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Ravens running game trying to fight off reality check against Jets

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Ravens running game trying to fight off reality check against Jets

Posted on 21 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Even after a difficult overtime defeat in Chicago last weekend, you’d almost excuse the members of the Ravens’ running game for breathing a sigh of relief.

On pace to become the worst rushing offense in the 18-year history of the franchise, the Ravens ran for a season-high 174 yards — which included Ray Rice’s season-long run of 47 yards — in the 23-20 overtime defeat to the Bears, temporarily quieting critics who’ve doubted their ability to gain ground against anyone this season. Still, they also realize those yards came against the league’s 31st-ranked run defense and Sunday’s game against the New York Jets will present a much steeper task.

“That’s one game; the results still weren’t what we wanted in terms of the end result,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “We’ve got a real challenge ahead of us this week, [and the Jets are] maybe the finest run defense in the league.”

Ranked first in the league in allowing just 73.2 yards per game on the ground, the Jets have surrendered just 2.9 yards per carry in their first 10 games. That stingy mark puts them on pace to have the best average in the NFL since the 2007 Ravens, who gave up just 2.8 yards per rush despite an abysmal 5-11 record.

Jets head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan not only possesses a formidable group of players up front but offers some of the most exotic looks schematically in the NFL year after year. And considering the Ravens’ issues this season with Juan Castillo’s zone blocking scheme and communication at the line of scrimmage, New York will be less forgiving than the banged-up Bears defense in making Baltimore pay for missed blocking assignments.

With Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, and Kenrick Ellis combining to form the best run-stopping defensive line in the league, Rice offered a realistic approach to the ground game in Sunday’s contest at M&T Bank Stadium. It resembled a plea for patience and not trying to do too much against a very talented front.

“We just need to be honest with ourselves and get a hat on a hat,” said Rice, who eclipsed the century mark on the ground for the first time all season in running for 131 yards against the Bears. “If it’s two yards, we need to take the two yards. If it’s a 20-yard gain and it happens, we need to make the 20. If they’re going to give you something where you’ve got to plow in there for two yards, [you take it]. One thing that we want to get out of is getting tackled for a loss. We always want to be on the plus side of things.”

The Ravens took advantage of the Chicago defense with more man-on-man blocking than the zone approach that’s given the running game little room this season. The offensive line also did a commendable job with combination blocks as well as identifying defenders to block at the second level, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

Even with their success, the Ravens understand one performance doesn’t erase nine weeks of severe struggles as they are still only averaging 83.2 rushing yards per game (27th in the NFL) and 3.0 yards per attempt, which ranks 31st in the league ahead of only Jacksonville.

“We took a step, but it’s still not consistent enough,” left tackle Eugene Monroe said. “We’ll continue to work on it. The mood is positive. We understand that we’ve got to continue to win, but pressing out that issue isn’t going to help that. We’ve just got to continue to stay focused.”

A step down from last week statistically is almost inevitable against the New York defense — a unit that hasn’t given up more than 90 rushing yards in a game since Week 3 — but a key to a victory on Sunday will be whether the Ravens have the ability to do just enough to keep the Jets’ back end of the defense honest. Ryan’s unit ranks 23rd against the pass and has allowed 33 passing plays of 20 or more yards this season, so even the slightest room created in the running game would go a long way in establishing play-action fakes and the ability for quarterback Joe Flacco to roll out to find open receivers.

New York, however, will try to make an offense ranked 30th in the league in total yards one-dimensional as it has been far too many times this season en route to a 4-6 start.

The Ravens are not only determined to begin a three-game homestand on a winning note — improving their AFC wild-card standing in the process — but to prove their running-game explosion last week in sloppy, windy Chicago was a sign of better days to come and not just a pleasant aberration.

As Rice professed, the Ravens can only look at one game, one drive, and one carry at a time against a stout Jets defense.

“You have to get movement to even gain a yard,” Rice said. “You can’t let them feast in one position, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Our big guys have been working, but needless to say, we are getting prepared for a very physical football game.”

