Tag Archive | "Cedric Benson"

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No longer the Bungles, Cincinnati leaves the Ravens exposed

Posted on 10 November 2009 by Chad Lamasa

 

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write a blog about the Ravens this week. It’s been really difficult because there was just so much wrong with them this weekend against the Bengals.
 
I’ll start here. I think the game meant a lot more to the Bengals than it did to the Ravens. This shouldn’t have been the case. A win would have put the Ravens right back in the mix of things. Now we are only 1-2 in the division. Luckily we have one more game against the Browns next weekend, but unless something changes soon, I could see us being 2-4 in the division after playing the Steelers twice.
 
Carson Palmer stated after the game, “We are disappointed we only won by 10 points.” This is a telling statement. The Bengals have all the confidence in the world right now and are playing extremely well.
 
It’s strange to see them sitting atop the division, but not shocking. I have felt most of their problems the last couple of years have been due more to injuries than to a lack of talent. Palmer is a top five or six QB in the league, Chad (I refuse to call him Ocho Cinco) is an elite receiver, and Cedric Benson seems to have had a resurgence in his career.
 
Their defense, a bunch of cast-offs no one wanted anymore, is playing like the Ravens of the 13-3 season a couple of years ago. They are are physical and stacked in every aspect.
 
Ed Reed, used to be one of the best tacklers in the game. I understand he’s hurt but I’ve noticed that instead of making the tackle, he’s trying to knock the ball loose on every play. I can vividly picture two or three plays where if he had just made the tackle we could have stopped a drive.
 
Steve Hauschka. What to say about this kid? I think people should ease up on him. I agree he should have made the 38 yarder. I’m not sure it would have mattered if he did though. I just didn’t feel like the momentum would have shifted if he did. It would have added three points to the final score. They way we were playing- I don’t think we would have scored again, but you never know.
 
He’s basically a rookie, and even Stover was a rookie once. Guys have to start somewhere. However, I do agree with what Drew said yesterday, and really all season long, don’t trust your kicking game to a rookie. If you let Stover go, then go find another free agent and double his salary. Kicking is too important a part of the game to trust to a rookie.
 
I’m not sure what has happened to the offense, but it seems to have gotten to be very vanilla lately. In the beginning of the season we were using McGahee, McClain and Rice, now it’s down to Rice with an occasional sighting of the other two. They need to get back to using them and mixing things up again.
 
Is Troy Smith even still on the team? I don’t think we should use the Wildcat too much but every so often to change things up might be helpful. We just need to get back to what made us successful last season and earlier this year.
 
Another thing that needs to be addressed is the amount of penalties we are taking. I believe I heard during the game that the Ravens are the most penalized team in the league. That is absolutely ridiculous! That needs to be stopped and soon.
 
Lardarius Webb was the one bright spot in the game to me. This kid is just blossoming in front of our eyes and if he continues to do so, he will probably earn the starting job by next season. The hit he had on Benson was beautiful.
 
Listening to Harbaugh’s press conference yesterday, I was impressed that he seemed to be more open and actually answered questions. I really liked that he took so much of the blame for the team not being prepared.
 
I know he is disappointed with the way the season has unfolded thus far (as are the fans) and I hope this gets straightened out sooner rather than later.

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Bengals 17 Ravens 7 (The WHICH TEAM IS THE BUNGLES, AGAIN? Game)

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Bengals 17 Ravens 7 (The WHICH TEAM IS THE BUNGLES, AGAIN? Game)

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Derek Arnold

After a week in which they reassured us that the sky was, in fact, not falling, the Ravens pulled a complete 180 with their worst performance of the season in Cincinnati yesterday. It was the first of the Ravens’ 4 losses where they were absolutely, unquestionably, without a doubt, outplayed and outcoached for 60 minutes. The first of the four where you can’t look back, point to any one or two particular plays, and say, “yup, that was the one that lost it.” It was a flat-out, thorough butt-whipping at the hands of the “Don’t call us the Bungles.”

RiceTigers

To any Ravens fan watching, flashbacks to Minnesota in Week 5 were unavoidable, as the purple team came out as flat as could possibly be, on both sides of the ball, en route to digging themselves a quick 14-0 hole. There would be no late-game near-miracle comeback at Paul Brown Stadium though, even if there would be an all too familiar Steve Hauschka “wide left,” thrown in as a little salt on the wound. Even though the defense did buckle down after the Bengals’ first two drives (both touchdowns), allowing just a field goal for the final 47:26, you still came away from this one feeling like it was a steamrolling.

Where to begin?

On offense, Bengals’ defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer now has Cam Cameron’s number in 2009 the way that Dick Lebeau of the Steelers did in 2008 (yet to be seen if it carries over to this year). In six games against the rest of the league this year, the Ravens offense is averaging 30.8 points and 399 yards off offense per game. In two contests against Cincy, those numbers drop to 10.5 and 236. Against the “not Bengals,” Joe Flacco has thrown 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and compiled a passer rating of 100. But when the striped team lines up on the other side of the ball, his numbers have read a dismal 1 touchdown, 4 interceptions, and 59.2 rating.

That there are now not 1, but TWO teams in the division who seem to have figured out Cameron/Flacco is a bit unnerving.

As bad as Joe was yesterday, he got absolutely zero help from his offensive line, who need to take their share of the blame. The group that had played so solidly all season had their worst outing, as Flacco was under constant pressure and holding and false start flags were rampant. After allowing 12 sacks in 7 games, the Ravens gave up 4 to the Bengals, even without Antwan Odom. Three of these came on the final drive when they were able to tee off on Flacco, but the pressure was there all day. And, for his part, Joe needs to do a much better job of identifying his hot read and getting the ball out quickly when the blitz comes. Several times yesterday he had time to throw, but instead patted the ball and ended up on his butt.

Derrick Mason did absolutely nothing to back up his “nobody can cover me 1-on-1″ talk leading up to the game, as he caught just 3 of the 13 balls thrown to him, for a measly 31 yards. Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington had only 1 catch apiece, as the Ravens converted just ONE OF TEN 3rd down opportunities. A terrible effort by all.

All except Ray Rice of course, who was the only thing even resembling a weapon the Ravens had all day. He finished the day with 8 catches for 87 yards and 12 carries for 48 and the team’s only score.

On defense, all the problems that seemed to have been corrected against Denver came flooding back in force against the Bengals. The pressure that was there from the front seven against Kyle Orton was nowhere to be found when Carson Palmer dropped back. The gap integrity that held the Broncos’ ground game in check was instead replaced with more gaping holes for Cedric Benson, who racked up 117 yards. The sure tackling that negated Denver’s short passing attack regressed to the tune of more arm tackling FAILs and inability to wrap up the ballcarrier (with the pleasant exception of Lardarius Webb).

The few times Greg Mattison did dial up the blitz, it was largely ineffective. They forced some early, errant throws from Palmer in the 2nd half, but during the game’s decisive opening quarter, ginger boy had all day and then some. Cincy was a disgusting 5/5 on 3rd downs on their two touchdown drives, which included an 11-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 with the score 0-0, and an illegal contact call on Chris Carr that gave them another try despite an offensive holding flag being thrown on the play. Other critical mistakes on those two possessions included Fabian Washington dropping what should have been an easy interception on a deep pass and a pass interference flag on Dawan Landry negating a Ravens’ fumble recovery (because, despite interfering, Landry was STILL unable to keep Chad Ochocinco from making the catch…UN-AC-CEPT-AB-LE!)

Ed Reed’s strip of Ochocinco (for the 2nd straight game) could have made this one interesting, had he been able to take it to the house OR had the Ravens’ O been able to score a TD for the 2nd consecutive drive OR had Hauschka not CH-CH-CHOKED again, this time from only 38 yards and the middle of the field.

Of course, none of those things happened, but the Ravens really didn’t deserve this one anyway. Not in the least.

I’ll search in vain for a bright spot for this week’s “Play Like a Raven” feature, but it won’t be easy. This one was just bad all around.

