and Dave Zastudil).

Willis McGahee also rises on this list, despite the fact that a number of armchair GM’s in Charm City would have already dealt him for just about anyone with the letters “CB” next to their name. McGahee continues to prove himself as being very valuable, both as a reserve who can take a number of carries and as an impressive short yardage back.

The third riser in this group is Cary Williams-who was exceptional again Saturday night. It may have been preseason football, but the QB Williams picked off (Donovan McNabb) is still a future Hall of Famer. Williams’ size (he’s 6’1″) really DOES make a difference when it comes to how we look at his role moving forward. Should he continue to play similar to his size, Williams could develop into a legitimate NFL corner.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. QB Troy Smith
44. DT Kelly Talavou
45. DT Brandon McKinney
46. RB Jalen Parmele
parmele
47. OL Tony Moll
48. LS Morgan Cox
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. OL David Hale
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. WR David Reed
53. S/CB KJ Gerard

Travis Fisher is hanging by a thread-and I would suggest that at this point he’s BARELY ahead of either KJ Gerard or Prince Miller. No matter how quick Anthony Armstrong is, there’s no way that Fisher should have been embarrassed by him the way he was Saturday night. I’ll leave him on the roster for now, if only because the Ravens have to have SOME healthy corners lining up against Santonio Holmes Braylon Edwards and company September 13. I’m also keeping Gerard ahead of Prince Miller, only because Gerard has more to offer on Special Teams right now than Miller does.

(Editor’s note: Thanks to all who pointed out Holmes will miss the first 4 games. Absolutely right. My mistake. I need a better editor. Or an editor.)

Two players who I moved back onto the roster thanks to their performance Saturday night are Jason Phillips and David Reed. Reed not only played well offensively, but also made a very key Special Teams tackle. Proving his value on Special Teams changes everything-which goes for Phillips as well. That being said, Edgar Jones is a very valuable AND versatile player who I currently have OFF the 53, so these standings remain tentative.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)
(RB Matt Lawrence-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)

I’m taking both Ayanbadejo and Lawrence out of the equation for now. There are other players on this team battling injuries, but neither of them have even done significant work in practice. Until I see that, I’m going to work under the assumption that they won’t be part of the team Week 1. That can change rapidly. A week ago, we were working under the assumption that Lardarius Webb would start the season on PUP.

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. LB Edgar Jones
57. WR Demetrius Williams
58. DT Arthur Jones
59. OT Ramon Harewood
60. DT Lamar Divens
divens
61. TE Davon Drew
62. LB Prescott Burgess
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. FB Mike McLaughlin
66. WR Eron Riley
67. DE Albert McClellan
68. RB Curtis Steele
69. OT Joe Reitz
70. CB Marcus Paschal

The reality is that Miller, Edgar Jones and Williams are in direct competition at positions where there is probably room to keep another player. Arthur Jones and Divens are probably in positions where keeping another player just might not be a legitimate option. Of course, we didn’t all think the Ravens would keep both McKinney and Talavou a season ago, and what did we learn there?

Mike McLaughlin’s name will keep coming up, but keeping him on the 53 really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There isn’t MUCH risk in exposing an undrafted rookie FB who has just converted to LB. Giving him more time on the practice squad could really benefit him as a player.

71. CB Doug Dutch
dougdutch
72. OL Bryan Mattison
73. OT Stefan Rodgers
74. CB Brad Jones
75. CB Chris Hawkins
76. OT Daniel Sanders
77. OT Devin Tyler

A good sign that you’re a longshot to make the roster? A simple Google image search doesn’t come up with a legitimate picture of you. Thank God for Facebook. Hopefully there’s some practice squad help in this group.

There you have it. Questions? Concerns? Comments? Thoughts in general? Song requests? Let me know.

-G

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens Training Camp: The impressive and disappointing

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Luke Jones

Another Westminster training camp has concluded with the Ravens now focusing their attention to the final three games of the preseason before the 2010 regular season gets underway against the New York Jets on Sept. 13.

Saturday night’s meeting with the Washington Redskins will be a key audition for  bubble players as coach John Harbaugh has already stated how important the second preseason game is for evaluating rookies and reserve veterans fighting for a roster spot.

Much will change before the initial cutdown to 75 players takes place on Aug. 31 and the final cut to 53 on Sept. 4, but here’s a breakdown of players—by position—who impressed and disappointed in Westminster.

QUARTERBACKS
Impressed: Joe Flacco is an easy choice after a strong camp with his new offensive weapons. The third-year quarterback still must prove he can read and throw to the middle of the field, but Anquan Boldin and a strong group of tight ends will certainly help.

Disappointed: Troy Smith knew his standing in the organization changed dramatically after the acquisition of Marc Bulger, and the former Heisman Trophy winner did nothing to push the veteran for the backup job. Smith lacks size and was too erratic in Westminster. He will stick as the No. 3 quarterback, but his performance made the Ravens look very wise for signing Bulger.

RUNNING BACKS
Impressed: Hard to go with anyone but Ray Rice at this spot despite Willis McGahee looking solid and healthy as well. Rice looked to be in mid-season form the first day veterans reported to Westminster. It will be another Pro Bowl season for the third-year back if he remains healthy.

Disappointed: Not his fault, but Matt Lawrence’s chance of making the 53-man roster continues to diminish as he remains on the physically unable to perform list. He is a capable special teams player when healthy, but this summer’s roster is too deep.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Impressed: Everyone assumed Mark Clayton would be cast aside in the offense when the Ravens acquired Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth, but the former starter had a strong training camp, catching everything thrown his way. Stallworth was the logical choice as the No. 3 receiver, but Clayton received more reps in three-wide sets over the final two weeks of camp.

Disappointed: The Ravens loved what they saw out of David Reed during the OTA schedule, but the rookie failed to adjust to the quicker speed of training camp. Considered a sure-handed receiver coming out of Utah, Reed dropped countless passes and was not been given much of a look as a kick returner. Demetrius Williams is clearly ahead of Reed in the battle for the fifth receiver spot.

