Tag Archive | "East Rutherford"

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Live From Owings Mills: John Harbaugh’s Weekly Press Conference

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh held the first of his weekly regular season press conferences today at 1 Winning Drive.

Amongst the highlights from today’s conversation:

-Harbaugh says TE Todd Heap “should practice tomorrow” despite suffering a shoulder injury during the Ravens’ penultimate possession Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium. “It looks like he’s okay” added Harbaugh regarding the former Pro Bowl TE; who dove for a Joe Flacco pass on first down, making a spectacular catch in the process.

-When asked if scratching CB Lardarius Webb from the win over the New York Jets had more to do with pain Webb was feeling or something in warmups the coaches weren’t seeing, Harbaugh responded “all of the above.” He added that Webb was still going through the “healing process” after returning from a torn ACL and the team does not want to rush him back. Regarding his status for Sunday afternoon’s AFC North tilt against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, Harbaugh said “I thought he had a chance to play last week, he wasn’t able to do it. I think he has a chance to play this week…it’s going to be his decision in the end.”

-Harbaugh said Tom Zbikowski’s performance as punt returner was “disappointing”, but said he had a “good conversation” with Zbikowski on the train ride home from East Rutherford and believes the safety “will learn from” his performance. However, Harbaugh did not commit to Zbikowski continuing to be the permanent option at punt returner, saying CB Chris Carr could still be in the mix.

-Harbaugh thought OL Marshal Yanda and OL Chris Chester “did really well” after being shuffled into roles as RT and RG respectively. “I think they’re ready to do it” said Harbaugh, who said Yanda would continue to be a long term option if starting RT Jared Gaither is unable to return.

-Harbaugh said he had no update on rookie LB Sergio Kindle, who remains unsigned. “I wish I did” said Harbaugh. Kindle was in Charm City last weekend to be looked over by neurologists. Harbaugh did not field questions about injured Ravens Gaither (back), DT Terrence Cody (knee) or OLB/DE Paul Kruger (shoulder).

NOTES:
Hear from Harbaugh NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……The Ravens reached injury settlements with OT Stefan Rodgers (ankle) and OL David Hale (tailbone), both of whom had been on Injured Reserve. Both are no longer on the team’s roster……Bill Macatee and former Oakland Raiders QB Rich Gannon will call Sunday’s Ravens-Bengals game for CBS, which can be seen locally on WJZ 13……The Ravens return to the practice field tomorrow; Harbaugh, Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Ray Lewis, WR Derrick Mason and others are expected to be available in formal media sessions. The Cincinnati Bengals will provide conference calls with coach Marvin Lewis and WR Chad Ochocinco for members of the Baltimore media.

-G

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Boldin Makes Major Difference as Ravens Survive Jets

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — It’s not easy to single out anything about a team’s offensive performance in a game where they only score 10 points.

However, the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) had one particular offensive element that made all of the difference in their 10-9 victory over the New York Jets (0-1) on Monday Night Football.

[picapp align="left" wrap="false" link="term=anquan+boldin&iid=9765171" src="http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9765171/baltimore-ravens-new-york/baltimore-ravens-new-york.jpg?size=500&imageId=9765171" width="234" height="351" /]
WR Anquan Boldin was indeed the best player on the field at New Meadowlands Stadium Monday night. He was also the exact type of game-changer the Ravens dreamed of when GM Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh went about trying to improve a team that finished 9-7 last season and snuck into the playoffs with the AFC’s final Wild Card spot.

Boldin’s numbers (7 catches, 110 yards) would be proof enough that he had made a significant difference. But a look inside those numbers makes things even more impressive.

The Ravens converted 11 of their 19 3rd down attempts in the game. Of the 11 conversions, Boldin caught three first down passes and was targeted on another play where a defensive penalty extended the drive. Boldin’s presence helped the Ravens establish a 38:32 to 21:28 advantage in Time of Possession; despite being out-rushed 116 yards to 49.

Let those numbers sink in again.

The Jets outgained the Ravens on the ground 116 yards to 49. Yet the Ravens held the ball for nearly twice as long as the Jets did in their opponents’ stadium.

That’s why the team wanted to get an Anquan Boldin this offseason.

When asked following the game if his performance was what the Ravens had hoped for in obtaining the former Pro Bowl receiver, Harbaugh was quick to respond with an emphatic “Heck yeah.” He added “I’m excited about our weapons…we’ve got guys all the way across the board that  Joe (Flacco) can go to.”

The 3rd year QB knew exactly why his new favorite target was so effective on 3rd down, saying “Anquan is just a big, physical guy who goes up for the ball.”

That’s not the end of the impression Boldin left on the football field. On the three 3rd down plays Boldin converted, the Ravens were faced with an average of 3rd down and 9 yards to go. On those three plays, the Ravens picked up an average of 22 yards.

That’s where a receiver becomes a game-breaker. On 3rd and long, he consistently made plays.

Boldin was quick to deflect praise following the game, saying “It’s not just about me. We have a group of receivers that’s going to be tough to defend no matter who we play. I don’t think there’s any team in this league that can match up three corners with our three receivers. We have three #1 receivers on the field.”

While it is fair to point out that the team’s other top receivers (Derrick Mason and TJ Houshmandzadeh) combined for just three catches and 48 yards, TE Todd Heap also pulled down six catches for 72 yards. Amongst those catches was a 35 yard reception to open the Ravens’ final drive; which helped pin the Jets inside their own 20 for their final possession.

What makes Anquan Boldin so good isn’t just what he does on the field himself, it’s what he allows the entire offense to do as well.

