Tag Archive | "Courtney UpShaw"

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Yanda takes part in practice for first time this summer

Posted on 12 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With plenty of uncertainty surrounding their starting offense, the Ravens received good news Monday with the return of Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda to the practice field.

The 28-year-old took part in the workout in a limited capacity, doing individual work and taking some reps with the starting offense in the non-contact practice.

“It was great to see him back out there in a limited amount in terms of what he was able to do,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “It’s always great to have him out there. He’s a great leader. Obviously, he’s been in meetings and things of that nature, but he brings a lot of experience and certainly a lot of toughness to our guys upfront.”

Sidelined for the entire spring after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, Yanda was taking part in practice for the first time this summer. The seventh-year lineman had made good progress in his rehab and had been taking part in morning walk-throughs for quite some time, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

Yanda hadn’t been in pads since Super Bowl XLVII in February as he underwent a procedure to repair a torn rotator cuff, forcing him to miss organized team activities and mandatory minicamp in the spring. However, the Ravens never expressed concern that the 2007 third-round pick wouldn’t be ready for the start of the regular season despite acknowledging that he’d miss a substantial portion of training camp before returning.

“I don’t want to put an exact date on it, but it will be in training camp pretty good,” Harbaugh said about the standout guard on July 31. “We aren’t in a rush with him. [He is] very much on schedule. He’s doing certain things. He does things in the morning. He goes through the morning workout. He goes through some individual stuff, so he’s practicing. He’s just not going through the contact stuff, but he’s doing very, very well.”

Yanda was working with the first-team offensive line in a lighter practice that featured helmets, shells, and shorts on Monday afternoon, but it would appear he won’t make his live-game debut until at least the third preseason game next week against the Carolina Panthers.

Newly-signed veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley was also taking part in his first practice after officially signing a one-year deal with Baltimore on Sunday. However, veteran tight end Dallas Clark was not on the field for the early portion of practice as he was undergoing a physical and finalizing his deal with the Ravens.

Second-year running back Bernard Pierce (knee) also returned to practice after missing the last two workouts since the preseason opener when he injured his knee in the second quarter. Harbaugh said Sunday that Pierce has a chance to play in Thursday’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Linebacker Bryan Hall (hamstring) also returned to the practice field after being sidelined since the preseason opener.

A number of players were still missing from the practice field on Monday including linebacker Courtney Upshaw, cornerbacks Chykie Brown (undisclosed) and Chris Johnson (undisclosed), defensive tackle Marcus Spears (undisclosed), wide receivers Deonte Thompson (foot) and Marlon Brown (undisclosed), offensive linemen Ramon Harewood (knee) and Ryan Jensen (foot), and tight ends Ed Dickson (hamstring) and Dennis Pitta (hip).

Linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) remains on the active physically unable to perform list and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) is still on the non-football injury list.

Caldwell excited to have Stokley, Clark in fold

Jim Caldwell had his first opportunity to comment on the veteran additions of Stokley and Clark, who worked with the Baltimore offensive coordinator in Indianapolis.

Stokley played with the Colts from 2003 through 2006 when Caldwell was the quarterbacks coach while Clark spent the first nine years of his career in Indianapolis, which included Caldwell’s three-year tenure as head coach. Despite being at the tail end of their respective careers, both players are expected to provide the Ravens with middle-of-the-field options they’re looking for with Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta no longer in the picture.

“You can see that they’ve been productive,” Caldwell said. “Obviously, their roles have changed over the years — maybe haven’t played quite as much in certain situations. We have a good blend of personnel groupings that we use and we certainly would be able to get them in the mix and give them an opportunity to show what they can do.”

Clark’s best season came in 2009 — Caldwell’s first season as the Indianapolis head man — when he caught 100 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns to earn his first and only trip to the Pro Bowl.

Caldwell had stayed in contact in recent days with his former tight end through text messaging but hadn’t spoken to Clark over the last couple days as an agreement was reached.

