Tag Archive | "David Hale"

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Live from Westminster: Webb still on PUP, “very close” to returning

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — The Ravens concluded their final morning practice at McDaniel College without a single player leaving the field with an injury.

They also appear to be regaining a key member of their secondary in the near future.

Despite speculation that Lardarius Webb would come off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Thursday, the second-year cornerback did not practice, but the Ravens hope Webb can return to practice before the team’s third preseason game against the New York Giants.

“He’s very close,” John Harbaugh said. “He’s right there. That’s up to the doctors to make the decision about when he practices, but he’s right there and I know he wants to practice.”

Webb said earlier in the week he did not want to play in the preseason, citing a desire not to rush his surgically-repaired right knee, but both Harbaugh and Webb have backed off those comments slightly. The cornerback has been working on his conditioning and lateral movement on a regular basis, with his most intense work coming Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m just working on my confidence [in my knee] right now,” Webb said.

The cornerback did not want to discuss specifics about his progress or a time frame for his return, only saying the knee is “coming along” several times and deferring to Harbaugh for any other questions about his return.

“I was taught not to talk as much,” said Webb, clarifying his brief answers to the media. “I got in trouble for talking to you all one time. They said I said something, so I have to keep everything short right now. So that’s why you’re getting the short answers.”

As Webb continues to move closer to a return, cornerback Chris Carr practiced fully for the first time since playing briefly in the preseason opener last Thursday. Carr says his injured left hamstring is feeling much better but will see how he feels on Saturday before determining how much he’ll play in the second preseason game.

“I felt pretty good out here,” Carr said following the Thursday morning practice. “The last couple days I came out here and practiced a little bit and did some conditioning. During my exercises and stuff, my hamstring felt just as strong as my right one does. That was a good sign, so I felt pretty confident coming out here today being able to do everything.”

Center Matt Birk (neck), linebacker Prescott Burgess (undisclosed), and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee) returned to the practice field as well as linebacker Tavares Gooden (neck) and fullback Le’Ron McClain (back/upper leg), though both were limited.

Receiver Mark Clayton and tight end Ed Dickson were new absences from practice. Clayton is dealing with “soreness” in his legs, according to Harbaugh, though he had his right ankle taped on Wednesday morning.

Dickson is dealing with an issue in the hip flexor and groin region and was held out by Harbaugh despite the rookie’s wishes to return to the practice field after sitting out a special teams workout on Wednesday afternoon. The injury is not considered to be serious.

“That was my call [on holding Dickson out],” Harbaugh said. “I just don’t want him to do anything to that that’s more serious.”

Others absent from practice included tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg), and offensive linemen David Hale (tailbone), Oniel Cousins (headache), Daniel Sanders (arm), and Stefan Rodgers (arm).

In addition to Webb, safety Ed Reed (hip), running back Matt Lawrence (knee), and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) remain on the active PUP list.

Stay right here for updates (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Harbaugh, Webb, Carr, and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe as well as Le’Ron McClain’s conversation with Thyrl Nelson.

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1:50 p.m. — Players practiced in shells and shorts with only two days remaining until the second preseason game against the Redskins.

Cornerback Travis Fisher was picked on quite a bit during practice, being beaten by Anquan Boldin, Demetrius Williams, and Donte’ Stallworth in a 10-minute span at one point during the morning session. Perhaps it’s the curse of No. 41 (see Frank Walker).

With Tavares Gooden being limited as he continues to rest his neck, Dannell Ellerbe took the reps at inside linebacker with the first team.

Chris Carr played the nickel spot when the Ravens ran their three-cornerback packages with Cary Williams and Fisher rotating on the outside.

Offensively, Boldin, Stallworth, and Williams were in on three-wide sets with Derrick Mason resting and Mark Clayton out with a sore ankle. This was just the latest indication that Williams has solidified his role as the No. 5 receiver with rookie David Reed struggling during training camp.

1:45 p.m. — Billy Cundiff has held a slight edge over Shayne Graham in the kicking competition thus far, but the former struggled considerably on the final day of workouts in Westminster.

Cundiff missed from 38 and 53 yards and hit the left upright on another late attempt at the end of practice while Shayne Graham connected from 48 and 53 yards despite missing a long attempt of his own before the conclusion of practice.

With our daily kicking updates coming to an end, we’ll have to rely on the kickers’ performance in the final three preseason games, which will carry far more weight in determining who will be the guy on Sept. 13 against the New York Jets.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I have some new rules to unleash for “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week.” Previously, I handed just one honor out per week-but I’m going to mix that up. I will now be handing out both “New” and “Classic” versions of the honor.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook (feel free to search “Glenn Clark” and add the man who is sipping Orange Kool-Aid after losing a bet to Ed in Park Heights), you know that this week’s “Classic” version (the rule is that the song must be at least 5 years old) is “Out of My Head” by Fastball…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7reY8OyYmLI[/youtube]

This week’s new version of “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” isn’t really even a song I like that much. Honest to God. Frankly, I find “The Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney to be a particularly insufferable song musically. BUT-the speech from New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton at the front of the video is so freaking epic that I’m going to give it the honor anyway.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlXDo5WhQXI[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Luke French, Seattle Mariners shut down Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Yeah, but how are you expected to get anything going against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez Luke French?!?!? The Buck Showalter era has been very good in Charm City, but there have still been a few puzzling pitchers to shut the O’s down.

What’s weirder? The fact that the Birds were able to muster just 3 hits against some fella named Luke French or the fact that Josh Bell had two of them?

It all wasted the best start made by Kevin Millwood arguably all season. He gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks over 7 and 2/3 innings, allowing just one run to cross the plate. Armando Gabino sadly wasn’t quite as effective.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to remind everyone of this-but after the Birds have lost 3 of 4 for the first time under Showalter; I think it’s important.

You can’t win them all. You just can’t.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Rough night for Ty Wigginton-who went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts and left 3 men on base. Of course, it was a rough night for just about anyone else who was wearing orange and black too.

In one of those “at least it’s familiar” feelings; you REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers. Trust me. Instead, check out something else baseball-related. Sara Saco-Vertiz is the gall that got hit by a foul ball recently at a Houston Astros game down at Minute Maid Park when her boyfriend “Bo the Bailer” jumped out of the way. She’s also a very pleasant distraction from what happened in the Orioles game last night. (Thanks H8TORADE!)

sarasaco

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says MRI on Craig Tatum’s knee ‘shows no damage’

Good news!

Or at least “oh…okay” news.

You know what-if this is the most interesting thing going on with the Orioles’ roster, it IS good news.

You know what else is good news? The new Harvard Sailing Team video that Dave Carey linked to my Facebook page last night. Thanks Dave!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FukzyfIqYf8[/youtube]

4. USA Today’s Paul White says O’s ‘soaring’ under Buck Showalter, but team still needs to improve roster

This is the unfortunate part about the reasonable success the Orioles have had recently. As solid as they’ve been, it just doesn’t REALLY matter.

The fact remains that it is MUCH nicer for us as fans to watch the team win a few games at the end of the season than to continue to lose games at a historic rate. I’m not trying to take away from the value of that, as it bothers me to watch losing as much if not more than anyone.

But this season has been over for some time. There was nothing to tangibly gain from a strong (or even semi-strong) finish to the season.

If the Orioles don’t make significant roster upgrades during the offseason and field a legitimate team come Opening Day; they’ll lose games in April and May of 2011 under ANY manager. Even Buck Showalter.

Wins this season are like “warm fuzzies.” They’re nice to have around, but they don’t actually help with anything. When you’re cold, you need a blanket-not something the size of pocket lint.

