Tag Archive | "Brett Favre"

Wednesday's PM Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Wednesday’s PM Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 31 March 2010 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Eagles falling apart in Philly.  You know, I guess I can understand the Eagles’ hesitance in trading Donovan McNabb.  Over the last decade the Philadelphia Eagles have been, if nothing else, one of the most consistent franchises in the National Football League.  Coming off a 3-13 record in ’98, team owner Jeffrey Lurie finally put in place the integral pieces of a puzzle that would result in 5 NFC East Titles, and 8 Playoff births over the next 12 years.  He hired Andy Reid as Head Coach, who in turn hired Jim Johnson as Defensive Coordinator, and the organization selected Donovan McNabb with the #2 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.  By 2001 Brian Westbrook was an undrafted rookie making an impact and the Eagles were on their way to 5 NFC Championship Games.  On January 18th, 2008 it seems the Eagles franchise officially began their rebuilding faze.  They lost 32-25 to the Arizona Cardinals that day in the desert and a tumultuous two year time span has ensued.  In the summer of ’09 Jim Johnson, after 40 years of service to the game of football, passed away after a bout with cancer and Brian Westbrook, due to continuous concussion issues, was released by the team this off-season after 10,000 yards and 66 TD’s combined rushing and receiving.  Andy Reid is still the head coach; and yes, he and McNabb are still attached at the hip… for the moment.  But as rumors, speculation, and proposed ‘front’-runners’ for McNabb’s services continue to emerge, it seems all the more likely his football marriage with Philadelphia appears headed for divorce.  It’s a shame, too.  If Jeffrey Lurie hadn’t decided to bring Michael Vick back into the league as his third-string quarterback and paid his $1.5M roster bonus this off-season, McNabb might stand in a better position with the only team he’s ever played for.  But as it stands now, Jeffrey Lurie, the man who facilitated bringing in the foundation of Reid, Johnson, McNabb, and Westbrook in the first place, may now have to hammer home the last spoke to break apart the final two, all by trading the best QB in Eagles franchise history.  Must be a tough trade trigger to have to pull.

Suggested Reading

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “Steelers are no better than the Bengals.” Strong headline from Ron Cook, who’s not talking about talent, or even winning games, on the field.

Deadspin: Editor Will Leitch takes a look at Baltimore’s very own Orioles in, “The Stacked Deck.” While the title gives the impression of a very positive, upbeat write-up, Leitch comes to this by the end, “Is this what this new plan is leading to? A 78-win season in 2013? That’ll sell some tickets.”  Haha.

SI.com:  Thirteen Sports Illustrated Baseball Experts give their predictions for the 2010 season in their very appropriately named, “2010 MLB Preseason Predictions.” In case you’re wondering, Matusz was named as A.L. ROY on 7 of 13 ballots.

New York Post:  More Tiger details from David K. Li in, “The naked truth on tomcat Tiger.” Apparently we’ll have a long ‘Vanity Fair’ cover story on Tiger’s mistresses coming up very soon.  The Post scoops in for a preview.

Deadspin: Barry Petchesky looks at, “The (other) Least Desireable Gig in College Basketball.” I gave St. John’s a hard time, but it seems they ended up doing decently for themselves with Lavin.  Who does DePaul turn to?

Video of the Day

Who doesn’t love ‘Ridiculous Shots That Don’t Count’ videos?  Here’s Flip Murray’s from last night… pretty incredible.

Tweets of the Day

WNST Comcast Morning Show Producer, Glenn Clark – WNST

GMC: #Ravens vs. #Carolina 8/12 on #ESPN; @ #Skins Aug. 20 or 21; vs. #Giants 8/27 or 8/28; @ #Rams 9/2 in preseason

WNST NFL Correspondent, Chris Pika – WNST

Chris Pika: Former #Maryland hoops player/asst. coach Dave Dickerson is out as #Tulane head coach after 5 seasons, according to media reports.

New York Times College Basketball Columnist, Pete Thamel – PeteThamelNYT

Theme song from Indy: “Its the end of the world as we know it.” Jim Delany (Big Ten Commissioner) tells USA Today that expanded tourney “probable.”

ESPN College Basketball Insider, Andy Katz – ESPNAndyKatz

News conference at Pitt this afternoon to announce coach Jamie Dixon — getting an extension. Not leaving for Oregon as expected.

D1scourse Blogger, Patrick Stevens – D1scourse

So, if Carolina wins tomorrow, will the banner in the Dean Dome read “NIT champion” or “A-10 semifinalist”?

Baltimore Sun National Baseball Writer, Dan Connolley – danconnollysun #Orioles getting clubbed in 5th inn by Red Sox, 9-1. Lester has allowed 2 hits. Maybe both clubs are ready for the season

ESPN NFL Insider, Chris Mortensen – mortreport

Next QB Class: Washington’s Jake Locker, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett could all be top 5 picks in 2011.

ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter – Adam_Schefter

Waiting on Donovan McNabb gives us something to do while we’re waiting on Brett Favre.

Sports Illustrated Soccer Columnist, Grant Wahl – GrantWahl

Wayne Rooney out 2-4 weeks w/ankle sprain. Could impact ManUtd in Prem/CL, but not England for WC. http://bit.ly/9sIbeJ

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My Thoughts On Tim Tebow .....