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens – Week 11

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens – Week 11

Posted on 19 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Below are our Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the 23-20 overtime loss against the Chicago Bears in Week 11. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2013 season using the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

You can listen to their full explanation HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Justin Tucker
tucker

6) Chris Canty
canty

5) Sam Koch
koch

4) A.Q. Shipley
shipley

3) Marshal Yanda
yanda

2) Jimmy Smith
smith

1) Ray Rice
rice

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Bears

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Bears

Posted on 19 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 23-20 (OT) loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday at Soldier Field…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Joe Flacco pass intended for Tandon Doss on 3rd & 5 incomplete (Overtime)

In Chicago territory, a tough catch but one that has to be made.

4. Martellus Bennett 44 yard catch from Josh McCown to Ravens’ 22 (Overtime)

This was the “ender”.

3. Alshon Jeffery 14 yard catch from Josh McCown on 3rd & 9 (Overtime)

The Ravens’ 3rd down defense was pretty good during the game. But not here.

2. Joe Flacco pass intended for Torrey Smith on 3rd and goal incomplete after Gino Gradkowski fumble (4th quarter)

Bad plus bad usually equals bad. Ravens had a great chance to win.

1. David Bass 24 yard return TD of Joe Flacco interception intended for Vonta Leach (2nd quarter)

The obvious turning point of the entire game.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Newsome back to work after being given “clean bill of health”

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Newsome back to work after being given “clean bill of health”

Posted on 18 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Less than 24 hours after leaving Soldier Field in an ambulance, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was back to work at the team’s Owings Mills facility on Monday afternoon.

Following the Ravens’ 23-20 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears, Newsome became ill and was taken to a hospital for tests and observation after initially being checked out in the Baltimore locker room. WNST.net’s Nestor Aparicio reported that Newsome had even fainted after being seen sweating profusely on the way down from the press box following the loss.

However, the Ravens released an official statement Monday morning that Newsome was on his way back to Baltimore and was “feeling fine” after Sunday’s health scare.

“It’s good to see Ozzie’s here,” Harbaugh said at the start of his Monday press conference. “He’s been here all afternoon working, so he’s back and has a clean bill of health. I don’t think they know exactly what caused the situation yesterday, but it wasn’t anything serious. He’s doing fine.”

Harbaugh was not made aware of Newsome’s condition until after addressing the media in the post-game interview room but saw the general manager was not in any grave condition before the rest of the team took its chartered flight home on Sunday evening.

An initial examination ruled out any severe health problems, but the team’s medical personnel recommended that Newsome not fly home without being checked out more extensively.

“They had done all the tests, so they didn’t think it was anything serious,” Harbaugh said. “But they had to keep him overnight for observation just to make sure. I know they ran tests pretty much all night, Ozzie said, but it looked like he was OK at that point.”

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Our Ravens/Bears “Slaps to the Head”

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Our Ravens/Bears “Slaps to the Head”

Posted on 17 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the Chicago Bears 23-20 in overtime Sunday at Soldier Field, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Lardarius Webb

4. Tandon Doss

3. Terrell Suggs

2. Eugene Monroe

1.  John Harbaugh (Two Slaps)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Flacco describes conditions in Chicago

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Flacco describes conditions in Chicago

Posted on 17 November 2013 by WNSTV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgu9JbbBcns

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Rice: “Only stat that matters is a W”

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Rice: “Only stat that matters is a W”

Posted on 17 November 2013 by WNSTV

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Ravens-Bears: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Bears: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 17 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

CHICAGO — Weather will play a major factor on Sunday as the Ravens travel to Soldier Field in Chicago looking to improve to 5-5 and improve their standing in the AFC playoff picture.

With intense storms, winds averaging 25-30 miles per hour with gusts upwards of 50, and a tornado watch in the forecast Sunday afternoon, both teams will likely need to lean on their respective running games with Chicago possessing the league’s 15th-ranked rush offense. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ dramatic struggles in running the ball have been well documented, but the Bears are ranked 31st against the run and have allowed 129.4 yards per game on the ground this season.

