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First Round of Pro Days in Draft Season Books

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First Round of Pro Days in Draft Season Books

Posted on 17 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

No matter what happens in Washington DC or courtrooms in Minnesota or the NFLPA offices; NFL Draft Season is moving forward.

After the Combine, Draft season has now progressed with Pro Timing Days, as players work out in familiar settings on their own college campuses. Some Pro Timing Days have gotten a ton of publicity (like Auburn’s, which aired on ESPN3.com), others have gone virtually unnoticed outside of the local market (Maryland held their Pro Timing Day in College Park Wednesday).

The Baltimore Ravens continue to send scouts to Pro Timing Days during the NFL lockout, a group lead by General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 4, 5 & 6-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects who have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

CB Brandon Harris (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0yjcu9CJvc[/youtube]

Harris has been a bit of a faller ever since the end of the Hurricanes’ regular season.

He struggled in the Canes’ Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame. He measured in an inch shorter (5’10″) than his listed height in Indy. He lost an inch on his vertical between his stop at the combine and his Pro Day in Coral Gables.

That being said, he’s been linked to Charm City by a number of mock drafts-both by fans and experts.

Harris measured in at 5’10″ in Indianapolis, and posted an exceptional 4.46 in the 40 yard dash.

He excelled in man coverage during his time under Randy Shannon, playing much above his height. The Ravens would have to believe he can translate that ability to the next level for him to be a real fit in Chuck Pagano’s defense.

Harris is a borderline 1st/2nd round pick. He could go anywhere between 20 and 40. With the Ravens sitting at 26, there’s no question that he’ll be a legitimate consideration.

LB Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Ckjltk9Ic[/youtube]

The bad news? Sheppard’s disappointing 4.76 40 at his Pro Day in Baton Rouge was particularly troubling for scouts who envisioned him moving to an outside linebacker position at the next level.

The good news? The Ravens would more likely be looking at Sheppard as an inside linebacker prospect given the inability for Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain or Dannell Ellerbe to look down a starting job in the 3-4 scheme and the long-term reality of Ray Lewis’ age. If his time hurts his stock with some teams, it could make him available to a team like the Ravens later in the Draft.

Sheppard measured in at 6’2″, 250 pounds in Indianapolis. His biggest strength is tackling in space (he combined for 228 tackles between his junior and senior seasons), but he progressed during his senior season enough that he was able to record four sacks and force two fumbles for the Tigers.

Sheppard is a late Friday night or early Saturday at this point. He’s a good player who lacks elite speed. He’s roughly the same size as Lewis. And here’s a note from his LSU bio…

“Undisputed team leader for the Tigers as a senior in 2010 … Known for his fiery pre-game speeches to the team”

Sounds like he might be a fit.

DE D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)

dreed

I was chatting with Arizona DE Brooks Reed at the Combine-and it came upon me to ask him what it was like going through the Draft process with a teammate like Ricky Elmore.

His response caught me off guard.

“Yep, it’s great to be able to have Ricky with me…and D’Aundre Reed.”

My head couldn’t quite get around it. D’Aundre Reed was at the Combine?

Sure enough-despite starting just eight games for the Wildcats, Reed has been getting a bunch of attention during Draft season.

It isn’t because of his numbers. During the last two seasons in Tucson, Reed tallied just 54 tackles and four sacks.

That being said, Reed has good size (6’4″, 258 pounds) and managed to shave his 40 time down to 4.75 at his Pro Timing Day.

There’s certainly no guarantee that he’ll be drafted, but he’ll be an intriguing prospect both late Saturday and after the draft is over. He may a bit more like Cory Redding than Trevor Pryce, but could be an interesting developmental prospect for the Ravens.

OT Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HG8AW-S198[/youtube]

With the news that Ravens assistant O-Line coach Todd Washington was closely watching Sherrod at the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, there has been some buzz in town surrounding the 6’5″, 321 pound tackle.

We all know the Ravens have O-Line needs. OT Jared Gaither and G/T Marshal Yanda are unrestricted free agents. Head Coach John Harbaugh has not hid from the fact that he wants to see Yanda return to guard and Gaither back at RT.

That’s all well and good, but there are a number of moving parts involved-not only due to free agency but also due to the health of Gaither. With Andy Moeller set to begin his first season as O-Line coach, the team could do well to obtain another mammoth bookend tackle.

After not running in Indianapolis, Sherrod clocked in at 5.29 at the MSU Pro Day in Starkville. He’s clearly behind Gabe Carimi in terms of being the most sought after tackle in the draft, but he’s in the mix with the likes of Nate Solder and Anthony Costanzo just behind that.

He’ll likely be available at 26. He probably won’t be available a round later when the Ravens pick again. Depending on how the first round plays out, Baltimore could be a destination for the big man.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0xi0eaaP7I[/youtube]

I understand how 40 times can change between the Combine and Pro Day.

I absolutely do NOT understand how a player like Rodgers can go from measuring in at 5’5 7/8″ inches in Indianapolis and then 5’7″ in Corvallis just weeks later.

Even with the extra inch and an eighth, a team interested in Rodgers would be looking simply for a Ray Rice type of back who is capable of producing solid yards per carry on the ground but can be involved in the passing game to a significant extent as well.

That might not make him a fit in Baltimore-as the Ravens already have a Ray Rice (whose name just so happens to be Ray Rice), but might be looking to revamp their backfield with an impending departure of Willis McGahee, and a potential departure in unrestricted free agent FB Le’Ron McClain.

Rodgers is well known for combining with his older brother (WR James Rodgers) to make the Beavers a very explosive offense over the last few seasons. He posted an impressive 1,471 yards of total offense and 17 TD’s in 2010-which was considered a disappointment after 1,962 yards of total offense and 22 TD’s in 2009.

Clearly the season ending injury his brother suffered and the departure of QB Sean Canfield went into the statistical drop Rodgers suffered as a junior before leaving school.

Rodgers wouldn’t address the Ravens’ backfield needs, but he could be an interesting addition late Friday or early Saturday if Newsome and company believed they could further address the backfield issues later in the offseason (if there is any later in the offseason this year).