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My Thoughts On Tim Tebow …..

Posted on 19 March 2010 by Rex Snider

Ahh, I’m gonna vent today. That’s right, I’m using the WNST blogs for an opportunity to get a few things off my chest. Of course, it’s a rather meaningless topic – in the scope of REAL life. Nonetheless, this is the place to rant about it …..

I Wish The NFL Draft Was Held TODAY !!!!

Call me trite or petty, but I’m really starting to begrudge anything related to Tim Tebow. Have you ever seen a player who’s projected to get drafted somewhere between the 2nd and 5th rounds garner so much attention? And, it extends beyond the daily coverage and anecdotal information by ESPN.

Tim Tebow is being followed by TMZ, Deadspin and the New York Post, along with hundreds of additional media entities. The storylines and contrived scenarios are reaching an extraordinary status, in relation to the real American sports landscape. Heck, he gets as much coverage as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – for the same stupid reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Tebow ….. and, I don’t think he’s purposely doing anything to orchestrate the mass amount of media coverage on his daily life. He appears to be a very decent dude, and I’ll imagine he’s a little embarrassed by the attention – like when THOUSANDS of fans attended his pro-day workout, on Wednesday …..
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Have you ever witnessed so much specualtion on WHERE a non-1st round pick will end up? The list of standout college quarterbacks, who didn’t merit high NFL expectations is quite long – Jason White, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Danny Wuerffel, Gino Toretta ….. you get the picture, right?

Think about it, handicapping Tim Tebow’s prospective NFL destination is not too hard, right? He’s not likely to end up with a team that REALLY needs a quarterback. And, he’s definitely not headed to a city where young quarterbacks – with tons of upside are standing under center.

So, while the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, really need a quarterback, I just don’t see them mortgaging a few seasons on a highly potential BUST.

At the same time, teams with young, developing quarterbacks, like the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions are not drafting Tim Tebow. We all know the backup quarterback is the most POPULAR guy in town. And, as much as we love Joe Flacco, if he hits a skid, plenty of knotheads will be screaming for Tebow, if the kid is standing on the sideline.

Baltimore football fans are absolutely not immune to recklessly calling for a certain player to get a shot, regardless of what the team’s experts say. Remember last season?
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EVERYBODY wanted Paul Kruger to play. I took the phone calls ….. he was ELVIS. And, his position isn’t nearly as scrutinized as a quarterback.

A handful of other NFL teams have veteran quarterbacks, with plenty of gas left in the tank. This list includes the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. These teams are all competitive and they’re not going to create a quarterback controversy for the same reasons cited in the paragraph, above.

Thus, we have a handful of prospective suitors remaining …..

Pittsburgh Steelers : Call me CRAZY, but Mike Tomlin attended Tim Tebow’s pro day workout for a reason. And, is there a better way to motivate his talented, but ridiculously immature star quarterback? To date, Ben Roethlisberger has done as he wishes, while laughing at the backup threats in Charlie Batch, Brian St. Pierre and Dennis Dixon. Put a potential talent, such as Tebow on the Steelers sideline and if nothing else, #7 will probably take notice.

Jacksonville Jaguars : What can I say? David Garrard is an enigma, of sorts. He’s not really a future star, but he’s not a substandard quarterback, either. And, God knows the Jags would love to fill some of those ugly turquoise seats. Enter Tim Tebow. Think about it – Gators fans would only have a 60 mile drive, on Sundays. And, they could continue to hang Tebow’s picture next to this guy …..
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Oakland Raiders : They’re an unpredictable mess. I can see them drafting Tebow and further complicating their quarterback situation, while also setting the team back ANOTHER STEP. By the way, can you imagine Tebow in a more ill-fitted uniform than the Raiders?
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Minnesota Vikings : Yes, I can see this happening. If Tebow really is a “raw talent,” he’d probably benefit from standing around and watching Brett Favre for the next 2, 3 or 7 years, right? If he does possess the qualities of an NFL quarterback, Minnesota’s situation offers a good fit – Tebow’s not a threat to Favre, and he’ll likely adapt well to that community.
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Indianapolis Colts & New England Patriots : These could be the best two landing spots for Tim Tebow. The quarterbacks are ENTRENCHED legends. Heck, Peyton Manning could throw 20 straight interceptions, with Tebow holding the clipboard and the Indy fans would’nt clamor for a change. The same applies with Tom Brady, in New England. These two locales definitely offer the best learning environment for Tebow.

Well, that’s the prospective list of destinations. I honestly think Tim Tebow will end up with one of the organizations I’ve mentioned. But, who knows ??? Crazier things have happened …..
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As much as I’m truly ready to see the TEBOW CIRCUS come to a screeching halt, I do hope he doesn’t suffer any embarrassment as the NFL Draft approaches. I’m not certain he should’ve been invited to New York, unless Mr. Goodell has received some strong indication the Florida Gator will be drafted sometime Thursday night.

I distinctly recall seeing Brady Quinn as he waited in that Green Room, alone, during the final stretch of 2007’s 1st round. Regardless of who it is, that situation sucks.

