Tag Archive | "Cedric Benson"

Ravens Head to Cincinnati With Hopes of Kicking Bengals While They’re Down

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Ravens Head to Cincinnati With Hopes of Kicking Bengals While They’re Down

Posted on 17 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Despite the Ravens’ poor play at times Monday night in Baltimore’s 10-9 victory over the New York Jets, the Ravens travel to Cincinnati on Sunday at 1 PM on CBS as the division-rival Bengals host the Ravens.

Ravens Bengals

Meanwhile, the Bengals despite some impressive numbers in the second half of their game against the New England Patriots, were very sluggish in Foxborough at the start-one of the reasons why the AFC North Division champs from 2009 fell, 38-24.

And now the Ravens, who had some impressive numbers in the victory against the Jets( 11-0f-19 on 3rd down), will be looking to jump ahead in the AFC North race by kicking the Bengals when they’re down.

The Bengals went undefeated in 2009 in a tough AFC North division (6-0), with wins over the Ravens on Oct 11 in Baltimore (17-14) and in Cincinnati (17-7) on November 8th.

Ray Lewis

Drama also surrounded the Bengals receivers against New England; as Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens both left the field early at the end of the first half before  a Hail-Mary shot that slot receiver Jordan Shipley had to come down with.

Running back Cedric Benson rebounded with a late touchdown in the Patriots’ blowout, but he also lost a fumble and struggled at times against an average New England rush defense, averaging only 2.9 YPC on 15 carries(43 yards).

Cedric Benson

Baltimore would hope that they see the Benson of Week 1  as opposed to the Benson of last year, who finished with 1251 yards on a comeback season with Cincinnati and shredded the Ravens in 237 yards in two games last year.

In their first match up in Baltimore, Benson became the first opposing running back to top the 100 yard mark in 40 games. He did it again later in the second Bengals victory, as did Adrian Peterson in the Ravens 33-31 loss to the Vikings on October 18th.

And with the Ravens on a short week, Baltimore could be in line to either ride the momentum from Monday’s win, or they could be in a position to struggle after a physical beating from the Jets and get the Bengals’ confidence back up and get guys like OchoCinco and Owens talking again after a big win.

Ravens Run Offense vs. Bengals Run Defense: Even

Ray Rice

Ray Rice last year against the Bengals gained only 117 yards in two games against Cincinnati , but that wasn’t due to his struggles. The Ravens just did not stick with a true identity in either contest against Cincinnati, and quarterback Joe Flacco turned the ball over several times via interceptions. The Ravens struggled to run the ball effectively against the Jets Monday night, and the Bengals may look to copy that game plan against Rice and  Willis McGahee, who fumbled the ball as well against New York but also had the Ravens’ lone touchdown.

Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene(hamstring) is out on Sunday, which could bode well for the interior of the Ravens offensive line, as well as linebacker Keith Rivers hobbled with a foot injury.

Ravens Passing Game vs. Bengals Pass Defense; Edge: Ravens

Joe Flacco

In both of last year’s match-ups,  Joe Flacco didn’t have trouble finding receivers-the only issue was that the receivers were the Bengals defensive backs. Anquan Boldin lit up Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie Monday (110 yards receiving), and the Bengals failed to generate pressure on quarterback Tom Brady, who in turn threw three touchdown passes against the Bengals.

Wes Welker had success in the slot and had very good yards after the catch against Cincinnati, and the Ravens receivers may have similar success getting YAC. Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall are maybe one of the best 1-2 corner combinations in the league and they sometimes can cover their guys 1-on-1, but I think the Ravens can make some plays down the field against them.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh will be driven to do well against his old team, but tight end Todd Heap could miss the game with a shoulder injury on a diving catch he made in the fourth quarter against the Jets. And finally, the Bengals could look to exploit the right side of the line where Marshal Yanda could be filling in for Jared Gaither for yet another game at right tackle. Hopefully this wont happen to Flacco on the first play against Cincy like it did against the Jets.

Joe Flacco sacked

Bengals Run Offense vs. Ravens Run Defense; Edge: Bengals

Even as a Ravens follower, I am on the Cedric Benson bandwagon. The Bengals receivers last year were no where near the receiving corps they are now, which is going to prevent the Ravens from stacking the box with eight defenders to stop the former Texas Longhorn. Benson joined longtime Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis as the only running back to rush for over 100 yards against the Ravens twice in the same season, and I think Benson will have the same success again. I think if Benson gets over 100 yards again, the Bengals win no questions asked.

The Ravens are 7-14 all time when allowing a 100-yard rusher.

LB Jarret Johnson may miss Sunday’s game with a back injury that has lingered over the last several years, but WNST’s own Glenn Clark told Rex Snider he expected Johnson to suit up. Jarret has been the Ravens’ “Iron Man” so to speak, playing in 98 straight games.

But with the loss of Johnson, helping the Ravens’ cause for stopping Benson may be aided by the return of DT Terrence Cody, who was limited in practice Thursday and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. If Cody were to play, it certainly shifts the balance of power in the run game toward the Ravens a bit.

Bengals Passing Offense vs. Ravens Passing Defense; Edge: Bengals

The Ravens have had problems with Owens and Chad OchoCinco in the past, but now they’re both on the same team. OchoCinco had 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD against the Patriots, and the Bengals established Owens early, as he caught 7 passes for 53 yards. I think these guys are two physical receivers who are going to be trouble for the Ravens’ smaller corners.

Hopefully this happens to OchoCinco again on Sunday-although without the penalty and on a legal hit…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpVvmATPi2w[/youtube]

But two other players who I think will cause matchup problems for the Ravens are two Big-12 receivers in former Texas Longhorn Jordan Shipley and ex-Sooner Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals tight end who drew looks from the Ravens in the draft. Shipley (5-11, 193 lb) may be too speedy in the slot for the Ravens to cover, much like Wes Welker. And the Gresham match-up (6-5, 261 lb.) against anyone on the Ravens defense is a win for the Bengals. If the Bengals don’t run all over the Ravens, I see them certainly passing all over Baltimore.

Jermaine Gresham

What benefits the Ravens is that  defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will have one of his best tacklers in the secondary with Lardarius Webb not even showing up on the injury report after coming back from a season-ending ACL tear in 2009. Webb was actually slated to play on Monday, but with the late rain going over the Meadowlands, the Ravens coaching staff got cold feet and deactivated Webb.

The Ravens earned two sacks on Monday against the Jets between Haloti Ngata, Jarret Johnson, and Terrell Suggs against a decent pass-blocking team with New York. The Bengals offensive-line is better at run blocking than stopping the opposing team from sacking the quarterback, and I think Ravens fans hope that Carson Palmer is still having going to have issues with holding onto the football with wrist, finger and elbow injuries sustained over the last several seasons.

