Tag Archive | "Brendon Ayanbadejo"

The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Giants

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Giants

Posted on 25 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 33-14 win over the New York Giants Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Anquan Boldin 39 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 19 (2nd quarter)

4. Omar Brown sacks Eli Manning for nine yard loss (3rd quarter)

3. Brendon Ayanbadejo sacks Eli Manning for seven yard loss (2nd quarter)

2. Torrey Smith 6 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & goal (1st quarter)

1. Ray Rice 27 yard touchdown catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Harbaugh confirms plan for Lewis not to return before postseason; Boldin leaves with shoulder injury

Posted on 24 December 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Ravens clinched their second straight AFC North division title by way of a 33-14 win over the New York Giants to make their decision to hold back linebacker Ray Lewis until the playoffs that much easier.

The 37-year-old linebacker must be placed on the 53-man roster this week after his 21-day window for practice concludes but will not play in the regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We will not look at him again for this week. We’ll look at him at the playoffs,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s an injury that is a 12- to 16-week injury. If you do the math going back, we thought there was a chance. He is progressing really well. I’m not saying he couldn’t have played the last couple of weeks, but it would’ve been risky to re-injure it. The fact that there was some patience on Ray’s part and our part, it turned out well.”

Lewis returned to the practice field on Dec. 5 and is still less than 10 weeks removed from surgery to repair the torn triceps in his right arm. He was eligible to return against Denver in Week 15, but the Ravens and Lewis have exercised caution as he continues to rebuild the strength in his right upper arm.

However, that patience has been challenging with the 13-time Pro Bowl selection itching to return to the field

“It’s hard. He wants to play,” Harbaugh said. “Nobody wants to play more than Ray, but Ray sees it for what it is, and he sees the big picture.”

In Lewis’ absence, the Ravens have benefited from the emergence of Dannell Ellerbe, who has become one of the their best defensive players this season. The fourth-year linebacker returned to action on Sunday after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has also used a combination of former practice squad members Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan as well as special-teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo at the inside linebacker spots to counter the long-term absence of Lewis and the season-ending neck injury suffered by Jameel McClain on Dec. 9.

Ellerbe finished with five tackles on Sunday while Ayanbadejo collected one of the Ravens’ three sacks against Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

“We would much rather be here with options and already securing the division than going into the next game trying to win the division,” Ayanbadejo said. “It’s a position thing and whatever happens, the coaches will come up with a great scheme and the players will go out there and try to execute it and the ones who are not executing it will be chilling on the sidelines cheering like [Lewis] does.”

The Ravens remain optimistic that Lewis will be ready to go for the first round of the playoffs when the Ravens host either the Indianapolis Colts or the Cincinnati Bengals, but Harbaugh wouldn’t speak in certain terms when asked if there was a possibility that the 17th-year linebacker wouldn’t be ready for the start of the postseason.

However, it’s difficult to envision the Ravens being able to keep Lewis on the sideline with the outcome of a playoff game hanging in the balance.

“There’s always a chance,” Harbaugh said. “We can’t say right now for sure.”

Boldin exits early

Starting wide receiver Anquan Boldin left Sunday’s game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. However, Harbaugh said the Ravens suffered no new injuries of significance.

Boldin caught seven passes for 93 yards to lead all Ravens receivers.

“Everything we had was minor,” Harbaugh said. “If that changes tomorrow, we’ll let you know, but right now everything looks like it’s minor.”

If the shoulder injury lingers deep into the week, it will be interesting to see how the Ravens handle Boldin’s status as well as other banged-up players such as safety Bernard Pollard, guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata as they’ve already locked up the division title but still have a chance to earn the No. 3 seed if they beat Cincinnati and New England loses to the Miami Dolphins.

It’s an unlikely scenario with the Patriots playing in Foxborough, but stranger things have happened this season in the NFL.

“We’re going to try and win the game,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the No. 1 thing we’re going to do. That’s what we do, and we’re going to try to win the game. We’re also going to try and make sure we are as healthy as we can be going into the playoffs. So, I think we’ll merge those two considerations.”

