Tag Archive | "Bill Belichick"

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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morgan

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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)

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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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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)

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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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MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 24: Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the  FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with car owner Joe Gibbs (L), in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2010 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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Sunday Money – 6-Pack

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Rex Snider

For weeks, I’ve been boasting about my preseason predictions for the Baltimore Ravens. On September 8th, I previewed each game on the schedule, on-air, and gave my opinion on how things would turn out.

I kept that schedule and it’s hanging on the wall of my home office. To date, I’ve been correct on 8 of the 9 games. The lone blemish is the contest against the Miami Dolphins. Yep, I had that game in the loss column.

Hey, the good news is I forecasted the loss against the Atlanta Falcons as the final defeat of the 2010 season. That’s correct, I picked the Ravens to run the table throughout the remainder of the regular slate of games.

And, I’ll stick by it …..

Since I’ve been so accurate with my predictions over the past couple months, I’ve decided to share my weekly prognostications with YOU, the listener and reader. It’s my early Christmas gift to anyone who reads my blogs.

I have no doubt that when my peers read this, they’ll have some provoking thoughts …..

Drew Forrester : “I like Rex, but I’m not following his advice – he freakin’ texted me from Vegas and asked which baseball games to bet. By the way, he won a few hundred bucks ….. and I’m still waiting for my Chinese lunch.”

Glenn Clark : “I don’t really like Rex, and I absolutely NEVER, EVER agree with him. I’m certain his predictions will be LAUGHABLE ….. if not, INSANE. So, before I even look at his picks, I’ll get this outta the way ….. DUDE, YOU’RE JUST WRONG.”

Thyrl Nelson : “His fantasy football team, Rexual HerAssMent, is 3-7 …. that’s all I need to know.”

Regardless of what others might say, you can rest assured that my LOCKS for the weekend will come to fruition. You’ll make money, guaranteed. Count on this 6-pack of predictions …..

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and wide receiver Randy Moss slap hands after a completion against the New England Patriots in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts October 31, 2010.    REUTERS/Adam Hunger   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

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Randy Moss: has baggage …. will travel

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Rex Snider

Just go ahead and admit it …..

As soon as you’re convinced Bill Belichick has finally outsmarted himself and pulled the trigger on a dumb deal, he figuratively fools all of us and snookers another sucker.

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of the very public divorce between Randy Moss and the New England Patriots. It’s offically been 27 days, so my conflicted memory still recalls the morning the news broke, quite vividly.

While the deal was not an earth-shattering shocker, it did fuel reaction from a lot of sideline critics. As the football world learned Bill Belichick dealt his sole deep threat receiver to the Minnesota Vikings, a collective bewildering day of sports talk commenced.

Randy Moss was returning HOME, to the team and city where his Hall Of Fame career began. And, all seemed right in Minneapolis ….

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and wide receiver Randy Moss slap hands after a completion against the New England Patriots in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts October 31, 2010.    REUTERS/Adam Hunger   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Brett Favre was being teamed with a guy who could catch those Sportscenter-highlighted touchdowns.

Brad Childress was acquiring the player who could validate all the effort devoted to kissing Favre’s ass for an entire offseason.

And, poor Bill Belichick was selling on the “short” …. while walking away with just a measly 3rd round pick in next April’s NFL draft.

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Bill Belichick: "We played a lot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half" ....

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Bill Belichick: “We played a lot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half” ….

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Are you still smarting after Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots? Umm …. let me change that …. are you still pissed-off about the Ravens blowing a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter?

Let me assert that I’m not the kinda guy who dwells on things or refuses to build a bridge, while facing the inevitability of getting over unchangeable circumstances.

At some point, you gotta let it go.

Put it in the rear view …..

Toss it in the trash …..

Flush it down the toilet …..

Choose your rightful path of persuasion. Sum it up in a sensible way and face the sobering reality of losing a game. But, for God’s sake, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t dismiss an obvious wound or vulnerability – just to see it reemerge a few weeks later.
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Alas, putting hardship behind us is always productive ….. if we learn from the misgivings and find a way to improve on the things that inhibit success.

That’s all I really ask.

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve grown to expect a lot from the Ravens. They’re an organization that expects an awful lot from themselves. In a roundabout way, I guess they’ve rubbed off on me.

And, I think that’s a good thing.

It’s also the exact factor that prohibits me from simply saying “they lost to a very good team on the road …. no big deal.” To hell with that. It’s an excuse, and excuses are for LOSERS.

Something went wrong on Sunday. Steve Bisciotti knows it – did you see his face after the game? And, I have no doubt he’s refusing to buy the old worn out “we lost to a good team” reason.

After all, if that’s really the cuplrit, we can justify upcoming losses in Atlanta and Houston, right? The Falcons are a damn good team; arguably better than the Patriots. Wait, I know ….. that loss will get pinned on the short week and travel to Atlanta, right?

