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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because somebody decided to make my week yesterday and alter the Perry Hall High School Wikipedia page. As you know, there was an update made yesterday morning to note the significance of the “Apologist of the Year” award won by Steve Melewski…

melewski

But later in the day; someone (and if you’re reading, I can only say “Thank You”) decided to update the PHHS page again to add an additional member to the “Notable Alumni” section…

glenn

You better believe it’s going on my resume.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Sergio Kindle will miss Training Camp with fractured skull

I don’t know how much I can add here. Like I said yesterday-this is terrible news to start the season. Not season-defining news necessarily, but terrible news nonetheless.

Before being dismissive of the significance of Kindle’s injury, I would suggest you take a look at the roster from a personnel standpoint. This team gave up over 207 yards per game from a passing defense standpoint last year. That was still worthy of a Top 10 defensive ranking; but it’s a number that needs to improve as this team tries to win the AFC North and reach Dallas to play in the Super Bowl.

Sergio Kindle was (almost certainly) not going to step in here and post double digit sacks the way someone like Shawne Merriman did; but he was going to give them depth at OLB and a speedy, athletic look opposite Terrell Suggs when he was on the field. The team CLEARLY hoped his presence would help improve the pass rush; even if he wasn’t solely responsible for posting big sack numbers.

The Ravens really don’t have much depth at OLB. Suggs and Jarret Johnson are the starters; but other than Kindle-the depth includes Edgar Jones (a converted TE/ILB/FB/Centerfielder?), Paul Kruger (who the team had bulk up in the offseason for a move to DE), and both Antwan Barnes and Prescott Burgess. They could also ask another of their many ILB’s to move outside (Jameel McClain comes to mind); but none would be likely to help the pass rush even at the level Kindle could have.

That’s just reality.

The other thing I’ve heard a lot in the immediacy of the Kindle injury is “well, Paul Kruger didn’t do anything for us last year after HE was a 2nd round pick.”

True, sure. But you have to understand that the Ravens were UNBELIEVABLY disappointed in what they got from Paul Kruger last season. We’ll always remember his interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that was about it from the rookie from Utah last season. The organization has MUCH higher expectations from players selected that high in the NFL Draft.

Man, two straight days we start this thing on such a downer. Good news ahead?

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ravens reported to Westminster ‘built for Super Bowl run’

Despite the reality of the Sergio Kindle situation and the month-long Ed Reed distraction, the Troy Smith drama and Cary Williams’ suspension; the Ravens are STILL opening the season with Super Bowl aspirations, and rightfully so.

I had an interesting Twitter conversation with former Ravens TE Dan Wilcox (you can follow him @83DEGREEZ and us @WNST) a few weeks ago about what it takes to win a Super Bowl. I argued that having the right players made up about 80% of the formula for winning the title; with coaching and chemistry making up the other 20% of the formula. Dan disagreed, arguing that chemistry and mental approach made up MUCH more of the formula than I was giving it credit for.

Clearly this isn’t scientific, but Dan WOULD know a thing or two about being part of a winning team-having reached the AFC Championship Game in his final season just two years ago.

If my formula is right, the Ravens have the athletes to win and should make a real push.

If Dan’s formula is right, well, I’m not so sure.

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Ravens agreed to 3 year deal with 2nd round pick Terrence Cody

Go ahead and get all of your jokes out right now…

“I heard the Westminster Chick-Fil-A had to call the National Guard for reserves.”
“Are there enough delivery drivers in Carroll County to keep the big man happy?”

Cody didn’t look to have put on any more weight, but hopefully we’ll find out today (Luke Jones is on the field at McDaniel College as I type) exactly what Cody’s weight is as Camp begins.

And then hopefully moving forward we won’t have to continuously update this.

(Edit from GMC: UPDATE. He failed his conditioning test. Awesome news.)

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ed Reed, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb amongst those who will start camp on PUP list

None of that is surprising-it will be more interesting to see who else MIGHT end up on the PUP list while returning from injury.

By the way, a reminder that this ISN’T the “miss the first 6 weeks of the season” PUP list; this is a PUP list for Training Camp-and there are some clerical matters involved. These guys can go on the PUP list now but be removed before Monday Night Football on September 13.

I’m REALLY hoping that the team DOESN’T put Sofia Vergara on the PUP list. That would be criminal (Thanks Guyism!)…

vergara

5. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says John Harbaugh plans to ‘work out’ issues with Ed Reed

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

-If you missed Drew Forrester’s chat with veteran NFL agent Ralph Cindrich this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST-it was really interesting. They discussed Sergio Kindle, his former client Troy Smith and the agent issues currently surrounding USC and NCAA Football in general. The conversation is in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net if you want to check it out. Ravens rookie WR David Reed joined Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”, you can check that out as well.

-The Ravens are back on the practice field today; with an afternoon practice at 3:30pm. John Harbaugh, Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco are all scheduled to meet with the media following practice this morning-we’ll have it all in the Audio Vault, and you can hear all of it throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Nestor Aparicio on AM1570 WNST.

6. The AP says Wieters had first career multi-HR game, but Orioles dropped series opener to Blue Jays in Toronto

In fairness, the Birds played REALLY well…after they were down 8-0.

A rough outing for Brad Bergesen, who I guess thought Chris Tillman’s demotion last week meant he had nothing to worry about moving forward. Ugh.

Jose Bautista hit his Major League Baseball-leading 28th home run of the year last night. I know Matt Garza threw the 5th no-hitter of the season last night, but are we sure guys stopped using steroids?

At first blush, I couldn’t believe that was Matt Wieters’ first multi-homer game of his career. When I thought about it more, it made plenty of sense.

Are the Matt Wieters Facts not funny anymore? I’ve had so much taken from me as an O’s fan, I can’t stomach the idea of losing this as well!

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

By the way, I have NO IDEA why Juan Samuel brought Brad Bergesen back out to start the 6th inning last night. At first blush, I thought it was shameful. When Samuel pulled him a batter later, I DEFINITELY thought it was shameful.

But as always, you REALLY don’t want to look at the numbers from last night. Instead, look at Adrianne Curry dressed as Princess Leia at Comic-Con in San Diego (Thanks Don Chavez!). We’ll regroup after that…

leia

8. MLB.com’s James Hall says Wigginton’s suspension reduced to two games

Which forced the O’s to play Jake Fox at first last night and have just Julio Lugo and Corey Patterson on the bench.

I’d be concerned, but what does it really matter?

No word on whether or not the O’s are considering a roster move to get another player on the bench tonight; but it might be a good idea. Just a thought-but a backup catcher (Craig Tatum comes to mind) could be helpful.

9. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Josh Bell went 0-7 in Norfolk Tides’ loss on farm

Before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-The Birds are back in action tonight; facing the Jays at Rogers Centre. First pitch between Kevin Millwood and Ricky Romero is at 7:07pm, the game can be seen on MASN. I don’t like the Birds’ chances against Romero. They don’t do well against lefties. Or anyone.

-Congratulations to Luke Scott for being named the American League Player of the Month. Hopefully that will impress the New York Mets. Or Detroit Tigers. Or San Diego Padres. Or anyone…

-If you missed former Orioles Executive and current SiriusXM MLB Network Radio analyst Jim Duquette with Drew Forrester this morning, make sure you hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to check it out. Delmarva Shorebirds field coach/former O’s CF/my personal hero Mike Devereaux was also on the show, as well as former Maryland lacrosse coach and current Chesapeake Bayhawks consultant Dave Cottle. It’s all in the Audio Vault.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Ralph Friedgen confirmed Jamarr Robinson will start under center for Terrapins

Which we basically knew; but this just settles anyone who thought the job could be available for Danny O’Brien or C.J. Brown to win this summer in College Park.

If Kimberly Phillips shows up in camp however-I’d let her win whatever job she wanted (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)…

kimberly

11. ACC Official Site says Terps picked to finish last in Atlantic Division by media assembled in Greensboro

Ehh…2nd…4th…6th…doesn’t matter to me. It’s like Ricky Bobby says…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_isgXzxIa24[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

Did Kings of Leon really cancel a show in St. Louis when there was an…umm…seagull incident?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siIQmp4KUoE[/youtube]

I’d be more concerned if they weren’t the band that did “Be Somebody.” That earns them something…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7dQTqBGASU[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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2010 Ravens Training Camp Preview: 10 Purple Questions

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Luke Jones

As the Ravens begin their 15th training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster, expectations are as high as they’ve ever been for a team with serious Super Bowl aspirations in 2010.

From the acquisition of impact receiver Anquan Boldin to the continued maturity of quarterback Joe Flacco, prognosticators across the country have earmarked the Ravens as serious contenders to raise the Lombardi Trophy at Cowboys Stadium in early February.

Despite the loud optimism for this Ravens team, many questions remain unanswered, as is the case with any of the 32 teams in late July.

In honor of this year’s 10th anniversary of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory, I pose 10 questions as the men in purple report to McDaniel College this week:

1. What’s the deal with Ed Reed?

Reed’s name has created buzz throughout the offseason dating back to his uncertainty of whether he would return following the Ravens’ playoff loss in Indianapolis. Since then, the All-Pro safety has declared his intention to return, but when we’ll see him on the field is anyone’s guess.

After undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, Reed declared himself at only “35 percent” as late as last week in comments to various media outlets. Speculation persists that Reed will begin the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

In addition to his health, Reed’s relationship with the organization is on shaky ground after the veteran safety expressed his displeasure with the team’s amount of support during his recovery. Reed also shared his desire for a new contract several weeks ago when he spoke to Drew Forrester on The Morning Reaction and has repeated the sentiment several times since.

Regardless of Reed’s shaky standing with the team, his uncertain health with the hip and lingering nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder may force the Ravens to turn to newly-acquired veteran Ken Hamlin or third-year safety Tom Zbikowski to fill Reed’s void in the defensive backfield.

His health will be monitored closely over the next four weeks, as has been the case during the last two summers at McDaniel College.

2. Will Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb be ready to go on September 13th?

Reed’s status will grab the headlines, but the health of Washington and Webb could prove equally critical as the two corners—both recovering from ACL injuries—will compete for the starting job opposite Domonique Foxworth in the Baltimore secondary.

