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Private Workouts Now in Focus with Draft Season Speeding Towards Conclusion

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Private Workouts Now in Focus with Draft Season Speeding Towards Conclusion

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

Like Florence & The Machine said, “The Pro Days are over.”

Well maybe those weren’t the exact lyrics from Florence Welch and company, but the statement remains true.

Draft season has officially shifted from Pro Days to private visits and workouts.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU), Jeremiah Masoli (Ole Miss), Ricky Stanzi (Iowa), Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford), Shaun Chapas (Georgia)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama), Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech), Mikel Leshoure (Illinois), Darren Evans (Virginia Tech)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska), Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State), DeMarcus Love (Arkansas)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State), Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Sam Acho (Texas), Ryan Winterswyk (Boise State)
DT-Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), Alex Wujciak (Maryland), Akeem Dent (Georgia)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami), Ras-I Dowling (Virginia), Richard Sherman (Stanford), Brandon Burton (Utah)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indy
Parts 8, 9 & 10-A look at players who participated in early Pro Timing Days

The Baltimore Ravens (obviously) made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects-all of whom have been shown special attention by the Ravens during Draft season. (Reported by WNST.net, National Football Post, Carroll County Times, Baltimore Sun, Pro Football Weekly or others.)

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, NFL.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Christian Ballard (Iowa)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhgvSsE5tLI[/youtube]

Ballard is one of a number of Defensive Ends that has wandered over to Owings Mills during Draft season.

The Ravens are clearly in need of a rush end, and have looked at a number of players who could fit the role. Ballard (6’4″, 283 pounds) managed to tally eight combined sacks over his junior and senior campaigns with the Hawkeyes despite playing part of that time on the interior of the line.

Ballard has shown good speed during Draft season, trimming his 40 time from 4.75 at the Combine to 4.70 at his Pro Day in Iowa City. He’s not a first round pick, but he is a player the Ravens could consider as early as the second round.

They may have addressed rush end before that. Ballard’s teammate Adrian Clayborn, Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward and a number of other players are all higher on the board. The Ravens have a GLARING need at the position. If they don’t address it in the first, don’t be surprised if they address it with Ballard.

OT James Brewer (Indiana)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X01sxTrZZY[/youtube]

We don’t know for sure whether or not the Ravens have hosted Brewer at 1 Winning Drive, but we do know that the team paid special interest to Brewer’s Pro Day in Bloomington.

The Ravens have an issue along their O-Line. OT Jared Gaither is an unrestricted free agent and there are just a few question marks surrounding him. OT Michael Oher may or may not have a future at LT. G/T Marshal Yanda probably needs to return to being a Guard only.

The team will have to make some decisions.

Brewer (6’6″, 323 pounds) could help in that decision making process. He’s not a first round talent, but he looks like someone who is going to be able to play fairly early on if selected late Friday or early Saturday.

There is a SMALL issue with Brewer…he’s from Indianapolis. If he roots for the Colts, that could be trouble.

But otherwise, he has to be a legitimate option to help new O-Line coach Andy Moeller.

RB Stevan Ridley (LSU)

stevan

Unlike Ravens RB Ray Rice, Ridley’s game is much about power than speed (his 4.65 40 time at the Combine was better than either of his runs at his Pro Day in Baton Rouge). That could be a recipe to get him to Charm City, as the team may well lose both RB Willis McGahee (expected to be released) and FB Le’Ron McClain (Unrestricted Free Agent) this offseason.

Ridley might not be massive, but he packs 225 pounds in a 5’11″ frame. He has the look of a third down/red zone weapon at the next level, which is part of what the Ravens will be looking for in their backfield this offseason.

Ridley had just one big season with the Tigers before declaring for the Draft a year early. After rushing for just 272 yards and four TD’s combined between his freshman and sophomore seasons, he exploded for 1,147 yards and 15 TD’s as a junior. Clearly part of the reason for leaving early was to save some “tread” on his tires.

The Ravens paid special attention to Ridley at the Combine, where they learned more about why he was voted a team captain as a junior. He’s not a Thursday night pick and probably not a Friday night pick either. As the Draft wares into Saturday, he’ll look more and more appealing to the Ravens-who need to give Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron a change of pace option in the backfield.

CB Curtis Marsh (Utah State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-DwCYgqHWk[/youtube]

Just to recap the Ravens’ CB situation this offseason-Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are all unrestricted free agents; Cary Williams is an exclusive rights free agent and Domonique Foxworth is coming off an ACL injury that cost him the entire 2010 season. Lardarius Webb is the only corner that saw the field last season that remains fully under contract.

Clearly new Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano will need SOMETHING in his defensive backfield, be it returning players or newcomers.

Marsh is an intriguing option who has already visited General Manager Ozzie Newsome and company in Owings Mills. He was very much under the radar screen playing for the Aggies, but his 6’1″, 197 pound size and 4.42 speed have been undeniable during Draft season.

Marsh initially garnered attention for his matchup abilities against Boise State receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young. He received a Senior Bowl invite but missed the week due to a hamstring injury.

Marsh could come off the board as early as Friday night. If the Ravens don’t select a cornerback in Round 1, he could be a legitimate option after that point.

DE Ricky Elmore (Arizona)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtE9qFonW7s[/youtube]

The Ravens have shown equal interest in Elmore and fellow former ‘Zona DE Brooks Reed, as both have shown an ability to get after Pac 10 quarterbacks.

Elmore tallied 21 combined sacks between his junior and senior seasons, finishing his Wildcats career with 25 sacks overall. During Draft season he’s been training with Clay Matthews Sr. (whose son is a pretty good pass rusher himself) in an attempt to even further improve his ability to get after QB’s.

Elmore is a physical beast, measuring in at 6’5″, 255 pounds. He’s not blazing fast (4.88 40 at the Combine), but he’s deceptively quick for his size.

As I mentioned with Ballard, the Ravens have to be desperate for rush help on the edge. If they select an end Thursday (or early Friday), they’ll likely want him to be someone who also has the ability to stand up in a 3-4 defense.

If they don’t go DE early, Elmore could be a better option later into the Draft (likely Saturday). Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and company will have to determine how quickly Elmore could make an impact.

S Will Hill (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQK0xhpkE4Y&feature=fvst[/youtube]

Hill’s size (6’1″, 202 pounds) and decent speed (4.64 40) as well as his overall football ability (four interceptions over three seasons in Gainesville) should make him a solid Free Safety prospect.

Yet despite the Ravens showing interest in Hill at the Combine, he’s viewed as a borderline possibility to get picked anywhere in the Draft.

Hill’s issues are more off the field than they are on the field. He had some problems with his Twitter account-as well documented by the website “Every Day Should Be Saturday.”

Hill later claimed his Twitter account was hacked, but the damage was certainly done-and Hill didn’t exactly win everyone over with his comments about the incident at the Combine.

There are clear question marks off the field, which are clouding the ability he could have on the field. The Ravens appear to be in the safety market this offseason, as SS Dawan Landry is an unrestricted free agent and FS Ed Reed is…well…not getting any younger or healthier. Reserves Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura give them options to plug in, but they’ll certainly look for depth.

Should the Ravens not select a safety at all early in the Draft, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that they could take a chance on a player like Hill late in the Draft. After taking risks on DT Terrence Cody and LB Sergio Kindle early in the Draft last season, they might not be as quick to take a chance on a player with a red flag in this year’s Draft.

CB Chris Culliver (South Carolina)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jFfXPtIMlk[/youtube]

As I mentioned with Marsh, the Ravens have secondary issues this offseason. They’ll need to address them SOMEHOW, and Culliver could be part of that.

Culliver is a 6’0″, 199 pound corner who tallied four sacks and three interceptions during his Gamecocks career. (All three picks came in 2008.) He’s coming off a torn pec that caused him to miss the final six games of his 2010 campaign.

Of all of the corners on the Ravens’ active roster in 2010, only Williams (6’1″) is as big as Culliver. None have the blazing speed (4.36 40 at the Combine…which he stood on instead of running at his Pro Day in Columbia) that Culliver has.

Culliver paid a visit to Owings Mills during Draft season to meet with Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company. They likely wanted to see how fluid he was in coverage, as he played just one season at corner in the SEC after converting from safety.

The other nice option with Culliver is his potential involvement in the return game. Culliver finished his SC career with a school record 2,476 return yards. The Ravens got solid production from Webb and WR David Reed/RB Jalen Parmele in the PR and KR roles respectively last season, but they certainly didn’t do so much that they have to be considered locks to return in the roles. Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg wouldn’t be disappointed to add another return man if the Ravens were to use a late Friday or early Saturday selection on Culliver.

G Will Rackley (Lehigh)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaXM8yMXOHM[/youtube]

The Ravens have certainly had no trouble using a pick in the top half of the Draft on interior linemen before.

G Ben Grubbs (1st round), C/G Chris Chester (2nd round), G/T Marshal Yanda (3rd round) and St. Louis Rams C Jason Brown (4th round) have all been players the Ravens have selected early, and they’ve received mostly good results from the selections.

The Ravens don’t appear to have a glaring need amongst their interior linemen, but there are certainly issues to be addressed.

While Head Coach John Harbaugh would like to return Yanda to Guard, he’s an restricted free agent that could depart in the offseason. Even if he stays, the Ravens could be faced with a need to have him stay at RT should the team not re-sign Gaither or not Draft/Sign a better option at the position. After getting a second round tender, Chester (also a restricted free agent) is expected to return, but the team would prefer to have him play a utility role along the line instead of being penciled in at RG.

Rackley could be the type of player who could step in and play RG immediately. The 6’3″, 309 pound lineman turned a number of heads during East West Shrine Game week, showing he was quite capable of playing against big time opposition despite his FCS background.

Rackley was a four year starter for the Mountain Hawks, dominating Patriot League opposition. Clearly the AFC North (and the likes of DT’s like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Casey Hampton) will offer more significant opposition. Rackley is expected to be a Friday night pick, which could certainly be a legitimate place for the Ravens to jump up and grab him.

CB Buster Skrine (Chattanooga)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2jksB_vrsM[/youtube]

Similar to Curtis Marsh, Skrine is going to be looking to overcome a lower level of competition to make a name for himself as a National Football League corner. But Skrine (who played in the Southern Conference) has many more questions about competition to overcome than Marsh-who played his ball in the WAC.

Skrine (5’10″, 186 pounds) has great speed (4.37 40 at the Combine-but rumored to have actually been as fast as 4.29) and finished his Mocs career with five interceptions.

The Ravens both attended Skrine’s Pro Day and hosted him in Owings Mills in March.

The biggest question surrounding Skrine is whether or not he can play press coverage against NFL receivers, many of whom will have a slight to significant height advantage.

If the Ravens feel like he could be, it would make him a solid option late Friday or early Saturday.

LB Justin Houston (Georgia)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR0L2RVId90[/youtube]

Houston appears to be a true standup OLB instead of a down DE, which could help as the Ravens try to find pass rush help.

At 6’3″, 270 pounds; Houston was considered “undersized” to play along the D-Line for the Bulldogs, so he was moved to the outside. He responded to the move by producing 10 sacks in 2010; finishing his career in Athens with 19 sacks total.

Houston’s size and solid speed (he trimmed his 40 time down to 4.57 at his Pro Day) make him a borderline first round pick. The Ravens are obviously in the market for pass rush help (more specifically someone to team with LB Terrell Suggs), and they have hosted Houston in Owings Mills during Draft season.

The only obvious red flag with Houston is a 2009 suspension by UGA coach Mark Richt for an unspecified violation of team rules.

While the team seems unlikely to trade out of the 26th spot this year, Houston could be the type of available player that would make them feel like they could. Should Houston be available in the 30-40 range, the Ravens would likely feel as though they got #26 value after trading back.

-G

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Pro Days Nearly in Books as Draft Season Begins Home Turn

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Pro Days Nearly in Books as Draft Season Begins Home Turn

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

With only Notre Dame left amongst significant Pro Timing Days this season, NFL Draft season is now headed to pro facilities, as teams will host private meetings with prospects.

This of course is all happening despite the fact that the league and the players are battling in court in Minneapolis.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU), Jeremiah Masoli (Ole Miss)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford), Shaun Chapas (Georgia)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama), Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State), Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa)
DT-Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), Alex Wujciak (Maryland)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami), Ras-I Dowling (Virginia), Richard Sherman (Stanford)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indy
Parts 8 & 9-A look at players who participated in early Pro Timing Days

The Baltimore Ravens (obviously) made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects whose schools have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, NFL.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Sam Acho (Texas)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea4RHlaq8eg&feature=fvst[/youtube]

Acho became an interesting name in Charm City when he told us at the Combine he had met with the Ravens. Clearly the team had gone down the “Longhorns pass rusher” road recently (see Kindle, Sergio), and they desperately need a rush end.

Acho is a 6’2″, 262 pound beast who tallied eight sacks in each his junior and senior seasons in Austin. He has decent speed (he posted a 4.67 forty yard dash at the Combine and sat on the number at his Pro Day) and has shown the ability to be a solid pass rusher at the college level.

