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With Ravens Season Over, Draft Season Begins in Orlando

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With Ravens Season Over, Draft Season Begins in Orlando

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

As all of you know, there are few people in the world who are bigger fans of the NFL Draft than I am. Last season, I profiled over 100 NFL Draft prospects in the months leading up to the big event at Radio City Music Hall. Some of those players eventually became Baltimore Ravens, including Michael Oher, Paul Kruger, Lardarius Webb, Cedric Peerman, Jason Phillips, Isaiah Williams, Graham Gano, Eron Riley and more.

And with NFL season now over here in Charm City, it is time to start looking ahead to the 2010 NFL Draft; which will be held April 22-24th again in New York. I like to call the next 3 months “NFL Draft Season”, as it is much more than just the 3 days that determine how teams will make their picks. The season begins with the announcements from underclassmen, then moves to college all-star games (including the Senior Bowl), the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis (which myself, Drew Forrester & Nestor Aparicio will be covering LIVE here on WNST.net), individual Pro Timing Days, and team interviews that all build to the 3 days in April.

We will be starting our weekly NFL Draft Preview segment on “The Comcast Morning Show” this week, the segment will air Wednesdays at 9:40am. This Wednesday, Chad Reuter from NFLDraftScout.com & CBS Sports will be joining us. Chad will be reporting to us live from Orlando, where the annual East West Shrine Game marks the start of College All-Star season. Two Ravens rookies (Jason Phillips of TCU and Dannell Ellerbe of Georgia) were participants in last year’s game, as well as former Terrapins C Edwin Williams, who played for the Washington Redskins this season. It is definitely worth paying attention to what is going on at the game.

As I did last year, I will rank the likely needs the Ravens face in the offseason. This list may be altered as players are released/retired/traded/signed/injured/etc.

1-Wide Receiver (This goes without saying, as the team currently has just Marcus Smith under contract.)
2-Tight End (They almost got Brandon Pettigrew last year, there is no doubt they will be looking at the position again this season. Todd Heap should be back, but LJ Smith is a free agent-and clearly Heap is getting no younger.)
3-Cornerback (While they likely think they have two capable starting CB’s on the team, there is no doubt that Ozzie Newsome and company would welcome another impact corner to a group that already includes Domonique Foxworth, Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr.)
4-Safety (Ed Reed’s future makes this a very crucial spot, as does the pending free agency of Dawan Landry. Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura appear to be part of the team’s future at the position, but having both as starters in 2010 wouldn’t likely bode well.)
5-Outside Linebacker/Rush End (Dwan Edwards is a free agent. Trevor Pryce may choose to retire. Terrell Suggs came in last season out of shape. Antwan Barnes is a restricted free agent. And no one needs to be reminded that this group struggled to get pressure on opposing QB’s during a large part of Greg Mattison’s first season as Defensive Coordinator.)
6-Kicker (Billy Cundiff will be an option for this team, but even he knows there will at least be competition for the job. It may come from a free agent kicker-Graham Gano comes to mind-but it may come from a rookie as well. OR the team may decide to go somewhere else altogether.)
7-Quarterback (Obviously Joe Flacco is THE guy, and the team would be fine with bringing back Troy Smith to back him up. But Smith’s agent made it clear they want him traded, and the Ravens may decide to give him his wish. John Beck remains in the mix, but the Ravens will have to give him a contract. The team could use strength at the position from a young QB if they decide to let Smith and/or Beck go.)
8-Interior Offensive Line (Matt Birk is not getting any younger, and Chris Chester may be up for starter money somewhere else. Marshal Yanda is also a RFA, so this team may need to add to the group-especially at Center.)
9-Exterior Offensive Line (Jared Gaither is a RFA-and the Ravens will have to make a difficult decision there. Someone will want to give him money, it’s just a question of whether or not the Ravens are the team that will want to do it. Behind Gaither and Oher, the Ravens are woefully thin-as Oniel Cousins was somewhat adequate, but nothing more.)
10-Punter (I can’t imagine the Ravens won’t bring back Sam Koch, but I have to put this position on the list-as if Koch gets good money elsewhere, the Ravens will have a major need at the position.)

With all of this in mind, I present my first 10 profiles of the 2010 NFL Draft season. These are all players who are participating in this week’s East West Shrine Game. Thanks to NFLDraftScout.com, Wikipedia, and my own personal conversations with scouts from around the NFL for help with information gathering.

WR Freddie Barnes
(Bowling Green)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw0a-5xV–w[/youtube]

His numbers this season were jaw-dropping. His 155 catches were a NCAA record. His 1,770 receiving yards were a Falcons school record. His 19 TD’s lead the FBS. But his size isn’t necessarily ideal. He’s just 6’0″ and 212 pounds. The Ravens will absolutely need a more sizable threat at WR, but they will also likely need more than one addition to the group. Barnes looks like a lower round pick right now-but he had a huge game in the Humanitarian Bowl, and started practice in Orlando with a bang. A combine invite and solid performance could vault him up boards. One scout told me he could be Anquan Boldin-esque. Everyone in the country would like a player like that. Barnes is VERY athletic, he played QB and basketball in high school in Illinois.

TE Andrew Quarless (Penn State)

quarless

If the Ravens are interested in an impact receiver at the TE position, Andrew Quarless might not be the guy. Quarless had his best statistical season in 2009-hauling in 41 passes for 536 yards and 3 TD’s. But in his 4 year career, Quarless caught just 87 balls for 1,146 yards and 8 TD’s. However, his numbers-and his size-don’t differ THAT much from Pettigrew, who was a Top 20 pick just a season ago by the Lions. Heck, he may even be a bit quicker. But his rap sheet includes a DUI arrest, an underage drinking citation, and marijuana possession. He needs to prove his strength in the months leading up to the Draft, as his frame and ability could very well help him rise to the 2nd night of the Draft (now rounds 2-3). He may well be a guy who would already be a high level prospect had he not been splitting time with Mickey Shuler Jr. during his career in Happy Valley.

S Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrYas6mEuzg[/youtube]

Chancellor has admitted to trying to mold his game after late Skins Safety Sean Taylor, and with good reason. Chancellor is an all-around tough Safety; measuring in at 6’3″, 232 pounds with a great burst as well. Likely a Day 2 pick, Chancellor was an All-ACC performer with experience at both safety positions and also at CB during his career in Blacksburg. He recorded 204 tackles during his Hokies career, along with 6 interceptions, but did not return any for scores. He is also a gifted athlete, having played QB during his HS career in Norfolk.

DE Greg Hardy (Ole Miss)

greghardy

If he was fully healthy, Greg Hardy would almost certainly be a 1st round pick. But even with the wrist injuries that forced him to miss more than a quarter of his senior season and the ankle troubles that plagued him throughout his Rebels career might not keep him from hearing his name called Thursday night. Mostly because he managed to pile up 26 sacks during his time in Oxford, to go along with 38.5 TFL’s, 6 forced fumbles and in interception. The Ravens won’t have to go far for a scouting report on Hardy, as his former Mississippi teammate Michael Oher was also a teammate in high school at the Briarcrest Christian Academy in Memphis. He checks in around 6’4″ and somewhere between 260-275 pounds; making his measurements at the Combine and his Pro Day all more important.

TE Richard Dickson (LSU)

dickson

At 6’3″, 245 pounds; Dickson is likely not going to be a traditional TE, but more likely a FB/H-Back/TE hybrid. The NFL scout I discussed Dickson with said the inevitable comparison is Chris Cooley; but Dickson has to prove himself to be an explosive threat. Dickson’s senior season failed to match the production of his sophomore and junior seasons, as he averaged 350 yards receiving and 4.5 TD’s during his middle seasons-but fell off to just 157 yards and 0 TD’s in his final season in Baton Rouge. Despite the drop-off, he finished his career as the most prolific TE in Tigers history.

CB Devin Ross (Arizona)

devinross

I’m not certain that the Ravens are itching for another 5’11″ CB at this point, but they could use depth at the position, and Ross will be available on Day 2 (if not Day 3). Ross will immediately be compared to fellow former Wildcats CB Antoine Cason (who just wrapped up his 2nd season with the San Diego Chargers), and the Ravens will inevitably try to compare him to another former CB who played in Tucson by the name of Chris McAlister-who just so happens to be the greatest CB in team history. Ross will benefit from having his name mentioned in the same breath as those two, because he doesn’t have a comparable resume. What he lacks in size, he’ll need to make up in quickness during Draft season-starting this week in Orlando. He recorded just 1 interception in his senior campaign-5 for his career. He’ll have to overcome the thud his college career ended on; giving up a 74 yard TD to Nebraska’s Niles Paul in a 33-0 loss to the Huskers in the Holiday Bowl.