WR Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63lbmKiBWl0[/youtube]

Jernigan was a clear beneficiary of participating in drills at the Trojans’ Pro Day last week, with the most significant bump coming in his 40 yard dash.

Jernigan was clocked at 4.46 at the Combine, but shaved that number down to 4.32 at his Pro Day.

Jernigan was a consistent target during his four years in Troy, catching 262 balls for 3,128 yards and 18 touchdowns. Critics will (fairly) point out that those numbers were tallied while playing Sun Belt conference competition, and that can’t really be ignored.

Yet most mock drafts see Jernigan as a Friday night selection; where the Ravens could be looking for wide receiver help if they don’t address the position in Round 1.

Jernigan’s 5’9″, 185 pound frame does not give him ideal size to stand out in a receiving corps that already features average sized receivers like Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. But the team will be looking for a speed receiver option, as Donte’ Stallworth never really found his way into Cam Cameron’s offense a season ago and is a likely departure as an unrestricted free agent.

Getting down to 4.32 at Pro Day could be a big step in proving to scouts (including those in Baltimore) that he has a realistic future as a speed receiver in the NFL.

OG/OT Danny Watkins (Baylor)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVyyt5-S88E[/youtube]

Watkins is a VERY intriguing prospect for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is believed that Watkins is more likely to be a guard at the next level, despite playing LT at a very high level following the departure of former Bears and now St. Louis Rams tackle Jason Smith.

Second, Watkins has a strange story. He grew up in Kelowna (British Columbia), Canada. (He was actually selected by his hometown BC Lions last year in the CFL Draft.) He didn’t play football in high school, instead choosing to play rugby and hockey. He just began playing football three years ago at Butte (junior) College in California and played just two seasons in Waco.

Third, he’s 26 years old. That certainly hurts for some teams who are looking for long term prospects, and his lack of experience might be a detriment to a team who would draft him believing his age made him more pro-ready.

With all of that said, the general consensus is that Watkins is still an early Friday selection. He’d be more valuable to the Ravens as a tackle; but could provide a better option than Chris Chester at guard should the team choose to keep Yanda at RT. The Ravens held a private workout with Watkins in Texas this week, so there’s clearly interest.

And if Watkins becomes a Raven, perhaps his previous career as a firefighter could somehow help? Perhaps?

WR Niles Paul (Nebraska)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmFt10el-m4[/youtube]

Paul shaved his time in the 40 down to 4.42 at his recent Pro Day in Lincoln, .03 seconds faster than the time he posted at the Combine.

But the questions most scouts have about Paul don’t really have much of anything to do with his speed.

The real question is whether or not he’s capable of being an elite receiver at the next level. And it’s certainly a relevant question considering he never posted particularly prolific numbers during his career with the Cornhuskers.

Paul had a good year in 2009, catching 40 passes for 796 yards and four touchdowns; but those numbers fell in his senior season when he grabbed 39 balls for 516 yards and just one score.

Paul’s best value is as a returner, as he tallied nearly 2,500 yards and three TD’s over his last three seasons as the Huskers’ primary return option.

David Reed and Lardarius Webb appeared to get comfortable as the team’s kickoff and punt returners respectively last season, but they certainly haven’t solidified themselves in positions where they couldn’t be unseated.

Paul measured in at 6’1″, 224 pounds at the Combine. His senior season was cut short by a foot injury that will certainly be a concern for any team wanting to consider him.

While not as short as Jernigan, Paul’s size probably wouldn’t allow him to stand out in the Ravens’ receiving corps either-as he’s basically the same size as TJ Houshmandzadeh, who is certainly a question mark to return as an unrestricted free agent.

QB Andy Dalton (TCU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY_J_w4oQfc[/youtube]

If there was any hope that the man who surpassed Sammy Baugh as Texas Christian’s all time winningest QB could somehow slip far enough to be a consideration for the Ravens on Saturday, those hopes have probably been dismissed by his performances thus far during Draft season.

Dalton had an exceptional Pro Day according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, completing 49 of 52 attempts-with two of his incompletions the result of dropped passes.

Dalton is no stranger to the word “exceptional”, as the four year starter finished his career with more than 10,000 passing yards and 71 touchdowns…and a particularly significant Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin.

His 6’2″, 215 pound frame and solid arm will be beneficial to SOMEONE in the NFL…it’s just unlikely to be the Ravens. Joe Flacco is THE quarterback; the team could just be looking for help behind him with Marc Bulger an unrestricted free agent.

RB Mark Ingram (Alabama)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7b6kJwvhN4[/youtube]

If Mark Ingram never played a snap in the NFL, it wouldn’t keep him from being able to write a book about his life to this point.

His father (Mark Ingram Sr.) helped the New York Giants win Super Bowl XXV, but was eventually incarcerated due to charges of bank fraud and money laundering. He remains in prison to this day and is not scheduled to be released until 2014.

The younger Ingram has overcome his father’s troubles in a big way, becoming the Crimson Tide’s first ever Heisman Trophy winner and leading his team to a BCS National Championship Game win over Texas in Pasadena back in January of 2010.

After an incredible 2009 season in which he compiled 1,992 total yards of offense and 20 TD’s, a knee injury delayed the start of his 2010 campaign. A “down” year in 2010 still resulted in 1,157 yards of total offense and 14 TD’s.

Ingram is considered a slam dunk first round pick, especially after getting his 40 time down into the range of 4.5 at his Pro Day in Tuscaloosa following a disappointing 4.62 at the Combine.

The Ravens are unlikely to look to grab a 5’9″ back in the first round, but Ingram’s availability could challenge their “best player available” philosophy. They DO need backfield help even if they have more pressing needs.

There’s also a certain General Manager in Baltimore who has a particular affinity for former Alabama players.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Indianpolis: Ravens Salute Shorts at Combine

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Live From Indianpolis: Ravens Salute Shorts at Combine

Posted on 26 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

INDIANAPOLIS, In. — Greetings from LucasOil Stadium, where we are in attendance for the NFL Scouting Combine. Here are a few notes from a busy Saturday in the media center…

-Believe the hype surrounding Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts. At least believe the hype that the Baltimore Ravens are interested in the Division III prospect; which was confirmed by Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta.

