Tag Archive | "bart scott"

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Former Ravens LB Scott added to CBS pregame show

Posted on 24 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Scott Expands Role at CBS to Provide Analysis Across Multiple Platforms Including CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network and  SHOWTIME®

Bart Scott has been named studio analyst for the CBS Television Network’s NFL pre-game show, THE NFL TODAY, elevating his role from last season where he was a studio analyst on CBS Sports Network’s weekly Sunday pre-game show THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW (TOPS).  The announcement was made today by Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports.

Scott will join James Brown, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason and recently named Tony Gonzalezon THE NFL TODAY.

In addition to THE NFL TODAY, Scott will expand his role at CBS providing analysis across multiple platforms, contributing to INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME and appearing in weekly segments on TOPS.

“Bart joining THE NFL TODAY is a natural progression from his outstanding work during his first season on TOPS,” said McManus.  “Bart brings a dynamic personality and unique perspective as a recently retired player providing strong opinions on all the hot-button issues on a weekly basis.  We are confident he will continue to bring that perspective and those opinions to THE NFL TODAY.”

Scott joined CBS Sports in August 2013 serving as a studio analyst during the 2013 NFL season for CBS Sports Network’s Sunday football studio program, THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW.  Before joining CBS Sports, Scott’s NFL career spanned 11 years playing with the Baltimore Ravens (2002-08) and New York Jets (2009-12).  In 2006, he was a Pro Bowl selection and earned All Pro honors.

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Bart Scott on Suggs: “Ravens show more loyalty than any other organization”

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Bart Scott on Suggs: “Ravens show more loyalty than any other organization”

Posted on 29 January 2014 by WNST Audio

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Former Ravens LB Scott joins CBS Sports Network

Posted on 20 August 2013 by WNST Staff

NFL Veteran Bart Scott, Former Oakland Raiders Executive Amy Trask and

CBS Sports Radio’s Brandon Tierney Join Host Adam Schein on “TOPS”

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 8

“The NFL Today” and “The NFL on CBS” Announce Team to Appear Regularly

Continuing its aggressive expansion of programming around CBS Sports’ marquee properties, CBS Sports Network launches THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW (TOPS), a new weekly Sunday football studio program debutingSunday, Sept. 8 (9:00 AM-1:00 PM, ET). The announcement was made today by Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports, and Executive Producer, THE NFL ON CBS, and David Berson, President, CBS Sports.

THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW breaks from the familiar pregame show format, presenting a unique fan-focused take on all the week’s NFL and college action, headlines and hot-button issues, giving viewers all the latest information as it happens. TOPS will be hosted by Adam Schein along with 11-year NFL veteran Bart Scott, long-time Oakland Raiders executive Amy Trask, CBS Sports Radio’s Brandon Tierney, CBSSports.com fantasy analyst Nathan Zegura and LEAD OFF’s Allie LaForce reporting.

The show also will incorporate various forms of social media interaction, engaging the TOPS team with its viewers.  The last hour of the show will be centered on Fantasy Football helping fans set their line-ups each week. Continuing its focus on all things football, TOPS will take a look back at all the college football games and performances that fans are still talking about from the previous day and look forward to the week ahead.

Regular contributors to THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW include analysts from THE NFL TODAY: Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe and Bill Cowher, as well as host James Brown and Insider Jason La Canfora. CBS Sports’ NFL on CBS announcers will appear regularly from their game sites, including Phil Simms, Dan Fouts, Dan Dierdorf, Rich Gannon, Solomon Wilcots, Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein.

“In today’s television landscape, there is certainly room for another pregame show if that show offers a unique approach and perspective,” said McManus. “THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW will accomplish that, as we combine all the assets of CBS Sports including CBS Sports Radio and CBSSports.com, creating a show focusing on the fans and how they consume football.”

THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW is part of CBS Sports Network’s expanded studio programming focusing on NFL football. TOPS joins NFL MONDAY QB, which returns for its second season on Monday, Sept. 9 (5:00 PM, ET), with host Adam Schein and analysts Phil Simms, Rich Gannon, Steve Beuerlein and Insider Jason LaCanfora. After Week 1, NFL MONDAY QB airs weekly at 6:30 PM, ET.

Scott joins CBS Sports Network after an 11-year NFL playing career with the Baltimore Ravens (2002-2008) and New York Jets (2009-2012). In 2006, he was a Pro Bowl selection and earned All Pro honors.

Trask spent 26 seasons with the Oakland Raiders working directly for Al Davis. She was named the first female CEO in the NFL in 1997. Under her watch, the Raiders won four Division Championships (1990, 2000, 2001 and 2002) and one AFC Championship (2002).

Tierney serves as co-host of TBD in the AM, CBS Sports Radio’s national morning show. He has been a staple on sports talk radio in New York and San Francisco for the last 10 years, most recently at 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area.

Schein, host of TOPS and NFL MONDAY QB, anchors “Schein on Sports,” a sports talk radio show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio, and is featured on SportsNet New York’s weekday show “Loud Mouths.”

Zegura is the Senior Fantasy Football Writer for CBSSports.com and appears regularly on CBSSports.com’s FANTASY FOOTBALL TODAY.

