Tag Archive | "Bill Belichick"

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Ravens-Patriots: Five predictions for AFC Championship

Posted on 19 January 2013 by Luke Jones

Coming as close as they possibly could to reaching the Super Bowl last season before heartbreak occurred in the form of a Lee Evans drop and a Billy Cundiff missed field goal in the final seconds of the AFC Championship, the Ravens return to the scene of the crime in Foxborough as they again take on the New England Patriots.

Defeating New England for the first time ever in the regular season by way of a 31-30 final in Baltimore back in September, the Ravens will now try to win their second postseason game at Gillette Stadium in the last four seasons. Aside from their 33-14 blowout victory in the wild-card round of the 2009 season, the Ravens are used to seeing their meetings with the Patriots come down to the wire as each of their other four meetings in the John Harbaugh era have been decided by fewer than seven points.

The Ravens will again hope to extend the career of inside linebacker Ray Lewis by one more game and advance to their first Super Bowl since Jan. 28, 2001. And for Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco, a win means taking another step toward elite status at their respective positions in the National Football League.

Of course, standing in their way are Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the two men who have been at the top of their respective classes for the last decade.

Here’s what to expect as the 12-6 Ravens try to punch their ticket to New Orleans and Super Bowl XLVII …

1. The Ravens won’t have to deal with Rob Gronkowski, but Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will cause major problems over the middle of the field. It’s no secret that slot receiver Wes Welker and Hernandez are the most dangerous weapons at Brady’s disposal, and they each provide difficult challenges to the Baltimore pass defense. Corey Graham is the clear choice to match up against Welker in the slot as the Ravens will run the nickel package extensively, and the cornerback is playing with more confidence than ever after intercepting two Peyton Manning passes last week in Denver. Welker will get his yards, but the Ravens are confident that Graham can prevent the Pro Bowl wideout from having a monster game. Hernandez will be trickier to cover as defensive coordinator Dean Pees will likely lose a combination of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and strong safety Bernard Pollard in trying to mix up coverages against Brady. I have my doubts that either player will be able to stick with him as the middle of the field has been a problem all year long. Hernandez will produce 80 receiving yards and a touchdown.

2. With the Patriots focusing heavily on Torrey Smith by matching Aqib Talib against the speedy receiver, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta will combine for 160 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Smith has been a major thorn in the side of New England as the second-year wideout has produced three touchdowns and 209 receiving yards in two contests against New England. The Patriots could use Talib against Smith exclusively – the Baltimore receiver usually lines up on the side of the field on which Talib plays anyway — but they will likely offer safety help as well if they were paying attention to what Smith did against Champ Bailey last week. Deep safeties will allow more room for Boldin and Pitta to work the middle of the field as the Patriots ranked 29th against the pass this season. Though still mixing it their spots to be aggressive with the vertical passing game, the Ravens will try to use Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on first and second down to create third-and-manageable situations in which Flacco loves to use his tight end and possession receiver. The Patriots will do everything they can to stop Flacco’s deep balls to Smith and Jacoby Jones, meaning the quarterback will instead choose to attack the intermediate portion of the field more frequently.

3. As he has for much of the season, running back Stevan Ridley will add another dimension to the New England offense that will wear down the Ravens in the second half. Pees downplayed the significance of his defense playing 87 snaps in each of the last two games, but you have to wonder how much more a group that’s already less than 100 percent can take if they’re on the field for extended periods on Sunday. Ridley rushed for 1,263 yards this season as the Patriots had the seventh-best rushing attack in the league. The New England offense still centers around Brady, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a heavy dose of Ridley in the second half to see if the Patriots can tire out the Ravens’ front seven, thus neutralizing any potential pass rush in the process. Inside the red zone, the Patriots won’t hesitate to use a quick-snap approach if the Ravens aren’t set and will hand off to Ridley before the defense even knows what’s happening. Any defense spends so much time studying Brady and trying to dissect him, so it’s easy to overlook the New England running game in the process. It will pay dividends in the second half for the Patriots, especially if they have a lead.

