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With Ravens fans snickering at Mason, has Boldin received a free pass in Baltimore?

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With Ravens fans snickering at Mason, has Boldin received a free pass in Baltimore?

Posted on 12 October 2011 by Luke Jones

After Derrick Mason’s abrupt departure from the New York Jets on Tuesday night, many fans have offered their zingers and potshots at the former Ravens receiver, whose poor production and crumbling relationship with the Jets coaching staff led to him being traded to the Houston Texans for a seventh-round pick.

While I couldn’t resist making a snide comment or two about the whole situation, I’m mystified at the amount of disdain hurled toward the Ravens’ all-time leading receiver who caught 29 touchdowns in his six seasons in Baltimore. Yes, he could be a cranky diva — not unlike most productive wide receivers, mind you — but far too many are discrediting his work. The reliability he provided for a rookie quarterback named Joe Flacco, who was thrown into the starting lineup out of necessity in 2008, turned a potentially disastrous situation into one of the most enjoyable seasons the Ravens have ever had and sparked a promising career of a franchise quarterback.

Yes, it was time for Mason and the team to part ways, especially with the 37-year-old’s high salary-cap number in 2011, as many expected his production to be absorbed by veteran Anquan Boldin in his second season with the Ravens.

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And that brings us to a different topic entirely.

Through four games in 2011, Boldin has just 15 catches for 222 yards and a lone touchdown catch on the Ravens’ first drive of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11. It follows his 2010 season in which the former Arizona Cardinals wideout caught 64 balls for 837 yards and seven touchdowns. The only season in which Boldin had fewer receptions and receiving yards was his second season in 2004 when he played in only 10 games.

In comparison, Mason has 13 receptions for 115 yards in five games as the No. 3 receiver in New York before the trade to Houston on Tuesday. I mention this not to suggest that the Ravens should have kept Mason, but it poses an interesting, and largely unspoken, question with Boldin’s numbers not exactly blowing Mason’s out of the water by leaps and bounds.

Has Boldin received too much of a pass in his first 20 regular-season games in Baltimore?

We’ve seen all the explanations.

He, Mason, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were too similar in what they did best as receivers.

Boldin matches up against the opposition’s No. 1 cornerback and deals with bracketed coverage on a regular basis.

Flacco hasn’t developed the same rapport with Boldin as he enjoyed with Mason and doesn’t target him enough while going through his progressions.

And — of course — it’s offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s fault for not finding better ways to get the ball to Boldin in the offense.

While all of these explanations undoubtedly factor into the equation to varying degrees, at what point do we begin to wonder whether the Ravens really got their money’s worth when trading third- and fourth-round picks to Arizona a year ago and signing Boldin to a three-year, $25 million extension through 2013 with $10 million guaranteed?

When do we begin looking at Boldin himself?

That’s not to say Boldin has been a bad player in Baltimore. Far from it, in fact. The 31-year-old has shown mostly-reliable hands other than a critical drop in the end zone in the fourth quarter of the Ravens’ heartbreaking 31-24 loss to the Steelers in the AFC divisional round last January. He had three 100-yard games a year ago, including a three-touchdown explosion against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3.

But, he’s yet to show himself as even a proper replacement for Mason during his best seasons in Baltimore, much less the impact receiver Ravens fans thought they were getting a season ago.

For those pointing to the injury of Lee Evans and the lack of talented receivers to deflect attention from Boldin, Mason wasn’t exactly reaping the benefits of playing opposite Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams over the years, but he still found ways to be very productive.

The great ones are able to find space to get open in order to produce, even when the circumstances are far from ideal as they are right now in Baltimore, with the Ravens relying heavily on unproven rookie receivers in Evans’ absence.

With the offense still searching for its identity in an otherwise successful 3-1 start, the Ravens would sure benefit from a Mason-like — or even better — boost from Boldin, in whom they invested a lot after seven superb seasons in Arizona where he became the fastest player to reach 400, 500, and 600 catches in NFL history.

We’ve seen flashes of the Boldin who teamed with Larry Fitzgerald to form one of the most feared receiving tandems of the last decade, but the consistency just hasn’t been there to the degree that anyone expected.

