Tag Archive | "Arizona State"

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Ravens linebacker Ellerbe still trying to carve out regular spot on Ravens defense

Posted on 28 March 2012 by Luke Jones

With future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis inching closer to the end of his career, the subject of the Ravens finding his eventual replacement is nothing new.

One of the most recent names to be discussed this offseason was Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict. However, character issues, a subpar junior season, and poor workout numbers have caused his draft stock to plummet from a potential first-round pick to a prospect some teams may remove from their boards entirely.

It’s a position similar to what current Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe faced three years ago. After being a second-team all-SEC selection as a junior at Georgia, a knee injury in his senior season and off-the-field questions dramatically changed Ellerbe’s draft fate.

“It went from starting out [projected to go in the] first round and getting hurt [as a senior],” Ellerbe said on AM 1570 WNST on Tuesday. “[I was] going into the draft having to work my way back up.”

Signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2009, Ellerbe made the 53-man roster and eventually grabbed the starting inside linebacker job next to Lewis by the end of his rookie year. Replacing an injured Tavares Gooden, Ellerbe started the final three games of the regular season and two playoff games. He finished his rookie campaign with 41 tackles and a critical interception in the regular-season finale that helped clinch a playoff spot.

His future appeared bright as it looked like the hard-hitting linebacker was realizing the potential scouts saw prior to his senior season in college.

But instead of building on his rookie success, Ellerbe showed up to his second training camp out of shape and lost his starting job to Jameel McClain. To make matters worse, an embarrassing showboating incident on an interception return for a touchdown in a preseason game in St. Louis carved out an even bigger spot in coach John Harbaugh’s doghouse.

Ellerbe has been trying to climb back up the ladder ever since as a backup. Injuries limited Ellerbe to nine games last season as he dealt with several ailments, including a sprained foot that left him on crutches following the AFC Championship game in New England.

His ability to play the run effectively has never been questioned, but, much like McClain, his pass coverage remains underwhelming.

Now entering his fourth season, the 26-year-old is looking to establish himself in Baltimore for the long haul.

“I still haven’t felt that yet,” Ellerbe said. “I still work year to year, and I’m still pushing myself every day. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way. I just want to go out there and do my business and show that I belong in the league.”

Entering free agency with the threat of losing McClain, the Ravens placed the second-round tender on Ellerbe, who was a restricted free agent. He appeared to be in line as the favorite to start next to Lewis before a slow market for inside linebackers allowed the Ravens to re-sign McClain to a three-year deal last week.

The turn of events appears to have left Ellerbe in a familiar position as the primary backup and fighting to simply get on the field. With inside linebacker still a position the Ravens are likely to target in the draft, the end result of that final weekend in April could dramatically change Ellerbe’s fate in Baltimore.

Drafting an inside linebacker in the first few rounds would not only threaten Ellerbe’s standing on the depth chart, but it could push him off the roster entirely. With Ellerbe scheduled to make $1.92 million this season, the addition of a rookie inside linebacker could prompt general manager Ozzie Newsome to consider withdrawing the second-round tender to clear some cap room to address other needs — and make Ellerbe a free agent.

No matter how the offseason plays out, the 2012 season will be a big one for Ellerbe in trying to carve out a more prominent role for the future — in Baltimore or somewhere else. Planning to begin training with Lewis in a few weeks, Ellerbe would still like to realize that potential with the team that took a chance on him after watching his once-promising draft stock disintegrate.

“I love the fans and just love the atmosphere in Baltimore,” Ellerbe said. “So I’m definitely ready to get back and ink my deal. At the end of the day, it’s a business.  I understand that, but I love the Ravens. I would love to end my career in Baltimore.”

To hear Dannell Ellerbe’s entire conversation with WNST.net’s Thyrl Nelson, click HERE.

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Ravens’ 2012 offensive line may not look as different as first thought

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Ravens’ 2012 offensive line may not look as different as first thought

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Luke Jones

At the end-of-season press conference a few weeks ago, it looked like the Ravens’ offensive line would undergo significant changes in 2012.

That doesn’t appear to be a foregone conclusion anymore.

With general manager Ozzie Newsome expressing a more positive outlook on free-agent Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs on Friday and veteran center Matt Birk intending to come back for a 15th NFL season, the Ravens could ultimately field the same starting offensive line when it kicks off the 2012 season in September. Before that can happen, however, Newsome and the front office must make difficult decisions regarding each player.

Considered all but a foregone conclusion that Grubbs would depart via free agency when speaking about the 2007 first-round pick’s future a few weeks ago, Newsome and coach John Harbaugh revealed in Indianapolis that the Ravens have had contract discussions with Grubbs’ agent Pat Dye. The Ravens must still decide whether they can award another hefty contract to an interior lineman after signing Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda to a five-year, $32.5 million contract, a deal that would almost certainly need to be surpassed to keep Grubbs in Baltiimore.

Widely regarded as the Ravens’ best offensive lineman, Grubbs will be difficult to keep should he hit the open market on March 13, but the comments made by Newsome and Harbaugh suggest they may have enough salary cap room to keep the 2011 Pro Bowl selection. At the very least, the remarks served as a volley to Grubbs and Dye to show how serious they are about trying to reach an agreement before the start of free agency.

