Tag Archive | "Chris Chester"

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Getting down to 53: An early projection

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re a week and a half into training camp, so I thought I would give my VERY early look at the 53-man roster.  Keep in mind, injuries are bound to occur and will change the makeup of the roster considerably.

The first preseason game will take place against the Washington Redskins next Thursday night, but here’s my roster projections based on my early observations in Westminster.

I’ve listed the number of players I predict the Ravens to keep at each position in parentheses. This list does not include the practice squad of eight players the Ravens could keep in addition to the 53-man roster.

And, remember, I’m not John Harbaugh, nor will I ever claim to be.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Though Smith and Beck will continue to battle for the No. 2 job, there are no other quarterbacks currently in camp to even compete.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Cedric Peerman, Jason Cook
LONGSHOT: Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence
Skinny: It will most likely come down to special teams in determining whether Peerman and Cook find their way on the roster. Cook would give the Ravens a backup fullback, but Cam Cameron could elect to use the tight end as a fullback in certain packages. The team could obviously choose to keep both, but we’ll see how it plays out in the preseason.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
LOCK: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith
BUBBLE: Kelley Washington, Justin Harper, Yamon Figurs
LONG SHOT: Biren Ealy, Thomas White, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright, Jayson Foster
Skinny: The team still could elect to sign another veteran receiver, especially with Mark Clayton out with a hamstring injury. Washington probably makes the team since he’s a strong special teams player, and Harper has been very impressive in the early stages of camp. Considering Figurs is no longer a lock to return kicks, his roster spot is in serious jeopardy. Riley could be a candidate for the practice squad.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, L.J. Smith
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Davon Drew
LONG SHOT: Isaac Smolko
Skinny: The fifth-round pick Drew has been a disappointment so far after failing the initial running test at the beginning of camp and then injuring his ankle. Drew has returned to practice, but he’s currently behind Jones on the depth chart.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, Oniel Cousins
BUBBLE: David Hale, Tre Stallings
LONG SHOT: Robby Felix, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison, Joe Reitz
Skinny: The Ravens will likely bring in a veteran tackle to replace Adam Terry who will miss the season with a knee injury. Hale has backed up Birk at center during camp, but Chester has the ability to play center in the event of an injury.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
LOCK: Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan
BUBBLE: Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Lamar Divens
LONG SHOT: Will Johnson
Skinny: This unit is very deep, and the Ravens will inevitably have to part ways with a very talented player.

LINEBACKERS (9)
LOCK: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbadejo
BUBBLE: Jason Phillips, Dannell Ellerbe, Will VanDeSteeg, Prescott Burgess
LONG SHOT: Tony Fein
Skinny: This is another deep unit. I could envision the Ravens finding a mysterious “injury” with one or two of these young guys and stashing them on injured reserve.

CORNERBACKS (7)
LOCK: Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Samari Rolle
BUBBLE: Frank Walker, K.J. Gerard, Evan Oglesby
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Are you noticing a theme here at the defensive positions? Once again, the Ravens will have to part ways with some talented corners, but the numbers won’t allow them to keep everyone.

SAFETIES (4)
LOCK: Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
BUBBLE: Derrick Martin
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Martin is giving himself a chance to make the roster by shifting over to work at safety, so the team could conceivably carry him on the roster if he proves effective at his new position. Otherwise, he’s squarely on the bubble at the cornerback position, too.

KICKER (1)
LOCK: None
BUBBLE: Graham Gano, Steve Hauschka
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: This battle will last through the entire preseason. Numerous Ravens officials have told me the four preseason games will carry the most weight. Both kickers have hit 50+ yard field goals during camp, but Westminster is a far cry from a Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium or Heinz Field.

PUNTER (1)
LOCK: Sam Koch
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Koch is one of the better punters in the league, and his ability to place the ball inside the 20-yard line is a major asset. He also runs a mean fake punt play. Just ask the Cowboys.

