Tag Archive | "atlanta falcons"

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Blog & Tackle: Revisiting 2008 draft intrigue: Ryan or Flacco

Posted on 10 November 2010 by Chris Pika

With the focus this week on the quarterbacks in the Thursday night game – the Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, I was reminded of a piece I wrote after the 2008 NFL Draft evaluating SI.com’s Peter King’s reporting of draft-day intrigue involving the Ravens, Falcons and Rams.

Tuesday, King re-visited the 2008 NFL Draft weekend in his SI.com MMQB Mail blog on Tuesday, and he repeated his reporting from that time that the Ravens had offered St. Louis their first-, second- and fourth-round picks in 2008 plus a third-round pick in 2009 for the No. 2 slot in 2008, which King presumes the Ravens would have selected Ryan in that spot.

BaltimoreRavens.com writer Sarah Ellison made mention of King’s article Wednesday in her “Late For Work” blog on the club’s website, and it is worth mentioning that Kevin Byrne, the club’s VP of Public & Community Relations shot down that particular piece of reporting in his draft day blog of April 27, 2008. Byrne’s key observations in the “The Byrne Identity”:

I started thinking: Am I out of the loop on my team? I just left my guys and there was no indication this was happening. The reality: St. Louis was leaking info that the Ravens wanted the 2nd pick to select Matt Ryan. Why? They wanted the Falcons to react and give them a draft choice to move one space to make sure they got Ryan. Ah, the games continue.

I mention this here because the Flacco-Ryan debate and the choice both the Falcons and the Ravens faced was very hot in the days before and after the 2008 NFL Draft. It is my contention now that either quarterback would have achieved the same results in the other’s huddle.

Flacco was expected to be the “quarterback of the future” in Baltimore and back up either Troy Smith or Kyle Boller in 2008. With Smith’s viral infection and Boller’s shoulder injury, Flacco became the man earlier than expected and seized the job. Flacco inherited a playoff-ready club with a veteran defense in 2008, and did not have to carry the team with his arm.

Not so in Atlanta. The Falcons decision on who to take had far-reaching implications for a franchise in turmoil in the wake of the dual Michael Vick (indicted) and Bobby Petrino (abandoned team for Arkansas head coach job) sagas, as King reported in Sports Illustrated the week after the draft. Ryan had to beat out just Chris Redman for the starting job, and it was no secret that he was the better man very early in training camp.

Both Flacco and Ryan are solid quarterbacks and solid citizens. And because of the comparisons of both coming out of college, both are tied at the hip when anyone discusses the quarterbacks of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Since King re-visited the Ravens “offer” to St. Louis, you get a chance to re-visit my estimation on what actually happened that weekend. The key portions from my “Blog & Tackle” April 28, 2008 WNST.net blog “Interesting Moves And Disinformation”:

Now for the intrigue. (Kevin) Byrne said he had been in the Ravens’ draft room and that there was no indication of a deal working between Baltimore and St. Louis. His verdict was that St. Louis leaked the “trade” info to get the Falcons to move one space from No. 3 to No. 2 to secure Ryan and for St. Louis to gather picks.

Two things of interest here: Rams’ VP of personnel Billy Devaney was the former assistant GM of the Falcons until February of this year and (Peter) King worked from the Falcons’ media area in Flowery Branch and had access to the Falcons’ decision makers (who may have leaked or confirmed the “trade” details given by the Rams). Devaney, knowing his former bosses and some of the Falcons’ early draft plans, probably knew how to push some buttons in Atlanta.

The way it goes down is much like a poker game. The Rams call the Falcons and say in a nutshell, “Baltimore really wants Matt Ryan and has offered trade terms X. We are interested because Chris Long is our guy, we don’t need a QB and we could use the extra picks. What do you want to do? ” If you believe Byrne’s version, and I do, then the whole thing is a bluff by Devaney to get the Falcons to panic and jump one spot. In the end, Atlanta stood firm and the top three went off the board in the order most expected.