LB Ross Pospisil (Navy)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agLDxsJ4mfk[/youtube]

I include Ross Pospisil on this list only because he’s the only “local” college football player participating in the East West Shrine Game. He’s certainly not a prospect to be drafted, but could be an option for the Ravens to take a look at after the draft ends. Just a season ago, Navy FB Eric Kettani and Slotback Shun White were picked up by the New England Patriots following the Draft, as they’ve decided to invest in the former Midshipmen and wait out the service time. Obviously, Saints FB Kyle Eckel previously was able to skirt service time after leaving Annapolis, but I don’t expect that from Pospisil. Ross did have 91 tackles on his senior campaign, including 6 TFL’s. He’s 6’0″ and 227 lbs., and is definitely capable of being a bruiser-but the Ravens would have to be willing to make a long-term investment in a guy that won’ t be able to help them anytime soon. It’s unlikely.

QB Daryll Clark (Penn State)

clark

The funny thing about Daryll Clark’s draft profile is that there is nothing that immediately makes you say “no” about him. He’s a bigger kid (6’2″, 238); but he’s fairly mobile (expected to post a 40 in the 4.6 range) and certainly appears to possess a capable arm. Over his last 2 seasons, he’s completed 60% of his passes for over 5,500 yards and 43 TD’s. In the same time span, he was picked 16 times and was sacked 26 times. Certainly the O-Line play in State College didn’t help those numbers much. He was 22-4 as a starting QB-but his biggest knock is the 4 losses. Clark’s worst performances seemed to come in the most important games for the Nittany Lions-2 against Iowa (both ruining perfect seasons), USC in the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State with the Big Ten title still within reach. He’s not a perfect prospect, but for a likely Day 3 guy, he could certainly prove to be a capable player should the Ravens lose Troy Smith or John Beck.

CB Brian Jackson (Oklahoma)

bjack

You can’t help but get that “What’s not to like” feeling when you look at Brian Jackson’s status. He’s a bit taller (6’1″) than the Ravens’ Current crop of corners, with decent speed (expected to run in the 4.5′s) and has just 5% body fat on his 200 pound frame according to the Sooners. He has football in his blood-his cousin Chris Draft plays LB for the Buffalo Bills. He steadily improved as his playing time increased during his career (112 tackles and 6 picks over his final 2 seasons) and was a very solid special teams player to boot. So….”what’s not to like?” I posed the question to a NFL scout who pointed out to me that there has to be some level of concern stemming from a 2006 knee injury, and while he appeared to be solid, he was never outstanding. He’s had mixed results against his best competition, but did post an interception against Colt McCoy and Texas. Thought by some to be a Day 3 selection, the same scout told me “there’s NO WAY he’s getting past Friday night.”

S T.J. Ward (Oregon)

I have done a lot of research, and while I have no reason to believe T.J. Ward’s nickname is “Freight Train”, I have no reason why it isn’t……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6Hp5uiJgM[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YRsIXOihkk[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc8-gJqzWws[/youtube]

I could go on with “big hit porn”, but instead I’ll move on the details. Ward is a tremendous talent, a likely 2nd round pick. If he weren’t 5’10″, his skill set might get him into Round 1. He recorded 180 tackles over his last 3 seasons in Eugene-along with a pair of picks and 6 forced fumbles. He did all of that despite missing a number of games due to knee and ankle injuries-which will hurt his Draft stock. Ward will absolutely be worth the risk to any team that picks him, but he certainly doesn’t come without red flags.

-G

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Top 25 Local Sports Figures of the Decade

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Top 25 Local Sports Figures of the Decade

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Others Considered: Todd Bozeman, Randy Monroe, Steve Bisciotti, Kimmie Meissner, Fang Mitchell, Dave Trembley, Katie Hoff, Brenda Frese, Kevin Plank, Jimmy Patsos, Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Todd Heap, Barbaro, Carmelo Anthony, Terrell Suggs, Joe DeFrancis, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mike Flanagan, Pam Shriver, Haloti Ngata, Derrick Mason, Scott McBrien, Matt Stover, Steve Blake, Melvin Mora, Steve McNair, Michael McCrary, Ray Rice, Erik Bedard, Sidney Ponson, John Rallo, Shawne Merriman, Pat Kennedy

25-Joe Flacco

flacco

24-Nick Markakis

nick

23-Ed Hale

Hale

22-Kyle Boller

boller

21-John Harbaugh

harbaugh

20-Trent Dilfer

dilfer

19-Cal Ripken Jr.

al

18-Chris McAlister

mcalister

17-Dave Pietramala

petro

16-Brian Roberts

brob

15-Paul Johnson

paulj

14-Ralph Friedgen

fridge

13-Art Modell

modell

12-Hasim Rahman

rahman

11-Ed Reed

reed

10-Jamal Lewis

jamal

The greatest offensive skill position in Ravens history-a former Rookie of the Year, NFL Player of the Year, 2,000 yard rusher, Super Bowl Champion, and single game rushing record holder. He’ll be in the Ring of Honor in the next 12 months too….

9-Juan Dixon

dixon

He’s from Baltimore. He carried Maryland to a NCAA Championship. He’s Top 3 in Glenn Clark’s book…..

8-Brian Billick

billick

He won the Super Bowl as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, but became a polarizing figure until his firing due to his inability to groom a franchise quarterback. I’m not sure I could have stomached hearing the words “offensive genius” again however….

7-Debbie Yow

yow

Her place on this list is based on a mix of her accomplishments as Athletic Director (national championships in men’s and women’s basketball, new arena, and somehow managing to balance the budget in College Park) and how many people despise her due to her testy relationship with a fella who is still to come on this list……

6-Ozzie Newsome

ozzie

Jamal Lewis. Todd Heap. Ed Reed. Terrell Suggs. Haloti Ngata. Ben Grubbs. Joe Flacco. Michael Oher.

Unfortunately, this decade also included Kyle Boller and Travis Taylor…..

5-Jonathan Ogden

jo

He will soon be the first player to go to Canton AS a Baltimore Raven, and some would argue he’s the most important player in franchise history. Those people have a legitimate argument.

4-Michael Phelps

phelps

He’s won 14 gold medals in Olympic competition. No one else ever has. I’d explain more-but if you don’t get it, you never will.

3-Peter Angelos

angelos

Not since Bob Irsay has there been a local sports figure so universally disdained by the entire town. If this were pro wrestling, Sgt. Slaughter would have looked like a babyface during his Iraq support days in compared to the level of seething hate directed towards the city’s baseball dictator. He’s killed an entire sport in a city where baseball was king. His failures are so epic I’m not certain ANYONE could have accomplished anything similar.

2-Gary Williams

gary

If it weren’t for the necessity of corporate sponsoring, it would be Gary Williams Arena-not Comcast Center. The guy will find himself in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and only Earl Weaver is ahead of him in the list of the greatest head coaches in local sports history. And while some might accuse me of blasphemy, he may be greater than even Earl.

1-Ray Lewis

ray

When #52 does something, says something, thinks something, etc…..it is ABSOLUTELY more meaningful than when anyone else in town does. He will eventually have a statue at M&T Bank Stadium-somewhere in the neighborhood of Johnny Unitas I assume. Do I need to explain further?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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4th Day Of Christmas ….

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4th Day Of Christmas ….

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Rex Snider

Damn the snow !!!!

Damn the Chicago Bears Travel Secretary !!!!

Damn these lists of holiday gifts !!!!

I’m going broke, and my blogs are suffering. At this rate, my “12 Days Of Christmas” are gonna take about 3 weeks. I’m running behind schedule – but I’m dedicated to catch up. So, stay tuned – OFTEN.

Today, I’m handing out the special gift of HUMILITY.

That’s right, some folks need a sweet dose (or sour ….) of it, and I’m ensuring they receive a fair portion, as a Christmas gift.
.

JOHN HARBAUGH
.