Meanwhile, the Ravens have different factors to weigh in deciding whether to re-sign Birk, who will be 36 years old next season. When asked about Birk on Friday before his agent Joe Linta revealed his client’s intentions to play again in 2012, Newsome was non-committal and previously said during the season-ending press conference the Ravens would add another center to the roster regardless of what happened with either Birk or fellow veteran Andre Gurode.

Working out a short-term contract for Birk that makes sense for both sides shouldn’t be an issue, but the veteran will want to know what the Ravens envision for his role next season. A cerebral player and a great teammate, Birk would be the ideal mentor for a potential draft pick such as Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, but he may not be as receptive should the Ravens ask him to be a reserve.

Speaking of Konz or a player of similar ability, he would be a valuable pick at the end of the first round if the Ravens elect to sign Birk but are unable to retain Grubb’s services. Considered physical enough to play guard in addition to center at the professional level, Konz could spend a season at left guard while learning from Birk at the center position before taking over the position full-time in 2013.

Regardless of what they ultimately decide with Grubbs and Birk, the Ravens will look to address the offensive line in April’s draft, especially when factoring in aging left tackle Bryant McKinnie and his contract that expires next season. Even if the Ravens decide against taking a guard or center in the early rounds, a talented but green left tackle such as Ohio State’s Mike Adams may be available at the end of the first round for Newsome and the front office to strongly consider.

Hill intriguing

One of the most pleasant surprises of the NFL Combine this weekend in Indianapolis was Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, who joined WNST.net’s Glenn Clark last Friday, before showing impressive athleticism over the weekend.

Playing in Paul Johnson’s run-oriented triple-option offense, Hill’s stats (28 receptions and five touchdowns in 2011) don’t exactly scream premium talent, but his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and 4.36-second 40 time turned more than a few heads in Indianapolis. Though teams should proceed with caution while trying to learn more about Hill’s ability as a receiver other than the limited passing tree he ran with the Yellow Jackets, he certainly looks like the prototype the Ravens could use as a red-zone target as well as another speedy option to complement Torrey Smith.

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The 15-7-0 is Italian. It’s Pronounced FRA-GEE-LAY.

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The 15-7-0 is Italian. It’s Pronounced FRA-GEE-LAY.

Posted on 26 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. Jerome Simpson is HOLY CRAP THAT TOUCHDOWN WAS SO AMAZING I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FINISH THIS SENTENCE.

The ESPY Awards are an annual event put on by ESPN that you’ve never watched from start to finish despite the fact that the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” promotes them for about 6 months.

And since you likely won’t be watching next July, I’ll prevent the suspense. Jerome Simpson’s TD catch for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday wins SOMETHING.

As our own Brian Billick said on FOX, “you don’t get style points in the NFL but that oughtta be worth eight.”

Or more.

Oh, and don’t look now but Cincy is playing great football just before they welcome the Ravens to Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday with the fate of the AFC North hanging in the balance. I don’t want to talk about that right now though. Perhaps never.

2. You just can’t help but be thrilled for Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions.

As someone who roots for a baseball team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1997, I know a thing or two about what it must have felt like for fans in the Music City to watch their team clinch a Wild Card spot in the final moments of their win over the San Diego Chargers Saturday night…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTwsmzTk7Lc

The Bolts were finally eliminated from the playoffs, which you would assume will lead to Norv Turner’s firing. They may or may not have already interviewed Bill Cowher for Turner’s job, and Jon Gruden may or may not be next.

In the meantime, if you’re going to lose at least do it with amazing hair like SD DE Antonio Garay…

3. Kellen Moore and Boise State deserved much better than blowing out an Arizona State team that didn’t bother to try before Christmas in Las Vegas.

It was the final win of a record-setting career for the Broncos quarterback, it was just really unfortunate it happened in this venue instead of in a BCS bowl, as America would have enjoyed watching them play a team that actually gave a s**t…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIXqNJhQPww

The win came as rumors swirled that Penn State was interested in hiring BSU coach Chris Petersen. In a related story, I am interested in being hired by Saturday Night Live.

Petersen obviously is not interested in replacing Joe Paterno in State College. And if you were living as large as this dude is, why would you take ANY job?

4. Cam Newton totally Cam Newton’ed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Saturday.

In the Carolina Panthers’ win over the Bucs Saturday, Newton broke National Football League records for rookie passing yards (Peyton Manning) and quarterback rushing touchdowns (Steve Grogan). He did it in pretty spectacular fashion…

Things couldn’t be worse for the Bucs. Head coach Raheem Morris apparently “sent home” DE Brian Price after getting a 15 yard personal foul call and the team’s freefall continued on toward what looks more and more likely to be Morris’ ultimate firing.

I kinda feel bad for them. Perhaps I should offer some of my mom (the great Karen Clark)’s holiday stuffed shells…

Kick rocks, ham.

5. I don’t know if David Akers’ record for the most field goals in a single season should be considered “significant”, but he owns it either way.

Akers broke the record with FIVE field goals in the San Francisco 49ers’ win over the Seattle Seahawks, moving the Niners a step closer to clinching the Number 2 seed in the NFC.

