Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

Davis receives 25-game ban for amphetamine use

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Davis receives 25-game ban for amphetamine use

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Closing in on their first American League East title in 17 years, the Orioles learned Friday that slugger Chris Davis has been suspended 25 games for testing positive for amphetamine use.

Manager Buck Showalter confirmed the news Friday morning prior to Baltimore’s day-night doubleheader against the New York Yankees. Davis phoned his manager Thursday night to break the news as his 25-game ban will extend into the postseason, meaning he would not be eligible to play in the first eight games of the playoffs should the Orioles advance that far.

In a statement released Monday morning, Davis said he tested positive for Adderall, a drug he had an exemption to use in the past, but not this season.

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans,” Davis said. “I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”

Davis hit a franchise-record 53 home runs a year ago before falling off significantly this season, hitting just .196 with 26 home runs and 72 runs batted in.

The 28-year-old was outspoken against performance-enhancing drug use in the midst of his record-breaking season and while Adderall doesn’t carry the same stigma of a steroid, doubts about his feats in 2013 will undoubtedly come under even more scrutiny with Friday’s news.

“At this point it’s not up to me to gauge what’s fair or not fair,” said Showalter about public perception. “I know what the positive test was for and believe me, I’m not condoning any positive test. Everybody knows what the rules are, so it is what it is. We’ve all made mistakes and none of us would like to have our whole life judged by our worst decision.”

For the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, Steve Pearce started at first base while the recently-acquired Kelly Johnson played third. The Orioles will have an open spot on the 40-man roster with Davis suspended, which means they could consider adding someone from their “taxi squad” in Sarasota. First baseman and the organization’s minor league Player of the Year Christian Walker is among the players continuing to work out in Florida.

With Davis ineligible for the first eight games of the postseason if the Orioles advance to the American League Championship Series, they would have to potentially decide whether to name him to the ALCS roster and play a man down to begin the series or push back his potential return until the World Series. Of course, there isn’t much precedent for a situation such as this as teams are only allowed to change their roster in the midst of a postseason series because of an injury.

Should the Orioles’ season end without playing eight postseason games, the remainder of Davis’ suspension would carry over into the start of the 2015 campaign.

Davis is scheduled to become a free agent after next season and has undoubtedly cost himself millions with a poor 2014 followed by the news of Friday’s suspension.

Resilient all year long despite season-ending injuries to catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado, the Orioles will now face another substantial challenge, even if Davis failed to approach the success he enjoyed in 2013.

“I’m disappointed, but I know Chris is, too. It is what it is,” Showalter said. “We’re going to try to deal with it and move on. The timing’s never good, but it’s one of those challenges. That’s why we have this in place and [are] fully supportive of it. These are the things that everybody knew beforehand.

“You learn to deal with the problems and the challenges along the way. If they’re self-inflicted, there’s no ‘woe is me.’ And this is self-inflicted.”

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Ravens cornerback Jackson leaves Thursday’s game with concussion

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Ravens cornerback Jackson leaves Thursday’s game with concussion

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Already playing without Lardarius Webb in Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens were dealt another blow in their secondary when cornerback Asa Jackson sustained a concussion in the second quarter of the 26-6 win.

The injury left the Ravens with only two active cornerbacks after Webb missed his second straight game while continuing to work his way back to full health from a back injury sustained at the start of training camp. In an unorthodox move, defensive coordinator Dean Pees used strong safety Matt Elam at the nickel position with reserve Jeromy Miles playing safety next to Darian Stewart in the secondary.

Jackson made his first NFL start as he received the nod over last week’s starter Chykie Brown in place of Webb.

“Asa had a concussion, and I don’t think it’s too major,” head coach John Harbaugh said following the game. “But again, you never know with those things.”

The Ravens are hopeful that Webb will be ready to return against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3, but his status remains in question until he finally plays in a game after practicing fully these last two weeks. Webb said Tuesday he expected to play against the Steelers before he was held out once again.

Harbaugh acknowledged there were two other players who sustained ankle and knee injuries, respectively, but downplayed the significance of either. He did not name which players were dealing with those conditions following the game as the Ravens will now wait nine days to play their next contest.