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Ravens Report Card

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Quarterback: C-

This seems harsh, but Joe was terrible yesterday. Save for one decent drive, he wouldn’t have gotten even a passing grade yesterday. It was arguably his worst game as a Raven. I talked after the Patriots game about Joe needing to come up biggest when the team needs him the most (the way Tom Brady and company tend to)-and the first two drives of the game were when the Ravens needed Flacco the most. He didn’t deliver. He needs to figure out how tall Mark Clayton (and Ray Rice) are, too. If he continues to overthrow those guys, he’s gonna get them killed, or he’s gonna get picked more.

Running Backs: B

Don’t blame Ray Rice for this one. He had the heart of a champion, and was the best player on the field wearing white. Should the coaching staff be using Le’Ron McClain (who played well) and Willis McGahee more? Maybe, but not because Ray Rice isn’t playing well.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C

No terrible mistakes by this unit, but not a particularly good performance either. Derrick Mason had to play defensive back more than receiver on a couple of plays, and Todd Heap had no idea where the first down marker was on that 3rd and 5. It was not a great day for them.

Offensive Line: C

The 2nd half was PARTICULARLY ugly for this unit. I’m not sure how much the team worked no-huddle and with a huddle during the week, and if changing on the fly in Cincinnati hurt them; but the penalties in the 2nd half from Oher, Gaither and Grubbs were just unneccessary. Not a good day for the unit that had arguably been the best on the season.

Defensive Line: D

This unit CLEARLY missed Haloti Ngata. They got almost NO pressure on Carson Palmer-and certainly no game changing plays (even Terrell Suggs’ sack was for a grand total of -1 yard). Cedric Benson should not be gauging the Ravens defense ONCE-more or less twice. It all started up front, and it wasn’t good. 

Linebackers: B-

I’m not REALLY sure why I am giving them this good of a grade; I guess it’s because Ray Lewis really played with a lot of heart, and the unit as a whole did make some plays, even if they were beat a few times too. This unit is going to have to apply more of the pressure, and has to be more of a punishing group. They have failed in these areas thus far, but have tackled better than the rest of the defense….I guess.

Secondary: D-

Look, I don’t think Champ Bailey could have stayed with the Bengals’ receivers given the time Palmer had to throw the ball; and Chad Ochocinco made some AWESOME grabs; but this was poor. Lardarius Webb did give some solid effort when he came into the game, but he has gone untested as far as actual cover abilities. There is no answer to improve this group. When you have an average secondary, you MUST get better pressure. This combination hasn’t worked the way they had hoped.

Special Teams: D

Steve Hauschka’s miss was critical, but he wasn’t the only part of this unit that struggled. Penalties on special teams are really unthinkable, and even Sam Koch struggled. It’s infectious right now.

Coaching: D-

Maybe the worst game of the season for the entire staff. Unprepared from the beginning, and not enough corrections in-game. Greg Mattison deserves SOME credit for taking away the middle of the field AFTER the Bengals’ first 3 drives, but this was NOT a good game from them. The execution wasn’t much better, but John Harbaugh and company deserve to take their licks after this. WHY DOES CAM CAMERON CALL JUMP BALLS FOR 5’10″ RECEIVERS?!?!?! Ugh….

-G

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens Tuesday. Our Tuesday Top 7. But I’m not sure I’ll be able to find 7….

You deserve props…….

1-Kurt Warner, Josh Freeman, Drew Brees, Matt Hasselbeck and Phillip Rivers

Josh Freeman is the greatest rookie kicker since Mark Sanchez!

But seriously, how embarrassing is it to be a Packers fan today? A week after losing to Brett Favre, you lost to the freaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers!!!!

I guess it could be worse. You could be rooting for this team……

os

2-Fedor Emelianenko

This……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8zMVAv1XOM[/youtube]

…..is WAY better than anything I’ve seen on CBS in recent years. Well, other than this anyway……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Mzp_1ndR8[/youtube]

3-Zenyatta

I don’t care what Summer Bird, Mine That Bird or ANY other horse says. It is ALWAYS embarrassing to lose to a girl.

Unless of course you’re losing to Kelly Brook in a “Flattest Stomach” contest. She can win that. Actually, I’ll let her show me hers and then I’ll just forfeit. Sound good?

brook

4-Michael Turner, Cedric Benson and Chris Johnson

I CANNOT BELIEVE there was a Washington Redskins fan on my Facebook page talking trash Sunday night. The Washington Redskins are an embarrassment to the NFL. It is LAUGHABLE. Even this guy isn’t proud…..

skins

5-The Young Men Representing our Country Playing Football for the United States Naval Academy

It wasn’t Navy playing Notre Dame Saturday. It was the United States of America. That’s right, the good ole USA kicked the TAR out of the Fighting Irish Saturday, which is exactly the way it should be. Notre Dame sucks. South Bend sucks. Touchdown Jesus sucks.

I don’t care if you can even pronounce Niumatalolo. If you weren’t rooting like hell for our boys from Annapolis Sunday, you’re not a good American. This man is a hero…..

vela

This man is not……

weis

6-Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch won this weekend’s NASCAR race 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. I know because it says it right here on my computer screen.

I was really hoping to put together some good shtick here, but I just don’t know enough relevant talking points when it comes to NASCAR. I could make another joke about NASCAR fans being obnoxious drunks, but I choose not to make easy stereotypes. There’s probably just a small group of bad eggs giving the rest of the crew a bad name…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2otGXwmlAU[/youtube]

7-Dallas Clark, Randy Moss and Mike Sims-Walker

How….in the HELL……are the Jacksonville Jaguars 4-4? The Jags are TERRIBLE. Makes you feel even worse about the Ravens, really.

And while we’re talking about receivers, was Chad Ochocinco really expecting a chance to “pay off” an official with a dollar yesterday?

ocho

Or was this totally spontaneous? Chad Ochocinco is either really stupid, or a total genius.

Sort of like Glenn Clark.

8-Mike Knuble

The Washington Capitals were big winners on Saturday night-so…..yay?

I LOVE making fun of Washington, DC. The people there are terrible, the sports teams are awful, and I’d rather spend the day with Rick From Reisterstown than find myself having to travel in their area. That being said, the Mayor of our city is now standing TRIAL.

But then again, that crap-hole down there would probably elect this fella mayor again if they could…..

barry

9-Gabriel Ali-El

And once again, Poly is a big winner over City. Over 8,000 fans came to M&T Bank Stadium to watch the 121st edition of the rivalry; which represents all that’s good about high school football.

I wish I had moments like this in high school. Sadly, most of my memories at Perry Hall involved unfortunate nicknames and bad hair. Which is basically how the rest of my life has played out, too…….

10-Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray

Riddle me this, Batman. Swiss Indoors result not withstanding, Roger Federer has won FIFTEEN grand slam titles. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have COMBINED to win 1.

Yet…..this is Novak Djokovic’s on again/off again girlfriend Jelena Ristic….

ristic

And this is Andy Murray’s girlfriend Kim Sears……

sears

And yet Roger Federer was CONVINCED he’d never do any better than Mirka Vavrinec???

mirka

11-Phil Mickelson

Was more popular in China than Tiger Woods. Although, I’d prefer being BETTER than Tiger Woods-but that’s just me.

Also, since the HSBC Champions event was played in Shanghai; I’m reminded that Lucy Liu was in the movie Shanghai Knights, and should probably be in every other movie in the world……

liu

12-Jordan Shipley, Julio Jones, Zach Collaros, DeVier Posey and Graig Cooper

Holy crap TCU is ranked #4?!?!? God-I haven’t asked you for much recently. I asked you for the Redskins to lose to the Lions-and you sure delivered on that. Now, I PRAY that you PLEASE allow TCU or Boise State to find their way into the Top 2. Please deliver losses to Texas, Florida, Alabama and Cincinnati; and PLEASE force the BCS to have to stomach one of these teams getting to Pasadena.

OR…..please deliver Lea Michele from “Glee” to me for Christmas. Either one will work….

lea

13-University of Arizona

You thought this might have something to do with the Wildcats’ big win over Washington State Saturday. It doesn’t. They might go to the Rose Bowl this season. Who cares?