10 points and 282 yards might not be glaring reminders of that, but the Ravens did face Rex Ryan and the NFL’s best defense from a season ago. That won’t have to do that every week.

But if he remains healthy, they will have a bona fide superstar receiver to throw the ball to every week.

What we saw on Monday night is exactly what that star receiver is capable of doing every time he puts on a purple and black uniform. It’s EXACTLY why the organization was so determined to pry him away from the Arizona Cardinals and sign him to a new four year deal in the offseason.

For Ravens fans, it’s been a long time coming. Mason has been the franchise’s greatest receiver since he came to Charm City, and has regularly put up statistics similar to the ones put up by Boldin Monday night.

But Mason has never been thought of as a “gamebreaker”, the type of receiver whose presence alone could alter everything else going on every time he set foot on a field.

In one game with the team, Boldin proved he was EXACTLY that type of player.

-G

———————

Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Boldin, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs and LB Ray Lewis following Monday night’s win NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

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Join our Purple Haze chat live NOW!!!!

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Join our Purple Haze chat live NOW!!!!

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ. — The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets open their respective 2010 seasons tonight at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday Night Football. We will be live from the press box here in East Rutherford all night, where it is RAINING…

nyj

Kickoff for tonight’s game has been delayed AT LEAST 30 minutes due to lightning. We’ll start the Purple Haze on time however for those of you who want to chat.

Here are the scratches…

Jets-
QB Kellen Clemens (3rd QB)
S Brodney Pool
RB Joe McKnight
OT Vladimir Ducasse
OT Patrick Brown
TE Jeff Cumberland
DT Marcus Dixon
LB Calvin Pace

S Eric Smith will start for Brodney Pool, OLB Jason Taylor will start for Calvin Pace.

Ravens-
WR Donte’ Stallworth
CB Lardarius Webb
CB Bryan McCann
ILB Jason Phillips
DT Arthur Jones
DT Terrence Cody
OT Jared Gaither
DE Paul Kruger

Marshal Yanda is expected to start for Gaither.

Make sure you jump in the Purple Haze chat starting at 7:30!

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Personnel Questions Persist Three Days Before Ravens Face Jets

Posted on 10 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just three days away from their season opener against the New York Jets, there were still a handful of questions surrounding the Baltimore Ravens as they returned to work Friday at 1 Winning Drive.

With OT Jared Gaither (back) ruled out for Monday’s game, there are multiple possibilities as to what the team will do at RT on Monday Night Football. Oniel Cousins (concussion) was listed as a full participant in practice Wednesday, but told reporters he “didn’t know” if he’d be able to start in East Rutherford. He also admitted that while listed as a full participant, he “didn’t do everything” in practice as he continues to battle headaches. Cousins was again listed as a full participant Friday.

Should Cousins not be able to play-or start-when the Ravens invade New Meadowlands Stadium, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron  says the Ravens have “options” at the position. Tony Moll started against both the Washington Redskins and New York Giants during the preseason, and G Marshal Yanda has been taking snaps at RT this week in case he’s needed to make the shift.

Another question facing the Ravens comes at Punt Returner, where Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Friday the team has a “number of guys who can do that job.” S Tom Zbikowski is listed as the #1 option on the team’s official depth chart; but CB’s Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb were also seen fielding punts during practice Friday. RB Ray Rice had been seen fielding punts earlier in the week as well.

Zbikowski and Carr are the team’s top options, but both are expected to start on defense Monday night in New Jersey. Zbikowski will start for Ed Reed (who is on the reserve PUP list with a hip/groin issue) and Carr is expected to start alongside Fabian Washington with Josh Wilson as the nickel back. It would not be surprising to see both Carr and Zbikowski get chances to return punts in the opener.

A third question surrounds the status of Webb. Head coach John Harbaugh said the team wasn’t “anticipating” Webb (knee) to be available Monday when he spoke this week on his weekly radio show, but Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison praised the work Webb has done Friday. Mattison said Webb was “a lot closer” to returning. Webb returned to practice August 23rd, and was listed as a full participant on the team’s initial injury report Thursday. Webb was again listed as a full participant Friday.

However, Webb did not play in any of the team’s preseason games and had been held out of contract drills in recent days.

Another question surrounding the Ravens has to do with which eight players will be inactive for Monday night’s game. Gaither, DT Terrence Cody (knee) and WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) have already been ruled out for the game. Webb is another candidate to be scratched, as is DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) who did not participate in practice Thursday but was back on the practice field Friday afternoon, where he was listed as a limited participant.

Other potential candidates to be scratched include TE Dennis Pitta, WR’s David Reed & Marcus Smith, DT’s Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens, LB’s Edgar Jones, Prescott Burgess and Jason Phillips, CB Bryan McCann and S Ken Hamlin. It is worth noting that of that group; Reed, Smith, Jones, Burgess, McCann and Hamlin are expected to have very significant roles on Special Teams.

NOTES: Hear from Cameron, Mattison, Rosburg and Cousins NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……McCann joined Drew Forrester Friday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that interview is also available in the Audio Vault……The Ravens will practice again Saturday, with Harbaugh scheduled to address the media following practice. They will then hold a walkthrough Sunday (closed to the media) before heading to East Rutherford……The Jets removed DE Shaun Ellis (knee) from their injury report, he was listed as “limited” Thursday. S Brodney Pool (ankle) improved from not participating to limited……Harbaugh’s first weekly press conference will be Tuesday at 4pm. Press conferences will be at 4pm Monday when the Ravens play games on Sunday.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Emotions of Ravens-Jets Coming to Forefront

Posted on 09 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Given the number of former players and coaches employed by their first opponent, it is not a stretch to assume that the Baltimore Ravens will be facing a more emotional test when they visit the New York Jets Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.

