Tag Archive | "Chad Ochocinco"

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Live From Owings Mills: Gooden, Burgess Miss Practice Again

Posted on 30 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (11-4) returned to practice Thursday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s regular season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals (4-11) at M&T Bank Stadium.

LB Tavares Gooden missed a second straight day of practice Thursday, he dislocated his shoulder in the Ravens’ Week 16 win over the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison said Thursday he thought Gooden would try to get on the field Sunday.

“He’ll try to if the doctors gave him the okay” said Mattison. “Tavares Gooden will do anything he can do to play, there’s no question. That’s like everybody on our defense. They know how important this game is.”

With a win and a Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens would clinch the AFC North title and a first round bye in the AFC playoffs.

S Tom Zbikowski (back) also did not participate in practice Thursday. Zbikowski has not played since being forced to leave the team’s Week 14 win over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in the first half. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday he did not expect the safety to be available for Sunday’s game.

S Ed Reed (neck) and LB Prescott Burgess (illness) did not practice Thursday either, neither is believed to be at risk of missing Sunday’s game.

C Matt Birk (knee) returned to practice Thursday and was a full participant after missing Wednesday’s game. TE Todd Heap (thigh), WR Derrick Mason (ankle/abs), TE Dennis Pitta (head) and CB Fabian Washington (back) were all full participants as well.

WR/KR David Reed (wrist/head) was a limited participant Thursday, he’s on track to play Sunday for the first time since suffering a concussion in the team’s Week 15 win over the New Orleans Saints.

The Bengals announced Thursday (via Twitter) WR Chad Ochocinco (ankle) will not make the trip to Charm City.

Three other Bengals did not participate in practice Thursday. TE Jermaine Gresham (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle) and LB Dan Skuta (back) were not on the practice field.

RB Bernard Scott (toe) was a limited participant for the Bengals Thursday, DE Carlos Dunlap (shoulder) was a full participant.

NOTES: Coordinators Mattison, Cam Cameron & Jerry Rosburg met with reporters following practice Thursday, those chats are available now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OL Chris Chester joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction”, that chat is available in the Audio Vault……DE Paul Kruger is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 7:15am……Pete Morelli’s crew will officiate Sunday’s game……The Ravens announced Thursday they will give away purple Under Armour wristbands to fans who attend Sunday’s game. The wristbands are intended to support the Wounded Warrior Project……New Ravens LS Kevin Houser will wear #70. The number was previously worn by Matt Katula, the veteran LS who was released by the team during Training Camp after five seasons in Baltimore……The Ravens will return to practice Friday, Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media following Friday’s practice

-G

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Huff no longer a loser, but these five guys are…for sure (I think)

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Huff no longer a loser, but these five guys are…for sure (I think)

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Drew Forrester

It took him a while, but Aubrey Huff finally proved me wrong.

I’ll say it here, now, for the first time publicly, to completely offer my concession:

Aubrey Huff is a winner.

I’m noting this today because for years, I labeled Huff a “career loser”. From Tampa Bay to Baltimore — with quick stops in Houston and Detroit as well — Huff always showed up at the park accompanied by the “losing van”.

Some players enter the stadium or ballpark with their kids or wearing an iPod or being trailed by a team staffer who’s given him instructions on what his pre-game duties are that day/night.

Huff showed up at the stadium with losing in tow. On team flights, losing sat next to him. In the hotel room — well, let’s not talk about that. Huff already gave us a clear picture of what happens to him in hotel rooms.

You get the picture, though. Huff, until last night, was a career loser.

That’s over.

And to his credit, in all fairness, Huff himself was a big reason why the Giants won the World Series. It’s one thing if he gets his ring without playing or being actively involved (see Frank Thomas), it’s another to be a main contributor.

Huff was a big reason why the Giants won.

He’s no longer a career loser.

Now, that brings me to my list of “career losers”. Needing to strike Huff off the list, I offer you my up-to-date Top 5. These five guys will NEVER win a championship in their playing career. They will lose forever. A couple of the list-makers might surprise you, but a couple of them won’t, for sure.

Here we go with the list.