 

 

Comments (0)

Flacco, offense finish home schedule like they started it — with a bang

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Flacco, offense finish home schedule like they started it — with a bang

Posted on 23 December 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Much like we saw three months ago when the Ravens crushed the Cincinnati Bengals to kick off the 2012 season, Joe Flacco and the offense looked every bit the part of an elite group in a 33-14 thrashing of the New York Giants on Sunday.

The Baltimore quarterback threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce each ran for over 100 yards. Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin combined for 12 catches, 181 yards, and one touchdown. And the offensive line not only gashed the Giants’ front seven to the tune of a season-high 224 rushing yards, but the unit didn’t allow a sack as New York registered only two quarterback hits over 60 minutes of play.

But the story of the day was Flacco, who bounced back from one of the lowest moments of his career — an interception returned 98 yards by Chris Harris to create a 17-0 halftime deficit in an embarrassing loss to Denver last week — to play one of his best games of the season when the Ravens needed it most. Faced with the prospects of going to Cincinnati next week for an AFC North championship game if his team didn’t win, Flacco was brilliant in making his reads, throwing with pinpoint accuracy over the middle of the field, and even completing passes on the run.

On Sunday, Flacco reminded us why the Ravens think so highly of him and are committed to him for the long haul — even if the terms of a contract have yet to be ironed out. However, that faith had been tested more than ever after last week’s performance and the Ravens’ first three-game losing streak in over three years.

“Like I said last week, we’re going to see what kind of team we are,” Flacco said. “We believe we’re this kind of team, and we’re really going to see if we are. I think that we showed ourselves and we showed people today that we are that kind of team. We’re here to stay.”

But that’s just the problem. I don’t know if Flacco and this offense are here to stay.

We spoke of Flacco finally taking a quantum leap after last year’s AFC Championship and that 44-13 thrashing of the Bengals to open the season on Sept. 10. But what followed was an up-and-down season in which the fifth-year quarterback has been mostly good at home and mostly bad on the road.

The sight of Flacco lying face down on the M&T Bank Stadium turf seconds before halftime last Sunday told you just how badly the quarterback needed this performance. His teammates hadn’t lost faith in him, but nearly everyone else was wondering if he had what it took to climb out of the gaping hole of a three-game slide in December.

He answered the bell by completing 25 of 36 passes for a 114.2 passer rating to put the Giants’ postseason hopes on life support.

“People won’t be talking about Joe’s technique and how he’s not dropping or throwing the ball properly,” linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said. “I guess they’ll be saying, “Oh, man, Joe’s amazing’ this time. We had a talk about our critics and how [you] don’t play better for your critiques. Play better for each other.”

Those thoughts about their critics were offered by owner Steve Bisciotti as he met with his team last week to offer inspirational words, and the Ravens certainly took them to heart as they turned in arguably their most complete victory of the season against an opponent that was supposed to be feeling more urgency than them.

The key to the offensive success was third-down efficiency as the Ravens were 10-for-14 in that department prior to the fourth quarter and finished 11-for-18. It was a dramatic change from last Sunday when the group went a woeful 1-for-12 on third down against the Denver defense.

Those conversions allowed offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell to give 24 carries to Rice. Moving the chains on third down gave the offense the chance to possess the ball for 39:21 and keep a banged-up defense as fresh as it could be. All of those stats and touches and run-to-pass comparisons seem to work out when you’re able to convert on third down and sustain drives.

It’s a clear but difficult objective.

“It’s about execution. It’s a simple word, but it’s a very tough task to do,” Rice said. “To come in week in and week out and execute at a high level, that’s tough. But that’s what we get paid to do. The pressure was on us.”

And the pressure was on Flacco most heavily as he’s moved to the top of the accountability pecking order with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron now history. It was just as ugly last week as it was exquisite on Sunday as the quarterback carved up a New York secondary that had little chance with the Ravens’ offensive line keeping the Giants’ vaunted pass rushers in check.