The Ravens will be without two key starters as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Marlon Brown were both ruled inactive prior to kickoff. Ngata sprained his left knee in last Sunday’s win over the Bengals and missed practice all week despite suiting up and making an appearance at the beginning of Friday’s practice. Terrence Cody and Brandon Williams will be leaned upon to play a more significant role at the nose tackle position in Ngata’s absence.

Brown’s deactivation leaves the Ravens with just four active receivers for Sunday’s game, and 6-foot-5 rookie will be missed in the red zone. His absence will likely lead to more opportunities for Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson in the passing game.

For the Bears, tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) is active and will start, but starting defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring) is inactive after being listed as doubtful on Chicago’s final injury report of the week.

Sunday’s referee will be Gene Steratore.

The Ravens are wearing white jerseys with black pants while Chicago is donning dark blue throwback jerseys with white pants.

The all-time series between these teams is tied 2-2 with the Ravens winning the last meeting in Baltimore back in 2009. However, the Bears are 2-0 against the Ravens at Soldier Field with victories in 1998 and 2005.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
DT Haloti Ngata
WR Marlon Brown
S Omar Brown
RB Bernard Scott
WR Brandon Stokley
OL Ryan Jensen
LB John Simon

CHICAGO
DE Shea McClellin
DT Jeremiah Ratliff
LS Pat Mannelly
OL Jonathan Scott
OL James Brown
QB Jay Cutler
LB Lance Briggs

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from Chicago throughout the day.

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Ravens-Bears: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Bears: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 16 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

With an opportunity to climb back to the .500 mark and improve their standing in the AFC playoff race, the Ravens travel to Chicago on Sunday to take on the Bears for the fifth time in franchise history.

Baltimore will be playing its final road game until mid-December and has struggled away from M&T Bank Stadium with a 1-4 record this season, but the Bears are dealing with a number of key injuries including an ankle ailment to starting quarterback Jay Cutler, who is out for Sunday’s game. The Ravens have listed six starters as questionable for Sunday’s game, but all but two — defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Marlon Brown — took part in Friday’s practice.

Sunday’s forecast at Soldier Field calls for temperatures in the low 60s with an 80 percent chance of rain and winds approaching 30 miles per hour, which could make for a very interesting day as the Ravens play in Chicago for the first time since 2005. The all-time series is tied 2-2 with the Ravens winning the last meeting against the Bears, a 31-7 final in Baltimore on Dec. 20, 2009.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to win their second consecutive game and even their record at 5-5 before a three-game stretch at home that could dramatically alter their playoff outlook …

1. Ray Rice will start the game, but backup Bernard Pierce will finish with more carries than the struggling starting running back. The three-time Pro Bowl running back continues to say all the right things, but there have been no signs of him regaining his old form as his numbers have been even worse since the bye week (29 carries for 47 yards). Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged earlier in the week that the Ravens will go with the hot hand in the backfield, and Pierce showed flashes of improved explosiveness against the Bengals and his power running style has a better chance of gaining ground behind a poor offensive line moving forward. The Bears’ 31st-ranked run defense might provide the Ravens with their last best chance to finally make strides in the running game, and Pierce will be given the ball more consistently after another lackluster start from Rice.

2. Jacoby Jones will finally shake free for a kickoff return for a touchdown to help the struggling Baltimore offense. The Bears gave up a 105-yard kickoff return for a score earlier this year and Jones has yet to make a major impact in the return game since recovering from the knee injury he suffered in Week 1. Call it a hunch, but the 2012 Pro Bowl return specialist is due to bust a long one and the Ravens will need it on a day in which the rain and wind will limit quarterback Joe Flacco’s effectiveness in the passing game. To win enough games to remain in the playoff picture, the Ravens need more game-changing plays from their defense and special teams and Jones represents the best chance to do so in the return game.

