Tag Archive | "Bill Belichick"

Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

Posted on 14 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship? The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship.

Terrance West ran for 265 freaking yards as the Tigers beat the New Hampshire Wildcats Saturday. They’re now a win over Rhode Island next week away from claiming the CAA title…

This can’t be right, can it?

2. Tom Brady hasn’t lost three straight games since 2002. Holy hell.

I don’t know what’s more embarrassing for New York Jets fans-the fact that Mark Sanchez was eaten alive by some dude named Rob Nankovich or that Deion Branch owned Fireman Ed after catching a touchdown…

Rob effing Nankovich. A dude named Rob Nankovich just played hero for the New England Patriots. Maybe Bill Belichick really is better than the rest of us.

3. Still think the San Francisco 49ers haven’t proved themselves?

It’s crazy how much the Niners are different under Jim Harbaugh. Justin Smith is playing like a Defensive Player of the Year, Carlos Rogers is playing like a capable National Football League cornerback and Alex Smith…wait, Alex Smith is still playing semi-respectable football? No way…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfX7gbCnlRg

I’m trying to put a Ravens-related spin on some of the things in the 15-7-0 this week. For example, the 49ers are a GOOD team, so when they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving we can be certain the Ravens will win, right?

4. Brandon Weeden was brilliant and Kansas State/Texas A&M was incredible. Ladies and gentleman, your weekend in the Big 12.

After a big performance in Oklahoma State’s rout of Texas Tech Saturday, Weeden’s Cowboys are now two wins away from the BCS Championship Game…

The Wildcats and Aggies played a four overtime thriller IN Manhattan. It was way more fun to watch than the game I was at Saturday night…

5. After a disastrous week for everyone at Penn State, almost everything that happened Saturday in Happy Valley was positive.

The Nittany Lions fell short against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but this pre-game moment will probably be more memorable…

Elsewhere in the Big Ten…you know there wasn’t all that much going on elsewhere in the Big Ten. Well, Goldy Gopher DID attempt to frog splash Bucky Badger through a table; but not much else.

bigten

6. The Dallas Cowboys might have just put more points on the Buffalo Bills.

Let me get this straight. The Cowboys beat the Bills 44-7 and after the game the only thing anyone was talking about was the ONE Bills TD???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6WvmOGoZ2E

The story is that Bills WR David Nelson caught a TD and then gave the ball to his girlfriend Kelsi Reich, who is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. This is a fantastic reason for me to post a picture of Kelsi Reich…

kelsir

7. The Chicago Bears defense scored more fantasy points than a number of quarterbacks this weekend. 

Included in the Bears’ huge NFC North win was (inexplicably) ANOTHER punt return TD for Devin Hester…

What’s the worse idea? Predicting the Orioles will sign a significant free agent or kicking the ball to Devin Hester?

With things clearly not going their way, the Detroit Lions started fighting with the Bears. It’s weird because nothing about the team made me think they’d do something like that for no reason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqyyZDR1kxA

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“The Reality Check” Week 1 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 08 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Power Rankings…

32. Oakland Raiders

I’m well aware they went 6-0 against the AFC West last year. They had Nnamdi Asomugha and Zach Miller then. I’m thinking like The Who now. I “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The Raiders stink.

31. San Francisco 49ers

I don’t think an organization can have a “lose on purpose” philosophy. I think it’s impossible to convince a group of men to not try to win. But if a team was shaping up to get Andrew Luck, it would be the Niners.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars

If I’m Jack Del Rio, I’m asking for the Jags to just go ahead and fire me now. The move is puzzling, but the bigger puzzle is “what will the name of the team be when they move to Los Angeles”?

29. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers actually went out and got a couple of players this offseason. Winning games will be predicated on Cam Newton progressing. It’s no guarantee, but they might have a chance.

28. Washington Redskins

If they didn’t have to play a quarterback they’d be higher in my rankings. Since I hate the Skins I smile a bit every time I hear the name Rex Grossman.

27. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincy’s defense is too good to be the worst team in the NFL, but Andy Dalton looks to be one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL at the moment.

26. Cleveland Browns

I’m not buying into Colt McCoy helping the Browns take the “next step.” I don’t think they’re very good and I don’t think it’s changing soon.

