Tag Archive | "Chad Ochocinco"

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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.”

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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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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 vs. Bengals

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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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Ravens, Rants and Rankings – week 5

Posted on 15 October 2009 by kevinpb

Cincinnati 17 – Ravens 14. Yuk! Well Ravens, you played a stinko! There was nothing of any merit in your effort this week. The Bengals dominated you on both sides of the ball, and I am sure you will point to late penalties as a reason for your defeat, but you lost the game long before that final drive. After the disappointment of last week and before they go against a red hot Minnesota team next week, Coach Harbaugh needs to get a hold of this team and set the course straight or we could be looking at being 3-3 going into the bye week.
Offensively, Ray Rice came to play. His touchdown on the swing pass from Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty. Joe Flacco did not have a great day and was 22-31 for 186 yards 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Nothing awful here, but the interceptions are mounting. Did anybody see Derrick Mason on Sunday. Joe Flacco sure didn’t. Michael Oher did a nice job at left tackle, but I think our offense was handicapped by a poor game plan. I am all for striking balance between running and throwing the ball, but on Sunday when we threw the ball we took very few shots down the field. I did not understand the reluctance to throw the ball down the field. Aside from a late throw down the seam to Kelley Washington and an attempt at Mark Clayton down the side line that was just missed, Flacco took no shots down the field. The Bengals played a lot of cover 2 which kept 2 safeties back, and when we dumped the ball off they flew to the ball.
Defensively, Cincinnati did enough at the line of scrimmage to keep us off balance and open up holes for Cedric Benson to run through. The Ravens, owners of one of the most overrated stats in all of football, finally let one back rush for 100 yards in a game. This stat has hung like an albatross around this football team. I understand what it symbolizes, but in the real world it is totally meaningless. I remember last year the Giants ran all over the Ravens with 3 different backs but because 1 of those backs did not accumulate 100 yards personally, the record remained in tact. It is meaningless, it is good to get passed it.
The real problem with the defense is 2 fold. We cannot consistently pressure the quarterback and our cornerbacks are not playing up to expectations. Great cover corners can hide a lack of a pass rush and vice versa, but when both aspects our performing under par, then you are asking for trouble. The next tackle Washington or Foxworth makes will be their first. Now they will try and pull you down, they will throw their bodies at the defenders legs but neither one of them will man up and make a tackle, wrapping up and driving through the ball carrier. They are very disappointing. Our secondary as a whole seems to have a problem locating the ball or finding the ball in the air. After Ed Reed took the interception to the house the next series fully illustrated the problems plaguing this defense. Palmer back to pass and moved around the pocket to extend the play far longer they it should have been throws the ball down the Baltimore sideline. The ball is caught by Chris Henry as Foxworth is running side by side with him. You can’t tell me our bench didn’t let him know the ball was coming, but he never looked for the ball. Henry catches it and takes it to the 4 yard line. This was a chance for us to make a statement and we let them right back in the game by allowing this big play. Not acceptable.
Ray Lewis is a Hall of Famer, no doubt, but the hit he laid on Chad Ocho Cinco was totally unnecessary. Not only that, but it was stupid. The last 2 games I have gotten the impression that this team is teetering on the edge. They remind me more of the team that melted down in Detroit a few years back and the team that went bezerk against New England 2 years ago, then the professional workmanlike team they like to portray. Just what does “play like a Raven” mean anyway?

Rants

The Drive 15 years later – Denver beat New England Sunday by holding the Patriots scoreless in the second half and making 2 long drives in the game to tie the score late. Kyle Orton does his best John Elway imitation taking the Broncos 98 yards late in the 4th quarter to tie the game. Orton was confident and strong in the pocket mixing the throw and run effectively. There haven’t been many drives better then this one in the history of the game. Raise your hands all of you who saw this happening in Denver. A journeyman quarterback and an unproven rookie have the Broncos at 5-0 and climbing. That is what makes this game so great.

Who’s better – Last week the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals faced off. The game’s best two receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson, were on the field. It was a really good game in the second half, the Cardinals held on for the victory with a last second goal line stand. The Cardinals built a large lead and the Texans were battling back most of the second half. On the touchdown drive to make it 28-21 late in the game, Andre Johnson caught a ball down the middle of the field at about the 5 yard line. Three different Cardinals tried to stop him from getting in the end zone. Johnson ran over all three to score. The catch itself was pedestrian, but the 5 yard run to get the ball in the end zone was a thing of beauty. Try and catch it on replays or on line it is truly amazing.