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Focused Ravens do exactly what was needed after trying week

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Focused Ravens do exactly what was needed after trying week

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — If you allowed yourself to think about football over the last few days, you couldn’t help but wonder how the Ravens would respond to the most tumultuous in-season week in franchise history.

From the release of the second Ray Rice video that led to the running back’s release Monday afternoon to the countless questions faced by the players remaining in the locker room, it seemed like a lot to ask of a team — speaking in a football sense, of course — to prepare to play the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on a short week. Scrutiny and criticism justifiably rained on the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell, and Ravens leadership while players knew they needed to avoid an 0-2 start that would have already put Baltimore in a significant hole in the AFC North.

Those same players also absorbed the loss of a valued teammate and friend whom they care about, even if they were as disturbed as anyone watching the video of what Rice did to his then-fiancée in that elevator in Atlantic City. For as much as we admire what these professional athletes accomplish on the field, they’re human beings with emotions just like anyone else, making their convincing 26-6 win over Pittsburgh that much more impressive on Thursday night.

“Whenever you lose a brother, it’s tough,” said linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who collected the only two sacks of the game as the Ravens held Pittsburgh to just two field goals. “Obviously, understanding the situation, we have a bunch of men on our team and you know it’s a business. Things have to happen, and you just have to prepare for it.”

The performance was focused and efficient as the Ravens put together four scoring drives of 10 plays or more to bounce back from a disappointing start to the season against Cincinnati in Week 1. In fact, if you hadn’t known which team had been dealing with such off-field adversity this week, you might have guessed it was the Steelers as they committed three turnovers, nine penalties for 75 yards, and mustered only six points to fall to 1-1.

Thursday was a reasonable blueprint of what you expect to see from Gary Kubiak’s new offense as Joe Flacco completed 21 of 29 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns — the quarterback also wasn’t sacked once — and the Ravens rushed for 157 yards on 36 carries. The numbers weren’t gaudy, but the final score reflected a convincing win over an opponent they outplayed for the better part of 60 minutes.

The tone was set on the opening drive of the game after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense initially moved down the field in impressive fashion. It was looking like another shaky start for the Ravens defense before safety Darian Stewart delivered a vicious blow to temporarily knock standout receiver Antonio Brown out of the game — he was a non-factor when he returned — and linebacker Daryl Smith followed that by stripping wideout Justin Brown inside the red zone, allowing defensive end DeAngelo Tyson to recover the fumble.

It was basically all Ravens after that as Flacco and the offense marched down the field for a 12-play drive that culminated with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels. Baltimore would score six times in all before the night was over.

“That’s just the icing on the top,” said Daniels about his two touchdown catches. “We put great drives together [with] a lot of people contributing in those drives to get us down to that goal line, and I just happened to be that guy to score that touchdown. Huge team effort overall — huge offensive effort; a lot of guys contributing.”

The performance wasn’t perfect as the Ravens only went 2-for-6 inside the red zone with three fourth-quarter drives stalling inside the 5-yard line. And the impressive final rushing totals were a product of a 96-yard fourth quarter against a clearly-tired Pittsburgh defense after gaining only 61 yards on 23 carries through the first 45 minutes when the outcome remained somewhat in doubt.

But there was plenty to like on both sides of the ball as an efficient offense was complemented by a defense that offered an improved pass rush from a week ago and forced three takeaways to stall what little momentum the Steelers offense was able to create over the course of the night.

Following the game, it was clear to see the Ravens’ satisfaction in not only rising to the occasion after a difficult week but responding with a strong sense of urgency to a disappointing Week 1 loss. Thursday night’s win was one the Ravens needed badly on a variety of levels as they attempt to move past the Rice saga and turn all attention toward returning to the postseason in 2014.

“We’ve been through a lot together,” Flacco said. “No matter what it is, I think that we’re a team that tends to group together and come together through tough times. I never had a doubt that we wouldn’t be able to come out here and go get a win tonight.”

And the Ravens certainly played that way Thursday night.

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After experiencing perhaps the most tumultuous week in franchise history, the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium trying to avoid an 0-2 start by welcoming the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers to town for a nationally-televised Thursday night game.