Perhaps the surge is finally coming after the bye when you consider the lack of an offseason and how that might have stunted his development with Flacco. Or, maybe this is all we’re going to get from Boldin.

So, before we continue finding amusement in what’s amounted to a humbling conclusion to Mason’s playing career — yes, much of it his own doing — ask yourself a question.

Are we sure the Ravens are really that much better off without him?

Boldin’s numbers don’t support it.

At least, not yet.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Things In Sports We Can Simply Do Without

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Things In Sports We Can Simply Do Without

Posted on 12 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

This week’s Tuesday Top 7 was dedicated to the great Chris Berman from ESPN. As I was following on Twitter Monday night while watching the Home Run Derby, I was reminded that I wasn’t the only person watching that was simply tired of the Chris Berman “shtick.”

With that in mind, our Tuesday Top 7 topic was “The Top 7 Things In Sports We Can Simply Do Without.” Self-explanatory, yes?

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Colin Cowherd

cowherd

6. Having 50 different “cups” in soccer

argentina

5. NBA players getting out of the way so they don’t get dunked on

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bYSHu9ylMc[/youtube]

4. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” anywhere but Wrigley Field

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvZkst884XM&feature=related[/youtube]

3. Preseason All-Conference teams

dob

2. The 4th NFL preseason game

ravensrams

1. Major League Baseball’s “unwritten rules”

greggortiz

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. Day long Super Bowl pre-game show

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpU2W4pRnIM[/youtube]

6. Stalling in lacrosse

laxstalling

5. Tampering rule in NFL preventing you from discussing free agents

nnamdi

4. One stroke penalty for hitting ball out of bounds in golf

oob

3. MLB “Umpire Snobbery”

umpire

2. Baltimore Colts recognized as Indianapolis Colts at Pro Football Hall of Fame

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ruZsHhFXKw[/youtube]

1. Guaranteed multi-year contracts

ramirez

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Losing to good teams on the road ensures your postseason plight …..

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Losing to good teams on the road ensures your postseason plight …..

Posted on 15 November 2010 by Rex Snider

If you’re a casual listener of my show, you probably know about my opinion regarding the intersection of LOSSES and EXCUSES.

I’m blunt about it whenever the discussion comes up.

It’s a belief that was drilled into my head when I was very young.  It’s a belief that I’ve taught my one and only child.  And, it’s a belief I’ll take to my grave …..

EXCUSES ARE FOR LOSERS

Offering a dismissive, half-hearted reason for losing is nothing less than acknowledging that failure is acceptable.  It also guarantees you’ll get more of it – unless you change something.

To be very honest, it insults an intelligent mind when winnable contests in New England and Atlanta are summed up with the customary “the Ravens lost to a very good team on the road” defense.

Call that line exactly what it is ….. an EXCUSE.

I didn’t buy it after the loss against New England and I’m certainly not buying it after last Thursday’s loss, in Atlanta.

Do you wanna guess how many 4th quarter comebacks Tom Brady has engineered this season?  The answer is ONE.  And, we know all about that game, huh?

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens stripes the ball from Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I get the aura of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  I know their careers very well, and I pay attention to that team.  But, I also know many football fans assume Brady pulls out last minute heroics every week, and that’s just not true.

In fact, Tom Brady has thrown only ONE game-impacting, 4th quarter touchdown, this season.  Once again, we know all about that game, right?

As for last Thursday’s loss in Atlanta, the Ravens defense orchestrated Matt Ryan’s elevation from budding star to full blown ROCK STAR, in just 80 seconds.

I’m pretty sure Ryan is being bestowed with the Congressional Medal of Honor on the front steps of the United States Capital, later this week.

But, here’s another meaningless stat for the excuse makers and believers …..

Do you know how many two-minute drives have been capped off with a winning touchdown in Matt Ryan’s season?  You are correct …. ONE FREAKIN’ GAME.