The Ravens will have to figure out if that can translate to a level in the NFL that allows him to partner up with LB Terrell Suggs to get after quarterbacks.

If Kindle’s off-field issues scare fans into thinking the team should avoid all former ‘Horns defenders altogether, consider some of Acho’s accomplishments.

-William V. Campbell Trophy winner (nation’s top football student-athlete)
-2010 Wuerffel Trophy (all-around excellence in athletic, academic and community achievement)
-ARA Sportsmanship Award
-UT’s seventh two-time Academic All-American
-member of the 2010 AFCA Good Works Team
-2010 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete
-finalist for the 2010 Lott IMPACT Trophy and Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

The Ravens will have to decide whether Acho’s on-field ability warrants a late Thursday or early Friday selection, but they shouldn’t be concerned about him away from the field at all.

(Acho joined Thyrl Nelson last week on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net if you missed him!)

RB Mikel Leshoure (Illinois)

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

I would be FLOORED if the Ravens selected Leshoure with the 26th pick in the Draft. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Ravens selected him in the 2nd round should he be available.

Leshoure is a 6’0″, 227 pound back with solid speed (4.56 40) who exploded on the scene in 2010. Leshoure posted nearly 1,900 yards of total offense and 20 total touchdowns after totaling just over 900 yards in 2009.

Seeing the way NFL teams have considered the number of touches a back has at the college level more and more, Leshoure decided to leave Champaign a year early and keep as much tread on his tires as possible.

The Ravens will need to overhaul their backfield this offseason. RB Willis McGahee is expected to be let go, FB Le’Ron McClain could depart as an unrestricted free agent. The team needs to figure out how to pair someone with their undersized superstar Ray Rice to carry them offensively.

Leshoure’s size could make him a decent complement paired with Rice.

But I would still only expect it to be possible if Leshoure slips to 58th.

LB Akeem Dent (Georgia)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJbNrEv5zXc[/youtube]

The Ravens have issues at Inside Linebacker.

They have a future Hall of Famer at one position (Ray Lewis) who-while still performing at a Pro Bowl level-is not getting any younger.

Lining up next to him, the team has attempted to see Tavares Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe or Jameel McClain nail down a spot-but none of them have done so.

They have to find some better answers at ILB.

Dent recently met with Ravens LB Dean Pees, meaning the team is at least considering a Saturday selection on the former Bulldogs backer. He’s 6’1″, 242 pounds with underwhelming speed (4.78), but he capped his career with Athens with an exceptional 122 tackle, three sack, two forced fumble senior campaign.

There’s nothing about Dent in particular that really makes him stand out-but he’s been productive against SEC offenses and has shown decent character.

For a team needing help at the position, that might be all that’s necessary.

QB Ricky Stanzi (Iowa)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p9xT-7-UkU[/youtube]

When Gil Brandt reported that the Ravens’ QB coach attended Stanzi’s Pro Day in Iowa City, I will admit that I was a bit confused.

Jim Zorn has since taken over the same role with the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron and Offensive Assistant Craig Ver Steeg to split the responsibilities of working with Joe Flacco.

It is believed (from the folks in Owings Mills I talked to) that Ver Steeg was the coach working with Stanzi at Iowa’s Pro Day. It’s certainly a sign that the team is legitimately considering Stanzi as an option should backup Marc Bulger depart (or perhaps even if he ends up returning).

Stanzi had a solid career for the Hawkeyes, compiling a 3,000 yard senior season to finish off a 7,377 yard/56 TD career. He has solid size (6’4″, 223 pounds) and while he isn’t quick, he did improve his 40 time to 4.93 at Pro Day.

There will likely be some concerns still lingering from a 2009 ankle injury that forced him to miss time, but he didn’t miss a game in 2010.

The Ravens probably won’t even think about quarterbacks until Saturday-as they are not looking for someone who will need to play (unless there’s an emergency situation) in 2011. If Stanzi remains on the board after three rounds, he will have to at least be a consideration.

CB Brandon Burton (Utah)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8HHyOuT4NM[/youtube]

This won’t be the first time I will have written about the Ravens’ CB situation as they (eventually) enter the offseason.

CB’s Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are all unrestricted free agents. CB Domonique Foxworth is coming off of an ACL injury that cost him the entire season. CB Cary Williams is an exclusive rights free agent.

As of this moment, the team has Lardarius Webb, Marcus Paschal and Danny Gorrer as healthy players under contract. They’re going to have to do SOMETHING at the position-although we all expect Foxworth and at least one of the UFA’s to be back in the mix.

Burton is a 6’0″, 190 pound corner who produced solid if not spectacular numbers during three seasons with the Utes. He finished his career with 97 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and three interceptions.

Clearly those numbers were skewed at least a bit by the fact that Mountain West opponents learned not to throw in his direction quite as much.

Burton has decent speed (he shaved his 40 time down to 4.50 at his Salt Lake City Pro Day), but a quicker time might have made him a first round possibility. Instead, he’ll likely be a player the Ravens can consider adding to Chuck Pagano’s defense on Friday night.

RB Darren Evans (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVJY_1wU8Lo[/youtube]

Evans only did positional workouts at his Pro Day in Blacksburg, deciding to sit on all of his workout numbers from the Combine.

The decision-much like his decision to leave Va Tech with a year of eligibility left-could certainly be considered questionable.

While his Hokies’ teammate Ryan Williams is all but a sure thing to be a Friday night pick, there is certainly no guarantee Evans will be selected at all. He has decent size (6’0″, 227 pounds) and speed (4.56 40), but the ACL injury that cost him his entire 2009 season will certainly leave personnel folks (like Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome) wary of using a pick on him.

Evans was tremendous in 2008, rushing for 1,265 yards and 11 TD’s. He bounced back for a decent season in 2010, posting 854 yards and another 11 TD’s. He clearly made the decision to leave school out of fear that he would take too much “tread off his tires”, which has become a significant concern for NFL teams who tend to lower the life expectancy for a running back every year.

Evans might be the type of back that could complement someone like Rice, but he’d likely have to come in as a late round pick (or Undrafted Free Agent…if teams are ever able to sign those) and compete for a job behind Rice, Jalen Parmele and whoever else the team brings back in the backfield.

DE Ryan Winterswyk (Boise State)

winterswyk

I think we all expect the Ravens to have addressed the need for a rush end early in the Draft, but I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that they could consider selecting multiple Ends during the course of the weekend.

Winterswyk is an intriguing late round prospect. He measures in at 6’4″, 268 pounds and shaved his 40 time down to the 4.80 range at his Pro Day (according to the National Football Post) after a disappointing 4.96 at the Combine.

Winterswyk garnered plenty of attention during his junior season, tallying nine sacks for the Broncos and establishing himself as the type of player who could be a serious threat off the edge at the next level.

That excitement died down a bit in 2010, as Winterswyk managed only two sacks during his senior campaign.

The Ravens certainly couldn’t use a Saturday selection on the former BSU rusher and assume that they had solved their issues on the edge. But if they used an early pick on an End (or waited to address the issue if and when free agency finally begins), Winsterswyk could certainly be an interesting project for Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company to consider.

WR Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I08QqP7cE5A[/youtube]

I’ll say what you’re thinking…yes, there’s reason to compare Sanzenbacher to former Ravens receiver Brandon Stokley.

But there’s no guarantee that a Stokley-type receiver is what the Ravens need right now to complete their receiving corps.

The team will be looking for a downfield speed threat as WR Donte’ Stallworth (unrestricted free agent) may well depart following a season where he was unable to get into the mix offensively.

Sanzenbacher (5’11″, 182 pounds) could be the type to fill that role-but will initially be looked at as more of a possession receiver with a speed threat (4.48 40 at his Pro Day).

The Ravens will return two possession receivers at the top of their corps (Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason), meaning size and speed will be what they are most looking for in a receiver.

Should they address those issues by selecting a Jon Baldwin-type receiver early in the draft, Sanzenbacher could be an additional option on Saturday to further bolster Cameron’s offense.

QB Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7VFdi_WhLY[/youtube]

At 6’5″, 251 pounds; Johnson certainly has the LOOK of a NFL quarterback. At times during his career with the Aggies, he certainly showed off the skills necessary to be a NFL quarterback as well.

Unfortunately, his career in College Station ended with him on the bench due to a shoulder injury. Coach Mike Sherman’s staff lost faith in Johnson’s arm strength-and those questions have clearly lingered over his performance during Draft season.

Johnson has a unique mix of size and athleticism, and managed to throw for over 8,000 yards and 67 touchdowns before ending up on the bench. He had a particularly prolific junior season, completing 296 of 497 attempts for 3,579 yards with 30 TD’s and just eight interceptions.

Johnson could be particularly interesting on Saturday (or as an undrafted free agent) to Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and a Ravens team that will be looking for depth behind Flacco but not for someone who would need to step in and play anytime soon barring emergency.

OT DeMarcus Love (Arkansas)

demarcuslove

Not only has the situation with OT Jared Gaither not been resolved, we’re absolutely no closer to having any true understanding of how the team’s tackle position might shake out.

The team could still decide to retain their former supplemental pick despite the injury issues that cost him the entire 2010 season. They could choose to allow the unrestricted free agent to sign elsewhere and sign or draft another tackle. They could let Gaither depart and re-sign OL Marshal Yanda to play tackle. They could choose to elevate a Tony Moll or Oniel Cousins to the position.

Get the picture?

Love (6’4″, 315 pounds) could be an option for the Ravens at tackle or guard as the team considers how they’ll shape their O-Line opposite LT Michael Oher and LG Ben Grubbs.

Love certainly showed his ability to handle top rushers as an All-SEC performer for the Razorbacks; but struggled against top talent during Senior Bowl week in Mobile.

He’ll probably be a late Friday/early Saturday selection and will certainly be an interesting prospect for a Ravens team needing changes along the line.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Another Week of Pro Timing Days as Draft Season Continues

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Another Week of Pro Timing Days as Draft Season Continues

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

There’s still no labor peace in the NFL, but NFL Draft season continues on as we inch closer and closer to Radio City Music Hall in New York at the end of April.

This week featured another round of Pro Timing Days, including a controversial stop at Georgia’s Pro Timing Day in Athens, where league scouts were forced to watch WR AJ Green workout on TV screens due a strange rule surrounding the lockout.

Since Green will be off the board before the Ravens select at 26th, I won’t bore you with further details.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (Connecticut), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), 
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium
Part 8-A look at players who participated in the first week of Pro Timing Days

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects whose schools have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Aldon Smith (Missouri)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBee49viSK8[/youtube]

There was a time when the former Mizzou pass rusher was believed to be available for the Ravens at 26.

As Draft season has continued, that can no longer be considered a certainty.

Smith is a 6’4″, 263 pound beast who combined for 17 sacks over the last two seasons for the Tigers despite missing three games last season with a broken leg.

Smith played just those two seasons in Columbia, opting to depart after his redshirt sophomore season for the Draft.

There’s plenty to like about Smith. He ran a 4.74 in the 40 yard dash while in Indy, and has shown his versatility in different defenses. His wingspan was measured at an astounding 84 inches.

He also told reporters at Pro Day he can do a standing backflip-but we haven’t seen that yet.

The Ravens have scheduled a workout with Smith and will find themselves in an interesting position should he be available at 26. He’s clearly a talent, but he’s probably still a bit of a project at this point.

The Ravens desperately need a pass rusher on the edge. The demise of Trevor Pryce has left them in a bad spot. If they think the presence of Smith can generate a better rush (along with LB Terrell Suggs), he’d almost certainly be on his way to Charm City.

C Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-oyDfPkV-A[/youtube]

Quick-does anyone know where Slippery Rock is located?

If you said Butler County, Pennsylvania you’re a big winner.

A four year starter for The Rock, Fusco has been a steady riser throughout his career and now into Draft season.

He’s a 6’4″, 316 pound solid player who has shown off his athleticism after moving from tackle to center. He even made a catch (for nine yards) during his senior season.

The Ravens will be looking for center depth in the Draft. Matt Birk has said he’ll come back this season, but they’ll have to work with the expectation that Birk could be entering his final season. Chris Chester is still in the mix (he’s expected to be back as a restricted free agent), but is likely better served at guard than moving back to center.

It’s not a very deep draft at the position, but Fusco could be an option in the later rounds. He put together a solid Pro Day (although it was held at Lehigh) and has likely guaranteed himself a Saturday selection.

CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwYM_5uJ0MY[/youtube]

In one sentence, I think Dowling would be labeled as “obvious talent with obvious injury issues.”

Dowling is an impressive 6’1″, 198 pound corner who posted eight interceptions, three forced fumbles and a sack over his first three seasons with the Cavaliers. He posted an impressive 4.40 40 at the Combine.

Unfortunately, Dowling played in just three games during his senior campaign in Charlottesville, as he battled a broken left ankle, right knee issues and a lingering hamstring problem.

After all of that, he pulled up with another hamstring issue during the Combine.

Yikes.

Dowling actually WASN’T able to participate in the Wahoos’ Pro Day due to his injuries, he’ll instead delay until April 3rd-when he’ll hold his own individual Pro Day.

