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Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

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Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

Posted on 08 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here is my first offseason/preseason ranking of the players who are currently property of the Baltimore Ravens or who were property of the team at the end of the 2010 season.

This list INCLUDES players who are not under contract-whether they are tendered restricted free agents, draft picks, exclusive rights free agents or even players who are expected to reach unrestricted free agency this offseason.

Unlike in the past, I will do this list by position as I attempt to further explain how the team’s roster currently shapes up.

I apologize for my delay in putting this compilation together. Blame Gary Williams…and the Triple Crown…and the team’s practices at Towson University…and my own laziness.

Obviously there is much to be done before any of this matters, but this is simply “as the roster stands now” analysis.

Quarterbacks (4):
Joe Flacco
Marc Bulger (UFA)
Tyrod Taylor
Hunter Cantwell

tyrod

The quarterback position is still in much less than full clarity at this point.

Joe Flacco has been a NFL quarterback for  55 games, including the playoffs. Joe Flacco has played every snap in 55 of those 55 games.

A season ago, the Ravens took a slight risk by parting ways with two backups-trading John Beck to the Washington Redskins during Training Camp and releasing Troy Smith after the preseason finale in St. Louis. They decided to carry only two active quarterbacks, paying a hefty price for veteran backup Marc Bulger.

Bulger appears to be out in Charm City, with most in the league believing he is destined to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens knew they’d need to address quarterback depth during the draft and did so by selecting the explosive former Virginia Tech Hokies star (Taylor-pictured above) in the 6th round.

While Taylor (who hails from the quarterback hotbed of Hampton, Virginia) certainly has a number of supporters who believe him capable of being a legitimate starter in the league-he will not play that role in Baltimore unless there is turmoil this season one way or another (injury or failure).

Flacco is the starter. Taylor will have a great chance of making the roster. The real question facing the team is how else to address the position. It is believed that the Ravens will pursue another veteran QB of sorts when (if?) free agency finally begins. Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington has been a much rumored name the team could consider pursuing.

Should the Ravens not acquire a veteran free agent to backup Flacco, Cantwell could remain in the mix. He spent the entire 2010 season on the team’s practice squad-but has in the past been an active part of the Carolina Panthers’ roster.

With Taylor unlikely to be let go (or placed at risk of being taken away by trying to move him to the practice squad) but also unlikely to be the primary backup early in his career, it is fairly safe to assume the team will keep three quarterbacks this season.

Running Backs/Fullbacks (8):
Ray Rice
Le’Ron McClain
Willis McGahee
Jalen Parmele
Matt Lawrence
Jason McKie
Anthony Allen
Curtis Steele

parmele

Rice is obviously the team’s “featured” back. The issue for Cam Cameron’s offense this offseason is figuring out how to complement the fourth year back moving forward.

The worst kept secret in football is that the Ravens intend to part ways with McGahee because he is unwilling to take a cut from the $6 million he is owed. Should McGahee find the market slim there would always be a chance he could look towards Baltimore again, but it certainly appears unlikely.

With McGahee apparently gone, the Ravens will have to build their backfield without him. One option is McClain, who had his best season yet as a true fullback in 2010 (despite the fact that he was actually passed over for Pro Bowl recognition by Houston Texans FB Vonta Leach) but who has made clear his desire to carry the football more often.

McClain was initially thought to be on the cusp of reaching free agency this offseason (and departing), but without a new CBA McClain (and other fourth and fifth year players) would likely remain under contract. McClain’s size and potential goal line/short distance ability make him potentially a solid complement for Rice.

Should the Ravens move McClain into that role, they would likely need to consider keeping McKie or otherwise improving the fullback position. McKie was a non-factor during his brief stay at the end of the 2010 season-but could be a viable option in a thin market.

Parmele (pictured above) is the wild card in the backfield. The coaching staff has remained high on him throughout his time in Baltimore (and he has connections with Cameron dating back to the Dolphins). Parmele has remained a value special teams player (and is a viable return option), but he has run the ball only seven times in his career.

Lawrence, Allen and Steele are all question marks (and possibly longshots) to make the roster. Lawrence is a talented special teams player but missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL. Allen (the team’s 7th round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft) is hoping his 6’1″, 228 pound frame is enough to get him on the roster. Steele spent the 2010 season on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis. The team liked his quick hitting ability, but he will have an uphill climb-especially if there is no Training Camp.

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NFL Draft Season Kicks Off In Orlando at East West Shrine Game

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NFL Draft Season Kicks Off In Orlando at East West Shrine Game

Posted on 22 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

For NFL Draft nerds (like myself), this week has marked the true start to NFL Draft season.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome lead a group of staffers who traveled to Orlando to watch practice ahead of this year’s annual East West Shrine Game.

With the NFL Draft likely to take place before free agency begins this year, it can be argued that Draft season is more significant than it has been in years past.

Before we start to look at players involved in Draft season, I think we should first identify the Ravens’ biggest areas of need. With free agency still to determine many things, here are the areas where I believe the team most needs to improve.

1. Defensive End-Newsome said this week the team needs a “companion” for LB Terrell Suggs in pass rush. I agree, and I believe it needs to be a true edge rusher.
2. Offensive Tackle-If the team feels comfortable with bringing back Jared Gaither (and Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated they were), re-signing him could address the problem. If not, they’ll need to upgrade.
3. Wide Receiver-The Ravens will have to make decisions on TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth; but need to come away with a big receiver and a speed receiver that can both be counted on offensively.
4. Cornerback-Only Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb are under contract, so the team needs to make decisions on Chris Carr, Josh Wilson, Fabian Washington and Cary Williams. Either way, they would be well served to add a bigger, more physical corner.
5. Fullback-If Le’Ron McClain returns, this wouldn’t be an issue. With the current expectation that he won’t return, the team will be looking for an option here.
6. Inside Linebacker-At the MIKE spot, the team knows Ray Lewis can’t play forever. At the WILL spot, the team has three players (Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe) who are all coming up on some form of free agency and who have not separated themselves from each other at all.
7. Safety-While it doesn’t appear Ed Reed will retire this offseason, the Ravens have to think about the possibility it could happen in the near future. At the same time, Dawan Landry is a free agent and appears to be one of the more likely free agents on the team to get bigger money elsewhere.
8. Center-Whether or not Matt Birk retires (I’ll guess he doesn’t), the team clearly needs to review the position. If Birk returns, it will only be for one more season. I don’t think the team has future plans for Chris Chester in the middle. Daniel Sanders could be an option, but the team might be well to draft a center as well.
9. Running Back-Willis McGahee is a very likely departure this offseason, leaving the team with a need to compliment Ray Rice.
10. Quarterback-If Marc Bulger departs, the Ravens will need someone else to backup Joe Flacco. Hunter Cantwell could be an option, but they might want to at least CONSIDER a doomsday theory scenario with Flacco and draft a mid to late round QB as well.

Some of these positions will be addressed whenever free agency finally does begin, others can be addressed simply by signing the team’s own free agents. Before free agency is even an issue, the Ravens will have to get through Draft season.

Here are a look at 10 players participating in the Shrine Game, which you can watch at 4pm on NFL Network.

RB Evan Royster (Penn State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tWf1NOPkL0[/youtube]

After an explosive sophomore season (1,391 yards of total offense and 12 TD’s), Royster immediately gained attention.

Incredibly, he posted two more very steady seasons, tallying 1,356 yards of total offense and 8 TD’s in 2009; 1,216 yards of total offense and 7 TD’s in 2010. He has the size of a back who could compliment Rice (6’1″, 228 pounds) and many scouts think he’ll have a solid career as a third down back at the NFL level.

So what’s the problem? Well, Royster’s biggest performances as a senior came against Temple and Michigan, neither or which can really be considered premiere defenses. He also doesn’t fit the bill of the dynamic backs in the Naitonal Football League currently like Rice, Jacksonville Jaguars back Maurice Jones-Drew, Houston Texans back Arian Foster, Tennessee Titans back Chris Johnson or Kansas City Chiefs back Jamaal Charles.

As of right now, he’s probably a mid to late round pick. If so, he might be a solid pick-up should McGahee leave Charm City.

WR Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mihM5auuXx0[/youtube]

As the Ravens look for a receiver who can  extend the field, they might want to think about Jean. He’s 6’3″ (and somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pounds), and has deceptive quickness.

While the Owls don’t exactly play against top caliber opposition in the Sun Belt conference, Jean also managed to post big games against Texas (see above) and Michigan State. He finished the 2010 season with 64 catches for 988 yards and 8 TD’s, wrapping up a career with 146 catches for 1,992 yards and 15 touchdowns.

He’s probably a late round pick at this point, but what he does at the Citrus Bowl Saturday and what he does at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis could lift him to late Friday night or early Saturday morning. If the Ravens don’t go receiver early, he could certainly be an option for the team later in the weekend. Jean wasn’t exactly hotly pursued out of High School in Miami, but he could be a hot name in April.

DE Justin Trattou (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DBWhBn75KM[/youtube]

Maybe an interception isn’t the greatest highlight to offer for a player the Ravens would be looking to see handle an edge rush, but I can only work with what I have.

Trattou is a rising end whose size has never matched his ability to bring down a QB. He tallied just 8 sacks over his four seasons in Gainesville despite his 6’4″, 255 pound frame. In fairness, he was surrounded by top notch rushers like Carlos Dunlap during much of his Gators career.

Trattou may pan out to be more of a Dwan Edwards or Cory Redding contain type of end, but NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says he’s put together an impressive mix of rush moves this week in the shadow of Disney World. If he continues to show a rush presence, he could be an intriguing name for the Ravens to consider on Saturday.

S Jermale Hines (Ohio State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atBM7zf2IAw[/youtube]

Hines’ career interception total over four years in Columbus (three) looks more like a single game for a future Hall of Famer like Reed, but that doesn’t mean Hines hasn’t had a nose for the football. The safety from Cleveland also finished his Buckeyes career with 159 tackles and two sacks, and was named first team All-Big Ten by conference coaches in 2010.