In fact, the only really surprising part has to be the fact that it took until four days before the Monday Night Football showdown in East Rutherford for any member of the Ravens to really speak their mind. Of course, it isn’t particularly surprising that the one to do it was future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis.

“We’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints” said Lewis. He added “until they play tonight, (they’re) the only people that can be dethroned-Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets.” Lewis unloaded on his former Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan and company. “All this pressure (Ryan) wants to put on his team, I hope they can cash the check that he writes” said the Pro Bowler.

Lewis’ entire rant can be heard currently in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

The Jets have captivated the attention of the NFL world and the pop culture world in general as they were profiled on this season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO. Television clip shows like E!’s “The Soup” featured clips of Ryan and CB Antonio Cromartie during Training Camp and leading up to the start of the regular season. Ryan has been no stranger to the spotlight since leading his team to an appearance in the AFC Championship Game last year, as he gained plenty of attention (not always for the right reasons) when he made offseason appearances at a Strikeforce fight in Miami, a Carolina Hurricanes game and Yankee Stadium.

Ryan wasn’t particularly concerned with Lewis’ comments, saying “I’m laughing” when asked about them during a Thursday afternoon conference call with Charm City media members. Ryan said he’s not concerned about talking too much himself or as a team, saying “we don’t have to sneak up on people to tell them what we think.”

The Jets and Ravens have both been amongst media favorites to win the AFC and reach Super Bowl XLV in Dallas/Arlington.

ROSTER MOVES
: The Ravens released practice squad QB Hunter Cantwell Thursday just four days after signing him. Cantwell is replaced on the practice squad by former Miami Dolphins and Georgia Tech OT Andrew Gardner. Gardner told reporters he was “really happy to have the opportunity” to join a team like the Ravens.

When asked about who his emergency 3rd quarterback would be with just two on the roster, coach John Harbaugh said it would “probably” be WR Anquan Boldin. Boldin played QB at Pahokee High School in Florida and was pressed into emergency duty for Florida State in the 2003 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.

The Ravens also reached an injury settlement with FB Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin had been placed on IR over the weekend due to a hip flexor issue and sports hernia.

PRACTICE NOTES: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), DT Terrence Cody (knee) and OR Jared Gaither (back) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media. All three have been officially ruled out for Monday night according to the team’s Injury Report.

OT Oniel Cousins (concussion) and CB Lardarius Webb (knee) were again active participants in practice, both listed as having fully participated. Harbaugh said of Cousins “I think he’s come along and I think he’ll be able to do something over there.” Webb fielded punts during practice, along with S Tom Zbikowski and RB Ray Rice. Zbikowski is listed as the punt returner on the team’s official depth chart.

Stallworth met with reporters in the locker room, saying he got his cast off earlier in the day. He said the prognostication for return was eight weeks, but his doctor informed him one “crazy guy” had made it back in four weeks. That “crazy guy” was New Orleans Saints TE Jeremy Shockey, who Stallworth reached out to for tips on how to get back quicker.

DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) did not participate in practice according to the Injury Report. His status for Monday night is unknown.

Jets LB Calvin Pace (foot) has been ruled out Monday night. S Brodney Poole (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday and DE Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited in practice.

NOTES: Hear from Lewis, Harbaugh, Boldin, Stallworth, QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Jarret Johnson, DE Trevor Pryce and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Lewis received good natured ribbing from his teammates regarding his popular new Old Spice commercial. He said teammates have poked at him, including leaving suds in front of his locker room. “I’ve just gotta weather the storm” said Lewis……OL Marshal Yanda joined Drew Forrester Thursday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. If you missed the chat, you can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault. New CB Bryan McCann is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 6:30am.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Prepare For Jets Without Key Pieces

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens took the practice field Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive focused entirely on the New York Jets, who they will open the season with on Monday Night Football from Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, they are practicing without two key pieces-who they likely won’t have Monday night.

DT Terrence Cody (knee) and OT Jared Gaither (back) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday and are not expected to take the field for the season opener. WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) will certainly be on the inactive list Monday night, as he is expected to miss roughly the first eight weeks of the season.

The Ravens are not required by the NFL to release their first official injury report until tomorrow.

Should Cody and Gaither join Stallworth on the inactive list Monday night, the team would have to scratch an additional five players. Possibilities to be scratched include WR David Reed, WR Marcus Smith, TE Dennis Pitta, DT Arthur Jones, DT Lamar Divens, DE Paul Kruger, LB Edgar Jones, LB Prescott Burgess, LB Jason Phillips and CB Bryan McCann.

Another possibility to miss Monday night’s game is CB Lardarius Webb, who is in his 3rd week of practice since being activated from Training Camp Injured Reserve. Webb did not play against the New York Giants or St. Louis Rams to end the preseason as he continues to come back from a torn ACL. Webb still hasn’t participated in contract drills, but said the knee was “getting better.” Regarding Monday, Webb said “I’ll see where I’m at.”

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh participated in his first official practice as a Raven Monday, wearing the familiar #84 jersey.

RAVENS COMPLETE PRACTICE SQUAD: The Ravens have signed former Purdue CB David Pender to their practice squad, filling the 8th and final spot.

Pender joins QB Hunter Cantwell, WR Justin Harper, RB Curtis Steele, OLB Albert McClellan, OT Devin Tyler, OL Bryan Mattison and TE Davon Drew on the developmental group.

Pender is a 6’0″, 180 pound corner who finished his career with the Boilermakers with 3 interceptions. He had originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after going undrafted.