TIGHT ENDS
Impressed: Ed Dickson looked more like an established—not to mention explosive—veteran than a rookie on the upper fields at McDaniel College. The 6-foot-4 Dickson has tremendous size and great speed for a tight end. His versatility will be a welcome addition when the Ravens use him in two-tight end sets and at H-back on occasion. On a side note, Todd Heap had an excellent camp, showing he’s still capable of producing when healthy.

Disappointed: Already facing an uphill battle to make the roster after the drafting of Dickson and Dennis Pitta, Davon Drew was not able to stay on the field this summer. Drew showed more consistency than he did last season as a rookie, but it’s difficult to make the team when you’re never on the field. He’ll need to get healthy and make an impact in the remaining preseason games.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Impressed: Fellow guard Ben Grubbs earns more notoriety, but Marshal Yanda was ferocious in Westminster, proving he’s all the way back from the horrific knee injury he suffered two seasons ago. Yanda anchored and stood up Terrence Cody during a 1-on-1 drill in one of the highlights of the summer, just a couple plays after the 350-pounder had blown up the highly-regarded Grubbs.

Disappointed: Showing up 30 pounds lighter without the coaching staff’s approval and injuring his back on the first day of full-team workouts made Jared Gaither a slam-dunk choice. Not only are there concerns whether he’ll be ready by Week 1, but he’s missed valuable time to adjust to the right tackle position.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Impressed: He got off to a slow start while adjusting to playing with the 15 extra pounds he gained in the offseason, but Paul Kruger became a force on the defensive line, off the edge and even sliding to the inside in the nickel package. If Kruger can replicate what he showed in Westminster over the last two weeks, the Ravens will have another factor in the pass rush.

Disappointed: None. This is the deepest unit on the team. The only disappointment on the defensive line is the reality that the organization will have to cut a couple of talented players due to numbers.

LINEBACKERS
Impressed: His performance in the Carolina game aside, Jameel McClain was the biggest surprise of camp over the first three weeks, working at inside linebacker with the first defense. McClain played the run well and showed competence in pass coverage, but it did not carry over against the Panthers in the preseason opener. The competition for the starting job next to Ray Lewis is still wide open. Antwan Barnes earns an honorable mention.

Disappointed: The likely favorite to win the second inside linebacker spot prior to camp, Dannell Ellerbe came to Westminster out of shape and trailed McClain and Tavares Gooden for much of the way. Ellerbe improved his standing as the weeks progressed, but it was apparent how unhappy the coaching staff was as Ellerbe worked with the second defense in Westminster.

CORNERBACKS
Impressed: Expected to be brought back slowly, Fabian Washington provided a much-needed lift to the secondary when he returned to the field during the first week of camp. Washington appeared quick and made more plays as the weeks progressed. He will see his first game action against the Redskins on Saturday night and will be relied upon to be the team’s top corner, even if he’s nowhere near a true No. 1.

Disappointed: The injury to Domonique Foxworth is most appropriate here, but the brief eight-day stint of Walt Harris takes the cake in this department. He was unable to show he had anything left in the tank despite a solid career. And it’s tough labeling the likes of Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins as disappointments if you never had any expectations to begin with.

SAFETY
Impressed: While no one compares to Ed Reed, Tom Zbikowski eased concerns at the position with a very strong showing in Westminster. Zbikowski is faster and showed a strong nose for the football this summer after doing an adequate job in Reed’s place for four games last season. Despite not knowing the status of its future Hall of Famer, this unit of safeties looks very sound with Zbikowski and Dawan Landry anchoring the secondary.

Disappointed: Though labeling him a disappointment is bit strong, Ken Hamlin has done little to challenge Zbikowski for the free safety position, partly because the latter was excellent in practice. Hamlin was solid, but unspectacular, running with the second defense. The former Cowboy has great size (6-foot-2) but needs to show a stronger special teams presence to stick around when Reed returns to the field.

SPECIALISTS
Impressed: Yes, he’s younger, cheaper, and healthier, but the Ravens clearly loved what they saw from Morgan Cox to have jettisoned veteran Matt Katula two days after the preseason opener. Fans can only hope we won’t hear his name again all season.

Disappointed: Though he’s kicked reasonably well, the Ravens certainly wished Shayne Graham had seized early control of the competition with Billy Cundiff. Until the final two days of camp, Cundiff had outperformed the former Bengal by a slight margin. Graham struggled with field goals outside 45 yards in Westminster but kicked better during the practice at M&T Bank Stadium. The smart money is still on Graham to be the kicker, but the battle has been closer than most people thought.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Optimistic Ravens exit Westminster as stakes begin to grow

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Luke Jones

Optimism percolated from every route leading to Westminster as the masses flooded to McDaniel College over the last four weeks to take a glimpse at a team with its sights set on a date in Dallas on the first Sunday in February.

The Ravens set an all-time training camp attendance record of 112,051 despite a new kid-friendly autograph policy that many thought would temper the masses.

Even with the uncertain status of Ed Reed and the unfortunate losses of rookie Sergio Kindle and Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens have practiced with a swagger indicative of a team fully expecting to be playing deep into January or—with some good fortune—even later. A workmanlike demeanor from third-year coach John Harbaugh has muzzled some of the flamboyant comments uttered by players in past anticipated seasons, but the goal is clear, even under the hot sun of Westminster.

“[Camp has] just been tremendous,” Harbaugh said. “First of all, we’ve gotten a lot of work done. Our guys have worked really hard, and it’s a grind. Football training camp is hard work.”

Despite injury concerns in the secondary (Reed and Lardarius Webb) and offensive line (Jared Gaither), the Ravens managed to avoid any more catastrophic injuries after the deflating loss of Foxworth on July 29.

Breaking camp marks the next step in the quest for a Super Bowl, but the stakes rise much higher from this point forward. Optimism and good vibes are easily found in the secluded confines of an NFL training camp.

Despite the open nature of practices in Westminster, coaches and players work within a cocoon of order. Distractions are at a minimum as players live with curfews and are away from everyday responsibilities related to family and friends.