LONG SNAPPER (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Katula is one of the most anonymous players on the team, because he does a great job. The Ravens hope it stays that way.

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Live from Westminster: Adam Terry done for the season

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Luke Jones

5:09 p.m. — Here’s a question for you: what would the Ravens do if long snapper Matt Katula went down in the middle of a game?

We saw our answer after practice this afternoon.  Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata practiced field goal snaps while running back Willis McGahee was long snapping for punting situations.  Both players looked capable, but let’s hope neither has to be called into duty.

While the average fan has no idea who Katula is, he has certainly been an excellent long snapper since joining the Ravens in 2005.

5:00 p.m. — Another rookie to keep an eye on is defensive end Will VanDeSteeg.  At 6-4 and 256 pounds, VanDeSteeg has good size and has received a few reps with the starting defense since Terrell Suggs is currently out with a strained heel.  Paul Kruger has been taking Suggs’ place in the starting lineup.

He’s just another example of the fine work Eric DeCosta and the scouting staff do every season.  While there’s no guarantee that guys like VanDeSteeg or Dannell Ellerbe will make the team, they are more than capable of coming in and competing—exactly what you want during training camp.

4:55 p.m. — With Oniel Cousins sitting out and Adam Terry now done for the season, the Ravens had Marshal Yanda getting some work at right tackle with the second offense.  Yanda continues to impress in his recovery from three torn knee ligaments, but Chris Chester continues to receive most reps at right guard for the starting offense.

The coaching staff wants to bring Yanda along slowly, a smart decision considering how serious the injury was.

4:51 p.m. — Some of the highlights of the afternoon practice included a Domonique Foxworth interception on a flea flicker attempt from John Beck.  Beck did bounce back, however, when he rolled out to the left and completed a nice sideline pass to Ernie Wheelwright.

Joe Flacco was picked off by Lardarius Webb in the end zone, but the starting quarterback rebounded a few plays later to hit Demetrius Williams for a touchdown with Webb covering on the play.

Rookie fullback Jason Cook had a nice catch out of the backfield with fellow rookie Paul Kruger covering on the play.  Cook has a decent chance of making the team if he can show an ability to catch passes out of the backfield.

4:44 p.m. — The afternoon practice lasted a little over an hour, as the players worked out in helmets, shells, and shorts.  The team spent most of practice running 11-on-11 situations with no contact.

Tackle Oniel Cousins did not practice but was out on the field unlike this morning.  Cornerback Evan Oglesby also did not practice this afternoon.  There were no other real status changes from the players that missed the morning practice.  Tom Zbikowski was dressed to practice but was not very active during the workout.

1:45 p.m. — The NFL Network is currently replaying the “Music City Miracle” game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills, and it’s on in the hotel lobby.  Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle—members of the 1999 Titans—have both spent a few moments watching the game in the lobby.

You have to think both of them thought of their late teammate Steve McNair while catching a few moments of the classic playoff game.

1:41 p.m. — Some fans standing on the far upper field away from the bleachers got an up close and personal look at Derrick Mason.  When Flacco threw a fade to Mason in the back corner of the end zone, the receiver’s momentum carried him all the way into the crowd of people standing just beyond the yellow rope, causing a momentary scare.  Mason would prove to be fine on the play, but it was a close encounter for the fans nearby.

1:35 p.m. — Mark Clayton talked to reporters today and suggested his hamstring injury might take a little longer to heal than previously thought.  The Ravens’ No. 2 receiver said it could be another week or two until he’s back on the field.  With Clayton’s history of hamstring issues throughout his pro career, it would make sense for the Ravens to be extra cautious in the second week of training camp.

Suggs is still walking around the team hotel with a boot on his left foot, but the Ravens continue to show little concern.  After all, we’re talking about a guy who has never missed a game and earned two sacks with a badly-injured shoulder against the Steelers in the AFC Championship last season.  Also, keep in mind that Suggs earned a trip to the Pro Bowl last season after missing all of training camp due to being designated the team’s franchise player.  He’s going to be fine.

