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Ravens-Buccaneers “Purple Haze” Live Chat 4pm Today!

Posted on 28 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) will face a third straight NFC South opponent in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3). Today’s game will air on FOX (WBFF 45 in Charm City) with Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan on the call. We will be chatting during the game in our “Purple Haze” live chat, which you can join HERE.

Here are the inactives for today’s game:

DE Kyle Moore (shoulder)
QB Rudy Carpenter (3rd QB)
FB Erik Lorig
CB Elbert Mack
OT Derek Hardman
DT Frank Okam
OT Will Barker
WR Preston Parker

DE Tim Crowder will start for Moore.


DT Lamar Divens
DT Brandon McKinney
TE Ed Dickson
WR Marcus Smith
LB Dannell Ellerbe
CB Fabian Washington
S Tom Zbikowski (foot)
OL Chris Chester (illness)

OL Tony Moll will start for Chester at RG.

The Ravens are in black tops and white pants today. The Bucs are in white tops and silver pants.
Carl Cheffers’ crew will officiate today’s game.

Come chat with us!


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Live From Owings Mills: Redding, Zbikowski, Chester, Dickson all QUESTIONABLE Sunday

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (7-3) held their final open practice of the week Friday before Sunday’s showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.

DE Cory Redding (arm) returned to the practice field Friday, he had missed both Wednesday and Thursday. His return makes him a more likely candidate to play Sunday when the Ravens face the Bucs. Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team would “see on Sunday” on Redding’s elbow felt to make a final determination.

Redding said Friday he “felt good” in practice, adding “I’m making progress to Sunday.” Redding would not commit to being available for Sunday’s game, but said he had “pushed (DT) Haloti (Ngata) around” in practice, which he felt was a good gauge about how much strength he has in his arm.

Should Redding not be able to start or play Sunday, DE Paul Kruger would be a likely candidate to start in his place. Redding was listed as questionable on Friday’s final injury report.

OL Chris Chester (illness) was the only Ravens player missing from the practice field Friday, he is also questionable for Sunday’s game. Harbaugh reiterated Friday that Chester could play without practicing this week, Chester admitted he felt “more than capable” of being able to play.

S Tom Zbikowski practiced again Friday, he is also questionable but expected to be available Sunday for the first time since suffering a foot injury in the team’s Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Neither Harbaugh nor Zbikowski would confirm Zbikowski’s availability Sunday. Zbikowski admitted his foot was “not 100%”, but also claimed “I’m dying to get back out there.”

Zbikowski said his apprehension was not because he was feeling much pain.

“(It’s) not too bad” said the third year safety out of Notre Dame. “Mentally I’ve still got a little fear.”

TE Ed Dickson (thigh) was also listed as questionable for Sunday, S Ed Reed (illness) was listed as probable after saying Friday he felt “much better.”

For the Bucs, DE Kyle Moore (shoulder) has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Four other players were listed as probable for Sunday-LB Quincy Black (ankle), WR Sammie Stroughter (foot), OT Jeremey Trueblood (knee) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee).

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Redding, Chester, Zbikowski, Kruger, Reed and WR TJ Houshmandzadeh following Friday’s practice NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OL Bryan Mattison joined Drew Forrester Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that conversation is available in the Audio Vault as well……Weather.com/The Weather Channel predicts 48 degrees and sunny in Charm City for Sunday’s game……Carl Cheffers’ crew will officiate Sunday’s game……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Saturday morning in advance of Sunday’s game. Saturday’s walkthrough will be closed to the media


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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Hoping to Take Advantage of Buccaneers’ Youth

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (7-3) returned to work at 1 Winning Drive Wednesday, continuing preparations for Sunday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Buccaneers have skill players who are all relatively young in their NFL careers. QB Josh Freeman (22) is in his 2nd NFL season, RB Lagarrette Blount (23) is a rookie, WR Mike Williams (23) is a rookie, WR Sammie Stroughter (24) is in his 2nd season and WR Arrelious Benn (22) is a rookie. Even the team’s more veteran skill players are relatively young, as TE Kellen Winslow II is just 27 and RB Cadillac Williams is just 28.

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team’s youth isn’t necessarily good news for the Ravens.

“They play like a bunch of kids” said Harbaugh. “They run around and get after it and they’re enthusiastic. I’m sure its got its pluses and its got its minuses. We’ll try to negate the pluses that the youth brings to the table and we’ll try to take full advantage of whatever those minuses are.”

The Buccaneers are the youngest team in the National Football League, and continued to get younger this week when they released veteran DL Ryan Sims (30).

LB Jarret Johnson downplayed the “mysterious” nature of a young team like the Bucs.

“We’re not (team) that play each other a lot” said Johnson. “But you’ve got adequate time during the week to get familiar with them, so it’s not going to be a mystery when we get out there.”

FLACCO DISMISSES MASON SPAT: Much like Harbaugh did during his Monday press conference, QB Joe Flacco was quick to dismiss a reported physical confrontation with WR Derrick Mason during their Week 11 win over the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

“We were in a good battle and things happen on the sidelines sometimes” said Flacco. “I was laughing ten seconds after it was over.”

Flacco admitted that every sideline conversation is different, and some can be cause for concern moving forward.

“I guess it can be, but not between me and Derrick.”

PRACTICE REPORT: OL Chris Chester (infection) and DE Cory Redding (arm) did not participate during practice Wednesday. S Ed Reed (illness) did not participate either.

The Ravens received good news Wednesday, as S Tom Zbikowski (foot) returned to practice for the first time since suffering a bruised heel in the Ravens’ Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Zbikowski said Wednesday he was “feeling good”, and Harbaugh said Zbikowski has a “good chance” of seeing the field Sunday in Charm City. He was listed as a limited participant Wednesday, as was TE Ed Dickson (thigh).

FB Le’Ron McClain did not appear as though he would be participating in contact drills Wednesday.

For the Buccaneers, Winslow (knee) and DE Kyle Moore (shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday. LB Quincy Black (ankle), Stroughter (foot) and OT Jeremey Trueblood (knee) were all full participants in practice.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Zbikowski, Johnson, LB Ray Lewis, RB Ray Rice and LB Terrell Suggs NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta joined Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, you can hear that chat in the Audio Vault now as well……The Ravens will wear black uniforms Sunday when they face the Bucs……The Ravens will practice Thursday despite the Thanksgiving holiday


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Not Earth Shattering: Ravens Not Super Bowl Contenders If They Play Like This

Posted on 19 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

CINCINNATI, Oh. — The Baltimore Ravens (1-1) had plenty of chances to beat the Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) in Sunday’s 15-10 loss at Paul Brown Stadium.

Twice in the final five minutes of the game, QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense got the ball back needing just one score to win the game.

Clearly neither of those possessions resulted in points. Or even one single first down for that matter.

The Ravens struggled offensively throughout Sunday’s loss, producing just 259 yards of total offense and 14 first downs en route to defeat. More troubling? They also turned the ball over four times, all Flacco interceptions.

Amazingly, the Ravens actually outgained their AFC North counterparts (Cincy managed just 253  yards of total offense) and the Bengals only racked up 14 first downs as well.

Not as if any of that mattered.

Not scoring points wasn’t the only problem for Baltimore’s offense. Two of Flacco’s interceptions gave the Bengals the ball immediately in Baltimore territory, and the Bengals were able to cash in both times with Mike Nugent field goals; accounting for six of the team’s 15 points.

20 points in two games probably wasn’t what GM Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh had in mind when they acquired WR’s Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh in the offseason and added former Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn as QB coach Jim Zorn to help the development of Flacco.

(I thought about putting quotation marks around the word “development” in that last sentence. I immediately thought better of it.)

It is true that the Ravens have opened the season on the road against two of the Top 5 defenses in the NFL from 2009. It is also true that they had to play the second of those games off a short turnaround, having opened the season in New York on Monday Night Football.

But to win a Super Bowl, teams often have to play in less than desirable situations.

It doesn’t excuse poor decision making from Flacco. Flacco said of his second interception (a play where he had targeted Boldin), “I threw it right into a crowd.” He also said the Bengals were running their base defense for most of the game, adding “I don’t think they were doing anything that we didn’t expect them to do.”

That’s not good news.

Flacco wasn’t the only problem for the Ravens offensively Sunday. The team struggled upfront; with OL Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Ben Grubbs and Chris Chester taking turns missing assignments along the offensive line. Houshmandzadeh looked lost at times in his return to the Queen City, admitting after the game that part of the offensive struggles were “his fault.” He added “I can’t believe I didn’t make those plays…(I) just gotta do better.”

He’s right. He’d be right to say the same thing about the rest of the offense too.

The Baltimore Ravens were a popular preseason pick to not only win the AFC North (the Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers have sole possession of first place at 2-0), but to reach the Super Bowl. If they can’t overcome adversity and perform better offensively, they won’t have to bother making travel arrangements for Arlington.