Will we see more of that offensive production as the Ravens go to Cincinnati with an opportunity to jockey for the No. 3 seed while resting banged-up players who could use a week off before the playoffs begin? Or will Flacco revert to the quarterback who’s struggled mightily outside Baltimore to renew those doubts entering the playoffs?

The signal-caller said it best when asked if Sunday’s performance could be a springboard to bigger and better things in the postseason.

“I’m not a big believer in any of that,” Flacco said. “I think each week is an individual game and a different opponent, and you have to go out there and you have to go through the week and prepare and go out there on Sunday and play well, just like you did the previous week. I’m not necessarily a big believer in any one game propelling you throughout the other ones.”

How he performs in the postseason will still define Flacco’s 2012 campaign.

Sunday was a step in the right direction, but it’s tough to feel convinced until we see more of it, at least with some improved level of consistency.

Regardless of what lies ahead for the quarterback’s performance, Sunday was the type of outing that creates optimism that the Ravens can still be dangerous in the AFC where every team aside from the Denver Broncos has shown concerning flaws in recent weeks. You never really know until you get to January as the Giants of last year and the Packers of two seasons ago showed.

“We say that the NFL is a week-to-week business,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It really is. One week to the next does not guarantee one thing. [The Giants] scored over 50 points two games ago. This is a really good football team. I thought our guys played exceptionally well. Getting a little bit of momentum helps.”

It certainly does, but momentum is only as good as your next opponent.

And we’ll learn quickly if Flacco and the Ravens can build on this victory a little better than they did after that first blowout victory over Cincinnati to begin the season. It will be all the more critical with the “second” season looming.

 

Comments (0)

Our Ravens/Giants “Pats on the Ass”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Ravens/Giants “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 23 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 33-14 win over New York Giants Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Corey Graham

4. Anquan Boldin

3. Brendon Ayanbadejo

2. Torrey Smith

1. Ray Rice (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Chargers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Chargers

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 16-13 OT win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Dennis Pitta 11 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 4 (Overtime)

4. Cary Williams breaks up Philip Rivers pass intended for Danario Alexander on 3rd & 4 (Overtime)

3. Brendon Ayanbadejo breaks up Philip Rivers pass intended for Danario Alexander on 3rd & 3 (Overtime)

2. Torrey Smith 31 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (Overtime)

1. Ray Rice 29 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 4th & 29 (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Rice’s miracle play grabs headline, but Ravens defense made comeback possible

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Rice’s miracle play grabs headline, but Ravens defense made comeback possible

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Ray Rice’s miraculous catch and run on fourth-and-29 will go down as one of the greatest regular-season plays in the 17-year history of the Ravens and will be remembered in the years to come.

A late awakening by quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense completed an improbable 16-13 comeback victory over the San Diego Chargers and pushed the Ravens to 9-2, matching their best start in franchise history.

But none of it would have been possible if not for the stout performance of an undermanned, banged-up Baltimore defense at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. As much grief as he received early in the season, first-year defensive coordinator Dean Pees deserves a pat on the back after the last two weeks in which the Ravens have held opponents to a combined 23 points in two road victories.

The injuries are well-documented and the struggles have been scrutinized throughout the season, but the defense came to play in what appeared to be a difficult matchup against a Chargers attack that’s struggled all season but still possesses the weapons to be dangerous on any given Sunday. The Ravens held San Diego to 13 points, surrendered 280 yards, and sacked quarterback Philip Rivers a season-high six times in their most impressive defensive performance of the year.

San Diego was just 3-for-15 on third down and 0-for-1 in the red zone as the Ravens continued an incredible streak of four straight games without allowing a red-zone touchdown. Baltimore has kept opponents out of the end zone in their last 10 trips inside the 20-yard line.

The numbers barely make you blink in the context of what’s been one of the greatest defenses in the NFL for more than a decade, but a simple look around the field reminds you just how impressive the group has been recently. A 10-point effort against Pittsburgh was brushed off because backup Byron Leftwich was at the helm for the Steelers, but to hold Rivers and the Chargers to 13 points in nearly 75 minutes of play Sunday is worthy of recognition.

