Tag Archive | "Carson Palmer"

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 21 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Power Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 21)

I’ve been calling them fraudulent for some time. Anyone want to disagree with me?

31. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 20)

You can officially not worry about them playing in the Super Bowl in their home stadium…clearly.

30. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 30)

I still feel like they’ll steal a few wins, especially in the division. Why they haven’t signed David Garrard is beyond me…

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29)

Yeah, Blaine Gabbert will have to play soon. Or they can just lose…

28. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 28)

I was surprised the Vikes played the Bucs tough. I wasn’t surprised they lost.

27. Miami Dolphins (LW: 25)

At least they didn’t waste their time with Reggie Bush. We’ll see if Daniel Thomas can get them back on track.

26. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 27)

They nearly beat the Cowboys, but then they turned into the Niners again.

25. Cleveland Browns (LW: 31)

They got a win, so I had to move them up. I’m still not buying into them.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 24)

I thought their defense was better than they showed against the Broncos. Is Carson Palmer REALLY just tailgating at USC games these days?

23. Carolina Panthers (LW: 23)

I shouldn’t let them be this far up winless, but they look kinda okay to me.

22. Denver Broncos (LW: 26)

Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow.

21. St. Louis Rams (LW: 22)

They’ve played two tough teams. They have to play another Sunday. They’re going to win at some point. God I hope it isn’t this week.

20. Tennessee Titans (LW: 32)

This should be proof that I have no idea what I’m doing.

19. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 12)

They’re really close to being 2-0. They’re clearly the best in a terrible division thus far.

18. New York Giants (LW: 18)

They won Monday night. Why am I not more impressed?

17. Oakland Raiders (LW: 17)

They’re better than I gave them credit for initially. I just don’t know how much better.

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T.J. Houshmandzadeh on time in Baltimore: “If the Ravens want me back, I would stay”

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T.J. Houshmandzadeh on time in Baltimore: “If the Ravens want me back, I would stay”

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Ryan Chell

The Ravens may have had to cut ties this week with veteran receiver Derrick Mason and saw the likes of receiver Donte Stallworth take his services to the Washington Redskins, but there is one receiver who is leaving Baltimore behind who not a lot of people are talking about.

And that may be the strangest part of it all. It’s because this receiver in the past has been a guy to usually get the trash-talk started.

That of course is free agent wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh, who by the way of a coaching change in Seattle last summer, found his way to Baltimore and was projected to be the third leg of a superb receiving corps joining the likes of Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Donte Stallworth and others.

Unfortunately, Houshmandzadeh-a catching machine for his first eight seasons in the league with Cincinnati-struggled to get himself in the mix in an offense that lacked identity at times last season, and it turned out there weren’t enough balls to go around for the many playmakers and egos in the Ravens passing game.

But Houshmandzadeh-despite his frustration at his role-was very mature about what happened and he voiced that same expression on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” with Thyrl Nelson Monday.

He was actually more displeased with the Ravens losing in the playoffs than his performance on the field.

“It wasn’t my use,” Houshmandzadeh told Nelson. “It was how the season went. My experience was great, except for not catching that last ball.”

Houshmandzadeh said he doesn’t blame the quarterback, Joe Flacco,  coach John Harbaugh, OC Cam Cameron, or anyone else on the team. He admitted that wearing out his welcome in Seattle and coming into the mix in September was all on him.

“Getting here five days before the start of the season, I was behind everyone else,” Houshmandzadeh said. “We were getting ready to play the Jets, and I only had a few days to learn the plans, and for the coaches to put me in.”

Houshmandzadeh played in all 16 games last year, but as the third wide receiver behind Boldin and Mason-and being a similar receiver to those two, he didn’t get a lot of chances to make plays.

His 30 catches were the lowest total since his rookie year in 2002, and after 2004 with the Cincinnati Bengals, he saw no less than 73 balls come into his possession until suiting up in purple.

TJ Houshmandzadeh

The highlight of his season came in Week 4 against the Steelers in Heinz Field, where he caught the game-winning touchdown from Flacco with just 32 seconds on the clock to put down Pittsburgh, 17-14.

It was that play in particular, and several others, that had Houshmandzadeh putting Flacco in the elite quarterbacks of the NFL, and he would know having caught passes from a Heisman Trophy winner and former top overall pick in Carson Palmer for years.