The Ravens are 37-13 when Suggs records a sack, and Baltimore is 10-0 when he records two or more drops of the quarterback.

My take:

I don’t like the short week, and I do take into effect that the Bengals picked it up in the second half against the Patriots on Sunday, scoring three touchdowns. The Ravens didn’t look perfect on Monday against the Jets, and barely defeated a team that handed them the victory in all facets of the game. I see the Bengals scoring some points offensively either on the ground or through the air-it will just be the Ravens picking their poison.

And I think offensively, the Ravens will have a better showing offensively as opposed to the two games last year, but I still see Flacco making a bad decision against a team that is just going to sit in Cover 2 and wait for Flacco to throw a pass into coverage. All of these AFC North games are close, but I see the Bengals coming out on top late in the game.

In their last five trips to Cincinnati, the Ravens are 1-4 in those away games, with the only win coming in 2008.

Bengals 21, Ravens 17

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Baltimore Ravens as they move through the 2010 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Live From Owings Mills: Ray Lewis says Ravens Won’t Suffer “Letdown” vs. Bengals

Posted on 16 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens continued work Thursday at 1 Winning Drive. They’re in preparation for a Sunday afternoon AFC North showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Ravens are coming off a very emotional victory to open the season against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. LB Ray Lewis told reporters Thursday the win would be remembered by young players in the Ravens locker room “for the rest of their lives.” Even a future Hall of Famer like Lewis admitted that the win was special, adding that “playing against your old Defensive Coordinator (Rex Ryan), you can’t win a game like that and not put it on your top shelf.”

But when asked if winning a particularly emotional game in Week 1 could lead to an unfortunate letdown in Week 2; the Pro Bowl LB was quick to shoot down the concept. “There’s not a natural letdown” said Lewis, adding “not when you got swept by the Bengals last year. The Bengals are a very quality opponent, and we’ve got to go in and have our game ready.”

Lewis touched on a number of other subjects during his 10 minute gathering with Charm City reporters. He said he acts as a “big brother” for Cincy WR Chad Ochocinco, and has told him to “calm it down” sometimes when it comes to the receiver’s antics on Twitter, TV and elsewhere. Lewis also praised Ochocinco, saying “I think he just loves the game.” Lewis discussed the excitement of his 4th quarter hit on Jets TE Dustin Keller, describing it as being “like a quarterback throwing a big touchdown.”

Lewis also discussed his son Ray Lewis III’s recent 504 yard game at Lake Mary Prep (Florida), saying “my kids put pressure on me now”, and asking “how do I show up 500 yards?”

Lewis’ entire chat with reporters can be heard in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net; Thyrl Nelson caught up with Ray Lewis III Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”, that chat can also be heard in the Audio Vault.

INJURY UPDATE: TE Todd Heap (shoulder) returned to practice Thursday; he missed Wednesday’s practice while recovering from a shoulder strain suffered Monday night in East Rutherford. He told reporters he was progressing and hoped to be ready to play Sunday. Heap was listed as being a “limited” participant in practice.

DT Terrence Cody (knee) practiced again Thursday as he continues to work his way back from an August 31 knee procedure. Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison told reporters Cody was “close” to being ready to play. Cody was again listed as “limited.”

LB Jarret Johnson (back) did not practice Thursday after being listed as “limited” Wednesday. LB Ray Lewis (foot) was a limited participant for a 2nd straight day Thursday. Lewis said “I’m good” when asked about the injury earlier in the day. WR Anquan Boldin (thigh) was also listed as “limited” for a 2nd straight day.

LB’s Tavares Gooden (thigh) and Jameel McClain (knee) were each listed as limited Thursday, neither injury is believed to be series. WR Marcus Smith (knee) was a full participant for a 2nd straight day.

WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) and OT Jared Gaither (back) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game by the team. Gaither told reporters he’s feeling “pretty good” and “recovering great”, but wouldn’t commit to a timetable for return. S Ed Reed (groin/hip) is on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, he joked with reporters that he had called the NFLPA to try to get off the list.

For the Bengals, DE Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) missed practice for a 2nd straight day; while LB Keith Rivers (foot) was upgraded to limited participation. RB Cedric Benson (shoulder), WR Andre Caldwell (groin), CB Brandon Ghee (head) and RB Brian Leonard (foot) were all listed as full participants.

NOTES: Hear from Lewis, Mattison, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg, Gaither, Reed and CB Prince Miller NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……S Haruki Nakamura joined Rex Snider Thursday after on “The Afternoon Drive”, you can hear that chat in the Audio Vault as well. P Sam Koch is scheduled to join Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Friday morning at 7:00am on AM1570……The Ravens will practice again Friday, with Head Coach John Harbaugh scheduled to speak to the media following practice. The team will release their final Injury Report Friday afternoon, hold a walkthrough Saturday, then travel to the Queen City Saturday night.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Bring Back Prince Miller, Prepare for Bengals

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens returned to work Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, beginning preparations for Sunday afternoon’s battle with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Ravens made a roster move Wednesday, re-signing CB Prince Miller. Miller had been on the practice squad with the New England Patriots. Miller was an undrafted free agent out of Georgia who originally made the Ravens’ final 53 man roster following a strong Training Camp and preseason. He was released September 5 to make room for CB Bryan McCann on the active roster. Coming full circle, the Ravens released McCann Wednesday to make room for Miller on the roster.

Miller will have a chance to get involved in returning punts, as head coach John Harbaugh admitted Tuesday that Tom Zbikowski’s performance was “disappointing” in the role Monday night in the Ravens’ win over the New York Jets. Harbaugh said Wednesday “there is a chance” Miller will take over punt return duties, but didn’t know if the rookie would be ready to do that Sunday. Harbaugh said of Miller and Zbikowski “one of them will be back there” against Cincinnati.

The Ravens will have to keep Miller on the active roster for at least three weeks due to the NFL rules for signing players from other another team’s practice squad. When CB Cary Williams returns from suspension next week the team will have to make another roster move to get down to 53 players.

CODY HOPES TO PLAY: DT Terrence Cody told reporters today he “should be able to play” Sunday after missing the Monday Night Football tilt at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Cody is recovering from a minor knee procedure he underwent August 31 to repair damage to a slightly torn meniscus. Cody said the knee is “getting better”, but he wants to “get a lot of reps” in practice this week.

Harbaugh did not expect to have Cody on the practice field Wednesday afternoon-but Cody did indeed participate. When asked if the team’s 2nd selection in the NFL Draft would be able to play Sunday, Harbaugh admitted “I don’t know.”

HOUSHMANDZADEH REFLECTS ON RETURN
: WR TJ Houshmandzadeh spent a formal session with reporters Wednesday, reflecting on his first visit to Cincinnati after spending eight years (seven seasons) in the Queen City.