That is, if you can recognize who’s making the plays. By no means have they become a no-name defense — Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Ed Reed are still on the field, even if less than 100 percent in each case — but the Ravens continued to receive contributions from unlikely sources.

Replacing inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who left the game with an ankle injury, 36-year-old special-teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo was a factor in pass coverage, making four tackles and defending a pass in extensive action. Filling in for the man who was already replacing the injured Ray Lewis and has arguably been the Ravens’ best defender this season, Ayanbadejo made several key tackles in the second half to help stall San Diego drives.

Another special-teams player, cornerback Corey Graham, continued his strong play in the secondary by making five tackles and defending two passes as he continues to fill in effectively for the injured Jimmy Smith. He and Cary Williams held up well against taller wide receivers Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander in what looked like a mismatch on paper heading into Sunday’s game.

More impressive than anyone, however, was third-year defensive end Arthur Jones, who collected the first two sacks of his career and added another tackle for a loss as he manhandled the Chargers up front. Largely considered a disappointment in increased action this season, Jones has played his best games of the season the last two weeks, making the extended absence of Pernell McPhee little more than an afterthought at this point.

The key to the defensive prosperity on Sunday was the Ravens’ pass rush as Suggs, Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, and rookie Courtney Upshaw collected sacks in addition to the two secured by Jones. Baltimore took advantage of a poor San Diego offensive line and made Rivers uncomfortable in the pocket, allowing the secondary to tighten its coverage.

Aside from a lone drive for a field goal surrendered in the game’s final 41 minutes, the defense was exceptional, forcing four three-and-outs in the second half and keeping the Baltimore offense within striking distance when it finally awoke from its game-long slumber midway through the fourth quarter.

The numbers won’t blow you away and the defensive stars aren’t playing at the same level they did in the past, but Pees has seemingly cracked the code to repair the crisis this defense was facing during its bye week. In the four games played since the break, the Ravens have allowed a total of 58 points after giving up 43 alone against Houston on Oct. 21.

Maybe it was Pees’ decision to move upstairs to the coaches’ booth. Perhaps unheralded players are finally living up to the mantra of “next man up” that’s constantly uttered in the Ravens locker room.

Whatever the case, the defense is figuring it out and it makes the 9-2 Ravens that much more dangerous down the stretch — even with their many flaws that will once again be discussed this week.

It’s not the Ravens’ dominating defense of old, but the unit saved the day on Sunday.

Even if the late-game heroics of Rice and the offense will be what everyone remembers.

Comments (4)

Our Ravens/Chargers “Pats on the Ass”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Ravens/Chargers “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 16-13 win over San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Brendon Ayanbadejo

4. Cary Williams

3. Dennis Pitta

2. Justin Tucker

1. Ray Rice (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Raiders

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Raiders

Posted on 13 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Carson Palmer “sacked” by Paul Kruger for 4 yard loss on 4th & 1 (1st quarter)

4. Jacoby Jones 47 yard catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

3. Paul Kruger tips, intercepts pass intended for Derek Hagan (2nd quarter)

2. Ed Dickson 40 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (1st quarter)

1. Ray Rice 7 yard touchdown run (2nd quarter)

(Ryan’s plays on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Pees entrusted with slowing former team’s offense

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Pees entrusted with slowing former team’s offense

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Dean Pees spent 25 years in coaching before Bill Belichick gave him his first opportunity in the NFL.

So, you’ll forgive the new Ravens defensive coordinator if this Sunday’s meeting with the New England Patriots means a lot more than just a rematch of last January’s AFC Championship game. After spending six years working under Belichick, it’s always special for Pees to go up against his old team.

“It’s always an emotional day,” Pees said. “I’m not going to lie about that and act like it’s just another game. It’s a big game for me. It’s kind of like when you go out and you play golf against somebody and you want to win, but when you play your brothers, you really want to win. There’s a lot of friends over there on the other sideline, a lot of old colleagues, a lot of players that I coached.”