4. The team that wins the battle inside the red zone will come away with the AFC title. The objective is clear against the Patriots — even if it’s a difficult one. You know they’re going to score points, but if you can hold them to field goals on at least a few scoring possessions while you score touchdowns on your trips inside the 20, you’ll typically find yourself within striking distance in the fourth quarter. It will be a test of will in that area of the field as the Patriots scored touchdowns on 70 percent of their trips inside the red zone (best in the NFL) while the Baltimore defense was second in the league by allowing touchdowns on only 43.4 percent of opponent’s trips inside the 20. Conversely, Flacco and the offense must come away with touchdowns when they’re knocking on New England’s end zone. This is where Boldin and Pitta will be critical against the league’s 13th-ranked red-zone defense. If you want any chance of beating New England on the road, you cannot trade field goals for touchdowns or you’ll find yourself in a hole early. The Baltimore offense is playing at a high level and shouldn’t have any reason to believe they can’t move the ball against the Patriots at will, but they need to finish drives with touchdowns. Barring an inordinate number of special-teams and defensive scores – like the Ravens win in Denver last week, for instance — the team that prevails inside the red zone will be the one advancing to New Orleans.

5. Joe Flacco will continue a tremendous postseason with 250 passing yards and two touchdowns, but the Ravens will again fall excruciatingly short in Foxborough with a 31-27 loss. The Baltimore quarterback is playing the best football of his career over the last month and will have another strong performance against the Patriots on the second-biggest stage the NFL has to offer. However, Flacco needs to advance to the Super Bowl to truly receive the recognition he deserves. As was the case last week, the Ravens are matched up against a better overall team, but they have every opportunity to win against the Patriots, who have some clear deficiencies unlike the Broncos. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, this season should be viewed as a success considering the number of injuries this team has sustained and how badly it was struggling just over a month ago. In the end, however, the Patriots will just have a little too much offensively for the Baltimore defense to handle and for the Ravens offense to overcome. This one could very well come down to the final possession of the game, but I just can’t bet against Brady and the Patriots in the conference championship, a game in which they’re 5-1 in the Belichick era. It won’t come down to a devastating dropped touchdown or field-goal miss, but the Ravens will fall short yet again despite a terrific effort in New England.

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Ayanbadejo takes shots at Patriots offense on Twitter

Posted on 13 January 2013 by Luke Jones

Even before the Ravens were officially set to travel to New England for an AFC Championship rematch next Sunday, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo couldn’t help but stir the pot against the Patriots.

Using Twitter, the veteran was critical of the Patriots’ hurry-up offense that includes quick snaps and a no-huddle approach.

“In a sport that is predicated on mano y mano, ‘let’s hurry-up n snap it’ = b-tcha–ness,” the linebacker tweeted.

An active participant on his verified Twitter account, Ayanbadejo began taking shots at the New England offense during the Patriots’ 41-28 victory over the Houston Texans in Sunday’s divisional playoff. The Ravens will travel to Gillette Stadium to face New England in a postseason game for the third time in four years.

“New England does some suspect stuff on offense,” wrote Ayanbadejo, a three-time Pro Bowl special-teams player. “Can’t really respect it. Comparable to a cheap shot [before] a fight.

“… the hurry snap offense catch [them before] they set up,” the 36-year-old continued. “It’s a gimmick … Their offense is good enough to be successful without that.”

Poking the bear that beat the Ravens in last year’s conference championship appears unwise for a group that was praised for the quiet confidence it exuded last week despite numerous critics giving them little chance of beating the No. 1 seed Denver Broncos. It’s also worth noting Ayanbadejo didn’t play any defensive snaps and was on the field as part of the coverage units that allowed two return scores in Saturday’s 38-35 double-overtime win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Ayanbadejo also criticized the Patriots’ infamous “SpyGate” scandal and handling of their roster.

“You know the same organization that did spygate and cut a guy the day [before] the Super Bowl,” said Ayanbadejo, referencing wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, who was released the day before last year’s Super Bowl.

The Patriots are unlikely to respond to Ayanbadejo’s comments publicly — at least head coach Bill Belichick won’t — but you can bet Ayanbadejo has already provided some bulletin-board material for the team regarded as the clear favorite in next Sunday’s AFC title game.

