Tag Archive | "cameron"

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Cameron and Mattison orchestrate Ravens win over Saints

Posted on 19 December 2010 by Drew Forrester

A weird thing happened in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-24 Ravens win over New Orleans Saints.

There was no defensive meltdown. Not from the Ravens, anyway.

Baltimore got a pair of Billy Cundiff field goals in the 4th quarter and held off a spirited Saints comeback to win a huge showdown on Sunday and improve to 10-4, inching closer to a 3rd consecutive AFC playoff spot in the process.

This game – offensively – was about two people: Ray Rice. And Joe Flacco.

Rice ran through, over and around the defending Super Bowl champs, scampering for 153 yards on 31 carries. And when he wasn’t using his legs to dampen the Saints’ hopes, he used his hands, catching 5 balls for 80 yards including a superb 17 yard over the shoulder TD grab in the second quarter.

And Joe Flacco, asked to appropriately manage the game today as Baltimore’s running attack exposed a weak Saints defensive front, did just that in completing 10 of 20 passes for 172 yards. Flacco accounted for two TD’s in the air and was mistake free in compiling a QB rating of 112.9.

That Baltimore’s offense failed to score an offensive touchdown in the second half for the fifth straight game was of little issue afterwards.

This was a huge win for John Harbaugh and Company.

And it was also a day of recovery for the team’s offensive and defensive coordinators, as Cam Cameron and Greg Mattison were both spot on in their game plan and the execution thereof. Cameron looked at the stats, saw a New Orleans defense that was vulnerable against the run, and decided not to play games by out-fooling Sean Payton and his coaching staff. Cameron used the run to his team’s benefit and it worked magically all afternoon, as poor tackling highlighted the New Orleans defensive lapse.

Mattison, meanwhile, sent pressure early and often to start the game and gave Drew Brees fits throughout the first half. Brees, generously listed at 6’0″ by the Saints, struggled at times during the first 25 minutes based mainly on the fact that Baltimore’s outside pressure kept him in the pocket and limited his vision over the Ravens defensive line. Even in the second half, with Baltimore’s defense on its heels, the Ravens were able to make life difficult for Brees. And on the Saints final drive with three minutes to go, the Baltimore defense held firm and forced a 4th down attempt that was picked off by Cory Redding to seal the game.

This time around, unlike other Sunday’s (and a Monday) when the Ravens defense crumbled as the game moved into the final quarter, Baltimore got the win BECAUSE of their defense, not in spite of it. It was a good thing to see.

Chalk this victory up to a perfect storm of sorts. The players played well and the coaching staff coached well. This game was won on the field by Ray Rice and Joe Flacco, but it was sealed by Cameron and Mattison, who developed a strategy, stuck to it, and had their players execute it to near-perfection.

For as much grief as they’ve taken this year, a private “atta boy” hug was probably shared by the two coordinators after the game.

So the Ravens move on to Cleveland now, where the Browns await next Sunday, licking their chops and trying to win for the “hometown fans” who despise a visit from the purple about as much as we in Baltimore hate a visit from the horseshoe in the midwest.

For now, though, all is well in Baltimore, where the Ravens held off the defending Super Bowl champs today and looked awfully good in doing so.

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Ravens, Rants and Ratings

Posted on 15 September 2009 by kevinpb

Ravens, Rants and Ratings – week 1

Ravens 38 – Chiefs 24. Good win, weird game!!
First of all, thanks for covering, I have gotten beat more times then I care to count on back door covers. Glad to see it works the other way on occasion. My check book thanks you, Ravens!!
The game was a lot closer then the stats would dictate…or then it should have been. The Chiefs made some big plays and took advantage of the Ravens putting it in cruise control after they scored a quick ten points. Remember boys and girls, everybody gets paid in the NFL; if you let the underdog hang around, that can come back to bite you in the rear end.
On the positive side I really like the pseudo “no huddle” offense they came out in and also employed late in the game. It gave the Ravens a crisp pace and jump started the Raven’s offensive game. The offense carried the day. The defense should thank them.

Joe Flacco, 26 of 43 for 307yds an 3 TD’s. Read that stat line again and remember we are talking about a Baltimore Ravens quarterback. Yes he threw an interception, and he was high on a few throws, but this isn’t your father’s Raven’s quarterback. This kid is special. The first touchdown throw to McGahee was a terrific play, moving in the pocket to extend the play and keeping his eyes down field to find the open receiver. Dare I say it was very “Roethlisberger like”? He is going to be the type of game changer that makes your team a viable contender year after year…FINALLY!!!

The Ravens threw the ball the first 6 plays of the game and a total of 43 times. I LOVE the fact that they have that faith in QB 5; but I think it is important that while Harbaugh and Cameron want to increase the production from the passing game, that they not forget our smash mouth roots. You don’t beat Pittsburgh by being “cute-sy”…I’m just saying.

I thought it was interesting that Chris Chester got the start over Marshall Yanda. It will be curious to see if Chester has beat out Yanda or if the Ravens are just being cautious because of Yanda coming back from the knee injury. Chester played better then I have expected over the last year, but I still like the toughness that Yanda brings. This offensive line is going to be something else. Flacco had a ton of time to throw and in the second half the backs had room to run.

Someone send out a search party for Demetrius Williams. When the Ravens went 4 wide, Todd Heap and Troy Smith were split out more frequently then Demetrius Williams. It appeared that Williams was healthy at the end of training camp. I wonder why he is not playing all of a sudden. Wasn’t it Harbaugh that was saying what a great pre-season Demetrius had? Kelley Washington is going to prove to be a valuable edition to the receiving core. Mark Clayton, after being out all of training camp, was a force at receiver. He looked more in sync with Flacco then did Mason, who uncharacteristically struggled. He bobbled balls all day and had problems with his footwork. By the way, the first long ball that Mason juggled at the back of the end zone early in the game, was a ball that maybe only 5 or 6 quarterbacks in this league can throw.

First an inept defense, then constant clock management issues, now putrid special teams play. Please fix the special teams now!! I just want to see a game where we are not penalized repeatedly in the return game. For a team whose head coach is a formal special team’s ace and with a separate special teams coordinator/assistant head coach our special teams are atrocious. Please stop trying to be cute. Just line up and play football. Max protect, make sure tackles, kick the ball and catch the ball and I will be happy. Steve Hauschka, good luck! When he missed that field goal there was a palpable angst all thru the purple palace. Hauschka seems like a good guy and his kick offs were strong. There is definitely a difference when the other team starts inside the 25 yard line instead of starting at the 35 yard line. Here is hoping that he goes on a long streak of making field goals so the ghost of Matt Stover fades away. I think everyone in the stadium yesterday was praying that the game did not come down to a field goal chance. I still think this team ought to burn a roster spot for automatic Matt.

Defensively, we played fine but there were some definite bumps in the road. I am not convinced that our corners can hold up over the course of the entire season. Also I don’t think they have the ability to play physical bump and run, nor do I like their abilities in run support. The Chiefs did not challenger Foxworth much all day, but Fabian Washington had some serious lapses in coverage. The other thing about Washington is even when he has the opportunity to make a play, he fails to do so. The defense also had trouble getting to the QB unless they blitzed. Jarrett Johnson is a great football player that no one talks about. Great game JJ. It is really nice to see Kelly Gregg back on the football field. No turnovers by the Ravens defense that is definitely not Raven football.

RANTS

1. I really am over the Colts to Indianapolis thing, really I am. But the broadcasting that Peyton Manning just tied Johnny Unitas in wins for the Colts franchise still pissed me off. Just make a delineation between the two teams. Nothing against Peyton Manning, he is a great football player, but I don’t want to see continuous comparisons between the Baltimore Colts and the Indianapolis Colts. Leave my memories alone dammit!

2. Serena Williams, lose some weight girl, you are a professional athlete. In all seriousness that tirade she threw at the US Open looked very calculated to me. The Williams sisters long had a heated rivalry with the Belgian players, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. I think she was looking for a way out without actually losing. Williams is known to only play the major tournaments, because she detests the tour life, and to her credit she usually does very well. But I think the fact that she could not just will herself to a win over one of her most hated opponents in a tournament she sees as her own, got to her. The fact the Kim Clijsters is coming out of retirement after giving birth and was assumed not to be in tip top shape had to wear on Serena. Turn about is fair play Serena. How do you think all the other players, who take their profession seriously and play week in and week out, feel after they lose to you after you show up in questionable shape and only when you feel like it?
3. How about a Maryland football player who actually has some success. Shaun Hill was 18 for 31 for 209 yards for the SF 49ers. On the game winning drive he was 9 for 13 for 57 yards. Shaun Hill harkens back to the glory days of the Friedgen era at Maryland. Way to go Shaun Hill.