At 6’1″, 216 pounds; Hines is bigger than your typical free safety-but is also quick. In fact, Hines could be an option as a returner at the next level as well. He’s as much an athlete as a football player, but his football skills certainly developed well at OSU, and could very well still improve as he reaches the NFL.

As the Ravens approach Saturday, Hines could be a valuable depth option at safety. While Tom Zbikowski handled FS well with Reed on the PUP list, he didn’t necessarily convince anyone he was absolutely the team’s replacement for Reed longterm. Hines could be that type of player someday if groomed appropriately at a young age.

WR Terrence Toliver (LSU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhIrQn1Nd7w[/youtube]

His numbers are by no means overwhelming, but exactly how many times was Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron able to call a play like the TD pass Toliver caught from Jarrett Lee above?

Exactly.

The Ravens finished 22nd in red zone efficiency in 2010. For the numerous complaints about the lack of creative play-calling, there was only so much for Cameron to work with. Namely, he missed a target the size of Toliver.

Toliver caught just 41 balls for 579 yards and five TD’s during his senior campaign in Baton Rouge. All five TD’s happened either in the Florida game above or in the Tigers’ Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M, where he caught three.

But there’s another number that’s significantly more important.

6’5″.

The only receiver the Ravens have with such size is James Hardy, and he’s James Hardy. If the Ravens are truly looking to get more dynamic offensively, Toliver could be a solid pickup on Friday night or Saturday.

FB Anthony Sherman (UConn)

anthonysherman

I would love to have been able to share a YouTube clip of the Huskies FB with you, but when you rush just four times for a total of one yard in your senior season I guess there’s not much to post.

Sherman might not have big numbers, but he can help take credit for a rushing attack that finished 2nd in the Big East in 2010, just four yards behind conference leading Louisville. He also showed himself to have reliable hands in the Connecticut offense, grabbing 48 passes for 477 yards and a TD over his four seasons playing football in Hartford.

More importantly, Sherman lead the way for RB Jordan Todman to finish fourth in all of the NCAA FBS in rushing with 1,695 yards. If the Ravens are going to want a traditional blocking back (and the way they used McClain would make you think they are), Sherman could very well fit the bill. At 5’11″, he has a very effective way of throwing around 244 pounds.

OT Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada)

I know what you’re thinking.

“Canada?”

Yeah, I’d usually just ignore a Canuck and let CFL teams fight over who gets him. But there are two unique things O’Donnell has going for him.

1-He’s 6’10.”

2-He did THIS to Boise State DE Ryan Wintersyk at an indoor practice during Shrine Game week.

Does it make him NFL material? Not necessarily. But does it mean more folks will be paying attention? Absolutely.

RB Da’Rel Scott (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADjVJ3MKd8k[/youtube]

Scott HAS to hope scouts were paying close attention to the Military Bowl, as his 200 yard, 2 TD performance against East Carolina was by far and away the best of his senior campaign for the Terps. If scouts could only remember his bowl game performances he’d be a lock to get selected, as he also compiled 174 yards and 2 TD’s against Nevada in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl.

After a breakout season (1,133 yards and eight TD’s) in 2008, Scott totaled just 1,133 yards and nine TD’s in his junior and senior seasons combined.

That being said, Scott’s 5’11″, 200 pound frame is shifty but can still take a hit. He could be a steady performer behind a solid O-Line at the next level and will likely be available late into Saturday.

QB Ricky Dobbs (Navy)

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

A number of teams (including the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions) have had no problems selecting service academy players in the NFL Draft and waiting until they were eligible to play. The Ravens have never done that, but with their partnership with the Maryland National Guard, they’ve certainly been more military friendly in recent years.

Dobbs probably doesn’t project to be a quarterback at the next level, but he’s a better passer than those who don’t follow the Midshipmen (see above) probably realize. Dobbs threw for over 2,500 yards over his junior and senior seasons; combining with 2,170 yards rushing.

It will be interesting to see if Dobbs stays at quarterback throughout Draft season or if he works at other positions. Receiver seems to be the best bet for him given his 5’11″, 215 pound size; but he could fit with some of the more undersized running backs in the NFL as well.

The military service will be an issue. He’s much more likely to sign as an undrafted free agent than to be picked, but he’s the type of special athlete a team might very well be willing to wait for. There’s no off-field red flags for NFL teams to worry about with Dobbs, as everything he does he keeps in mind that he ultimately wants to be the President…of the United States.

QB Pat Devlin (Delaware)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkPzmE0__7A[/youtube]

If the Pat Devlin story sounds familiar, it should. Substitute “Pitt” for “Penn State”, and it’s basically the Joe Flacco story again.

Devlin nearly lead the Blue Hens to the NCAA FCS title in 2010, throwing for 3,032 yards and 22 TD’s before the Hens were cut down by Eastern Washington in the Championship Game.

Devlin doesn’t project quite as high in the 2010 Draft as Flacco did in the 2008 Draft, but he’ll have time to try to improve that. As of now, he looks like a Friday night selection, but will get the chance to go up against better talent in Orlando and will get to work out against better players at LucasOil Stadium in Indy.

If he moves up, there’s no chance the Ravens take him. If he’s around late into Saturday, it wouldn’t stun me.

-G

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Best From Week 1 to Week 17-Ngata My Choice For Ravens MVP

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Best From Week 1 to Week 17-Ngata My Choice For Ravens MVP

Posted on 05 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

In past years, voting for Baltimore Ravens MVP has been particularly simple.

In 2003, no one would have really needed to consider anyone not named Jamal Lewis for the honor.

In 2006, there was hardly an argument that Steve McNair didn’t deserve the award.

Just a season ago, I fired back the name “Ray Rice” about as quickly as I had received my MVP ballot.

Yet when ballots were sent out last week for the 2010 version of the honor, my deliberation process was a bit lengthier.

Plenty of Baltimore Ravens players had solid seasons in 2010.

LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed, LB Terrell Suggs and K Billy Cundiff were all very deserving of their Pro Bowl nods. Each could very well be considered in this conversation.

Suggs and Reed in particular were exceptional at times; Suggs collecting 11 sacks and forcing two fumbles, Reed tallying a league leading eight interceptions despite missing the first six games while on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

QB Joe Flacco is also deserving of consideration. P Sam Koch is as well. OL Ben Grubbs would at least have to be on the list, as would RB Rice, CB Josh Wilson and WR’s Anquan Boldin Derrick Mason.

In fact, my 2-10 on the list would be (in order): Suggs, Reed, Lewis, Flacco, Koch, Cundiff, Rice, Boldin and Mason. Wilson would be right after that group.
But when it came to determining one individual winner, one player really stood out.

From Week 1 in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets to Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, there was no better Raven than DT Haloti Ngata.

That’s why he was my choice for Ravens MVP.

Statistically, Ngata might stand out in the way other players do. However, he posted a career high in sacks (5.5), and tied career highs in tackles (63) and pass deflections (5).

He did it in a season where he was asked to play multiple positions along the defensive line; including a number of snaps at Rush End after the team waived veteran DE Trevor Pryce.

The Ravens finished the season with the 5th best run defense (93.9 ypg) in the NFL. They allowed more than 150 yards rushing just once all season (173 yards in Week 3 against Peyton Hillis and the Cleveland Browns); they allowed 75 yards rushing or less five times.

This coming after an offseason in which national football writers (and many of us in the local market) speculated the team was going to be stronger offensively than defensively.

But statistics probably don’t do complete justice to Ngata’s value to this football team.

In 2006, there was no hiding from the fact that Lewis (a sure fire future Hall of Famer) wanted a great DT to play behind in order to help extend his career.

In four years, the big man from Oregon has done just that and more. In 2010, a 35 year old Lewis collected 139 tackles (good for 6th in the NFL) and anchored that 5th over rushing defense.

Without Ngata in front of him, it would be fair to question whether or not Lewis would even be playing at this point in his career.

In October, Head Coach John Harbaugh described Ngata as “playing as well as any defensive player in the league (right now).” It wasn’t an exaggeration then and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration now.

There might be some argument that the New England Patriots’ Vince Wilfork is as good an interior D-Lineman as Ngata. There’s definitely an argument that if he hasn’t yet, Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh will soon pass Ngata on the list of the league’s best players at the position.

But for now, Ngata’s the guy.

And that’s really the biggest reason the team’s defense has remained a stellar unit despite the losses of Pryce, DL Justin Bannan and DL Dwan Edwards as well as the season ending torn ACL suffered by CB Domonique Foxworth at the start of Training Camp.

The best statement that can be made about Ngata this season is that there was never a game in which we found ourselves shaking our heads and thinking “what a pedestrian effort from Haloti today” or “are we sure Haloti knew the game kicked off at 1pm?” or “Haloti really hasn’t made an impact today.”

That can’t really be said about the other players in my Top 10.

From Week 1 to Week 17, Haloti Ngata showed up, gave a full effort and made a legitimate impact.

He was REALLY good in 2010. Not only was he the team’s best player, he was also their most valuable.

That’s why he got my vote.

ngata
(Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

-G

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The ‘fall’ of the Ravens defense started many Aprils ago

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The ‘fall’ of the Ravens defense started many Aprils ago

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Luke Jones

If you’ve been wearing out your Greg Mattison dartboard over the last several weeks, you’re probably not alone.

After all, the current Ravens defensive coordinator is solely responsible for the fall of a once-dominant unit all the way to 10th in the NFL, right?

(As an aside, how spoiled are we to be frustrated with a unit still better — statistically — than 22 other defenses in the league?)

From eliminating the submissive three-man rush to playing tighter, press coverage in the secondary, Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, or Rex Ryan would be coaching this defense to the elite level it enjoyed over the last decade instead of the mortal status it currently holds.

If only it were that simple.

Placing blame on a few individuals is common practice (Mattison, maligned cornerback Fabian Washington, and, until recently, “overrated” linebacker Terrell Suggs are popular targets these days), but the defensive problems run far deeper.

Personnel issues, aging stars, a key injury (anyone remember Domonique Foxworth?), and — perhaps — coaching shortcomings have left the Ravens with an above-average defense pursuing ghosts of dominance on the M&T Bank Stadium turf.