It was football and only football for four taxing weeks, but players return to a sense of normalcy on Friday.

Now, Joe Flacco and a much-improved offense—on paper anyway—have three more preseason games to fine-tune their work to determine if the vision of becoming an elite unit comes to fruition.

As much as we analyze every play and every day of the summer, picking on cornerbacks like Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins shows little in terms of how explosive the Baltimore offense will ultimately be. The pressure gets that much heavier, even if the workload of practice decreases.

An unsettling situation at the right tackle position might derail that optimism as quickly as Ray Rice can take it 83 yards to the end zone. The physical and mental health of Gaither is critical with unproven players in Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll—who have also been hindered with injuries—waiting behind him.

An even shakier atmosphere exists with the defense, a perennial top-5 unit in the NFL for over a decade. Even before the loss of Foxworth due to a torn ACL, the Ravens were light on quality at cornerback and occasionally-promising showings from the likes of Travis Fisher, Cary Williams, and Prince Miller in Westminster will not get it done against the Cincinnatis and New Englands of the world.

Fabian Washington has progressed nicely in his recovery from a torn ACL last season and will see his first game action against the Washington Redskins on Saturday. Chris Carr, the nickelback a season ago, will be relied upon to hold down the other starting spot as Webb will presumably be getting back to the practice field in the coming days.

And, oh yeah, the six-time All-Pro Reed still has no timetable for a return despite making progress in rehabbing his surgically-repaired hip. Tom Zbikowski has competently held his spot at free safety with the Ravens showing cautious optimism that Reed might be able to play Week 1. However, only the enigmatic safety really knows when he will be ready.

“We feel like the guys that we have are going to be able to go in there and get the job done,” said Carr, who reminded reporters the Ravens finished with the eighth-ranked pass defense last season despite late-season injuries. “We feel like we’re experienced, and we have a lot of potential to get better. We feel like we can do a lot of things back there.”

Easy feelings to have within the sheltered atmosphere of Westminster, but Ozzie Newsome knows better. The front office clearly wants—and needs—to upgrade the cornerback position, even if  it’s only a quality third or fourth defensive back from another team.

The most critical component to enhancing the suspect pass defense is improving the pass rush, as the Ravens produced their second lowest sack total (32) in franchise history in 2009.

Despite the absence of the rookie Kindle, Antwan Barnes and Paul Kruger have impressed in that area, both in camp and against the Carolina Panthers last Thursday. The emergence of these two coupled with a healthy and motivated Terrell Suggs might just mask a weaker secondary.

However, we’ve seen strong preseason performances from countless young players in years past—Barnes being one of them—only to see them forgotten by mid-September.

When the Ravens put Westminster in the rear-view mirror on Friday, they leave training camp behind and return to the cozy confines in Owings Mills, but the summer sun rapidly transforms to the white-hot expectations created—locally and nationally—over the last seven months.

“Hopefully, we’re the best football team we can be coming out of this training camp at this time, but we still have work to do,” Harbaugh said. “Next week we’ll be right into training camp again, and it’ll be one-a-days, more of an in-season type schedule, but we’ll still be in camp as far as we’re concerned.”

Cutdown dates loom for players trying to secure a roster spot, the clock ticks on whether Newsome can find another piece to enhance the secondary, and the New York Jets and Monday Night Football await in less than four weeks.

Thankful players say goodbye to the team hotel in Westminster and return to their own beds on Friday, but with that come the more restless nights as a season of lofty expectations quickly approaches.

Training camp is in the books.

From here on out, it gets a little more real.

Comments Off

Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

My 3rd Edition of “Mocking The 53″ hit WNST.net just 9 days ago, and much has changed since that time. The most notable difference is the departure of veteran LS Matt Katula, whose roster spot was taken by rookie CB Brad Jones (Cincinnati).

However, there is also some tinkering to the 53 based on how Baltimore Ravens players performed against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium; and how they continue to perform during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster.

For the record, I’ve never been more convinced that any of 60 guys could end up making the final roster. There might not be 70 NFL players on the roster like there were before Camp, but there are still PLENTY of players who have every opportunity to end up amongst the 53.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. RB Ray Rice
rice

6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

I think we were reminded of just how much the Ravens value Ray Rice when he was all but held out of the preseason opener. It’s very clear who the Top 6 players are on the team-just not quite as clear what order the Top 6 are in. Ben Grubbs cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and with the way O-Linemen have been getting banged up for this team during Camp, he might still be rising.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
fabian
16. OT Jared Gaither
17. FB Le’Ron McClain
18. OL Marshal Yanda
19. C Matt Birk
20. S Dawan Landry

While Fabian Washington and Terrence Cody continue to climb, Jared Gaither is absolutely falling. John Harbaugh said he expected Gaither to miss 2-3 weeks; but didn’t appear to rule out the possibility that his back tear could keep him out longer. With that in mind, his value falls a bit.

On the flip side, after a rough start to Camp-Cody came on big time against the Panthers. He showed quite a bit of the promise the Ravens had hoped he would when they selected him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft out of Alabama. Kelly Gregg may still be the starter in the middle of the D-Line, but Cody has significantly greater upside.

Washington is going to have to be ready to be a Top 15 guy on this team whether he’s…well…ready or not. It’s hard to move him so high without him having played against the Panthers, but his importance to the overall makeup of the roster cannot be understated.

21. S Tom Zbikowski
tomz
22. CB Chris Carr
23. LB Jameel McClain
24. K Shayne Graham
25. TE Ed Dickson
26. QB Marc Bulger
27. S Haruki Nakamura
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. DT Kelly Gregg
30. WR Donte’ Stallworth

A couple of movers in this group-including Jameel McClain, who appeared to have the starting ILB job nailed down next to Ray Lewis but has since been splitting time. He’s still very much in the mix and likely ahead of Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden, but we’ll need to see what the team does Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Chris Carr and Tom Zbikowski are risers, as their spots as starters have been solidified in recent weeks. Zbikowski may also end up winning the punt return job (I have him slightly ahead of Clayton and Stallworth right now), which could be enough to get him in the Top 20.