Since Brad Johnson won Super Bowl XXXVII for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the last 7 titles were won by QB’s named Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton and Eli Manning. In the same time frame, QB’s who have LOST the Super Bowl included Brady, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck. Only Jake Delhomme and Rex Grossman (who each lost) stick out as QB’s who are not in the range of “great” to “elite.”

The Ravens simply cannot dream of winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy with poor offensive performance. The era in which a team could simply survive offensively and let their defense carry them to a title has ended in the NFL, likely thanks to how dreadfully boring it was to watch Johnson and Trent Dilfer lead the Bucs and Ravens respectively to Super Bowl titles.

If the Ravens are going to live up to their lofty preseason expectations, they’re going to have to improve offensively. That was why the team invested time, money and NFL Draft picks into offensive upgrades.

The good news is that two weeks does not make a season. Flacco and company will have a full seven days to prepare for a matchup against the division cellar-dwelling Cleveland Browns in front of a home crowd at M&T Bank Stadium in Charm City. Flacco put things into perspective by saying “You just move on. You have to take it game by game. I don’t think anyone feels good about it.” He added, “we just have to make sure we bounce back and get ready to go. I think everyone will.”

If they do, the Ravens still have a chance to reach considerable heights in 2010.



NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Houshmandzadeh, LB Jarret Johnson, LB Ray Lewis, LB Terrell Suggs and CB Lardarius Webb following the game in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. Lewis had some particularly choice words for the officiating, which you can hear RIGHT NOW courtesy of WNSTv!……

……TE’s Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta each recorded their first career NFL catch in Sunday’s game……LB Tavares Gooden injured his shoulder late in the first half and was unable to return. The team had no update following the game, but Gooden is scheduled for a MRI Monday……the Ravens return to Baltimore tonight, they will meet at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills Monday, Harbaugh will address the media at 4pm.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because tonight is my annual Fantasy Football Draft; or as I like to call it-“August Christmas.” Thanks to my buddy Chris Appel for arranging the event at Mountain Branch for our “Full House League”, where I’m assuming these things will be on the menu…


I have the 6th pick in this year’s draft. I’m mortified. Clearly Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew will be gone; with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson likely behind them. That will likely put me in an uncomfortable spot where the best options are Frank Gore, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Michael Turner.

I have no idea what I’d do in that situation.

I guess Team “Jesse and the Rippers” probably end up having to take this guy…


And as a quick personal note; my condolences go out to Chris Appel (and former WNST.net blogger BJ Appel-the Commish in our league); whose grandfather “Big” Will Appel passed away last night. Big Will was an amazing dude who will be missed. Thoughts and prayers all around, it certainly weighs heavy on an otherwise glorious day.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody (knee), Demetrius Williams (ankle) missed practice again Thursday ahead of Ravens-Giants game

Neither are major concerns, and neither have ruled themselves out for tomorrow night-although it would surprise me if either were on the field after missing practice for all (Williams) or the majority (Cody) of the week.

The Ravens will almost certainly be without O-Linemen Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (concussion), David Hale (tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (shoulder) tomorrow night; as well as CB Marcus Paschal (leg).

WR Eron Riley (back) and DT Brandon McKinney (knee) are question marks having missed a few practices this week; and I would be surprised if CB Lardarius Webb played on the turf at “The Bank” after returning from the PUP list just this Monday.

It sorta feels weird to talk about injuries before a game and not mention LJ Smith. I hope he’s doing well…

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says ‘ball security’ very important for Cam Cameron, Ravens against New York

And after 8 fumbles in the first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, it seems like a pretty logical thing to work on.

You know what else seems pretty logical? Posting this picture of Ninel Conde from Don Chavez….


3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome to be inducted in Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor

I’m not sure if the Browns are planning on inviting guys to town to be honored the weekend of the induction, and it likely wouldn’t matter; as the Ravens visit the Cincinnati Bengals that day and I’m sure Ozzie will be in The Queen City, not The Comeback City.

But hypothetically, imagine the Browns holding an event on a day where Newsome had been able to attend. I am certain there would be at least a level of awkwardness at Cleveland Browns Stadium. I don’t think the majority of fans would be foolish enough to-say-boo the man whose Cleveland career made him a Hall of Fame TE. But I do think there would be a handful of fans (especially younger fans who might not remember Newsome on the field) who would be uncomfortable with honoring the GM of the team that abandoned Cleveland and now regular comes back to kick the Browns in the ass.

And there’s also the whole “he works for Art Modell” thing.

They’re doing the right thing. And it is probably best that it will happen on a day where they can avoid any level of awkwardness.

4. New York Daily News’ Ebenezer Samuel says G-Men center Shaun O’Hara to miss tomorrow night’s game

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens are holding a walkthrough today that is CLOSED to the media out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. They’ll kickoff against the Giants at 7:30 tomorrow night at M&T Bank Stadium. The game can be seen live on WBAL11.

-Did you miss Ravens LB Jason Phillips with Drew Forrester today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Jason discussed his road to making the 53 man roster after missing last season. You can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Howard Cross (New York Giants sideline reporter/former TE)-who previewed tomorrow night’s preseason showdown with the Ravens
  • Domonique Foxworth (Ravens CB)-who joined Drew to talk about his recovery and preview the Maryland-Navy get together at M&T Bank Stadium on Labor Day
  • TJ Rives (Tampa Bay Buccaneers sideline reporter)-who previewed the Bucs with Drew as we continued to look at all of the Ravens’ 2010 opponents
  • Roger Lodge (Host of “The Sports Lodge” on AM830 in Los Angeles and the former host of “Blind Date”)-who joined Drew to preview the Angels
  • All sorts of audio from Owings Mills Thursday-including Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison, Jerry Rosburg and Ray Rice
  • Steve Hauschka (former Ravens, now Detroit Lions kicker)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Joe Maese (former Ravens Long Snapper)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday on “The Afternoon Drive” to talk about Matt Katula/Morgan Cox as well as his new career as a Howard County firefighter
  • Len Pasquarelli (CBSSports.com)-who checked in live from the NFL Owners Meetings in Atlanta with Rex Thursday

Plus much much more. It’s all in the Audio Vault, so once again I’ve planned your day completely. I’m getting sick of carrying you like this.

5. The AP’s Jay Cohen says Edwin Jackson masterful as Orioles lost to Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field

Not a whole heck of a lot more that can be said about this.

Jackson was TREMENDOUS last night. The type of tremendous that sorta makes you wonder how he can ever be bad.

I almost said “I’m glad Edwin Jackson doesn’t pitch for my team, because it would be frustrating to watch him.” But I don’t mean that. I’d take Edwin Jackson my team 10 times out of 10. He’s better than anyone we have.

Nights like these happen sometimes. They’re frustrating, but they happen. Hopefully there will be fewer and fewer of them in 2011.


6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Jackson’s line: 8 shutout innings, 3 hits, 10 strikeouts

Jake Arrieta’s line: 4 IP, 4 ER, 7 hits, 3BB, 2K

You REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers.

Instead, look at Olivia Wilde. She’s much more pleasant to look at. Thanks Guyism!


7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Armando Gabino optioned to Norfolk after loss, Jim Johnson expected before tonight’s game in Anaheim

And when it comes to Gabino, we’ll always have the memories. Like…

I’m happy for Jim Johnson to finally be getting back. I think there was a real chance of him having his spirits dampened after such a dreadful season thus far.

You know what tends to help me when my spirits are dampened? Robert Randolph…

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chris Tillman roughed up, but Norfolk Tides managed to beat Charlotte Knights on farm

And before we move on from the O’s, a couple of things…

-The Birds left the Windy City last night for Anaheim, where they’ll open a weekend series with the Angels tonight. First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Trevor Bell is at 10:05pm, and the game can be seen on MASN2. Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie face Scott Kazmir and Jered Weaver the rest of the weekend.

-Adam Jones missed another game last night, but was available in an emergency situation. Still not considered a longterm issue.

-While Tillman still seems to be a guy who will be headed to Charm City next week, it does not look like Buck Showalter and Andy MacPhail will be giving Zach Britton the call. Might be the right move, but still kinda disappointing.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says LaQuan Williams, Justin Lewis, Matt Furstenburg now listed as starters for Terrapins

And yet somehow Shannon James STILL isn’t starting. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN COLLEGE PARK?!?!?!? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)


10. ESPN.com’s Wayne Drehs says Michael Phelps has rededicated himself to Swimming after visiting this year’s Vancouver Olympics

Thank God, as I can’t take seeing Michael Phelps lose anymore.

I mean, if Phelps is losing-I’m pretty sure THIS man defaults back to being the face of Baltimore sports…

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Maryland State Fair is underway in Timonium. It means plenty of wonderful things all around. Amongst them? DEEP FRIED POP TARTS! (Thanks Fox 45!)


Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Draft Season Turns to Indy for Annual NFL Scouting Combine

Posted on 23 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Welcome to the 5th installment of my NFL Draft profiles for 2010. If you missed my first 4 installments, I previewed players who participated in the East West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl; then recapped those performances in Orlando and Mobile, as well as those who participated in the Texas vs. The Nation game in El Paso.