LaForce is a co-host of LEAD OFF, CBS Sports Network’s weekday late night news and commentary program, and also served as sideline reporter during the 2013 NCAA Tournament.  She joined CBS Sports Network in 2012.

Shawn Robbins and Andrew Finger produce THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW. Tyler Hale is Vice President, Studio Production, CBS Sports and Harold Bryant serves as Executive Producer of CBS Sports. The show will originate from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City.

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Ravens’ Pagano to become next head coach of Colts

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Ravens’ Pagano to become next head coach of Colts

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Luke Jones

In what’s easily been the most frustrating week in the history of the franchise, the Ravens will now need to look for a new defensive coordinator as Chuck Pagano has been hired as the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Leading the Ravens to the No. 3 overall defensive ranking in his first season as coordinator, Pagano interviewed with Indianapolis on Tuesday before being offered the job on Wednesday. The 51-year-old spent three seasons as the Baltimore secondary coach before being promoted to replace former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison last offseason.

“It’s difficult to leave the Ravens but I couldn’t pass up on this great opportunity,” Pagano said to the Ravens’ official website. “I’m just thrilled and so excited.”

Pagano was extremely popular with his defensive players and brought a more aggressive play-calling style than Mattison, helping the Ravens improve from a franchise-low 27 sacks in 2010 to an AFC-best 48 this season.

“He just had an inkling for [making the right calls],” linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo told AM 1570 WNST on Wednesday afternoon. “More than anything, he wasn’t going to rely on just going vanilla and saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to beat everybody just going vanilla.’ That’s what coach Mattison liked to do.”

The Ravens sent four defensive starters to the Pro Bowl this year, including linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and free safety Ed Reed.

Pagano will be introduced to the Indianapolis media in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. The Colts fired general manager Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell following a disastrous 2-14 season without quarterback Peyton Manning.

“We are so happy for Chuck, [his wife] Tina and their daughters,” coach John Harbaugh said in an official statement. “We are proud of him. Like me, Chuck grew up in the game and loves it. We will miss him and thank him for all he did for the Ravens.”

The 51-year-old will likely usher in a new era with Indianapolis primed to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April’s draft. Ayanbadejo said the Colts will immediately take to Pagano’s infectious personality.

“He was one of those guys [where] it was like he was out on the field of battle with you and you’d never want to let him down, because he’s such a good guy,” Ayanbadejo said. “He’s also a family guy and a great person. You really felt like you knew him, and more than anything, you just didn’t want to let him down.”

Pagano had previous stints as a defensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders and also coached at several colleges, including most recently at the University of North Carolina before being hired by Harbaugh in 2008.

The Ravens will also wonder what impact Pagano’s departure might have on their list of defensive players with expiring contracts. Linebackers Jarret Johnson, Jameel McClain, and Ayanbadejo, defensive end Cory Redding, safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney are all set to become unrestricted free agents and could now view Indianapolis as a viable alternative to the Ravens, who will not have a great deal of salary cap space.

After former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard joined him in the Big Apple as free-agent signings.

Baltimore will now have its fourth defensive coordinator in five years after Rex Ryan, Mattison, and Pagano all held the job under Harbaugh. The most logical in-house candidate to fill the role would be linebackers coach Dean Pees, who was the defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2009 before moving on to Baltimore.

“I don’t think you’ll see any letdown if Dean Pees takes over,” said Ayanbadejo, who described Pees’ relationship with players as one based more on respect than the emotional Pagano. “You might even see a better defense if Dean Pees takes over because he likes things done a certain way, and he’s really particular about the way he does things.”

Pagano becomes the fourth defensive coordinator in the history of the franchise to depart for a head coaching position elsewhere, joining Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, and Ryan.

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Ravens-Jets: Five predictions for Sunday night

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Ravens-Jets: Five predictions for Sunday night

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Luke Jones

Three weeks into the season, I’m still trying to figure out just how good the Ravens really are — or will be — in 2011.

A seven-turnover blowout win over their bitter rival, an embarrassing loss in Tennessee, and a 30-point victory over the hapless Rams don’t exactly allow you to draw a definitive conclusion, but that’s why they play the games.

On the other hand, the Jets’ two wins over Dallas and Jacksonville before being shredded by the Oakland Raiders leave you scratching your head even more.

The storylines don’t need to be rehashed again. These coaches and players know each other very well, making for a highly-competitive matchup at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night. It’s a conference game with possible playoff implications down the road, so don’t let the early Week 4 billing fool you in its significance.

Here’s what to expect when Rex Ryan’s Jets visit John Harbaugh’s Ravens on Sunday night …

1. The Jets will spread out the Baltimore defense with three- and four-receiver sets to exploit a thin secondary. A tenuous situation at cornerback grew even worse on Friday with the news that veteran Chris Carr is questionable for Sunday after re-aggravating the hamstring injury he’s fought since the preseason. Couple that with the decision to place Domonique Foxworth on injured reserve, and the Ravens may be looking at former practice-squad player Danny Gorrer and rookie Chykie Brown as their only reserve cornerbacks behind Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams. If the Ravens are unable to pressure Mark Sanchez, they will be eaten alive by the receiving trio of Raven killer Santonio Holmes, the 6-foot-5 Plaxico Burress, and the old veteran Derrick Mason, who will have extra motivation to show up his former team.