The Seahawks’ slim postseason hopes may have disappeared, but Marshawn Lynch HAS THE GREATEST PAIR OF KICKS I HAVE EVER SEEN…

Perhaps Foster the People has a follow up ready?

But as amazing as they are, perhaps Under Armour & Brandon Jennings did one better with their “Rudolph” inspired kicks…

Okay…synthetic fur? I HAVE to get back into the shoe game.

6. You might have survived the insanity to get the Air Jordan XI Concords, but USC fans still got a better Christmas gift than you.

Matt Barkley returning to Southern California is confusing because we know he would have been a potential Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft, but we also know what could be ahead. Heisman Trophy, Pac 12 & BCS Championship hopes and bevies of hot chicks.

I mean, the guy can play Jason Mraz on the guitar. He must be dodging panties every day he walks around Los Angeles. Tough life there…

Of course, he’s also been filmed doing this…

7. I’ll ask for the 8th time. Can everyone please stop telling me about the New England Patriots’ defense?

With the Pats trailing the Miami Dolphins 17-0 at halftime Saturday, Facebook and Twitter were alive in Charm City with hopes of the Ravens still having a shot at the #1 seed in the AFC.

I however looked at my executive producer Ryan Chell and said “when Tom Brady decides to start playing I think they’ll be fine.”

They were. The Pats charged back from the halftime deficit to beat the Fins and are now a win away from clinching the #1 seed in the AFC. Apparently none of that is enough for owner Robert Kraft to get a high five…

Also, this looks like a good holiday film/way to make sure you don’t struggle in the red zone…

Of note for Miami, Reggie Bush remarkably ran for 100+ yards AGAIN in the defeat and we learned this weekend his mom does not want him to get back together with Kim Kardashian. That’s fine, I think Catalina Otalvaro would be a better catch anyway…

(Continued on Page 2)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 20 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-UMBC @ Navy (Tuesday 7pm Alumni Hall)

10. Kix (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live); Cinder Road (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre); Mint Condition (Thursday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Cris Jacobs Band (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club); Carbon Leaf (Thursday 8pm Friday 3pm & 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Chuck Brown/Wale (Wednesday 6pm 9:30 Club); Common “The Dreamer, The Believer” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Judge me all you want. I went to see Mint Condition (and Boyz II Men actually) on the 4th of July a few years ago in Phoenix. It was AWESOME.

Knowing CJB is playing in Federal Hill Friday night only makes me sad thinking about The Bridge…

I’m such a nerdy fan of Carbon Leaf…

Honestly, I don’t think much of Wale’s new record. But his first was a freaking JAM…

9. John Waters Christmas (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center-Lyric); “Warrior” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); “The Adventures of Tintin” (Wednesday) & “War Horse” (Sunday) out in theaters

If I can’t make it to The Lyric Wednesday night, I’d be willing to settle for watching old clips of John Waters talking to David Letterman…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRJ-CZAnQNs

“Warrior” was the best movie of the year you didn’t see. Did you enjoy “The Wrestler”? “The Fighter”? Yeah…that realm.

Oh, and “War Horse” is the movie your girlfriend REALLY wants to see but is also REALLY afraid might be very sad so she’s thinking about not seeing it.

Wait. Strike that.

“War Horse” is the movie MY girlfriend REALLY wants to see but is also REALLY afraid might be very sad so she’s thinking about not seeing it.

It’s confusing. Here’s this!

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The 15-7-0 Is The Ultimate Performance Enhancer

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The 15-7-0 Is The Ultimate Performance Enhancer

Posted on 12 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I’d use new terms to describe Tim Tebow’s most recent comeback win but I don’t own a thesaurus.

Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio had a late celebratory dinner with our fantastic attorney Sunday night at Fogo De Chao. As I walked in, I said to Drew “is Tebow going to do it again?” He responded “nah…it’s like 10-0 at the end of the game.”

I responded “um…actually it’s 10-7.”

Within moments we were all doing this…

So that I’ve covered myself here, a LOT of credit for the Denver Broncos’ win over the Chicago Bears has to be given to the fact that Marion Barber absolutely fell apart late and Matt Prater’s UNREAL game-tying boot. In fact, Prater’s boot was so incredible it deserves another look…

Just stop already. Just stop. Frank Reich might want to go ahead and make the congratulatory call to Tebow, because you KNOW “The Mile High Messiah” is going to eventually break his record for the greatest comeback in National Football League history.

As far as the Bears go, it’s over for them. You have to have a quarterback. It would be over in Charm City if Tyrod Taylor had to play.

That is…of course…ENOUGH about the Bears. Tim Tebow played Sunday. We’ll be talking about it until next Sunday.

2. My gut tells me it can’t last, but it’s hard to not feel good for the Houston Texans right now.

Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe you DON’T have to have a quarterback. Maybe T.J. Yates is enough…

With Andre Johnson sidelined, Kevin Walter was the hero. I’m so confused by everything happening here. I know the other teams barely tried, but aren’t the Texans supposed to screw this up so that these t-shirts are never printed???


A large crowd welcomed the AFC South champs back to Reliant Stadium Saturday night. No word on whether or not they had all sent Peyton Manning Thank You cards or not.

3. While Navy’s win Saturday over Army was the closest margin in years, it makes their dominance no less impressive.

Even if I had to make a trip to Landover and that AWFUL dump known as FedEx Field, it was worth it for Army/Navy.

