Tag Archive | "Denver Broncos"

The 15-7-0 has something like a .12 blood pecan pie level

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The 15-7-0 has something like a .12 blood pecan pie level

Posted on 12 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

As always, this week’s 15-7-0 is brought to you by Roofing By Elite. Visit them at roofingbyelite.com. We make 15 observations about football that are ELITE, 7 that are “not so ELITE” and one “zero” who deserves to sleep on the roof from outside of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens game analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

Here we go.

“The Elite 15″…

1. Stop dancing around it. A freshman who wasn’t in the Top 5 a week ago is now your frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.

Not a joke. Geno Smith and Matt Barkley have been done for weeks…no one is excited about Collin Klein…and Kenjon Barner played at midnight the other night. Meanwhile Johnny Football was throwing touchdowns even on plays where he fumbled…

Hey Nick Saban-where are you in the polls now???

Elsewhere in the SEC, Auburn fans are looking forward to when coach Gene Chizik gets “Dooley-ed”…

2. So as it turns out, AJ Green was absolutely accurate.

He said he thought the Giants’ defense had some holes. He was right…

And does Eli Manning think he plays for the Jets???

3. Everyone in the Broncos-Panthers game was doing “the Superman”…except Cam Newton.

But you know, no one more than Von Miller…

I mean…why wouldn’t Cam have hit the Superman after this gem?

Remember the time Trindon Holliday scored a touchdown but never actually got the ball in the endzone?

Here’s Von Miller wiggling…

4. At Oregon, the backups to the backups can run 4.4 in the forty and could beat most Pac-12 teams.

Am I supposed to be MF-ing the guy in this circle wearing black and white, too?

Elsewhere in the Pac-12…Marqise Lee!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux_FdS_ogMw

5. The Texas wishbone-throwback-throw again-whatever else it was play was the absolute best of the weekend.

Darrell Royal doesn’t mean a thing to me, but I do know this is completely freaking kickass…

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens release 2012 schedule headlined by four prime-time games

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Ravens release 2012 schedule headlined by four prime-time games

Posted on 17 April 2012 by Luke Jones

Though the Ravens’ 16 opponents had been known since the end of the 2011 regular season, there was still a feeling akin to Christmas morning when the NFL announced the 2012 schedule on Tuesday night.

The 2011 AFC North champion Ravens will play in four nationally-televised games, including the season opener when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10 in the first Monday night home game played in Baltimore since 2007.

Also highlighting the 2012 schedule will be Sunday night contests with the AFC champion New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium and a battle at Heinz Field in November, where the Ravens won in dramatic fashion on an NBC telecast last season.

Three of the Ravens’ first four games are nationally-televised home games in prime time as the Browns will come to Baltimore for a Thursday night game to end the stretch of national exposure on Sept. 27. However, John Harbaugh’s Ravens play only two home games in October and November before playing three of their final five games in Baltimore for the month of December.

An unpopular portion of the schedule will be the league’s decision to have the Ravens play Pittsburgh twice in three weeks, a rare concurrence with the NFL schedule that leaves an intense few weeks but a void before and after the stretch for the two fan bases.

Baltimore will play the Manning brothers in consecutive weeks when Denver visits M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 16 and Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champions roll into town the following week.

The Ravens make their lone trip to the West Coast on Nov. 25 when they travel to San Diego to take on the San Diego Chargers.

Of their 16 opponents, the Ravens will play 13 games in which the projected starting quarterback has been invited to the Pro Bowl, which will create a daunting task for the Baltimore defense in order to repeat as division champions.

2012 SCHEDULE

Monday, Sept. 10 Cincinnati Bengals - 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Skinny: The Ravens host their first Monday night game in five years and begin the season against Marvin Lewis’ Bengals, who hope to build on a surprising 9-7 campaign in which they made the playoffs under rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.

Sunday, Sept. 16 at Philadelphia Eagles – 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: John Harbaugh’s former team is the only one with which the Ravens have ever tied, a 10-10 barnburner at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 16, 1997.