Here are the players you can go back and read profiles of if you check my previous installments…

Daryll Clark (Penn State), Sean Canfield (Oregon State), Max Hall (BYU), Jarrett Brown (West Virginia), Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee), Ryan Perrilloux (Jacksonville State)
RB Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss), Trindon Holliday (LSU)
WR’s Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati), Verran Tucker (Cal), Blair White (Michigan State), Jeremy Williams (Tulane), Taylor Price (Ohio), Marcus Easley (UConn), Juamorris Stewart (Southern)
TE’s Andrew Quarless (Penn State), Richard Dickson (LSU), Jimmy Graham (Miami), Riar Geer (Colorado), Ed Dickson (Oregon)
OG’s Mike Iupati (Idaho), Jeff Byers (USC)
OT’s Vladimir Ducasse (UMass), Rodger Saffold (Indiana)
C John Estes (Hawaii), Kevin Matthews (Texas A&M)
DE’s Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), Brandon Graham (Michigan), Alex Carrington (Arkansas State), E.J. Wilson (North Carolina)
DT Travis Ivey (Maryland)
LB’s Ross Pospisil (Navy), Jason Beauchamp (UNLV), Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri), Daryl Washington (TCU)
S’s Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech), T.J. Ward (Oregon), Myron Rolle (Florida State), Van Eskridge (East Carolina)
CB’s Devin Ross (Arizona), Brian Jackson (Oklahoma), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky), Javier Arenas (Alabama), Alterraun Verner (UCLA), Kyle Wilson (Boise State), Cornelius Brown (UTEP)
K’s Leigh Tiffin (Alabama), Hunter Lawrence (Texas)
P Brent Bowden (Virginia Tech)

Draft season now heads to “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest” as our buddy Merton would say, with the annual NFL Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis. The hottest words around Draft season right now are “Will he or won’t he?”, with players deciding whether or not they will work out in Indy. It is mostly quarterbacks who choose to pass, but injuries could keep other players from taking part in the weekend.

The Ravens DID see some player movement since my last update (signing Donte’ Stallworth and releasing TE Quinn Sypniewski), but my team needs remain the same…


Here are the next 10 players worth taking a look at during the NFL Draft. Thanks to CBSSports.com, NFLDraftScout.com, The AP and Wikipedia for help in research, as well as the individuals  players’ respective collegiate athletics websites. Starting with this update, I will also include a brief note on the players involved from Joe Hortiz-Director of College Scouting for the Baltimore Ravens. I asked Joe to give me a Twitter-style (140 characters or less) statement about potential Ravens targets.

OT Bruce Campbell (Maryland)


I don’t know how many teams will have to protect their QB’s from rogue monster truck tires in pursuit, but the team that selects Campbell will be happy to know that he is all too capable of handling the job.

Terrapins strength coach Dwight Galt told ESPN.com last year that Campbell was “the offensive line version of Vernon Davis.” If that’s the case, NFL scouts watching Campbell this weekend should be prepared for a VERY impressive workout performance, as Indy was where Davis set himself up to be selected 6th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006.

Campbell is a monster, measuring in at 6’7″, 310 pounds; and it’s almost all muscle. The obvious comparisons will be to current Ravens OT Jared Gaither, and no NFL source I’ve talked to about Campbell has felt the need to dismiss the comparison.

While some analysts believe he is a Top 10 talent, others say he’s only a borderline 1st round pick. The biggest red flag on Campbell’s resume is his health-he was able to start only 17 games during his career in College Park due to turf toe and a knee injury. Drafting Campbell would have be a sign that the Ravens can’t afford to keep former Terp Gaither in Charm City long term.

Joe Hortiz says: “Athletic kid, can function at LT. Health not a major concern. Tall, long frame.” Hortiz also felt that it was fair to compare Campbell to Gaither, and other OT’s with big builds.

What might hurt Bruce Campbell’s draft stock? He’s been known to keep some questionable company…..

TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)


Like Bruce Campbell, Gronkowski departed school a year early, and the Combine will be very important as he was unable to participate in any all-star games. However, the Combine (and the rest of Draft season) will be even more important for Gronkowski, as he missed his entire junior season in 2009 due to back surgery. The man known as “Gronk” around Tucson has to prove not just that he’s healthy, but also that he’s ready, and that missing the entire season didn’t cause him to fall off in football ability.

He is part of football blood, as his brother Dan Gronkowski previously played for Maryland and is now with the Detroit Lions; and his brother Chris Gronkowski just finished his own Wildcats career after transferring from Maryland.

Gronkowski’s size is what immediately jumps out (no pun intended), as he measures in at 6’6″, 265 pounds and he turned plenty of heads during his two seasons with the Cats, making 75 catches for 1,197 yards and 16 TD’s. Some might compare him to Todd Heap when Heap came out of Arizona State-and while he might not be quite the big play guy Heap was early on in his career, he’s bigger and might be a more consistent target.

Joe Hortiz says: “Really good year as a sophomore, understood how to get open. Better than his brothers, and it’s probably not even close.”

WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

The best thing about potentially drafting Dezmon Briscoe would be the opportunity for the Ravens to have him and David Tyree hold a helmet catching competition in Training Camp. I’ll go with Tyree, but Briscoe’s was pretty good too.

Briscoe’s decision to leave Lawrence following his junior season with the Jayhawks was a bit puzzling, especially considering he claimed it had nothing to do with Mark Mangino’s firing. That being said, Briscoe’s size (6’3″, 200 pounds) and numbers (218 catches for 3,240 yards and 31 TD’s) make him look a LOT like a player who is ready for the next level. The issue is his speed-as he’s projected to only run a 4.62 40.

With the acquisition of Stallworth not addressing the Ravens’ need for a big receiver, Briscoe could be the type of player available on Friday night (or even Saturday) with sleeper potential they could consider should they go elsewhere with their first few picks.

Joe Hortiz says: “Good speed, big guy. Had a really good year. Not a blow by you burner, but good stride.”

WR Riley Cooper (Florida)

I have no reason to believe that Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are looking for the ability to make circus catches in players they scout, but if they are-both the aforementioned Briscoe and Cooper would be solid choices.

Cooper is a tough case to fully understand, as he didn’t become much of a numbers guy in the Gators’ offense until 2009, when he grabbed 51 balls for 961 yards and 9 TD’s. However, his 6’4″, 215 pound frame always made him a potential redzone target for Tim Tebow in Gainesville, as he finished his career with 18 TD grabs.

Cooper is a hell of an athlete, as he was also selected by the Texas Rangers in the MLB Entry Draft, but he chose to pursue an NFL future instead. An impressive weekend in Indianapolis could help bump him up from the later rounds to a Thursday or Friday night selection. Much like Briscoe, he could be a value to the Ravens if they look at another position on Thursday night.

Joe Hortiz says: “Tough kid. Really good baseball player-a lot of upside from being able to dedicate himself to football.”

RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

There is no NFL team that will have as much information on Gerhart as the Ravens will, as John Harbaugh can turn to his brother Jim Harbaugh-who is of course the head coach in Palo Alto. Harbaugh’s father Jack Harbaugh was also Gerhart’s position coach for the Cardinal leading up to their loss to Oklahoma in the Brut Sun Bowl.

The obvious thing that jumps out about Gerhart is his size-as he measures in at 6’1″, 235 pounds; and uses every pound effectively in running the football. His tremendous senior season (1,871 yards and 27 TD’s) made him a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which many Pac 10 and West Coast analysts felt he deserved to win.

Gerhart will inevitably be compared to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers back Mike Alstott, but multiple league scouts have told me they believe he deserves the chance to play a more natural running back position before being converted to fullback or a 3rd down/goal line specialist. Without a natural fullback last season (and with Lorenzo Neal having handled the position quite well in 2008), the Ravens could consider Gerhart as part of a bigger backfield alongside Le’Ron McClain should he stay on the board until late Friday night.

Joe Hortiz says: “Really good career-runs hard, needs to get lower. Doesn’t lose a lot of yards. Similar to Le’Ron McClain.”

RB Ben Tate (Auburn)

As much as it had to have pained a Crimson Tide legend like Ozzie Newsome to have selected Auburn OG Ben Grubbs in 2007, I think it is quite evident that the pick worked out. Now, should the Ravens choose to add Ben Tate to a backfield that includes Alabama’s Le’Ron McClain, there could be some awkward moments around Thanksgiving next year leading up to the Iron Bowl in the Ravens locker room.

If Willis McGahee’s future in Baltimore is in question, Ben Tate might be a similar running back for the Ravens do add into their backfield mix. Tate isn’t quite as big as McGahee (5’11” to McGahee’s 6’1″); but he is a similar back in that he can both wear down the middle of a defense and then break out for yards to the outside.

Tate finished his SEC career with an impressive 3,321 yards and 24 TD’s; and he has respectable speed (he’s expected to post a 40 in the range of 4.50). He’s expected to be available Friday night or Saturday, and could be even more intriguing for the Ravens considering he lived on the Eastern Shore and played his high school ball at Snow Hill.

