Tag Archive | "Baltimore Ravens"

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Defense Should be Number One come Draft Day.

Posted on 25 April 2014 by James Revere

For most of us, this off season has been an extremely active one for the Baltimore Ravens. One should hope so given the massive amount of disappointment not making the playoffs for the first time in five years brings. Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones, Eugene Monroe, Owen Daniels, Steve Smith Sr., and a trade for Jeremy Zuttah tell this man one thing, the offense will be here to take names in 2014. With Gary Kubiak and Ric Dennison brought in to finish this overhaul and help Joe Cool come back to Superbowl MVP levels, the question must be asked. Is Offensive help the true need of the Ravens when their number is called at number 17? For this writer, the answer is a resounding no.

With all of these improvements made to the offensive side of the ball, I can’t help but feel there will be a serious bounce back from this unit. The big glaring hole on this team, a true free safety, was a thorn in the Ravens’ side in 2013. One big factor in the Ravens making the Superbowl was their secondary. The turnover differential that year was a very respectable +9. This coming mostly on the effect of Ed Reed patrolling center field. After number 20 flew the nest, the Ravens went into 2013 with James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam in their safety core. The only problem being they both make a living playing that strong safety position. Elam, being the rookie, made the switch to free safety that year and was exposed vertically a few times throughout the year.

As we sit here waiting for Draft Day to come, I anxiously hope Free Safety is addressed with our first pick. The A.J. Green tip heard round Baltimore resonates too much in my head to ignore this need. Given the depth of receiver, and the fact most first round worthy tight ends and offensive linemen will be off the board by the time the ravens’ turn comes around, one can’t help but pray that either Ha-Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor are waiting for their named to be called at number 17. The turn over differential has nowhere to go but up after the -5 we posted this past season.

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B&B Big Story Banter: NFL Schedule

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B&B Big Story Banter: NFL Schedule

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Brett Dickinson

By: Brett Dickinson & Barry Kamen

BD: After much anticipation and even more waiting this year, the NFL Schedule was finally released on Wednesday night.  Everyone loves to look over their favorite team’s schedule and pick wins and losses in April; one of the silliest practices we have as football fans.  No one, not even ‘King Goodell’, knows the results of these games before they are played. Each week there is always an upset, each year there is always a team that came out of nowhere.  So Barry let’s be THOSE GUYS and tell me your initial thoughts on the Ravens Schedule.

BK:  Following an 8-8 season where the team missed the playoffs for the first time in the Joe Flacco/John Harbaugh era, the Baltimore Ravens regular season schedule looks much easier on paper than in previous years. For those who missed it, here is the 2014 schedule for the Ravens:

2014 SCHEDULE

Sunday, Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 11 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:25 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Sept. 21 at Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m

Sunday, Sept. 28 vs. Carolina Panthers – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 5 at Indianapolis Colts – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 2 at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 p.m. (NBC)

Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 16 – BYE

Monday, Nov. 24 at New Orleans Saints – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday, Nov. 30 vs. San Diego Chargers – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 7 at Miami Dolphins – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 14 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 21 at Houston Texans – 1:00 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.

Ravens SteelersAt first glance, many will be happy to see that the Ravens-Steelers rivalry will make its way to national television for both games this season. But look closely: the Ravens will be finished playing both the Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals by week 9, prior to the team’s bye week. In the 2013 season, the Ravens did not see the Bengals until week 10. This means that the Ravens cannot afford to stumble out of the gate. Divisional games are so important to a team’s success and playoff seeding. With a wide open AFC North race, the early season matchups between the Ravens and their rivals will play a large role down the stretch.

There are two games that I am most looking forward to this upcoming season, and they both involve NFC South teams. The week 4 matchup with the Carolina Panthers has the potential to be a fantastic game that will provide the Ravens with an early test at home. No person is more excited for this game than new Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr., but the storyline to watch is how Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense will fare against the Panthers’ vaunted defense. I am also excited for the Monday Night Football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the New Orleans Saints. The Ravens have had some success in that venue before, but not in these circumstances. Typically under John Harbaugh, the Ravens do very well after their bye week; the team will have quite a time trying to simulate the crowd noise and atmosphere in practice. If the Ravens were to somehow win this game, it sets them up nicely to make a run at the right time.

No trips to the West Coast. Only 1 PM and prime-time games for the purple and black. Fine by me.