As far as Clayton and Stallworth are concerned-Clayton moves ahead of Stallworth for the first time as it appears he’ll be the team’s 3rd receiver. Expect both to get plenty of snaps throughout the season however.

Don’t be surprised if Ed Dickson is this team’s top Tight End sometime between now and the start of the 2011 season. He’ll be in the Top 20 on this list soon.

31. OL Chris Chester
32. LB Dannell Ellerbe
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Antwan Barnes
abarnes
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. CB Travis Fisher

Nothing drastically different about this group as of right now. Should Ellerbe or Gooden end up beating Jameel McClain out for the other ILB job, they would clearly move ahead of him on the roster. A good showing against the Panthers lifts Paul Kruger a bit, and the team continues to tell me they’re pleased with what they’ve seen from the 2nd year DE out of Utah since he reported to Westminster.

There have been rumblings that the team could keep just Flacco and Bulger and allow Troy Smith to walk-but I doubt that. Flacco and Bulger are similar QB’s, while Troy Smith is particularly different. After seeing what happened two years ago when Smith got sick and Kyle Boller got hurt, I don’t think the organization is ready to trim the number of QB’s on the Week 1 roster.

41. OT Oniel Cousins
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. DT Kelly Talavou
talavou
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. CB Cary Williams
48. OL David Hale
49. OL Tony Moll
50. LS Morgan Cox
51. LB Edgar Jones
52. S KJ Gerard
53. WR Demetrius Williams

A few things worth mentioning in this final group:

-David Hale was injured during practice Monday. Until we know more about the nature of the injury we have to assume he’s safely on the roster when the Ravens visit the New York Jets September 13th.

-I have Talavou and McKinney ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens right now, but Divens has had a solid camp and Jones is a player the Ravens might not want to risk exposing. All 4 remain very much in the mix to be on the team when they get to East Rutherford.

-Despite his suspension, Cary Williams basically has to be a safe bet to be on the team as he’s the 4th corner right now. That being said, the team could still make roster moves between now and their Week 1 appearance on Monday Night Football. Should they do that, Williams could be in trouble. If Williams DOES make the roster, the team will almost be forced to keep an additional corner. I’m keeping KJ Gerard ahead of Prince Miller for now, but if Gerard doesn’t get healthy soon he’ll forfeit that spot right back to Miller.

-Brendon Ayanbadejo is sliding. While he still appears upbeat about his spot on this team, I’m not sure how much longer it can be assumed. He hasn’t really been noticed doing much work on the side, and team sources have told me they’re disappointed in how long Ayanbadejo has remained out. Should he return, he has every chance to make an impact in the nickel package and on special teams; but he has to return to do that.

-I moved Demetrius Williams back to the safe side of the roster and David Reed off. Reed was expected to make a more significant impact in the return game-but that hasn’t necessarily been seen just yet. He could still win the kick return job-which would get him back on the good side of the roster bubble. In the meantime, Williams’ size continues to somehow separate him from the rest of the receivers on this team-which is enough to get him back on the good side of the bubble.

-Morgan Cox takes a spot in the 53. As the team’s only long snapper, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR David Reed
59. RB Matt Lawrence
60. TE Davon Drew
ddrew
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. LB Jason Phillips
63. DT Lamar Divens
64. WR Marcus Smith
65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Joe Reitz

Plenty of things worth discussing about this group:

-Mike McLaughlin COULD make the roster at FB with the team apparently more willing to give Le’Ron McClain carries; but I don’t expect it just yet. McLaughlin isn’t the type of guy the team would HAVE to keep to avoid exposing him, so I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad.

-Billy Cundiff is MUCH closer in the kicking competition than he might appear; but the team has made it clear that Shayne Graham will be their guy. If he’s not going to make the roster, I can’t have Cundiff ahead of 54th.

-Jason Phillips is a guy the team likes a great deal, but may be a victim of a numbers game. He doesn’t have a natural role right now that makes him a guarantee to earn a spot. Prescott Burgess is in a similar position.

-Don’t be stunned if the team ends up keeping Davon Drew and has 4 tight ends on the roster. I just don’t see the room to do it right now myself.

71. CB Marcus Paschal
paschal
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. CB Brad Jones
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

Of this group, Rodgers may have the only realistic path to being part of the team when they hit the field at the Meadowlands. Should Jared Gaither remain out and the team choose to protect Ramon Harewood by placing him on IR; he would have a realistic chance of getting active behind Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll. But that’s a major (and frightening) IF.

-G

Comments Off

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because we all know that with a preseason Week 1 win, the Ravens are most certainly Super Bowl bound. With the Super Bowl in Dallas (and considering that Sunday is WWE SummerSlam), I was hoping maybe we could hang out with this man while we were in town…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exbsw5ssn4I[/youtube]

God I love HBK. No wrestling Pay-Per-View is ever as good without him.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Joe Flacco ‘smooth’ in Ravens’ preseason win over Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium

No doubt about it.

Flacco wasn’t quite perfect (he actually surprisingly missed Anquan Boldin on a sideline route that he usually has no trouble with), but he was very good. He spread the ball out to various receivers and made no major mistakes during the 3 drives he was a part of during the first half.

It would have been nice to see a more representative effort from the offensive line; as Tyler Brayton looked like Julius Peppers early on. It would have also been nice to see a bit more balance in the offensive attack, as Ray Rice might as well have stayed home to watch Big Brother last night given his lack of involvement in the game.

That being said, this was preseason football. The Ravens came out of the game healthy, and that is REALLY all that matters.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Troy Smith added a 2nd half rushing TD, Cary Williams pulled down an interception, Curtis Steele was the team’s leading rush and Shayne Graham missed a 50 yard FG.

Anything else you might have missed after you couldn’t take the rain anymore or finally decided to flip over to something else?