25. Tennessee Titans

If Matt Hasselbeck played all 16 games, the Titans would win 8. He won’t and they won’t.

24. Buffalo Bills

I don’t like much about the Bills, but I’ll give Ryan Fitzpatrick the benefit of the doubt. He was pretty good last year, perhaps he’ll be fairly decent again this season.

23. Seattle Seahawks

Once again, it’s a shame teams aren’t allowed to play without quarterbacks. They’d likely win more games with David Garrard than with Tavaris Jackson.

22. Minnesota Vikings

I’m gonna go ahead and guess that Donovan McNabb doesn’t play 16 games this season. I know I’m really going out on a limb.

21. Miami Dolphins

I like Daniel Thomas. I like Brandon Marshall. I like the Phins’ defense. I just don’t understand why I don’t like the Dolphins more.

20. Denver Broncos

I don’t like Kyle Orton nearly as much as some others do. But there’s probably more to like about the Broncos than I’m willing to give them credit for.

19. Dallas Cowboys

I can’t figure out if the Cowboys need to rebuild or simply retool. They clearly didn’t do enough this offseason either way. A healthy Tony Romo helps, but does it really make them a contender in the NFC East?

18. Arizona Cardinals

I immediately regret putting the Cards ahead of the Cowboys on this list, but if Kevin Kolb is any good at all the Cardinals have a great chance at winning the NFC West. There’s talent on both sides of the ball.

17. St. Louis Rams

Love Sam Bradford. Love Steven Jackson. Question marks just about everywhere else. Still think they win the division.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Athletes We’re Glad Have Never Played For Our Favorite Teams

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Athletes We’re Glad Have Never Played For Our Favorite Teams

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of Terrell Owens having offseason ACL surgery that may ultimately cut his career short, today’s Tuesday Top 7 topic was “Top 7 Athletes We’re Glad Have Never Played For Our Favorite Teams (and we hope never do).”

Self explanatory, yes?

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Ron Artest

artest

6. Alexander Semin

semin

5. Jonathan Papelbon

papelbon

4. Michael Crabtree

crabtree

3. Scott Rolen

rolen

2. Rasheed Wallace

wallace

1. Jay Cutler

cutler

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

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

Posted on 24 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Rex Ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He knows Ravens fans still take that statement to heart.

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

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

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

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

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Rex Ryan joins me on today’s show

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Rex Ryan joins me on today’s show

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Rex Snider

As the title of the blog confirms, we will have a ROCKSTAR quality guest during today’s edition of the Afternoon Drive. We will be chatting with former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator and current New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan.

We will emphasize the conversation on his new book, Play Like You Mean It, which provides the reader with an insightful look into Rex’s childhood and his earlier days of coaching, as well as a thorough account of his time in Baltimore and New York.
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Of course, we’ll take a few moments to chat about how much his career and life have changed in the few short years following his move up I-95.

How does Rex Ryan the HEAD COACH differ from the same man who once commanded a Ravens defense that was feared throughout an era in the National Football League?

Have public demands and obligations accompanied his rise to coaching stardom?

Do the Jets and Patriots share that same intense disdain we see between the Ravens and Steelers? And, does he mention Bill Belichick in the new book?

You’ll find out the answers to these questions and much, today at 4:05pm …..

You can order Play Like You Mean It online, RIGHT HERE

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If you can’t beat ‘em …. steal their idea !!!!

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If you can’t beat ‘em …. steal their idea !!!!

Posted on 16 March 2011 by Rex Snider

 

Hey, it’s made more than one career, right?  Don’t invent your own wheel, just take your neighbor’s, when he’s not looking …. smear a little paint or touch-up on it and of course, make it even better.

 

When I walked into the WNST studios, yesterday, I looked at Ryan Chell and suggested that we add our own selections to the Morning Reaction’s “Tuesday Top-7″ theme of the day.  I found it thought provoking, as usual, and I had my own list to share.

 

However, the Afternoon Drive’s format dictated a little more diligence and we weren’t able to squeeze in our picks for “ESPN Documentaries We Would Like To Make” …..

 

But, it was after I arrived home for the evening and enjoyed a couple tall glasses of Cherry Vodka and Diet Coke, that a quite original idea crossed my mind.  Funny how that happens, huh? 

 

Why add to Drew and Glenn’s List? 