Truth be told, the current deterioration of the Baltimore defense began years ago, even while the unit was enjoying perennial elite status.

Anyone who’s followed Ozzie Newsome’s 15 years in Baltimore knows organizational success begins and ends in April. Shrewd trades and a sprinkling of free-agent signings have contributed over the years, but the Ravens have traditionally made their money with the NFL Draft, especially on the defensive side of the football.

Ngata
(Photo courtesy of ESPN.com)

And herein lies the problem with the current defense.

Since the Ravens drafted Suggs with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Newsome has used only one first-round pick on a defensive player, tackle Haloti Ngata in 2006.

By no means is that an indictment of Newsome, director of player personnel Eric DeCosta, and the scouting department in Owings Mills. The Ravens had no choice but to address the offensive side of the football in hopes of reaching the pinnacle of the NFL.

If defense alone truly wins championships, the Ravens would have a showcase full of Vince Lombardi Trophies in the lobby at 1 Winning Drive, but Baltimore has fallen short with a number of elite defenses, all because of offensive units that couldn’t get out of their own way.

As a result, the team has used five of its last six first-round picks on offensive players, including quarterback Joe Flacco (2008) and current starting linemen Ben Grubbs (2007) and Michael Oher (2009). Meanwhile, the defense largely maintained the status quo, carrying the mantra of dominance for years.

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Perhaps seeing leaks last season, the front office emphasized defense in April, drafting Sergio Kindle from Texas and the mammoth Terrence Cody from Newsome’s alma mater of Alabama. Ultimately, a draft’s success cannot be gauged for a few years, but the short-term return has been negligible halfway through the 2010 season.

In fairness, if you could have predicted Kindle’s fall down two flights of stairs in late July, forget about running an NFL front office; I’m asking you for this weekend’s winning lottery numbers.

Cody, on the other hand, still has time to contribute in the short-term and has played better in the Ravens’ last two games after a slow start to his professional career.

But one draft was not going to fix a philosophical shift in recent years that focused on offense with defensive upgrades taking a backseat. A simple look at the defensive picks in the Ravens’ first three rounds since 2004 shows the underwhelming results (the round in which the player was selected is noted in parentheses):

2004: DE Dwan Edwards (2nd)
2005: LB Dan Cody (2nd)
2006: DT Haloti Ngata (1st), CB David Pittman (3rd)
2007: None
2008: LB Tavares Gooden (3rd), S Tom Zbikowski (3rd)
2009: DE Paul Kruger (2nd), CB Lardarius Webb (3rd)
2010: LB Sergio Kindle (2nd), DT Terrence Cody (2nd)

Far more alarming than the lack of first-round selections is the volume of players who failed to make an impact as higher selections. Dan Cody (injuries) and Pittman (ineffectiveness) barely made it on the field in their brief time in Baltimore, and it remains unknown whether Kindle will ever play again, let alone contribute at a high level.

Other players, such as Edwards before signing with Buffalo last offseason, Gooden, and Kruger, have been little more than role players, contributing at times but failing to make a significant impact, though recent draft picks deserve more time to develop.

In contrast, a look at the Ravens’ defensive selections in the first three rounds from 1996 to 2003 shows a much different picture:

1996: LB Ray Lewis (1st), CB DeRon Jenkins (2nd)
1997: LB Peter Boulware (1st), LB Jamie Sharper (2nd), S Kim Herring (2nd)
1998: CB Duane Starks (1st)
1999: CB Chris McAlister (1st)
2000: None
2001: CB Gary Baxter (2nd)
2002: S Ed Reed (1st), DE Anthony Weaver (2nd)
2003: LB Terrell Suggs (1st)

The number of players chosen is similar (11 defensive players chosen in eight years compared to the 10 defenders selected in the seven drafts since 2004), but every player on the latter list started multiple seasons — many of them at elite levels — except Jenkins, who was largely considered a bust in his four years with the Ravens. Of course, the six first-rounds selections paid the largest dividends, but their other picks made significant contributions as well.

Looking at their draft record since 2004 and comparing it to the franchise’s first eight years in Baltimore reveals that in addition to the front office using fewer first-round picks on defensive players, it hasn’t been nearly as successful finding defensive talent in the second and third rounds, especially at cornerback where the unit currently struggles.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because I just bought my tickets to the 12:30pm 25th anniversary screening of “Back to the Future” Saturday in White Marsh.

AWE.SOME.

To celebrate the occasion, here’s “Johnny B. Goode” from Marty McFly & The Starlighters. Playing all your 80′s movie hits, right here on WNST.net…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEeF9r_8JMA[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens split on new NFL head-hunting policy

It’s an interesting dynamic.

Defensive players (like Terrell Suggs) noted that they supported the concept of protecting players, but that they couldn’t afford to alter the way they played the game.

Offensive players (like Willis McGahee) were clearly much more supportive of the idea. Willis joked that he wished Steelers safety Ryan Clark had been given a heavier punishment for his hit in the 2009 AFC Championship Game.

But players on both sides were together in the having only a small level of awkward, uncomfortable support for the strengthening of punishment towards guilty parties.

The real issue is that while players WANT to be protected, they don’t want it to come at a potential monetary cost.

This issue isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s going to be continuously debated until the offseason and the negotiation of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Players don’t want to give ANYTHING up. As Ray Lewis pointed out yesterday, they need to “fight it”, even if they might agree with the theory at heart.

And if you think players are divided on the issue now, wait until the first player is suspended for this type of hit. If it’s Dannell Ellerbe, or Haruki Nakamura, or any of those players-it will be an even bigger issue at 1 Winning Drive.

2. The AP’s David Ginsburg says S Ed Reed returned to practice field in Owings Mills Wednesday

And that is CLEARLY a welcome sight to Ravens fans, there’s just no question about that.

That being said, there really is no guarantee that Ed will be on the field this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. My gut says he will-but my gut also says that it could be a more responsible decision for John Harbaugh and company to hold him out and buy themselves two weeks for Ed’s health (and the health of LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-who also returned to practice yesterday) and to make roster decisions.

The one thing that NO ONE can argue with is the fact that the Baltimore Ravens improved yesterday with the return of Ed Reed.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Tom Zbikowski, Todd Heap missed practice Wednesday

Harbaugh said Zbikowski “has a chance” to play Sunday-he seemed MUCH more upbeat about the likelihood of Heap getting on the field.

If Zbikowski CAN’T play, I don’t think I’d be alone in suggesting that the Ravens consider going with veteran NFL safety Adam Archuleta…..’s wife Jennifer Walcott. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

walcott

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Willis McGahee not upset over benching, ‘happy’ he wasn’t traded

Willis maintained that he wasn’t punished. That’s fine. My guess is that the truth is somewhere close to that, but maybe not EXACTLY that.

In the meantime, Willis also made a point that by not going through as much wear and tear behind Ray Rice as he did earlier in his career, he’s adding years to his career. That’s a great attitude to have-I hope he really believes it.

And like I said, I would have been more than willing to trade Willis McGahee. To Dallas. For Cliff Lee.

Short of that, the Ravens ABSOLUTELY did the right thing in holding on to their veteran back.

5. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Buffalo Bills DL Dwan Edwards clarified perceived negative comments about Charm City

A few things before we move on from the Ravens…

-We’ll be back out at 1 Winning Drive today, so make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST), tuned into AM1570 WNST and checking WNST.net for updates. We’re expected to hear from coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg.

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

  • Harry Swayne (Ravens Director of Player Development)-who shared his Super Bowl XXXV memories with Drew Thursday before Sunday’s reunion
  • Ed Hottle (Mustangs Football Coach)-who joined Drew Thursday for the Stevenson Coaches’ Report
  • Steve Beuerlein (CBS Color Analyst)-who previewed Ravens/Bills with Drew Thursday
  • Our Morning Reaction “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”-as I took a shot at the UFL and Drew took a shot at Jen Royle
  • Tons of audio from 1 Winning Drive Wednesday-including Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Reed, McGahee, Suggs, Ayanbadejo, Josh Wilson, Haloti Ngata and Derrick Mason
  • Patrick Johnson (Former Ravens WR)-who joined Rex Snider Wednesday on “The Afternoon Drive” to discuss SBXXXV memories
  • Kevin Lempa (Maryland Safeties Coach)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Wednesday for “The Terrapins Coaches Report” to preview Saturday’s game against Boston College
  • Duane Starks (Former Ravens CB)-who joined Thyrl Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to talk Super Bowl memories
  • Edwin Mulitalo (Former Ravens OL)-who also talked SB memories with Rex Thursday

It’s all in the Audio Vault. I’ve planned your day again. Just say “thank you.”

6. CSNBaltimore.com’s Pete Kerzel says Brian Matusz, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones should be Orioles’ ‘untouchables’

Eh…I guess. Matusz for sure, Wieters probably…I could understand a scenario in which Andy MacPhail parted with the others.

You know who else is “untouchable” in my mind? Szorcsik Viktoria. (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

viktoria

7. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Birds won’t get shot at Japanese SS Hiroyuki Nakajima

So instead…GO GET REAL PLAYERS!!!

Jeff of course paints the picture that we’re all afraid of anyway…that this means the Birds will probably bring back Cesar Izturis.

They’ll still have the World Series in October next year, right?

8. The AP says Maryland picked 6th in preseason ACC basketball poll

I feel like this is probably the range where I’d have the Terrapins myself.

I don’t get the feeling they’re going to be a BAD team by any stretch of the imagination. They have plenty of returning talent-starting with Jordan Williams. The question for the guys returning is whether one of Cliff Tucker, Sean Mosley or Adrian Bowie can become a consistent scorer. We’ll have to see.

The other question surrounds trying to get contributions from the newcomers. Mike Parker looks like the guy with the most raw talent, but Ashton Pankey and Terrell Stoglin could be quicker to contribute in their roles.

They’re probably middle of the road-somewhere between 4th and 8th.

6th works.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Gary Williams won’t allow Terrapins to use Twitter during hoops season

This is really interesting. I’m not surprised given some of the “questionable” Tweets that have been sent out by student athletes in College Park and elsewhere-but it is still interesting.