Washington appears to be further along in his recovery, but both are candidates to begin training camp on the active-PUP list (eligible to come off the list at any point during camp). In the meantime, Chris Carr will receive reps as the other starting corner.

Slow recoveries for either Washington or Webb would open the door for new acquisitions Travis Fisher and Walt Harris to compete with Cary Williams (suspended for the first two regular season games) and Marcus Paschal for the final cornerback spots on the 53-man roster.

3. Is Joe Flacco ready to take the next step into stardom in his third season?

Entering his third season as starting quarterback and fully recovered from leg injuries that hampered him last season, Flacco is expected to take the next step in developing into one of the finer quarterbacks in the league.

The offseason acquisitions of Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth and the re-signing of veteran Derrick Mason give Flacco a plethora of weapons in the passing game in addition to the dependability of Ray Rice coming out of the backfield.

Flacco was criticized last season for checking down so often and avoiding the middle of the field, but the excuse of not having sufficient weapons will no longer be in play.

In order for the offense to grow, he will be expected to do even more in the passing game.

4. How quickly can Sergio Kindle recover from his accident in Austin?

While the details surrounding the accident remain sketchy, Kindle’s injury on Thursday night creates a nightmarish start to his NFL career with the Ravens, as the young linebacker will miss all of training camp with a fractured skull.

Kindle was expected to back up linebacker Jarret Johnson and provide a legitimate pass rushing threat on third down for the Baltimore defense, so the Ravens can only hope he makes a speedy recovery and eventually contributes to a pass rush that struggled to pressure the quarterback in 2009.

Unfortunately, it sounds more like a matter of if—not when—he can return to contribute before season’s end. It’s a major blow to the Baltimore defense but paves the way for Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, and Paul Kruger to become bigger factors in passing situations.

5. How prepared is Terrell Suggs to rebound from a disappointing 2009 campaign?

It was no secret that the organization was unhappy with Terrell Suggs’ 2009 campaign after he signed a $62.5 million contract last July. The linebacker arrived in Westminster out of shape and injured his heel on the third day of full-team workouts, sidelining him for the duration of training camp.

This translated into a sluggish season for the talented linebacker, which included a career-low 4.5 sacks and an MCL injury due to a low block from former Browns quarterback Brady Quinn.

Harbaugh voiced his displeasure with Suggs’ absence through much of the OTA schedule, so it will be interesting to see what kind of shape the linebacker is in when he reports to McDaniel College this week. A healthy, motivated Suggs is needed if the Ravens hope to pressure the quarterback and help mask would could be a depleted secondary to begin the season.

With Kindle’s unfortunate accident, it becomes even more crucial for Suggs to return to his previous Pro Bowl form.

6. Can Michael Oher and Jared Gaither pull off the flip-flop at offensive tackle?

There’s little doubt that Oher can handle the left tackle spot after filling in for an injured Gaither last season, but questions remain over the health and mental state of the new right tackle.

It’s no secret that Gaither wants a new contract, as the tackle delayed signing his restricted free agent tender until early June. Gaither also battled a foot injury through much of the OTA schedule, missing valuable reps as he makes the transition to right tackle—a position he hasn’t played since his days at the University of Maryland.

Should Gaither struggle to adjust to right tackle, it may force the Ravens to shuffle around other players into the right tackle spot or force them to abandon the switch and return Oher to the right side of the offensive line.

7. Will Shayne Graham (or Billy Cundiff) be able to silence the memories of Matt Stover?

The Ravens inked former Bengals kicker Graham to a one-year contract in hopes of finally silencing fans who clamored for Matt Stover last season as the Ravens struggled in the kicking game with Steve Hauschka.

Cundiff returns after being signed mid-season to replace Hauschka, but most believe Graham has the inside track for the job despite missing two critical kicks against the New York Jets in a playoff loss last season.

We’ll inevitably be tracking every kick from the fields of McDaniel College as we did last season with Hauschka and Graham Gano, but the kickers’ performance in the four preseason games will hold the most weight in determining who’s kicking for the Ravens in September. Unlike last summer, however, both Graham and Cundiff bring more experience to the table, providing more confidence that special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg can choose a viable solution in the kicking game.

8. How much longer will Troy Smith be a Raven after the acquisition of Marc Bulger to back up Flacco?

Several players, including Flacco and Reed, have voiced their support for Smith as the backup, but the fact remains Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens have invested $3.8 million in Bulger to be the backup behind Flacco.

While Smith has said all the right things to this point, he has to see the writing on the wall as he’s now relegated to No. 3 quarterback duties. The problem for Smith is none of the other 31 teams have shown a strong interest in acquiring his services after he expressed a strong desire to start for another team at the end of last season.

As of now, Smith will compete with John Beck for the third spot, but it remains very possible that Smith finds himself on another roster before training camp ends.

Needless to say, the Ravens don’t want an unneeded distraction in the locker room, but it appears Smith’s supporters will continue to sing his praises, likely contributing to his departure at some point.

9. Can “Mount” Cody help form a brick wall in the middle of the Baltimore defense?

The 350-pound rookie will need to keep his weight at a manageable level, but the coaching staff was thrilled with his athleticism and strength during OTAs. Coupled with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, it’s no secret Newsome envisioned a brick wall in the middle of the Ravens defense reminiscent of the tandem of Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams.

Cody will begin his rookie season backing up Kelly Gregg, but if the big man is as good as advertised and maintain his conditioning, it won’t be long before Ngata and Cody form a 700-pound monster on the inside—that will also keep blockers away from Ray Lewis.

With Kindle’s rookie season now in serious doubt, Cody becomes the most likely (and needed) draft pick to make a serious impact in 2010.

10. Will the aging Ravens defense continue to fight off Father Time?

While three defensive starters over the age of 30 may not sound like a big deal, it is when two of them are Ray Lewis (35) and Reed (31). The other starter Kelly Gregg (33) will battle Cody for playing time while Trevor Pryce (35) remains a key member of the defensive line rotation.

Reed’s health issues are well-documented (see question 1) and may not have much time left despite his desire for a new contract.

Lewis continues to be an enigma at the inside linebacker position where even the greatest of all time typically retire by their early 30s. He lacks the speed he had in the prime of his career, but his cerebral approach and leadership are invaluable to the Baltimore defense.

Newsome has drafted young talent to supplement the veterans on the defensive side of the ball, but injuries to these key veterans likely prevents this unit from being great as it has been for so many years.

Of course, the Ravens are banking on having a more explosive offense, so simply having a good—not great—defense might be enough to take Baltimore deep into the playoffs. If the defense’s elder statesmen can fight off Father Time for one more season, they’ll have a chance to play for a ring in early February.

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Mocking The 53: A Training Camp Eve Look at Ravens Roster

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Mocking The 53: A Training Camp Eve Look at Ravens Roster

Posted on 25 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Back in early June, I put together my first “Mocking the 53” entry; breaking down how the Baltimore Ravens roster appeared following the end of mini-camps. Since that time, there have been some roster additions (welcome Marc Bulger, Ken Hamlin, Walt Harris); subtractions (we’ll never forget William VanDeSteeg, Brad Jones, Chris Hannon, Maurice Price, John Fletcher, Daniel Sanders, Courtney Smith, Ashton Hall and Digger Bujnoch); and “Ed Reed Month” has captured the attention of Charm City.

With coaches, quarterbacks, rookies and players coming off injuries scheduled to report to McDaniel College Monday, I thought today would be a good time to take another look at where the roster stands. There aren’t MANY changes; but it’s worth taking another look at.

Here’s how I explained these rankings the first time I posted them…

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.

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. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
suggs

9. OT Jared Gaither
10. LB Jarret Johnson

I only made a few adjustments to the Top 10 this time around. After talking to some NFL personnel folks, I came to the conclusion that I slightly overvalued Ray Rice and slightly undervalued Ray Lewis. The fact is-the Ravens have great depth at RB behind Rice. While the team wouldn’t be as dynamic offensively without him; they could survive for at least a period of time should he get hurt. The team does NOT have the same type of depth at ILB, as they have SOLID players-just not guys who can step in for someone like #52. The other change I made in the Top 10 was at #10; as Jarret Johnson replaces Ed Reed. With the acquisition of Ken Hamlin and the very realistic possibility that Reed will miss the first six weeks of the season; it’s hard to leave even a future Hall of Fame safety in the Top 10.

11. S Ed Reed
12. DT Terrence Cody
13. OG Ben Grubbs
14. DE Trevor Pryce
15. DL Cory Redding
16. TE Todd Heap
17. CB Domonique Foxworth
domfox
18. C Matt Birk
19. OL Marshal Yanda
20. QB Marc Bulger

Welcome to the list Marc Bulger. The fact is, the team doesn’t give a player nearly $4 million (with the chance to make over $5 million) if he’s not an important part of the roster. No matter what Ed Reed or Joe Flacco says to the media, the team is obviously very happy to have the former St. Louis Rams QB on the roster. Otherwise, the next 10 stays about the same as my first post. One of the most interesting things to watch this week in Westminster will be the weight Terrence Cody reports at. If it is around the 350 the team wants from him, he’ll solidify his Top 12 standing on this roster. If it is more than that, his stock could drop.

21. FB Le’Ron McClain
22. S Dawan Landry
23. CB Lardarius Webb
webb
24. LB Sergio Kindle
25. LB Dannell Ellerbe
26. CB Fabian Washington
27. WR Donte’ Stallworth
28. K Shayne Graham
29. LB Tavares Gooden
30. DT Kelly Gregg

The biggest riser in this group is Shayne Graham, who was 41st on my initial list. In talking to folks both in Owings Mills and around the league; it has become clear that the team is working under the assumption that Graham will win the “competition” with Billy Cundiff. Should he struggle in the preseason, clearly his place on the list could fluctuate. Lardarius Webb dropped just a bit due to the acquisition of Walt Harris; as the team has a bit more depth at CB should Webb not return as healthy as hoped. Also dropping a few spots is rookie LB Sergio Kindle as we await more details surrounding his head injury that will force him to miss the start of Training Camp.