Of course, I think Tom Brady is approaching a legendary career.  And, I think Matt Ryan is one of the bright, young stars in the NFL.  But, I also think many fans and observers believe these quarterbacks are leading their teams to dramatic, come from behind wins, on a consistent basis – and, that’s simply not true.

But, they’ve made hay against the Ravens defense, recently.

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Ravens Announce Final 53* Players to Make Roster

Posted on 04 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens made multiple moves today to trim their roster from 75 active players to 53.

The team announced they have placed DT Kelly Talavou (knee), OT David Hale (back), OT Stefan Rodgers (ankle and OT Ramon Harewood (knee) on Injured Reserve, ending their 2010 season. The team also moved S Ed Reed from the Active PUP list to the Reserve PUP list. LB Antwan Barnes was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

The team also cut an additional 15 players: TE Davon Drew, S/CB K.J. Gerard, WR Justin Harper, CB Chris Hawkins, CB Brad Jones, OL Bryan Mattison, DE/LB Albert McClellan, OT Joe Reitz, WR Eron Riley, QB Troy Smith, RB Curtis Steele, OT Devin Tyler, WR Demetrius Williams, CB Travis Fisher and K Shayne Graham.

The team actually has 54 players currently on the roster, as CB Cary Williams does not count against the roster for the first two weeks while suspended. Here is the Ravens roster:

QB’s (2)
Joe Flacco
Marc Bulger

RB’s (4)
Ray Rice
Willis McGahee
Le’Ron McClain
Jalen Parmele

TE’s (3)
Todd Heap
Ed Dickson
Dennis Pitta

WR’s (6)
Anquan Boldin
Derrick Mason
Mark Clayton
Marcus Smith
David Reed
Donte’ Stallworth* (expected to miss 8 or more weeks)

OL (8)
Michael Oher
Ben Grubbs
Matt Birk
Marshal Yanda
Jared Gaither
Chris Chester
Tony Moll
Oniel Cousins

DL (9)
Haloti Ngata
Trevor Pryce
Cory Redding
Kelly Gregg
Terrence Cody
Brandon McKinney
Arthur Jones
Lamar Divens
Paul Kruger

LB’s (9)
Ray Lewis
Terrell Suggs
Jarret Johnson
Jameel McClain
Tavares Gooden
Dannell Ellerbe
Prescott Burgess
Jason Phillips
Edgar Jones

CB’s (6*)
Fabian Washington
Chris Carr
Josh Wilson
Lardarius Webb
Prince Miller
Cary Williams* (Does not count against roster)

S’s (4)
Dawan Landry
Tom Zbikowski
Haruki Nakamura
Ken Hamlin

ST’s (3)
Sam Koch
Morgan Cox
Billy Cundiff

The Ravens can add eight players to their practice squad Sunday.

Here are Ozzie Newsome’s thoughts on the decision to cut Troy Smith and carry just two quarterbacks: “The competition to make our team was very heated, and we decided to keep a position player rather than a third quarterback. We have a number of young guys who made our team who have tremendous upside, plus they can help us win this year. We’ve gone with two quarterbacks before (last time was 2006).”

Here are John Harbaugh’s thoughts on Billy Cundiff making the team ahead of Shayne Graham: “First, congratulations to Billy. He won a great competition, and he earned this spot. We’ve talked about this the entire preseason: Both Billy and Shayne rose to the occasion and performed at high levels. We know Shayne will kick in the league, but we feel very good about the decision to go with Billy.”

-G

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Ravens Cutdown Day Notes: What We Know Thus Far

Posted on 04 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

3:15pm update: I figured we should take a look at the roster, based on what we know/assume:

(Edit from GMC: When I say “DEFINITELY”, I am saying that either based on the fact that a player was never on the bubble to begin with, or based on news we have heard today.)