While the rest of the nation continues to focus on the fallout of the Ray Rice situation, the Ravens must turn their focus toward the field in trying to win their first divisional game. According to NFL Network research, no team has ever started with two divisional home losses to begin a season and gone on to make the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, cornerback Lardarius Webb will not play as he continues to knock off rust and go through practices to make sure his back is 100 percent. Webb told reporters on Tuesday that he expected to play against Pittsburgh, and he has practiced fully for the last two weeks. The sixth-year defensive back was stricken with back spasms on the second day of full-squad workouts on July 25 and missed the entire preseason, making concerns more about rust than how his back feels at this point with so little time to get in playing shape.

“I’m ready to get it going,” Webb said on Tuesday. “Who better than Pittsburgh? I’m ready. I’m feeling good. I’m just ready to get out there and get everything going and just play some football.”

His absence once again leaves the Ravens with only three true cornerbacks on the 46-man game-day roster — Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, and Asa Jackson. Safety Anthony Levine is capable of playing cornerback in the event of an injury, and rookie safety Terrence Brooks saw extensive playing time at the inside nickel spot during the preseason.

The Ravens announced prior to the game that Brown would start in Webb’s place for the second straight week.

The only other player who appeared on the Ravens’ final injury report this week was right guard Marshal Yanda (foot), who was listed as probable and was active for Thursday’s game.

Other than defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi — who replaced running back Fitz Toussaint on the 53-man roster earlier in the week — the rest of the Ravens’ inactives remain unchanged as inside linebacker Arthur Brown is once again a healthy scratch.

For Pittsburgh, running back Dri Archer (ankle/knee) and wide receiver Lance Moore (groin) were officially ruled out on Wednesday.

Baltimore is meeting Pittsburgh for the 37th time in the regular-season history of the franchise. The Steelers hold the 20-16 edge in the all-time series and are 3-0 in the postseason, but the Ravens are 9-9 against them in Baltimore. Including the postseason, 11 of the last 14 games between these AFC North rivals have been decided by four or fewer points.

The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Pittsburgh sports white tops and gold pants for Week 2.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Ed Hochuli.

The forecast in Baltimore called for temperatures to drop into the high 70s shortly after kickoff with no sizable chance of precipation and winds below 10 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Here are Thursday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
CB Lardarius Webb
WR Michael Campanaro
LB Arthur Brown
OL John Urschel
OL Jah Reid
WR Deonte Thompson
DT Christo Bilukidi

PITTSBURGH
QB Landry Jones
WR Martavis Bryant
RB Dri Archer
WR Lance Moore
C Wesley Johnson
G Chris Hubbard
NT Daniel McCullers

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Thursday night

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Thursday night

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Luke Jones

All eyes will be on Baltimore as the Ravens welcome the hated Pittsburgh Steelers to M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night.

However, few outside Baltimore and Pittsburgh are thinking about the game itself as the Ravens continue to deal with the fallout stemming from the release of the second Ray Rice video and the subsequent decision to terminate the running back’s contract Monday afternoon. This meeting is normally regarded as one of the best rivalries in the NFL, but you’d have to think long and hard to find another example of a Ravens-Steelers game with so little buzz surrounding the actual play on the field.

But that doesn’t make it any less important for the Ravens as they try to avoid what would be a very disheartening 0-2 start in the AFC North. According to NFL Network research, no team in NFL history has ever made the postseason after dropping two straight divisional home games to begin a season, making Thursday’s game as close to a “must-win” affair as you can have in Week 2.

Head coach John Harbaugh has earned a reputation for rallying his teams to play at their best when dealing with adversity, but the Ravens have never dealt with a situation quite like this, making you wonder how mentally and emotionally fresh they’ll be on what was already a short week.