 

Let’s just take it – make it better and give it a different name.  After all, Drew is ALWAYS gonna be hung up on Tiger Woods and Atlanta Braves pitchers.  Glenn, on the other hand, loves Andy Roddick and I’m pretty sure he knows Juan Dixon’s birthday and favorite ice cream flavor.

 

No surprises, right?  Well, I would imagine that restraining order precluded any Gary Williams mentions for hopeful documentaries …..

 

I figured my selections would be a little more zany or unpredictable.  But, I need a name for the general concept and subsequent blogs.  How about the “Wednesday Wish List?”  I won’t even need to come up with a weekly idea – I’ll just wait for the sun to set on Tuesday and steal the morning show’s idea.

 

Without further delay, here’s my WISH LIST for “ESPN Documentaries I would Like To Make” …..

 

5)  EXILED …. THE STORY OF MIKE MARSHALL

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The former Cy Young Award winner has re-invented the pitching motion, in an effort to eliminate the very injury leading to Tommy John surgery.  Today, he is Dr. Mike Marshall, an esteemed graduate of Michigan State University, with a doctorate degree in kinesiology.

 

He has built a distinguishable track record in developing young pitchers who thrive on his prescribed motion, while minimizing arm injuries.  Marshall suffered serious arm injuries and upon developing his technique rebounded and thrived in the game.  He appeared in a record setting 106 games (with 208 innings amassed) in 1974, all in relief.

 

Yet, he is shunned by Major League Baseball executives.  He can’t crack any organization, nor the league’s administration, itself.  Why is that?  He would like to know, and I would too …..

 

4)  HEELS & BABYFACES …. THE MODERN WORLD OF PRO WRESTLING

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If you’re thinking I want to make a documentary based on who the next WWE Champion will be, you’re mistaken.  But, I would like to take a look inside this world of choreographed sports entertainment.  From storyline development to the actual casting of characters, I think it’s a fascinating product.

 

Yeah, Vince McMahon has hands of gold when emptying the pockets of a certain demographic when it comes to the WWE’s consumers.  But, he employs some of the shrewdest and innovative minds when it comes to development of his shows.  It’s high-tech theatrics blended with physical abilities.

 

The world of rasslin’ is a soap opera of sorts, but they’ve found a way to get millions of viewers to watch every second of it.  I want to see the product from behind those curtains …..

 

3)  OCHOCINCO …. THE SAGA OF CHAD JOHNSON

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He’s the ultimate split personality, right?  I’m not so interested in how Chad develops his ideas and ploys for public relevance.  But, I would be interested in taking a look back at his life to see where the narcissism originated.

 

We know the deal …. he’s an immense talent, purveyor of self-importance and social media star.  But, he’s not a champion, nor has he ever really achieved his potential as a winner.  There must be a reason behind his overachievement in image, while underachieving in on-field success.

 

What leads a guy to change his name?  What compels a man to latch onto the moments of others?  What causes the outbursts of negativity toward teammates, followed by multiple acts of generosity for complete strangers.  Damn, I’d like to know …..

 

2)  HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD …. THE BYU ATHLETE

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Yeah, you’re right, I’m not ready to let this go.  Ever since Brandon Davies was dismissed from the BYU basketball team, I’ve cast a discerning eye toward that program.  Something is not adding up and this is probably a storyline to be covered on an upcoming edition of 60 Minutes or Dateline NBC.

 

The common rationale by American sports consumers is “he agreed to certain rules when he accepted the scholarship.”  For me, that’s a weak way of looking at it.  The BYU “Honor Code” reaches beyond sexual activity, to include caffeine abstinence and use of profanity.

It applies to everyone – not just scholar athletes.  Fair enough – but give me a Friday night in the BYU social circles and I’d be willing to bet I could uncover some cans of Pepsi along with a few slurred bad words.  Hey, it’s against the “Honor Code”.

 

In fact, I have no doubt that I could walk around the BYU dorms for an isolated hour and profile likely residents who would flunk the ‘ole code if their rooms were searched.  I would love to see a documentary that sheds some transparency on the BYU institution …..

 

1)  THE LUCKY GENIUS …. INSIDE THE CAREER OF BILL BELICHICK

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He is without a doubt one of the most polarizing individuals in the pro sports world.  Distinct opinions abound when it comes to Bill Belichick; cheater, champion, aloof, fortunate, gambler.  You name it ….