When asked about how it will feel to dress in and enter from the visitor’s locker room at Paul Brown Stadium, Houshmandzadeh admitted “it will be different.” Houshmandzadeh said he didn’t know what kind of reaction he would get from the fans in Cincinnati, but said he would “expect the worts, hope for the best.” Houshmandzadeh believed his role as a constant underdog early in his career could help fans feel “apathy” towards him.

Houshmandzadeh gave credit to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, noting “Marvin stuck by me when I was hurt (in 2003)”. He said that without Lewis, he might not still be in the NFL at this point.

Houshmandzadeh said he “wanted to stay” in Cincinnati after the 2008 season, but his “mind was kind of clouded” at the time.

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens have announced that OT Jared Gaither (back) and WR Donte’ Stallworth will not play Sunday.

On Wednesday, TE Todd Heap (shoulder) did not participate in practice. LB Ray Lewis (foot), WR Anquan Boldin (thigh), Cody (knee) and LB Jarret Johnson (back) were all limited participants. LB Jameel McClain (knee) and WR Marcus Smith (knee) fully participated in practice.

For the Bengals, DE Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) and LB Keith Rivers (foot) did not participate in practice. RB Cedric Benson (shoulder) was a limited participant. WR Andre Caldwell (groin), CB Brandon Ghee (head) and RB Brian Leonard (foot) were all full participants.

NOTES: The Ravens will not practice until 3:40pm, as Harbaugh wants to give them more rest after returning from East Rutherford late Monday night/early Tuesday morning……Hear from Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco and Boldin NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco talked to Baltimore media members via conference call Wednesday. Ochocinco declined to discuss his recent Twitter “battle” with Ravens RB’s Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain; saying he only wanted to talk about Sunday’s game. Ochocinco offered praise for Lewis, DT Haloti Ngata and injured S Ed Reed. He also said he was looking forward to chatting with former Cincy teammate Houshmandzadeh. McClain said he and Ochocinco were “just joking around” with their exchange.

-G

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I Accept Chad Ochocinco’s Offer …..

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I Accept Chad Ochocinco’s Offer …..

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Rex Snider

The Ravens are just four days away from meeting the Cincinnati Bengals in the first of two power-packed showdowns in this 2010 season. Since it’s Bengals week, we know what to expect, right? You can readily depend on the following …..

A) Talk of increased pressure in a divisional matchup, especially as it involves the defending AFC-NORTH Champions

B) Discussion of whether the Ravens can contain Cedric Benson, given he rushed for 100+ yards in both 2009 contests

C) A colorful gesture or offer to Baltimore, courtesy of Chad Ochocinco

Of course, we’ve already started talking about the first two topics. And, with special thanks to Twitter, we have been graced with Chad’s good natured and generous offer to Baltimoreans. Yesterday evening, Chad tweeted the following message …..

Anybody want to fly and watch this weeks game in Cincy, my treat? Ravens n Bengals = great football

Let me use this occasion to take Chad up on his offer. I would absolutely LOVE to fly to Cincinnati for the Ravens/Bengals game, especially if it’s on Chad’s dime. In fact, I would be honored.

But, why me? Why should he extend the privilege to a middle-aged, balding, slightly overweight talk show host?

Well, it makes perfect sense from a promotions standpoint. Chad loves marketing and promotion ….. and I would certainly promote this little excursion like a rockstar. Self indulgent? That’s me !!!!

That said, I realize there must be something that sets me apart from others. And, this is where my creativity comes into play. If Chad selects me, I will dress like this on the plane to Cincinnati …..
.

.
That’s right, in the spirit of all things INES SAINZ, I will sport a sexy, revealing halter top, man boobs included. I will force myself into the tightest possible, low cut jeans. And, I will even apply some cakey blush and smokin’ sheer pink lipstick. I will be one UNSEXY sight. But, I’ll do it …..

How’s that for original?

However, in full disclosure, I wanna be 100% upfront in proclaiming that upon leaving Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, I will stop by the nearest fast food joint’s bathroom to slip out of (or cut off) the ridiculous outfit and put my Ravens gear on. After all, I’m in town for a smash mouth football game !!!!

Well, that’s it. This is my official acceptance and response to Chad’s offer on Twitter. Do you think he’ll bite?

You can certainly support it, especially if you wanna see me walking through BWI Airport dressed like Ines Sainz …..

It’s simple, just tweet Chad :  OGOchocinco

You can also Facebook Chad :  Chad Ochocinco

We’re just four days away from the Ravens and Bengals sqaring off in this heated AFC-NORTH rivalry. Let the fun begin !!!!

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War of words moves to tactics on field at Meadowlands in prime time

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War of words moves to tactics on field at Meadowlands in prime time

Posted on 12 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Harbaugh & Rex
Monday’s night’s game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens features two playoff teams from last year, and two similar teams who have identical philosophies on offense, defense, and special teams.

Both the Ravens and the Jets are teams that are going to control the clock and pound you on defense and in the run game, even with some of the big name free agent acquisitions Baltimore and New York made in the off-season in their receiving corps.

And both teams have also partaken in the war of words this week, as the Darrelle Revis signing earlier in the week prompted Ravens FB Le’Ron McClain to say that they were glad to see him back so that “so that there wont be any excuses”, which then prompted Jets coach Rex Ryan to respond on his own, saying:

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Le’Ron,” Ryan said. “He said something about  there’s no excuses…He must have us confused with someone else.”

“We don’t make excuses. All we do is produce…and that’s what we plan on doing Monday night.”

And then there was the war of words between Ray Lewis and Rex Ryan on Thursday and Friday.

“We’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints,” Ray Lewis said on Thursday to both the New York and Baltimore media. “Those are the only people who can be dethroned: Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets.”

Lewis made sure to heed a warning to Ryan.

“The only danger is writing a check you can’t cash,” Lewis said. “That’s pressure on his players. Rex can talk all he wants to, but Rex ain’t putting on the pads.”

Rex responded as best he could.

“It sounds like we got under Ray’s nerves a bit,” Ryan responded.

But the game isn’t being played in the game of words. It’s going to be played in a smash-mouth style of play when the teams hit the gridiron on Monday.

Let’s take a look at the match ups when the Ravens and Jets offenses take the field against the opposing defenses.

1. Ravens Passing Offense vs. Jets Passing Defense. EDGE: Ravens.

Michael Oher

Normally, I would give the edge to the Jets in this department, but over the last week the Ravens added T.J. Houshmandzadeh and I think that gives them a slight edge in that department with Houshmandzadeh lining up against rookie corner Kyle Wilson.  The Jets re-signed  Revis earlier this week to a 4 year deal worth 48 million dollars, but he is not in 100% football shape whatsoever. He should still be good enough to shut down Anquan Boldin, but a quick Mason should be able to break away from Antonio Cromartie’s poor tackling prowess.