You won’t mind looking at any of these numbers; but I have a recommendation beyond that. Look at the numbers, then look at this picture of Lola Ponce from Guyism. Like we always say, WIN-WIN…

lolaponce

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody looked like ‘gamer’ for Ravens in win

If that’s what the Ravens are going to get from Terrence Cody this season, they’re going to be THRILLED with taking him in the 2nd round.

Some guys are just the type of guys who need the lights to go on and to step on the field in a game situation to really turn up the volume. Cody told me after the game that the “adrenaline” of the evening changed things for him.

I don’t know if Terrence Cody will ever be a superstar on the practice field or in the classroom. I get the feeling he may struggle in those areas in the future. But what I saw last night as far as the ability to beat double teams, work into the backfield and force plays to come to a head whether they be passes or runs; the guy has a real chance to be a superstar.

“Refreshing” was the word that kept coming to me as I watched his performance.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester thought Talavou, Kruger, Clayton all solid for Ravens in win

I agree with all three. I also thought Prince Miller and Lamar Divens were pretty good last night, as was Ed Dickson.

Completely absent from that last? One Joe Reitz. It was a tough night for one Joe Reitz…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lggBJYv2QgY[/youtube]

The guy played basketball at Western Michigan!!! I expect more!!!

Of course, Reitz made MUCH more of a name for himself by missing than he could have by connecting. He’ll be a YouTube sensation and will absolutely find himself on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10″ later today.

So if it was all part of your plan Joe…good on you sir.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Chris Carr and Travis Fisher started in secondary

Fabian Washington (knee) did end up sitting; but apparently Carr talked John Harbaugh and staff into letting him play after the team had originally announced him as a scratch.

Of course, we saw an AWFUL lot of Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins last night-which means those of you who attended will have something to tell your grandkids someday.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of notes:

-The Ravens are off today after last night’s game, they return to Westminster for a Training Camp practice at 2:45pm tomorrow. They’ll have two practices at McDaniel College Sunday-at 8:45am and 2:45pm. The Ravens don’t play another preseason game until next Saturday, when the visit the (ugh) Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in DC. I’d almost rather visit hell…

-Did you miss Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to hear directly from the Ravens’ front office. Plenty of other things to listen to in the Audio Vault…

  • Antwan Barnes (Ravens LB) who joined Drew this morning after a big night last night
  • Cal Ripken Jr. (Like I need to explain) who previewed the Cal Ripken World Series with Drew this morning
  • Rich Herrera (Tampa Bay Rays Pre & Postgame Radio Host) who previewed the weekend series with the Orioles at The Trop with Drew
  • Jon Ladd (Baltimore Municipal Golf) who discussed the PGA Championship and this weekend’s Publinx Event with Drew
  • Plenty of locker room reaction from last night’s game-including John Harbaugh, Terrence Cody, Joe Flacco, Mark Clayton and Anquan Boldin
  • Jay Gibbons (Los Angeles Dodgers OF) who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon after returning to Major League Baseball
  • Trevor Matich (Comcast SportsNet Redskins Analyst) who discussed Ravens QB Coach Jim Zorn with Rex Thursday afternoon

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Hey-it’s Friday. It’s not like your boss expected you to do any work today anyway.

6. The AP says Jeanmar Gomez pitched Cleveland Indians past Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field

I mean, what can you be expected to do against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez?!?!?

I’m not going to try to pretend like I saw any of the game last night. Apparently Kevin Millwood was pretty good-but I guess he gave up a run in the first inning just to keep up appearances.

You know what’s funny? When the Orioles were 3-16, all I could think to myself was “how in the hell did they win 3 games?” Now that they’re 8-2 under Buck Showalter, all I can think is “how in the hell have they lost 2 games???

7. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

And everything is right in the world once again.

You don’t want to look at these numbers, trust me on that.

Instead, look at this picture of Jaime Edmondson. We’ll be fine after that. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

jamie

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s reached deals with draft picks Dan Klein, Connor Narron, Parker Bridwell

Klein is the most significant name amongst the group-he helped pitch UCLA to the College World Series a season ago. Connor Narron is the son of MLB vet Jerry Narron, and Parker Bridwell has a name that makes him sound like he should be writing for The New Yorker.

No news on progress with 1st round pick Manny Machado; as the deadline to get guys signed looms this Monday.

Andy MacPhail couldn’t possibly fail to sign a first round pick, right?

Right?

9. Baltimore Business Journal’s Ryan Sharrow says Birds extended agreements with Norfolk Tides, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys through 2014

Between this and another story we’ll get to this morning, I guess yesterday was “no-brainer” day in the local sports world. The O’s are better off having their minor league affiliates nearby; as it gives them the option to watch the players in their organization more often and get them back to Charm City quickly should it be necessary.

In fact, I doubt there are better options for affiliates at each level in baseball.

Note-this is something the Orioles do well. You can’t say I didn’t point it out.

10. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Rick Vandenhurk strong for Norfolk Tides in win over Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-After wrapping their series with the Tribe in The Comeback City, the O’s now head to Tampa (or is it St. Petersburg?) for a series with the Rays at Tropicana Field. Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill tonight against James Shields; first pitch is at 7:10pm on MASN. Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta are scheduled to face Andy Sonnanstine and Jeremy Hellickson in the other games this weekend-tomorrow’s game is actually on FOX. Looking at the pitching matchups, I honest to God believe the O’s can win 2 of 3.

-The Orioles will apparently be wearing all orange tonight and the Rays will be wearing the colors of the 1970 Tampa Tarpons-yeah, them. The Village People are going to be playing a postgame concert. If I was celebrating 1970 I would have preferred Chicago myself…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCAbdNXx2sE[/youtube]

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland TE Lansford Watson has slight MCL tear

As Patrick reports, Ralph Friedgen appears inclined to allow the Terrapins’ TE to keep playing through the injury. Watson is trying to win the starting TE job in a competition with Devonte Campbell.