31. TE Ed Dickson
32. P Sam Koch
33. OL Chris Chester
34. CB Chris Carr
chriscarr
35. RB Willis McGahee
36. S Ken Hamlin
37. S Haruki Nakamura
38. S Tom Zbikowski
39. LB Jameel McClain
40. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo

Ken Hamlin debuts at #36, and could rise from there depending on how he looks in the preseason. As of right now, there is a common assumption that Hamlin could very well be the guy to start alongside Dawan Landry Week 1 in East Rutherford; as Ed Reed looks like he may well end up on the PUP list. Should Hamlin show the form that made him a Pro Bowl selection with the Dallas Cowboys, he should hold off Tom Zbikowski easily at the “centerfield” safety spot.

41. TE Dennis Pitta
42. CB Walt Harris
43. WR Mark Clayton
44. DE Paul Kruger
45. QB Troy Smith
troysmith
46. LS Matt Katula
47. OT Oniel Cousins
48. LB Antwan Barnes
49. RB Jalen Parmele
50. DT Brandon McKinney
51. WR David Reed
52. DT Kelly Talavou
53. OL David Hale

The guy that drops the most in this list is Troy Smith, as the acquisition of Marc Bulger leaves him 3rd on the QB Depth Chart. Should he be traded to a team that suffers a QB injury during the preseason; Cam Cameron favorite John Beck would take his roster spot right back. David Hale gets the last spot on the 53 due to the need for interior OL depth behind Chris Chester-although the team could well decide to keep Tony Moll for that role. They could also keep Ramon Harewood (who looks like a Practice Squad guy to me) if he was capable of moving in and playing guard.

54. QB John Beck
55. K Billy Cundiff
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR Demetrius Williams
dwill
59. CB Travis Fisher
60. OL Tony Moll
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. RB Matt Lawrence
63. LB Edgar Jones
64. LB Jason Phillips
65. CB Cary Williams
66. DT Lamar Divens
67. TE Davon Drew
68. WR Marcus Smith
69. WR Justin Harper
70. S KJ Gerard

This is really incredible. Players 54-70 on this list ALL appear to be legitimate NFL players; just guys who face VERY uphill battles when it comes to trying to make this crowded roster.

John Beck will have to beat Troy Smith or hope he’s traded. Billy Cundiff will have to beat Shayne Graham. Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens are battling Brandon McKinney and Kelly Talavou; with an outside chance that Kelly Gregg could be let go to pave the way for one of them to make the team.

Ramon Harewood and Tony Moll are battling Oniel Cousins and David Hale; but are also hoping to convince the team they’re valuable enough to just keep another O-Lineman altogether. Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and Justin Harper are all hoping to prove that their size makes them more valuable than David Reed or Mark Clayton; or that they’re valuable enough for John Harbaugh to go with a 6th receiver.

Travis Fisher, Cary Williams and KJ Gerard are battling the likes of Walt Harris to try to steal a spot in the secondary. One of them will likely benefit from Ed Reed‘s injury to get onto the roster. Prescott Burgess is hoping to avoid being a roster casualty for a 2nd straight year; as he, Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones know that Brendon Ayanbadejo, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain and Paul Kruger are their competition for making the roster.

Matt Lawrence has to prove he’s back from his knee injury a season ago and his value at RB and on Special Teams makes him worthwhile amongst a group that includes Jalen Parmele. Davon Drew is trying to find some room at TE behind Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

The fact is, these are all winnable jobs for the players farther down on the roster; and they’re not just competing with each other. A strong preseason from Demetrius Williams could earn him a spot but prove costly for a player like Brandon McKinney with the team deep at DT. A strong preseason from Matt Lawrence could leave Antwan Barnes an afterthought.

Jerry Rosburg will ultimately have a big say in who gets the final spots, as a player’s value to the Special Teams unit could outweigh his value at his own position. Lawrence, Smith, Burgess, E. Jones and Gerard could all use that to their advantage in trying to make the roster.

71. FB Mike McLaughlin
72. CB Prince Miller
73. CB Marcus Paschal
74.  OT Joe Reitz
75. WR Eron Riley
eron
76. RB Curtis Steele
77. OL Bryan Mattison
78. OT Stefan Rodgers
79. LS Morgan Cox
80. WR Rodelin Anthony
81. DE Albert McClellan

There are guys who have a chance at making the roster in this final group, but they have to be considered longshots. Eron Riley was popular amongst the members of the team’s coaching staff while on the practice squad last year. Unfortunately, the logjam of taller receivers fighting for roster spots ahead of him makes it likely he will end up heading right back to the practice squad this year.

Mike McLaughlin, Prince Miller and Curtis Steele are all UFA’s who have legitimate chances of lighting the world on fire in the preseason and winning jobs; but all appear more likely to be practice squad bound. Should Matt Katula show lingering signs of the elbow troubles that bothered him last year, Morgan Cox could have a chance to win the LS job outright.

That’s the roster as it stands right now. We all know injuries and other potential roster moves will change things before the Ravens head to the Meadowlands for Monday Night Football on Sept. 13. I’ll try to update this after each preseason game; with September 4 looming as “cutdown” day.

Remember, updates from Luke Jones and myself at Training Camp begin Monday; and can be heard at the bottom of the hour EVERY hour throughout the day.

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

This is going to be the first in a series I will do through Training Camp and on to Week 1 of the NFL season as we try to identify the 53 players who will make up the roster when the Baltimore Ravens face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

As 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.

Here goes…

1. QB Joe Flacco (Do I even need to bother to explain?)
2. OT Michael Oher (Now at LT, Oher has moved into the “most important players on the team” category.)
3. RB Ray Rice (The team MVP from a season ago, Rice’s value is incredible despite the depth at the position. The Ravens are MUCH better offensively with Ray Rice than without him.)
4. WR Anquan Boldin (Everything about the football team changes with Boldin on the field. If this offense is going to be more dynamic this season, it’s going to happen because of what Boldin does to open things up.)

boldin

5. DT Haloti Ngata (It might be blasphemy to some, but Haloti Ngata is the most important defensive player on the roster. Everything they do defensively starts up front with Ngata.)
6. WR Derrick Mason (The team needs Mason to compliment Boldin if this offense is going to be explosive this season. He’s still one of the most important players on the roster.)
7. LB Ray Lewis (He’s no longer THE most important defensive player on the team, but he’s still one of the more important defensive players in the NFL. The drop from #52 to Gooden/Barnes/McClain is significant.)
8. LB Terrell Suggs (Despite his poor 2009, the Ravens maintain high expectations for T-Sizzle in 2010. There’s a question of whether or not he’ll live up to them, but there’s no doubt they exist.)
9. OT Jared Gaither (He might not be the team’s LT any longer, but he’s still a VERY significant part of this team. The Ravens want to have Gaither and Oher as bookend tackles, as they believe it’s part of what makes their team great. Should a team float out a ridiculous trade offer for Gaither at some point I don’t think the Ravens would just dismiss it, but they very much want him to be on the field in New Jersey on Sept. 13.)
10. S Ed Reed (Technically, Ed has still not informed the team that he will return-and should he struggle to regain form after an offseason hip procedure, there’s a chance he might not. But Reed’s plan is to return, and if he does-he’s still a possible future Hall of Fame safety. He’s one of the Top 10 players on the team.)
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11. LB Jarret Johnson (Jarret was the team’s best defensive player a season ago, but his significance on the roster lessened when the team drafted Sergio Kindle behind him. I’d still expect him to have a Pro Bowl season, but his arguable Top 10 ability is currently greater than his actual roster value.)
12. DT Terrence Cody (Yep, that’s awfully high. But make no mistake about it, the Ravens have high expectations for Terrence Cody. Terrence Cody may be behind Kelly Gregg on the depth chart right now, but I wouldn’t expect that to last through Training Camp. He’s a mountain of a man, and is MUCH quicker than you’d realize. The more you see him on the field, the more you’ll wonder how 56 picks were made in the NFL Draft before he came off the board.)
13. OG Ben Grubbs (Grubbs arguably played at a Pro Bowl level a season ago as well, and the organization has been thrilled with him ever since they drafted him out of Auburn in 2007. If he was a tackle, he might be in the Top 5.)
14. DE Trevor Pryce (Despite the fact that he’s kind of only a “half” starter-and sometimes not a starter at all-Pryce has a major role on this team. In passing situations, the Ravens need the pressure Pryce can provide. That being said, the paycut Pryce took this offseason does indeed partially represent how his role has changed.)
15. DL Cory Redding (If Pryce is 14, Redding sorta has to be 15. They’ll be sharing an end position this year, similar to how Pryce and Dwan Edwards shared the position a season ago.)
16. TE Todd Heap (It would be easy to assume that with the Ravens selecting two Tight Ends in the NFL Draft, Todd Heap might be falling out of favor with the team. However, the team thought Heap played FAR too many snaps last season-insert your own LJ Smith joke here-and they wanted to help Heap out. The team also expects the middle of the field to be opened up for Heap thanks to the presence of Anquan Boldin.)
17. CB Domonique Foxworth (He’s the top CB on the roster, but not amongst the top CB’s in the AFC. Foxworth played MUCH better at the end of the season last year, and given the question marks the team has at the position-they could really use a similar performance this year.)
18. C Matt Birk (Not really much to say here. He’s a very important part of the offensive line, and it would be a significant dropoff for the team to have to turn to Chris Chester should he get hurt. His role is important, and he played very well a season ago.)
19. LB Sergio Kindle (The Ravens didn’t use their first pick in the NFL Draft on Kindle by accident. He’s learning a difficult position-as he was a more natural pass rusher at Texas than he will be asked to be in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if Kindle’s impact his rookie season isn’t as profound as you might want from the first player a team selects, but he’s definitely a phenomenal talent.)