“The Ravens have the right guy in place,” Houshmandzadeh said. “It’s funny when people pick on him, because he’s cool. Joe was always the last guy to leave the facility. He puts the work in, and he’s only going to get better.”

Houshmandzadeh saw firsthand how much criticism the reserved Flacco took last season for the team’s struggles and for not being a vocal leader, and he said none of that was warranted to say the least.

“The criticism was unfair. Joe’s leadership was never in question,” the receiver said. “His style might be different, but the media didn’t understand.”

And further defending his quarterback-even if he is catching passes from another one this season-he says that the comparisons of Flacco to other elite quarterbacks in the NFL aren’t fair either because of the unique systems each signal-caller has at their disposal.

“Everybody’s offense is different,” T.J said. “Joe worked with what was given to him. It’s unfair to compare him to others’ offenses. We did a lot of different things here in Baltimore.”

And for Houshmandzadeh, it could all be different again for him in the next few weeks should a team other the Ravens give him a buzz. Given the Ravens full depth chart at receiver and Houshmandzadeh’s veteran asking price, he probably won’t be parking at 1 Winning Drive for this year’s training camp.

And he knows that.

“I would love to come back,” he said, “but they have a lot of guys there though.”

But, Houshmandzadeh has learned, especially after his time in Cincinnati and Seattle, to never burn your bridges because there’s always a chance to a return visit.

Maybe even one from Baltimore, per chance?

“I loved Baltimore. My time there was great…if the Ravens want me back, I would stay. All a team has to tell me is that they want to sign me.”

And whoever calls upon his services, he wants them to know that he’s all-in.

“Whenever the call is made, I’m ready to go,” Houshmandzadeh said. “My body feels great. I’m looking forward to what this year holds.”

WNST thanks T.J. Houshmandzadeh for joining @WNST and being a part of a great Ravens team in 2010! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 28th

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 28th

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Rex Snider

Welcome to what promises to be a pretty busy Thursday in the Baltimore sports community. The Ravens are primed to welcome their newest member of the fold and the Orioles are hoping to break out a broom on the Red Sox.

But, challenges exist.

There will be 25 obstacles standing in front of Ozzie Newsome and company and the birds lineup must deal with Boston ace, Jon Lester …. while Adrian Gonzalez and his lineup mates will face a likley easier task in figuring out Brad Bergesen.

Here’s today’s edition of “50 Words Or Less ….”
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The Forgotten Piece ???
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A daily conversation revolving around the Orioles always seems to regard the hitting attack or young starting pitching. I get it …. it’s “sexier” than discussing defense, baserunning and the bullpen.

But, last night served as another reminder that this team does not have a SHUT THE DOOR closer, nor do they have that coveted formidable 8th and 9th inning tandem. It’s a weakness that’s plagued the Orioles for a number of years.

Ask yourself this question …. were you comfortable heading into the top of the 9th inning with a 5-4 lead, last night?
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That’s “Mr. Cover Model”
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Well, Twitter certainly served as the ideal “LET’S PILEUP ON PEYTON HILLIS” social format, yesterday afternoon. As soon as news broke of the breakout back’s throttling of Michael Vick in the Madden-2012 cover matchup, the detractors and haters surfaced …..

“One Shot Wonder” …. “Overrated” …. “Another Mistake By The Lake” …. indeed, we saw and read it all. I think it’s kinda funny. A process that allowed people to manipulate results is what availed Hillis and Vick to reach final consideration in the first place.

Hey, it’s just a video game and a very popular one. Nobody buys it for the cover anyway. But, rest assured, there are some relieved souls in EA Sports hierarchy today.
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Reaching Rock Bottom
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Yep, today’s the day. It’s the 23rd anniversary of the one distinction the Baltimore Orioles would rather forget. On April 28, 1988, in the artificial confines of the Metrodome, the birds set a new mark for frustration and failure.

0-21

We always hear Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak and Ripken’s 2,131 consecutive game streak will never be broken. Well, you can probably toss this distinction behind both of those marks. I can’t foresee another team doing it …..
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With The 26th Pick …..
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I’ll say it again, NOBODY really knows what the Ravens will do during tonight’s 1st round of the NFL Draft. But, plenty of opinions exist …..

Peter King – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Drew Forrester – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Matt Bowen – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple

Glenn Clark – Mike Pouncey, C, Florida

Brian Billick – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Who do I side with? King has NFL connections … Drew has LOCAL connections … Bowen played the game … Glenn is a “Ravens Insider” … and the coach possesses all four qualities.