Thus, I’m surprised the NFL invited Tebow – and I’m equally shocked that he accpeted the offer. He seems like a guy who makes good, calculated decisions. It seems like a pretty poor and contrived gesture. In fact, I suspect some sort of fiduciary reason is really at play.

I cannot be more affirming in my wish ….. I’m looking forward to moving beyond the daily Tim Tebow updates. That said, I think he’s an outstanding dude and pretty modest. I just wanna see him earn any future exposure.

And, yes, I hope he proves all the naysayers wrong.

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I Can Save The Pro Bowl .....

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I Can Save The Pro Bowl …..

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Rex Snider

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Question – Name the pro sports league that owns the distinction of hosting the most SIGNIFICANT and INSIGNIFICANT athletic events of the year ….. just a week apart?

Answer – That’s right, it’s the National Football League – proud owners of the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl games …..
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In just nine days, the NFL is rolling out the red carpet and pagentry for the annual unveiling of its crowned jewel. The Super Bowl and it’s week-long events is a celebration likened to the coronation of a King or Queen. It’s more than a big deal …..

Yet, this Sunday – in the same stadium, Roger Goodell and his colleagues will do their best to dab some makeup and lipstick on the “ugly step sister” ….. or better yet, they’re opening the doors to the party nobody wants to attend.

And, it’s featuring a few guys nobody wants to see – because many REAL STARS backed out.

To be honest, this is an inherent problem for the NFL. Although, I’ve gotta dole out some credit; they’re trying to address the situation and improve the overall lure of the Pro Bowl for everyone involved. The league has made tangible changes.

And, the primary hurdle has been cleared by moving the game from a location that’s not exactly “convenient” to reach …..
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Unless you had alot of disposable income, a week’s vacation and nothing better to do ….. OR you lived in Hawaii, the Pro Bowl just wasn’t in the offing in past years, right? Well, the NFL has corrected that problem.

As the football world knows, the game is being played at the site of the Super Bowl, in Miami, just a couple weeks earlier.

Problem solved, right? WRONG. Tickets are selling for as little as 20 bucks on the street, players are still backing out and subsequently, fans just don’t seem to care. It’s also worth mentioning that rules are still tightened and blitzing is not allowed. That matters – if you love the game of football.

I think it’s logical to say the NFL corrected the largest factor contributing to the disconnect between fans and the Pro Bowl. It’s being played on the mainland !!!!

But, the next biggest problem still exists. This guy isn’t attending …..
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This guy’s bosses are BITCHINGLY complaining about him attending …..
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This guy isn’t attending …..
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This guy’s bosses are also complaining about him attending …..
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You get the picture(s), right? It’s gonna be virtually impossible to attract fans and relevant attention to a showcase event, without the showcase quarterbacks participating in one way or another. God bless Vince Young, but football fans aren’t universally interested in dedicating a day to watching him play.

Let me be very clear about this ….. I have no qualms with ANY of the above guys pulling out of the Pro Bowl’s on-field commitments. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have a BIGGER on-field obligation. Tom Brady is beaten and bruised. And, Brett Favre can barely run.

Their bodies have been punished for the last four months. But, are any of them exempt from attending the league’s GIVE BACK weekend? I suppose that’s debatable.

After all, the Pro Bowl is not really billed as being “For The Fans & About The Fans” which contradicts the missions of MLB, NBA and NHL endeavors. To be blunt, I’m not really certain about the appeal or desired result of the game.

However, if the NFL is intent on making it successful, they’ve gotta find an incentive for players to attend (even if they’re not playing), while actually displaying some enthusiasm and devotion to the people who support the game.

An initial consideration will likely regard MONEY. It always does. But, that won’t work – the amounts are likely not significant enough to gain the attention of the biggest stars. They’ve already got plenty of money. So, they’re off doing what they wanna do …..
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A few dollars and a free trip to South Florida (a week earlier than desired) will not inspire these guys to make the journey – if they gotta practice and play football. Sure, some of them will pitch a product on radio row – NEXT WEEK – while working the room at a party or two. But, they’re not breaking a sweat.

Trust me, if the NFL really wants to salvage the Pro Bowl and make it a well publicized, worthwhile occasion, they need to read this blog.

Are you ready? Here goes …..

Upon determining the Super Bowl’s host city, the league needs to award the Pro Bowl to the nearest, neighboring NFL locale. For example, this year’s Pro Bowl would’ve been hosted by Tampa. I’ll agree, the folks in Tampa are accustomed to putting on the ritz for Super Bowl festivities, but they won’t reject the Pro Bowl – and they’re already hosting a HUGE PARTY, this weekend.
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Have you heard of Gasparilla? It’s a “Pirate Themed Spring Break – for Adults.” In fact, it’s very much like Mardi Gras. It’s an awesome time – TRUST ME !!!!
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The fine people of Tampa are already having the BIGGEST PARTY, in Florida, this weekend. The Pro Bowl would’ve been a natural and fun fit for the town. The Gasparilla event is on Saturday and the Pro Bowl could’ve been on Sunday.

Just take a look at where the next three Super Bowls are being played – and where the prospective Pro Bowls could be played …..

Dallas/Houston
Indianapolis/Cincinnati (hey, they picked Indy – they’re stuck with Cincy)
New Orleans/Houston

Having the resounding support of the host municipality would be key and it would really be the only occasion for some cities, like Cincinnati, to ever host such a meaningful event. It could and would work from the local perspectives.

