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Our Ravens/Colts “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Colts “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 24-9 win over Indianapolis Colts in an AFC Wild Card playoff Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Ray Lewis

4. Haloti Ngata

3. Vonta Leach

2. Bernard Pierce

1. Anquan Boldin (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Ravens-Colts: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Colts: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 12:35 p.m.)

BALTIMORE — It will be a day unlike any other in the history of Baltimore sports as the Ravens not only host a playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium for the second straight year but the legendary Ray Lewis takes his final bow in front of the home fans.

The Ravens will meet the Indianapolis Colts for the third time ever in the postseason, with the former Baltimore franchise holding a 2-0 record. Of course, the subplots run deep in this one as former Ravens defensive coordinator and current Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano returns to Baltimore after beating leukemia. The Colts completed a remarkable turnaround from a 2-14 mark last season to an 11-5 record with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to earn a wild-card spot.

The winner of this game travels to Denver next Saturday to take on the No. 1 seed Broncos.

Baltimore will be without starting left guard Jah Reid, who was listed as questionable with a toe injury. The second-year offensive lineman did very little during the portions of practice open to the media, leading us to believe the injury was a concern heading into the weekend.

Most would assume the Ravens would go with veteran Bobbie Williams at left guard in Reid’s place, but the 36-year-old has been ineffective in his first season in Baltimore. Another scenario would be to insert veteran Bryant McKinnie at left tackle, shift Michael Oher to the right side and move rookie Kelechi Osemele to left guard, but that would be a lot of shuffling to do for a group that hasn’t played together all season.

For what it’s worth, the Ravens’ starting offense used McKinnie at left tackle during pre-game warmups with Oher and Osemele moving to the aforementioned spots.

As expected, safety Bernard Pollard and wide receiver Tandon Doss are both active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Pollard missed the last three games of the regular season with a rib injury but has practiced the last two weeks.

And, of course, Ray Lewis is active and expected to start at inside linebacker next to Dannell Ellerbe. It will be Lewis’ first action since suffering a torn triceps against Dallas in Week 6.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis will also be without its starting left guard as Joe Reitz was ruled out Friday as he continues to recover from a concussion. Jeff Linkenbach would presumably start in his place on the Colts offensive line.

The Colts will also be without offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who is ill and was taken to the hospital. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen will handle the play-calling duties.

The Ravens will wear their purple jerseys with black pants while Indianapolis will be dressed in white tops and white pants.

Mike Carey will be the referee for this wild-card meeting.

Here are Sunday’s inactives …

BALTIMORE
G Jah Reid
S Omar Brown
CB Chris Johnson
LB Adrian Hamilton
OL Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
DT Bryan Hall

INDIANAPOLIS
WR Nathan Palmer
CB Teddy Williams
S Delano Howell
RB Delone Carter
DT Kellen Heard
G Joe Reitz
T Tony Hills

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live updates and analysis from M&T Bank Stadium.

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Ravens-Colts: Five predictions for wild-card Sunday

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Ravens-Colts: Five predictions for wild-card Sunday

Posted on 05 January 2013 by Luke Jones

The Ravens meet the Indianapolis Colts in the postseason for the third time ever on Sunday and will be looking for their first playoff triumph over the franchise that used to play in Baltimore.

Of course, the Colts no longer enjoy the services of Peyton Manning for this playoff matchup as the future Hall of Fame quarterback broke Baltimore’s heart to end its 2006 and 2009 seasons. Indianapolis has begun a new era this year with rookie head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano providing the inspiration in beating leukemia as the Colts made the playoffs with a rookie quarterback and an 11-5 record after last season’s 2-14 disaster.

The Ravens already had plenty of incentive in advancing to their fifth postseason in five years under coach John Harbaugh, but Wednesday’s announcement that future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis intends to retire after the season almost made the game an afterthought in the buildup this week. It figures to be a scene unlike any other in the history of Baltimore sports as Lewis walks out of the tunnel to not only play in his first game since Week 6 but also perform his decorated pre-game dance for the final time.

Indianapolis leads the all-time regular-season series with a 7-3 record and owns a 2-0 mark over the Ravens in the postseason while Baltimore looks to improve on its NFL-best mark of winning at least one playoff game in each of the last four seasons. The Ravens are the only team in the league to advance to the postseason in each of the last five years.