I’m gonna trust Glenn. He was right on the money with Sergio Kindle, in 2010. And, he thought the Ravens would drop down to snag him. That’s money …..
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Greatest Debut Album
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I’ll start this rant by admitting my feelings are still smarting. One of these days, I might be considered for the MORNING REACTION’S Hall Of Fame. I’ve only been listening and contributing, in one way or another, for 7 freakin’ years …..

Regardless, I’ve gotta offer an opinion on yesterday’s conversation about the “Greatest Debut Album”. The Cars’ self-titled debut album bests the original Van Halen offering?

Come on …..

The truth in simple sports-related terms; The Cars couldn’t carry Van Halen’s jock. The Cars debut album sold 6 million copies and Van Halen’s debut has sold nearly 11 million issues. But, let’s forget sales and talk about the music …..

Would you rather listen to “My Best Friends Girl” or “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” ???

Case closed …..
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Keep An Eye On …..
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Yeah, I’m finishing up with more NFL conjecture. If Blaine Gabbert slips past the Buffalo Bills at #3 overall, will Marvin Lewis grab him? It’s an interesting debate, especially given the Bengals’ fractured relationship with Carson Palmer.

Many expert minds believe Gabbert is the best “NFL quality” quarterback in this class. I think they’re onto something. The talent is untapped and unrealized, but I don’t like the potential prospect of facing the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, twice a year, for the next decade.

So, I’m hoping Buffalo doesn’t screw this up. But, they probably will …..

Happy Thursday …. I’ll chat with you at 2pm

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Live from Owings Mills: Heap set to return Sunday, E. Reed back at practice

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Live from Owings Mills: Heap set to return Sunday, E. Reed back at practice

Posted on 31 December 2010 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Completing their final practice of the calendar year, the Ravens are aiming for a positive start to 2011 against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium.

Baltimore (11-4) saw two player return to the practice field Friday and appears to be in good shape physically for the regular-season finale. To no one’s surprise, safety Ed Reed (neck) was present at the open portion of practice, confirming speculation that Thursday was an impromptu day off for the veteran dealing with a number of ailments over the last few seasons.

“It was just precautionary,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He was a little bit tight, and we just felt like giving him a chance to recover a little bit and rest up. We do that with some guys this time of year.”

Also returning to the practice field was linebacker Prescott Burgess (illness) after missing two days with the flu bug that has worked its way through the training complex in Owings Mills in recent weeks.

Safety Tom Zbikowski (back) and linebacker Tavares Gooden (shoulder) did not practice and were the only players not participating fully in the Friday session. Zbikowski was not expected to play against the Bengals, but the team had some hope that Gooden might play before both players were ruled out in Friday afternoon’s injury report.

Receiver David Reed (head/wrist) practiced again and was returning kicks on Friday, a good indication that the rookie will return to action after sustaining a concussion against the New Orleans Saints in Week 15. However, he is listed as questionable on the official injury report.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Heap set to return

After practicing fully all week, tight end Todd Heap declared himself ready to return Sunday after missing three straight games with a hamstring injury sustained against Pittsburgh on December 5. The veteran said he experienced no setbacks throughout the week while handling a full practice load.

Heap is listed as questionable, but all indications point to his return against the Bengals.

“I feel good,” Heap said. “Obviously, today we went pretty hard. I came out feeling really good. I ran well, and I’m looking forward to this weekend. We’ll see how it goes Sunday.”

Heap practiced on a limited basis last week, but the team held him out in the chilly conditions at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The training staff has used a day-by-day approach to monitor his recovery since injuring the hamstring on the first play of the game against the Steelers in Week 13.

“Feel good about [his return],” Harbaugh said. “We’ll wait and see how it feels [after Friday's practice]. What we’ve done is checked it out after every practice the next day to see how it responds. So far so good.”

With the playoffs looming next week, Heap eyed a return in the regular-season finale to regain his footing within the offense and boost his confidence physically before the stakes become much higher in January.

Rookie Ed Dickson started the last three games in Heap’s absence, catching a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in Week 15, but Baltimore tight ends went without a catch last week in Cleveland.

“That’s the biggest thing,” Heap said. “Getting your feet back under you, I definitely wanted to do that. The biggest thing for me is just make sure I’m full-go and I’m ready. Make sure the hamstring is feeling like it’s supposed to feel. I don’t want to do anything to set myself back. Still have to be smart.”