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The Reality Check NFL Playoff Power Rankings

Posted on 09 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Ryan Chell & I ranked the best head coaches, quarterbacks and defenses left in the postseason, then ranked the teams left in order of likelihood to win Super Bowl XLVI.

It was a fun day Tuesday on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. You really should be listening.

Head Coaches:

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

8. Gary Kubiak

7. Pete Carroll

6. Mike Smith

5. Jim Harbaugh

4. John Harbaugh

3. John Fox

2. Mike McCarthy

1. Bill Belichick

Ryan Chell’s Rankings…

8. Gary Kubiak

7. Pete Carroll

6. Mike Smith

5. Jim Harbaugh

4. John Fox

3. John Harbaugh

2. Mike McCarthy

1. Bill Belichick

(Quarterbacks on Page 2…)

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Patriots should blame themselves for late meltdown in Baltimore

Posted on 24 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

I’ll tell the Patriots and their fans the same thing I told the Ravens and their faithful followers who bellyached in the wake of last week’s loss at Philadelphia:  Please don’t cry about the officials.

New England lost Sunday night’s game in Baltimore because they had two chances to put away the game and they failed.

It’s that simple.

The Patriots had a 2-point lead when they got the ball back with four minutes remaining.  All Tom Brady and Company had to do was pick up a few first downs and the game was in the bag.  But they couldn’t do it.

Baltimore’s offense took the field with two minutes left on their own 21 yard line.  The Patriots defense merely needed a hold — anything to keep the Ravens from a field goal — and they were winners.  They couldn’t do that, either.

Two chances to win.  Two failures.

The same thing happened to the Ravens last week in Philly.

Afterwards, Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis took on the refs when, honestly, they should have been chastising themselves for failing to come through with the game on the line.

New England faces the same type of self-examination in the aftermath of a 4th quarter collapse at M&T Bank Stadium.  Their offense failed — and so did their defense — when the chips were down.

Now…were the officials horrendous on Sunday night in Baltimore?

Absolutely.  There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the sixty minutes.

But the officials weren’t covering Torrey Smith on Sunday night.  Someone from the Patriots was…or, perhaps I should say, someone from the Patriots was “supposed to be” covering him.

The national focus will no doubt center on the officials Monday and Tuesday.  As it should, frankly.  While New England did itself in with poor execution over the last four minutes of the game, that doesn’t take away from how bush-league the officials were on Sunday night.

I’ve been saying this since well BEFORE the season started, but it bears repeating with each passing weekend.  The league has disgraced itself with this collection of nitwits who are reffing the games.  It’s getting ridiculously close to resembling professional wrestling, minus the steel chairs.  I called the outcome of this one as soon as the Patriots got the ball back with four minutes to play.  “The Ravens will get a stop here…get the ball back…and then the refs will help move them down the field and Tucker will kick the game-winner at the buzzer.”  Neither Nestor or Luke – seated to my left and right – disagreed with my assessment, both knowing it was probably going to turn out that way.

Bill Belichick refused to engage the media afterwards when it came to the question of officiating.  He kept mumbling something about “you need to talk to them, not me” and deflected every question with a sour-puss expression that most coaches would have on their face if their team squandered a 9-point lead in the fourth quarter.

When asked “real” football questions, Belichick didn’t really answer those, either.

Someone asked him if the final field goal was, in fact, good.  He mumbled something about not seeing it.

Then he was asked if the kick should have been reviewed.  Again, he didn’t really give a legitimate reply.

After the game-ending kick, Belichick raced to midfield to confront the officials who were high-tailing it out of the place.  He appeared to make contact with one of the refs, but when asked afterwards what he was trying to discuss with them, the coach just sort of brushed aside the question and kept on staring straight ahead until another question was asked.

It was a strange scene in the Patriots press conference, because none of the Boston media had the gumption to ask the coach what he thought of his secondary, which allowed the Ravens to move freely down the field in the final two minutes to set up Justin Tucker’s game winning 27 yard field goal.

Instead, everyone waited for the coach to crack and berate the officials, but he wouldn’t do it.

Maybe that’s because he knew the truth.