 

I think one of the most compelling characteristics about Bill Belichick is he doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks about him.  He’s probably the complete opposite personality from a Chad Ochocinco.  But, he’s powerful – and he knows it.

 

Detractors will say Belichick’s success is directly hitched to Tom Brady, because “he stunk” without the Hall of Fame quarterback.  While his early head coaching resume’ is not as polished as this past decade, he did convert a kid who had never taken an NFL snap into an 11 game winner, in 2008.

 

I think a documentary about Bill Belichick would answer many of the queries posed of him.  Personally, I think he is a GENIUS and I will always be upfront about it …..

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Ryan Beats Belichick in a Battle of the Coaches

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Michael Schwartz

The loud mouth, trash talking Jets went against the soft spoken, quiet Patriots. Rex Ryan was talking trash all week, and this is not new for the Jets but it puts a lot of pressure on them. Bill Belichick doesn’t get into Rex Ryan’s trash talking game, but one of his players did and that was Wes Welker. Belichick has a rule about trash talk, and Welker broke the rule so he sat one possession. Rex Ryan’s players all talked about how their defense was going to shut down Brady, and the main culprit was Antonio Cromartie. He had some very interesting words to Tom Brady and many thought that during the game Brady would make him pay. Rex Ryan doesn’t mind that his team does this and that is because he wants them to be as arrogant as he is. When he was a coordinator he couldn’t do this, but since he’s a coach now he can do whatever he wants. In the past Ryan’s team has backed up his talk but this was a whole new challenge since they lost by 42 points the last time they played the Patriots. That is why there was so much pressure on the Jets.

The Jets backed up their talk by playing great defense. The defense never let Brady get comfortable and that is key if you want to beat the Patriots. The Jets were getting pressure with three man rushes, and that is pretty amazing since it’s five on three and the three wins. Brady is usually great at throwing the ball away and not taking a sack, but the Jets sacked him five times. Shaun Ellis had two sacks on the three man rush. The Jets are very good at getting to the quarterback but this was a whole different story, they got to him without blitzing often. Rex Ryan is known for his exotic blitzes but he only blitzed 12% of the time in this game. It worked and they also made Tom Brady throw his first interception since Week 6. He set the record for longest consecutive passes without an interception, but the Jets didn’t get that memo. They intercepted Brady while the Patriots were driving in the first quarter. The Pats offense was not their normal explosive self, they only scored 21 points. They also were great in coverage, on one play Brady extended the play for over eight seconds, but the Jets were in such great coverage that it was incomplete. Usually Brady would have thrown a touchdown or a long pass because it’s a broken play.

The Jets offense played one of their best games of the season. They scored 28 points and they were running well and passing well. Mark Sanchez threw for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns. This is his career high for the postseason, and ties the franchise record. The Jets were able to run the ball for 120 yards against a good Patriots run defense. They were able to contain Vince Wilfork and that’s why they had so much success. They knew how to beat the Patriots defense and they did.

Bart Scott was very upset that the Patriots defense was getting talked about all week when they aren’t in the top 5 in the NFL. The Jets are number 3 so Scott was upset that their defense wasn’t being talked about as being a team that could stop Tom Brady. After the game when Sal Paolantonio interviewed Scott, he was yelling and then he said how their defense is much better than the Pats and it deserved to be talked about. He said he is ready for next week, and if they play defense how they played Brady then they have a chance to make it to the Super Bowl.

The Jets will need to stop their celebrating at beating their division rivals and focus on the Steelers. They beat the Steelers during the regular season 22-17, but Troy Polamalu didn’t play in that game. With Polamalu the Steelers defense is much better, they allow less points and yards per game. Mark Sanchez will need to find Polamalu before every play or else he will make big plays in big situations. The Jets defense will need to get pressure on Roethlisberger and bring him down, since he is so big that is a challenge but if there is one team that can do it it’s the Jets.