#5
CASTELLON DE LA PLANA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 22: Sergio Garcia of Spain reacts to his approach shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Castello Masters Costa Azahar at the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo on October 22, 2010 in Castellon de la Plana, Spain. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

This one is fairly easy. Sergio Garcia isn’t REALLY a loser. He’s rich beyond his means, he’s won 7 times on the PGA Tour, including the PLAYERS Championship, but he’s never won a major title in his pro career. And he’s not going to do it, either. EVER. Why? I don’t know. It’s just something about him. Too much of a crybaby (“Waaah, my tee-time had bad weather and Tiger got sunshine in the afternoon”), too shaky with the putter and, perhaps, too good looking. He gets all the hot girls he wants, he can’t possibly win The Masters too. That wouldn’t be fair to a guy like Kenny Perry.

#4

Washington Wizards Gilbert Arenas calls out a play as the Wizards play the San Antonio Spurs at the Verizon Center in Washington on January 2, 2010. Arenas allegedly drew a gun on teammate Javaris Crittenton during a locker room dispute. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Man, was this guy prophetic when he dubbed himself “Agent Zero”. He signed a $66 million dollar deal, so the joke is on the rest of us, but Gilbert is a career loser. He’ll never win. He just won’t. Too much “all about me” to be a winner.

#3

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 11: Danny Briere  of the Philadelphia Flyers looks to pass the puck against the Colorado Avalanche in a hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center on October 11, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

This little turd came close to winning last spring, until Patrick Kane broke his heart with an overtime goal in Philly that gave the Blackhawks the title. And if there really IS a hockey God somewhere, that’s the closest Danny Briere ever comes to winning. This guy is a combination of Brian Propp-Ken Linseman-Dave Poulin…he might be the biggest prick in the league. The next time he scores a goal when he’s NOT standing on the doorstep will be his 2nd one scoring like that. This dude is a L-O-S-E-R.

#2

May 17, 2010 - Atlanta, GEORGIA, United States - epa02161543 Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe pitches to a New York Mets batter in the first inning of their MLB baseball game in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 17 May 2010.

Wait, Derek Lowe is a champion. How’d he get on the list? He won the World Series for the Red Sox in 2004 when he single-handedly eliminated the Yankees in Game 7 in New York. He doesn’t belong on the list, he’s a W-I-N-N-E-R. My bad.

#2 (left) and #1 (right)

Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco talk during warm-ups before taking on the New England Patriots in their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts September 12, 2010.    REUTERS/Adam Hunger   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

When you find the perfect picture, you go with it. #2 is Terrell Owens (left) and #1 is Chad Johnson (right). You can make book on this: Neither of those guys will EVER win a title. Worst of all? I don’t think it will matter to either one of them. Owens short-armed a few balls last weekend at home vs. Miami. Good news for him? He could just wear that alligator costume to trick or treating on Sunday night. As for Johnson, all you need to know about him is that he changed his name to match his uniform number. (*DORK ALERT*) The next time Chad Johnson is on a team that wins a big game means this: he’ll have ONE more big-game career win than you and I.

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Where will the Ravens be in January?

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Where will the Ravens be in January?

Posted on 28 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Fast forward yourself a couple months to the week following Christmas. You will most likely be experiencing the typical holiday happenings – your kids are complaining about the things Santa did NOT leave under the tree …. your wife is counting down the days until school returns from the seasonal break …. and you’re simply trying to survive such an ordeal.

Oh yeah, and you’re also digesting the Ravens latest win, against the Cleveland Browns, in the final road game of the regular season. It will probably be a little tougher than most of us originally imagined, but beating the Browns will be a mandatory formality.

And, as certain as many parents are looking ahead to the second half of the school year, many of us are looking ahead to some pretty exciting circumstances …..

College football’s biggest bowl games are approaching …..

New Years festivities are being planned …..

Rex Snider is watching his new HAIR as it’s starting to grow …..
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And, the Ravens will be readying for the ultimate arrival of the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale’ …..

Now, bring yourself back to this 28th day of October …..

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

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

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

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

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

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

AFC East

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

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

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

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

AFC North

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

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

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

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

AFC South

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

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

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

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

AFC West

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

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

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

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

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

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

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

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

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

NFC North

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

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

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

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

NFC South

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

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

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

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

NFC West

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

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

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

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

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

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Ravens vs. Bengals  –  5 Keys To The Game

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Ravens vs. Bengals – 5 Keys To The Game

Posted on 19 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, after months of dissecting the New Yorks Jets, followed by an emotionally draining Monday night contest in the Meadowlands, it’s time to get back to SUNDAY football.