There are DEFINITELY 2 QB’s on the roster (Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger)
There are DEFINITELY 4 RB’s on the roster (Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain, Jalen Parmele)
There are DEFINITELY 5 WR’s on the roster (Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, David Reed, Donte’ Stallworth)
There are DEFINITELY 3 TE’s on the roster (Todd Heap, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta)
There are DEFINITELY 9 OL’s on the roster (Michael Oher, Jared Gaither, Matt Birk, Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda, Chris Chester, Oniel Cousins, Tony Moll, Ramon Harewood)
There are DEFINITELY 8 DL’s on the roster (Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, Trevor Pryce, Cory Redding, Terrence Cody, Brandon McKinney, Arthur Jones, Paul Kruger)
There are DEFINITELY 6 LB’s on the roster (Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden)
There are DEFINITELY 4 CB’s on the roster (Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Josh Wilson, Lardarius Webb)
There are DEFINITELY 3 S’s on the roster (Dawan Landry, Tom Zbikowski, Haruki Nakamura)
There are DEFINITELY 3 ST’s on the roster (Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Billy Cundiff)

So as of right now, 47 of 53 roster spots are spoken for. Players on the list above could still be traded away (like Antwan Barnes was earlier today). But if not, six jobs would still be available. The bubble players who have not been accounted for include:

QB Troy Smith, WR Demetrius Williams, WR Marcus Smith, OT Joe Reitz, DT Lamar Divens, LB Prescott Burgess, LB Jason Phillips, S KJ Gerard, S Ken Hamlin.

The Ravens could also acquire other players before 6pm.

2:50pm update: A reminder that the Ravens will NOT be having formal media availability today with Ozzie Newsome or John Harbaugh. Instead, we will merely get an official release from the team at 6pm, and Harbaugh will be made available to the media again Monday.

Curtis Steele did not have any realistic chance of making the 53 man roster, but NFP confirms he indeed was cut. Like the others we mentioned below, he’s a very realistic practice squad candidate.

Oh-and Trice Capra lost 6-0, 6-0. What’s worse? CBS says she’s considering a scholarship offer from Duke. Apparently she doesn’t think there’s a future with Glenn Clark.

1:45pm update: National Football Post now reports that the Ravens have placed both OL David Hale (tailbone) and DT Kelly Talavou (ACL) on IR. Hale is not surprising at all, but Talavou is. Talavou was hurt in Thursday night’s loss to the St. Louis Rams; coach John Harbaugh declined to comment on the injury when asked by media assembled in Owings Mills Friday.

Hale’s injury likely paved the way for Ramon Harewood to make the roster. Chris Chester now defaults back to being the team’s backup center as well as the 3rd guard.

Talavou’s injury likely helped Arthur Jones make the roster. Still no word yet re: Lamar Divens; there’s an outside chance it could help him make the roster as well.

Also, RB/KR Jalen Parmele was probably never even “on the bubble”, but a NFL source tells me he’s safe. Now you know.

And one more thing-Baltimore’s Trice Capra lost the first set 6-0 to Maria Sharapova. I might start drinking early today.
————————–
It’s 1pm, and I’m overwhelmed by the amount of college football and U.S. Open tennis on TV today. That being said, there are a number of moves being made by the Baltimore Ravens today as they work towards the NFL deadline to have 53 players on their active roster. Here’s what we know thus far…

-National Football Post has reported that K Shayne Graham has been cut and K Billy Cundiff has won the kicking battle. There could be a number of factors (both football and non-football related) involved with this move. Football-wise, Cundiff had hung with Graham throughout Training Camp on field goals, and appeared to get more distance than Graham on kickoffs. Outside of football, there were some off-field concerns with Graham-and he almost certainly would have made more money than Cundiff.

-WNST.net first reported (follow us on Twitter @WNST) that rookie DT Arthur Jones had made the team. No word on other bubble players on the D-Line, including DT’s Kelly Talavou and Lamar Divens. DT Brandon McKinney was not believed to be on the bubble.

-NFP also reported earlier in the day that rookie OT Ramon Harewood had made the team. This was more than a bit surprising, but could reflect the injury issues the Ravens currently have on the O-Line. With OT Jared Gaither a question mark (back), OT Oniel Cousins (concussion) just getting back to the practice field Friday and OL David Hale (tailbone) still an IR possibility-the team may just well need the depth.