Thursday marks the 37th time these AFC North rivals have met in the regular season with Pittsburgh holding a 20-16 advantage. The Ravens are 9-9 against the Steelers in Baltimore and have won two of the last three played at M&T Bank Stadium.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to even their record at 1-1 and bounce back from their disappointing season-opening loss to Cincinnati …

1. Running back Bernard Pierce will lead the Ravens in carries and pick up 70 yards with a touchdown. It was easy for Harbaugh to send a message to Pierce after his fumble late in the second quarter last week when he was still working under the assumption that Rice would be returning for Week 3, but the Ravens now need Pierce to be a large part of what they do with their running game all season. Veteran Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro will get their opportunities — the former was very good in pass protection last week in addition to running for 70 yards — as Harbaugh says he will go with the hot hand moving forward, but Pierce still gives the Ravens the best chance to have a successful running game in the short-term future and is a good fit on paper for Gary Kubiak’s one-cut zone stretch scheme.

2. Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil will take turns exploiting the tackles on the Pittsburgh line to record a combined three sacks. Suggs may have provided more of an impact than the completely-invisible Dumervil did against the Bengals, but neither were able to disrupt the timing of Andy Dalton, something that can’t be repeated against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. As always, the pass rush needs to be careful not to simply chase Roethlisberger from the pocket where he’s at his best improvising down the field, but more help needs to be provided to a secondary that should have cornerback Lardarius Webb available. Steelers tackles Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert are weak links on the offensive line, giving Suggs and Dumervil no excuse not to feast on Thursday night.

3. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will pick up where Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard left off, registering 120 total yards and a touchdown while giving the Ravens problems as a receiver out of the backfield. Though much bigger than the shifty Bernard, Bell caught 45 passes for 399 yards out of the backfield in 13 games as a rookie and added six receptions for 88 yards against the Browns in Week 1. The Ravens struggled against screens and underneath throws while protecting against the deep ball last week, so Pittsburgh will test them again with those types of plays until Baltimore shows it can stop them. And with Pittsburgh being another team that likes using the no-huddle offense, you do wonder if a bigger back like Bell will start to wear down an old front seven as the game progresses.

4. The Ravens will use more up-tempo offense and quarterback Joe Flacco will go to tight ends Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels early in this one. Just as the Steelers undoubtedly saw how the Ravens defense struggled to defend screens and other underneath throws, Kubiak had to take notice of the Browns’ success using the no-huddle attack against Pittsburgh in the second half and should use that to his advantage in hopes of getting Flacco going early. You’d never know it from the final numbers when he targeted Pitta and Daniels a combined 20 times, but Flacco threw to the tight-end duo only once before the final drive of the first half. Ravens wide receivers cannot have a case of the drops like they did last week, but look for Flacco to throw more short stuff to Pitta, Daniels, and Kyle Juszczyk to get into an earlier rhythm before taking some longer shots down the field.

5. It will be close with Pittsburgh as it always is, but the home-field edge gives the Ravens just enough to pull out a 24-21 win that they really need. Only four of the 14 Ravens-Steelers games in the Harbaugh era have been decided by more than three points and the last five meetings have all been determined by three or fewer. The Ravens have dealt with plenty of distractions away from the field this week, but they know they cannot afford to fall to 0-2 with both games against AFC North foes. The best teams are able to rise to the occasion and come together under trying circumstances like these while lesser teams fold and begin looking for excuses. You get the sense that Thursday night will tell us a lot about who the Ravens are as a football team in 2014 — good or bad.

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Webb questionable, Yanda probable for Thursday night game

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Webb questionable, Yanda probable for Thursday night game

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens listed cornerback Lardarius Webb as questionable for the second straight game as they made final preparations for Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After practicing fully for a second straight week, Webb was given the same designation as he did leading into the season-opening game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The sixth-year defensive back did not play in Week 1 despite looking good in a pre-game workout roughly two hours before kickoff.

Webb told reporters earlier this week that he expected to make his 2014 debut on Thursday night. He missed the entire preseason after initially suffering back spasms on July 25 and did not return to the practice field until Aug. 30.

“I’m ready to get it going,” Webb said Tuesday. “Who better than Pittsburgh? I’m ready. I’m feeling good. I’m just ready to get out there and get everything going and just play some football.”

Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda was listed as probable after missing Monday’s practice while dealing with a blister on his foot. He practiced fully on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Steelers ruled out running back Dri Archer (ankle/knee) and wide receiver Lance Moore (groin) and listed 14 others as probable for Week 2.