sergio

20. OG Marshal Yanda (He’s going to be the starting RG for the team, and in the unlikely situation that Jared Gaither WERE to be traded, he’d probably get the shot to start at RT. His job is plenty safe.)
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21. FB Le’Ron McClain (Le’Ron’s recent Twitter campaign might not make him a true RB, but he’s going to get touches both in short yardage situations and late in games, there’s no doubt about that. Le’Ron’s role is very important to this team, and his ability to take a beating will make a major difference in how successful Ray Rice can be after 2,000+ yards of offense a season ago.)
22. CB Lardarius Webb (There’s a level of uncertainty here surrounding how he’ll bounce back in Training Camp from his ACL injury a season ago, but if he’s healthy-he’ll have a chance to start opposite Domonique Foxworth at CB. If he gets back for the bulk of Training Camp, he’s likely be in the mix again at KR as well.)
23. S Dawan Landry (If you’re a starter on defense, your job is safe. Dawan Landry is a starter on defense. His long-term status with the team might be in question, but he’s going to be here. The only sweating Landry will do in Westminster this summer will be due to the weather.)
24. LB Dannell Ellerbe (Dannell Ellerbe is CLEARLY the best of the ILB’s on this roster behind Ray Lewis, but I don’t think his working with the 2nd team at a recent Passing Camp is as easy to dismiss as John Harbaugh wanted it to be. Ellerbe’s attitude and personality are what left him undrafted out of Georgia to begin with. Those questions haven’t gone away since he made the team out of Training Camp a season ago. They love Ellerbe’s ability, but they want him to have a better attitude to boot. He’ll be one to watch at McDaniel College this summer.)
25. CB Fabian Washington (If I’m guessing, Fabian Washington will be starting opposite Domonique Foxworth at the Meadowlands September 13th. He’s also coming off a knee injury, but appears to be a bit closer to returning than Webb. His spot is safe, even though most Ravens fans would like some more quality depth at CB given the receivers they’ll go up against in the AFC North.)
26. WR Donte’ Stallworth (We know this much, Donte’ Stallworth is fast. Judging by what we’ve seen from him in OTA’s, we know he can still catch-at least when he’s not heavily defended. He’s going to be 3rd on the WR depth chart, and won’t have any trouble making it to the final 53. The only real questions surrounding Stallworth have more to do with whether or not he’ll be the 3rd WR when John Harbaugh’s team battles Rex Ryan’s squad.)
donte

27. DT Kelly Gregg (Kelly Gregg remains a fan favorite around Baltimore, but I’m not sure he has a long-term role with this team. I would be stunned if we make it 4 weeks into the season before Terrence Cody is considered a “starter” while Gregg works from the bench. The team is VERY deep with DT’s, and Gregg could end up being the odd man out sooner than later. I think he makes the team, but it looks like someone is going to have to be a casualty amongst the group.)
28. TE Ed Dickson (Dickson is currently ahead of Dennis Pitta and behind Todd Heap on the TE depth chart, and the Ravens are expecting much more from him than they have from backup TE’s in years past. Dickson has looked solid thus far in the offseason, and clearly will have no trouble making the roster for the fall.)
29. OL Chris Chester (Chester had the best season of his career in 2009, but still is a bit of a question mark on this Ravens’ roster. He won’t have trouble cracking the 53, but his role is a bit of a question mark. He’ll be the primary backup at guard, but looks like he’s out of the mix at center for the future. He’s part of the 53, but may not be part of the long-term plan.)
30. LB Tavares Gooden (If Greg Mattison IS toying with whether or not Dannell Ellerbe will start for this team, no single player on the roster would stand to benefit more than Gooden. Gooden inherited the starting job going into the 2009 season, but a concussion/injury plagued career has prohibited him from fully living up to the promise he showed coming out of Miami. He’s still a valuable part of the team, and won’t have any trouble making the roster.)
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31. CB Chris Carr (Carr is especially important to the team right now considering the injuries Washington and Webb and coming off of. He’s also the incumbent punt returner, although he wasn’t particularly overwhelming in the role a season ago. The team loves the veteran presence he gives them in the secondary and the locker room, and he’ll certainly have an important role on the team moving forward.)
32. P Sam Koch (Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about Sam Koch is that like many punters this team has employed before him-Dave Zastudil, Kyle Richardson and Gregg Montgomery-the team doesn’t appear inclined to pay him real money to keep him around long term. Koch had another very good season a year ago, and he’ll be expected to have a similarly solid campaign this season.)
33. QB Troy Smith (A recent Sun story quoted Cam Cameron as saying John Beck had the chance to supplant Troy Smith as the team’s backup QB-but it doesn’t mean the two are involved in any sort of open competition. Smith is the #2 QB unless he has a terrible summer while Beck excels, and the team still would like to use him in other ways. His future with the team is always in question, but clearly no other NFL teams-especially the Browns-was too particularly interested in obtaining him in the offseason.)
34. RB Willis McGahee (It is REALLY difficult to figure out what type of role Willis McGahee will have with this team. It looked a season ago as if he had improved his attitude and was on his way to re-establishing himself in the Ravens offense. And even late in the season against the Raiders and Patriots, he showed that he can still be a valuable contributor. That being said, he looked disinterested off the field, and again chose to skip offseason activities. I assume he’s on the 53, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the end of the road was coming soon.)
35. S Haruki Nakamura (Now healthy, Haruki is safely part of the roster. He has a role both defensively behind Ed Reed and Dawan Landry; and as a valued part of the team’s Special Teams unit. He’ll sleep comfortably during Training Camp-or at least as comfortably as you can sleep at a Best Western.)
36. S Tom Zbikowski (I almost just want to write “ditto” here, as the things said about Haruki Nakamura can also be said about Tom Zbikowski. He has a role, and he’s on the team. Next question.)
37. TE Dennis Pitta (I guess there’s a chance that if Davon Drew were to have an exceptional Training Camp and Pitta were to struggle the roster could change; but there’s no reason to think that will happen. The Ravens went out and got both Dickson and Pitta because they wanted both players to be part of the offense moving forward.)
pitta
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

38. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (If there’s a vet who MIGHT be a bit concerned about their spot on the roster, it could well be Ayanbadejo. He’s been a great contributor to the team via special teams, and was having his best season as a defender before getting hurt last season. But the Ravens are particularly deep at ILB, and a number of those players can also contribute on Special Teams. It looks like Ayanbadejo is safe, but it isn’t a guarantee.)
39. LB Jameel McClain (Jameel McClain is exactly the type of player I was referring to in the previous post. The Ravens have been happy with McClain since they got him undrafted out of Syracuse, but he hasn’t cracked into “safe” territory yet. It’s safe to assume he’ll be part of the 53 as long as he stays steady.)
40. RB Jalen Parmele (Parmele made himself more valuable with a steady performance as KR after Lardarius Webb was hurt last season. That’s important, considering the Ravens’ tremendous depth in the backfield. Parmele is the player that would stand to benefit most should the Ravens somehow end up parting ways with Willis McGahee. Parmele also gives them valuable depth should there be an injury to a top back.)
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41. K Shayne Graham (He’s finally on the roster, now he just has to win the job. Graham appears to have a “leg up” in his competition with Billy Cundiff for the kicker job. However, it cannot be forgotten that there is a reason the Bengals parted ways with Graham, especially after his two big misses in a Wild Card playoff loss in Cincinnati. There’s going to be a kicker on the roster, and I’d say there’s a 60 percent chance it’s Graham.)

graham
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

42. QB John Beck (John Beck is going to make this team, as the Ravens are going to carry 3 quarterbacks. Hopefully, he won’t take a single snap all season, unless the team decides to use him from victory formation.)
43. OT Oniel Cousins (The team needs depth at OT, and while Oniel Cousins might not provide particularly QUALITY depth, he does provide depth. He’ll have the chance to move up this list in Training Camp.)
44. LS Matt Katula (This is very simple. Much like the competition for the kicking job, there is a competition for the long snapping job. Katula has about a 75 percent chance of winning the job over rookie Morgan Cox, but will have to show that he’s 100 percent after being plagued by elbow issues and ready to bounce back from a brutal 2009 campaign.)
45. WR Mark Clayton (I don’t think Clayton’s job is QUITE as safe as some others might think, but I certainly assume he’ll be on the team. Clayton has never seen this many capable receivers around him, and he has to make an impact despite coming off an offseason shoulder procedure. I assume he’s on the team, but it is no guarantee.)
46. DE Paul Kruger (This is an interesting situation. The Ravens maintained that they weren’t unhappy with Kruger during his rookie campaign despite the fact that he didn’t play much and contributed less than that. It’s hard to imagine a 2nd round pick being a question mark to make the roster just a year later, but you can’t ignore the number of scratches he had a season ago. He’s bulked up and is expected to be more of a natural pass rusher this season; but there are a number of D-Linemen in front of him. He’ll need to show that he can get to the quarterback, or the number of questions will continue to grow.)
47. DT Brandon McKinney (When Brandon McKinney made the roster last season, he truly LOOKED “like a Raven.” He still does, but is coming off back surgery and plays a position where the team has significant depth. He’s no guarantee to make the roster, but he’s exactly the type of player the Ravens want around.)
48. LB Antwan Barnes (Barnes is part of a deep group at LB, but the team has remained high on him despite some goofy antics at times. That being said, Barnes was an inactive a few times down the stretch last season, so his margin for error is small.)
49. DT Arthur Jones (I can tell you this much. John Harbaugh really is a big fan of Arthur Jones. That being said, it’s a very deep position-and the team might not be able to keep everyone. Arthur Jones is exactly the type of player the team loves, so I get the feeling he’ll stay on the good side of the roster bubble.)
50. OL David Hale (David Hale gives the team depth at interior lineman, but it isn’t particularly quality depth. Should Matt Birk get hurt, it is still more likely that Chris Chester would play center over an extended period of time, but Hale gives them much needed flexibility.)
51. DT Kelly Talavou (I have a funny feeling Talavou could end up being this year’s version of Derrick Martin. Martin-as you’ll remember-was behind a glut of cornerbacks on the roster a season ago at the end of Training Camp, and was traded to the Green Bay Packers for Tony Moll despite being a player the Ravens really liked. Talavou and McKinney are both candidates to be traded after Training Camp, but McKinney’s back injury could make Talavou more valuable on the market.)
52. CB Travis Fisher (The injuries bothering Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington make Travis Fisher more valuable every day. He’s a veteran corner-having played in Seattle, Detroit and St. Louis before now. Even if Webb and Washington are healthy, he could still make the roster to give the team CB depth considering some of the troubles they had defending the pass a season ago. Fisher isn’t Darrelle Revis, but most Ravens fans only care that he isn’t Frank Walker either.)
53. WR David Reed (This is a tough call. David Reed will probably end up in the return mix, as he’s more explosive than Jalen Parmele or Chris Carr, and he’s healthier than Lardarius Webb. Reed might not have much of a role at WR, but Jerry Rosburg has to want his returners to be a little bit more of a threat to break one back. I’ll give Reed the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making the team, but he’ll have an uphill battle.)
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54. OT Ramon Harewood (The rookie from Morehouse State misses the cut on my first list mostly because he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself yet. A knee injury has caused him to miss the bulk of the offseason work thus far, and he’ll have to show that he’s more than just a project in Training Camp to make sure he ends up on the roster. The Ravens could try to stash him away on IR.)
55. WR Demetrius Williams (This may or may not correct itself before the start of the regular season. Perhaps no player on the roster is facing a more crucial summer than Williams, as he been making the roster based on size alone for the better part of his career. The Ravens may be forced to fish or cut bait with Williams, as they have too many receivers to keep one around whose only ability thus far in his career has been an ability to…sometimes…draw pass interference flags.)
56. K Billy Cundiff (Billy Cundiff clearly has the most simple road to the roster, as he just has to beat out Shayne Graham for the job. Most of us assumed Graham Gano would beat out Steve Hauschka for the job last summer, but it didn’t work out that way. I’m assuming Graham gets the gig, but certainly Cundiff will have the chance.)
57. OT Tony Moll (Tony Moll offers the team a player who can play both Guard and Tackle, but there’s no real place for him on the roster. This may come down to the team keeping either him or Harewood, and a healthy Harewood appears to offer the team a bit more than Moll does.)
58. LB Prescott Burgess (Not everyone in the LB mix can make the team. With depth from Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Sergio Kindle, Brendon Ayanbadejo and maybe even from Paul Kruger; there’s no way the team can keep everyone at the position. Burgess was a roster casualty a season ago, but the Ravens were able to re-acquire him after trading him to the New England Patriots.)
59. RB Matt Lawrence (The team REALLY likes Matt Lawrence, especially what he has to offer on Special Teams. Lawrence made the roster a season ago as the team kept 5 backs, but there’s no guarantee they’ll keep that many this season. He can very well make the team, but it won’t be easy-especially as he returns from a knee injury.)
60. LB Edgar Jones (It is REALLY tough to figure out what the Ravens plan to do with Edgar Jones this season. He’s managed to remain employed while switching from LB to TE to LB to TE to FB to LB to….I thought they might even give him a shot at the kicking competition this summer. Clearly the organization likes him, and OLB is a better spot to try to make the roster than ILB, I just don’t see a role for him right now.)
61. LB Jason Phillips (See Burgess, Prescott. The team was able to stash Jason Phillips away on IR last season, but likely won’t be able to do the same this year. He’ll have an uphill climb to make the roster, as the Ravens don’t lack depth at the position.)
62. FB Mike McLaughlin (McLaughlin has a real chance to make this roster as well. The undrafted rookie from Boston College hasn’t played fullback since high school, but if he can adapt to it, the team could keep him on to create a jumbo backfield along with Le’Ron McClain. He’ll also need to show that he can step in and play Special Teams, which his background as a LB should help with. My guess is that McLaughlin ends up on the Practice Squad, but he’ll certainly be worth keeping an eye on during Training Camp.)
63. TE Davon Drew (The Ravens were EXTREMELY disappointed with Drew after drafting him out of East Carolina last year. So much so that they let him go before re-signing him when the Miami Dolphins gave up on him as well. That being said, Drew has looked pretty good in the offseason, and will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. Outperforming Dennis Pitta would be the easiest way to get a spot, but seeing as how the team has a soft spot for TE’s, there’s at least a chance they end up keeping 4. Drew’s chances would improve if he offered the team something out of the backfield as well.)
davondrew

