Tag Archive | "Baltimore Ravens"

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Don Banks: Sense of Urgency for Ravens in 2016

Posted on 17 August 2016 by WNST Staff

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated caught up with Nestor Aparicio this week as the NFL regular season continues to get closer.

Don was out in Owings Mills recently and he had some positive observations to share about Joe Flacco.

“I was using the words locked in, because the day I was there, I barely saw the ball touch the ground,” Banks said. “He told me that the knee is not really on his mental radar screen. He feels like he can trust it, and hasn’t really had to clear much of a hurdle on that front. He’s excited. I feel like he’s poised for a big bounce back year. The question is, how many others on Baltimore after that injury plagued year are ready to bounce back as well.”

Don sees 2016 as a key season for the Ravens, and he sees them being in a position that they haven’t found themselves in for quite some time.d

“They are a very interesting team this year Nestor,” Banks said. “I think we’e always kind of known what to expect from Baltimore, but last year altered the perception a little bit. I think a lot of us are wondering ‘Does this team pick up where they left off, always a playoff perennial contender, 10-11 wins? Or was last year in any way the first sign of a team on the decline, and getting a little older in some key spots?’ That’s what this year is about. I think there’s a little bit of a sense of urgency in Baltimore that there hasn’t been in a number of years, to kind of continue the program the way it has been under John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome.”

To hear Nestor’s full chat with Don Banks, listen here:

 

 

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Coaches beware: pictured is one of the ultimate coach killers  - Matty Melting Ice Ryan

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NFL Quarterbacks who are “Coach Killers”

Posted on 13 August 2016 by Dennis Koulatsos

Coaches beware: pictured is one of the ultimate coach killers - Matty Melting Ice Ryan

Coaches beware: pictured is one of the ultimate coach killers – Matty Melting Ice Ryan

There are a handful of NFL quarterbacks that seem to have all the physical tools to get the job done, but for some reason have never put it all together.  They look like a duck, walk like a duck, even quack like a duck – but they just can’t swim.  More often than not they sink straight to the bottom, and in most cases they’ve cost their coach and his coaching staff their jobs while they get to keep their’s.

QBs that quickly come to mind are Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, and Jay Cutler.  They’re in a league of their own.  There is a second tier of QBs that includes Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, and Sam Bradford.  RGIII may eventually get in to this second tier, but then again he is attempting to jump start his career at the Factory of Sadness known as the Cleveland Browns.  I don’t know if any QB could be successful in that awful organization.

Let’s take a little closer look at all of the aforementioned QBs. Matthew Stafford has been through numerous head coaches.  He’s been handed several #1 overall draft pick wide receivers, decent offensive lines, and a plethora of other offensive weapons.  Heck, even Megatron – Calvin Johnson – had enough and decided to walk away from the game during this past off-season.  Blessed with a gun for an arm, there are times that he can’t hit water falling out of a boat.  I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but there’s definitely something wrong with this guy.

Matt Ryan is another one.  Fortunately for Joe Flacco, the comparisons between the two stopped right after Big Joe won a Super Bowl.  Just look at the weapons he’s had – Tony Gonzales, Julio Jones, Roddy White – just to name a few. If not for an ill-advised time out by the Seahawk’s Pete Carroll, Matty Melting Ice would still be looking for his first playoff win. The clock is ticking on Ryan’s career, and he is running out of time to prove his growing critics wrong.

Jay Cutler has a habit of throwing the ball to defensive backs and oftentimes in bunches.  Jumping Jay has also been surrounded with weapons, who all – to a man – have lots of uncomplimentary things to say about him once they’ve escaped Chicago.  If I was coaching Da Bears, I’d put this cat on a pitch count, and never have him throw more than 20 times a game.  In fact, I’d bring back Ted Marchibroda’s offense from the 80’s – run, run, pass, punt.  You laugh, but it’s superior to pass, pass, pick, play defense.

Ryan Tannehill is a coach killer in training.  He is still young on the job curve, but I’ve seen nothing from him to indicate that he’ll ever develop into a an NFL QB worthy of his draft position and his huge new contract.  Selfishly I really like him, because as long as he is under center, we’ll all be able to easily obtain discounted tickets to Dolphins home games.  It’s always a great trip to Miami in the winter, and Ravens fans do a great job of taking over the stadium (cue the Ravens Seven Nation Army chant).

