Tag Archive | "Brian Billick"

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This past week has sucked, but Ravens will be great again in ’12

Posted on 29 January 2012 by Peter Dilutis

 

What an incredibly awful week!

I still cannot really believe what I witnessed in Foxborough a week ago today. Perhaps the most intense football game that I’ve witnessed in person throughout my relatively young life ended in extreme disappointment.

There was so much on the line for everyone.

The fans, who have now spent four consecutive years loading up on purple gear, spending big money on tickets, trips, hotels, etc in anticipation of another Super Bowl run.

The players, who I’ve gotten to know a bit over the past couple of years, who spend 365 days a year preparing for the final moments of a game like that.

The coaches, executives, team employees, trainers…this has sucked for everyone. There’s no way around it.

Personally, I’ve had so many thoughts over the past week but I’ve just had no desire to write about them. It is absolutely sickening that what we all wanted so badly was right in their grasp, literally, and we let it get away.

As bad as it was for all of us (imagine how much we at WNST had on the line regarding promotions, Super Bowl trips, etc), and as much time as some of us have needed to get over the loss, we cannot let the heartbreak that we all feel cloud our perspective.

Yes, it is incredibly hard for a team to get back to where the Ravens just were. There are no guarantees in sports. However, the Baltimore Ravens have built their organization up to where annual contention is not a goal but an expectation.

When Steve Bisciotti fired Brian Billick after the 2007 season, he talked about wanting to avoid the valleys that the team endured under Billick. Billick had tremendous success in Baltimore. He brought back a winning culture to Baltimore and that culture has carried over into this era of Ravens football.

However, there were some years under Billick, specifically 2005 and 2007, when the Ravens were basically out of contention by the second half of the season. Much of that had to do with not having a legitimate quarterback, but the bottom line is that under Billick, the Ravens, at times, underachieved.

That has not happened with John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco at the helm. The Baltimore Ravens have transformed into an elite franchise in the NFL. Period.

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The 15-7-0 is Italian. It’s Pronounced FRA-GEE-LAY.

Posted on 26 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

15 Positive Observations…

1. Jerome Simpson is HOLY CRAP THAT TOUCHDOWN WAS SO AMAZING I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FINISH THIS SENTENCE.

The ESPY Awards are an annual event put on by ESPN that you’ve never watched from start to finish despite the fact that the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” promotes them for about 6 months.

And since you likely won’t be watching next July, I’ll prevent the suspense. Jerome Simpson’s TD catch for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday wins SOMETHING.

As our own Brian Billick said on FOX, “you don’t get style points in the NFL but that oughtta be worth eight.”

Or more.

Oh, and don’t look now but Cincy is playing great football just before they welcome the Ravens to Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday with the fate of the AFC North hanging in the balance. I don’t want to talk about that right now though. Perhaps never.

2. You just can’t help but be thrilled for Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions.

As someone who roots for a baseball team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1997, I know a thing or two about what it must have felt like for fans in the Music City to watch their team clinch a Wild Card spot in the final moments of their win over the San Diego Chargers Saturday night…

The Bolts were finally eliminated from the playoffs, which you would assume will lead to Norv Turner’s firing. They may or may not have already interviewed Bill Cowher for Turner’s job, and Jon Gruden may or may not be next.

In the meantime, if you’re going to lose at least do it with amazing hair like SD DE Antonio Garay…

3. Kellen Moore and Boise State deserved much better than blowing out an Arizona State team that didn’t bother to try before Christmas in Las Vegas.

It was the final win of a record-setting career for the Broncos quarterback, it was just really unfortunate it happened in this venue instead of in a BCS bowl, as America would have enjoyed watching them play a team that actually gave a s**t…

The win came as rumors swirled that Penn State was interested in hiring BSU coach Chris Petersen. In a related story, I am interested in being hired by Saturday Night Live.

Petersen obviously is not interested in replacing Joe Paterno in State College. And if you were living as large as this dude is, why would you take ANY job?

4. Cam Newton totally Cam Newton’ed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Saturday.

In the Carolina Panthers’ win over the Bucs Saturday, Newton broke National Football League records for rookie passing yards (Peyton Manning) and quarterback rushing touchdowns (Steve Grogan). He did it in pretty spectacular fashion…

Things couldn’t be worse for the Bucs. Head coach Raheem Morris apparently “sent home” DE Brian Price after getting a 15 yard personal foul call and the team’s freefall continued on toward what looks more and more likely to be Morris’ ultimate firing.

