Posted on 28 April 2014 by WNST Audio
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Posted on 25 March 2014 by WNST Staff
Nearly two full weeks into the new league year, one of the Baltimore Ravens’ top free agents has finally found a new home.
Safety James Ihedigbo, a notable contributor to the Super Bowl XLVII championship team made the announcement about his future Tuesday night via Twitter.
Ihedigbo inked a two year deal in Detroit according to multiple reports. The safety had visited Motown early in the free agent process and the team hosted two other free agent safeties before a deal was reached.
The former UMass standout joins former Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin in Detroit, Austin was named Defensive Coordinator in January after former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell replaced Jim Schwartz (Mt. St. Joseph) as the team’s head coach.
Ihedigbo was a very pleasant surprise during his tenure in Charm City, signing just before the start of the 2012 season after being released by the New England Patriots. He immediately made an impact on Special Teams and later on the defensive side of the ball en route to playing in his second straight Super Bowl.
The former undrafted free agent was extremely valuable for the Ravens’ secondary in 2013, starting all 16 games at strong safety after the team’s acquisition of former Oakland Raiders S Michael Huff proved fruitless. Ihedigbo tallied 101 tackles, his first three career interceptions and forced two fumbles.
After the 2013 season, Ihedigbo told WNST.net he played for the league minimum in Baltimore and felt he had “outplayed his contract”. Both he and the Ravens admitted rookie Matt Elam likely played out of position last year at free safety, making it logical for Ihedigbo to end up finding work elsewhere and the 2013 first round pick to shift to the strong safety position.
The Ravens have thus far failed to find a new starting free safety although they did add depth to the position by signing former St. Louis Ram Darian Stewart last week. Other safeties on the roster include younger players who have mostly been special teams contributors like Brynden Trawick, Jeromy Miles, Omar Brown and Anthony Levine.
New Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo has also lost cornerback Corey Graham to Buffalo via free agency.
The only unrestricted Ravens free agents remaining on the market are TE Ed Dickson, DL Terrence Cody, RB Bernard Scott and TE Dallas Clark. WR Brandon Stokley announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2013 season. Of the group, only Dickson has reportedly been offered a deal to return to Baltimore.
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Posted on 02 February 2014 by Ed Frankovic
Alexander Ovechkin, who shanked a one timer near the end of the first period that would’ve given the Capitals a 4-1 lead, made no mistake when given a second chance in overtime. The Gr8 took John Carlson’s perfect pass on a 4 on 3 power play and lasered it by Wings goalie Jimmy Howard to give Washington a 6-5, OT victory on Super Bowl Sunday.
The win improved the Caps to 25-22-9 (59 points) and puts them just a point out of a playoff spot.
This was one of those games that fans love and coaches mostly despise. There was lots of end to end action and numerous mistakes, which drives coaches nuts. But from a viewing perspective, it was exciting.
From a Caps angle, this game had several things to like.
First, the effort was superb from the outset. Washington, after getting thoroughly dominated in puck possession on Friday in Motown, owned the biscuit for the first half of this contest in racing to a 4-2 lead. The Capitals are scoring goals again because they are moving their feet and paying the price to get to the front of the opposition net. They are finally owning that portion of the ice and they are getting the gritty and greasy goals necessary to win. Joel Ward (2 goals, 1 assist) and Jason Chimera (1 goal, 2 assists) were the kings of that on Sunday.
Second, Washington’s forecheck generated turnovers and Martin Erat and Nicklas Backstrom’s pressure in the offensive zone directly led to a nice top shelf goal by Troy Brouwer that put the Capitals up 5-4 early in period three.
Third, the power play is clicking again and making life miserable for the opposition. The Wings tried to take Ovechkin away on the 5 on 4 and all Coach Adam Oates and company did was adjust and get two power play markers in what pretty much became 4 on 3 situations with the Gr8 blanketed. Ward tallied from the slot and John Carlson scored with a bomb from the point. Ovechkin’s game winner was on a real 4 on 3, so the Caps were 3 for 6 with the man advantage on Sunday.
Fourth, puck possession is easier to gain when you win the face off battle. Washington was 46-30 on draws and that forced Detroit to chase the Caps to try to get the biscuit for much of the game. Jay Beagle went 14-5 from the dot.
Finally, Michal Neuvirth, despite giving up five goals, was really good in net again. His pad save on Henrik Zetterberg (3 assists) with the game tied in the third period allowed the Caps to win this contest. Neuvy is in a groove and he told me afterwards he’s playing the best he has been all season. He feels comfortable and focused in the cage and he stated that the coaches have only made minor changes to his game, which allows him to play the way he’s always played.