T.Ocho no-show

With Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco both out for Sunday’s game in Baltimore, the Bengals receiving corps will be much quieter, but the Ravens secondary will keep a close eye on the young group that’s produced in their place.

Third-year receiver Jerome Simpson caught six passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in their win over the San Diego Chargers last week. Andre Caldwell was a thorn in the Ravens’ side in 2009, catching two touchdowns including the game-winning score in Baltimore.

“They have good receivers,” Harbaugh said. “They have good young guys who showed up pretty well last week. We’ll have to cover whoever they put out there, but I really like their talented young guys, and Carson [Palmer] seems comfortable with them.”

Scoreboard watching allowed

Ravens fans will certainly be keeping an eye on the happenings in Cleveland on Sunday, and Harbaugh and his team will have the opportunity to take a peak as well. When asked about Brian Billick’s past  requests that the out-of-town scores with playoff implications not be shown at M&T Bank Stadium, the current coach responded coyly.

“I didn’t know I had that kind of power,” said Harbaugh, drawing laughs from the media in attendance. “That’s good to know.”

Harbaugh said all week the Ravens will play the entire game like any other regular-season contest, regardless of what’s happening between the Browns and Steelers. However, he won’t prohibit anyone from following a major factor in the team’s playoff destination.

“I can see why you might do that, but we’ll let [the scores] be up there,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not worried about our players one bit. I know our guys will be focused, and they’re going to play the game.”

Injury report

RAVENS: OUT – S Tom Zbikowski (back), LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE – TE Todd Heap (thigh), WR David Reed (wrist/head) PROBABLE – C Matt Birk (knee), WR Derrick Mason (ankle/abs), CB Fabian Washington (back), LB Prescott Burgess (illness), TE Dennis Pitta (head), S Ed Reed (neck)

BENGALS: OUT – WR Chad Ochocinco (ankle) DOUBTFUL – TE Jermaine Gresham (knee) QUESTIONABLE - CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle), LB Dan Skuta (back) PROBABLE – DE Carlos Dunlap (shoulder), RB Bernard Scott (toe)

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Sunday’s NFL action provides a clear message; Ravens are still a top team

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Sunday’s NFL action provides a clear message; Ravens are still a top team

Posted on 13 December 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, I’m imagining most of us spent yesterday afternoon partaking in some similar Sunday rituals; gauging the competition around the National Football League, and collectively hoping the Cincinnati Bengals might find a way to upset our nemesis up in Pittsburgh.

In totality, the day offered some pretty daunting realities, both on and off the playing field …..

- Having a “trash bag” roof eventually proves to be a bad idea …..

- Tom Brady’s game is just as good on snow tires …..

- Rex Ryan’s Jets really are the NFL’s equivalent of the pro rasslin’ product …..

- While his comeback is pretty impressive, Mike Vick is NOT Tom Brady …..

- Brett Favre evidently owns a pretty sharp razor knife, and access to the dome’s roof …..

Indeed, yesterday was no ordinary Sunday around the NFL. The slate of games was less than impressive, as a large bulk of the contests were nothing more than mismatches. But, weather and interference by off-field personnel really provided some drama to what many of us perceived to be a day full of bad football.

Maybe, I’m being too harsh …..

Instances of occasional “bad football” at the pro level are generally a seldom-seen phenomenon, right? Of course, yesterday provided a few glaring examples of horrendous execution by teams vying for playoff position, as well as those playing out the string …..

- Graham Gano may very well find himself joining Jeff Reed in the unemployment line after missing an extra point and chip shot field goal, in the Redskins embarrassing loss against the Buccaneers …..

- Brodie Croyle and the Kansas City Chiefs mustered just 67 yards in total offense, while being shutout, 31-0, by the San Diego Chargers in a prime AFC-West showdown …..

- Mark Sanchez looked very much like the rookie from last season and the “clown” from HBO’s Hard Knocks, in the Jets second straight loss, which now tasks Gang-Green with trying to stem a late season collapse – on the road, in Pittsburgh, next week …..

- And, of course, speaking of the Steelers …. we must cite the “steaming stinker” Carson Palmer left on the newly sodded turf, at Heinz Field. Yesterday’s line for Palmer: 20 for 32, 178 yards & 2 touchdowns.

Not horrible, huh? Oh yeah, that’s right, those touchdown passes were both tossed into the waiting arms of Steelers defenders …..