Apparently North Carolina has already done the same thing-so we’ll have to see how quickly other NCAA teams will adopt a similar policy. My guess is that it won’t take long.

Not every student athlete uses his Twitter account for another opportunity to be stupid. Unfortunately…some do. Enough that this type of policy has to be considered.

10. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Ralph Friedgen believes Terps have no margin for error with penalties

Speaking of penalties, did Russian spy Anna Chapman ever receive any? After seeing her on the cover of Russia’s Maxim, I feel as though if she hasn’t yet-she shouldn’t in the future…

chapman


And finally, I leave you with this.

Boomer Sooner and I are going to get the chance to hang with Darius Rucker before his show tomorrow night at Pier Six Pavilion. My first question for him? PLEASE PLAY “HOLD MY HAND!!!!”….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ3hLudXKgA[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Split on New NFL Head-Hunting Policy

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-2) returned to work Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s contest with the Buffalo Bills (0-5) at M&T Bank Stadium.

The NFL levied hefty fines Tuesday towards multiple players for dangerous hits in Week 6 games and threatened suspensions for future helmet to helmet contact. One of the hits that lead to a significant fine was a helmet to helmet hit made on Ravens TE Todd Heap by New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather was fined $50,000 for his hit. The new policy was a hot hot topic in the Ravens locker room Tuesday, as Head Coach John Harbaugh and Ravens players had varying opinions about stronger enforcement.

Harbaugh gave full support to strengthening enforcement of the policy, saying “I think whatever it takes to enforce the rule to make sure that guys respect the rules is something that obviously needs to be done.” Harbaugh however went on to add that he didn’t think a more strict policy would have much effect on his team. “If you look at our track record this year-not to say it couldn’t happen to us-but our guys have really tried to get those hits in that area that aren’t helmet to helmet on the defenseless guys.”

Future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis said hits like the ones that lead to fines from Week 6 are simply part of football. “Those are hits that (when) you go into your defensive room-you’re getting praised for” said Lewis. “I have to back those players and tell them-just keep having fun, just keep playing the game.”

RB Willis McGahee was the victim of a crushing hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark in the 2009 AFC Championship Game. McGahee said “they should have done that when I got hit and I was laying on the ground.” McGahee added “I guess it’s getting out of hand right now, so they’ve got to protect the players and protect the person that’s providing the hits.”

LB Terrell Suggs added the rule was a “double-edged sword” and that he was split on whether or not he supported strengthening the policy. “I have no problem with them enforcing (the rule); but the amount the guys were fined-that was a bit excessive.” Suggs pointed out that football “is a physical sport” and that football players “are the gladiators of (the) time.”

Lewis pointed out that he expected players to continue to fight the penalties that will come with a strengthening of the policy, which could remain an issue well into what is expected to be a period of labor unrest this offseason.

REED, AYANBADEJO RETURN: S Ed Reed and LB Brendon Ayanbadejo appeared on the practice field Wednesday for the first time this season. Both have missed the first six weeks of the season while on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Reed was coy about his status for Sunday’s game, saying “I feel good” but admitting that he needed to get back into a football feel and see how his body would react to getting back on the practice field. He admitted that he and the organization “definitely talked about” the possibility of him missing Sunday’s game and returning after the team’s Week 8 bye.

Reed said “just being around the guys on the field” was what he missed the most during the time he’s missed this season.

Ayanbadejo didn’t offer a guess as to what his status would be for Sunday’s game, saying it was important to just get through Wednesday’s practice and see how his body reacted.

There was no reason to believe either player would be held out of contact during Wednesday’s practice.

PRACTICE REPORT: Reed and Ayanbadejo weren’t the only Ravens who returned to practice Wednesday. DE Paul Kruger (knee) and CB Josh Wilson (hamstring)-who each missed the Week 6 loss in Foxborough returned to the practice field as well. Kruger’s status for Sunday’s game is still very much up in the air, but Wilson is expected to be available. Both were listed as limited participants in practice.

Also limited in practice were LB Jarret Johnson (back), WR Derrick Mason (ankle/finger), S Haruki Nakamura (back), RB Ray Rice (ankle) and WR Marcus Smith (back). LB Edgar Jones (thigh) was listed as a full participant in practice.

Safety Tom Zbikowski (foot) and TE Todd Heap (neck) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Harbaugh said the team got “good news” on MRI’s for both players Monday, saying Zbikowski has “got a shot” to play Sunday and “I think Todd will be” on the field Sunday.

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder), OT Jared Gaither (back) and WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) remained out of practice, they have all been ruled out for Sunday.

For the Bills, OT Cornell Green (knee) and CB Terrence McGee (back) did not participate in practice Wednesday. LB Keith Ellison (knee), LB Arthur Moats (elbow) and NT Kyle Williams (ankle) were all limited participants. TE Shawn Nelson and S Bryan Scott were full participants.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, McGahee, Lewis, Suggs, Reed, Ayanbadejo, Wilson, DT Haloti Ngata and Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Punter Sam Koch is scheduled to join Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST at 7:00am……McGahee did not appear concerned with his lack of playing time in the Ravens’ loss at Gillette Stadium, saying “I’m like a lightswitch. I can cut it on and cut it off. It was off that game. I wasn’t tripping about it. We were winning, it really didn’t bother me.” McGahee was not on the field for a single play in the team’s loss……Bills DE Dwan Edwards joined members of the Charm City media contingent for a conference call, saying “I had a great time and played with a bunch of great players. I learned a ton about football and the game and being a professional and stuff like that. So, in terms of that, it was a good experience.” Edwards returns to Baltimore Sunday for the first time since signing with the Bills in the offseason, he was a 2nd round pick of the Ravens in the 2004 NFL Draft……The Ravens will return to work Thursday at 1 Winning Drive, coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media before practice

-G

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (81-99)

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (81-99)

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number recently, we continue to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 covered jersey numbers 1 through 80 if you missed them.

Part 5 (81-99) concludes our trip down memory lane by looking at some of the greatest receivers, tight ends, and defensive linemen in franchise history.

81 Michael Jackson (1996-98)
Jackson

Anquan Boldin is a good bet to hold this honor in the near future, but “Action” Jackson was a big-time receiver in the Ravens’ first season in Baltimore, catching 14 touchdowns and eclipsing the 1,200-yard mark. Jackson’s numbers declined in his final two seasons with the Ravens, but he and fellow wideout Derrick Alexander were huge weapons in Ted Marchibroda’s passing game.

82 Shannon Sharpe (2000-01)

The former Denver tight end came to Baltimore and immediately provided the leadership sorely lacking on the offensive side of the football. His game-winning 29-yard touchdown catch with seconds remaining in a 39-36 comeback victory over Jacksonville set the early tone for what would eventually be a championship season in 2000. And he also had a big catch in the AFC Championship that you might remember…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiL2gJTVPec[/youtube]

83 Daniel Wilcox (2004-08)

Wilcox rarely had the chance to shine in the Baltimore offense, but the dependable backup tight end caught 76 passes and eight touchdowns in his five years with the Ravens.

84 Jermaine Lewis (1996-2001)

The diminutive Maryland Terp is unquestionably the greatest return specialist in franchise history and returned six punts for touchdowns in his six years with the Ravens. Though he never returned a kickoff for a score in the regular season, the two-time Pro Bowl selection capitalized on the world’s biggest stage with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to seal the eventual Super Bowl XXXV victory. His courage down the stretch of that magical season was documented (see below) in the NFL Network’s “America’s Game” series.

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

85 Derrick Mason (2005-present)
Mason

Though overshadowed by bigger, faster receivers throughout the NFL, Mason has been the model of consistency throughout his first five seasons with the Ravens. The veteran has averaged 82 receptions per season and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in four of his five campaigns in Baltimore.

86 Todd Heap (2001-present)
Heap

Injuries have stunted his production in the latter half of his career, but few tight ends have shown the versatility of Heap with his ability to split out wide or outleap  defenders as a dangerous red zone target. Heap has 36 touchdown catches in his nine seasons.

87 Qadry Ismail (1999-2001)

The “Missile” was a rare weapon in a passing game that struggled to produce in the early stages of the Brian Billick era. Ismail caught 18 touchdowns and had two 1,000-yard seasons in his three years with the Ravens.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vt3D6oqyok[/youtube]

88 Brian Kinchen (1996-98)
Kinchen

Injuries prevented Quinn Sypniewski from potentially earning this distinction, but Kinchen was a steady if unspectacular tight end for the early Ravens. His 1996 season included 55 catches for 581 yards and a touchdown. Kinchen also had the ability to long snap.

89 Mark Clayton (2005-present)

Clayton and fellow No. 89 Travis Taylor are viewed as two of the biggest draft busts in the history of the franchise. The former Oklahoma Sooner holds a slight edge in receptions (234 to 204) through five seasons with the franchise, but Taylor had more touchdowns (15 to 14). Neither player met expectations, but Clayton still has the opportunity to improve his résumé, enough to give him the nod here.

90 Rob Burnett (1996-2001)
Burnett

One of the most unheralded members of the dominant Baltimore defenses from 1999 to 2001, Burnett had 10.5 sacks and forced three fumbles in 2000 but was a Pro Bowl snub. The defensive end compiled 26.5 sacks in his six seasons with the Ravens.

91 Lional Dalton (1998-2001)

Dalton never had the chance to show his stuff as a starter on the defensive line, but he was a key member of the rotation for a deep unit of tackles. He wins narrowly over defensive end Marques Douglas (who also wore No. 94) and defensive tackles Aubrayo Franklin and Brandon McKinney.

92 Haloti Ngata (2006-present)

Considered one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL today, Ngata has wreaked havoc on opposing running games from the moment he stepped foot in Baltimore. 350-pound defensive tackles are not supposed to be as athletic as Ngata, and the league finally recognized his rare talent by selecting him to his first Pro Bowl in 2009.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWWEK38OsAk[/youtube]

93 Keith Washington (1997-2000)

The defensive lineman is remembered most for his block of an Al Del Greco field goal that was returned by Anthony Mitchell for a go-ahead touchdown in the Ravens’ memorable 24-10 victory over the Titans en route to a Super Bowl title, but Washington was a key member of the defensive line rotation in his four seasons.