Cornerback is an issue for the Ravens. Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are unrestricted free agents. Domonique Foxworth is coming off a torn ACL.

They’ll have to address the problem somehow, whether in the Draft or later.

Dowling will be intriguing. He was an arguable first round talent a year ago. He’s clearly no longer a first round guy. But how soon would a team like the Ravens be willing to consider snapping him up to join Chuck Pagano’s defense? That much we don’t know yet.

DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q8TQg6uoSg[/youtube]

It has been a bit puzzling to keep seeing Wilkerson’s name linked to the Ravens in mock drafts.

The reality is that the Ravens have an anchor in the middle of their defensive line (Haloti Ngata) and have plenty of depth behind him at the position (Terrence Cody, Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones).

This could really test General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s steadfast “best player available” policy in the Draft. National Football Post reported the team will work out the former Owls big man this week, and could face a serious decision should he be available at 26.

On paper, Wilkerson LOOKS like a Raven. He measured in at 6’4″, 315 pounds in Indianapolis and tallied 10 sacks from the interior in 2010.

He doesn’t appear to be the type of player who could move to the outside and become a natural rush end, but the Ravens could certainly benefit from having another player on the field who is capable of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

Wilkerson stood on most of his Combine numbers, posting only a 29 inch vertical at his Pro Day in Philadelphia.

He’s a late first round/early second round type of player. The only question will be whether or not he’s a true fit for a Ravens team that doesn’t really have a need for him.

QB Jeremiah Masoli (Mississippi)

masoli

In draft season, he’s been known as Jeremiah “Red Flag” Masoli.

We all know the history of Masoli’s transgressions.

In 2005, Masoli was forced to spend time in juvenile hall for his participation in a robbery. After transferring from City College of San Francisco to Oregon in 2008, Masoli kept his nose clean for a short time. That came to a halt when plead guilty to second degree burglary in March 2010. After a later arrest for marijuana possession in 2010, Masoli was dismissed by Ducks coach Chip Kelly but managed to catch on at Ole Miss.

Beyond his transgressions, Masoli showed himself capable of being a solid player at times. In three years of playing time, Masoli put up 5,930 yards passing and threw for 42 TD’s. He also ran for 1,930 yards and 29 TD’s. At his Pro Day this week in Oxford he worked out as both a quarterback and as a running back, with the thought being that teams could choose to use him as a Wildcat option at the next level.

The Ravens have historically (mostly) stayed away from players like Masoli. But after cutting Troy Smith following the 2010 Training Camp, they were left without a mobile QB on the roster-and had to use position players in practice to replicate opposing mobile QB’s. It would be safe to assume they’d like to get a mobile QB on the roster somehow.

It’s also no guarantee that Masoli gets drafted at all. In fact, the chances are probably no greater than 50-50 at best. The likelihood of Head Coach John Harbaugh considering a player like Masoli would go up if the team could add him as an undrafted free agent instead of using a pick on him.

Of course, UFA’s can’t be signed this year until a new labor deal is in place-but let’s worry about that another day.

My guess is that Masoli doesn’t end up in Purple and Black…but he’s certainly an interesting player to discuss between now and the end of April.

DE Adrian Clayborn (Iowa)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbXmQTn_D7w[/youtube]

The Ravens had an obvious presence at the Hawkeyes’ Pro Day in Iowa City, giving additional evidence that the team is legitimately considering using an early pick on the Clayborn to bolster their D-Line.

Clayborn is an impressive 6’3″, 281 pound specimen who electrified the Big Ten with 63 tackles and 11 sacks in 2009. Those numbers dropped off in 2010, as the big man managed just 52 tackles and only four sacks. The drop-off was particularly alarming considering Clayborn did not miss any time due to injury.

Clayborn’s size and speed (4.78 40) as well as a solid week at the Senior Bowl have kept him in the conversation as a first round pick-perhaps a player who could go off the board even before the Ravens select at 26.

D-Line coach Clarence Brooks needs outside help. Clayborn certainly appears to be the type of player capable of creating pressure on his own. That might very well make him a perfect fit in Baltimore.

FB Shaun Chapas (Georgia)

chapas

AJ Green may have been the star of the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, but there were other players working out who were worth paying attention to as well.

Chapas could be intriguing to the Ravens whether or not FB Le’Ron McClain departs as an unrestricted free agent.

Chapas is a 6’2″, 247 pound bruiser who was clocked with a 4.87 40 time in Indianapolis. He’s not likely to be an explosive Chris Cooley-type of H-Back; but instead is expected to play a natural fullback role.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron appears to be in the market for that exact type of player right now.

Making the case more compelling for Chapas, he received the types of honors during his time in Athens that the Ravens would like to see.

From GeorgiaDogs.com:

“At team’s annual awards Gala, earned team’s Coaches Leadership Award for Special Teams, the Leon Farmer Award for dedication to the strength and conditioning program and the David Jacobs Award as the player who by example portrays courage, spirit, character and determination.”

Sounds like someone Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company would be interested in if you ask me. As the Draft goes deeper into Saturday, he would almost have to be a consideration.

LB Alex Wujciak (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxpcfXl-guo[/youtube]

I will admit that I was quite surprised when the former Terrapins standout did not receive an invite to the Combine.

He certainly did everything necessary during his ACC career to earn an invite. He tallied 354 tackles over three seasons in College Park, mixing in three forced fumbles, four interceptions and two touchdowns.

Wujciak certainly doesn’t lack the size (6’3″, 250 pounds) to play an Inside backer position at the next level. Teams might want him to be a bit quicker (his 40 time was 4.79), but he’s never appeared slow in coverage.

Wujciak comes from an athletic family, as his father (Alan Wujciak) was an OL for Notre Dame while his younger bother (Connor Wujciak) plays for Boston College.

At this point most projections have Wujciak as a late round pick at best. The Ravens need inside backer help. Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain have been not quite good enough to lock down a position and Ray Lewis is getting no younger.

Alex Wujciak is no Ray Lewis.

But he’s certainly deserving of an opportunity to prove himself at the next level.

(Wujciak joined Thyrl Nelson and myself last Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST-you can hear the conversation in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

CB Richard Sherman (Stanford)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzm6HeFS2sE[/youtube]

Continuing the trend of “intriguing prospects”, there are few players in the Draft more intriguing than Sherman.

Fact: Sherman’s 6’3″, 195 pound frame and 4.54 (40) speed are solid if not ideal for a NFL CB prospect.

Other fact: Sherman has played corner for just two seasons in Palo Alto, and his skills (despite 6 interceptions in his Cardinal career) are still considered to be raw.

He’s going to be a later selection if he’s selected at all. The Ravens will have at least some familiarity with him as Harbaugh’s brother (Jim Harbaugh) coached him at Stanford before accepting the head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers.

He’s obviously not “the answer” for the Ravens secondary; but he could be a project worth taking a shot on as the Ravens will continue to face big receivers in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns are expected to be in the market for the aforementioned Green, which would give the division one more matchup problem.

RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGAQP1Rwsus[/youtube]

The Ravens are expected to part ways with RB Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain may be on the way out as well.

That would leave the team with just Ray Rice & Jalen Parmele (and Curtis Steele, Matt Lawrence and Jason McKie for what it’s worth) in their backfield.

They’re going to need to upgrade somehow.

Williams could very well be an option. His size is more similar to Rice (5’9″, 212 pounds) with pretty good speed (trimmed his 40 time down to 4.53 at his Pro Day in Blacksburg).

Williams had an explosive season in 2009 (1,655 yards rushing and 21 TD’s), but a hamstring injury cost him four games in 2010. His numbers were trimmed to 477 yards rushing and nine TD’s as he split time with fellow Hokies back Darren Evans.

The Ravens will have to pay extra close attention to the injury-but they’ll also have to determine if Williams would be a fit behind Rice. He’ll likely be a Friday night pick-and might end up coming off the board to early to be the choice in Baltimore.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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First Round of Pro Days in Draft Season Books

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First Round of Pro Days in Draft Season Books

Posted on 17 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

No matter what happens in Washington DC or courtrooms in Minnesota or the NFLPA offices; NFL Draft Season is moving forward.

After the Combine, Draft season has now progressed with Pro Timing Days, as players work out in familiar settings on their own college campuses. Some Pro Timing Days have gotten a ton of publicity (like Auburn’s, which aired on ESPN3.com), others have gone virtually unnoticed outside of the local market (Maryland held their Pro Timing Day in College Park Wednesday).

The Baltimore Ravens continue to send scouts to Pro Timing Days during the NFL lockout, a group lead by General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 4, 5 & 6-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects who have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

CB Brandon Harris (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0yjcu9CJvc[/youtube]

Harris has been a bit of a faller ever since the end of the Hurricanes’ regular season.

He struggled in the Canes’ Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame. He measured in an inch shorter (5’10″) than his listed height in Indy. He lost an inch on his vertical between his stop at the combine and his Pro Day in Coral Gables.

That being said, he’s been linked to Charm City by a number of mock drafts-both by fans and experts.

Harris measured in at 5’10″ in Indianapolis, and posted an exceptional 4.46 in the 40 yard dash.

He excelled in man coverage during his time under Randy Shannon, playing much above his height. The Ravens would have to believe he can translate that ability to the next level for him to be a real fit in Chuck Pagano’s defense.

Harris is a borderline 1st/2nd round pick. He could go anywhere between 20 and 40. With the Ravens sitting at 26, there’s no question that he’ll be a legitimate consideration.

LB Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Ckjltk9Ic[/youtube]

The bad news? Sheppard’s disappointing 4.76 40 at his Pro Day in Baton Rouge was particularly troubling for scouts who envisioned him moving to an outside linebacker position at the next level.

The good news? The Ravens would more likely be looking at Sheppard as an inside linebacker prospect given the inability for Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain or Dannell Ellerbe to look down a starting job in the 3-4 scheme and the long-term reality of Ray Lewis’ age. If his time hurts his stock with some teams, it could make him available to a team like the Ravens later in the Draft.

Sheppard measured in at 6’2″, 250 pounds in Indianapolis. His biggest strength is tackling in space (he combined for 228 tackles between his junior and senior seasons), but he progressed during his senior season enough that he was able to record four sacks and force two fumbles for the Tigers.

Sheppard is a late Friday night or early Saturday at this point. He’s a good player who lacks elite speed. He’s roughly the same size as Lewis. And here’s a note from his LSU bio…

“Undisputed team leader for the Tigers as a senior in 2010 … Known for his fiery pre-game speeches to the team”

Sounds like he might be a fit.

DE D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)

dreed

I was chatting with Arizona DE Brooks Reed at the Combine-and it came upon me to ask him what it was like going through the Draft process with a teammate like Ricky Elmore.

His response caught me off guard.

“Yep, it’s great to be able to have Ricky with me…and D’Aundre Reed.”

My head couldn’t quite get around it. D’Aundre Reed was at the Combine?

Sure enough-despite starting just eight games for the Wildcats, Reed has been getting a bunch of attention during Draft season.

It isn’t because of his numbers. During the last two seasons in Tucson, Reed tallied just 54 tackles and four sacks.

That being said, Reed has good size (6’4″, 258 pounds) and managed to shave his 40 time down to 4.75 at his Pro Timing Day.

There’s certainly no guarantee that he’ll be drafted, but he’ll be an intriguing prospect both late Saturday and after the draft is over. He may a bit more like Cory Redding than Trevor Pryce, but could be an interesting developmental prospect for the Ravens.

OT Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HG8AW-S198[/youtube]

With the news that Ravens assistant O-Line coach Todd Washington was closely watching Sherrod at the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, there has been some buzz in town surrounding the 6’5″, 321 pound tackle.

We all know the Ravens have O-Line needs. OT Jared Gaither and G/T Marshal Yanda are unrestricted free agents. Head Coach John Harbaugh has not hid from the fact that he wants to see Yanda return to guard and Gaither back at RT.

That’s all well and good, but there are a number of moving parts involved-not only due to free agency but also due to the health of Gaither. With Andy Moeller set to begin his first season as O-Line coach, the team could do well to obtain another mammoth bookend tackle.

After not running in Indianapolis, Sherrod clocked in at 5.29 at the MSU Pro Day in Starkville. He’s clearly behind Gabe Carimi in terms of being the most sought after tackle in the draft, but he’s in the mix with the likes of Nate Solder and Anthony Costanzo just behind that.

He’ll likely be available at 26. He probably won’t be available a round later when the Ravens pick again. Depending on how the first round plays out, Baltimore could be a destination for the big man.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0xi0eaaP7I[/youtube]

I understand how 40 times can change between the Combine and Pro Day.

I absolutely do NOT understand how a player like Rodgers can go from measuring in at 5’5 7/8″ inches in Indianapolis and then 5’7″ in Corvallis just weeks later.

Even with the extra inch and an eighth, a team interested in Rodgers would be looking simply for a Ray Rice type of back who is capable of producing solid yards per carry on the ground but can be involved in the passing game to a significant extent as well.

