Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

Ravens to terminate defensive tackle Cody’s contract after Super Bowl

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Ravens to terminate defensive tackle Cody’s contract after Super Bowl

Posted on 23 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens announced Friday their intentions to terminate the contract of veteran defensive tackle Terrence Cody after the Super Bowl.

The timing of the move was unusual with Cody scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March anyway, but news of him being investigated for animal cruelty brought context as the 2010 second-round pick was already unlikely to return in 2015. According to The Sun, no charges have been filed yet and the case involves a dog.

Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged at his season-ending press conference earlier this month that the organization’s tolerance level has changed following an embarrassing offseason a year ago that included the Ray Rice saga and four other player arrests.

“It’s a privilege to play in the National Football League. It’s a privilege to be a part of the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a standard to uphold there, and we expect them to. We’ve always expected them to do that. But I would think that it will be a little bit shorter leeway maybe than it’s been in the past.”

Re-signed to a one-year, $730,000 contract in early April, Cody was a non-factor for the Ravens in 2014 as he began the season on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason hip surgery. Activated in early November, Cody played in just one game as younger players passed him on the depth chart.

His termination brings a disappointing five-year run with the Ravens to an end as the Alabama standout never lived up to expectations. His best season came in 2011 when he started 16 games at nose tackle and made 34 tackles, but he was supplanted by veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu the following year and saw his playing time steadily decrease over the last three seasons.

Though not nearly as disappointing as fellow 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle, Cody will forever be remembered as a member of one of the forgettable draft classes in franchise history as only fourth-round tight end Dennis Pitta and fifth-round defensive tackle Arthur Jones went on to become reliable starters. Pitta is the only member of that class remaining with the organization, but his future remains unclear after suffering two serious hip injuries in 14 months.

In 57 career games, Cody has collected 87 tackles and two pass breakups.

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Orioles reach agreement with pitcher Steve Johnson on minor-league deal

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Orioles reach agreement with pitcher Steve Johnson on minor-league deal

Posted on 22 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles reached a minor-league agreement with right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson that keeps the Baltimore native home in addition to giving him an invitation to spring training.

The 27-year-old had surgery in September to remove a bone spur from his shoulder that limited him to just 13 appearances at Triple-A Norfolk during the 2014 season. The St. Paul’s product also had four combined appearances for Single-A Aberdeen and the Gulf Coast Orioles as he worked his way back from shoulder problems.

Johnson went 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in 47 2/3 innings that included 40 strikeouts and 38 walks in 2014 as he did not appear in the major leagues after separate stints with the Orioles in 2012 and 2013.

He appeared on the verge of gaining a bullpen role for the Orioles in 2013 before injuries caught up to him the last two years. Not blessed with overwhelming stuff, Johnson hides the ball well in his delivery, leading to more strikeouts than you’d expect. However, he’s had control problems at various times throughout his career.

In 21 career major league appearances including five starts, Johnson owns a 5-1 record with a 3.67 ERA in 54 innings. He’s struck out 66 while walking 31.

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Report: Ravens alerted Indianapolis about Patriots’ deflated footballs

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Report: Ravens alerted Indianapolis about Patriots’ deflated footballs

Posted on 22 January 2015 by Luke Jones

With the eyes of the sports world staring a hole through the New England Patriots as reports of “Deflategate” dominate the countdown to Super Bowl XLIX, the Ravens continue to come up in the conversation.

According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Ravens were the ones who tipped off Indianapolis about the possibility of the Patriots using footballs that weren’t properly inflated. ESPN reported Tuesday night that 11 of 12 balls used by New England were discovered at halftime of the AFC Championship to be underinflated by two pounds per square inch.

Given the Ravens’ strong relationship with former defensive coordinator and current Colts coach Chuck Pagano, it wouldn’t be surprising for someone to have tipped off Indianapolis if there were legitimate gripes.

Head coach John Harbaugh downplayed any concerns about the Patriots using illegal footballs during their 35-31 win that ended the Ravens’ season in the divisional round two weeks ago. A CBS Sports report earlier this week indicated some Ravens players believed kicking balls were underinflated during their playoff game in Foxborough.