But regardless whether there was an offer or not, depending on who you believe, King’s final statement on the matter in his MMQB Mail piece Tuesday rings true for all involved:

So believe me, Atlanta’s happy Baltimore didn’t make the deal, and Baltimore’s happy the Rams didn’t take the deal. Baltimore has Flacco and Rice. Atlanta has Ryan. Both teams are living happily ever after.

Thursday night, both Flacco and Ryan lead their respective teams in what could be the best game of the NFL’s Week 10 schedule. But just for a moment, imagine Ryan in a Ravens jersey and Flacco in a Falcons one — would the paths the two franchises have taken since the 2008 NFL Draft been any different?

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Are we rooting against Jason Garrett?  Absolutely …..

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Are we rooting against Jason Garrett? Absolutely …..

Posted on 10 November 2010 by Rex Snider

Feelings can a very perculiar thing …..

When we’re denied by someone, we tend to take it personally. It could be the first girl who turned us down – or the second, for that matter. It could be the employer who canned our application. It could be the coach who cut us from the team.

Regardless of what we might say, when someone rejects us, we hope to see them regret the decision ….

We want to see that same girl ending up with a loser.

We want to see that prospective employer go out of business.

We want to see that coach’s team suffer through a horrible season.

You got that? It’s not good enough to hope it happened. We want to see it happen. As certain as we want to see the figurative trainwreck before our eyes, we want to witness those who rejected us, as they fail.

Don’t feel guilty about it. Reacting to rejection in this way is quite human. It’s our way of fending off the reality that someone did not want us; we hope to see them fail, as a result.

And, this is probably where most of us find ourselves when considering the impending plight of Jason Garrett. Nearly three years removed from rejecting Baltimore and the Ravens, Garrett is getting an audition for the job he craved all along.

In four days, the Dallas Cowboys will face the New York Giants, in the Meadowlands. When the whistle blows and the kickoff commences, Jason Garrett will find himself calling all the shots for Jerry Jones’ team.

Well, we think he’ll probably be calling the shots Jerry allows, at least.

Don’t misconstrue the spirit of my message. I’m quite happy things turned out as they did, here in Baltimore. The Ravens haven’t missed the playoffs, since Garrett said “no thanks.” And, Steve Bisciotti’s second choice is turning out to look like the best choice …..

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh looks on against the New England Patriots in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Some readers might be looking at this potentially conflicted message and thinking “I don’t care if Jason Garrett wins or loses.” But, you’re lying to yourself. You do care. Or, you’re just an isolated exception to the normalcy of being human.

There is a fairly good chance the Cowboys get their chaps handed to them, in northern Jersey, on Sunday. They’ve been horribly bad – which resulted in Wade Phillips’ firing. The Giants, in contrast, have been pretty impressive, while enjoying a 6-2 record.

Who knows what Jason Garrett is thinking these days? Everyone is aware of his decision to rebuff the Ravens and Falcons, following the 2007 season. He opted for the stability of the Cowboys …. and, perhaps, to become their next head coach.

Meanwhile, Baltimore and Atlanta haven’t missed a beat …..

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Blog & Tackle: Ravens-Falcons could be Super Bowl XLV preview

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Blog & Tackle: Ravens-Falcons could be Super Bowl XLV preview

Posted on 09 November 2010 by Chris Pika

Halfway through the NFL season, there is no clear-cut favorite in each conference to make it to the Super Bowl. Two of the major contenders will play Thursday night in the Georgia Dome in a possible preview of Super Bowl XLV — the 6-2 Ravens and 6-2 Falcons.

Both teams are very similar. Both clubs are 4-0 at home and 2-2 on the road, both will come into the game with a two-game win streak and a 4-1 mark in the last five games.

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 07: Quarterback Matt Ryan  of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on November 7, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Both are quarterbacked by young, impressive players who could have just as easily been switched as to where they were drafted. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are both solid characters on the field and solid citizens off of it who share almost identical nicknames — “Joe Cool” and “Matty Ice”. One had a playoff-ready team when he took over in the huddle, and the other had to become the face of the franchise almost immediately after a tumultous period in which the previous starting QB was indicted and the head coach bailed for Arkansas. You could put either man in the other’s huddle, and see the same results.