“John [Harbaugh] and Ozzie [Newsome] take a look at all the possibilities and make determinations as such,” said Caldwell, who downplayed the impact of his relationships with Clark and Stokley in the Ravens’ decision to sign each player. “Every once in a while they’ll ask for what [my] opinion is on certain situations, but it does not carry the predominance of the weight. They look at it all, see if it’s a good fit for us, and make the decision from there.”

Upshaw excused from practice

Upshaw’s absence from the practice Sunday M&T Bank Stadium remained a mystery until his social media activity early on Monday.

The second-year linebacker wrote on his official Twitter account about a new addition to his family and defensive coordinator Dean Pees confirmed after Monday’s practice that the second-year linebacker was excused from the team for the birth of his son.

Upshaw has worked as the starting strongside outside linebacker with veteran Elvis Dumervil serving as more of a pass-rush specialist to this point in the summer, which would also free him up to occasionally spell Terrell Suggs at the rush linebacker position as well.

“They’ll all play. They all have a role on this team,” Pees said. “It’s a game-to-game thing, and a lot depend one the packages we have in and what we’re doing for that particular game. They’re all good players and they’re ll going to play.”

Upshaw made two tackles against the Buccaneers in the preseason opener.

Practice highlights

Stokley worked with both the first and second offenses and ran a crisp sideline route to beat cornerback Corey Graham for a touchdown from quarterback Joe Flacco early in the practice session. However, the quarterback and receiver weren’t on the same page a few plays later as Stokley appeared to run the wrong route and the pass sailed into the arms of cornerback Lardarius Webb. Needless to say, Stokley was doing plenty of learning on the fly as he tried to get up to speed in Caldwell’s offensive system. … Webb still isn’t a full participant in team drills, but the fifth-year cornerback continues to increase his level of activity in team drills and recorded two interceptions on Monday. Pees was noncommittal about Webb’s potential participation in the preseason, deferring to Harbaugh and the training staff in describing where the cornerback is physically at this stage. … Wide receiver Torrey Smith made a nifty touchdown catch over cornerback Asa Jackson on a fade route during an 11-on-11 red-zone drill on Monday. … The practice marked the first time all summer that the projected starting offensive line was able to work together as left tackle Bryant McKinnie, left guard Kelechi Osemele, center Gino Gradkowski, Yanda, and right tackle Michael Oher worked a limited number of plays together in team drills.

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Overweight Upshaw admits needing to get in better shape

Posted on 03 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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

Appearing noticeably heavier while participating in the Ravens’ first two weeks of organized team activities, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw acknowledged Sunday he needs to shed pounds in time for his sophomore season in the NFL.

The 35th overall pick of the 2012 draft told reporters at a charity event in Aberdeen, Md. that he currently weights 285 pounds, a significant increase from the 272 pounds at which he played during his rookie season. The Alabama product cited the need to handle “personal issues” as a reason why he’s gained weight.

Upshaw raised eyebrows in his rookie season when he was heavier than the Ravens preferred during OTAs and training camp before finally getting into better shape by the early portion of the regular season. A shoulder injury also slowed the linebacker during training camp before he eventually earned a significant role in the Baltimore defense.

Expected to back up projected starting outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, Upshaw recorded 60 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, and a forced fumble while making nine starts in his first pro season. With the 30-year-old Suggs and the 29-year-old Dumervil both advancing in age, the Ravens likely envision Upshaw as a key piece to replace Dumervil in obvious running situations at strongside linebacker. This would then allow the former Denver Bronco — who will be playing out of position at the “Sam” linebacker spot — to either gain a breather or spell Suggs at rush linebacker.

Though he’s entitled to some benefit of the doubt regarding the personal issues that have supposedly impacted his ability to work out and eat right, Upshaw showing up in poor shape for a second straight year doesn’t speak well for his standing with head coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Some have speculated that the Ravens could use Upshaw some at inside linebacker, but that possibility would appear unlikely if he’s showing even less quickness and agility.