Brett, on a national scale, what are some games that you are most looking forward to next season?

Well a lot of the games may not be nearly as interesting later in the season as they seem now; teams could be out of the playoff hunt after the first two months of the season.  So I tend to look at story lines of games instead of the actual match ups.  What teams or players are looking out for revenge? Which players will be matched up against each other in prime time?

DeSean JacksonThe first one that obviously comes to mind is the Washington Redskins heading to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Philadelphia Eagles on September 21st (Week 3) at 1pm.  Those Philly fans are a rowdy bunch and need little motivation to get out of hand for a game.  But with DeSean Jackson returning to his former team, I’m sure they want to give him a piece of their mind and maybe even more (perhaps a piece of a battery, snowball, etc.).  The match up should be exciting to watch as well, as DJax wants to prove that the Eagles made a mistake, while Chip Kelly wants the satisfaction of knowing he made the right decision by releasing the much maligned wide receiver.

On that same day, NFL fans could be privileged enough for an excellent double-header (besides watching the Ravens in Cleveland against the Browns), as there is a Super Bowl rematch set for 4:25pm.  The Broncos were embarrassed at the end of the last season and could get a little redemption by taking it to the Seahawks (and the 12th man) in Seattle. It would be a battle of attrition as the Seahawks rarely lose at home, while Peyton Manning rarely loses in the regular season.

The final game I have marked on my calender for the first half of the season is the Sunday Night match up between the Green Bay Packers heading to the New Orleans to face the Saints on October 26th (8:25pm).  It is a competition between the two best quarterbacks in NFC and both seem to shine on the national stage.  It is tough to keep up with Drew Brees at home in prime time, but if anyone could take care of business it is Aaron Rodgers.

God this next four months are going to be brutal.

 

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Pineda Ejection

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Baltimore Ravens 2014 Schedule Released

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Brandon Sacks

The NFL has finally announced what we all have been waiting to hear since February 2: the 2014 regular season schedule.  More importantly, we have collectively wondered when we will be playing each of the teams against which we were set up to match.  Now that the schedule has been released, no longer shall we ponder when we will play or which games we will play on primetime.  Instead, we now know:

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 7 – vs. Bengals, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 11 – vs. Steelers, 8:25 (CBS)
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21 – at Browns, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 28 – vs. Panthers, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 5 – at Colts, 1 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12 – at Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19 – vs. Falcons, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26 – at Bengals, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2 – at Steelers, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 9 – vs. Titans, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16 – BYE
Week 12: Monday, Nov. 24 – at Saints, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30 – vs. Chargers, 1 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7 – at Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14 – vs. Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21 – at Texans, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28 – vs. Browns, 1 p.m.

At first glance, we see that the Ravens play three primetime games – Thursday night at home against the Steelers, Sunday night at Pittsburgh, and Monday night down in the Big Easy.  Expect strong games for all three of these.  The classic AFC North matchup between the Ravens and the Steelers is always a spectacle, especially looking at the track record of these games.  Since Joe Flacco’s debut back in 2008, the Ravens are 6-8 against the Steelers with TEN of these fourteen games decided by three of fewer points.  With regards to the New Orleans game, the team is 9-9 lifetime on Monday Night Football and 4-1 lifetime against the Saints, winning the last matchup by a score of 30-24.  Coming out of a bye and playing on Monday night, it seems tough to think the Ravens are going to lose this game, especially with the Saints coming off of a game against the Bengals the week prior.

Noticeable in this schedule is the relative lateness of the team’s bye week.  Baltimore’s week without football comes in week 11, the latest it has been since the 2001 season where the bye came in week 13.  It’s going to be a difficult first half of the season up until then with the Ravens playing five of their six divisional games during this span.  The only divisional game that falls out of this half is the season finale at home against Cleveland.  In fact, the Ravens open their season with three divisional games, one against each of the other three teams in the division.

The Ravens have the 28th most challenging strength of schedule out of 32 teams; in other words, based on the numbers from last year, the Ravens have the fifth easiest schedule in the league this year.  Judging by these numbers, fans can expect a big year out of the team.  A 12-4 finish does not seem to be impossible this season.  With this, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see the Ravens once again claim the divisional crown.  Expect big things out of the team this year – stand by the Ravens as they look to reclaim their spot atop what seems to be the toughest division in football year after year.  This is easily the year that the Ravens can begin their new streak of consecutive playoff appearances, which hopefully will not stop at five this time.