I’ll admit it, I’ve been pretty hard on the Ravens Head Coach, throughout this 2009 season. I’m not being personally disparaging, I just think we’ve finally observed some consistencies (and inconsistencies) that suggest he has some work to do – on his coaching game …..

If he’s being honest with himself – and his players, I would think Coach Harbaugh has some serious soul searching on the front burner of his Monday evening. While he won’t publicly admit it, Harbaugh has a problem with Chris McAlister. Everyone suspects it.

I get the whole concept of exiling players, and sticking them on the equivalent of the “Island Of Misfit Toys.” Respect and honor are key with many coaches. And, Chris McAlister probably did a few things we’ll never know.

But, John Harbaugh might very well find himself at a humbling intersection, as we sit just 4 days from Christmas, and 6 days from a trip to Heinz Field. Who’s covering Santonio Holmes? How about Hines Ward? Umm, Mike Wallace? Did you consider Heath Miller?

Maybe, we should try this guy …..

I can’t fathom the thought of going forward with the in-house corps of cornerbacks. I know John Harbaugh is dedicated to the TEAM concept and “Playing Like A Raven.” Well, Coach, that goes for YOU, too.

There is a locker room full of guys who’ve busted their asses, since late July. What do they deserve? Lets start with giving them the best chance to win – even if it means sitting down with Chris McAlister and seeing if a short-term marriage is in the best interest of both halves.

Call Sean Payton …..

Ask him why he signed McAlister. Ask him why he cut him? Ask him if McAlister’s short tenure affected the team negatively.

Better yet, just look at the current RAVENS and ask yourself, “what do they deserve?”

Coach Harbaugh is being wished some humility – and a sobering vision, for Christmas.
.

CHRIS McALISTER
.

Yeah, dude, you’re not blameless in this standoff. In fact, I’m imagining you’re probably 95% at fault.

It’s quite easy for me to toss criticism at John Harbaugh – he’s expected to be the “bigger man” and lead by a professional decorum and example. And, he’s pretty much done that.

He hasn’t thrown you under the bus, publicly, one time. While it’s pretty obvious you guys haven’t exchanged Christmas cards, he’s been respectful of your image and public character, as far as the media and fans are concerned.

I would be interested in knowing if Chris McAlister has done anything to resurrect a sliver of his broken relationship with the Ravens Head Coach. He has the ties – he can get to him.

Where is Chris McAlister?

You should be appearing at any and every public service event. It’s CHRISTMAS ….. go find a cameraman, and hand out a turkey !!!!

Or a toy !!!!

Or some money !!!!

It’s all about perception, and it’s also about being humble. You did this. You caused the divorce. I’ve beat up John Harbaugh, because he hasn’t reconvened with your conflicted butt. You wanna play football?

What steps have you taken to mend the fence?

Chris McAlister needs the gift of humility, especially as he confronts a life that probably needs some straightening – beyond the football field.
.

REX SNIDER

Well, I don’t think this has ever happened. Have I ever included myself, as a “sub-topic” of a blog?

I don’t think so.

But, I’m not immune to discerning treatment – especially as it regards a legitimate shortcoming. How do they say it ….. “if the shoe fits?”

I’ll be quite honest, and say I’m really disappointed in myself. While I appreciate this forum and virtual freedom to write (and say) about things desired, I also expect a responsibility from myself.

Yes, I expect more from ME.

For the past few weeks, I’ve seized numerous opportunities to pry on the personal life of Tiger and Elin Woods. While, I absolutely believe I haven’t been disparaging, I have walked into a couple’s “no go” zones.

I do think Tiger’s life is an open book. He’s a celebrity – and pitchman for commercial products. Thus, he’s accountable for a very public image. If he fails to uphold that image, he’ll be held to task.

But, his personal situation is not funny. It’s embarrassing and it’s sad. There are numerous victims in this situation – who can be further hurt by those with media credentials.

While I don’t think my past remarks infringe on Tiger’s family – a man’s family is none of my business. I’ll concentrate on being the best dad and husband, possible. And, leave Tiger and others to managing their own.

This is my humble wish for ME.
.

The People Around Chris Henry

Chris Henry’s funeral is set for tomorrow. Many members of the NFL’s collective family are expected to travel to Gretna, Louisiana, to pay their final respects to the veteran wide receiver.

I’m certain we’ll see and hear and collection of poignant and touching remembrances. As with most funerals, I’m sure dry eyes will be hard to find. This is the way people grieve and it’s purely natural.

However, in the coming weeks and months, someone – ANYONE with a connection to the National Football League and Chris Henry must step forward and speak in sobering fashion about the often troubled young man. It’s the only way to truly learn from his brief, but interrupted life.

Will it be Chad Ochocinco? If he wants earn some credibilty beyond being pro football’s traveling circus, he should speak out. Tell the truth, Chad. Chris Henry made an awful lot of poor decisions – his latest discretion was life costing.

How about you, Roger Goodell? God knows you deal with poor behavior, front and center. If you speak honestly, it wouldn’t cheapen Chris Henry’s image or memory. If your goal is being productive, why not do it?

I think Roger Goodell has an obligation to talk about the game’s realities and risks. By all indications, Chris Henry was a very dysfunctional young man. The Bengals were managing his finances – like a parent oversees a kid’s allowance. Does this bother you, Mister Commissioner?

Perhaps, Marvin Lewis could address the conflicted and combustable topic known as “The Life & Times Of Chris Henry.” I realize Coach Lewis has a locker room to consider and his message would rely upon respecting the teacher/student principle.

Regardless, someone needs to be honest about Chris Henry and how he really lived his life. As with most deaths, surviving collegaues and friends are slathering Henry’s memory with compliments and testimonials …..

“He really turned his life around”

“He was on the right path”

“He hadn’t been in trouble in over a year”

Wow !!!! Is that the modern-day median line for good character? If people don’t get arrested, are they considered successful? I got a 14 year old daughter and I’m gonna expect much, much more from her.

Chris Henry hasn’t been in handcuffs for a substantial amount of time. I’m glad about that. But, he undoubtedly still had issues. He died after falling from a speeding pickup truck – during a domestic incident with his fiance’.

It’s December – it was 46 degrees, in Charlotte, on the afternoon Chris Henry died. And, he was shirtless in the back of a pickup truck. Yet, so many people want to convince us he was a changed man.

Consider this …..

If I handed you piece of paper, at the start of the 2009 NFL season – and asked you to write the names of the 5 players most likely to DIE within the next year, would Chris Henry be on that list? You’re damned right.

In a spur of the moment situation, Chris Henry made another poor decision. It was his worst decision, EVER. He is gone – and 3 children no longer have a dad.

It’s time for someone who really wants to change the image of the NFL to swallow some pride, humble up, and be honest about Chris Henry and the culture of many of the game’s players. That’s my wish for them.
.
Rex Ryan

Admit it, seeing Rex Ryan’s swagger melt with each frustrating Jets loss is kinda comforting, right?

Where are the game balls for all those SUPER-JET fans, now?

Is Rex still leaving confidence-driven phone messages for season ticket holders? Or, is he making Mark Sanchez call the same people and apologize for wasting their hard earned money?

Back in September, Rex Ryan was being pimped around the Big Apple. He was the common fan’s hero. Yet, a short 3 months later, he’s being questioned and criticized by the same group of Gang-Green supporters.

From “toasted to roasted” …..

I think Rex Ryan is going to be very successful, in New York. But, he really needs a few spoonfuls of humility. The story should never, ever be about him. He’s the Head Coach, not the Head Star.

Rex needs to lighten up – he’s giving me a bad name …..

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Live from Owings Mills: Harbaugh Confirms Webb Will Miss Season, Won’t Rule Out McAlister

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:08-Hear from John Harbaugh NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

Also, Domonique Foxworth joined Drew Forrester on “The Comcast Morning Show” this morning on AM1570 WNST, you can hear that in the Audio Vault as well.