You see, the U of A held their first ever “Undie Run”, and that is ABSOLUTELY the most important thing that could ever happen ….in the world.

Here are the pictures……

undie

14-Chicken Parm

parm

Let me suggest something to you. The next time you’re going to a wedding; purchase your gift a few weeks in advance. Then, when you get to the reception to enjoy dinner-instead of thinking to yourself “I better eat 50 dollars worth of food”…..you’ll say to yourself “Dude, the free food here is AWESOME!” You see, if you buy a gift weeks in advance, you’ll forget about it by the time you get there.

Of course, you’ll be suicidal again after you see the gift sitting on a table and say to yourself “WHY THE HELL DID I JUST SPEND 40 DOLLARS ON SHEETS?!?!?”, but at least you will have enjoyed some damn fine Chicken Parm.

15-Seth MacFarlane

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtM7Gqxet8Q[/youtube]

Both episodes of Family Guy were awesome last night, and his comedy special with Alex Borstein wasn’t bad either. That being said, I’m pretty sure THIS GUY is still having a better month…..

agassi

You got lucky…….

1-John Harbaugh

Lucky that fewer people will take you to task for the comments you made last week. I’m going to make this comment quickly. The Baltimore Ravens do NOT want to be the Philadelphia Eagles. The Baltimore Ravens want to be the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t care what Andy Reid has done in Philadelphia (but for the reference-what Andy Reid has done in Philadelphia does NOT include a Super Bowl), and I don’t care what your philosophy was there. I want to win….in Baltimore. Having a nice group of guys is nice, having a winner is nicer. I don’t want to be the Dallas Cowboys, either. But to think that the Philadelphia Eagles have been a much greater organization that Jerry Jones’ bunch is laughable. The Cowboys are NOT what’s wrong with the NFL. Now get over yourself, and go win. Stop trying to be Andy Reid. We don’t want Andy Reid here. We want a damn good head coach who doesn’t want to be like anyone else.

Thanks.

2-Viewers of the Richmond/Villanova game Saturday night on Comcast SportsNet

Hey, I can see how this would happen. This is basically what it sounds like every morning when we turn the mics off on The Comcast Morning Show. Video NSFW. Unless of course you work for Comcast SportsNet…..where you can basically say whatever you want these days…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFfL0RIQ-qI[/youtube]

3-David Baumann

George O’Leary’s Central Florida team lost 35-3 to Texas Saturday. Somehow, I still feel like Notre Dame would be better if they had hired him.

The significant thing about the game is that afterwards, O’Leary attempted to kick David Baumann-a TV and radio reporter in Florida-out of the postgame press conference because he correctly reported the night before the game (citing anonymous sources) that two players would not play.

Which lead to this classic GEM, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel….

“It is our preference, if not policy, that member of the media confirm any player injury status with the sports SID prior to release,” UCF associate athletics director Joe Hornstein said after the Texas game. “Regardless of anonymous sources, we ask our members of the media for that courtesy.”

WRONG.

WRONG.

No school…..ANYWHERE….can have a “policy” like this. A reporter can report WHATEVER HE WANTS when he gets the information. Citing an anonymous source is what must be done TO PROTECT THE SOURCES!

I get it, Joe Hornstein and George O’Leary work in a city where most of the news revolves around this man….

mouse

……but if a reporter gets a story and goes with it; they’re a GOOD REPORTER. THEY DON’T WORK FOR YOU. MEDIA MEMBERS DO NOT WORK FOR THE TEAM THEY COVER! A lot of media members in Charm City could use that reminder…..

4-Fans inside Sun Devil Stadium Saturday night

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxzEjSIzF18[/youtube]

Holy. Crap. Sadly for Sun Devils fans, Arizona State still lost to USC. But relax, your state still has plenty of things going for you……

asu

5-Darvin Moon

A logger from Garrett County is in the finals of the World Series of Poker. I’d prefer that a blogger from Baltimore County be in a strip poker final with Sienna Miller…..

(Edit from GMC: The blogger I was referring to was me. Nice work, brainiacs!)

6-Jahvid Best

As in-LUCKY TO BE ALIVE!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik1_1c729z0[/youtube]

I wish Jahvid Best NOTHING but the best in recovering. Kevin Barnes couldn’t even have enjoyed watching that. This cat has more lives than my own childhood feline….

7-Jason Sudeikis

Because Glenn Beck was the role he was BORN to play. Sometimes Saturday Night Live is still pretty good-even when they try to ruin it with Taylor freaking Swift…..

[youtube]http://www.mediaite.com/tv/snl-skewers-fox-news-and-glenn-beck/[/youtube]

You’re a zero…….

The guy who got THIS tattoo…..

johnnyu

What the hell does that even mean?!?!?!?!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Poor Performance All Around As Bengals Top Ravens 17-7

Posted on 08 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

It was bad all around.

The offense was bad-scoring just 7 points and not even threatening to score in the game’s first 45 minutes.

The defense was bad-allowing another 100 yard rusher and letting the Bengals score on their first 3 possessions of the game.

The special teams were bad-missing a big field goal and being flagged for multiple costly penalties.

The coaching was REALLY bad-as no unit appeared prepared for what may have been the most important game of the season thus far.

The Ravens’ 17-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday was just a poor performance all around.

They’re not a bad team. Even in one of their worst games they still had a chance in the 4th quarter before a costly missed field goal kept them from closing the gap to one possession. But they have an uncanny ability to play like a bad team for long stretches on both sides of the football.

The first half was one of those stretches. Through three possessions for each team in Sunday’s game, the Bengals out-gained the Ravens offensively 228 yards to 41. The 17-0 scoring advantage they established would ultimately prove to be too much for the outmatched Ravens to overcome.

John Harbaugh will almost certainly tell us that he was “proud of his team” for their fight on Sunday, but don’t be fooled. A team that “fights” is no match for a team that is better than their opponent. The Bengals were flat out BETTER than the Ravens today. The Bengals have been better than the Ravens all season.

The season isn’t over, no matter how much some of us will want to think it is. The Ravens are likely dead in the AFC North race, now trailing the Bengals by 2 full games and a tiebreaker. But at 4-4, the Ravens are very much alive in the AFC playoff race, and have two games remaining with the Steelers-who will be in direct competition for a playoff spot. The Texans and Chargers appear to be the other teams they will be battling with in the race for a Wild Card spot.

If the Ravens want to seize a playoff spot, they must play better than they did Sunday. Games against the Colts, Steelers and Packers will not be easy games to win; and they cannot spot ANY of those teams a multi-score early lead. The Ravens spoke this week about a desire to start quicker, but failed to get started until there were less than 15 minutes remaining in the game.

The season isn’t over. The season is only halfway through. But 4-4 in the next 8 won’t be good enough. This team has shown signs of being an elite team, but must BECOME an elite team. And it won’t be via personnel change. Steve Hauschka’s head will be asked for on a silver platter-and there will be some heavy breathing on his seat on tonight’s charter back to BWI. But even a kicker change will not make this a better football team. Strategy and execution will be the only two things that will make this a better football team.

Hopefully it will come.

-G

4:11-At least I’ll have two names to put on my Tuesday Top 7. The other 5 spots are REALLY unknown…..

4:09-Cedric Benson goes over 100 yards twice……3 100 yard rushers in 4 games. Not so good.

4:07-THREE STRAIGHT SACKS?!?!?!?!? The awesome O-Line play this season has been non-existent today.

4:06-When did Robert Geathers and Brandon Johnson become Adalius Thomas and Bart Scott???

4:04-What was Joe trying to do there?!?!?!? Boy……

4:02-This is MAYBE the worst 2 minute offense I’ve ever seen. Did they think Hauschka MADE the field goal?

4:00-If this is their 2 minute drill, it is not very good.

3:55-Getting the ball back with this much time left on the clock only makes the Hauschka miss all the more painful…..

3:52-Did that commercial just say Wal-Mart was selling XBox 360 for 200 bucks with a 100 dollar gift card? Is that going on right now? I will go to Wal-Mart NOW……

3:50-Have you EVER seen a coach as emphatic in throwing a red flag as Harbs just was?