Fellow Auburn alum Joe Hortiz says: “Really good year (in ’09), between the tackles runner. Not game breaking speed.”

DE Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech)

Could Derrick Morgan slip to the Ravens at 25? Probably not. Could he slip a little bit and the Ravens move up to grab him? Maybe. It certainly worked out for the Ravens in their pursuit of Michael Oher a season ago.

The comparisons with Morgan will be to Michael Johnson-the former Yellow Jackets DE drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals a season ago. And while Morgan isn’t quite as big up and down as Johnson (Morgan is 6’4″, 272 pounds to Johnson’s 6’7″, 266 pounds), he has an even better motor.

Morgan was especially impressive during his senior season, posting 12 sacks and forcing 2 fumbles in helping the Jackets win the ACC Championship and advance to the Orange Bowl. However, Morgan will have something to prove in Indianapolis after struggling against the Iowa Hawkeyes’ O-Line in Miami during the final game of his college career, and not being able to participate in any other postseason events due to leaving Atlanta a year early.

Joe Hortiz says: “He’ll be gone early. Grinding player, works his ass off.”

DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida)


While the bulk of the NFL scouts I’ve talked to have said they don’t think Dunlap’s DUI arrest prior to the SEC Championship Game will prevent him from being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft; many of the same scouts have admitted to me that they thought it would impact whether or not the team they worked for would select Dunlap.

Arrest aside, Dunlap is a tremendous football player. He’s a beast on the outside, measuring in at 6’6″, 290 pounds. He collected 18 sacks over the last two seasons (before leaving a year early), including 2 in a blowout win over Cincinnati in January’s Sugar Bowl. He is deceptively quick for his massive frame, and is a blocking nightmare for any team that faces him.

ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports’ Mike Florio recently mocked Dunlap to the Ravens, which makes sense considering the fact that the Ravens need to upgrade their pass rush in the offseason, preferably with an end that can excel in a Greg Mattison scheme that doesn’t rely on blitzing.

Joe Hortiz says: “Compares to (Arizona Cardinals DL) Calais Campbell. Great frame, really good athletic traits. Still had 8 1/2 sacks despite up and down season.”

WR Danario Alexander (Missouri)

Alexander recently underwent a 4th knee surgery, which will keep him from working out at the Combine or his own Pro Day in Columbia. This is absolutely THE biggest red flag for a player that might otherwise be an interesting prospect for the Ravens. Alexander will still attend this weekend’s Combine even if you don’t see him working out during the televised portion of the Combine on NFL Network. He’ll be there to participate in interviews and to take the Wonderlic test, but clearly teams will be most interested in his knee.

The good news about this most recent surgery is that it will likely keep him on the board until Saturday of Draft weekend. The Ravens will be hard pressed to find any other 6’5″, 215 pound receivers that are coming off a season with 113 catches, 1,781 yards and 14 TD’s that late in the Draft.

At the Senior Bowl, the biggest knock on Alexander was his inability to change directions quickly. This often happens when players who are #1 receivers in college are forced to move into more flexible roles at the next level. If the knee makes Alexander tentative, this will only get worse.

Joe Hortiz says: “Knee is an issue. Good run after catch ability.”

WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

If not spectacular, LaFell’s career in Baton Rouge was certainly solid. He finished with 650 or more yards in each of the last 3 seasons, including a career high 929 during his junior year. He caught 23 TD’s during his Tigers career, including 11 as a senior.

The biggest question mark surrounding LaFell has to be whether or not it is worth spending a high draft choice (either a 1 or a 2) on a player who may or may not be a prototypical #1 receiver at the next level. This is an especially big question mark for a Ravens team that desperately needs a go-to #1 receiver. LaFell has the size (6’3″, 206 pounds) and appears to have the speed (he’s expected to post a 40 in the range of 4.54), but doesn’t necessarily have the pedigree to just be expected to assume a #1 role in Cam Cameron’s offense.

An inevitable comparison will be made between LaFell and former Louisiana State WR Devery Henderson. Henderson had another solid season for the New Orleans Saints en route to winning Super Bowl XLIV, but he has been by no means spectacular at any point in his career despite being selected in the 2nd round of the 2004 Draft. Same for Bucs receiver Michael Clayton (also from LSU). LaFell will hope scouts notice that he is more similar in size to Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, who has been better (numbers wise) during his NFL career, despite a down season in 2009.

Joe Hortiz says: “Would have liked to see him show up at the Senior Bowl. Not a burner, but he’ll get by you. One of the better route runners.”


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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Here are your weekend picks…..

Ravens 27, Browns 13

It SHOULDN’T be this close. It might be closer. We’ll see if Brady Quinn can do anything.

Virginia Tech 27, Maryland 16

With no offense to Maryland, they’re not as good as Virginia Tech.

Navy 31, Delaware 18

There is an argument that the Midshipmen should be a Top 25 team.

Villanova 41, Towson 14

I hope the Wildcats don’t run up the score more than this.

South Carolina State 23, Morgan State 16

Donald Hill-Eley’s team has struggled for the last few weeks since looking like the best team in the MEAC a month ago.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Todd Heap, Ed Reed, Haruki Nakamura, Jarret Johnson, Kelley Washington practicing fully

Bob Haynie wonders if Jamal Lewis Hall of Fame worthy

Drew Forrester says local media needs to do better job of covering Towson, UMBC, Loyola, Morgan State and Coppin State hoops

Nestor Aparicio wonders whether Baltimore more interested in Wizards or Capitals

Ed Frankovic says Caps 3-1 without Ovechkin

Eric Aaronson says Wizards added Earl Boykins


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ray Lewis (foot), Haloti Ngata (ankle), Fabian Washington (thigh) all missed practice yesterday

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Lardarius Webb-Fabian Washington situation likely to be ‘game time decision’ for John Harbaugh

The Official Site says Justin Bannan not thinking about being in final year of contract

Browns Official Site’s Matt Florjancic says rookies Veikune, Robiskie excited for first chance to play on Monday Night Football

Browns Official Site says team will distribute remaining tickets for Monday night’s game at Cleveland Browns Stadium to avoid blackout

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Jamal Lewis getting ‘one more shot’ at former team Monday night

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens must get ball to Derrick Mason, contain Jamal Lewis, pound run

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens can’t let Cribbs run wild, Browns rally around Mangini, show ‘no sense of urgency’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens didn’t look at Ty Law, Chris Chambers because neither would have been ‘upgrade’ over current players

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Rice thinks responsibility on players to get off to better start

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Pagano reports Chris Carr, Frank Walker, Lardarius Webb would all play Monday if Fabian Washington can’t go

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ed Reed’s 52 yard TD return Ravens’ only INT in last 5 games

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Ravens don’t want to have to play ‘catch up’ against Browns like they did against Bengals, Vikings

The Sun’s Edward Lee says losing streak on Monday Night Football ‘disturbing’ to Terrell Suggs

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Lewis thinks Hauschka’s missed FG’s no bigger ‘mistake’ than dropping catch, missing assignment

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Jared Gaither (neck) was limited in practice

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbs views both Trevor Pryce and Dwan Edwards as starters

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh wants Hauschka to make kicks ‘right now’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Pagano believes pass interference penalties coming in ‘panic situations’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says 52 doesn’t want to see Jamal Lewis retire

The Sun remembers when Ravens rallied to beat Browns a season ago

7 of 7 Sun analysts pick Ravens

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Chris Carr, Dannell Ellerbe missed practice Thursday due to illness

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Todd Heap knows getting off to better starts an offensive ‘goal’ for Ravens

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Terrell Suggs not hitting ‘panic button’ despite struggles

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi says Jamal Lewis took Mangini to task for ‘practice regimen’

Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour says David Bowens thinks practice same now as it was with Jets under Mangini

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 33-9

Fox Sports’ Brian Billick still thinks Ravens ‘very good team’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Steve Heiden, Chansi Stuckey missed practice for Browns

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens fighting with Steelers/Bengals, Texans, Jets, Jaguars for Wild Card spot in AFC


The Official Site says Drew Gloster, Cory Jackson will carry flags to field before tomorrow’s game against Virginia Tech

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph Friedgen wouldn’t rule out running option next season

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Chris Turner ‘doubtful’ for tomorrow’s game against Hokies

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Don Brown had been ‘thoroughly impressed’ by Isaiah Ross this season before injury

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Jamarr Robinson prepared to make first career start tomorrow against Va Tech

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Da’Rel Scott OUT Saturday

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says Scott Van Pelt, Stephon Heyer defended Fridge

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Danny O’Brien, CJ Brown ‘in the mix’ to play tomorrow

Washington Post’s Mark Viera says Michael Via likely to start at center again for Hokies

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph reiterated that he’ll play Danny O’Brien if necessary tomorrow

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Caleb Porzel could return kicks with Torrey Smith

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ronnie Tyler, Austin Walker questionable for Saturday