NOTES: Hear from Webb, K Billy Cundiff, FB Le’Ron McClain, LB Jameel McClain, OL Marshal Yanda, G Ben Grubbs and C Matt Birk NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net……Yanda is scheduled to join Drew Forrester Thursday morning at 7:00am on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST……Following practice Thursday, coach John Harbaugh, RB Ray Rice, LB Ray Lewis and QB Joe Flacco are scheduled for formal media sessions. In addition, Jets coach Rex Ryan and LB Bart Scott are scheduled for conference calls with the Charm City media contingency.

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I get to name two new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” There’s few things I enjoy this much in the world.

The Retro version? This is too easy. We went drunkpin bowling for my birthday Saturday night, and “Mo Money Mo Problems” nearly got me thrown out. Absolutely the greatest hip hop song of all time…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twkh0YiInPM[/youtube]

Here’s the NEW version of the GSOATTW…Lil’ Wayne & Drake…Language probably not safe for work…

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

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says new Ravens WR Houshmandzadeh ‘entertaining’ during introductory press conference in Owings Mills

Just go ahead and say it. “Championship”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs1N5NYyb24[/youtube]

TJ Houshmandzadeh was plenty entertaining at 1 Winning Drive Tuesday-whether it was saying Cincinnati Bengals coaches were “nervous” before facing the Baltimore Ravens or saying his departure from Seattle had “nothing to do with football.” He was intelligent and engaging, and made a press conference interesting.

Unfortunately, an impressive press conference doesn’t count for any wins in the AFC North standings. What happens on the field will matter MUCH more than anything that happens in any press conference.

Unless of course something like one of these happens at a Ravens press conference this season. That WOULD be newsworthy…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRBfZna8QlA[/youtube]

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says LB Sergio Kindle believes he’ll be able to return this season

If the Ravens don’t get Sergio Kindle back this season, the decision to trade Antwan Barnes to Philadelphia looks more and more foolish to me.

I have a bad feeling that pass rush will be an area of concern within a month or so of the start of the season. Bringing in Josh Wilson improves the secondary, but the secondary will only be as good as the pass rush will allow it to be.

Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce are the most important puzzle pieces, but the team will need to be able to get a rush from elsewhere. The number of injuries the team could help Paul Kruger or Edgar Jones be active against the Jets Monday night, and if so they’ll need to show some ability to get to the quarterback to stay active.

I just feel like it’s going to be a concern. Getting Kindle back between Week 6 and Week 9 could help that.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens worked out former Atlanta Falcons, LSU CB Chevis Jackson Tuesday

Jackson wouldn’t be a player they’d be looking at for the active roster (which could have something to do with why he didn’t join the team Tuesday), but instead to join the practice squad after Prince Miller signed with the New England Patriots.

The real question is-if the Ravens are conducting tryouts, why wouldn’t they give Alyssa Pallett a look??? (Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!)

pallett

4. The Sun’s Tim Smith says Lyric Opera House to be renamed after former Ravens owner Art Modell and wife Pat Modell

I know nothing about opera and less about donating millions of dollars. With that being said, I think this is an awesome story shared between two Charm City institutions.

The first performance at the new Modell Center? A Ray Lewis/Old Spice musical extravaganza…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxqlw3cKZHA[/youtube]

5. Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer says Brian Baldinger, Steve Beuerlein, Ron Jaworski, Steve Largent, Joe Theismann, Marcellus Wiley amongst former NFL players who think Ravens will reach Super Bowl

A few things before we move on from the Ravens…

-As you already know, Jaworski will be part of the broadcast team Monday; as he, Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya will have the call for ESPN from the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford.

-The Ravens return to the practice field today for a “bonus day” in Owings Mills. We’ll be out there live, and I’ll check back in with Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to let you know what’s going on in Ravensland.

6. The AP’s Howie Rumberg says Orioles got to CC Sabathia early in win over New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium

Look-you don’t have to even bother asking if I watched last night. I played in my weekly Tuesday night Kickball/Ultimate Frisbee showdown in Bel Air, then I came home to watch Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal in Flushing Meadows.

And since I haven’t been watching the games, I will admit that I’m always skeptical when I check back to see the scores. I mean, the O’s can’t REALLY be on the verge of a sweep in The Bronx, can they? They couldn’t REALLY have beaten CC Sabathia last night thanks in part to a Nolan Reimold homer, could they?

There’s so much evidence that it almost HAS to be true, but I’ll continue to admit that I’m skeptical. Can you blame me?

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

So many good things to look at here:

-Jake Arrieta went 6 and a third last night, allowing just 2 earned runs on 8 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 3.
-Not only did Reimold homer, but Ty Wigginton went 2-4 with a double, run scored and RBI; Nick Markakis went 2-4 with a run scored and RBI; and Brian Roberts went 2-5 with a run scored.

So-as has become a new custom around here-I encourage you to ABSOLUTELY go look at the numbers, but then come back to check out Jodi Gordon courtesy of The Beer Goggler via Busted Coverage…

jodigordon

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Troy Patton, Pedro Viola called up; David Hernandez activated Tuesday

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-The Birds and Yanks wrap their 3 game series this week with a matinee showdown at Yankee Stadium. Brad Bergesen takes the hill against Ivan Nova, first pitch is on MASN at 1:05pm.