3:46-If I say now that neither Matt Stover NOR Chris McAlister is coming back to this team, can we avoid the phone calls tomorrow?

Wow. That’s a tough spot for Steve Hauschka-first FG try of the day…..and it could be costly not only for the game, but for his NFL career…..

3:45-Just when we were getting excited……

3:44-The Drew Forrester curse hits RIGHT before the incompletion and missed FG.

Thanks Drew.

3:43-A field goal IS okay here; but I get nervous about this team being forced to get another stop without giving up points.

3:41-HOW FREAKING HUGE WAS THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!

3:40-Jarret Johnson REALLY should have had that tackle. Another big 3rd down here…..

3:37-What a weapon Brian Leonard is…..big momentum shift for Cincinnati.

3:36-This is a HUGE 3rd and short. Really, HUGE.

Going back and forth with Princess Bride quotes with CP has almost been as fun as the game early on.

3:32-WHOA!!!!!! SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENED!

17-7 with 12:54 to play. This COULD get interesting?

3:28-Joe! Mark Clayton is 5’10″! If they run that route and he’s double-covered, you CAN’T throw that ball!

3:27-Hey! Some offense! Where has this been?!?!?

3:25-Penalties on Grubbs and Oher very shortly after the penalty on Jared Gaither. This team is not making it easy…..

3:22-The offensive line has had a great season. Not a great day.

At least credit Greg Mattison for making some adjustments after a disastrous start. The offense has not done the same.

3:20-Once again, I COMPLETELY agree with this decision by Marvin Lewis.

3:15-Jared Gaither should NOT have to hold Jonathan Fanene. However, holding is better than a sack.

3:13-Ed Reed is NOT this team’s punt returner. He is only a returner on the “safe” unit. There was no reason for the safe unit to be in there. Therefore, there was no reason for Ed Reed to be out there thinking he needed to do something.

3:05-That’s THREE floaters he’s thrown to Ochocinco like that for first downs.

CHALLENGE IT!

Good challenge by John Harbaugh…..2nd foot out of bounds.

3:03-Jameel McClain CERTAINLY stripped the ball before Cosby was down; but he must have been blown down with forward progress-which he should have been.

A Terrell Suggs sack! Wow!

3:01-Strange decision by Quan Cosby to return that one from inside the 10. Could have been a game-changing turnover.

Any turnover would be nice, really.

2:59-Keith Rivers won’t return. Chris Henry apparently out for the season. Ravens still losing 17-0.

2:58-Best offensive play of the game. By far.

Also, is that 3 straight drives without points for the Bengals now?

I’m trying to stay positive.

2:54-Why did that play work? Because there was pressure! Forced a bad throw! Where’s that been for 3 quarters???

2:52-How did Brian Leonard turn that into a first down?

Is there any particular reason for the extra booing towards Ray Lewis? Maybe just the hit on Ochocinco?

2:48-That was just an AWESOME play by Jonathan Joseph. And a reminder that a 5’10″ receiver is NOT a good target for a deep ball. Wow……

2:46-I’m back. Not because I want to be…..

2:31-There’s no reason to risk it here. I know we’d like to see Cam Cameron actually take a chance, but only bad could have happened from the 1 yard line. Maybe Tony Robbins can come in and speak at halftime.

2:29-Incredible play by Kyries Hebert and Rey Maualuga. Brilliant stuff.

2:25-I’m not totally certain, but I’m not sure you’re supposed to throw the ball off of your star running back when you’re trying to throw the ball away. But what would I know?

2:24-Are there other games on???

2:23-If they put points on the board here, they can at least make it a game….

2:21-Holy crap. The Bengals had scored on TEN STRAIGHT DRIVES under Carson Palmer before that? That’s REALLY amazing.

2:18-J.P. Foschi should not be embarrassing anyone. Unreal.

2:14-Did Todd Heap go horizontal a YARD before the first down marker? This has been disastrous for EVERYONE.

Add Matt Katula to the list.

2:12-What the Bengals did on coverage right there is remarkably similar to what the Ravens did on coverage last week against Eddie Royal. If you force a returner to stop and start again, you have a GREAT chance to bring them down.

2:09-If you think the officials have something against the Ravens, you clearly missed whatever Chris Carr was just doing there that somehow went uncalled. Maybe it was a mercy no-call. I’m not sure.

The Bengals didn’t need Shayne Graham to kick that. Billy Graham could have done it.

17-0? REALLY?

2:07-There’s no way Cedric Benson should be able to get 5 yards there. Just no way. Getting KILLED at the line of scrimmage.

2:04-Great observation by Carson Palmer. If Lardarius Webb is going to play off of Coles by 10 yards, just throw him the ball.

Carson Palmer isn’t just not getting sacked, he’s not even concerned. He’s sliding head-first. Jesus.

2:02-How freaking random is a Kelly Gregg/Shannon Miller story?

HOW LONG CAN THIS TEAM GIVE CARSON PALMER TO FIND A RECEIVER?!?!?!?!

(Editor’s note: Trevor Pryce was probably held there. Still.)

1:57-Chris Henry injured is the best thing the Ravens defense has done thus far today.

1:53-That’s what happens when you get pressure on a QB. The QB has to throw the ball away. Would be nice to see the Ravens defense do the same thing.

1:50-Nice to see Le’Ron McClain on the field. Apparently it was nice for the Bengals defense to see Le’Ron McClain on the field, too.

1:48-THANK YOU Brandon Johnson. THANK YOU. Looked like the same play that drew Frank Walker off-sides on an extra point.

1:45-What an OBVIOUS penalty on Matt Lawrence, who had actually played quite well.

The no-huddle is not as easy to run on the road……

1:42-I know losing Ngata hurts, but how in the hell is the offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals just b-slapping the Ravens defense around like this? This is particularly reminiscent of the Vikings game…..

1:39-How in the HELL did Laveranues Coles get out of the grasp of Ed Reed? Reed has to make arm tackles because of his shoulder/neck injuries, and it hurt him there.

1:36-It’s less that they’re getting beat and more that they’re panicking in 1 on 1 situations. These corners just don’t trust their own abilities, and they get grabby when they’re in 1 on 1 situations. It makes a big statement to throw the ball deep on 4th and short. And not a statement that the Ravens should be allowing teams to make against them…..

1:35-Absolutely the right decision by Marvin Lewis to go for it here.

1:34-This doesn’t all fall on the secondary early on. As I said, the Ravens MUST get a pass rush to win this game. They’ve gotten next to nothing early on.

1:33-Not a good day for Domonique Foxworth……

1:32-How in God’s name does Chad Ochocinco come down with that AWFUL floater???? Unbelievable.

1:30-How does Carson Palmer get a first down there? This defense REALLY misses Haloti Ngata today. Thankfully the offsetting penalties nullify, but wow.

1:26-That pass interference PARTICULARLY stings. The “Jim Leonhard was better than Dawan Landry” crowd will be having a field day. Fabian Washington REALLY should have had a pick the next week. I tried bringing up the lack of interceptions with Domonique Foxworth this week-but he really played it down.

1:23-Sam Koch had the space there to do something with that punt. Seen a lot of touchbacks from him recently-which is strange because he’s always been particularly sure-footed.

1:22-Thank God Derrick Mason was there to break up that pass to Leon Hall. Joe knows Leon Hall plays for the other team, right?

1:20-Joe Flacco-I love you. Mark Clayton (and Ray Rice for that matter) are NOT tall. Please throw the ball appropriately. You’re great otherwise.

1:17-Another nice return by Lardarius Webb. He’s really coming along early in his NFL career. His speed is a weapon the Ravens might want to consider finding a way to use offensively……maybe.

1:15-Carson Palmer had all day and Chris Carr just figured he’d watch Andre Caldwell score a TD-I guess. Just an awful first series for the Ravens defense. Wow.

1:10-Really no excuse for letting Carson Palmer get that ball to Ochocinco for a first down there on 3rd and 10. Just unacceptable. That ball was floated because of the pressure, but it should have been a sack or should have been broken up.