That might not make him a fit in Baltimore-as the Ravens already have a Ray Rice (whose name just so happens to be Ray Rice), but might be looking to revamp their backfield with an impending departure of Willis McGahee, and a potential departure in unrestricted free agent FB Le’Ron McClain.

Rodgers is well known for combining with his older brother (WR James Rodgers) to make the Beavers a very explosive offense over the last few seasons. He posted an impressive 1,471 yards of total offense and 17 TD’s in 2010-which was considered a disappointment after 1,962 yards of total offense and 22 TD’s in 2009.

Clearly the season ending injury his brother suffered and the departure of QB Sean Canfield went into the statistical drop Rodgers suffered as a junior before leaving school.

Rodgers wouldn’t address the Ravens’ backfield needs, but he could be an interesting addition late Friday or early Saturday if Newsome and company believed they could further address the backfield issues later in the offseason (if there is any later in the offseason this year).

WR Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63lbmKiBWl0[/youtube]

Jernigan was a clear beneficiary of participating in drills at the Trojans’ Pro Day last week, with the most significant bump coming in his 40 yard dash.

Jernigan was clocked at 4.46 at the Combine, but shaved that number down to 4.32 at his Pro Day.

Jernigan was a consistent target during his four years in Troy, catching 262 balls for 3,128 yards and 18 touchdowns. Critics will (fairly) point out that those numbers were tallied while playing Sun Belt conference competition, and that can’t really be ignored.

Yet most mock drafts see Jernigan as a Friday night selection; where the Ravens could be looking for wide receiver help if they don’t address the position in Round 1.

Jernigan’s 5’9″, 185 pound frame does not give him ideal size to stand out in a receiving corps that already features average sized receivers like Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. But the team will be looking for a speed receiver option, as Donte’ Stallworth never really found his way into Cam Cameron’s offense a season ago and is a likely departure as an unrestricted free agent.

Getting down to 4.32 at Pro Day could be a big step in proving to scouts (including those in Baltimore) that he has a realistic future as a speed receiver in the NFL.

OG/OT Danny Watkins (Baylor)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVyyt5-S88E[/youtube]

Watkins is a VERY intriguing prospect for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is believed that Watkins is more likely to be a guard at the next level, despite playing LT at a very high level following the departure of former Bears and now St. Louis Rams tackle Jason Smith.

Second, Watkins has a strange story. He grew up in Kelowna (British Columbia), Canada. (He was actually selected by his hometown BC Lions last year in the CFL Draft.) He didn’t play football in high school, instead choosing to play rugby and hockey. He just began playing football three years ago at Butte (junior) College in California and played just two seasons in Waco.

Third, he’s 26 years old. That certainly hurts for some teams who are looking for long term prospects, and his lack of experience might be a detriment to a team who would draft him believing his age made him more pro-ready.

With all of that said, the general consensus is that Watkins is still an early Friday selection. He’d be more valuable to the Ravens as a tackle; but could provide a better option than Chris Chester at guard should the team choose to keep Yanda at RT. The Ravens held a private workout with Watkins in Texas this week, so there’s clearly interest.

And if Watkins becomes a Raven, perhaps his previous career as a firefighter could somehow help? Perhaps?

WR Niles Paul (Nebraska)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmFt10el-m4[/youtube]

Paul shaved his time in the 40 down to 4.42 at his recent Pro Day in Lincoln, .03 seconds faster than the time he posted at the Combine.

But the questions most scouts have about Paul don’t really have much of anything to do with his speed.

The real question is whether or not he’s capable of being an elite receiver at the next level. And it’s certainly a relevant question considering he never posted particularly prolific numbers during his career with the Cornhuskers.

Paul had a good year in 2009, catching 40 passes for 796 yards and four touchdowns; but those numbers fell in his senior season when he grabbed 39 balls for 516 yards and just one score.

Paul’s best value is as a returner, as he tallied nearly 2,500 yards and three TD’s over his last three seasons as the Huskers’ primary return option.

David Reed and Lardarius Webb appeared to get comfortable as the team’s kickoff and punt returners respectively last season, but they certainly haven’t solidified themselves in positions where they couldn’t be unseated.

Paul measured in at 6’1″, 224 pounds at the Combine. His senior season was cut short by a foot injury that will certainly be a concern for any team wanting to consider him.

While not as short as Jernigan, Paul’s size probably wouldn’t allow him to stand out in the Ravens’ receiving corps either-as he’s basically the same size as TJ Houshmandzadeh, who is certainly a question mark to return as an unrestricted free agent.

QB Andy Dalton (TCU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY_J_w4oQfc[/youtube]

If there was any hope that the man who surpassed Sammy Baugh as Texas Christian’s all time winningest QB could somehow slip far enough to be a consideration for the Ravens on Saturday, those hopes have probably been dismissed by his performances thus far during Draft season.

Dalton had an exceptional Pro Day according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, completing 49 of 52 attempts-with two of his incompletions the result of dropped passes.

Dalton is no stranger to the word “exceptional”, as the four year starter finished his career with more than 10,000 passing yards and 71 touchdowns…and a particularly significant Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin.

His 6’2″, 215 pound frame and solid arm will be beneficial to SOMEONE in the NFL…it’s just unlikely to be the Ravens. Joe Flacco is THE quarterback; the team could just be looking for help behind him with Marc Bulger an unrestricted free agent.

RB Mark Ingram (Alabama)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7b6kJwvhN4[/youtube]

If Mark Ingram never played a snap in the NFL, it wouldn’t keep him from being able to write a book about his life to this point.

His father (Mark Ingram Sr.) helped the New York Giants win Super Bowl XXV, but was eventually incarcerated due to charges of bank fraud and money laundering. He remains in prison to this day and is not scheduled to be released until 2014.

The younger Ingram has overcome his father’s troubles in a big way, becoming the Crimson Tide’s first ever Heisman Trophy winner and leading his team to a BCS National Championship Game win over Texas in Pasadena back in January of 2010.

After an incredible 2009 season in which he compiled 1,992 total yards of offense and 20 TD’s, a knee injury delayed the start of his 2010 campaign. A “down” year in 2010 still resulted in 1,157 yards of total offense and 14 TD’s.

Ingram is considered a slam dunk first round pick, especially after getting his 40 time down into the range of 4.5 at his Pro Day in Tuscaloosa following a disappointing 4.62 at the Combine.

The Ravens are unlikely to look to grab a 5’9″ back in the first round, but Ingram’s availability could challenge their “best player available” philosophy. They DO need backfield help even if they have more pressing needs.

There’s also a certain General Manager in Baltimore who has a particular affinity for former Alabama players.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 27 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Terrapin Classic: La Salle @ Maryland (Tuesday 12pm Comcast Center), Liberty/St. John’s @ Maryland (Wednesday 11:30am Comcast Center)

10. Wiz Khalifa (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Live, Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), J Roddy Walston and the Business (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live), Pietasters (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Joe Budden (Wednesday 7pm Bourbon Street), Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime (Friday 8pm Bourbon Street); Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); The Roots (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Gov’t Mule (Tuesday 8pm Warner Theatre); Pat McGee (Thursday & Friday Loews Annapolis Hotel); B.B. King (Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere); Downtown Countdown feat. Charm City Devils & Tone Loc (Friday 9pm Hyatt Regency); Downtown Countdown Washington feat. Everclear & The Dan Band (Friday 9:30pm Grand Hyatt DC)

I cannot recommend enough that you go see Trombone Shorty Thursday night…dude is AMAZING…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71rJzhWk7xw[/youtube]

I don’t usually like ANYTHING from Massachusetts. I (might) make an exception for SKATS…

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

I won’t be there, but I’d recommend you enjoy CCD on Friday night. They’re good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7XhpOrrkAM[/youtube]

I usually NEVER miss an appearance from Art Alexakis and company anywhere within 100 miles of here. I’ll be sorry to miss this one…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEUWx4LA7jU[/youtube]

9. Ports America Chesapeake New Year’s Eve Spectacular 2010 (Friday 9pm Inner Harbor); Glenn Clark’s New Year’s Eve Plans (Friday-Saturday)

I like fireworks as much as the next guy. But what do I like MORE than fireworks? Awesome fireworks accidents…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFJiPUbAI-c[/youtube]

By the way, I’ll be at Howl at the Moon for NYE myself. If they don’t play “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” by David Allan Coe I will demand my money back.

8. Harlem Globetrotters “4 Times The Fun” Tour (Tuesday 2pm & 7pm 1st Mariner Arena)

Ho.Ly.Crap.

A FOUR POINT SHOT?!?!?

Did the Globetrotters sneak into my 8-year-old imagination???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXdnjUvM6Cw[/youtube]

THAT.IS.AWESOME.

If they bring in the “Rock & Jock” 25 & 50 point baskets, I’ll go to EVERY game. Gary Payton once scored 250 points!!!

Oh-and Michael Oher is apparently going to be involved in a few stunts with the Globetrotters during Tuesday’s event.

One of them reportedly involves Oher lining up for a football play and waiting until the ball is snapped to move.

7. NBA: Indiana Pacers @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers (Friday 3pm from Indianapolis live on Comcast SportsNet), New Orleans Hornets @ Washington Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

Well…while the ‘Zards are in Indy, maybe they can enjoy…nothing.

Well, maybe they can enjoy hanging with Merton From Indianapolis and his drinking buddies singing songs about Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas.

We’re not REALLY going to have to go back to that hellhole in a couple of weeks, are we?

UGH.

6. MMA-UFC 125: Resolution (Saturday 10pm from Las Vegas live on Pay-Per-View)

Clay Guida is on this card, which means the card is worth the price of admission. First-Clay Guida is THIS maniac…

clayguida

But crazy fights and a propensity to bleed isn’t all that Guida offers to the world of Mixed Martial Arts. He’s got another impressive skill…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m110W9gBemA[/youtube]

Impressive.

5. College Basketball: North Florida @ Maryland (Wednesday 8pm Comcast Center); Robert Morris @ Morgan State (Thursday 7pm Hill Field House); Old Dominion @ Towson (Monday 7pm Towson Center); Niagara @ UMBC (Thursday 7pm RAC Arena); Bucknell @ Loyola (Tuesday 7pm Reitz Arena), Marist @ Loyola (Monday 7pm Reitz Arena); Coppin St. @ Kentucky (Tuesday 7pm from Lexington, KY live on ESPN3.com), Coppin St. @ Texas (Friday 2pm from Austin, TX live on ESPN3.com)

I know a lot of folks haven’t started paying attention to College Basketball yet because football is still happening; so let me try to get you caught up.

One-UMBC can’t beat anyone. Except for maybe Penn State. And probably Wake Forest.

Two-Duke is still pretty good. Damnit.

Three-Unbelievably, something neat happened in an Idaho State-Utah State game…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF8w3zN0xiA[/youtube]

Yep, I think that’s about it.

4. Pro Wrestling: Stand Up For WWE Presents Raw World Tour (Wednesday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena, Thursday 7pm Verizon Center)

Gail Kim Gail Kim Gail Kim Gail Kim Gail Kim Gail Kim Gail Kim Gail Kim…

gailkim

3. NHL: Winter Classic-Washington Capitals @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Saturday 1pm from Pittsburgh live on NBC), Montreal Canadiens @ Washington Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

You mean to tell me there will be Redskins fans and Steelers fans BOTH sitting in Heinz Field Saturday?

I better not say ANY of the things that have come to mind, or I might be subject to a police investigation.

My friend Brandon invited me over to watch the game next Saturday. I think I’m going to go, but I’m certainly not going to be rooting for the Caps. Instead, I think I’ll spend the day encouraging everyone to HOWL…

howl

2. College Football-Military Bowl: Maryland vs. East Carolina (Wednesday 2:30pm from RFK Stadium live on ESPN), Champs Sports Bowl: West Virginia vs. NC State (Tuesday 6:30pm from Orlando live on ESPN), Insight Bowl: Missouri vs. Iowa (Tuesday 10pm from Tempe, AZ live on ESPN), Texas Bowl: Illinois vs. Baylor (Wednesday 6pm from Houston live on ESPN), Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Arizona (Wednesday 9:15pm from San Antonio live on ESPN), Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs. SMU (Thursday 12pm from Fort Worth, TX live on ESPN), Pinstripe Bowl: Kansas State vs. Syracuse (Thursday 3:30pm from New York live on ESPN), Music City Bowl: North Carolina vs. Tennessee (Thursday 6:40pm from Nashville live on ESPN), Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. Washington (Thursday 10pm from San Diego live on ESPN), Meineke Bowl: South Florida vs. Clemson (Friday 12pm from Charlotte live on ESPN), Sun Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Miami (Friday 2pm from El Paso, TX live on CBS), Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. UCF (Friday 3:30pm from Memphis live on ESPN), Chick-Fil-A Bowl: South Carolina vs. Florida State (Friday 7:30pm from Atlanta live on ESPN), TicketCity Bowl: Northwestern vs. Texas Tech (Saturday 12pm from Dallas live on ESPNU), Capital One Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan (Saturday 1pm from Orlando live on ESPN), Outback Bowl: Florida vs. Penn State (Saturday 1pm from Tampa Bay live on ABC), Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Michigan (Saturday 1:30pm from Jacksonville live on ESPN2), Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU (Saturday 5pm from Pasadena, CA live on ESPN), Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. UConn (Saturday 8:30pm from Glendale, AZ live on ESPN), Discover Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Stanford (Monday 8:30pm from Miami live on ESPN)

I like College Football and all, but if I have to be honest…bowl season could probably use another couple of games.