The Jets’ best pass rusher is out in Calvin Pace (broken foot), which certainly helps the Ravens’ loss of RT Jared Gaither and the injury concerns of backup Oniel Cousins. Marshal Yanda could be heading out to play tackle, and Chris Chester could be filling in for Yanda at guard. There could be some concerns on the right side, but I think overall Joe Flacco should be able to stay upright for the majority of the game.

Ravens Run Offense vs. Jets Rush Defense: Jets

McClain getting stuffed

I don’t think either team is going to be very effective at running the football against these run defenses. Much like with the Ravens, former Maryland Terp Kris Jenkins (6-4, 360) is going to command a lot of attention in the middle. When healthy, Jenkins is one of the top nose tackles in the business.The same goes for defensive end Shaun Ellis, who is a quality run stuffer as well as a decent pass rusher for the Jets.

And on top of Jenkins are inside linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris. Scott is widely known as one of the best inside backers in football, and Harris is probably one of the more underrated guys in the business.  Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain may be fresh having seen little action in the preseason, but the Jets bring just as good a run defense as the Ravens had in years past (96.5 RPG)

Jets Passing Game vs. Ravens Pass Defense: Even
Mark Sanchez

Skill position wise, I think the Jets wide receivers are a lot better than the defensive backs the Ravens have. Braylon Edwards, while he drops a ton of balls, is a home-run threat and has had some success against the Ravens in the past as a member of the Cleveland Browns. No Santonio Holmes for the Jets as he is serving his four-game suspension for substance-abuse, so the Ravens don’t have to worry about his services.  And in reality, the two best receivers right now for the Jets may be the biggest receivers they have on the team in Jerricho Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller.

Dustin Keller

Ravens corner backs Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb will be coming off season-ending knee surgeries, and new corner Josh Wilson, on top of only measuring 5-8, is still getting acclimated to the defensive playbook. Dawan Landry is a thumper, but can get caught out of position at times. It will be interesting to see how Tom Zbikowski performs in a starting role in place of Ed Reed, who is listed on the PUP list. Zbikowski played well in Reed’s absence last season.

It all hangs on how well Jets QB Mark Sanchez plays in Monday’s opener. The talent is there for the Jets; Sanchez just has to get the ball to them instead of the Ravens defenders if you’re the Jets coaching staff. If the Jets are forced to abandon the run and Sanchez is forced to throw the ball more than 20x, the Ravens should win this game based on the probability that the Jets 2nd year QB will make mistakes.

Here are some of Sanchez’s notable bad performances last year-as a rookie-where he was forced to throw the ball close to 30 times a game.

New Orleans(10/4, L 24-10): 14-27, 3 INTs

Buffalo (10/29, L 16-13, 10-29, 5 INTs)

Jacksonville (11/15) Jets L 24-22, 16-30, 2 INTs

New England (11/22) Jets L 31-14, 8-21, 4 INTs

Atlanta (12/20) Jets L 10-7, 18-32, 3 INTs

In other words, if the Ravens put the ball in Sanchez’s hands, he should play right into the Ravens’ game plan.

Jets Run Offense vs. Ravens Rush Defense: Edge: Ravens

Ravens Stopping the Run

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. No one runs on the Ravens, except some guy named Cedric Benson. A lot of people think Shonn Greene is the real deal, and he will be the featured back in Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer‘s offense.

But like their QB in Sanchez, Greene also has not faced a dominant rush defense in his short NFL career as the Ravens since he has seen the bulk of the carries in New York. He has only played 17 games including the playoffs last year, and only got double-digits in carries in seven of those contests.

The Jets have two of the best offensive lineman at their respective positions in D’Brickashaw Ferguson at the left tackle spot and Nick Mangold at center. Alan Faneca is gone at the left guard spot from last year, and in his place they have youth and inexperience in the position. The favorite to start on Monday is rookie Vladimir Ducasse out of Massachusetts, and he could be the spot Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison want to exploit. Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, and Cory Redding should have enough weight under them to hold off the Jets offensive lineman, and the Raven linebackers will stuff Greene before he can get down the field.

The Jets had also cut longtime fullback Tony Richardson over the weekend, but brought him back several days later. He has been a bone-crushing fullback his entire career, and one of the Ravens linebackers are going to have to bust him in the backfield before he can get some speed under him to drill some holes in the Raven defense.

Special teams: Edge: Ravens

Despite the Ravens in a frenzy to find healthy kick and punt returners, I still like the Ravens specialists over the Jets. Chris Carr, David ReedTom Zbikowski, and Josh Wilson could all be candidates to return kicks. Carr may not have blazing speed, but he wont take any risks when it comes to catching and running with the football on a punt.

Jim Leonhard

For the Jets, safety Jim Leonhard is remembered by Baltimore fans for his ability to get some yards on punt returns (31 returns, 326 career return yards, 10.5 avg). For the Ravens, Billy Cundiff won the kicking job out of camp over veteran Shayne Graham based on his ability to kick the ball deep on touch backs in the preseason.  Ravens punter Sam Koch is only a hair away from being known as a Pro-Bowl caliber punter (73 punts, 43.7 avg, 26 punts inside 20).

Jets kicker Nick Folk, a former Pro-Bowl kicker in 2007, was cut by the Cowboys last season after struggling hitting the uprights (18 out of 28). And in a windy Meadowlands, a kicker who can’t find the uprights in a dome I think would have issues kicking in 30 MPH winds.

My prediction for the game: Ravens 21, Jets 17.

Which probably won’t make this guy happy.

Fireman Ed

Stay tuned to WNST and WNST.net for more Ravens News! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 16 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because apparently I slept straight through an earthquake this morning. That’s about right though. World War III could be happening outside my window, and if it happens before 5:20, I’m not going to be affected.

Oh and also, I skipped the ESPY Awards Wednesday night (I’m assuming I’m not the only one); but when I went back and watched some clips on YouTube Thursday; I thought the Peyton Manning/Blind Side thing was kinda funny…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNMS_22cyM[/youtube]

Like I said, KINDA funny. Not quite as funny as Seth Meyers’ quip:

“This is where sports and entertainment come together, It’s like a Kardashian sister’s bedroom.”

That IS funny.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles took ‘giant step backward’ in 1st half according to Andy MacPhail

Andy better be careful…Greg Bader might take away his press pass with that type of negativity!

The funny thing is…I’m not sure how much I agree with Andy.

In order to take a “giant step backward”, you have to be moving somewhat significantly in the RIGHT direction. While the O’s had done some good things; they put together a 25 man roster that was ABSOLUTELY destined to make them the worst team in the AL East.

The good news is that they didn’t spend too much money to do so-so despite the fact that the organization is an absolute embarrassment in Charm City; it’s at least a cheap embarrassment.