The Ravens travel to the Queen City, this afternoon, for a 1pm matchup against the Bengals. It should be another tough, close game …. albeit from a diiferent perspective than the struggle against the Jets. The Bengals will most certainly feature a better passing game, while offering weaker resistance than Gang Green’s defensive attack.

Here are my FIVE KEYS to today’s game …..

1) STOP CEDRIC BENSON
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This was the one thing the intimidating Ravens defense could not achieve, in 2009. Benson rushed for 120 and 117 yards, respectively, in both meetings. And, he broke runs of 20+ yards both times, as well. This cannot happen today.

Cedric Benson’s success is undoubtedly tied to his large, athletic offensive line. Each lineman weighs in excess of 320 pounds and they provided a formidable shield for 100 yard gains, 8 times, in 2009. The Ravens must find a way to stop the running attack – if Benson is successful, again, it will leave the Ravens defense languishing on the field for long drives.

It would be nice to see “Mount” Cody helping to plug up the middle. Perhaps, we’ll see Paul Kruger – who runs around like his hair is on fire, as well. Regardless, they MUST stop Benson.
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2) WATCH RAY RUN
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It’s simple, see Key #1. Just as Cedric Benson succeeded against the Ravens, in 2009, Ray Rice realized lesser success. He managed 69 and 48 yards, respectively, in both games. The second matchup, in Cincinnati, exploits some misleading numbers. Rice had only 12 touches, with an average gain of 4 yards, per carry.

While the improved Ravens passing game will be a factor in today’s game, Ray Rice figures to offer that same ability to grinding positive yardage and keeping the Bengals defense on the field. It’s going to be 86 degrees and humid, in Cincinnati, today. It will undoubtedly be tiring conditions for each team’s defense.
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3) SHUT DOWN CARSON PALMER’S ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
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Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens will make catches in today’s game. That’s fine. I worry more about the likes of Jordan Shipley, Andre’ Caldwell (remember him?) and Jermaine Gresham. Each of these guys offer varying targets for Palmer. And, I’m suspicious of rookie Gresham’s possible success across the middle. He’s a lot BIGGER than Dustin Keller and he’s quite athletic.

With Ray Lewis nursing a sore foot, I’ll be watching the middle pretty closely.
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4) FLACCO OUTGUNS PALMER
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Perhaps, today can be the DAY that Joe Flacco serves notice as the most prolific passer in the AFC-North. He now has a surrounding cast comparable to the likes of Carson Palmer. Translation – NO EXCUSES.

The additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were evident, last week. However, they can STAND OUT today. And, with Todd Heap hurting, we can rely on better backups than names like L.J. Smith and Quinn Sypniewski. Welcome to the show, Ed Dickson. We just might see some fireworks from one of the NFL’s next rockstar tight ends.

But, it rests upon the shoulders (and arm) of Joe Flacco. With Keith Rivers also nursing a sore foot and Jonathan Fanene OUT, the Ravens will likely benefit from a weakened pass rush. Flacco delivers today …..
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5) OUTCOACH ‘EM
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He absolutely did it to Rex Ryan, just 6 nights ago. Today, John Harbaugh is tasked with outsmarting Marvin Lewis in the strategical side of the game. Can it happen? Heck yeah …..

Say what you want, a big part of the Bengals embarrassing performance against New England can be attributed to being OUTCOACHED. Bill Belichick was hellbent on putting the Bengals in an early hole, while removing Cedric Benson from a revamped comeback agenda. It worked perfectly.

Today, Harbaugh & Company will need to have a shrewd strategy as the team enters enemy territory for the 2nd time in as many weeks. It starts with DISCIPLINE, and there is little doubt the Ravens will have that angle covered. Now, lets be smart …..
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Ravens 27 Bengals 24

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Ravens (1-0) @ Bengals (0-1)

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Ravens (1-0) @ Bengals (0-1)

Posted on 18 September 2010 by Derek Arnold

Next up in the “teams whose head coach owes their job to Ray Lewis” are the Cincinnati Bengals. Now we just need the Jacksonville Jaguars (Jack Del Rio) and the 2005-2008 San Francisco 49ers (Mike Nolan) to complete the “#52′s head coach’s tree.” Marvin Lewis’ team is still licking their wounds from that 38-24 drubbing at the hands of the New England Patriots (a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score) in Week 1, and will look to rebound against a team that they had plenty of success against in 2009.