4. Fat men can’t coach. How can anybody associated with the Maryland football team be happy about beating James Madison University in overtime? The university of Maryland supposedly a major Division I college program has 2 walk-ons starting on the offensive line. Charlie Weis is cost his team the game on Saturday against Michigan. The University Of Notre Dame does not have the ability to make adjustments in the game plan. They were flat out coached at Michigan and shoddy coaching decisions late put the last nails in the coffin. The winds of change cannot come fast enough.

5. The Seattle Seahawks are a solid yet stunning unspectacular football team. They have a strong running game, they upgraded their receivers and the defense is fast and aggressive. If Matt Hasselback stays healthy they will win the NFC West in a walk. Mark that one down.

6. How bad must it stink to be a Cincinnati Bengal’s fan? Neither Cincinnati nor the Denver Broncos will factor in the playoffs this year, but Cincinnati seems to invent new ways to lose. Losing a game like they did, on that tipped miracle catch and run, may destroy that team for the rest of the year. I would not want to be Marvin Lewis right now.

7. What the hell was Kanye West thinking? He absolutely ruined a magical moment for the girl, Taylor Swift. If I was Ms. Swift I would have wound up and kicked him right in the 5 hole. At least Beyonce tried to save the night with a class move at the end of the Music Awards, raising Taylor Swift’s arm in triumph. Kanye West is a punk, the clock is ticking, and your 15 minutes is almost up Kanye.

8. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I have ever seen. For years, everyone always chided Michael Jordan for not speaking out, for not expressing his opinion. Now that he opens up at his Hall of Fame induction, maybe he was right for keeping quiet all those years. On a night of celebration, Mr. Jordan could not resist taking one more stab at all those people he battled and feuded with throughout his career. He couched his venom by saying that is what drove his competitive passion. He could have made his point without throwing a bunch of well respected people under the bus. David Robinson and John Stockton were the epitome of class.

9. Did anyone catch Brian Matusz against the Yankees this past Saturday afternoon? I actually turned off college football to watch him pitch. The kid was terrific and has been off the charts for his last 4 starts. He is going to be a real, real good one. Just stay healthy Brian. Now Andy McPhail, go get me John Lackey and Chone Figgins and maybe we are onto something.

RANKINGS

1. Pittsburgh Steelers – …”to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man…Woooo!!” Truer words were never spoken.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – very tenuous ranking here with McNabb’s rib injury, but they were still very impressive Sunday.
3. New Orleans Saints – Still not sure about the running game or the defense, but Drew Brees, WOW!! MVP!!
4. New York Giants – Workman like win over a decent team. No flash here just a lot of substance.
5. New York Jets – A shout out to Rex Ryan. Man he looks good in a wet t-shirt. Way to go coach. Nice line for the rookie QB, 18-32 for 272 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Sanchez has got star written all over him.
6. Seattle Seahawks – I like the way this team played on Sunday. Good offensive line, workman like backs, speedy defense, capable QB and receivers and a lousy division.
7. Baltimore Ravens – Probably a bit high here; I am just giddy we have an offense.
8. Green Bay Packers – Showed great offense in the preseason, but defense may be the story here.
9. New England Patriots – Is there a crack in the foundation? They looked lost and slow against the Bills, until the last 5 minutes of course.
10. Minnesota Vikings – This great defense gave up 20 points to a bad offense. Adrian Petersen is a beast, 25 carries for 180 yards and 3 TD’s.
11. Atlanta Falcons – “Matty-Ice” good QB, lousy nickname.
12. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning, yada, yada, yada…
13. San Francisco 49ers – I am rooting for the 49ers, lots of young talent here, Singletary is a psycho. Go Shaun Hill Go.
14. Dallas Cowboys – They haven’t had any heart in Dallas for over 3 years. When the going gets tough, the Cowboys lose.
15. San Diego Chargers – LT was very quiet, the Oakland Raiders took them to the brink, and Norv Turner is still the coach. Always lots of talent, but I am not feeling it.
16. Tennessee Titans – Funny this team is more like the Baltimore Ravens, then the Baltimore Ravens are. Defend, run the ball and make sure you don’t turn the ball over.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Still a rough tough defense with a superior back. Is David Garrard enough to win in the NFL?
18. Arizona Cardinals – I am on the fence about this team. Immensely talented, but I think they just caught lightning in a bottle last year.
19. Washington Redskins – Defense is really tough, Haynesworth will make them better. It is put up or shut up time for Jason Campbell.
20. Chicago Bears – That might have been the most disappointing opening night I have seen in a long time. Add that to losing Brian Urlacher for the entire year, it might be a long season in the Windy City.
21. Miami Dolphins – Last season the stars were aligned for this team. I think they played a good team on Sunday so let’s keep an eye on the Fish.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Defense is not close to what it once was, but running attack was very good and Byron Leftwich had some good numbers.
23. Oakland Raiders – There is a pulse. Defense has been sturdy for a couple years and the offensive line was greatly improved. The passing game showed some life.
24. Denver Broncos – This team is in trouble and needed a miracle to beat the Bengals. This might get ugly in Denver.
25. Kansas City Chiefs – I like Todd Haley, he has a fire and passion. The Chiefs should some spunk when the Ravens gave them a gift to get back in the game. Let’s see what happens when Matt Cassel gets playing.
26. Buffalo Bills – First wide right, then the Music City Miracle, now the Foxboro faux pas.
27. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford showed some flashes. Kevin Smith is going to be a star and Calvin Johnson already is. Keep an eye on this team they will get better.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – Who dat, Who dat going to beat dem Bengals? Everybody, YUK!!! Can you say C-U-R-S-E?
29. Carolina Panthers – Easily the most disappointing team of opening weekend. They definitely spit the bit. Last 2 games for Jake Delhomme, 10 turnovers, 9 interceptions.
30. Cleveland Browns – This team is bad, but I love watch Josh Cribbs play football.
31. St. Louis Rams – they offered no challenge whatsoever to the Seahawks. It was pathetic to watch.
32. Houston Texans – Has there ever been a more over rated team. Year after year they are touted and fall flat on their face.

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 06 July 2009 by Glenn Clark

Let me start by saying this…..

The last time I spoke to Steve McNair was in January, right before the event he did with us down in Nashville. The call came in WELL after midnight on Thursday night; and Steve was the subject of controversy in Tennessee because he was going to be involved with a “Ravens rally” before a playoff game against the Titans organization whose existence he was so synonamous with. Steve’s manager had called me the day before to say he couldn’t be involved with the event. But Steve himself called me very late/very early Friday to say “I gotta do it man. I gotta do it for the kids.” I asked Steve if he knew what time it was, and he said “Yeah, but I had to let you know man.”

The event stood to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, which was particularly important to Steve. I was really happy to know that Steve was willing to stand up in the face of the people who challenged him.

I couldn’t tell you much more about Steve personally. I met him immediately when he was first traded to Baltimore, and I unfortunately left for Phoenix right before his two year run here began. I just never really got the chance to get to know him much more than that. As the news has unfolded this weekend, I’ve been a mess of emotions, and have thought so much about how much I admired the guy. I am not ashamed to admit that I respect Jeff Fisher in a way that might be borderline “man crush”, and I will admit that during the rivalry with the Titans early this century I always felt that the Titans franchise was remarkably similar to the Ravens, and I couldn’t help but respect their team (as long as the Ravens beat them on the field).

I thought about skipping this weekend’s 15-7-0; but it was important to me to laugh. I remember the day of Sean Taylor’s unthinkable murder, I was asked to do my daily 15 minute comedy bit for a radio show I worked for at the time. It seemed strange, but I felt it comfortable to mention the tragedy, and then ask for permission to try to have fun. It was KINDA like the time Lorne Michaels asked Rudy Giuliani if SNL was allowed to be “funny” when they came back after 9/11. “America’s Mayor” responded with the simple quip “Why start now?”

So I’m asking your permission to have fun. I’d ask for permission to be funny, but I know you’d have a smart one-liner for me. There won’t be anything more about Steve in here. I’ll let that play out on its own.

As a note, since this weekend started on Thursday night. Read accordingly.

You get props….

1-Joey Chestnut

hero

So, many of you know that at some point in my life I’m finally going to get around to writing my book. My book will of course be about the great Juan Dixon, and it will be called “We Needed A Hero.” The book will get that title because sports fans from this region who are about my age really never had a true “hero” until Juan Dixon came around. I’ll spare you the details of the book other than to ask that you buy it (if I actually finally get around to actually writing the damn thing). But anyway, buy my book.

Oh right, Joey Chestnut. You see, the moral of the story is that years later; we finally have our next great hero. I’ve seen a number of great accomplishments in my day; but standing on a street corner in Brooklyn to watch our greatest American champion successfully defend his crown and smash his own world record; I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t bring a tear to my eye. Or that I didn’t rush up on stage the very second the contest was over to give the man a hug.