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Top 10 Local Sports Moments of 2010

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Top 10 Local Sports Moments of 2010

Posted on 28 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

These were selected by….Glenn Clark. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Orioles sign Miguel Tejada, Maryland names Kevin Anderson Athletic Director, Navy pounds Notre Dame at Meadowlands, Ravens beat Jets on Monday Night Football, Maryland field hockey wins National Championship, Shogun Fights II & III come to 1st Mariner Arena, John Tillman hired as Maryland lacrosse coach, Ravens sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Trice Capra reaches 3rd round of U.S. Open, Terrapins hold off Midshipmen in Labor Day thriller at M&T Bank Stadium, Cliff Tucker buries Georgia Tech with incredible buzzer beater

10. Danny O’Brien breaks out as Maryland tops NC State

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz6qO2a5nRI[/youtube]

Maybe the “moment” should be O’Brien getting his first start against Florida International. Unfortunately, no one was at Byrd Stadium that day and even fewer were watching on ESPN3.com.

Maybe the “moment” should be Maryland’s battle against Florida State in College Park where O’Brien nearly beat the Seminoles and gave the Terrapins a chance to play in the ACC Championship Game. But the Terps lost that game.

So I’ll stick with the season closer. It was an epic breakout performance from a freshman quarterback that offered hope to Maryland fans that change had come.

Of course, change was really STILL to come.

9. Ravens trade for Anquan Boldin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itI56uxrbeU[/youtube]

If you actually go to the page for that YouTube video, you’ll find multiple Super Bowl related comments.

That was the immediate feeling when the Ravens traded two NFL Draft picks to the Arizona Cardinals for Boldin. Since that time, the Boldin deal has looked…well…not quite as overwhelming. But it doesn’t change the moment.

In that moment, the Ravens became the “Offseason Champs”, an honor the Washington Redskins had owned for years.

The difference? The Ravens till have a chance to be the REAL champs as well.

8. Baltimore Grand Prix officially announced

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntu-FrV9ufY[/youtube]

Look, I’M not a fan of the IndyCar Series myself. Well, other than Danica Patrick anyway.

And I have NO IDEA how many folks in Baltimore could EVER tell you who Will Power or Dario Franchitti were.

But if the Baltimore Grand Prix raises as much money for the city as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Governor Martin O’Malley say it will, this could be a MAJOR moment for this area.

7. The return of the Preakness infield

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHLL8YQmCoA[/youtube]

After the “miserable failure” (my own words, folks) that was the 2009 Preakness “Infieldfest” event, the Maryland Jockey Club hit a home run in 2010.

Pimlico’s infield was covered in people thanks to a $20 “All you can drink” ticket that replaced the previous BYOB experience and an awesome musical combination or O.A.R. and Zac Brown Band (which was LIGHT YEARS better than ZZ Top and Buckcherry the previous year).

It was an awesome event. Hopefully there will be another one.

By the way, does anyone remember who won the Preakness this year?

(Edit from GMC: It was Lookin at Lucky. I ALMOST had to go to Wikipedia to jog my memory.)

6. Duke beats Virginia in lacrosse Final Four

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3g2YHrYETk[/youtube]

Maybe Notre Dame’s improbable run to the National Championship Game or the Blue Devils’ thrilling Memorial Day win over the Fighting Irish were bigger stories; but the Saturday showdown between the Cavaliers and Devils was absolutely EPIC.

The impact of Yeardley Love’s murder added to the buildup surrounding the game, as Cavs coach Dom Starsia was reminded of George Huguely’s name throughout the NCAA Tournament. Also adding to the buildup was the presence of the final class of “Super Seniors” from Duke, as the NCAA granted all Duke players an extra year of eligibility following the scandal that rocked the Durham campus in 2006.

The game was even better than the incredible buildup. Max Quinzani’s game winner with 13 seconds left finished off what had been one of the more incredible quarters of lacrosse ever seen in Charm City.

This will be the only entry on the list that doesn’t involve a local team. It was good enough that it doesn’t matter.

5. Orioles hire Buck Showalter

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

When I gave my “Local Sports Person of the Year” vote to Buck Showalter, I said his hiring represented the first real “hope” Birds fans had experienced since the 2005 campaign, when the team reached the All-Star Game still leading the American League Wild Card race.

What happened with the O’s down the stretch (a 34-23 finish under Showalter) means little if the team does not build upon it. But the hope that came with the incredible finish was that the team COULD build upon it.

We’ll see.