64. WR Marcus Smith (Marcus Smith is a dark horse to make the roster, but it is worth remembering that he WOULD have made the roster last season before suffering a knee injury in a preseason win over the Washington Redskins. Smith faces a tough competition, but he is 6’1″, and has shown some promise during his short NFL career.)
65. CB Cary Williams (Speaking of 6’1″, height might give Williams a chance to make the roster on the defensive side as well. It looks like Williams will be battling Travis Fisher for a roster spot, but the team could end up keeping more DB’s-especially considering the question marks surrounding Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb’s return from injury. Williams hung around on the roster at the end of last season, but still has a long road ahead of him.)
66. S KJ Gerard (The 2009 UFA out of Northern Arizona impressed the team from Day 1, so much so that he was eventually promoted to the roster from the Practice Squad when Haruki Nakamura was hurt. That being said, it’s hard to picture the team keeping a 5th safety, and it seems unlikely that Gerard would make the squad as a corner ahead of the likes of Fisher and Williams. His versatility and special teams ability give him a shot, but his best chance is if someone ahead of him gets hurt.)
67. CB Prince Miller (Of this year’s group of UFA’s, Miller and Mike McLaughlin appear to have the best chance at making the roster. Miller has had the chance to mark quality SEC receivers during his career at Georgia, but 5’8″ certainly isn’t the ideal height for a corner. He’s played well in the offseason, and his ability to return kicks could give him a real chance to make the roster.)
68. WR Justin Harper (Justin Harper found his way to the active roster late in the season, but the number of quality receivers ahead of him makes it unlikely to envision him finding his way on the roster out of Training Camp. He has a way of impressing fans with leaping catches in practice, but has dropped way too many catches to be considered a serious candidate to make the roster. If that changes over the summer, he’ll work his way up the list.)
69. DT Lamar Divens (Divens is in the deep group of D-Linemen that are trying to make the roster. Unfortunately, he played in just 3 games in 2008 before missing the entire 2009 season due to a shoulder injury. He’s in the “looks like a Raven” mix, but he’ll have to win a job against the likes of Talavou, McKinney and Art Jones.)
70. CB Marcus Paschal (Paschal and John Harbaugh have a history that dates back to their time together with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Paschal has still only played 5 games in his NFL career. He has a shot to make the roster considering the team needs secondary depth, but I wouldn’t describe his shot as “likely.”)
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71. OT Joe Reitz (Reitz has snuck his way onto the Practice Squad over the last two seasons-one of which was cut short by shoulder injury. He’s 6’7″ and 315 pounds but his still never played real football game in his life, either at the college of pro level. His size makes him promising, but his lack of experience makes him unlikely.)
72. WR Eron Riley (Riley is 6’3″ and one of the more likeable guys in the locker room, but the coaches want to see more explosiveness from him. If the team hadn’t upgraded at receiver over the offseason, I might think better of his chances of making the roster.)
73. DE William Van de Steeg (When I saw lower case letters on Van de Steeg’s jersey last summer in Westminster, I assumed he wouldn’t be around very long. He’s hung around Charm City longer than I expected, but I don’t expect it to be too much longer.)
74. OL Bryan Mattison (It’s nice to be the son of the offensive coordinator, but it probably isn’t nice enough to get Mattison on the roster. He was kept on the practice squad last season, and I imagine he’ll probably find his way on the practice squad again this year.)
75. OT Stefan Rodgers (Rodgers has been a part of 5 different teams during his 3 year NFL career; including the Buccaneers, Eagles, Jets and Jaguars. During that time, he has yet to make it on the field for 1 game. I don’t think that changes with the Ravens this season.)
76. LS Morgan Cox (Morgan Cox’s chances of making the roster actually aren’t all that bad. He just has to beat out Matt Katula, who will come in as an overwhelming favorite. If Katula hasn’t shaken off his elbow issues, Cox’s chances will improve.)
77. RB Curtis Steele (A lot of scouts really like Curtis Steele. The problem is, there isn’t an obvious role for the UFA out of Memphis. My guess is that he ends up on the practice squad, but making the 53 isn’t impossible.)
78. DE Albert McClellan (I haven’t heard a bad thing about the Ravens’ UFA out of Marshall. Problem is, I haven’t heard anything that makes me think he’ll really have a shot at making the roster.)
79. WR Rodelin Anthony (When you’re a 6’5″ receiver, scouts pay attention. But if the Ravens’ UFA out of UNLV wants to make the 53, he’s going to have to make a MAJOR impact between now and Labor Day.)
80. S Brad Jones (I think a lot of folks were confused about who exactly Brad Jones was when he signed out of Cincinnati. Jones is a rookie-not the LB who was drafted by and played for the Packers last season. The Ravens have had success with safeties from Cincinnati-see Nakamura, Haruki; but I don’t expect that to help Jones make the roster.)
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81. WR Maurice Price (Price has bounced around during his career-making stops with the Chiefs, Pats, 49ers and Calgary Stampeders of the CFL before landing on the Ravens’ practice squad. I would be surprised if he found his way back.)
82. WR Chris Hannon (A 6’3″ receiver out of the University of Tennessee who has made stops in Kansas City, Carolina, San Francisco, Miami and Detroit should probably have a better chance of making the roster than I am giving him credit for. He’ll have plenty of time over the next few months to prove me wrong.)
83. DL John Fletcher (John Fletcher is a 6’6″ D-Lineman out of Wyoming. He has at least a chance at making the practice squad, but probably nothing more than that.)
84. OL Daniel Sanders (The UFA out of Colorado hasn’t given me-or anyone else-much of a reason to be able to say too much about him at this point. Maybe that will change.)
85. CB Courtney Smith (I’m not sure I had ever heard of Central Washington before the Ravens picked up Courtney Smith. He’ll have a chance to put the school on the map, but it’s a bit of an extreme longshot.)
86. CB Ashton Hall (The Ravens signed two undrafted members of the Thundering Herd following the draft. Of the two, Albert McClellan appears to be a bit farther ahead.)
87. C Digger Bujnoch (Before putting together this list, I could name 86 of the 87 players on the Ravens’ roster. The former Cincinnati Bearcats center was the only one I couldn’t.)

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out, as each of these players will have a chance to improve their place on the list.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because my girl Intern Genna just won’t quit. Sure, she’s leaving us for a summer in Ocean City-but I guess she wanted to make sure she wasn’t gone from our hearts…

genna

Attention prospective employers: Genna has graduated from Towson University, and she’s available to bring a level of sophistication to your company. If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch with me, and I’ll set up a meeting.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matusz struggled, Cahill wowed as Orioles fell to Athletics

Well…that happened.

Adam Rosales is still running somewhere right now in fear that someone will tell him Brian Matusz didn’t REALLY groove a pitch up in the zone with 2 strikes and 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st.