Playing in 42 of the Ravens’ 62 defensive snaps in Super Bowl XLVII, Upshaw collected five tackles and forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive lineman Arthur Jones to help the franchise win its second Super Bowl title.

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Ten non-Flacco thoughts on Ravens’ offseason

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens about to enter the most critical contract negotiations in franchise history later this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, it’s difficult not to be inundated with the Joe Flacco discussions as general manager Ozzie Newsome tries to lock up his franchise quarterback for the long haul.

Frankly, the talk has been overwhelming and I’m as guilty as anyone in fueling the Flacco fire — HERE, HERE, and even HERE — and what impact it will have on the rest of the offseason and even the future of the franchise.

With that in mind, I offer 10 offseason thoughts not related to “you know who” as we wait to see how negotiations play out:

1. The Ravens could be faced with the choice of overpaying Bryant McKinnie or enduring another season of Michael Oher at left tackle.
Both sides will explore other options, but it’s difficult to find a left tackle — who’s ready to play immediately, anyway — with no cap room and no draft choice higher than 32nd overall. McKinnie may also find a lukewarm market with his off-field baggage and questions over why the Ravens sat him for the entire regular season. If the Ravens deem McKinnie too expensive or too risky to sign, would they roll the dice in going with Oher at left tackle for another season and hoping they can find their left tackle of 2014 in the draft? It’s a dangerous proposition and the Ravens simply don’t have the resources to expect to find anyone better than McKinnie in free agency.

2. Regardless of how the tackle position shakes out, I’d like to see Kelechi Osemele remain at left guard next season. Lost in the shuffle of the offensive line shakeup to start the postseason was the stellar play of Osemele, who was seeing his first extensive time at left guard since the preseason. The Iowa State product played solidly at the right tackle position, but he showed the potential of being a Pro Bowl player on the interior line in four playoff games. At 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, Osemele clearly has the size to hold up at right tackle, but he could be good enough to make everyone forget about Ben Grubbs at the left guard position. The combination of him and Marshal Yanda could be the best guard duo in the league sooner rather than later, so the Ravens would love to keep Osemele inside in a perfect world.

3. Nothing should be guaranteed to Jimmy Smith next season despite a strong rebound in the postseason.
It looked like a lost season for the 2011 first-round pick after ineffective play and sports hernia surgery dropped him to fourth on the depth chart late in the year, but Smith rebounded to play well in the postseason, including making critical plays on third and fourth down of the Ravens’ goal-line stand in the Super Bowl. His 6-foot-2 frame is the logical replacement for the likely-to-depart Cary Williams, but Smith will need to work his way up the depth chart by first beating out Chykie Brown for the No. 3 corner spot and then Corey Graham for a starting job. His postseason play proves the discussion about Smith being a bust was premature, but the time is now for Smith to prove the Ravens were wise to use a first-round pick on him.

4. This will be a big offseason for Terrence Cody, who is looking more like the second failed second-round pick of the 2010 draft. Outside linebacker Sergio Kindle has already parted ways with the Ravens and Cody might follow him sooner rather than later as the nose tackle enters the final year of his rookie contract. Newsome made it clear at the season-review press conference that the Ravens need to improve at defensive tackle and Cody struggled to get on the field as he competed with veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu this season. Despite being listed at 341 pounds, Cody was often manhandled and made little impact in taking on blockers to allow linebackers to make plays against the run. The defensive lineman made only two tackles in the postseason and could find himself on the roster bubble should he go through the motions during training camp.

5. With all the discussion over the salary cap purge following the 2001 season, has everyone forgotten how quickly the Ravens returned to prominence after gutting their roster? I understand the line of thinking of both Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti in saying they don’t want to mortgage the future solely to make an ill-advised effort to get back to the Super Bowl next season, but it’s not as though the Ravens fell off a cliff following their last purge. They went 7-9 as the youngest team in the NFL in 2002 and improved to 10-6 and captured their first AFC North title in 2003. It certainly helped that the Ravens had young versions of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as well as offensive pillars in Jonathan Ogden and Jamal Lewis, but that group also had Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright playing quarterback. What’s the moral of the story? Organizations that draft well and stay true to their process for making personnel decisions won’t stay down for long in the NFL.