The truth:  The referees were awful.  Again.  But they didn’t cost New England the game.  Just like the Ravens last week in Philly, the Patriots have no one to blame but themselves.  When pressed, their offense couldn’t put the game away.  And their defense folded like a cheap suit on the final drive.

The better team might not have won on Sunday night.

But the better team had chances to sew up the game and they didn’t.

In that case, the Patriots deserved to lose.

 

 

 

 

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“I don’t care what you say…the Ravens aren’t losing at home to the Patriots.” (Yes, they are)

Posted on 21 September 2012 by Drew Forrester

Talk about a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

The Ravens not only get an opportunity to atone for last week’s final five minutes of embarrassment in Philadelphia, but they can re-establish themselves as a legitimate contender in the AFC this Sunday night when the Patriots come strolling in for a national TV affair with John Harbaugh’s team.

The Ravens need a win.  I guess it would be better if the Browns were Sunday’s opponent, but that’s not the way the schedule makers saw week #3 playing out.  So here come the Patriots, armed with wonder-boy at quarterback, a beefed up pass-catching corps and, apparently, an improved defense.

The Ravens, as you know, are seeking to rebound from a horrible loss to the Eagles, where the defense caved in with under five minutes remaining and the offense couldn’t go fifty yards with two time-outs in their pocket in the game’s last 120 seconds.

It should be a helluva game.

And, as is always the case when the Ravens face a top opponent in Baltimore on national TV, Ray Lewis and the gang will be fired-freakin’-up.

I know you’re waiting – impatiently, by now – to see two things:  1) My pick for the game  2) Bill’s comment and attempted personal destruction of me and my character in the “comments section” below.

I’ll give you #1 right now.  I’m sure you’ll see #2 shortly.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Ravens aren’t winning Sunday night.

Everything sort-of points to Baltimore winning, actually.  They’re playing at home, where they haven’t lost since December of 2010, twelve games ago.  In other words, no matter who comes to town, the Ravens don’t lose at M&T Bank Stadium.  It would also make sense to assume the Ravens’ offense can’t sputter and spit like a ’73 Vega on Sunday night.  After all, they had a week to get a tune-up after last Sunday’s sub-par second half.  By now, Cam, Joe and the rest of the offense have it all figured out, right?

Yes, it makes sense to figure the Ravens are going to win.  As I noted above, they’ll be fired up beyond belief.  But “fired up” doesn’t really matter once the third quarter rolls around.  If Tiger Woods showed up to play me one-on-one at Mountain Branch, I’d be fired up for that.  I might make a birdie or two out of the gate.  But when the dust settled and we were shaking hands on the 18th green, he’d have a 63 on his scorecard and I’d have my tail between my legs.

Remember this before I tell you what’s going to happen on Sunday:  NO ONE, including you, knows what will transpire on Sunday night.  If you knew what was going to happen on Sunday night, you’d bet $100,000 on it and be a rich man.  So would I.

But I *think* the Ravens are losing on Sunday night for one simple reason — the Baltimore defense isn’t all that good and the great #12 and his merry cast of characters will expose that fact on Sunday.

Without the ability to chase the quarterback around, the Ravens can’t beat the Patriots.  In two games thus far, Baltimore’s pass rush has been relatively non-existent.  In pass coverage, the purple linebacking group can’t do squat.  And as long as Brady doesn’t do something dumb like try and pick on Lardarius Webb, he should have a field day exposing the dynamic duo of Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith on “the other side”.  I think New England will run the ball 24 times just to say they did it.  But they’ll throw it 40 times because they can.

I’m going to assume the Baltimore offense will bounce back on Sunday and have a decent night against the Patriots.  I know the final two minutes was ugly last week in Philly, but that was then, this is now.  At home, Joe Flacco and Company will bounce back.

But the Ravens defense won’t be able to handle New England’s offense for 60 minutes.

Sorry…

New England wins 24-20.

I sure hope I’m wrong.

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Art Modell on the life of Art Modell – celebrating his amazing life all weekend at WNST.net

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve been reading a lot about the life and times of Art Modell over the last 24 hours. Obviously, my heart has been heavy with the loss of his charm, humor and kindness not only for my selfish emotions but for everyone who ever loved Mr. Modell. I’ll never forget seeing the raw emotions of Ray Lewis, Ozzie Newsome, Kevin Byrne and John Harbaugh yesterday in Owings Mills.