Sunday, Sept. 23 New England Patriots – 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Skinny: The sting of the AFC Championship loss will clearly be on the Ravens’ minds as they welcome Tom Brady and Co. to town for Sunday Night Football to try to extract some revenge.

Thursday, Sept. 27 Cleveland Browns – 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
Skinny: The Ravens’ 19 regular-season wins over the Browns are the most they own against any team in the NFL.

Sunday, Oct. 7 at Kansas City Chiefs - 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: It’s staggering how dramatically the Chiefs collapsed under Todd Haley after losing to the Ravens in a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium two years ago.

Sunday, Oct. 14 vs. Dallas Cowboys – 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Skinny: There are some interesting subplots to this one, including Dallas coach Jason Garrett nearly becoming the head man in Baltimore, but the Cowboys are 0-3 all-time against the Ravens.

Sunday, Oct. 21 at Houston Texans - 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: Despite making their first-ever playoff appearance in 2011, Gary Kubiak’s Texans have spent the entire offseason wondering what could have been if quarterback Matt Schaub hadn’t gotten hurt.

Sunday, Oct. 28 BYE WEEK

Sunday, Nov. 4 at Cleveland Browns - 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The Browns haven’t beaten Baltimore since 2007, which clearly doesn’t make Clevelanders very happy.

Sunday, Nov. 11 vs. Oakland Raiders - 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: Carson Palmer will need to rekindle the magic from his days with the Bengals in order for the Raiders to beat the Ravens for the first time ever in Baltimore (four previous attempts).

Sunday, Nov. 18 at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Skinny: This Sunday night affair marks the sixth straight season these rivals have played in a prime-time contest, with the last four night games each decided in the closing seconds.

Sunday, Nov. 25 at San Diego Chargers – 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The Ravens’ trip to San Diego last season was the only game in which Baltimore was thoroughly embarrassed, but the Chargers no longer have big target Vincent Jackson.

Sunday, Dec. 2 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: It’s unusual for these teams to meet twice in three weeks, but the Steelers will have revenge on their minds after being embarrassed in Baltimore in the 2011 season opener.

Sunday, Dec. 9 at Washington Redskins – 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The Redskins haven’t beaten the Ravens since Tony Banks was at the helm for Baltimore in the midst of a five-game touchdown drought during the 2000 Super Bowl season.

Sunday, Dec. 16 vs. Denver Broncos – 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The Ravens haven’t beaten a Peyton Manning-led team since 2001 when the former Indianapolis quarterback threw an interception returned for a touchdown by Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson.

Sunday, Dec. 23 vs. New York Giants - 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Skinny: Eli Manning once referred to his 2004 loss in Baltimore as the worst game he had ever played at any level, but it’s fair to say the Giants quarterback has recovered by winning two Super Bowls since then.

Sunday, Dec. 30 at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: Before last season’s win in the regular-season finale, the Ravens had lost five of their previous six games at Paul Brown Stadium.

***Note: The final seven weeks of the regular season are subject to flexible scheduling.

 






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Tebow, the Ravens and a Trip Down Memory Lane

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Tebow, the Ravens and a Trip Down Memory Lane

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

No, I don’t think the Ravens should consider bringing in Tim Tebow, but there are a couple of Ravens related points to be made regarding Tebow as we prepare to ramp up the Tim Tebow drama (redundant I know) once again.  Both too, are history lessons of sorts.

 

The first is simple. It was the Ravens pick that Denver acquired to draft Tim Tebow in the first place in the first round of the 2010 draft. While their haul of picks, amounting to Sergio Kindle, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta is debatable in terms of return on investment, it’s worth mentioning that the Ravens (indirectly) got some real value out of Tebow already and spared themselves the inherent drama. Chalk one up for Ozzie Newsome and crew.

 

The second is more debatable, but interesting nonetheless. The expected Tebow drama the Broncos are in the midst of isn’t altogether unlike the Ravens treatment of Trent Dilfer post-Super Bowl in 2001.