-Did you miss Bowie Baysox manager Brad Komminsk wrapping up the season with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today here at WNST.net to check it out. Some other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • John Harper (New York Daily News)-who talked Orioles, Yankees and Buck Showalter with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Justin Gimelstob (Tennis Channel)-who went around the U.S. Open with Drew Wednesday morning as well
  • Lorenzo Neal (Former Ravens, Bengals FB)-who discussed his former teammate TJ Houshmandzadeh with Rex Snider Tuesday afternoon
  • Bob Glauber (Newsday/ESPN First Take)-who discussed the New York Jets before the Monday Night Football showdown with Rex Tuesday afternoon
  • Frankie Edgar (UFC Lightweight Champion)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • The entire TJ Houshmandzadeh press conference (with an introduction from WR Coach Jim Hostler) from Owings Mills, and the entire Kevin Anderson press conference (with incoming school president Wallace Loh and acting president Nariman Farvardin) from College Park

It’s all in the Audio Vault, make sure you check it out today. Then you can send me a card. Or a fruit basket. I’d love a fruit basket.

9. The AP says new Maryland AD Kevin Anderson wants to take Terps from ‘good to great’

There’s no question that Debbie Yow left the Terrapins’ athletic program in very good shape-both on the field and economically.

That being said, the school would clearly like to see their “money” sports competing at a more consistent national level.

That’s where Kevin Anderson comes in.

There are two pieces in place now with Dr. Loh established as President and Anderson as Athletic Director.

Now everything shifts to the football program.

A win over Navy was nice, but Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin know exactly what they’re up against. The leadership of the school and the department will have to decide what they’re looking for, and whether the current head coach and/or the head coach in waiting can meet those expectations.

They might not be coaching for their jobs-but I don’t think it’s unfair to say they very well could be.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins DT Joe Vellano, S Kenny Tate amongst ACC Players of the Week

Trust me, I asked-this type of honor is nice but does NOT earn you a date with Tal Berkovich. (Thanks Guyism!)

berkovich

It really should though.

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Big Lebowski meets The Matrix. The Dude abides…

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-NASL: Vancouver Whitecaps @ Crystal Palace Baltimore (Saturday 5pm Paul Angelo Russo Stadium-Calvert Hall), MLS: DC United @ Toronto FC (Saturday 4pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet and MLS Direct Kick); Mixed Martial Arts: Shine Fights (Friday 9pm from Oklahoma live on Pay-Per-View)

10. Lady Gaga (Tuesday 8pm Verizon Center); Buckcherry/Flyleaf/Charm City Devils/Sick Puppies (Thursday 6pm Power Plant Live), Blues Traveler (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Kottonmouth Kings (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live), Toadies (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live), Seether (Monday 7pm Rams Head Live); Pat McGee (Saturday 8:30pm Rams Head On Stage), Ozomatli (Monday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Big Boi (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Blondie (Wednesday 8:30pm State Theatre); Deadliest Catch Live (Wednesday 8pm Lyric Opera House); York Fair (Friday-Monday York Fairgrounds); Maryland Seafood Festival (Friday-Sunday Sandy Point State Park); In The Street Festival (Saturday 11am Market Street & Carroll Creek Linear Park Frederick)

I’m leaving Lady Gaga alone. I’m probably the only one in the world who will do that. Trust me, I find her just as fascinating as the rest of you-but there’s NO chance I’d pay money to go see her live.

You see what you made me do? I spent 42 words on Lady Gaga. Ugh.

Moving on, I’m a much bigger fan of Flyleaf than you’d ever realize…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN0FFK8JSYE[/youtube]

I WILL be attending Blues Traveler after the Purple Party Friday night. John Popper and I are kindred souls…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ousaiByU1ko[/youtube]

“Possum Kingdom” might be the only song I’m really interested in seeing the Toadies do, but it’s really a hell of a song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFyv6Y2J9Lw[/youtube]

I LOVE Outkast in a way that doesn’t fit the love I feel for a lot of other things in the world. Big Boi’s new record is freaking TREMENDOUS, if not necessarily Safe For Work…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiwDs01pfZM[/youtube]

9. EA Sports NHL 11 available in stores for XBox 360/PS3 (Tuesday)

If I had time to play NHL 11, there is no doubt that I would somehow find a way to make Viktor Tikhonov the greatest player in the league.

By the way, if I DID play NHL 11-there would be a 100% chance you’d see a Jason Lee/Jeremy London type moment from “Mallrats” with me…

“Hartford, the Whale? They beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.”

If you get the reference, you’re a winner. And I offer this to you as a prize. Oh but once again, it isn’t necessarily the type of prize that has language completely safe for work…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfVVjpVZP8I[/youtube]

8. Golf: PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs-BMW Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday 12pm Sunday 2pm live on NBC. All golf from Lemont, Illinois); LPGA Tour P&G NW Arkansas Championship Presented by Walmart (Friday 12:30pm, Saturday & Sunday 4pm from Rogers, Arkansas live on Golf Channel); Champions Tour Posco E&C Songdo Championship (Friday-Sunday 6:30pm from Songdo, Korea live on Golf Channel); Team USA Ryder Cup Selection Show (Tuesday 10:30am Golf Channel)

A week after some dude named Matt Kuchar won a golf tournament, some dude named Charley Hoffman won the next one. I’m not even kidding about this-when I heard Charley Hoffman had won a playoff event, I thought “Brandt” from The Big Lebowski had somehow been victorious.

Oh and also, Tiger Woods is still mediocre. Which is (I guess) enough to warrant coverage on SportsCenter. Frankly, I’d prefer more table tennis highlights myself…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJn5L1nrkL4[/youtube]

7. Auto Racing-NASCAR Air Guard 400 (Saturday 7:30pm from Richmond live on ABC)

I’d like to pretend I care about this. I know Rex Snider is taking some sort of bus trip down to Richmond Saturday, but it just isn’t my type of thing. Not because I’m shallow-minded, but more because I just like to actually be ENTERTAINED when I spend my entertainment dollar.