2. Tight end Dustin Keller and running back LaDainian Tomlinson will exploit the Ravens linebackers in coverage. As mentioned in the previous point, the Ravens will need to send heat to make Sanchez uncomfortable and help an undermanned secondary. That will leave the defense vulnerable underneath as Sanchez loves to throw the ball to his favorite target Keller (16 catches for 249 yards). It’s no secret the Baltimore linebackers are often exposed in coverage by talented tight ends and running backs releasing out of the backfield. Baltimore may be able to bring enough heat on Sanchez to curtail Holmes from burning the Ravens again, but Keller and Tomlinson (12 catches, 196 yards) are going to have productive days as receivers.

3. Torrey Smith will not follow up his record day in St. Louis with a productive night — statistically speaking. The rookie will likely never have another first quarter like he did against the Rams last week, but the performance serves a bigger purpose for the rest of the season, especially not knowing the status of Lee Evans’ injured ankle moving forward. Smith is likely to struggle with the physicality and overall talent of Antonio Cromartie, who will likely match up with the former Maryland standout. However, the Ravens will still send Smith on vertical patterns to keep the Jets defense honest and, more importantly, create space for Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, and the Ravens tight ends to work underneath. Predicting a productive day for Boldin is tough with Darrelle Revis locked on him, but the veteran will find some room to help move the chains. Smith may not log more than a reception or two, but his work in St. Louis could pay dividends in keeping opposing defenses cognizant of where he is on the field at all times.

4. Ray Rice will have 130 total yards and a touchdown against a Jets defense desperate to stop the run. Much has been said about New York’s 31st-ranked run defense after Raiders running back Darren McFadden ran for 171 yards against the Jets a week ago, but the Ravens aren’t buying the Jets’ early struggles. Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will be desperate to shut down the Baltimore running game, so Rice may not see as much running room. However, Joe Flacco’s ability to get Rice the ball in space will pay off in the passing game with Revis and Cromartie looming in the secondary. He won’t go for 100 on the ground, but Rice will more than make up for it catching passes out of the backfield and will score a touchdown against the New York defense.

5. The Ravens will win a 24-20 nail-biter with more points than you’d expect because of turnovers from both sides. Considering last year’s 10-9 final between these teams in their regular-season opener, it’s almost unthinkable to expect 44 points to be scored on Sunday night. However, both quarterbacks will see a variety of different looks in potential blitz packages and coverages, which will lead to confusion for Flacco and Sanchez. A few turnovers will lead to short fields and, potentially, a defensive score or two. The Ravens, however, are the more complete football team at the beginning of October and will improve to 3-1 before using a much-needed bye to rest several injured players.

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Foxworth helps save NFL season, but can’t save his own

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Foxworth helps save NFL season, but can’t save his own

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Without the efforts of Domonique Foxworth, there may not have been an NFL season to talk about this year.

However, the veteran cornerback was unable to save his own.

The Ravens placed Foxworth on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season after it was becoming more apparent the 28-year-old’s recovery from surgery on a torn ACL last year was not progressing quickly enough for the defensive back to contribute in the secondary. Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens began discussing the possibility a week ago, and Foxworth was included in the discussion.

In the Ravens’ 37-7 win in St. Louis on Sunday, Foxworth was inactive despite having practiced the entire week.

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Foxworth missed the entire 2010 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee at the beginning of training camp on the eve of the first veteran workout in late July. With his heavy involvement in the labor negotiations during the 134-day lockout, Foxworth was unable to devote as much time rehabbing the surgically-repaired knee as a player might have in a regular offseason. His inability to have any contact with the Ravens organization during the work stoppage also impacted his slow recovery.

“There was a chance he could [have been] able to play at some point in time and help us,” Harbaugh said. “We were holding out hope that was the case, but it was moving in the other direction, for whatever reason. So, we just didn’t feel like we could afford to do that right now, especially needing a linebacker.”

The Ravens re-signed linebacker Prescott Burgess to take Foxworth’s place on the 53-man roster.

With Foxworth out for the season and rookie Jimmy Smith still sidelined with a high ankle sprain, the Ravens would like to have another healthy cornerback on the roster if a quality one were available. Baltimore promoted defensive back Danny Gorrer from the practice squad the day before a Week 2 meeting with Tennessee, largely because of the Ravens’ lack of confidence in rookie Chykie Brown at this stage in his career.

Fortunately, veteran Chris Carr returned to action against the Rams after dealing with a hamstring injury for nearly a month and a half.

“We’d probably like to have at least one more corner that is healthy, but we don’t have that luxury right now,” Harbaugh said. “It’s definitely [something] we could address, just depending on what’s available out htere, but I’m comfortable with the guys we have.”

For Foxworth, Wednesday’s news ends a bitterly disappointing season and brings an uncertain future with a large salary cap number for the 2012 season — reportedly upwards of $8 million — after missing nearly two whole seasons of football.