My highlight this year? The press box (which Dan Snyder and company placed in the WORST possible location otherwise) was directly behind the brigade of Midshipmen, allowing me to hear every word of “The Goat is Old and Gnarly.”

If you’re not an Annapolis regular, you might not be familiar. Here’s a 4 year old singing it…

The Mids were 27-21 winners thanks to 4th quarter heroics from kicker Jon Teague. The game (as always) was “more than football”. Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama attended, watching one half of the game on each side. At halftime, he was walked from side to side through a tunnel formed by members of each branch. The word “goosebumps” fits.

4. With their season perhaps on the line, Matt Ryan & the Atlanta Falcons really manned up Sunday.

Down 23-7 at the half and watching their Wild Card hopes crumble, the Falcons became energized and clinched a win with this 75 yard TD to Julio Jones…

After finishing the win over the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons had quite the scare when coach Mike Smith felt chest pains and was taken off the team flight and instead to a Charlotte hospital. When reached for comment, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger described Smith as a “pansy.”

5. I warned you a week ago. The San Diego Chargers are still dangerous.

Crap. Crap crap crap.

The Bolts are pretty healthy and playing really well just in time for a date with the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Phillip Rivers is playing well. Vincent Jackson is playing well. Ryan Matthews is playing well. Antonio Gates is playing well. They kept their slim playoff hopes alive while ruining any hopes the Buffalo Bills had Sunday.

Crap.

WNST will be in San Diego next weekend, partnering with Los Angeles Ravens fan club The West Wing. That means Perry Hall High School alum Daniela Pane will be in the house…

It’s a shame she has to compete with me every year for the “most popular alum” award. Otherwise she’d probably have it nailed down.

(Also-I know flights aren’t cheap…but…you know…)

6. Robert Griffin III’s run to the Heisman Trophy was one of the more improbable in the history of the award.

Before the season began-what, maybe 10% of college football fans could name the Baylor Bears quarterback? Just before Christmas, RG3 has not only won the sports’ highest honor, he’s also started a craze in footwear…

Superman socks. Actually quite awesome. Everyone else is so much cooler than me.

7. For as much as everyone thinks the Greg Jennings injury will hurt the Green Bay Packers, I just don’t get that feeling.

There were a handful of goofs who thought the Oakland Raiders could give the Packers a run for their money. Here are some highlights-or at least the best I could find on YouTube…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbtul3e5l60

If Greg Jennings really does have a torn ACL, the Packers are hurting. But this is a team that has Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, ah you get the point. They’re going undefeated and they’re probably going to win the Super Bowl.

Have a Happy Monday!

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The 15-7-0 > The BCS

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The 15-7-0 > The BCS

Posted on 05 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. Oklahoma State looked REALLY good Saturday night. It’s a shame it didn’t really matter at all.

I tried explaining to everyone it wouldn’t matter if the Cowboys blew out Oklahoma Saturday night in Stillwater. Every time someone asked a question like “what if the Pokes win by a score of 50-0?” I responded with a simple “it won’t matter.”

I was right. Louisiana State will face Alabama again in the BCS Championship Game and OSU will get to watch after playing Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

It’s a shame, as Oklahoma State certainly looked like a team capable of making things interesting in New Orleans on Saturday night. The shame is that their Bedlam rivalry win was marred by 13 fans being injured when they rushed the Boone Pickens Stadium field. It’s also a shame the Big 12 Champs aren’t Bayou bound because we’d all like to see more of Mike Gundy dancing…

2. With that in mind, does anyone think LSU is losing in the BCS title game?

It’s not that I don’t think highly of Oklahoma State (or Alabama), it’s just that the Tigers have been pretty dominant. See Badger, Honey.

It appears as though Tyrann Mathieu’s punt return TD shouldn’t have counted, and he actually had another return later in the game that didn’t result in a TD that was more impressive. But this was still a lot of fun to watch him run all over the Georgia Dome field in the SEC Championship Game.

It’s awfully early, but I’ll go ahead and call a Tigers win over the Crimson Tide in the title game. Just going out on a limb without having to at all. All balls, that Glenn Clark. At least that’s what my 4th grade teacher always said.

3. Tim Tebow is in first place. Since he won’t say it, I will. “Suck it, haters.

I picked the Denver Broncos to beat the Minnesota Vikings on “The Friday Football Frenzy” this week; but I gave myself an out. “If Von Miller doesn’t play the Broncos lose” I said.

What I didn’t know is that the great Tim Tebow had the “throw a 41 yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas while running out of bounds” in his repertoire…

Tim Tebow is better than you. And thanks to an Oakland Raiders loss we’ll get back to later in the game, he’s in first place in the AFC West.

Some Tim Tebow haters won’t give it up, including Merrill Hoge. He told the New York Post that Tim Tebow hasn’t proven anything because he hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Yep. That’s solid analysis. Well done sir.

Since we’re here, here’s this humorous picture of Matt Willis and Willis McGahee.

And also, this is apparently a photo of a fetus (or unborn child if you will) Tebowing. If you don’t want to look at it, don’t. I have no idea what I’m looking at myself.