I kinda feel bad for them. Perhaps I should offer some of my mom (the great Karen Clark)’s holiday stuffed shells…

Kick rocks, ham.

5. I don’t know if David Akers’ record for the most field goals in a single season should be considered “significant”, but he owns it either way.

Akers broke the record with FIVE field goals in the San Francisco 49ers’ win over the Seattle Seahawks, moving the Niners a step closer to clinching the Number 2 seed in the NFC.

The Seahawks’ slim postseason hopes may have disappeared, but Marshawn Lynch HAS THE GREATEST PAIR OF KICKS I HAVE EVER SEEN…

Perhaps Foster the People has a follow up ready?

But as amazing as they are, perhaps Under Armour & Brandon Jennings did one better with their “Rudolph” inspired kicks…

Okay…synthetic fur? I HAVE to get back into the shoe game.

6. You might have survived the insanity to get the Air Jordan XI Concords, but USC fans still got a better Christmas gift than you.

Matt Barkley returning to Southern California is confusing because we know he would have been a potential Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft, but we also know what could be ahead. Heisman Trophy, Pac 12 & BCS Championship hopes and bevies of hot chicks.

I mean, the guy can play Jason Mraz on the guitar. He must be dodging panties every day he walks around Los Angeles. Tough life there…

Of course, he’s also been filmed doing this…

7. I’ll ask for the 8th time. Can everyone please stop telling me about the New England Patriots’ defense?

With the Pats trailing the Miami Dolphins 17-0 at halftime Saturday, Facebook and Twitter were alive in Charm City with hopes of the Ravens still having a shot at the #1 seed in the AFC.

I however looked at my executive producer Ryan Chell and said “when Tom Brady decides to start playing I think they’ll be fine.”

They were. The Pats charged back from the halftime deficit to beat the Fins and are now a win away from clinching the #1 seed in the AFC. Apparently none of that is enough for owner Robert Kraft to get a high five…

Also, this looks like a good holiday film/way to make sure you don’t struggle in the red zone…

Of note for Miami, Reggie Bush remarkably ran for 100+ yards AGAIN in the defeat and we learned this weekend his mom does not want him to get back together with Kim Kardashian. That’s fine, I think Catalina Otalvaro would be a better catch anyway…

(Continued on Page 2)

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Flacco sacked SD

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Ravens Not Ready For Show

Posted on 20 December 2011 by Tom Federline

As of this date, the Baltimore Ravens are NOT an elite NFL team ready to make a run for the Super Bowl. Here are my picks for the best teams in the league at the moment: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. And the latter may not even make it into the playoffs with even a wild card shot. Did you here Chris Colinsworth prior to the game Sunday night? “If the Ravens take care of business and beat the Chargers we will see them in Indy.”  Well Christopher, even though you seem to have a handle on the Ravens more than 95% of the rest your challenged sports announcing peers – Newsflash – The Ravens need a few lessons on how to take care of business and they will not find it from their coaches.

Which team was embarrassed more this past Sunday? Tennesse Titans (loss to Indy Irsays)? GB Packers (loss to Chiefs)? NY Giants (loss to Redskins)?  Or the Ravens (thumping by SD Chargers)? Carzy week in the NFL, huh gang? I have to go with Ravens. Another prime time loss, a potential statement maker for a playoff run, thwarted by another “chump”  performance instead of “champ” performance. I sound like a broken record and it pains me to say it again…….The Ravens have the talent, they do NOT have the coaches.

Can we trade John Horribaugh for his brother Jim Harbaugh? Can we just switch them and hope nobody notices? After last nights outcome, who would get the better Christmas present from Ravens fans? In my book, we saw the Coach of the Year, after last nights gift. You go JIM Harbaugh. You have been entered into my “Old School – Coaches Hall of Fame”. Love your passion and you are doing well with Mike Singletarys team. Speaking of last night, what was Rapelsberger doing in that game? Thank you Mike Tomlin. Keep playing him! The Ravens fans may receive two Christmas gifts even before that day gets here. Steelers keep pace with Ravens with loss to 49ers and the Squeelers lose Rothlesbergers for playoffs. Even though, with wht I believe was a stupid move last night Mike Tomlin, would you come coach the Ravens? Must fire Camera Cameron though. Probably your first move anyway. You are a leader.