But, how do you get this guy (and his goat) to show up?
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I’ll admit, a bunch of girls running around – scantilly clad in pirate outfits won’t do it. In fact, the Tampa situation is just a convenient one year deal. But, there is a group of people; a FAN BASE that would really put the players in an obligatory, selfless situation.

If the NFL wanted a full stadium and successful Pro Bowl event on their hands, they need to make their ALL STAR game about GIVING BACK to the people who are most deserving of such an event. And, they could coordinate it through one organization …..
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That’s right, regardless of the host city, fill the Pro Bowl Stadium with America’s REAL HEROES. Distribute the tickets to enlisted personnel representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Don’t sell the tickets – give them away. And, just require an accompanying Military ID at the gate.

Think about it ….. how much money is the NFL making on the Pro Bowl gate? It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket for them. And, the potential TV audience will not be tuned in for this Sunday’s game.

However, if the NFL truly GAVE BACK and made the event about these folks, the TV audience could skyrocket …..
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I recognize the NFL has been instrumental in USO causes. In fact, John Harbaugh and a group of head coaches visited the troops, in Iraq, last year. And, if you attend a Ravens game, our military brethren are always recognized and remembered.

But, making the Pro Bowl “THEIR” event, on U.S. mainland soil would be a gigantic public relations win for the NFL – and citizens would care about the energy surrounding the game. It’s not about competition or providing better on-field production. It’s about hosting a game with a greater, selfless purpose.

My suggested format would not render Tom Brady healthy and willing to play in the game. But, I’d bet he wouldn’t blow it off. Neither would Brett Favre. Doing so, would be incredibly damaging to their public images.

They would show up and interact with FANS during pre-game festivities. They would take part in some facet of the game. They would have a REAL REASON to be there. In fact, the reasons OFF-FIELD are just as important as ON-FIELD …..
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Oh, I’m sure one of the players would “dip his toe in the water” when considering the prospect of blowing off the game and resulting celebration. But, I’d sense their agent or PR guy would say, “Tom (Brett), you can’t dig this hole ….. you’ll never climb out of it.”

The NFL’s players would do the right thing.

Heck, maybe guys like Bill Polian would finally SHUT THEIR MOUTHS. The Colts President has been crying and complaining about his Pro Bowl players being obligated to travel to Miami, a little early, because they might “spend too much time on their feet.” Are you serious, Bill?

Have you considered how much time this kid spends on his feet?
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Give me a break.

If the Pro Bowl becomes a celebration of the people who truly deserve a game to call their own, it would become a grand success – REGARDLESS OF WHO IS ON THE FIELD.

Give back, guys. It’s really that simple …..

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tate

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/20/10)

Posted on 20 January 2010 by Jack McManus

9:43-

Chad Reuter is live in Orlando. He is covering the East-West Shrine Game. He states that many of the players in this game have great potential. Reuter discusses some of the wide receivers available. He explains that the underclassmen who declared early have boosted the class of pass-catchers. He calls Golden Tate a possible target for the Ravens in the draft. on the topic of quarterbacks, Reuter explains that after the second round, not much talent will be available. He also believes that Tim Tebow will drafted much higher than many people expect.

tate

9:27-

Dave Steckel of the Capitals is now on with Drew. Steckel scored the game winning goal last night against the Detroit Red Wings. He talks about the leadership Alexander Ovechkin provides as a captain. Next, Steckel talks about maintaining focus during a time where the team is running away with its division. Steckel also discusses the upcoming Olympic break. The players spend much of their time relxing before spending the latter part of the break to get back into shape.

9:10-

Bob in Parkville calls in to talk about the earlier segment on Marvin Harrison. Bob believes that Harrison definitely shot the man in question. He goes on to say that this type of issue is far too common in the NFL. He states that nothing in any other sport compares to this.

8:54-

Lomas Brown, of ESPN is next welcomed in. He begins by talking about the Colts-Jets game coming up this weekend. He is torn on which team he believes will win. As for the NFC Championship Game, Brown thinks the Vikings defense puts the team in a position to win. He states that Brett Favre came back to win a Super Bowl not just reach the NFC Championship. Finally, Brown talks about the CBA bargaining. The owners are asking for the players to assume a large loss in the percent of profits.

8:50-

Merton is the next caller. Drew quickly jumps on Merton’s offer to take the Orioles from Baltimore too. He thinks Indy could turn the team in to a winner just like it did with the Colts. He makes sure to treat us with the Colts fight song before he leaves.

8:46-

Art in Bel Air calls in. He wants to let Drew know he agrees that fans who no longer care for Matt Stover just because he played for Indy are wrong. He doesn’t care what team Stover chose to play for if it was the best situation for him.

8:25-

Head coach of the Towson basketball team, Pat Kennedy is the next guest. Drew lets Kennedy know that whenever he accompanies a local team to Philly they lose. Therefore, Drew will stay away from the city for now. Kennedy admits that the losing hurts his team, but morale is still high. He states that the team is doing well in the paint right now. He is not upset about the team’s level of play despite the fact the team has not met expectations.