The Orioles don’t need warm fuzzies. They need a massive overhaul. It has started with the manager. Now they need more.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Bowie Baysox OF Xavier Avery had 4 RBI in win over Trenton Thunder on farm

A few things before we move on from the Orioles…

-The O’s and M’s wrap up their 3 game set tonight at OPACY. First pitch between Jeremy Guthrie and David Pauley is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Xavier Avery this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who discussed all things Orioles with Drew
  • Peter King (SI/NBC)-who checked in from Westminster to preview this afternoon’s “Tweetup” at Amicci’s in Little Italy (4:30-6pm…make sure you come hang out!)
  • Seth Everett (ESPN Radio New York/ESPNNewYork.com)-who checked in with Drew to preview the Jets as we finished the AFC East in our preview of every team on the Ravens’ schedule
  • Our “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”, including Drew’s shot at all parties involved in the Renee Gork Arkansas/Florida debacle and my shot at the Ravens’ “You Make the Cut” game
  • Plenty of audio from McDaniel College Tuesday-including John Harbaugh, Jim Zorn and Oniel Cousins
  • Todd Heap-who checked in with Rex Snider yesterday afternoon following Ravens practice
  • Matt Bowen (National Football Post)-who discussed his former teammate Brett Favre with Rex Tuesday as well

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so go check it out. Your day is planned now. You can thank me in form of cash money.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says David Hale, Matt Birk, Davon Drew, Marcus Paschal, Brandon McKinney, Daniel Sanders, Stefan Rodgers, Jared Gaither all missed practice Tuesday at Ravens Training Camp

When it comes to Birk and McKinney, my initial thought is “I bet they’ll be plenty healthy when the team is in Owings Mills next week.”

I’m not quite as laid back about David Hale; as the team doesn’t really have much interior line depth. Birk, Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Chris Chester are there to handle the Top 4 spots; but the team clearly doesn’t want to have to use Chester as the reserve center.

Now-they could be more flexible if they had better tackle depth. Should they be able to start Gaither and Michael Oher with Cousins behind them; it COULD allow Tony Moll to play guard and have the team use Chester in a pinch as a reserve center.

The thing is-they need these guys to be healthy to do ANY of that. That’s an issue as of right now.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ed Reed has visited rehab specialist in Atlanta recently to ‘accelerate’ hip healing

You know what else might help Ed ‘accelerate’ his healing? Showing him this picture of Miss USA Rima Fakih. (Thanks Guyism!)

fakih

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Tavares Gooden working with first team defense at JACK LB spot

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things here as well:

-I have no idea what to make of the JACK LB battle. The job appeared to be Jameel McClain’s to lose, but both Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe have gotten their chances to run with the 1′s after McClain started against the Carolina Panthers. At this point, I’ll still leaning towards McClain-but it will be interesting to see who works with the first unit at FedEx Field Saturday night.

-A reminder that the Ravens hit the practice field today-if you missed the 8:45am practice, you missed it. There’s a special teams practice at 2pm today. Today and tomorrow are the LAST TWO DAYS that you can see the Ravens practice in person at McDaniel College; as they are closed to the public Friday before Saturday’s preseason showdown with the Washington Redskins.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland WR Emani Lee-Odai fractured pinkie during practice, Ralph Friedgen expects him to need surgery

This is a tough break for the senior; who was expected to play an important role in a surprisingly deep group of receivers.

Congratulations also to Terrapins LB’s Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten; who were both named to the Butkus Award Watch List; and to Terps WR/KR Torrey Smith, who was named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List-given to the nation’s most versatile player.

And if Maryland needs some depth at WR with Lee-Odai out, may I suggest Ann French? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

annfrench

10. UMTerps.com says Gary Williams to join Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Art Modell, Jim McKay, Brooks Robinson in inaugural “Hall of Legends” class at Sports Legends Museum

We could debate the names that AREN’T part of that list (Cal Ripken, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Chuck Thompson, Jonathan Ogden, etc.); but that isn’t the point of this really. They’re going to have years to get all of these guys in this group, and this first group of 6 is absolutely outstanding.

The real question is…which year will it be when we see “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio inducted?

I’m sure it has to be soon, right?

And finally, I leave you with this.

The young lady in my life (whatever that means) is a Dallas Cowboys fan. I’m not proud, trust me. We call her “Boomer Sooner” around here. I hope I NEVER hear her singing this song. (Thanks Deadspin!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KDuKAT5Apg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live from Westminster: Ravens honor military at McDaniel

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Live from Westminster: Ravens honor military at McDaniel

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — With hundreds of military personnel on hand, the Ravens were back on the practice field Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the second preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

Players such as defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (below) signed autographs for uniformed military and their families for nearly an hour following a practice that lasted over two hours in the sweltering heat.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

“It’s just a real special day,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re real proud of what all the personnel in the military all across the country and overseas has done for us. We just can’t thank them enough for their service, for the sacrifices the families make.”

Offensive lineman David Hale was absent from practice with a “bruised” tailbone sustained after defensive tackle Haloti Ngata landed on top of him in a pass-rushing drill during Monday’s morning practice. The key reserve lineman has not yet undergone an MRI or CAT scan to determine whether the tailbone is fractured, according to Harbaugh.

Concerns exist that it might be a long-term injury, a potential damaging blow given Hale’s versatility for an offensive line already dealing with the absence of Jared Gaither for the remainder of the preseason.

“I really don’t know,” said Harbaugh when asked if Hale’s injury might be season-ending. “We haven’t gotten an MRI yet, so I wouldn’t be writing that yet.”

Center Matt Birk missed his third straight practice with tightness in his neck. The 13-year veteran has not practiced since the preseason opener last Thursday. Birk started training camp on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing an elbow procedure in the offseason.

“[Birk's] going to be a guy we’re going to be very judicious with throughout training camp and even throughout the season,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think a lot of practice is what he needs. He’s up there [in years]. When you play on the offensive line that many years, you want to be smart with those guys and how many contact reps they take.”

Ngata returned to practice after sitting out the latter portion of Monday’s practice following the collision with Hale. The Pro Bowl tackle appeared to be favoring his left wrist but showed no signs of injury on Tuesday.

Also back at practice was offensive tackle Oniel Cousins, who walked off the field with a member of the staff toward the end of practice after a skirmish with linebacker Jameel McClain earlier in the Monday morning workout. Cousins managed to get into another scuffle Tuesday, this time with linebacker Edgar Jones despite it being a lighter shells-and-shorts workout. The third-year tackle, who continues to fill in for Gaither at right tackle, has earned a reputation for mixing it up with teammates in his brief career.

“I don’t know, they might be coming after me,” said Cousins, drawing laughter from media members. “For some reason, everybody’s always trying to fight with me, I don’t know why. We’re just out there having fun. I don’t know, it’s just a practice. It’s hot and everybody’s out there getting after it.”

Cornerback Chris Carr was a limited participant during Tuesday’s practice, doing individual work but sitting out full-team drills. In addition to Hale and Birk, tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), offensive linemen Daniel Sanders (arm) and Stefan Rodgers (arm), and offensive tackle Jared Gaither (back) did not practice.

Stay right here for more (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Harbaugh, Cousins, quarterback coach Jim Zorn, and tight end Todd Heap’s conversation from the field with Rex Snider.

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8:45 p.m. — The daily installment of the kicking competition brought similar results to what we’ve seen throughout the summer.

Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham were each perfect on five attempts, with both men connecting from 48 and 51 yards. The Ravens will likely alternate kicks between the two as they did in the preseason opener against Carolina.

8:35 p.m — The star of Tuesday’s practice—on and off the field—was veteran tight end Todd Heap, who made three spectacular catches while looking like the tight end who made consecutive Pro Bowls in 2002 and 2003.

Heap made a leaping, one-handed catch over the middle early in practice and beat cornerback Travis Fisher on a sideline route for a long gain. The 10-year veteran finished off his finest practice of the summer with a catch in the back of the end zone over cornerback Brad Jones.