The best thing “Jaws” said to me all day?

“Plus, you know, I think the hot dogs are really good.”

This man is a hero America. Get on board now.

2-Adam Jones

Upon hearing the news that he had made the American League’s All-Star team as the lone representative from the Baltimore Orioles, Adam Jones released this statement……

“This is a big day for me. I feel like I have been named the prettiest girl at fat camp.”

(Editor’s note: No, no, he really said it. Just trust me. I mean, why would I lie to you if financial gain wasn’t an option?)

3-Tiger Woods

Do you think the invitations to Tiger’s event read like this…..

“Please come to my party, where you can enjoy watching me kick your ass. Cake and punch will be available.”

Also, you’ll be seeing this video (or actually Comcast SportsNet’s version of this video) a lot over the next 24 hours…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6hFVgur8W8[/youtube]

4-Shin-Soo Choo, Derek Lee, Justin Morneau and Casey McGehee

In other baseball news this weekend, Jason Bay made the All-Star team despite toting just a .260 average and going 0-5 with 5 strikeouts against the Orioles last week. But I think people from Boston are really smart. For example, this guy is an elected official……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbK4cL3QSc0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Your city is awful, your people are worse. I guess I’ll throw in a shout-out to Tim Wakefield, who made his first All-Star team since 1963.

5-Serena Williams

For absolutely no reason at all, I’d like to remind you of what Serena Williams looks like in a bikini.

serena

If this isn’t a reminder of why America is the greatest country on the face of the planet, I don’t know what else you’re looking for. Seriously, this country rules. And Serena is apparently pretty good at tennis too.

6-Robbie Rogers

I would love Robbie Rogers even if he wasn’t the man of the match in the US’s win over Grenada. That is of course because Robbie went to the greatest school in the history of the world, a proud Maryland Terrapin.

I know what you’re thinking. “Glenn, does that mean that no matter what, you just immediately love every person that went to the University of Maryland, no matter who they are?”

Well, the answer is yes. Except for these guys anyway……

md

Ehhhh….who am I kidding? Even those guys.

7-Justin Turner, Radhames Liz, and Chris Salberg

Congratulations also go out to Jim Miller and Chris Tillman of the Norfolk Tides, who were each named to the International League’s All-Star team for next week’s game in Portland.

Wait……their reward is to spend three days in Portland that they could have spent on vacation?

I’m sorry…..there are no consolation prizes available.

8-Matt Russell

Remember how I said Tim Kennedy was my favorite soldier in the world? He has company. There’s really nothing about Matt Russell that falls into the category of “news” from this weekend, but Matt Russell is a former Navy goalie and current Washington Bayhawk who is currently serving in Iraq. For that, he kicks ass. And I know he’s not the only athlete who is serving or who has served recently, but he’s the only one that I had a story about waiting for me in my Inbox. And it is REALLY hard for me to go searching for other stories when I know that there is an episode of “Kendra” waiting on my Comcast DVR.

russell

So here’s to you Matt Russell. When you get home, I’m buying you a Blue Moon. I’d buy you more, but how would you drive me home?

9-Rick Maese

I get the feeling that I am going to SERIOUSLY regret the fact that I wasn’t able to hang out more with Rick Maese while he was working in Baltimore. I mean, it’s not as if I never knew the guy, but something tells me he would have been the perfect candidate to have me pass out on his floor after a weekend with Mike Grinnon in College Park.

nude

Rick recently took a new gig with the Washington Post as a Redskins beat writer following his dismissal from The Sun. He did an interview last week with the humorous DC-sports Blog “Mister Irrelevant”, and here are some of the many gems….

When asked about his firing while covering a game at Camden Yards:

No, it wasn’t cool, but there’s probably no perfect way to whack an employee. I didn’t need a hug or a pat on the back or a Baltimore Sun souvenir mug on my way out the door.

I’m a couple of months removed now and I mostly feel sadness. The Sun is important to Baltimore, and there’s still a lot of good people trying to do good work. To me, what’s happened there isn’t fair to these people who are on the ground — who are actually practicing journalism — and it’s not fair to the people of Baltimore who depend on the Sun in so many ways. So it’s sad to me. I sincerely hope the people steering the ship have a plan. In a perfect world, newspapers are run by journalists, not kamikaze pilots.

When asked about how he’s been spending his time off:

My recent extended vacation has forced me to figure out what else I like to do to pass the time. I’m big into music. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen Drive-By Truckers, Old 97s, Martin Sexton, Gaslight Anthem, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers and Michael Jackson. Wait, scratch that last one. No one will ever top David Bowie or the Beatles. Seen Bowie once. Supposed to see him a second time, down in Miami several years back, but the show was canceled. After the opening act, some dude fell from the catwalk and died on the stage. Bowie never came out. I’m not sure anyone’s death has affected me quite so profoundly.

And on his memories from The Sun:

I’m going to sidestep your question slightly. I’m saving the embarrassing athlete stories for Larry King. Or. Maybe my best-man toast at Gary Williams’ wedding.

Anyhow, when I look back at my time with the Sun, it won’t be a singular story or some home movie. It’s more like flipping through a photo album. Going to work each day at one of the best ballparks in the country. Meeting Ali. China with Cal. China with Phelps. Brian Billick quotes. The student section at Comcast. Dressing as Lincoln and making a mockery of the Presidents Race. Getting an earful each morning from Angelos’ loyal staff subjects. Barbaro. Blindly hunting for Miguel Tejada in the Dominican Republic. Witnessing Dan Steinberg’s ongoing mental breakdown. And that unforgettable Orioles’ World Series. Wait, scratch that last one.

Anyone else get the feeling he’s better off?

10-Micah Owings

Hits a home run and throws a gem in a win. He goes both ways. Sorta like Tila Tequila…..

Tila Tequila

11-Keith Law

Here’s the quick explanation. Law is the man who came up with the quote “Sliced bread is the greatest thing since Matt Wieters” that the people over at MattWietersFacts.com turned into a t-shirt. So to bring everything full circle, Keith Law took a picture of himself wearing the t-shirt and holding a slice of bread.

law

Bringing things even fuller circle, the slice of bread was quoted as saying “You know what, that Matt Wieters fella is even more awesome than I am. Except of course when you slather Esskay bacon, lettuce, and tomato on me. Then I kick more ass than anything else in the world.”

12-Orange Blossom Cream Ale

creamale

I was a little worried that I was drinking a foreign brew on the 4th of July; but it’s from California. Which means it’s almost American!

13-Vladimir Guerrero

Do you ever get this feeling while you’re watching the Orioles:

“How come all of the good players play for the other teams?????”

14-Fruit Salad

fruit

In a recent taste test conducted by me; fruit salad was crowned heavyweight champion of the salad community. With no offense to pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, or really anything else in the world; fruit salad is just much awesomer. So awesomer in fact that I decided to invent the word awesomer in order to be able to describe it.

15-America

At one point while standing on the corner of Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island Saturday, I looked at a friend of mine and said “is there anything greater about our country than being here on this day?”

Joey Chestnut was introduced to the crowd at Nathan’s Famous to the tune “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who. My pal John Chambers (buy his stuff on iTunes) and I immediately started air guitaring every riff and belting out every lyric. We then looked at each other and I said to him “why the hell don’t they just change this song to our national anthem?” My pal agreed, and it wasn’t until about ten minutes later than my buddy finally wised up and said “Wait, The Who isn’t an American band.” I responded by saying “I know, but they should be.”

And for as much ass as our country kicks, I’m not completely certain it is a good thing that the most patriotic song most people my age could think of Saturday was this gem from “Team America World Police” that is ABSOLUTELY not safe for work. Unless your work is being Bob Saget. And if that’s the case, thanks for reading Bob.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZdJRDpLHbw[/youtube]

You got lucky…….

1-Roger Federer

I’m not the type to take away from a man on the day of one of his greatest accomplishments, but damnit I thought Andy was finally going to do it today. I had 7 years worth of frustration pent up as an American tennis fan that I was ready to release, too. Here’s a bet I’d like to get advice on…..which happens first: an American wins a grand slam or the Orioles make the playoffs? Chew on that.

Anyway, at least having Pete Sampras in the crowd meant we got to see a few screen shots of the great Veronica Vaughn….

madison

…….and the reminder of Bridgette Wilson’s existence also reminds me that every girl I’ve ever met named Veronica has received this response from me…..”Veronica Vaughn……want to touch the heiney”

These are also reminders that there was a time when Adam Sandler was funny. That’s a pleasant memory.

2-Tony Stewart

Do you get the feeling that a newspaper in Daytona probably said “4th of July Fireworks Come ON Track in Race”?

Tony Stewart won the race. Kyle Busch wrecked on the last lap. I think I need a bigger iPod. Can someone donate one?