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Terps wearing camo uniforms for tomorrow’s game at Byrd Stadium to support Wounded Warrior Project

Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Darryl Slater says Va Tech’s Brent Bowden amongst best punters in country

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Demetrius Hartsfield will play vs. VT (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Phil Costa has been offensive ‘lynchpin’ for Terps (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says RJ Dill particularly frustrated with how NC State game ended

Turtle Sports Report’s Allen Wallace says prospect Ifill to visit College Park December 19 (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Scott Kornberg checks in with Archbishop Carroll LB prospect Attaochu (must subscribe)


The Official Site previews tonight’s season opener against Charleston Southern

The Official Site offers complete Terps-Bucs release (pdf)

Charleston Southern Official Site offers complete Buccaneers-Terrapins release (pdf)

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Gary Williams believes Terps have ‘5 good guards’

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says James Padgett could start for Terps tonight

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Gary Williams had no update on Dino Gregory

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps hoping for more from Sean Mosley

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says tonight’s season opener can be seen on Comcast SportsNet

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Goins has not been able to practice due to knee injury

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says last year’s leading scorer Jamarco Warren leads Bucs into Comcast Center tonight

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says adding muscle could help Jin Soo Choi make impact off bench

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez preseason All-ACC

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Vasquez enters senior season much more mature

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Gary wouldn’t commit to James Padgett or Jordan Williams as starter if Dino Gregory doesn’t play

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Terps looking at St. Frances prospect Greg Lewis (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Memphis ‘slightly better fit’ for Tsafack than Maryland (must subscribe)


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says commit Whitney Bays missing senior season of high school recovering from torn ACL

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph previews season opener against North Carolina Central


The Official Site says tickets still available for Saturday’s game against Delaware

Delaware Official Site offers complete Blue Hens-Midshipmen release (pdf)

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner thinks Irish DC Corwin Brown’s comments make him ‘an idiot’

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Ram Vela plays bigger than size

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Pospisil, 31 other seniors will be honored tomorrow for Senior Day in Annapolis

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Niumatalolo, Midshipmen had to shift focus to Delaware quickly after ND win

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says Mids must put Fighting Irish win behind them with Hens up next (must subscribe)

Go Mids’ David Ausiello tells tale of learning Mids defeated Notre Dame (must subscribe)


The Official Site previews tonight’s season opener against Miami (Ohio)

Miami (Ohio) Official Site previews tonight’s trip to Towson Center

Miami (Ohio) Official Site offers complete Tigers-Redhawks release (pdf)


Examiner Matthew Schlissel says Tigers facing another Top 5 opponent in Villanova


The Official Site previews tonight’s season opener against Vermont

Vermont Official Site previews tonight’s trip to Reitz Arena to face Hounds

Vermont Official Site offers complete Catamounts-Greyhounds release (pdf)

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Shane Walker finds ‘similarities’ between Gary Williams, Jimmy Patsos


The Official Site previews Saturday’s trip to South Carolina State


The Official Site previews tomorrow’s season opener at Oklahoma

Carroll County Times’ Bob Blubaugh says Mountaineers open season trying to shake off loss in NEC Championship Game last year

Frederick News-Post’s Greg Swatek says Eers got ‘close’ to beating Virginia Tech, Georgetown last year; but don’t want to just stay ‘close’ anymore


The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Josh Bell 2-5 with 3 RBI for Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League play


The Sun’s Glenn Graham says Aristodemo announced as Blast captain


-Go see a college hoops, college football, or Blast game this weekend. They can all use your support.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.


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After Tough 33-31 loss to Vikings, Ravens Must Regroup During Bye

Posted on 18 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

The Ravens’ 33-31 loss to the Vikings Sunday was particularly painful for a number of reasons, not the least being the way the team rallied from down 17 in the 2nd half to have a look at a last-second game winning field goal.

Unfortunately, it was a painful loss-one that drops the Ravens to 3-3 after a 3-0 start to the season.

The good news for the Ravens is that they’ll have 14 days before they have to take the field again.

14 days to mull over a 3 game losing streak might be a bad thing for a lot of teams, but looks particularly necessary for this team. For a number of reasons.

First of all-this team needs to get away.

It will be tempting for John Harbaugh to want his guys to come out and practice during the week, but they need to clear their heads for a few days. They have not played poorly, they have lost to 3 good teams in the final minutes of each game. It is the type of stretch that unfortunately happens sometimes, even to good football teams.

Getting away from the facility and away from football should help take the edge off a bit. It is particularly difficult during a slide like this to remember that you are only playing against 1 opponent. When losses pile up, teams have a tendency to feel like they need to win 4 games because they’re carrying a 3 game losing streak. Getting away from football gives you the chance to remember that there is only one opponent on the other side of the field.

Secondly-Greg Mattison, Cam Cameron, Jerry Rosburg and John Harbaugh really need to look at their play-calling and overall gameplanning.

When there is an opponent to prepare for, it is a bit more difficult to adjust what your team does without doing it in consideration for what you expect from the other team.

Greg Mattison has to look at pass rush schemes, the 2nd layer of his run defense, and corrections that can be made to keep his corners from being left 1 on 1 with taller receivers. 2 straight running backs have carved up yards, which has allowed teams to throw the ball at will with the defense on it’s heels. The bulk have that yardage has come on big plays, which means the 2nd layer of run stopping hasn’t always been in place. When teams are able to throw at will, they’ll find success, but the Ravens have NOT found a way to create turnovers, either off QB sacks or interceptions. The team may be forced to take a few more chances.

Cam Cameron needs to try to see how the offense can compensate for the lack of a big, physical receiver. Having the same 3 receivers on the field at all times has appeared a bit detrimental-we expected to see Troy Smith, Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Demetrius Williams lined up wide a bit more this season. Trying to force the run in the middle of the field was particularly tough against the Vikings. It was surprising to see a lack of screens in the 2nd half Sunday in Minneapolis.

Jerry Rosburg’s unit isn’t without blame either. They will have to figure out how to work David Tyree into the game, and will certainly have to work on keeping composure in stressful situations. He’s going to have to keep a young kicker’s mind in the game-and may be forced to bring in a kicker for a “competition” to remind his young kicker that nothing is given in this league.

Third-this team needs some time to really look at the makeup of their roster.

It is not surprising to anyone to hear that the organization has been discussing potential trades with teams who may be willing to part ways with a receiver. This team could REALLY use a sizable option at the position to extend the field offensively. This does not mean the organization should mortgage their future to bring in a guy like Mike Sims-Walker, but it remains necessary to consider all options.

The Ravens must also analyze other places on their roster. The secondary has underperformed, thanks in part to the lack of a pass rush. While the pieces certainly seem to be there for an improved pass rush, the secondary probably could use some sort of an upgrade. Again, this does not mean that the Ravens could trade for a corner even if they wanted to-but it is a position they need to look at.

There are other personnel questions on the team-including the JACK linebacker position, and what the expectations are there. Tavares Gooden played a pretty good game Sunday, but might not fill the position quite the way it needs to be filled in this defense. The Ravens have gotten little from any Tight End not named Todd Heap. The 53 man roster is unlikely to look much different on November 1st against the Broncos, but they must look at it.

Fourth-this team can use the time to improve their health.

The obvious example of this is Jared Gaither-who should be ready to return against Denver, but Samari Rolle is also eligible to return following the bye-and could possibly help the team. Jarret Johnson has been playing with a shoulder injury, and Haloti Ngata has played with a back injury. These guys can use the time to regain strength and quickness. There are countless other bumps and bruises that can be addressed as well.

The important thing to recognize is just how close this team is to being a really good team. They’ve been very effective most of the time, and at least somewhat effective nearly every minute of the season. Their 3 losses have been by a combined 11 points. 2 of the 3 have been on the road, and all 3 have been at the hands of a team that appears to be playoff-bound. They’ve VERY close.

The pain of Sunday’s loss will linger, but this is the best possible time to have a break.



4:24-To expand, that was a bad snap from Katula. Saw that as soon as the ball was released. If the Ravens had a timeout there, they could have moved the ball to the middle of the field. You almost wish Ray Rice would have just moved the ball to the middle of the field on the play before.

4:20-Boy was this a bad week for Matt Stover to have signed in Indianapolis……unbelievable……

4:19-Greg Gumbel knows the Vikings can’t call back to back timeouts, right?

4:18-No pressure Steve Hauschka…….

4:15-This will probably be the last time I invite Drew to watch a game at my house. “The Ravens are gonna win this one” is the last thing I want to hear right now.

4:13-It’s all on Joe here. He couldn’t quite finish it against New England, but he doesn’t need a TD this time. A sack would be particularly bad as the Ravens have no timeouts. Everything is 4 down territory.