A strong final season by Dwan Edwards in 2009 was not nearly enough to earn strong consideration here after the defensive lineman was largely a flop in his first three seasons with the Ravens.

94 Justin Bannan (2006-09)

The defensive tackle was a major factor in 2008, starting 15 of 16 games in Kelly Gregg’s absence. His four strong seasons with the Ravens earned him a nice payday with the Denver Broncos following last season.

95 Sam Adams (2000-01)
Adams

Many will argue for Jarret Johnson for this jersey number, and a legitimate argument can be made, but how can you overlook Adams’ massive impact—literally and figuratively—in his two seasons with the Ravens? The defensive tackle made the Pro Bowl twice and teamed with Tony Siragusa to form a 700-pound wall around which the menacing Ray Lewis could freelance.

Johnson is a very good player and received his just due in Part 4 (No. 76), but Adams was the better player in his two-year stint in Baltimore.

96 Adalius Thomas (2000-06)
Thomas

The former sixth-round pick transformed himself from a defensive end to one of the best outside linebackers in the league over his seven seasons with the Ravens. The two-time Pro Bowler was also a menacing 270-pound gunner on the punt team and was the most versatile player on the talented defenses of the post-Super Bowl era.

97 Kelly Gregg (2000-present)

The former wrestler hardly looks the part of an NFL defensive tackle, but Gregg has manned the interior of the Baltimore defensive line for nearly a decade. “Buddy Lee” ranks second on the Ravens’ all-time tackles list, behind only Lewis.

98 Tony Siragusa (1997-2001)
Goose

The brash, rotund Siragusa arrived in 1997 and was part of the defensive transition from a hapless unit to the record-setting company that struck fear in the opponent’s heart. His controversial hit on Rich Gannon knocked the Oakland quarterback out of the AFC Championship game, but the outspoken Siragusa would have been the first to say it did not matter whether Gannon played or not against that Ravens defense.

99 Michael McCrary (1997-2002)
McCrary

His blue-collar style still resonates fondly with Baltimore fans, and the undersized defensive end is recognized in the Ravens Ring of Honor. McCrary’s 51 career sacks ranks third behind Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs on the Ravens’ all-time list. Chronic knee issues cut short what had already been a brilliant career.

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Not JUST a Cheap Shot-But a Low Blow AND a Fact

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

I will be enjoying my first day off in some time today; as I will be headed up to HersheyPark with some family during the day, then on to see Dave Matthews Band with friends tonight. Some might say I don’t deserve it, but to you I say…yeah…yeah, you’re probably right.

If you missed out “Cheap Shots From the Bleachers” segment yesterday, I responded to the fact that some in town (including 105.7 and the Baltimore Sun) were about 4 days late in getting to the “Ed Reed wants a new contract” story that we found out about during an interview with Ed last Friday with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. (Which you can of course hear in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

As I pointed out yesterday, it really doesn’t bother me if others in town give us credit when we have something first-whether it’s an interview, story, or anything else. I understand the way things work in Baltimore. There are partnerships-The Orioles have partnered with the Sun, MASN, WJZ 13 and 105.7. The Ravens have partnered with the Sun, MASN, WBAL Radio/WBAL 11 and 98 Rock. Therefore, those folks need to give each other backrubs. That doesn’t bother me, it really doesn’t.

Instead, it reminded me that maybe some folks TRULY believed that by listening to other folks in town, they would be the first to get info or hear interviews. That’s simply not the case. If you want to hear from a sports newsmaker in Charm City, WNST IS the place to turn. Consider just these things from the Spring and Summer of 2010…

-WNST.net was the first media source to talk to new Ravens WR Anquan Boldin. We posted comments from Anquan via the website and Twitter (follow us @WNST) less than 15 minutes after the Ravens acquired him from the Arizona Cardinals; and before even BaltimoreRavens.com had posted comments from the receiver. Boldin appeared with us on WNST for a live interview after being introduced in Owings Mills.

-WNST was also the first media outlet to talk to DT Cory Redding after he was acquired by the Ravens. Redding, Shayne Graham, Ken Hamlin and now even Walt Harris (who appeared with Drew Forrester Friday morning on AM1570) have all since did their first Baltimore interviews with us on WNST. Dwan Edwards did his first interview after leaving Baltimore for the Buffalo Bills with us as well.

-While WBAL’s partnership with the Ravens allowed them to speak to certain members of the Ravens 2010 Draft class before anyone else; WNST was the first station in town to speak to ALL members of the Ravens draft class-Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, David Reed, Arthur Jones and Ramon Harewood. We also spoke live on-air with the undrafted free agents who have the best shot at making the roster out of Training Camp-CB Prince Miller and FB Mike McLaughlin.

-Did I mention the Ed Reed thing?

-It isn’t just that we’re first with the Ravens though. Following Selection Sunday, WNST was the first to talk live with Morgan State’s Reggie Holmes and Todd Bozeman, as well as Maryland’s Eric Hayes and Gary Williams. In fact, all 4 made live radio appearances on WNST within 13 hours of the Selection Sunday announcement.

-Since then, WNST was the first place to hear from Hayes, Landon Milbourne and Greivis Vasquez as those Terps prepared for the NBA Draft.

-Before that, WNST was the first place to hear from football Terrapins like Nolan Carroll, Chris Turner, Terrell Skinner and Bruce Campbell as they prepared for the NFL Draft.

-Also, WNST has been the first station to talk to Debbie Yow after she departed College Park for NC State, as well as Maryland interim Athletic Director Randy Eaton. We were also the first station to talk to new Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman, new Loyola AD Jim Paquette and Towson interim Athletic Director Ted Zaleski Jr. After breaking the news that Xavier assistant Bino Ranson would be leaving Cincinnati for Maryland, WNST was also the first media outlet in town to talk to him.

-There’s more than that. After winning the Kentucky Derby and while looking towards the Preakness, both Calvin Borel and Todd Pletcher did their first Baltimore interviews with WNST. After winning the Belmont Stakes, both winning jockey Mike Smith and first time Triple Crown race-winning trainer Bill Mott did their first Baltimore interviews with WNST.

There’s more, but we’ll leave it at that for now. None of these were locker room sessions, press conferences, or a case where one of our hosts stuck a mic in someone’s face and got a comment. These were all LIVE radio interviews, and they were the first interviews done in town by important newsmakers in Baltimore sports.

Clearly, the Baltimore Orioles are missing from the list. That being said, the Baltimore Orioles have been missing from the field for the better part of the season as well. I could point out that WNST was the first to talk to Frederick Keys pitcher Nathan Moreau after he threw a no-hitter, but I’m not sure that would matter much. The relationship between the O’s and WNST is well-documented, and I’m not interested in re-igniting that fire here.

The reason I wrote this isn’t to “trash” other media outlets in town. I think a lot of folks in town do a really good job. I would know, as I have checked out the archives of every outlet on a daily basis to make sure that I wasn’t lying about any interview I claimed WNST had “first.” In fact, I’d encourage you to check out our own Audio Vault at WNST.net, and then check out the archives of other outlets in town (105.7, 1370, 1090) to confirm for yourself. Of course, you’ll learn exactly what I wrote above.

The reason I wrote this is to remind you that the BEST place to go to hear from sports newsmakers in Baltimore is AM1570 WNST and WNST.net.

Some other outlets like to tell you that they’re the “Sports Leader.” I’ll just encourage you to check our work.

A lot of folks in town do a great job of talking to folks ABOUT the news. But there is one CLEAR choice when it comes to hearing from the folks who are MAKING news.

It’s all there.

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

This is going to be the first in a series I will do through Training Camp and on to Week 1 of the NFL season as we try to identify the 53 players who will make up the roster when the Baltimore Ravens face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

As 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 goes…

1. QB Joe Flacco (Do I even need to bother to explain?)
2. OT Michael Oher (Now at LT, Oher has moved into the “most important players on the team” category.)
3. RB Ray Rice (The team MVP from a season ago, Rice’s value is incredible despite the depth at the position. The Ravens are MUCH better offensively with Ray Rice than without him.)
4. WR Anquan Boldin (Everything about the football team changes with Boldin on the field. If this offense is going to be more dynamic this season, it’s going to happen because of what Boldin does to open things up.)