I mean, I don’t see a single bowl game scheduled for 3am Saturday.

What the hell am I supposed to watch when I stagger get home from New Year’s Eve Friday night?

Eh…I’ll probably just Hulu the Paul Rudd/Paul McCartney episode of SNL. That ish was funny…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NjX0M9nuhw[/youtube]

1. NFL: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (Sunday 1pm from M&T Bank Stadium live on CBS)

How in THE WORLD have the Ravens lost three straight to Cincy?

That can’t happen again, right? RIGHT?

Especially not if THIS GUY plays…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6rbdy9yuJg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 29 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because the WWE actually got it right last night…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lst3CxSLpBc[/youtube]

(Edit from GMC: This video will probably be down before I’m even able to post this. The point is…Chris Jericho retained the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. Which means that the sting of Duke being in the Final Four only lasted for a few minutes last night. Sorta like…..you know, I’ll just leave that alone.)

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Garrett Atkins looking to ‘rebound’ from tough ’09 season

To which Tiger Woods responded “Tough ’09? Let me tell you a thing or two about a tough ’09!”

As we’ve talked about, Garrett Atkins’ bat can really change a lot about this season for the Orioles. If he DOES return to his 2006-2008 form; he’ll be a real force; and can provide the Orioles a much better bat in the middle of their lineup that their current options. It also would take some of the pressure off Brandon Snyder to be ready to get to Baltimore at a rapid pace.

Of course, Atkins also has to be able to play first base defensively. I wonder if the Orioles turned to Tom Emanski to help him get ready. I mean, it worked for Fred McGriff!

mcgriff

2. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Orioles-Blue Jays postponed Sunday due to rain, Birds play Yankees tonight in Sarasota

And tonight’s game…for the 3rd time during Spring Training…is actually on MASN!

Of course, I will only be able to watch a few minutes of the game before I flip over to USA for WWE Monday Night RAW, as I’m assuming there will be a big Shawn Michaels tribute tonight-which to me is more important than ANYTHING ELSE GOING ON IN THE WORLD.

You know, other than trying to find out who Jordan Carver is…

carver

3. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Hernandez has likely taken 5th rotation spot, Tejada likely to bat cleanup

Which means the lineup is looking more like this…

2B Brian Roberts
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
3B Miguel Tejada
DH Luke Scott
C Matt Wieters
1B Garrett Atkins
LF Nolan Reimold/Felix Pie
SS Cesar Izturis

and the rotation looks like…

Kevin Millwood
Jeremy Guthrie
Brian Matusz
Brad Bergesen
David Hernandez

Is it the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays? No. But do you see the names “Omar Daal” or “Brook Fordyce” on that list? Not a chance.

This is better.

4. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford has O’s 19th in first power rankings

Look, seeing a power rankings list that doesn’t have the Orioles in the bottom is downright REMARKABLE. However, we have to temper our excitement by remembering that we haven’t even reached Opening Day yet.

For the record, I HATE tempering my excitement. It’s like when someone told me that there were new pictures of Yari Lozada…

yari

But then told me her boyfriend apparently WASN’T interested in trading straight up.

Sorry “Lucky”, it’s gonna be and you still going forward.

5. WNST.net’s Nestor Aparicio pardons Jim Irsay, says he’s ‘moving on from hatred’ of Colts

Can someone check Weather.com for some info on how things look these days in hell???

-Nestor pardoned the Irsays
-The worst #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is the only one headed to the Indianapolis
-The Pittsburgh Steelers showed up in Harford County yesterday and everyone just thinks it’s okay
-While Johns Hopkins was playing Virginia and Maryland was playing North Carolina Saturday, my friends were texting me to ask me if I was watching the Baylor women’s basketball game???

HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE MAD?!?!?!?!?!

6. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Jared Gaither will report today, says he “always wants to be a Raven”

And Kevin Byrne told Drew Forrester this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” that Gaither did indeed show up.

(Edit from GMC: If you missed it, or any of Drew’s guests this morning-West Virginia assistant/former Terps assistant Billy Hahn, Fanhouse’s Jeff Fletcher, Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent, or North Harford Football Coach Ken Brinkman-make sure you head to the Audio Vault at WNST.net to check them out.)

Look, Jared Gaither playing RT makes the Ravens a more legitimate Super Bowl contender than they would be if Marshal Yanda were playing RT. That’s just a fact.

I understand everyone was excited about the idea of Gaither being traded for a high NFL Draft pick, but this team is BETTER OFF having Gaither anchoring the right side.

Just trust me on that.

7. The Sun’s Ron Fritz says Nathan Vasher off the market, but Lito Sheppard still available

I’d be all for Lito Sheppard…if we had taken a Hot Tub Time Machine back to 2006.

Actually, considering some of the options…

frank

….my guess is that Ravens fans might be OVER THE MOON for Sheppard.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens have had a ‘lot of interest’ in South Florida CB Jerome Murphy

Me personally; I’d prefer Charlie Murphy…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Yplww55ao[/youtube]

…but a 6’0″ CB would be a nice option too.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens has Maryland 4th, Loyola 11th, Hopkins 14th in lacrosse Top 20 poll

Here’s this week’s “OldLineLax7″ poll…

1. Maryland
2. Loyola
3. Johns Hopkins
4. Navy
5. Mt. St. Mary’s
6. Towson
7. UMBC

10. The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Jamarr Robinson has changed ‘preparation’ now as starting quarterback

And in a post at TerrapinTrail.com, Robinson says he DOESN’T like video games. Which only means he hasn’t played the WNBA video game…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIVDzQmhOL0[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

As you know, I tend to describe certain songs as “The Greatest Song of all Time.” Some people say it means I de-value the songs I describe that way, as I change my mind all the time.

For the record, the greatest song of all time IS “American Pie” by Don McLean. The greatest Rock & Roll song of all time is “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who.

BUT-in order to not completely abandon my “Greatest Song of All Time” monicker, I have recently adopted a “Greatest Song of all time THIS WEEK” note, which I used for the first time last week on Facebook (please feel free to add me as a friend) to describe “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” by Robin Thicke & Nicki Minaj.

We have a new “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” for this week. It’s “Mountain Man” by the Crash Kings. Once again, this song has existed for a while, yet somehow I didn’t know about it. This means some of you aren’t doing your job. I’ll forgive you this time, but I expected better from you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U52TPkKTDs[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 22 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention-Tennis: Sony Ericsson Open (Monday 7pm from Miami live on Tennis Channel); Golf: Tavistock Cup (Tuesday 12pm from Windermere, FL live on Golf Channel), PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 2:30pm live on NBC); Bowling: PBA GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship (Finals Sunday 2pm from West Babylon, NY live on ESPN); Womens’ College Basketball-WNIT: Maryland vs. Providence/ODU (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center), Women’s NCAA Tournament (Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday-coverage live on ESPN & ESPN2); MISL Playoffs: Baltimore Blast @ Monterrey La Raza Game 1 (Friday 7:35pm from Monterrey, MX streamed live on B2liveTV.com), Game 2 (Monday 7:35pm from 1st Mariner Arena streamed live on B2liveTV.com); AIFA: Richmond Raiders @ Baltimore Mariners (Sunday 4pm 1st Mariner Arena)

10. Alicia Keys (Wednesday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena, Thursday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Bon Jovi/Dashboard Confessional (Monday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Ben Folds (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live, Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Mr. Greengenes (Friday 10pm Rams Head Live), Julian Casablancas (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Live), All Mighty Senators (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre), Him (Saturday 7pm Sonar Baltimore), Dan Band (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club)

So….your boy will be headed down to the Arena Wednesday night to see Alicia Keys. No truth (yet) to the rumor that there is already a restraining order in place. BUT….she’s DELIGHTFUL.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJXH3MUlrW4[/youtube]

Going to see Bon Jovi is a good idea….if this is 1992. Is this 1992? If it was, Bon Jovi would still REALLY be good….

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

Between Alicia Keys and Ben Folds coming to town this week, I’m starting to think maybe I should have never given up on piano lessons. I thought it would make me a nerd. Apparently I wasn’t familiar with EVERY.OTHER.SINGLE.THING.ABOUT.MYSELF.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34u_3Z9_LUw[/youtube]

And if you’re a fan of The Hangover, Wedding Crashers, or naughty language in general (and really, who ISN’T a fan of naughty language in general. I’m looking at you, father); maybe the Dan Band is for you. However, the Dan Band is very much NSFW. But what is anymore, really?

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

9. NBA: Bobcats @ Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Wizards @ Pacers (Wednesday 7pm from Indianapolis live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Wizards @ Bobcats (Friday 7pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet), Jazz @ Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

I looked at the ‘Zards roster the other day. I’m reasonably certain I could have named more current Harlem Globetrotters than ‘Zards. Apparently Shaun Livingston AND his ACL play for them now, and he knows how to dunk the basketball….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9cFfySB6Do[/youtube]

You know who else knows how to dunk the basketball? James White….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA4L-_Wic78[/youtube]

Frankly, I’m surprised the Wizards haven’t just signed him and decided to go AND1 style at this point. I mean, what the hell else are they doing???

8.  NHL: Penguins @ Capitals (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet & NHL Network), Capitals @ Hurricanes (Thursday 7pm from Raleigh live on Comcast SportsNet), Flames @ Capitals (Sunday 3pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

I truly didn’t think there could ever…..EVER….be anything about the Caps that I’d like….but G-III is apparently out to prove me wrong…..

caps

Also, I’m not sure if you noticed this over the weekend, but the NCAA Hockey Tournament had their own “Selection Sunday”, and are you aware of who is opening the Tournament against Michigan???

bemidji

Let’s go Beavers!!!

7. Maryland Spring Football Opens (Tuesday-1pm news conference from Gossett Team House streamed live at UMTerps.com)

You know which Terps player I’m most looking forward to following during Spring ball?

Josh Portis.

(Edit from GMC: In all seriousness, Ralph Friedgen should REALLY consider naming an award for Spring performance after the former Florida transfer. I’m STILL convinced he’s going to break out at some point.)

Meanwhile, the biggest college football-related story of the spring has something to do with Lane Kiffin beating Natalie Gulbis in Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” voting. It doesn’t matter who wins that matchup really; as there is NO CHANCE the Cricket team from Panama doesn’t win the whole thing…..

panama

6. NFL Annual Spring Meetings (Tuesday & Wednesday from Orlando coverage at WNST.net & live on NFL Network)

Apparently the overtime rules are the hottest topic this year in the land of Walt Disney. Well, whose brackets are most busted are probably the HOTTEST topic, but the overtime thing is the hottest football-related topic. Oh, and the whole CBA thing. But who really cares about that, right?

And while we’re on the topic of Orlando, let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way. This is the final kiss from the Disney World episode of Boy Meets World. Every girl my age thought this scene was about the kiss…but every dude my age knew DAMN WELL that this scene was about Topanga’s dress.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0XDFD2fDjk[/youtube]

Every sex-related lesson I received as a youngster was a direct result of something Topanga wore.

5. College Lacrosse: Maryland @ North Carolina (Saturday 2pm from Chapel Hill, NC live on ESPNU); Johns Hopkins @ Virginia (Saturday 12pm from Charlottesville, VA live on ESPN2); Towson @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on AM1570 WNST & WMAR2); Roanoke @ Stevenson (Saturday 1pm Caves Athletic Complex)

Unlike when the schools met in College Park for a hoops game a blizzard ago, the Terrapins and Tar Heels are actually playing a game that is MEANINGFUL for both schools. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite Maryland-UNC memories….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBJFBaOmmyA[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwfLa-PmqpY[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiK8fJLe_yo[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP9iRLGoYzA[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiK8fJLe_yo[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbjQsVR1vyw[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HztHUxmCq_I[/youtube]

There are plenty…PLENTY…more, but I think you get the point.

4. “The Blind Side” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday), “Hot Tub Time Machine” opens in theaters (Friday)

Let me get this straight. Jesse James is married to Sandra Bullock….

bullock

And slept with some chick named “Michelle Bombshell”?

bombshell

But Sandra Bullock adopted Michael Oher! And bought him all those clothes! And won an Academy Award! What the hell?!?!?

Oh, and I’m all in on the “Hot Tube Time Machine” thing (Language NSFW)….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTn7h00EKCg[/youtube]

But I’ve been all in on Craig Robinson before….

And for no particular reason, here’s video of Robinson singing “Creep” by Radiohead. It’s a gift, really….