Yep, that’s the best thing I can say. Oh-and they are on a 4 game win streak thanks to their stop down at The Ballpark in Arlington before the All-Star Game.

Now that’s the best thing I can say.

2. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Wieters to DL (hamstring) retroactive to July 10

And the word is that the Birds are going to call up Josh Bell to take his roster spot…which means that if Juan Samuel needs to give Craig Tatum some rest or needs to take him out of a game; Jake Fox and his 21 career games played behind the plate will be the only option.

You know what-this is another one of those situations where you don’t REALLY want to think about this. Instead, let’s think about American Idol’s Katharine McPhee (Thanks Don Chavez via Busted Coverage!)…

mcphee

3. STATS’ Alan Ferguson previews Birds’ 2nd half opener tonight vs. Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Thanks to the Jays for trading away Alex Gonzalez before the series started, too! Of course, the Texas Rangers traded FOR Cliff Lee last week and we thought that would be trouble-but everything worked out there. Maybe I should be concerned that this will have a reverse impact…

First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Ricky Romero at OPACY is at 7:05 tonight, and the game can be seen on MASN. Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz follow Bergesen this weekend against Brandon Morrow and Shaun Marcum respectively; both of the other games this weekend can also be seen on WJZ 13.

I’ll say the Orioles will win 1 of 3. But what the hell do I know?

4. The Sun’s Dean Jones says Tim Bascom struggled for Norfolk Tides, Brandon Waring homered for Bowie Baysox on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-Did you miss Mike Gonzalez with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out!

We also talked to Frederick Keys Hitting Coach and Former Minnesota Twins INF Denny Hocking; as well as NBCSports.com HardballTalk writer Craig Calcaterra and we got a live update from the British Open, as SI/Golf.com’s Damon Hack checked in live from St. Andrews in Scotland. They’re all in the Audio Vault as well.

-If anything happens this weekend regarding Buck Showalter; you’ll want to make sure you’re signed up for the WNST Text Service. If I’m guessing there…I’ll say “meh, probably not” again. I really think nothing is happening until the Ravens report to McDaniel College.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens QB Marc Bulger fine with backing up Joe Flacco

Look, I haven’t exactly been THRILLED about the acquisition of Marc Bulger; but I’ve been totally willing to admit that he’s a very solid backup QB. As long as he doesn’t have to play against good teams, I have a good feeling about what Marc Bulger is capable of doing.

Of course, I said ALL of that before I realized that Marc Bulger grew up in the hellhole that is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and grew up rooting for the effing Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ugh.

It was bad enough that the dude went to West freaking Virginia; but now you’re adding on that he rooted for the Pittsburgh freaking Steelers?!?!?

Why doesn’t he just go play a charity basketball game at North Harford High School?!

He says those loyalties are gone, but I’ve seen those miscreants up there in the Steel City. Those urine-looking colors are in their blood. It’s like a bad disease.

I’ll be watching this Bulger character…

6. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Terrell Suggs picked Ravens to win AFC North on ESPN

In all fairness, that’s really the ONLY choice “T-Sizzle” could make. But he’s not the only one that has picked the Ravens to win the division this year.

I haven’t decided who I’m going to pick to win the division yet myself. As I’ve said before, I truly believe the Cincinnati Bengals are the “team to beat” in the division; but that doesn’t mean the Ravens can’t beat them. In fact, they may very well do that.

But it won’t be easy. Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Bryant and Jermaine Gresham give the Bengals a formiddable offensive attack; and their defense was particularly sound a season ago; thanks to large part to Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph in the back.

If the Ravens want to win the Super Bowl, I firmly believe they need to win the division first. To do that, they can’t get swept by the Bengals or the Steelers as they have been last year and the year before, respectively.

7. Delmarva Daily Times’ Celeste E. Whittaker says Joe Flacco appeared at Harrison, New Jersey football camp Thursday

And when local athletes do good things, we like to give them credit for that.

In fact, it reminds me of some of my favorite moments from attending sports camps growing up. Like the time I was at baseball camp and Hillary Fisher showed up (Thanks Gorilla Mask!)…

gorillamask

8. ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Ben Grubbs could be first time Pro Bowler in 2010

I couldn’t agree more. As we often see, players are regularly honored with a Pro Bowl selection a year AFTER they were deserving of getting their first nod-as they sort of need some “word of mouth” help to get there. It wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL if Grubbs-or Jarret Johnson for that matter found their way to Hawaii this year, similar to how it took until last year for Haloti Ngata to get the honor.

I’d throw Michael Oher in that mix as well. If everything goes well, the team has a real chance to be littered with Pro Bowlers. Of course, it would be really nice if none of them actually played in the Pro Bowl as they were getting ready for a bigger game in Dallas the following week.

9. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Maryland AD Search Committee has begun meeting

We discussed this process with IHoops CEO Len Elmore (who is part of the committee) Monday morning on WNST; as the committe can only do so much considering a replacement for President C.D. Mote has yet to be selected in College Park; and the new president will clearly play a major role in the selection of Debbie Yow’s successor.

If the name “Tina Wallman” is the one they come up with through the Search Committee, I’ll think it had been a successful one (Thanks Guyism!)…

wallmann

10. The Oregonian’s John Canzano says would-be Terrapins AD candidate Rob Mullens hired by Oregon

This is a shame, as Mullens’ background at Kentucky and also under Debbie Yow with the Terps would have made him a perfect candidate for the AD job.

There are still PLENTY of good candidates for the gig (including UConn’s Jeff Hathaway and Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione), but Mullens might have been available at a bit of a less costly price; which could be helpful in the search.

And finally, I leave you with this.

I’m not usually very serious; but this is ABSOLUTELY series. Please tune in this weekend (12pm Saturday-12pm Sunday) for Rex Snider’s “Curing Cancer One Call At A Time” marathon. Guests will include the likes of Curt Schilling, Kurt Warner and more. All proceeds go to the Cancer Center at Harbor Hospital here in Baltimore.

It’s a worthwhile cause. So worthwhile that I ate 12 hot dogs to be a part of it.

Certainly much more worthwhile than how I’m going to spend the majority of my weekend…

summerale


Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won’t Get It ….

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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won’t Get It ….

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Rex Snider

While I’m not a passionate fan of Michael Vick’s play on the football field, I have been quietly rooting for him since last season’s return.

To be honest, my hope in seeing him overcome his past has no real tie to football or athletic achievements, at all. I’ve really hoped he would leave his sordid transgressions and the associated lifestyle in the rear view mirror, while proving to himself and others that he is indeed a “CHANGED MAN.”

Better yet, I thought Michael Vick could motivate a growing generation of adolescents who’ve made poor personal choices in their young lives. Maybe, just maybe, his story and ultimate rise from self-destruction would help others in an inspirational way.