Benson running all over the place…..Cincinnati methodically moving the ball. Christ.

1:07-Pittsburgh Steelers fans (who REALLY believe they are the best fans in the world) could learn from the fans in the Queen City. Very impressed by how quiet they were while the Bengals had the ball. However, it was very evident there were a number of Ravens in Ohio by the noise on 3rd down.

1:05-Brian Leonard (Ray Rice’s college teammate at Rutgers) really hurt the Ravens in the first game, too. He’s just a really dangerous player.

How the hell did Cedric Benson get through that?

1:03-Steve Hauschka’s worst kick-off was his first one last week. This first one wasn’t great, either. Weird.

12:58-I was watching the FOX pre-game show instead of the CBS show, and I NEVER get sick of seeing entertainers travel to Iraq/Afghanistan to support our troops. It has been a long-time goal of mine to do a radio show live from the Middle East to support the USO. Was it a bit cheesy? Sure. But was it a great thing for Curt Menafee and company to do? Absolutely.

12:34-Today’s game can be seen live on CBS (WJZ 13 in Baltimore) with Dick Enberg and Dan Fouts on the call. The game can be heard nationally on Westwood One Radio (if for some reason you’re in an area that isn’t showing Ravens-Bengals on CBS) with Kevin Kugler and Mark Malone on the call.

If you want to get hyped for today’s game; head to the Audio Vault at WNST.net, where you can hear from Fouts (who joined Bob Haynie Friday), Malone (who joined Drew Forrester Friday), Bengals LB Coach Jeff Fitzgerald (Drew Friday), Ravens LB Prescott Burgess (Drew Friday), Bengals Play by Play Voice Brad Johansen (Drew Friday) and MORE!

12:17-Chinedum Ndukwe will start for Bengals in place of Roy Williams. Justin Bannan will start for Bengals in place of Haloti Ngata.

As much as the loss of Haloti Ngata will hurt the Ravens in trying to slow down Cedric Benson; it will also hurt them in pursuit of Bengals QB Carson Palmer. Ngata is very good at creating havoc in the backfield; and Justin Bannan will have to improve in pursuit of the Bengals QB. Brandon McKinney and the now-active Kelly Talavou will also get their chances in the D-Line rotation, and will have to work with Dwan Edwards, Trevor Pryce, and Terrell Suggs to get pressure up front.

12:07-As I mentioned in the title, today’s game is particularly crucial for the Ravens, as they CANNOT afford to fall 2 full games behind the Bengals in the AFC North….PLUS the Ravens would lose a tiebreaker to Cincy by virtue of a Bengals sweep. It would be more like the Ravens falling behind 2 and a half games in the division.

11:41-Ravens scratches:

DT Haloti Ngata
CB Frank Walker
RB Jalen Parmele
LB Antwan Barnes
OT Tony Moll
DE Paul Kruger
QB John Beck-3rd QB
OT Oniel Cousins

11:27-Greetings from my couch, where I have not made the trip to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati (I had a wedding to attend, my apologies); but the Baltimore Ravens have-and I will hang out with you during the game. A number of WNST contributors will chime in on Twitter (@WNST); including Nestor Aparicio, Drew Forrester and Luke Jones.

Bengals scratches:

QB Jordan Palmer-3rd QB
S Roy Williams
FB Fui Vakapuna
LB Dan Skuta
OT Andre Smith
TE Chase Coffman
WR Jerome Simpson
DT Orien Harris

-G

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Ravens-Bengals

Posted on 06 November 2009 by Chris Pika

It’s been only a few short weeks since the Bengals eeked out a hard-fought victory in Baltimore, and the two teams go again this Sunday in Cincinnati in a key AFC North game.

In going over my notes from the previous game, a lot has changed in just those few weeks. The Ravens seemed to right the ship after the bye week as they got well against an opponent that played right into their hands (more on that later), and Cincinnati suffered a loss to its defensive line that will be hard to replace.

We will review the game in the Sunday Night Purple Haze at 7 pm. Please join WNST hosts and personalities for three hours of Ravens/NFL chat online. Click here to join in (If you don’t know what the Purple Haze is, check out the archives on that page to see what we do each and every week).

Last Sunday, Baltimore faced a Denver team that didn’t take too many shots downfield against opposing secondaries and ran the football up the middle — which the Ravens defended well. Baltimore was agressive on defense, going after the quarterback and stayed in zone defense instead of man-to-man coverage. Offensively, Baltimore ran the football to disrupt the Broncos’ pass rush.

The Ravens were much more balanced than they had been during the three-game losing streak after a 3-0 start. They must stay that way again this Sunday to beat a talented Bengals team.

Cincinnati’s defense was hurt by the loss of Antwan Odom for the season in Week 6 with an Achilles’ injury. His eight sacks led the league at that point, and the Bengals don’t have nearly the push to the quarterback as they did before he went down.

Baltimore ran the football 35 times against Denver, after total rushes of 17, 18 and 18 in the previous three games (Baltimore threw just 25 passes after 47, 31 and 43 in the last three). If the improving offensive line keeps opening holes for RBs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, Baltimore will do better than the season-worst 27.2 percent conversion rate on third down in the first game. Rice has been the go-to guy, including 23 carries vs. Denver and has become QB Joe Flacco’s hot-read option on short throws.

Cincinnati is about even on runs across the offensive line, except for left end (5.5 yards allowed per carry) and right tackle (4.54 yards per rush). When the Ravens set up the play action to go to wideouts Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, the Bengals are vulnerable. Cincy gives up an average of 13.69 yards deep left (15+ yards) and 14.43 yards deep right. Under 15 yards, the Bengals allow 7.1 yards on passes short left.

The Ravens are third in first-down efficiency in the NFL (4+ yards on first down) at 53.2 percent, behind only New England and New Orleans, and is eighth in average gain on first down (6.06 per play). If the Ravens continue that trend, Flacco can operate on play-action as needed since the Bengals will have to stay home.

The Ravens defense was much improved last week against the undefeated Broncos. Unlike Denver, the Bengals run to the outside — a problem area for Baltimore this year. RB Cedric Benson is fourth in the league with 720 rush yards. When they run, the Bengals have the most success going left (5.8 at left end, 4.7 at left tackle and 6.7 yards at left guard). But they still run the majority of plays to the right, including 40 to right end (second in the NFL). They don’t go up the middle very much as their 28 attempts (29th in the league) would indicate. Discipline in run lanes will be crucial to holding down Benson’s output.

QB Carson Palmer can throw downfield, but the Bengals are in the bottom half of the league throwing more than 15 yards in any direction (31 total pass attempts downfield). Most of Cincy’s passes are short middle (63 plays, third in the NFL for an average of 8.3 yards, sixth in the league). The Bengals mostly throw short right (81 plays). If that holds up, the Ravens zone defense can adjust, and the better tackling shown last week should contain any potential huge gains.

WR Chad Ochocinco sent Degree deodorant to the Ravens defenders, saying in effect (laughingly in Chad’s world), “they stink.” Ed Reed had a big pick of Palmer for a TD, and the Ravens kept Ochocinco from any end zone celebration in the first meeting. More of that effort is needed in this game from the defense.

PREDICTION: Cincinnati will test the Ravens secondary unless Baltimore can get at Palmer consistently. The Ravens need to run as much as they did last week to control the ball and the clock to keep the defense fresh. Cincinnati’s defense played inspired last time after the death of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s wife. This time, Baltimore has the defensive swagger back (for now). The Ravens need to use their 2008 formula (run to a lead, dictate the playbook on offense and run exclusively in the fourth quarter) to grind out a huge road victory. Ravens 20, Bengals 17.

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Ravens (4-3) @ Bengals (5-2)

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Ravens (4-3) @ Bengals (5-2)

Posted on 06 November 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Bengals

Ravens vs. Bunghole Stats

If the Ravens can go into Paul Brown Stadium and exact some revenge on the Bengals this week, they will force their hat back into the ring of serious AFC North contenders. Otherwise, they will have fallen effectively three games behind Cincinnati in the division, quite a mountain to climb with eight games remaining.