Baseball playoffs – The New York Yankees are a good baseball team, and probably the odds on favorite to win the World Series this year. Major League Baseball maintains a hierarchy of the “haves” and “have-nots” that caters to the large market teams. They are good enough to win on their own but when the umpires conspire to make calls that slopes the playing field even more, it casts the game in a bad light. The umpires are paid to get the calls right. The game should be embarrassed by the lack of professionalism displayed. As bad as the calls were in the Yankee series were, was there a prettier sight then watching Boston loose it’s third game in a row with Jonathan Papelbon loosing the series clincher. Papelbon will tell anyone who listens how good he is. I want to personally thank the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for sticking that smugness up his…

How Pompous can you be? Early last week the story broke that Rush Limbaugh was part of a group looking to buy the St. Louis Rams. I am not a Rush Limbaugh fan and always thought that he was a pompous windbag, but regardless of what your think about Rush the radio host, this country affords him the opportunity to do business in any avenue he decides to pursue. The fact that he is a polarizing figure and a lot of people don’t share his views should not be factored into whether he should be allowed to pursue ownership of a NFL franchise. This is business not a Senate confirmation hearing for a sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The fact that this league employs some reformed convicted criminals, and has always prided itself in giving those deserving a second chance, would support the position that this man is not good enough to own a franchise because of his ideas and opinions, is two faced and pompous.

WJFK disaster – Coming out of the Ravens-Bengals game and waiting to exit the parking lot we were listening to several post game shows. On WJFK, the panel consisted of Spencer Falou, Mike Flynn, Gary Stein, Jeremy Conn and Anita Marks. I joined the conversation in mid stream but it was clear they were discussing the problems the Ravens are having in the secondary and Chris McAlister’s name was being bantered about. The discussion was about whether he could help the Ravens or not and whether he would be brought back. They were discussing his physical ability and health and dancing around some of the problems he had that led to his dismissal from the team. The guys on the panel were beating up Anita Marks who was defending Chris McAlister and the idea of taking a look at him as an option. She was getting beat up pretty good and was becoming heated. I don’t think it is news in Baltimore any longer that Chris McAlister is believed to have a drinking problem. I am paraphrasing but Marks stated that it should not be considered a big deal, that there are airline pilots that take bong hits before they get on a plane and fly passengers to destinations. There was silence. The show then went to break and when they came back on Anita Marks was replaced by Scott Garceau. Nothing was said, but that couldn’t have been a coincidence.

Rankings

1. New York Giants – On auto pilot, dismissed Raiders with ease. Most complete team across the board. Big game against the Saints this week.
2. New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees is otherworldly, but Greg Williams and Darren Sharper are the real difference.
3. Indianapolis Colts – Haven’t missed a beat without Dungy, defense is lightning quick and still playing without Bob Sanders.
4. Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson has been quiet for 3 weeks, Jared Allen has not.
5. Denver Broncos – I still don’t know how they are doing it, but I am a believer, right now it is their year.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – playing well and have their star quarterback again.
7. Atlanta Falcons – coming off the loss to New England and a bye week, the throttle a good 49ers team. They are improving weekly.
8. Chicago Bears – Since the week 1 debacle, Jay Cutler has been pretty impressive.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – see Denver Bronco comments. It might be there year.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Wasn’t pretty but they beat the Lions. They still aren’t quite right, but still a dangerous team.
11. New England Patriots – they aren’t the dominant team they once were, but still always a tough out. Need to get defense straightened out.
12. Baltimore Ravens – I think they have a problem on defense, but they are still a good football team, tough game this week though.
13. Seattle Seahawks – I like this team and with Hasselback returning they will make a run at the NFC west title.
14. San Francisco 49ers – Michael Crabtree signed. Let’s see if he can provide another option on offense. I don’t think Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are enough.
15. San Diego Chargers – playing for their season in week 6. They can’t afford to loose, should make for a compelling contest.
16. Miami Dolphins – Great win against the Jets. Seems like they have righted the ship. Chad Henne has been impressive.
17. New York Jets – Rex Ryan is great for sound bites. Calls out his defense after loss to Dolphins. He is a real chip off the old block.
18. Dallas Cowboys – had to go to overtime to beat the Chiefs. Still can’t get passed the fact that this team should be better then they show.
19. Green Bay Packers – off last week, hope they found some offensive lineman to protect Aaron Rodgers.
20. Arizona Cardinals – good win against Houston Texans. Goal line stand at end was terrific. They are showing signs of life.
21. Houston Texans – played Cardinals tough, but got behind to much to come back all the way. Andre Johnson is a beast.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars – what a stinker against the Seahawks. That had to be a long plane ride home.
23. Tennessee Titans – I know they are not this bad. I think we are one more loss away from the Vince Young era, part II.
24. Detroit Lions – played the Steelers tough. Jim Schwartz has made them a better team.
25. Carolina Panthers – Maybe Beason should call out Julius Peppers every week.
26. Washington Redskins – the players are asking for amnesty for their head coach. This is going to end bad.
27. Cleveland Browns – set football back 50 years in their game with the Bills last week. At least they won.
28. Buffalo Bills – See above and they lost. Fans want to toss out Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – Played with passion against the Cowboys, they are still competitive.
30. Oakland Raiders – their quarterback sucks, and their coach may go to jail. Other then that, everything is great in Oakland.
31. St Louis Rams – really bad, only reason they do not come in last is because I like Kyle Boller and still route for him.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – yuk, where’s John Gruden when you need him.