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/49ers

Posted on 05 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII…

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

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Jacoby Jones 108 yard kickoff return TD (3rd quarter)

4. Jacoby Jones 56 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (2nd quarter)

3. Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Randy Moss on two point conversion attempt incomplete (4th quarter)

2. Joe Flacco 15 yard pass to Anquan Boldin on 3rd and inches (4th quarter)

1. Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree on 4th and goal incomplete (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Upshaw hoping to win Super Bowl at same location he won BCS title

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

LINEBACKER COURTNEY UPSHAW

 

(on Harbaugh’s coaching style) “You have that extra leadership. Our team is full of leadership and as a young guy, you have to buy into that leadership and listen to the older guys.”

 

(on defending the 49ers’ unique offensive sets) “We just have to go out and have the coaches put us in the right position to make plays and to try to stop that offense. They’re a good offense so it’s not going to be easy. We watch the tape, so we see what they’re doing and what teams have success doing but those guys have had success so you’ve just got to go execute the game plan.

 

(on winning a National Championship at this exact spot last year) “It was great. I’m in the Super Bowl now so I have to put that feeling behind me and try to win this Super Bowl come Sunday.

 

(on the feeling of winning a National Championship with a dominant Alabama team) “That defense was dominant. The way we came out and played that game and the atmosphere here too. Winning the MVP was great.”

 

(on seeing some of his Alabama teammates go before him on day 1 of the NFL Draft) “I was disappointed. Honestly, I’m not going to lie to you, I was disappointed. I went back to the hotel, and a couple people with me and my agent prayed a lot about it. I was hoping Baltimore would take me the next day and that’s what happened. I’m here now, so I can’t look back on what didn’t happen in the first round of the draft.

 

(on the road to the Super Bowl with Ray as their leader) “Being along with Ray and Ed, you grow up wanting to be those guys playing backyard football. I say that all the time, but just the leadership here, to go from Alabama to the leadership here, there is not too much difference. Me being a young guy, I just bought into it and we are here in the Super Bowl now.

 

(on the similarities between the Alabama and Baltimore defenses) “Like you said, there are not too many differences with this team and with Coach Saban back in the day. They’re kind of similar. This is a hard, tough and physical defense with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed back there. You’ve got guys like Dannell Ellerbe who I look up to for his play on the field and for the kind of guy he is off the field.

 

(on what he has learned specifically from Ray Lewis) “To be a pro about any and everything. When going into the weight room to get extra reps, studying film and just knowing what you have to do and knowing what’s coming on the field.”

 

(on his journey from a difficult childhood to football’s national stage) “I’m always humble, number one. What I say about the Super Bowl is that I have to win it first. Those championships, I won those, but now I’m in the Super Bowl. I’m on a whole different level and I have to execute on the opportunity to win my first Super Bowl. I dreamed it and never thought I would be here. I didn’t even think I was going to go to college to play football and luckily I had people back home that put my name out there and sent my high school film to colleges. I never thought I’d be here to be honest with you.”

 

(on his friendly trash talk with former Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes) “Man, Auburn, Georgia, we talk about all that. You have a lot of Alabama haters around here man. It’s all fun and games. Alabama is on top. They’re tired of seeing Alabama win championships. For me to come here with two, I’ve got the upper hand.”

 

(on his time in New Orleans so far) “The week has been good. We got in yesterday after a good send off. It was great to see all those fans who came out to send us off.”

 

 

-More-

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 

 

QUOTES FROM BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA DAY

 

MORE LINEBACKER COURTNEY UPSHAW

 

(on having the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl) “I always tell everybody I have to go win it first. That’s what is most important to me now is to win this Super Bowl. I won those championships back at Alabama but now it’s time to move forward.”