-The Ravens have announced they have traded LB Antwan Barnes to the Philadelphia Eagles for a pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. This is also surprising, as the Ravens do not have tremendous depth at OLB. This could be good news for one of the bubble guys at ILB (Jason Phillips, Prescott Burgess) or OLB bubble man Edgar Jones. It could also reflect a belief that Sergio Kindle could be able to return this season; he is currently in Charm City meeting with neurologists. NFP says Phillips and Burgess are “probably safe.”

-ProFootballTalk/NBC Sports first reported CB Travis Fisher had been cut by the Ravens; while NFP reported Prince Miller had also been cut. This likely means good news for CB KJ Gerard and could also be good news for S Ken Hamlin. The Ravens confirmed yesterday that S Ed Reed would open the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

-There have been rumors floating by ESPN and others regarding the status of QB Troy Smith-rumors have included Smith could be traded or released. There have also been rumors floating surrounding WR Marcus Smith, none have been confirmed. WR David Reed has made the team according to multiple sources.

-A number of other players have also been cut. WNST confirms WR Eron Riley was cut, while NFP reported TE Davon Drew, DE/LB Albert McClellan, TE Davon Drew, CB Chris Hawkins and OT Devin Tyler were cut. None were believed to be roster possibilities, but all could be practice squad options.

I will continue to update as updates are available.

-G

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Mocking The 53: One Final Preseason 53 Man Roster

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Mocking The 53: One Final Preseason 53 Man Roster

Posted on 04 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

The preseason is over and the Baltimore Ravens face a Saturday deadline to trim their roster to 53 players.

I said this after the loss to the St. Louis Rams was over, but it bears repeating. I have AGONIZED over putting together an only somewhat educated MOCK roster. I can’t IMAGINE how Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and George Kokinis are handling it.

Here’s what I said the first time I made this list…

“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.”

Here’s my final Mock 53…

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

No changes in this group. The Ravens hope they all remain in the Top 10 this season.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. DE Trevor Pryce
pryce
13. DL Cory Redding
14. CB Fabian Washington
15. FB Le’Ron McClain
16. OL Marshal Yanda
17. C Matt Birk
18. S Dawan Landry
19. S Tom Zbikowski
20. CB Josh Wilson

Former Maryland Terrapins CB Josh Wilson joins this group, as he’ll immediately be expected to make an impact at CB and possibly on Special Teams as well. He might not start against the New York Jets on September 13, but expect him to be on the field.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. P Sam Koch
koch
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. DT Kelly Gregg
25. S Haruki Nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. TE Ed Dickson
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. RB Willis McGahee

It’s a shame only one AFC punter can make the Pro Bowl, as Shane Lechler has sorta locked down the spot in recent years. Koch looks like he might be the type of player who could put together a season worthy of a trip to Hawaii.

31. OT Jared Gaither
gaither
32. DT Terrence Cody
33. LB Jameel McClain
34. LB Dannell Ellerbe
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. LB Antwan Barnes
37. OL Tony Moll
38. RB Jalen Parmele
39. TE Dennis Pitta
40. DE Paul Kruger

Terrence Cody and Jared Gaither have both dropped, only because neither have been on the field. At this point, we can’t really expect either to be on the field at the Meadowlands for the Monday Night Football opener. When they get healthy, expect them both to climb.

41. DT Brandon McKinney
42. LS Morgan Cox
morgancox
43. DT Kelly Talavou
44. OT Oniel Cousins
45. K Shayne Graham
46. WR Demetrius Williams
47. QB Troy Smith
48. LB Prescott Burgess
49. WR Marcus Smith
50. S/CB KJ Gerard
51. DT Arthur Jones
52. WR David Reed
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth* (Will miss first 8 weeks of season with broken foot)

I think Shayne Graham’s experience gets him on the roster, but I’m 51-49 towards him at this point over Billy Cundiff. Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and David Reed are all on my roster-but seven receivers seems like an awful lot. Smith or Reed would be the odd man out if necessary. I think Troy Smith makes the roster. Not because teams HAVE to keep three quarterbacks, but because I think he’s a better player than Ken Hamlin, Travis Fisher or Prince Miller (to name a few). Prescott Burgess beats out Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones, Arthur Jones beats out Lamar Divens for the final spots on the roster in my book.