There is just one “catch” ….. this anticipated story of a compassionate comeback needs to stay on track.

As recently as a couple weeks ago, things were looking very opimistic.

Today, I’m not so sure.

As the world now knows, Michael Vick celebrated his 30th birthday with a BIG BASH at a Virginia Beach nightclub, on Thursday night. It was promoted and advertised to the general public, via Facebook, Twitter and informal means.
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While some people might think that hosting parties and momentous celebrations are an expressed inclusion of our freedoms, many of us also realize that such events are an invitation to more than just dancing, drinking and eating birthday cake.

And, discerning between these two considerations is probably where Michael Vick screwed up.

I don’t care that he’s a convicted felon and federal parolee; I don’t simply assume he’s done something illegal. He’s paid his debt to society – he has every right to attend charity functions at Martins West, movie premieres in Hollywood and parties thrown in his honor.

However, a clearly distinct line distinguishes the difference between the “RIGHT” to do something, and whether it’s “RIGHT” to do something. I’m certain celebrities employ such decision making methods when considering their presence and involvement at events – both public and private in nature.

It doesn’t matter if they organize or host the event, if a BIG NAME is in attendance and something goes wrong, they’ll be forever tied to it. Just ask TMZ’s Harvey Levin …..

When is the last time this guy did something DUMB or ill-advised in a social setting?
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Good luck finding such an incident. You’ll likely search for days and still never find any smoking guns. And, there is a very plausible reason behind striking out on any quest in finding dirt on Peyton Manning – HE KNOWS BETTER.

Peyton Manning is aware of his image, reputation and obligation to an array of different people. The list includes …..
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His Team
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His Wife
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His Business Partners
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His Family’s Name
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I’m sure you see my point – even if you disagree. But, the names go beyond Peyton Manning. I’m confident this list of guys will not be arrested, accused of criminal conduct or attending a party where another attendee is SHOT, in 2010 ….. Drew Brees, Derek Jeter, Steve Nash, Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Albert Pujols, Hines Ward, Tim Duncan, Jeff Gordon, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco …..

How about this ….. I can think of a list of guys who have endured legal troubles, while making some very poor choices in their respectives pasts. But, they’ve given us every reason to believe we won’t be seeing their name associated with crime and punishment, by year’s end. For me, the list starts with Ray Lewis.

It’s been a decade since Ray ran afoul of the legal system or found himself in a public meltdown of poor judgement. He’s way beyond such indiscretions – he values his reputation and image. He has plenty of company among those who’ve had troubles and overcame them, like ….. Kobe Bryant, Ricky Williams, Josh Hamilton, Kurt Busch, Bernard Hopkins, Brett Favre and Jamal Lewis.

Of course, the final group is those who’ve committed multiple transgressions. Arrested? Yes. Stupid decisions? Yes. Numerous occurences of one or both? Yes. These are the guys you’re most likely going to be hearing about during a BREAKING NEWS segment, early in the morning. This is where you’ll find Brandon Marshall, Elijah Dukes, Sidney Ponson, Marshawn Lynch, Mike Tyson, John Daly, Jeremy Mayfield, Cedric Benson, Allen Iverson, Matt Jones, Delonte West and Michael Vick.

Hey, it’s accurate.

Michael Vick may very well have intended to celebrate an innocent occasion, last Thursday. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on it. He doesn’t want to screw up – he doesn’t want to be out of a job – he doesn’t want to go back to prison. I honestly believe these things.

However, I also believe Michael Vick lacks the sensibility to dissect a proposed action or decision, while considering the ramifications of the FALLOUT if something goes wrong. That’s exactly what he should’ve done when the idea of his birthday party being held at a nightclub, and open to the general public was tabled.
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Why?

Well, there are a few reasons. Foremost, there is very little positive exposure to be gained in a nightclub environment. While nightclubs attract girls dressed in their sexiest wares, they also serve as a hotspot for people with checkered characters. Say what you will – Mike should be whoring himself to more “feel good” opportunities than President Obama, Tom Cruise and the CEO of BP, combined.

Another consideration is Michael Vick should not host, endorse or attach his likeness to ANY EVENT, unless he has direct control over it. I don’t care if a promoter really handled the party, its got the name MICHAEL VICK forever stamped to it. In the future (or in hindsight), he should celebrate his birthday with a party at home or in an establishment that can offer a respected reputation and a high degree of decorum.

If he wants to get CRAZEE and dance with some hotties, while fondling an expensive champagne bottle, he should have the party at home – and make all guests leave their cellphones at the door. Be assured, that’s what happens at Diddy’s house. And, he has much less to worry about than Mike does.

You don’t think Alex Rodriguez enjoyed the arrival of his 30th birthday? How about Ladanian Tomlinson? Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Shaq? They just make good decisions when it comes to enjoying themslves.

As we sit here today, Michael Vick has problems. He might not face any legal sanctions with his Probation Officer. But, I think that everything else is in limbo. I’d bet my HOUSE that a certain group of individuals are angry as HELL. They’ve attached themselves to Michael Vick and he has let them down. Of course, the most important one is obvious …..
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However, you can also include Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Tony Dungy and Arthur Blank. Each of them went to bat for him, helped him or had a HUGE part in giving him this most recent chance to make a living as a member of the National Football League.

What could they do differently, specifically ask “Michael, will you be celebrating your 30th birthday in a nightclub” ??? They should’ve expected that he would exercise better judgement. No doubt, they rightfully expected it from him.

With each passing hour, more and more details regarding the NIGHTLIFE of Michael Vick are surfacing. Welcome to the age of Twitter, Facebook and online tabloids. We now know Vick hosted parties in May, as well as April.

I wonder if dog fighting co-defendant, Quanis Phillips, attended those events. Probably not. Why did he attend this one? Well, it was held near his home. But, most importantly, he attended last Thursday’s party, because he could.

NOBODY and/or NO PLAN was in place to stop such a situation. And, if they did plan for it, they failed …. which is even worse, if you really think about it.

Thursday’s incident is a loud, distinct message to one of Michael Vick’s former endorsers, as if they have really considered resurrecting his marketability …..
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You can bet the folks in Beaverton, Oregon, are thinking one thing …. “MIKE AIN”T WORTH THE RISK.” And, if Nike is scared off, so is McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Visa and Under Armor. Like humans, corporations are known to forgive and reconcile, but they arguably take far less chances than people do.

Over the last few days, we’ve heard the typical “we will wait until all the facts are known before addressing the situation” line. It’s the SAFE thing to say …. and it may very well apply to the United States Justice Department’s role in the life of Michael Vick.

But, rest assured, NFL spokeman, Greg Aiello, was better off giving the politically correct statement, rather than saying “Roger is done with this experiment.”

As for the Eagles, did you expect them to say “Mr. Lurie is knee deep in trying to void Michael Vick’s contract.” Oh and “Jeff Garcia is visiting team headquarters, later this week.”