Shorts told me Saturday he met with the team’s entire coaching staff in a formal interview setting Friday night. General Manager Ozzie Newsome was also involved in the interview according to the 6 foot receiver.

Shorts also played cornerback and even some quarterback during his time at the small Ohio college, but made the strong statement to reporters Saturday that “wide receiver is the position I’ll be playing.” Shorts was part of the Raiders’ 2008 National Championship team.

I’d expect to hear more about Shorts in my next Draft preview column.

-The BIGGEST star of the day was Auburn QB Cam Newton. Most of this year’s quarterback class in the NFL Draft met with reporters Friday, but Newton came in Saturday and received the type of attention usually saved for someone like Paul McCartney. My colleague Nestor Aparicio offered this picture via Twitter (@WNST)…

camnewton

Honestly, it was crazier than that. Of course, Newton sparked that fire in commenting that he “wanted to be an icon” after recently announcing a partnership with Under Armour. Newton read a prepared statement to clarify those comments when he reached the podium in Indy.

As exciting as the arrival of the Heisman Trophy winner and BCS Champion was, Newton is almost certainly not on the Ravens’ radar.

Other players generating a buzz upon making an appearance in the media center included Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, North Carolina DT Marvin Austin, Georgia WR AJ Green and Oregon LB Clay Matthews.

-Matthews was one of a number of players who confirmed to me Saturday they had met either formally or informally with the Ravens this weekend.

Texas DE Sam Acho, Virginia Tech DL John Graves, Georgia FB Shaun Chapas, Oklahoma DE/LB Jeremy Beal, Southern Arkansas DE Cedric Thornton and Oklahoma State LB Orie Lemon were amongst a group of players who confirmed they had met with scouts or position coaches.

Tennessee WR Denarius Moore and North Carolina State WR Owen Spencer both confirmed meetings with Ravens WR Coach Jim Hostler.

A number of players told me they hadn’t yet met with the Ravens but believed they would Saturday evening or later in the weekend; including Texas A&M DE Von Miller.

Other players were more coy about who they had met with, including Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and California DE Cameron Jordan.

-A common theme amongst the Linebackers in the room Saturday? They all look up to future Hall of Fame Ravens LB Ray Lewis. Lemon and Illinois LB Martez Wilson in particular pointed out they admired the perennial Pro Bowler and hoped to shape their careers in similar ways.

West Virginia RB Noel Devine told reporters his role model was former Ravens CB Deion Sanders. Devine and Sanders are both represented by agent Eugene Parker. Devine said Sanders once brought him for a visit of the Ravens’ 1 Winning Drive facility in Owings Mills.

Appalachian State LB D.J. Smith noted that former Ravens (and Mountaineers) TE Daniel Wilcox had been a good influence for him during his final season in Boone. Wilcox returned to his alma mater in 2010 to finish his degree and helped out the ASU staff during football season.

Acho told me he was very close with Ravens LB Sergio Kindle, but hadn’t spoken with Kindle much since the latter suffered a fractured skull in an accident at a friend’s house in Austin.

-There were no Maryland Terrapins in the media center Saturday, but two players talked to me about their connections to the Terps.

Spencer spoke glowingly about his relationship with former Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow during his final season at NC State. He described Yow as a “strong lady” who was “always positive” and who appeared to be very comfortable at “home” in Raleigh. Spencer commented that Yow was particularly interested in seeing the Wolfpack beat the Terps in College Park, but NCSU fell 38-31.

UConn RB Jordan Todman said Head Coach Randy Edsall’s decision to leave Connecticut for Maryland played no role in his decision to skip his senior season and enter the Draft. Todman told me he held no grudge towards the new head coach in College Park, but told me to expect Edsall to bring a more authoritative personality to the job.

-There is plenty of audio available from players in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. Hear from the following potential future Ravens…

  • Oregon LB Casey Matthews
  • Louisville RB Bilal Powell
  • UConn RB Jordan Todman
  • Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn
  • Arizona LB Brooks Reed
  • Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward
  • Cal DE Cameron Jordan
  • Texas A&M DE Von Miller
  • Boise State WR Titus Young
  • Texas DE Sam Acho
  • Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett
  • LSU LB Kelvin Sheppard
  • Wisconsin DE JJ Watt
  • Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers

-I passed a long a few comments Saturday morning that I heard from various National Football League sources regarding the Ravens’ offseason Defensive Coordinator change. One NFL coach told me, “The Ravens have a chance now with (New DC Chuck) Pagano. The other guy (Greg Mattison) didn’t know what he was doing.”

Other statements I heard from NFL sources said similar things.

Make sure you continue to follow us @WNST on Twitter for all of the latest from Indianapolis.

-G

(Headline photo courtesy of Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

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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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NFL Draft Season Moves To Alabama For Senior Bowl

Posted on 26 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

NFL Personnel folks didn’t have to travel far this week.

After this past week’s East West Shrine Game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, NFL Draft season shifts from Florida to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.

Saturday’s game from Ladd-Peebles Stadium will air at 4pm on NFL Network. Senior Bowl practices will also air throughout the week on NFL Network.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz lead a group representing the organization in Alabama.

Before I continue to with my player profiles, I remind you of the players we have already profiled.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware)
FB-Anthony Sherman (UConn)
RB-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland)
WR-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU)
OT-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada)
DE-Justin Trattou (Florida)
S-Jermale Hines (Ohio State)

With the only movement for the organization this week being the (reported) extension the team gave K Billy Cundiff, there’s no movement in my “biggest areas of need”…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Now here’s a look at 10 players participating in this week’s Senior Bowl who you should keep an eye out for.

WR Leonard Hankerson (Miami)

Look, I don’t want to watch this video again any more than any other Terrapins fans reading this. But the 1:40 mark is a perfect example of something Hankerson could bring to Charm City…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6lp4sxzFlQ[/youtube]

Ugh.

Here’s what we know. Hankerson is 6’2″ (205 pounds), but can both stretch the field and get up and get balls-although maybe not quite as well as some of the 6’4″ and 6’5″ receivers available.

Hankersoon broke Hurricanes single season records in 2010 with 72 catches, 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had 75 receiving yards or more in eight of the Canes’ 13 games his senior year.