4. Through one week, everyone who said “TJ Yates will be fine because he has Arian Foster” is right.

Of course, I was not in that camp so I feel like a bit of a silly goose.

The Atlanta Falcons had a great chance to make a move in the NFC Wild Card race, but they couldn’t contain Arian Foster in a loss to the Houston Texans.

I don’t have any (legitimate) highlights of the Texans’ win, but I DO have a video of Tommy Lasorda dropping a TON of F-Bombs in an old interview. Does that interest you???

5. I believe the pythagorean theorem somehow helped deliver West Virginia to the Orange Bowl. Clemson got there the old fashioned way.

The Mountaineers barely held on to beat South Florida Thursday night in Tampa Bay, claiming part of the Big East title-apparently the part that gets you to Miami.

Clemson on the other hand finished a season sweep of Virginia Tech (we’ll get back to them) in the ACC Championship Game. They totally earned their spot in the BCS. It’s a neat change of pace.

The Tigers and ‘Eers will get together in an Orange Bowl showdown that absolutely no one will be interested in. Except maybe this girl…

But I don’t really think of her as much of a sports expert when you think about it.

Oh-and apparently the appropriate way to celebrate a Clemson ACC title is to “fromble.” I had a lot of beers when I was in college. I didn’t know a damn thing about this…

6. Perhaps Chris Johnson really was worth a ton of money after all?

CJ2K has gone over 100 yards three times in his last four games, a feat he accomplished just once in in his first eight games.

That would be better if you were confused while playing along at home.

It was 153 yards and two TD’s Sunday as the Tennessee Titans topped the Buffalo Bills, a team I SWEAR had been good at some point during their existence…

Things get a BIT more difficult for the Titans next week, as they battle the Saints in Nashville. They find themselves still alive in the AFC South race but also still in the AFC Wild Card mix. AND they’re in the mix for the Cotton Bowl. Or something like that.

7. I don’t think much of the New York Jets, but I enjoy watching anyone beat the Washington Redskins.

The Jets scored 3 TD’s in the final five minutes of Sunday’s game at FedEx Field and got big plays from Aaron Maybin to avoid the upset.

A few things to giggle about here.

One-If the Skins manage to win two of their last four games this season, Mike Shanahan will manage to tie the great Jim Zorn’s record through the first two seasons! Big stuff!

Two-Washington’s Fred Davis and Trent Williams are suspended for the next four games for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. I don’t think the substance has been officially announced, but I think I have a guess…

(Continued on Page 2)

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The 15-7-0 Is Feeling Rather Presidential This Week

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The 15-7-0 Is Feeling Rather Presidential This Week

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. The Towson University football team didn’t play a game this weekend, but somehow it will likely go down as the greatest of their lives.

The scene at the Towson Center Saturday afternoon rivals some of the most incredible I’ve seen in Charm City sports history, but sports had very little to do with it.

The most special moment of the visit from President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama (Michelle’s brother Craig Robinson is the head coach of the Oregon State team that crushed the Tigers Saturday afternoon) came at halftime.

Athletic Director Mike Waddell introduced Head Coach Rob Ambrose & the CAA Champion football team, who were enjoying a week off as they prepared for their FCS playoff showdown with Lehigh next Saturday at Unitas Stadium. The President walked out to greet the team, then posed for a picture to the absolute delight of the young men.

It was the type of moment that induces chills. Wow.

2. I’m really jealous of the Cincinnati Bengals for having AJ Green on their roster.

Oh, and Jermaine Gresham too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFByq1hpVGE

They duo (and Cincy QB Andy Dalton) were vital in the Bengals’ come from behind win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday in a game that judging by the attendance no one in the Queen City knew was happening…

Can’t help but notice a few empty seats in the background there, gang. This is a team fighting for AT LEAST an AFC Wild Card spot, not completely out of the AFC North race. This is the best you can do? Maybe “Los Angeles Bengals” has a nice ring?

Since we’re here, here’s a picture of Colt McCoy Tebowing…

3. Rob Gronkowski is not the only reason the Patriots are good, but something tells me there’s a correlation between 11 TD catches and a 6’6″ frame.

To be fair, the way New England was playing Sunday it’s possible a 4’6″ receiver could have caught a TD from Tom Brady Sunday at The Linc…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwO47-nf1lM

Vince Young threw for 400 yards in the defeat, basically because he had no choice but to throw the football every time the Philadelphia Eagles had the ball.

That SHOULD put the final nail in Philly’s “Dream Team” coffin. Andy Reid’s has been sitting open for awhile now outside the City of Brotherly Love. Will it be nailed down as well? We’ll see.

4. Robert Griffin III’s injury might be just enough to default the Heisman Trophy back to Andrew Luck somehow.

The other candidate in the mix (and perhaps the frontrunner) is Alabama RB Trent Richardson, but we’ll get back to him.

After an incredible performance a week earlier against Oklahoma, the Baylor QB might have been one more spectacular performance away from locking up the chance to hear his name called in New York in two weeks. Unfortunately, RG3 was taken out of the game in the second half (probably for a concussion) and had to watch the second of the Bears’ win over Texas Tech from the Cowboys Stadium sideline…

So…Stanford QB Andrew Luck (the preordained winner of the Heisman before the season) was back in the picture with the chance to lock the thing up. Luck was good but not great in the Cardinal’s win over Notre Dame and left the thing up for grabs again.