12:24 p.m. — Left guard Ben Grubbs practiced this morning, but he continues to battle the same ankle injury that landed him on the PUP list at the start of training camp.  After coming out to practice, he was later seen talking to trainer Bill Tessendorf and then went back inside to the training room.  Grubbs later returned to practice.  In his absence, the Ravens shifted Chris Chester to left guard with Marshal Yanda playing right guard.

Tight end Edgar Jones was also shaken up early in practice but later returned to the field.

12:22 p.m. — New defensive back Chris Carr has a physical nature to his game despite his small stature (5-10, 180 pounds).  However, Carr tends to be overaggressive at times in the early stages of camp.  He was called for pass interference this morning and has been flagged several times in the first week.  While it’s certainly a plus to have a defensive back willing to get physical, but it has to come within the framework of the rules.

12:06 p.m. — Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka both looked good, though Hauschka missed a 49-yard attempt.  Hauschka was given the morning off yesterday.

Once again, this battle will come down to how each performs in the four preseason games.  Jerry Rosburg likes both kickers and thinks either one is capable of winning the job previously held by Matt Stover for the last 13 years.

11:54 a.m. — The Ravens spent a substantial amount of time working on their red zone packages this morning, with the first-team offense typically going against the second-team defense and the first-team D matching up against the second-team offense.

Joe Flacco hit Demetrius Williams on a slant for a touchdown, but the highlight of the session came from receiver Kelley Washington.  Matching up against Domonique Foxworth, Washington caught a fade route in the corner of the end zone from backup quarterback Troy Smith.  After bringing down the football, Washington broke into the Ray Lewis dance in celebration.  The move brought loud cheers from the Westminster crowd.

Willis McGahee and Ray Rice both looked strong running the ball with McGahee picking up 14 yards on a play off left tackle and Rice scoring from the 5-yard-line in a rep against the starting defense.  Rice appears to be the No. 1 back in most instances, but McGahee continues to get plenty of reps with the starting offense.

11:42 a.m. — Terrell Suggs (heel) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) once again missed practice, as both players are considered to be day-to-day with their respective injuries.  Antwan Barnes did not practice, so we have to wonder if he’s still feeling the effects of a mild concussion on Sunday morning, though he did practice on Monday.

Tom Zbikowski came up lame early on in practice and limped off with an apparent leg injury.  He spent most of the morning practice resting on a cart on the sideline.

L.J. Smith (hamstring) and Yamon Figurs (foot) returned to practice this morning.  Smith had missed action since tweaking his hamstring early last week, and Figurs was on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp.

Oniel Cousins was abent from practice this morning, but no reason was given.  I haven’t heard anything in terms of an injury dating back to yesterday, so it could just be a day off.

Others not practicing included Brendon Ayanbadejo (toe), Will Johnson, Davon Drew (ankle), and Lamar Divens.

11:28 a.m. — Coach John Harbaugh informed the media that Adam Terry would undergo another knee surgery and will miss the 2009 season.  Terry had previously been on the physically unable to perform list recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery surgery earlier this offseason.

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Training Camp Preview: 5 Under-the-Radar Players

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Luke Jones

With only a week to go until the first practices for the Ravens’ quarterbacks, rookies, and select veterans, it’s time to consider what players flying beneath the radar could play a major part in the 2009 season.

Undoubtedly, injuries will occur, and the coaching staff will look to the next man waiting to step into a larger role.  One can simply look back to last season to see how critical it is to have these types of players.

Fullback Le’Ron McClain, safety Jim Leonhard (now with the New York Jets), and guard Chris Chester were little more than afterthoughts entering training camp but went on to make major contributions to an 11-5 season that ended with the Ravens coming up short in the AFC Championship.

Who are this season’s players currently flying under the radar that could be key contributors this season?