As for the Texans, if the Ravens surrender a two score lead to Tom Brady, Deion Branch and that little running back from THE WIZARD OF OZ, I’m assuming they won’t fare much better against Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.

As I said yesterday, I’m a huge fan of Brady’s success. But, we’re talking about the reincarnation of Deion Branch. Wasn’t he scoreless in Seattle? And, Danny Woodhead needs platform cleats to get on most roller coasters.
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Did they really beat the Ravens on Sunday? Maybe not …..

According to the COACH, Bill Belichick, the Patriots switched things up against Joe Flacco in the 2nd half of the game. During his Monday conversation with the folks at WEEI radio, Belichick uttered those words we’ve heard when teams talk about their gameplans against Joe Flacco.

That’s right, when asked what the Patriots did adjustment-wise, Belichick stated “we played alot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half.” “We knew he (Flacco) was looking inside for the tight end and slot receiver.”

Don’t take my word for it, go HERE and listen to the conversation for yourself. Those very telling words begin at 10:30 of the conversation.

What do we know about Bill Belichick? Aside from being that charismatic, personably-engaging guy, he’s also known for his knack to find the opponent’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. On Sunday, he decided to employ his 2nd half defensive attack in the same way the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts feast upon a Flacco-led offense.

Heck, he admitted it during a Monday phone conversation !!!!

My translation is he saw what the Bengals did to the Ravens, just a short month ago. And, he used the most crucial part of the game to switch up and see if the Ravens young quarterback has improved on past transgressions. That’s TEXTBOOK BELICHICK …..

He attacks and exploits a weakness AFTER halftime, when there are no opportunities to re-collect composure.

This is a PROBLEM.

It’s not tied to playing a very good team on the road. That’s bunk. Every game is its own animal. Every game stands on its own merit. Every game is defined by 60 minutes, in two separate halves, between the sidelines.

Accountability is key, and to simply suggest that it’s no big deal to lose a road game against a very good team, is nothing more than a mechanism for accepting a loss. The Patriots found a way to shutdown the Ravens offense, late in Sunday’s game. They simply did.

And, yes, it’s the very same Patriots team that won a close 38-30 game against the Buffalo Bills in the most recent home contest before the Ravens came calling. You got that? The BUFFALO BILLS SCORED 30 POINTS ON THE SAME FIELD, just a few weeks earlier.
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Perhaps, the underlying message to this blog is DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BILLS, THIS SUNDAY. They’re scrappy, and they’re looking for their first win.

Do I think Buffalo comes to Baltimore and wins, on Sunday? No, but they’re not going to simply walk in and walk out, either.

The greater emphasis of this message is that the smoke continues to get thicker and thicker when it comes to the signals regarding Joe Flacco’s production as a starting quarterback. As much as many of us believe the team needs to let the guy lead the offense, we must also face the prospect that the coaching staff still sees the very vulnerabilities Bill Belichick admittedly exploited in Sunday’s late stages.

I’m always willing to admit the depth (or shallow void) of my football knowledge. That’s why I do what I do …. and Cam Cameron does what he does. I’m an ignorant man, when it comes to such intricate measures.

But, I’m not naive. I don’t simply follow the group or herd, and blowoff a loss to good team, because “it happened on the road.”

Screw that.

Something went wrong, Sunday.

And, if you don’t fix it, it will happen again, and again, and again, and again. It will continue to happen, until it is fixed.

Perhaps, the real difference is the VERY GOOD TEAMS find a way to exploit Joe Flacco’s vulnerabilities. At the same time, the lesser teams don’t find a way.

Look back at the Pittsburgh game …..

Joe Flacco hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the back of the end zone to wrap up the win. But, ask yourself where Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark found themselves on that play. They were blitzing – which left the cornerbacks alone and responsible for the downfield, inside threats. Boom …. touchdown.

That didn’t happen Sunday.

And, Bill Belichick has told us so …..

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What does Tom Brady think of the Baltimore Ravens and Terrell Suggs?

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What does Tom Brady think of the Baltimore Ravens and Terrell Suggs?

Posted on 19 October 2010 by Rex Snider

By now, we pretty much know how Baltimore’s purple kool-aid drinking, smash-mouth football fans feel about Tom Brady ….

I’m assuming you respect his on-field achievements, especially as it regards his overall prowess as a championship winning quarterback, and a stat-logging machine.

Tom Brady has been recognized as the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player. He is the only quarterback in the game’s modern history to lead a team to an undefeated regular season record. And, he is the only quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season.

Yet, more importantly, Tom Brady has been on the winning end of 102 of his 135 regular season contests. Yes, that’s a .755 winning percentage. Or, for those scoring on the 16-game measuring stick, he wins an average of 12 games per season. Not too shabby, huh?