Here is the final injury report of the week:
(Editor note: NIR is an abbreviation for non-injury related)

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE: CB Lardarius Webb (back)
PROBABLE: G Marshal Yanda (foot)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: RB Dri Archer (ankle/knee), WR Lance Moore (groin)
PROBABLE: RB Le’Veon Bell (NIR), WR Antonio Brown (NIR), WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder), DE Brett Keisel (NIR), CB Brice McCain (groin), DT Steve McLendon (stinger), TE Heath Miller (NIR), S Troy Polamalu (NIR), QB Ben Roethlisberger (NIR), CB Ike Taylor (NIR), S Shamarko Thomas (achilles/ankle), C Cody Wallace (finger), WR Markus Wheaton (NIR), LB Vince Williams (NIR)

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Report: Ravens ignored tip that Rice’s lawyer had video

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Report: Ravens ignored tip that Rice’s lawyer had video

Posted on 10 September 2014 by WNST Staff

As if a bombshell story from the Associated Press reporting the Ray Rice video was sent to the NFL months ago wasn’t enough, a report from ABC News says the Ravens knew shortly after the incident that Rice’s attorney had a copy of the surveillance video, but never asked to see it.

Owner Steve Bisciotti sent a letter to Ravens season-ticket holders and sponsors Tuesday apologizing for the organization’s failure to do enough of their own fact-finding, instead electing to defer to the New Jersey legal system and the NFL.

You can read the full report from ABC News HERE.

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Westminster’s Wilson named Ravens high school coach of week

Posted on 10 September 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

Brad Wilson, varsity head football coach of the Westminster Owls, has been named the Ravens High School Coach of the Week. Now in the award’s 18th year of existence, Wilson is the first recipient of the honor in 2014.

Last Friday (9/5), Westminster (1-0) earned a thrilling 21-19 victory over the defending Maryland Class 3A State Champion Middletown Knights. Behind a stalwart defensive effort, the Owls’ winning score came on a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior Chad Patterson with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Defensive lineman Matt Nichols secured a fumble shortly thereafter to secure Westminster’s exciting win.

The Owls’ victory snapped Middletown’s 36-game winning streak, which was the state’s longest active streak, dating back to Oct. 4, 2011.

“As we graduated quite a few offensive players after last season, we knew our defense was going to be the strength of our team early this season,” Wilson explained. “The defense, along with our special teams, were fantastic Friday night. We knew if we hung around in the game and were able to make a few big plays at the end, we’d have a good chance at winning this football game, and that’s exactly what we did.”

The Owls travel to Linganore (Frederick, Md.) this Friday (9/12) and look to avenge last year’s 41-20 defeat to Lancers.

Each week during the season, the Ravens honor a high school coach who has made a significant impact on his student-athletes. Each winner will be in attendance at the Ravens-Jaguars home game on Dec. 14 for an opportunity to be named the Ravens High School Coach of the Year. In addition, each coach receives a donation to the school’s football program and an award from head coach John Harbaugh.

In addition to the Ravens Coach of the Week, the Baltimore Ravens and The Baltimore Sun will recognize one local high school football game each week as their “Ravens RISE High School Game of the Week.” A preview of the game will be featured in the paper and online each Friday, with a photo gallery from the game posted following the matchup. (The Baltimore Sun will host a poll for fans and schools to vote for their favorite game.) The chosen matchup will also receive a visit to the game from the Ravens Cheerleaders and team mascot, Poe, and both participating schools will be awarded a donation to their respective athletic programs.

This week, the Old Mill (Millersville, Md.) Patriots travel to the Arundel (Gambrills, Md.) Wildcats for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday (9/12). The visiting Patriots look for their first Anne Arundel County win in 2014 following a 25-22 loss to Broadneck (Annapolis, Md.), while the Wildcats hope to continue their winning ways after a 46-0 victory over the Severna Park Falcons.