Today and all weekend at WNST.net & AM 1570 we will be presenting what I feel is the finest radio interview of my career – a long-winded, emotional, retrospective of the life and times of Arthur B. Modell, told in his own words.

In 2004, just after I retired from hosting a daily show after 13 years of grinding out quality sports talk radio, I decided to do a series of “sit downs” – I called them “Barbara Walters-style interviews” – with many Baltimore sports legends. Art Donovan, Cal Ripken, Phil Savage, Brian Billick, Marvin Lewis, Pam Shriver, Lenny Moore, Bob Ehrlich and several others were kind enough to participate in a series of monthly chats I did to shed light on their careers and how they came to enter their chosen field of work.

Every conversation was personal and memorable but nothing like my time with Art Modell.

I joined Art Modell at his office at M&T Bank Stadium in the spring of 2004 and wound up taking the better part of two mornings to get all of the questions answered.

I haven’t even listened to these yet myself to know exactly all of the ground we covered. I do remember him saying at the end, “You have enough there for a book. No one has ever asked me that many questions before!”

I remember him being emotional several times when I asked about his father. I remember him being a little upset at some of the line of questioning. I remember him being incredibly thoughtful and patient as I probed some memories that he was mostly uncomfortable sharing with me.

But I think we both brought our “A games” with us those two days as we chatted about his entire life and the many people who affected him and shaped his world. How he met soap opera actress Patricia Breslin and married her and adopted her two young sons, David and John. Tales of Jim Brown, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Ozzie Newsome, Ray Lewis, Lou Groza, Cleveland, the Browns, Bernie Kosar, Bill Belichick, Pete Rozelle – there’s a lot of meat in this conversation.

This will take some time – there’s about 3 hours worth of chatter here, most of it dominated by Art telling the best stories of his life.

The last question I asked him was stolen from Jim Lipton (and Bernard Pivot):

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Art Modell deadpanned: “First and long…”

There’s a lot of humor in this conversation as well because that was Art’s Way.

We’ll be playing this interview all weekend on WNST-AM 1570. You can listen in your car or you can click below to take with you wherever you go.

I hope you enjoy the chat. And, quite frankly, I hope it’s as good as I remember it being.

Here are the links via WNST.net and our Buy A Toyota audio vault:

Part 1 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 2 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 3 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 4 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 5 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 6 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 7 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 8 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 9 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

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I answer your questions about Harbaugh, Chen, Stoglin, More

Posted on 01 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Harbaugh’s honest comments create another “story” involving Ravens

Posted on 01 May 2012 by Luke Jones

In the latest example that the start of the 2012 NFL season cannot come soon enough, Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s comments regarding two other coaches and organizations have him in hot water with some in the football world.

In an interview with 98 Rock on Tuesday morning, Harbaugh was asked about the perceptions of championships won by the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints amid cheating scandals that resulted in severe disciplinary action for each organization.

“What happens — even the thing in New England — no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now,” Harbaugh said in the interview. “It’s been stained.”

Of course, the comments created quite a firestorm via social media, causing major sports media outlets to pick up the story. The reaction prompted Harbaugh to issue a statement this afternoon.

“While on the 98 Rock show this morning to talk about the run to honor O.J. Brigance and raise funds for ALS research, I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain,” Harbaugh said. “My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the league’s actions.

“I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. Bill [Belichick] and Sean [Payton] both know that.”

Harbaugh went on to say that he reached out to both Belichick and former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi to clarify his comments. Belichick and Harbaugh share an amicable relationship, as the Patriots coach offered a high recommendation of Harbaugh before the Ravens decided to make him the third coach in the history of the franchise in January 2008.

“I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career,” Harbaugh said. “I called him to remind him of my respect for him.”

It’s critical to note that Harbaugh never said the aforementioned championships should be stained — even if he feels that way privately. He commented on the opinion many clearly hold regarding the recent successes of the Patriots and Saints and how their legitimacy came into doubt because of the respective scandals. However, in the modern age of media and the thirst for news about all things related to the NFL, it’s no surprise many are taking these words and running with them.