“It’s really not something that’s in the forefront of our mind. I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said. “The NFL is doing an investigation. They did call some of our people about it, and as far as I know — I didn’t know exactly what the conversations were — they answered honestly.

“We did not notice anything. We never had a ball that they were using on offense, so we don’t know anything about that in our game. We didn’t have a chance to handle any of their offensive footballs. As far as the kicking balls, it was 20 degrees outside. The balls were softer. Our guys told us during the game, and I just chalked that up to the fact that it was cold. Both teams were kicking the same kicking balls, so I didn’t really think anything of it during the game. Other than that, it’s not something that I’ve really given any thought to at all.”

Harbaugh may have felt awkward commenting publicly about the investigation as he enjoys a solid relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who endorsed the former Philadelphia Eagles special teams coach as an excellent candidate to coach the Ravens back in 2008. However, it’s possible that others in the organization expressed concerns and Harbaugh simply didn’t feel compelled to speak for anyone but himself on the matter.

Asked if the current allegations would cause the Ravens to wonder if similar shenanigans had taken place in the past, Harbaugh had no interest in discussing the hypothetical question.

“As far as in the past, I don’t really want to get into all that,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t have any comment on that.”

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon that he hadn’t spoken to anyone with the “NFL, NFL Security, or media” about the footballs not being properly inflated in the game against New England.

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Orioles spring training tickets on sale Saturday

Posted on 21 January 2015 by WNST Staff

Individual tickets for all 16 of the Orioles’ spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale this Saturday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. It is recommended that fans purchase tickets online or by phone.

Fans interested in season tickets, five-game flex-plans, or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may call the Orioles spring training office at 941-893-6300.

Spring training tickets for Orioles home games at Ed Smith Stadium may be purchased in the following ways:

INTERNET: Tickets can be purchased at the Orioles’ official website, www.orioles.com/spring.

PHONE: Individual game tickets can be purchased by phone by calling 877-222-2802. Season, five-game flex-plans, group tickets, suites, and other specialty areas are available by calling 941-893-6300.

AT THE PARK: Individual game tickets can be purchased in person at Ed Smith Stadium in the Left Field Ticket Office, located at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. The box office will be open on January 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will then be open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., from January 26 until February 13. From February 16 to April 3, the box office will be open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Parking is available in the East Lot, located on 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue.

TRAVEL PACKAGE: The Orioles are offering the official Spring Training Travel Package that includes hotel accommodations, rental car, game tickets, an exclusive pregame brunch with select Orioles team personnel, and a custom Orioles Spring Training merchandise package. For more information or to order travel packages, fans should visit www.orioles.com/springtravel or call 1-800-892-7687.

The Orioles will play their first of 16 home spring training games in 2015 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Wednesday, March 4 at 1:05 p.m. against the Detroit Tigers. 2015 marks the sixth consecutive spring training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the fifth in the renovated ballpark.

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New Ravens coordinator Trestman eases concerns with first impression

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New Ravens coordinator Trestman eases concerns with first impression

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The most frustrating aspect of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s departure was a fear that the Ravens would be forced to fix something that wasn’t broken.

After a 2014 season in which Baltimore set franchise records in points scored and total yards, head coach John Harbaugh knew he wouldn’t have to start from scratch like he did a year ago in his search for a new offensive coordinator and system, but the Ravens needed someone to keep the offense moving in the same direction. Former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been entrusted with the job, and the 59-year-old made it clear Wednesday that he doesn’t intend to bring sweeping changes to Kubiak’s version of the West Coast offense.

“My idea would be, ‘Why would I have 40-some guys learn a new offense when I’m just one person?’” Trestman said. “Isn’t it easier for me to learn it than to start over with everybody else including coaches? I think the formula going in is certainly to learn the language and the nuances of the offense and what has been established there with the coaching staff and with the players, and then move forward from there.”

This isn’t the first time in Trestman’s career that he’s followed in the footsteps of a successful offense as he replaced Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak as defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco’s offensive coordinator and quarterback in 1995, making him familiar with their version of the West Coast offense. Perhaps the biggest question had been how a new coordinator would impact the zone-blocking schemes the Ravens finally appeared to master under Kubiak last season and whether that style would continue.