Speaking of entertaining, this Oregon Trail-related photo qualifies (Thanks Gorilla Mask!)…

oregontrail

6. High School Football: Southern @ Glen Burnie (Friday 6:30pm), Overlea @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm)

Uh oh.

You mean to tell me that Overlea-home of the Falcons-is facing Perry Hall-home of the mighty Gators-Friday night?

AN ALMA MATER SHOWDOWN BETWEEN GLENN CLARK AND THE GREAT TOM CLARK?!?!?!

tomclark

You’re going down, dad.

5. Basketball: FIBA World Championships-Team USA vs. Russia quarterfinal (Thursday 11am from Istanbul, Turkey live on ESPN), Semifinals and Final (Friday-Sunday from Istanbul live on ESPN)

HOLY CRAP I LOVE THIS. USA-Russia?!?!?!? DOWN WITH THE SOVIETS!!!

Let’s do to them what we did to Ivan Drago…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqT34mnSBio[/youtube]

4. Pro Wrestling: WWE Smackdown (Tuesday 6:45pm from 1st Mariner Arena-airs Friday 8pm on MyNetwork24)

Despite the fact that there’s way too much Jack Swagger, Big Show, Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes on Smackdown, I still kinda dig it. Undertaker is a rock star, Kane is underrated, and the combination of CM Punk, Matt Hardy and Christian is completely underused.

And oh yeah-they also have Rosa Mendes…

rosamendes

3. College Football: Morgan State @ Maryland (Saturday 6pm from Byrd Stadium live on ESPN3.com); Georgia Southern @ Navy (Saturday 3:30pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS College Sports)

The Terrapins may have been fortunate to survive the “Crab Bowl Classic” against the Midshipmen; but the fact remains that they ARE 1-0.

The other fact remains that Kenny Tate has earned himself a few free dinners in the future…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avj6Bs37qJI[/youtube]

2. Tennis: U.S. Open (Tuesday-Thursday 11am live on Tennis Channel 7pm live on ESPN2, Friday 12:30pm live on CBS, Saturday 12pm-mens semifinals 8pm-Women’s Final live on CBS, Sunday 1pm Women’s Doubles Final live on ESPN2 4pm Men’s Final live on CBS. All tennis from New York)

At this point, I think it’s fair to say I’m COMPLETELY FREAKING OUT about heading up to Flushing Meadows Sunday. There’s roughly 0.1% chance an American will be there (no pressure Sam Querrey), but if it’s Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal everything will be cool in my book.

And you don’t even need to bother asking. I WILL be purchasing a few of these while I’m in The Big Apple…

tennisball

1. NFL: Monday Night Football-Baltimore Ravens @ New York Jets (Monday 7pm from East Rutherford, New Jersey live on ESPN); WNST “Purple Friday” Pep Rally (Friday 5pm Sports Legends at Camden Yards)

FOOTBALL IS REALLY (REALLY) BACK.

Oh. Thank. God.

Me personally, I think it will be cool not only to see the Ravens back in action Monday night, but also to see some of my favorite reality TV stars like Antonio Cromartie and Rex Ryan…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHe1AT-rk50[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ywxfeG2oOo[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Following a convincing win over the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens have just one more preseason contest to solve the final spots on their 53 man roster.

They’ll play the St. Louis Rams Thursday night at Edward Jones Dome, and a number of players will be hoping it isn’t the final time they don the purple  & black. The team will be forced to trim the roster to 53 players this Saturday.

There have been a few changes to the roster since my last “Mocking the 53″ update; with CB Doug Dutch cut and both OL Daniel Sanders and CB Marcus Paschal placed on IR. I am also going to move Cary Williams OFF the 53 (he will receive an asterisk following the 53) since he will be roster exempt during the two weeks he’s suspended. He’s on the roster, but the cuts Saturday won’t reflect that. Finally, Donte’ Stallworth moves back to the 53rd spot on the roster. He’s not the 53rd best player on the team, but since he can’t participate I won’t continue to lift him.

As a reminder of my overall philosophy in selecting these players, here is the explanation I posted before my initial mock roster…

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

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

With that in mind, here’s how I see the Top 53 shaping up…

(Thanks to The Sun and BaltimoreRavens.com for photos.)

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

Only a few small changes to the Top 10, as I dropped Michael Oher a couple of spots. The 2nd year tackle from Ole Miss is still VERY important to this football team, and I wouldn’t be stunned at all if his 2nd season ended in a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. But he HAS struggled during the preseason, and this is simply a reflection of that. Otherwise, the top players on the team remain exactly the same.

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

Just a couple of tweeks in this group as well. Todd Heap moves up a couple spots after his sensational performance Saturday night against the G-Men. On the flip side, Terrence Cody falls a few spots due to the knee injury that forced him to miss Saturday night and has forced him to miss about a week’s worth of practice. I still think “Mount Cody” is going to end up being VERY good, but he hasn’t been very good recently.

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

A few movers in this group as well, including a significant move from Sam Koch. He’s looking like a real weapon for this team. His performance against the Washington Redskins would have garnered him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors if it had happened during the regular season, and he was exceptional again Saturday night against the Giants. He’s been very impressive to watch both during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster and in practices since then at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Jared Gaither falls a few spots as he continues to battle a back injury. At this point, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the field when the Ravens play the New York Jets Sept. 13 in East Rutherford to open the season. Kelly Gregg moves up a few spots, as his value to the team is heightened with Terrence Cody hurt.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. LB Jameel McClain
33. LB Dannell Ellerbe
34. LB Tavares Gooden
35. LB Antwan Barnes
36. OL Tony Moll
moll
37. RB Jalen Parmele
38. TE Dennis Pitta
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. DT Brandon McKinney

And after the first 30 players on the roster, EVERYTHING IS TOUGH TO FIGURE OUT! Players 31-40 on this list will all make the roster, but they’ll likely fluctuate position as the season goes on.