As we saw with the comments made by Joe Flacco in regards to where he thought he ranked among NFL quarterbacks, we constantly ask sports figures for honesty and originality in what they say, but then we’re unmercifully quick to criticize when we receive just that.

Regardless of your opinion on whether Harbaugh’s comments were inflammatory or not, this is sure to create even more drama in the weeks leading up to an AFC Championship rematch between the Ravens and Patriots on Sunday night, Sept. 23.

With that in mind, I suppose this qualifies as “news” when we’re still three months away from the start of training camp.

Even if it’s really not.

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Moss

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Time is right for Ravens to consider risk (and reward) of adding Moss

Posted on 14 February 2012 by Luke Jones

When Randy Moss announced the news of his intention to return to the NFL in 2012, I tried to dismiss him as an option for the Ravens as quickly as I could.

I just didn’t want to consider him as a real possibility to come to Baltimore.

The poor attitude, playing for three teams in his final season, and his turning 35 on Monday are all strikes against him. Not being able to help himself, Moss took to his Twitter account on Tuesday to fire back at former Minnesota Vikings teammate Cris Carter, who called the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver’s “quit mechanism” unlike any other superstar he’s been around.

The character blemishes are there, and there’s no way to overlook them. The guy can be a clown, and that’s putting it kindly.

His eye-popping numbers worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame include 153 touchdowns and 14,858 yards in 13 seasons, but you’re not getting the Moss of 1998 or even 2007 when he made a league-record 23 touchdown catches in his first season with the New England Patriots. His 2010 season split between New England, Minnesota, and Tennessee resulted in just 28 catches, 393 yards, and five touchdowns while wearing out his welcome in two places and making little impact at his final destination before announcing his retirement last summer.

But the past images of watching him sprint by a helpless cornerback or leap over a defender to haul in another touchdown are still too bright in my mind to ignore. Call me a sucker, but people said Moss was finished before he escaped football purgatory in Oakland and went on to have the best season of his career.

The possibility of the 6-foot-4 veteran still having something left in the tank cannot be overlooked by a team that was only a few tenths of a second away  — in holding onto a catch in the end zone — from a trip to the Super Bowl three weeks ago. Eliminating all other variables, the mere subtraction of the disappointing Lee Evans and his near-$6 million cap number and the addition of Moss at a cheaper rate is enough to make you salivate at the possibilities.

Moss certainly can’t do any worse than four receptions in an injury-plagued season and failing to secure a championship-clinching catch in the final seconds in Foxborough, right?

The first order of business before coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens should even consider welcoming Moss to Baltimore is determining where he stands physically. Can Moss still run with the speed to blow the top off a defense and force safeties to play deeper than they normally would? Would opposing defenses still have to account for him on every play?

If not, you run the risk of dealing with a broken-down former star with an ego still in its prime. In other words, the reward wouldn’t be worth the potential headaches.

But unlike the other volatile veteran receiver who will be on the open market, Terrell Owens, Moss isn’t returning from a serious knee injury. Other than the potentially cruel reality of being 35 years old and the question of how well he kept himself in shape over the last calendar year, there’s no reason to believe Moss isn’t up to the physical task of once again donning the cleats and striking fear in the hearts of opposing secondaries.

If the 40-time is right, you now move to the more complicated piece of the equation. You sit down with the combative receiver, reminding him he’s no longer in a position of power after a year away from the game. You press him to see how serious he is about not just playing again but also being part of a winning organization like he was in New England for three years — quite harmoniously — before an expiring contract flushed the relationship down the drain in year four. And reminding him of that heartbreaking defeat in Super Bowl XLII and how he’s never won a championship probably wouldn’t hurt, either.

You allow Moss to explain exactly what happened in his disastrous 2010 season.

And you listen.

“A team like the Ravens would be perfect,” Steve Wyche of the NFL Network told WNST.net on Tuesday. “I work with [former Patriots fullback] Heath Evans, who played with Randy in New England, and Heath said, ‘If Randy’s in a situation where he’s winning, where everybody on the team has bought in, he’s fantastic.’