Perhaps, both Mr. Goodell and Mr. Lurie haven’t exercised such drastic measures. But, you can bet they’re not sitting on their hands while waiting for an outcome, either. Not a chance …..

They know what they need to know.

Michael Vick may never, EVER be involved in another incident of violence. He may never pose for another mugshot in his life.

But, he cannot be trusted to really think about a potential outcome to the hair-brained ideas of family, friends and cohorts. No doubt, he’s as spontaneously reactive to his cultural ideals as Paris Hilton is to shopping for shoes.

He’s evidently incapable of change. He is who he is …..

He just can’t be trusted to do the RIGHT thing.

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Brady’s Comeback Award is a Joke

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Brady’s Comeback Award is a Joke

Posted on 07 January 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

The Patriots picked up one win this week that they didn’t deserve; let’s hope that’s where it ends.

Okay, it probably doesn’t deserve the same level of outrage that Michael Vick being nominated for an Ed Block Courage award does, nor will it receive it. Nonetheless, when the Associated Press named Tom Brady their Comeback Player of the Year on Wednesday, they seriously missed the boat.

 

If you wonder why Ravens’ fans seem more concerned with whether or not the league, and particularly the officials, will simply grant them a fair shake when they travel to Foxboro to see the Patriots this weekend than they are about defensive backs, or line pressure, or schemes or coaching or anything else; here’s part of the reason.

 

There’s little doubt that the Patriots have built an empire over the last decade or so, and in so doing, may deserve a bit of respect, if not outright favoritism. And interestingly enough, the relative anonymity provided to most in the Patriots’ workmanlike system, probably leads to an inordinate amount of praise, and at times criticism of the team’s only unquestioned superstar, Tom Brady.

 

Many have speculated, and with good cause, that a special set of rules may exist for Tom Brady and a handful of other NFL superstars, who have in some way, shape or form become bigger than their teams. Given the Ravens own experiences with Brady and the Patriots both earlier this season, and in an otherwise meaningless 2007 game in which the Patriots were making a run at perfection, they may be right about that.

 

The Ravens have had no issues at all picking up penalties on their own, there’s no doubt about that. Maybe that’s what has fans so concerned. The team has enough trouble following the conventional, written rules of football, throw in a few unwritten “Brady Rules”, and it would seem that the Ravens fate would be all but sealed.

 

One thing’s for sure, if we could get Roger Godell, the smart businessman that he is, to be 100% truthful, then ideally, we’d be looking at a Colts and Patriots showdown to decide the AFC. The league would definitely stand to make a lot more money; the longer Tom Brady and the Pats remain in the playoffs.

 

Let’s face it, the casual NFL fan knows about their own team, and maybe their fantasy players, but beyond that, their NFL vocabulary doesn’t extend far beyond Manning and Brady, nor may their interest.

 

What’s really sad though, is that we expect more from our sportswriters. We expect that because someone receives a credential to write for the NFL, or ESPN, or even WNST for that matter, they’ll know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, it’s evident that there are few writers in America who actually sit down and watch all or even most of the games. They watch the local teams, and whoever’s on primetime, and seem to trust the rest of the media to assess the rest of the field. If nothing else, Brady’s win shows that few are even very good at that.

 

Tom Brady has rebounded nicely from the knee surgery that kept him out for all of last year, but that’s it. This is the NFL, people blow out ACL’s, MCL’s, even PCL’s and LCL’s, and bounce back from it all the time, and most of them play much more grueling positions than quarterback.

 

Brady came back to arguably, a comparable offense to the one that he threw for 4800+ yards and a record 50 TDs in 2007. The Patriots, as a whole are vastly different from the 2007 bunch, but offensively, they haven’t really lost much, personnel wise. He came back to throw for almost 4400 yards, but 22 less touchdowns. That’s a nice first step, but hardly a comeback. I doubt that even Brady himself would declare him back just yet.

 

Brady managed to win 10 games this season, and a division title, with a team that missed the playoffs with a mere 11 wins in his absence, behind a quarterback who hadn’t played since high school. For his part, Cassel managed about 700 less yards last season than Brady had this season, while learning his trade on the job, and threw just 21 TDs to Brady’s 28, and 11 INTs to Brady’s 13. For good measure, by most accounts, outside the relative safety of the New England offense, Cassel has been terrible so far in Kansas City. Did the AP writers miss all of that? Did they forget that the Patriots have some pretty good players on offense?

 

Meanwhile, Cedric Benson, out of football a year ago, managed 1200+ yards in just 12 ½ games for a perennially bad Bengals team that has struggled to run the ball since the early days of Rudi Johnson, and delivered them to the playoffs. Maybe Benson’s injury and tough finish hurt him, or his low touchdown total (6), but mostly I think Benson was hindered by the fact that his name wasn’t Tom Brady.

 

Vince Young bounced back from a season watching his team seemingly move on without him after reports of his asking out of a week 1 game, and rumors about him being suicidal. He held on to rescue an 0-6 team, and not only restore them to respectability, but with some help from a mediocre AFC, almost got them into the playoffs. Young also provided us with the most memorable drive of the season, going 99 yards to steal a win in the waning seconds from a game Cardinals team, and he did it all on the strength of his arm, not a single handoff, and only one 6-yard scramble on the drive. He finished with a less than 200 yard passing, and a pedestrian 10 TDs and 7 INTs, so don’t expect the AP writers to notice, but there’s no doubt, Vince Young is back, for now at least.

 

And no fantasy owner could forget the season the Cadillac Williams managed to put together. Largely written off, even in the running back happy fantasy community, Williams shook off 2 injury plagued campaigns to put up just over 800 yards on the ground for a bad Bucs offense that had seemingly turned over the keys to Derrick Ward at running back. His 4 TDs didn’t register him on the radar of the AP apparently, but Cadillac is back, and staking his claim to the Bucs competitive backfield for the foreseeable future. 

 

And of course there’s Brett Favre, the professional come backer. This has arguably been his best comeback so far, although I’m not exactly what he keeps coming back from, other than skipping off season workouts and some of training camp. Actually, Favre might have been the only winner I would have had a tougher time buying than Brady. Still, he managed to get 4 votes. I might have even bought Vick for this one over Brady or Favre.

 

Like it or not, Brady, and the Pats seem to get an unfair share of the limelight, and maybe the favor. The favor of the AP writers, at the end of the day, is more or less insignificant. If it speaks to a larger issue or phenomenon though, the Ravens could have their hands full this weekend. The award is a joke; the result proved that, the “Brady Rules”, we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

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Todd Bozeman 2009 Local Sports Person of the Year

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Todd Bozeman 2009 Local Sports Person of the Year

Posted on 18 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

As you know, I have made it VERY clear that Tim Tebow should have won SI’s annual Sportsman of the Year award over Derek Jeter. I’ve even added that I didn’t think Derek Jeter would have even been in my Top 5 choices for the award-as Roger Federer, Tyler Hansbrough, Calvin Borel and Kobe Bryant would have all been better choices-at least in my own opinion.