 

In both cases it could be argued that the teams were being greedy, as both had experienced inexplicable success under their previous QB. The Ravens were being much greedier coming off of a Super Bowl win rather than a single playoff game, and as Elvis Grbac relates to Peyton Manning, the Ravens were being much more hopeful too.

 

The Ravens were stuck in neutral under Tony Banks, fans were begging for Dilfer to get a shot, he got it, and the Ravens began winning and never stopped. The Broncos were likewise stuck in neutral under Kyle Orton, fans were calling for Tebow, they got him (albeit in an apparent effort by John Elway and John Fox to prove Tebow’s inadequacies which seemed to backfire…to the tune wins and hype) they began winning and continued it enough to get to the playoffs and win a game once they got there.

 

The Ravens didn’t believe in Dilfer despite his success enough to continue on with him, as the Broncos seem contented to do with Tebow. At least Dilfer looked like a quarterback, most thought him an average at best QB, but a moderately successful QB no doubt. In Tebow’s case, the book is out on whether or not he can even ever learn to throw a ball properly. That’s quarterback 101.

 

Once the Ravens decided on Grbac, right wrong or indifferent, they had no choice but to jettison Dilfer, as at every misstep from Grbac fans would have been calling for their improbable Super Bowl hero. In Manning, the Broncos have at least built a far better shield of credibility against such attacks, and can better justify their choice based on talent, but his success is in no way guaranteed, and the distraction of Tebow and his throngs of supporters, is for that reason, no longer welcome in Denver.

 

It’s unfortunate, but it’s good business.

 

 

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Slow Your Roll Monday on the MSB

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Slow Your Roll Monday on the MSB

Posted on 19 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

It’s “Slow Your Roll” Monday on the MobTown Sports Beat, and we’re handing out speed warnings to those who may feel compelled based on recent successes or failures to get ahead of their proverbial selves. Here’s a look at who needs to “Slow Down” as we begin another week.

 

Duke Basketball

 

Slow your roll Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils, as your season is now next season as this season has reached its unceremonious end. Duke fell to Lehigh on Friday, which wasn’t “Two’s day”, by a 75-70 score and in handing it to them, the Mountain Hawks not only gave Duke a head start on their off-season plans, but they also did their patriotic duty by freeing up Coach K to concentrate more fully on his Team USA squad and Olympic preparation. It seems that the star treatment that Duke often gets in ACC play did them no favors in the tourney and outside the scope of ACC officials. It turns out that the contact that Duke players have been getting away with all season on screen hedges actually is a foul as some ACC fans have maintained and those calls, along with the foul trouble that accompanied them for Duke’s bigs, put the Devils in a hole they couldn’t escape from. Their inability to manufacture open looks in the half court without the help of Austin Rivers who too often seems only interested in creating for himself came to roost and Duke paid the price against a 15th seed. Duke will bounce back, they always do, but for now it gives me great pleasure to advise Coach K and his Dukees to slow their roll and enjoy what remains of the tourney like the rest of us…from the couch.

 

 

Mountain West Conference

 

Slow down Mountain West (or those like myself prematurely claiming it as an awakening hoops giant). Wichita State and UNLV not only failed to win a single game in this year’s tourney, but both bowed out to double digit seeds in Thursday’s only upsets. San Diego State followed suit on Friday with only New Mexico picking up a single win before bowing out in the round of 32 to Louisville, thus ending MWC inclusion from the big dance. In fact all schools west of the central time zone have been sent packing at this early stage in the game. We already knew of the PAC-12’s issues and weren’t altogether sold on the WCC, but in you Mountain West…we believed and you failed us. Next time someone points west and specifically to the Mountain West Conference touting hoops hype, don’t believe the hype and tell them to slow down.

 

 

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The Ledge

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The Ledge

Posted on 12 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

When great expectations are met with poor performances, fans and athletes can find themselves at the ledge. That place where the temperature is always rising and the sky is always falling. The good news is things aren’t often as bad as they might seem to be. Here’s a look at who’s on the ledge this week.