Those 2009 losses to Cincy were especially surprising for the Ravens and their fans not necessarily because of the outcomes, but because of the manner in which the Bengals were victorious. Running back Cedric Benson rad roughshod over B’More’s usually stout run defense, breaking their streak of 40 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher on his way to 120 yards in Week 5, and duplicating the feat with 117 yards just four weeks later. Benson managed just 43 yards on 15 carries in Week 1, but his opportunities were quite limited due to his team getting blown out of the water early and being forced to play catch-up.

The Ravens will be looking for some revenge against Benson Sunday. If rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody is able to suit up (he practiced this week), it will go a long way to exacting said revenge. Along with Haloti Ngata and Cory Redding up front, Benson will be hard pressed to find even a sliver of daylight. Even without Cody, the Ravens did well against the Jets’ vaunted rushing attack last week, as RBs Shonn Green and LaDainian Tomlinson managed 80 yards on 16 carries.

“Well, wait a minute, that’s 5 yards per carry,” you might be saying. The stat is a bit misleading, as Tomlinson ripped off two 21-yard runs in the game. Take away those two, and the numbers drop to 38 yards on 14 carries, a 2.7 ypc average. Of course, you can’t just “take away” big plays – the Ravens need to avoid giving up similar big plays to Benson and Bengals’ “change-of-pace” back Bernard Scott.

Which of course, isn’t to say that stopping the run = Ravens win. Quarterback Carson Palmer has always done well against our Ravens, putting up a career record of 8-3. Even after throwing a pick-6 to Ed Reed last year, Palmer bounced back and led his team to a last-minute game-winning touchdown in Baltimore.

Palmer threw for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns last week in New England, but again – they were in catch-up mode all day after falling behind 31-3. He again has a full compliment of weapons to throw to, including two reality TV stars.

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Along with those two, rookie WR Jordan Shipley is dangerous, and Andre Caldwell (though I ripped Mike Preston earlier this week for bringing him up) is set to return from a groin injury and has hurt the Ravens in the past.

Just as getting Cody back could help the run defense, a return from injury in the secondary could greatly improve the Ravens’ chances Sunday. Lardarius Webb has been removed from the injury report, but is still “working out the kinks,” after ACL surgery. With Webby in there, the much maligned Ravens’ secondary is instantly better. Without him, newcomer Josh Wilson and safety Haruki Nakamura will be forced to line up against the Bengals’ receivers, matchups that favor Cincy.

The Bengals also gave the Ravens fits on defense last year, holding them to 14 and 7 points, respectively, in the two meetings. This despite Ray Rice racking up 143 and 135 yards from scrimmage (mostly receiving). The problem was that Rice was the team’s leading receiver in both games, as cornerbacks Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph gave Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ wideouts fits.

2010 is a new year, though, and now Hall and Joseph have to deal with Anquan “Q” Boldin and former teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who weren’t there last year. Hopefully Housh can also bring some “insider info” to the Ravens in practice this week – the offense and defense could both use all the help they can get after being swept last season. Tom Brady had no trouble finding his wideouts last week, as both Wes Welker (8 catches, 64 yards, 2 TD) and Randy Moss (5, 59, 0) had better days than any Ravens WR had against the Bengals in 2009.

Of course, he’s Tom Brady. While Flacco looked like Brady on occasion last week, skillfully avoiding the Jets’ pressure and converting key 3rd-and-long situations, but looked downright awful at other times, holding the ball too long in the pocket, overthrowing a wide open Le’Ron McClain in the end zone, and throwing from his back foot. To show that he really is ready to step into the next tier of NFL quarterbacks, as so many experts see him doing, Joe needs to start beating quality QBs – not just the likes of Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler – in head-to-head matchups. He has the weapons to do it now, so the time for excuses is over. In his defense, he had a perfect touchdown pass dropped last week (by Todd Heap) and another likely touchdown just flat out missed (by Derrick Mason). But he also underthrew Mason on another deep route, underthrew Boldin from his back foot, and missed Ray Rice on a slant that would have given the Ravens a 1st-and-goal inside the 5. We know he can make the throws. What we need to see now is consistency from #5.

The Ravens have revenge on their minds after being embarrassed by Cincy in 2009. The Bengals have redemption on theirs, after being blown out in Week 1.

I think the Bengals do bounce back this week…just not quite high enough.

Ravens 24 Bengals 20

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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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The Dirty Half-Dozen …..

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The Dirty Half-Dozen …..