But it certainly doesn’t change the level of excitement that came with Showalter’s hiring and incredible two month run. If things truly turn around for the Orioles, it will be marked as the actual moment of change.

4. Joe Flacco finds TJ Houshmandzadeh to beat Steelers in Pittsburgh

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

I’m pretty sure my column that day said it all.

The Ravens were ABSOLUTELY on their way to another crushing loss at Heinz Field; and I wasn’t going to believe it wouldn’t end that way until the moment Houshmandzadeh hauled in the Flacco TD toss.

The Ravens QB had never lead his team from behind to win in the final two minutes of regulation.

That changed.

Had the Ravens held on to finish the sweep of the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium; the win would have meant even more.

3. Maryland beats Duke to (essentially) clinch ACC regular season title

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiIW27uR56s[/youtube]

As I stated when he was voted “Local Sports Person of the Year”, this was the defining moment for Greivis Vasquez.

Beating good teams at Comcast Center has been somewhat commonplace for the Terps in the Gary Williams era. In fact, Maryland had knocked off North Carolina in College Park just a season earlier. (Both the 2009 Tar Heels and this year’s Blue Devils would go on to win the NCAA Championship.)

Yet somehow, this particular win over a good team was more satisfying. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was Senior Night for Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the win would ultimately prove to be the difference as the Terps would split the ACC regular season title.

More than anything, it probably had everything to do with the fact that it was Duke.

Wins ALWAYS feel better when they come against Duke.

2. Ravens go to Foxborough, beat New England Patriots in AFC playoffs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MwFU4xYzV4[/youtube]

If it had been a round (or definitely two rounds) later, this would have been a slam dunk #1 on the list. Unfortunately, the flat performance in a divisional round loss to the Indianapolis Colts a week later took some of the excitement out of the win at Gillette Stadium.

That being said, the emotions of a dominant win over a Bill Belichick/Tom Brady lead team on the road won’t be forgotten for some time.

It was even more emotional when the story of Matthew Costello (son of WMAR anchor Jamie Costello) giving Cam Cameron the play call for Ray Rice’s opening play TD came out.

It was a huge win and an awesome feeling. It’s just a shame it didn’t extend towards the Super Bowl.

1. Reggie Holmes breaks Morgan State’s all-time scoring record in win over Coppin State

I was there for #2, #3 and #4. This was better.

morgan

The emotions inside Hill Field House were incredible.

It was Senior Night, the final home game for star guard Reggie Holmes.

Holmes was announced as MEAC Player of the Year. Kevin Thompson was announced as MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Dewayne Jackson was announced as MEAC Freshman of the Year. Todd Bozeman was announced as MEAC Coach of the Year.

Holmes’ entire neighborhood (Cherry Hill) was in the stands…and actually rushed the floor PREGAME. The game started more than an hour late.

Holmes needed 33 points to break Marvin “The Eraser” Webster’s Bears career scoring record. He scored 36 in a blowout win.

It was incredible.

It represented everything that makes college basketball in Baltimore great. It represented everything that makes Baltimore sports great.

It was the best moment of the year.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

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Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL season has reached the three-quarter mark, and like any good game on Sundays, it’s usually the fourth quarter that decides success or failure.

It’s a chance to take stock of each conference after 13 weeks and 12 games with one-liners on each of the teams. Below are some stats, observations and conjecture as we look ahead to the final four weeks.

First, here is a look at the AFC by divisions. Records are through Week 13:

AFC East

New England Patriots (10-2): Patriots have won last four, including huge win over the Jets to solidfy their claim as AFC’s best team behind conference-best (+110) scoring differential; road to AFC title will go through Gillette Stadium and coach Bill Belichick.

New York Jets (9-3): Despite 3-1 stretch, Jets went from potentially being in line to host AFC title game to very vulnerable after shredding of New York’s vaunted D by the Patriots.

Miami Dolphins (6-6): Dolphins continue to confound with 5-1 road mark, but 1-5 home record — that will be main reason they will not make playoffs as well as offensive woes (-23 point differential).

Buffalo Bills (2-10): Bills finally saw results after 0-8 start with two straight victories, but close loss to Steelers and blowout defeat to Vikings has slowed Buffalo’s progress.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): Steelers have grabbed choke-hold of AFC North after winning the war in Baltimore last week behind QB Ben Roethlisberger and stout defense; now Pittsburgh could host AFC Divisional Playoff at always-tough Heinz Field.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4): Only home loss of season so far to Steelers was costly as Ravens may have three straight playoff games on the road instead of one or two home games; predicted high-production offense has gone cold at bad times.