4:09-So here’s the game. If Longwell misses, game over. If he hits, Joe has 1:52 to try to win the game for the Ravens. He’s never rallied them from BEHIND in the final 2 minutes of a game before. And no pressure for Steve Hauschka or anything……

4:06-HAVE to stop them here and force them to try a field goal after the 2 minute warning. If so, Flacco would have 2 minutes to try to win the game……

4:05-What a great play call by the Vikings there. Can’t have single coverage on Sidney Rice AND give him that much time. Unbelievable. This game turns again……

4:01-This can’t be happening. HOLY FREAKING CRAP.

3:58-That’s a big tackle there by Kelly Gregg. Followed by a HUGE sack from 52. THIS is seizing momentum. Wow.

3:57-It really is remarkable that the Ravens are still alive in this one. They need to get off the field without giving up more than one first down-or allowing a big play to put the Vikes in field goal position.

3:55-Ray Rice and Derrick Mason are heroes on that drive, and this is still a football game. Wow.

3:49-Big play there by Dannell Ellerbe. Even with 3 here, the Ravens could make this a one possession game again if they can get 7 quickly. Of course, I’m basically dreaming at this point…..

3:46-And as Drew likes to say, if my Aunt had a penis, she’d be my Uncle. Thanks to Tavares Gooden for not giving up on that one; if they can make a stop it would still be a 2 possession game after the FG.

3:45-Big play by Mark Clayton, if the Ravens can get the Vikings off the field quickly, this might turn into a football game again….

3:40-This will stay a catch. Not like it matters……..

3:37-There you go guys, Demetrius Williams is in the game! (Edit: Please dear God let Kelley Washington be okay….)

3:28-And with that, the Ravens’ decision to punt the ball on the previous drive becomes the wrong decision. The Dawan Landry haters will be out in full force now……

3:24-Drew is absolutely FURIOUS that we had former Morgan State Bear Visanthe Shiancoe on the show Thursday morning and now Shiancoe is killing us.

I guess that was interference, but it wasn’t brutal. Frank Walker wasn’t looking for the ball, which makes it tough. This one is about over….

3:22-Drew would like to point out that both he and I picked the Texans to beat the Bengals today. I would ALSO like to point out that I chose the Saints to beat the Giants by double digits…..Drew laughed at me when I made that pick…..

3:21-The reason to call timeout there? I’m not sure….

3:20-Just as I say it…..

3:17-Drew and I are yelling at each other about this; but I WOULD have gone for it on 4th and 5. On the chart, that’s a 50-50 situation……the Ravens only netted 25 yards on the punt. If they pin the Vikings inside the 5, they made a good decision. Decisions are ALWAYS judged by their success or failure.

Big tackle by T-Sizzle there. Ravens have to get off the field quickly to have a chance in a 2 possession game.

3:13-I know Joe was excited to throw that ball, but double coverage to Mason???

3:12-Lardarius Webb is showing himself to be a real weapon. The Ravens might want to consider having him in on a couple offensive plays later in the season. Seriously.

3:10-Great play call there by the Vikes on 3rd down, thank God Brett overthrew Sidney Rice on that one…..but it’s a 2 possession game again, so the pressure goes right back on Flacco’s shoulders.

3:08-Ed Reed unfortunately picked Fabian Washington himself there. Remember what I said about momentum? Gone…..

3:03-Now there’s a little pressure on the Vikings to do something offensively. The Ravens could use a turnover BADLY. When you start to turn momentum, you have to absolutely seize it…….


2:59-Ravens have been doing little to nothing on 1st down…..I think anyway…..don’t have stats handed to me every quarter.

Great job of getting rid of that one there by Joe Cool.

2:58-Remember when the Ravens ran a successful screen play to Jared Allen’s side of the field? Where do you think that play went?

2:52-At least holding them to a Ryan Longwell field goal means this is still a 2 possession game, but they HAVE to get something going offensively.

2:49-The Ravens absolutely HAVE to make tackles…….that was unacceptable. The Vikings will try to keep the ball on the ground in the 2nd half; ground the rest of the clock away……

2:48-I understand everyone’s frustration watching this game……trust me.

This is a big play here. 3rd and 2….the Ravens HAVE to get off the field somehow…

2:42-Does anyone know who the penalty was on there on Lardarius Webb’s kick return? Did he say #29? Would like to know…just a terrible way to start the first half. You have a chance to take momentum, and just give it away completely.

2:24-Hauschka gets his first FG attempt in weeks to get the Ravens on the board. If they can get points on their first drive of the 2nd half; they can make this a 1 possession game and at least make this interesting…..

2:23-TERRIBLE decision there. Just TERRIBLE.

2:22-If they had been effective earlier on this drive, they would have 3 shots at the endzone.

2:21-We knew the Ravens were going to miss Jared Gaither. Michael Oher hasn’t played poorly, but this is just a REALLY tough assignment for him….

2:20-HORRIFIC 2 minute offense. Just absolutely unacceptable in every way.

2:18-Mark Clayton HAS to get out of bounds there. HAS TO. Damn….

Also, how bout that? The officials corrected their missed spot? Would have liked to have seen that a week ago……

2:16-Why would Ed Reed pick up the ball there????

2:10-On a day like this, the only good news can be the site that the Redskins trail the Chiefs 3-0…….

2:09-I’m not sure I agree with that………

2:08-They’ll have field position here. If a team EVER needed a 3 and out badly……..

2:04-Great catch by Derrick Mason after a push-off. Hey, if Randy Moss can get away with them, Derrick should be able to as well…..

2:01-Chris Carr probably should have let that one go. At least they have the football. If Joe can get something together, he could make this a 1 possession game……

1:58-Pass rush “creativity” is not just bringing extra men. That wasn’t particularly good…..

1:56-Ray Lewis had 6 points there if he can find that ball……

1:53-Dan Dierdorf says what everyone else was thinking……looked like the Vikes jumped. It might have been nothing more than an anticipated snap count; but it looked brutal.

1:52-At least Mike Carey saw that correctly the 2nd time. Geez…..

1:50-This is a fumble if Joe’s hand was empty when it came forward. It was not. This is a forward pass….Jared Allen was just on Joe’s arm as he was throwing it forward.

1:49-If Mike Carey can’t see Joe threw the ball there, I’m not sure what he’s watching…….

1:48-That was an incomplete pass……..NO WAY that was a fumble……

1:46-Who missed the block on that screen? Looked like Ben Grubbs. That might well be the difference between that being a first down gain and being a 6 yard gain…..

1:43-Greg Mattison’s adjustments solid after a disastrous start early. Let’s see if Cam Cameron can make similar solid adjustments….

1:41-Jared Allen apparently isn’t aware that he stepped on the most important foot in the state of Maryland. Someone should probably let him know…..

1:35-Cam Cameron’s in-game adjustments have not been outstanding this season. He will not be able to just assume that Ray Rice/Willis McGahee/Le’Ron McClain can run the ball in the middle of the field with Kevin and Pat Williams waiting for them. They have to use passes to Ray Rice in the flat to try to GET the middle of the field. (I say this as if Cam doesn’t already know it….)

1:32-Domonique Foxworth may have just made the best play he’s made all season. Dierdorf rightly points out it was a good no-call. Chris Kluwe does Ravens no favors on punt….

1:31-Greg Gumbel mistakenly called John Harbaugh “Jim Harbaugh” earlier in the game……..John Harbaugh might be wishing he were Jim Harbaugh right now……

1:30-Sam Koch takes a dive. Worth the shot…….

1:29-There was a TD to Derrick Mason-if Mason was 5 years younger…….

1:24-Bernard Barrian TD…..14-0…..this could be a disaster if the Ravens don’t adjust QUICKLY

1:18-This is a classic chess match issue…Darrell Bevell noticed that the Ravens would probably adjust to the big plays outside and up top, so they went to the middle strikes on quick throws. Instead of putting touch on the ball-expecting Greg Mattison to move his safeties outside for help-he’s taking advantage of quick developing passing lanes.

Hint: It’s working.

1:17-Wait, the Ravens had the ball? I must have missed it……..

1:07-This doesn’t bode well for my pick. Christ. Visanthe Shiancoe scores a TD on a play where Kelly Gregg (Justin Bannan?) was offsides anyway. Favre with the quick strikes to both Shiancoe and Rice on the drive after AP’s big run. The only highlight was Terrell Suggs’ tackle of Chester Taylor in the backfield. 7-0 Vikes, and this could get brutal if adjustments aren’t made.

1:03-Tackling at the point of attack is the only way to stop Adrian Peterson. That HURTS. It also hurt that Fabian Washington was blocked by a ref, but I doubt he would have brought down “All Day” either.

Also, Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf on the call today. Gumbel says Ray Lewis called Brett Favre “The Ultimate Warrior.” Apologies to this guy???


12:50-I have been informed that Jay Glazer said today that the Ravens called the Bills regarding Terrell Owens’ status-a story that has gained traction over at PFT.

I would like to point out that this does NOT mean the Ravens were interested in trading for Terrell Owens. Quite simply, a call made to the Bills could have been nothing more than a gauge regarding the value of receivers on the open market. If the Bills had been willing to part with T.O. for a 5th round pick, the Ravens may have told the Chiefs they were looking for too much in return for Dwayne Bowe.