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Bengals-Ravens Notebook: 100-yard streak snapped, Ed Reed strikes again

Posted on 11 October 2009 by Luke Jones

– The Baltimore rush defense hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in nearly three years before the Bengals’ Cedric Benson ended the streak at 39 games on Sunday.

Benson’s 28-yard touchdown run pushed him over the century mark while also giving the Bengals a 10-7 lead in the third quarter. The former Texas Longhorn rushed 27 times for 120 yards in the Bengals’ 17-14 victory over the Ravens.

“It sucks,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said about allowing a 100-yard rusher. “We definitely try to stop the run first, and basically, we didn’t do that today. We’ve got to go back and fix it, and hopefully do better this week.”

Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson was the last opponent to eclipse the 100-yard mark against the Baltimore defense before Benson on Sunday. Johnson’s 120-yard day took place in Kansas City on Dec. 10, 2006.

– Ed Reed continued to cultivate a Hall of Fame resume on Sunday, picking off Carson Palmer in the second quarter and returning it 52 yards for the first score of the game. It was Reed’s sixth career interception return for a touchdown, a franchise record.

It was the 45th interception of his eight-year career. His 45 interceptions and 1,213 interception return yards rank first among all active players in the NFL since 2002, Reed’s rookie season.

“It means nothing if you lose at the end of the day,” Reed said. “When you lose, everything else is out the window. Individual stuff doesn’t matter at the end of the day.”

Including the postseason, Reed has scored 13 touchdowns in his career. He is also the only player in NFL history to score touchdowns off of an interception, a blocked punt, a punt return, and a fumble recovery.

– Despite the offense scoring only seven points on the day, it was another sterling performance by second-year running back Ray Rice. The shifty back registered 143 yards from scrimmage against Cincinnati with 69 coming on the ground and 74 receiving yards (a new career high).

His 48-yard catch and run to the end zone looked to be the decisive blow for the Ravens before Palmer and the Bengals drove 80 yards in the final two minutes for the winning touchdown. Rice is averaging 114.4 net yards per game through the first five weeks of the season.

– Palmer was brilliant on Cincinnati’s final drive, but the Bengals were aided by three crucial Baltimore penalties.  Defensive back Chris Carr was flagged for illegal contact, linebacker Ray Lewis was called for unnecessary roughness on a violent helmet-to-helmet hit on Chad Ochocinco, and Frank Walker’s pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-16 gave the Bengals a fresh set of downs at the Baltimore 20-yard line.

Following the Walker flag, Palmer connected with Andre Caldwell for the game-winning 20-yard touchdown.

“I felt like I went around him and batted the ball down, but we haven’t watched the film yet, so I could be inaccurate,” Walker said about the questionable call.

– Quarterback Joe Flacco’s 186 passing yards moved him past Steve McNair into third place in team history with 4,260 career yards through the air.

– Wide receiver Mark Clayton passed Qadry Ismail into third place for all-time receiving yards in team history. The fifth-year wideout has 2,849 yards in his career.