More NASCAR analysis later.*

(*By “later” I mean “likely never.”)

3-Ron Artest

This was the same guy who asked his team for some time off so he could promote his rap record.

Now, he’s an outstanding player again, and he’s going to pocket big money to go out to Los Angeles and collect championships with Kobe Bryant.

Nice life.

4-Manny Ramirez

Is there a less likeable guy who is more popular? If I was Sammy Sosa, I’d be kicking myself that I never thought to grow out dreadlocks. Or win two World Series titles. I guess there is a difference.

5-Ian Gregory

Look, this isn’t about Ian Gregory necessarily being lucky. A young man who has had to go through cancer absolutely deserves the chance to hang out with his favorite football team; even if he has a terrible parent who allowed him to root for the Cowboys.

What this is really about is the fact that it is “My Wish” week again on SportsCenter; which means their had better be a fresh box of Kleenex somewhere around the apartment. I wish I was kidding; but these damn videos ALWAYS leave me in tears.

Trust me, I hope Marion Barber turns his ankle in the first week of the season (unless I end up drafting him); but damnit I can’t help rooting for the guy for at least 3-4 minutes.

Here it is…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD2lplGRisw[/youtube]

6-Shoot The Freak

coney

Only in New York. Nothing like wandering down the street and hearing “Shoot the freak in the freaking head!” or “It’s Coney Island, what did you expect?”

How this attraction still exists I don’t know; but there’s a part of me that’s glad it does. Look, New York isn’t for everyone. For example, I went to something called Rubulad while I was in town this weekend, and after my 4th or 5th Pabst Blue Ribbon; I decided it probably wasn’t for me.

But I wasn’t sure how to get off the roof.

Or why the cow next to me was watching a silent film on a projector.

And I only wish I had a camera to prove these things.

7-The Luckiest Dang Gal On The Face Of The Planet

skeeball

Now, I know that having the name “The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet” would tend to lead to the idea that the subject is, in fact “lucky”, but something I learned this weekend officially makes her even luckier.

The Skee-ball lanes above are at the Coney Island Arcade. When we arrived there Saturday while our friends took in the Wonder Wheel; I immediately requested $5 worth of quarters from the man in the Arcade so I could show off my freakish pop-a-shot basketball prowess; as well as my relatively mediocre Skee-ball stardom. I took the quarters, handed a couple to TLDGOTFOTP, and placed mine in the Skee-Ball machine nearest me. It was at that moment that potentially the most fateful words in the short history of our relationship were spoken…..

“I’ve never played Skee-Ball before.”

I know what you’re thinking.

“Glenn, how did you not leave her right there in that Coney Island Arcade and let her find her own way back to whatever people might still accept her?”

Trust me, I considered it.

But I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, and a chance to show she was a quick learner.

But I was wrong.

Her first ball was thrown overhand.

Her send bounced right back in her face.

I’m pressing on for now, but I have to admit that the future of our relationship is still in doubt.

HOW IN THE HELL HAVE YOU NEVER PLAYED SKEE-BALL??????

You’re a zero……

Kansas City Royals

I know it sounds like I’m piling on; but the story of what they did to Baseball Prospectus’ Rany Jazayerli is practically Bader-istic.

The long and short of it? The Royals didn’t like something Jazayerli blogged; so they threatened to cut him off completely from the team…….and anyone (including radio shows) who associated with him as well.

Jazayerli is (of course) amongst the biggest Royals fans on the planet.

Somewhere Steve Melewski was thinking to himeself “I think the Royals are really doing a good job.”

-G

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Mining everything but “The Bird”…

Posted on 03 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

No doubt, by now you know that Mine The Bird, a 51-to-1 shot, won the Kentucky Derby in the mud with the most emotional athlete I’ve ever seen in Calvin Borel aboard. You surely know that the Caps now have a 1-0 series lead over the Penguins after yesterday’s 3-2 win in D.C. You’re keenly aware of the Orioles continued ineptitude in Toronto (which I’ve thankfully avoided with various other sports obligations) and the fact that Johns Hopkins squeaked by Loyola in lacrosse yesterday. You might’ve even stayed up with the Celtics and Bulls last night in a game that even “non-believing” NBA fans couldn’t help but catch a glimpse. We even took a busload of NASCAR fans down to Richmond last night with Rex Snider to catch the race where Kyle Busch held off Jeff Gordon.

And, if you’re on the WNST Text Service, you got the note that former Dolphins (and Cam Cameron) quarterback John Beck is expected to sign with the Ravens tomorrow to compete for the No. 2 job. (So much for the Troy Smith experiment.)

I went to the Caps game yesterday and had an awesome time. No press pass. Just went and sat in a club seat with my wife and waved red towels and rocked the red. Great crowd. Pretty girls. A sea of red. A pretty good, close game where every pass, hit and shot mattered. It was old-school Caps fandom and the vibe in the whole area was outstanding. The Capitals have the best game-day presentation I’ve ever seen. And Simeon Varlamov was outrageously good. The Caps can really win the Stanley Cup. I’m looking forward to Monday night already. And, we’re throwing a big party at Silver Spring Mining Company in Perry Hall on Wednesday with $2 Michelob Ultras. The Caps have made April and May a LOT of fun for me.

In what felt like a perfect sports day, I rushed home in time to get caught up on my Comcast DVR to watch the Kentucky Derby live and once again, horse racing and the stories and the connections sucked me in. If you didn’t tear up when Borel reached to the sky you’re just not human. He’s one of the most amazing stories in sports!

I’m just up having a Sunday morning cup of coffee, reading what everyone else has to say about yesterday on WNST.net and enjoying Baltimore’s No. 1 blogosphere this morning with all sorts of fact, opinions and observations.

I realize I haven’t missed too much with the Orioles but today is my day to “re-mine” with the Birds. I have some DVRing to catch up on. But maybe they’ll actually win today?

Jeremy Guthrie vs. Scott Richmond at 1:07 p.m. Maybe it’ll be a “defining” moment?

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Just Greivis Being Greivis

Posted on 20 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

Once again; Maryland’s star guard Greivis Vasquez is saying things that Gary Williams might rather he keep to himself. In a press confernce today in Kansas City for the Terps’ NCAA Tournament 2nd Round game; Vasquez took shots at Maryland’s next opponent Memphis; specifically the Tigers’ schedule in Conference USA. From Jeff Barker over at The Sun…..

“They’d have a losing record in the league – probably win all of their games outside the league, losing record in the league,” Vasquez said. “The ACC is too tough. You can’t just win games night in and night out because you’re so athletic.”

He repeated similar sentiments a couple of times, and repeatedly called Memphis’ conference “questionable.”

It was a popular line of questioning from the Memphis reporters. Dave Neal was a bit more careful with his words, though he did suggest Memphis would be “fourth or fifth” in the ACC.

This isn’t the first time Vasquez has said some things that maybe he would have been best off avoiding. Before Maryland’s trip to Duke; Greivis boasted the comment “that’s my house” in talking about Cameron Indoor Stadium. The man Tim Brando dubbed “The Vivacious Venezuelan” had won at Duke just once in his career; and was particularly humbled in a historically embarrassing 85-44 defeat at the hands of the Blue Devils.

After the game; I asked Gary Williams about Vasquez’s comments. As you can read from my post-game story that fateful day; Gary was not happy with Greivis’ comments; and Greivis had much smarter things to say before Duke came to visit Comcast Center.

But Greivis’ emotions have not been any more downplayed since the embarrassment in Durham. His play has been at an all-world type of level; but he has remained particularly emotional; in both wins and losses. The one thing he HAD done a nice job of avoiding in recent weeks though is offering bulletin board material. Obviously that is until today.

Despite Gary’s displeasure with Greivis’ comments before the trip to Cameron; he admitted afterward that the comments had nothing to due with what happened on the floor-as Duke just flat out outplayed Maryland throughout the game. And should John Calapari’s Tigers beat Maryland tomorrow; I doubt it will have much to go with anything Greivis said to the media. But that doesn’t make it a good idea to give them any fuel.

We all know the ACC is worlds better than Conference USA. In fact; many of us in the media have taken the time to mention that when talking about Memphis-as we don’t REALLY know how good we are since the only good team we saw them play in ’09 was Gonzaga (who they thoroughly beat on a “neutral” floor in Washington). I would be willing to bet that few (if any) members of the media assembled in KC needed Greivis’ reminder of the schedule Memphis played this season.

But this Tigers team features a number of the parts that were just seconds away from a NCAA Championship one season ago. They are a VERY good team. They don’t need help.

But that’s Greivis. Or, as Manny Ramirez might say; that’s “Just Greivis being Greivis.” He’s an exceptional player; and he isn’t always the most polished. He’s rough around the edges, he’s emotional, he’s sometimes particularly out of control.