Those single season records come from a school that produced the likes of Andre Johnson, Santana Moss and Michael Irvin just as a reminder.

There really aren’t any red flags with Hankerson. There are no obvious character flaws (although he’ll certainly be picked apart when he reaches the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis) and he served as a team captain in Coral Gables last season.

If he was two inches taller, he’d be a slam dunk. If he’s on the board in the 2nd or 3rd round he might still be.

LB Mark Herzlich (Boston College)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzZUA5CZ6IQ[/youtube]

The good news for Mark Herzlich is that no matter what happens in his quest to reach the NFL, he already has enough material for writing his first book.

Herzlich is best known now for his recovery from Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer that caused him to miss the entire 2009 season. But before getting cancer, Herzlich was on his way to being a potential Top 45 pick in the NFL Draft.

In ’08, Herzlich tallied 110 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, six interceptions and two TD returns. He was an absolute wrecking machine.

He was still one of the better linebackers in the ACC when he returned in 2010, but he didn’t post the same type of season. He finished with just 65 tackles, but still forced two fumbles and brought down four interceptions.

He looks like he can still perform at a very high level, but it isn’t a guarantee. NFL teams will take his recovery into account, but they will look at both the positive and negative aspects.

On the positive side, he’s a solid human being who has already shown the ability to to overcome adversity.

On the negative side, teams will have to at least CONSIDER the possibility that he might not ever regain the dominance he showed in Chestnut Hill before his diagnosis.

He might very well be a hell of a player, perhaps the exact type of defender the Ravens could line up next to Ray Lewis and let him learn from the future Hall of Famer.

Neat story-Herzlich was such an impressive athlete coming out of Conestoga High School (Pennsylvania) that was actually offered a lacrosse scholarship by Dave Pietramala at Johns Hopkins. Doesn’t make him a better option, just a neat story.

OT Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjPsgcj2ufI[/youtube]

While Carimi will almost certainly at least START his National Football League career as a Right Tackle, his 6’7″, 325 pound frame will make some scouts think of him as a Left Tackle of the future.

Carimi’s representatives will ABSOLUTELY throw around the name of Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl Tackle Joe Thomas during Draft season. Thomas was also a dominant O-Line force for the Badgers, although he was thought to be more of a slam dunk at the NFL level than Carimi has been thus far.

Not only does Carimi have a solid ability to protect the passer, but he showed quite the ability to run block as well. The Badgers finished second in the league in rushing, just five yards behind Illinois. RB John Clay rushed for over 1,000 yards despite missing two games.

Mobile is a big week for Carimi. Indy will be a big week for him as well. His size and his success in the Big Ten (not only did he take care of NFL prospect/Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward for the most part in the video above, he also handled NFL prospect/Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn as well) combined with a strong Draft season could push him to the Top 10 in the Draft.

But much like Michael Oher, if he’s around in the early to mid 20′s (especially at 26), the Ravens might not think twice to grab him. With Jared Gaither’s future in Baltimore in question, the Ravens could be wise to try to bookend Oher and Carimi moving forward.

LB Casey Matthews (Oregon)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUz2o2a_OXA[/youtube]

As NFL fans watched Matthews lead the Ducks against the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game out in Glendale, many of them thought to themselves, “this guy could really help my team.”

Some of those same NFL fans will be watching Clay Matthews (III) lead the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl next week and will think to themselves “my team needs to get his brother.”

It’s with that in mind that I point out Casey Matthews ISN’T Clay Matthews. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player that could help NFL teams, it just means he isn’t the type of sack machine his brother has been.

Casey Matthews is more of inside linebacker, perhaps the type of player that could step in and learn the WILL spot that Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden have failed to nail down.

Matthews is 6’1″ and 232 but isn’t quite as quick as a number of other inside linebackers. He averaged over 69 tackles a season from his sophomore year to his senior in Eugene; adding eight sacks, four interceptions and a forced fumble over the same three year span.

The NFL is clearly in his blood. Not only is his brother an All-Pro performer, his father (Clay Jr.) was a four time Pro Bowler over a 19 year career with the Browns and Atlanta Falcons. His grandfather (Clay Sr.) played for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950′s. His uncle (Bruce) was a Hall of Fame OL for the Houston Oilers. His cousin (Kevin) is a lineman for the Tenneessee Titans. His cousin (Jake) just finished his freshman season at Texas A&M and could well reach the NFL too.

He looks like he could hang around for awhile on Draft weekend. If he’s available into late Friday night or Saturday, he could end up being a steal for the Ravens.

(Thanks to Mobile Press-Register for headline photo of Matthews)

DE Allen Bailey (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-A6SlfWKPo[/youtube]

The Ravens need a Defensive End. Unfortunately for them, Bailey has looked better on the inside of the D-Line in Mobile-at least according to CBSSports.com.

Bailey measured in at 6’3″, 278 pounds in Mobile; which reportedly left him at a not-so-surprising disadvantage when matched up against the better Offensive Tackles participating in the Senior Bowl. It might be nothing more than a blip on the radar screen for a player who will eventually become a dominant Rush End. It might be a sign that Bailey will never truly be an End at the NFL level.

Bailey showed an ability to get after Atlantic Coast Conference quarterbacks, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the next level. He tallied 102 tackles and 19 sacks over his final three seasons with the Canes. He has the moves, but the power is a question.

He might prove to be an effective interior lineman at the next level. But if the consensus is that he’ll be a Defensive Tackle in the NFL, he probably won’t be the guy for the Ravens in the first or second round.

WR Austin Pettis (Boise State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfqGvm5PNuY[/youtube]

Yep. That’s impressive.

There’s a lot that’s impressive about the former Broncos receiver. First, he’s 6’3″ and can get up (as you saw in the video). Second, he’s quick. He’s expected to be able to run in the 4.5′s at LucasOil Stadium.

Pettis finished his career with 229 catches for 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns. In BSU’s 2010 Labor Day upset of Virginia Tech at FedEx Field, Pettis also blocked a punt and held for an extra point. Later in the season he even THREW for a touchdown.