– Derrick Mason did not record a catch for the Ravens offense, making it the first time since Oct. 15, 2006 that the veteran receiver did not have at least one reception for the Baltimore offense.

– Tight end and special teams player Edgar Jones left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. His was the only reported injury for the Ravens.

– The Ravens’ inactives were John Beck (third quarterback), Jalen Parmele, Prescott Burgess, Oniel Cousins, Jared Gaither, Tony Curtis, Kelly Talavou, and Paul Kruger.

– The Ravens (3-2) will travel to Minnesota to take on the undefeated Vikings (5-0, first place in the NFC North) at the Metrodome next Sunday.

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Ravens-Bengals

Posted on 09 October 2009 by Chris Pika

Now that everyone from the Ravens players down to the fans has finally put the New England game in the rear-view mirror, the suddenly dangerous Bengals come to Baltimore in a game for the AFC North lead.

Very few people could have predicted Cincinnati’s early rise to the top of the division, and the good folks in Vegas seem to think Cincy is a pretender, as they have the Bengals as a 8 1/2-point underdog.

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 week, the Ravens went to the air a lot against the Patriots, and came very close to pulling a tough game out of the fire. QB Joe Flacco cooly drove the Ravens the length of the field in the final moments, but a dropped pass stalled the comeback. What have the Ravens learned from their mistakes last week?

Offensively, the Ravens in my opinion, were out of balance against the Pats. Running the ball only 17 times, despite Flacco’s success passing the ball, put Baltimore into a shootout game with a team that likes to see the scoreboard numbers turning.

The balance needs to return this week as the run game should keep the Bengals from rushing the passer consistently. If the Ravens stay in a primarily passing offense, Cincy D-line will pin their ears back trying to pressure Flacco out of the pocket and into mistakes. They have sacked the quarterback 12 times (8 times alone by Antwan Odom).

If Baltimore can control the line of scrimmage and take huge chunks of clock off each time it has the ball, the better chance the Ravens have of coming away with the victory. The Bengals are suspect defending runs on right tackle and end (5.24 and 5.54 average yards per run for opponents, respectively).

The O-line has to keep Flacco upright (he was hit 10 times last week and sacked twice) and open the holes for Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain. First down is the key as Baltimore is third in the NFL in first-down yardage (6.95 yards per play). Rice is the only NFL leader in first downs (fifth overall with 20) who has an equal number rushing and receiving (10 each).

The Baltimore defense is worth watching, but not for the usual reasons. The group has struggled against the pass because of not getting a push on the opponent QB and haven’t been the best tacklers in the open field. The Ravens struggled against RB Darren Sproles in San Diego when he got to the outside after making catches. Cincy is no longer a straight-ahead run team that the Ravens could stop with their strength up the middle. Cedric Benson will carry the load again for Cincinnati (tied for fourth in the NFL in rush yards), but the Bengals like to bounce runs to the outside (especially to right end, where they lead the NFL in plays to that area).

QB Carson Palmer has spread the love around to nine different receivers in the first four games. Chad Ochocinco has caught 17 passes for 258 yards and three TDs to lead the way. He’s threatened to make the Ravens defenders “kiss the baby,” but the bigger worry is Palmer’s penchant for finding open receivers underneath on third down, especially against a heavy rush. Ed Reed will need a big day against the Bengals receivers and Palmer. Ray Lewis will also need to stay out of traffic intended to slow him down to make plays.

PREDICTION: This will be a much-tighter game than the oddsmakers would have you believe. Marvin Lewis’ group is legit, and the Ravens will scrap for a home victory. Points will be surprisingly hard to come by, as I expect the Ravens to go back to a more grind-it-out style on offense. A better pash rush by the Ravens will lead to a pair of turnovers, and it will be enough. Ravens 24, Bengals 20.

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Ravens vs. Bengals

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Bengals (3-1) @ Ravens (3-1)

Posted on 09 October 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Bengals

Ravens vs. Bungles Stats

The Ravens look to bounce back this week after their bitter loss to the Patriots, with the division co-leader (?!) Bengals coming to M&T Bank Stadium. Cincy came out of the gates this season appearing to be much less Bungle-riffic than last year (much to the surprise of anybody who watched them on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer). Were it not for a freak last-play touchdown by Brandon Stokely of Denver in Week 1, the Bengals would be 4-0. Incredible, I know. They’ve since knocked off Green Bay (at Lambeau), Pittsburgh, and Cleveland (although they nearly lost to, and then tied, the Browns). These aren’t last year’s Bengals, folks, and the Ravens will have a game on their hands come Sunday.