As I searched YouTube for a recap video of Luck’s final game at Stanford Stadium I believe a Fighting Irish fan summed it up well by channeling M*A*S*H…

I don’t even know what that means!

The (regular) season is over for Richardson so he won’t have another chance to make a statement. Luck’s Cardinal don’t get another chance either since Oregon won the Pac-12 North. Baylor will play host to Texas next week in Waco, but Griffin’s status is up in the air due to his injury.

If none play again, I think I’d vote Luck. Someone will yell at me for that. Go ahead.

5. Houston is a Conference USA Championship Game win over Southern Miss away from playing in a BCS Bowl.

Fourth on the list (of three) candidates to win the Heisman is Cougars QB Case Keenum, who shredded Tulsa Friday in a manner similar to the way he’s shredded everyone else he’s played this season.

If the Cougars top the Golden Eagles in next week’s C-USA title game, they’ll become the first ever team from the conference to make a BCS bowl. Teams from the WAC and Mountain West have played BCS buster, but never C-USA.

Someone will call the occasion “historic”. Those people won’t really know what the word historic means.

6. Another reason why I like Tim Tebow? Sabermetricians would hate him.

He effing did it again, huh?

You know what’s the ONLY THING IN THE WORLD that could make us not spend the entire week talking about the Denver Broncos’ QB? How about a picture of San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak peeing on the sidelines at Qualcomm Stadium?

Thanks CBS!

7. Mark Sanchez also really pissed off a lot of haters Sunday.

The New York Jets’ QB threw for four TD’s, including a game winner to Santonio Holmes in their win over the Buffalo Bills…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJtRuC19Ab8

We’ll of course remember the game as the time Bills WR Stevie Johnson insisted on making a complete ass out of himself…

…again.

Dan Marino was asked about what he thought of Sanchez Sunday, but he was too busy checking out Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge’s boobs to respond…

And here’s my cue to post another VS picture of Aldridge…

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The Return of 15-7-0…Where We’re Still Looking For More Dogs and Less Cats

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The Return of 15-7-0…Where We’re Still Looking For More Dogs and Less Cats

Posted on 12 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Some of you (the diehards) will remember my extremely popular 15-7-0 blogs from a few years back.

Well….they’re back!

Sorta.

As I explained Monday afternoon on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, 15-7-0 will now be interactive, both in blog form and in radio form.

You hear Drew Forrester and Luke Jones share “Scores And Comment” every Monday on “The Morning Reaction” to recap the weekend’s football action. This will be a lot like that. The format for 15-7-0 will be as such…

I will make 15 positive observations from the weekend in football (NFL & College Football), seven NOT so positive observations and one moment from outside of football that made me go “oh no.”

It’s like the old 15-7-0 in that I have to do a lot of work. It’s not like the old 15-7-0 in that I have no freaking idea how it’s going to come over on the radio.

The 15-7-0 won’t reflect on the Baltimore Ravens. We’ll save that for Tuesdays when Ryan Chell and I introduce our new “5 Plays That Determined the Game” segment.

Here are 15 positive observations from the weekend in football…

1-I couldn’t have had a better time at the Towson football game Saturday night

I made a late week decision to attend Towson/Villanova Saturday night at Unitas Stadium with my girlfriend (“Lucky”). Thank God I did.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts5ve0peTE0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

It was cool seeing the Tigers stun the Wildcats. It was cooler seeing Towson students rush the field after the game. Rob Ambrose and Mike Waddell are doing their damndest to create a football atmosphere over there. I’m all in.

2-The only bummer about being at Towson Saturday night was that I missed the magic at Stevenson

I’m very excited for what the Mustangs are doing out in Owings Mills. I wish I could have been there Saturday night for the grand opening of Mustang Stadium.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3-9YGURdOE[/youtube]

Clearly it was more significant because the Stangs were able to get their first victory in school history thanks to a double overtime thriller over Christopher Newport. It’s awesome what they’re doing out there, I’m happy for SU/Villa Julie students/grads/fans everywhere.

3-Much like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher isn’t “too old”

A pick, a fumble recovery and a touchdown for the Chicago Bears in their blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InznVn2GNDQ[/youtube]

I don’t feel so good anymore about picking the Falcons to win the Super Bowl. Yep, I’m freaking out after one week. It’s what we do in this country. I also think Bruce Gradkowski will be MVP. 

4-Cam Newton was the most impressive losing quarterback not named Drew Brees this weekend

You can’t sneeze at 422 yards passing. The Carolina Panthers are going to struggle to win games all season, but they’ll steal a few if Newton plays like this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITZJnI3LqnU[/youtube]

Insert your own “he made less money Sunday than he did at Auburn” joke now. I’m above all of that personally.

5-Alabama’s win over Penn State further proof of just how much better SEC is than everyone else

Penn State isn’t a bad team. They’ll make noise in the Big Ten this season. There was a ton of emotion in Happy Valley Saturday afternoon, as students held a blackout to try to support the Nittany Lions.