And if playing through the injury doesn’t work, it isn’t as if the Terps don’t have other options. For example, maybe ESPN’s Chris Berman can give them some scouting info on Dylan Thomas (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

dylanthomas

12. HopkinsSports.com says JHU lacrosse coach Pietramala has contract extended through 2016

As I said yesterday on Twitter (follow us @WNST), this is an ABSOLUTE no-brainer. There isn’t much of anything more that the Blue Jays could have hoped for under Petro, and he deserves as much security as he wants from the school.

As if John Tillman’s gig in College Park wasn’t tough enough…

(Edit from GMC: As a side note, Johns Hopkins has redone their athletics website. It looks very cool. I’d take a look today if you have the chance.)

13. GoMustangSports.com says Stevenson held first football practice in school history Thursday

Congratulations to coach Ed Hottle and everyone involved in the Stangs’ program there in Owings Mills; as this is a great day for them. Hopefully they will continue to grow from there.

Stevenson also unveiled a new athletics logo yesterday, which actually looks pretty cool…

mustangs

And finally, I leave you with this.

Will “The Expendables” be any good? No idea. Does it have Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham? Yes, yes it does…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6RU5y2fU6s[/youtube]

You can’t possibly pick “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” over this, could you?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In NFL Debut, Ravens Rookie Cody Looks Like ‘Gamer’

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE – There wasn’t much that made Thursday night’s preseason opener between the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium particularly watchable. If you don’t REALLY love NFL football, it was probably tough to stomach once Joe Flacco was pulled in the 2nd quarter.

There were penalties and turnovers, the weather was terrible and there were players on the field that not even the most passionate football fans know much of anything about. As preseason games go, this one was somehow more painful than most-played out in front of a national audience on ESPN. It was a game won 17-12 by the Ravens, although I’m not sure how many folks were still watching when it went final.

That being said, there were a number of good things that happened, even if they weren’t so easy to notice.

Flacco was particularly impressive during a 96 yard TD drive that began at the end of the 1st and spanned into the 2nd; culminating with a TD pass to Mark Clayton. Paul Kruger and Antwan Barnes both looked solid, and Marc Bulger showed the strong arm that made him a Pro Bowl QB with the St. Louis Rams.

And then there was Terrence Cody.

Cody was an incredible talent during his college career at Alabama, creating havoc throughout SEC backfields with a combination of overwhelming size, great strength and deceptive speed. He was considered by some scouts to be a Top 25 talent in the NFL Draft, but red flags allowed him to fall to the 57th overall pick-where he was selected by the Ravens.

Cody immediately impressed in OTA’s, including the team’s mandatory mini-camp. He was in the backfield constantly, highlighted by an impressive sack of QB Troy Smith where the former Crimson Tide standout proved his speed did not necessarily match his 6’4″, 349 pound frame.

OTA’s and mini-camps traditionally tend to be less challenging from a studying and scheming standpoint. Teams tend to avoid breaking open their playbooks and unleashing too much on a new group of young players too quickly. Much of that is saved for Training Camp.

For Terrence Cody, Training Camp hasn’t exactly been a finest hour. He failed the team’s conditioning test multiple times upon reporting to McDaniel College; and even John Harbaugh was forced to admit he was “surprised” when Cody finally managed to work his way off the PUP list. He has frustrated coaches during practice, with D-Line coach Clarence Brooks at one point labeling him “persona non grata”-as reported by WNST.net’s own Luke Jones.

Cody’s struggles were particularly frustrating for fans in Westminster given the absence of fellow 2nd round pick Sergio Kindle-who remains on the PUP list after fracturing his skull in an accident the weekend before camp opened.

Driving in to M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night, Rex Snider and I chatted on AM1570 WNST. We touched on a number of topics, one of which was Cody. I suggested to Rex that the concerns surrounding Cody early on might disappear once he hit the field in an actual game. Or in this case, at least something that resembled an actual game. I suggested that some players (Terrell Suggs came to mind) are just better when they have the natural rhythm of a game than they are when they are on a practice field.

Terrence Cody looked like just that Thursday night, and he knew it. “In a game, you just get that adrenaline and you just want to do a lot more” he told me following the win.

The night started poorly for Cody, as he was inserted in Cam Cameron’s red zone offense and was flagged for jumping early on a crucial 3rd down play. However, the offensive side of the ball is not the area where Cody is going to be asked to make an impact.

On the defensive side, Cody was very good. He displayed a natural feel for where the ball was and where it was going. He handled double teams from John Fox’s Carolina defense and showed the pure dominance that him a star at the collegiate level. For the game, he finished with 5 tackles (4 solo, 1 TFL); but made an impract on even more plays.

Harbaugh was impressed with the play of his young DT, noting “he made some plays in some big situations” and the coach thought Cody “controlled the middle in there pretty well.”

But despite the solid night, Harbaugh said he still needs to see improvement from the man nicknamed “Mount Cody”.

“The biggest thing with Terrence right now is…again…technique.  We play a 2 gap system, a little bit different than what Alabama does. We think he’s very well suited for that, but he’s gotta learn those techniques.”

Harbaugh admitted there will need to be a learning curve with Cody. “It’s gonna be that way all year. It’s going to be a learning process all year for him. He’s really kinda built for that kinda system, that’s why we drafted him. It did show up tonight.”

As an early pick, Terrence Cody is going to be expected to make a great impact for the Baltimore Ravens, even early on. To do so, he’s going to have to match his on-field ability with equally impressive performances in workouts, classroom sessions and practice drills. Should he do so, he could press incumbent starter Kelly Gregg early and steal quite a bit of playing time in his first full season.

And in a game that was otherwise painful to watch, it was refreshing to see that Cody’s god-given ability appeared to translate perfectly to a semi-real game of football.

-G

—————————-

Hear reaction from Coach John Harbaugh, DT Terrence Cody, QB Joe Flacco, WR Mark Clayton and WR Anquan Boldin NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. LB Antwan Barnes is scheduled to join Drew Forrester tomorrow morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST at 9:30am.