Both have a strong primary target at wide receiver. Atlanta has Roddy White, who was injured in Sunday’s win against Tampa Bay. White is one of the most-exciting deep-ball receivers in the game right now. Baltimore has veteran Anquan Boldin, who has provided Flacco with a legitimate vertical threat for the first time in his short career.

Safety valves? The Ravens have ultra-versatile back Ray Rice, who leads the team in rushing, and is Flacco’s second-favorite receiver. The Falcons counter with maybe the modern game’s finest tight end, Tony Gonzalez, who can still use his big frame to block and is Ryan’s second-favorite receiver.

The running backs? Baltimore uses the three-headed backfield of Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain to wear down opposing defensive lines, especially in the second half. Atlanta has a big bruiser, Michael Turner, who has bulldozed his way to big yardage all season.

Overall on comparison of the two teams on offense, Atlanta gets 22 more yards per game, converts 13 percent more of its chances in the red zone, 17 percent more in goal-to-go situations and has scored 2.6 points more on average than the Ravens.

The Falcons may need every bit of those numbers as the two teams are markedly different on defense. The Ravens give up 36 yards less overall, 45 less passing yards and 1.9 points less on average than Atlanta.

Baltimore Ravens safaety Ed Reed runs with the ball after intercepting a pass from Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Baltimore, Maryland November 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Joe Giza (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

What the Falcons don’t have is the trio of all-world veteran defenders in safety Ed Reed, linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive end Haloti Ngata. They do have tough veteran defensive end John Abraham, who is paired with young DE Kroy Biermann, safety William Moore and linebacker Curtis Lofton.

The special teams edge belongs to the Ravens as punter Sam Koch and kicker Billy Cundiff have pinned opponents deep in their own end consistently. Atlanta’s punter/kickoff specialist Michael Koenen does not get the distance that either Koch or Cundiff does, but kicker Matt Bryant is a solid indoor kicker, as he has not missed a field goal in the Georgia Dome in 2010.

Coaches? One is John Harbaugh, who has made his team into a disciplined well-oiled unit after taking over for a very successful longtime coach who won a Super Bowl, and the other, Mike Smith, is related by marriage to that Baltimore Super Bowl-winning coach and who had to steady a team and a franchise after it was abandoned by his predecessor.

Sounds like the type of marquee game the NFL loves to showcase on their own network, and the country will see what these two teams are made of Thursday night.

It will be entertaining, it will be bruising, it has a chance to be high-scoring, and most importantly, if you happen to miss it on TV (for only catastrophic reasons), you might get to see the rerun on February 6 on a much-bigger stage in North Texas.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Short week

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Domenic Vadala

The Ravens played yesterday, and will proceed to play again on Thursday evening at Atlanta in the NFL Network’s first Thursday night telecast of the season. The way I see things, this is sort of a catch-22. On one hand, from here on out there’ll be football on Monday and Thursday nights, which is always entertaining to watch. However, I also see a huge issue with this from the perspective of players and coaches on both sides. Most teams understand that on occasion there’ll be a short week due to a Monday nighter. However that’s only really losing one day. In this case, the Ravens (and Falcons) played yesterday, which means that many players will be in for treatment today. I would suspect that both teams will forego the weekly “day off” for NFL players, which is traditionally Tuesday. In general, most teams have “walk-throughs” the day before games, however in this case I would suspect that on Wednesday both teams will have something between that and a normal practice.

In the Ravens’ case, they’ll have to travel on Wednesday evening in preparation for the game on Thursday. (I’m not sure how the Ravens are handling it, but I’ve seen teams in situations like this that will travel the morning before the game so that they can have a full practice at the actual stadium as opposed to a walk-through at their practice facility.) Obviously baseball has three-game series’ which makes teams play everyday, and basketball and hockey players sometimes have quick turn-arounds as well. However football is a bit different due to the physical nature of the sport. I’m not sure that it’s really fair to the players to have these Thursday nighters in that some guys need the entire week to get back into game shape. So in this case they have to turn around and play four days later…?