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Ravens LB Brown impressed by DC Pees’ off-field leadership

Posted on 23 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan: Issue One

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Baltimore sports fans are irrational, unrealistic, unforgiving, and hard-to-fool.  Baltimore sports fans are unlike any other sports fans, because they’re–as Toyota used to say–”simply the best.”

Every Wednesday, over the next 40-years or so, I’m going to author a semi-regular feature entitled “How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan.”  The idea behind this stems back to a conversation I had with some college students during my time as an English professor at a local community college.

The conversation went something like this:

Me:  ”This season might be another ‘Why Not’ year.”

Student #1:  ”Why not what?”

Me:  The “Why Not” season in 1989; the year the O’s went from worst to ‘almost’ first.

Student #2:  I was born in 1992.

Me:  Don’t you know any Baltimore history?

Student #3:  Ain’t this English class?

Me:  It is.  But you’re clearly struggling with speaking the Queen’s language–and you’re from Baltimore.

Student #3:  How you know dat?

Me:  I can tell by your accent.  I’m from Dundalk.  I could pick out a Bal-murr accent halfway around the world in a room full of people screaming Chinese expletives.

Alas, it’s this conversation that has sparked this column.  Some people–local youth, sheltered stepchildren, non-local-Ivy-Leaguers-of-the-”local media”–need some help on understanding what it means to be a Baltimore sports fan.

Without further ado.

How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan…

#1 Be Irrational: Fire Dave Wallace and release the entire starting rotation.

Miguel Gonzalez went five-and-two-thirds last night.  Wei Yin Chen went five the night before.  Ubaldo Jimenez hurled five-and-a-third on Sunday.  All three pitchers topped the 100 pitch mark.  It’s impossible, yes impossible, to win more than you lose when your starting rotation consistently throws a full-game worth of pitches at the half-way point in the game.

Show me a team who has a rotation that consistently gives way in the 6th and I’ll show you a sub-.500 record.

Perhaps we’re starting to see why Dave Wallace has been away from the Major Leagues since 2007.  Even though he’s still been around baseball, you have to wonder if his tactics and his style are working, some seven years later.

Think about it, what were you doing seven years ago?  Me, I was finishing college and chasing girls around Canton and Fed Hill.  If my wife ditched me tomorrow and I jumped right back into the bar scene, I’d be as effective as water-logged firewood.

 

#2 Be Unrealistic: The Wizards are 2-0 in the NBA Playoffs, build an arena and give Baltimore the ball!

The Wizards look legit.

Down in the fourth-quarter of both games in Chicago, the Wiz–coincidentally, that’s my name too–have come out on top and carry a 2-0 series lead back to the Mid-Atlantic region–Baltimore sports fans refuse to use the word that describes the area in which Congress meets to discuss their vacation plans and fantasy football teams.

All this Wizards’ success means that Baltimore should definitely build a new arena and focus on attracting an NBA team.

 

#3 Be Unforgiving:  Jonathan Schoop doesn’t belong in the Big Leagues.

He can hit.  He’s got some talent.  But he doesn’t understand the game of baseball and desperately needs to return to a slower-pace at Norfolk.

 

#4 Be Hard-To-Fool:  The Ravens aren’t looking for character guys, they’re looking for cheap talent.

Like it or not, the Baltimore Ravens have shifted their focus.  There was a time when the organization steered clear of troubled players–think of all the receivers they passed on during a time when the roster was devoid of anyone with play-making ability.  Brandon Marshall was a head-case, Chad Ochocinco-Martinez-Wong-Abdullah-Kazamakos-Johnson-Smith was a jerk, and so on.

If the flirtation with Rolando McClain proved anything, it’s that the Ravens have given in when it comes to looking past a players’ off-the-field issues or personal flaws.

Maybe it’s just the state of the NFL and society, but if you told me that this organization would have allowed itself to be yo-yoed around and attached to the negative press that Rolando McClain created, I’d have bet you’d first see Peter Angelos doing the Wild Bill O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer atop the Orioles’ dugout in game seven of the World Series.

 

#5 Be The Best:  Ubaldo Jimenez needs some love.