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12: Troy Polamalu  of the Pittsburgh Steelers intercepts a pass from Carson Palmer  of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Any chance of witnessing a ‘Bungals upset of the Steelers was lost amid predictable breakdowns and missed assignments. Welcome to the 2010 edition of the “Great Cincinnati Disaster”. While they punished Ben Roethlisberger early in the game and even broke out to a quick lead, the ‘Bungals looked very much like a certain black and orange baseball product.

Cincinnati’s string of consecutive losses now stands at TEN AND COUNTING. Given the knuckleheads on that roster, it might be a good idea for the networks to consider slotting this 2-11 team into a nationally televised contest or two.

Say what you will, I’ve got a feeling the ‘Bungals have a “meltdown moment”; a behemoth mutinous catastrophe on the field and I don’t wanna miss it !!!!

In summing up everything observed in yesterday’s NFL action, I’m developing some pretty distinct conclusions:

We are going to see one of the season-long contenders go down in bursting flames over the final few weeks of the regular season …..

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Sunday Money – 6-Pack

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Sunday Money – 6-Pack

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Rex Snider

For weeks, I’ve been boasting about my preseason predictions for the Baltimore Ravens. On September 8th, I previewed each game on the schedule, on-air, and gave my opinion on how things would turn out.

I kept that schedule and it’s hanging on the wall of my home office. To date, I’ve been correct on 8 of the 9 games. The lone blemish is the contest against the Miami Dolphins. Yep, I had that game in the loss column.

Hey, the good news is I forecasted the loss against the Atlanta Falcons as the final defeat of the 2010 season. That’s correct, I picked the Ravens to run the table throughout the remainder of the regular slate of games.

And, I’ll stick by it …..

Since I’ve been so accurate with my predictions over the past couple months, I’ve decided to share my weekly prognostications with YOU, the listener and reader. It’s my early Christmas gift to anyone who reads my blogs.

I have no doubt that when my peers read this, they’ll have some provoking thoughts …..

Drew Forrester : “I like Rex, but I’m not following his advice – he freakin’ texted me from Vegas and asked which baseball games to bet. By the way, he won a few hundred bucks ….. and I’m still waiting for my Chinese lunch.”

Glenn Clark : “I don’t really like Rex, and I absolutely NEVER, EVER agree with him. I’m certain his predictions will be LAUGHABLE ….. if not, INSANE. So, before I even look at his picks, I’ll get this outta the way ….. DUDE, YOU’RE JUST WRONG.”

Thyrl Nelson : “His fantasy football team, Rexual HerAssMent, is 3-7 …. that’s all I need to know.”

Regardless of what others might say, you can rest assured that my LOCKS for the weekend will come to fruition. You’ll make money, guaranteed. Count on this 6-pack of predictions …..

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What does Tom Brady think of the Baltimore Ravens and Terrell Suggs?

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What does Tom Brady think of the Baltimore Ravens and Terrell Suggs?

Posted on 19 October 2010 by Rex Snider

By now, we pretty much know how Baltimore’s purple kool-aid drinking, smash-mouth football fans feel about Tom Brady ….

I’m assuming you respect his on-field achievements, especially as it regards his overall prowess as a championship winning quarterback, and a stat-logging machine.

Tom Brady has been recognized as the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player. He is the only quarterback in the game’s modern history to lead a team to an undefeated regular season record. And, he is the only quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season.

Yet, more importantly, Tom Brady has been on the winning end of 102 of his 135 regular season contests. Yes, that’s a .755 winning percentage. Or, for those scoring on the 16-game measuring stick, he wins an average of 12 games per season. Not too shabby, huh?

Of course, the most impressive part of Brady’s resume’ is his postseason mark of 14 wins and 4 losses, accompanied by 28 touchdowns, 4100 passing yards and THREE OF THESE …..
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Hard to beat such accomplishments, huh?

Count ‘em, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, Jay Cutler, Mike Vick and the CHOSEN ONE – Mark Sanchez, combined, have not won as many Super Bowls as Tom Brady.

Combine the achievements and distinctions with Brady’s character as a good citizen and unblemished ambassador of the game, which separates him from the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre, and the story of a guy who’s universally adored is a given reality, right?

Not so fast …..

While Tom Brady is everything specified, thus far, he’s also known for one disintegrating trait, which grows louder and LOUDER …..