Of course, the main distraction/storyline coming into this one revolves around #85 for Cincy, Chad Ochocinco. Eight-five, so far this week, has:

  • Challenged T-Sizzle to a boxing match;
  • Promised that Fabian Washington and Dominique Foxworth would “Kiss da Baby” (85 slang for “its over”);
  • Asked his twitter followers if he should start a fight with Ray Lewis in pre-game warm ups;
  • Threatened to interrupt Lewis’ pre-game dance; and
  • Said that his celebration, should he score a TD, would be an impression of “Ricky Bobby,” from the movie “Talladega Nights.”

Think what you want of Chad, but that guy knows how to stir the pot. The most curious of the above threats/promises is the “Ricky Bobby” celebration. In case you haven’t seen the movie, Ricky Bobby is a NASCAR driver. Bobby crashes his car, and jumps out mistakenly believing he is on fire. In his panic, he rips off all his clothes except for his tighty-whitey underwear and his racing helmet, and runs around the track like an idiot. So, Chad…are you going to run around with nothing on but your helmet and jock strap? Please, spare us.

The only thing you’ll have in common with Ricky Bobby come Sunday is broken bones! (again, I apologize if you haven’t seen the movie)

Jean Reed

Moving on.

Part of the reason for the Bengals’ resurgence is the fact that Carson Palmer is back, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is no longer under center. Palmer has not quite played like his old self, but he is slowly getting there. His 75.2 rating through 4 games this season is well below his career average of 88.1, and he is completing only 57.7 percent of his throws. Palmer, though, is a career Raven killer, having compiled a 6-3 record against B’More as a starter.

Another weapon emerging for the Bengals’ offense is RB Cedric Benson, who is running like nobody has since Rudi Johnson’s heydey (who dey?) in Cincy. Benson is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, easily the best of his 5-year career.

Whatever. Nobody runs the ball on the Ravens’ #1 ranked run D, and Benson will be no different. This game, as all Ravens games seem to, will come down to the ability of Greg Mattison’s defense to put pressure on Palmer, and of his much maligned secondary to cover the Bengals talented group of receivers, which also includes Chris Henry, Laverneus Coles, and Andre Caldwell.

The Ravens’ #3 offense will also have their work cut out for them, against an improved Cincinnati defense. Bengals’ DE Antwan Odom is tied for the league lead with 8 sacks, and as a team the Bengals are tied for 4th in the NFL. Not the best news considering the Ravens may be without starting LT Jared Gaither. Gaither, who was carted off the field in New England, said on Wednesday that he expected to be ready by gametime, but did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. If he cannot go, rookie Michael Oher will again protect Joe Flacco’s blind side, and Marshal Yanda will start at RT. Although I personally think Oher can handle any pass rusher in the league 1-on-1, the Ravens will likely give him some help against Odom. Don’t be surprised if Cam Cameron uses less 4-receiver formations this week, instead keeping a tight end in to help block, a la 2008.

All the more reason to…say it with me Ravens fans…RUN THE BALL! Cameron was spouting off some nonsense this week about how football has changed, and running the ball doesn’t mean championships any more and blah, blah, blah. Sorry Cam, but we’re not buying it. That lopsided offense we saw against the Patriots was frustrating to watch, especially with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee both producing like they are. Hopefully the Ravens will show a more balanced attack moving forward. The Bengals are allowing 4.2 yards per rush this season, and heavy doses of Rice and McGahee (and maybe even a dash of Le’Ron McClain?) should be on the menu Sunday, if for no other reason than to keep the Bengals’ pass rush honest.

The Ravens’ special teams are going to see a shake-up this week. After his struggles (which included the costly “krumble”) against the Patriots, Chris Carr will be replaced by Ledarius Webb on kick offs. Webb is an exciting player, a rookie 3rd-round draft choice, who can hopefully inject some life into the team’s return game. He had some issues with ball security in the preseason, so we’ll assume the coaching staff has corrected those problems if they are trusting him on Sundays now – it’s something to keep an eye on though. Carr will still handle punt return duties.

Special teams will also have to cope with the loss of their leader, Brendon Ayanbadejo, who underwent season ending quadriceps surgery this week. The Ravens resigned LB Prescott Burgess, who was a key special teams contributor for them last year and early this season before being traded to make room for TE Tony Curtis.