8:07-

Jason Fagone of GQ joins Drew to talk about his story on Marvin Harrison. After publishing this story ESPN has revealed that the FBI is restarting investigations on Harrison. Fagone discusses with Drew how Harrison has returned to where he grew up despite his monetary success as a pro football player.

8:01-

Miles from Owings Mills wants to make it clear that most Baltimore fans would welcome Stover back with open arms if he were to return next season.

7:54-

Dan in Fallston is the next caller. He blames Stover for demanding a guaranteed contract from the Ravens when he knew the team did not give them out. Drew emphasizes that Ozzie Newsome made the decision on Stover and the idea of John Harbaugh not wanting Stover is false.

7:43-

Lots of discussion on Matt Stover this morning. Bill in Essex talks about Matt has almost destroyed his legacy in Baltimore by going to play for the Colts. Drew points out that the Stovers are very sensitive to these types of issues becuase of their desire to be a part of the community.

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2009's - "REAL" Sportsman Of The Year .....

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2009’s – “REAL” Sportsman Of The Year …..

Posted on 11 December 2009 by Rex Snider

A couple weeks ago, Sports Illustrated named Derek Jeter it’s “2009 – Sportsman Of The Year” …..

Yeah, it’s just another trophy among a long list of awards handed out every year. And, in truth, the whole SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR concept is primarily tied to Sports Illustrated’s devotion to staying relevant, rather than identifying and honoring the most befitting sports personality.

With no disrespect to Derek Jeter, how did he distinguish himself above any and all personalities, throughout the last twelve months?

He had a good year on the field.

And, he’s a good citizen.

Heck, Derek Jeter is living the dream life of a lot of guys. He evidently has Tiger Woods’ affinity for dating a cache’ of girls. But, Derek isn’t married – and he doesn’t answer to a combustible blonde. Good for him !!!!

He’s single …..

He’s a player – on and off the field …..

I’m envious …..

Actually, I’m not. I love my life and all that’s in it. But, I do respect a bachelor’s incentive to live his life like a playboy. Thus, I would have no problem with naming Derek Jeter “Sports Bachelor Of The Year.”

But, SportsMAN ???

I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve looked at the long list of former sports celebrities who’ve held Sports Illustrated’s prized distinction. Derek Jeter befits their company – and they befit his …..

2007

2006

2005

2004

And, of course, we can’t forget 2008’s decorated selection …..


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I honestly think there are better candidates – and certainly a BETTER CHOICE for “2009’s Sportsman Of The Year”

In early September, Hall Of Famer, Ernie Harwell, disclosed that he was battling incurable cancer. At 91 years old, Harwell has decided not to fight the inevitable, and instead, he’s chosen to enjoy the brief but precious time he has remaining on this earth.

Think about that …..

Ernie Harwell could’ve jetsetted around the world, while seeking radical and experimental treatments. He could’ve spent his remaining time searching for his own remedy, while neglecting the blessed days with his family.

He made an incredibly UNSELFISH decision.

To hear Harwell talk about it, he’s incredibly grateful for the life he was granted. He’s at peace and ready for his life to end – ON HIS TERMS.

In the months following the revelation, Ernie Harwell has been showered with accolades and devotions to his character. He’s handled it with the same class that embodied his career – HUMBLY and MODESTLY.

On September 16th, the Detroit Tigers honored Ernie Harwell, during pre-game festivities. During his speech, Harwell seized the spotlight to do what he’s always done …..

He shined it on the players and fans.

He thanked them for giving him the opportunity to live a dream. He thanked them for letting him SERVE BASEBALL.

Ernie Harwell has never hit a homerun. He’s never stolen a base. And, he’s never thrown a pitch. Indeed, he’s done more for the game of baseball than any All Star could ever do.

He delivered the game to the people who love it. And, he was great …..

We haven’t heard much from Ernie Harwell, since mid-September. Gosh, I hope he’s having a special holiday season, surrounded by family and friends. He truly deserves it.

And, speaking of “deserving” …..

I’m not suggesting Derek Jeter doesn’t deserve Sports Illustrated’s award. He’s a class act.

And, he helps people through charitable endeavors …..

I just think Sports Illustrated missed the mark, in 2009.

Ernie Harwell has given more to the SPORTS COMMUNITY than any active player – in any league.

He’s proof that a SPORTSMAN isn’t required to actually stand on the field. A sportsman supports the sports community, and does it with a humble dedication to sustaining humanity. Nothing more, nothing less …..

I wish WNST had a “Sportsman Of The Year” or “Person Of The Year” award. And, I can’t think of a more fitting choice than Ernie Harwell. He’s always put others first.

Baseball and the world will miss him.

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marshall

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (10/30/09)

Posted on 30 October 2009 by Jack McManus

9:49-

Andy Behrens is on to give his weekly fantasy advice. Make sure you check out Andy’s blog to get his in-depth fantasy analysis and positional rankings.

9:32-

Yet another caller is on and guarantees a Ravens’ win as well. He will sing with Drew on Monday if the team loses. He also signs “Score, Ravens, Score” for us.

9:26-

Another caller states that the Broncos game is a “must win.” This is because of the “can’t win” games on the schedule. He explains that there is no way the Ravens will defeat the Colts this season.