Here are five names to keep an eye on this summer:

1.  Chris Carr

Though this free-agent signing lacked the local appeal of Domonique Foxworth (Maryland and Western Tech) or the pedigree of Matt Birk (six Pro Bowl selections), Carr will play a critical role with special teams and the secondary.

The fifth-year defensive back provides exceptional return ability, an area in which the Ravens struggled outside of the departed Leonhard.  In his three seasons in Oakland, Carr became the Raiders’ all-time kick return leader with 4,841 yards (24.1 avg).  In 2008, his only season with the Tennessee Titans, Carr ranked fourth in the NFL with a 28.1 kickoff return average.

In addition to his return skills, Carr will provide more depth in the secondary, a plus considering the Ravens’ projected starters, Fabian Washington and Fabian Washington, lack the experience of last year’s Week 1 starters Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister.  Along with Rolle and Frank Walker, Carr can provide starting experience should Washington or Foxworth falter.

Carr recorded 31 tackles and one interception in 2008.

2.  Marcus Smith

With the sudden retirement of No. 1 receiver Derrick Mason and no major acquisitions imminent, the coaching staff will look to Smith to emerge in the passing game.  The 2008 fourth-round selection saw playing time in six games but did not record a reception during his rookie season.

Smith has good size—6-1 and 215 pounds—but will need to show more consistent hands to give the passing game a boost.  His experience playing running back at the University of New Mexico gives him more ability to run after the catch than most receivers, and his blocking ability is a strength.  He was also a solid contributor on special teams in 2008.

The coaching staff became more impressed with Smith’s efforts toward the end of OTAs this offseason.

Regardless of whether Mason returns in 2009 or follows through with his retirement, Smith will need to provide another option for Joe Flacco and the passing game.  With Mason, Mark Clayton, and Demetrius Williams all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents following the season, Smith has a distinct opportunity to secure a future role in the Ravens’ offense with a strong 2009 campaign.

3.  Antwan Barnes

After showing much promise in his rookie season in 2007, Barnes’ sophomore campaign was largely quiet, recording only five tackles from scrimmage and no sacks in 13 games.  The former Florida International standout missed the entire postseason with a shoulder injury.

Even before the injury, Barnes was receiving less playing time than the surprising rookie free agent Jameel McClain.  With McClain shifting to inside linebacker this offseason, Barnes will have the opportunity to contribute more in new coordinator Greg Mattison’s defense, especially as a rush end in passing situations.

With the Ravens’ selection of defensive end-linebacker Paul Kruger in the second round of this April’s draft, Barnes will need to show more versatility to fit into the team’s long-term plans.  Barnes has shown a good motor and an ability to rush the passer but has been slow to learn the other skills needed in a 3-4 outside linebacker.  Despite his one-dimensional play on defense, Barnes has demonstrated strong special teams play, recording nine special teams stops in 2009.

4.  Kelley Washington

After signing Washington after a tryout during OTAs, the Ravens hope the veteran can bring some depth to a thin receiving group.

Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2003 draft, Washington has never realized the potential he showed at the University of Tennessee when he caught 70 passes for 1,080 yards and seven touchdowns as a 22-year-old freshman (he spent four years playing minor league baseball before enrolling at Knoxville).  A neck injury in 2002 hurt his draft status, and he has never shown consistent playmaking ability at the professional level.

Washington spent four years in Cincinnati and the last two with the New England Patriots, recording 73 catches, 896 yards, and nine touchdowns in his career.  His best season came in 2004 when he caught 31 balls for 378 yards and three touchdowns.

Largely forgotten as a receiver during his time in New England (only one reception in 24 games), Washington was applauded for his strong special teams play.

Much like Smith, the 6-3 Washington will have the opportunity to provide another receiving option for Flacco, especially with the unknown status of Mason.

5.  Brandon McKinney

A complete unknown when the Ravens signed the defensive tackle in October of last season, the massive McKinney was a strong contributor in short-yardage and goal-line packages, recording 19 tackles in 11 regular season games with the Ravens.  A fourth-year player originally signed by the San Diego Chargers, McKinney also played in all three postseason games, making three stops.