Comments Off

Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

It’s been just 11 days since I posted my Pre-Training Camp edition of “Mocking The 53″ here at WNST.net. In the short (almost) two weeks since the Baltimore Ravens originally reported to Westminster, there has already been some significant flux in the way the team’s roster shapes up.

Obviously the loss of Domonique Foxworth is the most significant shakeup to the team’s roster. However, he’s not the only player who has faced injury-related issues at McDaniel College (or elsewhere) thus far. For this week’s edition; I am going to take not only Foxworth out of the 53, but also the players that we believe will begin the season on PUP (if not IR).

That means that Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb and Sergio Kindle will get the asterisk treatment outside the 53. They’re clearly amongst the top 53 players on the roster, but we just don’t know if they’ll be there when the Ravens line up to face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football come September 13.

Additionally, the roster reflects the subtractions of John Beck and Walt Harris and the additions of Doug Dutch, Chris Hawkins, Daniel Sanders and Devin Tyler.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the roster shapes up…

(Edit from GMC: This keeps shaking. The Ravens apparently DIDN’T release Walt Harris, but instead placed him on IR. Okay…)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. RB Ray Rice
7. LB Terrell Suggs
8. LB Jarret Johnson
jj
9. WR Derrick Mason
10. OT Jared Gaither

Jarret Johnson rises a few spots in the Top 10 and looks more and more important to this team every day. Some of that has to do with Sergio Kindle‘s injury, but even more of that has to do with Jarret himself. His position is such a delicate combination of up and back, the only player I can think of who has played even similarly to him is Adalius Thomas. Jared Gaither also drops a few spots as his weight has to be considered an issue, but he’s still very important to this football team.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. G Ben Grubbs
13. DL Cory Redding
14. TE Todd Heap
15. OL Marshal Yanda
16. LB Jameel McClain
jmcclain
17. CB Fabian Washington
18. DT Terrence Cody
19. FB Le’Ron McClain
20. QB Marc Bulger

A couple of the guys in this group have been quick risers. Jameel McClain was never REALLY on the bubble to make the roster, but he wasn’t terribly far away from it. Within weeks, Jameel has joined the first team defense. He’s been taking the majority of snaps next to Ray Lewis inside, and the team hopes that he can be helpful in pressuring the quarterback with Sergio Kindle down.

Also rising is Fabian Washington-as Domonique Foxworth‘s injury leaves him the team’s top corner. Fabian joined Thyrl Nelson Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST to discuss the pressure of being the top corner. Check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net if you missed it.

21. C Matt Birk
22. K Shayne Graham
23. S Dawan Landry
24. DT Kelly Gregg
kellygregg
25. WR Donte’ Stallworth
26. CB Chris Carr
27. S Tom Zbikowski
28. LB Tavares Gooden
29. OL Chris Chester
30. S Haruki Nakamura

There are a couple of folks in this group worth pointing out. Had Terrence Cody come into Camp and looked like a guy who would be ready to go immediately, Kelly Gregg may have ended up being someone who had to fight to preserve his roster spot. That no longer appears to be an issue.

Chris Carr just became a much more significant part of this roster, as it appears he will be a starting CB for at least the first 6 weeks of the season. That was never the plan for Chris. Hopefully it won’t hurt Greg Mattison‘s defense.

31. TE Ed Dickson
dickson
32. WR Mark Clayton
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Dannell Ellerbe
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. S Ken Hamlin

I don’t know how much longer I can keep Dickson and Pitta outside the Top 30. It might just be Training Camp, but both have looked very good early on. Also looking good is Clayton, who may have been at risk of finding the bubble before Camp started.

On the flip side, Dannell Ellerbe as of right now looks to be 4th amongst the team’s inside LB’s, after vaulting into a job as a starter just a season ago. Troy Smith also appears to have solidified himself a bit with John Beck gone.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. OT Oniel Cousins
43. LS Matt Katula
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. DT Kelly Talavou
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. WR David Reed
48. OL David Hale
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. DT Arthur Jones
51. CB Cary Williams
52. OL Tony Moll
53. LB Edgar Jones
jones

A few things worth mentioning in this group. I’ll move Edgar Jones (who of course now wears #48 and plays OLB after having played roughly every other position on the field) back onto the good side of the bubble, as the injury to Sergio Kindle leaves the team thin at OLB. A couple of the other guys in this group (namely David Reed and Arthur Jones) are getting the benefit of the doubt as draft picks, but probably still have something to prove to make the final 53.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Walt Harris-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. WR Demetrius Williams
56. OT Ramon Harewood
57. LB Prescott Burgess
58. RB Matt Lawrence
59. S KJ Gerard
gerard
60. LB Jason Phillips
61. TE Davon Drew
62. DT Lamar Divens
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. DE Albert McClellan
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. CB Prince Miller
69. CB Marcus Paschal
70. RB Curtis Steele

There’s a few things about my current 53 that I don’t like. As of right now, I have just 4 true corners on the roster right now (Washington, Carr, Williams, Fisher). This could be a place where Gerard could squeeze his way back onto the roster. Also, Ramon Harewood could be in direct competition with Tony Moll for an O-Line spot.

I said before Camp that there were 70 legitimate NFL players (either guys who had been on the active roster or guys who were NFL Draft picks) fighting for 53 roster spots. That number has dwindled, but there are still some 65 legitimate players fighting for spots-and 5 current or former UFA’s also hoping to get on the team.

71. OT Joe Reitz
joereitz
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. LS Morgan Cox
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

The team certainly believes there will be some practice squad guys in the final group.

There you have it. We’ll update again after the Ravens play the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

-G

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live from Westminster: Cody passes conditioning test, vets checking into hotel

Posted on 28 July 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — Good afternoon from McDaniel College as the Ravens have wrapped up their second day of partial-squad workouts with the biggest news being the debut of rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody who passed his conditioning test earlier this morning and participated fully in the morning workout.

This was obviously good news to coach John Harbaugh, who expressed pleasant surprise when learning the 350-pound tackle had passed the test. Rookie cornerback Prince Miller also passed the conditioning test and practice while the status of the other members of the PUP list remained unchanged for the morning session.