9:23-

A fan calls in to talk about the Orioles’ decision to decline the option on Melvin Mora. He believes the team made the correct decision in this case. He also expresses his concern regarding the Ravens game this weekend. He does not see how the secondary can contain the Broncos’ passing game.

9:10-

Drew guarantees a Ravens win on Sunday. If they lose he will sing the Broncos’ fight song on Monday morning.

8:53-

Broncos sideline reporter Alan Roach is next up to talk about the Ravens-Broncos game. He explains that the Broncos are winning using a simple style of football. Kyle Orton has thrown only one interception this season and it occurred on a Hail Mary pass. The Broncos also have used all of their offseason acquisition, including Mike Nolan to improved the defense. He next talks about how Josh McDaniels has had the perfect start for a rookie head coach. It began with the last second win over the Bengals in Week 1.  Roach next brings up Brandon Marshall who is a big, strong, and physical wide receiver and could present a huge matchup problem for the Ravens secondary.

marshall

8:38-

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is on with Drew. He begins by discussing the rumors about the sale of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It appears that these are just that, rumors. He next talks about the Vikings-Packers game. He states that Brett Favre must keep his emotions in check if the Vikings want to win the game. Florio moves on to how the AFC has many teams with middle-of-the-road records this season. He explains that this is normally the case in the NFC, but not this year. He states that the Ravens have the best chance to break out from this group of teams. Florio next describes Vince Young’s situation. Young has gone down a very odd path. His career was derailed one afternoon and he is finally being given the chance.  

favre 

8:12-

It’s time for Cheap Shots from the Bleachers. Glenn starts off by bring up how Hereford High School was cost the Boys’ Cross Country County Championship because of the stitching on one of the runner’s undergarments. The runner finished in fourth place and his disqualification dropped the Bulls into second behind Towson (my school by the way). Glenn states that the officials should tell the runners that they have uniform violations before the race begins. He goes on to say that regardless of the rule, a student should not have to run the race and then be disqualified. Drew also had planned to take a cheap shot about the same event. He adds on that some schools were told that runners had uniform violations. He explains that common sense would make sure that a team is not penalized if it was not checked prior to the race while other teams were.

7:33-

A caller brings up the idea of Peter Angelos moving the Orioles to another city. He agrees with Drew that if the city was promised a new team in a few years (like the Browns) it would be fine. The caller puts some blame on the politicians of the city for not putting pressure on Angelos to field a quality team.

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lee

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (10/29/09)

Posted on 29 October 2009 by Jack McManus

9:50-

Glenn next talks about the story about Andre Agassi’s new book. He describes his shock in reaction to this news. He has always been a big fan of Agassi and would like to talk with about his book soon.   

9:45-

Glenn gives a report about the Ravens injuries. Tavares Gooden and Ed Reed missed practice yesterday. Gooden had a head injury and Ed Reed was out due to injury. Both players are expected to play on Sunday, but more information should be available today.

9:39-

Sean Salisbury is next up to talk some football. Sean Salisbury isn’t picking up, so we will need to move on.

9:12-

Ryan Fagan, from Sporting News is on to talk with Glenn. Fagan starts off by talking about Cliff Lee’s great performance last night. He states that Lee was in the zone last night, as evidenced by his catch of Johnny Damon’s pop-up. He next talks about how the impact of home-field advantage in the World Series is exaggerated. He says instead winning game one is the most important indicator for who will win the series. He also states that the Yankess need to put last night’s game in the past and forget their struggles against Lee.

lee 

8:55-

Rick calls in. He talks about Drew’s hatred of Philadelphia. He tells Glenn to at least halfway root for the Phillies. He personally will root for the Yankees. He also gives us his rendition of New York, New York.

8:25-

A caller wants to congratulate Cliff Lee on his complete game last night. Glenn talks about pitching is what makes baseball special to watch. Homeruns can be exciting, but they do not provide good baseball. The caller points out how the Orioles would not make a move to acquire a player like Lee. Last night, Lee became the first pitcher in World Series history to not allow an earned run or a walk while striking out at least 10. (Thanks to Chris for this info). 

8:05-

Brian Billick makes his weekly appearance. He talks about his even last night, Billick 101. He explains how he enjoys talking football with the average fan. He agrees with the public’s idea that the Ravens secondary needs improvement. He also talks about the improvement of the Arizona Cardinals and the importance of back-to-back playoff appearances for the long-troubled franchise. Brian next moves on the Packers-Vikings matchup. He believes that the Packers fans will show great respect for Brett Farvewhen he first comes on the field. He also states that the game has a great deal of importance for both teams aside from the attention on Farve. Brian calls the Saints the most complete team in the NFL. Brian next speaks on the lack of parity in the league this year. The difference between the good teams and the bad teams is vast.

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Chalktalk 101: The Intricacies of the Quarterback Position

Posted on 22 October 2009 by Brian Billick

Here’s another great question from the fans at Mother’s Grille in Federal Hill regarding some of the things people may not necessarily realize about the quarterback position.  While you fans may not want to hear it right now after last Sunday,  I do have a good Brett Favre story for you in there as well.

Hope you join us on Oct. 28th as I’ll be back down at Mother’s for more Coors Light, questions, chalktalk and football discussion.

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The LACES WERE IN!!!!