These initiatives are just a piece of the Ravens’ new football outreach program, Ravens RISE. With programs for all football players in Maryland, from youth to high school, Ravens RISE provides an opportunity to “Play Like A Raven” all year long through clinics, tournaments, grants, ticket donations, and exclusive opportunities to play at M&T Bank Stadium and interact with Ravens players and coaches. To learn more about Ravens RISE, go to www.BaltimoreRavens.com/RISE.

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Will Ravens rise to occasion after tumultuous week?

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Will Ravens rise to occasion after tumultuous week?

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Luke Jones

A national audience will be hoping the Ravens fail when they take on the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

Virtually everyone outside Baltimore will be rooting against an organization viewed in a negative light for its handling of the Ray Rice saga over the last seven months before the ultimate release of the disgraced running back earlier this week. The integrity of the organization has come into question as owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged in a letter Tuesday that the Ravens needed to do more to investigate what happened between Rice and then-fiancée Janay Palmer instead of simply deferring to the New Jersey legal system.

Needless to say, it’s been a rocky 19 months for the Ravens since winning Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013. In addition to Rice, four players on the current 53-man roster were arrested this offseason while there have been other examples of questionable choices — don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the “Sweet Pea” saga — over the last 12 months or so.

The former heart and soul of the Ravens — Ray Lewis and Ed Reed — have both questioned leadership at different times over the last calendar year. The roster turnover has been clear with only 25 members of the current 53-man roster having been with the organization for Super Bowl XLVII. Veteran leaders have departed in addition to Lewis and Reed, including Anquan Boldin and Matt Birk.

And even if too much emphasis is put on the impact of leadership and off-field issues in terms of on-field results, Baltimore has gone a mediocre 8-9 in the regular season since raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. However you want to explain it, the Ravens haven’t been particularly good since winning their second NFL championship.

Is it fair to ask if the Ravens, who long held an excellent reputation, have lost their way? There’s little disputing that the aura of the organization has taken a severe hit over how it handled the Rice situation over these last seven months.

“I don’t think of it that way,” said head coach John Harbaugh when asked if he’s concerned about the Ravens’ image taking a hit. “You do your best with the situations that are put before you and try to handle things the right way and do the right thing.”

Shifting their attention back to the field after a few difficult days, the Ravens are as close as you get to facing a “must-win” game in Week 2 as they’ve already lost to the Cincinnati Bengals and would fall to 0-2 with a defeat to the hated Steelers Thursday night. According to NFL Network research, no team has ever made the playoffs after dropping two divisional games at home to start a season.

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens have dealt with difficult losses before and have consistently answered the bell in the face of adversity. But Rice’s release stems from something that goes beyond football or the business of the salary cap. It isn’t the loss of a standout player because of retirement or a season-ending injury but due to his cruel actions that the entire world saw on video Monday morning.

And players have faced more questions about Rice than ones about what it will take to slow Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers this week. The focus began to shift on Tuesday when some semblance of normalcy — in the context of preparing for a football game, of course — returned to the facility in Owings Mills, but the challenge of playing on a short week is hefty enough despite the Ravens owning the home-field advantage and seeing a familiar opponent.

“We’re going to be playing really soon, so we have to get our minds right,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “But more importantly, we have to do everything we can to physically feel good by the time that whistle blows on Thursday night, and that’s what we’re doing.”

While everyone else will be talking about the individual who is no longer with the organization on Thursday night, the Ravens must focus on getting off to a much quicker start offensively while also trying to slow a Steelers offense that produced 30 points and 490 yards against what was expected to be a good Cleveland defense last week. The general consensus among the so-called experts before the season was that Baltimore and Pittsburgh were fairly evenly matched — both finished 8-8 last year — so the the Ravens will need to hold serve on their home field and put the bad taste of last week’s loss behind them.

Over the course of his seven-year run in Baltimore, Harbaugh has typically been able to rally his team in these types of games to perform at their best and secure a much-needed win. But he hasn’t dealt with a situation quite like this before.

And there is evidence of cracks in the foundation — both on and off the field — since the Ravens reached the pinnacle of the NFL less than two years ago. We saw it late last year when the Ravens were 8-6 and needed only one win to secure their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason before losing their final two games by a combined 51 points.