If he scores 35 points and posts a triple double tomorrow in a Maryland win; no one will remember what he said on Friday. But he scores 8 points and struggles throughout a blowout loss at the hands of the Tigers; Maryland fans won’t be soon to forget-especially as tomorrow could be the last time the junior dons the Under Armour Maryland jersey.

-G

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Terps Run Out of Gas; Will Await Selection Sunday Fate After 67-61 Loss to Duke

Posted on 14 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

Maryland’s resume is complete.

They deserve to be dancing come Sunday night.

That being said; they had the chance to feel much more comfortable about themselves; but couldn’t beat Duke in the ACC Semifinals Saturday night; losing 67-61 in Atlanta.

But that being said; this team has a resume that the rest of the teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble just can’t claim.

20 win ACC teams with 3 victories over legitimate Top 10 teams belong IN. And in a year where the mid-majors weren’t quite as good as they were in recent years, they shouldn’t have to sweat as much as they will Sunday.

If for some wacky reason the Terps are left OUT of the NCAA Tournament; they will obviously have themselves to blame. In the final 3 weeks of the season; they lost 2 close games to Duke, one to Wake Forest, and one to Virginia. Winning any of those would end this argument.

But if the Terps are left OUT of the NCAA Tournament; they will also have a legitimate gripe with the NCAA Selection Committee.

They have the resume. The other bubble teams don’t.

St. Mary’s had a nice year. So did Creighton. So did San Diego State. Penn State, Arizona, Auburn and Florida all have arguments too.

But NONE of those teams have the resume Maryland has; even if Maryland’s season wasn’t always pleasing to the eyes.

It will be an interesting Sunday in College Park.

-G

——

Final stats: Eric Hayes finished with a flurry to lead the Terps in scoring with 20. Greivis Vasquez added 14 with team highs in rebounds (6) and assists (4). Adrian Bowie finished with 10 points; Sean Mosley 8 with 5 rebounds. 6 points and 4 boards for Dave Neal; Dino Gregory scored just 1 point but added 5 boards. Landon Milbourne finished with just 2 points and 4 rebounds. The Terps and Devils each pulled down 28 rebounds. Maryland collected 7 assists and 4 blocks. They shot 25-63 from the floor (39.7%), 4-15 from beyond the arc (26.7%), and 7-9 from the free throw line (77.8%).

Jon Scheyer lead the Devils with a game high 22 points; Kyle Singer chipped in 14 with a game high 11 rebounds. Nolan Smith added 10 points; Gerald Henderson 8 with 5 boards, and tied for game high with 4 assists (Vasquez). David McClure chipped in 6 points off the bench. The Devils tallied 11 assists and 4 blocked shots. They shot 20-55 from the field (36.4%), 9-22 from beyond the arc (40.9%), and 18-21 from the free throw line (85.7%).

——

6:15-Drew, I don’t think that either team really showed much in the way of desire today. I think Duke was just a bit better; which we all kinda knew coming in. The Terps didn’t have that next level to ramp up to when challenged; and that did them in. They were tired; and when a mediocre team gets tired, they look like a bad team. I think Duke did JUST enough to win; but didn’t show much to me when it comes to desire. They just hit a few shots and then hung on. Good teams do that and win.

6:12-That will be the end of this one. Maryland’s regular season will come to an end with a 20-13 record; and they’ll await their Selection Sunday fate tomorrow night. Duke will improve to 27-6 and will face Florida State for the ACC Championship tomorrow. The Terps didn’t seal their fate either way tonight; and it will be a tough 24 hours in College Park. 67-61 Duke win.

6:11-Smith makes both; Duke by 6. Terps probably don’t have this miracle left in them.

6:10-1 of 2 for Scheyer; then Hayes with another hoop. Smith fouled with 15.4 seconds to play. Duke 65-61.

6:09-1 of 2 for Smith, followed by a Hayes layup. He fouls Scheyer with 24.8 seconds to play; Duke 64-59.

Chris-Mosley was a spark plug; but clearly lost his legs. When your role is energy; and you have none left, it’s hard to do anything.

6:08-Scheyer indeed makes both; 21 for him. Hayes gets another hoop in the lane; 63-57 Duke and Smith is fouled with 34.9 seconds to play.

6:06-6 second half points for David McClure. Hayes finally fouls Scheyer with 47.1 seconds to play. He’ll head to the line; you can just about count both of these.

6:05-Duke breaks the press for a dunk by David McClure. Hayes cans a 3 to answer with 56.3 seconds to play; he has 14 now. Terps trail by 6, they have to get a foul here.

6:03-Singler makes both, he has 14. 59-50 Devils with less than 90 seconds to play. Hayes with the quick hoop; 59-52; Hayes has 11 on the game. Terps call timeout; they’re going to have to start fouling. 1:17 to play.

6:02-Bowie blocks Henderson; but Hayes misses the 3 that would have made this a game again. Under 2 to go; Duke back to work on the clock. Smith misses; but Singler with the BIG offensive board. 1:26 to play; and Singler to the line for 1 and 1. That might well do it.

6:01-Under 3 minutes to play, Terps work the give and go with Vasquez again; and he’s fouled by Singler-6th team foul. Tough hoop from Neal; 57-50 Duke. 2:40 to play, they’ll work the clock again.

6:00-Henderson fouled by Mosley with 8 seconds left on the shot clock. Tough call. Henderson to the line for 1 and 1 with 3:07 to play. He’ll make 1 of 2; Devils by 9 again.

5:58-Give and go to Vasquez; and he’s fouled by Nolan Smith. 3rd personal on Smith; Vasquez to the line for 2. He’ll hit 1 of 2; 56-48 Duke. 14 for Greivis.

5:55-Terps get the ball back with the Devils unable to get the dagger. 3:36 to play as we reach the final official timeout of regulation. The Terps aren’t dead yet; but they have to get a score here.

5:53-Terps get the ball back with under 5 to play; and Hayes puts another hoop off the glass to cut Duke’s lead to 56-47. Do they have a run left in them? Bowie called for the foul; 6th team foul.

5:50-Chris; Gary certainly isn’t getting out-coached. He clearly went to the zone because Maryland had no legs left. With Mosley not being able to finish at the rim; his legs are amongst the most tired. Gary had been doing a remarkable coaching job for a team that couldn’t get things going; but Duke just started canning outside shots.

Another turnover; and McClure finishes. He misses the free throw; and Singler called for interference. 56-43 Duke with 5 and a half to play. Hayes gets a quick hoop; 56-45.

5:48-After a turnover; Neal misses a runner, and Scheyer gets a layup in transition. That’s 19 for Scheyer; Devils by 9 with 6 and a half to play. Bowie settles for a long 3 point jumper; and Duke gets the ball back. McClure drives and finishes; Devils by 11; Gary needs another timeout. 54-43 Duke; and Maryland appears to be out of answers-or out of energy.

5:44-Vasquez with the tough pull up jumper; but Scheyer DRILLS a 3 on the other end. Duke by 7 again; 50-43. Vasquez will have to have every answer on the offensive end; but can’t finish this time down. 50-43 Duke at the 3rd official timeout. I just don’t know if Maryland can keep responding to Duke’s shooters.

5:42-Big momentum changing 3 from Henderson; who had been struggling. 47-41 Duke with 8:44 to play; and Gary calls a timeout.

5:40-Maryland does go to the zone; I don’t think Duke will be afraid to shoot over it. Foul on Cliff Tucker fighting for a board; then Maryland gets the ball back thanks to a Hayes rebound. Hayes’ 3 pointer is blocked; 1 second on the shot clock. Neal heaves an airball up with 9:08 to play.

5:37-Jon Scheyer with a hoop; followed by buckets for Vasquez and Neal. Coach K takes a timeout with 10:16 left and Maryland responding well following Duke opening their biggest lead of the game 44-41 Devils now. 14 for Scheyer; 11 for Vasquez.

5:35-This is a SERIOUS trouble spot for Maryland. They can’t keep giving away points on the offensive end; as Duke almost certainly has another hot streak in them.

5:32-Gregory gets the ball in the lane and can’t finish in close. Terps have given away some 12-14 points in near the hoop already in the 2nd half. Duke will maintain their 42-37 lead as Dino Gregory is hit with the foul. We’ll go to the 2nd official timeout of the half.

5:31-Bowie switches hands to finish a transition layup; he has 10. 40-37 Terps. Nolan Smith then flips in a reverse layup to extend Duke’s lead back to 5. Terps continue to have troubles inside.

5:30-Gregory makes 1 of 2; his first point of the game. 40-35 Duke, Terps trap early, then back off. Scheyer drives and is blocked by Gregory/Milbourne. Steve Martin seems confused that Maryland hasn’t gone to the zone. Has he seen how Duke has been shooting???