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Vikings 33 Ravens 31 (The HAUSCHKA FAIL Game)

Posted on 19 October 2009 by Derek Arnold

Go HERE for the full effect of this post.

Fairly or not, when Ravens fans look back on yesterday’s game (and it will be one that we will remember for a LONG time), it will be Steve Hauschka who many remember as the goat.

The LACES WERE IN!!!!

Not the vaunted Ravens defense, who, suddenly awful, gave up 426 yards, 167 of those on the ground, and over 20 points AGAIN. The defense is giving up a woeful 21.7 points per game, and if you take out the Week 3 game against Cleveland High School, that number shoots to 25.4 ppg against “real” NFL teams. This is a full 10 POINT PER GAME increase over what 2008’s defense managed, with very similar personnel.

I’m not going to sit here and burn the 2nd-year kicker in effigy. Yes, it was a very make-able kick – 44 yards in perfect (indoor) conditions. Yes, had he made it, all the negatives that we saw from our purple and black during the previous 59 minutes and 58 seconds would have been seemingly washed away. And yes, going into the bye week at 4-2, in a virtual tie for the division lead, would be much more desirable than where we currently sit, riding a 3 game losing streak and a full game plus behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North.

But it was a game in which the Ravens’ defensive deficiencies, both on the ground and in the air, were on full display for the entire NFL to see, and any team that is worth their salt will be able to exploit this Ravens defense as it is currently constructed. Adrian Peterson started things off ominously, gaining 26 yards on his first touch. For the day he managed 143 yards on 22 carries, a video-game like average of 6.5 yards per rush, and the Ravens were unable to pry the ball from his hands even once, despite his well-documented fumbling issues.

And even when AD sputtered (basically throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarters), Old Man Brett (Favre) was able to torch the Ravens in the passing game. Favre was 21/29 for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns, his favorite target being Sidney Rice, who pulled in 6 for 176. When the Ravens were able to pressure Favre, he was rendered ineffective; however, those instances were far too few and far between to make much of a difference. Greg Mattison’s vanilla 4-3 defensive schemes are simply not getting the job done with the personnel he has at his disposal. Let’s hope he fully realizes and accepts that fact, and adjusts accordingly over the next 12 days.

The book on beating the Ravens has become painfully obvious for all to see. At this point, teams are likely to be calling the likes of Clarence Moore to sign for one game when they see B’More on their schedules. I kid, but barely – the aforementioned Rice stands 6’4″, and was yet another example of the intricate offensive scheming it takes to beat the Ravens: “send your tallest receiver deep.”

Yesterday, it was Frank Walker who was picked on during Minnesota’s final drive. However, Walker was only in the game because Fabian Washington had already been benched for his terrible play against Minnesota receivers up to that point. A huge disappointment, considering Fabe had started to step it up a bit since being named our “did not play like a Raven” in Week 2 against San Diego. On the other side, Dominique Foxworth had a slightly better game. His open field tackle of FB Naufahu Tahi stands out, but he whiffed on at least one other. And who’s to say that his “decent” game was nothing more than a function of Washington’s ineptitude?

The safeties were no better. Dawan Landry seems but a shell of the player he was prior to his spinal cord concussion last season. On Favre’s second touchdown pass to TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Landry looked like the most confused person in the building, as he stood with his back to the line of scrimmage watching Shiancoe run his route uncovered. And, on the decisive 58-yard pass to Rice that set the Vikings up for the go-ahead FG late in the game, there was no safety to be seen. John Harbaugh said after the game that there was “supposed” to be help for Walker over the top, but “the safety” bit on an underneath route. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here assuming “the safety” wears #20. Skirting our responsibilities to freelance again, Ed? How many times does that have to bite you in the rear this season for you to realize that maybe, just maybe, you should stay in position?

Perhaps the most infuriating part of the defensive “effort” was that it managed to overshadow a Ravens offense that nearly pulled off an extremely improbable comeback. Despite scoring only 10 points over the game’s first 52 minutes, Joe Flacco had himself in prime position to out-comeback Favre the comeback king, leading the Ravens to 21 points in the game’s final 8 minutes. Those three touchdowns came on consecutive drives of 7, 3, and 1 plays, and the final (kick missing) drive was a beautiful 9 play succession that covered 41 yards and bled all but two seconds off the clock to set up what (would’ve, could’ve, should’ve) been the game winner.

Flacco finished the day with a career-high 385 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no turnovers. It was a good enough effort from Joe Cool to win. His defense just let him down, time and time again.

Of course, he had help. Ray Rice was absolutely outstanding in the loss, and is quickly becoming an NFL star. He led the Ravens in rushing (10-77-2) and receiving (10-117-0). His 33-yard scamper with 3:44 to go gave the Ravens their first and only lead of the game. If I had one criticism of Rice for the game, it would be that he did not do all he humanly could to get the ball to the middle of the field on his final carry, which COULD have helped Hauschka a bit.

Even though it’s never a good sign when a RB leads your team in receiving, the Ravens’ wideouts were far from invisible. Both Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason caught touchdowns, Todd Heap and Kelley Washington each had 3 receptions, and there was even a Demetrius Williams sighting, who caught his first pass of 2009 for 17 yards and a critical 3rd down conversion early in the comeback.