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

3. NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Butler vs. Syracuse (Thursday 7:07pm from Salt Lake City live on CBS), Kansas State vs. Xavier (Thursday 9:37pm from Salt Lake City live on CBS); Washington vs. West Virginia (Thursday 7:27pm from Syracuse live on CBS); Cornell vs. Kentucky (Thursday 9:57pm from Syracuse live on CBS); Tennessee vs. Ohio State (Friday 7:07pm from St. Louis live on CBS); Northern Iowa vs. Michigan State (Friday 9:37pm from St. Louis live on CBS); St. Mary’s vs. Baylor (Friday 7:27pm from Houston live on CBS); Duke vs. Purdue (Friday 9:57pm from Houston live on CBS)

Boy…this whole thing felt a lot more exciting a couple days ago, huh?

Those of us who didn’t pick Kansas will clearly be rooting for the teams we DID pick to win now. Well, at least SECRETLY rooting anyway. (Yeah, I picked Syracause; but I don’t know if I’m REALLY rooting for The Orange; or just sorta quietly hoping they might win maybe.)

I guess most of the rest of the country will be rooting for Cornell or Northern Iowa. Which is fine, as long as they’re also rooting AGAINST Duke. That’s just about all that matters at this point.

You know, until we get to this part…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwSaPaubcS0[/youtube]

(Edit from GMC: I already have chills, even though I know I’ll have to watch highlights of freaking Korie Lucious. GOD the NCAA Tournament is great. And for the record-in my “second chance” bracket, I DO have St. Mary’s reaching the Final Four.)

2. WWE: WrestleMania XXVI (Sunday 7pm from Glendale, AZ live on Pay-Per-View)

Look, WrestleMania hasn’t been QUITE as great since they abandoned the TLC matches….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PfGCXUOL24[/youtube]

…but this is still freaking WRESTLEMANIA we’re talking about. You know, the same event where THIS happened at the Pontiac Silverdome some 23 years ago…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwjzSZg1B9Q[/youtube]

And before we move on, I will make sure I throw in a picture of WWE Diva Maryse. You guys freaking owe me….

maryse

1. Mixed Martial Arts: Shogun Fights II (Saturday 6pm 1st Mariner Arena), UFC 111: Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy (Saturday 10pm from Newark live on Pay-Per-View; screened on big screens at AMC Owings Mills and AMC Columbia), Strikeforce Challengers (Friday 11:45pm from Fresno, CA live on Showtime)

If I were you, I’d be watching some MMA this weekend. Since I’m me….well….I’ll be watching some MMA this weekend. For a number of reasons, too.

1-Shogun Fights is going with Heavyweights in the Main Event. LOVE THAT. No word on whether or not “The Blob” will be included.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Las6RXJKTLE[/youtube]

2-Strikeforce may not have any of their stars (Gina Carano, Bobby Lashley, Dan Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko) on their Challengers cards, but they do have Lavar Johnson-who is fighting just 6 months after being SHOT at a Fourth of July BBQ. Is he a good fighter? No idea. Is 50 Cent a good rapper? No idea. But as Dave Chappelle said… “HE WAS SHOT NINE TIMES!!!”

3-As much as I’m looking forward to Georges St. Pierre and Dan Hardy Saturday night, I’m looking forward EVEN MORE to Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Those dudes are MANIACS…

mir
carwin

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 07 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday! I think I’ve gone through the entire range of emotions in the time since the announcement was made yesterday that Roberto Alomar didn’t make the Hall of Fame. I’ve tried to handle it as well as I possibly could, but I stand by my previous decision. I’m done with baseball until Alomar gets in. But we’ll get back to that. In the meantime, I’m stuck hanging out with Drew Forrester and his TERRIBLE pants. He wore them to a Ravens game a couple weeks back….

drewpants

I have to work with that in the morning. Ugh.

Let’s see what everyone is saying…..

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says no Ravens missed practice Wednesday

Which is the best news of all. They’re not technically “healthy”, because a healthy team would have Fabian Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Lardarius Webb, etc. available to them. But at least they’re not down Jared Gaither, Kelley Washington, etc. on top of the guys they’re missing. All of that being said, I get the feeling Dannell Ellerbe will start Sunday no matter how “healthy” Tavares Gooden is.

2. Ravens Official Site says John Harbaugh not offended by being referred to as “Jim Harbaugh” on Patriots press release

And why not? Jim Harbaugh has been on the sidelines at Ravens games nearly as much as John Harbaugh has.

I’m kidding…..mostly.

As a few of us hanging out around 1 Winning Drive yesterday mentioned that NONE of us knew who John Harbaugh was before he interviewed in January 2008, so it isn’t particularly surprising that the Pats would make this mistake. BUT-it could be motivation for a player if it was used the right way.

3. The Sun’s Edward Lee says Mark Clayton not ‘dwelling’ on crucial drop in last visit to Foxborough

clayton

And he shouldn’t be.

Look, Mark Clayton has to live with the fact that the ONE thing fans remember him doing this season was that drop in Foxborough. There is no doubt that the drop probably played some sort of role in how much trust Joe Flacco had in him moving forward this season.

But there’s no reason to dwell. If he makes a big catch in a Ravens win Sunday, it will be as if the original drop never happened.

4. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens understand they must hit Tom Brady in ‘strike zone’

I’ll make this prediction now. There WILL be a roughing the passer call made on a Ravens player in Sunday’s game-and it might very well on a play where Tom Brady ASKS for the roughing the passer call. Brace yourself for it.

If it’s one-it’s not a problem. If it’s three-the Ravens lose. (If the one comes at the wrong time, it WILL be a problem…so I guess I strike my previous comment.)

5. Boston Globe’s Michael Vega says Flacco looking to take ‘next step’ against Patriots

Would ANYONE be surprised if the Ravens are trailing 24-20 with 1:28 left and 1 timeout when the Ravens get the ball at the New England 18? He has to take the next step SOMETIME, this would be a pretty good time to do it.

6. Yahoo! Sports’ Tom Worgo says Ravens’ ‘emergence sparked’ by Ray Rice

Which means that Tom Wongo has watched the Ravens this season.

(Editor’s note: That’s not meant as a slap at Tom Wongo-he wrote about the biggest storyline of the Ravens season, it’s just that all of us locally have been very aware of just why Ray Rice was Team MVP this season. Sometimes I’m just including national stories so fans can see there isn’t a bias.)

7. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says former Orioles 2B Roberto Alomar falls 8 votes short of election to Hall of Fame

robbie

I don’t have much venom left on this. I think Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com (who lives in Baltimore) sums it up the best when quoted in Connolly’s story:

“I was stunned. I expected he would go in, and he should have gone in,” said Ken Rosenthal, senior baseball writer for Foxsports.com and a voting member of the BBWAA. “This is not simply a Hall of Famer. This is one of the greatest second basemen of all time. … For him not to go in on the first ballot, frankly, reflects poorly on us as an organization.”

Correct.

8. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester admits to trying to lose while GM of Baltimore Spirit

Great story, great read. Really interesting considering what happened with the Colts and Bengals in the last 2 weeks of the season to help the Jets secure an AFC Wild Card berth. Worth the read.

9. Towson Official Site says Tigers fell to 0-4 in CAA with loss at Hofstra

Not surprising at all. Hofstra is a VERY tough team at home. It’s tough to say this about an early season road game, but Pat Kennedy’s bunch really needs this game Saturday at James Madison to avoid falling to 0-5 in conference play.

10. UMBC Official Site says Retrievers fall to 1-13 with home loss to Penn

This is a bad loss. The Ivy League may be a higher-rated conference RPI-wise, but losing a home game to a winless Quakers team is just brutal for Randy Monroe’s bunch. They have the weekend off before visiting Boston University in America East action Tuesday night.

11. The AP says Reggie Holmes’ 23 points weren’t enough as Morgan State fell at Baylor

We all saw this coming. The Bears now head into MEAC play (starting with a trip to Howard Saturday) with an 8-7 record, but their real season begins now.

12. The Sun says Missouri apologized to Navy for band mishap at Texas Bowl

I hadn’t even heard this story before yesterday. What a bizarre incident. The Midshipmen have a proud post-game tradition, and clearly there was just a miscommunication. Very unfortunate.

And I leave you with this.

Deadspin reports that former Ravens FB Ovie Mughelli was “outed” by a former gay lover on a website called “Miss Jia.”

(Editor’s note: After speaking with representatives for Ovie Mughelli, I have agreed to take down the previously posted picture and all other information regarding the content. I have been informed that Mughelli’s attorneys are handling the situation.)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 05 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Thanks for your feedback on our new format for Crabs and Beer. I’m having a Happy Tuesday because our own Barry Aparicio decided to stop at Bojangles yesterday in Prince George’s County to bring me a gift…

bojangles

Out.Standing.

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ravens already in “playoff mode” before playoffs open

I don’t take much from this. I’d rather be a good team than a team that’s won “must win” games coming in. I guess if there was a way to be both (sorta similar to the Cowboys maybe), that would be ideal. I really don’t think a “must” win in Oakland helps out much when a team has to go to Gillette Stadium to beat Tom Brady and company.

2. The Sun’s Ken Murray says Harbaugh will stick with Katula Sunday in Foxborough

I think this is a mistake. I know the Ravens are continuing to say that Katula’s issues are NOT due to his elbow injury, but this is getting to be about a 50-50 proposition with Katula regarding whether or not his snap will be on target. The Ravens wouldn’t have to sign someone “off the street” as they have a snapper (Nick Sundberg-a rookie out of Cal) who has been working with Billy Cundiff and Sam Koch in practice. The Ravens would have to let go of a player like Keith Fitzhugh or place Katula on IR to make this move-but I don’t think they can afford to just keep trusting Katula at this point.

If “Ice Box” from Little Giants was available, I’d take her….

iceboc

3.  Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens will host Denver, visit Houston as 2010 opponents finalized

Here’s how the opponents list shakes out for 2010…..

Home:
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati
Buffalo
Miami
Denver
New Orleans
Tampa Bay

Away:
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati
Houston
Atlanta
Carolina
New England
New York Jets

The best news there is that the only trip that absolutely REQUIRES a flight is Houston. The bad news is there are 11 games on that schedule that look particularly difficult right now-and who knows how that might play out next season.

4. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Harbaugh hasn’t heard from Bills about Cam Cameron

John Harbaugh is right to want Cam Cameron to stick around. Of course, if he doesn’t; why wouldn’t John just hire Jack Harbaugh or Jim Harbaugh to take the job?

Additionally, in an interview with Drew Forrester on AM1570 WNST Tuesday morning, Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta wouldn’t confirm any discussions with other NFL teams about GM openings (we’ve heard rumors about Seattle specifically), but instead said “I believe in this team” and “I want to bring many Super Bowls to Baltimore.”

And with rumors swirling regarding our own Brian Billick being a candidate for the job in Buffalo, the coach said the following yesterday on NFL Network, per ProFootballTalk.com:

“I’ve not had any contact with the Bills as of yet”

If you want to ask Coach Billick about the rumors yourself, make sure to come on out to Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square on Thursday night. I’ll be the guy with 8-10 Spicy Chicken sandwiches and a gallon of sweat tea in front of him.

5. Boston Globe’s Monique Walker says Julian Edelman expected to make playoff debut for Pats with Wes Welker hurt

Bill Belichick will of course not confirm anything….ever….but with New England’s only other option being Sam Aiken, I think this is a pretty safe bet that Edelman will be the guy. I know a lot of Ravens fans have been celebrating the Wes Welker injury this week, but don’t downplay Julian Edelman. The guy can play.

6. Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver says Ravens expect to ‘grind’ opponents in AFC playoffs

Of course, they HAVE to expect to “grind” opponents, because Joe Flacco hasn’t played well enough against good teams for them to expect to do much of anything else. I’d be pleasantly surprised if that changed Sunday though…

7. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says three teams interested in former Orioles 3B Melvin Mora

I will be rooting OPENLY for Melvin Mora wherever he ends up next season. His agent told Connolly that none of the teams that are interested are in the AL East or NL East, which means Melvin won’t be able to stay close to his family in Bel Air-which is unfortunate. Melvin Mora was a class act in a time when nothing baseball-wise in Baltimore was really even worth noticing.

8. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Gerald Lee did Towson in as Old Dominion cruised to victory

Old Dominion is a pretty good team (remember, they have a win over Georgetown already), but the Tigers HAVE to be able to win home games in the CAA-or this is just going to be the same old story for Pat Kennedy and company. It seems like the Tigers can’t put together a solid effort from both Robert Nwankwo inside and one of their guards outside. Towson is back in action Wednesday night at Hofstra.

9. Loyola Official Site says Hounds couldn’t hang with Siena without Brett Harvey

Clearly, this is a mix of the Saints being REALLY good, and the Greyhounds being in a really bad spot without Brett Harvey. Jimmy Patsos’ team wouldn’t have been the only team to lose to Siena in those circumstances, but certainly they missed on an opportunity to make a statement in the MAAC. Clarence Jackson (24 points) is a PLAYER for Siena. Loyola is at Fairfield Friday night, that game is on ESPNU.