54. CB Cary Williams* (Suspended for 2 weeks, does not count against roster)

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(FB Mike McLaughlin-IR)
(LB Sergio Kindle-No contract/Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(S Ed Reed-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

edreed

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. OL David Hale (Possible IR)
davidhale
57. CB Travis Fisher
58. CB Prince Miller
59. LB Edgar Jones
60. LB Jason Phillips
61. S Ken Hamlin
62. DT Lamar Divens
63. OT Ramon Harewood (possible IR)
64. TE Davon Drew
65. OT Joe Reitz
66. WR Justin Harper
67. DE Albert McClellan
68. WR Eron Riley
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Stefan Rodgers
71. OL Bryan Mattison
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Here’s a stab at the 10 man practice squad:
Prince Miller,  Jason Phillips, Davon Drew, Joe Reitz, Eron Riley, Curtis Steele, Albert McClellan, Brad Jones, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison

Thoughts? Concerns? Comments?

We’ll know how it all shakes out shortly.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Get One Final “Final Chance” to Leave Impression

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens returned to the practice field Friday morning at 1 Winning Drive following their 27-21 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Rams Thursday night at Edward Jones Dome. This will be the final time the Ravens will gather with 75 active players before they (and all other NFL teams) trim their roster to 53 players before tomorrow’s deadline.

For Ravens players “on the bubble”, today’s practice will have little to no bearing on their fate-but it is the last chance they have to make an impression with coach John Harbaugh and the rest of his staff.

OL David Hale (tailbone), DT Terrence Cody (knee), OT Stefan Rodgers (previous arm/shoulder, but played Thursday night), OT Jared Gaither (back), DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) and WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media. WR Mark Clayton (concussion) was a late arrival and did not appear as though he would participate, TE Todd Heap did not have a helmet and did not appear as though he would participate either. Harbaugh confirmed Kruger’s injury following practice, but declined to comment on any others.

OT Oniel Cousins (concussion) returned to practice and said he was a “full” participant. He thinks he’ll be ready to go when the Ravens open the season against the New York Jets in the Meadowlands on Monday Night Football September 13.

S Ed Reed (hip/groin) remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. LB Sergio Kindle (head) remains unsigned.

WILSON DEBUTS: CB Josh Wilson (who was acquired Wednesday in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks) was on the practice field wearing #44. He could very likely choose a different number after cuts are made. Wilson wore #4 during his college career with the Maryland Terrapins.

Wilson has had a whirlwind week, admitting to reporters he “didn’t even know what (day) today” was. He was traded on Tuesday, but wasn’t informed until after Seahawks practice (“I’ll remember that” he said). After flying across the country with his wife Jazmin and their pet shih tzu, Wilson passed a physical Wednesday (“I got poked…picture everything you can think of”) and immediately got on the team charter to fly to St. Louis.

Wilson says reuniting with former Terps teammate Domonique Foxworth is a “true blessing” and he plans to work on studying the playbook with the injured CB.

When asked if he would want to stay in Baltimore long-term (he has one year left on his contract), Wilson responded “why not? We’re winning, I’m at home, I see guys with (Virginia) Tech tattoos-I get to talk trash with them. I love it here, why would I want to leave?

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Wilson, Cousins, CB Chris Carr, K Shayne Graham and WR Demetrius Williams NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……With the acquisition of Wilson, the Ravens could consider using him to return kicks and Carr to return punts. Wilson said “I’m gonna do whatever they need me to do. If they want me to get back there and (return) kicks, I’ll score touchdowns that way.” Carr added “whatever they want me to do, I’ll do that. Whatever I can do to help the team win.”……After Saturday’s cuts, the Ravens can assign players to their practice squad starting Sunday at 12pm. 10 players can be added to the practice squad.

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Morning Reaction 53 Man Roster

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Morning Reaction 53 Man Roster

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Drew Forrester and I put together our own 53 man mock roster Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. Here’s a look position by position.