Harbaugh made it clear he was looking for a coordinator to fit the vision that will remain for the Ravens’ running game even as Kubiak, quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani join the Broncos.

“I thought that Gary and Rick and Brian along with [offensive line coach Juan Castillo] really took that to another level as far as the nuance, the scheme,” Harbaugh said. “Because that’s something they’ve been doing all those years in Houston and in Denver, and they’re probably the four most guys around the stretch-zone. We’ve learned from that, and that’s a part of us now going forward, and we’ll keep it.”

With two decades of NFL coaching experience, Trestman has a good reputation working with quarterbacks, but many have pointed to his pass-happy tendencies as a potential conflict with the Ravens’ offensive identity. The Bears ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing attempts (355) while Baltimore rushed 448 times to finish 11th in 2014. Chicago ranked 19th in the NFL in yards per carry (4.1).

After being asked about using the shotgun formation in Chicago, Trestman reminded everyone that he’s worked in a variety of fashions, pointing out that he rarely ever used the shotgun in his years with Rich Gannon in Oakland. It’s all about adaptation for the new offensive coordinator while adding some wrinkles along the way.

Harbaugh made it clear that the new-found commitment to the running game established last season will not change, and he feels comfortable with his new coordinator buying into the same philosophy.

“It’s never going to be my offense. It’s always going to be the Ravens’ offense,” Trestman said. “John has a vision of playing continuity football and complementary football, and I think that’s what has allowed the Ravens to be so successful. They’re not just an offense, defense and special teams, but they play complementary football. That’s something that I’ve paid attention to and will certainly have in mind each and every day as we work within the framework of the offense.”

Of course, saying the right things in a January conference call is a far cry from executing a successful offense on Sundays in the fall. More critical to the Ravens’ fate than Trestman will be what general manager Ozzie Newsome does to address the running back, wide receiver, and tight end positions that all feature key free agents this offseason.

The NFL is more about talent than it is coaching with few secrets among the 32 teams in how the game is played. Trestman has an exceptional foundation with a 30-year-old quarterback — who shares a similarly calm demeanor — and a strong offensive line on which to build, but the other skill positions are filled with question marks as the statuses of Justin Forsett, Torrey Smith, Owen Daniels, and even Dennis Pitta remain unclear for 2015.

As was the case when Kubiak agreed to become the offensive coordinator a year ago, the Ravens have much work ahead to keep the league’s 12th-ranked offense from a year ago moving in the right direction.

“I think Ozzie and John, the way they handle the personnel, it’s really in their hands,” Trestman said. “Certainly, I’ll be the one to be flexible enough that when we bring in good players that we’ll develop them and get them ready to play. Don’t go in there with any pre-existing ideas of who’s there, who’s not there, what we need to do. There’s a tremendous personnel department here. I’m sure we’ll talk about different types of players, but ultimately it’s our job to coach the guys that Ozzie and John and our personnel department bring in.”

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Flacco, wife welcome third son on Tuesday night

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Flacco, wife welcome third son on Tuesday night

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

After declining an invitation to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl to remain with his expecting wife, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco welcomed his third son into the world Tuesday night.

Flacco’s wife, Dana, gave birth to Francis Michael, who weighs nine pounds, seven ounces. The Ravens announced the birth during a conference call for new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, who sent his congratulations to his new quarterback with a text message.

“Joe was fired up. He was fired up about it,” head coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “He had to decide [between] Dana or the Pro Bowl. We can all agree he made the right choice, right?”

The timing of the birth had created some discussion about Flacco’s potential availability had the Ravens advanced deeper into the playoffs, but the 30-year-old missed the birth of his second son, Daniel, that took place hours before Baltimore’s home opener in 2013. The couple has a rapidly-growing family after welcoming first son Stephen in the summer of 2012.