 

 

The Carolina Tarheels

 

The Tarheels have been an oddity all season, clearly as talented as any team in the country, but prone also to a frightening level of indifference and lack of basketball IQ far too often. Carolina has the look of a team that spent the off-season soaking up the headlines, accolades and expectations that everyone seemed to be casting in their direction, They also look like a team that believes far too often that they can simply roll out the balls and win with their talent, and on most nights they can. Lately though, the Heels looked to be dialing up for a stretch run and scaring the field at large in the process. The absence of Jon Henson over the weekend though has given the Tarheels and their fans new reasons to be concerned. After losing Henson in a walk over Maryland on Friday, the Heels struggled with NC State and then fell to Florida State in the ACC Final. This time last week it looked like no one could beat the Tarheels without substantial help from the Heels themselves, now it appears they’ve come back to the pack, and maybe too late to develop a real heart as a team. Things are touch and go for Carolina right now as they hope to get Henson and their swagger back soon.

 

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Long the laughing stock of the league, the T’Wolves looked to be on the rise this season. Despite what many consider organizational ineptitude throughout the Minnesota franchise there are few credible arguments against Kevin Love being anything but the league’s best power forward, and the emergence of Ricky Rubio after arriving at last had Minnesota thinking of playoffs and turning the proverbial page. Now that Rubio is lost for the season and possibly longer with an apparently torn ACL, it seems the season for Minnesota is lost as well, along with their chances at dumping some guard talent at the deadline to reinforce their roster. Perhaps one more lottery bound season will add just the right piece to complete the puzzle in Minnesota but until then the apparent derailing of an unusually promising season in Minnesota has to be tough to take.

 

 

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Tom Brady Game Manager vs. Tom Brady Superstar

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Tom Brady Game Manager vs. Tom Brady Superstar

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

They say that hindsight is 20/20, and usually that seems to be true; when it comes to NFL football however that may not be entirely the case. I was surprised for example at the level of clarity and evenness of callers today on the MobTown Sports Beat in the immediate aftermath of the Ravens stunning disappointment, in many cases from the very same callers at times beside themselves even after Ravens wins this season. That said I was even more surprised over the degree to which Joe Flacco was celebrated for a statistical win over Tom Brady albeit in a team loss. Those who saw yesterday’s performance as a surprise or an anomaly in the Joe Flacco experience clearly haven’t been paying close enough attention along the way. Flacco didn’t do anything on Sunday that he hadn’t shown himself capable of before, and therefore shouldn’t have done much to change anyone’s perception of him one way or the other in a single performance against a less than mediocre defense.

Hindsight though is funny that way.

 

In addressing the other inconvenient truth (that the Super Bowl is still being played regardless of the Ravens’ inclusion or lack thereof) and perhaps in still trying to get over whatever Patriots hate had pervaded my system in the lead up to the AFC title game, I opined with several guests that if Tom Brady should come up short in getting his 4th ring this time, his career might begin to be seen as a reverse Elway of sorts. They weren’t seeing the connection, but hear me out.

 

John Elway after all went to 3 Super Bowls as a bona fide superstar, yet still got reluctant recognition as one of the all-time greats because of his inability to win one of them. As his career was winding to a close Elway, a shell of his former self, managed the Broncos to two more Super Bowls and victories therein riding the crest of a prolific running game and a stout defense. Having claimed those two titles Elway rode off into the sunset, legacy cemented as one of the all-time greats…period.

 

Brady on the other hand, took the Patriots to the Super Bowl and won it in 3 of his first 4 campaigns while playing to the strengths of a capable running game and stingy defense. Throughout his three Super Bowl runs the Patriots balance was close to 60%/40% passing to running production. Also throughout that run the defense was top notch. Brady’s numbers were consistent along the way holding steady around 3600 yards per season with about 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Meanwhile the Patriots were in the middle of the league in passing and total offense.