boldin

5. DT Haloti Ngata (It might be blasphemy to some, but Haloti Ngata is the most important defensive player on the roster. Everything they do defensively starts up front with Ngata.)
6. WR Derrick Mason (The team needs Mason to compliment Boldin if this offense is going to be explosive this season. He’s still one of the most important players on the roster.)
7. LB Ray Lewis (He’s no longer THE most important defensive player on the team, but he’s still one of the more important defensive players in the NFL. The drop from #52 to Gooden/Barnes/McClain is significant.)
8. LB Terrell Suggs (Despite his poor 2009, the Ravens maintain high expectations for T-Sizzle in 2010. There’s a question of whether or not he’ll live up to them, but there’s no doubt they exist.)
9. OT Jared Gaither (He might not be the team’s LT any longer, but he’s still a VERY significant part of this team. The Ravens want to have Gaither and Oher as bookend tackles, as they believe it’s part of what makes their team great. Should a team float out a ridiculous trade offer for Gaither at some point I don’t think the Ravens would just dismiss it, but they very much want him to be on the field in New Jersey on Sept. 13.)
10. S Ed Reed (Technically, Ed has still not informed the team that he will return-and should he struggle to regain form after an offseason hip procedure, there’s a chance he might not. But Reed’s plan is to return, and if he does-he’s still a possible future Hall of Fame safety. He’s one of the Top 10 players on the team.)
—————————
11. LB Jarret Johnson (Jarret was the team’s best defensive player a season ago, but his significance on the roster lessened when the team drafted Sergio Kindle behind him. I’d still expect him to have a Pro Bowl season, but his arguable Top 10 ability is currently greater than his actual roster value.)
12. DT Terrence Cody (Yep, that’s awfully high. But make no mistake about it, the Ravens have high expectations for Terrence Cody. Terrence Cody may be behind Kelly Gregg on the depth chart right now, but I wouldn’t expect that to last through Training Camp. He’s a mountain of a man, and is MUCH quicker than you’d realize. The more you see him on the field, the more you’ll wonder how 56 picks were made in the NFL Draft before he came off the board.)
13. OG Ben Grubbs (Grubbs arguably played at a Pro Bowl level a season ago as well, and the organization has been thrilled with him ever since they drafted him out of Auburn in 2007. If he was a tackle, he might be in the Top 5.)
14. DE Trevor Pryce (Despite the fact that he’s kind of only a “half” starter-and sometimes not a starter at all-Pryce has a major role on this team. In passing situations, the Ravens need the pressure Pryce can provide. That being said, the paycut Pryce took this offseason does indeed partially represent how his role has changed.)
15. DL Cory Redding (If Pryce is 14, Redding sorta has to be 15. They’ll be sharing an end position this year, similar to how Pryce and Dwan Edwards shared the position a season ago.)
16. TE Todd Heap (It would be easy to assume that with the Ravens selecting two Tight Ends in the NFL Draft, Todd Heap might be falling out of favor with the team. However, the team thought Heap played FAR too many snaps last season-insert your own LJ Smith joke here-and they wanted to help Heap out. The team also expects the middle of the field to be opened up for Heap thanks to the presence of Anquan Boldin.)
17. CB Domonique Foxworth (He’s the top CB on the roster, but not amongst the top CB’s in the AFC. Foxworth played MUCH better at the end of the season last year, and given the question marks the team has at the position-they could really use a similar performance this year.)
18. C Matt Birk (Not really much to say here. He’s a very important part of the offensive line, and it would be a significant dropoff for the team to have to turn to Chris Chester should he get hurt. His role is important, and he played very well a season ago.)
19. LB Sergio Kindle (The Ravens didn’t use their first pick in the NFL Draft on Kindle by accident. He’s learning a difficult position-as he was a more natural pass rusher at Texas than he will be asked to be in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if Kindle’s impact his rookie season isn’t as profound as you might want from the first player a team selects, but he’s definitely a phenomenal talent.)

sergio

20. OG Marshal Yanda (He’s going to be the starting RG for the team, and in the unlikely situation that Jared Gaither WERE to be traded, he’d probably get the shot to start at RT. His job is plenty safe.)
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21. FB Le’Ron McClain (Le’Ron’s recent Twitter campaign might not make him a true RB, but he’s going to get touches both in short yardage situations and late in games, there’s no doubt about that. Le’Ron’s role is very important to this team, and his ability to take a beating will make a major difference in how successful Ray Rice can be after 2,000+ yards of offense a season ago.)
22. CB Lardarius Webb (There’s a level of uncertainty here surrounding how he’ll bounce back in Training Camp from his ACL injury a season ago, but if he’s healthy-he’ll have a chance to start opposite Domonique Foxworth at CB. If he gets back for the bulk of Training Camp, he’s likely be in the mix again at KR as well.)
23. S Dawan Landry (If you’re a starter on defense, your job is safe. Dawan Landry is a starter on defense. His long-term status with the team might be in question, but he’s going to be here. The only sweating Landry will do in Westminster this summer will be due to the weather.)
24. LB Dannell Ellerbe (Dannell Ellerbe is CLEARLY the best of the ILB’s on this roster behind Ray Lewis, but I don’t think his working with the 2nd team at a recent Passing Camp is as easy to dismiss as John Harbaugh wanted it to be. Ellerbe’s attitude and personality are what left him undrafted out of Georgia to begin with. Those questions haven’t gone away since he made the team out of Training Camp a season ago. They love Ellerbe’s ability, but they want him to have a better attitude to boot. He’ll be one to watch at McDaniel College this summer.)
25. CB Fabian Washington (If I’m guessing, Fabian Washington will be starting opposite Domonique Foxworth at the Meadowlands September 13th. He’s also coming off a knee injury, but appears to be a bit closer to returning than Webb. His spot is safe, even though most Ravens fans would like some more quality depth at CB given the receivers they’ll go up against in the AFC North.)
26. WR Donte’ Stallworth (We know this much, Donte’ Stallworth is fast. Judging by what we’ve seen from him in OTA’s, we know he can still catch-at least when he’s not heavily defended. He’s going to be 3rd on the WR depth chart, and won’t have any trouble making it to the final 53. The only real questions surrounding Stallworth have more to do with whether or not he’ll be the 3rd WR when John Harbaugh’s team battles Rex Ryan’s squad.)
donte

27. DT Kelly Gregg (Kelly Gregg remains a fan favorite around Baltimore, but I’m not sure he has a long-term role with this team. I would be stunned if we make it 4 weeks into the season before Terrence Cody is considered a “starter” while Gregg works from the bench. The team is VERY deep with DT’s, and Gregg could end up being the odd man out sooner than later. I think he makes the team, but it looks like someone is going to have to be a casualty amongst the group.)
28. TE Ed Dickson (Dickson is currently ahead of Dennis Pitta and behind Todd Heap on the TE depth chart, and the Ravens are expecting much more from him than they have from backup TE’s in years past. Dickson has looked solid thus far in the offseason, and clearly will have no trouble making the roster for the fall.)
29. OL Chris Chester (Chester had the best season of his career in 2009, but still is a bit of a question mark on this Ravens’ roster. He won’t have trouble cracking the 53, but his role is a bit of a question mark. He’ll be the primary backup at guard, but looks like he’s out of the mix at center for the future. He’s part of the 53, but may not be part of the long-term plan.)
30. LB Tavares Gooden (If Greg Mattison IS toying with whether or not Dannell Ellerbe will start for this team, no single player on the roster would stand to benefit more than Gooden. Gooden inherited the starting job going into the 2009 season, but a concussion/injury plagued career has prohibited him from fully living up to the promise he showed coming out of Miami. He’s still a valuable part of the team, and won’t have any trouble making the roster.)
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31. CB Chris Carr (Carr is especially important to the team right now considering the injuries Washington and Webb and coming off of. He’s also the incumbent punt returner, although he wasn’t particularly overwhelming in the role a season ago. The team loves the veteran presence he gives them in the secondary and the locker room, and he’ll certainly have an important role on the team moving forward.)
32. P Sam Koch (Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about Sam Koch is that like many punters this team has employed before him-Dave Zastudil, Kyle Richardson and Gregg Montgomery-the team doesn’t appear inclined to pay him real money to keep him around long term. Koch had another very good season a year ago, and he’ll be expected to have a similarly solid campaign this season.)
33. QB Troy Smith (A recent Sun story quoted Cam Cameron as saying John Beck had the chance to supplant Troy Smith as the team’s backup QB-but it doesn’t mean the two are involved in any sort of open competition. Smith is the #2 QB unless he has a terrible summer while Beck excels, and the team still would like to use him in other ways. His future with the team is always in question, but clearly no other NFL teams-especially the Browns-was too particularly interested in obtaining him in the offseason.)
34. RB Willis McGahee (It is REALLY difficult to figure out what type of role Willis McGahee will have with this team. It looked a season ago as if he had improved his attitude and was on his way to re-establishing himself in the Ravens offense. And even late in the season against the Raiders and Patriots, he showed that he can still be a valuable contributor. That being said, he looked disinterested off the field, and again chose to skip offseason activities. I assume he’s on the 53, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the end of the road was coming soon.)
35. S Haruki Nakamura (Now healthy, Haruki is safely part of the roster. He has a role both defensively behind Ed Reed and Dawan Landry; and as a valued part of the team’s Special Teams unit. He’ll sleep comfortably during Training Camp-or at least as comfortably as you can sleep at a Best Western.)
36. S Tom Zbikowski (I almost just want to write “ditto” here, as the things said about Haruki Nakamura can also be said about Tom Zbikowski. He has a role, and he’s on the team. Next question.)
37. TE Dennis Pitta (I guess there’s a chance that if Davon Drew were to have an exceptional Training Camp and Pitta were to struggle the roster could change; but there’s no reason to think that will happen. The Ravens went out and got both Dickson and Pitta because they wanted both players to be part of the offense moving forward.)
pitta
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

38. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (If there’s a vet who MIGHT be a bit concerned about their spot on the roster, it could well be Ayanbadejo. He’s been a great contributor to the team via special teams, and was having his best season as a defender before getting hurt last season. But the Ravens are particularly deep at ILB, and a number of those players can also contribute on Special Teams. It looks like Ayanbadejo is safe, but it isn’t a guarantee.)
39. LB Jameel McClain (Jameel McClain is exactly the type of player I was referring to in the previous post. The Ravens have been happy with McClain since they got him undrafted out of Syracuse, but he hasn’t cracked into “safe” territory yet. It’s safe to assume he’ll be part of the 53 as long as he stays steady.)
40. RB Jalen Parmele (Parmele made himself more valuable with a steady performance as KR after Lardarius Webb was hurt last season. That’s important, considering the Ravens’ tremendous depth in the backfield. Parmele is the player that would stand to benefit most should the Ravens somehow end up parting ways with Willis McGahee. Parmele also gives them valuable depth should there be an injury to a top back.)
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41. K Shayne Graham (He’s finally on the roster, now he just has to win the job. Graham appears to have a “leg up” in his competition with Billy Cundiff for the kicker job. However, it cannot be forgotten that there is a reason the Bengals parted ways with Graham, especially after his two big misses in a Wild Card playoff loss in Cincinnati. There’s going to be a kicker on the roster, and I’d say there’s a 60 percent chance it’s Graham.)