Which brings us to Dalton, Bradford and Romo.  The first two have won exactly the same number of NFL playoff games as you and I,  and the last one has a knack for throwing an interception at the absolute worst possible time. There are throwers and there are field generals, and all 3 of these gentlemen most definitely fit in the former category.

By the virtue of his dismal playoff record, Dalton used to have a monkey on his back.  Now that monkey has grown into an 800-pound gorilla, one that he cannot shake off until he gets that elusive first playoff win. It is inexplicable – and at the same time defies logic – that he has a future Hall of Fame receiver like AJ Green and can’t hit him when it counts.  Coach Marvin Lewis is extremely lucky he gets to work for one of the cheapest owners in the NFL, or he would have been gone a long time ago.

Bradford’s career has been marred by injuries, but even when healthy he has not shown that he is anywhere in the elite category.  Somehow Jeff Fisher (6 playoff wins in 22 years – but that’s going to require an entire separate article dedicated to his record) survived Bradford’s tenure with the Rams, and hopefully his Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson can do the same.  Pederson was smart enough to draft an insurance policy in the form of Carson Wentz.

Tony Romo “led” the Cowboys to a 12-4 record two years ago.  The Pokes saved Romo from himself by running DeMarco Murray into the ground, 400 plus times.  By drafting Ezekiel Elliott and signing free agent running back Alfred Morris, they’re hoping the same formula works as well as it did in the past.  Of course that will cause Dez Bryant to squawk, but then again if he didn’t then they would be the Dallas Cowboys.  ‘Merica’s Team.

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Nestor Aparicio: Trades have created “dream scenario” for Ravens

Posted on 24 April 2016 by WNST Staff

Nestor Aparicio joined Howard Balzer’s radio show in St. Louis to discuss the Baltimore Ravens draft outlook as the 2016 NFL Draft is less than a week away.

With two quarterbacks expected to go with the first two picks, the Baltimore Ravens will have the opportunity to draft one of the best non-quarterback players in the draft. Will Jalen Ramsey, the top rated cornerback from Florida Sate, still be available, and if so, will the Ravens definitely take him? What are some other options for the Ravens at the sixth spot? Nestor dishes on some Ravens possibilities as the draft quickly approaches.

Also, who does Nestor believe was the biggest free agent signing for the Ravens this offseason?

To hear Nestor Aparicio’s full conversation with Howard Balzer, listen here:

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Portrait: SI
Headshot: Peter King
SI Studio/New York, NY, USA
6/28/2013
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Credit: Carlos M. Saavedra

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Peter King: Browns will trade pick if Rams take Jared Goff

Posted on 19 April 2016 by WNST Staff

Our good friend Peter King checked in with Nestor this week on WNST as we are less than two weeks away from the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago.

This is the second year that the draft is being held later than usual in the calendar year, and count Peter King in as someone who is not a fan of the most recent change.

“It’s hard to take any more of the hype,” King said. “The teams don’t need any more time. I always think too, with the later draft, what you’re doing is you’re hurting the chances of important players for that year’s team contributing to that year’s team. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you draft a quarterback that you’re hoping can play that year. The later you draft, the less time that important player to your franchise has to develop and get ready to play. And that kind of bothers me.”

“I think teams can easily be ready in the middle of April, but pushing it into May I think really starts to effect the product on the field the following September,” King said.

Talk turned towards the top of the draft, where the Rams now hold the number one pick while the Browns hold the second pick. King believes the Rams prefer Jared Goff, which would present an interesting situation for Cleveland.

“I’ve heard that Cleveland is very very willing to get out of number two, and Cleveland is certainly not set on taking a quarterback,” King said. “I think Cleveland’s guy would be Goff, and if they can’t get him, my gut is they’re going to trade.”