Posted on 16 September 2010 by Rex Snider

During yesterday’s AFTERNOON DRIVE, I came across a list of “Most Disliked Athletes In America,” as reported by CNBC. The list was actually compiled through a public survey by the Q Scores Company (www.qscores.com); a firm that conducts a variety of different consumer studies.

I considered broaching the topic during yesterday’s show. However, I was uncomfortable with the list, because it only contained the TOP-6 most disliked athletes and I noticed an immediate distinguishing theme …..
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Hmmm ….. do you notice any similar visual characteristics? Without really looking at the featured “bad guys”, I wasn’t going to broach the topic with my audience. I have a responsibility to myself and YOU when it comes to talking about a subject from an informed viewpoint.

That said, I’m really wrestling with the notion that the half dozen most despised athletes are all African American. And, if the survey is accurate, does racial makeup play a part in it?

Of this group, 4 of the 6 have never been charged with a criminal offense. So, that can’t be a social discriminative factor. While some of these players have an animated streak to their personality, none of them are known for being “dirty” competitors on the field, nor have they been censured for performance enhancing drug usage.

So, what makes them so hated? Is it their flamboyance or self indulgent ways? All of them have egos; some have huge egos. But, an overwhelming amount of pro athletes have egos.

Are they selfish toward fans or charitable causes? I don’t see that, either. Perhaps, it’s their wealth? Nah …. once again, most pro athletes are wealthy.

Hmmm ….. all of them are or were at the top of their respective games within the past decade. Maybe that’s it. However, if that’s the case, how does top billing of the infamous not include Peyton Manning, Albert Pujols, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Ovechkin and Drew Brees?

I’m just asking …..

I’ve taken the time to really think about the athletes who are disliked in our sports society. Of course, I’m relying on personal conversations, negative publicity, public perceptions and simple common sense. I came up with this group …..
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Ben Roethlisberger – I guess women weren’t surveyed? Maybe, the study was done a year ago? Roethlisberger is universally disliked in our sports society, and his infamy really has nothing to do with his play on the field – outside of Baltimore.
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Jeff Gordon – If you’ve never attended a NASCAR event, you’ll simply need to trust me on this one. Jeff Gordon gets bombarded with the most resounding course of BOOS I’ve ever witnessed at a sporting event. And, it happens every single week. He’s never done anything to anyone. He was an “outsider” and he dominated an era. Those days are over, but the HATE lingers on.
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Alex Rodriguez – He, too, was disliked for being the greatest of his generation. But, when the steroid allegations became truth, A’Rod’s popularity among most baseball enthusiasts sank below the Mendoza line. He’s brash, conceited and surly, at times. He’s a guy that opposing fans love to taunt.
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Tom Brady – Here’s a guy who is HATED and we all know it. Is it the envy? He’s done it all …. Super Bowls, movie star looks, smokin’ hot wife. Yet, fans outside of Beantown hate Tom Brady. How do I know? Well, I’ve always liked him. But, if I mention his name on-air or in conversation, the hate starts pouring out of people.
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I suppose these lists can really be taken as pure subjective matter. We see a few of them, annually. Such studies are compiled and released by Forbes, GQ, Mens Daily and others. However, this is my first experience in seeing a list unanimously devoted to one race.

Believe me, I’m not one who hypes bias of any kind, to include racial considerations. When race is arbitrarily injected into issues or recklessly expolited by persons who just want to provide a convenient excuse, people become divided. That’s not my intent.

However, I do think the Q Scores list is questionable and I just felt compelled to write about it.

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History on Ravens’ side after opening win against Jets

Posted on 16 September 2010 by Luke Jones

Mark Sanchez continues to talk like he’s taken too many “hard knocks” to the head, boasting “there’s nothing wrong with going 15-1″ to the New York Post after an embarrassing 74-yard performance on Monday night, but the Ravens (1-0) now put the delusional Jets in the rear-view mirror and shift their focus to the Cincinnati Bengals — and the accompanying Twitter sparring with Chad Ochocinco.

As ugly as it may have been, what does the 10-9 victory mean for the Ravens and their fate in the 2010 season? If history is any indication, good things await.

In reality, a victory in Week 1 counts no more or less than the remaining 15 games on the schedule. But from the time the schedule is released in April, the opening game and opponent is dissected — even obsessed over — for nearly five months, longer than any other game the Ravens could potentially play this season, including the Super Bowl. It means more only because we — fans and media — look forward to it for so long.