That’s right, on top of being everything an American kid could hope for in life, Brady has also been hampered and psychologically scarred by an incident that paved and demolished his 2008 season.

If you’re just a casual football fan, chances are you still recall this image from the NFL’s “Opening Day,” just a couple years ago …..
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It’s only been a couple years, but I will always remember that season-ending injury for Tom Brady. I felt bad for the guy and I still do. As I mentioned earlier, he’s the perfect role model citizen and he’s a freakin’ winner. I also dig the fact that all 32 teams passed on him NUMEROUS TIMES in the NFL Draft.

But, in the couple years since returning from his debilitating injury, Brady has been earning a reputation that will likely stick a negitive stigma to his otherwise stellar reputation. In fact, this perception and belief people are developing can be a KILLER for a “man’s man.”

Tom Brady is being viewed as SOFT.

Tom Brady is being viewed as GUN SHY.

Tom Brady is being viewed as a SISSY.

There, I finally said it. After all the lathering of accolades I’ve smered on the guy, I’ve gotta be honest about the way many people are viewing Tom Brady, these days. It’s an impression I’ve resisted for more than year; that’s how much I really LIKE and RESPECT the guy.

But, with each passing game, I’m being swayed further and further to the side of the guys who question Brady’s mental and physical toughness …. or even his courage.

That’s a very damning thing to say or write …..

In last year’s October matchup, all of us distinctly recall Tom Brady lobbying officials for penalties against Ravens defenders for incidental contact and rather meaningless/harmless touches. At first, I perceived it to be gamemanship from Brady. I imagined that he would complain with a demonstrative vigor, but ultimately walk back to the huddle with a snicker, while knowing he was gonna get some yellow hankies thrown in his favor.

As last season dragged on, so did Tom Brady’s antics. And, he was getting louder about it.

Everyone was taking notice.

For me, the culmination of Brady’s complaining about contact really culminated in Sunday’s game. He was hit CLEAN upon releasing the ball on a completed pass, late in the 4th quarter. Yet, he still slammed his hand to the ground, while chewing the referee’s ass. He was looking for a penalty. And, yes, I saw Terrell Suggs’ hand graze the quarterback’s helmet.

Fortunately, the officials didn’t bite and a penalty was not assessed. Doing so could’ve killed the impending reality of overtime.

Is that how Tom Brady really wants to win?

Is that what he’s reduced to?

I’m not buying it. I don’t think it’s a competitive tool or gamesmanship. To be blunt, I think Tom Brady is legitimately concerned about getting hurt, again. And, while I can understand his plight, it’s also the professional path he’s chosen.

Getting slammed by Ray Lewis HURTS. Getting drilled by a Cliff Lee fastball HURTS. Hitting the wall in Jeff Gordon’s Chevrolet, at 180 mph, HURTS. I get it, I really do.

Evidently, Tom Brady really gets it …. and he doesn’t like it. Thus, we’re treated to his weekly antics …..
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Believe me, I see the business aspect tied to guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. They’re the marketing darlings or “cash cows” for NFL Properties. Thus, the league does everything possible (including rules changes) to ensure these guys stay on the field.

But, at some point, you’ve gotta play football, right? Heck, some folks think the game has already been watered down by the rules changes.

Still, Tom Brady complains – every single week.

I suppose he accomplishes what he wants. And, on Mondays, he denies everything.

Each Monday, Brady joins the Dennis & Callahan Show, on Boston’s WEEI Radio, for a phone conversation. During yesterday’s call, he downplayed his on-field complaining. In fact, he called all the Ravens hits “CLEAN.”

He also dished on his thoughts of Terrell Suggs and the predictability of the Ravens defense, inside the red zone. He said, “they’re either blitzing or putting 8 men in the end zone.”

He also said, “they do a lot of talking for a team that has beaten us once in 9 times, since I’ve been here.”

You can find the conversation HERE

While I still like Tom Brady and remain in awe of his career-defining accomplishments, I really would like to remember him as a guy who did things the right way and played with a physical/mental toughness demanded of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

Today, I’m not so certain I still believe in his heart and courage.

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Will The Ravens Beat The Steelers?  Yes …..

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Will The Ravens Beat The Steelers? Yes …..

Posted on 02 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Beyond my inate ability to end up sleeping on the sofa a couple times, per month, and falling victim to a weekend splurge into Three Olives’ Cherry Flavored Vodka, I rarely make many guarantees.