The Ravens have created a tradition of finding low-profile players who pay big dividends on the defensive line, including the likes of Lional Dalton, Kelly Gregg, and Justin Bannan.  McKinney can add his name to that list with another strong showing in 2009.

With Gregg, Bannan, and Trevor Pryce all 30 or older, McKinney brings youth and more size (6-2 and 324 pounds) to the Ravens’ defensive line rotation.

*****

WNST.net and AM 1570 WNST is your place to turn for full training camp coverage.  We’ll be providing live updates, interviews, audio, video, and blogs from McDaniel College.

luke@wnst.net

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Ravens free agency talk

Posted on 24 February 2009 by caseywillett

As free agency gets ready to start for the NFL on Friday, here are the positions that I think the Ravens need to address through free agency and or the draft.
 
Center: Jason Brown will likely leave via free agency because his value as a center, or possibly guard, is higher to other teams. Chris Chester is the only player on the Ravens’ roster to have played center in the NFL. Marshal Yanda has never played center in the NFL or college.
 
Tight End: I expect to see Todd Heap more involved in the passing attack this year, but the Ravens have to have some depth at that position. Dan Wilcox, after battling injuries for the last couple of years, is not expected to be brought back. Quinn Sypniewski will be trying to return after suffering a season-ending knee injury before training camp.
 
Wide Receiver: Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton both had a solid year last season. However, you have to have more than the same two guys going out in pass patterns every single time. Factor in that both Mason and Clayton will be free agents after next season. Demetrius Williams is a question mark as he tries to return from a season-ending injury. Williams has shown glimpses of solid potential as a deep threat, but the consistency has not been there so far.
 
Cornerback: Chris McAlister is gone, and Samari Rolle could be short on time in Baltimore as well. As it stands right now, the only depth the Ravens have at the position are Frank Walker and Fabian Washington, who are solid players, but I’m not sure you want them both out there as starters. The Ravens also might look to add a guy who can play nickel back, as Corey Ivy is likely to leave during free agency.
 
Kicker: Matt Stover’s career here in Baltimore could be over. The Ravens would like to have him back, but they would also like a guy who is more consistent on field goals from 40 yards or longer, as his overall percentage from 40-49 yards has dropped in each of the last two seasons. He is still amazingly consistent from 39 yards or less.
 
Linebacker: The only reason for concern at this position is if both Ray Lewis and Bart Scott leave through free agency. If one of them returns, no matter who it is, the Ravens will be OK. With guys like Jarrett Johnson, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Nick Greisen, Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain and Antwan Barnes, I think the Ravens will make the adjustments that they need to at the linebacker spots.
 
I did not put these positions in any particular order, but I would be interested to see how you rank them from highest to lowest priority for the Ravens this offseason.

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2008 Ravens Top 20 Moments: Nos. 20-16

Posted on 20 January 2009 by Alex Thomas

Despite the loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game, the 2008 Ravens season was certainly one of the best sports experiences of my life. And in an effort to delay thinking about the dreadful upcoming baseball season, in my next few blogs I will be counting down my top 20 Ravens memories from 2008. It’s never too early to start looking back on such an exciting season.

20. Clayton Goes Crazy In Cincy – Mark Clayton snagged 5 balls for 164 yards, including a 70 yard one-handed touchdown catch on a bomb from Joe Flacco, as the Ravens pummeled the Cincinnati Bengals in The Jungle. Clayton also threw a touchdown pass to Derrick Mason on a wide receiver reverse option in the 34-3 route. I personally think that Mark Clayton has been a 1st round bust. He has a great performance every 5 or 6 games…but, in all fairness, when he has a great game, he blows the roof off the house. These are the typical makings of a #3 receiver (see also Steve Breaston in Arizona). I think he would be a great slot receiver along side Derrick Mason and ::insert name here::…TJ Houshmandzadeh? Steve Smith?