3. The weather will help the Ravens in the battle against Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, but Bears running back Matt Forte will collect 150 total yards and a touchdown. The rain in the forecast will stunt the Bears’ passing game, but Forte presents a major problem in coverage for either linebackers or safeties as backup Josh McCown will lean on shorter passes. Tight end Martellus Bennett will be another challenge for the pass defense, but his ankle injury will leave him less than 100 percent as he’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Marshall and Jeffery will still make an impact with their size advantage over Ravens defensive backs, but Forte will be leaned upon to move the chains consistently against the Baltimore defense.

4. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil will exploit one of the weaker pass-blocking offensive lines in the NFL with a combined 3 1/2 sacks. After arguably his worst game of the year against Cincinnati last week, Suggs will bounce back against a Chicago offensive line that has struggled all season. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will move Suggs and Dumervil around — perhaps even occasionally lining them up on the same side in an overload look like he did last week — to give each rusher opportunities against right tackle Jordan Mills, whose pass blocking has been a major liability. The Ravens’ pass rush must come up big in putting heat on McCown and eliminate his opportunities to make big plays in the passing game, but head coach Marc Trestman will need to call for more quick passes to help neutralize the Ravens’ deadly pass-rushing duo.

5. The Bears’ ability to run the ball more effectively will be the difference in a low-scoring 20-17 win over the Ravens. If the weather proves to be as bad as forecasts are predicting, this one will come down to the running game and field position, which will play into Chicago’s hands perfectly. The Bears have struggled to stop the run this season, but the Ravens’ historically-poor rushing attack has shown no ability to gain yards other than the final 30 minutes of the Miami game in Week 5. Meanwhile, the Baltimore run defense has struggled from time to time — including a four-game stretch earlier this year in which they gave up 140 or more rushing yards three times — and the Bears possess the league’s 15th-ranked running game. After years of priding themselves as a team equipped to win games in the harsh conditions of November and December, the Ravens will show that’s no longer the case on Sunday as Flacco and the passing game won’t be able to do enough in another road loss.

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Week 11

Posted on 15 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game and local college games this season.

Luke Jones finished Week 10 with a 7-7 record while Drew Forrester was 8-6 on his picks. Entering Week 11, Jones is 88-59 on the season while Forrester is 86-61. Official standings are based only on the NFL picks.

Forrester and Jones correctly picked Indianapolis to beat Tennessee to kick off Week 11.

You can listen to Friday’s “Picks and Comment” segment HERE.

Ravens at Bears: Chicago 24-13 (Drew), Chicago 20-17 (Luke)
Falcons at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 20-14 (Drew), Tampa Bay 24-21 (Luke)
Jets at Bills: New York 23-20 (Drew), New York 23-16 (Luke)
Lions at Steelers: Detroit 27-19 (Drew), Detroit 21-20 (Luke)
Redskins at Eagles: Philadelphia 34-17 (Drew), Philadelphia 27-16 (Luke)
Chargers at Dolphins: San Diego 28-21 (Drew), San Diego 26-20 (Luke)
Browns at Bengals: Cincinnati 23-16 (Drew), Cincinnati 27-14 (Luke)
Raiders at Texans: Oakland 19-16 (Drew), Houston 24-23 (Luke)
Cardinals at Jaguars: Arizona 24-17 (Drew), Arizona 21-12 (Luke)
Vikings at Seahawks: Seattle 35-10 (Drew), Seattle 27-11 (Luke)
49ers at Saints: New Orleans 27-13 (Drew), New Orleans 24-16 (Luke)
Packers at Giants: New York 28-16 (Drew), Green Bay 20-16 (Luke)
Chiefs at Broncos: Kansas City 24-20 (Drew), Denver 27-14 (Luke)
Patriots at Panthers: New England 21-17 (Drew), Carolina 21-20 (Luke)
Maryland at Virginia Tech: Hokies 50-0 (Drew), Hokies 37-10 (Luke)
Towson at William & Mary: Tigers 38-33 (Drew), Tigers 31-23 (Luke)
South Alabama at Navy: Midshipmen 27-24 (Drew), Midshipmen 24-16 (Luke)

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