A reminder that we made this last based on the 53 players WE would keep if we were Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh. These are NOT necessarily the 53 players we believe the RAVENS will keep. Also, the roster TECHNICALLY has 54 players, as Cary Williams does not count against the roster for the first two weeks while suspended.

The players who are NOT in parenthesis are players we agreed were “slam dunk” on the roster. The players who are in parenthesis are players that were “bubble” guys or warranted some level of conversation.

The final players we cut were David Reed and Arthur Jones.

QB: (3)
Joe Flacco
Marc Bulger
(Troy Smith)

RB: (4)
Ray Rice
Willis McGahee
Le’Ron McClain
Jalen Parmele

TE: (3)
Todd Heap
Ed Dickson
Dennis Pitta

WR: (6)
Anquan Boldin
Derrick Mason
Mark Clayton
Donte’ Stallworth
(Demetrius Williams)
(Marcus Smith)

OL: (9)
Michael Oher
Jared Gaither
Matt Birk
Ben Grubbs
Marshal Yanda
Chris Chester
Tony Moll
Oniel Cousins
(David Hale)

DL: (8)
Haloti Ngata
Cory Redding
Trevor Pryce
Kelly Gregg
Terrence Cody
Paul Kruger
Brandon McKinney
(Kelly Talavou)

LB: (8)
Ray Lewis
Terrell Suggs
Jarret Johnson
Tavares Gooden
Jameel McClain
Antwan Barnes
Dannell Ellerbe
(Prescott Burgess)

CB: (4*)
Fabian Washington
Chris Carr
Josh Wilson
Lardarius Webb
Cary Williams* (makes team, but does not count against 53 man roster to start season)

S: (5)
Dawan Landry
Tom Zbikowski
Haruki Nakamura
(KJ Gerard)
(Ed Reed)

ST: (3)
Sam Koch
Morgan Cox
(Shayne Graham)

graham
(Photo courtesy of SB Nation/BaltimoreBeatdown.com)

If you want to know how we made these conclusions, you can hear our entire segment NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net!

-G

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Not A Great Night in St. Louis For Ravens on Bubble

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

I’m going to save my final thoughts on the Ravens’ upcoming roster cuts for Friday, but I figured I’d share some thoughts from the Baltimore Ravens’ 27-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams Thursday night before I did.

Plenty of jobs were considered to be “on the line” Thursday night, but not a whole lot of them appeared to be locked up by those on the Ravens’ bubble. I’m only going to consider the players that were at least CLOSE to the bubble coming in. With no offense to the likes of Curtis Steele and Chris Hawkins, they’re not really even worth discussing.