Sunday night’s game marks the first time that Pees faces the Patriots as a defensive coordinator, which is the post he held with New England from 2006 through 2009. His defenses ranked in the top 11 in total yards allowed in all four of those seasons and ranked no worse than eighth in points surrendered.

His departure from the Patriots still remains a mystery as Pees cited “personal reasons” for electing not to return upon having his contract expire after the 2009 season. It was widely speculated that Pees chose to leave the organization for health reasons as he experienced shortness of breath and was taken to the hospital in the regular-season finale of that season.

Others believe the Patriots weren’t completely enamored with his work as the defensive coordinator and privately didn’t want him to return. Regardless of what caused his departure, Pees immediately joined the Baltimore staff to coach the linebackers and became the defensive coordinator this offseason when Chuck Pagano was hired as the new coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

“Dean’s a very experienced coach,” Belichick said. “He’s done very well at a lot of different levels. [He] did a good job for us here — coached the linebackers, coached the secondary, was the defensive coordinator — and had a great experience on that side of the ball.”

Now Pees will be asked to slow one of the best offenses in the NFL over the last decade. Having already employed extensive use of the nickel package in the team’s first two games, Pees will likely copy the formula used by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 — they played the nickel for nearly the entire game — to slow quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game.

Unfortunately for the 63-year-old coordinator, he won’t have one of his sounding boards to offer ideas for this week. Pees remains close with his former boss in New England, who is regarded as one of the best defensive minds in NFL history.

“We still speak on occasion when we’re playing a team that’s a common opponent and we aren’t playing each other,” Pees said. “In certain years, we’ll discuss things. It’s a great relationship.”

Special teams improvement

After being ranked 30th in the league in special teams efficiency by FootballOutsiders.com last season, the Ravens have shown much improvement through the first two weeks of the regular season.

In addition to rookie kicker Justin Tucker going 6-for-6 on field goals — with 2 beyond 50 yards — and Sam Koch punting effectively, the coverage units have shown marked improvement after allowing three return touchdowns last season. After finishing 31st in kickoff coverage last season, the Ravens are sixth in the league with opponents averaging only 18.8 yards per return. Baltimore is tied for 15th in punt return coverage as opponents have gained 10.4 yards per return attempt.

Improving the special teams units was an offseason priority as the Ravens added a few veterans with special teams experience and re-signed three-time Pro Bowl special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo.

“Our players that we look to make plays on special teams and coverage aspect – and in blocking – really played well,” Rosburg said. “Brendon had an excellent game; he had three tackles. Sean Considine had a couple of tackles. Corey Graham had a couple tackles. Sam [Koch] punted the ball very well. So, our players were making plays, and that was encouraging.”

Ayanbadejo has been honest in his assessment of the Ravens’ special teams units last season, citing a lack of commitment from younger players more interested in improving their standing on offense or defense and the lack of an offseason to fine-tune the coverage units.

“We took turns making mistakes,” Ayanbadejo said. “This year, the main thing is just consistency, not making those mistakes. And if we do, just make it one time and don’t have everybody rotate making mistakes because one breakdown can lead to a touchdown. That’s kind of what you saw last year.”

On Sunday, the Ravens even attempted to run a fake punt on a fourth-and-4 play from their own 43 in the first series of the second quarter. Considine appeared to have daylight in front of him after taking the snap but tripped over teammate James Ihedigbo, stopping him short of the first down. Rosburg took the blame Wednesday when asked what went wrong with the trick play.

The special teams coach went as far as to suggest it could have gone for a touchdown.

“I didn’t coach the timing of that play well enough,” Rosburg said. “If we had the timing down, it wouldn’t have mattered what happened. He probably would have stopped somewhere out there by General Washington’s encampment.”

McClain on outside looking in

The Ravens spent plenty of time in the nickel package against the Eagles in Week 2, meaning inside linebacker Jameel McClain was often replaced by fourth-year linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who is regarded to be stronger in pass coverage.

This left the Ravens with more flexibility to experiment with McClain at outside linebacker since Paul Kruger missed Sunday’s game with a back injury. A former defensive end at Syracuse, the fifth-year linebacker hadn’t played on the outside since his rookie season in which he mostly played special teams and saw limited action in passing situations.