 

(on the differences between getting to the BCS Championship and getting to the Super Bowl) “It’s another championship, but this is the biggest stage. As a kid, we grew up dreaming and hoping that we’d be in the Super Bowl. Not too many people in this league get the chance to get to that first Super Bowl. So for me to be a rookie, it’s just unbelievable. I have to execute on that opportunity.”

 

(on the idea of rookie nerves and his feelings as the Super Bowl inches closer) “Going into any game, a regular or preseason game, I’m always nervous before that first snap. Honestly, you just have to go out and do what we do. I’ve been playing football since a little kid, so it’s not the time to get nervous. That’s how you lose games.”

 

(on his approach to preparing himself both physically and mentally for a game) “When I get in that locker room, just minutes before we kick it off, the nerves build up because you are so anxious to get it started. Once I get that first hit in on the kickoff team, then I’m ready and the game has started so it’s time for me to do what I do.”

 

(on the lifestyle differences between Alabama and Baltimore) “It’s the snow. I had only seen snow twice before in my life in Alabama. It’s been great. I live in a nice little community where the neighbors are real good people. The people have been so good to me.”

 

(on media expectations and predictions and how they affect a team’s play) “You can’t really listen to that stuff. You just have to go out there and play your game. For the fans, a lot of people are going to predict and pick the 49ers. If we go out and play our game so you never know what’s going to happen. Honestly, this year throughout the season I learned not to watch TV that much because of the simple fact that they are always rooting against us. We just have to prove everyone wrong once more. It’s definitely motivation. We know what kind of team we have and we know we can be dominant. It’s all about just doing it out on the field.”

 

(on the transition from college football to the professional level) “Early on, I had some issues with my weight and the conditioning. Nick Saban and that coaching staff down there at Alabama does a great job trying to prepare us for this.”

 

(on the experience of playing in the Superdome) “I’m familiar with it. This is my third time playing in here for a football game on this field. I don’t want to say it’s my home field since I’ve only been here 3 times. It was great to win a championship here last year with Alabama. But now it’s time for me try to execute on my opportunity at the Super Bowl.”

 

(on his relationship with Baltimore’s head coach John Harbaugh) “It’s been great playing for coach. I told him after we got that win against the Patriots that I was glad that they brought me in to Baltimore. I’m trying to beat his brother. It’s a team game. We all want to win just for coach, to say he beat his brother, but also to get Ray Lewis a ring and get Baltimore another trophy. “

 

(on the differences in coaching styles between Nick Saban and John Harbaugh) “They will get on you. I say that first hand. At Alabama, I had my share of run-ins with coach, especially as a freshman. In my rookie year, coach Harbaugh has got on me a few times. I’m just trying to do things the right way and be a pro about a lot of things.”

-More-

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 

 

QUOTES FROM BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA DAY

 

MORE LINEBACKER COURTNEY UPSHAW

 

 

(on what he looks forward to most about being New Orleans besides playing in the Super Bowl) “Well, this is my third time here. I’ve done it all. I had the food and enjoyed Bourbon Street after the win last year.

 

 

(on being a part of a team with Ray Lewis as its leader) “In this game of football, you have to execute on your opportunities. You dream about being a part of team like this, ever since playing in the backyard with the Ray Lewis jersey on. It’s a great feeling.

 

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Changes for the Ravens and 49ers Since the First Harbaugh Bowl

Posted on 21 January 2013 by jeffreygilley

New England and Denver fans were wrong. The Ray Lewis retirement party did not start on January 12 or January 20. Instead, the Ravens will be playing the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl!!!

This will not be the first time the Harbaugh brothers have coached against each other. They played in Baltimore week twelve of the 2011 season, on Thanksgiving night.

The game was dominated by the Ravens’ front seven as they registered nine sacks. Alex Smith is still having nightmares courtesy of Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Corey Redding.

Things have changed on both sides of the ball for the Ravens and 49ers. Most of which, are similar.