Here’s what to expect as the AFC North champion Ravens attempt to exorcise some demons against Indianapolis at M&T Bank Stadium …

1. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce will combine for 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Indianapolis has played abysmal run defense this season and allows an average of 5.1 yards per carry, good for 31st in the league. This was on full display in Week 16 when the Colts allowed 345 rushing yards in a win over Kansas City. The Colts do not have a good front seven as its defensive line and veterans Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have struggled mightily in adjusting to Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell will offer a heavy dose of Rice and the rookie Pierce to open up the middle of the field as Indianapolis tries to put eight men in the box early in the game. The Ravens will use a similar formula to the one used against the New York Giants in Week 16 when they rushed for 224 yards on 45 carries to wear down the New York front. A similar plan would keep the Indianapolis offense off the field and tire out a vulnerable, underwhelming defense.

2. Showing impressive poise in his first playoff game, Andrew Luck will have a respectable day and connect with T.Y. Hilton for a long touchdown pass. The No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft has lived up to expectations in his rookie season, throwing for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions while orchestrating seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most by an NFL rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger. Luck has even cut down on the interceptions by not throwing one in the final three games of the regular season, with two of those games coming against a formidable Houston defense. The speedy Hilton led all rookie receivers in 100-yard receiving games and touchdown receptions while finishing second among rookies with 861 receiving yards. With plenty of attention being paid to the timeless veteran Reggie Wayne, Hilton will get behind an improving but inconsistent secondary to catch a deep ball from Luck for a touchdown.

3. Ed Reed will put his stamp on the game with an interception in what could be his final appearance as a Raven in Baltimore. The 37-year-old Lewis will receive most of the attention Sunday — and rightfully so — but the writing appears to be on the wall for the 34-year-old Reed, who hasn’t engaged in any contract talks with the organization since before the 2011 season. Reed declined commenting on his intentions after the season, saying he wasn’t “in that mindset” now, so you know the Pro Bowl safety will be looking to bait a rookie quarterback into making a mistake. Reed has appeared to guess recklessly instead of taking calculated gambles more often than not this season, but the future Hall of Fame defensive back always seems to rise to the occasion in the biggest games. Last year, Reed had an interception and broke up six passes in two postseason games. It may not be a highlight interception return for a touchdown, but Reed will pick off Luck to give Ravens fans a potential final thrill.

4. An effective running game will allow Joe Flacco to thrive using play-action as Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin have strong days against the Indianapolis pass defense. It goes without saying how big this postseason will be for the fifth-year quarterback as his rookie contract is set to expire and he plays his first playoff game without former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The Colts defense hasn’t been as bad against the pass (21st in the NFL) as it’s been against the run, but Indianapolis will be susceptible to play action as the Ravens run the ball extensively. Inside linebackers Kavell Conner and Jerrell Freeman are not particularly good in pass coverage, meaning Pitta and Boldin could have a field day over the middle, intermediate portion. It doesn’t need to be a 300-yard passing day by Flacco for the Ravens to win, but the Baltimore quarterback will be efficient and take some shots vertically against cornerbacks Cassius Vaughn and Vontae Davis to keep Indianapolis honest in trying to defend the run. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 passing yards and a touchdown should be plenty against the Colts.

5. With a returning Lewis playing in his final game in Baltimore, the Ravens will have the higher energy level to beat Indianapolis in a 27-17 final. When the 37-year-old linebacker made his announcement on Wednesday, the Ravens regained the emotional edge previously enjoyed by the underdog Colts, who played so admirably with their head coach battling cancer. I’m not envisioning Lewis making much of an impact physically, but the Ravens are the better team in this one despite failing to show it in the month of December, losing three of four before the Week 17 loss that amounted to little more than a preseason game. The Baltimore offense struggled at home against Pittsburgh and Denver in December, but those units finished first and second in yards allowed this season. This Colts defense is a far cry from those defense and the Ravens will have a very productive day playing in their home stadium. The energy level at M&T Bank Stadium may be unlike any we’ve ever seen in what’s already regarded as one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. That wave will give the Ravens an extra boost to dispose of the Colts in a fairly comfortable fashion. All other factors aside, the Ravens just aren’t losing in Lewis’ final game in Baltimore. The football gods simply won’t allow it.