Truth be told, life’s events hold many variables and things change daily. Fortunes evaporate and miracles blossom more often than many of us really fathom.

A kid strikes it rich by inventing Facebook.

A real estate tycoon loses his ass by sticking to conventional wisdom.

A cute girl from Oklahoma becomes country music’s biggest star, because of American Idol.

The Baltimore Orioles win more games in the final two months, than they did in the first four – with virtually the same team !!!!

Indeed, it’s hard to predict the impending reality of life’s plight. Unless, of course, you simply KNOW something is going to happen. And, that’s where today’s thoughts lead me.

The Baltimore Ravens will defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, tomorrow. Slice it …. dice it …. look at it in any possible way desired. This game is an elementary consensus of football’s realities, combined with a twist of karma.

I’m not diminishing the talent of the Steelers; they’re a solid organization. Then again, the same can be said for the Ravens. The Steelers feature an overwhelming defensive attack. Yet, again, so do the Ravens.

So, where is this distinguishable difference that leads me to forceast a certain win by Baltimore?

Well, it can be simply summed up with a look at one side of the ball and one distinct position. Joe Flacco is better than Charlie Batch. In fact, he’s leaps and bounds better than Charlie Batch.

Heck, Marc Bulger is better than Pittsburgh’s quarterback.

Regardless of Batch’s overblown performance against the powder-puff strength of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I will implore you to remember there is a reason why Charlie Batch started the season as #4 on the Steelers depth chart, at quarterback.
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There is a reason why he gets released and the other 31 teams don’t call. There is a reason why he has found a career calling in holding a clipboard and wearing a headset.

Charlie Batch is starting at quarterback, because the Steelers don’t have a better option. Nothing more, nothing less …..

And, this is why the Ravens win tomorrow’s showdown at Heinz Field.

Last week, Charlie Batch looked like Charlie Manning – the long lost cousin of Peyton and Eli. That performance was an aberration. It was an absolute rarity and it refutes the career of Charlie Batch. Numbers, over a consistent period of time don’t lie.

In tomorrow’s game, Joe Flacco will make mistakes. I’ll guarantee it. But, he’ll also realize some success. How much? I don’t know. But, it will be enough to surpass anything Charlie Batch does during the same sixty minutes.

Two weeks ago, Joe Flacco tossed a resounding 4 interceptions. Yet, Carson Palmer only hung 15 points on the board. The Bengals have a better quarterback than the Steelers. They have better receivers. And, their featured running back has been a bigger pain for the Ravens.

Even if Joe Flacco has a “Cincinnati Kinda Day”, I will still challenge Charlie Batch to outscore Carson Palmer. I don’t think he can do it. I know he can’t do it.

Thus, tomorrow’s game really doesn’t boil down to Joe Flacco. I don’t care if he’s 0-3 at Heinz Field. If Charlie Batch was the quarterback in those 3 games, Flacco would be 3-0 – with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt.
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Here’s the blunt truth …..

At some point tomorrow, Charlie Batch will be CHARLIE BATCH. Think about it. At various points, we were teased and even snookered by Jeff Blake, Anthony Wright and Kyle Boller. While each of them played above their true capability in brief glimpses, all of them eventually returned to one consistent image; themselves.

Charlie Batch is no different.

The Pittsburgh Steelers barely survived the Atlanta Falcons in the season opener. They beat an inconsistent Tennessee Titans team – that benched its starting quarterback during the game. And, they bullied one of the league’s punching bags in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tomorrow’s opponent for the Steelers is much different. And, I’m not saying this as a Ravens loyalist. In fact, I’m saying it, because I believe that RIGHT eventually trumps WRONG

At some point, the Steelers are bound to feel the STING of losing Ben Roethlisberger to suspension. It’s a policy of the “Football Gods.” For their team to escape any effect from Roethlisberger’s banishment would seem ….. well, not right.

This is a huge, fitting, justifiable reality.

They’re not going 4-0 without him.

Tomorrow, Charlie Batch will get the reactionary blame for a loss to the Ravens. Yet, over a prudent amount of time, the reality of why the Steelers lost and how it could’ve been prevented, will sink in.
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Ben Roethlisberger.

He will be the reason, even if he’s in another city and state. And, justifiably so.

This embarrassing saga in the storied history of the NFL’s greatest franchise (yeah, I just called them the GREATEST) cannot and will not end with an umblemished record during Roethlisberger’s absence.