So why did the Capitals do so many good things and still need overtime to win?
Well, let’s start with untimely penalties. Connor Carrick’s cross check in the opening frame turned a 2-0 lead into a 2-1 contest in just nine seconds. Worse though was Brouwer’s neutral zone slash with the score 4-2 late in period two. That is a killer infraction and one that gave Detroit new life when the Capitals were close to putting a stranglehold on this tilt. Brouwer has to be smarter in that situation as his penalty was selfish and lazy. I imagine Troy would be the first to tell you he hosed up there (and he did score a big goal in period three to help make up for it).
Next, the Caps defensive zone continues to have issues, particularly in coverage. After the game I asked Oates why they are giving up so many goals when it appears they have players in position to defend. The bench boss said it is simply a case of not winning the “one on one battles.” He’s right about that and it is a pattern we’ve seen too often this season. So is it a question of a lack of focus or an ability issue in their own end? My take is it is a combination of both, but I put more of it on the talent side as Washington’s defense is very inexeperienced after Carlson and Karl Alzner (Mike Green missed his second straight game due to injury).
Bottom line is this team is going to have to work super hard at both ends to overcome the defensive zone issues they have in order to climb their way into post season position. They also need to be more self disciplined by staying out of the box.
Last year the Capitals went on an amazing run down the stretch to make the playoffs by bringing a great effort each night and cutting down on penalties. That run came after a tough loss in Pittsburgh last March where the Caps played well and fell, 2-1. The Capitals fed off of the positives of that difficult loss. But this season, Chimera admitted that the loss to the Penguins on January 15th, a game in which the Caps carried the play, but lost, 4-3, took some time to recover from. Their efforts after that loss were not good for a few games until they turned the corner with a 5-0 win in Montreal.
Since Montreal (outside of the Columbus loss), Washington has improved offensively by getting more bodies and pucks to the net, so that is encouraging and they’ll need to keep that up in order to win their last three games against the Islanders, Jets, and Devils before the Olympic break.
All three tilts are at the Verizon Center and if the Capitals bring the effort they brought on Sunday, then they should be able to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference this week.
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Posted on 31 January 2014 by Ed Frankovic
A night after getting totally whipped in Columbus, the Washington Capitals went into Detroit to take on the Red Wings.
Granted this isn’t the vintage Wings teams that won four Stanley Cups from 1997 to 2008, but they still have a good hockey club and Detroit showed it by dominating the Capitals in puck possession (shot attempts were 81-54 for Detroit) and finally winning in a shootout, 4-3.
This game is 7-2 or worse if not for Michal Neuvirth (42 saves), who was absolutely outstanding throughout the night. Neuvy, who made several ten bell saves in regulation, stopped the first six shootout attempts but none of his teammates could dent Jimmy Howard in the gimmick and Patrick Eaves finally notched the game winner with a sweet glove high shot just inside the right post before Jay Beagle couldn’t convert in the 7th round.
Neuvirth, however, would have gotten the loss if not for a late push from the Caps that saw Alexander Ovechkin tie the game with seven seconds remaining after a nice feed from John Carlson (two assists). Joel Ward did a super job in front of the net on the tying tally.
Another Cap that had a good outing was Casey Wellman, who scored a huge goal to knot this one at two. Wellman took an excellent stretch pass from Ovechkin (1 goal, 1 assist), skated in on Howard and fired three shots before the last one finally hit the twine. Jason Chimera (1 goal, 1 assist) had a strong game along with Carlson and Karl Alzner.
Sadly, after Wellman’s great individual effort, John Erskine blew a tire in the offensive zone and that allowed Gustav Nyquist to beat a screened Neuvirth for what looked to be the game winning goal until the Gr8 late game magic.
Ovechkin now has 39 goals on the campaign and he rebounded after a poor outing in Columbus. The Caps worked harder against Detroit but they were outclassed by the Wings, which is a concern.
The Caps, without Green on the back end, had to rely heavily on Carlson (31:18 of ice time) and Alzner (23:19) on the blue line, and hope that Dmitry Orlov, Tyson Strachan, John Erskine, and Connor Carrick could hold the fort as the bottom four defenders. Unfortunately the Erskine & Carrick pair struggled and finished -2 on the night.