Following practice, Heap signed autographs for military personnel for nearly 45 minutes before joining Rex Snider on AM 1570 WNST. You can hear the conversation in its entirety in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

While Heap shined on Tuesday, rookie David Reed’s struggles continued as the receiver dropped two passes, one of them leading to a Cary Williams’ interception on a pass thrown by Troy Smith.

After an impressive start in Westminster, Reed has struggled to catch the ball consistently, leaving his status in doubt with Demetrius Williams performing well in his efforts to grab the fifth receiver spot on the roster. Expected to be a contender to return kicks, Reed has not received many opportunities during special teams practices.

8:15 p.m. — Tuesday’s practice provided more confirmation for a possible shift in the team’s depth chart at inside linebacker.

Tavares Gooden—practicing without the red non-contact jersey—lined up next to Ray Lewis in the starting defense, another indication that Jameel McClain has lost the stronghold he enjoyed through the first three weeks of training camp. Dannell Ellerbe took reps with the starting defense on Monday as McClain worked at outside linebacker with the second unit.

Much of the defensive work, however, came in nickel and dime packages, and Gooden is considered the strongest of the three in pass coverage.

Needless to say, it will be interesting seeing who lines up with the starting unit in the team’s second preseason game against the Redskins on Saturday night.

8:05 p.m. — John Harbaugh responded to cornerback Lardarius Webb’s comments from Monday that expressed he did not want to play in the preseason and wants to be cautious in returning from an ACL injury sustained late last season. Webb’s rehab is ahead of schedule and could be activated from the PUP list in the near future.

“I think we are going to be cautious with [Webb],” Harbaugh said. “If he can play in the preseason and we feel very comfortable there’s not going to be a setback, we’ll do it. If we think there’s any possibility of a setback—reasonable possibility—we’ll probably just save him [for the regular season].”

Webb has worked out regularly on the side field during training camp, working on conditioning and agility to strengthen his surgically-repaired right knee.

Running back Matt Lawrence (knee) and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) remain on the PUP list but were running on the side during Tuesday’s practice. Neither player has been very active during practices in Westminster, and Ayanbadejo was just recently cleared to begin running full-speed.

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

My 3rd Edition of “Mocking The 53″ hit WNST.net just 9 days ago, and much has changed since that time. The most notable difference is the departure of veteran LS Matt Katula, whose roster spot was taken by rookie CB Brad Jones (Cincinnati).

However, there is also some tinkering to the 53 based on how Baltimore Ravens players performed against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium; and how they continue to perform during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster.

For the record, I’ve never been more convinced that any of 60 guys could end up making the final roster. There might not be 70 NFL players on the roster like there were before Camp, but there are still PLENTY of players who have every opportunity to end up amongst the 53.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. RB Ray Rice
rice

6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

I think we were reminded of just how much the Ravens value Ray Rice when he was all but held out of the preseason opener. It’s very clear who the Top 6 players are on the team-just not quite as clear what order the Top 6 are in. Ben Grubbs cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and with the way O-Linemen have been getting banged up for this team during Camp, he might still be rising.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
fabian
16. OT Jared Gaither
17. FB Le’Ron McClain
18. OL Marshal Yanda
19. C Matt Birk
20. S Dawan Landry

While Fabian Washington and Terrence Cody continue to climb, Jared Gaither is absolutely falling. John Harbaugh said he expected Gaither to miss 2-3 weeks; but didn’t appear to rule out the possibility that his back tear could keep him out longer. With that in mind, his value falls a bit.

On the flip side, after a rough start to Camp-Cody came on big time against the Panthers. He showed quite a bit of the promise the Ravens had hoped he would when they selected him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft out of Alabama. Kelly Gregg may still be the starter in the middle of the D-Line, but Cody has significantly greater upside.

Washington is going to have to be ready to be a Top 15 guy on this team whether he’s…well…ready or not. It’s hard to move him so high without him having played against the Panthers, but his importance to the overall makeup of the roster cannot be understated.

21. S Tom Zbikowski
tomz
22. CB Chris Carr
23. LB Jameel McClain
24. K Shayne Graham
25. TE Ed Dickson
26. QB Marc Bulger
27. S Haruki Nakamura
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. DT Kelly Gregg
30. WR Donte’ Stallworth

A couple of movers in this group-including Jameel McClain, who appeared to have the starting ILB job nailed down next to Ray Lewis but has since been splitting time. He’s still very much in the mix and likely ahead of Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden, but we’ll need to see what the team does Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Chris Carr and Tom Zbikowski are risers, as their spots as starters have been solidified in recent weeks. Zbikowski may also end up winning the punt return job (I have him slightly ahead of Clayton and Stallworth right now), which could be enough to get him in the Top 20.

As far as Clayton and Stallworth are concerned-Clayton moves ahead of Stallworth for the first time as it appears he’ll be the team’s 3rd receiver. Expect both to get plenty of snaps throughout the season however.

Don’t be surprised if Ed Dickson is this team’s top Tight End sometime between now and the start of the 2011 season. He’ll be in the Top 20 on this list soon.

31. OL Chris Chester
32. LB Dannell Ellerbe
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Antwan Barnes
abarnes
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. CB Travis Fisher

Nothing drastically different about this group as of right now. Should Ellerbe or Gooden end up beating Jameel McClain out for the other ILB job, they would clearly move ahead of him on the roster. A good showing against the Panthers lifts Paul Kruger a bit, and the team continues to tell me they’re pleased with what they’ve seen from the 2nd year DE out of Utah since he reported to Westminster.

There have been rumblings that the team could keep just Flacco and Bulger and allow Troy Smith to walk-but I doubt that. Flacco and Bulger are similar QB’s, while Troy Smith is particularly different. After seeing what happened two years ago when Smith got sick and Kyle Boller got hurt, I don’t think the organization is ready to trim the number of QB’s on the Week 1 roster.

41. OT Oniel Cousins
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. DT Kelly Talavou
talavou
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. CB Cary Williams
48. OL David Hale
49. OL Tony Moll
50. LS Morgan Cox
51. LB Edgar Jones
52. S KJ Gerard
53. WR Demetrius Williams

A few things worth mentioning in this final group:

-David Hale was injured during practice Monday. Until we know more about the nature of the injury we have to assume he’s safely on the roster when the Ravens visit the New York Jets September 13th.

-I have Talavou and McKinney ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens right now, but Divens has had a solid camp and Jones is a player the Ravens might not want to risk exposing. All 4 remain very much in the mix to be on the team when they get to East Rutherford.

-Despite his suspension, Cary Williams basically has to be a safe bet to be on the team as he’s the 4th corner right now. That being said, the team could still make roster moves between now and their Week 1 appearance on Monday Night Football. Should they do that, Williams could be in trouble. If Williams DOES make the roster, the team will almost be forced to keep an additional corner. I’m keeping KJ Gerard ahead of Prince Miller for now, but if Gerard doesn’t get healthy soon he’ll forfeit that spot right back to Miller.

-Brendon Ayanbadejo is sliding. While he still appears upbeat about his spot on this team, I’m not sure how much longer it can be assumed. He hasn’t really been noticed doing much work on the side, and team sources have told me they’re disappointed in how long Ayanbadejo has remained out. Should he return, he has every chance to make an impact in the nickel package and on special teams; but he has to return to do that.

-I moved Demetrius Williams back to the safe side of the roster and David Reed off. Reed was expected to make a more significant impact in the return game-but that hasn’t necessarily been seen just yet. He could still win the kick return job-which would get him back on the good side of the roster bubble. In the meantime, Williams’ size continues to somehow separate him from the rest of the receivers on this team-which is enough to get him back on the good side of the bubble.