Ultimately, these leagues are about money, and the NFL knows that having Thursday night games adds to it’s bottom line. However with the above-stated point about it not being fair to players, I have to question if the fans are getting what they’re used to getting on Sundays. Some players who sustain concussions are in fact able to play the following week. However if that team had a game on Thursday as opposed to Sunday would he be allowed in the game? Survey says probably not. We’ll all watch the game because it’s the Ravens, and it’s the NFL. However if the NFL wants to protect it’s players so much, perhaps they should take a look at their scheduling techniques and decide if they’re doing more harm than good at times. As I stated above, in this case the Ravens have to travel. I would suggest that if the league wants to continue these Thursday nighters, they should try to make them “regional” games; Baltimore-Atlanta is probably a decent one in terms of mileage. However I wouldn’t see it fair for them to schedule the Ravens at the San Diego Chargers on a Thursday night, with the Ravens having to travel across the country.

On the flip side, many players and coaches have also said that these Thursday nighters are similar in nature to a second bye week. If you can make it over the hump of playing two games in half a week’s span, the players do get some time off. However my point is that I understand that the NFL wants to make money. However, if ultimately we see a 10-7 vanilla game, does that really help the product? Interestingly enough, while most NFL fans claim that they love their team playing in primetime, I would suspect that more tickets change hands for primetime games during the week (Monday or Thursday) than on Sunday afternoons. As a Washington Redskins season ticket holder, I’ll be attending next week’s Monday nighter against the Philadelphia Eagles; I’m also planning on working Monday and Tuesday. Many people sell or give away their tickets because they don’t want to take a vacation day, nor do they want to be up that late coming home. Needless to say, it’s a catch-22 one way or the other.

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A blunt reality?  Ravens are very fortunate to be in Baltimore …..

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A blunt reality? Ravens are very fortunate to be in Baltimore …..

Posted on 05 November 2010 by Rex Snider

I’m admittedly naive when it comes to the appeal of sports, as an entertainment vice in the landscape of American culture.

While I like to count myself among the more informed souls when it comes to how people really value their hard earned money, as it relates to sports entertainment, I acknowledge my shortcomings in understanding some distinct geographical differences.

In some ways, I simply assume the National Football League is a popular product throughout this country. But, yesterday, I really learned a valuable lesson about pro football’s lack of appeal in certain cities.

Yeah, I’ve seen the endless updates on television blackouts, on a daily basis. Yet, such examples are usually tied to markets where NFL franchises have been uncompetitive for a substantial string of seasons.

Tampa? I get it.

Oakland? I get it.

Detroit? I get it.

The teams in these cities have struggled for years. And, they’ve offered little, if any, hope for the hometown faithful. Thus, I understand why a greater group of fans choose to keep their money, rather than spend it on seeing their favorite team getting shellacked on a consistent basis.

Heck, I’ve even understood blackouts in San Diego. The weather in that city is usually impeccable, and the Chargers are probably the biggest “tease” in the NFL. So, the choice is between Sundays at the beach or Qualcomm Stadium. The people have spoken, I suppose.

As for a total trainwreck, like Jacksonville, the blame should be shared by Paul Tagliabue and his corps of supporters …..

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 21: Patrick Cobbs  of the Miami Dolphins runs for yardage during the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 21, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Do you see the above photo of the Jaguars hosting the Dolphins? Any chance we see that many empty seats when the Dolphins come to Baltimore, this week? No way ….

The Jaguars are not an awful team; they’re simply situated in a bad area for pro football. A large portion of the population is transient, thanks to the U.S. Navy.

And, college football is a huge attraction in the Jacksonville area – a few notable programs are in close proximity. It’s a storied tradition in this part of the country.

I think it’s very fair to suggest the NFL erred in awarding Jacksonville an NFL franchise, in 1993. The Jaguars have been set up to fail, since their inception. But, that’s Tagliabue’s sin to bear.

Yesterday, I learned that Jacksonville shares some distinct company to the northwest …..

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Where will the Ravens be in January?

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Where will the Ravens be in January?

Posted on 28 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Fast forward yourself a couple months to the week following Christmas. You will most likely be experiencing the typical holiday happenings – your kids are complaining about the things Santa did NOT leave under the tree …. your wife is counting down the days until school returns from the seasonal break …. and you’re simply trying to survive such an ordeal.