5:29-Scheyer makes all 3; he has 12 and the Devils take their biggest lead of the game at 40-34. Lance Thomas called for his 3rd personal on Gregory inside; he’ll shoot 2.

5:28-Vasquez settles for a decent look at a 3 but misses; and Hayes fouls Scheyer shooting a 3 the other way. He’ll head to the line for 3 shots; and the Terps are going to have to dig deep.

5:27-Nolan Smith fires up a 3 at the end of the shot clock; and Williams is their for the board and putback. Devils by 3. Williams called for his 2nd personal the next time down. Mosley with another inside miss; Maryland really struggling inside

5:24-Rich, I was afraid they were going to call a foul on that Williams play; but I also don’t quite understand how you can fall down and not move your pivot foot. I’ll refrain from comment; I don’t want to get fined.

5:21-Elliot Williams fouls Vasquez; we haven’t called Williams’ name much. Mosley drives for 2 but wave it off for a travel. Singler drives, loses it; and is stripped by Gregory. Terps miss THREE chances at the rim before Vasquez eventually turns the ball over. Duke by 1 with 15:09 to play in the game, and we reach the first official timeout of the 2nd half. Mike Gminski thinks the Terps are losing their legs playing their 3rd game in 3 days. I might well concur.

5:19-There’s the great equalizer for Duke; as Scheyer cans a 3. That’s 9 for Scheyer, and Duke goes back ahead 35-34. Mosley and Henderson then trade 3′s before the Terps get the ball back on the alternating possession.

5:18-Sean Mosley opens 2nd half scoring with a putback to tie things at 32. Another putback by Mosley gives the Terps a 34-32 lead. Another solid effort from the freshman out of St. Frances. He’ll foul Henderson this time as Henderson goes to drive.

5:14-The winner of today’s game will play Florida State at 1pm tomorrow for the ACC title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Also, if you do not have TV access but you’re following along with the blog; the game is being streamed live on RaycomSports.com.

And when the ad for Chick-Fil-A appeared on the screen; credit to my roommate; who jumped right up off the couch and said “i’ll be back in a minute; i’m going to get dinner for us.” And he’s paying. Winner winner chicken dinner.

5:09-Rob, I’m certainly not unhappy to be trailing by 2 at the break; but I would definitely be wary of which team comes out of the break firing. Duke can turn a 2 point lead into a 10 point lead in 120-150 seconds; and the Terps CAN’T let them go on that kind of run. If this is still a one possession game at the 15 minute mark; that’s a win for the Terps, who will feel a little more like “we’re supposed to be here” the rest of the way.

Halftime stats:

Greivis Vasquez lead the Terps with 9 points and a game high 3 assists. Adrian Bowie had 8 points; Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne contributed 5 apiece. 4 points for Sean Mosley, 2 for Dave Neal with a team high 3 rebounds. The Terps out-rebounded the Devils 12-11; adding 5 assists and 1 block. The Terps shot 11-27 from the field (40.7%), 3-6 from beyond the arc (50%), and 5-5 from the free throw line (100%).

Kyle Singer lead the Devils with 12 points and 6 boards; also tying for a team high with 2 assists (Gerald Henderson). Jon Scheyer added 6 points, Nolan Smith 5. The Devils collected 6 assists and 1 block. They shot 10-27 from the field (37%), 6-12 from beyond the arc (50%), and 6-6 from the free throw line (100%).

4:59-Mosley makes both, 32-30 Duke. His free throw shooting is vastly improved. Devils can hold fo the last shot; which Henderson leaves off the front iron. 32-30 Duke at the break; I’ll be back shortly.

4:58-Foul away from the ball on Greg Paulus; that’s their 7th team foul, and Mosley will go to the line for 1 and 1 with 21.4 seconds to play.

4:55-More good ball movement by Duke; but Scheyer misses the 3. Singler called for the foul away from the ball. That’s the first personal on Singler. Hayes turns the ball over; and Henderson lays it in. Under a minute to play in the half, Devils 29-28. Vasquez travels with a wide open path to the basket; Mike Gminski isn’t sure that was a good call. 52 seconds to play, Duke ball. Scheyer DRILLS a long 3; putting the Devils up 32-28 and getting them an extra possession before the end of the half. Gary Williams takes a timeout; as these last 42 seconds can be HUGE.

4:53-Hayes toe was apparently “this far” behind the line; so it’s a 3. Paulus EXPLODES to the hoop but can’t finish. Singler put it back, but was waved off for basket interference. Dave Neal called for the illegal screen; 6th team foul on Maryland, 1st personal on Neal.

4:51-Sean Mosley pulls up for the airball; but Milbourne gets his first field goal the next time down with a mid-range jumper. Paulus drills a 3 after Singler finally missed one; but the Devils have made 3 of their last 4 from outside. Hayes with the great ball fake and a 3 of his own; 28-27 Terps with 2:13 to play in the half. They’ll look at that again to see if Hayes’ foot might have been on the line.

4:49-Rich, I don’t know about you; but Duke’s ability to shoot lights out over long stretches REALLY concerns me. I just get a bad feeling that at some point (maybe right now); they’ll can about 5 or 6 mid-to-outside shots in a row; leaving the Terps flat-footed. Building momentum will not be easy for a Maryland team that doesn’t shoot well; as the atmosphere in the Georgia Dome is nothing like the typical atmosphere in College Park.

4:48-This could be that stretch. Singler buries another 3; he has 12 and the Devils go up 24-23. We’ll hit the last official timeout of the first half. 3:37 to play before the break, Devils by 1.

4:46-Vasquez with the bucket to tie things at 18, but he rushes the jumper next time down. Bowie drives and is fouled; making the PLUS ONE attempt to give him 8. Singler ties things at 21 with a 3; then Neal hits a floater after hitting Smith hard again on a screen and the Terps go up 23-21. Timeout on the floor with Smith banged up a bit.

4:41-The Terps have stayed focused defensively; which has kept Duke from jumping out to a big lead here before the half. They need to take advantage of that on the offensive end; as at some point, Duke will almost certainly go on a 5 minute pace where they make EVERYTHING.

4:38-Vasquez pulls up for the VERY deep 3 and cans it. 7 for the junior from Venezuela. 18-16 Devils. Dave Neal turns the ball over the next time down. We’ll hit the 3rd official timeout of the half with the Devils up by 2 following a Scheyer turnover. 7:06 to play in the first 20 minutes.

4:37-Vasquez goes toward the hoop; he’s fouled by Lance Thomas. Terps have to keep doing that exact same thing. They’ve gone cold from the field; and could use some extra trips to the line. It worked last night.

4:36-Nothing surprising about a 6-0 advantage for Duke in 2nd chance points. Vasquez goes to the bench for a breather; but checks right back in. Terps can’t afford to let Duke extend this past a 2 possession advantage here.

4:34-Hayes does the right thing by driving there; and is called for a late offensive foul; his first personal. I don’t know how the call could have been after the shot; as the shot appeared to come after contact.

Nolan Smith finds himself open from the corner, and he cans the 3. 18-13 Duke. Hayes is too strong on the 3 when he gets the look on the other end.

4:32-The Terps started the game well, attacking the basket. They can’t afford to go away from that; and it can’t just be Greivis. Bowie needs to continue moving towards the hoop; trying to get fouls even he is met with the type of defense that doesn’t let him finish. And if the Devils are going to meet Eric Hayes at the 3 point line; he needs to slash before he even sets.

4:29-Hayes loses control, gets it back; then turns the ball over again. Paulus called for traveling as he slips. Terps can’t afford to be tentative offensively, they need to attack the basket. Hayes pulls up for 2; 13-12 Terps. Great ball fake by Scheyer gets Vasquez off his feet; he drills the 3; 15-13 Devils. Vasquez turns the next one over; and we’ll hit the 2nd official timeout with 11:04 to play in the half, Duke by 2.

4:28-Rich, he might be more confident; but it hasn’t paid off yet. Bowie with a good looking 3 ball that won’t fall; then he can’t finish at the rim after the Terps held on to the ball. Greg Paulus into the game for Duke; and Singler is fouled underneath. If the Terps let the Blue Devils get offensive rebounds; the Devils will make them pay. First personal on Vasquez, Singler makes both. Duke with their first lead at 12-11.

4:27-Singler with the drive; he’s fouled by an entering Gregory. That’s the first on the sophomore. Braxton Dupree into the game early for the Terps. Singler makes both, 11-10 Terps. David McClure checks in for the Devils.

4:25-Terps to the press; Devils pass through it and Smith hits an open jumper. Vasquez with the runner on the other end; then Zoubek flattens Vasquez on the illegal screen. 11-8 Terps; 1st personal on Zoubek, who killed the Terps at Cameron; then was inexplicably left on the bench for much of the game at Comcast Center.