This Friday night, in Baltimore, Jimenez will make his fifth start as an Oriole.  It’ll come against a spry and aggressive Kansas City lineup.  He’s ranged from horrendous to decent thus far.  If you’re at the Yard on Friday night, get behind Baltimore’s $50Million man.  Give him some love.

But if he gets chased after giving up more than five runs in less than five innings, boo him like he’s the lovechild of Billy Cundiff and Mark Teixeira

 

 

 

 

 

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NFL Network’s Rapoport says Rolando McClain was smartest player he covered at Alabama

Posted on 21 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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NFP’s Corry believes that Rolando McClain has used up his last chance in NFL

Posted on 21 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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B&B Big Story Banter: McClain & Ngata

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B&B Big Story Banter: McClain & Ngata

Posted on 18 April 2014 by Brett Dickinson

By; Brett Dickinson & Barry Kamen

BD: Barry, its been an interesting week for “Ravens” middle linebacker Rolando McClain.  After showing up a hour late for his team workout, he didn’t have a good outing.  McClain struggled the entire time on the field, being winded and could not even finish.  But the Ravens still activated him off the “retired” list. What do you make of the Rolando McClain situation and how will the team handle him?

BK: The case of Rolando McClain is a curious one indeed. A starter for a BCS National Championship team during his time at Alabama. A top 10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Four arrests, including one not long after signing with the Ravens. Retirement from the NFL at age 24. Now, a potential comeback seems more like a dream than reality for McClain following this week’s workout with the team.

Seth Wickersham’s piece on Rolando McClain is a must-read for all interested Ravens fans. Written last October, it appeared that McClain’s retreat to Tuscaloosa helped clear his mind of things that were bothering him as an NFL player. The Alabama connection cannot be ignored; Rolando is a cousin of former Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain, and general manager Ozzie Newsome loves getting players from his alma mater. With the news that the team activated him off of the retired/reserved list, it appears that the Ravens are committed to having McClain as a part of their team for the summer.

What bothers me most about the situation is McClain showing up late to his workout. This is the National Football League; be punctual. If an opportunity to play for the Baltimore Ravens does not mean enough to you to show up early, or even on time, you are in the wrong profession. With the NFL Draft approaching in the next couple weeks, there will be plenty of inside linebacker prospects who were not blessed with the talent of McClain, but will be working furiously to make an NFL team. Any expectations for McClain to see the field with the Ravens seem far-fetched. The Ravens should treat him as an undrafted free agent prospect, only giving him repetitions with the third-team players in drills, to see if it lights a fire. I have my doubts that there was any passion for the game in the first.

Haloti NgataIn another curious case, it was reported earlier in the week by NFL.com’s Albert Breer  that the Ravens offered defensive tackle Haloti Ngata a long-term extension to help alleviate Ngata’s large cap number. However, the offer was turned down by Ngata’s camp. Brett, your thoughts on the Ravens making this kind of offer to Ngata, and why would Ngata turn it down?

 

BD: This whole situation would have me pulling out my hair, if only I had any (I guess I can tug on my beard for a while).  First off, the idea of extending Ngata by the team is simply ridiculous.  We already went through this once, when the team re-upped with Terrell Suggs earlier this off season.  It seems like a mistake to just push off cap issues by keeping around a player on the decline; no matter what they have done for the organization in the past.

The NFL has been progressively becoming a young man’s game, with 30-something players becoming expendable because of wear and tear and high salary demands.  Ngata has not been the dominant player he once was for years, but still can be productive in the NFL for a couple of seasons.  The problem is what does it cost against the team’s salary cap?

Ozzie NewsomeThe Ravens have been pretty masterful of working around financial restrictions, but it will catch up to them sooner than later.  Player loyalty is nice to see, but is a dieing breed in the NFL.  Ozzie might have to catch up on this to keep the Ravens at a consistently high level of competition in the near future.

As far as Ngata turning down the deal, I believe the deal may have had an “out clause” where the team could cut him in a year or two.  We obviously do not have the figures, but it could have cost him money in the long term, as he is already due a large sum the next couple years.  In the end who am I to talk ill of Ozzie Newsome? But we may be seeing some faults in his approach. The team and the player may be better that this deal did not work out.

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Rotoworld’s Norris thinks defensive line may be early focus of Ravens in draft

Posted on 12 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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NFL Network’s Breer believes Ravens are not finished in free agency

Posted on 08 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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