However, the team’s first 14 seasons in Baltimore suggests the first game is a strong indicator of how the team will fare for the entire season. The Ravens had previously won six openers, subsequently advancing to the postseason five times. Of the eight times the Ravens fell in Week 1, they made the playoffs just once.

Of course, many variables factor into the Week 1 outcome and its correlation with season-long success, such as the quality of the opponent, the team’s overall health, and whether they start at home or away. In most cases — as is the case around the league — the Ravens won the opener when they were expected to be good and lost when they weren’t.

For perspective, of the 12 teams to advance to the playoffs in 2009, only the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals lost in Week 1. Logically and quite obviously, playoff teams win more often than they lose, so it’s unsurprising to look back at Week 1 success as a fairly accurate predictor in most cases.

Considering most playoff teams will lose somewhere in the range of four to six games and most bad squads will win four to six, the Ravens’ strong Week 1 correlation with the season’s postseason fate is interesting to examine. Of their 14 previous seasons in Baltimore, an opening Ravens win meant playoffs and a loss meant no postseason 86 percent of the time (accurate 12 of 14 years).

As was the case with the Bengals and Cardinals a season ago, losing the opener does not sentence a team for failure, so perhaps the Jets won’t need to muzzle the trash talk just yet (as if they need anyone’s blessing anyway?). The 2003 Super Bowl champion Patriots are the perfect example, finishing with a 14-2 record after losing 31-0 to the Bills in Week 1. Buffalo finished 6-10 despite the shocking victory over the eventual champs.

A look back at the Ravens’ history in Week 1 reveals several teams with high expectations who disappointed after a season-opening loss and a couple that laid the groundwork for great seasons with a surprising victory to begin the year.

The Ravens’ opening opponent and result is listed below with their final record and postseason fate listed in parentheses:

1996 Oakland W (4-12, missed playoffs)
1997 Jacksonville L (6-9-1, missed playoffs)
1998 Pittsburgh L (6-10, missed playoffs)
1999 @St. Louis L (8-8, missed playoffs)
2000 @Pittsburgh W (12-4, won Super Bowl)
2001 Chicago W (10-6, earned wild-card berth)
2002 @Carolina L (7-9, missed playoffs)
2003 @Pittsburgh L (10-6, won AFC North)
2004 @Cleveland L (9-7, missed playoffs)
2005 Indianapolis L (6-10, missed playoffs)
2006 @Tampa Bay W (13-3, won AFC North)
2007 @Cincinnati L (5-11, missed playoffs)
2008 Cincinnati W (11-5, earned wild-card berth and advanced to AFC Championship)
2009 Kansas City W (9-7, earned wild-card berth)
2010 @New York Jets W (???)

The inaugural 1996 team was the only one not to qualify for the postseason after opening with a victory. In contrast, the 2003 Ravens won the franchise’s first AFC North title despite a humbling 34-15 defeat to the Steelers at Heinz Field in rookie Kyle Boller’s first start.

Expectations were high in 2004, 2005, and 2007, but the Ravens laid a Week 1 egg in each case, setting the table for disappointing seasons in which they missed the playoffs. However, nobody thought the 2008 Ravens — with rookie head coach John Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco — would go on to an 11-5 season and an appearance in the conference championship game, but their bruising 17-10 victory over the Bengals showed what was to come.

Taking a deeper look at the Ravens’ Week 1 history might cause fans to book their hotels and airfare for the Dallas area in the first week of February after the win at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday night. The only other times the Ravens have begun the season with a road victory were 2000 and 2006.

In 2006, the Ravens had moderate expectations after the trade for veteran quarterback Steve McNair, but a dominating 27-0 victory at Tampa Bay was the first step to a 13-3 record, the best regular season record in franchise history.

And what followed in the weeks and months after the Ravens’ 16-0 victory at Three Rivers Stadium to begin the 2000 campaign? I think you remember that story.

In reality, the 2010 version of the Ravens is a different team with no connection to previous seasons, other than the ageless Ray Lewis leading the defense for the 15th straight year. Nearly 23 percent of the players on the current 53-man roster played elsewhere in 2009.

But if the team’s history in Week 1 provides an accurate window to what lies ahead for Baltimore, Monday night was a far more beautiful sight than what the ugly 10-9 win might have indicated to a national TV audience.

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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 …..
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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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