So an important five game road trip ends with the Capitals getting five points. The Caps are two points behind third place Carolina in the Metro Division and two points in back of the Wings, who own the 8th and final Eastern Conference playoff spot currently. Washington now has four straight home games, including Super Bowl Sunday’s tilt against the Wings. Given that the Capitals are 13th in the conference, one would have to think they need to win at least three of the four contests on home ice this week before the Olympic break hits to stay in playoff contention.
They were fortunate to get a point in Motown on Friday night. They can thank Neuvirth for this one along with some late game heroics from Ovechkin.
Notes: The Wings played without star center Pavel Datsyuk and forward Johan Franzen while the Caps didn’t have Mike Green or Mikhail Grabovski, due to injuries. According to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, Coach Adam Oates confirmed that Green is undergoing concussion protocol and in addition, Brooks Laich was shut down for the third period due to “tightness.” Finding healthy bodies to play continues to get tougher for Washington…five Washington forwards didn’t even ATTEMPT a shot tonight (Martin Erat, Marcus Johansson, Eric Fehr, Beagle, and Tom Wilson), that is not good at all.
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Posted on 20 January 2014 by Luke Jones
The Ravens continued their search for their next offensive coordinator by interviewing a new candidate for the job on Monday.
According to The Sun, former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was the latest to meet with the Ravens about the vacancy created last week when Jim Caldwell departed to become the head coach of the Lions. Baltimore had already interviewed former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and other candidates, but details of the search have largely remained unknown over the last week.
Linehan served as Detroit’s offensive coordinator for the last five seasons and was fired along with head coach Jim Schwartz following a 7-9 campaign that saw the Lions miss the postseason. Detroit ranked sixth or better in total offense in each of the last three years with an offense that featured quarterback Matthew Stafford and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
The 50-year-old also served as the head coach of St. Louis from 2006 to 2008. Under Linehan, the Rams went 11-25 before he was fired four games into the 2008 season.
Posted on 16 January 2014 by Luke Jones
In a move not unexpected following the hiring of Jim Caldwell as their new head coach, the Detroit Lions have come to an agreement with Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin to become their new defensive coordinator.
The team officially announced the hiring on Friday.
Austin’s departure is a blow to the defensive coaching staff after he did an impressive job with the development of several young defensive backs including Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, and former Raven Cary Williams. The 48-year-old Austin took over as the Baltimore secondary coach in 2011 when Chuck Pagano was promoted to defensive coordinator.
His roots with Caldwell extend beyond their two years with the Ravens as the pair coached together at Penn State and Wake Forest in the early 1990s.
Head coach John Harbaugh could have an in-house candidate to take Austin’s place in senior defensive assistant Steve Spagnuolo, who spent three years as the defensive backs coach in Philadelphia from 2001 through 2003. Formerly the head coach of the St. Louis Rams who also spent time as a defensive coordinator for both the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints, Spagnuolo would have to decide whether the secondary coach role would be the right fit for his career path.
The last two secondary coaches under Harbaugh eventually became defensive coordinators with Pagano even advancing a step further to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Such a track record under Harbaugh might entice Spagnuolo to take the position if offered, even if he desires to once again be a coordinator and head coach in the future.
Harbaugh credited the 54-year-old Spagnuolo as a helpful sounding board on game days as well as an asset to defensive coordinator Dean Pees during the 2013 season.
“I think Dean would tell you something along the lines that he was a big help to Dean as far as — not so much building the package — but studying the opponents and creating a few ideas and some insights that were a little bit different than what we’ve had here in the past and contributed in that way,” Harbaugh said. “I think Dean really came to appreciate Steve’s role in the defensive room there a little bit. The thing about Steve is he’s never really threatening to anybody. He respects all the other coaches. He just tried to help out where he could.”
In addition to continuing the search for their next offensive coordinator, the Ravens must now fill their secondary coach, running backs coach, and — if they choose — quarterbacks coach positions.
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Posted on 13 January 2014 by Luke Jones
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell accepted the Detroit Lions’ head coaching position Tuesday, officially filling the vacancy left after the Lions fired Jim Schwartz (Mount St. Joe) at the conclusion of the 2013 regular season.
After San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt agreed to become the head coach of the Tennessee Titans earlier in the day, the Lions reportedly turned their attention to Caldwell, who interviewed for their vacancy earlier this month. He also interviewed for head coach openings with Washington and Tennessee, positions that have since been filled.
The former Indianapolis Colts head coach received much praise for the job he did with the Baltimore offense in helping the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII after being promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator on Dec. 10, 2012. However, his offense struggled mightily in 2013 as the Ravens finished 29th in total yards and 25th in points scored while also setting franchise lows in rushing yards and yards per carry.