A win calms nerves and puts the Ravens back at .500 as they receive the extra rest that follows a Thursday night game before preparing for a third straight division game. A defeat puts the Ravens in an early-season hole in the AFC North while the rest of the world mocks their misfortune.

The best teams come together under these circumstances, even when their organization is guilty of its own mistakes as the Ravens were with Rice. The lesser ones wilt under such adversity.

The Ravens know they already face a crucial game Thursday with the season less than a week old. They’re out to prove they haven’t lost their way on the field.

“It’s everything. You don’t want to come out of an 0-2 hole, especially giving up two at home,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “Wins in the NFL are hard to come by, so that’s why you’ve got to win your home games. We unfortunately dropped one; [the Bengals] cashed in and they won one — a division game. We’ve definitely got to cover up some ground, but it all starts with this one on Thursday.”

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Blast unveil 2014-15 schedule in newly-formed MASL

Posted on 10 September 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

35th Consecutive Year of Indoor Soccer Begins in the Newly Formed 23 team Major Arena Soccer League on November 8th in Baltimore

Baltimore – The Baltimore Blast released its 2014-2015 season schedule today with the Syracuse Silver Knights coming to the Baltimore Arena on Friday November 8th at 7:35 p.m. to kick off the season.  Representing the top level of indoor soccer in North America, the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) features 23 teams each playing a 20-game slate.  The top teams from the former Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) united with teams from the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) to form the MASL in April of 2014.  Baltimore will play in the Eastern Division of the 23-team league along with Detroit, Harrisburg, Rochester and Syracuse. Blast opponents from outside the division include Milwaukee, Las Vegas, San Diego and Chicago.

Keeping with the Baltimore Blast tradition of affordable family entertainment, fans will be treated to various promotional items and a variety of theme nights throughout the season including youth t-shirt night, mini soccer ball night, Hall of Fame night along with Boy and Girl Scouts nights.

Season tickets and mini plans for the 2014-2015 Blast season are currently available, while single-game tickets for the upcoming season will go on sale soon.  Season tickets and mini plans will be available through the Blast office at 410-73-BLAST (410-732-5278).  Single-game tickets will be available at the Baltimore Arena Box Office and at all TicketMaster outlets including TicketMaster phone charge at 410-547-SEAT.  Tickets can also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com.  For additional information on Blast tickets, call the Blast at

410-73-BLAST.

 

The complete 2014-2015 Blast regular-season schedule follows.

 

 

BALTIMORE BLAST 2014-2015 SCHEDULE

 

Date                                                             Opponent                                    Eastern Time

Saturday, November 8                                   vs. Syracuse Silver Knights                  7:35 p.m.

Friday, November 14                                     vs. Detroit Waza Flo                             7:35 p.m.

Saturday, November 21                                vs. Harrisburg Heat                              7:35 p.m.

Saturday, November 29                                    at Syracuse Silver Knights                        7:00 p.m.

Friday, December 12                                     vs. Milwaukee Wave                             7:35 p.m.

Saturday, December 13                                vs. Milwaukee Wave                             7:35 p.m.

Friday, December 19                                         at Syracuse Silver Knights                        7:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 27                                     at Rochester Lancers                                1:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 3                                          at Harrisburg Heat                                    7:05 p.m.

Friday, January 10                                        vs. Syracuse Silver Knights                  7:35 p.m.

Friday, January 16                                            at Milwaukee Wave                                  8:05 p.m.

Saturday, January 17                                        at Detroit Waza Flo                                   7:05 p.m.

Friday, January 24                                        vs. Rochester Lancers                           6:05 p.m.

Friday, February 6                                            at Las Vegas Legends                                10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 7                                        at San Diego Sockers                               10:05p.m.

Friday, February 13                                      vs. Rochester Lancers                           7:35 p.m.

Friday, February 20                                      vs. Chicago Mustangs                            7:35 p.m.

Saturday, February 21                                  vs. Harrisburg Heat                              6:05 p.m.

Friday, February 27                                      at Harrisburg Heat                                        7:35 p.m.

Sunday, March 1                                          at Rochester Lancers                                     4:00 p.m.

 

Home games are in bold

All home games are played at The Baltimore Arena

All times are Eastern Standard Time

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