4:23-Henderson nails the pull-up jumper; then Kyle Singer gets a putback hoop off a Maryland turnover. 7-6 Devils; and their half-court defense is taking away Maryland’s driving lanes. Duke with a couple ugly looking/partially blocked shots; and Sean Mosley is fouled in transition. Nolan Smith in the game; probably still thinking about that screen Dave Neal leveled him with. Mosley makes both; 9-6 Terps.

4:20-Ohio State appears to have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for sure; they beat Michigan State to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game. LSU falls to Mississippi State; the Bulldogs will play for an automatic berth tomorrow and might be getting off the bubble themselves.

4:19-Vasquez with the spin move; he’s called for a travel. We’ll hit our first official timeout with the Terps ahead 7-2. Nice first few minutes, but they have to get more in sync with their halfcourt offense.

4:18-With the shot clock winding down; Vasquez goes from side to side for the penetration and his first hoop. Great screen by Neal. Bowie’s next drive is blocked; but Rich you are absolutely right about what that could do for his confidence. Neal misses a long 2; Terps get the ball on the alternating possession. Eric Hayes in. 7-2 Terps.

4:16-Lance Thomas fouled by Landon Milbourne underneath; he’ll shoot two. Thomas makes both; 5-2 Terps. Devils to the press, Vasquez dribbles out of it in dangerous territory.

4:14-Greivis is content to let Elliot Williams take shots, but doesn’t want him using his athleticism to get to the basket. Two inside misses for Maryland before losing the ball on the alternating possession. I’m not going to have to start counting inside misses again, am I? Devils cold from outside to start; that’s a good sign. On the other end; Bowie drills a 3 (No Really! It was a good looking arc and everything). He has the first 5 points of the game, and Coach K needs a timeout.

4:12-Terps win the tip; Mosley with the bad miss to start. He improved as the game wore on last night; but can’t afford to miss chippies. Bowie in transition for the first bucket of the game; 2-0. Terps could really use a nice slashing game from Bowie.

4:10-Rich and I were debating blocking Drew from the live blogs. Of course, it might end up just being the two of us if we did. You’ll stay for now Drew.

Carolina ran out of miracles without Ty Lawson, falling to Florida State in the final minute. Terps lost their only contest with the Seminoles this season, an overtime loss in Tallahassee back in January.

Terps stick with Dave Neal, Landon Milbourne, Greivis Vasquez, Adrian Bowie, Sean Mosley
Duke goes with Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, Gerald Henderson, Elliot Williams, Jon Scheyer to start

4:08-Drew Forrester poking his head in to offer up the early kiss of death this time. Thanks for that, Drew. I didn’t make a pick on this game; but if I had, I would almost certainly pick the Devils. As someone who had the pleasure of driving to Durham to see the Terps get pasted by 41 at Cameron Indoor; it isn’t the most comfortable of feelings. Need I remind everyone that Maryland has lost 4 straight to Coach K’s boys……ugh.

Pre-game: Okay, no internet issues at the Glenn Clark compund; and WNST.net has been pretty good today; with a lovely site upgrade on the back end (a gift to us, but not to you.) That being said; we shouldn’t have the issues today that we’ve had getting underway for the first two rounds (please knock on wood.) The 7th seeded Terps enter today’s ACC Tournament semi-final with a 20-12 record following a 7-9 regular season. They knocked off 10th seeded NC State and 2nd seeded Wake Forest to reach the quarters. The 3rd seeded Duke Blue Devils enter the game with a 26-6 record following an 11-5 ACC regular season. They held on to beat 6th seeded Boston College last night to reach today’s semifinal. Many prognosticators believe the Terps clinched an at-large berth with their win over the Demon Deacons last night; but many others think they’re still sitting on the bubble. With a win today, the Terps would advance to tomorrow’s ACC Championship; where they’d face Florida State for an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Today’s game is again at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta; Maryland has won 4 straight games they’ve played at the venue. The last team to beat them at the home of the Atlanta Falcons? You guessed it, Duke. They fell in the semifinals of the 2001 ACC Tournament to the Blue Devils before reaching their first Final Four in school history that season.

Today’s game can be seen locally in ACC markets via Raycom Sports (WNUV 54 in Baltimore…..Channel 14 on Comcast Baltimore County.) Steve Martin and Mike Gminski will again handle the Play-by-Play of today’s game for Raycom, Scott Pryzwanski will patrol the sidelines. The rest of the country can see today’s game on ESPN; Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale have the call with Heather Cox on the sidelines.

The Terps will be playing their 3rd game in as many days for the first time all season (they played 3 games in 4 days at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando over Thanksgiving weekend). The Devils will be playing on back to back nights for the 3rd time this season (they did it twice at the beginning of the season during the 2kSports Classic).

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Ravens pound Miami 27-9…Fisher — you’re next!

Posted on 04 January 2009 by Drew Forrester

This is one occasion when almost all of you – even my critics – will be thrilled to read this:

I told you so.

I said it all week and made it my feature thought via blog-form here at WNST.net — Don’t ever bet against Ray, Reed & Co. when they go back down to Miami.

Baltimore drubbed the Dolphins, 27-9, and both Lewis and Reed anchored an airtight Ravens defense that must have Jeff Fisher and the Titans at least a little concerned heading into next Saturday’s big showdown in Nashville.  Reed had a pair of interceptions including one for a touchdown and Trevor Pryce was a wrecking machine off the edge all afternoon.  Miami’s Chad Pennington did his best Daniel Cabrera impersonation by throwing more balls than strikes and that Wildcat offense looked more like a Pussycat to me.

It got a little tense early in the 4th quarter when Miami scored to make it 20-9, then Ravens’ offensive Cam Cameron lost his smart-playbook on the bench and used the dumb-one for a series as Baltimore went 3-and-out and gave Miami life.  The Dolphins advanced to the Baltimore 32 before a mix-up between Pennington and Ted Ginn resulted in a 19-yard loss and that was that…Miami’s hopes fizzled at that point.

Joe Flacco, as he has done just about all season, again outplayed his veteran counterpart.  Flacco threw no picks – Pennington tossed four.  You’re gonna win most of the time with those kind of numbers from your quarterback.  And, you’ll lose just about every time when your QB plays like Pennington did today.

The Ravens are now officially “dangerous”.  Heading to Tennessee with nothing to lose and most certainly an underdog, Baltimore will travel to Nashville brimming with confidence and ready to dispose of the Titans in the same fashion they did back in the 2000 playoffs (’01) when they knocked off Fisher’s team en route to the AFC title game in Oakland.

As a side note, here’s a funny story about today:  Tell me this isn’t a sign from the Football Gods.  I joined Glenn Clark at McAvoy’s for a 1pm gathering of Ravens’ fans in Parkville.  I left my house at noon, ran an errand and stopped for 15 minutes to hit some golf balls at Parkville High School, about 300 yards from McAvoy’s.  I grabbed my bag of balls, a club and my iPod.  I hit the shuffle button…I have 1100 songs on my iPod.  The first one randomly chosen to play in “shuffle”?  The Dolphin’s Cry, by +Live+

I knew everything was going to be OK at that point.

So, on we go in this wild 2008 football season.  We have trips for sale at WNST.net if you want to head to Nashville to watch it all in person next Saturday.  

I’ll be there.  I bought my ticket on Southwest last Sunday during that win over the Jaguars.  That’s how sure I was that the Ravens were going to win in Miami today.

I told you so.

You NEVER, EVER bet against #52 when he’s going home.

And, in case you’re an optimist like me, you might want to check out Southwest.com right about now.

They have some GREAT fares on Baltimore to Tampa round trip tickets in late January…if you know what I mean.

I already bought mine.

You have to think ahead, my friends.

And, with this year’s edition of the Ravens, it’s wise if you do that.

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The Miami Mission: Quieting the crowd won’t be a factor

Posted on 03 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It could’ve been a whole lot worse this weekend, being in New Jersey or Foxboro. Landing in Fort Lauderdale and having it be 75 degrees on Jan. 2nd, well, you can’t ask for much more.

I spent the middle of the day yesterday in Owings Mills and the team is definitely “loose,” which is a good sign. The Ravens are the better team. They seem to know it. They seem prepared and all of the talk is about winning and taking care of business.

Art Modell was hanging out for lunch with John Harbaugh and I dropped off some “INDUCT ART” signs. Harbaugh told me he’s going to put one up in his office. I told him the city needed a win. He seems confident that the Ravens can win this Sunday.

The flight down wasn’t nearly as chock full of Ravens fans as a “normal” NFL road weekend. Just a handful of fans, and it appeared that many of the seats were filled with families and kids going back to school from the holidays. I’m honestly not expecting the usual “purple takeover” of South Florida. And from my many contacts with folks this week who love to travel to support the Ravens, it seems many are more concerned with getting to Nashville at this point, almost assuming a victory.