 

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Leach probable; J. Reid, Pollard listed as questionable for Sunday

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Leach probable; J. Reid, Pollard listed as questionable for Sunday

Posted on 04 January 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens head into their wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts sporting their healthiest roster in quite some time as only three players were listed more serious than probable for Sunday.

Saftey Bernard Pollard, guard Jah Reid, and wide receiver Tandon Doss were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but only Reid appears to be a legitimate concern as the starting left guard appeared very limited during the open portions of practice all week. The second-year lineman is listed as having a toe injury and would likely be replaced by veteran Bobbie Williams should he not be able to play against Indianapolis.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and right guard Marshal Yanda were listed as probable after both players sat out an entire week of practice leading into the regular-season finale, which they both missed in order to rest injuries. Fullback Vonta Leach was also listed as probable despite missing Thursday’s practice with a lingering ankle injury.

Of the 19 players listed as probable on the report, Leach was the only one to miss a practice this week but returned to the field on Friday. Coach John Harbaugh provided an optimistic outlook on the Pro Bowl fullback following the workout and even upgraded his status after initially speaking to reporters.

“Vonta is going to be listed as questionable,” said Harbaugh before Friday’s injury report was released. “It might be probable though after today’s practice. Now that I think about it, he looked pretty good today, so he might be OK.”

Harbaugh spoke about Lewis’ status in recent weeks, explaining why he was held out of the final few games of the regular season and declaring him fit to go against Indianapolis. Lewis is just over 11 weeks removed from surgery on his right triceps.

The 37-year-old linebacker is expected to start at his normal “Mike” linebacker position next to Dannell Ellerbe, but Josh Bynes will be ready to spell Lewis if necessary. Many have wondered whether the Ravens will handle Lewis’ workload like they did with a returning Terrell Suggs back in October, but Harbaugh gave no indication that Lewis would see a limited number of snaps.

“He probably could have played, but it would have been a big risk,” Harbaugh said. “We felt like we could get our positioning in the playoffs, and then bring Ray Lewis back when the injury had the best chance to be completely healed, which is 12 weeks after the injury. He’s ready to go. He’s going to play in this game. He should be full-speed.”

Meanwhile, Indianapolis has ruled out starting left guard Joe Reitz as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Former Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski is questionable with a knee injury but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday.

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE: WR Tandon Doss (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), G Jah Reid (toe)
PROBABLE: RB Anthony Allen (head), TE Billy Bajema (head), WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), LB Adrian Hamilton (illness), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), CB Chris Johnson (thigh), DE Arthur Jones (thigh), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder/thigh), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), T Kelechi Osemele (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (ankle), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen), WR Torrey Smith (knee), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder/knee)

INDIANAPOLIS
OUT: G Joe Reitz (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Delone Carter (ankle), NT Antonio Johnson (ankle), C AQ Shipley (knee), S Tom Zbikowski (knee), T Winston Justice (shoulder)
PROBABLE: DT Kellen Heard (illness), T Bradley Sowell (illness), CB Teddy Williams (knee), LB Jerrell Freeman (thumb), QB Andrew Luck (knee), LB Pat Angerer (illness), DE Cory Redding (quad), C Samson Satele (ankle), LB Dwight Freeney (non-injury), LB Robert Mathis (non-injury)

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Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Wild Card Weekend

Posted on 04 January 2013 by Luke Jones

Here are this weekend’s picks as The Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game this season.

Drew Forrester finished 13-3 last week while Luke Jones was 11-5 in Week 17. Forrester finished 161-77 in the regular season and Jones was 152-86 overall. Official standings are only kept based on the NFL picks.

To hear their full explanations, click HERE.

Colts at Ravens: Baltimore 33-16 (Drew), Baltimore 27-17 (Luke)
Bengals at Texans: Houston 31-21 (Drew), Houston 24-20 (Luke)
Vikings at Packers: Green Bay 31-21 (Drew), Green Bay 30-20 (Luke)
Seahawks at Redskins: Washington 20-17 OT (Drew), Seattle 24-17 (Luke)

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Unlikely events led to new destinations for Pagano, Caldwell

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Unlikely events led to new destinations for Pagano, Caldwell

Posted on 03 January 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As much as Lee Evans’ failed effort to catch the game-winning touchdown and Billy Cundiff’s subsequent missed field goal broke the hearts of the Ravens and their fans in last year’s AFC Championship, the pair of unfortunate events created a unique opportunity for one member of the organization.