“We’re with him,” said cornerback Lardarius Webb, who had his own ACL injury late in the 2009 season. “We’re going to talk to him. I know he didn’t want to go on IR; he wanted to be here with the team. Certain things, he has to go through. As a teammate, I just want to be there for him.”

Suggs ‘can’t wait’ for Jets

In what has nearly become an absolute whenever the Ravens play a marquee opponent, Terrell Suggs has a great sound byte or even sports a t-shirt to grab the opposition’s attention.

The Pro Bowl linebacker showed up for Wednesday’s podium session wearing the following t-shirt as an ode to Jets and former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott famous ‘Can’t Wait!’ rant following New York’s playoff victory in New England last season.

Suggs

However, instead of being a move to incite his former teammate, it turns out the t-shirt was sent by Scott to several former teammates as a way to raise funds for paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand. Scott ordered t-shirts in both Jets green and Ravens purple in an effort to raise $36,000 for LeGrand.

Putting aside a very worth cause, Suggs was proud to wear the t-shirt and said he couldn’t wait to meet his old teammate and “former mentor” on the field Sunday night. Suggs wasn’t ready to place the rivalry with the Jets on the same level as the one with Pittsburgh, but he admitted it’s not as good-natured as some players and coaches try to make it out to be.

“It’s not as friendly as you think, because come Sunday night, Rex [Ryan] is going to try to beat us,” Suggs said. “Bart is going to try to get after us. It’s going to be the same. It’s going to be a little different [than the Steelers] because it’s a little personal, because they once were here.”

Lewis still not sold on Jets’ success

Linebacker Ray Lewis made it no secret how unimpressed he was with the New York Jets prior to last season’s meeting in the regular-season opener, saying they were overhyped despite the media wanting to crown them champions before the season started.

When asked how he felt a year later after the Jets made their second straight appearance in the conference championship game — and how Ryan had mentioned that in his conference call with the Baltimore media — the 36-year-old leader offered comments similar to the ones made a year ago.

“He was sitting [in] the same place I was sitting, watching the Super Bowl,” Lewis said. “He had to be, because he wasn’t it it. That’s the only thing  you can ever talk about. I don’t care how far you go, the ultimate goal is to feel that confetti drop. You can ask the Pittsburgh Steelers. They wouldn’t be proud to go back to a Super Bowl. The bottom line is you have to win a Super Bowl when you get there.”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Andre Gurode, Haruki Nakamura, Lee Evans, Lardarius Webb, Jarret Johnson, and Prescott Burgess prior to Wednesday’s practice.


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Ravens-Jets week: The calm before the media storm?

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Ravens-Jets week: The calm before the media storm?

Posted on 27 September 2011 by Luke Jones

Perhaps the only matchup that can even approach the same stratosphere as the Ravens’ biannual meetings — and a third, if we’re lucky — with the Pittsburgh Steelers is the occasional confrontation with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.

If the bright lights of Sunday Night Football weren’t enough, the Ravens will be donning their all-black uniforms while the 2-1 Jets try to snap a six-game losing streak against Baltimore that dates all the way back to 1998. Since winning the first meeting between the teams in 1997 (played at Giants Stadium), the Jets have been beaten three times each in Baltimore and in their home stadium.

To the surprise of no one, a heated dynamic — if not a full-fledged rivalry — was born when Ryan left the Ravens to become the head coach of the Jets in 2009. Their meeting in Week 1 of last season spawned comments from Ray Lewis usually reserved solely for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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“I’m going to be very careful with this, we’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints,” Lewis said prior to the Week 1 meeting last season. “That’s the Super Bowl champs. Until they play tonight, that’s the only people that can be dethroned. Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets. All of this ‘We’re the Miami Heat of football.’ If you’re the Miami Heat, we got to be the Lakers and multiple rings.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuXSBSW9cEU[/youtube]

And if that didn’t satisfy your appetite for what’s potentially on tap when the Ravens return to practice on Wednesday afternoon, Lewis offered the famous “buckle up your chinstrap” comment that epitomized the physical game we saw in the Ravens’ 10-9 win a year ago.

“The game ain’t played through tongues,” Lewis said. “The game is played when you buckle up your chin strap. So, all this pressure [Ryan] wants to put on his team, I hope they can cash the check that he writes.”

It will be nearly impossible to top the back-and-forth from a year ago that nearly made the actual game an afterthought with the needles being thrown in the week leading up to the Monday night affair.

But can they match it?

So far, no warning shots have been fired — particularly by the Jets after the Raiders ran for an astounding 234 yards against them in a humbling 34-24 defeat in Oakland. However, it’s difficult to envision the likes of Ryan, Lewis, Bart Scott, and Terrell Suggs making it through the entire week without a few interesting comments being offered to the virtual bulletin board for the opposition. These are the types of games that are a reporter’s dream: physical football with plenty of quotes and sound bytes to add fuel to the fire leading up to kickoff.

To no one’s surprise given his typical demeanor with the media, coach John Harbaugh’s Monday comments about the Jets were soaking wet firewood rather than kindling.