To hear Nestor’s complete conversation with Peter King, listen here:

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Baltimore Ravens 2016 Mock Draft by Dennis Koulatsos

Posted on 13 March 2016 by Dennis Koulatsos

 

 

DeForest Buckner

When the Baltimore Ravens are on the clock in this year’s 2016 NFL Draft, GM Ozzie Newsome and his scouting department will be under tremendous pressure to select players that can come in and contribute right away.  With the Ravens missing the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 years, and sporting just a 23-25 regular season record since their Super Bowl victory over the 49ers, owner Steve Bisciotti has to be running out of patience.

Along with the Ravens faithful fan base, he has watched an unusually high number of draft picks play way below their draft grade/position.  Players such as Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody, Matt Elam, and Arthur Brown quickly come to mind. Even last year’s top draft pick WR Breshad Perriman has yet to see field action in an NFL game.  In fairness to Perriman he did suffer a knee injury in training camp, but the bottom line is that has not been able to contribute, and even more disturbing is that the team has been awfully quiet in regards to how well his recovery is progressing.

The Ravens cleared up a bunch of cap space by releasing several players (Daryl Smith, Chris Canty) and restructuring the contracts of others (Marshal Yanda, Jimmy Smith).  They are currently $12.5 million under the cap, and are in talks with players such as WR Mike Wallace.  No doubt Ozzie Newsome will also fill some holes after the June 1 cuts.

With the signing of Shareece Wright to a new deal, I don’t think that CB is the Ravens top priority.  Putting pressure on the QB is still the best way for a team to improve their pass defense, which is why I think DeForest Buckner, the 6’7″ 290 pound DE from Oregon makes sense for the Ravens with the 6th pick in the first round.  He is a capable replacement for Chris Canty, and he is built like an AFC North defensive end.  If he is gone by the time it’s the Ravens’ turn to pick, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa would be a solid option.  Bosa plays the run better than Buckner, but does not get after the QB as well.  Buckner is also a better fit with the Ravens from a scheme-fit standpoint.

Hopefully the rookie QBs will shake-up this year’s draft and make the Ravens an attractive trade partner. It would be great to see the team trade back – even one spot to the QB needy 49ers – and pick up another 2nd round draft pick.  That would present the ideal, best case scenario. But if the board holds true and there are no trades, here are 9 players that could be Ravens at the conclusion of the draft:

First round: No. 6 -DeForest Buckner, DE Oregon

Second round: No. 36 – William Jackson III, CB Houston 

Third round: No. 70 – Le’Raven Clark, OT Texas Tech

Fourth round: No. 101 – Tyler Matakevich, ILB Temple

 No. 127 – Spencer Drago, OG Baylor

No. 132 – Harlan Miller, CB NE Louisiana

No. 134 – Malcom Mitchell, WR Georgia

Fifth round: None (swapped picks with Denver in Gradkowski trade)

Sixth round: No. 182 – Justin Simmons, FS Boston College

No. 209 – Yannick Ngakoue, OLB Maryland

Seventh round: None (traded to Miami for cornerback Will Davis)

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Ovie Mughelli: Running game still necessary to win in NFL

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Ovie Mughelli: Running game still necessary to win in NFL

Posted on 15 February 2016 by WNST Staff

Former Ravens fullback Ovie Mughelli is now a sports analyst for 680 The Fan in Atlanta, and after catching up with Nestor and Luke at the Super Bowl in San Francisco, he hopped on this week to touch on a variety of NFL topics.

Ovie discussed the lack of emphasis that NFL teams now put on running the football and having a good fullback compared to years past, but he pointed out that having a great running game is still an essential when developing a winning formula.

“Remember two years ago when the Dallas Cowboys finally had success, it was Demarco Murray making Tony Romo look like he was a mix of John Elway and Peyton Manning and Brett Favre all mixed in one, because he didn’t have to worry about the box not being stacked of people out there waiting for the pass every single time,” Mughelli said. “Having a balanced offense always gives you a better opportunity to win. The fullback gives you that balanced offense, having someone to lead the way for the tailback, even when the offensive line breaks down, I think it absolutely necessary now.”

Of course, the former Ravens fullback admits that he is a bit biased with his thoughts.