The Ravens are not ready. Only way they are making it, is if Camera and Horribaugh get out of their way. Let Ray Ray coach the Defense and let Flacco/Birk/Boldin run the offense. Let Them Play –  the kids are alright – they have the talent. Flacco can run that offense! I only saw three positive moments Sunday night: 1. Ray Jr. 21 yard first play scamper. 2. Boldin 34 yard 3rd down conversion same first drive. 3. Anquan Boldin wearing an Orioles ball cap during introductions. To many negatives to mention. Have the Ravens lost their place kicker? Right there, is another major pothole on road to Indy. Yes, there are two more games left. Should they win those two? You’re darn right. Will they win those two? No idea. Are they champs or chumps? We have seen both.

They are better than “chumps”. I believe that they know that. For those that know me, brace yourself for this one………Hey Bisciotti – get Brian Billick back here for a motivational speech! Are you still paying  him? Let Ray Ray run the show – we all know his philosophy and motivational skills – “I’ll Take You There” (Staple Singers). I think I may need to go out and get some purple kool-aid. Because right now – I see two more losses – one at Cincy and the other if they get the Squeelers for a third time. 

A story is in the making for a Baltimore Super Bowl in Indianapolis. That is almost to good to be true. It would make for a nice sports filled January and February. But right now, the Ravens need an identity and they need it quick. Where’s the purple juice? How about Purple Gatorade? I like the grape Gatorade. How about grape soda? Remember Grape Nehi’s? Man, they were good. Start serving it out at the Palace. Oh and for good measure, crank the Staple Singers.

Merry Christmas gang. Breathe deep. Hug those that are close with passion.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Brian Billick believes Ravens benefit from post-Thanksgiving rest

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Brian Billick

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Brian Billick says Ravens had to pass the ball Sunday vs Seahawks

Posted on 17 November 2011 by Ryan Chell

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My Ravens v. Steelers “Top 10 Most Memorable”

Posted on 06 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

I’m simply calling this my “Top 10 Most Memorable.” Not my “Top Ten Most Memorable Games” or my “Top Ten Most Memorable Moments”, just my “Top 10 Most Memorable” in the history of the Baltimore Ravens/Pittsburgh Steelers Rivalry…

10. Jamal2K (December 28, 2003-Ravens 13, Steelers 10 OT)

jamal

The game didn’t really end up meaning anything for either team, as the Ravens clinched the division earlier in the day with a Cincinnati Bengals loss. That said, the atmosphere remained electric for the Sunday Night Football matchup as Brian Billick stuck with his starters. RB Jamal Lewis fell short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record (live shots of Dickerson from ESPN during the broadcast actually added to the excitement), but he DID surpass the 2,000 yard mark and the Ravens claimed victory of their AFC North foe.

9. Ravens won’t defend (January 20, 2002 Steelers 27, Ravens 10)

2022

Despite an up and down 2001 season, there was still a feeling that once the Baltimore Ravens reached the playoffs, they’d somehow figure out a way to defend their Super Bowl XXXV crown. Kordell Stewart and Amos Zereoue did little against the Ravens defense, but three Elvis Grbac picks ensured the Ravens’ title hopes would be dashed at Heinz Field.

8. Flacco’s coming out party (September 29, 2008 Steelers 23, Ravens 20 OT)

After a surprising quick start to the 2008 season with first year head coach John Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens entered their Monday Night Football showdown in the Steel City undefeated. They took a quick lead in the game, but some mistakes allowed the Steelers back into the game. The game would ultimately be won by the Steelers in overtime, but Ravens fans who made the trip felt good about the hopes for the coach and QB moving forward in the series.

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Harbaugh’s history calms my fear of Titans

Posted on 17 September 2011 by Peter Dilutis

I have three favorite coaches throughout the sports world: Phil Jackson, Gary Williams, and Brian Billick.

I loved Brian Billick. I love the swagger that he brought to the city of Baltimore. He was the perfect coach for the veteran team that he took to Super Bowl XXXV.

Brian was great with the media. He wasn’t afraid to stick up for his players. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him.

In short, Brian was the man.