 

In Brady’s first Super Bowl campaign, he went a collective 60 for 97 for 572 yards 1 TD and 1 int. and added a rushing TD. Drew Bledsoe threw for as many TDs as Brady in about one half of the Steelers game that post-season. All of the Patriots dramatic drives and victories were sealed by field goals not touchdowns and the only second half TD the Patriots scored in three playoff contests came courtesy of a blocked field goal attempt.

 

The second run was more of the same with no 2nd half Patriots TDs in the two games leading to the Super Bowl, and the Super Bowl itself, a coming out party of sorts for Brady with 354 yards and 3 TD in his first multi-touchdown playoff game was again won on a late field goal.

 

In 2004, the Patriots passing offense went over 4000 yards under Brady for the first time, and the unlikely superstar was born. Prior to Brady’s assault on the record books, beginning in 2004 peaking in 2007 and seemingly reborn once again, he was the undeniable catalyst in the reversal of Patriots’ fortunes and therefore as deserving of accolades as much as any of the Pats’ lunch pail brigade. After 2004 and with all of the passing marks and awards that have followed Brady has morphed into the unquestionable superstar, but since doing so has failed to get back to the pinnacle that the lunch pail version of Brady and the Patriots once seemed to enjoy as their birthright. Somehow though, as with the legacy of Elway both before and after his Super Bowl wins, we’ve now meshed the two separate experiences into a single collective point of view on each player’s career arc.

 

Maybe the league has changed since then, but before we simply accept that, let’s also acknowledge that we’ve been anointing the NFL as “now a passing league” for the better part of a decade and thus far the results are mixed. You could offer up the 2006 Colts, the 2009 Saints and 2010 Packers as examples that it’s happening, but to do so is also to fail to acknowledge the stout defense the Colts began playing in those 2006 playoffs or their efforts on the ground as driving most of that playoff push. It would also fail to acknowledge the inexplicable nature of the 2009 Saints to stop passing games in the red zone or their propensity to create turnovers and it’s also a convenient omission of the fact that on credentials alone the Packers defense outperformed their offense last season.

 

Maybe this time Belichick and Brady are so far ahead of the curve that it still hasn’t fully materialized yet. Maybe they’ll trounce the much more balanced looking Giants in a couple of weeks and continue to perpetuate the notion that wide open passing is the way to go in today’s NFL. For now though we must acknowledge that Brady like Elway is undefeated in Super Bowls as a game manager and winless as a superstar on whom his team is counting to win games instead of simply losing them, with another trial balloon set to be floated in a couple of weeks.

 

 

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Laurence Maroney on how to beat old team: “The first thing to do is really blitz and keep Brady uncomfortable”

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Laurence Maroney on how to beat old team: “The first thing to do is really blitz and keep Brady uncomfortable”

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Ryan Chell

If anyone knows how to stop a high-powered offense in the New England Patriots, you’re going to have to go right to an insightful source to find that answer.

Unfortunately for a tight-knit organization led by Bill Belichick-the master of secrets, there aren’t a lot of those guys who have that kind of information to hand out.

But WNST’s own Thyrl Nelson caught up with a guy who used to line up in the backfield behind the Patriots future Hall-of-Famer in quarterback Tom Brady in running back Laurence Maroney on Thursday.

Maroney, who was a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2006 out of Minnesota, is currently a free agent and is anxiously trying to work his way back onto an NFL team for next year.

Having been a part of Patriot-style offenses in New England and Denver run by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, he knows the team very well.

Nelson asked Maroney how the Ravens should handle the Patriots if he was a consultant, and Maroney had a quick answer.

You have go get Tom Brady out of rhythm by bringing the pressure on the blitz.

“The first thing to do is really blitz and keep Brady uncomfortable,” Maroney told Nelson. “He’s going to sit there and read defenses and get comfortable. He can pick you apart once the momentum’s going and the lineman get going.”

Maroney said it was his role as Patriots back to be the final nail in the coffin for opposing defenses.

“That’s what starts the running game and it just starts to trickle down.”

But at the same time though, Maroney told Raven nation to understand this.  John Harbaugh and Chuck Pagano may have the greatest defensive game-plan available to them, but Tom Brady is going to make some plays just because of his game smarts and preparation.