Looking position by position at the performance of different players…

Troy Smith, QB: Troy’s numbers were as poor as his decision making at times. He finished 18-38 for 237 yards and 2 picks. He also ran for a pair of scores. If we’re being fair, the O-Line Troy played in front of was unthinkably bad and Cam Cameron didn’t really experiment too much with play-calling.
Davon Drew, TE: Drew finished the game with 2 catches for 23 yards, but was probably too far off the bubble for anything he did to matter all that much.
Demetrius Williams, WR: Williams made two grabs for 38 yards, one of which his size made a difference for. With Donte’ Stallworth hurt, I felt like Williams was much safer on the bubble-but he gave a solid performance especially considering his ankle injury.
Marcus Smith, WR: He was targeted twice but didn’t come down with a catch. He’s had a solid preseason, but nothing happened Thursday night to help him clinch a spot on the roster.
David Reed, WR: Reed had a very good night Thursday. He made three catches for 65 yards and averaged 34.5 yards on four kick returns. There might not be a kick return job available, but his versatility could help him make the roster.
Ramon Haredwood, OT and Joe Reitz, OT:  I’m going to try to be fair to both of these guys here. The entire offensive line was terrible Thursday night, and all were playing out of position. The injuries to Jared Gaither, Oniel Cousins and David Hale may force the Ravens to keep an extra O-Lineman, but nothing they saw Thursday night will help them make that decision. Harewood was awful and made bad decisions to boot. Reitz played out of position and looked lost at times.
Brandon McKinney, DT: When he was on the field, McKinney looked to be in the right place. If he really was on the bubble he probably isn’t any more.
Kelly Talavou, DT: The entire first unit on the field struggled, and the D-Line didn’t help to get in the backfield and pressure Sam Bradford. That being said, they weren’t particularly gauged up the middle either. Talavou is probably safe on the roster.
Arthur Jones, DT and Lamar Divens, DT: Neither Jones not Divens were particularly bad Thursday night, but if either were on a particular side of the bubble before the game they probably stayed there.
Jason Phillips, LB and Prescott Burgess, LB: Jason Phillips finished the game with a team high 9 tackles. Unfortunately, what stuck out from his performance was his complete inability to cover the pass. I doubt anyone stood to benefit more from Phillips’ performance than Burgess-who played sparingly but whose experience may be enough to get him on the roster.
Edgar Jones, OLB: It looked like Edgar Jones played with a real sense of urgency Thursday night. His 3 tackles included a sack and another TFL. I’m not sure Jones can be counted on as a pass rusher, but his versatility could be enough for John Harbaugh and Greg Mattison to choose to keep him around.
Travis Fisher, CB and Prince Miller, CB: It’s hard to figure out who was bad here and who was worse. Neither looks like a realistic option to be a NFL CB at the moment, and Miller compounded the issue by muffing a punt-which nearly lead to a Rams touchdown.
Ken Hamlin, S and KJ Gerard, S: Neither player really made much of a positive impact Thursday night, but that was a common theme. Gerard did end up recovering Prince Miller’s muff in the endzone, but I don’t think that will make much of a difference. If Ed Reed is healthy to start the season (that’s a big “if”), I don’t think either will end up on the roster.
Shayne Graham, K and Billy Cundiff, K: No field goal attempts, but the duo combined to make all 3 extra point attempts. Cundiff was a little bit better on kickoffs, which could end up helping him.

I’m agonizing over a MOCK roster. I can’t imagine what’s going on in the minds of Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and George Kokinis right now.

It should be an interesting weekend-or at least much more interesting than the football game Thursday night.

-G

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Purple Haze Chat 8pm Tonight!

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

It might not look like NFL football, but technically it will be. The Baltimore Ravens visit the St. Louis Rams tonight at Edward Jones Dome, kickoff is at 8pm. We chose to pass on the St. Louis trip, mostly because the Ravens are going to choose to pass on playing the majority of their starters in tonight’s game.

With that being said, the game can be seen tonight on WBAL11, and I will be following along from my couch in Rosedale. Other WNST and WNST.net personalities will be joining me in tonight’s “Purple Haze” chat, which begins at 8pm and you can join HERE. I’m sure there will be Orioles discussion, as well as college football and U.S. Open talk-at least if I have my way.

Troy Smith is expected to start at QB for the Ravens and play all four quarters. The Rams are expected to start rookie QB Sam Bradford and have their starters in the game for about 15 snaps. Smith is one of many Ravens players fighting for a roster spot as Saturday’s deadline for NFL teams to get to 53 players looms. Other players squarely on the bubble include WR’s Demetrius Williams, David Reed and Marcus Smith, TE Davon Drew, OL David Hale, OT’s Ramon Harewood and Joe Reitz, DT’s Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens; LB’s Jason Phillips, Edgar Jones and Prescott Burgess; CB’s Travis Fisher and Prince Miller and S’s Ken Hamlin and KJ Gerard. Kickers Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham are still in a heated battle for a roster spot as well.

The Rams have announced that the following players will be deactivated tonight:

QB AJ Feeley
RB Steven Jackson
WR Laurent Robinson
DE James Hall
LB Na’il Diggs
S James Butler

The Rams have announced that Kenneth Darby will start for Jackson, Keenan Burton will start for Robinson, David Vobora for Diggs. Danny Amendola will start for Donnie Avery, who the team placed on IR earlier in the week.

The Ravens have announced (via the Twitter account of their own Mike Duffy) that there will not be any inactives announced tonight. However, it is safe to expect that almost all starters as well as other injured players will not play tonight.

Look forward to chatting with you at 8pm!

-G

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