-Morgan Cox takes a spot in the 53. As the team’s only long snapper, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR David Reed
59. RB Matt Lawrence
60. TE Davon Drew
ddrew
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. LB Jason Phillips
63. DT Lamar Divens
64. WR Marcus Smith
65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Joe Reitz

Plenty of things worth discussing about this group:

-Mike McLaughlin COULD make the roster at FB with the team apparently more willing to give Le’Ron McClain carries; but I don’t expect it just yet. McLaughlin isn’t the type of guy the team would HAVE to keep to avoid exposing him, so I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad.

-Billy Cundiff is MUCH closer in the kicking competition than he might appear; but the team has made it clear that Shayne Graham will be their guy. If he’s not going to make the roster, I can’t have Cundiff ahead of 54th.

-Jason Phillips is a guy the team likes a great deal, but may be a victim of a numbers game. He doesn’t have a natural role right now that makes him a guarantee to earn a spot. Prescott Burgess is in a similar position.

-Don’t be stunned if the team ends up keeping Davon Drew and has 4 tight ends on the roster. I just don’t see the room to do it right now myself.

71. CB Marcus Paschal
paschal
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. CB Brad Jones
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

Of this group, Rodgers may have the only realistic path to being part of the team when they hit the field at the Meadowlands. Should Jared Gaither remain out and the team choose to protect Ramon Harewood by placing him on IR; he would have a realistic chance of getting active behind Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll. But that’s a major (and frightening) IF.

-G

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Live from Westminster: Injuries mount on offensive line

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. – After receiving some well-deserved time off since the preseason opener last week, the Ravens were back on the practice field Monday morning but saw several players go down with injuries.

Offensive lineman David Hale was carted off the field with an apparent chest/rib injury after a collision with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata during linemen drills in the latter portion of practice. Ngata sat out the remainder of practice with a left arm issue, but the injury did not appear to be serious.

Oniel Cousins also walked off the field gingerly with a member of the training staff and did not return. Earlier in pratice, he had a scuffle with linebacker Jameel McClain, but there was no word whether the injury was a result of the fight.

With Jared Gaither out another two to three weeks with a small tear in his back, Cousins is the “logical choice” to take his place at right tackle, according to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. With Cousins leaving the field, his replacement was Tony Moll, who only returned to practice on Saturday after a concussion sidelined him for two weeks.

“I don’t think you’re ever comfortable [with your offensive line],” Camerson said about the uncertainty with the first unit. “You really aren’t, because you know you’re one or two [lost] players away from really having to rebuild something.”

Others not practicing included offensive linemen Matt Birk (elbow) and Daniel Sanders (arm), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), and defensive backs Marcus Paschal (leg) and Chris Carr (hamstring). Carr has not practiced since making a surprise appearance against the Panthers on Thursday night.

Linebacker Tavares Gooden was limited for the second straight practice as he deals with back soreness after taking an awkward hit from the side in the first preseason game. The third-year backer sported a red mesh top over his jersey and did not partake in any live contact in the morning session.

Check back right here (time-stamped below) for updates throughout the day and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison, Jerry Rosburg, Dawan Landry, Lardarius Webb, and Cary Williams as well as Thyrl Nelson’s conversation with Mark Clayton immediately following the morning practice. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates straight from the field in Westminster!

_______________________________________________________________

1:45 p.m. — Monday was another big day for the kickers as Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff were perfect on all attempts.

Cundiff connected for a long 58-yard field goal but also hit from 20, 38, 46, and 52 yards. Graham was 4-for-4 and made kicks from 20, 38, 46, and 52 yards. Cundiff is currently kicking with the first field goal unit, but it appears both kickers are strongly in contention for the job after only one preseason game.

The inside linebacker competition has heated up after a disappointing showing by Jameel McClain against Carolina. Dannell Ellerbe appears to have closed the gap as he, McClain, and a limited Tavares Gooden (see above) took reps next to Ray Lewis and the starting defense.

1:35 p.m. — Cornerback Lardarius Webb continues to rehab his surgically-repair ACL after suffering the injury late last season. The second-year play has been doing agility and conditioning work for most of training camp but still doesn’t have a timetable for his return to the practice field.

“No time limit,” he said. “We’re coming. We don’t want everybody to know [when] I am coming back.”

When pressed whether he would return to action before the preseason ended, Webb indicated he preferred taking extra time to insure the knee is ready for games that actually matter.

“I’m hoping it’s not [returning in the preseason],” Webb said. “For what? I’m still like seven months [removed from the injury]. We still have a lot of work to do. We have to make sure it’s right before I come back on.”

Webb remains on the active physically unable to perform list along with safety Ed Reed (hip), linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps), and running back Matt Lawrence (knee). If Webb starts the season on the reserve PUP list, he would miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

When he returns to action, Webb is expected to contend for a starting spot at cornerback, a position at which the Ravens are extremely thin after the loss of Domonique Foxworth at the start of training camp.

“I think with an ACL, every time you work [the knee], afterwords, you might have a little soreness, but it’s always going to be soreness,” Webb said. “It’s not the knee; it’s just soreness from work. But no, it feels great.”

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because I was out of town yesterday-but had an outstanding experience. I poked my head into a random farmers market (for security reasons, I’ll leave the location undisclosed), and it was a magical experience. A friend of mine (I think for future reference we’re going to call her “Boomer Sooner” here) made a delicious concoction of beeksteak tomatoes, feta cheese, a multigrain baguette, lemon basil and pepper.

Seeing as how my meals are usually made up of frozen pasta or Chick-Fil-A, it was a refreshing change of pace. Unfortunately my phone was dead, so I failed to Twitpic the experience. I’m sorry everyone!

But as I pointed out yesterday on Facebook (search “Glenn Clark” and add the guy who is drinking orange kool-aid and shaking his head because he lost a bet to Ed in Park Heights), the highlight of the event was the fact that this vision of food took place in direct earshot of a group called the Second String Band. I wish I had their version of “If I Had a Boat” available, but instead you’re going to have to settle for Dave Matthews’ version. No offense to Lyle Lovett, it’s just that everyone else does his song better…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap1ruVdAwl8[/youtube]

And while we’re here, let’s go ahead and post Dave Matthews (& Emmylou Harris) covering “Long Black Veil”-most famously from Johnny Cash. I mean, as long as we’re here…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCLqphW77aA[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net says Peter Angelos directly involved with Ravens, MASN divorce

My initial response? “Surprise, surprise.”

It’s frustrating to read this story, but it is by no means stunning. MASN has been nothing short of a trainwreck since it’s inception (that’s not a low blow), even when one Glenn Clark was briefly part of the programming. In fact, if you ever needed proof that MASN was a trainwreck from the go, the fact that Glenn Clark was ever part of it has to be absolute proof!

The good news that comes from the MASN/Ravens divorce? We’ll NEVER have to watch Tom Davis have to talk about a franchise he so clearly despises. The guy was almost comical in his snide comments regarding the organization-which was a bit interesting considering his over-the-top love affair with the Major League Baseball team in town. You know, the Major League Baseball team that employed him.

There was a sense that the Orioles finally came around to working with the Ravens out of necessity. The Ravens pep rally and giveaway nights at Camden Yards would attract the biggest crowds of the season; and it was always fun to see the likes of John Harbaugh, Steve McNair and Willis McGahee throw out the first pitch at a game.

I hope the Orioles don’t really think they don’t “need” the Ravens anymore. I hope they’re not foolish enough to think that they’ve fixed their problems and don’t need the help. I’m as excited as anyone else about the 5-1 start under a new manager, but this is still a desperate situation.

2. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Tavares Gooden, Chris Carr amongst Ravens who missed practice Sunday

The good news? Tavares Gooden returned to practice Monday, according to our own Luke Jones-who is reporting from the practice field at McDaniel College.

The bad news? Chris Carr did not practice again Monday morning. He wouldn’t answer questions about the injury (believed to be his hamstring) after practice Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium, and John Harbaugh dismissed questions as well.