Glazer did a nice job of making the Terrell Owens story more sensational for FOX; but we do NOT know enough about the nature of the conversation to assume that the Ravens were truly trying to make a play for Owens. I would assume that Bills WR Roscoe Parrish would be a better fit for the Ravens.

12:40-On Friday’s Comcast Morning Show, I picked the Ravens to win 24-13, despite the fact that they have lost 2 straight games and have a TON of question marks.

That being said, the positions where the Ravens are vulnerable are NOT the positions where the Vikings are particularly strong.

The teams that have had success throwing the football against the Ravens are the teams that have had big, physical receivers to throw the football to up top. The Vikes have just one receiver (Sidney Rice) who is taller than 6’1″. While Chris Henry was the only Bengal over 6’1″ (6’4″), 6’1″ Chad Ochocinco’s remarkable leaping ability made him play taller than his height. Bernard Berrian does not offer the same threat.

On the other side of the football, the Ravens were done in last week by a Bengals defense that cheated with their safeties because they were comfortable putting Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph in one-on-one situations with the Ravens’ Wide Receivers. Putting 5’9″ Antoine Winfield in the same position would be VERY dangerous for Brad Childress’ team. I think the Vikings will be forced to drop their safeties back to help in coverage against Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington, which SHOULD keep the middle of the field somewhat more open for Derrick Mason and Todd Heap-although each will draw extra attention.

Michael Oher will have a tough assignment with Jared Allen, and I think Joe Flacco’s jersey will get dirty today. If Joe can hold onto the football, the Ravens should survive whatever havoc Jared Allen creates. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens will face a tall talk on the Vikings’ left side of the offensive line, where Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson rarely let defenders through. But the right side of the line is more suspect (A banged up Phil Loadholt and Anthony Herrera), and Jarret Johnson should be able to get into the backfield.

Plus, you’re heard my thoughts on how the Ravens like to rally behind players and coaches to create an emotional “chip on their shoulder” type of edge. Matt Birk is coming back to Minnesota, and Greg Mattison and Cam Cameron have been maligned throughout the week. This team should certainly have their edge back.

12:32-For the record, Percy Harvin IS active today.

12:21-The weekend has been marked by trade rumors revolving around the Ravens. Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe was linked by ESPN on Friday. The NFL Network linked Pats WR Joey Galloway last night. Even today, NBC Sports somewhat linked Jaguars WR Mike Sims-Walker.

The conversation I had with a team source yesterday left me feeling as though a trade for Bowe (or any trade of significance) would be unlikely. However, Galloway would likely be available for little more than a conditional 7th round pick-so I wouldn’t eliminate it.

That being said, the Ravens SHOULD be willing to deal for a player like Bowe or Sims-Walker. They may not be as tall as some of the receivers around the NFL (both are 6’2″), but they can stretch the field-which the Ravens lack right now. The rumor surrounding Bowe was a 2nd & 5th round pick-which I just don’t see Ozzie Newsome doing. I was surprised Kansas City would make that deal as well-as Bowe was a 1st round pick himself, and teams RARELY trade away a 1st round pick without getting one back. That being said, the Bucs traded Gaines Adams (4th overall pick) to the Bears for a 2nd rounder. That might have hurt the Chiefs in what they were hoping for-even though Adams and Bowe play different positions.

12:11-James Brown (of CBS) just offered condolences to CBS Sports President Sean McManus on the death of his mother (Margaret Dempsey McManus) Thursday. McManus was of course the wife of the great Jim McKay. Sean McManus joined Drew Forrester just two Thursdays ago on The Comcast Morning Show-and I know that I enjoy seeing the success of Sean McManus due to the great pride I have in what Jim McKay meant to the city of Baltimore. I would also like to pass along my condolences to Sean for his loss.

11:41-Here are your scratches:

QB John Beck (3rd QB)
RB Jalen Parmele
LB Antwan Barnes
DE/LB Paul Kruger
WR/ST David Tyree
OT Oniel Cousins
OT Jared Gaither
DT Kelly Talavou

QB Sage Rosenfels (3rd QB)
WR/KR Darius Reynaud
RB Albert Young
CB Asher Allen
LB Erin Henderson
C Jon Cooper
DT Letroy Guion
DE Jayme Mitchell

11:20-Greetings from……my couch. Yep, I’ll be joining you at home; live at The Glenn Clark compound (we call it “Summer Camp”) in Rosedale. Nestor Aparicio is keeping me updated from the Metrodome in Minneapolis; and Drew Forrester and Luke Jones will also be checking in here and via Twitter (@WNST) during the game. The Ravens are 3-2 and have lost back to back games (@New England, vs. Cincinnati); the Vikes are 5-0 with wins over the Browns, Lions, 49ers, Packers and Rams.

The biggest question marks on the injury report are Jared Gaither (doubtful) and Minnesota’s Percy Harvin (questionable). Mostly a guess, but I think we’ll see Harvin active-Gaither inactive.

Back shortly with your inactive list….


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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

Barry Levinson’s documentary “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” last night on ESPN was OUTSTANDING.

It was a beautiful story told about the city of Baltimore, and the role the Baltimore Colts Marching Band played in bridging the gap between the Colts’ departure and the Ravens’ arrival.

It was a really well put together documentary. In fact, it made me FURIOUS that ESPN did not have Levinson put together their ’58 Championship Game doc last December-which they butchered terribly.

I can’t recommend you watching this enough. Jim Irsay’s insight was especially interesting. I thought he did a good job of saying he loved his father, but understood what a terrible person he had become.

I really can’t say this enough. The documentary was powerful. It was moving. It was probably what I should have expected from someone has talented as Barry Levinson.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark, Drew Forrester say Ed Reed best Raven in loss to Bengals

Glenn Clark says Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf to call Ravens-Vikings for CBS

Mark Suchy was excited for “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” last night

Tom Clayton says Ravens looked ‘average’ in Sunday’s loss


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens stayed with ‘hot hand’ of Ray Rice in loss to Bengals, know McGahee will be needed to contribute more this season

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens signed David Tyree, let Tony Curtis go

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh thinks Gaither ‘a lot better now’ than he was before Cincinnati game

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Samari Rolle’s status unknown as he reaches stretch where he’s eligible to return

The Official Site says Tyree made 85 tackles during his 6 seasons with Giants

Vikings Official Site’s Josh Fiedler says Ravens looking for ‘bounce back’ result in Minnesota

The AP’s Jon Krawczynski’s says Vikings TE Shiancoe expects Ravens to be ‘pretty mad coming in’ to Metrodome

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Marshal Yanda hoping to return to native Iowa after playing career over

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Birk thinks O-Line still ‘work in progress’

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Matt Stover didn’t ‘want to hurt anybody’s feelings’ by working out with Colts

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Harbaugh believes Tyree will help Ravens ‘in whatever way he can’

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck expects Ravens to get things back together Sunday in Minneapolis

The Sun says Ravens must find different ways to use Derrick Mason

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens must use Lardarius Webb more

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Samari Rolle showed up in Owings Mills wearing neck brace

The Sun’s Ken Murray says former Ravens WR Figurs signed with Bucs

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Matt Stover had chance to sign with Browns

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens have 26th ranked passing defense in NFL

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Demetrius Williams’ active status could be affected with David Tyree in Baltimore

Washington Times’ David Elfin has Ravens 10th in power rankings

Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Chip Scoggins says Vikes bring 2nd most takeaways in NFL into game

St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Sean Jensen and Rick Alonzo say reaching 100 yards doesn’t matter to Peterson

Fox Sports’ Adrian Hasenmayer has Ravens 12th in power rankings

ESPN.com has Ravens 11th in power rankings

Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver has Ravens 11th in power rankings

NFL.com has Ravens 13th in power rankings


The Sun’s Sandra McKee says Friedgen knows Terps still alive in ACC race

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps need to go 4-2 the rest of the way to get bowl eligible

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Mikell Simpson could go for Hoos Saturday at Byrd Stadium

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Fridge ‘proud’ of Terps

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says Cavaliers have similar offense to Middle Tennessee, James Madison-who gave Terps fits

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Hartsfield hasn’t decided when to have surgery on broken hand yet

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says max protection schemes have hurt James Franklin’s offense

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says despite growing up in Virginia, Torrey Smith never rooted for UVa

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Don Brown thought first half against Wake ‘a huge step back’

The Diamondback has Terps 12th in ACC power rankings

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps having to change philosophies due to injuries

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Chris Turner has become ‘threat’ on ground

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Wahoos continuing history of October success under Groh

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph ‘optimistic’ regarding Bruce Campbell

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Hartsfield will miss two games no matter what

Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Michael Phillips says Cavaliers QB Jameel Sewell redeeming himself after missing ’08 campaign

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says Terps, Hoos have good ‘rivalry’ because they genuinely don’t like each other (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Claire Knudsen profiles freshman LB Ryan Donohue (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Lorne Goree ready to get to College Park for spring ball (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Matt Birchenough says Jeremiah Johnson remains committed to Terps