10. The AP says Kevin Thompson’s 19 not enough as Morgan State fell at Robert Morris

It’s hard to tell if these are games the Bears should be winning. Obviously a 78-75 final means Todd Bozeman’s crew was in it until the end (it was the final minute when RMU pulled away), but you would think Robert Morris would be the type of team Morgan should beat. I guess we have to temper the fact that they’ve won a lot of big games with the fact that they’re still in the lowly MEAC; but it does feel like a game they should have won. Tough schedule for Morgan-they’re at Baylor Wednesday night.

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Gary Williams not happy with Terps having to open ACC play with 2 games in 3 days

I guess there’s an argument to be made that playing at Wake Forest just 48 hours after playing Florida State at home is a bit unfair, but ACC teams will all have to do this at some point. Having a bye to open conference season probably is less than helpful as well, but it’s just scheduling. Gary does love to point these things out though. Somewhere today, he’s reminding someone that the Terrapins beat both Michigan State and North Carolina last season…..

12. Korea Times’ Yoon Chul says Jin Soo Choi to leave Maryland, hopes to play professionally in Korea

And thus ends a noble experiment that just didn’t pan out. Jin Soo was going to have academic struggles in a place like College Park no matter what-as he barely spoke the language to begin with. Gary Williams’ hope was that he’d turn out to be a good enough player to make the extra work they’d have to do with him worthwhile. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way.

And as Patrick Stevens mentioned on Twitter, I appreciate Jin Soo’s honesty…

“Studying causes me a lot of stress. I only want to play basketball, I don’t want to have to think about studying.”

Well said.

-I leave you with the moment I will admit I had no idea would ever happen. If you’ve ever been a fan of pro wrestling, I think you had to get goosebumps watching Bret Hart return last night on RAW and seeing Vince McMahon turn on him to set up whatever might happen in the future…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV3tcnU8P4o[/youtube]

Awesome. Talk to you tomorrow.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Live From My Couch: Cuts, College Football & Cup Qualifying

Posted on 05 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

This is going to be a bit of a social experiment today. After a long night last night in Timonium at the State Fair, I woke up this morning suffering from a a bit of a case of what I would call “Dragginass.” SO, I have decided to settle down for the day. I will be monitoring cuts from all NFL teams-waiting for word from the Baltimore Ravens-which must come by 6pm tonight. I will ALSO be watching a LOT of college football (including Navy-Ohio State, Towson-Northwestern, Alabama-Virginia Tech and Maryland-Cal); as well as US Open Tennis, and the World Cup qualifier tonight between Team USA and El Salvador. It’s Labor Day weekend, I know. The weather is nice outside, I know. But today is going to be spent on my couch. And I’m going to share my thoughts with you as I go.

8:01-I’m gonna sign off this pretty soon to make way for Luke Jones’ Maryland/Cal live blog. I’m going to flip over to ESPN Classic for the World Cup qualifier and continue to watch Roddick and Isner (now in the 4th) on USOpen.org. I’ll check in on Luke Jones’ blog as I get the chance.

7:05-The Chiefs have cut WR Ashley Lelie. Drew used to think he’d be a good fit with the Ravens. He does share an agent with Derrick Mason.

7:01-The music that is serving as the soundtrack for college football coverage on ESPN/ESPN2/ABC/ESPNU/ESPN Classic/ESPN360/ESPN Deportes/ESPN.com/ESPN8 “The Ocho” is a theme song from Kenny Chesney and then multiple songs from Dave Matthews Band. Not too bad.

6:53-Ralph Friedgen knows the test Dabo Swinney is facing right now. Clemson leads Middle Tennessee State just 10-7 in the 2nd quarter today. The Terps get their chance for revenge against MTSU in 2 weeks in College Park.

6:52-I found this neat video of a smart, funny, good-looking sports talk analyst chatting with Maryland safety Antwine Perez. I think it’s worth looking at…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmwOHx-0sFo[/youtube]

6:50-Isner has taken the first TWO sets against Andy Roddick. This is starting to be a bit of a disaster. I’m not in panic mode yet, but if he gets a break I’ll be officially freaking out.

6:41-John Isner is up a break in the 2nd set; now leading 5-2. Andy is in trouble.

Baylor wins their first road game since 2007, hanging on to beat WFU 24-21. Bad loss for everyone in the ACC.

6:27-Of course, Andrew Parker catches a TD, and the Deacs are still alive, now trailing by 3 with under 4 minutes left.

Also, the Eagles have held on to all 7 receivers, meaning no one from the group of Brandon Gibson, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett or Reggie Brown would be available for the Ravens unless Ozzie Newsome were willing to swing a deal with John Harbaugh’s former team.

6:16-Andy Roddick ends the first set with an EMBARRASSING whiff on Isner’s serve. Isner goes up a set, which isn’t good news for American tennis fans. Love John Isner and all, but he has no chance of winning the tournament. At least A-Rod has a chance.

Melvin Mora is having a nice day as the O’s are up 5-4 in the 7th. Brian Matusz is in line for a win, which would REALLY help this team in trying to avoid losing 100 games, as Josh Lewin and Mark Grace note.

I guess I cursed the Deacs when talking about them rallying. A Riley Skinner INT later, and they’re in serious trouble with 5:02 to play.

6:14-Former Terps OL Andrew Crummey was cut by the Bengals today. As Bob Haynie mentioned earlier today, he joins former Terps C Melvin Fowler (Cardinals) amongst Terps looking for new NFL homes.

6:11-The video quality on USOpen.org is OUTSTANDING. Isner and Roddick in a 1st set tiebreak. Don’t know who is calling the match, but they’re underwhelming.

Couple of notes: Wake has fought back against Baylor; they trail 24-14 with 9:32 to play, but they’re driving. They need to keep the pace moving. This would be a bad loss for the conference.

Illinois is getting hammered by Missouri; and I don’t mind. I think Ron Zook relied on Mike Locksley’s recruiting early, but will be exposed moving forward. Locksley deserves a big time job in a BCS conference.

5:53-Apparently I can watch the matches from Arthur Ashe Stadium on USOpen.org. Thank God. Bad news for American tennis fans; as Sam Querrey joins Jesse Witten amongst American men going home today. Querrey was probably the next best hope for an American to survive to Week 2 beyond Andy Roddick. James Blake will have a tough test tonight with Robredo, and there’s almost no chance Taylor Dent beats Andy Murray.

5:49-US Open coverage switches to Tennis Channel at 6pm? Boo. I can’t believe I forgot to mention that Oudin ousted Sharapova earlier in 3 sets. Nice to have an American playing well besides Venus & Serena Williams.

5:40-Isner-Roddick on now. Everything is okay. I was kinda freaking out there for a minute!

Wake Forest trails Baylor 24-7 in the 2nd half in Winston-Salem. This is not good news for ANYONE in the ACC.

5:37-Why is Fernando Verdasco-Tommy Haas the match that I am seeing right now on CBS? Isn’t Sam Querrey playing Robin Soderling right now?

5:25-Bad afternoon for local college football teams. Johns Hopkins opened their season with a 23-7 loss to Delaware Valley.

5:09-Sorry for the time away from the blog. Check HERE for analysis on the Ravens’ roster.

4:46-Mike Duffy (of BaltimoreRavens.com fame) says Ravens’ roster will be released at 5pm. We will post it for you ASAP at WNST.net and I will text out the important notes.

4:42-RAVENS: Add Will Johnson and Evan Oglesby to the list of cuts. Neither are surprises.

Meanwhile, Melvin Mora has just homered to pull the Orioles within 3-2 of the Rangers. The Orioles are wearing the uniforms of the Baltimore Elite Giants, an old Negro League team. They actually look pretty sharp.

4:04-Derrick has confirmed to WNST that he was traded to the Packers. We do not know anything yet about what the Ravens received, but AW reports it is likely a conditional pick in 2010.

3:58-I am working on the Derrick Martin to the Packers story. Derrick couldn’t comment on it yet when I asked him, but we will assume it is true. Aaron Wilson has confirmed it, so we’ll go with it. This is a place where the Ravens had depth, as Martin would have been 6th corner or 5th safety.

3:34-The afternoon slows down for me at least College Football-wise at this point. Nevada-Notre Dame is on NBC, Melanie Oudin and Maria Sharapova are headed to a 3rd set on CBS (James Blake-Tommy Robredo amongst later action), Orioles-Rangers on FOX (I declined Nestor Aparicio’s invitation to join him at Camden Yards), Baylor-Wake Forest on ABC (was there no Raycom game this week?), San Jose State-USC on Fox Sports Net (locally on CSN), Missouri-Illinois on ESPN, Georgia-Oklahoma State on ESPN2 (after Minnesota-Syracuse finishes), and if you’re into Golf (why the hell would you be?) there’s the 2nd round of the Deutsche Bank Championship on Golf Channel. Apparently that’s part of the FedEx Cup playoffs, which doesn’t make me any more interested. Northeastern-Boston College and Western Michigan-Michigan are on ESPN360 as well.

3:23-One of my favorite things about college football is watching former college football players freak out thinking about their alma maters. I mentioned Tommy Knight earlier, as he probably JUST started breathing again after Iowa blocked the NIU FG attempt to win; and the Hawkeyes escaped 17-16. Now, my pal Qadry Ismail on Facebook says he’s ‘uneasy’ watching Syracuse down the stretch against Minnesota. Fabian Washington Tweeted today that he’s in Lincoln for Nebraska-Florida Atlantic tonight, and Derrick Martin told me he’s just gearing up for Wyoming’s showdown with Texas next week.

3:03-I forgot to mention that Northwestern finished off Towson 47-14 earlier. Rob Ambrose will have two weeks to prepare for Coastal Carolina at Unitas Stadium and will have to convince his team that this one didn’t matter.

RAVENS: Hearing from a few sources (including AW) that David Hale will make the Ravens roster. I actually didn’t even have him on the bubble.

3:00-This one is over. Ohio State will win 31-27. Navy made a statement today, but that statement will not be fulfilling at ALL after getting so close. Great group of young men playing ball in Annapolis.

2:57-What a disaster for Navy. After getting the TD run from Ricky Dobbs; he was intercepted and returned for two points the other way. Ohio State takes over up 31-27 with 2:23 to play. The Buckeyes get the ball in GREAT field position after a failed onside kick. Just one timeout for Navy to try to get the ball back needing a TD to win.

2:42-Dobbs to Marcus Curry for a LONG TD, RIGHT AFTER Ohio State went for it on 4th and 2 instead of trying a Field Goal that would have given them a 3 possession lead. If Navy comes back, Jim Tressel will have to answer questions about that decision. It’s 29-21; a one possession game now with 6:15 to play.

2:41-Novak Djokovic finished off Jesse Witten in the 4th set, 6-4. Witten’s serving doomed him all day. Andy Roddick-John Isner still to come at Arthur Ashe Stadium today.

2:38-RAVENS: Aaron Wilson confirms what I thought would happen all week. WR Justin Harper has been cut by the Ravens. This certainly leads to the opinion that the team is probably looking for WR help this weekend.

2:35-If it wasn’t over before, it is now. Kurt Coleman picks Ricky Dobbs and Ohio State takes over leading by 15 with under 10 minutes to play.

2:35-Scott Concannon adds another rushing TD, and Northwestern extends their lead over Towson to 47-14. Brutal day for the Tigers; but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) it could have been worse.

2:29-And just like that, the dream may be over for the Mids. Dan Herron plunged in for a TD, extending Ohio State’s lead to 29-14. Aaron Pettrey inexplicably missed the extra point.

2:28-That will probably be a CRUSHING turnover for Navy. Mario Washington made the catch, but Kurt Coleman stripped the ball, and Dexter Larimore recovered for the Buckeyes. 2 plays later, Ohio State is now inside the 10 yard line looking to extend this to a 16 point lead.

2:24-The Steelers have cut CB Anthony Madison. No Ravens ties there, expect for the fact that I hate the Steelers.

2:22-Can the Ravens add Aaron Pettrey to kick? He just booted a 52 yard FG to put Ohio State ahead by 9 at 23-14. And it would have been good from WELL past 52. What a kick. Navy has to respond here in the 4th quarter.

2:18-Northwestern has extended their lead over Towson to 40-14. Wildcats are well on their way. Meanwhile, my good buddy and former Ravens CB Tommy Knight is FREAKING OUT, as his Iowa Hawkeyes (the number 22 team in the country) are trailing Northern Iowa 13-10 in the 2nd half. Former Ravens assistant Kirk Ferentz needs to get things turned around there quickly to avoid the loss to Kurt Warner’s alma mater.

2:16-RAVENS: WNST confirms Yamon Figurs has been cut. Also not a surprise. The writing was on the wall for him when Carr and Webb were named the returners.

2:13-16 yard TD grab for Marcus Curry and it’s a 1 possession game in Columbus. What a MASTERFUL 99 YARD DRIVE by Ricky Dobbs. 20-14 Ohio State now as the 3rd quarter is winding down. HUGE drive for the Mids.

2:09-RAVENS: Now hearing that Kelly Talavou has made the team. He was the safest of my “bubble” guys. Graham Gano has been cut. That basically had to happen after Steve Hauschka won the job. Gano is in positive spirits today, this much I know.