Similar Changes:
1.Regression on defense
Last year’s game was advertised as a defensive battle and did not disappoint. However, both defenses have regressed. The 49ers defense was impenetrable in 2011, especially against the run.

This year’s 49ers defense is still great, but not dominant like last season. They are giving up almost three more points per game, and are a top five defense in only one category, which is rushing yards allowed per game.

The Ravens on the other hand have suffered a serious regression on defense, at least until the past few weeks. Still, the defense is not up to par with last season’s.

In addition to the injuries the team has suffered, players like Pernell McPhee, Jimmy Smith (when he has played), Terrence Cody, and Courtney UpShaw have not lived up to expectations.

2.Significant changes on offense
Remember when the Ravens replaced Tony Banks with Trent Dilfer in 2000? Well the 49ers have made a similar change from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has only started nine games but is mature beyond his years. Not only is he a dynamic athlete, he can throw the ball with great velocity and accuracy.

Many Ravens fans rejoiced with the firing of Cam Cameron. After the Broncos game in week fifteen, the changes on offense did not look very promising. Flacco and Jim Caldwell responded the next week with one of the greatest games of Flacco’s career against the Giants.

Since Jim Caldwell took over, Flacco has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,142 yards, has thrown 10 touchdowns, and ZERO interceptions. (I did not count the Bengals game since Flacco did not play for a majority of the game).

What I like about Caldwell’s offense is his ability to find mismatches and attack them. With Cam Cameron, he seemed conservative at times and did not have a good relationship with Joe Flacco. In contrast, Caldwell makes tremendous adjustments to find mismatches. Once that has happened, the offense has been dominant.

If the Ravens keep it close through the first half, the offense will eventually find favorable match-ups against a defense that Flacco had success against last season.

3.Both offensive lines have improved
As I said multiple times, the Ravens defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage the last time these two teams played. Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and Corey Redding could do anything they wanted. Luckily for the 49ers, Redding is with the Colts, and Ngata and Suggs are not playing at 100 percent.

Despite the Ravens injuries, this should be a good battle with great individual matchups. Perhaps the best of which will be Mike Iupati against Haloti Ngata. Iupati is a young player but is already one of the best guards in the league. Despite Iupati’s talent, Ngata should win this battle more often than not.

Some question if the Ravens can handle the 49ers physical running attack. I guess they have forgotten the Ravens play in the AFC North. They will be able to handle this running game and should have success stopping Frank Gore.

Remember last year’s AFC Championship when Vince Wilfork dominated Matt Birk? Well the same can’t be said for last Sunday night. Birk played well but Kelechi Osemele played just as well.

He is bigger than Ben Grubbs, who left for New Orleans via free agency and also struggled against Wilfork. When Osemele was matched up with Wilfork, he more than held his own. Osemele should be matched up with Justin Smith for most of the game and will be able to hold his own physically.

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens at Redskins

Posted on 11 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins Sunday at FedEx Field…

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

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Chris Johnson called for pass interference on Kirk Cousins 3rd down pass intended for Pierre Garcon (4th quarter)

4. Kirk Cousins rushes for two point conversion (4th quarter)

3. David Reed recovery of Niles Paul kickoff return fumble caused by Courtney Upshaw overturned after replay (4th quarter)

2. London Fletcher intercepts Joe Flacco pass intended for Ray Rice, tipped by Barry Cofield (3rd quarter)

1. Richard Crawford returns Sam Koch punt 64 yards to Ravens’ 24 (Overtime)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Rice’s miracle play grabs headline, but Ravens defense made comeback possible

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Ray Rice’s miraculous catch and run on fourth-and-29 will go down as one of the greatest regular-season plays in the 17-year history of the Ravens and will be remembered in the years to come.

A late awakening by quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense completed an improbable 16-13 comeback victory over the San Diego Chargers and pushed the Ravens to 9-2, matching their best start in franchise history.

But none of it would have been possible if not for the stout performance of an undermanned, banged-up Baltimore defense at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. As much grief as he received early in the season, first-year defensive coordinator Dean Pees deserves a pat on the back after the last two weeks in which the Ravens have held opponents to a combined 23 points in two road victories.