3:44-Here are some highlights from John Harbaugh:

-”Compliments to the crowd, the stadium people and the fans for getting there” for Bears game.
-”You obviously want to be playing well when it’s most important”, but in NFL “it’s most important every week.”
-He confirmed Lardarius Webb will miss season with ACL injury, but said team hasn’t made any decisions on what they’ll do moving forward.
-He said team would be looking for CB who could help as early as Pittsburgh game.
-on McAlister: “We’re open to bringing anyone back.”
-on injuries: “We’re gonna get some guys back…..hopefully.”
-believes Ed Reed has been “trying hard to get back.”
-says improved play from #Flacco has a lot to do with guys around him
-believes Demetrius Williams “has remade himself” as a football player; but he’s still learning offense and lined up incorrectly even at times during Bears game
-No consideration made to place Mark Clayton on IR
-Roethlisberger “handles pressure probably better than any other QB” in NFL
-Controlling own destiny “is a challenge.”
-”We’ll probably have another defensive back on this team by Wednesday.”
-thinks Mendenhall and Willie Parker both “great backs.”
-Troy Polamalu “changes everything” for Steelers defense

3:09-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where John Harbaugh will address the media at 3:45. There will be plenty to talk about after yesterday’s win over the Chicago Bears, and with a game against the “arch rival” (Harbs’ own words) Pittsburgh Steelers looming Sunday. The Ravens could clinch an AFC Wild Card berth with a victory (and a ton of help), or they could put themselves in a position to sweat out a trip to Oakland in Week 17.

The biggest question looming is what the Ravens will do now after what is all but confirmed to be a torn ACL for Lardarius Webb. The name Chris McAlister has floated around more today than the words “Code Red” did this weekend on the local news. McAlister remains unlikely, but WNST’s own Drew Forrester confirmed that the team is “evaluating” their former Pro Bowl CB. The relationship between John Harbaugh and C-Mac is NOT the only thing that would prevent McAlister from returning to Baltimore. Despite the fact that he was playing with the Saints just a couple of weeks ago, it is unknown what type of shape he’s in. (Believe me, Chris may or may not have assumed his season was over.)

The Ravens also do not necessarily HAVE to make a move at CB. With Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr the likely starters Sunday; they have 3 active CB’s behind them in Frank Walker, Cary Williams and Marcus Paschal. This may not be what Ravens want to hear, but those players are on the active roster for a reason. Also, should Ed Reed and KJ Gerard return this week-Gerard could be used at CB if necessary. A lot could happen.

I’ll update shortly with more from Harbaugh.

-G

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As Things Fall in Place for Ravens, Defining Game Looms

Posted on 20 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

For the 2nd straight week, the Baltimore Ravens DOMINATED a NFC North opponent en route to an easy victory.

For the 2nd straight week, other teams in the AFC did what they could to help the Ravens improve their chances of clinching a Wild Card berth.

And for the 2nd straight week, the Ravens will know that a big win means only as much as what they do the following Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens were particularly impressive Sunday in routing the Chicago Bears 31-7 on a M&T Bank Stadium field that hardly appeared to have been ravaged by a blizzard just 24 hours earlier. The Ravens’ dominance was especially impressive via the air, as Joe Flacco was 21/29 for 234 yards and 4 TD’s while his counterpart Jay Cutler was 10/24 for 94 yards and 2 INT’s.

Combine that effort with losses by the Jaguars (Thursday night), Dolphins (in overtime to the Titans), Jets (thanks to a late Matt Ryan-Tony Gonzalez TD) and Broncos (Jamarcus Russell, really?); and the Ravens find themselves atop the race for the Wild Card spots in the AFC. They are remarkably still alive in the AFC North race, just a game (and a tiebreaker) behind the Bengals thanks to Cincinnati’s loss in San Diego.

And while the Ravens should certainly feel good about the position they find themselves in, they can’t afford to get overconfident. Taking another step towards a playoff berth now continues at Heinz Field, where John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco have never won.

Next Sunday’s trip to Pittsburgh is absolutely winnable for this Ravens team. This is a team that snapped a 3 game losing streak to the Steelers on November 29 with a 20-17 win. Of course, that was with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined and Dennis Dixon playing. They almost certainly won’t have the same luxury a week from now. But beyond that, the Steelers’ secondary has been awful, and their offensive line hasn’t been much better. If there were ever a time when the Ravens were primed to go to the Steel City and win, this would be pretty close to it. And they know it.

Todd Heap said the Ravens started talking about Pittsburgh while they were still in the locker room after the win over the Bears. John Harbaugh was quick to point out that “the players brought it up.” Although he added on that the Ravens knew the task they faced playing their “arch rival”, adding the Steelers will “be excited to play us.”

Derrick Mason mentioned the win Sunday was “all for nothing” without a win over the Steelers to back it up. He’s right. The Ravens are a loss to Pittsburgh away from finding themselves in such a muddled playoff picture that they may have needed Troy Smith to score some points at the end of the game to help improve their overall score differential. They’re a loss in Pittsburgh away from doing not only scoreboard watching, but calculator watching. They’re a loss in Pittsburgh away from needing rosaries and prayer as much as needing touchdowns as practice.

And while the Steelers are as beatable as most of us can remember, they’re equally as primed for a MAJOR win. Not that I have to explain that to you, as I’m sure you saw the end of their 37-36 victory over the Packers. They sit at 7-7, and they’re just one win over the Ravens away from entering the cluster of teams who could have real Wild Card chances entering the final week of the season. Not that Mike Tomlin would even need that to have them ready to face Ray Lewis and company.

It’s akin to Ohio State-Michigan with a BCS berth in the balance. Or Yankees-Red Sox in the final week with the AL East crown undecided. Duke-Carolina with the ACC still in the balance. Well, maybe not quite (since the AFC North is completely out of the picture for Pittsburgh and a long shot for Baltimore); but it will have that feeling.

It’s really everything you can ask for in the NFL.

Ravens players have been asked frequently this season “what kind of team are you?” Or “how would you define this team?”

In 7 days, they’ll have their answer.

-G

———————————–

CB/KR Lardarius Webb suffered what appeared to be a season-ending leg injury. John Harbaugh said the team won’t know for sure until Monday, but he’s “not optimistic.” Mutiple players (including Ray Lewis) spoke as if Lardarius was done for the year.
Chris Carr and Frank Walker would be the players who would have the most pressure placed on them with Webb out. John Harbaugh eliminated the chances of the Ravens signing Chris McAlister earlier in the season, but there is no doubt his name will come up again this week.

Jay Cutler’s passer rating (7.9) was the lowest EVER for an opposing QB against the Ravens.

Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:
Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
WR Demetrius Williams
TE Todd Heap
LB Ray Lewis
CB Domonique Foxworth
CB Chris Carr

Domonique Foxworth is scheduled to join Drew Forrester tomorrow morning at 9:40am on “The Comcast Morning Show” on AM1570 WNST.

Ray Rice reached 100 yards of offense for the 11th time this season. (87 rushing, 17 receiving, 104 overall.)

Joe Flacco’s 4 passing TD’s were the most he’s thrown in a single game in his young career.

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Ravens’ fight for playoff lives is nothing new

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Ravens’ fight for playoff lives is nothing new

Posted on 17 December 2009 by Luke Jones

As the Baltimore Ravens continue to grapple for a postseason spot entering Week 15 (and here’s another great source for predicting your own playoff scenarios) against the Chicago Bears, the franchise finds itself in a familiar position.

While last season’s improbable run in John Harbaugh’s first season landed Baltimore in the AFC Championship, the franchise has found itself on the playoff bubble five other times in the last 11 years. Not counting the Super Bowl season of 2000 and a franchise-best regular season record of 13-3 in 2006 (the Ravens clinched a berth in Week 15 of both seasons), the Ravens’ playoff chances have always boiled down to the final week of the season.

Here’s a look back at the other “bubble” teams in the 14-year history of the Ravens, with some teams having more success than others down the stretch.

Tony Banks and Scott Mitchell
1999: 8-8 (2-1 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: Brian Billick’s first season as head coach saw the Ravens secure their first non-losing record. Despite starting the season third on the depth chart behind Scott Mitchell and Stoney Case, Tony Banks emerged as the starting quarterback by season’s end, leading the team to impressive wins over the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers (the Ravens’ first victory in Pittsburgh). A four-game winning streak kept the Ravens in the playoff hunt entering Week 17, but Baltimore fell to the Patriots in snowy Foxboro, 20-3. The strong second half was a precursor to a Super Bowl championship a season later, though Banks would find himself replaced by Trent Dilfer by mid-season. The soon-to-be record-breaking Baltimore defense finished second in the NFL in yards allowed.