I’m not sure what there is to know, but I know that an injury to Chris Carr is reason for concern. With Domonique Foxworth out for the year and Lardarius Webb on PUP, Chris Carr is a very important part of this football team. Hopefully the injury is not significant.

Luke passed along a few more notes from this morning-as OL’s David Hale & Stefan Rodgers as well as safety KJ Gerard WERE practicing, while Ramon Harewood, Tony Moll and Marcus Paschal were again NOT practicing.

Talking about football is just so great…

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says ‘cutting down penalties’ area of concern for Ravens in Training Camp

An area of concern for Glenn Clark? Finding more pictures of Nikoleta Rali (Thanks Don Chavez!)…

nikoleta

And a few more Ravens notes before we move on…

-Remember, today and tomorrow are the only days this week you can go watch the team practice at McDaniel College. The team will have a walkthrough Wednesday that is closed to the public, and are off Friday following Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

-Our own Luke Jones is back out in Carroll County all day today, keeping you updated with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider every hour on AM1570 WNST.

4. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Jeremy Guthrie out-dueled Mark Buehrle as Orioles topped White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Who in the hell are these guys?!?!?

I had a TERRIBLE feeling when Ramon Castro crushed the home run in the 9th off of Alfredo Simon to make it 4-3. But much like when I had a terrible feeling as the team tried to blow a 9-1 lead against the Los Angeles Angels last week, the team managed to hold on.

And with that in mind, I say “Buck Yeah!”

koolaid

It doesn’t REALLY matter what happens in these games the rest of the way as the season ended before even Memorial Day; but it is nice to actually win some of them anyway. What happens from April-June of NEXT year will be significantly more important, but I’ll continue to enjoy it for now. It certainly beats the alternative.

5. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of another win

And once again, I’m left without my tag line here.

Guthrie was absolutely stellar, allowing one run on 6 hits and just one walk over 8 innings. Felix Pie homered, and just about everyone in the lineup (including Cesar Izturis) had a double.

I CANNOT figure out who these guys are.

But just to keep up appearances, take a look at the numbers and THEN take a look at this picture of Shanna McLaughlin hanging out in the Central Florida locker room. I don’t know why she did it, but I’m glad she did. Thanks Busted Coverage!

shanna

6. The Sun’s Steve Gould says Troy Patton optioned to Norfolk, Craig Tatum expected to take his place on O’s roster

Apparently Buck Showalter went to Andy MacPhail and said he wanted another position player for the bench. I’m sure Andy MacPhail was happy to have someone offer him thoughts about personnel.

When Tatum officially gets called back up, make sure you’re signed up for the WNST Text Service. You’ll find out the news as soon as it happens.

I’m guessing Jake Fox will be happy to not have to catch anymore. Or at least I am…

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Buck Showalter wants to give Jason Berken ‘a break’

And given how he’s struggled recently after lighting the world on fire earlier in the season, it is apparent that his workload (leading the league in innings pitched) has caught up with him.

Now it is a bit strange that the team would option Troy Patton at the same time that they’re giving Jason Berken a break-but I will admit that the starting pitching has been pretty good recently. When Kevin Millwood wasn’t hammered in the first inning Saturday night, I thought it a minor miracle.

That doesn’t mean that I’m convinced that the starting pitching is somehow “fixed.”

I have a bad feeling that the team will end up getting at least a few rough starts soon (maybe not against the Cleveland Indians-they’re terrible; but possibly against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend despite the fact that everyone else has no-hit them this season). It is probably a risk worth taking though, and hopefully Berken will be ready to go before too long.

8. NorfolkTides.com says Zach Britton roughed up in Tides’ loss to Louisville Bats on farm

And a few things before we move on from the Birds…

-They’ll close up their 4 game series with the Pale Hose tonight at OPACY, Brian Matusz takes the hill against Edwin Jackson. First pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Jay Jaffe from Baseball Prospectus this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Mark Kelso (Buffalo Bills Color Analyst)-as Drew continued to preview the teams on the Baltimore Ravens’ schedule this season
  • Rex Hoggard (Golf Channel)-who broke down Tiger Woods’ struggles in Akron and previewed the PGA Championship this weekend
  • A live check-in from Luke Jones this morning from Westminster at Training Camp
  • John Harbaugh’s Sunday press conference
  • Lomas Brown (ESPN Analyst and former NFL O-Lineman)-who joined Eric Aaronson to look around the league.

Now you have your day planned. You can thank me later.

9. UMTerps.com says 22 Maryland freshmen reported to College Park Sunday before practice begins Tuesday

Overheard from Ralph Friedgen’s tour of the area Sunday…

“This is Route 1. Never go here. I know you will anyway, so when you do-don’t act like an idiot. Don’t let me find out how stupid you are. Don’t get arrested at Cornerstone. Don’t bother women at Bentley’s. PLEASE and Thank You.”

Hopefully the young Terrapins were listening.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps trying to break streak of 6 straight seasons scoring 25 or fewer points per game

You know what would help this team offensively? A little photographic inspiration. May I suggest Pia Muehlenbeck? (Thanks Guyism!)…

pia

And finally, I leave you with this.

As I said yesterday via Facebook, I’m not sure if it even technically counts as a board game, but I know what the greatest board game of all time is…

connect4

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live from Westminster: Carr, Gooden sit out afternoon practice

Posted on 08 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — The Ravens were back on the practice field in Westminster with the “over-30″ club sitting out the Sunday afternoon session. The remaining players practiced in shells and shorts with many players dealing with “soreness” after two weeks of camp workouts, according to coach John Harbaugh.

Cornerback Chris Carr did not practice after leaving the field with a hamstring injury Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. He left the field before practice was over to dodge reporters’ questions, but Harbaugh does not consider the injury to be serious.

“It looks like [a short-term injury],” Harbaugh said. “[Carr] was out doing some things today, so he should be fine.”

Linebacker Tavares Gooden was a new absence from practice on Saturday afternoon despite downplaying the significance of him not practicing. The third-year linebacker would not comment on any injury, simply saying he was “good, just running around; that’s all.”

Gooden’s absence was labeled “precautionary” by Harbaugh, and he expects the linebacker to return to the practice field on Monday.

In addition to the veterans over 30—including Derrick Mason who bruised his knee during Saturday’s workout—Jared Gaither (back spasms), David Hale (undisclosed), Tony Moll (concussion), Stefan Rodgers (ankle), Marcus Paschal (leg), and K.J. Gerard (hamstring) joined Carr and Gooden as the others missing practice. Prince Miller was absent from practice to witness the birth of his daughter, according to his Twitter account (@Sheeeesh_Miller).

The afternoon practice focused on passing drills with safety Dawan Landry continuing to lead a patchwork secondary. The fifth-year player picked off Joe Flacco to continue a strong camp in which he’s delivered vicious hits and provided tight coverage in the defensive backfield. With Ed Reed continuing to work his way back from hip surgery and several cornerbacks hampered by injuries, Landry is being leaned on to provide leadership in the secondary.

He and Tom Zbikowski have excelled throughout training camp, helping to ease concerns at the safety position.

“[Landry] is the guy that’s probably been there the longest, maybe the most experienced guy back there now,” Harbaugh said. “I really feel good about our safeties. Our safeties, as a group, have done really well. The corners that have played have done well. I think the safeties have anchored us so far in camp.”

With so many corners missing time during training camp, it’s allowed Cary Williams to receive reps with the first-team defense, a golden opportunity if not for his off-field issues. The third-year player is suspended for the first two games of the season after violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy during his time with the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens signed Williams from the Titans’ practice squad last November.

The suspension was announced the week before training camp began.

“He’s got to pay a consequence for a mistake that he made,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the way it is in the world, and he understands that. It’s going to be damaging to us and to him, but he’s got to move on from it. I think he’s matured quite a bit, even the time he’s been here with us, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh following Sunday afternoon’s practice at McDaniel College.