Clearly some of Pettis’ impressive numbers came from being part of a high-powered WAC offense that included Heisman Trophy QB candidate Kellen Moore and fellow Senior Bowl WR Titus Young. The question will be whether or not he can still be effective at the NFL when a team doesn’t have the football for as many plays and a coordinator (say…Cam Cameron) isn’t calling quite as many passes.

Right now Pettis looks like a potentially dangerous target for QB Joe Flacco if he’s available late Friday night or Saturday afternoon. He could be a solid compliment to Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and whoever else the team lines up at WR.

RB DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBFs5HZwyng[/youtube]

Much like Carimi’s reps will do their best to use the words “Joe Thomas” as much as possible during Draft season, Murray’s reps will ABSOLUTELY look to use the words “Adrian Peterson” as much as possible during the same stretch.

They’ll do well to compare Murray’s explosiveness to the fellow former Sooners back. They’ll unfortunately also remind NFL personnel that Murray (hamstring, knee, etc.) has a bit of an injury background much like Peterson.

Murray’s size (6’1″, 207 pounds) and ability (he once ran a 4.42 40 and recorded a 36.5 inch vertical leap while in Norman) should translate to the NFL with no problem. Murray averaged well over four yards per carry during his career in the Big 12. He ran for 50 touchdowns and caught another 13 over four seasons. The word “explosive” certainly fits.

If he’s available in Round 2, the Ravens would likely do well to pair him with current RB Ray Rice, especially if RB Willis McGahee departs.

QB Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq1gL_Q-vO0[/youtube]

This much I know. In Reno, there couldn’t be a negative word said about Kaepernick. The guy is an ICON.

I understand why. Kaepernick LOOKS like a quarterback. He stands at 6’6″ and weighs in at 225 pounds. He’s unbelievably quick, with the capability to run a 4.5 40 (or maybe even under that) at the Combine.

During his four year career with the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick became the only NCAA FBS quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for another 4,000. He was also the only player to ever have three seasons of 2,000+ passing yards and 1,000 plus rushing yards.

At times (including the team’s upset win over Boise State in 2010), Kaepernick looked absolutely brilliant.

There will be one particularly big question mark surrounding Kaepernick during Draft season. NFL personnel folks will have to figure out how much of Kaepernick’s success can be tied to Coach Chris Ault’s “Pistol Offense.” The system was fun to watch and produced explosive numbers-but it isn’t a system that will translate to the NFL level. Kaepernick doesn’t really have much in the way of injury concerns, with his only notable injury being an ankle sprain against the Terps in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl.

Kaepernick looks like he could be very good. If he keeps performing at a high level during Draft season, he’ll probably be picked too high for the Ravens to consider him as a compliment to Flacco.

OT Nate Solder (Colorado)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BVEBtw-qk[/youtube]

As of right now, Solder looks like he could very well be in the mix when the Ravens pick at 26.

If so, he could be a VERY tempting option to join new Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller’s group.

Solder is an enigma. His technique and ability didn’t always match his mammoth size (6’9″, 315 pounds) during his Buffaloes career. There were absolutely times where he manhandled players who were clearly matchup problems. There were also times where quicker ends and linebackers were able to move around him.

Reports from Mobile say Solder has struggled against players like Cal’s Cameron Jordan, but has impressed against Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan.

He looks like he could be a franchise tackle; but he’ll need further development. The Buffs weren’t really an offensive juggernaut, but that isn’t necessarily Solder’s fault.

The question for the Ravens will be whether or not a project like Solder is a good compliment to Oher. It’s a fair question. They’ll hopefully get an answer as Draft season progresses.

S Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K2Aj0xujxc[/youtube]

I’ve been having trouble trying to figure out exactly how good Jarrett is.

He had a very good career for the Owls, collecting 292 tackles, forcing two fumbles and tallying nine interceptions. He was often the best player on the field during MAC contests.

Yep…no idea.

Jarrett has the look of a NFL player, checking in at 6’2″ and weighing 202 pounds. He’s agile and looks good in man coverage. He’s not necessarily an Ed Reed-type ballhawk; and might translate better at strong safety at the next level.

He’s probably a Friday night guy at this point. With Dawan Landry potentially leaving, he could be an option to get into the mix with Tom Zbikowksi and Haruki Nakamura next season.

(Thanks to YouTube, NFLDraftScout.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, and various official college websites for help in putting together the profiles.)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Morning Reaction Friday Football Picks And Comment

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Morning Reaction Friday Football Picks And Comment

Posted on 07 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are this weekend’s NFL Wild Card playoff (and BCS Championship Game, Local College Basketball) picks. During the 17 weeks of the regular season, Drew Forrester finished 148-104 and Glenn Clark finished 161-91…

Saints/Seahawks: 31-17 New Orleans (Drew), 34-13 New Orleans (Glenn)
Jets/Colts: 27-23 New York (Drew), 27-21 Indianapolis (Glenn)
Ravens/Chiefs: 27-13 Baltimore (Drew), 23-16 Baltimore (Glenn)
Packers/Eagles: 17-10 Green Bay (Drew), 24-20 Philadelphia (Glenn)
Oregon/Auburn: 38-27 Tigers (Drew), 35-31 Tigers (Glenn)
Maryland/Duke: 83-70 Blue Devils (Drew), 87-63 Blue Devils (Glenn)
Howard/Morgan State: 74-64 Bears (Drew), 72-69 Bears (Glenn)
Hampton/Coppin State: 67-62 Pirates (Drew), 65-59 Pirates (Glenn)
Towson/Georgia State: 80-67 Panthers (Drew), 71-68 Panthers (Glenn)
Maine/UMBC: 70-53 Black Bears (Drew), 54-50 Black Bears (Glenn)
Loyola/Manhattan: 57-52 Greyhounds (Drew), 71-61 Jaspers (Glenn)

ravenschiefs

If you missed the explanations during our “Picks and Comment” segment Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 03 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Convention (Thursday-Sunday, Baltimore Convention Center); Soccer: MISL-Milwaukee Wave @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena); High School Basketball: Perry Hall @ Patapsco (Wednesday 6:30pm), Woodlawn @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm)

10. Lovin’ Spoonful (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage), Gregg Allman (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Pietasters (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Sarah MacLachlan (Monday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Dinner For Schmucks” and “Machete” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday)

Yeah, that’s about it this week. Wish I could give you something better. Either way, this song is GREAT…

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

As is this song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WGVW7byRCA[/youtube]

And this song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxa0Kpgsgv8[/youtube]

And when she’s not forcing me to look at pictures of injured animals, Sarah MacLachlan can even be bearable…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3VrggQW7tk[/youtube]

But yeah, it’s disappointing…

9. Bull Riding-PBR Touring Pro Division (Friday-Saturday Patriot Center)

Apparently this event isn’t the event they show on TV, so it’s not that big of a deal.