The chance to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts may not have come for Chuck Pagano had the Ravens advanced to the Super Bowl. The former defensive coordinator departed Baltimore on the day following the conference championship game and never looked back as he was hired to replace Jim Caldwell, who is now the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Ravens. The Colts may not have waited an additional two weeks to talk to Pagano had Evans made that catch or Cundiff converted the 32-yard field goal and the Ravens prevailed in overtime.

Having defeated leukemia before retaking his place on the sideline last Sunday, Pagano now brings his Colts to Baltimore for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game, knowing he might still be in Baltimore if not for the failures of two former players.

“We had the catch we thought that was a touchdown and then [Cundiff] runs off and pulls that one,” Pagano said. “There’s a lot of things that transpired through the course of the end of that football game that you look at and say, ‘Yeah we make that catch and score that touchdown or make that kick and go to overtime and win that football game and you don’t have an opportunity to visit with somebody about a job.’ It’s funny how things happen.”

Caldwell could say the same about his final year in Indianapolis after he saw his longtime quarterback Peyton Manning miss the entire 2011 season after undergoing several neck surgeries. The current Denver Broncos signal-caller had never missed a game prior to that point in his first 13 NFL seasons.

Left without a viable quarterback, Indianapolis went an abysmal 2-14 and Caldwell was fired after his third season as head coach of the Colts. A few months later, the organization drafted rookie quarterback Andrew Lucky and began a turnaround that left them with an 11-5 record and a trip to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

A year later, does Caldwell wonder what would have happened had Manning not been injured or if Indianapolis had stuck with him another year with the veteran quarterback departing and Luck joining the fray?

“It doesn’t even cross my mind — not one second,” said Caldwell, who was promoted to offensive coordinator following the firing of Cam Cameron on Dec. 10. “I think for the most part, I believe that the good Lord has a plan for us. Often times, it’s not as picturesque as we might like it. It may not unfold exactly the way that we had it planned, but it unfolded in [the way] He wanted it.”

The feelings toward Pagano are conflicted this week as he brings the Colts to M&T Bank Stadium to face the Ravens in the postseason for the third time — and second in Baltimore — in the last seven seasons. It’s in a Baltimorean’s DNA to hate the Indianapolis Colts for obvious reasons, but Pagano’s inspiring story makes that more and more difficult every day.

His courageous fight against leukemia inspired not only his own team but also players in the Ravens locker room, including a defensive line that shaved their heads and facial hair in support of the former coordinator. Veteran Ray Lewis estimated that he exchanged text messages with Pagano “every other day” as the linebacker rehabbed his surgically-repaired triceps and the coach underwent cancer treatments during the regular season.

There are nothing but positive memories for Pagano, who spent four seasons as a member of Harbaugh’s coaching staff in Baltimore.

“[I] love all those guys. [I have] great relationships with so many people in that organization,” Pagano said. “They were so good to me and my family. I wouldn’t be sitting where I’m at today if John Harbaugh hadn’t given me the opportunity to join him when he was first hired as a head football coach there.”

The Baltimore defense received extra motivation with the expected return to action but unexpected retirement announcement of Lewis earlier this week, but many players were already eager to show Pagano what his former unit was still capable of doing. Despite struggling for most of the season, an improving Baltimore defense finished 17th in yards allowed and tied for 12th in points allowed despite a plethora of injuries.

The admiration is still there almost a year after Pagano last coached the prideful group.

“It’ll be great; Chuck is a motivation to all of us with all he went through,” linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. “Just to know a person that strong says a lot. Chuck always shot you straight. He was great in the meeting rooms. He was never one of those coaches to [get] down his players or cuss them out. He’s a very likable guy.”

Not to be outdone, Caldwell acknowledges it will be different coaching against the team with which he spent a decade, but the Ravens offensive coordinator denied any chance of it impacting his performance on Sunday. With a new coaching staff in place in Indianapolis, Caldwell hardly recognizes what new coordinator Bruce Arians has done with the offense and Pagano has implemented a defense similar to what he did with the Ravens.