As for action on the field, it was another light, non-contact workout with players practicing in shells and shorts. Harbaugh will give the afternoon off to selected veterans already in camp as we await the arrival of the remaining veterans this afternoon.

Check back here throughout the day for updates (time-stamped below) and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates from the field.

____________________________________________________________

5:30 p.m. — The Ravens have wrapped up the afternoon practice as the veterans continue to check into Westminster for training camp.

Most selected veterans who reported on Monday were given the afternoon off with the exception of a few practice squad players and the four quarterbacks on the roster.

In what might qualify as the first minor injury issue occurring at practice, defensive tackle Terrence Cody appeared to be suffering from a cramp in his right calf at the conclusion of practice. Members of the training staff with icing his lower leg, and the big man eventually walked off the field, albeit gingerly.

Receiver Marcus Smith had an impressive afternoon, snagging a bullet from Joe Flacco in the back of the end zone during a red zone drill. Smith is recovering from a torn ACL sustained in the preseason last year.

Backup quarterback Troy Smith threw what would have been a “pick-6″ to rookie linebacker Albert McClellan at the goal line during the same red zone drill. McClellan has been impressive in the first two days of non-contact practice but doesn’t figure to factor into the team’s plans with an already deep linebacker unit.

We’ll next see the Ravens in action on Friday morning with the first full-squad workout at 8:45 a.m. Thursday is a team administrative day with all activity closed to the media and public.

2:45 p.m. — We’re counting down the minutes until the 3:30 workout, and I’m getting ready to head out to the field. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates. Perhaps a few of the veterans will stop by the upper fields at McDaniel College for a brief visit?

2:40 p.m. — Updating the status of Matt Birk, the veteran center has been placed on the PUP list after a minor elbow procedure earlier this offseason. It had previously been speculated Birk was dealing with a neck issue.

He isn’t expected to be on the PUP list for very long.

2:15 p.m. — As we await the start of the afternoon practice at 3:30, the veterans are beginning to trickle into the team hotel. Some to arrive already include Rice, Donte’ Stallworth (who was given a ride by the Pro Bowl running back), Antwan Barnes, Chris Chester, Tom Zbikowski, Ben Grubbs, and new impact receiver Anquan Boldin.

The arriving veterans will take their physicals this afternoon after checking into the Best Western.

12:45 p.m. — Given his time in Philadelphia and the Bengals appearing to be the biggest roadblock to the division title, Harbaugh was asked about his thoughts on the Bengals signing Terrell Owens to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

“I really like T.O.,” Harbaugh said. “I think he’s a really good player. He’s a guy that we enjoyed being around for a couple years in Philly. I have a lot of respect for him. Obviously, it makes [Cincinnati] better.”

Marvin Lewis will have his hands full in Cincinnati with Owens joining flamboyant wideout Chad Ochocinco in the Bengals passing offense. It has the makings of a compelling reality TV show despite the headaches it may create for the former Ravens defensive coordinator.

“Marvin doesn’t need our sympathy,” said Harbaugh, drawing laughs from the media. “He’s not looking for it.”

12:40 p.m. — As mentioned before, it was another light day of practice this morning, but I thought I’d pass along a few notes of interest from the workout:

Matt Birk was on the field but did not participate as reports indicated he has been placed on the PUP list with a neck issue. He and Oniel Cousins (recovering from throat surgery) stood by the offensive linemen throughout practice.

During red zone drills (non-contact), rookie tight end Dennis Pitta was flagged for offensive pass interference after pushing off against Miller.

Receiver Mark Clayton—now battling for the No. 3 or 4 spot on the depth chart after starting for several seasons—caught a deep touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in the highlight play of the morning.

Backup quarterback Marc Bulger continues to be in more of a learning mode as he did not take too many reps during passing drills. Bulger, however, did work on plays later  during a walk-through portion of practice.

12:28 p.m. — Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has just walked into the Best Western in Westminster, announcing his arrival at training camp.

12:25 p.m. — Though we’ve discussed the conditioning test for the last few days, Harbaugh finally explained what the test entails this morning after practice.

“It’s basically six [150-yard runs] in 25-yard intervals,” Harbaugh said. “Every position has a time, and then there’s a designated rest time that’s based on how long it takes to recover. It’s pretty well thought out.”

In other words, the time for a defensive tackle like Cody is not the same as the expectation for a defensive back such as Domonique Foxworth.

12:10 p.m. — Cody obviously expressed relief at the conclusion of his first practice after being cleared to play.

“It felt good [passing the test],” he said. “It was hard at first when I came in yesterday. I knew about the test, but I didn’t quite know how to run it.”

The 350-pound tackle failed the conditioning test on two occasions on Tuesday. Cody admits he still needs to improve his conditioning during training camp.

“It’s pretty good, but I can get better,” he said. “There’s always a lot of room for improvement. That’s what I had a talk with [Harbaugh], and it’s just I can get a lot better before the season starts.”

Despite some ribbing from defensive line coach Clarence Brooks and a few teammates on Tuesday, Cody received plenty of report as he prepared to take the conditioning test Tuesday morning.

“They weren’t too hard on him,” linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “That’s a tough task.”

11:55 a.m. — While John Harbaugh expressed a desire for rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody—who claims to be right around his listed weight of 349 pounds—to shed a few more pounds before the start of the regular season, it was clear how pleased the head coach was with Cody passing the test early this morning before the 8:45 workout.

“I have to admit I was surprised this morning,” said Harbaugh, who rarely shows such candor when talking about a player’s health or conditioning.

Harbaugh reiterated this morning he wasn’t terribly surprised Cody had failed the test, admitting it poses a challenge to new players, veterans and rookies alike.

“It’s more demaning than most teams I’d say.”

As stated above, rookie free agent Prince Miller also passed the conditioning test, but veteran cornerback Walt Harris, who failed the test on Tuesday, did not practice on Wednesday morning, an indication he has yet to pass it.

Comments Off