“I talked to people at the Patriots when he was there. He was the leader. He was the guy who organized a lot of meetings. He was the guy who broke down the huddle.”

Continue >>>

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indy

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Your Monday Reality Check-Wounds Re-Open With Arrival in Indianapolis

Posted on 30 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

I had handled it much better than I ever did in the past.

Unlike the last three seasons, I wasn’t on hand to see the Baltimore Ravens’ season come to an end last Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. Instead of making the trip to Foxborough, I stayed in studio at 1550 Hart Rd. in Towson for “The Nasty Purple Pregame Show” and “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show.” I watched the game only with my producer Ryan Chell and I IMMEDIATELY hit the airwaves after Billy Cundiff’s kick sailed wide-not allowing me much time to stew over the dramatic end.

After fighting with a caller who labeled quarterback Joe Flacco as “a bum” following the crushing loss to the New England Patriots, I genuinely felt as though I had moved on. It only took about 30 minutes. No eight hour drive home with other miserable Ravens fans for me, just a 25 minute drive home to Monkton where playing with my dog quickly made me feel better about a tough loss.

On Sunday afternoon the WNST crew (Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones and myself) touched down in Indianapolis for week-long coverage of Super Bowl XLVI festivities at Radio Row. We do it every year, no matter when/where the Ravens’ season comes to a close. Immediately upon landing at Indianapolis International Airport, we were greeted by vendors selling Eli Manning and Tom Brady t-shirts. Everywhere we turned in Indy for the first 12 hours was remarkably similar.

New York Giants stuff here. New England Patriots stuff there. Live NFL Network video of Bill Belichick getting off the plane. Quotes filling up my GMail inbox from Tom Brady and Jerod Mayo as transcribed by the National Football League staff here on site. A replay of Super Bowl XLII following Australian Open coverage on ESPN2.

It all hit me like a ton of bricks. This was SO close to being the Ravens. Perhaps a Cundiff kick, perhaps a Lee Evans catch, perhaps a John Harbaugh timeout, perhaps Joe Flacco not throwing an interception to Brandon Spikes.

Perhaps.

We could have gotten off the plane in Indy and been greeted by Ray Lewis t-shirts instead of seeing Alex Flanagan try to get Lewis to change his mind about retirement on the sideline during NBC’s coverage of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. We could have been covering the first media gathering of the week for the AFC champs instead of sitting in the hot tub at the J.W. Marriott or celebrating Forrester’s birthday at Buca di Beppo. (Both of these things were nice…but we’d rather not be there.)

It wasn’t as painful to arrive for Super Bowl coverage the last couple of years as there was really no argument that the Ravens may have been the best team in the AFC. Two years ago they were clobbered by the Colts here at LucasOil Stadium. Last year there was the feeling they let one go against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, but at least the loss didn’t come with a Super Bowl trip on the line.

This time there was a REAL feeling that we should be spending Media Day tomorrow chatting up Terrell Suggs instead of trying to track down Matt Birk for five minutes later in the week when he comes to promote the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

It wasn’t the only wound re-opened however.

As you can read about in Monday’s Indianapolis Star, there’s already a bit of a “friendly” back and forth going on between us and some of the folks in “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest.” While most of our comments have been made in jest, there is no doubt that seeing horseshoes everywhere I look and staring at a sign for the “Jim Irsay Collection” at the Indiana State Museum across the street have left a bad taste in my mouth.

The team my father fell in love with is now the reason why a city hundreds of miles from Charm City is experiencing a financial boon. The likes of Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore and Art Donovan left sweat and blood on the field at Memorial Stadium, the value of which has allowed governor Mitch Daniels to make millions of dollars-which will in no way benefit the city of Baltimore.

We don’t REALLY want the Colts back in Baltimore as I joked with the Indy Star reporter. We want an entire civic injustice reversed. We know it’s impossible.

The wounds are fully re-opened here. We’ll make it through (covering a Super Bowl in Indianapolis is STILL better than having to cover the Baltimore Orioles), but there will be a number of times this week where I’ll look over and say “damn.”

-G

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