What went wrong: Billick asked fans to take a “leap of faith” with the newly-signed—and much-maligned—Mitchell, and the experiment lasted all of 56 passing attempts and four interceptions in two losses to begin the season. The Ravens got off to a 4-7 start, too much to overcome despite the strong play of the defense and the emergence of Banks and new receiver Qadry Ismail down the stretch.

Terry Allen
2001: 10-6 (2-1 in final three weeks), Wild Card

Synopsis: Looking to defend their Super Bowl title by improving the offense, the Ravens replaced Dilfer with former Pro Bowl quarterback Elvis Grbac who struggled to win over his teammates and win games. Running back Jamal Lewis suffered a torn ACL in the first week of training camp, and the Ravens employed a committee of Terry Allen, Jason Brookins, and Moe Williams for the ground attack. Needing a win in Week 17 against the Vikings on a Monday night, the Ravens clinched a Wild Card spot with a 16-3 victory behind Allen’s 133 rushing yards and a bruising defensive performance.

What went right: While Ravens fans hold Grbac responsible for failing to repeat, the team literally had its legs cut out from under it with the loss of Lewis before the season started. While the defense could not match its record-setting numbers of a season earlier, it still finished second in yards allowed and fourth in points surrendered. Signed off the street during training camp, Allen provided an admirable effort with Brookins and Williams providing assistance. With Grbac struggling and fans clamoring for Randall Cunningham to replace him, Billick used the running game and the still-stellar defense to get into the playoffs and earn a road victory over the Dolphins in the first round before falling in Pittsburgh the next week, 27-10.

Jeff Blake
2002: 7-9 (1-2 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: In what was perhaps Billick’s best coaching job in his nine years as Ravens coach, the 2002 team managed to stay in the playoff hunt entering the final two weeks of the season despite saying goodbye to key veterans Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, Tony Siragusa, and numerous others in the salary cap purge of the Super Bowl roster. The Ravens looked to be one of the worst teams in the NFL and got off to an 0-2 start before rebounding in a huge Monday night victory over the Broncos. Jamal Lewis returned from his lost 2001 season to rush for 1,327 yards, Todd Heap earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and linebacker Ed Hartwell and rookie safety Ed Reed led the defense after Ray Lewis went down with a shoulder injury early in the season. Back-to-back losses to the Browns and Steelers to close the season ended the Ravens’ improbable playoff hopes but could not devalue a very surprising season.

What went wrong: The team could not find consistency at the quarterback position with Chris Redman suffering a back injury and veteran Jeff Blake struggling with consistency. The loss of Lewis coupled with an inexperienced unit caused the defense to fall to 22nd in the NFL despite the encouraging development of several young players. Three out of four losses to end the season sealed the young team’s fate.

Jamal Lewis
2003: 10-6 (2-1 in final three weeks), AFC North champion

Synopsis: The Lewises reigned in 2003. While Ray Lewis earned his second Defensive Player of the Year award, the real story of the season was Jamal Lewis, who became just the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Lewis’ 295 rushing yards against the Browns in Week 2 set a new NFL record and created the identity for the Ravens’ offense. Rookie Kyle Boller struggled before going down with a quadriceps injury, and journeyman Anthony Wright took the reins of the offense. The team clinched the AFC North title in Week 17 when the Browns knocked off the Bengals earlier in the day, but the Ravens knocked off the Steelers in overtime for good measure. Baltimore would fall at home in the Wild Card round the following week when the Titans stifled Lewis and the running game.

What went right: Jamal Lewis’ historic season made up for an otherwise ineffective offense. The defense finished third overall and was led by Ray Lewis and emerging star Ed Reed. Eight players made the Pro Bowl including both Lewises, Reed, Heap, Jonathan Ogden, Adalius Thomas, Peter Boulware, and Chris McAlister. With the Ravens struggling at 5-5, Wright threw four touchdown passes to Marcus Robinson in an improbable 44-41 comeback win against the Seahawks to initiate a three-game winning streak. However, an ugly loss to Oakland in Week 15 forced the Ravens to win their final two games to clinch the North. Lewis was up to the challenge as he shredded the Browns again for 205 yards and eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark against the Steelers with 114 yards in the overtime win to conclude the regular season.

Kyle Boller
2004: 9-7 (1-2 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: Following the script from the previous season, the 2004 squad struggled with consistency, as Boller completed his first full season as the starting quarterback. Once again, the defense led the way with Reed earning the Defensive Player of the Year honor, keeping the award in the Charm City for the second year in a row. A three-game winning streak in the middle of the season put the Ravens at 7-3 and on the short track to the playoffs, but losing four of five down the stretch placed their playoffs hopes on life support at 8-7. Needing a victory over the Dolphins and three other teams to lose in Week 17, the Ravens held up their end of the bargain in a 30-23 victory but didn’t receive enough help to steal a postseason spot.

What went wrong: With Jamal Lewis facing the repercussions of federal drug-related charges and serving a two-game suspension during the season, the offense plummeted to 31st in the league. Boller showed flashes of promise but lacked any consistent receiving threat with Heap missing most of the season with an ankle injury. Even with the struggles on offense, the Ravens controlled their own destiny down the stretch but lost road games to the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts and suffered a heartbreaking loss at home to the Bengals over a five-game stretch. The Ravens’ inability to win any one of these games ultimately sealed their fate.

Le'Ron McClain
2008: 11-5 (2-1 in final three weeks), Wild Card

Synopsis: With a rookie coach and quarterback, the 2008 Ravens were viewed as a rebuilding team with little chance of making noise in the AFC. However, Harbaugh reunited a divided locker room, and Flacco played more like a grizzled veteran than a quarterback playing at Delaware a season earlier. The three-headed attack of Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice combined for over 2,000 rushing yards, and a veteran defense finished second overall. After struggling to a 2-3 start, the Ravens won nine of their last 11 games to clinch a Wild Card spot with a 27-7 victory over the Jaguars in Week 17.

What went right: Nearly every move the Ravens made turned to gold as they marched deep into the playoffs. After receiving only eight carries in his rookie season, McClain came out of nowhere to rush for 902 yards to lead the ground attack, taking the pressure off the rookie Flacco. After getting off to a slow start due to a lingering neck and shoulder condition, Reed completed one of the greatest defensive stretches in NFL history by intercepting eight passes and scoring two touchdowns over the season’s final six weeks. After losing to the Steelers at home due to a controversial Santonio Holmes touchdown, the Ravens needed to steal one on the road against the Cowboys. Instead, motivated by rumors that they were handpicked as an easy opponent in the Texas Stadium finale, the Ravens dominated the Cowboys in a 33-24 victory. With a Week 17 win that was more of a formality than a challenge, the Ravens entered the playoffs and won two road games before falling to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

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Ray Rice Continues Unquestionable Team MVP Performance in Win Over Steelers

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

I’ve been known to fawn all over a football player or two during my life.

There have been NUMEROUS times since the Ravens franchise entered our lives that I have looked at the TV screen and uttered the words “Thank God ______ plays for the Ravens.” The most frequent names I’ve used in that sentence have been Michael McCrary, Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister and Derrick Mason.

On Sunday night, I found myself uttering another name; a name that I have been praising since the season began.

“Thank God Ray Rice plays for the Ravens.”

With another 155 total yards (88 rushing, 67 receiving) in a 20-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Rice has now gone over 100 total yards of offense in 8 consecutive games. He has 1,403 total yards on the season (821 rushing, 582 receiving); and warrants even more praise than what John Harbaugh could think of after the game. (“He’s a player” is what the coach exclaimed.)

I don’t mean to turn this into a drool session, or an awkward “man crush” revelation; but it is hard to avoid such things when I look at this game. When this team most needed him, Ray Rice ran a perfect play; and turned from a game-extender to a game-changer.

Facing a 4thand 5 with 3:31 to play in the 4th quarter, a 17-14 deficit and just 1 timeout remaining; Joe Flacco found Ray Rice in stride for a first down.

And then some.

Ray moved the ball all the way down to the 10 yard live of the Steelers, a gain of 44 yards. The Ravens would ultimately cash in a Billy Cundiff field goal; which would tie the game and send it to overtime. But the significance of the play cannot be underestimated.

It wasn’t JUST a 4th down catch. A 4th down catch that gained 10 yards would have been easily forgotten had the Ravens failed to get another first down on the drive and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of their AFC North rival.