“Brady is one of the smartest…if not the smartest quarterback that I’ve played with,” Maroney said. “He’s just going to sit there if you give him time with the type of receivers and tight ends he has. They’re going to find a way to get open. And he’s going to find a way to get them the ball.”

Obviously as a running back, Maroney pushed across the idea of pacing the game for the Ravens by handing the ball off to Ray Rice in the second half should the Ravens jump ahead.

“Ray Rice is definitely a great running back,” Maroney said, “that’s definitely a proven guy in this league. It’s going to be difficult-especially the wild card game that I was last with them-and he definitely showed when he broke the game out when he ran for 80 yards that he’s a game-changer. If you don’t control that guy, he’s definitely going to do his thing.”

If the Ravens are on their game, Maroney says-you can’t ever count them out.

“You can never overlook the Ravens cause you can tell the history,” Maroney said. “This is a team you can’t count out, especially with their defense. They have one of the best defenses that you can’t overlook them and you have to be ready and prepared for that game.”

And who knows-with Ray Rice scheduled to be a free agent and the uncertainty regarding the future career of backup running back Ricky Williams, could the Ravens maybe be interested in the seldom-used, 26-year first-round pick?

He’ll welcome any opportunity to prove himself yet again to an NFL team.

“I just want a job,” Maroney said. “I just want to get back in the league.”

“I’m only 26 years old. I’m still young-this would have only been my sixth-year in the league. I’ve got the fresh legs. I still have a lot to offer to the league.”

WNST thanks Laurence Maroney for joining Thyrl Nelson this week in preparation for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game! Check the  BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for the full conversation! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

 

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Pay Rice or Delay Rice?

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Pay Rice or Delay Rice?

Posted on 06 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Lingering legends aside, Ray Rice might be the most popular and productive Raven today. One thing’s for sure…at $550K or so in the final season of his contract, Ray Rice is easily the Ravens best pound-for-pound bargain, and arguably the league’s best. One other thing that seems assured is that Rice is going to get paid. When, how much and where that happens however may not be as much of a foregone conclusion as it would seem.

This has been “the year of…” lots of things in the NFL, the year of the 5K quarterbacks, the year of the rookies, the year of the power forwards at tight end and the year of the disgruntled running back.

 

As running backs league wide from Chris Johnson to Frank Gore, from Matt Forte to Peyton Hillis have barked and in some cases dogged it (allegedly…and no pun intended) over their “contract to performance ratios”, Rice with arguably the strongest case of all has remained silent. Silent about the contract that is, on the field he has been anything but silent or dogged.

 

It’s been a running topic of conversation all season on the MobTown Sports Beat and everyone seems assured that Rice will be taken care of by the Ravens and some have speculated that there’s no reason Rice shouldn’t feel confident that the team will take care of him.

 

It’s all but 100% (in my mind at least) that Rice will be back next season, but under what circumstances and for how long are still debatable.

 

If you subscribe to the school of WWBBD (What would Bill Bellichick do?) the answer is to franchise Rice. Given Adrian Peterson’s new contract, the franchise tag will be a big number, but only for one season. Whether Rice would maintain his decorum for another season under similar (albeit more lucrative) circumstances to this one would remain to be seen as well.

 

In addition to Peterson’s contract, his injury will also likely factor heavily into the Ravens impending decision of whether to franchise Rice or to pay him long term money. Peterson’s injury is a not so subtle reminder of just how quickly a running back in particular can see his season (or even his career) ended. Having all of your eggs in that proverbial basket is a high-risk high reward proposition (as we learned in 2001 with Jamal Lewis’ injury).

 

The value of NFL running backs is on the decline, but the pay scale on the top end of the position is still rising. There are lots of Pro Bowl caliber and highly compensated running backs in the NFL watching the playoffs from home this season, and most of the league’s most productive offenses have plug and play backfields and use the running game as an afterthought for little more than window dressing it would seem at times.