Oh yeah, and you’re also digesting the Ravens latest win, against the Cleveland Browns, in the final road game of the regular season. It will probably be a little tougher than most of us originally imagined, but beating the Browns will be a mandatory formality.

And, as certain as many parents are looking ahead to the second half of the school year, many of us are looking ahead to some pretty exciting circumstances …..

College football’s biggest bowl games are approaching …..

New Years festivities are being planned …..

Rex Snider is watching his new HAIR as it’s starting to grow …..
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And, the Ravens will be readying for the ultimate arrival of the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale’ …..

Now, bring yourself back to this 28th day of October …..

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Be careful with this bye-week Ravens…the next few weeks are going to be rough

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Be careful with this bye-week Ravens…the next few weeks are going to be rough

Posted on 27 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

John Harbaugh

John Harbaugh, since taking over the coaching job here in Baltimore two and a half seasons ago, has certainly not ever taken his foot off the gas when it comes to his team’s preparation going into an NFL game.

Gone are the days of “Camp Cream-Puff” in training camp-which has been replaced by two-a-days and hours of just hitting the snot out of each other, and the same goes for their weekly practices.

The Ravens players over the last two-plus seasons may not have like Harbaugh’s approach at times when it comes to practice, but the preparation has set the team up for success, as the team has finished 25-14 under Harbaugh in his first two+ years in the regular season and has won playoff games in each of those seasons.

And the Ravens have set themselves up in good position going into the bye, as they are in second-place in the AFC North with a 5-2 record after beating the winless Buffalo Bills on Sunday 37-34 in overtime.

“As far as the game, we’re very pleased with the victory,” Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference. “That’s the mark of a good football team. Sometimes you don’t play your best but you find a way to win the football game.”

The Ravens will host the Miami Dolphins November 7th at home, who currently stand at 3-3, third-best in the AFC East.

What is ironic about the Dolphins is that they are 0-3 at home, while they are 3-0 on the road.

Chad Henne

The players were present at the facility Monday and Tuesday of this week, but Harbaugh still understood the need to keep his players’ bodies fresh.

“We’re not practicing this week,” Harbaugh told the media. “So, it’s not like we would have practiced less than we’re practicing. We set up the week with what really was in mind the fact of what we’ve done the first seven weeks of the season and how hard our guys have worked.”

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So much for the “losing to a good team on the road” excuse, huh?

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So much for the “losing to a good team on the road” excuse, huh?

Posted on 25 October 2010 by Rex Snider

For me, the challenge in writing a good blog is partly bound in highlighting a specific theme or idea that hasn’t been addressed by other writers. While such originality is usually my mission, it’s not always possible.

But, I still try ….. So, as I walked out of M&T Bank Stadium, upon witnessing the Ravens thoroughly destroy the Buffalo Bills, I envisioned the things we would hear on the radio and see in blogs, come Monday morning.

Heck, I was hearing it as we walked across the Hamburg Street bridge. My wife is not a football visionary. However, she is a passionate Ravens fan. Thus, her ensuing comments were as predictable as the sunset every evening. “You and your buddies said there was no way the Buffalo Bills would hang with the Ravens” ….. “You gonna blame today’s crappy 4th quarter on the opponent being a good team?” ….. “This might’ve been a win, but it’s an embarrassing win” ….. If I would’ve had a rope, I could’ve hanged myself – right there, above the train tracks. It was a better alternative than begging her to “PLEASE SHUT THE HE@# UP,” which is not a good idea with my wife. Trust me, I’ve done it and I’ve paid for it. Besides, she was

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Bill Belichick: “We played a lot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half” ….

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Bill Belichick: “We played a lot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half” ….

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Are you still smarting after Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots? Umm …. let me change that …. are you still pissed-off about the Ravens blowing a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter?

Let me assert that I’m not the kinda guy who dwells on things or refuses to build a bridge, while facing the inevitability of getting over unchangeable circumstances.

At some point, you gotta let it go.

Put it in the rear view …..

Toss it in the trash …..

Flush it down the toilet …..