Pees has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush without the use of blitzes, so it was an interesting choice to see McClain line up at rush linebacker on a few occasions.

“It’s something that I did in college. It’s a learning curve,” McClain said. “It’s something I’ve got to get back used to if I ever get the opportunity again. But, I got the chance and I hope the coaches believe I made the best out of it. With more opportunity, [there are] a lot more things I can do.”

 

Comments (0)

New CB and special teams ace Corey Graham on Ravens: “It’s something I want to be a part of”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

New CB and special teams ace Corey Graham on Ravens: “It’s something I want to be a part of”

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Ryan Chell

New Ravens corner back Corey Graham has always been comfortable being called a special-teamer.

It’s difficult to not know him as anything else.

Graham, a 2011 Pro-Bowler in that facet of the game for the Chicago Bears-was brought in by the Ravens over the weekend to aid in that area of expertise.

But this year with the  Ravens-who brought the 26-year old corner back out of New Hampshire in on a two-year contract Friday-said he’s wanting to prove to the coaching staff that he can do more to help this Ravens defense as well.

Corey Graham

He joined Glenn Clark Monday on ‘The Reality Check”, and said he can’t wait to contribute for John Harbaugh, special teams coach Jerry Rosburg and his new Ravens teammates.

“I think they’ve done a great job this off-season with bringing in guys like myself,” Graham said humbly. “I think we got a great group now with the guys we added.”

Graham joins fellow safety Sean Considine and ex-Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo and Jameel McClain as additions in this 2012 off-season, and Graham feels like the plan is in place to fix the teams issue from a year ago.

“I think we got a group now with the guys we added,” Graham told Clark. “The pieces add up and the more guys you get, it definitely helps.”

The Ravens-who came within one catch of going to the Super Bowl last season-didn’t have a lot of fundamental issues, but if there was one glaring weakness on the team, special .

They ranked near the bottom of the league in that category, and Graham said Harbaugh-a former special teams coach-reached out to him in the hopes of solving some of those woes.

“The Ravens did really well last year, but I think the special teams hurt them in certain aspects,” Graham said. “I just want to go out there and play the game.”

“I’m happy Baltimore saw what they saw in me, so that I can go out there and help.”

And Graham can help. Anywhere on special teams.

“I’m the gunner on punt and safety on punt return. I’ve played the “two” on kickoffs, and the right tackle on kick returns. I’ve done it all.”

“I’m a four-phase guy. I was always on the field and trying to get out there and help as much as I could.”

But what drove Graham to move on from the only team he’s known in his short NFL career?

He said the passion for the game on the part of his new Ravens teammates is well-known around the NFL.

“When you see the tradition of the Baltimore Ravens and the way they go out there and play, they play so much with so much emotion. That’s one of the things that drew me to this team.”

He mentioned the reputation of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis in the Ravens locker room, and he said that their approach and preparation for the game speak for themselves.

So much so-that he hopes to offer his Pro-Bowl skills in more than just special teams-he wants and desires to contribute on defense as well.

He saw considerable playing time in 2011 in Chicago as a nickel-back, and he wants to continue to have those opportunities with a defense in Baltimore.

Graham said he hopes to follow the model set last year from his former teammate with the Bears in Brendon Ayanbadejo in taking snaps in more than just kick and punt coverage.

“At the beginning of my second year, I started a lot of my games at corner. In my third year, I was able to play a few games at nickel and this past season, I was also fortunate enough to start three games at that nickel position, and make some plays on defense.”

In 16 games last year, Graham registered 13 tackles and grabbed three interceptions.

He says he can fit right in with what Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Dean Pees have in store for the 2012 Ravens defense.

“I love the way this defense plays,” Graham said with excitement. “There is a lot of disguising. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are doing a lot of things out there.”

“I think those guys have a lot of fun, and it’s something I want to be a part of.”

WNST thanks Corey Graham for joining us Monday and welcome him to Baltimore! Check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for the entire conversation with your newest Raven! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Comments (0)