The Bengals may be a team on the rise, but the Ravens are a team already near the top. They will be playing with an extra edge after feeling like they had a win stolen from them last week. The Ravens will hold serve at M&T Bank Stadium, and take over sole possession of first place in the AFC North through 5 weeks.

Ravens 30 Bengals 20

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norman

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (10/9/09)

Posted on 09 October 2009 by Jack McManus

9:44-

Andy Behrens from Yahoo! Sports comes on to offer his weekly fantasy advice. He tells Drew to start Tim Hightower and Ronnie Brown over Sammy Morris and LenDale White. He states that Jerome Harrison is a good pick-up that is still available in many leagues. He also advises Drew to start Steve Breaston over Pierre Garcon. He calls the Bengals defense and the Broncos defense good plays for the rest of the season.

9:42-

The talk about the referees continues this morning as a caller brings up the fact that no Ravens were fined despite their comments after the game. He believes that the league may have taken the point that some of the rules may need reviewing.

9:08-

Rex Hoggard from the Golf Channel is next up. He talks about the ongoing Presidents Cup. Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker led the US team yesterday to a one-point lead. He also talks about how Greg Norman has effectively put aside his current distractions to help lead the international team.

norman
  
8:30-

Drew and Glenn do their weekly Picks and Comment segment.

Drew’s Picks

Bills 24 Browns 13

Redskins 17 Panthers 10

Steelers 30 Lions 12

Cowboys 24 Chiefs 14

Giants 24 Raiders 6

Eagles 34 Bucs 16

Vikings 38 Rams 20

49ers 23 Falcons 20

Cardinals 30 Texans 27

Broncos 23 Patriots 20 (OT)

Seahawks 17 Jaguars 13

Colts 28 Titans 20

Jets 20 Dolphins 10

Rhode Island 24 Towson 13

Navy 40 Rice 21

Wake Forest 32 Maryland 21

Ravens 24 Bengals 17

Glenn’s Picks

Bills 13 Browns 10

Panthers 17 Redskins 6

Steelers 27 Lions 14

Cowboys 24 Chiefs 20

Giants 31 Raiders 7

Eagles 23 Bucs 10

Vikings 35 Rams 10

Falcons 27 49ers 24

Cardinals 34 Texans 30

Patriots 24 Broncos 13

Jaguars 20 Seahawks 16

Titans 26 Colts 20

Jets 23 Dolphins 16

Towson 10 Rhode Island 9

Navy 34 Rice 17

Wake Forest 30 Maryland 27

Ravens 24 Cincinnati 16

8:19-

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is on to talk some football with Drew. The first topic of discussion is the signing of Michael Crabtree. Florio explains that Crabtree only hurt himself with his extended holdout.

 crabtree

Florio next talks about the rules that place protection on certain positions in the NFL. He states that quarterbacks are in a very vulnerable position when throwing the ball and that every QB needs to be protected, not just superstars like Tom Brady. Florio moves on to the Tennessee Titans’ poor start. He brings up the loss of Jim Schwartz and Albert Haynesworth. He explains that the team could lose all hope early in the season if it does not turn it around soon.

8:09-

The Bengals color man, Dave Lapham is the next guest. Lapham first talks about the improvements to the defensive side of the ball. He mentions the addition of Mike Zimmer as a key move. He next moves on to the resurgence of Cedric Benson. He talks about how Benson has seized his second chance and excelled with his new team. Lapham next describes the Bengals current injury problems. The team’s official injury report can be found here.

7:11-

Dannell Ellerbe, Ravens linebacker makes an early morning appearance. Ellerbe explains that he enjoys watching Chad Ochocinco play and it will be a big experience playing against him. He talks about the pressure on him after losing the first game in which he had significant playing time.

ellerbe

 

6:30-

Jeff FitzGerald, the Bengals linebacker coach is up early to come on with Drew. FitzGerald held the same position with the Ravens from 2004-2007.

fitzgerald 

He starts off by talking about the improved defensive unit for the Bengals. He explains that the group finished last year strong and the team has carried that momentum into this season. He next describes the odd finish to the Bengals loss to the Broncos in week 1. He states that the team had good coverage on for the pass. He calls the play a learning experience for the team. The team remained focused the week afterwards and had a bounce back win at Green Bay. FitzGerald goes on to compliment Cam Cameron’s use of different players in the Ravens offense. He believes that Ravens offense is the the Bengals will have faced so far.