It’s a battle both men are looking forward to as they now look on from the opposite side.

“It’s ironic that we get an opportunity to play against them, which is going to be a lot of fun,” Caldwell said. “You have two teams with great desire. Chuck probably feels the same way on the other side of it. It’s going to be fun.”

Both can look back on the ironic events of last season to explain where they are today.

 

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Leach only player missing from Thursday’s practice

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Leach only player missing from Thursday’s practice

Posted on 03 January 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after every player on the 53-man roster practiced in preparation for Sunday’s wild-card matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens were without a key starter on Thursday.

Fullback Vonta Leach wasn’t present during the media viewing part of practice as he continues to deal with an ankle injury that’s plagued him for several weeks. He left Sunday’s game in Cincinnati in the first quarter after aggravating the ankle, but the Pro Bowl fullback practiced on Wednesday and has expressed confidence that he’ll play on Sunday.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata practiced on a limited basis despite not being present for the open portion of Thursday’s workout. The four-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman sat out the regular-season finale in Cincinnati but has practiced on a limited basis the last two days.

Starting left guard Jah Reid was practicing for the second straight day but was a limited participant and was listed as having a toe injury on Wednesday. The second-year lineman did not appear to be very active during the first 25 minutes of practice as teammates went through individual drills.

Safety Bernard Pollard (chest) and right guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) were again present and working in a limited fashion for the second day in a row. Both players were inactive in Week 17.

Meanwhile, four players failed to practice for Indianapolis, including linebacker Robert Mathis (non-injury) and left guard Joe Reitz (concussion).

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Anthony Allen (head), TE Billy Bajema (head), WR Tandon Doss (ankle), CB Chris Johnson (thigh), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), G Jah Reid (toe), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder/knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), DE Arthur Jones (thigh), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder/thigh), T Kelechi Osemele (knee), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen), WR Torrey Smith (knee), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps)

INDIANAPOLIS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Robert Mathis (non-injury), T Bradley Sowell (illness), DT Kellen Heard (illness), G Joe Reitz (concussion)
FULL PARTICIPATION: C Samson Satele (ankle), LB Jerrell Freeman (thumb), QB Andrew Luck (knee), CB Teddy Williams (knee), RB Delone Carter (ankle), DE Cory Redding (quad), NT Antonio Johnson (ankle), S Tom Zbikowski (knee), T Winston Justice (shoulder), C AQ Shipley (knee), LB Pat Angerer (illness)

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“The Reality Check” Final Regular Season Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Final Regular Season Power Rankings

Posted on 02 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (32)

Okay, so no Josh McDaniels. Umm…Marty-ball?

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (30)

Mike Mularkey: “Are you sure you didn’t want to fire me?”

30. Arizona Cardinals (31)

I cannot believe they’re really considering hiring Todd Haley. OH.MY.GOD.

29. Oakland Raiders (29)

Now they get ready for their Super Bowl…the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine.

28. Detroit Lions (28)

The problem for Jim Schwartz is that he’s a former defensive coach for a team that can’t play defense.

27. Philadelphia Eagles (27)

Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole tells us the Eagles could keep Michael Vick around if they hire Chip Kelly.

26. Cleveland Browns (26)

While the Browns’ first choice is the same Chip Kelly, no one’s first choice EVER has been the Cleveland Browns.

25. New York Jets (23)

QUARTERBACKS FOR SALE!!!!!!!!!!

24. Tennessee Titans (25)

Check back in with me in five minutes to confirm Mike Munchak still hasn’t been fired yet.

23. Buffalo Bills (24)

I think a Ken Whisenhunt/Russ Grimm combo would be a good fit there.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)

Do you focus more on what went wrong? Or do you focus more on how to build off of seven wins?

21. Miami Dolphins (17)

At least they have a quarterback.

20. St. Louis Rams (18)

Are they as close as their record would make you believe?

19. San Diego Chargers (21)

If Peyton Manning isn’t in the AFC West, they win the thing and save Norv Turner again.

18. New Orleans Saints (16)

I’ll go ahead and assume they win 13 games next season.