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But even the best coaches have their faults, and Brian had his. There are several games under Billick’s leadership that the Ravens had no business losing but lost.

KC in 2004. Cincinnati in 2004.  Tennessee in 2005. Detroit in 2005. Carolina in 2006. Buffalo in 2007.

One thing about current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is that this guy does not let his team lose games that they shouldn’t lose. The only game that comes to mind that a Harbaugh coached Ravens team has lost when they shouldn’t have was week two at Cincinnati last season. And even then, Joe Flacco threw four interceptions, and it was the home opener of a division rival. Not an easy challenge, especially when the Ravens historically struggle against Cincinnati and their cover 2 defense.

In all other cases, Harbs has had his team ready to play from the start, and they have brought intensity and focus week in and week out, home or road.

Harbaugh has a strategy of racking up win after win after win. He’s told his team this week that the win against Pittsburgh means nothing if they back it up with a loss at Tennessee. Harbaugh sets a win goal for his team, and stresses to them that a win at Tennessee means just as much as a win against Pittsburgh or the Colts.

That’s why, as a Ravens fan, I’m not too worried about the game on Sunday.

Normally I would be. In most cases, I’d tell myself that the Ravens are going to play a team with a very experienced and winning quarterback, a very good WR, and one of the top RB’s in football, on the road in their home opener. It is also Mike Munchak’s first home game as head coach of the Titans.

Often times, magical things happen for teams in their home openers. The Titans aren’t complete turds. They have some good players and a solid foundation.

If Brian Billick was still the coach, I’d be a little more concerned about this game. I really would. And again, that is less of a knock on Brian and more of a complement to John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh can be difficult at times. He often makes decisions that confuse us.

But one thing is for sure…

John Harbaugh wins the games that he’s supposed to win.

End of story.

I expect history to repeat itself on Sunday.

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“The Reality Check” Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 14 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Power Rankings…

32. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 25)

They lost to the Jags. They can’t be any good.

31. Cleveland Browns (LW: 26)

Just having a respected GM doesn’t make you a team “moving in the right direction.” See Orioles & Andy MacPhail.

30. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 23)

They lost to the Niners. They have no quarterback. Why did Sidney Rice and Zach Miller go here?

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 30)

I know they won. I just don’t really buy into the idea that they can keep winning with Luke McCown.

28. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 22)

It MIGHT just be over for Donovan McNabb. If so, the Vikes are done.

27. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 31)

The Niners DID win, but they beat the Seahawks-who I don’t think much of. Brian Billick thinks the NFC West is a “sh*tty” division. I agree with him.

26. Denver Broncos (LW: 20)

Fans in Miami were clamoring for Kyle Orton. My question…”why?”

25. Miami Dolphins (LW: 21)

Things are so bad at running back for the Fins they brought in Brian Westbrook for a tryout. Not good.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 27)

They can’t be the worst team in the NFL. They have a decent (to solid) defense. The Andy Dalton/Bruce Gradkowski train at QB will make sure they don’t win many games though.

23. Carolina Panthers (LW: 29)

Yes, the Panthers lost and I moved them up six spots. QB was their biggest issue. Cam Newton appears to have addressed that. They’ll win a few games this season, but the NFC South is still too much.

22. St. Louis Rams (LW: 17)

The injuries are going to hurt them, but probably won’t kill them in that division.

21. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 16)

I’ve tried telling you this team is fraudulent. My gut tells me they’re more of a lower third level team in the NFL.

20. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 11)

Rumor has it the governor of Indiana is trying to figure out how to declare a state of emergency related to the quarterback position.

19. Washington Redskins (LW: 28)

I’m not buying into Rex Grossman AT ALL, but it was a good win for the Skins. We’ll see if they get many more.

18. New York Giants (LW: 13)

I didn’t like the Giants a whole lot before Sunday. Sunday didn’t help.

17. Oakland Raiders (LW: 32)

I’m going to regret moving them this far up, I just know it.

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A tale of two tackles: Ravens no stranger to adding veterans late in preseason

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A tale of two tackles: Ravens no stranger to adding veterans late in preseason

Posted on 23 August 2011 by Luke Jones

You can finally exhale with the Ravens’ major question at right tackle now answered with the addition of veteran Bryant McKinnie, right?

Let’s take a step back toward reality.