Cleveland Browns (5-7): Cleveland continues to be a “tough out” thanks to solid running game behind RB Peyton Hillis; if they get QB (and maybe head coach) situation settled in offseason, could be 2011 team to watch in AFC.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-10): The wheels have completely come off the cart for one of the preseason favorites to win the division — nine-game losing streak may spell the end of the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5): Jaguars, after 3-1 stretch, find themselves on top in the division, despite worst point differential among all division leaders (-43) — only question is can they hold off slumping Colts?

Indianapolis Colts (6-6): Colts’ injuries have finally taken a toll; forget Peyton Manning for a moment, being in position of having to pass so much has allowed opponents to tee off in crucial situations — but Indy can still catch Jaguars for division title.

Houston Texans (5-7): Lack of strong starts have doomed Texans, 1-5 in their last six games — last chance for Houston (and maybe coach Gary Kubiak’s job) comes with Monday night visit by Ravens in Week 14.

Tennessee Titans (5-7): When you didn’t think anybody else could surpass Minnesota as NFL’s best soap opera, here comes the Titans; normally unflappable coach Jeff Fisher has had to deal with Vince Young, Randy Moss and owner Bud Adams in recent weeks.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4): Chiefs seem to have control of the division after a three-game win streak and perfect 6-0 home mark; can they hold off the Raiders and Chargers over the final four weeks?

Oakland Raiders (6-6): Progress has been slowed by 3-2 mark in last five games, but 4-0 division record could be factor if they get help before Week 17 showdown at traditional rival Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers (6-6): Amazing how one loss changes things after blowout defeat by Raiders last week that stopped four-game win streak; season on the line vs. Chiefs this week.

Denver Broncos (3-9): A three-game losing streak coupled with Spygate-like scandal in London finally cost Josh McDaniels his coaching job; Eric Studesville gets his audition but the supporting cast is not there.

And now for the NFC by divisions:

NFC East

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Matt Ryan  of the Atlanta Falcons converses with quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens after the Falcons 26-21 win at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4): The Eagles are tied for the division lead, but arguably have the NFC East’s toughest schedule left with two games vs. Dallas and one each against the Giants and Vikings — for what was originally expected to be a transition year, a lot is still on the table.

New York Giants (8-4): Giants are playing as well as any team in NFC right now, but head coach Tom Coughlin’s team must navigate Minnesota, Philadelphia and Green Bay the next three weeks to stay in the division and Wild Card mix.

Washington Redskins (5-7): The Redskins season has become a trainwreck as head coach Mike Shanahan has had to deal with several distractions, including DT Albert Haynesworth’s suspension for conduct detrimental; the Skins defense should be suspended as well, allowing the fifth-most points in the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys (4-8): The Cowboys have gotten off the deck to become a team no one wants to face down the stretch; Dallas could play spoiler in the NFC East and help Jason Garrett remove the interim coaching tag.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (9-3): The Bears have won five straight to hold the division lead by one game thanks to resurgent play by QB Jay Cutler and LB Brian Urlacher; Chicago has murderous final four weeks capped by Week 17 visit to Packers.

Green Bay Packers (8-4): Despite injuries, Packers are firmly in the playoff mix, but key Week 12 loss at Atlanta looms large as well as final three games against New England, Giants and Chicago — win those and Green Bay will have earned its postseason ticket.

Minnesota Vikings (5-7): A change in head coach to well-respected assistant Leslie Frazier has helped the mood in Minnesota, but the final four weeks will be all about Brett Favre’s literal limp to the finish of his career (I think).

Detroit Lions (2-10): Some of the strides made early in the season by the Lions have been erased by the current five-game losing streak; coach Jim Schwartz is still looking for consistent winning formula.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (10-2): The hottest team in the NFC with six straight wins, the Falcons may do something no Atlanta NFL team ever has — host the NFC Championship Game in January; but they have to get through Week 16 Monday Night game vs. Saints.