graham
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

42. QB John Beck (John Beck is going to make this team, as the Ravens are going to carry 3 quarterbacks. Hopefully, he won’t take a single snap all season, unless the team decides to use him from victory formation.)
43. OT Oniel Cousins (The team needs depth at OT, and while Oniel Cousins might not provide particularly QUALITY depth, he does provide depth. He’ll have the chance to move up this list in Training Camp.)
44. LS Matt Katula (This is very simple. Much like the competition for the kicking job, there is a competition for the long snapping job. Katula has about a 75 percent chance of winning the job over rookie Morgan Cox, but will have to show that he’s 100 percent after being plagued by elbow issues and ready to bounce back from a brutal 2009 campaign.)
45. WR Mark Clayton (I don’t think Clayton’s job is QUITE as safe as some others might think, but I certainly assume he’ll be on the team. Clayton has never seen this many capable receivers around him, and he has to make an impact despite coming off an offseason shoulder procedure. I assume he’s on the team, but it is no guarantee.)
46. DE Paul Kruger (This is an interesting situation. The Ravens maintained that they weren’t unhappy with Kruger during his rookie campaign despite the fact that he didn’t play much and contributed less than that. It’s hard to imagine a 2nd round pick being a question mark to make the roster just a year later, but you can’t ignore the number of scratches he had a season ago. He’s bulked up and is expected to be more of a natural pass rusher this season; but there are a number of D-Linemen in front of him. He’ll need to show that he can get to the quarterback, or the number of questions will continue to grow.)
47. DT Brandon McKinney (When Brandon McKinney made the roster last season, he truly LOOKED “like a Raven.” He still does, but is coming off back surgery and plays a position where the team has significant depth. He’s no guarantee to make the roster, but he’s exactly the type of player the Ravens want around.)
48. LB Antwan Barnes (Barnes is part of a deep group at LB, but the team has remained high on him despite some goofy antics at times. That being said, Barnes was an inactive a few times down the stretch last season, so his margin for error is small.)
49. DT Arthur Jones (I can tell you this much. John Harbaugh really is a big fan of Arthur Jones. That being said, it’s a very deep position-and the team might not be able to keep everyone. Arthur Jones is exactly the type of player the team loves, so I get the feeling he’ll stay on the good side of the roster bubble.)
50. OL David Hale (David Hale gives the team depth at interior lineman, but it isn’t particularly quality depth. Should Matt Birk get hurt, it is still more likely that Chris Chester would play center over an extended period of time, but Hale gives them much needed flexibility.)
51. DT Kelly Talavou (I have a funny feeling Talavou could end up being this year’s version of Derrick Martin. Martin-as you’ll remember-was behind a glut of cornerbacks on the roster a season ago at the end of Training Camp, and was traded to the Green Bay Packers for Tony Moll despite being a player the Ravens really liked. Talavou and McKinney are both candidates to be traded after Training Camp, but McKinney’s back injury could make Talavou more valuable on the market.)
52. CB Travis Fisher (The injuries bothering Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington make Travis Fisher more valuable every day. He’s a veteran corner-having played in Seattle, Detroit and St. Louis before now. Even if Webb and Washington are healthy, he could still make the roster to give the team CB depth considering some of the troubles they had defending the pass a season ago. Fisher isn’t Darrelle Revis, but most Ravens fans only care that he isn’t Frank Walker either.)
53. WR David Reed (This is a tough call. David Reed will probably end up in the return mix, as he’s more explosive than Jalen Parmele or Chris Carr, and he’s healthier than Lardarius Webb. Reed might not have much of a role at WR, but Jerry Rosburg has to want his returners to be a little bit more of a threat to break one back. I’ll give Reed the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making the team, but he’ll have an uphill battle.)
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54. OT Ramon Harewood (The rookie from Morehouse State misses the cut on my first list mostly because he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself yet. A knee injury has caused him to miss the bulk of the offseason work thus far, and he’ll have to show that he’s more than just a project in Training Camp to make sure he ends up on the roster. The Ravens could try to stash him away on IR.)
55. WR Demetrius Williams (This may or may not correct itself before the start of the regular season. Perhaps no player on the roster is facing a more crucial summer than Williams, as he been making the roster based on size alone for the better part of his career. The Ravens may be forced to fish or cut bait with Williams, as they have too many receivers to keep one around whose only ability thus far in his career has been an ability to…sometimes…draw pass interference flags.)
56. K Billy Cundiff (Billy Cundiff clearly has the most simple road to the roster, as he just has to beat out Shayne Graham for the job. Most of us assumed Graham Gano would beat out Steve Hauschka for the job last summer, but it didn’t work out that way. I’m assuming Graham gets the gig, but certainly Cundiff will have the chance.)
57. OT Tony Moll (Tony Moll offers the team a player who can play both Guard and Tackle, but there’s no real place for him on the roster. This may come down to the team keeping either him or Harewood, and a healthy Harewood appears to offer the team a bit more than Moll does.)
58. LB Prescott Burgess (Not everyone in the LB mix can make the team. With depth from Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Sergio Kindle, Brendon Ayanbadejo and maybe even from Paul Kruger; there’s no way the team can keep everyone at the position. Burgess was a roster casualty a season ago, but the Ravens were able to re-acquire him after trading him to the New England Patriots.)
59. RB Matt Lawrence (The team REALLY likes Matt Lawrence, especially what he has to offer on Special Teams. Lawrence made the roster a season ago as the team kept 5 backs, but there’s no guarantee they’ll keep that many this season. He can very well make the team, but it won’t be easy-especially as he returns from a knee injury.)
60. LB Edgar Jones (It is REALLY tough to figure out what the Ravens plan to do with Edgar Jones this season. He’s managed to remain employed while switching from LB to TE to LB to TE to FB to LB to….I thought they might even give him a shot at the kicking competition this summer. Clearly the organization likes him, and OLB is a better spot to try to make the roster than ILB, I just don’t see a role for him right now.)
61. LB Jason Phillips (See Burgess, Prescott. The team was able to stash Jason Phillips away on IR last season, but likely won’t be able to do the same this year. He’ll have an uphill climb to make the roster, as the Ravens don’t lack depth at the position.)
62. FB Mike McLaughlin (McLaughlin has a real chance to make this roster as well. The undrafted rookie from Boston College hasn’t played fullback since high school, but if he can adapt to it, the team could keep him on to create a jumbo backfield along with Le’Ron McClain. He’ll also need to show that he can step in and play Special Teams, which his background as a LB should help with. My guess is that McLaughlin ends up on the Practice Squad, but he’ll certainly be worth keeping an eye on during Training Camp.)
63. TE Davon Drew (The Ravens were EXTREMELY disappointed with Drew after drafting him out of East Carolina last year. So much so that they let him go before re-signing him when the Miami Dolphins gave up on him as well. That being said, Drew has looked pretty good in the offseason, and will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. Outperforming Dennis Pitta would be the easiest way to get a spot, but seeing as how the team has a soft spot for TE’s, there’s at least a chance they end up keeping 4. Drew’s chances would improve if he offered the team something out of the backfield as well.)
davondrew

64. WR Marcus Smith (Marcus Smith is a dark horse to make the roster, but it is worth remembering that he WOULD have made the roster last season before suffering a knee injury in a preseason win over the Washington Redskins. Smith faces a tough competition, but he is 6’1″, and has shown some promise during his short NFL career.)
65. CB Cary Williams (Speaking of 6’1″, height might give Williams a chance to make the roster on the defensive side as well. It looks like Williams will be battling Travis Fisher for a roster spot, but the team could end up keeping more DB’s-especially considering the question marks surrounding Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb’s return from injury. Williams hung around on the roster at the end of last season, but still has a long road ahead of him.)
66. S KJ Gerard (The 2009 UFA out of Northern Arizona impressed the team from Day 1, so much so that he was eventually promoted to the roster from the Practice Squad when Haruki Nakamura was hurt. That being said, it’s hard to picture the team keeping a 5th safety, and it seems unlikely that Gerard would make the squad as a corner ahead of the likes of Fisher and Williams. His versatility and special teams ability give him a shot, but his best chance is if someone ahead of him gets hurt.)
67. CB Prince Miller (Of this year’s group of UFA’s, Miller and Mike McLaughlin appear to have the best chance at making the roster. Miller has had the chance to mark quality SEC receivers during his career at Georgia, but 5’8″ certainly isn’t the ideal height for a corner. He’s played well in the offseason, and his ability to return kicks could give him a real chance to make the roster.)
68. WR Justin Harper (Justin Harper found his way to the active roster late in the season, but the number of quality receivers ahead of him makes it unlikely to envision him finding his way on the roster out of Training Camp. He has a way of impressing fans with leaping catches in practice, but has dropped way too many catches to be considered a serious candidate to make the roster. If that changes over the summer, he’ll work his way up the list.)
69. DT Lamar Divens (Divens is in the deep group of D-Linemen that are trying to make the roster. Unfortunately, he played in just 3 games in 2008 before missing the entire 2009 season due to a shoulder injury. He’s in the “looks like a Raven” mix, but he’ll have to win a job against the likes of Talavou, McKinney and Art Jones.)
70. CB Marcus Paschal (Paschal and John Harbaugh have a history that dates back to their time together with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Paschal has still only played 5 games in his NFL career. He has a shot to make the roster considering the team needs secondary depth, but I wouldn’t describe his shot as “likely.”)
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71. OT Joe Reitz (Reitz has snuck his way onto the Practice Squad over the last two seasons-one of which was cut short by shoulder injury. He’s 6’7″ and 315 pounds but his still never played real football game in his life, either at the college of pro level. His size makes him promising, but his lack of experience makes him unlikely.)
72. WR Eron Riley (Riley is 6’3″ and one of the more likeable guys in the locker room, but the coaches want to see more explosiveness from him. If the team hadn’t upgraded at receiver over the offseason, I might think better of his chances of making the roster.)
73. DE William Van de Steeg (When I saw lower case letters on Van de Steeg’s jersey last summer in Westminster, I assumed he wouldn’t be around very long. He’s hung around Charm City longer than I expected, but I don’t expect it to be too much longer.)
74. OL Bryan Mattison (It’s nice to be the son of the offensive coordinator, but it probably isn’t nice enough to get Mattison on the roster. He was kept on the practice squad last season, and I imagine he’ll probably find his way on the practice squad again this year.)
75. OT Stefan Rodgers (Rodgers has been a part of 5 different teams during his 3 year NFL career; including the Buccaneers, Eagles, Jets and Jaguars. During that time, he has yet to make it on the field for 1 game. I don’t think that changes with the Ravens this season.)
76. LS Morgan Cox (Morgan Cox’s chances of making the roster actually aren’t all that bad. He just has to beat out Matt Katula, who will come in as an overwhelming favorite. If Katula hasn’t shaken off his elbow issues, Cox’s chances will improve.)
77. RB Curtis Steele (A lot of scouts really like Curtis Steele. The problem is, there isn’t an obvious role for the UFA out of Memphis. My guess is that he ends up on the practice squad, but making the 53 isn’t impossible.)
78. DE Albert McClellan (I haven’t heard a bad thing about the Ravens’ UFA out of Marshall. Problem is, I haven’t heard anything that makes me think he’ll really have a shot at making the roster.)
79. WR Rodelin Anthony (When you’re a 6’5″ receiver, scouts pay attention. But if the Ravens’ UFA out of UNLV wants to make the 53, he’s going to have to make a MAJOR impact between now and Labor Day.)
80. S Brad Jones (I think a lot of folks were confused about who exactly Brad Jones was when he signed out of Cincinnati. Jones is a rookie-not the LB who was drafted by and played for the Packers last season. The Ravens have had success with safeties from Cincinnati-see Nakamura, Haruki; but I don’t expect that to help Jones make the roster.)
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81. WR Maurice Price (Price has bounced around during his career-making stops with the Chiefs, Pats, 49ers and Calgary Stampeders of the CFL before landing on the Ravens’ practice squad. I would be surprised if he found his way back.)
82. WR Chris Hannon (A 6’3″ receiver out of the University of Tennessee who has made stops in Kansas City, Carolina, San Francisco, Miami and Detroit should probably have a better chance of making the roster than I am giving him credit for. He’ll have plenty of time over the next few months to prove me wrong.)
83. DL John Fletcher (John Fletcher is a 6’6″ D-Lineman out of Wyoming. He has at least a chance at making the practice squad, but probably nothing more than that.)
84. OL Daniel Sanders (The UFA out of Colorado hasn’t given me-or anyone else-much of a reason to be able to say too much about him at this point. Maybe that will change.)
85. CB Courtney Smith (I’m not sure I had ever heard of Central Washington before the Ravens picked up Courtney Smith. He’ll have a chance to put the school on the map, but it’s a bit of an extreme longshot.)
86. CB Ashton Hall (The Ravens signed two undrafted members of the Thundering Herd following the draft. Of the two, Albert McClellan appears to be a bit farther ahead.)
87. C Digger Bujnoch (Before putting together this list, I could name 86 of the 87 players on the Ravens’ roster. The former Cincinnati Bearcats center was the only one I couldn’t.)