Instead, Rice moved forward-dodging defenders-until the Ravens were in absolute scoring position. It was the type of play that changed the attitude of every person inside M&T Bank Stadium.

It isn’t the first time he’s been asked to make a play in the clutch, either. Rice has been targeted in key situations throughout the season; including just a week ago-when Joe Flacco looked to him late in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts; only to have Gary Brackett make an interception. But faced with a similar situation Sunday night, there was no fear in going right back to the man who has been the team’s most productive offensive player.

The Ravens wanted to run their offense around one player this season. Cam Cameron wanted the offense to be based around one man, who could carry the football team in every situation they faced. They took out the gadget (or “Suggs Package”) plays with Troy Smith because they didn’t want the game out of the hands of their most productive player.

And while Joe Flacco has played a little under expectations, they’ve gotten the offensive game-changer they so badly desired. He wears #27.

Credit Mark Clayton, Paul Kruger, Michael Oher, Jared Gaither, Billy Cundiff and a number of other Ravens who made VERY significant contributions in a VERY significant win. But in the most important moment of the most important game of the season; it was Rice delivered once more. With the bright lights of NBC’s national “Sunday Night Football” broadcast on him, he answered the call.

And come Monday morning, he’ll be the biggest reason why this team is 6-5 and tied for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.

That’s the definition of a team MVP.

-G

——————————————————-

NOTES:

-Hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Paul Kruger, Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, Jarret Johnson, Billy Cundiff and Ray Lewis in the Audio Vault at WNST.net following the win.
-The Ravens reported FB Le’Ron McClain (abdominal strain) and LB Prescott Burgess (hamstring) were team’s only injuries stemming from the win. No further information was available for either player. QB Joe Flaccosaid he “re-rolled” his injured ankle during the game but felt better after he re-taped it. LB Ray Lewis was heard VERY AUDIBLY saying “My foot is killing me” with media members standing near his locker; but claimed it was “good” when asked about it after the game.
-The Ravens reached double digit points (14) in the first half for the first time since a win over the Browns in Week 3.
-At 6-5, the Ravens are now tied with the Steelers and Jaguars for the final playoff spot in the AFC.
-This is the first overtime win of Joe Flacco’s career; also the first win over the Steelers.
-Harbaugh was quick to deflect any questions about the Steelers playing without Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu, and credited Dennis Dixon as “a player” who the Ravens really liked coming out of college.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Sorry, nothing to add today. Have to get to 1 Winning Drive. It’s coordinators day!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…..

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says John Harbaugh, Derrick Mason implored fans to be louder than usual at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday

Derek Arnold says Dawan Landry ‘Played Like a Raven’ Monday night in Cleveland

Drew Forrester says 2,500 packed RAC Arena to see Loyola top UMBC

Bob Haynie says fans beginning to show confidence in Ravens for Sunday’s game against Colts

Thyrl Nelson thinks Flacco bad play, Ray Rice solid play this weekend in Fantasy Football

Eric Aaronson says Gilbert Arenas-Shaquille O’Neal drama overshadowed Wizards-Cavaliers last night

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens signed Billy Cundiff to replace Steve Hauschka

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Matt Birk knows offense must improve ‘execution’

The Official Site says Ravens placed Nakamura on IR with ankle injury

The Official Site says Le’Ron McClain, Jarret Johnson, Dannell Ellerbe have no one more famous than Ray Lewis in their cell phone

The Official Site says Ravens’ wives to hold food drive benefitting Maryland Food Bank before Sunday’s game against Indianapolis

The Official Site says Jim Caldwell believes Colts ‘not concerned’ with finishing season with perfect record

The Official Site says Matt Lawrence needs ‘about another week’ to figure out knee issue according to Harbs

Colts Official Site’s John Oehser says Manning views matchup with Baltimore as ‘physical and mental challenge’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Matt Stover hopes Baltimore fans will remember him favorably when he returns to Charm City

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ravens picked Cundiff over Mike Nugent due to kickoff abilities

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Ravens unlikely to beat AFC’s best Colts

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck doesn’t think Ravens can keep thinks ‘particularly close’ with Colts Sunday

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

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says sprained knee ligament will force Suggs to miss first game(s) of career

The Sun’s Mike Preston expects Cam Cameron to try to dominate time of possession Sunday with run

The Sun’s Mike Preston expects Kruger to be ‘tested’ by Colts

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Derrick Mason, John Harbaugh, Sam Koch all had kind words for Hauschka after departure

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ngata limited in practice

The Sun’s Edward Lee says KJ Gerard takes Nakamura’s spot on active roster

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Tavares Gooden wouldn’t talk about concussion

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Harbaugh seemed to support Belichick’s decision against Colts

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Kruger hasn’t gotten official word from Harbaugh

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Dwan Edwards fined $5,000 for hit on Joshua Cribbs

The AP says Saints hoping Chris McAlister can be ready to play for them Sunday

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason each think seeing Stover on opposing sideline will be ‘weird’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Brady Quinn fined $10,000 for hit on Suggs

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Ravens ‘needed veteran kicker like Stover’ to pursue Super Bowl dreams

Washington Times’ Bob Cohn says Oher yet to see The Blind Side

Indianapolis Star’s Mike Chappell says Dallas Clark can break John Mackey’s franchise record for career catches by tight end Sunday

Indianapolis Star’s Phil Richards says Rutgers alum Gary Brackett used to consider Ray Rice protégé

USA Today’s Gary Mihoces says Paul Kruger, Antwan Barnes expected to fill in for T-Sizzle

7 of 8 USA Today analysts pick Colts

USA Today’s Pete O’Brien picks Ravens 24-23

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer picks Colts 27-21

6 of 7 Sporting News analysts pick Colts

Sporting News’ Russ Lande mocks Jermaine Gresham to Ravens

SI’s Don Banks has Ravens 13th in power rankings

NFL.com’s Steve Wyche says Ravens must ‘man up’ to get into Wild Card picture

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco picks Colts 31-28

6 of 6 CBS Sports analysts pick Colts

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Gregg Rosenthal pick Colts 31-28

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Colts 33-24

Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez thinks Flacco progressing better than Matt Ryan

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens made ‘mistake’ in not bringing back Matt Stover

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Matt Birk, Todd Heap also didn’t practice Wednesday

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Suggs’ injury similar to Polamalu’s

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

Florida State Official Site says Bobby Bowden thinks Jamarr Robinson ‘dangerous quarterback’

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says becoming a father has forced Terrell Skinner to mature

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Travis Baltz will miss rest of season after undergoing surgery on broken finger

Florida Times-Union has Maryland 11th in ACC power rankings

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich picks Seminoles 35-17

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Jamarr Robinson could be hitting ground a few times in Tallahassee

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says James Franklin impressed by how Da’Rel Scott has been practicing (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Terps should have ‘inside presence’ with Jordan Williams, James Padgett

The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut says Gary Williams to address Dino Gregory report today

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Sean Mosley believes Terps playing same type of defense that lead them to NCAA Tournament last year

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Greivis Vasquez thought Eric Hayes was ‘unbelievable’ in win over Stags

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Fairfield coach Ed Cooley knew turnovers killed any chances Stags had in College Park Tuesday night

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says teammates view Eric Hayes as ‘laid back guy’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Milbourne wasn’t tired despite playing a ton of minutes early on Tuesday night

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps were best against Stags with James Padgett on floor

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Vasquez, Milbourne lifting weights more with eyes on NBA future

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says Terps lifted by Eric Hayes in win over Fairfield (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says Gary Williams ‘expects defense to be there every night’

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s tilt with Old Dominion in College Park

The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer says tonight’s game against Monarchs should give Kizer, Oyefuwa, Essence Townsend good barometer to see how they handle better interior players

TERRAPINS SOCCER:

The Sun’s Todd Karpovich says Hounds hoping to avenge ’07 NCAA Tournament loss to Terps tonight at Ludwig Field

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says 93% of football players in Annapolis graduate

Go Mids’ David Ausiello says Niumatalolo not interested in leaving Mids

Go Mids’ David Ausiello wonders what would happen if Midshipmen were to face off with Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech team (must subscribe)

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s home opener against Buffalo at Alumni Hall

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Jamal Barney scored 21 to lift Greyhounds past Retrievers in Catonsville