19. Rice Runs Wild – In a comeback win against the Cleveland Browns, Ray Rice showed us all why the Ravens drafted him in the second round. Rice rushed for 154 yards on 21 carries and also caught 3 passes from Joe Flacco, one of which converted a big 3rd and long play. He could possibly be the Ravens’ feature back in the future (doesn’t he remind you of Maurice Jones-Drew?), and he showcased his talents in week 9.

18. “Next Man Up” – One of the most impressive aspects about the 2008 Ravens season is how every man on this team was accountable for how they played as a group, no matter who was injured or who was on the field. Justin Bannan, Jim Leonhard, Fabian Washington, Marques Douglass, Joe Flacco, Chris Chester, and Frank Walker all stepped up to fill in for starters this season, as the Ravens were near the top of the league in players listed on IR. Granted, that’s not a stat that anyone should be proud of, but the Ravens persevered. The motto preached in the locker room all season was: “next man up.”

17. Flacco Ties The Game In Pittsburgh – In week 4 of the season, when the Ravens outplayed the Steelers in every facet of the game, they still found themselves down 20-13 in the fourth quarter on Monday Night Football with 9 minutes remaining. Against all odds, rookie Joe Flacco marched the Ravens 76 yards down the field, and ate up about 5 minutes of clock in the process, to tie the game and force overtime. With three key first down throws to Mason, garnished with some jaw-breaking runs by Le’Ron McClain, Flacco finally gave Baltimore a reason to believe in their quarterback. Ever since Bert Jones was last under center for the Colts, Baltimore has been desperately searching for a quarterback of this caliber. And despite the overtime loss, for the first time in Ravens history, a quarterback wearing a Ravens jersey had truly proven himself. This moment showed Ravens fans that this would be the first of many game-tying/game-winning drives orchestrated by #5.

16. Suggs Seals Win in Cleveland – In a game where a lot of the media were picking against the Ravens, Terrell Suggs sealed a come-from-behind Ravens victory by intercepting an errant Derek Anderson pass. The Ravens found themselves down 27-13 in the 3rd quarter, and despite the heroics of Browns’ star return man Josh Cribbs, a pass from Flacco to Mason tied the game at 27 early in the 4th quarter. After a Matt Stover field goal put the Ravens up by 3, Terrell Suggs picked off an attempted screen pass with 2:49 to go in the fourth quarter and took it to the house, giving the Ravens a 37-27 win over the Browns in The Dogpound.

Check back tomorrow for nos. 15-11.

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Saturday Ravens Football Show

Posted on 10 January 2009 by caseywillett

Today on the Saturday Ravens Football Show from 11am – 1pm, we will talk all things Ravens and Titans. Finally, the game is here and we will discuss the game and want your take on the game during the show.

Give us a call at 410-821-9678 and let us know what you think about today’s matchup and how this game will play out.

Here is what we have on the show today:

-Jim Wyatt from the Tennessean will join us to talk Ravens – Titans

-Hear 1 on 1 interviews from Jarrett Johnson and Chris Chester

– Also hear from players and coaches from the Ravens facility this week talking Ravens – Titans

– Also let you know how you can meet Joe Flacco and either say thanks for the season or good luck in the Super Bowl at his last appearance for this football season.

As always your calls are welcome at 410-821-9678 or you can email us at casey@wnst.net or ray@wnst.net.

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Ravens – Dolphins: 27-9, get on the bus to Nashville

Posted on 04 January 2009 by caseywillett

One down three more to go for the Ravens. You can help root the Ravens on in Nashville by getting on the WNST bus to Nashville.

Cam Cameron goes into Miami twice and beats the Dolphins. I was just listening to a Miami radio station and they asked how come he could only win one game with them, but two against them.

The Ravens will travel to Nashville to face the Titans for a shot to go to the AFC Championship game.

Yet again, Flacco’s numbers do not jump off the charts at you (9-23, 135) , but as I say all the time, he makes 4 or 5 throws a game that have a huge factor in the game.