“They are a very good football team – very aggressive, very tough, very determined,” Harbaugh said. “They have a lot of playmakers – that’s the biggest thing. [They have] playmakers all over the field. I think when you see them win, they can win it in a lot of different ways. They can win by dominating the opponent, they can win by pulling it out at the end. That’s the mark of a good team – a winning team. That will be our challenge.”

Despite the complimentary statements from the Ravens coach, Harbaugh’s comments regarding potential barbs being exchanged left the door wide open for the louder personalities on the Ravens to fire shots up I-95 the remainder of the week.

“We always tell our guys really to be themselves,” said Harbaugh when asked if he would deter players from talking. “We don’t tell them not to say anything. We encourage them to be their best selves. I think our guys are pretty good guys, and our guys are classy guys. I’m sure our guys will have fun with it. I don’t think you will hear too much malicious [words] coming out of our guys. Our guys like those guys, so to speak. It will be good laughs listening to what comes out of New York, and we will be looking forward to it because it is always funny. It’s always entertaining. It makes it more fun.”

The roots connecting the Ravens and Jets run even deeper than the average fan realizes when you take a closer look at the two organizations. Players, coaches, and even front office personnel hold strong connections on a number of different levels.

Scott (2002-08), safety Jim Leonhard (2008), and wide receiver Derrick Mason (2005-2010) all found “greener” pastures after departing Baltimore. Mason’s move to the Jets will throw an intriguing wrinkle to this Sunday’s meeting, given the 37-year-old wideout’s tendency to hold court with the media from time to time.

In addition to Ryan (1999-2008), defensive coordinator Mike Pettine (2002-08), defensive line coach Mark Carrier (2006-09), quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh (1999-2004), and defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman (2002-07) spent time on the Baltimore coaching staff. On the flip side, Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler coached the Jets’ quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2003 and 2004.

Even the offensive coordinators share a bond — though not through New York or Baltimore — as Cam Cameron and Jets coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were members of the Chargers’ offensive staff from 2002 to 2005 under former head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and Ravens architect Ozzie Newsome were both with the Cleveland Browns in 1995. While Newsome owned the title of director of pro personnel at the time, Tannenbaum was a player personnel assistant.

Despite the many ties throughout the organizations, it ultimately comes down to the players on the field, as much as Ryan might try to throw his name into the fray.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL5CZcMqqWA[/youtube]

Yes, a mutual respect exists between the Ravens and Jets, but it won’t prevent the sides from being quiet this week.

At least we all hope.

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Coach Rex Ryan on time in Baltimore: “It was ten great years and I met a lot of great people”

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Coach Rex Ryan on time in Baltimore: “It was ten great years and I met a lot of great people”

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Rex Ryan

Since leaving the Baltimore Ravens more than two years ago to become the head coach of the New York Jets,  Rex Ryan has had nothing but success as coach of Gang Green up in New York.

During that time as coach, Rex Ryan has taken the Jets to consecutive playoff appearances going as far as the AFC Title game in each trip.

His career record as the Jets coach is 20-12, and is 4-2 overall in the playoffs.

This after building up an impressive resume in Baltimore as defensive coordinator for the Ravens from 2005-2008 in which his defenses-anchored  by Ray Lewis-never finished less than sixth-overall in total defense.

Ryan spent 10 years on the Baltimore sidelines for both Brian Billick and John Harbaugh, but when a head coaching job for the Ravens wasn’t put in front of him, he couldn’t wait any longer for that opportunity to come his way, and he took advantage of another one.

But the one thing he has learned-and he details it in his new book, “Play Like You Mean It” which he introduced to Rex Snider last week on “The Afternoon Drive”, that it’s the people he’s been around who he has to thank for where he is today.

And a lot of them are still in the Baltimore organization, and despite knowing the organization holds John Harbaugh in high regard and that they chose him over Ryan, Ryan said he will always hold a place in his heart for the Ravens.

“I had ten great years in Baltimore that I am really proud,” Ryan told Snider. “And I still have a home in Baltimore. It was ten great years and met a lot of great people.”

One of the great people Ryan interacted with and had a great relationship with while in Baltimore was linebacker Ray Lewis.

“I was with Ray for all ten years and I talk about that he is one of the rare guys, a player that actually motivated me,” Ryan said. “That usually doesn’t happen. Usually it’s the coach motivating the player.”

Ryan said that Ray Lewis was  probably the most special person he’s been around in his 24-year coaching career.

“Ray was such a passionate leader and everything that we would motivate me as well as his teammates and things. He is a once in a lifetime player, an amazing talent and he is still going strong even today.”

Ryan became the Jets coach in 2009-ironically the same year that both Ravens linebackers Bart Scott and Ray Lewis were free agents on the market.

Ryan admitted that getting #52 to follow him to New York was definitely on his agenda.

He said he would be lying if he didn’t.

“It’s funny because when I went to New York the first thing right off the bat I wanted to get Ray Lewis to come and coach here and all that kind of jazz and let him play here,” Coach Ryan said.

Ryan took a lot from Baltimore up I-95 including several coaches, players, personnel, support staff and philosophy, but he admitted to Snider that there was nothing he could do to get Ray Lewis away from the city of Baltimore.