The Ravens will be back on the field for a Monday morning workout at 8:45 a.m. and another full-squad practice at 2:45 p.m. Don’t forget to tune to AM 1570 or streaming online at WNST.net for training camp updates from Westminster every hour on the :30s!

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Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

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Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

It’s been just 11 days since I posted my Pre-Training Camp edition of “Mocking The 53″ here at WNST.net. In the short (almost) two weeks since the Baltimore Ravens originally reported to Westminster, there has already been some significant flux in the way the team’s roster shapes up.

Obviously the loss of Domonique Foxworth is the most significant shakeup to the team’s roster. However, he’s not the only player who has faced injury-related issues at McDaniel College (or elsewhere) thus far. For this week’s edition; I am going to take not only Foxworth out of the 53, but also the players that we believe will begin the season on PUP (if not IR).

That means that Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb and Sergio Kindle will get the asterisk treatment outside the 53. They’re clearly amongst the top 53 players on the roster, but we just don’t know if they’ll be there when the Ravens line up to face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football come September 13.

Additionally, the roster reflects the subtractions of John Beck and Walt Harris and the additions of Doug Dutch, Chris Hawkins, Daniel Sanders and Devin Tyler.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the roster shapes up…

(Edit from GMC: This keeps shaking. The Ravens apparently DIDN’T release Walt Harris, but instead placed him on IR. Okay…)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. RB Ray Rice
7. LB Terrell Suggs
8. LB Jarret Johnson
jj
9. WR Derrick Mason
10. OT Jared Gaither

Jarret Johnson rises a few spots in the Top 10 and looks more and more important to this team every day. Some of that has to do with Sergio Kindle‘s injury, but even more of that has to do with Jarret himself. His position is such a delicate combination of up and back, the only player I can think of who has played even similarly to him is Adalius Thomas. Jared Gaither also drops a few spots as his weight has to be considered an issue, but he’s still very important to this football team.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. G Ben Grubbs
13. DL Cory Redding
14. TE Todd Heap
15. OL Marshal Yanda
16. LB Jameel McClain
jmcclain
17. CB Fabian Washington
18. DT Terrence Cody
19. FB Le’Ron McClain
20. QB Marc Bulger

A couple of the guys in this group have been quick risers. Jameel McClain was never REALLY on the bubble to make the roster, but he wasn’t terribly far away from it. Within weeks, Jameel has joined the first team defense. He’s been taking the majority of snaps next to Ray Lewis inside, and the team hopes that he can be helpful in pressuring the quarterback with Sergio Kindle down.

Also rising is Fabian Washington-as Domonique Foxworth‘s injury leaves him the team’s top corner. Fabian joined Thyrl Nelson Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST to discuss the pressure of being the top corner. Check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net if you missed it.

21. C Matt Birk
22. K Shayne Graham
23. S Dawan Landry
24. DT Kelly Gregg
kellygregg
25. WR Donte’ Stallworth
26. CB Chris Carr
27. S Tom Zbikowski
28. LB Tavares Gooden
29. OL Chris Chester
30. S Haruki Nakamura

There are a couple of folks in this group worth pointing out. Had Terrence Cody come into Camp and looked like a guy who would be ready to go immediately, Kelly Gregg may have ended up being someone who had to fight to preserve his roster spot. That no longer appears to be an issue.

Chris Carr just became a much more significant part of this roster, as it appears he will be a starting CB for at least the first 6 weeks of the season. That was never the plan for Chris. Hopefully it won’t hurt Greg Mattison‘s defense.

31. TE Ed Dickson
dickson
32. WR Mark Clayton
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Dannell Ellerbe
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. S Ken Hamlin

I don’t know how much longer I can keep Dickson and Pitta outside the Top 30. It might just be Training Camp, but both have looked very good early on. Also looking good is Clayton, who may have been at risk of finding the bubble before Camp started.

On the flip side, Dannell Ellerbe as of right now looks to be 4th amongst the team’s inside LB’s, after vaulting into a job as a starter just a season ago. Troy Smith also appears to have solidified himself a bit with John Beck gone.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. OT Oniel Cousins
43. LS Matt Katula
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. DT Kelly Talavou
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. WR David Reed
48. OL David Hale
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. DT Arthur Jones
51. CB Cary Williams
52. OL Tony Moll
53. LB Edgar Jones
jones

A few things worth mentioning in this group. I’ll move Edgar Jones (who of course now wears #48 and plays OLB after having played roughly every other position on the field) back onto the good side of the bubble, as the injury to Sergio Kindle leaves the team thin at OLB. A couple of the other guys in this group (namely David Reed and Arthur Jones) are getting the benefit of the doubt as draft picks, but probably still have something to prove to make the final 53.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Walt Harris-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. WR Demetrius Williams
56. OT Ramon Harewood
57. LB Prescott Burgess
58. RB Matt Lawrence
59. S KJ Gerard
gerard
60. LB Jason Phillips
61. TE Davon Drew
62. DT Lamar Divens
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. DE Albert McClellan
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. CB Prince Miller
69. CB Marcus Paschal
70. RB Curtis Steele

There’s a few things about my current 53 that I don’t like. As of right now, I have just 4 true corners on the roster right now (Washington, Carr, Williams, Fisher). This could be a place where Gerard could squeeze his way back onto the roster. Also, Ramon Harewood could be in direct competition with Tony Moll for an O-Line spot.

I said before Camp that there were 70 legitimate NFL players (either guys who had been on the active roster or guys who were NFL Draft picks) fighting for 53 roster spots. That number has dwindled, but there are still some 65 legitimate players fighting for spots-and 5 current or former UFA’s also hoping to get on the team.

71. OT Joe Reitz
joereitz
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. LS Morgan Cox
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

The team certainly believes there will be some practice squad guys in the final group.

There you have it. We’ll update again after the Ravens play the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because I decided to spend the weekend out in the heat; going to see the Beach Boys with the great Tom Clark and Karen Clark Saturday night at Pier Six Pavilion; and hitting up Dave Matthews Band Friday night at Nationals Park with “The Artist Formerly Known as The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet.”

I apologize if you’ve already seen this on my Facebook page (search “Glenn Clark” to add me as a friend; I’ll be in a picture at Artscape wearing a Derrick Mason Dan Wilcox jersey); but I thought it was worth sharing again. I’ve seen Dave Matthews channel Willie Nelson for “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away” a handful of times in my life, but I will admit that it was BETTER with Zac Brown along for the ride…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjkPpX0cAZA[/youtube]

Yeah, I managed to enjoy myself despite the fact that I was surrounded by insufferable folks from Washington. At least I had 4-5 guys come up to me during the night and yell “Go Ravens”, which I certainly appreciated.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Ravens LB Sergio Kindle stable after hitting head in accidental fall down two flights of stairs in Austin Thursday night

I hate to start such a laughable blog with such a serious topic; but clearly this is the most significant story of the weekend locally.

As I wrote yesterday, the news is “troubling” at best. We still don’t know many details surrounding the incident or a timetable for Kindle’s return; which only allows for more speculation from folks in the area.

What we know is that Kindle is at the University Medical Center Breckenridge in Texas, where he’s expected to make a full recovery after falling down two flights of stairs. What we DON’T know is how he managed to fall down two flights of stairs. Was it a fight? Was alcohol involved? Were drugs involved? Was it a simple accident?

It’s hard to ignore the troubles Kindle dealt with during his time with the Longhorns; but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should expect the worst here. As I said the night the Ravens selected him and Terrence Cody; they knew what they were getting themselves into. The pair had immense talent, but plenty of red flags to match.