Choose your rightful path of persuasion. Sum it up in a sensible way and face the sobering reality of losing a game. But, for God’s sake, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t dismiss an obvious wound or vulnerability – just to see it reemerge a few weeks later.
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Alas, putting hardship behind us is always productive ….. if we learn from the misgivings and find a way to improve on the things that inhibit success.

That’s all I really ask.

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve grown to expect a lot from the Ravens. They’re an organization that expects an awful lot from themselves. In a roundabout way, I guess they’ve rubbed off on me.

And, I think that’s a good thing.

It’s also the exact factor that prohibits me from simply saying “they lost to a very good team on the road …. no big deal.” To hell with that. It’s an excuse, and excuses are for LOSERS.

Something went wrong on Sunday. Steve Bisciotti knows it – did you see his face after the game? And, I have no doubt he’s refusing to buy the old worn out “we lost to a good team” reason.

After all, if that’s really the cuplrit, we can justify upcoming losses in Atlanta and Houston, right? The Falcons are a damn good team; arguably better than the Patriots. Wait, I know ….. that loss will get pinned on the short week and travel to Atlanta, right?

As for the Texans, if the Ravens surrender a two score lead to Tom Brady, Deion Branch and that little running back from THE WIZARD OF OZ, I’m assuming they won’t fare much better against Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.

As I said yesterday, I’m a huge fan of Brady’s success. But, we’re talking about the reincarnation of Deion Branch. Wasn’t he scoreless in Seattle? And, Danny Woodhead needs platform cleats to get on most roller coasters.
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Did they really beat the Ravens on Sunday? Maybe not …..

According to the COACH, Bill Belichick, the Patriots switched things up against Joe Flacco in the 2nd half of the game. During his Monday conversation with the folks at WEEI radio, Belichick uttered those words we’ve heard when teams talk about their gameplans against Joe Flacco.

That’s right, when asked what the Patriots did adjustment-wise, Belichick stated “we played alot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half.” “We knew he (Flacco) was looking inside for the tight end and slot receiver.”

Don’t take my word for it, go HERE and listen to the conversation for yourself. Those very telling words begin at 10:30 of the conversation.

What do we know about Bill Belichick? Aside from being that charismatic, personably-engaging guy, he’s also known for his knack to find the opponent’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. On Sunday, he decided to employ his 2nd half defensive attack in the same way the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts feast upon a Flacco-led offense.

Heck, he admitted it during a Monday phone conversation !!!!

My translation is he saw what the Bengals did to the Ravens, just a short month ago. And, he used the most crucial part of the game to switch up and see if the Ravens young quarterback has improved on past transgressions. That’s TEXTBOOK BELICHICK …..

He attacks and exploits a weakness AFTER halftime, when there are no opportunities to re-collect composure.

This is a PROBLEM.

It’s not tied to playing a very good team on the road. That’s bunk. Every game is its own animal. Every game stands on its own merit. Every game is defined by 60 minutes, in two separate halves, between the sidelines.

Accountability is key, and to simply suggest that it’s no big deal to lose a road game against a very good team, is nothing more than a mechanism for accepting a loss. The Patriots found a way to shutdown the Ravens offense, late in Sunday’s game. They simply did.

And, yes, it’s the very same Patriots team that won a close 38-30 game against the Buffalo Bills in the most recent home contest before the Ravens came calling. You got that? The BUFFALO BILLS SCORED 30 POINTS ON THE SAME FIELD, just a few weeks earlier.
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Perhaps, the underlying message to this blog is DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BILLS, THIS SUNDAY. They’re scrappy, and they’re looking for their first win.

Do I think Buffalo comes to Baltimore and wins, on Sunday? No, but they’re not going to simply walk in and walk out, either.

The greater emphasis of this message is that the smoke continues to get thicker and thicker when it comes to the signals regarding Joe Flacco’s production as a starting quarterback. As much as many of us believe the team needs to let the guy lead the offense, we must also face the prospect that the coaching staff still sees the very vulnerabilities Bill Belichick admittedly exploited in Sunday’s late stages.