The injuries are well-documented and the struggles have been scrutinized throughout the season, but the defense came to play in what appeared to be a difficult matchup against a Chargers attack that’s struggled all season but still possesses the weapons to be dangerous on any given Sunday. The Ravens held San Diego to 13 points, surrendered 280 yards, and sacked quarterback Philip Rivers a season-high six times in their most impressive defensive performance of the year.

San Diego was just 3-for-15 on third down and 0-for-1 in the red zone as the Ravens continued an incredible streak of four straight games without allowing a red-zone touchdown. Baltimore has kept opponents out of the end zone in their last 10 trips inside the 20-yard line.

The numbers barely make you blink in the context of what’s been one of the greatest defenses in the NFL for more than a decade, but a simple look around the field reminds you just how impressive the group has been recently. A 10-point effort against Pittsburgh was brushed off because backup Byron Leftwich was at the helm for the Steelers, but to hold Rivers and the Chargers to 13 points in nearly 75 minutes of play Sunday is worthy of recognition.

That is, if you can recognize who’s making the plays. By no means have they become a no-name defense — Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Ed Reed are still on the field, even if less than 100 percent in each case — but the Ravens continued to receive contributions from unlikely sources.

Replacing inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who left the game with an ankle injury, 36-year-old special-teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo was a factor in pass coverage, making four tackles and defending a pass in extensive action. Filling in for the man who was already replacing the injured Ray Lewis and has arguably been the Ravens’ best defender this season, Ayanbadejo made several key tackles in the second half to help stall San Diego drives.

Another special-teams player, cornerback Corey Graham, continued his strong play in the secondary by making five tackles and defending two passes as he continues to fill in effectively for the injured Jimmy Smith. He and Cary Williams held up well against taller wide receivers Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander in what looked like a mismatch on paper heading into Sunday’s game.

More impressive than anyone, however, was third-year defensive end Arthur Jones, who collected the first two sacks of his career and added another tackle for a loss as he manhandled the Chargers up front. Largely considered a disappointment in increased action this season, Jones has played his best games of the season the last two weeks, making the extended absence of Pernell McPhee little more than an afterthought at this point.

The key to the defensive prosperity on Sunday was the Ravens’ pass rush as Suggs, Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, and rookie Courtney Upshaw collected sacks in addition to the two secured by Jones. Baltimore took advantage of a poor San Diego offensive line and made Rivers uncomfortable in the pocket, allowing the secondary to tighten its coverage.

Aside from a lone drive for a field goal surrendered in the game’s final 41 minutes, the defense was exceptional, forcing four three-and-outs in the second half and keeping the Baltimore offense within striking distance when it finally awoke from its game-long slumber midway through the fourth quarter.

The numbers won’t blow you away and the defensive stars aren’t playing at the same level they did in the past, but Pees has seemingly cracked the code to repair the crisis this defense was facing during its bye week. In the four games played since the break, the Ravens have allowed a total of 58 points after giving up 43 alone against Houston on Oct. 21.

Maybe it was Pees’ decision to move upstairs to the coaches’ booth. Perhaps unheralded players are finally living up to the mantra of “next man up” that’s constantly uttered in the Ravens locker room.

Whatever the case, the defense is figuring it out and it makes the 9-2 Ravens that much more dangerous down the stretch — even with their many flaws that will once again be discussed this week.

It’s not the Ravens’ dominating defense of old, but the unit saved the day on Sunday.

Even if the late-game heroics of Rice and the offense will be what everyone remembers.

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Our Ravens/Steelers “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 19 November 2012 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’ 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Cary Williams

4. Ray Rice

3. James Ihedigbo

2. Anquan Boldin

1. Corey Graham (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Our Ravens/Raiders “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 11 November 2012 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’ 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Anquan Boldin

4. Dennis Pitta

3. Cary Williams

2. Bernard Pollard

1. Cam Cameron (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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