It wasn’t enough. AJ McCarron was too good. Trent Richardson was too good. The Crimson Tide were too good. The SEC is just too damn good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSVW9krMm5s[/youtube]

6-For a second straight week, I’m so damn grateful for Friday Night college football games

A week after the TCU-Baylor thriller, we were treated to another thriller, this one in Tempe. Arizona State stopped Missouri in overtime, and it was a lot of fun for me to watch after “Lucky” and I got home after a night out.

I would really appreciate having a game like this to watch every week.

The only question is, why were there ASU fans in blackface at the game??? (Thanks, The Big Lead!) 

asu

7-He wasn’t “lights out”, but Michael Vick IS an exceptional quarterback

14-32 for 187 yards and 2 TD’s (plus 10 rushes for 98 yards) doesn’t truly qualify as “lights out” (which is how Vick labeled his performance after the game), but he was exceptional.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYk_xvzJz40[/youtube]

All of us who picked the Rams to win the NFC West are freaking out a bit today, seeing as how everyone who plays for St. Louis had an icepack on them after the game.

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In A Word, Todd Heap Was “Steady” in Baltimore

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I kept trying to come up with the word throughout the weekend.

After Todd Heap’s tenure with the Baltimore Ravens officially ended this weekend when he signed a two year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, I had hoped to come up with a word to describe Heap’s time in Charm City.

When we made a list of the Top 10 players in franchise history last week, both Drew Forrester and I agreed he was deserving of Top 10 status. There’s no doubt that Heap will ultimately return to M&T Bank Stadium to see his name honored along the facade in the team’s Ring of Honor.

That being said, Heap’s career numbers would certainly fall short of being considered “spectacular” during his 10 seasons in Baltimore. He  finished with 700 yards receiving or more in only three of those seasons, never tallying more than 855. He also never hauled in any more than seven touchdown passes in a single season. After achieving Pro Bowl and All-Pro status twice early in his career (2002 & 2003), the former Arizona State Sun Devils star never again reached the same heights.

While perhaps not always “great”, Heap was always good. Usually he was very good.

Heap wasn’t exactly a football highlight reel. There will always be certain plays that will be remembered from Heap’s career, starting with the leaping catch he made over two defenders in the Ravens’ 2002 Monday Night Football win over the  Denver Broncos and ending with the tremendous layout catch he made on MNF in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets in 2010.

There were others in between, but Heap was never a “SportsCenter” staple or must-see YouTube star.

Rarely would the word “spectacular” be used to describe the way Todd Heap played football. On top of that, Heap’s nature as a person was by no means larger-than-life. Unlike retiring NFL WR Randy Moss, Heap was rarely the go-to guy a reporter looked to for a quote, never making controversial statements about teammates, coaches, or frankly anyone.

If “spectacular” wasn’t going to be the word, perhaps the more appropriate word would be just “steady”.

Steady.

During his ten years in Baltimore, Todd Heap’s play could be best described as steady.

When a play needed to be made, it was safe for the Baltimore Ravens to look to Heap.

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Harvey Updyke Story Strikes at Nature of Rivalry in Sports

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Harvey Updyke Story Strikes at Nature of Rivalry in Sports

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

There’s nothing in sports I enjoy more than rivalry.

I can honestly say that I became a sports fan growing up more because of the pageantry and tradition that I saw on display when I attended events than because of any of the athletic abilities I had the pleasure of witnessing.

As I’ve continued to follow sports both as a fan and analyst, there’s little I’ve enjoyed more than the nature of rivalry.

My father’s family has roots in Akron, Ohio. I fully understood growing up why Ohio State-Michigan was simply more important than any other game.

When Peyton Manning was at Tennessee, the youth minister at my church (David Robinson-now the minister at Community Christian Church in White Marsh) convinced me that nothing mattered more then when the Volunteers took on Florida. Given the results, maybe he shouldn’t have hyped these games up so much.

During the two years I was at KDUS in Phoenix, I dove fully into the Arizona-Arizona State “Territorial Cup” rivalry. I knew more about Chuck Cecil than any young man from Charm City would ever have a reason to.

But as someone who was born and lived in Baltimore for all but two of 27 years, there have been a few rivalries that have particularly stood out.

From 1995-1999, my life came to a halt whenever the Baltimore Orioles opened a series with the New York Yankees.

From 1999-2004, the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans stole my attention unlike any other National Football League contest could.

But since 1992, I learned the nature of what the word “rivalry” really meant by watching the Maryland Terrapins take on the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils.

I had no idea at the time that most sports fans worldwide really didn’t consider any of those games I was losing sleep over to truly be “rivalries.”

The reality is that the much truer forms of rivalry in the area were embodied by Calvert Hall & Loyola, City & Poly and Maryland & Johns Hopkins lacrosse.

As an adult who has made his living in the sports industry, I have found myself particularly interested in three very true forms of rivalry.

Every year I make the trip to see Army battle Navy in football, whether I have covered any other Midshipmen games that season at all. I’ve argued that the Army-Navy Game is the greatest institution in all of sports, and I’ve yet to be convinced otherwise.

The hoops rivalry between Morgan State and Coppin State is of particular interest to me. My grandmother spent more than a decade as an English professor on Hillen Road, and I waited a long time in my life to see the resurgence of the Bears’ basketball program that Todd Bozeman has provided. That being said, I view Fang Mitchell as a pillar of this city’s sports community and someone who deserves the admiration and respect of anyone who calls this place home.