But if Johnny Knoxville were to show up, it WOULD be a big deal…because it would be awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jovQQOOMes[/youtube]

8. Mixed Martial Arts: Strikeforce Challengers (Friday 11pm from Nashville live on Showtime)

So I sat down and watched some MMA for the first time in MONTHS Saturday, checking out UFC 125 after the Winter Classic.

I was reminded of how awesome the sport can sometimes be…

vera

Brandon Vera’s face was completely rearranged by Thiago Alves. His nose is now hanging out somewhere near his right ear.

Yet he was smiling.

Awesome.

7. NBA: Washington Wizards @ Philadelphia 76ers (Wednesday 7pm from Philadelphia live on Comcast SportsNet), New Jersey Nets @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Charlotte Bobcats (Saturday 7pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)

Did the ‘Zards know Gilbert Arenas could do THIS before they traded him to the Orlando Magic???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZheMh7QS5QQ[/youtube]

6. Pro Wrestling: TNA Genesis (Sunday 8pm from Orlando live on Pay-Per-View)

As always, I like to try to provide compelling reasons to view PPV events when I include them on the list. This week’s compelling reason is named Taylor Wilde…

taylorwilde

She’s reportedly a wrestler. Like you care.

5. Golf: PGA Tour Hyundai Tournament of Champions (Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm, Sunday 6pm from Kapalua, HI live on Golf Channel)

Oh thank God golf is back. Absolutely no one* had missed it.

(*No one not named Drew Forrester that is.)

My pick to win the golf tour this year? Chi Chi Rodriguez.

Hey, why change now?

In other golf news, former Tiger Woods mistress Loredana Jolie did something recently. Unless it’s taking another picture with her clothes off, you wouldn’t care.

ljolie

4. NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Washington Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

Look, I’m not a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins OR the Washington Capitals, so I don’t have a dog in the hunt. The Pens may have lost on the ice at Heinz Field Saturday; but there was one area where they DIDN’T lose…

bylsma

Bruce Boudreau won the game…but Dan Bylsma looked AMAZING.

Can’t win ‘em all, Caps fans.

3. College Basketball: Colgate @ Maryland (Tuesday 8pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Maryland @ Duke (Sunday 8pm from Durham, NC live on Fox Sports Net nationally, CSN locally); Howard @ Morgan State (Saturday 4pm Hill Field House); Maine @ UMBC (Saturday 2pm RAC Arena); Hampton @ Coppin State (Saturday 4pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex), Howard @ Coppin State (Monday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex); Women’s College Basketball: Maryland @ Duke (Thursday 7pm from Durham, NC live on Comcast SportsNet)

Eff Duke.

Does this picture ever get old?

cryingkid

And while we’re at it, how ’bout we throw this Greivis Vasquez classic in there too?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrajaO74m94[/youtube]

And since the women are playing this week too, here’s Kristi Toliver…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNpNRtFN1K0[/youtube]

Look, I don’t think the Terrapins are going to beat the Blue Devils Sunday at Cameron Indoor Stadium-but it doesn’t change how I feel. Just let me have this.

2. College Football: BCS Championship Game-Auburn vs. Oregon (Monday 8:30pm from Glendale, AZ live on ESPN), Sugar Bowl-Ohio State vs. Arkansas (Tuesday 8:30pm from New Orleans live on ESPN), Cotton Bowl-LSU vs. Texas A&M (Friday 8pm from Arlington, TX live on FOX), GoDaddy.com Bowl-Miami (Ohio) vs. Middle Tennessee (Thursday 8pm from Mobile, AL live on ESPN), BBVA Compass Bowl-Pitt vs. Kentucky (Saturday 12pm from Birmingham, AL live on ESPN), Fight Hunger Bowl-Boston College vs. Nevada (Sunday 9pm from San Francisco live on ESPN); NCAA FCS Championship Game: Delaware vs. Eastern Washington (Friday 7pm from Frisco, TX live on ESPN2)

Which Cam Newton joke do you want to go with?

I’ll admit this much. I’m going to be rooting AGAINST the Tigers on Monday night.

I think it’s just probably better for everyone if Newton DOESN’T win the National Championship. Of course, we said the same thing about the Heisman Trophy but that was already decided.

As far as the FCS title is concerned, I’m assuming Delaware wins-right? I mean, there’s NO WAY a team that plays on a field that looks like this can win……can they???

ewu

1. NFL Playoffs: AFC Wild Card Round-Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday 1pm from Kansas City live on CBS), New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts (Saturday 8pm from Indianapolis live on NBC); NFC Wild Card Round-New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks (Saturday 4:30pm from Seattle live on NBC), Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday 4:30pm from Philadelphia live on FOX)

The only issue I have here is that I don’t have quite the hate built up for KC that I did for Indy.

If we had been headed out to LucasOil Stadium this weekend, I would have had PLENTY of hate stored up. I don’t know how much hate I can have stored up in a trip to Arrowhead Stadium.

Of course, there IS good news about a trip to Kansas City…

bbq

Yeah…if I were you, I’d think about getting on the bus.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Holiday Fun: Fantasy College Football Bracketology

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Holiday Fun: Fantasy College Football Bracketology

Posted on 16 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

It’s Holiday season. Let’s have a little fun today.

Like every other red-blooded American, I’m no fan of College Football’s BCS system. In fact, I believe the approval rating for the BCS actually just somehow dropped lower than Barack Obama’s.

The best playoff proposal I’ve ever heard for a NCAA Tournament at the FBS level is a 16 team format that includes all conference champions getting automatic bids. I don’t know who to credit with coming up with the idea, so I won’t bother. The idea is that you include all conference champions, then fill out the other remaining seeds via final BCS rankings.