 

Only one running back went in the first round of the last NFL draft and while still promising, Mark Ingram has done little to make teams sorry for passing on him. DeMarco Murray, taken on the second day of the draft was the league’s best rookie at the position.

 

One year prior, Ryan Matthews, CJ Spiller and Jahvid Best all went in the first round and all were summarily outperformed by undrafted rookies LaGarrette Blount and Chris Ivory. An undrafted practice squad player from one season earlier led the league in rushing last season and the Packers marched through the Super Bowl after losing their bell-cow in Ryan Grant and replacing him with little known and lightly regarded James Starks.

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NFL Playoff Positional Power Rankings

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NFL Playoff Positional Power Rankings

Posted on 05 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Here’s a look at my positional power rankings for the players and teams that are left in the playoffs. This year’s stats accounted for a lot but at the end of the day it’s my opinion on who I’d suit up today for the best chance at winning.

Quarterbacks

 

1 – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

2 – Drew Brees (NO)

3 – Tom Brady (NE)

4 – Eli Manning (NYG)

5 – Matthew Stafford (DET)

6 – Matt Ryan (ATL)

 

* I gave 6 here since the first 3 were fairly obvious (if not their respective places in that top 3)

 

 

Running Backs

 

1 – Ray Rice (BAL)

2 – Arian Foster (HOU)

3 – Michael Turner (ATL)

4 – Frank Gore (SF)

5 – Darren Sproles (NO)

 

 

Wide Receivers

 

1 – Calvin Johnson (DET)

2 – Andre Johnson (HOU)

3 – AJ Green (CIN)

4 – Victor Cruz (NYG)

5 – Wes Welker (NE)

6 – Roddy White (ATL)

7 – Greg Jennings (GB)

8 – Jordy Nelson (GB)

9 – Mike Wallace (PIT)

10 – Hakeem Nicks (NYG)

 

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Four players not practicing; Ravens-Chargers staying on Sunday night

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Four players not practicing; Ravens-Chargers staying on Sunday night

Posted on 07 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Returning to the practice field to begin preparations for the hapless Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens were without two starting members of their offensive line on Wednesday afternoon.

Center Matt Birk and left guard Ben Grubbs were present but not working during the portion of practice open to the media as the team practiced in helmets and shells. Birk left Sunday’s game in Cleveland with a sprained right shoulder before returning shortly after being examined in the locker room.

Grubbs did not appear to suffer any injury in the win over the Browns, but he continues to deal with the right toe injury that sidelined him for six games earlier this season. Since returning to action in the Ravens’ win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 6, Grubbs has not missed a practice as he continues to play with pain in the toe.

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Less surprising were the absences of linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) and cornerback Chris Carr (back), as neither was present during the open portion of practice on Wednesday. Lewis has missed three straight games with a turf toe injury suffered last month while Carr has missed two straight games with a back injury and six games overall this season.

Ravens-Chargers staying on Sunday night

After much speculation that the Ravens’ Week 15 game in San Diego would be moved from its originally-scheduled 8:20 p.m. slot to the afternoon, the game will remain on NBC’s Sunday night broadcast after all.

Unable to appease CBS and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who both wanted New England’s game against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to remain in the afternoon, the league has elected to keep Baltimore-San Diego in the prime-time slot despite the Chargers sporting a 5-7 record in the AFC West. The decision means the Ravens will play a night game on the West Coast before flying back to Baltimore on Monday morning and immediately beginning preparations for the Cleveland Browns on a short week.

When asked about the league’s delay in making the call regarding their Week 15 contest, the Ravens maintained the company line in terms of the league’s wavering over the decision.

“I’ve been instructed to say, ‘No, I don’t care,’” coach John Harbaugh said. “I’m supportive of the decision. Whatever the league says, we support it.”

Safety Ed Reed shared a similar sentiment to his head coach, but the veteran acknowledged the league-wide appeal of watching the Broncos quarterback in a nationally-televised game.

“I don’t know if [the networks] want to see Tebow or they just want to change the schedule, so people can see Tebow and him play the Patriots.”

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