“Ray was not going to leave Baltimore anyway but it was not the right decision,” he said. “Ray’s team is the Baltimore Ravens, more so than Ozzie Newsome, or Steve Bisciotti, or anybody else.”

“But when you think of the Baltimore Ravens you think of Ray Lewis that is why there was no way I could take him away from Baltimore even if I wanted to, and was able to.”

Another player that Ryan didn’t have the longest amount of time to interact with but has high hopes for is a man on the other side of the ball than Ryan’s defense-that being quarterback Joe Flacco.

He remembers taking a look at Flacco just days into the first round of practices at Owings Mills and training camp and noticing that he was going to be something special despite the fact he came in projected to be the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Kyle Boller and Troy Smith.

“Joe Flacco was without a doubt is our best quarterback, and I remember mentioning that to Steve Bisciotti that in my opinion is wasn’t even close and that he ought to be our starting quarterback,” Ryan said.

“Joe Flacco is an outstanding talent, he’ got great arm strength, he’s got poise, and he is a better athlete than you think. I think he has all the tools to be a great quarterback in this league.”

But Rex was still the guy we have got used to in New York calling out the likes of Bill Belichick when he did admit that he’s biased when it comes to Joe Flacco winning championships.

Like Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley, he hopes Flacco wins none-at least at the expense of his teams.

“Well I hope he doesn’t win one, because I want to win them,” Ryan laughed. “And I am no different then those other guys; I mean I guaranteed a Super Bowl this year. But the funny thing is, that is how you have to think. It’s our team, I don’t care about anybody else’s team.”

One of those teams in particular that he doesn’t care about, but one that he has to keep his focus on at all times?

Why, that would be none other than Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, who despite Rex Ryan’s previous statements about the Coach may have been construed as disrespect, Ryan would tell you otherwise.

He would do so because he had that same level of respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

“There is a huge amount of respect with the Steelers and the Ravens, I can promise you. But you also want to beat that team worse than anybody.”

He knows Ravens fans still take that statement to heart.

And now that he’s the enemy, he knows that he’s probably included in that as well.

“I know the Ravens want to beat the Steelers worse than anything, probably right there with the Jets for some reason.”

We’ll  find out this year Week 4 of the regular season at M&T in prime time.

WNST thanks Coach Rex Ryan for joining us! Be sure to check out a copy of his new book, “Play Like You Mean It”, for a great in-depth look inside the mind of one of the NFL’s biggest personalities!

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On Eve of Brother Jon’s Biggest Fight, Ravens’ Jones Contemplating Own MMA Future

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On Eve of Brother Jon’s Biggest Fight, Ravens’ Jones Contemplating Own MMA Future

Posted on 19 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Jon “Bones” Jones is one of the brightest stars in the history of Mixed Martial Arts.

Just three years into his career as a professional fighter, Jones has posted a 12-1 record. His only loss (to Matt Hammill in December 2009) came via disqualification due to illegal elbow strikes.

Jones will compete in the biggest fight of his young career Saturday night, when he challenges Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) light heavyweight title holder Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC 128 in Newark, New Jersey.

At just 23 years old, Jones has used a flashy style and an ability to catch opponents off guard to endear himself to MMA fans all over the world. He comes into his first title fight just weeks after an impressive submission victory of then undefeated Ryan Bader at UFC 126 in Las Vegas.

jonjones

Fans of the Baltimore Ravens may find themselves with a particular rooting interest in Jones Saturday night, as he is the younger brother of DT Arthur Jones, the team’s 2010 5th round pick out of Syracuse in the NFL Draft.

As his younger brother prepares for the biggest fight of his young career, the elder Jones has spent time working alongside him and famed MMA trainer Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Between participation in a high profile camp, an amateur wrestling background, the fluid nature of the current National Football League lockout and the decision of Ravens teammate Tom Zbikowski to step into a boxing ring earlier this month, Jones has many reasons to consider a step into the MMA world himself.

“I’m really leaning towards taking a fight” the elder Jones told Thyrl Nelson and myself in an interview Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST. “But we’ll see. Right now I’m doing it for cardio and getting my hands right. Getting my muscles flowing so I can be in the best shape I can come this year whenever I get called back to the farm to work.”

Jones’ situation is not exactly like Zbikowski’s. Zbikowski had 90 amateur fights and a professional victory already on his resume as a boxer before he was even selected by the Ravens out of Notre Dame in 2008. During his first three seasons in the National Football League, Zbikowski has established himself as a steady role player both behind future Hall of Fame S Ed Reed on the defensive side of the football and as a steady contributor to the team’s Special Teams unit. Zbikowski even made six defensive starts in 2010 while Reed began the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Jones made just two game appearances as a rookie in 2010. If and when the NFL finally begins the 2011 season, he will still be looking for his first career tackle. While he was an accomplished amateur wrestler at Union-Endicott High School in New York, he has never participated in a sanctioned MMA contest.

artjones

And while Zbikowski has stated multiple times that boxing was his first love, Jones is very aware that his most important work is done on football fields.

“The NFL pays well, better then MMA does as of right now. Your mind wanders from time to time but you just have to remember, ‘what’s my real job?’”

The elder Jones may be aware that football should be his priority, but his superstar brother said his interest in MMA has been evident as the two train together in New Mexico.