3:45 – When the Ravens needed a score to finish the game, Joe Flacco took it on himself to finish the Dolphins off with a 5yd touchdown run. What a great job of blocking by Chris Chester and Willie Anderson to seal the open lane for Flacco to score.

Flacco becomes only the third rookie quarterback to win his postseason debut. He joins Shaun King and Ben Roethlisberger.

So while Mike Smith and Matt Ryan will enjoy their awards they won, John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco will now march the Ravens into round two of the NFL playoffs

3:36 – Once again the Dolphins had a nice drive going, only to see it go south real quick as the hand off exchange on the end around from Chad Pennington to Tedd Ginn Jr., was botched and resulted in a  huge loss.

Then on the punt to Jim Leonhard which he fair caught at the 14, the Dolphins get flagged for fair catch interference.

Ravens need to put together one of those long drives to seal the deal.

3:28 – Although the Dolphins still have a pretty tall task to come back from 11 points down to tie the Ravens, their defense did a nice job on that stop and getting the offense the ball back. The Ravens defense has to step up and make a stop to get the ball back for their offense.

Will have to see if Ed Reed is back out on the field on defense…….and he is

3:21 – The Dolphins get back on the scoreboard with a 2yd touchdown pass from Chad Pennington to Ronnie Brown. The drive was helped out by some penalties on the Ravens and probably more importantly by not having Ed Reed on the field. That is why you saw Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski out on the field.

Huge play by Frank Walker on the blocked extra point. That take a little bit of the momentum away from the Dolphins.

Ravens put points on the board here and that will take the last bit of air out of the Dolphins balloon.

3:09 – Ed Reed comes to the rescue again for the Ravens to stop what was looking like a very promising drive by the Dolphins. Reed did look to come up limping after the play. Will be interesting to see if he comes back into the game.

Although I would never bet against Reed. He has proven people wrong time after time.

3:12 – Ravens punt the ball back to the Dolphins. Hey let’s say we see another turnover. Why not let Chad throw 5 picks in one day when he only threw 7 all season.

2:56 – Well I could have saved myself ten seconds if I wanted to, because minutes are posting my last entry, LeRon “Bringing the Pain” McClain, goes in from 8 yards out.

I am not saying to turn the lights out the party is over, but whoever is in charge of turning out the lights might want to get up and start heading for the light switch.

I smell another turnover coming here for the Dolphins

2:55 The Ravens defense has done it again. They have forced the fourth turnover of the day and now I honestly believe can start to drive the dagger into the heart of the Dolphins with a score here, and not just a field goal, you have to come away with seven on this drive

2:44 – For the third time today, Chad Pennington has been intercepted. He was only picked off 7 times during the regular season. The Ravens are getting after Chad Pennington and putting the pressure on him forcing the interceptions.

The Ravens have to take advantage of these turnovers and turn them into points. The Ravens are beating the Dolphins in every aspect of this game and have to put them away.

Sam Koch has been amazing for this team. Yet again he comes through for the defense and will pin the Dolphins down inside the one.

2:25- The Ravens tack on 3 more points on a Matt Stover 31 yard field goal to extend it to a 13-3 lead. A touchdown might have been a dagger to the Dolphins, but they are still in the game. That drive was kept alive by a huge Derrick Mason toe tapping reception.

The Ravens will have to keep the intensity up in the second half. Chad Pennington has taken a beating so far and has to be rattled a little bit.

30 minutes down, 30 more to go.

2:08 – Ed Reed just proved why he might be the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL this year as he just picked off a Chad Pennington pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown.

I am not sure who Haloti Ngata hit on that return, but someone might want to check the Dolphins parking lot to find that player.

 

2:01 – For the life of me I do not understand that Troy Smith play on 3rd down.  The Ravens can not afford to let this team hang around. They have had several chances and not added any points on the board.

This is when teams some times strike for points against the Ravens.