In the never-ending saga of “As the JACK LB Turns”, the JACK LB position is turning. Sorta. Harbs said Monday that analysts shouldn’t look too much into the fact that Jameel McClain has started all three preseason games, as all three backers are likely to play roughly the same number of snaps. To some extent, I believe him. In three linebackers, the Ravens have about one complete linebacker. If only they could figure out a way to mold the three together. McClain stays ahead of the others due to the fact that he HAS been starting, but the separation he found from the others early in camp is pretty much non-existent at this point.

Tony Moll and Jalen Parmele are also risers in this group. Parmele because his job as kick returner solidifies his level of importance to the team. Moll because with Gaither and Cousins sidelined, he’s stepped in and held down the RT position admirably. In fact, he’s likely moved ahead of Cousins on the depth chart regardless of health. Should Gaither not be able to go on Monday Night Football to open the season, I would expect Moll to start regardless of health.

41. LS Morgan Cox
42. DT Kelly Talavou
43. OT Oniel Cousins
44. QB Troy Smith
45. CB Travis Fisher
46. S Ken Hamlin
47. K Shayne Graham
48. OL David Hale
49. WR Demetrius Williams
50. WR Marcus Smith
marcussmith
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. CB Prince Miller
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth*

Somewhere in this group my confidence level starts to decline a bit. I’m just not exactly sure where it is. Here’s what we know from 41-53.

At 41, Morgan Cox is the Long Snapper, he’s on the team.
At 42, Kelly Talavou appears to be ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens and comfortably on the roster. He made the roster last year, and the team has maintained faith in him.
At 43, Oniel Cousins is absolutely making the roster as long as he’s healthy. It seems as though he will be-but that’s no guarantee.
At 44, Troy Smith is the team’s 3rd quarterback. The only way he’d not be part of the 53 is if the team were to suddenly find a trade partner or decide for some reason that they don’t need to keep a 3rd quarterback. I find both to be unlikely.
At 45, Travis Fisher is on the team for now. I get the feeling that might not be the case when Cary Williams comes back.
At 46, Ken Hamlin looks like he’s safe until Ed Reed comes back. Of course, there’s a chance that will happen sooner than we thought.
At 47, I still believe Shayne Graham will win the kicking competition. However, I’ve moved him back significantly because there’s almost no difference between he and Billy Cundiff right now. If Cundiff wins, I can’t be surprised anymore. The organization had privately given the job to Graham weeks ago, but there are some factors that might have that job slipping from his grasp.
At 48, David Hale seems safe as long as he’s healthy. That’s a real question mark right now as he battles a tailbone injury. Hale had played well in Camp, and it looked like his improvement had been significant over 12 months.
At 49, Demetrius Williams moves back on the roster. The Ravens will likely want to keep a 4th receiver active with Stallworth hurt, and Williams has more experience than the others on the roster. His size also separates him from the others.
At 50, Marcus Smith is an outstanding Special Teams player. Given some of the players Jerry Rosburg’s unit is missing (including Brendon Ayanbadejo), his inclusion in the Final 53 would make almost too much sense.
At 51, I’m keeping Jason Phillips on the roster for now. Some would argue Prescott Burgess should have his spot, and he’ll have the chance to move ahead.
At 52, Donte’ Stallworth’s injury helps Prince Miller a lot. With Tom Zbikowski starting and Mark Clayton now a slot receiver (who is hurt), it is fair to expect Miller get the bulk of action at punt return this week. That could be enough to lock down a job.
At 53, Donte’ Stallworth holds a roster spot.

54. CB Cary Williams*
carywilliams
(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Potential PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

With Ed Reed now hanging around the facility in Owings Mills, those rumblings that he’ll avoid the PUP list will get louder. With Ed, it’s hard to ever really know. Otherwise, we can be sure Brendon Ayanbadejo will start the season on PUP-and it’s safe to assume that Matt Lawrence will be PUP at best.

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. LB Prescott Burgess
57. WR David Reed
58. LB Edgar Jones
59. DT Arthur Jones
jones
60. DT Lamar Divens
61. OT Ramon Harewood
62. S/CB KJ Gerard
63. TE Davon Drew
64. OT Joe Reitz

Everyone between 55-64 has at least a CHANCE to make the final 53.

At 55, Billy Cundiff is neck and neck with Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. One of them will win.
At 56, Prescott Burgess can win a spot on the roster over the next week. His abilities on Special Teams will help him.
At 57, David Reed has played well recently-but hasn’t been outstanding for all of Camp. He’s not far from the roster, but the next week will be crucial for him.
At 58, Edgar Jones has plenty of versatility-but he hasn’t shown himself to be an exceptional OLB. Despite Sergio Kindle’s injury, he doesn’t look like he’s quite made the team yet.
At 59, Arthur Jones has a ton of upside. He also finds himself the victim of a numbers game. The Ravens might be concerned about exposing him, but it seems like he’s better suited for the practice squad.
At 60, Lamar Divens is in a very similar situation as Arthur Jones. The Ravens would hate to give up on a player that “looks like a Raven” the way Divens does, but he might not fit on the roster right now.
At 61, Ramon Harewood still looks like a very qualified candidate for IR given his knee issue just after the NFL Draft. Injuries to Gaither and Cousins could make him a roster option.
At 62, KJ Gerard has REALLY been hurt by not being on the field for stretches this preseason. The Ravens need secondary help, and he could provide it if he could stay healthy. This is a big week for him.
At 63, Davon Drew has played really well this summer. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to be room for a 4th Tight End on the roster.
At 64, Joe Reitz could end up making the roster given the same injuries to Gaither and Cousins. But if I was a betting man, my money wouldn’t be on him.