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (10/8/09)

Posted on 08 October 2009 by Jack McManus

9:21-

Wake Forest play-by-play voice Stan Cotten is up to talk with Drew. He starts off by telling how the team is currently feeling good about where it is. He explains that the coaching staff is very pleased withthe offensive numbers put up so far. He admits that Maryland has had the Demon Deacons number recently. Cotten hopes that the team will come together in order to finish the season strong.

8:42-

Mike Frenz from the Maryland Stadium Authority makes an appearance. Frenz talks about the idea of building a new outdoor stadium in Baltimore, primarily for soccer. He explains that the Maryland Stadium Authority plans, builds, and manages stadiums in the state. A study is being done to determine the cost for building a new stadium along with the amount of money that will be brought in. This will determine whether or not building a new stadium is practical.

8:26-

Brian Billick comes on for his weekly talk with Drew. He will be calling the Washington-Carolina game this weekend. He begins by talking about the 0-4 Titans. Brian still believes the Titans are a good football team. He points out that the team is not much different from the team that started out so fast last season. Brian next talks about the impact Mike Nolan has had on the Denver Broncos defense. Finally, Brian speaks about the protection given to NFL quarterbacks. He states that the roughing the passer penalty on Terrell Suggs this past weekend was a bad one. The rules is not the problem in this case, but the use of it. The protection of players is a very important point for the league.

7:00-

Tavares Gooden wakes up early to talk on the show. He talks about how he celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday. He goes on to state that he has a great chance to play this weekend. He explains that his not playing this past week was a precautionary measure. He calls his relationship with Ray Lewis “tremendous.” He also discusses the resurgence of the Miami Hurricanes. Next, he explains that he does not understand why players such as Chad Ochocinco talk trash during the week leading up to a game. Tavares finishes the segment by giving us a Ray Lewis impression.

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"STEWPID" .... Comes To The World Of Twitter

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“STEWPID” …. Comes To The World Of Twitter

Posted on 07 October 2009 by Rex Snider

At 42 years old, I realize I’m starting to turn the pages on the subsequent chapters of my life. I’m nowhere near cashing in on my AARP privileges, but I’m starting to develop some tendencies that would indicate my tolerance for childish jocularity is waning …..

It’s not that I’m opposed to GOOD juvenile humor – I’ve got “Dumb & Dumber,” “The Waterboy” and “Old School” on my list of ALL-TIME CLASSICS. And, on a good night, I’ll leave a flaming bag of dog-poo on the neighbor’s step, without thinking twice.

I’m good with practical jokes and being umm ….. a smartass.

But, I do think there is a time and place.

To that extent, I’m not so sure our modern-day venues of communication – the instantaneous thoroughfares of public baring – are the places for ignorant or self-deprecating humor, especially if you’re not acting !!!!

Look at the way we communicate with each other on a daily basis. Then, look back at how we did it just five short years ago …..

Very few people sent TEXT MESSAGES …..

FACEBOOK FRIENDS – or enemies – did not exist …..

TWITTER was nothing more than a nerd’s dream …..

Today, most of us are heavily invested in one or more of these forms of communication. They’ve become our social means of collaborating with others.

The texting remains a simple means of messaging. However, Facebook and Twitter offer us the ability to devote some personality and character into a publicly shared setting. And, as with many things in life, some of us make potentially poor decisions in such excursions.

It’s funny when Jim Carrey makes a fool of himself in a movie. It’s also funny when Chris Rock stands in front of thousands and playfully dissects race. And, there is even a sadly funny tone to Dave Letterman’s confession of sex with co-workers – while poking fun of himself for being so selfish.

But, these episodes of laughter have some common traits – the actors are just that ….. ACTORS. It’s a public persona, of sorts. And, each actor is paid for their efforts. Even in Letterman’s case, he’s getting paid as he lays it out there.

Heck, they’re making more money than most of us can fathom.

Yet, the very public displays of humor, character or simply “screwing around” on Twitter and Facebook are much different. In fact, I think some people will ultimately damage their future reputations by what they’re currently doing or writing, on a daily basis.

And, they’re not even being paid for it.

Of course, I’m talking about pro athletes.