Life is fairer than that.

At least, that’s the way I see it …..

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Give ‘Em Credit …. Bengals & Colts Have The Book On Flacco

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Give ‘Em Credit …. Bengals & Colts Have The Book On Flacco

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, it’s the morning after the first inexcusable loss of the Ravens season and as I peered out over the rooftops to the east, early today, I saw the sun start starting to rise.

Yep, my old friend, Harry Lentz, has been proven right, again.

Regardless of how bad any Baltimore football fan feels, we can all count on the sobering reality of another Monday greeting us with the accustomed reminder that it’s time to go back to work.

Hmmm …. do you think that might be the resounding message at 1 Winning Drive, as well? No doubt, you can count on this reality, as strongly as Harry Lentz’s daily prediction on sunrises.

With yesterday’s ugly loss squarely in the rear view, it’s time for all of us who watch the games to complain about that stinker on the Ohio River. But, the Ravens braintrust is already working on improving their quarterback’s vulnerabilities, as well as preparing for the Cleveland Browns.

Speaking of work, Joe Flacco is going to draw as much attention as any one person in this entire world throughout Baltimore’s respective employment communities today. That’s right, MONDAY MORNINGS breed QUARTERBACKS and every slapdick with an opinion on football is going to breakdown Joe’s problems.

“He holds the ball too long”

“He doesn’t look comfortable”

“He stares at his receivers”

“He looks like Kyle Boller.”

Indeed, each of these phases and hundreds of others will be uttered as Ravens fans try to comprehend losing for the first time in 247 days.

That’s right, the last time the Ravens walked off a field as losers of a game that mattered was on January 16th, in Indianapolis. You remember that night, right?
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When Flacco digested last season’s playoff loss to the Colts, his passing statistics (20 for 35, 0 TD, 2 INT) must have weighed on his mind. Ironically, yesterday was statistically in the neighborhood (17 for 39, 1 TD, 4 INT) of that Colts loss.

Is there a reason for the similar results? Well, the true diagnostic answer to such a question really lays at the feet of Cam Cameron and his staff. However, a pattern of certain likened end-results is occuring.

Joe Flacco absolutely, positively struggles against the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.

There, I said it.

And, there must be an articulable reason, right?

Blame it on the COVER 2 DEFENSE. The Colts and Bengals comprise their own respective versions of tormenting Joe Flacco. But, these teams absolutely obstruct the middle of the field and routinely drop a couple defenders deep on the Ravens.

And, so long as they can apply significant pressure by routinely rushing their front four, such successes will continue.

In his brief NFL career, Joe Flacco has faced the Colts and Bengals EIGHT times. The Ravens have won TWO of those games. And, both wins came against an injury-riddled Bengals team that went 4-11, in 2008.

In these same 8 games, Flacco has thrown 4 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, while completing 162 of 268 passes.

Have things worsened?

It certainly looks like it. Perhaps, the Colts and Bengals have found a way to further complicate this book they’ve developed on Flacco and the Ravens. That’s what they’re expected to do.

In his last 16 quarters against the Colts and Bengals, Joe Flacco has thrown just ONE touchdown, while slinging NINE interceptions. He can’t beat Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer with such performances.

The Colts and Bengals have found Flacco’s glaring weakness …..
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He has problems making a play and fitting the ball in a very tiny window. Thus, the safeties are splitting the field, while linebackers fall back and the cornerbacks stay underneath and do everything possible to hinder any routes to the middle.

The Colts and Bengals are not employing any ORGANIZED CHAOS schemes. They’re simply doing what works …..

Is yesterday’s loss lying squarely on the doorstep of Joe Flacco? Hell, no …..

There is plenty of blame to go around, especially in regard to the offensive line, as well as some harrowing special teams breakdowns. And, yes, officiating blunders breathed life into a rather lackluster Bengals offense.

But, Flacco will take the heat today. It comes with the territory and he knows it. The Monday Morning Quarterbacks will make their voices heard late into the afternoon.

That said, it’s just the second week of the NFL season. A week from today, we’ll sit around and celebrate a beatdown of the Cleveland Browns in the home opener and everything will be fine, again.

It’s a “week to week” process, I suppose. This Ravens team can improve in many facets, and yesterday serves as proof of it.

But, be certain of one thing …..

Joe Flacco is still the key component to the future of the Baltimore Ravens. End of discussion …..

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