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out, as each of these players will have a chance to improve their place on the list.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because I went over to Pimlico yesterday and they had ALL of my favorite things. Beer, oysters, and even crab balls…

crab balls

They did something with the horses too-hopefully someone else was paying more attention than I.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Bergesen sparkled as Orioles topped Mariners

You know, some people look at the O’s and say “they only have 10 wins.”

I look at the O’s and say “they have 10 more wins then they had on Opening Day.”

Watching Brad Bergesen early on last night, I got the sense that he was again benefitting from “swinging in the rain”, as the M’s were hacking. However, as the game moved on-I felt as though Bergesen was mixing his pitches really well, and would have been effective no matter what the weather was.

It’s nice to say something like that. I hope I can say it again tomorrow.

I hope I can say Luke Scott and Adam Jones had multi-hit games again tomorrow as well.

There’s a lot of things I hope. None of them have anything to do with Felix Hernandez throwing a perfect game. PLEASE DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!!!!!!

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of win

When do we just annoint Alfredo Simon our lord and savior?

Things got a little hairy for Koji Uehara late last night, but thank God “Special Sauce” or whatever the hell the kids are calling him came in to finish things off.

I’m REALLY not convinced that Alfredo Simon is the next coming of Randy Myers, but I’m all for riding the Simon train until it comes crashing down. I mean, we’ve had MUCH worse over this 13 year span.

You know what, I’d probably be all for riding Alfredo Simon even if he ends up failing, just because I’d simply like to have more games with SAVE SITUATIONS!!!

10-24.

Hey, if this was a football game-we’d only be trailing by two possessions!

3. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says Corey Patterson called up by Birds

As even Jay said yesterday via Facebook-

“Only Corey can save us now.”

No one is REALLY excited about Corey Patterson being back in Baltimore. No one is REALLY excited about Nolan Reimold going back down.

Unfortunately, wins and losses have to count for at least SOMETHING. I know that’s not the on-field picture that’s been painted; but it HAS to.

Nolan Reimold wasn’t helping the Orioles win. You can’t just keep sending someone out to the field that doesn’t help your team win.

Insert your own Kyle Boller joke here.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester defends Andy MacPhail for uncomfortably posted fan video

UNCOMFORTABLE?!?!?

I’m not even kidding about this-I think watching “2 Girls 1 Cup” was less awkward than watching this.

Holy crap.

I still don’t know what the point of this video was. I know he threw in a “keep the faith” quip at the end of the video, but…umm…there were 3,000 people at OPACY last night. How much faith is there to be kept?!?!?

There was no apology for the disastrous start. There was no “this is my fault, and I’m going to fix it.” There was nothing more than a basic rundown that Mike Gonzalez struggled, Garrett Atkins is amongst the players who haven’t produced, and the team has had to face the Yankees and Red Sox early.

Umm….didn’t we already know that?

However, ol’ Drew Forrester DEFENDED HIM! Unbelievable! He gave him the pass for this DISASTER of a video! Not only that, but he said in our “Orange Crush” chat that “82-80 isn’t far away” for the Birds.

And with that, Drew Forrester was named “Apologist of the Morning” by “The Great Arbitrator”-HIMSELF!

History made again!

5. The AP’s John Kekis says Nationals prospect Strasburg shut down Norfolk Tides on farm

I’m not sure how many people stayed up to watch this on MASN last night, but…ummm…this kid Strasburg…it looks like he might be pretty good.

I’m not going to say he IS good yet, as he hasn’t recorded a single out at the MLB level.

BUT…it looks like the Nats are going to benefit greatly from having drafted him.

Before we move on from the Orioles, a reminder that they head back to the field this afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to wrap their 3 game set with the Seattle Mariners at 12:35. Felix Hernandez goes against Kevin Millwood. There’s a rumor that Glenn Clark might make an appearance at the ballpark today, but we’ll see. It might be a brief stop in the press box and then 6 innings of sitting in the stands and drinking beer.

I like to call that “Thursday.”

6. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Lamar Divens expects to be cleared for practice next week

Divens joins a DT group that remains VERY deep for the Ravens despite the departures of Justin Bannan and Dwan Edwards this offseason.

Behind Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg there’s Terrence Cody-with Cory Redding splitting time with Trevor Pryce on the end.

Behind that group, there’s Kelly Talavou, Brandon McKinney and Arthur Jones even before you get to Lamar Divens. It’s a DEEP GROUP.

Should the Ravens be looking to make an upgrade at another position, this would likely be the position they have the depth to deal from. Do I expect them to? Not necessarily. But could it be possible? Absolutely it could be.

7. ESPN.com’s James Walker says Cam Cameron thinks Ravens’ offense can be ‘elite’

I don’t think anyone disagrees that they have the POTENTIAL to be elite.

Joe Flacco MUST progress in his development. Ray Rice needs to have another Pro Bowl caliber year. The impact of Anquan Boldin has to be both numbers for him and increased production from Derrick Mason, Todd Heap and Donte’ Stallworth. Jared Gaither and Michael Oher need to continue to hold down the tackle spots.

There are a lot of variables, but the pieces are there. If they remain healthy, there is absolutely a chance that Cam Cameron will be right.

I’ll say there’s a better chance of the Ravens having an elite offense than there is of me getting a date with Giorgia Palmas (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

palmas

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland to visit Penn State in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

You guys have been talking about how much you’ve wanted to see the Terrapins play the Nittany Lions, and now you got your way!

Sadly…it’s not in football.

The Terps and Lions make for one of the worst matchups in the Challenge this year. Plus, State College is TERRIBLE, so I can’t fathom any Maryland fan wanting to drive up there for the game. I guess Talor Battle is pretty good, but does anyone in Happy Valley even know there are other sports after football season is over?!?!?

Ugh.

Michigan State would have been nice. Wisconsin would have been fine. Purdue would have been great. Ohio State would have been great.

Penn State is none of those things. Penn State is just….awful.

9. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns and Tommy Kehoe say Duke/Hopkins best of 1st round games in NCAA Tournament

I don’t think I disagree. Loyola/Cornell could be (if the Greyhounds can summon the success they had earlier in the season); but given how the Blue Jays played down the stretch, they have at least a chance to knock off the Blue Devils.
Before I move on from college sports, here’s a look at UMBC’s new logo (as we first passed along via Twitter -@WNST- yesterday.)

umbc 

I can dig it. Go Retrievers!

10. Maryland Jockey Club says Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver drew 8th post, named 5-2 favorite for Preakness

If you missed Paddy O’Prado jockey and former Preakness (as well as Derby and Belmont) winner Kent Desormeaux this morning, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault and check it out today. Drew also had the great John Feinstein and new Wake Forest coach (former UMBC coach) Jeff Bzdelik on the show this morning, check them out.

If you missed Alessandra Ambrosio over at Guyism, look what I found!

ambrosio

11. WNST.net’s Gary Quill says Lookin At Lucky 2nd choice at 3-1, drew 7th post

Bob Baffert seemed happy with the draw. Of course, Todd Pletcher seemed happy with the draw for Super Saver. A lof of people were happy at Pimlico yesterday. I mean, how could you not be? There were crab balls!!!

I’m starting to join the Bob Haynie bandwagon when it comes to Lookin At Lucky. I think he’ll get my money.

Or at least whatever money I have leftover after alcohol.

And finally, I leave you with this…

Congratulations to the Montreal Candiens for making sports fans in Pittsburgh sad this morning. Since they already made sports fans in Washington sad this postseason, they’re basically my heros!

Since it’s a big day in Canada today, here’s some Our Lady Peace…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CBBtorFg2I[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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