Some had called for a change at offensive coordinator after the Ravens’ immense struggles on that side of the ball, but Caldwell’s track record in Indianapolis as well as his work late in the 2012 season make him a viable candidate for another head coaching opportunity. The Ravens were mum on Caldwell’s status for the 2014 season to avoid compromising his chances to obtain a head coach position.
It remains to be seen who among the Ravens’ assistant coaches might be joining Caldwell in Detroit, but secondary coach Teryl Austin is expected to become the Lions’ new defensive coordinator. Other names rumored to potentially join Caldwell on the Lions staff are former running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery and offensive line coach Andy Moeller, whose future remains in limbo after last week’s announcement that run-game coordinator Juan Castillo would remain with the Ravens under Moeller’s title of offensive line coach.
The most logical in-house candidate to replace Caldwell as offensive coordinator would be wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, who served as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator in 2007. However, the Ravens are likely to seriously explore options outside the organization to jump-start an offense expected to receive a significant facelift this offseason.
Preliminary names that could be considered for the position include former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski, Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and former Vikings head coach Brad Childress.
Posted on 06 January 2014 by Luke Jones
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell continues to receive interest as a potential NFL head coach and will interview with the Tennessee Titans later this week.
After completing interviews with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins in recent days, Caldwell will reportedly meet with the Titans about their open position after they fired Mike Munchak on Saturday.
Caldwell spent three years as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and led them to Super Bowl XLIV before joining the Ravens as quarterbacks coach in 2012. He received much praise for the job he did with the Baltimore offense in helping the Ravens win a Super Bowl after being promoted to offensive coordinator on Dec. 10, 2012, but his offense struggled mightily in 2013 as the Ravens finished 29th in total yards and 25th in points scored while also setting franchise lows in rushing yards and yards per carry.
Baltimore parted ways with running backs coach Wilbert Mongtomery last week, and some have wondered whether a change is warranted at offensive coordinator despite teams having interest in Caldwell for their vacant head coaching positions.
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Posted on 01 January 2014 by Luke Jones
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has never shied away from the goal of once again being an NFL head coach, and it appears he’ll pursue that possibility in the coming days.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Caldwell will interview for the open head coaching jobs with the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins. Caldwell spent three years as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts before being fired at the end of the 2011 season and joining the Ravens as their quarterbacks coach two winters ago.
Caldwell received much praise for the job he did with the Baltimore offense in helping the Ravens win a Super Bowl after being promoted to offensive coordinator on Dec. 10, 2012. However, his offense struggled mightily in 2013 as the Ravens finished 29th in total yards and 25th in points scored while also setting franchise lows in rushing yards and yards per carry.
Head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that he doesn’t anticipate any changes to his coaching staff for now but acknowledged the possibility of some assistants exploring opportunities for other jobs.
“There may or may not be some more things happening as the week goes on,” Harbaugh said, “and I’m sure some of our coaches could be a part of that, as far as opportunities go to move up and move on and to pursue career opportunities. We’re proud of that. I think we’ve had a lot of success here. The fact that we’re not pushing deep into the playoffs will probably give some of our coaches some opportunities to do that.”
Some have called for a change at offensive coordinator after the Ravens’ immense struggles on that side of the ball, but Caldwell’s track record in Indianapolis as well as his work late in the 2012 season make him a viable candidate for another head coaching job at some point.
A former Penn State assistant from 1986 to 1992, Caldwell’s name has also been mentioned as a possibility for the Nittany Lions’ head coaching vacancy after Bill O’Brien was hired as the new head man for the Houston Texans on Tuesday.
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Posted on 17 December 2013 by Glenn Clark
Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”
It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.
This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.
Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions Monday night at Ford Field…
(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)
Glenn Clark’s Plays…
5. Louis Delmas called for unnecessary roughness after Joe Flacco pass intended for Marlon Brown incomplete on 3rd down (2nd quarter)
Ended up giving the Ravens three points in a spot where they would have gotten nothing.
4. Daryl Smith sacks Matthew Stafford for five yard loss at Baltimore 47 (1st quarter)
Lions had moved the ball at will on first two drives until this play, game appeared to be headed to a shootout or even a blowout.
3. Matt Elam intercepts Matthew Stafford pass intended for Nate Burleson (4th quarter)
2. Jacoby Jones 27 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 15 (4th quarter)
The significance of this play has somehow been lost.
1. Justin Tucker 61 yard field goal GOOD (4th quarter)
I still don’t believe it.
(Continued on Page 2…)
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