Tag Archive | "Cundiff"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t go jumping off the Key Bridge just yet fellow purple bird watchers

Posted on 11 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

PHILADELPHIA — As I sit here wrapping up a futile evening of unusually awful preseason football — and the bar was set pretty low to begin with — I’m just going to throw out a few random observations from tonight’s Ravens’ 13-6 loss to the Eagles here at The Linc:

The Ravens need to get on the phone and find a backup quarterback and probably sooner than later. Not unexpectedly, Tyrod Taylor stank in his NFL debut last night playing primarily with and against the usual second-teamers.

Harbaugh, who always seems to provide us with some quotes that are outlandish, had nothing but praise for Taylor. Check it out here.

Taylor is going to be mighty sore all weekend but the three interceptions were ill-timed even by preseason standards and certainly avoidable. Pray for the health of Joe Flacco, Baltimore! Or pray for someone legitimate to fall out of a tree. Call Marc Bulger. Call Brett Favre. Call someone, Ozzie!

It’s impossible to gauge how good the team is as a whole when the starters were out of the game before we blinked but it was pretty easy to see that Michael Vick and the Eagles offense were far ahead of where the Ravens defense is at this point. Vick made it look far too easy, especially against a veteran secondary and Chris Carr.

This new kickoff rule is going to ruin special teams while saving players’ health. I have a feeling many teams will go weeks without returning a kick or having to tackle anyone. And the way Billy Cundiff kicked last year, we might not see a return before Thanksgiving in Baltimore. At this rate, they should just do away with kickoffs and spot the ball at the 20 after every score.

I always forget how much the preseason sucks. The crowd isn’t into it. The announcers aren’t into it. And last night’s brand of NFL football was about the worst I’ve ever seen given the lack of OTA’s, offseason playbooks and organization that’s needed to put 22 men in motion on the field. This will be the biggest story of August — how NFL coaches pull these rosters together when many young players are baffled in their new systems.

It was nice to see Dennis Pitta contribute on a night when he had some opportunities. It’ll be even nicer when the Ravens get Ed Dickson on the field.

The Ravens’ offensive line was suspect last night and in particular Oniel Cousins stunk when I zeroed in on him when he was battling 2nd and 3rd teamers. Ray Rice had no room to run on his handful of carries and Joe Flacco was running for his life in the first quarter. This is far more disconcerting than any other facet of the team because it involved productivity, protection and the ability of Joe Flacco to be standing upright for 16 weeks.

All this said — and virtually none of my observations were positive — it was a preseason game. Don’t sweat it. It was a practice, that’s all.

We’ll have three more chances to watch bad football this month before the emotions, energy and drama of the Steelers’ visit on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.

WNST is open for business all day on Friday for phone calls, observations and civic therapy.

Feel free to vent. It’s why we’re here!

Comments Off on Don’t go jumping off the Key Bridge just yet fellow purple bird watchers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lots of questions but not lots of answers for Ravens

Posted on 22 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

To say that frustration has fallen across the land here in Baltimore along with an early sunset would be an understatement. Today, once again, the sun continued to set on another season of Ravens football as the Ravens dropped their fifth game of the season as the Indianapolis Colts walked across the purple bird toward the visiting locker room as the winners in their former land of Baltimore.

Today, it is NOT the land of pleasant living.

After a 7th-consecutive disgusting loss for a fan base who built that horseshoe for the Irsay family before having it shoved up its civic backside in March 1984, there are many questions, but few answers the Ravens can provide beyond a disappointing 5-5 record.

Ed Reed and Ray Lewis didn’t even chat with the media. (Why Reed was trying to pitch the ball in that situation is just inexplicable — except that he’s been doing it for a decade, Brian Billick-be-damned!)

John Harbaugh had a rather terse “no comment”-style response in regard to this action.

I’m not a guy who’s ever looked for “goats” in losses. I’ve been around this game long enough to know that mistakes of the physical nature are usually deemed “acceptable.”

It’s pretty apparent that the Ravens have guys in the secondary who are physically over-matched or outrun at various points. That, in a way, is OK. They’re trying hard, doing their best, trying to get in a position to make a play. Domonique Foxworth, Frank Walker, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr — they’ve all had bad days and bad plays in these 10 games, but no one is confusing their results with their effort.

But the mental mistakes? Well, those are the ones that the coaches hate the most. In tennis, they’re called “unforced errors.”

Today, the Ravens made way too many mistakes in decision-making, and most of it came in the last few minutes of the game, opening the door for the Indianapolis Colts after spending much of the day on the all-too-rare “right side” of the Baltimore-Indianapolis 25-year karma.

The Ravens got several calls from the officials and a few good spots. Most of the “breaks” went their way vs. the Colts. They stripped the ball at the foot of the goal line to avert another Indy touchdown in the first half. They picked Peyton Manning twice early and played very, very well on defense all day, especially considering that they were playing the best quarterback on the planet with the fewest weapons and the worst secondary they’ve fielded during the lopsided rivalry.

But the holy trinity of mistakes — all by key members of the franchise — Flacco’s interception, Reed’s fumble and Harbaugh’s screwy use of the clock and the last, few precious timeouts put the Ravens with a full foot into the grave for the 2009 season with a 5-5 record. Only the late afternoon buffoonery of the Steelers losing to the Chiefs and the Bengals bungling a sure victory in Oakland could keep the Ravens off of complete life support. And that doesn’t factor in the relative mediocrity of teams like Miami and Denver, who have become the Ravens’ competition for a 9-7 playoff berth.

Harbaugh also has to accept the Ravens’ share of the responsibility for why Matt Stover was in a blue and white uniform today kicking winning field goals and the purple franchise is working on yet another kicker who missed a kick today in a game that was lost by two points.

So you think this game wasn’t won by the difference between Stover and Bill Cundiff?

Bad snap by Matt Katula not-withstanding, Stover made all of his tries, including the eventual game-winner with seven minutes remaining. Cundiff’s 30-yard near-whiff is the three points that would’ve won the game.

The kicking game has been the difference between being 7-3 and 5-5.

Period. Not a low blow, just a FACT!

So, just how big was the departure of Stover after all? And whose idea was all of this in the offseason?

For Harbaugh, the honeymoon with Charm City is on life support. The media are already agitated by his various peculiar idiosyncrasies and paranoid policies. And the Ravens are a breath away from elimination in 2009, which is probably just about what they’ve earned on the field with various degrees of poor play, poor preparation and lousy decision-making.

What the hell was Harbaugh thinking throwing that red flag after calling a timeout and not calling for a measurement? Honestly, that’s not a leader under fire in the NFL, that’s amateur hour! If that were any other coach blowing it on the other sideline, that’s exactly what we’d call it.

And, factor in the inevitable aging of a less-than-youthful roster and the injuries to the likes of Terrell Suggs, Todd Heap, Haloti Ngata and Brendon Ayanbadejo and you’ve got a recipe for under-achieving that falls far outside of just Harbaugh’s deficiencies. When injuries happen, teams don’t make the playoffs. You can check the track record on that.

You get the feeling that it’s just not meant to be for the Ravens of 2009.

Oh, and it’s Steeler Week here in the former land of pleasant living.

The Purple Haze is on at 7 p.m. tonight (and every Sunday night). Looking forward to chatting about the Ravens’ precarious situation in the NFL cosmos…

Comments Off on Lots of questions but not lots of answers for Ravens