“Obviously, I’m a little biased as I’m a fullback, but year after year, the teams that go deep in the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl are teams that are balanced and at least have some semblance of a running game,” Mughelli said.

To hear Ovie Mughelli’s entire conversation with Nestor, listen here:

 

 

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A Valentine’s Day gift for us: #JennStrong is in remission

Posted on 15 February 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

“I DON’T KNOW IF I’M GOING to make it,” she told me late one night.

It was the week before Christmas. I had been out at various events with our WNST sponsors and listeners for the holidays doing canned food and coat drives. She had been in and out of the hospital for several weeks after the initial 48 days during October and November. When friends and concerned listeners were asking, “How is Jenn doing?” I’m not sure that many really wanted to hear the truth amidst pretty lights, shopping, Santa and family traditions.

Eight weeks later, I can tell you that it wasn’t going well amidst the yuletide cheer and egg nog. From my view, it was awful. I can honestly say that I thought she was going to die. She was getting worse every day, literally disintegrating in front of me. But all I could say to her was: “Don’t talk like that! You’re going to make it. You’re going to get better!”

My wife has now been battling this insidious, rare leukemia through two wretched trips and 23 months.

Seven weeks ago she thought she was going to die. And, somehow, through some kinda miracle and a lot of prednisone and good fortune and amazing doctors and a donor who has saved her life twice, she’s now walking the earth cancer free, healthy and in remission.

We are blessed with good fortune even though this has been the bumpiest of any ride I could’ve possibly imagined two years ago when our lives were normal and joyful.

On December 22, her doctor admitted her back into “The Hotel” at Johns Hopkins after several weeks of agony and awfulness. She hadn’t eaten much of anything since before Thanksgiving. We were led to believe the most common form of graft vs. host disease would come via a skin rash. Instead, hers attacked her liver and caused her the worst malaise I’ve ever seen a person go through.

She was weak, de-energized, uncomfortable and getting worse by the day. On December 23rd she had an uncomfortable second day in the hospital and a terrible evening. And, suddenly, on the morning of December 24th she began to eat. First, it was some oatmeal. Then, she sent me out for a pizza after noon. Then, there was fried chicken and biscuits on Christmas Eve – mainly because that was the only food we could find.

At some point, I’m going to write a massive missive about what a disgrace “hospital food” is because me bitching inside the facility didn’t do much to move the needle.

It wasn’t easy spending Christmas Day together in a hospital room but at least we were together and it was the first day that she really turned the corner on survival. On December 30th she came home – for good, we hope – and has been eating egg sandwiches and walking on the treadmill almost every morning for six weeks.

Twenty three months ago – on March 20, 2014 – a team of doctors walked into her hospital room and told us that she had leukemia. Now in February 2016, she has spent 132 days in the hospital with two very separate and distinct battles with the same gruesome blood cancer.

Our now 22-year old angel donor is out there somewhere near Cologne, Germany. We expect that we’ll be able to find him on or around June 26th, which is the two-year anniversary of the first time he saved her life with a bone marrow transplant. He saved it again with a donor lymphocyte infusion on Nov. 19th.

I could write pages about what I’ve seen and what I believe and I already have if you’ve been reading. Many of you have followed our #JennStrong and #JennStrong2 journey and have inquired recently as you’ve seen her dramatic progress.

Last week, many sports friends in media and the football world all passed by my table by the dozens on Radio Row at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco with the same question:

“How’s Jenn?”

To be honest, I haven’t written an update over the past few weeks because I didn’t want to jinx or misrepresent the incredible progress she’s made since the beginning of the calendar year. What do you write when you witness such a miraculous turnaround from what felt and looked like gloom as recently as Christmas Eve?

Jenn’s blood is as strong as the healthiest among us. As a matter of fact, she has more red blood cells than most of us. Her liver numbers are now in the normal range. Her immune system appears to be functioning very normally. She’s on a handful of drugs but nothing compared to the 30 to 50 pills she was taking in any given day two months ago.

So, where do we go and what’s next?

Because she’s still on some immune-suppressing drugs to continue to manage and combat her GVHD, she’s laying low and staying away from most human contact just because of germs and the flu season. There’s no need to take on extra risk in freezing temperatures but the doctors want her to integrate back into “the new normal.”