The bigger question is what will it mean going forward. We’re hoping to find out more about that this afternoon when John Harbaugh addresses the media at the Best Western in Westminster. Make sure you’re tuned in to Nestor Aparicio this afternoon (he’s just filling in for Rex Snider this week, calm down everyone) to hear from the coach-hopefully with news on a timetable for Kindle’s return.

2. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark breaks down 81 players on Ravens roster before Training Camp opens

As of this moment, I have David Hale as the last player MAKING the cut and John Beck the first player MISSING the cut. Want an explanation? You’ll have to click the link to check it out; as well as a breakdown of the other 79 players who are preparing to open practice at McDaniel College.

It’s really fine work from this particular writer; and I would know a thing or two about fine work. For example, I saw this picture of Shakira over at Don Chavez…

shakira

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Terrell Suggs’ shape, health of Lardarius Webb & Fabian Washington worth watching out for in Westminster

Also worth watching to see if Luke Jones and I melt in the heat.

Rookies (except Sergio Kindle), quarterbacks and select veterans (players recovering from injuries, practice squad guys, etc.) are all reporting to Westminster today; with the first practice of the year coming tomorrow at 8:45am.

It will certainly be worth watching to see what type of participation the two corners can offer (I’m assuming both will be reporting today) as they return from knee injuries; as well as players like Brandon McKinney-who hasn’t fully participated since suffering a back injury last season.

It will also be interesting to hear from Troy Smith, who is reporting to Camp as the #3 quarterback on the roster for the first time since his rookie season in 2007-when Steve McNair and Kyle Boller were ahead of him on the depth chart.

As we get to Thursday & Friday we’ll be able to take a look at the veteran players like T-Sizzle who have some question marks surrounding their arrival at Camp.

The good news? There’s football to talk about this week. OH.THANK.GOD!

4. The Sun’s Rich Scherr says Baltimore Mariners topped Wyoming Cavalry at 1st Mariner Arena to win first AIFA Championship Bowl

Awesome stuff. I’m well aware that it is the AIFA and not the NFL; but it is still a Championship. It’s particularly fulfilling in a year when the Baltimore Blast surprisingly DIDN’T win a Championship-as it guarantees the city of Baltimore a title of some sort this season.

Just awesome stuff all around; and an entertaining game whether you attended, listened online or simply followed our updates via Twitter (follow us @WNST.)

If you missed Mariners LB Fearon Wright this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST; make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to check it out. Other guests this morning included:

-Stacey Long (Camden Chat); who joined us in-studio to break down the end of baseball season in town
-Will Carroll (Baseball Prospectus); who took a look around MLB with Drew
-Ross Tucker (SI.com, GoBigRecruiting.com); who previewed NFL Training Camp season.

They can all be found in the Audio Vault today as well.

5. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says graduation important to Maryland WR Torrey Smith, who’s on pace to finish school in December

It’s natural to compare Torrey Smith to Darrius Heyward-Bey; although he hasn’t shown ANY of the leaping ability that DHB did during his brief run in College Park. Worse than that, Hey-Bey clearly has yet to live up to his Top 10 NFL Draft status during his time with the Oakland Raiders.

However, should Torrey Smith have a big junior season-he would put himself in the position to at least consider a jump to the NFL; even if he isn’t destined to be a Top 10 pick like the the previous Terps receiver ended up being.

So how do the Terrapins keep Torrey Smith in school if he has a big year? I’d suggest they tell him Jessica Hall would be impressed by that (Thanks Busted Coverage/F-Listed!)

jessicahall

Patrick’s in Greenboro for the ACC Football kickoff; make sure you check out his site (D1scourse.com) and follow him on Twitter (@D1scourse) for updates. We’ll discuss it in depth on this week’s “D1scast.”

6. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Jake Arrieta rocked as Orioles fell to Twins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

After not watching a single game for the better part of a week; I actually sat down and watched the game yesterday.

I should’ve switched over to the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” marathon they had on E!

You can wonder how things might have been different had Arrieta been able to retire Jason Kubel instead of giving up a 2 out grand slam; but it’s fruitless. He was playing with fire and got burnt. I’m certainly not panicking about Arrieta; but it has to be at least a bit concerning that he could only go 4 innings yesterday.

Luke Scott had a couple of doubles; which will hopefully help his potential trade value as we rapidly approach Sunday’s deadline.

Andy MacPhail can use all of the help he can get in that area. Hopefully Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie will be a bit more inspired on Tuesday and Wednesday as the Orioles hit Canada; as they could BADLY help this team.

7. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Corey Patterson added 2 hits (including a double), as did Felix Pie. Cesar Izturis added a couple of RBI in the 9th inning; which was nice as well.

But trust me-you REALLY don’t want to look at this. Instead, look at this photo of Alessandra Ambrosio from What Would Tyler Durden Do. We’ll regroup after that…

ambrosio

8. Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Matt Wieters activated, Craig Tatum sent back down to Norfolk

Which is weird-because I remember a certain Drew Forrester saying to me last week “They’re NOT sending Tatum down.”

Sorta like a guy I knew who said about Maryland football last year “they’re not losing to Duke.”

I don’t like having Jake Fox as a backup catcher. But then again, I don’t like Jake Fox. Of course, I have to keep in mind that the choices in this situation are garbage and garbage; but I think Craig Tatum has at least performed at a more respectable level than Jake Fox this season. If garbage can be respectable that is.

Sorry guys, it is what it is.

9. Baysox.com says Steve Johnson pitched Bowie past Richmond Flying Squirrels on farm

And before we move on from the on-field Birds; a couple of things:

-The Orioles are back in action tonight; as they head to Toronto to face the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Brandon Morrow is at 7:07pm on MASN. The Jays are 9-0 against the Orioles this season. It’s hard for me to imagine that changing tonight.

-With the baseball season now OVER in Charm City; we named our first ever “Apologist of the Year” this morning; with “The Great Arbitrator” making the final call. The nominees were:

  • MASN’s Steve Melewski
  • Post-game hosts Jim Hunter & Rick Dempsey
  • Chris Stoner
  • “Heath” from Dempsey’s Army
  • The Sun’s Peter Schmuck
  • 105.7′s Tom Davis
  • Our pal “Roar From 34″
  • The man in charge-Andy MacPhail
  • “Neal S” from The Loss Column
  • Our own Drew Forrester

And after careful deliberation; we are proud to announce that our first ever “Apologist of the Year” is……fellow Perry Hall High School alum Steve Melewski!

Amazingly, the news has traveled quickly in the PHHS circle; and our alma mater’s Wikipedia page has already been adjusted to reflect the honor.

GO GATORS!!!

10. MLB.com’s Kyle Maistri says former O’s PBP Voice Jon Miller honored with Ford Frick Award at Hall of Fame ceremony in Cooperstown

I’m just going to leave this alone for right now, other than to offer this YouTube classic (Thanks Sam Angell!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j40hUOlXDc[/youtube]

Congratulations Jon!

And finally, I leave you with this.

After seeing DMB Friday night; I think I’m gonna go ahead and give “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” honors to “Cornbread.” It’s so great…

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Training Camp Eve Look at Ravens Roster

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Mocking The 53: A Training Camp Eve Look at Ravens Roster

Posted on 25 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Back in early June, I put together my first “Mocking the 53” entry; breaking down how the Baltimore Ravens roster appeared following the end of mini-camps. Since that time, there have been some roster additions (welcome Marc Bulger, Ken Hamlin, Walt Harris); subtractions (we’ll never forget William VanDeSteeg, Brad Jones, Chris Hannon, Maurice Price, John Fletcher, Daniel Sanders, Courtney Smith, Ashton Hall and Digger Bujnoch); and “Ed Reed Month” has captured the attention of Charm City.

With coaches, quarterbacks, rookies and players coming off injuries scheduled to report to McDaniel College Monday, I thought today would be a good time to take another look at where the roster stands. There aren’t MANY changes; but it’s worth taking another look at.