“He’s helped my training out so much” Jon said in an interview with Nelson Tuesday on AM1570 WNST. “I’m wrestling on a level that I was wrestling in at high school, and we’re getting into those scrambles that we used to. Just being around him, he’s a competitive guy and pushing me to a whole new level. I’m grateful to have him here for my training.”

While Zbikowski’s transition to boxing was particularly natural during the offseason, other NFL players have moved into arenas that have to be considered even more foreign than Jones’. Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Johnson is scheduled to participate in a tryout for MLS team Sporting Kansas City next week, while New York Jets (and former Ravens) LB Bart Scott has been involved with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling.

Certainly a move into the Mixed Martial Arts arena by Jones would be met with greater respect and appreciation.

Jones’ playing weight (313 pounds) is nearly 50 pounds heavier than Mixed Martial Arts’ heavyweight cap (265). As Jones would not want to cut so much weight ahead of football season, he would have to find a promotion that would allow him to fight at the 265 pound+ “Super Heavyweight” level.

Should such an opportunity present itself, Jones is well aware of why he could have a significant MMA future.

“I was a strong wrestler in high school, I was a two time state champion. Once you wrestle, you don’t forget the moves. I was big in freestlye and grecko, I think I shocked the guys to be so big and move as fast as I do. I’m just having fun right now, the sport is growing, and it’s growing more and more on me. At first I thought it was barbaric, two grown men locked in a cage fighting, beating each other up. But it’s more like art, it’s about technique and more than just punching someone.”

Unlike Zbikowski (who is a restricted free agent yet to sign his tender offer), the road would be a bit more difficult for Jones to step into a ring. Jon Jones told Nelson his older brother would have to receive clearance from the league to take a fight. Given the nature of the relationship between the league and the NFLPA right now, there is no certainty that such clearance would be given.

But if it were, the younger Jones believes his older brother could make a significant impact in the world of combat sports.

“I could see Art competing within a year and a half of training. He throws me around like a rag doll, and I’m in the UFC. If Arthur were to dedicate more time to mixed martial arts, I could see him competing at the highest level within a year and a half’s time.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fXx0Rg37pk[/youtube]
Jones at WNST’s June 2010 “Ravens Rookie Show”

-G

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If Zbikowski Helps Ravens Beat Steelers, I Won’t Fight His Desire To

Posted on 08 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

I think I’ve changed my mind about this about a hundred times since I first heard the news.

Baltimore Ravens Safety Tom Zbikowski will step into a boxing ring at the MGM Grand Saturday night in Las Vegas to face a largely unknown opponent named Richard Bryant. The fight will be part of the undercard for the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga showdown, which will air on Showtime Pay-Per-View. It will be Zbikowski’s second professional fight, but first since a 2006 knockout of Robert Bell at Madison Square Garden in New York.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-8BYolVPVw[/youtube]

When I first heard the news, I immediately thought to myself, “There’s no way this is okay.”

I understood the concept. With National Football League Owners and the NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) locked in a battle over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), it appeared as though the league was quickly headed towards a lockout, which would allow players to do just about anything they wanted to away from football. New York Jets LB Bart Scott has been seen on Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. Minnesota Vikings DE Ray Edwards (a free agent who many fans would like to see consider Charm City) has also decided to box in the offseason.

But I couldn’t help but wonder if Zbikowski’s decision was a good one. I couldn’t help but wonder if as a professional football player, Zbikowski might not be better off simply preparing for football. Whether or not the NFL was going to experience a work stoppage, there are few of that don’t believe in our hearts there will be a NFL season in 2011, and the Ravens will have an opportunity to claim a second Vince Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis in 2012.

On “The Afternoon Drive” last week on AM1570 WNST, Drew Forrester and I discussed our thoughts on Zbikowski fighting. I said then I felt as though if I were a teammate of Zbikowski’s, I would probably want to get on the phone with him and say “I understand you’re a boxer. I understand you want to do this. But we want to win the Super Bowl this year. Why don’t you just get together with me in Arizona and let’s work on getting ready for the season.”

In fact, when Washington Redskins OL and former Raven Casey Rabach joined Forrester and I last Thursday on the show, I posed the question to him. “If one of your teammates were to (choose to box, fight Mixed Martial Arts, etc during the lockout), would you make that phone call to say ‘just bear in mind everything that’s going into this decision you’re making.’”

Rabach’s answer seemed perfectly logical to me.

“I’d be the first one on the phone I think to call that player and say ‘hey, remember where your bread is buttered’” said Rabach. “Just be careful, be smart. Definitely those are things that would kind of scare a guy (like) myself, if I hear a player doing that. It just doesn’t seem like anything great will come out of that.”

On Friday’s show, we received a call from Mike Paskoff-one of our regulars on “The Morning Reaction” and someone I worked with briefly during my time at CBS Radio. He reminded me that when it comes to the decisions of other players, teammates tend to be very supportive. Whether the situation is a holdout, an off-field issue or a locker room dispute, players often tend to respond with a simple “that’s his business.”

While Paskoff was right, Rabach’s comments justified the uneasiness I felt about Zbikowski’s decision.