So, do the Ravens have what it takes to “man up” and emerge victorious in a venue that has been none too kind to them over the years? B’More’s 34-3 win over the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Bungles in 2008 was their first win at PBS since 2004, and they are just 2-4 in their last six in The Queen City. Quarterback Carson Palmer has owned the Ravens in his career, compiling a 7-3 record in 10 career starts.

As several have already pointed out, Cincy is starting to look like a “real” AFC North team – one that can run the ball and stop the run. The Bengals’ Cedric Benson was the one to break the Ravens’ streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher the last time these teams met, when he went for 120 and a TD on 27 carries (4.4 ypc). They also held the Ravens to 82 yards on the ground. Still, the Ravens averaged 4.6 yards per carry, which hints that maybe they should have stuck with their ground attack a bit more. Especially considering it was Joe Flacco’s worst game this season, as he threw for just 186 yards and added two interceptions for his 2009-low rating of 70.1.

85 care package

(Chad sent the Ravens’ D a care package this week. The Nest sends one of our own to #85. In it he will find a new helmet (to replace the one Ray knocked off him), a ball gag, a straight jacket, and a nice pretty new “grill.”)

Joe Cool has bounced back nicely since getting shut down by Cincy, putting up back-to-back games of a 109.2 rating, and tossing three scores to go along with nary an interception against the capable (23rd) and strong (8th), respectively, defenses of Minnesota and Denver. Derrick Mason, who was held without a catch by Mike Zimmer’s crew last month, has 11 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the two games since.

Ray Rice has been the catalyst for the Ravens’ offense of late, as the little RB that could (wow, that’s terrible…come on, people…THIS MAN NEEDS A NICKNAME!) has averaged over 149 yards from scrimmage per game over the last four contests. Le’Ron “PAIN TRAIN” McClain had a season-high 31 yards on the ground against Denver, as Cam Cameron’s offense showed that, as the weather is cooling, maybe they are starting to get back to the formula that produced so much success in 2008. The Ravens called more running plays than passing plays (35-27) for the first time since the San Diego game, and just the second time all season. This after three consecutive losses where the playcalling was extremely lopsided towards the pass, to the tune of 46-18 (@ Min), 33-18 (vs. Cin), and 49-17 (@ NE). Now, a factor that can’t be overlooked was that the Ravens were playing with the lead for the entire game against Denver, but we would expect that the balance will continue this week. That is, as long as the rejuvenated defense can keep the score close, as Chicago was unable to do in Cincy two weeks ago, getting blown out 45-10.

Speaking of that rejuvenated defense, the Ravens’ D needs to prove that last week was no fluke. Plenty of the pundits were quick to proclaim the Ravens’ defense “back” after they dismantled and nearly shut out the previously high-flying Denver attack last week. However, to those of us who watch every game (twice), the Broncos’ short-passing game was simply the perfect antidote for the problems we have seen with the purple defense all season. Namely, the fact that Kyle Orton threw the ball deep all of ONE time (while the game was in reach, anyway)…and on that ONE throw, there was of course, some laundry also thrown, as Dominique Foxworth was called for pass interference. Apparently Josh McDaniels didn’t get the “just chuck it up” memo that Ravens’ corners have been sending to every team this year, via game film. Carson Palmer is no Kyle Orton, and he will show no such mercy to Foxworth and Fabian Washington, especially with the ever dangerous Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry in his arsenal.

This isn’t to suggest that Foxworth and Washington have no prayer of having good games Sunday. The two played very well against Denver, lack of deep challenges notwithstanding, and Washington especially was extremely active in run support. It’s just that we Ravens fans need to see more of what we witnessed from the pair against Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal before we are comfortable putting the Pepto Bismol bottle down when we see opposing quarterbacks take 7-step drops.

The front seven will also need to continue their solid play from a week ago. Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, Justin Bannan, and Trevor Pryce collapsed the pocket on Orton the likes of which we haven’t seen all season, and Greg Mattison’s blitzes, when called, found gaping holes in the Broncos’ protection schemes. It was a welcome departure from what we had seen to that point, but like the secondary, consistency is the word. Haloti Ngata is still very questionable with the ankle sprain he suffered near the goalline against Denver, and his absence would be noticeable, especially as the Ravens attempt to keep Benson from going over the century mark again. If Haloti is unable to go, the Ravens’ ample depth at DL will have to step up, including Brandon McKinney, Dwan Edwards, and potentially Kelly Talavou, who has been active just once in 2009.

The Bengals have been doing a very impressive job of keeping Palmer upright, as he has been sacked only 11 times, good for 6th in the NFL. By comparison, Flacco has been sacked just 12 times. Rookie offensive tackle Andre “Yip Yip Belly” Smith may see his first game action, though he is said to be expected to mostly play on running downs. If nothing else, this could give the Ravens an advantage in reading the plays pre-snap.

A loss in Cincy on Sunday would, in all likelihood, relegate the Ravens to chasing a Wild-Card berth. Week 9 just seems too soon for that for such a talented football team, one that is legitimately a Top-8 NFL squad. The difference will be the explosiveness of Ray Rice, Joe Flacco continuing to find Kelley Washington for key 3rd-down conversions, and a Ravens defense that is ready to build on what they started last week.

Ravens 24 Bengals 20

Yours in the comments (no, I don’t have a prize like Bob, this is just for fun).

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Friday Morning’s Purple Crabs and Beer

Posted on 06 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens 28, Bengals 20

I DON’T think the Bengals WR’s should give the Ravens fits the way some people think they will. Yes, Chris Henry is tall. Yes, Chad Ochocinco is good. But this will be more about the pass rush. If the Ravens get to Carson Palmer, I don’t think he’ll be able to just throw the ball downfield.

Drew went with 24-20 Bengals. But he’s a rat fink.

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

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Katula, Ngata missed practice again Thursday

Bob Haynie still taking score picks for Ravens-Bengals

And from the rest of the world…..

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Kelley Washington ‘making major impact’ for Ravens

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Laveraneus Coles, Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell give Bengals targets beyond Ochocinco

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says McGahee was working as long snapper in practice with Katula hurt

The Official Site says Mattison has ‘very good feeling’ about chances for Ngata to play

The Official Site says Hauschka unfazed by Ravens bringing in kickers to try out last week

The Official Site’s Mallory Steinberg says Derrick Mason was out singing karaoke again with elderly in community this week

Bengals Official Site’s Geoff Hobson says Ochocinco sent box of deodorant to Ravens defense

Bengals Official Site’s Geoff Hobson says Michael Johnson still looking for first career sack

Bengals Official Site says team was given 24 hour extension to sell last 3,000 tickets for Sunday’s game at Paul Brown Stadium

The Sun’s Ken Murray says K. Washington believes he’s ‘more mature’, ‘more professional’ than when he was in Cincy

6 out of 7 Sun analysts pick Ravens

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens must stop Cedric Benson, get Derrick Mason involved, have Flacco hold on to ball

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens lose if Carson Palmer has big game, team doesn’t handle ball well or start slow offensively

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Domonique Foxworth knows secondary needs to be ‘consistent’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Flacco amongst best 4th quarter QB’s in NFL

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Kokinis, Savage unlikely to rejoin Ravens unless Eric DeCosta takes GM job elsewhere

The Sun’s Mike Preston says culture of Marvin Lewis’ Bengals team has changed

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Rosburg not sure how Reed didn’t block Mitch Berger punt in win over Broncos

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Burgess, Nakamura, Zbikowski, Walker all returned to practice Thursday

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Katula thinks injury ‘not a big deal’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Justin Harper playing role of Ochocinco in practice

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Frank Walker thought scratch ‘no big deal’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Flacco ‘unflappable’ in no huddle offense

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Justin Bannan would start if Ngata can’t go Sunday

Cincinnati Enquirer’s Joe Reedy says status for Andre Smith Sunday remains ‘unsettled’

Cincinnati Enquirer’s Joe Reedy says Bengals have sold out 48 straight home games

Cincinnati Enquirer’s Chick Ludwig not ‘concerned’ about Ravens

Dayton Daily News’ Ken Paxson says Bengals might ‘sell out’ even if they don’t sell out

USA Today’s Sean Leahy says Ochocinco sent deodorant to Suggs, Ray Lewis, secondary

SI’s Don Banks has Ravens 10th in power rankings

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 23-13

5 of 7 Sporting News analysts pick Ravens

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt looking forward to seeing how Mike Zimmer defends Ray Rice

NFL.com says Bengals’ Chris Crocker looking for INT in 3rd straight game

NBC Sports’ Michael David Smith says 52 not sorry for hit on 85 in first game

ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter says Flacco on pace to reach 4,000 yards

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Bengals ‘have had (Ravens’) number’ in recent history

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens ‘deep up front’ beyond Ngata

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Carson Palmer 7-3 all-time against Ravens

Fox Sports’ Charles Davis says Bengals ‘built for’ AFC North

Here are the rest of our picks for the weekend…..