Here’s how I explained these rankings the first time I posted them…

Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. RB Ray Rice
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
suggs

9. OT Jared Gaither
10. LB Jarret Johnson

I only made a few adjustments to the Top 10 this time around. After talking to some NFL personnel folks, I came to the conclusion that I slightly overvalued Ray Rice and slightly undervalued Ray Lewis. The fact is-the Ravens have great depth at RB behind Rice. While the team wouldn’t be as dynamic offensively without him; they could survive for at least a period of time should he get hurt. The team does NOT have the same type of depth at ILB, as they have SOLID players-just not guys who can step in for someone like #52. The other change I made in the Top 10 was at #10; as Jarret Johnson replaces Ed Reed. With the acquisition of Ken Hamlin and the very realistic possibility that Reed will miss the first six weeks of the season; it’s hard to leave even a future Hall of Fame safety in the Top 10.

11. S Ed Reed
12. DT Terrence Cody
13. OG Ben Grubbs
14. DE Trevor Pryce
15. DL Cory Redding
16. TE Todd Heap
17. CB Domonique Foxworth
domfox
18. C Matt Birk
19. OL Marshal Yanda
20. QB Marc Bulger

Welcome to the list Marc Bulger. The fact is, the team doesn’t give a player nearly $4 million (with the chance to make over $5 million) if he’s not an important part of the roster. No matter what Ed Reed or Joe Flacco says to the media, the team is obviously very happy to have the former St. Louis Rams QB on the roster. Otherwise, the next 10 stays about the same as my first post. One of the most interesting things to watch this week in Westminster will be the weight Terrence Cody reports at. If it is around the 350 the team wants from him, he’ll solidify his Top 12 standing on this roster. If it is more than that, his stock could drop.

21. FB Le’Ron McClain
22. S Dawan Landry
23. CB Lardarius Webb
webb
24. LB Sergio Kindle
25. LB Dannell Ellerbe
26. CB Fabian Washington
27. WR Donte’ Stallworth
28. K Shayne Graham
29. LB Tavares Gooden
30. DT Kelly Gregg

The biggest riser in this group is Shayne Graham, who was 41st on my initial list. In talking to folks both in Owings Mills and around the league; it has become clear that the team is working under the assumption that Graham will win the “competition” with Billy Cundiff. Should he struggle in the preseason, clearly his place on the list could fluctuate. Lardarius Webb dropped just a bit due to the acquisition of Walt Harris; as the team has a bit more depth at CB should Webb not return as healthy as hoped. Also dropping a few spots is rookie LB Sergio Kindle as we await more details surrounding his head injury that will force him to miss the start of Training Camp.

31. TE Ed Dickson
32. P Sam Koch
33. OL Chris Chester
34. CB Chris Carr
chriscarr
35. RB Willis McGahee
36. S Ken Hamlin
37. S Haruki Nakamura
38. S Tom Zbikowski
39. LB Jameel McClain
40. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo

Ken Hamlin debuts at #36, and could rise from there depending on how he looks in the preseason. As of right now, there is a common assumption that Hamlin could very well be the guy to start alongside Dawan Landry Week 1 in East Rutherford; as Ed Reed looks like he may well end up on the PUP list. Should Hamlin show the form that made him a Pro Bowl selection with the Dallas Cowboys, he should hold off Tom Zbikowski easily at the “centerfield” safety spot.

41. TE Dennis Pitta
42. CB Walt Harris
43. WR Mark Clayton
44. DE Paul Kruger
45. QB Troy Smith
troysmith
46. LS Matt Katula
47. OT Oniel Cousins
48. LB Antwan Barnes
49. RB Jalen Parmele
50. DT Brandon McKinney
51. WR David Reed
52. DT Kelly Talavou
53. OL David Hale

The guy that drops the most in this list is Troy Smith, as the acquisition of Marc Bulger leaves him 3rd on the QB Depth Chart. Should he be traded to a team that suffers a QB injury during the preseason; Cam Cameron favorite John Beck would take his roster spot right back. David Hale gets the last spot on the 53 due to the need for interior OL depth behind Chris Chester-although the team could well decide to keep Tony Moll for that role. They could also keep Ramon Harewood (who looks like a Practice Squad guy to me) if he was capable of moving in and playing guard.

54. QB John Beck
55. K Billy Cundiff
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR Demetrius Williams
dwill
59. CB Travis Fisher
60. OL Tony Moll
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. RB Matt Lawrence
63. LB Edgar Jones
64. LB Jason Phillips
65. CB Cary Williams
66. DT Lamar Divens
67. TE Davon Drew
68. WR Marcus Smith
69. WR Justin Harper
70. S KJ Gerard

This is really incredible. Players 54-70 on this list ALL appear to be legitimate NFL players; just guys who face VERY uphill battles when it comes to trying to make this crowded roster.

John Beck will have to beat Troy Smith or hope he’s traded. Billy Cundiff will have to beat Shayne Graham. Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens are battling Brandon McKinney and Kelly Talavou; with an outside chance that Kelly Gregg could be let go to pave the way for one of them to make the team.

Ramon Harewood and Tony Moll are battling Oniel Cousins and David Hale; but are also hoping to convince the team they’re valuable enough to just keep another O-Lineman altogether. Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and Justin Harper are all hoping to prove that their size makes them more valuable than David Reed or Mark Clayton; or that they’re valuable enough for John Harbaugh to go with a 6th receiver.

Travis Fisher, Cary Williams and KJ Gerard are battling the likes of Walt Harris to try to steal a spot in the secondary. One of them will likely benefit from Ed Reed‘s injury to get onto the roster. Prescott Burgess is hoping to avoid being a roster casualty for a 2nd straight year; as he, Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones know that Brendon Ayanbadejo, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain and Paul Kruger are their competition for making the roster.

Matt Lawrence has to prove he’s back from his knee injury a season ago and his value at RB and on Special Teams makes him worthwhile amongst a group that includes Jalen Parmele. Davon Drew is trying to find some room at TE behind Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

The fact is, these are all winnable jobs for the players farther down on the roster; and they’re not just competing with each other. A strong preseason from Demetrius Williams could earn him a spot but prove costly for a player like Brandon McKinney with the team deep at DT. A strong preseason from Matt Lawrence could leave Antwan Barnes an afterthought.

Jerry Rosburg will ultimately have a big say in who gets the final spots, as a player’s value to the Special Teams unit could outweigh his value at his own position. Lawrence, Smith, Burgess, E. Jones and Gerard could all use that to their advantage in trying to make the roster.

71. FB Mike McLaughlin
72. CB Prince Miller
73. CB Marcus Paschal
74.  OT Joe Reitz
75. WR Eron Riley
eron
76. RB Curtis Steele
77. OL Bryan Mattison
78. OT Stefan Rodgers
79. LS Morgan Cox
80. WR Rodelin Anthony
81. DE Albert McClellan

There are guys who have a chance at making the roster in this final group, but they have to be considered longshots. Eron Riley was popular amongst the members of the team’s coaching staff while on the practice squad last year. Unfortunately, the logjam of taller receivers fighting for roster spots ahead of him makes it likely he will end up heading right back to the practice squad this year.

Mike McLaughlin, Prince Miller and Curtis Steele are all UFA’s who have legitimate chances of lighting the world on fire in the preseason and winning jobs; but all appear more likely to be practice squad bound. Should Matt Katula show lingering signs of the elbow troubles that bothered him last year, Morgan Cox could have a chance to win the LS job outright.

That’s the roster as it stands right now. We all know injuries and other potential roster moves will change things before the Ravens head to the Meadowlands for Monday Night Football on Sept. 13. I’ll try to update this after each preseason game; with September 4 looming as “cutdown” day.

Remember, updates from Luke Jones and myself at Training Camp begin Monday; and can be heard at the bottom of the hour EVERY hour throughout the day.

-G

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