 

 

 

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Ravens hire Mornhinweg as new quarterbacks coach

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Ravens hire Mornhinweg as new quarterbacks coach

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

A day after securing Marc Trestman as his new offensive coordinator, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh continued restocking his staff with the hiring of former New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg as the new quarterbacks coach on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old Mornhinweg is no stranger to Harbaugh after the two worked together for five years under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Needless to say, Mornhinweg’s latest stop with the Jets did not go to plan, but the longtime NFL assistant has worked with Pro Bowl quarterbacks such as Brett Favre, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Michael Vick in his career.

He’ll now be able to add Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player Joe Flacco to the list.

“Marty’s got a great history and background with the offense that we were running last year and that Marc is going to build on this year,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a great quarterback teacher of fundamentals, footwork, reads, quarterback mechanics, and stuff like that in the passing game. I’m really excited about that. Marty’s a great coach and is going to be a great addition for us. I know he’ll work really well with Marc and work really well with Joe.”

Mornhinweg is the former head coach of the Detroit Lions where he collected a 5-27 record in two seasons and was infamously known for once winning a coin toss and electing to have the wind in his favor instead of taking the ball in an overtime loss to Chicago. However, he has extensive experience working in the West Coast offense going back to his days with Green Bay and San Francisco in the 1990s. He most recently worked with Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who has failed to develop in his first two NFL seasons.

Despite having not worked with his new quarterbacks coach before, Trestman acknowledged Mornhinweg’s familiarity with Harbaugh and offensive line coach Juan Castillo as a plus in trying to continue the momentum created by Kubiak last season.

“He had great success as a quarterbacks coach and play-caller [in Philadelphia],” Trestman said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Marty. We’ve never really crossed paths, but we have mutual friends in the business. This is all going to be part of a formula to continue to play at a high level offensively and continue to get better.”

Harbaugh announced current quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison will call plays at the Pro Bowl before officially joining Gary Kubiak’s new staff in Denver.

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Deflate Gate and Wednesday rumblings

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Lots of football news to talk about today, so I thought I’d put together a smorgasboard of things:

  • It was the Ravens coaching staff that alerted the Colts coaching staff that the balls were deflated. The Colts confirmed it when Brady threw and interception in their matchup. That’s the buzz around the league today.
  • Marc Trestman is a very good fit with the Ravens, will be a good offensive coordinator for them. Has ties to Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh. Concern is that he won’t run the ball as much as Kubiak. He may not, but he does like to involve his backs more in the passing game than Kubiak.
  • Expect Marty Mornhinweg to be named QB coach for the Ravens. He has significant ties to Marc Trestman. Was way over his head as coach of the Detroit Lions.
  • Scientific evidence as to how a deflated football helps a team – in wet conditions, it is softer, and therefore easier to grip, throw and catch; the mass of the ball is reduced, and it doesn’t go as far when thrown; if a team is going to run the ball, it helps the running backs “squeeze” the ball, which of course increases ball security and makes them less likely to fumble. Hmmm……….
  • ECU wide receiver Justin Hardy would look great in a Ravens uniform. He had a great first day at the Senior Bowl yesterday. Good speed, hands, separation, instincts. Tracks the ball real well in the air, catches it at it’s highest point. Cat quick in and out of his breaks. I was hoping he’d stay under the radar so the Ravens could get him in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL draft, but he’s no longer a secret. I’m afraid he’s moving up in to the 2nd round. Hopefully the Ravens trade out of the first, and use one of their picks to get him.
  • Patriots 3 prior Super Bowl wins tainted. They beat a supremely talented Kurt Warner/Marshall Faulk/Torry Holt/Isaac Bruce led team. Without the benefit of taping their practices and knowing what plays were coming based on alignment, don’t see how they could have beaten the Rams. Love to see them lose to the Seahawks, extending their Super Bowl losing streak to 3.
  • Would love to see the Pro Bowl turn in to something else for the players and for the fans. How about a “Super Stars” competition, just like ABC sports had back in the 70′s. The players could go through a series of events to see who was the strongest, fastest, etc. It would also be good for the fans see the players without pads.
  • Ravens loss to the Patriots and Colts subsequent loss to the same team, shows how close the Ravens are to competing for another ring. With another strong draft and some key free agent additions, I expect this team to go deep in to the playoffs next year, while giving us fans a home playoff game – or two. Being stout in the trenches on both sides of the ball enhances their chances.