Yesterday, I read a pretty interesting article on the Baltimore Sun’s website. It regarded some Twitter posts by Bengals’ receiver, Chad Ochocinco (Johnson), and the Ravens’ Fabian Washington.

You Gotta Love This Guy – He’s Different !!!!

First, let me say I understand Twitter and its informal, lighthearted structure. I also realize an author has a limited amount of letters/numerals to work with …..

That said, upon reading Ochocinco’s and Washington’s “TWEETS,” I was left scratching my head. I wasn’t offended or disappointed, in any possible way. That would be ridiculously hypocritical, based on some of the things I’ve done.

However, I do look at both guys as being pretty juvenile for no purpose other than BEING PRETTY JUVENILE.

Does This Guy Really Crave Attention, Or Is He Misunderstood ???

The following conversation, between Ochocinco and Washington has been copied directly from the Sun’s article – they copied it directly from Twitter …..

Chad Ochocinco (OGOchoCinco) to Fabian Washington (FABEWASH31) at about 10:30 p.m. Monday night: “bruh you in trouble Sunday, you gone kiss da baby, this ain’t a threat it’s a promise. I’m shutting the front door on you!!!!!”

Ochocinco to Domonique Foxworth (Foxworth24): “cmon son, how you cover me with a last name like fox<—you ain’t Vivica son! It’s on Sunday,I’m not being cocky, i’m that good!”

Washington to Ochocinco: “trust me home boy it’s going down. Believe dat”

Ochocinco to Washington: “don’t do that, don’t talk back son, know yo competition son, this ain’t madden, you really hit to see me”

Ochocinco to Washington: “tell Vivica Foxworth he better just sit this game out!!!”

Washington to Ochocinco: “this water running up hill. Str8 pressure”

Ochocinco to Washington: “huh!!! Shut the front door!! You betta pray you got help every down, watch the clevland film, 2 man every down<—WTF!!!”

Washington to Ochocinco: “really if u watched the film u can c I had no help. But good night it’s past my bed time”

I don’t really care what Chad Ochocinco or Fabian Washington do with their time. And, I really don’t care if they damage or destroy their respective images. For the record, I don’t think the above “Tweets” are damaging to respective images, at all.

How Can You Possibly Damage This Image …..


But, I do wonder what inspires a grown man to write and act like a teenager.

I have a 13 year old daughter – the Ochocinco/Washington conversation honestly looks like something that would occur between some of her peers. And, that would be perfectly understandable. They’re kids.

If I’m acting like a prude, so be it. But, I don’t see the likes of Donovan McNabb, Wes Welker, Philip Rivers, Patrick Willis or Joe Flacco posting public messages that obliterate the English language.

And, yeah, they’re just a handful of guys who came to mind.

If the Ochocinco/Washington exchange was a private conversation, nobody would know about it. But, they posted their scripture of silliness for the world to see.

I’m certain this happens every day – between much more relevant personalities. But, it still doesn’t excuse their recklessness.

It’s a simple set of standards, and we all know the risks …..

You can go to a Fells Point bar, drink a few gallons of beer and act like a complete jackass, while walking a few blocks of Broadway. When it’s over, it’s likely over.

But, you can also logon to Twitter, while totally sober, and type some ill-advised messages. Once you hit “enter” it can be viewed by the suits in a Manhattan tower, as well as a few sherpas, taking a break at their base camp, in the Himalayas.

There is no taking it back …..

Look, I made “sum priddy stewpid mistakes wen I wuz 20sumtin 2 – but da world didn’t c it” ….. you know what I mean?

Unfortunately, Chad Ochocinco and Fabian Washington won’t have such a luxury. Perhaps, this is the price paid for celebrity.

This Guy Is A Celebrity …..

Better yet, it’s just the potential price paid for acting like a teenager on the internet.

The world is always watching …..

And, while I’m at it, please remember to follow WNST on Twitter. In fact, this blog will make it’s way there !!!!

Finally, I just want to take an opportunity to offer some hospitality, this weekend. The Cincinnati Bengals will be in town. If Chad is looking for something to do, he’s warmly welcome and invited to our home for dinner, on Saturday night. He can hangout with my daughter and her friends – they can TWITTER, TEXT AND FACEBOOK …. and play video games.

Note to Chad – just bring some popcorn !!!!

Oh, that’s right, wrong guy ……

The invitation is still open. We’d love to have you, Chad !!!!

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