Call me the bleeding heart purple optimist, but I don’t see how they’re going to lose to Chad Pennington. I think the defense will force trouble for the Dolphins offense (running and passing), the weather is not a factor, the Ravens players CLEARLY love to play on the road and Joe Flacco is pretty unflappable even when the crowd is a factor and the Miami fans are easily the worst in the NFL when it comes to creating an intimidating environment. The last two trips the place was half full and raucous with Ravens fans.

If you’re already down in South Florida, we’d love to see you at our party at Alabama Joe’s on Lantana just west of I-95. The party starts at 4:30. We’ll stay as long as purple fans are coming in and hanging out. Two games. A perfect way to start the weekend, watching some NFL action all night in 75-degree Florida.

It will be interesting to see Rex Ryan’s defense vs. the wildcat. There’s been plenty of talk about the Dolphins’ signature package and it’ll be something to watch for sure, the matchups the Ravens’ defense will give the Fish when Ronnie Brown goes under center.

Miami has a lot of Ravens memories:

* The bad loss in the hurricane back during the Super Bowl year. I stood on the field that night and the mud seemed to be three inches thick.

•    That great playoff win when Terry Allen ran wild to move the Ravens into the second round back in 2001. (By the way, that was the Ravens’ most recent January victory, so maybe Miami is still the place to be.)
•    The devastating loss last December, when Brian Billick opted to kick the field goal at the wire and Matt Stover missed the game winner against Cam Cameron’s winless squad.
•    And, of course, the most recent foray a few weeks ago when the Ravens just pounded the Dolphins into submission and capitalized on their mistakes.

Other than the hideous Sunday Night game back in 2000, the trips are always full of sunshine and empty seats.

It’ll be a little different this Sunday, but it’s just a shame more of our fans couldn’t find a way down south. But we can all dream for a repeat visit to Florida – a few miles to the west in Tampa – later in the month.

Festivus is on. I’m in Florida. Life is good.

It’s hard to think that the season could end so abruptly down here in the sunshine. Of course, we’re stuck here until Monday. So worse case scenario: at least if they lose it’s still 75 degrees.

But they’re not going to lose.

Stay warm up there!

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Ravens make this an enjoyable Sunday for us

Posted on 21 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

It’s the “morning after” and what a fun Sunday it will be – sitting around watching football with no worries about the home team and plenty of support for Seattle, Arizona and Kansas City.

The Ravens took care of business on Saturday in Dallas (we had a PACKED house at McAvoy’s last night…btw…man, was that place purple!) and can now sit back and watch the AFC East trio try and present themselves with a last-weekend chance for post-season play.

One thing for sure: the Ravens have a chance for post-season play — a win at home over lowly Jacksonville next Sunday gives them a playoff berth.

And, really, what more can you ask for? 

15 weeks of football comes down to the final game and it’s at home…on your turf…with your fans. 

You’d be considered greedy if you wanted anything more than that with a rookie quarterback, a fullback filling in as a tailback and a secondary that’s been banged up throughout the season.

A week ago Monday, some folks in town who don’t know a good thing when they have it wanted both Rex Ryan and Cam Cameron placed in the corner with a “dunce cap” on their head after both the Ravens offense and defense played a role in the 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh.

Of course, earlier this year people wanted Matt Stover cut from the team because he missed a couple of field goals and all he did last night was boot four of them through the uprights.

And when Joe Flacco delivered a disappointing prime-time performance against the Steelers, calls and e-mails flowed in about #5 “hitting the rookie wall”.

Saturday night in Dallas, Ryan, Cameron, Stover and Flacco all got the chance to say, “I think you owe me an apology.”

It will be a great Holiday week in Baltimore after the boys in purple kicked the stuffing out of “America’s Team” in a showdown game that sent one team within a win of the playoffs and the other team thinking about their January golf vacation.

Now, if only we can get Mark Teixeira in an O’s uniform under the tree, our Baltimore sports Holiday will be complete.

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Fair weather brings…”fair weather fans”

Posted on 15 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

Boy, what a difference a week makes.

This time last Monday, the Baltimore football fans were rallying around a 9-4 team that had just punched our neighbors to the south squarely in the mouth on NBC and in front of the entire nation.  We effectively ended the Redskins’ season (so much so, in fact, that Washington lost to Gilman HS the Bengals yesterday) and the fan base was decked out in purple all week.

“Harbaugh should be Coach of the Year!”

“Cam Cameron is our MVP!”

“Rex’s defense is #1!”

That was last week.

Or, as S.E. Hinton wrote, “That was then, this is now.”

Today, a flock of fair weathered fans have been let loose like pigeons at dawn, circling Charm City and spewing reckless theories about Harbaugh, Cameron and Ryan.

Talk show callers, e-mailers, blog commenters, message board authors — they’ve come out of the woodwork today to blame the coach, the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator.

The narrow-mindedness of sports fans is sometimes laughable.  I don’t think it’s JUST Baltimore sports fans, but then again I don’t do talk radio in Cleveland, Dallas, New York, Pittsburgh or Kansas City, so I have no idea how their faithful would have reacted to yesterday’s loss.

I will say that early on this morning, I was proud and pleased with the way folks were handling the crushing defeat to Pittsburgh on Sunday.  Most everyone “took it like a man” (even the ladies) and realized the truth of the matter – you score 9 points at home…you get in the red zone three times and kick three field goals…you let the other team go 92 yards on your turf in less than three minutes at the end of the game – you’re probaby going to lose 99 of 100 games that those three scenarios play out.  The Ravens were one of those 99 yesterday. 

But as the day wore on and the hangover wore off, I started getting more e-mails, more text messages and a quick scan of blog comments and Ravens-related message boards tonight put the knuckleheads on full display.  

“This game is why Rex has to go!” — You mean Rex Ryan should be FIRED over that loss to Pittsburgh?  Wow, OK… FIRED, huh?  

“Cameron’s teams always do this.  Check his history.” — By “do this”, do you mean go 9-5 and have a chance at the playoffs with 2 weeks to go while employing a rookie quarterback, a fullback posing as a tailback and no real deep threat at wide receiver?  

“Harbaugh has already lost 3 games this year when going into the 4th quarter with a lead.  Billick was 52-2 in his career in Baltimore when leading after three quarters.  Harbaugh can’t coach the game when it’s tight.” — This one made me laugh the most.  So now Harbaugh is directly responsible for his team winning the game or losing the game.  How did Harbaugh lose the game against the Titans?  By not being able to convince the refs that was a bogus call on Terrell Suggs?  When did Harbaugh fail to make a throw last night or drop a pass or slip on the 3rd and 10 throw to Nate Washington in the final two minutes?

Coaches coach.

Players play.

It’s the oldest adage in the book.

Do people realize that the other team tries just as hard?

I’m baffled at this air of divine invincibility some of our fans think the Ravens carry around.  As if we’re supposed to win because, well, just because.  

The other teams need and want to win, too.

Sometimes, 5 times this year, in fact, we don’t win.

But 9 times this year we have won.

And in those games, John Harbaugh, Cam Cameron and Rex Ryan were “good enough” on that occasion to guide the team to a win.

Would I have preferred to see the Ravens throw the ball more on Sunday vs. Pittsburgh?  Absolutely.  I think the team that eventually beats the Steelers this year when it matters most (in the post-season) will do so through the air.  But, and here’s a nod to Cam Cameron who actually does this coordinating stuff for a living, I’ll also acknowledge that turning Flacco loose with a reduced-power running game and no real long-ball threats wasn’t exactly a recipe for “airing it out”, especially when you had to figure that Pittsburgh defense probably wasn’t going to give up more than 14 to 17 points, max.  

But am I ready to FIRE Cam Cameron today?  Holy cow, no.

Did I think the Ravens went soft on the final drive when defending against Pittsburgh’s late heroics?  Yes. But, as I wrote last night after the game, I think Rex was dealing with some personnel issues.  Pryce was banged up, Suggs got dinged and was out for a series and Fabian Washington hurt his hamstring and turned over his role to Frank Walker.  I’m no D-Coordinator but I have to think Rex was squirming at the thought of Santonio Holmes lining up on a “go pattern” and having Walker there trying to hang with him in a dead sprint.  

Is Rex to blame for the loss?  Is it his fault our offense scored 9 points?  (I’ll take a wild guess here) No.

Harbaugh was on the ballot for Governor after beating the Redskins last week.

Cameron and Ryan were the 1-2 combo that had people thinking Super Bowl over the last 8 weeks.

They didn’t suddenly forget how to do their job on a mild December day against the Steelers.

Our best effort wasn’t quite enough yesterday.

It certainly wasn’t the team’s best performance — but it was their best effort.

And it fell a little short.

I can’t wait to see what happens if the Ravens beat the Cowboys on Saturday.

The love affair will blossom once again.

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