Were a tournament in place this year, these teams would be automatic qualifiers:

Auburn (SEC)
Oregon (Pac 10)
TCU (MWC)
Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Oklahoma (Big 12)
Boise State* (WAC)
Virginia Tech (ACC)
UConn (Big East)
Central Florida (Conference USA)
Miami (Ohio) (MAC)
Florida International (Sun Belt)

*Technically Nevada won the WAC’s tiebreaker system, as they and BSU finished with better overall records than Hawaii; but they beat the Broncos head to head. However, this tournament would adapt the rules that all conferences determine non head-to-head tiebreakers by BCS standings; which is a system already in place in the Big Ten. Thus, Boise State qualifies.

and the following teams would be at-large qualifiers…

Stanford
Ohio State
Arkansas
Michigan State
LSU

Therefore setting up a 16 team tournament that would look something like this…

(1)Auburn (SEC)
Game 1 Details
(16)Florida International (Sun Belt)
(2)Oregon
Game 5 Details
(15)Miami (Ohio) (MAC)
Winner of 1
Game 9 Details
Winner of 2
Winner of 5
Game 11 Details
Winner of 6
Winner of 9
Game 13 Details
Winner of 10
Winner of 13
Game 15 Details
Winner of 14
Winner of 11
Game 14 Details
Winner of 12
(8)Arkansas
Game 2 Details
(9)Michigan State
(7)Oklahoma
Game 6 Details
(10)LSU
(4)Stanford
Game 3 Details
(13)UConn (Big East)
(3)TCU (Mountain West)
Game 7 Details
(14)Central Florida (Conference USA)
Winner of 3
Game 10 Details
Winner of 4
Winner of 7
Game 12 Details
Winner of 8
(5)Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Game 4 Details
(12)Virginia Tech (ACC)
(6)Ohio State
Game 8 Details
(11)Boise State (WAC)

Pretty good looking Tournament, huh? Games could start next weekend after finals, with the Championship Game being played somewhere around Martin Luther King Day. It would be only about a week longer than the season is right now.

So here’s your chance to fill out the bracket. Thanks to Bracketmaker.com, you can click HERE and decide how you think it would play out. OR you could leave your thoughts here in the comments.

Me personally, I still have Cam Newton and the Tigers beating the Ducks in the title game out in Glendale…

(1)Auburn (SEC)
Game 1 Details
(16)Florida International (Sun Belt)
(2)Oregon (Pac 10)
Game 5 Details
(15)Miami-Ohio (MAC)
Auburn (SEC)
Game 9 Details
Arkansas
Oregon (Pac 10)
Game 11 Details
LSU
Auburn (SEC)
Game 13 Details
Virginia Tech (ACC)
Auburn (SEC)
Game 15 Details
Oregon (Pac 10)
Oregon (Pac 10)
Game 14 Details
Ohio State
(8)Arkansas
Game 2 Details
(9)Michigan State
(7)Oklahoma (Big 12)
Game 6 Details
(10)LSU
(4)Stanford
Game 3 Details
(13)UConn (Big East)
(3)TCU (Mountain West)
Game 7 Details
(14)Central Florida (Conference USA)
Stanford
Game 10 Details
Virginia Tech (ACC)
TCU (Mountain West)
Game 12 Details
Ohio State
(5)Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Game 4 Details
(12)Virginia Tech (ACC)
(6)Ohio State
Game 8 Details
(11)Boise State (WAC)

(Editor’s note: In my tournament theory, teams are slotted to bowl games as they are eliminated. It isn’t a PERFECT theory, but we’re comparing it to the BCS. The BCS is TERRIBLE. This is better.)

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Cam Newton  of the Auburn Tigers celebrates with the crowd after the 2010 SEC Championship against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Tigers beat the Gamecocks 56-17. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Your thoughts? Have fun with this today…

-G

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Tags: , , ,

Cam Newton doesn’t need his dad’s help tonight

Posted on 11 December 2010 by Drew Forrester

Cam Newton could make it all go away tonight in New York City.

Just by doing the smart thing.

And he doesn’t need his father to help him make the right decision either.

Unlike his search for a place to play college football, Newton – the kid – can handle this one all by himself.

Newton – and you know this unless you’ve been in a cave somewhere since October – is set to win college football’s top award Saturday night when he receives the Heisman Trophy, but he’ll be clutching the award in the midst of a mammoth scandal that has already forced his father to announce he won’t attend the ceremony.

I shouldn’t have to give you the pre-show-trailer-version of what happened with Cam Newton but I will. In 30 seconds, here it is: He started at Florida, left/was dismissed amidst allegations he cheated on a test, had a run-in with the law involving a stolen computer, played at a junior college, embarked on a return to Division I football, and eventually wound up at Auburn. Oh, and his father asked Mississippi State for “somewhere around” $180,000 in exchange for his son playing football for the Bulldogs. That was before he went to Auburn, mind you.

Those are the facts.

And the other fact is, without a doubt, that Cam Newton was the best college football player in the country this year.

Slam dunk.

But he shouldn’t accept the Heisman Trophy tonight.

And if he did that, he’d instantly be a hero. And he’d forever be remembered as the guy who stared scandal in the face and admitted that taking the Heisman Trophy would do the award more harm than good.

Facts aside, and they’re damning enough as it is, there’s rampant speculation that Cam Newton knew his father, Cecil, was peddling him to the highest bidder. A Mississippi State coach said Cam Newton told him “the money at Auburn is just too good” when the quarterback informed the Bulldogs he wouldn’t be playing football for them. That’s “he-said-she-said” stuff, of course, but if it’s true and the son knew the dad had the FOR SALE sign out, that makes him as guilty as his father.