65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OL Bryan Mattison
71. OT Stefan Rodgers
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Harper and Riley really offer something to a practice squad given their size. When the Ravens are forced to go up against taller receivers, it will help to have taller receivers to match up against in practice. Others on this list look like solid practice squad options as well-of which Curtis Steele could be one of them.

Questions? Concerns? Song requests? Let me know. I’ll post my final Mocking The 53 Friday.

-G

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And in Week 3, Ravens Finally Live Up to Hype

Posted on 28 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — For NFL teams, a third preseason game tends to feel the most like a regular season game of any of the four. Starters play a bit longer, crowds are a little more energized, and the quality of football is usually a bit greater than in other exhibition contests.

If Saturday night’s 24-10 win over the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium represents something close to what the Baltimore Ravens will do in the regular season, all preseason excitement surrounding the team was completely justified.

The Ravens put on a passing clinic in the first half, with Joe Flacco completing 20 of 32 attempts for 220 yards and two TD’s. He was also intercepted once on a ball deflected by Anquan Boldin. Flacco finished the game 21/34 for 229 yards, adding 16 rushing yards on four carries.

Most importantly, Boldin made four of those catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. He ran a familiar route in the middle of the field for a 22-yard catch on 3rd and 11 to extend the Ravens’ second drive of the night, which would ultimately lead to their first points in the form of a Billy Cundiff field goal. His touchdown grab was also in the middle of the field, on a 4th and 3 play from the New York 9-yard line.

Not only that, but Boldin’s presence helped open things up for Todd Heap, who made 6 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Heap’s touchdown grab also came on a play in the middle of the field.

Boldin knew exactly why fans were excited about the chemistry they saw between him and Flacco. “We’re just starting to get comfortable with one another” said the receiver. “For us, we considered the half a real game, and we tried to pick it up a little bit and get in sync because this is truly the first dress rehearsal that we’ll get before the regular season.”

Heap added similarly significant thoughts on how well the offense is clicking. “The thing that goes along with that is the confidence that Joe (Flacco) has in the guys on the field and how we’ve been able to develop that this whole offseason and through Training Camp.” He added, “You can see when he’s releasing the ball-he’s confident that it’s going to get caught.”

Performances like this are exactly why Ravens fans were so excited to hear that the team had acquired the former Pro Bowl receiver in a trade from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. Visions of such performances were dancing in the collective heads of a fanbase. Those visions were finally evident live on a football field.

If I’m being fair, I’ll be forced to point out that the Giants were 30th in the NFL in scoring defense last season and were playing without defensive starters Terrell Thomas and Chris Canty. I’d also point out that John Harbaugh and company probably wouldn’t have gone for it on fourth down when they scored their first touchdown had this been a regular season game (although offensive coordinator Cam Cameron DID say “we have confidence with this group on fourth-and-short, and we’ll continue to be aggressive with those”).

And if I REALLY wanted to nitpick, I could suggest that the team’s failure to score points on their final two drives of the first half (a Derrick Mason penalty knocked them out of field goal range once; Corey Webster’s INT of a tipped Flacco pass ended the other) is another concern. Failing to score in opposing territory has a tendency to turn what should be a blowout into a game that is closer than necessary in the second half.

But Saturday night was much too exciting to dwell on those types of things.

By finally putting together an offensive explosion against the Giants, the Ravens offered validity for fans and experts alike who believe they had made the types of additions that could help them win the AFC North and contend for a Super Bowl berth.

The first-team offense managed just one scoring drive of 10 plays or more collectively in their preseason wins over the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins. Against the Giants, the first-team offense put together three scoring drives of 10 or more plays.

And they did it despite the fact that their leading rusher was Flacco-who had just 16 yards. Presumably those numbers will improve in the regular season as Ray Rice (five carries), Willis McGahee (zero) and Le’Ron McClain (three) get the ball more.

The excitement surrounding the offense this offseason was even greater considering the team did not have to sacrifice their defense in the process. The first-team defense allowed just three points in the half, after Webster’s interception return gave them the ball at the Baltimore 32-yard line, which led quickly to a Lawrence Tynes field goal. A late Rhett Bomar to Victor Cruz touchdown pass represented the first touchdown ANY Ravens defensive unit had allowed all preseason.

In other words, the offense finally looked like it could match the defense in Charm City. If you attended the game, it might be worth holding on to your ticket stub. If you recorded the game at home, it might be something worth holding on to for awhile.

It’s no guarantee that the corner has been turned and that the Ravens will permanently be a team whose defense and offense perform on similarly exceptional levels. The bad news for the team is that they’ll have to try to repeat this type of performance without receiver Donte’ Stallworth, who broke his left foot in the win and isn’t expected back until around Week 8 according to Harbaugh.

But they look like a team that can not only survive without the reserve receiver, they look like a team that can potentially excel.

A trip to East Rutherford to face Rex Ryan and the impressive New York Jets in a game that will be NOTHING like an exhibition looms in two weeks, but the test suddenly doesn’t appear quite so imposing.

Instead, Ravens fans will have every reason to believe that their offense is capable of dictating pace and generating points, even against one of the premiere defenses in the entire league.

Suddenly, the Ravens look like they might be just as good as we imagined they could be.

-G

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