17. Carolina Panthers (19)

By keeping Ron Rivera, they’d give up potential “most desirable location” status for coaches.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (20)

If they had a healthy Ben Roethisberger for 16 games they would have won the division. Unless the Ravens had a healthy Suggs/Ngata/Webb/Lewis. I guess what I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter.

15. Dallas Cowboys (13)

What the eff do you do here?

14. Chicago Bears (14)

I’d want this job.

13. New York Giants (15)

“Hynocerous” is one of the Top 5 nicknames in football this year.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Eleven Ravens players practice on limited basis

Posted on 02 January 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — While all players on the 53-man roster took part in Wednesday’s practice in preparation of their wild-card matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens are still feeling the effects of a season’s worth of injuries as 11 players worked on a limited basis.

After missing practice all last week and being listed as inactive for Sunday’s regular-season finale against Cincinnati, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and right guard Marshal Yanda returned to practice on a limited basis as both appear set to make their respective returns for the first round of the playoffs. Others limited for Wednesday’s workout included fullback Vonta Leach, safety Bernard Pollard, and left guard Jah Reid.

Reid was listed as having a toe injury and appeared to be taking part in little activity during the portion of practice open to the media.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis was missing four players from practice as linebackers Dwight Freeney and Pat Angerer, defensive tackle Kellen Heard, and guard Joe Reitz all sat out.

BALTIMORE
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Anthony Allen (head), TE Billy Bajema (head), WR Tandon Doss (ankle), CB Chris Johnson (thigh), FB Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), DE Pernell McPhee (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), G Jah Reid (toe), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder/knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), DE Arthur Jones (thigh), LB Ray Lewis (triceps), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder/thigh), T Kelechi Osemele (knee), S Ed Reed (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen), WR Torrey Smith (knee), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps)

INDIANAPOLIS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Dwight Freeney (non-injury), LB Pat Angerer (illness), DT Kellen Heard (illness), G Joe Reitz (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Delone Carter (ankle), DE Cory Redding (quad), NT Antonio Johnson (ankle), S Tom Zbikowski (knee), T Winston Justice (shoulder), C AQ Shipley (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: C Samson Satele (ankle), LB Jerrell Freeman (thumb), QB Andrew Luck (knee), CB Teddy Williams (knee)

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Ray Lewis says Sunday will be his last trip through tunnel in Baltimore

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Ray Lewis says Sunday will be his last trip through tunnel in Baltimore

Posted on 02 January 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

He couldn’t play forever. Of course, after watching him roam the defense for Baltimore Ravens as the spiritual and physical leader for 17 years, many of us wouldn’t have bet against Ray Lewis playing into his 40′s.

Today, in a not surprising but somehow still strangely shocking announcement, Lewis told the media that he had just informed his teammates he’s walking away from the NFL at the conclusion of this Super Bowl drive. Several times during his media session, Lewis had to stop and control his emotions. Ray Rice followed him to the podium and welled up twice.

The reaction from his teammates was a mix of pressure, emotions and the reality that no one wants to be the reason Ray Lewis ends his career without another championship.

I wrote about the life and times of Ray Lewis two seasons ago in a three-part series.

Part 1: Is it Safe to Say The Ghost of Ray Lewis Has Passed?

Part 2: Celebrating The Ray Of Today

Part 3: Will Ray Lewis be a “ray of light” in the future?

Obviously, this announcement will take months — and maybe years — to digest for the Baltimore Ravens and everyone in the organization and the city.

There will be statues. There will be Hall of Fame ballots. There will be a bronze bust in Canton in five years. There will be “Thank You Ray” days and a Ring of Honor enshrinement.

So, for a few hours today, everyone will share a Ray Lewis memory.

But the fact remains that Lewis’ former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will be bringing the upstart Indianapolis Colts into Baltimore on Sunday and suddenly it could be No. 52′s final hours in an NFL uniform.

Ray Rice had a hard time internalizing that and had to choke back tears on Sunday.

Chance are, he won’t be the only one.

One more reason the Baltimore Ravens need to win on Sunday and continue this now-final drive to get Ray Lewis another chance to dance with the Lombardi Trophy before he rides into the purple sunset.

 

 

 

 

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