Turtle Sports Report’s Carlos Olazagasti updates season for future Maryland opponents

Turtle Sports Report’s Ross Leonhart checks in with commit Brice Laughlin (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Bill Greene says Hollywood Hills DE prospect Clarence Murphy to visit College Park this weekend (must subscribe)


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says ‘atmosphere’ brought Alyssa Thomas to College Park


The Official Site says Niumatalolo thinks Teich ‘questionable’ again this week for SMU game

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Mids won’t have easy go against Mustangs

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says trip to Texas big for Midshipmen recruiting-wise

Go Mids updates season for Navy opponents


The Official Site previews Saturday’s Homecoming showdown with Delaware

Delaware Official Site offers complete Tigers-Blue Hens release (pdf)


The Official Site says fall season wraps up Saturday with Lacrosse for Leukemia event in Bel Air


The Official Site offers radio broadcast details for ’09-’10 season


The Sun says Justin Fry will be out until January due to knee surgery


The Official Site offers details for Friday night’s Midnight Madness event at Coppin Center


The Official Site previews contest with Ursinus

The Official Site offers complete JHU-Ursinus release (pdf)


Inside Lacrosse’s Geoff Shannon says ’11 prospect Wells Stanwick committed to Blue Jays


The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Trembley to bring back entire staff besides Jauss

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck thinks Birds should bring back Chad Moeller to mentor Wieters


The Official Site says AIFA team has one more open tryout left


Swimnetwork.com’s Bob Schaller says Phelps’ relay team drawing fans to sport

The Sun says Phelps amongst ‘most likeable’ celebrities


-Dave Jauss is gone, huh? I think BJ Surhoff would be a good fit in that role. Think he’s interested?

-Anyone have an American flag I can borrow for tonight’s game?

-Should I bet Eron Riley that if Maryland beats Duke, he has to go to the Ravens’ Halloween bash at Dave & Buster’s dressed as Gary Williams? If Duke beats Maryland, I would have to go as Coach K. Thoughts?

Talk to you from Owings Mills.


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Ravens Lose The Game …. But, Tom Brady Loses My Respect

Posted on 06 October 2009 by Rex Snider

As I grow older, I’m getting wiser ….. I’m absolutely convinced of it. And, as I begin to scratch the surface of the Ravens contentious loss to the Patriots, I’m glad that I’ve relied on that acquired technique of thoroughly absorbing a situation before putting my feelings in writing.

This doesn’t mean I remained stoic and silent as a potential victory bounced off the chest of Mark Clayton and through the fingers of the Baltimore Ravens, on Sunday. In fact, I suffered a behemoth meltdown of personal conduct, to the witness of several dozen Fells Point Festival Fans.

Trust me, if Andrew Dice Clay, Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci saw my very animated, yet very real explosion of emotion, they’d look at each other and say “Damn, that F@#&*ng guy can curse.”

I can’t help my weakness – watching football and rooting for the hometown team brings out an emotionally charged reaction in me and YOU.

And, this same rabid, infuriating streak – which cannot be found in the typical baseball, basketball or hockey fan – is exactly what fuels my dissection of the NFL’s hellbent mission of protecting CERTAIN QUARTERBACKS.

I’m not disparaging fans of other sports …..

We’re those same people. But, we behave differently when the passion is football. We anticipate pain. We relish defense. And, we expect brutal, hard efforts.

It’s football.

So, as I went through my normal Monday routine, I reminded myself of a custom I haven’t experienced, since January 19th ….. I stay away from everything related to the Ravens on mornings following a loss.

It’s hard to digest the bitching and griping. The negativity runs deep on a morning after the Ravens lose. It’s rarely productive and such drama usually just leads to a bad freakin’ start of the week.

As if I need a reason – the Ravens just lost !!!!

Yesterday, I was out of practice. The Ravens haven’t lost in nearly 9 months …..

And, by the time I heard the first caller pleading for a BIG TIME RECEIVER to replace Mark Clayton, followed by a Congressional Inquiry into the NFL’s preferential treatment of Tom Brady, I was ready to take hostages.

Along with this propaganda, I heard a peppering of valued insight. I have no doubt a degree of fact and sobering truth was imbedded in a couple blogs, as well as on-air disclosures by hosts and callers.

I heard and read a few visions regarding the NFL’s stance on ensuring the quarterback is protected, to the greatest extent, while in the pocket. I understand the reasoning – quarterbacks typically control the immediate destiny of a team.

I’m not certain I agree with that concept, but it’s a fair and intelligent argument. Yeah, this is my way of saying it’s not ranked with UFO spottings, pro rasslin’ results and other phony baloney conspiracy theories.

I further understand the NFL’s stake in ensuring the most marketable names are standing on two feet next week – AND enjoying their place on highlight films around the sports world.

In fact, I think the suspicion that the 32 guys comprising the POSSE (Paranoid Owners Seeking Some Earnings) care about the bottom line far more than the competitive integrity of the product is a virtual realism.

“Just Win Baby” has become “Just Sell Baby” …..

I’m sure the ownership groups representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers have little interest in seeing Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger or the Manning brothers win another Super Bowl.

However, I’d bet they’re hoping to be in the position of one of those teams within the next decade, and they would like to ensure their most marketable name is on the field – selling jerseys and tickets.

The NFL is a different world than other sports …..

In October, 2019, the Yankees and Red Sox will be playing playoff baseball. The same can probably be said for the Lakers and Celtics and their postseason. But, ten years ago, the Colts were just enjoying their first dominating season, in Indianapolis. And, the Patriots had ZERO Super Bowl rings.

A lot of things change in a decade. So, I can see the financial hope and speculation in supporting rules that ensure the game’s biggest stars remain stars, from a marketing perspective. If the Jacksonville Jaguars land the next Peyton Manning, he could make them a viable moneymaking entity, IN JACKSONVILLE.

Okay, the Jags might head for L.A. within the next couple years. But, I’ll guarantee a quarterback of Peyton Manning’s magnitude would appeal to football fans, in Southern California, too.

I have absolutely no doubt the NFL’s owners are driven by greed and money-making potential when instituting these rules that make the quarterback nearly as insulated as the President of the United States.

Surely, I exaggerate. But, you get it, right?

I will respectfully disagree with some of my colleagues – I don’t think the owners are so inspired to protect the quarterbacks, at all costs, in the name of winning. And, I have a few examples to support my argument.

It’s difficult to imagine any team is so dependent on ONE PLAYER …..

The New England Patriots won 11 games, last year, with the hands of a kid at quarterback who never started a game, since high school. The 2007 version of the Cleveland Browns amassed 10 wins with a guy who was cut by a division rival.

A very competent veteran in Jeff Garcia has started and won games for 6 NFL franchises, over the past 7 seasons.

NFL teams don’t need BIG NAME quarterbacks to be successful.

But, the BIG NAME quarterbacks do promote the NFL product. They’re the faces of the league and the blunt reality is this ability to spawn profit is obviously more important than the integrity of what happens on the field.

If you doubt me, consider this …..

A quick glance at Sunday’s recaps evidenced ZERO “Roughing The Passer” penalties in the Redskins/Bucs & Titans/Jaguars games. Now, I’m not going to comb through every single play of every single game. But, I’m pretty sure you know where I’m headed …..

Should I simply assume no defensive players brushed-up against Jason Campbell, Josh Johnson, Kerry Collins or David Garrard? Or, maybe, these guys didn’t jump up and down like Arnold Horshack, from Welcome Back Kotter fame – while crying “he touched me !!!!!”

How masculine of Tom Brady, huh?

Instead of inspiring and rallying his teammates with a cool demeanor, he was flailing around like some baby’s mama hailing a hack, on a North Avenue corner. Real cool, Tom.

And, I’m not buying the “hey, it worked – he got the yellow flag thrown.”

After four games, I’m pretty convinced Tom Brady is very worried about that fragile knee and less worried about 45 feet of free real estate and a new set of downs. He’s doing everything possible to avoid getting hit.

There was a time when I really appreciated the surgeon-like capabilities of Tom Brady. These days, I see a guy who specializes in scolding his teammates for the world to see, while doing anything to avoid a short trip to the ground.

In wrapping this up, I’m inclined to finally clarify my feelings on the outcome of Sunday’s loss. I cannot fathom hanging the balance of any game on one single play. But, I also don’t subscribe to the suggestions the referees’ poor calling didn’t impact the outcome, either.

That’s just not accurate.

They made plenty of calls that extended scoring drives for the Patriots. This absolutely matters. The result cannot be changed, but the referees had a hand in the circumstances of this loss.

That’s it, I’m done with it. I’m ready for the Bengals.

But, I won’t forget Sunday’s debacle. I behaved like an ass. Tom Brady behaved like a baby. And, the referees ….. well, they behaved like a group of guys who’d never done their jobs, at such a high level, before.

Enough said, and lets just hope Carson Palmer hasn’t joined the NFL’s “Endangered Species” list, too ……

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