I’m always willing to admit the depth (or shallow void) of my football knowledge. That’s why I do what I do …. and Cam Cameron does what he does. I’m an ignorant man, when it comes to such intricate measures.

But, I’m not naive. I don’t simply follow the group or herd, and blowoff a loss to good team, because “it happened on the road.”

Screw that.

Something went wrong, Sunday.

And, if you don’t fix it, it will happen again, and again, and again, and again. It will continue to happen, until it is fixed.

Perhaps, the real difference is the VERY GOOD TEAMS find a way to exploit Joe Flacco’s vulnerabilities. At the same time, the lesser teams don’t find a way.

Look back at the Pittsburgh game …..

Joe Flacco hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the back of the end zone to wrap up the win. But, ask yourself where Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark found themselves on that play. They were blitzing – which left the cornerbacks alone and responsible for the downfield, inside threats. Boom …. touchdown.

That didn’t happen Sunday.

And, Bill Belichick has told us so …..

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Do you think Jason Garrett ever regrets his decision?

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Do you think Jason Garrett ever regrets his decision?

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Over the past couple years, I’ve occasionally pondered the plight of Jason Garrett. You remember him, right?

He’s the genius, Princeton-grad who spent a few years as a backup quarterback in the NFL, before trading his helmet for a headset and clipboard, in a coaching capacity.

He’s also the guy who made a potentially career-defining blunder in rejecting an offer to become the Baltimore Ravens head coach, nearly 3 years ago.

On the heels of Brian Billick’s departure, the Ravens had settled on Jason Garrett as “their guy.” And, with Garrett’s arrival for an entire day’s worth of talks, while his wife “supposedly” looked at houses, many of us simply assumed he would become the team’s new leader on the sidelines.
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He said all the right things …..

“I had a really productive day today. I’m going to continue through this process I’m in right now and at some point we’ll make some decisions on both sides.”

Of course, Jason Garrett left town without a deal. The Ravens reportedly offered him the head coaching position, but he ultimately ended up rejecting their overtures.

And, the rest is history.

Think about it, how does a guy who has never been a head coach turn down an opportunity to lead one of the most solid organizations in the National Football League?

It’s a precious and prestegious job; only 32 of them exist.

Of course, in Jason Garrett’s situation, we know what happened …..

This guy stepped in and _ucked it up.
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I guess we will never really know what Jerry Jones said to Jason Garrett. Did he promise a raise in salary and the eventual head coaching position of the Dallas Cowboys? Well, Garrett did become the NFL’s highest paid assistant coach, at $3 million, per season. However, the prospective head coaching situation is unknown.

At this point, I doubt any of us could really care any less.

The Ravens, coached by the “other guy”, have made two consecutive appearances in the postseason and they’re currently sitting at 4-1, as they prepare for this week’s trip to New England.

Not bad, huh?

Meanwhile, the Cowboys, a preseason pick by many so-called insiders as a Super Bowl favorite, are heading to Minnesota. They’re set for a showdown with Brett Favre and the Vikings. The winner of this game eases some fear, while achieving a 2-3 record. The loser, on the other hand, will be on the brink of early season distaster.

I suppose Jason Garrett never really imagined he’d be in this very spot when he declined the invitation to lead the likes of Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata and Ed Reed, huh? And, he certainly didn’t know Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Michael Oher would be part of the mix.

Such is life in the NFL.

Poor Wade Phillips has been rumored as a candidate for the firing squad more often than any head coach, since Garrett’s plane departed BWI, on a cold January night. Still, Phillips exists on the Cowboys sideline.

And, so does Jason Garrett …..
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These days, Garrett is not viewed as that high profiled offensive guru. The Cowboys are underachieving on offense and they’re counted among the most disappointing teams, thus far, in 2010. In fact, they’re just 21-15 since the day Jason Garrett turned down the Ravens job.

Phillips is still rumored to be on his way out the door. Yet, names like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy are surfacing as the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Personally, I don’t see any of those guys taking the job.

They seem to be in different phases of life, and they surely dictate more control than a guy like Wade Phillips demands.

But, Jerry Jones can be awfully persuasive.

Just ask Jason Garrett.

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