If the 31-year-old McKinnie’s conditioning and questionable character weren’t enough, the Ravens can look no further than their own history of bringing in veterans late in the preseason to strengthen the right tackle position. Unsurprisingly, the results are mixed.

In John Harbaugh’s first season in Baltimore, the Ravens were looking for help at tackle with Jared Gaither and Adam Terry slated to start in Joe Flacco’s rookie season. Only days after veteran Willie Anderson was released after 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore signed the 33-year-old to a three-year contract.

The Ravens often used max protection and Terry as a blocking tight end on Anderson’s side, but the veteran stabilized the right tackle position by playing in 14 games, starting 11 of them. As a result, Flacco was better protected, and the Ravens exceeded everyone’s expectations with an 11-5 record and an appearance in the AFC championship game.

Anderson retired after the 2008 season, but his contributions and veteran leadership were crucial for a young offensive line that was able to open lanes for the three-headed running attack of Le’Ron McClain, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee. Anderson received the icing on the cake with the Ravens twice defeating the team that kicked him to the curb prior to the start of the season.

While the Ravens reaped the fruits of Anderson’s final season in the NFL, they struck out trying to harvest one more season from former Cowboys tackle Erik Williams in 2001.

After prize free agent Leon Searcy was lost for the season with a torn triceps early in training camp, the defending Super Bowl champions found a huge void on the right side and hoped the four-time Pro Bowl tackle could step in as the starter when the Ravens signed him to a one-year deal at the end of August. Williams had started all 16 games for Dallas in 2000 and appeared to be a far more attractive option than unproven tackles Sammy Williams and Kipp Vickers.

Despite coach Brian Billick’s optimism that Williams would be ready to assume starting right tackle duties by the third or fourth week of the season, it was apparent right away the 33-year-old was a shell of the tackle who had once opened truck-sized holes for Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith to run through in Dallas’ three Super Bowl victories in the 1990s.

Williams never made a start, playing in only five games while the Ravens eventually settled on Vickers to assume the position, though not with the prettiest results in a 10-6 season.

McKinnie — who will turn 32 next month — is younger than both Anderson and Williams were when they were signed, but he comes with far more baggage than Anderson and arguably more than Williams, who was no stranger to run-ins with the law during his playing career.

The Ravens are taking a modest risk in offering the former Viking tackle a second chance, but McKinnie will have to be fully committed to make it successful. And considering how little he apparently worked during the 134-day lockout, that commitment is far from guaranteed.

Whether McKinnie’s time in Baltimore winds up more like Anderson’s success or Williams’ whimpering exit remains to be seen, but the arrival of “Mount McKinnie” definitely adds spice to the current right tackle equation.

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On This 4th of July, I’m Grateful For WNST’s “Independence”

Posted on 03 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know a thing or two about format flips.

I remember exactly where I was sitting in January 2005 when I heard the final bars of “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley (one of the greatest songs in music history) before hearing the following come from my radio…

“WHFS. Annapolis. Washington DC.” It was immediately followed by a lot of Spanish, but I think I remember the words “Siempre de Fiesta” and “Noventa-nueve punto uno eff eme.”

It was followed by some sort of latin song that if I knew I would curse it to this day.

21 years old at the time, I can honest to God say that the day 99.1 WHFS became 99.1 El Zol was one of the saddest days of my life. It honestly felt like losing a friend.

In my teenage years, I camped outside of Harford Mall, White Marsh Mall and even on York Road in Towson to get HFStival tickets. I tuned in late at night to hear Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky (one of the greatest teams in broadcast history) sign off Loveline at 1am with Adam’s trademark Hawaiian “Maholo.” (I found out at an older age “maholo” actually meant “thank you”, not “goodbye.” I will admit that I am still confused as to why he used it.) I stayed tuned in to hear if at 1:05 Neci would play my favorite songs from Everclear, Stone Temple Pilots, Beck or Pearl Jam.

Hell, I even called and emailed Neci repeatedly hoping she would play the Candyskins’ version of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. I really did. There was nothing cooler to me in my life than when I became friends with Neci on MySpace. It was hard for me to admit that to her after we started working together.

It was my dream as a teenager to be a WHFS disc jockey. I ultimately got the chance to live that dream, but I still swear to God I shed a tear the moment I realized the latin sounds from my radio meant 99.1 WHFS was gone forever.

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