She hopes to go back to work slowly sometime in the late spring. Her employer, Verizon, and her insurance company have been incredibly kind, patient and thoughtful during this second journey that took her to the brink.

Her hair is coming back more slowly than she’d like but she’ll be back to the pixie Mia Farrow circa-1968 look in a few weeks. She’s eating, sleeping, walking, talking, cooking, baking and watching a lot of junk food television as she gains strength and weight. More than anything, she missed our cat Kitty so much during her months trapped at the hospital. So, she’s getting reacquainted with our feline as well.

It’s weird. There is no “finish line” with cancer. There’s only daily gratitude and one more day.

Could it come back? Sure…of course it could. The doctors don’t seem to believe this is very likely on a statistical basis.

She is now a two-time cancer survivor and leukemia warrior.

She is the real beast mode.

I suppose my ongoing life lesson in all of this is to live life to its fullest. Why do I go to see Bruce Springsteen so often? Because I saw Glenn Frey die last month and you just never know…

For those of you who want to support us, we’re planning a massive event on Thursday, May 19th to celebrate her recovery and survival and to honor several members of the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. The event will benefit There Goes My Hero, a local survivor-based group of leukemia heroes who twice have come to my wife’s bedside with aide, support and wisdom to overcome this life-threatening disease.

Hold the date!!!

I’ll have more details later in the week but if you want to spend a wonderful evening with some great friends and get some Super sports inspiration, this will be an amazing way to kick off Preakness weekend.

At that point, you can even hug #JennStrong!

We’re very confident she’s going to be alive and well on May 19th. That’s far more than we believed or could’ve hoped for on December 19th.

As another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, we just want to remind you to appreciate your lives, your love, your time and your place on the planet.

We’ve been to hell – but we’re coming back – and a lot quicker than we could’ve imagined.

Jennifer Ford Aparicio is coming back to life.

We’re very grateful for your support and we hope to say hello to all of you who have cared enough to follow our journey this spring.

Thanks for the support. Keep the faith!

Love from Nes and Jenn at the Inner Harbor

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Ted Talk: My chats with Marchibroda – a Baltimore football icon

Posted on 16 January 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

So many memories of Ted Marchibroda. They started with me on Bank Street in Dundalk taking the No. 22 bus to Memorial Stadium to see his Colts teams play in 1975-76-77. Then, watching as our team was gone as he led the K-Gun offense in Buffalo.

Then, of course, I got to know Ted Marchibroda when he was named the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and had a press conference on February 15, 1996.

Marchibroda called my show that day and the audio is here and in the Buy A Toyota Audio Vault.

He also spent an entire evening with a group of fans at The Barn in May 1997. That chat is also here and will be presented on WNST.net & AM 1570 radio this week.

We join everyone associated with both the Colts and Ravens organizations in wishing Ted Marchibroda an eternity of peace and happiness in football heaven.

Ted Marchibroda passed away on January 16th, 2015, at the age of 84.

Marchibroda coached the Baltimore Colts from 1975 through 1979, the Indianapolis Colts from 1992 through 1995, and was hired to coach the newly relocated Baltimore Ravens in 1996. He coached in Baltimore for three years, and was considered by many Baltimore football fans as the perfect head coach to serve as a bridge as the team transitioned from Indianapolis to Baltimore. Known as an offensive innovator, Marchibroda is a highly respected figure in the game.

My first chat with Ted Marchibroda in February of 1996 before the Ravens had ever played a game in Baltimore – before they even had a name!

Hear us discuss Vinny Testaverde, Art Modell, expectations for the Ravens in year 1, and look ahead to the draft which ultimately produced Ray Lewis and Jon Ogden.

Listen here:

In May of 1997, Ted sat down with me once again after having coached the Ravens to a 4-12 record in their inaugural season in Baltimore.

Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of their conversation here:

 

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Will Graves on the red hot Steelers invading M&T Bank

Posted on 22 December 2015 by WNST Audio

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John Eisenberg talks all things Black and Purple

Posted on 22 December 2015 by WNST Audio

 

 

 

 

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