New Orleans Saints (9-3): The defending Super Bowl champions are playing like it for first time all season with a current five-game win streak as the Saints try to go stride-for-stride with the Falcons; back-to-back road contests at Baltimore and Atlanta in Weeks 15-16 are New Orleans’ key games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5): The air has finally come out of the Buccaneers’ balloon with two straight losses, but Tampa Bay is just one game out of a Wild Card spot with favorable matchups in the next three weeks before Week 17 at Saints.

Carolina Panthers (1-11): The Panthers just want the season to be over, and the housecleaning will begin soon after starting with head coach John Fox; Panthers are a NFC-worst minus-153 in point differential.

NFC West

St. Louis Rams (6-6): The Rams have quietly put themselves in position to make the playoffs out of a weak NFC West, but don’t mistake St. Louis as a weak team — QB Sam Bradford is one of the league’s feel-good stories of 2010, and division could come down to Week 17 tilt at Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks (6-6): The Seahawks are in position to capture the NFC West, but head coach Pete Carroll’s squad still has worst point differential among NFC teams with a winning record (-49); Week 17 vs. St. Louis could be the decider.

San Francisco 49ers (4-8): San Francisco not officially dead in NFC West race, but last gasp could come this Sunday vs. Seattle; if they win, they still have games vs. St. Louis and Arizona — teams they have already beaten in 2010.

Arizona Cardinals (3-9): Cardinals have gone south for the winter as they have lost seven straight and hold NFC’s second-worst point difference (-138), but have three winnable games in final four weeks.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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I hope the Ravens watched Monday Night Football …..

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I hope the Ravens watched Monday Night Football …..

Posted on 07 December 2010 by Rex Snider

When I plopped down into my Lazy Boy recliner for last night’s showdown between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, I prepared myself for a second straight night of hard fought football between two hated rivals.

Yet, what I observed was an absolute dismantling of a team that has flirted with LOSING for the last six weeks …..

Last night, Rex Ryan and his Jets were “schooled” by the quarterback and coach who’ve served as their obsession in the AFC-East. To say it was a beatdown kinda falls short of the absolute mastery displayed by the Patriots.

I was not surprised to see the Jets lose the game, but I was absolutely stunned to see Mark Sanchez and company get their heads handed to them. They’ve played excruciatingly close contests with the Lions, Browns and Texans over the past month, and whispers of OVERRATED have been getting louder and louder.

I’ll humbly admit that seeing Rex Ryan and GANG GREEN suffering a one-sided loss was pretty satisfying. I really, really like Rex and I think his personality will ultimately lead him down the path of becoming our generation’s next “John Madden” personality.

But, I’ve still got the putrid, pompous taste of last summer’s HARD KNOCKS burned into my short term memory. Based solely on the swagger and ego of the Jets, I’ve wanted to see them throttled. Thus, I found last night’s result to be pretty pleasurable.

However, I think this game really served a greater purpose, especially for a team like the Baltimore Ravens …..

I hope those minds assembled within the Ravens offensive braintrust were watching the Patriots bludgeoning of their divisional rival. I don’t care where they were watching, so long as they got a good look at it.

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06: Tom Brady  of the New England Patriots greets teammates during warms up against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Why? It’s simple …. that’s how you kick another team’s ass !!!!

That’s how you find weaknesses and exploit them. That’s how you seize an early lead and methodically dissect an opposing defense, while ultimately forcing their offense to change its gameplan.

Call it what you will, the Patriots served up a blueprint for talented offenses around the National Football League …..

If you’re sitting back and thinking “well, the Patriots have Tom Brady,” that’s fine and certainly noteworthy, but the rest of their cast is arguably lesser talented than the playmakers comprising the Ravens offensive attack.

I’ll take Ray Rice and Willis McGahee over Ben Jarvis Green Ellis and Danny Woodhead ….

I’ll take Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh over Wes Welker, Brandon Tate and Deion Branch ….

Admittedly, the Patriots probably have a stronger offensive line; they’re certainly healthier. But, Brady isn’t solely dependent upon pocket protection. He typically holds the ball for an incredibly brief second or two, before hitting one of his targets for a usual 5-8 yard gain on a quick route.

The Patriots are innovative, yet predictably methodical in their unveiling of a singular strategy that usually emphasizes on wounding a defense, before bleeding them to death over a stretch of 60 minutes.

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