Ricky Dobbs has Navy driving again on their first possession of the 2nd half. Peter Athens found David Newsom for a TD, Towson trails Northwestern 37-14 now.

2:04-RAVENS:Not all players are aware of their fate yet. One player told me he is on a “2 hour countdown” to hear the news. AW also added that Robby Felix has been cut. That’s not a surprise either.

Roger Federer DID eliminate Lleyton Hewitt by the way. Maria Sharapova vs. Melanie Oudin next.

1:56-RAVENS: Here are two names that we might be a bit surprising. Aaron Wilson now says Edgar Jones and Dannell Ellerbe have MADE the Ravens’ 53 man roster. This would be POTENTIALLY bad news for guys like Davon Drew, Jason Phillips, Prescott Burgess, and Antwan Barnes.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic beat Jesse Witten in a 3rd set tiebreak. This one appears to be over as well. Today was SETTING UP to be special, but has turned a bit.

1:50-I’ll go ahead and give this a confirmation; even though we all knew it was coming. Steve Hauschka HAS made the team.

1:41-Maybe my speculation about David Tyree earlier wasn’t so unfounded. Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times says via Twitter that the Ravens have “serious interest” in the former New York Giant. This isn’t insane, considering the Ravens need to replace Marcus Smith, who was expected to be more of a special teams

1:38-Just stepped away for a few minutes to talk to some of the guys on the Ravens bubble via text. No news to pass along there; but I will say that the collective attitude seems to have remained positive.

Jesse Witten has broken Novak Djokovic in the 3rd and has a chance to serve for a 2 sets to one lead. Federer was serving for the match against Hewitt, but Hewitt broke him. Federer still leads by a break in the 4th, and will look to finish off Lleyton Hewitt.

1:27-It is halftime at Ryan Field, and Northwestern has extended their lead back to 30 thanks to a 21 yard TD run by Scott Concannon.

It’s halftime at The Horseshoe as well, and Ohio State extended their lead to 20-7 with a 25 yard field goal by Aaron Pettrey.

1:22-WNST has confirmed 2 cuts from the Baltimore Ravens, and they’re the two that were my final TWO in on my mock roster. FB Jason Cook and WR Jayson Foster have been cut.

1:17-Roger Federer picked up a break to open the 4th set. I’ll say this one ends at 6-2 in the 4th.

DJ Shockley’s play against the Ravens Thursday night will likely be his last in a Atlanta Falcons uniform, as he has been cut by the team. The Falcons will go with Matt Ryan, former Raven Chris Redman, and John Parker Wilson under center.

1:15-Jesse Witten dropped the 2nd set to Novak Djokovic. Witten has struggled with his serve against the former Australian Open champion.

Drew Forrester just sent me his final score pick for Towson-Northwestern. It isn’t favorable for the Tigers.

1:11-Tremayne Dameron scores the first points of the Rob Ambrose era; a 1 yard TD to cut Northwestern’s lead to 30-7.

Joe Bauserman is in the game for Ohio State, the Buckeyes usually play their backup QB in the first half of their first game to get him some work.

Roger Federer wins the 3rd set 7-5. He’ll finish off Hewitt in 4 for sure.

1:06-Don’t look now, but Peter Athens has driven Towson into Northwestern territory. Also, Navy was forced to punt again.

Roger Federer just came up with a break of Lleyton Hewitt’s serve; so he’ll have a chance to serve for the 3rd set now ahead 6-5.

1:03-Facebook comment of the day comes from former Maryland Terrapin Tahj Holden:

“Paulus throws his first collegiate TD and afterwards he go hugs the ref. How appropriate.”

12:59-Greg Paulus has thrown for his first career TD already, but the former Duke point guard is trailing 14-10 in his first game as Syracuse QB.

Bad news elsewhere. Terrelle Pryor rushes for a TD, and Ohio State now leads Navy 17-7 in the 2nd quarter. In Chicago, a safety has extended Northwestern’s lead to 30-0 over Towson. A correction, as the passing TD earlier was NOT thrown by Mike Kafka, but instead Dan Persa.

12:55-Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets kick off at 1pm today against Jacksonville State; that game is on ESPN360 as well if for some unknown reason you’d want to watch.

Terrelle Pryor with some very athletic plays as the Buckeyes are driving again. Cris Carter’s kid had a really nice catch on the drive; and the Bucks are now inside the 10 yard line.

12:50-Mike Kafka has just found Andrew Brewer for a 72 yard TD in the 2nd quarter, and Northwestern leads Towson 28-0. Just brutal. Josh Hall is producing today’s game in the studios of AM1570 WNST on Hart Rd., and he just checked in via text to tell me that calling Towson “terrible” might not quite fit the bill. It’s not going to be an easy turnaround for Rob Ambrose replacing Gordy Combs.

A Ricky Dobbs fumble gives Ohio State good field position with a 10-7 lead in the 2nd quarter in Columbus.

12:45-Navy lined up to go for it on 4th and 2 from their own territory early in the 2nd quarter; but called timeout when they couldn’t draw the Buckeyes offsides. Bob Davie thought going for it would have been a terrible idea for Navy, but trailing 10-7 with Buddy Green’s defense likely to continue to struggle; I might have agreed with the Mids trying to continue a drive.

Did Perry Hall REALLY lose 33-7 at Joppatowne last night? Christ, I’m never picking any more PH games again. Come on, Gators!

12:39-Nightmarish start to the Rob Ambrose era in Chicago; as Arby Fields has gone in AGAIN-this time from 22 yards-to extend Northwestern’s 1st quarter lead to 21-0.

Also, as a note. I credited Mike Florio for the work over at PFT today earlier; but it looks like it’s a staff effort over there. Gregg Rosenthal is also chiming in. He says there is a question mark as to whether or not former Maryland RB LaMont Jordan will make the roster with the Broncos. Denver will not keep RB Darius Walker.

12:34-If you have DirecTV, Dish Network, or whatever other satellite service carries Big Ten Network, there are actually four other live games on right now. Penn State leads Akron 14-0, Iowa and Northern Iowa are tied at 3, Purdue leads Toledo 14-0, and Michigan State leads Montana State 7-0. If you’re from the midwest (or you’re a Nittany Lion alum living in Baltimore), I will admit that BTN kicks ass.

Aaron Pettrey has connected from 23 yards to give Ohio State a 10-7 lead over Navy late in the first quarter.

12:32-OSU is driving again up at The Horseshoe, Buddy Green’s defense could be in for a long day.

Another note from TU-N’western; apparently both Tiger QB’s have played early on; with neither of them having any success. Tommy Chroniger came in late in the first quarter.

12:26-I don’t see the Ravens being interested in him, but the Rams have cut WR Ronald Curry. Curry has had minimal success during his career with the Raiders and Lions; but has had flashes since his North Carolina days ended. I think it’s a lock he would already be better than Justin Harper or Jayson Foster though.
The Browns have cut former Ravens CB Corey Ivy. Given the team’s depth in the secondary, I would say a return to Baltimore would be “unlikely” at best. (I really mean “not happening.”)

More bad news from Ryan Field, as Northwestern has extended their lead to 14-0 over Towson thanks to a TD run by Arby Fields.

12:24-Lleyton Hewitt had a break point to get back in the 2nd set; but he sent a shot JUST long, and Federer took the set 6-3. Doubt he’ll lose another set today.

A reminder that I will be shutting this blog down before tonight’s Maryland-Cal game. Our new Terps reporter Luke Jones will host a live blog during Terps-Bears.

12:21-Really impressive drive from Dobbs, who finished it off with a 16 yard TD run. Joe Buckley is Navy’s kicker (apparently beating Jon Teague), and he connected on the extra point to make things 7-7. 80 yards methodically for the Mids on that drive.

12:16-Peter Athens is under center for the Tigers today, answering the question Rob Ambrose couldn’t answer on The Comcast Morning Show Wednesday morning. It might not matter, as Jacob Schmidt plunged in for a 2 yard TD to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead early. Ricky Dobbs has put together 3 first downs to get Navy driving at Ohio Stadium.

12:11-Anything surprising here? Federer is up 4-1 in the 2nd set on Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt.

The Buckeyes drew first blood in Columbus, with Terrelle Pryor connecting with Dane Sanzenbacher for a 38 yard TD. 7-0 Bucks. Ken Niumatalolo’s offense came out throwing to start their first possession, and QB Ricky Dobbs will certainly be a better throwing option than any of their recent QB’s.

12:09-Back to cut day. Our friends to the south (The Washington Redskins-who are ABSOLUTELY AWFUL) have had a QB controversy on their hands this preseason, with a debate between popular 2nd year QB Colt Brennan (Hawaii) and popular rookie UFA Chase Daniel (Missouri). Turns out neither will be on the team. Brennan will head to IR, Daniel will be let go. Your team stinks. Enjoy Jason Campbell. Thanks PFT.

12:05-An update to the games you can watch. West Virginia-Liberty is available on ESPN360, which if you have Comcast (and you should!), you can enjoy on your computer.

Arizona Cardinals Play by Play voice Dave Pasch on the call for Ohio State-Navy. He’s very good at everything he does. The Buckeyes used a reverse to get into Mids territory on the opening kickoff. Ohio State is going to be more talented than the Midshipmen. The boys from Annapolis must be smarter and CANNOT miss assignments.

Jesse Witten did NOT serve out the set, but has a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak. Let’s put the first set into Witten’s column with a 7-2 tiebreak. AWESOME stuff.

11:58-Couple other games you can watch early today:

Appalachian State @ East Carolina (MASN)
Minnesota @ Syracuse-the debut of Greg Paulus for the Orange (ESPN2)
Western Kentucky @ Tennessee-Lane Kiffin’s debut for the Vols (Comcast SportsNet)

Lee Corso picked the Crimson Tide to top the Hokies tonight for the record. So did Braves 3B Chipper Jones.

11:52-Two teams in action locally early on today; here’s how you can enjoy the games. Navy-Ohio State will be on ESPN, so that’s easy. Towson-Northwestern will be on the Big Ten Network (which is AWESOME if you have satellite, but not so great if you have basic Comcast like me). My friend Matt Rosen (the son of the GREAT Sam Rosen) is on the call. Therefore, do what I’m doing. Go right up to the top of WNST.net and enjoy the call from Chicago with Spiro Morekas and Tom Judd. I have no ties to the school; but Go Tigers!

Notes from tennis: Lleyton Hewitt took the first set from Federer 6-4. And Jesse Witten (a qualifier from Kentucky) is tied at 5 games apiece in the first set with Novak Djokovic. While still unlikely, the day appears to be special early in New York. Witten just broke Djokovic, he’ll have a chance to serve for the first set.

11:42-I not only WANT to hate Roger Federer, I absolutely find myself rooting against him. He’s great, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s not a compelling figure like many great tennis players were. He’s somewhat boring to watch because he’s just so calculating. He’s tied at 4 apiece in the first set with Lleyton Hewitt today (match on CBS), and I will be pulling for Hewitt to oust him and end his reign at Flushing Meadows.

Yesterday at the Open, Taylor Dent advanced to the 3rd round in a 5 set thriller. I root for all of the American players, but Dent’s injury history has kept him out of action for a few years in New York, and I will be particularly pulling for him in the 3rd round against Andy Murray.

Hewitt has just broken Fed. He’s up 5-4 and has a chance to serve for the first set. I already know how this match will end, but it’s exciting to think someone could top Fed.

11:27-I’m totally the type of guy who would LOVE to hate Tim Tebow. But Jesus that guy is great. We all remember his words after Florida lost to Ole Miss last year…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sGv2Zw-WQw[/youtube]

But Gameday just showed his speech at halftime of the BCS National Championship Game, and it was as good if not better. It isn’t available yet on YouTube, but it is GOOD.

Tim Tebow-as much as I want to not like him-is why I love college football.

11:16-Checking in with our pal Mike Florio from NBC Sports/ProFootballTalk.com (who will join Drew Forrester at 8:30am every Friday during football season), a few notes from cuts to pass around early.

-The Titans have cut Baltimore native Jason Murphy (Edmondson), an offensive lineman. Murphy is still very active in the Baltimore community (and lives here), but I don’t know if he would be a good addition to the Ravens team. Murphy has struggled to get on the field during his NFL career, but maybe playing at home could help him focus. I have David Hale currently as the last interior lineman on the Ravens’ roster, but couldn’t guarantee that Murphy would be better than Hale.
-The Giants have cut former Super Bowl hero David Tyree. Tyree has not played during the preseason, and probably has more hope of being a special teams player than a contributor at WR this year. But the Ravens do love a good special teams player. There’s no reason to speculate the Ravens being interested in Tyree, but any team could use a player that can do this…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-aKfTK2LiM[/youtube]

11:12-Thus far I’ve spent my morning watching “College Gameday” on ESPN, and was reminded of why I love College Football. The piece they did on Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford that was QUITE good. This really is the absolute best thing ESPN does. What a thorough program, entertaining, involving, informative. They don’t do everything right at the Worldwide Leader anymore, but they certainly still do this the right way.

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