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of victory

The Sun’s Jeff Seidel says Brett Harvey made 4 big free throws late to clinch win for Loyola

UMBC BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Chauncey Gilliam’s 22 points not enough as Retrievers fell to Hounds at RAC Arena

MORGAN BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s tilt with East Tennessee State at Hill Field House

The Official Site offers complete Bears-Buccaneers release (pdf)

MORGAN FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s season finale at Hampton

The Official Site offers complete Bears-Pirates release (pdf)

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Tigers’ athletic teams 2nd in CAA in graduation rate

Examiner’s Matthew Schlissel previews Saturday’s trip to James Madison

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews NCAA Tournament opener at Hampden-Sydney

The Official Site offers complete Blue Jays-Tigers release (pdf)

STEVENSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Ed Hottle introduced as first head coach in Mustangs history

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Jeremy Goode’s 17 lead Mountaineers in win at American

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The AP says Beidler added 14 for ‘Eers in win over Eagles

ORIOLES:

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says Adrian Beltre, Pedro Feliz, Chone Figgins, Hank Blalock, Russell Branyan, Troy Glaus could be options for Birds at corner infield positions

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says O’s to wait until free agency to re-open talks with Hendrickson

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Blake Davis, Steve Johnson will be exposed to Rule 5 Draft

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Matt Angle hit a 2 run single for Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League play

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-I’ll say Coppin State 74, Washington Adventist 59; and Morgan State 67, East Tennessee 60 tonight.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Very impressed by what I saw in College Park DEFENSIVELY last night. Sean Mosley is going to make a run at Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC. They are VERY solid defensively.

The halfcourt offense MUST improve.

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

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester says fans who boo Matt Stover Sunday ‘jerks’

Glenn Clark says Ray Rice best Raven in win over Browns, Drew Forrester chooses Dawan Landry

Drew Forrester says Ravens must ‘step it up’ against Indy Sunday

Derek Arnold says effort Ravens gave against Cleveland wouldn’t have been enough to beat most NFL teams

Drew Forrester says Ravens ‘must’ go 2-1 against Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Green Bay over next 3 weeks

Glenn Clark says Ozzie Newsome, Ravens expected ‘growing pains’ from Hauschka to start NFL career

Nestor Aparicio takes Jon Gruden to task for comments made during Monday Night Football broadcast

Luke Jones says Terps managed to overcome 14 rebounds from Fairfield’s Anthony Johnson

Bob Haynie says Terps commit Terrence Ross waiting to sign LOI

Keith Melchior compares Hauschka to Doug DeCinces

Ed Frankovic says Ovechkin returned, scored in Capitals’ win over Rangers

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s John Eisenberg says Browns served as ‘warm-up’ for Ravens as they face ‘test’ with Colts, Steelers, Packers

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens released Hauschka

The Official Site says Ozzie Newsome believes ‘Ravens need better’ than Hauschka at kicker

Colts Official Site’s Matt Dollinger says young players Jacob Lacey, Jerraud Powers, Kyle DeVan getting valuable playing time for Indianapolis

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Lewis wants Brady Quinn fined for hit on Terrell Suggs

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley and Edward Lee say releasing Hauschka ‘acknowledges’ failure to replace Matt Stover

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Suggs injury likely means more playing time for Paul Kruger

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Oher didn’t attend New York premiere of The Blind Side

The Sun breaks down possible kickers Mike Nugent, Billy Cundiff

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd hopes Hauschka finds another NFL job

The Sun’s Jay Hancock says Oher, Ray Rice to sign autographs at M&T Bank Stadium event tonight

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbs was progressively more disappointed in Hauschka

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Derrick Mason thinks offense needs to ‘step up’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Hauschka ‘disappointed’ with being released

The Sun says Chris McAlister reportedly signed with Saints

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Brady Quinn apologized to T-Sizzle, Ravens for hit

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh still thinks Hauschka will be ‘good kicker’

The AP says big misses against Vikings, Bengals worked to doom Hauschka

Washington Post’s Mark Maske says Hauschka was 9/13 on FG attempts, 27/28 on XP attempts this season

Indianapolis Star’s Phillip B. Wilson says Charlie Johnson has answered questions that faced him all season

USA Today’s Jon Saraceno says Ravens have daunting task ahead with Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers coming up

USA Today’s Tom Pedulla says Oher hopes to play at Pro Bowl level, win multiple Super Bowls during career

USA Today’s Sean Leahy says Mangini accepted Brady Quinn’s explanation of Terrell Suggs hit

USA Today has Ravens 11th in power rankings

Sporting News’ Clifton Brown has Ravens 11th in power rankings

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has Ravens 15th in power rankings

Fox Sports’ Adrian Hasenmayer has Ravens 7th in power rankings

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens likely to play without Suggs for ‘extended period’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens have been ‘streaky and inconsistent’

ESPN.com has Ravens 11th in power rankings

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Eric Hayes’ 14 lead Terps past Fairfield 71-42

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The Official Site says Gary Williams knows Greivis Vasquez a ‘marked man’ for opponents

The Official Site says Vasquez became 38th Terrapin to reach 500 rebounds in win

Fairfield Official Site says Needham’s 15 not enough as Stags fell to Maryland

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps were ‘thin’ up front against Fairfield with Dino Gregory, Jin Soo Choi, Steve Goins out

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Walt Williams officially joined Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche on radio broadcasts

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Milbourne added 8 boards for Terps in win

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Steve Francis Ashton Pankey’s all-time favorite Terp

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Terps had to use 15-0 run in first half to put Stags away at Comcast Center

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Ersin Levent scored first career point in final minute of win

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says playing time now will pay off for James Padgett, Jordan Williams

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says Greivis tried to pull a Juan Dixon by switching shoes after first half struggles

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Terps need more ‘patience’ in half court offense

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps actually had to rally from first half deficit against MAAC opponent

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says despite struggles from field, Greivis has 19 assists through first 2 games against Charleston Southern, Fairfield

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps gave up fewest points since ’04 against UMES

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says despite ugly nature of win, Terps accomplished goals against Fairfield

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Sean Mosley added 13 points in victory

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says Landon Milbourne scored 10 points in win

Turtle Sports Report’s Danny Miller chats with new Terp Ashton Pankey (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Terps were ‘uneven’ in win over New Hampshire (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

Florida State Official Site says Seminoles to honor Mickey Andrews at Saturday’s game against Terps

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Chris Turner will miss second straight game Saturday at FSU

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says Da’Rel Scott likely to return Saturday against Noles

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Jamarr Robinson will make second straight start Saturday in Tallahassee

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says Travis Ivey playing hard for NFL Draft hopes

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says James Franklin getting comfortable working from sideline

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Clemson win Saturday will mean more money for James Franklin

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Travis Baltz could be ‘emergency option’ for Terps Saturday

Tallahassee Democrat’s Corey Clark says Jermaine Thomas hoping to be first back to run for 1,000 yards at Florida State since Warrick Dunn

USA Today’s Steve Wieberg says FSU’s Bobby Bowden could be coaching final game at Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Wujciak has been best Terp

Terrapin Times’ Claire Knudsen profiles freshman TE Stinebaugh (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Jamarr Robinson improving (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS SOCCER:

The Official Site previews Thursday’s NCAA Tournament opener against Loyola

NAVY FOOTBALL:

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Niumatalolo trying to get Mids ready for next week’s trip to Hawaii during bye week

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy keeps Midshipmen 24th in Top 25

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Tigers’ season finale at James Madison Saturday

James Madison Official Site previews Saturday’s game against Towson

James Madison Official Site offers complete Dukes-Tigers release (pdf)

UMBC BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s battle with Loyola at RAC Arena

The Official Site offers complete Retrievers-Greyhounds release (pdf)

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s trip to Catonsville on MASN

The Official Site offers complete Hounds-Retrievers release (pdf)

STEVENSON FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman says Galludet’s Ed Hottle to be named first head coach in Mustangs history

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Andrew Kase, Colin Wixted honored by Centennial Conference

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s trip to American

The Official Site offers complete Mountaineers-Eagles release (pdf)

MCDANIEL FOOTBALL:

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says McDaniel hopes to ‘build’ on this year’s .500 season

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Terror players Mike Weick, Matt Cahill, Mike Ford, Austin Herr, Sam Cox, Travis Wenrich all honored by Centennial Conference

UMES BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Hillary Haley’s 22 points not enough as Hawks fell to Marquette

Marquette Official Site says 28 points from Lazar Haywood lead Golden Eagles past Hawks

The Sun says Mark Robertson added 15 for Hawks in loss

SALISBURY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Gulls’ Kowalick honored by ACFC

ORIOLES:

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez says Erbe, Gamboa, Perrault finding success for Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck thinks Birds should pursue Adrian Beltre

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says O’s prospect Josh Bell doubled Monday in AFL play

BLAST:

The Sun says all games to be streamed online by B2 Networks

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-I’ll say Loyola 64, UMBC 61 tonight. Losing the way they did Sunday at RAC Arena makes me think that might linger.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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A Call to Harbs: Your Chance to Fix the Ravens

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A Call to Harbs: Your Chance to Fix the Ravens

Posted on 10 November 2009 by Luke Jones

The sheer volume of opining, panicking, and lamenting jamming the airwaves, flooding inboxes, and littering message boards since 4:30 p.m. on Sunday has been impossible to escape if you’re a Ravens fan.