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Kubiak clears air on his departure from Baltimore

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Kubiak clears air on his departure from Baltimore

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was introduced as the head coach of the Denver Broncos Tuesday, but took a few moments explaining his change of heart from a week ago.

After issuing a statement on Jan. 11 about his intentions to remain with the Ravens in 2015, Kubiak confirmed that the Broncos position becoming available was the only job for which he’d change his mind.

“This is a game changer. It’s as simple as that,” Kubiak said during his introductory press conference in Denver. “Those are the same words I used to coach [John] Harbaugh when we talked. This is where I got my start. This is home for me. This means so much to me.”

The overwhelming response from the Ravens to Kubiak leaving is one that lacks any animosity as the front office, staff, and players recognized his prior 20 years spent with the Broncos as a player and assistant coach. Harbaugh wasted little time finding Kubiak’s replacement by hiring former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman on Tuesday afternoon.

Kubiak began his press conference on Tuesday by thanking the Ravens for the chance to return to his roots as a coordinator after a disappointing end to his eight-year run as the head coach of the Houston Texans.

“First off, I want to thank the Baltimore Ravens,” Kubiak said. “That was extremely important to me. It’s been a heck of year for [me], and without that organization giving me an opportunity about this time last year, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I really want to thank Steve [Bisciotti], Ozzie [Newsome], John, the players, and the organization.”

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Ravens hire former Bears head coach Trestman as offensive coordinator

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Ravens hire former Bears head coach Trestman as offensive coordinator

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

On the same day Gary Kubiak was formally introduced as the new head coach in Denver, the Ravens officially hired his replacement at offensive coordinator.

Former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been hired to become Baltimore’s fourth offensive coordinator in four years and continues head coach John Harbaugh’s trend of appointing former NFL head coaches to the position. Despite two disappointing years in Chicago, Trestman carries nearly two decades of NFL coaching experience and has long been regarded as one of the bright offensive minds in the game.

The 59-year-old has a strong reputation in working with quarterbacks — despite the failures of Chicago’s Jay Cutler this past season — and has guided the likes of Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon, and even journeyman Josh McCown to strong seasons. Harbaugh’s brother Jim said in 2013 that Trestman “taught me everything” when they worked as assistants for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003, something that undoubtedly came up in the Ravens’ rapid search for Kubiak’s replacement. Trestman also served as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 1989 near the end of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome’s Hall of Fame career as a tight end.

In his first year in Chicago in 2013, the Bears ranked eighth in the NFL in total offense and second in points scored with McCown and Cutler splitting starting duties. Of course, 2014 was another story as Chicago plummeted to 21st in total yards and 23rd in scoring with Cutler starting all but one game. Trestman was fired at the end of the season following a disappointing 5-11 finish.

Trestman’s unconventional résumé includes a return to the collegiate ranks 10 years ago as the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State before accepting a head coaching position in the Canadian Football League with Montreal, where he spent five seasons and led the Alouettes to two Grey Cup titles. Of course, the Alouettes are the same franchise that was originally the Baltimore Stallions before relocating in 1996.

This will be Trestman’s fifth offensive coordinator job in the NFL after he previously held the same title in Cleveland (1989), San Francisco (1995-1996), Arizona (1998-2000), and Oakland (2002-2003). The Minnesota native has also spent time as an NFL assistant with Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Miami.

Trestman will inherit a Ravens offense that set franchise records in points scored and total yards under Kubiak in 2014. He has roots in the West Coast offense with more of an up-tempo style and a greater slant toward the passing game than what Kubiak employed in Baltimore.

Given Trestman’s age and how long his trek was to finally receiving an NFL head coaching opportunity that didn’t go well in Chicago, you have to wonder if stability could be a bonus for the Ravens as Trestman may not be viewed as a viable head coaching candidate after his ugly ending with the Bears. Of course, Harbaugh and the Ravens will be more focused on Trestman continuing the growth the offense experienced this past season after a difficult 2013 campaign.

He is the fourth offensive coordinator to be hired by Harbaugh and the fourth former NFL head coach to accept the position, joining Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, and Gary Kubiak.

 

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