But clearly the rivalry that I am most involved with is the rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens that many NFL pundits now believe is amongst the best the sport has to offer.

As the Ravens prepared to visit Heinz Field this January for their AFC Divisional Round playoff game, Drew Forrester and I tossed around a notion of “making a sacrifice” in hopes of seeing the Ravens get over the hump against their rivals from the Steel City. We agreed one day on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST that we would march with sandwich boards of gratitude at the Royal Farms on Providence Road in Towson should the Ravens be victorious.

We all know the outcome of January’s playoff game. Drew and I never made such a sacrifice.

During our week of Super Bowl XLV coverage from the Sheraton in Dallas, Texas; Drew, Nestor Aparicio and I found ourselves frustrated by the number of former Steelers who were parading around Radio Row and celebrating another AFC Championship, even if their team would go on to fail to claim a seventh Vince Lombardi Trophy.

We often remarked, “this is what happens when the Ravens can’t beat the Steelers.”

As we thought about next year’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, I asked a question that didn’t necessarily have an obvious answer.

“What could we do as a civic group to help the Ravens get past the Steelers this year.”

I’m well aware of how goofy that question sounds, but I was genuinely wondering if there was something we could do as a fanbase to lift the Ravens up. The public outcry regarding the return of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

My question was dismissed, as we all know that it will be the players and coaches that will decide whether or not the Ravens can finally get past their AFC North rivals.

But in Alabama this week, a story has been made public regarding how one fan decided to take the “Iron Bowl” rivalry into his own hands.

By now, you’ve probably heard the story of Harvey Almorn Updyke, who was arrested for criminal mischief in connection to the poisoning of the famous “Toomer’s Corner” trees at Auburn. Toomer’s Corner is the traditional gathering spot for Tigers fans to celebrate a big win, as fans would cover the trees in toilet paper. You can see an example of such a celebration in this YouTube video following Auburn’s BCS Championship Game win over Oregon in January…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iso55KnPCXc[/youtube]

The Auburn-Alabama rivalry apparently meant so much to Updyke that he (allegedly) decided he needed to take things into his own hands.

Updyke is believed to have phoned into the Paul Finebaum radio show (Finebaum is a media mogul in SEC Country) January 27 under the name “Al from Dadesville” announcing he had taken herbicide to the trees. He ended his call by saying simply “Roll Damn Tide.”

Updyke has since claimed in court that he was not responsible for the poisoning of the trees.

The crime has been met with mixed reactions by Crimson Tide fans. Some have denounced the activity, but others have stood behind the action as a statement in the heated rivalry. In fact, National Football Post pointed out Thursday that “Free Harvey Updyke” t-shirts are now available

updyke

The entire situation is interesting to me. As someone who loves the nature of a rivalry, I can’t help but enjoy rivalry pranks. When the Army Cadets steal “Bill the Goat” from Annapolis, I find humor. When rival high schools paint logos on each others’ campus, I tend to believe the kids involved should be absolved from punishment.

But rivalry can certainly cross a line into a violent, unacceptable area. Just two weeks ago, a City-Edmondson game was stopped in the second half due to violence between rival fans in the Baltimore gymnasium.

That’s clearly unacceptable.

The Updyke case is interesting. The alleged actions are deemed as criminal, so they cannot possibly be passed off as “acceptable” or as part of the nature of a rivalry.

But I wonder how we would feel today if we were Alabama fans.

Listener John from Towson, Ozzie Newsome, Jarret Johnson and Le’Ron McClain are notable Baltimoreans who ARE Alabama fans. WJZ-TV’s Marty Bass has a daughter in Tuscaloosa himself.

I haven’t reached out to anyone in that group yet because that’s not necessarily the nature of the column.

The bigger question is whether or not we would support similar activity should it be based in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.

As the Steel City is by no means aesthetically pleasing, it’s not necessarily a fair comparison.

But if there were a park…or a field…or a garden that Steelers fans revered, would we celebrate should it meet a demise at the hands of a Ravens fan?

I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but I’m not sure.

We’ve all seen the pictures of a Ravens fan urinating on the grave of former Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay in Indy. While I have stated that I would never support or participate in such actions, I also would be sympathetic in a response. Should someone have been arrested in connection to the pictures, I would probably be of the opinion that the guilty party deserved some form of leniency, as the nature of sports rivalry can sometimes lead to lewd, maybe even despicable behavior.

I don’t believe it’s necessarily okay for a Ravens fan to urinate on the grave of Robert Irsay, but I don’t believe there should be severe punishment for someone who did.

So if Baltimore had it’s own “Harvey Updyke”, I’m not sure how I would feel.

Would I see him as a renegade who committed a shameful act regardless of my overwhelming support for the Ravens and disdain for the Steelers?

Or would I see him as a folk hero of sorts, who didn’t hurt anyone but made a memorable statement in the history of a sports rivalry.

The rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers will NEVER be as intense as the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama, so it might not be a fair comparison. But it’s an interesting discussion point nonetheless.

I’d like to think I would denounce the activity…but I can’t say for sure that I would.

-G

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