Chiefs/Jaguars: Me-Jacksonville 10-6, Drew-Kansas City 20-17
Texans/Colts: Me-Indianapolis 31-24, Drew-Houston 27-20
Packers/Buccaneers: Me-Green Bay 30-9, Drew-Green Bay 27-16
Redskins/Falcons: Me-Atlanta 24-10, Drew-Atlanta 31-7
Cardinals/Bears: Me-Arizona 37-24, Drew-Arizona 30-20
Dolphins/Patriots: Me-New England 26-23, Drew-New England 35-21 (if they wear the old helmets), New England 31-21 (if the wear the new helmets)
Panthers/Saints: Me-New Orleans 31-23, Drew-New Orleans 35-24
Lions/Seahawks: Me-Detroit 20-12, Drew-Seattle 21-17
Titans/49ers: Me-San Francisco 24-16, Drew-San Francisco 27-10
Chargers/Giants: Me-San Diego 27-20, Drew-New York 38-17
Cowboys/Eagles: Me-Philadelphia 28-21, Drew-Philadelphia 31-24
Broncos/Steelers: Me-Denver 23-20, Drew-Denver 20-19

Morgan State/Norfolk State: Me-Bears 17-12, Drew-Bears 19-10
Towson/William & Mary: Me-Tribe 36-17, Drew-Tribe 38-17
Navy/Notre Dame: Me-Irish 37-26, Drew-Irish 30-27
Maryland/NC State: Me-Terps 31-30, Drew 44-31 Wolfpack

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 05 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

I had the opportunity to go to an advance screening of “The Blind Side” last night at The Charles Theater-thanks to Warner Brothers for the invitation. I have to first say that this movie is going to be absolutely HUGE. It is a perfect Thanksgiving football flick, and as big as it is going to be in Baltimore; it will be big throughout the country as well.

If you’re not familiar-the movie is based on the excellent book of the same name by Michael Lewis. The story chronicles Ravens 1st round pick Michael Oher. The book itself was more about football in general-but the transcendent story of Oher is easily movie-worthy. And while John Lee Hancock’s movie does change certain things about the story (an incident at Ole Miss is moved into Oher’s former home in the Memphis projects; the name of Oher’s Christian school is different, etc.); he does no injustice to the very human aspect of Oher’s journey.

The only shame of the movie is that in trying to keep it a family film-the darkness of Oher’s upbringing is merely referenced, not told vividly. This isn’t to say the movie failed-as the book references that Michael didn’t talk much about his past. The picture painted of Michael’s youth in the book is significantly more frightening than the more family-friendly picture painted by the film.

While the tragedy may not have been fully painted, nothing is taken away from the triumph. I’m going to be honest-if you cry during great sports movies (think “Remember the Titans”); you’re going to cry during this flick. It’s a remarkable story told very well.

The star of the film is clearly Sandra Bullock, whose turn as Leigh Anne Tuohy comes off akin to Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich. While this film is more fun and even a bit goofier than the very serious-natured “Brockovich”, your wives and girlfriends will immediately love Bullock’s Tuohy.

It’s not going to win an Academy Award-but it’s not supposed to be that kind of movie. It’s the kind of movie your family can go see at the end of the month when you’re off school/work for 4 days. It’s the kind of movie that you’re going to put on your purple and rally your neighbors to go see. This city is going to LOVE this movie. Whether you’ve read the book or not, you will just eat it up.

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

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Ed Reed not reading Ochocinco tweets

Drew Forrester hopes O’s try to win as hard as Yankees did

Thyrl Nelson says Flacco, Ray Rice Top 10 Fantasy plays Sunday

Ed Frankovic says Caps fell 3-2 to Devils

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ngata, Katula, Nakamura, Walker, Burgess, Zbikowski all didn’t practice Wednesday

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh still has plans for McGahee

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens looking to create 100 yard streak against Cedric Benson-who recently broke their long one

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says young LB’s Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe getting chance to run alongside 52

The Official Site says Marvin Lewis thinks Greg Mattison has done ‘excellent job’

The Official Site says Harbs thinks Ravens will be motivated by ‘hotly contested’ AFC North race

Bengals Official Site’s Geoff Hobson says team okay with being underdogs-even at home to team they’ve already beat this season

Bengals Official Site’s Geoff Hobson says Marvin Lewis wanted Kelley Washington back in Cincy

Bengals Official Site’s Geoff Hobson says Maualuga wants to be like Ray Lewis

Bengals Official Site says 3,500 tickets remain for Sunday’s game at Paul Brown Stadium

Bengals Official Site says Marvin Lewis won’t commit to Andre Smith dressing Sunday

Bengals Official Site says Carson Palmer knows Baltimore week ‘always a real big deal’ for Bengals

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Derrick Mason will be plenty motivated to face Bengals team that held him without catch over last 2 games

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Kelly Gregg sees Benson as ‘big back, nifty on feet’

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Flacco Ravens’ MVP

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. cleans up after me

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Derrick Mason prefers quiet players like Marvin Harrison to big talkers

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens using Le’Ron McClain again to pound ball

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Todd Heap, Le’Ron McClain limited in practice

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Marvin Lewis modeling Bengals after Ravens, Steelers

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ochocinco sent package to Ravens defense

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Reed doesn’t check Ochocinco on Twitter

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ray Lewis not changing how he hits after first meeting with Bengals

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Derrick Mason doesn’t think he can be covered with single coverage

The Sun’s Edward Lee says T-Sizzle thinks Ravens ‘humbled’ by Bengals in first game

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Terrell Suggs knows Benson having ‘really good year’ even beyond game against Ravens

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Bannan would start if Ngata can’t go

The AP’s David Ginsburg says Oher making ‘impression’ in rookie season with Ravens

Cincinnati Enquirer’s Chick Ludwig says Bengals should play Andre Smith Sunday

Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Erardi says Bengals WR Andre Caldwell wants wins more than catches

6 of 8 USA Today analysts pick Ravens

USA Today’s Nate Davis says defense must ‘shore up’ before facing Roethlisberger, etc.