Of course, the most impressive part of Brady’s resume’ is his postseason mark of 14 wins and 4 losses, accompanied by 28 touchdowns, 4100 passing yards and THREE OF THESE …..
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Hard to beat such accomplishments, huh?

Count ’em, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, Jay Cutler, Mike Vick and the CHOSEN ONE – Mark Sanchez, combined, have not won as many Super Bowls as Tom Brady.

Combine the achievements and distinctions with Brady’s character as a good citizen and unblemished ambassador of the game, which separates him from the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre, and the story of a guy who’s universally adored is a given reality, right?

Not so fast …..

While Tom Brady is everything specified, thus far, he’s also known for one disintegrating trait, which grows louder and LOUDER …..

That’s right, on top of being everything an American kid could hope for in life, Brady has also been hampered and psychologically scarred by an incident that paved and demolished his 2008 season.

If you’re just a casual football fan, chances are you still recall this image from the NFL’s “Opening Day,” just a couple years ago …..
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It’s only been a couple years, but I will always remember that season-ending injury for Tom Brady. I felt bad for the guy and I still do. As I mentioned earlier, he’s the perfect role model citizen and he’s a freakin’ winner. I also dig the fact that all 32 teams passed on him NUMEROUS TIMES in the NFL Draft.

But, in the couple years since returning from his debilitating injury, Brady has been earning a reputation that will likely stick a negitive stigma to his otherwise stellar reputation. In fact, this perception and belief people are developing can be a KILLER for a “man’s man.”

Tom Brady is being viewed as SOFT.

Tom Brady is being viewed as GUN SHY.

Tom Brady is being viewed as a SISSY.

There, I finally said it. After all the lathering of accolades I’ve smered on the guy, I’ve gotta be honest about the way many people are viewing Tom Brady, these days. It’s an impression I’ve resisted for more than year; that’s how much I really LIKE and RESPECT the guy.

But, with each passing game, I’m being swayed further and further to the side of the guys who question Brady’s mental and physical toughness …. or even his courage.

That’s a very damning thing to say or write …..

In last year’s October matchup, all of us distinctly recall Tom Brady lobbying officials for penalties against Ravens defenders for incidental contact and rather meaningless/harmless touches. At first, I perceived it to be gamemanship from Brady. I imagined that he would complain with a demonstrative vigor, but ultimately walk back to the huddle with a snicker, while knowing he was gonna get some yellow hankies thrown in his favor.

As last season dragged on, so did Tom Brady’s antics. And, he was getting louder about it.

Everyone was taking notice.

For me, the culmination of Brady’s complaining about contact really culminated in Sunday’s game. He was hit CLEAN upon releasing the ball on a completed pass, late in the 4th quarter. Yet, he still slammed his hand to the ground, while chewing the referee’s ass. He was looking for a penalty. And, yes, I saw Terrell Suggs’ hand graze the quarterback’s helmet.

Fortunately, the officials didn’t bite and a penalty was not assessed. Doing so could’ve killed the impending reality of overtime.

Is that how Tom Brady really wants to win?

Is that what he’s reduced to?

I’m not buying it. I don’t think it’s a competitive tool or gamesmanship. To be blunt, I think Tom Brady is legitimately concerned about getting hurt, again. And, while I can understand his plight, it’s also the professional path he’s chosen.

Getting slammed by Ray Lewis HURTS. Getting drilled by a Cliff Lee fastball HURTS. Hitting the wall in Jeff Gordon’s Chevrolet, at 180 mph, HURTS. I get it, I really do.

Evidently, Tom Brady really gets it …. and he doesn’t like it. Thus, we’re treated to his weekly antics …..
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Believe me, I see the business aspect tied to guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. They’re the marketing darlings or “cash cows” for NFL Properties. Thus, the league does everything possible (including rules changes) to ensure these guys stay on the field.

But, at some point, you’ve gotta play football, right? Heck, some folks think the game has already been watered down by the rules changes.

Still, Tom Brady complains – every single week.

I suppose he accomplishes what he wants. And, on Mondays, he denies everything.

Each Monday, Brady joins the Dennis & Callahan Show, on Boston’s WEEI Radio, for a phone conversation. During yesterday’s call, he downplayed his on-field complaining. In fact, he called all the Ravens hits “CLEAN.”

He also dished on his thoughts of Terrell Suggs and the predictability of the Ravens defense, inside the red zone. He said, “they’re either blitzing or putting 8 men in the end zone.”

He also said, “they do a lot of talking for a team that has beaten us once in 9 times, since I’ve been here.”

You can find the conversation HERE

While I still like Tom Brady and remain in awe of his career-defining accomplishments, I really would like to remember him as a guy who did things the right way and played with a physical/mental toughness demanded of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

Today, I’m not so certain I still believe in his heart and courage.

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