Is this REALLY a good idea?

There was a detour on the road to an inevitable lockout last Friday, as the owners and NFLPA agreed to extend discussion another week. Zbikowski participated in a conference call coordinated by Top Rank Boxing (who is promoting Saturday’s card) to tell reporters he would be participating in the fight with or without a work stoppage in the NFL. As an Unrestricted Free Agent, Zbikowski couldn’t be stopped contractually.

When asked about the support of his teammates, Zbikowski pointed out that a number of teammates including DT Haloti Ngata intended to head to Vegas to support him in his fight.

This Ravens analyst and lifelong Baltimore sports fan remained skeptical.

On Monday, I joined Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST to chat with Zbikowski about his decision, and to get direct word from the safety about my own concerns.

Thinking back on Rabach’s comments, I asked Zbikowski if any teammates had reached out to him to question his decision.

“I haven’t gotten that yet” the former Notre Dame standout told us. “I think people know better than that, because I’m just that hard headed. If you tell me not to do something I’m going to do the opposite, if you tell me not to do it I’m not going to do it, so you’re better off letting it run its course (and) let me do my thing.”

While not overwhelmingly convincing, I understood the concept. I’m 27 years old myself, and I still tend to have the mentality of a 16 year boy when it comes to authority.

“Whatever you want me to do; I’m probably not going to do it-just to make you uncomfortable.”

I’m pretty hard-headed myself. Somewhere right the great Tom Clark (my father) is chuckling.

But Zbikowski followed up those comments with others that were more thought provoking.

“To be honest with you, all these football players are doing MMA, boxing things anyways in the offseason. The days of lifting, trying to get bigger were in high school and college, nobody cares how much you bench on the football field, player wise, nobody cares how much you bench or squat, it means nothing. It’s how athletic you are, it’s how you perform. It’s all those things.”

Zbikowski was completely on target with such thoughts. A number of NFL players have sought out Mixed Martial Arts training in the offseason. In fact, many of those players have done so under the guidance of FOX NFL Insider Jay Glazer. Ravens DT Kelly Gregg was scheduled to work with Glazer during the 2010 offseason, but backed out at the last minute. Incorporating fighting into months of preparation for football isn’t unique to Zbikowski. The only unique aspect is that Zbikowski would actually step into a professional ring against a combatant who desired to cause him physical harm.

It’s unique…and potentially much more dangerous.

Zbikowski had said in his conference call that he had hoped to fight multiple fights during the spring and summer. I asked him Monday if he would still do so even if the league avoided a work stoppage.

“I’m going to see how this goes” responded Zbikowski. “If it’s another 50 second one (like his 50 second knockout of Bell at MSG), I don’t know If I can keep up the six, seven weeks of training because anybody who’s ever done boxing knows what kind of shape you have to be in and what kind of training it takes. That was one of the toughest things. I sparred almost 100 rounds for 50 seconds last time and that’s bittersweet, because you can’t complain about your pro debut at Madison square garden being a 50 second knockout. We’ll see how it goes because I’m not really one who’s good with making plans. I kind of fly by the seat of my pants and see what’s what.”

While it’s certainly understandable that Zbikowski wouldn’t want to prepare for weeks for less than a minute of fighting, it’s also reasonable to think that without a lockout Zbikowski’s only focus should be helping the Ravens win the AFC North.

With that in mind, the front office of the Baltimore Ravens (particularly Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh) should have every right to ask Zbikowski to keep his focus on football if there is no work stoppage-even if he believes he will eventually become a full time boxer.

And if they do?

“I don’t know about this one because it’s already fight time, you know I would have a tough time saying no to it” responded Zbikowski. “I would just say ‘You guys have (Pro Bowl safety) Ed Reed, you don’t need me! Eight picks and he’s not even playing in six games! You don’t need me!”

It’s funny, but it’s not exactly reassuring. Zbikowski did go on to offer another thought that would reassure me a bit more.

“There’s not going to be anybody in better shape come Training Camp. I’ll guarantee you that.”

I’m still a bit uneasy. Zbikowski told me he’s well aware of the worst case scenario. There’s absolutely a chance (although I’d think the chances are slim) that he could step into the ring Saturday night and take the wrong shot to the head.

If that happens, the second guessing of his decision to fight will be the least of Zbikowski’s concerns.

But as Forrester has said on multiple occasions this offseason, there’s only one thing that should matter right now for the Baltimore Ravens.

Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Zbikowski joked about how boxing could prepare him for the task.

“I’ll bring back a belt. When we play them, I’m going to stand at midfield. If they’ve got somebody they want to throw at me again like they did back when we had the home game, I’m gonna take somebody’s head off. Or you can just send me in (and) let me blitz. Haloti got a little piece of (Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger) on accident, imagine what would happen if I do it on purpose. I’ll take an ejection; I’ll take an ejection for the team.”

He gets the point. If he’s on the field and contributing if/when the Ravens face the Steelers this fall, I don’t care what he does in the offseason.

Of course, I’ll be pulling for him to never leave his feet Saturday night.

If you missed Monday’s interview with Zbikowski, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

-G

(Headline photo courtesy of USA Today)

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