At this point, though, whether or not Cam Newton was aware of his father’s improper efforts is neither here nor there. For the record (continued)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 29 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention-Women’s College Basketball: ACC/Big Ten Challenge-Maryland @ Purdue (Thursday 6:30pm from West Lafayette, IN live on Big Ten Network), Appalachian State @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center); NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Show (Friday 9pm from Las Vegas live on SPEED); Golf: PGA Tour Chevron World Challenge (Thursday & Friday 4pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Thousand Oaks, CA)

10. Michael Buble (Tuesday 8pm Verizon Center); George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live); Dashboard Confessional (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre); Eddie Money (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage), Marc Broussard (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage), Carbon Leaf (Saturday 4:30pm & 8:30pm, Sunday 8pm, Monday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Jim Breuer (Friday-Sunday, DC Improv)

Hate on Michael Buble all you want, but this song with Sharon Jones kicks some real ass…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wVqgrD_tCE[/youtube]

I might not go see Eddie Money Tuesday night, but I’ve certainly spent plenty of nights belting out his songs in my life…

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

Marc Broussard? Silly good…

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

And while I’m not depressed and have never cut myself, there’s still a few times where I’ve thought “you know, I kinda dig Dashboard Confessional.” Most of those times were Spider-Man 2 related…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WoJV4NLxqg[/youtube]

9. NBA: Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (Wednesday 7pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet), Portland Trailblazers @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Phoenix Suns (Sunday 8pm from Phoenix live on Comcast SportsNet)

Oh, the Blazers are coming to DC this week? That’s great, I’ve been wanting to get a look at that guy they picked #1 a few years ago. Greg Oden? I hear he could be the next Patrick Ewing!

Meanwhile, the ‘Zards will also be headed to Arizona this week. While they’re in the Valley, they may run into a distraction or two of their own…

asu

8. NHL: Washington Capitals @ St. Louis Blues (Wednesday 8pm from St. Louis live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS & NHL Network), Washington Capitals @ Dallas Stars (Saturday 8:30pm from Dallas live on Comcast SportsNet), Atlanta Thrashers @ Washington Capitals (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Toronto Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

So apparently there are a number of fans of the Caps who are up in arms about this 3 minute video of Alex Ovechkin dancing…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeL-zXsxGzY[/youtube]

I guess everyone is upset because they think “The Great 8″ is more concerned about being a Russian playboy than being a Stanley Cup champion. While I certainly HOPE that’s the case, I’m not necessarily convinced it is. I’d lean more to the idea that Alex is just hoping he can get a role in the upcoming remake of “The Goonies”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5whaRkuipU[/youtube]

7. Pro Wrestling: TNA “Final Resolution” (Sunday 8pm from Orlando live on Pay-Per-View)

Why would I watch TNA’s PPV event Sunday night? Two words. ANGELINA.LOVE.

angelina

6. Soccer: 2018 & 2022 FIFA World Cup Host Announcement (Thursday 10am from Zurich, Switzerland live on ESPN & Fox Soccer Channel); College Soccer-NCAA Tournament: Michigan @ Maryland (Saturday 1pm Ludwig Field)

Thursday’s announcement is particularly significant here in Charm City as M&T Bank Stadium could end up being a host stadium for the 2022 Cup should the USA win the bid.

I know it’s tough to get excited about something that would be 12 years away. I’m going to be about 40 years old by then. Thank God I have such boyish good looks.

As far as Maryland-Michigan is concerned, I guess I’m going to have to quickly develop some hate towards Big Blue. I’m not totally comfortable reaching out to Ohio State fans, so instead I’ll ask Tom Hanks for his opinion…

tomhanks

5. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC “The Ultimate Fighter” Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck Finale (Saturday 9pm from Las Vegas live on SpikeTV); Strikeforce: Dan Henderson vs. “Babalu” Sobral II (Saturday 10pm from St. Louis live on Showtime)

The Strikeforce card loses a little bit of luster because Herschel Walker got hurt. But wait, was it Herschel Walker….or Herschel Walker?

(Edit from GMC: Don’t get the reference? Do some research.)

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to watch any of the fights Saturday night, even if they’re free. I’ve got a busy schedule. I mean, I HAVE to find some time to go see “Love and Other Drugs” at some point, right?

4. College Football-SEC Championship Game: Auburn vs. South Carolina (Saturday 4pm from Atlanta live on CBS); ACC Championship Game: Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (Saturday 7:45pm from Charlotte live on ESPN); Big 12 Championship Game: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma (Saturday 8pm from Dallas live on ABC); Oregon @ Oregon State (Saturday 3:30pm from Corvalis, OR live on ABC)

And if the Tigers and Ducks win Saturday, we’ll know who will head to Glendale for the BCS Championship Game.

Insert your own Cam Newton joke here.

Me personally, I’m kinda rooting for Auburn to end up out at University of Phoenix Stadium for the title game. I’m sure you’ll understand…

auburn

3. College Basketball: ACC/Big Ten Challenge-Maryland @ Penn State (Wednesday 9:15pm from State College, PA live on ESPN2), BB&T Classic-Maryland vs. Temple (Sunday 8pm from Verizon Center live on MASN); Coppin State @ Morgan State (Saturday 4pm Hill Field House); Lincoln (Pennsylvania) @ Coppin State (Tuesday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex); Western Michigan @ Towson (Wednesday 7pm Towson Center); St. Peter’s @ Loyola (Thursday 7pm Reitz Arena)

Attention WNST employees Luke Jones and Ashley Bishoff:

If I hear even ONE positive word regarding the EFFING Nittany Lions this week, there will be HELL to pay. HELL I tell you.

Don’t understand? I refer you to Paul Finebaum…

pennstate

2. High School Football: MPSSAA State Finals-4A: Urbana vs. Henry A. Wise (Friday 7pm), 3A: Franklin vs. Wilde Lake (Thursday 7pm), 2A: Middletown vs. McDonough (Saturday 3:30pm), 1A: Dunbar vs. Havre De Grace (Saturday 12pm)…all games from M&T Bank Stadium live on WNUV 54

GO YOU FRANKLIN INDIANS, GO!!!

http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitpic/photos/full/199518235.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1291042504&Signature=LYW5PqMW5MVnTz9vtiR5o9gJVeM%3D

If anyone has a version of this photo from the end of Franklin’s win over North Harford, I’d pay you money for it…and I’d wear it as a t-shirt.

1. NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (Sunday 8:20pm from M&T Bank Stadium live on NBC)

Well this just about goes without saying, right?

pittsburgh

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-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.)
—————————–
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.)
——————————
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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