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Ravens 20-16

NBC Sports’ Steve Silverman gives Ravens ‘C’ thus far

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ray Rice would be another possible team MVP candidate

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens secondary ‘rejuvenated’ by performance against Broncos

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

NC State Official Site’s Tim Peeler says Wolfpack to honor former WR Jerricho Cotchery at Saturday’s game

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says New Mexico only other FBS school in on Rashaan Moore

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Jamari McCullough finds losing ‘devastating’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph knows NCSU offense ‘explosive’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Demetrius Hartsfield remains ‘on-track’ to return November 21 against Florida State

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens picks Terps 29-28

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich picks Pack 31-17

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says NC State, Maryland have bowl chances on ‘life support’

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Chris Turner spent bye week in Fort Lauderdale with girlfriend (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says North Carolina DT prospect Kilgo pledged to Terps (must subscribe)

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

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says James Padgett, Jordan Williams will get ‘extended playing time’ if Dino Gregory’s suspension continues

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Vasquez thinks Terps can be ‘special’

The Diamondback’s Jakob Engelke says athletic department scrapping new student ticket policy at Comcast Center

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Jin Soo Choi struggled inside against IUP

Washington Post’s Michael Wilbon says use of Bias video aided Kirk Fraser’s “30 for 30” documentary

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Sean Mosley said he was fine after getting knocked down twice against Crimson Hawks

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Adrian Bowie amongst those who expected reverse roles for Padgett, Williams

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps in Sun Belt territory being relegated to ESPN360

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Sean Mosley improved from floor in exhibition opener (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Matt Owings checks in with prospect Tsafack (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Tianna Hawkins’ double-double lead Terps in exhibition win over Bowie State

The Official Site provides statistical evidence of win

The Official Site says Frese thought Terps were ‘focused and ready’ for exhibition game

The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer says Kim Rodgers scored 18 points in 16 minutes in win

NAVY FOOTBALL:

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Ram Vela, Mids still remember ’07 win in South Bend fondly

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Mike Stukel practicing at QB, will return to Slotback when Kriss Proctor gets healthy

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Mids need one more win to book trip to Texas Bowl

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Niumatalolo knows Mids missed chances against Temple, especially on 3rd down

South Bend Tribune’s Al Lesar says Dan Wenger expected to start at RG for Fighting Irish

Go Mids’ David Ausiello says AD Gladchuk wants to see continued success from Midshipmen (must subscribe)

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says fans can purchase $13 ticket for BOTH Miami (Ohio) hoops game and Villanova football game next weekend

MORGAN FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s Senior Night battle against Norfolk State

The Official Site offers complete Morgan State-Norfolk State release (pdf)

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s game against Franklin & Marshall

The Official Site offers complete Johns Hopkins/Franklin & Marshall release (pdf)

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tomorrow night’s exhibition opener against Adelphi

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Mountaineers picked to win NEC again

The Sun says Jeremy Goode named to All-NEC team

MCDANIEL FOOTBALL:

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Josh Rutter has been good fit for Terror staff

ORIOLES:

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says Birds want to re-sign Mark Hendrickson, Danys Baez

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Waring 1-4 with run scored in Arizona Fall League play Wednesday

Examiner Jay Trucker says Guillermo Rodriguez, Rich Hill, Jeff Fiorentino didn’t really have place with Orioles anyway

BALTIMORE MARINERS:

The Official Site says AIFA team signed former Maryland QB Statham

BLAST:

Examiner Richard Crabbe says NISL changed name to MISL

HORSE RACING:

Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman says Rip Van Winkle comes into Breeders’ Cup Classic battling foot issue

Daily Racing Form’s Marcus Hersh says Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra will spend winter in New Orleans

The AP’s Andrew Dalton says Baffert doesn’t ‘mind getting beat by Zenyatta’ in Classic

GOLF:

The Sun’s Don Markus says Senior Players Championship moving to Potomac next season, returning to Baltimore in 2011

Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga says Constellation Energy event to be held at Avenel next year

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Champions Tour had hinted event may move to DC during this year’s event

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Frank Walker has an illness, huh? Insert your own joke here.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh “Hopeful” Ngata Will Play Sunday

Posted on 04 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

5:00-INJURY REPORT: Ravens-

LB Prescott Burgess -DID NOT PARTICIPATE- Illness
LS Matt Katula -DID NOT PARTICIPATE- Elbow
S Haruki Nakamura -DID NOT PARTICIPATE- Chest
DT Haloti Ngata -DID NOT PARTICIPATE- Ankle
CB Frank Walker -DID NOT PARTICIPATE- Illness
S Tom Zbikowski -DID NOT PARTICIPATE- Illness
TE Todd Haep -LIMITED- Ankle
FB Le’Ron McClain -LIMITED- Shoulder
LB Jarret Johnson -FULL- Shoulder

Bengals:
FB Jeremi Johnson – LIMITED – Knee
S Tom Nelson – LIMITED – Shoulder
S Roy Williams – LIMITED – Forearm
RB Bernard Scott – FULL- Knee
OT Andre Smith – FULL – Foot

2:02-Ray Rice:

-”I think the no huddle offense is great…..it rattles a defense.”
-No huddle “easier to run at home.”
-Joe is “poised” in no huddle.”
-Division games are “like playoff games.”

1:59-Joe Flacco:

-It’s “pretty obvious” what Kelley Washington brings to the team, “especially on 3rd down.”
-He enjoys the no huddle; it “gets your team in a rhythm, wears a defense out.”
-”You know when you’ve got Jared (Gaither) out there, you’re going to have a pretty good day.”

1:53-Ray Lewis:

-Said he had “true belief” Lardarius Webb would return opening kick of 2nd half for a TD. After Lardarius scored, Ray asked him “Do you believe me now?”
-Greg Mattison is “an old school coach” who “treats you completely like a man” and “wants to know your input.”
-Playing alongside young linebackers Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe means Ray has to “focus on getting those guys lined up”…..Ray praised them, saying they all “run very well.”
-Hasn’t been able to watch much of Bengals LB Rey Maualuga, but knows from watching him at USC that he “likes flying to the ball.”
-He hasn’t really talked to Ochocinco since the hit at the end of the first game (about football anyway); but said he’d be ready to hit him again “if he comes in there.”
1:49-Derrick Mason:

-Derrick opened his press conference by asking “What are you all gonna do without me in a year?” This is interesting, as Derrick has just this year left on his contract.
-Bengals “did what they needed to do” to win the first game between the two teams; now Ravens “have to put it back on an even playing (field).”
-Bengals are playing “lights out” defensively.
-Teams “can’t cover me single coverage.”
-Cincinnati “did a good job…..of totally taking me out of the game” the first time the Ravens played the Bengals
-”The best trash talker I’ve ever seen was Marvin Harrison. He said nothing, but he beat you every play.”

1:46-Ed Reed:

-When asked if he reads what Chad Ochocinco has to say on Twitter: “next question.”
-Bengals game “just another football game….we know what’s at stake.”
-Missing the punt block Sunday against the Broncos was a “rookie mistake.”
-Cedric Benson gives the Bengals “somebody else you gotta pay attention to.”
-When informed that Carson Palmer called him a future Hall of Famer: “I could care less about” that type of stuff.

1:38-Plenty of players and coaches met with the media today. I am going to attempt to give you a sprinkling of things we heard around the facility, starting with head coach John Harbaugh:

-Joe Flacco “gets better every week.”
-”I don’t think (revenge against Bengals) is a motivator”; thinks team is motivated by “highly contested” AFC North race
-Ray Lewis is “a visionary leader.”
-”We didn’t have to spend a lot of time” looking at Bengals…..”we know them pretty well.”
-”We’re hopeful” Haloti Ngata can play Sunday
-Carson Palmer “one of the premiere quarterbacks” in the NFL

1:29-John Harbaugh told us he was “hopeful” Haloti Ngata will return from his sprained ankle Sunday against the Bengals. However, the big man was not seen working out with other other defensive linemen during the portion of practice open to the media. More from Harbaugh and others shortly, after I join Bob Haynie on AM1570 WNST.

12:55-Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net……

Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
LB/DE Terrell Suggs
LB Ray Lewis
CB Domonique Foxworth
CB/KR Laradrius Webb
S Ed Reed

11:10-Highlights from Carson Palmer:

-Mattison gave Bengals “a few different looks” in first matchup than Rex Ryan did previously
-Unlikely to change much from first game, “why change what works?”
-Cedric Benson gives Bengals more of a “power running game”-”AFC North mentality”
-Jarret Johnson not a guy “we overlook”
-Bengals “Not worried about playoff implications”
-Sang praises of Ravens defense, including Ray Lewis

11:04-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where we are expecting to hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and more today as the Ravens transition into preparation for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

The ankle injury suffered by Haloti Ngata in the win over the Denver Broncos is the most pressing issue facing the team, so we’ll hope to find him floating around the locker room-or we’ll have to wait for this afternoon’s injury report to get a real idea as to what might be going on there.

We’re scheduled to hear from Carson Palmer on a media conference call momentarily.

-G

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