The good news is that in selecting my own personal LOCAL 2009 Sports Person of the Year-I don’t have to let anyone else even offer an opinion. (Although I will note that Comcast Morning Show host Drew Forrester has chimed in to let everyone know that he agrees with my choice.)

I started this process by putting together a list of 5 nominees for this honor. Putting together the list actually wasn’t all that difficult….

Ray Rice

rice

Nick Markakis

markakis

Todd Bozeman

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Calvin Borel

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Michael Oher

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It’s a pretty impressive list.

Ray Rice will be the Ravens’ MVP this season-and the entire city of Baltimore has ABSOLUTELY fallen in love with him. Don’t believe me? Ask your local sports department store if they’re sold out of Ray Rice jerseys right now. He might not make the Pro Bowl in a conference with Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Cedric Benson-but he deserves to be there. On top of that, he’s been very involved in the community-hosting a number of charity events around town.

Nick Markakis was productive again at the plate for the Orioles-hitting nearly .300 and driving in 100 runs. He was also stellar in the field once more, tallying 13 assists in what many thought should have been a Gold Glove campaign. More importantly, he uprooted his family to move to the area, commiting himself to being a part of this community after receiving a contract extension from the O’s. He started the “Right Side Foundation” and has done a number of events with kids around town.

Calvin Borel galvanized the entire sport of horse racing by turning a 50-1 “no shot” in Mine That Bird into a Kentucky Derby champion. Just 14 days later, he came to Charm City aboard filly Rachel Alexandra and set himself up for a shot at a personal Triple Crown-which he probably would have gotten had Jess Jackson ran Rachel Alexandra in the Belmont.

Michael Oher was so unfamiliar to Ravens fans before the NFL Draft that there is no doubt the first reaction most everyone had to his selection was “Who is this O-her guy?” 8 months later, EVERYONE knows about Michael Oher. The movie “The Blind Side” was so popular it actually beat out “New Moon” for #1 at the box office in the 3rd week both were out. On top of all that, Oher has been TREMENDOUS for the Ravens-moving from right tackle to left tackle and performing at a level that might well earn him a trip to Miami.

But there’s really no doubt about which of these guys deserves to be the 2009 Local Sports Person of the Year.

It’s Bozeman in a landslide.

In calendar year 2009, the Morgan State Bears basketball team did the following:
-Traveled to College Park and beat Maryland
-Traveled to Fayetteville and beat Arkansas (just two days after putting a massive scare into Louisville at Freedom Hall)
-Claimed a 2nd straight MEAC regular season title
-Won the MEAC Tournament
-Advanced to their first ever NCAA Tournament in school history.
-Bozeman named Mid-Major and MEAC Coach of the Year

He’s revitalized not just the hoops program on Hillen Road, but the entire athletic department. And in doing so, he’s answered every doubter who said “Why would Morgan State get involved with a scumbag like Todd Bozeman?”

2009 was the year where Todd Bozeman’s story of redemption came full circle. It was one thing for him to get back into coaching, but it was quite another for him to make a statement as emphatic as he did over the last 12 months. So emphatic in fact that discussion of Bozeman no longer centers around his transgressions at Cal, but instead what he may do in the future at Morgan State or elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Bozeman’s story of redemption has been buried nationally amongst stories about Kobe Bryant returning to the top of his sport following rape charges and Michael Vick getting back to the NFL after his stint in jail. Locally, while Bozeman’s story has been covered, I’m not sure we’ve really given the story the recognition it deserves considering Morgan State tends to fall behind Maryland, Towson, UMBC, Loyola, etc. etc. in the pecking order of even local college sports.

But Todd Bozeman’s rise-and the rise of Morgan hoops as well-has been historic. In 2005-06 (the final year of Butch Beard’s tenure), the Bears won 5 games. Last season, they won 23. They’ve gon from being a college basketball also-ran within their own conference to a team that schools are afraid to schedule, and were so respected they managed to avoid a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament despite being in a conference that is annually RPI ranked in the bottom 3. They remain a regular part of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 voting process-either ranked in the poll or receiving votes.

Bozeman’s community activity includes running basketball camps through Morgan State throughout the summer. His BIGGEST contribution off the court remains his involvement with the Bea Gaddy Family Center, an involvement that includes taking his team to the Center to serve food on Thanksgiving to help brighten the spirits of those who come.

It’s been a tremendous year for Todd Bozeman here in Baltimore, one deserving of even more recognition that I can give him-but this is my part. As far as Sports People of the Year in 2009 are concerned here in Baltimore, Bozeman was tops.

-G

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (12/1/09)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (12/1/09)

Posted on 01 December 2009 by Jack McManus

BREAKING NEWS: Ralph Friedgen will RETURN next season.

9:36-

Charles Davis from Fox is up to chat with Drew. He begins by talking about the upsets in rivalry games this weekend. When it comes to instate rivalries, records often do not matter. No matter how much coaching is done, young players will look forward to the more meaningful games the week after. He next discusses the upcoming search for a coach at Notre Dame, now that Charlie Weis has officially been fired.
9:31-

There has been a lot of discussion this morning about Mike Preston’s comment about Paul Kruger. Drew and Glenn discuss the role of race in the rooting interest for local fans. It is brought up that although Kelly Gregg is not a Pro Bowl player, you see many Gregg jerseys at M&T Bank Stadium each game.

gregg

9:03-

Lomas Brown joins drew to talk some football. He starts off by talking about his Lions. He explains that Detroit recognizes the team’s improvement despite only having 2 wins. He states that the team still must learn to finish games more consistently. The city is united in support of Maryland-native Jim Schwartz as head coach. On the topic of the Monday Night Football game, Brown expresses how impressed he is with the Saints. He states that right now the Saints do not look like they will lose this season. Moving on the Ravens, Brown talks about the lack of fear the Ravens defense strikes into opponents this season. This has been a trend throughout the league. Parity has caused every team to compete week in and week out.

8:54-

A caller brings up the Saints’ high-powered offense. Drew talks about the other strong offenses around the league. He points out that the Bengals have lost to the Raiders and scored only one offensive touchdown against the Browns since the loss of Cedric Benson.

8:35-

Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times is on to talk about the Terps. He first discusses the future of head football coach Ralph Friedgen. He states that the longer the situation drags on the more Maryland’s recruiting will be impacted. Stevens also explains that even if Friedgen is fired, it will be difficult for Maryland to make a big-time coaching hire. The school is in the middle tier of the ACC at best.
friedgen

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