1:54 – 9:11 left to go before the half, and Jim Leonhard picks off a Chad Pennington pass. In Week 7 it was 8:44 left before half when Terrell Suggs picked off Chad Pennington.

Pennington is taking some serious hits, they are bound to take a toll before to long.

1:40 – Ravens and Dolphins wrap up the first half tied at 3. The offensive line has done a nice job of protecting Flacco today. Flacco converts on a huge 3rd down completion to Derrick Mason.

1:26 – Ravens have tied it up with a 23yd FG from Matt Stover. Dolphins might have gotten away with a pass interference call on the pass to Todd Heap.  Nice response by the Ravens after the Dolphins score.

This was the exact way the first time these two teams played started out. Dolphins kicked a field goal than the Ravens responded with a field goal. Just for you know what’s the Ravens took the lead a Terrell Suggs interception returned for a touchdown .

1:15 Dolphins take a Ravens turnover and turn it into points. Solid defensive stand by the Ravens on the goal line, and smart move by Dolphins to take the 3 points. Points might be hard to come by today and you can not look back and wonder what if had you not take the 3.

 

12:55 The AP has named their coach of the year in the NFL, and it is Mike Smith of the Flacons. John Harbaugh much like Joe Flacco in the rookie voting, did not recieve any votes

 

After watching some exciting football games yesterday, it is now time for the Ravens to try and take their next step into the playoffs. I will periodically update this blog, must likely at the end of each half.

The CBS pregame show, it was a clean sweep for the Ravens with predictions except for Bill Cowher who picked the Dolphins based on a rookie quarterback playing in the playoffs.

I say Ravens 23-13 today. I am also listening to 790 in Miami to listen to their point of view on the game today.

Well like they say, it is game time.

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Post Houston thoughts

Posted on 10 November 2008 by caseywillett

Nice win for the Ravens yesterday. Yes you can say it was against another sub .500 football team, but they can only play who is on the schedule. This coming Sunday will be a huge test for the Ravens and may finally make people either put them in the contender or pretender category.

Here are some other thoughts from the game:

– I agree with the commentator that said Haloti Ngata should go ahead and get a condo in Hawaii, because if this guy does not make the Pro Bowl, then there needs to be some type of investigation.

– LeRon McClain might want to see if Ngata wants to split the price of a place in Hawaii, because the way this guy is playing, he should be headed to the all-star game also.

– Joe Flacco has answered the questions about throwing the deep ball. His arm strength is unbelievable and makes it look so effortless. Kyle Boller has a very strong arm, but I do not think he could have made that throw to Yamon Figurs yesterday.

– People talk all the time about Ozzie Newsome never drafting offensive lineman. Well call them what you want, but here are the guys starting on the offensive line that were draft picks: Jared Gaither, Jason Brown, Ben Grubbs, Chris Chester, Adam Terry, also although he is out for the year, Marshal Yanda. That is pretty good if you ask me.

– The Ravens did something yesterday that I have not seen in a long time on defense. They got four interceptions, and not once did I see the ball get pitched around to other players like it was on fire.

-The tipped ball that Haloti Ngata intercepted goes back to a drill that defensive line coach Clarence Brooks has the defensive lineman work on during training camp. In years past they  have used a soccer ball to do the drill.

– Coach Harabugh did two things yesterday that made me scratch my head. First, when he challenged whether it was a first down or not, when no matter if it wasn’t they were only going to be a yard short and it was not fourth down. I also question letting Matt Stover try a 50 yard field goal, when Steven Hauschka had just hit one from 54 yards. Luckily for Coach Harbaugh and the Ravens that did not matter in the long run, but it could have been a huge turning point in the game.

-Although Hauschka was the first person to attempt a field goal other than Matt Stover since Aaron Elling in 2005, he is the first person to make a field goal other than Stover since Wade Richey did in 2003.

-Ray Rice has had a nice start to his rookie campaign, but Willis McGahee proved yesterday why he is still the feature back in the Ravens running game.

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