And it’s understandable with Sunday’s game clearly being one of the Ravens’ worst performances in recent memory.

Of course, the venting is part of the cathartic process of being a fan after a loss, but it ultimately does nothing to address the problem—or problems—and leaves you feeling helpless in the Ravens’ plight with a 4-4 record and two games behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North.

Ultimately, “it is what it is” for us observers.

In reality, the frustration and second-guessing displayed by us all is falling on deaf ears, and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Who hasn’t made a bold proclamation—or several hundred—to their buddies but later felt relief that no one was really listening?

After all, I was convinced Peyton Manning would be the next Heath Shuler while Ryan Leaf would be the next John Elway, and we all know how that turned out.

Peyton Manning

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMe0Rz1frdE&feature=PlayList&p=C6E7EEFE0DCA91CA&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=25[/youtube]

So now that we’ve acknowledged our limitations and past gaffes in evaluating the NFL and its players, this is your chance to prove yourself once and for all.

The phone rings, and John Harbaugh is on the line asking for your astute opinion on the state of the Ravens. He doesn’t have time for personal attacks or whining; Harbaugh is looking for answers.

He’s willing to take three REALISTIC suggestions and implement them beginning in Cleveland on Monday night.

And the key word is REALISTIC.

Larry Bird and Kevin McHale are not—wait a second, wrong rant—Chris McAlister and Michael McCrary are not walking through that door. And if they did, their knees would be completely shot.

Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard say hello to the Charm City, but they’re perfectly content with Rex Ryan in the Big Apple. And the former defensive coordinator sends his regards, but his hands are too full with a rookie quarterback and the New York media to worry about the Ravens’ defensive woes.

Those Jets have long since taken off and aren’t coming back.

And like most of your kids’ Halloween candy, the deadline is long gone, so please spare us the trade proposals.

No matter how great they sound.

I don’t want to hear about officiating conspiracies either. It’s a defeatist attitude, and you’ll hear the same complaints in 31 other NFL cities. Well, maybe not Pittsburgh.

Steelers referees

Lastly, the Colts are more likely to return to Baltimore than Matt Stover is to play for the Ravens—at least until Adam Vinatieri returns from injury in a few weeks (How’d you like that middle-of-the-road remark? And no, I don’t think it will happen anyway).

So now that I’ve squashed 75 percent of the irrational suggestions running through our frustrated minds over the past 48 hours, you have THREE suggestions to offer to Harbaugh for the rest of the season.

And remember, Baltimore is counting on you.

No pressure, right?

I’ll go first.

1. A Nightmare on Russell Street

Yes, I know Paul Kruger does not play special teams.

I fully understand.

Harbaugh wants his reserves to be versatile, and it’s the perfect rationale when a team does not have any glaring deficiencies. However, the defense has struggled to pressure the quarterback from its base front, and Greg Mattison is reluctant to blitz due to a weak secondary—another issue entirely.

It’s clear Kruger is too small to take every snap as a defensive end in a 3-4 alignment and does not have the skill set to play as a stand-up linebacker at this point.

But this is the same player Jon Gruden described as playing like “Freddy Kruger” on draft day last spring.

Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens’ esteemed scouting department used a second-round selection on the defensive end from Utah, so it’s difficult to believe he cannot contribute to the pass rush in some form.

And don’t tell me it would be catastrophic to the team’s flexibility on special teams and other areas. This is the same team that carried two kickers on its roster for years. It’s not as though Danny Kight, J.R. Jenkins, or Wade Richey were contributing in more than one area during their days in Baltimore.

If we look at this from a different perspective, how many special teams players are consistently on the active 45-man roster on Sundays and fail to make any impact on offense or defense?  David Tyree, Prescott Burgess, and Demetrius Williams immediately come to mind.

In other words, there HAS to be a place for Kruger on a defense needing more pressure on the quarterback.

If even the threat of Kruger diverts a little attention away from a Terrell Suggs or a Trevor Pryce, it’s well worth it.

Let’s find out if the rookie can play.

2. Lost in Westminster

Speaking of Demetrius Williams, yes, he is still on the 53-man roster despite rumors of his abduction in Westminster back in August.

After a promising rookie season and two injury-riddled seasons in 2007 and 2008, Williams entered training camp as the team’s No. 3 receiver. Following the emergence of Kelley Washington and a nagging hamstring and knee that slowed him during the summer, the 6-foot-2 receiver has completely disappeared in Cam Cameron’s offense with the lone exception of a 17-yard catch in Minnesota.

But it became apparent during Sunday’s loss that Williams needs to have a presence in this offense.  With Joe Flacco trying to throw deep jump-balls to Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, wouldn’t it make more sense to send Williams (the only receiver with both size and speed on the roster) on one or two of those patterns?

Yes, a stiff breeze is as likely to injure the wideout as a strong safety, but keeping him healthy on the sideline serves no purpose to this football team either.

Williams is and should be the No. 4 receiver on the roster, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an option in the passing game, at the very least providing a bigger target in the vertical passing game.

If the coaching staff has no confidence in Williams, he should either be inactive every week (opening the door for Kruger) or off the roster entirely.

3. Waiting on Willis

Remember when Willis McGahee led the NFL in touchdowns after the first three weeks of the season with six?

It seems like an eternity ago.

It was clear Ray Rice had supplanted McGahee as the starting tailback heading into the season, but the veteran was entering the season healthy and revitalized after a rocky relationship with Harbaugh in 2008. McGahee was still figuring to be a major part of the running game.

Since carrying the ball 25 times in the first two weeks, McGahee has received 22 carries in the six games since. Unacceptable.

Rice is clearly having a tremendous season, but is it really what’s best for the team?

In the same way that Flacco could lead the league in passing yards if he threw on every down, is Rice producing such a large portion of the yards and being the only force in the backfield what’s best for the Ravens’ offense presently and moving forward?

With Rice putting up 732 total yards in the last five games, I’ll remind you that the Ravens are 1-4 during that stretch.

McGahee’s return to the game plan would serve two purpose for the Baltimore offense.

First, it would provide the Ravens with a legitimate threat to run between the tackles, something Rice does not provide. The 5-foot-8 back is more effective running from spread-out formations and getting into open space.

Two, it would improve the likelihood of Rice’s smaller frame holding up for the entire 16-game schedule. Though Rice carried the ball 380 times for Rutgers in 2007, that same durability cannot be guaranteed at the pro level. When you have another legitimate option at tailback, why take the risk in finding out?

McGahee needs to be more involved. No excuses.

***

If you’re sitting there thinking I didn’t address the secondary, kicker, or coaching questions, you’re absolutely right.

To be perfectly honestly, I’m not sure how to address the secondary at this point.

Do you blitz more, leaving your defense more susceptible to the big play, or play with more help in pass coverage, hoping for your front four to reach the quarterback eventually? Is rookie Lardarius Webb a better option than Fabian Washington?

As for the kicking job, would Mike Nugent or Billy Cundiff really be any better than Steve Hauschka?

Is Mattison in over his head, or is the talent holding this defense back?

All are questions for which I don’t have a definitive answer.

Remember, you only get THREE realistic suggestions.

Maybe that isn’t enough to fix the Ravens, but that’s all you’re getting.

Make them count.

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