I had no idea Trevor Cahill’s scouting report said “don’t bother trying.”

GARRETT ATKINS HIT A HOME RUN? MAYBE THE EARTH IS FLAT!!!

This is why the team’s struggles are so effing frustrating. What the hell do you say about that last night? “I mean, I know Matusz stunk, but hey-he DID retire 10 straight at one point!”

The O’s weren’t in that game for even a minute. First pitch was at 7:05, and I could’ve watched Wheel of Fortune or The Office at 7:30. Hell, I could have flipped over to Jeopardy! at 7:10.

15-32. They’re 15-32. It makes even the wins seem irrelevant.

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

Rajai Davis might the only player who can ground out into a triple. Don’t believe me? In the 7th inning, he grounded out to short, but beat out the throw. I know Dave Trembley argued, but Davis got there at the same time as the throw, and the safe call was correct.

He then stole second base (his 3rd of 3 stolen bases on the night). He never actually GOT to third base, but after stealing 3rd earlier in the game and scoring 2 runs, I feel pretty comfortable in assuming he could have done it again.

He’s no Rickey Henderson, but he looked like Rickey last night.

I have no idea if Felix Pie was watching last night, but if he was-I hope he was taking notes.

3. Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Brian Roberts still expects to play in 2010

I feel like there should have been a “…but admits he really has no idea” at the end of that headline.

Look, clearly B-Rob’s absence has hurt the Birds this season. Would having him in the lineup give the Orioles someone who could drive in runs? Nope. But would it mean that Scott Moore, Julio Lugo or Garrett Atkins WOULDN’T be in the lineup? Yes, and that would be particularly helpful.

I pray to God Brian Roberts returns…ever. But I’m not so sure he’ll ever have a season again in his career where he doesn’t deal with health issues.

4. Edmonton Journal’s John MacKinnon says former Oriole Larry Bigbie has ‘moved past’ own steroid use

Noted.

Bigbie is now playing for the Edmonton Capitals, who start their season in 5 days. After the season starts, it is believed that the Capitals will win 3 of their first 4, then proceed to completely choke in dropping 3 games to Montreal.

Heh.

Look, I don’t want to say I’m “unmoved” by Bigbie’s thoughts, but what else is a guy who was so heavily involved in PED use supposed to say? “I’m still thinking about using PED’s sometimes”? I mean, this is better than asking the reporter if he knew where Kirk Radomski and David Segui were hanging out these days.

So…I’m not “unmoved”, I’m just moved MORE by Mariana Weickert, who Guyism points out is on the cover of Maxim in Brazil…

maxim

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Zach Britton, Rick Zagone had big night for Birds on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, I couple of things worth noting:

-Congratulations to “Roar From 34″, who won their 2nd “Apologist of the Morning” honor today, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. RF34 points out that Kevin Millwood, David Hernandez, Brian Matusz and Jeremy Guthrie are amongst the league leaders is “tough losses.” For the record, I’m amongst the league leaders in “that girl ALMOST came home with me”s.

-Nick Markakis will not be available tonight (wife giving birth), and Dave Trembley made it seem during the MASN “Wired Wednesday” segment last night that he didn’t want to play Luke Scott again tonight. This could well mean that the lineup tonight will include Scott Moore, Garrett Atkins, Cesar Izturis AND Lou Montanez. I’d suggest prayer.

-The Orioles will try again to get their 3rd series victory of the year tonight; as Brad Bergesen faces Gio Gonzalez at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. First pitch on MASN2 is at 7:05pm.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says former Ravens scout Daniel Jeremiah joining Eagles’ staff

You might know Daniel Jeremiah from Twitter, where he goes by @MoveTheSticks and offers great NFL commentary. He was heard every Friday last fall on AM1570 with Ray Bachman, Nestor Aparicio, Rex Snider, Thyrl Nelson, Rick from Reisterstown or whoever the hell else was hosting the show that day. He was also a part of ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft, and has worked with Phil Savage both in Baltimore and in Cleveland.

It’s a great hire for Philly. The only way they could have made a better hire is if they found a way to nab Alana Blanchard, who Barstool Sports says is a pro surfer…

alana

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says team agreed to deal with exclusive rights free agent LB Jameel McClain

Who is in a mess of players on this team at the LB position. Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden, Sergio Kindle, Antwan Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones are also on the roster at LB, with Paul Kruger a DE/LB. I expect Jameel McClain will make the team, and I expect most of the other 12 will have a shot to make the team as well.

Of course, there can only be 53. I’ll do my first mock roster soon.

8. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Troy Smith, John Beck ‘battling’ according to Cam Cameron

And there’s an element of truth to that.

Look, Troy Smith is the Ravens’ backup quarterback. But should Troy have a TERRIBLE Training Camp and play poorly in the preseason while John Beck excelled, Beck would of course have a chance to move up the depth chart to the #2 role.

That being said, should Todd Heap have a miserable Training Camp and struggle in the preseason while Ed Dickson excelled, Ed Dickson would have a chance to move up the depth chart at TE. Is it realistic to even discuss? No. But when Cam Cameron was asked the question, he answered it honestly.

Cam Cameron DOES have history with John Beck in Miami, but Troy Smith is well liked by Ozzie Newsome. Troy Smith has NOT fallen out of favor over in Owings Mills, despite what some people might want to think.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens looks back on games that ‘doomed’ Dave Cottle

This is a very good list, and very relevant when looking back on what went wrong during Cottle’s tenure at Maryland. There were plenty of chances for him to win “the big game”, it just didn’t work out for one reason or another. Couple that with some really bad losses (punctuated by the defeat at the hands of Notre Dame this year), and Cottle’s fate was sealed.

You know what’s going to doom me from getting any work done today? The picture of Lexxie Robinson they have at Busted Coverage today…

lexxie

10. SI’s Grant Wahl says former Terps Clarence Goodson, Maurice Edu selected for Team USA World Cup roster

If you missed it, ESPN Radio Play by Play voice JP Dellacamera joined Drew this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to break down the roster. Other guests included WNST’s own Luke Jones and Johns Hopkins baseball coach (they’re headed to the College World Series!) Bob Babb. You can hear all of it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

And finally, I leave you with this.

I missed the Blue Angels in Annapolis yesterday. But I did NOT miss the chance to listen to some Blues Traveler…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdz5kCaCRFM[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 05 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because last night was the annual “Undie Run” at Arizona State University. As someone who lived right down the street from ASU for two years, I can’t even BEGIN to explain what a good idea this is…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRtPVxoB4AA[/youtube]

The failure to copy this idea at Towson University is absolutely UNTHINKABLE. The University of Maryland is putting together their first ever Undie Run in 6 days, and they’ll have a lot to live up to…

asuundir

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says AJ Burnett shut down Orioles as Yankees won 4-1

AJ Burnett is a hell of a pitcher. He might not be Roy Halladay, but he’s pretty damn good.

That being said-it is UNACCEPTABLE to have runners on 2nd & 3rd base with no outs and then see Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters strike out. It’s just unacceptable. There’s no other way to put it.

What Gary Thorne, Mike Flanagan and Ben McDonald said during the MASN broadcast was telling however. With runners and 2nd and 3rd with none out, the pressure in that situation was somehow on the Orioles hitters and NOT on Burnett.

How could it have EVER come to this?

ALL of the pressure was on the Orioles hitters. Instead of going to the plate and thinking “cool, another spot to drive in some more runs”, Orioles hitters were thinking something along the lines of “oh dear God I better get a hit here because I have no idea if we’ll ever get a chance like this again!”

How telling was it that in the bottom of the inning; after Jones misplayed Francisco Cervelli’s single into a triple; Dave Trembley decided to pull the infield in.

In the THIRD inning.

Watching the Orioles is slightly less fun than going to the dentist at this point.

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

Maybe I’m the one responsible for this. I went away to hang out at the Kentucky Derby over the weekend, and the Orioles swept the Red Sox in 3 games I couldn’t even watch on TV. I’ve been able to actually SEE the O’s win exactly FOUR games this season!

FOUR!

The Orioles had no RBI at all last night, and haven’t driven a runner in from scoring position YET through two games at Yankee Stadium.

Brian Matusz was by no means bad last night, although he did walk in a run.

It’s just like a continuous nightmare.

I know what will brighten our spirits….a picture of Serinda Swan from BarstoolSports.com…

serinda

…yep, I feel better already.

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark uncomfortably says Birds ‘could learn from’ Washington Nationals

And believe it or not, it ISN’T just by putting a Ben’s Chili Bowl inside the stadium…

benschilibowl

I seriously credit Nats President Stan Kasten for saying the right thing when asked about low attendance. When you have a bad product (like the Nationals HAVE had; and the Orioles certainly DO have), it’s YOUR fault. YOU need to fix it.

And if Dave Trembley just said the wrong thing out of frustration when asked about attendance, Andy MacPhail just just make a statement to “correct” him.

Or the team can keep allowing the fans to be blamed for the bad product. That’s a good idea too.

4. The AP says former Tigers, O’s broadcaster Ernie Harwell dead at 92

While Ernie Harwell has very LITTLE to do with Baltimore, it is certainly worth discussing this. Harwell represented what fans used to LOVE about baseball-especially in towns like Baltimore. He will be SORELY missed.

Just try watching this without tearing up. Ernie Harwell was a SPECIAL man…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paWJl3qpUIM[/youtube]

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Robert Andino, Josh Bell, Zach Britton, Billy Rowell all had big nights on farm

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

-If you missed Zach Britton on with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST; you can check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net.

-Congratulations to today’s “Apologist of the Morning”, Steve Melewski from MASN. He wrote a great piece talking about how Luke Scott had a better slugging percentage than Brian Roberts last year-so we should defend Scott’s poor play this season.

That’s right. Luke Scott’s slugging percentage was better than the team’s leadoff hitter last year. That makes him a good player who deserves to keep his spot in the lineup.

Christ.

-The O’s and Yanks are back at it this afternoon in The Bronx; with David Hernandez facing licensed Orioles killer Andy Pettitte. First pitch is at 1:05pm. Follow us on Twitter (@WNST) during the game for humorous updates.

6.Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Elizabeth City State WR Reggie Smith to try out with Ravens this weekend

Cool!

But…uh…what the hell is Elizabeth City State?