Sure, we had hoped to see Cam Cameron’s offense get back to the things they did last year, running the ball and controlling the clock, but an early 14-point deficit combined with terrible field position due to special teams ineptitude conspired to work against that plan of attack. Cameron looked like he had every intention of establishing the run, but in the end was forced to air it out to try to overcome the Vikes’ big lead.

The optimist will look at the Ravens’ last 3 games, each decided in the waning seconds, and say that they are, realistically, 3 plays from being 6-0. However, the harsh reality is this: over those 3 games, not once did the Ravens manage to put together 60 solid minutes of football on both sides of the ball, and THAT is the reason that those games came down to the wire like they did.

The Ravens, both coaches and players, need to do some soul searching during this much-needed bye week, and find those 60 minutes of football. If they do, then the playoffs are still very much within grasp, with games remaining against Pittsburgh (2), Cincy, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Oakland, and Denver in the AFC, along with winnable inter-conference matches with Detroit, Chicago, and Green Bay. But if they can’t, for instance, figure out a way to mask the gaping holes in the secondary, then a once promising season may be on its way down the proverbial toilet.

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Ravens-Vikings

Posted on 16 October 2009 by Chris Pika

Two weeks, two late losses for the Ravens to drop them to 3-2. It does not get any easier for Baltimore as they travel to the 5-0 Vikings on Sunday.

Minnesota has gotten its legs under them after QB Brett Favre’s signing very late in training camp. The Vikings, despite Favre’s strong passing in the revenge game against Green Bay two weeks ago, are still primarily built to run the ball first. But as the Packers’ game proved, if you stuff the box with seven or eight men trying to stop RB Adrian Peterson, the Vikings’ speedy receivers will make you pay downfield.

A lot of national media are calling this one for the Ravens, and the Vegas oddsmakers give the Vikings just the customary home-field number of 3 points, which means they see it going either way.

(By the way, we’ll discuss this game and every other result in Week 6 in the Sunday Night Purple Haze on WNST.net. We had well over 250 folks last Sunday — join WNST hosts and analysts at 7 pm until halftime of the Bears-Falcons game. Click here for more info: http://wnst.net/wordpress/section/live-chat/ Look forward to seeing you there.)

The problems that the Ravens defense has had over the course of the season are well-documented. No push on the quarterback by the defensive line means time to find receivers against a secondary that has struggled at times. Runners who can get to the outside or cut back slash for big yards. Penalties (including the $25k hit by Ray Lewis) have been costly in both losses.

The decision the Ravens (and every Minnesota opponent) will make is: Which player we choose to stop is the most crucial to the Vikings’ success? The answer for the Ravens is Peterson. Stronger and quicker than Cedric Benson, Peterson is a nightmare for defenses because of his explosive gains. Defending Peterson is like defending the Wildcat formation. Stay in lanes and don’t freelance. When run coverage breaks down, Peterson is at his best in finding gaps.

He hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since the opener, so he’s due to see the ball a lot in this one. The Vikings like to run to the left side, and not so much up the middle (into the Ravens’ strength).

Baltimore’s defense has to slow Peterson down as much as possible to put the ball in the hands of Favre to win. Ed Reed is a veteran who has proven, especially against Cincy, that he still has radar to get to a poorly-thrown pass. Favre isn’t perfect, but has been effective because he’s had time. He has been interception-prone, but not as much so far this season (only two in 149 attempts).

Farve has found six different receivers for 10 or more catches this season, led by RB Chester Taylor out of the backfield (21 rec., 187 yds.). Favre has thrown 65 passes short right, eighth-most in the league. The veteran QB has only tried 28 deep passes (15+ yards) downfield. His bread-and-butter is finding receivers in the soft zone between the linemen geared to stop the run and the defensive backs.

Baltimore’s defensive line must not allow Favre to get set in the pocket, but also guard against play-action runs against agressive pass-rushing. Favre has only been hit 24 times and sacked 11 times. The Ravens’ D has 19 QB hits and 11 sacks.

Offensively, Ravens QB Joe Flacco completed 71 percent of his passes against Cincy, but averaged just six yards per attempt and was intercepted twice. Ball control and a strong run game will help those averages come up. Control the line of scrimmage, win the game. C Matt Birk knows how loud the Metrodome can be when the opponents have the ball. The only advantage the offense has in a situation like is the snap count, audible or (in this case) silent.

The Ravens have to take their chances against the Vikings’ “Williams Wall.” If the offensive line can push open holes, RBs Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, and maybe even Le’Ron McClain can get big yards and keep some pressure off Flacco.

Ultimately, the Vikings will dare Flacco to throw when he is not being harassed by the interior linemen. The Ravens have to try to play-action and stretch the defense at times to slow down the run-stuffing Minnesota D.

PREDICTION: You’ll see the same gameplan from both defenses: Stop the run, and make the quarterback throw to win. The Vikings receiving corps is better against a Ravens’ secondary that has struggled because of pash-rush problems. The more Favre gets knocked down, the better chance the Ravens have of winning, but I see Minnesota holding down Flacco’s production and getting Peterson loose. The Ravens will cut down on penalties, but they have to play catch-up through the air in the second half, and it won’t be enough. Minnesota 23, Baltimore 17.

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