I mean, if it was Elizabeth BERKLEY City State I might be a bit more interested…

berkley

(Edit from GMC: I love NO ONE more than I love Jessie Spano. Okay, maybe Topanga. But that’s it.)

For the record, Smith is a 5’11″ receiver who put up good numbers in college. If he shows up in Owings Mills again after this weekend, I’d be STUNNED.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Edgar Jones switching back to OLB

Maybe they should just throw him in the kicking competition too while they’re at it???

The Ravens have a TON of depth at linebacker. Terrell Suggs is backed up by Paul Kruger; Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe are backed up by Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Jason Phillips, Prescott Burgess and Brendon Ayanbadejo; and Jarret Johnson is backed up by Sergio Kindle. Now add Edgar Jones to that mix.

I don’t think they’ll all be in East Rutherford the night the Ravens play the Jets.

If you missed Ravens center Matt Birk or QB Coach Jim Zorn with Drew this morning, they’re both up in the Audio Vault.

8. The Sun’s Katherine Dunn says Notre Dame Prep lacrosse beat St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes in honor of former teammate Yeardley Love

I haven’t had a chance to say much about the tragic situation at Virginia, and I probably won’t say much about it here, as we are MUCH too light-hearted for poignancy. The Cavaliers are probably doing the right thing by playing in the NCAA Tournament, but you can’t imagine it won’t have an impact.

“The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet” is a NDP grad, and I know the community there has been TERRIBLY shook by the news. Prayers for all of them and blessings to the Love family.

9. UMBCRetrievers.com previews tonight’s America East Tournament semifinal against Albany at UMBC Stadium

For as bad a start as Don Zimmerman’s Retrievers got off to this season, they have a realistic chance of making the NCAA Tournament-although they would likely have to play the conference championship game at Stony Brook this weekend.

They certainly have a better chance of making the NCAA Tournament than I do of getting to know Tulisa Contostavlos on a more personal level (Thanks Guyism!)…

tulisa

10. TowsonTigers.com previews tonight’s CAA Tournament semifinal against UMass at Unitas Stadium

The Tigers also HAVE to win their conference tournament to make the NCAA Tournament, although it isn’t quite as steep a climb. They’ll be able to host the Championship game Saturday should they win tonight.

In a completely unrelated story, former Oregon cheerleader Amanda Pflugard is apparently a model now. I thought this was important enough to pass along (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

pflugard

11. Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee says Bob Baffert working with Lookin At Lucky in Louisville before making decision on Preakness

Rumor has it that when asked about what he’ll do differently this time after failing to win at Churchill Downs; I believe he may have said…”Well I’m sure as hell not going to talk to that clown Glenn Clark before the race this time.”

And finally, I leave you with this…

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!!

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Blog & Tackle: 2010 NFL Free Agency primer

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Chris Pika

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Baltimore Ravens Grades and Comment

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Baltimore Ravens Grades and Comment

Posted on 04 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Drew and Glenn have both graded the season of each contributing Raven.

(Drew’s grade/Glenn’s grade)

Quarterbacks
flacco

Joe Flacco: B-/C+

Running Backs
rice

Ray Rice: A/A-

Willis McGahee: B/B-

Le’Ron McClain: B/B

Tight Ends
heap

Todd Heap: B/B-

LJ Smith: D/C-

Wide Receivers
mason

Derrick Mason: B+/A

Mark Clayton: C-/C-

Kelley Washington: B/B

Demetrius Williams: C/C-

Offensive Linemen
oher

Jared Gaither: B/B+

Michael Oher: A/A

Ben Grubbs: B/B+

Matt Birk: B+/B+

Marshal Yanda: B/B

Chris Chester: B/B-

Oniel Cousins: C+/C

Defensive Linemen
ngata

Trevor Pryce: B-/C+

Dwan Edwards: B+/B

Haloti Ngata: B/A-

Kelly Gregg: C+/C

Justin Bannan: B/B

Terrell Suggs: D/C-

Linebackers
lewis

Ray Lewis: B+/B+

Antwan Barnes: C/C+

Tavares Gooden: C/C+

Dannell Ellerbe: B+/B

Jarrett Johnson: A/A-

Jameel McClain: C/C

Paul Kruger: C/C

Brendon Ayanbadejo: B/B+

Defensive Backs
reed

Domonique Foxworth: B/B-

Fabian Washington: C/C+

Chris Carr: B-/B-

Lardarius Webb: B/B+

Frank Walker: C/C+

Ed Reed: B+/A-

Dawan Landry: B+/B

Tom Zbikowski: B+/B

Haruki Nakamura: C/C+

Special Teamers
koch

Matt Katula: D/D

Sam Koch: B+/A-

Billy Cundiff: B/B-

Coach
harbaugh

John Harbaugh: B/B

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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With Ravens Season Over, Draft Season Begins in Orlando

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With Ravens Season Over, Draft Season Begins in Orlando

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

As all of you know, there are few people in the world who are bigger fans of the NFL Draft than I am. Last season, I profiled over 100 NFL Draft prospects in the months leading up to the big event at Radio City Music Hall. Some of those players eventually became Baltimore Ravens, including Michael Oher, Paul Kruger, Lardarius Webb, Cedric Peerman, Jason Phillips, Isaiah Williams, Graham Gano, Eron Riley and more.

And with NFL season now over here in Charm City, it is time to start looking ahead to the 2010 NFL Draft; which will be held April 22-24th again in New York. I like to call the next 3 months “NFL Draft Season”, as it is much more than just the 3 days that determine how teams will make their picks. The season begins with the announcements from underclassmen, then moves to college all-star games (including the Senior Bowl), the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis (which myself, Drew Forrester & Nestor Aparicio will be covering LIVE here on WNST.net), individual Pro Timing Days, and team interviews that all build to the 3 days in April.

We will be starting our weekly NFL Draft Preview segment on “The Comcast Morning Show” this week, the segment will air Wednesdays at 9:40am. This Wednesday, Chad Reuter from NFLDraftScout.com & CBS Sports will be joining us. Chad will be reporting to us live from Orlando, where the annual East West Shrine Game marks the start of College All-Star season. Two Ravens rookies (Jason Phillips of TCU and Dannell Ellerbe of Georgia) were participants in last year’s game, as well as former Terrapins C Edwin Williams, who played for the Washington Redskins this season. It is definitely worth paying attention to what is going on at the game.

As I did last year, I will rank the likely needs the Ravens face in the offseason. This list may be altered as players are released/retired/traded/signed/injured/etc.

1-Wide Receiver (This goes without saying, as the team currently has just Marcus Smith under contract.)
2-Tight End (They almost got Brandon Pettigrew last year, there is no doubt they will be looking at the position again this season. Todd Heap should be back, but LJ Smith is a free agent-and clearly Heap is getting no younger.)
3-Cornerback (While they likely think they have two capable starting CB’s on the team, there is no doubt that Ozzie Newsome and company would welcome another impact corner to a group that already includes Domonique Foxworth, Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr.)
4-Safety (Ed Reed’s future makes this a very crucial spot, as does the pending free agency of Dawan Landry. Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura appear to be part of the team’s future at the position, but having both as starters in 2010 wouldn’t likely bode well.)
5-Outside Linebacker/Rush End (Dwan Edwards is a free agent. Trevor Pryce may choose to retire. Terrell Suggs came in last season out of shape. Antwan Barnes is a restricted free agent. And no one needs to be reminded that this group struggled to get pressure on opposing QB’s during a large part of Greg Mattison’s first season as Defensive Coordinator.)
6-Kicker (Billy Cundiff will be an option for this team, but even he knows there will at least be competition for the job. It may come from a free agent kicker-Graham Gano comes to mind-but it may come from a rookie as well. OR the team may decide to go somewhere else altogether.)
7-Quarterback (Obviously Joe Flacco is THE guy, and the team would be fine with bringing back Troy Smith to back him up. But Smith’s agent made it clear they want him traded, and the Ravens may decide to give him his wish. John Beck remains in the mix, but the Ravens will have to give him a contract. The team could use strength at the position from a young QB if they decide to let Smith and/or Beck go.)
8-Interior Offensive Line (Matt Birk is not getting any younger, and Chris Chester may be up for starter money somewhere else. Marshal Yanda is also a RFA, so this team may need to add to the group-especially at Center.)
9-Exterior Offensive Line (Jared Gaither is a RFA-and the Ravens will have to make a difficult decision there. Someone will want to give him money, it’s just a question of whether or not the Ravens are the team that will want to do it. Behind Gaither and Oher, the Ravens are woefully thin-as Oniel Cousins was somewhat adequate, but nothing more.)
10-Punter (I can’t imagine the Ravens won’t bring back Sam Koch, but I have to put this position on the list-as if Koch gets good money elsewhere, the Ravens will have a major need at the position.)

With all of this in mind, I present my first 10 profiles of the 2010 NFL Draft season. These are all players who are participating in this week’s East West Shrine Game. Thanks to NFLDraftScout.com, Wikipedia, and my own personal conversations with scouts from around the NFL for help with information gathering.

WR Freddie Barnes
(Bowling Green)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw0a-5xV–w[/youtube]

His numbers this season were jaw-dropping. His 155 catches were a NCAA record. His 1,770 receiving yards were a Falcons school record. His 19 TD’s lead the FBS. But his size isn’t necessarily ideal. He’s just 6’0″ and 212 pounds. The Ravens will absolutely need a more sizable threat at WR, but they will also likely need more than one addition to the group. Barnes looks like a lower round pick right now-but he had a huge game in the Humanitarian Bowl, and started practice in Orlando with a bang. A combine invite and solid performance could vault him up boards. One scout told me he could be Anquan Boldin-esque. Everyone in the country would like a player like that. Barnes is VERY athletic, he played QB and basketball in high school in Illinois.

TE Andrew Quarless (Penn State)

quarless

If the Ravens are interested in an impact receiver at the TE position, Andrew Quarless might not be the guy. Quarless had his best statistical season in 2009-hauling in 41 passes for 536 yards and 3 TD’s. But in his 4 year career, Quarless caught just 87 balls for 1,146 yards and 8 TD’s. However, his numbers-and his size-don’t differ THAT much from Pettigrew, who was a Top 20 pick just a season ago by the Lions. Heck, he may even be a bit quicker. But his rap sheet includes a DUI arrest, an underage drinking citation, and marijuana possession. He needs to prove his strength in the months leading up to the Draft, as his frame and ability could very well help him rise to the 2nd night of the Draft (now rounds 2-3). He may well be a guy who would already be a high level prospect had he not been splitting time with Mickey Shuler Jr. during his career in Happy Valley.

S Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrYas6mEuzg[/youtube]

Chancellor has admitted to trying to mold his game after late Skins Safety Sean Taylor, and with good reason. Chancellor is an all-around tough Safety; measuring in at 6’3″, 232 pounds with a great burst as well. Likely a Day 2 pick, Chancellor was an All-ACC performer with experience at both safety positions and also at CB during his career in Blacksburg. He recorded 204 tackles during his Hokies career, along with 6 interceptions, but did not return any for scores. He is also a gifted athlete, having played QB during his HS career in Norfolk.

DE Greg Hardy (Ole Miss)

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If he was fully healthy, Greg Hardy would almost certainly be a 1st round pick. But even with the wrist injuries that forced him to miss more than a quarter of his senior season and the ankle troubles that plagued him throughout his Rebels career might not keep him from hearing his name called Thursday night. Mostly because he managed to pile up 26 sacks during his time in Oxford, to go along with 38.5 TFL’s, 6 forced fumbles and in interception. The Ravens won’t have to go far for a scouting report on Hardy, as his former Mississippi teammate Michael Oher was also a teammate in high school at the Briarcrest Christian Academy in Memphis. He checks in around 6’4″ and somewhere between 260-275 pounds; making his measurements at the Combine and his Pro Day all more important.

TE Richard Dickson (LSU)

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At 6’3″, 245 pounds; Dickson is likely not going to be a traditional TE, but more likely a FB/H-Back/TE hybrid. The NFL scout I discussed Dickson with said the inevitable comparison is Chris Cooley; but Dickson has to prove himself to be an explosive threat. Dickson’s senior season failed to match the production of his sophomore and junior seasons, as he averaged 350 yards receiving and 4.5 TD’s during his middle seasons-but fell off to just 157 yards and 0 TD’s in his final season in Baton Rouge. Despite the drop-off, he finished his career as the most prolific TE in Tigers history.

CB Devin Ross (Arizona)

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I’m not certain that the Ravens are itching for another 5’11″ CB at this point, but they could use depth at the position, and Ross will be available on Day 2 (if not Day 3). Ross will immediately be compared to fellow former Wildcats CB Antoine Cason (who just wrapped up his 2nd season with the San Diego Chargers), and the Ravens will inevitably try to compare him to another former CB who played in Tucson by the name of Chris McAlister-who just so happens to be the greatest CB in team history. Ross will benefit from having his name mentioned in the same breath as those two, because he doesn’t have a comparable resume. What he lacks in size, he’ll need to make up in quickness during Draft season-starting this week in Orlando. He recorded just 1 interception in his senior campaign-5 for his career. He’ll have to overcome the thud his college career ended on; giving up a 74 yard TD to Nebraska’s Niles Paul in a 33-0 loss to the Huskers in the Holiday Bowl.

LB Ross Pospisil (Navy)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agLDxsJ4mfk[/youtube]

I include Ross Pospisil on this list only because he’s the only “local” college football player participating in the East West Shrine Game. He’s certainly not a prospect to be drafted, but could be an option for the Ravens to take a look at after the draft ends. Just a season ago, Navy FB Eric Kettani and Slotback Shun White were picked up by the New England Patriots following the Draft, as they’ve decided to invest in the former Midshipmen and wait out the service time. Obviously, Saints FB Kyle Eckel previously was able to skirt service time after leaving Annapolis, but I don’t expect that from Pospisil. Ross did have 91 tackles on his senior campaign, including 6 TFL’s. He’s 6’0″ and 227 lbs., and is definitely capable of being a bruiser-but the Ravens would have to be willing to make a long-term investment in a guy that won’ t be able to help them anytime soon. It’s unlikely.

QB Daryll Clark (Penn State)

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The funny thing about Daryll Clark’s draft profile is that there is nothing that immediately makes you say “no” about him. He’s a bigger kid (6’2″, 238); but he’s fairly mobile (expected to post a 40 in the 4.6 range) and certainly appears to possess a capable arm. Over his last 2 seasons, he’s completed 60% of his passes for over 5,500 yards and 43 TD’s. In the same time span, he was picked 16 times and was sacked 26 times. Certainly the O-Line play in State College didn’t help those numbers much. He was 22-4 as a starting QB-but his biggest knock is the 4 losses. Clark’s worst performances seemed to come in the most important games for the Nittany Lions-2 against Iowa (both ruining perfect seasons), USC in the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State with the Big Ten title still within reach. He’s not a perfect prospect, but for a likely Day 3 guy, he could certainly prove to be a capable player should the Ravens lose Troy Smith or John Beck.

CB Brian Jackson (Oklahoma)

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You can’t help but get that “What’s not to like” feeling when you look at Brian Jackson’s status. He’s a bit taller (6’1″) than the Ravens’ Current crop of corners, with decent speed (expected to run in the 4.5′s) and has just 5% body fat on his 200 pound frame according to the Sooners. He has football in his blood-his cousin Chris Draft plays LB for the Buffalo Bills. He steadily improved as his playing time increased during his career (112 tackles and 6 picks over his final 2 seasons) and was a very solid special teams player to boot. So….”what’s not to like?” I posed the question to a NFL scout who pointed out to me that there has to be some level of concern stemming from a 2006 knee injury, and while he appeared to be solid, he was never outstanding. He’s had mixed results against his best competition, but did post an interception against Colt McCoy and Texas. Thought by some to be a Day 3 selection, the same scout told me “there’s NO WAY he’s getting past Friday night.”

S T.J. Ward (Oregon)

I have done a lot of research, and while I have no reason to believe T.J. Ward’s nickname is “Freight Train”, I have no reason why it isn’t……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6Hp5uiJgM[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YRsIXOihkk[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc8-gJqzWws[/youtube]

I could go on with “big hit porn”, but instead I’ll move on the details. Ward is a tremendous talent, a likely 2nd round pick. If he weren’t 5’10″, his skill set might get him into Round 1. He recorded 180 tackles over his last 3 seasons in Eugene-along with a pair of picks and 6 forced fumbles. He did all of that despite missing a number of games due to knee and ankle injuries-which will hurt his Draft stock. Ward will absolutely be worth the risk to any team that picks him, but he certainly doesn’t come without red flags.

-G

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/15/10)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/15/10)

Posted on 15 January 2010 by Jack McManus

9:44-

Damon Hack of SI is now up with Drew. Hack has predicted the Colts will win 20-13. However, he explains that he would not be surprised by any result in any game this weekend. He also talks about how he believes how the media will greatly focus on the Ravens’ great season if the team manages to defeat the Colts. Drew thinks that the main focus will be on Indy’s decision to rest their players at the end of the regular season.

9:29-

Kevin Lee, Colts reporter, is next up. He starts off by talking about the one-sided rivalry between the Ravens and the Colts. While the people of Indy understand Baltimore’s loss, they feel no animosity towards the Ravens. Lee also states that the Colts are facing a lot of pressure this season because of the way the regular season ended. He believes that many of the players would have wanted to play out the regular season and try and go 16-0. The players want to be a part of something that will be remembered forever, but they understand the management’s decision.

9:18-

Chuck from Bel Air chimes in wishing Drew a safe trip to Indy. He also discusses the Capitals with Drew. He thinks the team needs to add a defender in order for the team to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

9:00-

Greg Gumbel is the next guest. Gumbel will be calling the Ravens playoff game tomorrow. He also was an announcer for the two teams’ previous matchup. On the topic of last week’s game, Gumbel explains that teams just don’t go into Foxboro and start off as strong as the Ravens do. This proved to him that the Ravens are ready to play this postseason. Gumbel mentions that the Cowboys are another team that has impressed early on in the playoffs. He next moves on to the preparation the Colts have gone through. He explains that since they did not know the opponent for a week, the team worked on fundamentals. The Colts are normally well-prepared and should not be rusty when facing the Ravens.

gumbel

8:46-

Drew welcomes in Randy Monroe, the coach of the UMBC basketball team. Despite the fact the team is fighting hard in each and every game, they have come up short for most of the season. Last night the Retrievers were in a back and forth game against Hartford. UMBC ended up losing by 6 points. Monroe next discusses the improvement of Chris De La Rosa. In particular, De La Rosa has done a better job of involving his teammates. Monroe states that every team in the country goes through rough stretches. It is very important for teams to be able to maintain confidence and turn it around.

8:32-

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is next up with Drew. He mentions an article he will soon put up about Marvin Harrison’s legal issues. Florio states that it is amazing that Harrison has not been prosecuted. He next talks about the season of Michael Vick and his future in the league.

8:23-

Lou in Phoenix calls in. He brings up how the Orioles have yet to make an impact this offseason. He has not seen the team add the “big bat” they promised. In particular he points out the team’s lack of effort towards getting Matt Holliday.

8:11-

Antwan Barnes is now on with Drew. He starts off by talking about how “cool, calm, and collected” the locker room is. He next states that he has been waiting for his opportunity to help the team win. The past few weeks, Barnes has made a significant impact on the defensive side of the ball. He also acknowledges the importance of this game to the city of Baltimore.

barnes

8:10-

Pete from downtown is next up. He states that he has had trouble sleeping at night going into the game with John Harbaugh as coach.

8:08-

Mike in Rosedale talks about the upcoming playoff game. He says the best defense against Peyton Manning is to score touchdowns on offense. He thinks the Ravens have a great chance to pull off the upset.

7:56-

Robert from Hampstead calls in to ask about John Daly’s weight loss. He then shares his own weight loss story. Drew talks about Daly’s appeal to the everyday man.

7:48-

Jonathan in Essex calls in. He talks about the intensity level of both the players and the fans this week. He states that both sides seem very excited for the upcoming game. He also says that Ray Lewis “owes” the Ravens fans a win over Peyton Manning.

7:45-

As part of the picks and comment segment, Glenn picks the Colts to defeat the Ravens, while Drew and Josh choose the Ravens. Be sure to check out all the picks in the audio vault.

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