Tag Archive | "Eli Manning"

The 15-7-0 has a better defense than the Washington Redskins

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The 15-7-0 has a better defense than the Washington Redskins

Posted on 16 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. We do plenty of that elsewhere. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick.

I heard that before settling on “Daniel”, Mr. and Mrs. Flacco were seriously considering “Fifteensevenoh” as their son’s name. I’m sorta surprised they didn’t stick with it.

15 Positive Observations…

1. Someone is going to end up beating the Denver Broncos, but right now it’s really hard to imagine someone beating the Denver Broncos.

My favorite Peyton Manning audible is the one where he finishes his bowl of soup.

Apparently Trindon Holliday thought he was playing the Ravens.

The Brothers Manning seemed a bit awkward postgame.

Which is weird because earlier they were…making out?

This was Phil Simms doing…Christ, I don’t know…during the game broadcast on CBS.

2. I should be excited about Maryland being 3-0 for the first time since 2001, but I’m actually a bit depressed that Maryland went 12 years without starting a season 3-0.

Things went really well for Randy Edsall in his return to Connecticut. Enjoy these highlights of the Terps’ win before we get to the crappy part.

The crappy part is that Dexter McDougle becomes the second Maryland CB to go down, and we know McDougle will miss the rest of the season. I’ll just assume Shawn Petty starts playing corner next week.

Again, we follow bad stuff with good stuff; so here’s the plane the Terrapins flew to Hartford on. It’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever see ever.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Virginia Tech is going to wear this next week because they know they’re awful this year anyway.

3. Johnny Football is good at football. Alabama football is better at football.

Oh my Bear Bryant. Manziel threw a 95 yard TD…

And then Oh my Saban this is how he celebrated.

Unfortunately for Manziel, he also threw a TD to Vinnie Sunseri-who plays for Alabama. His attempt at a tackle left a bit to be desired.

I know Manziel is an “effort” guy, but I’m not sure he needed to truck his own security.

Look, I know Alabama won the game. But they’re just really GOOD. Johnny Manziel is really INTERESTING.

Okay, TJ Yeldon was interesting too.

4. The Miami Dolphins would like to remind you of why it is that everyone was saying the Miami Dolphins were a sleeper to make the playoffs in the AFC.

But TY Hilton REALLY looks good.

5. The Kansas City Chiefs would like to echo those sentiments…you know, except about them.

Unfortunately for Sam Koch, the road to the Pro Bowl just keeps getting tougher.

Dez Bryant did awesome things.

It is probably worth pointing out that this guy attended the game.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Giants

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Giants

Posted on 25 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 33-14 win over the New York Giants Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Anquan Boldin 39 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 19 (2nd quarter)

4. Omar Brown sacks Eli Manning for nine yard loss (3rd quarter)

3. Brendon Ayanbadejo sacks Eli Manning for seven yard loss (2nd quarter)

2. Torrey Smith 6 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & goal (1st quarter)

1. Ray Rice 27 yard touchdown catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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We interrupt this blog so Flacco and Harbaugh can tell you to “stick it”

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We interrupt this blog so Flacco and Harbaugh can tell you to “stick it”

Posted on 23 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

I’ve been saying this all season and today, in Baltimore, it was all on full display once again.

The NFL is completely nuts.

Week-in and week-out, you have no idea who’s going to show up and who isn’t.

Take Sunday for instance — the Giants laid a gi-normous egg for the second straight week and the Ravens rebounded from an unthinkable two-game home losing streak to walk-in-the-park their way to a 33-14 victory that secured the team’s second straight AFC North crown.

Remind me again which of those two teams came in as the defending champs…

Week to week in the NFL, it’s a complete crapshoot…and week to week with the Ravens, it’s that way too.  Joe Flacco had a terrific first half against the Redskins back on December 9th, then went missing in action for seven quarters before reappearing on Sunday to direct a suddenly-potent offense.  Torrey Smith caught more colds than passes over the last month, but he rebounded in a big way against New York with a handful of electric catches.  The Ravens defensive front has basically been useless for most of the season, but they showed up in a big way vs. the Giants, holding New York to sixty seven rushing yards and pressuring Eli Manning from the opening whistle.  And the much-maligned Baltimore offensive line – with a major boost from a returning Marshal Yanda- held off the normally-fierce Giants pass rush all afternoon.

Flacco=potent.  Torrey Smith=electric.  Ravens defense=stingy.  Ravens offensive line=reliable.

Like I said, “the league is nuts”.

This was precisely the kind of game John Harbaugh needed to see, for it gives him the opportunity to open his Monday morning meeting with the team by saying, “If we play like that over the next month, we’ll be in New Orleans in February.”

A lot of the fans might still be skeptical, but Harbaugh and his staff sure aren’t.  And if the head coach can get the players to believe in themselves and follow that belief with the kind of execution we all witnessed on Sunday, who knows what lies ahead?

From a playoff standpoint, a lot could still happen for the Ravens.

They’ll either play host to the Bengals or the Colts in the first round of the AFC playoffs the first weekend in January.  That much, we know for sure.

But the Ravens might host that game as the #4 seed or, if they win and New England loses next Sunday, the #3 seed.

After that, assuming they win, the Ravens might visit Houston or Denver, depending on whether or not they — oh, forget it, there’s just too many variables to break down.

You get the picture, though.  The Ravens get a home playoff game for the second straight year and they won’t have to face Tom Brady until the AFC Championship Game.  That’s a double bonus right there.

One game remains in the regular season and it’s the rarest of outings.  It matters, but only a little bit.  In a league where every single game can turn your season around, it’s a true oddity when a game comes around that doesn’t count for much.  Harbaugh indicated after Sunday’s win over the Giants that he’ll go to Cincinnati with winning in mind, resting only those players who are “obviously injured”.  He has to play it that way, for securing the #3 seed if New England loses would be much better than being the #4 seed.

Just a week after getting embarrassed at home by a much better and much healthier Broncos team, the Ravens turned the tables on the Giants Sunday, humbling them in a manner more befitting of their New Jersey neighbors – the Jets.

I didn’t expect it.

I assume most of you didn’t, either.

But that’s the NFL, where no team is safe and no outcome is predictable.

Just ask the Texans, who got slapped around at home by the Vikings on Sunday.

Or you can ask the Steelers, who saw their playoff hopes dashed in Pittsburgh by the Bengals.

The Giants would be another prime example, as they buzzed into Charm City trying to stay alive in the NFC East playoff race, only to get pounded on both sides of the ball.

Defending champs?

More like “defending chumps”.

As for the Ravens, that 3-game losing streak is now a thing of the past.  They just beat the Giants like a drum.

And “if they play like that next week and in the playoffs…”

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Ravens-Giants: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Giants: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 22 December 2012 by Luke Jones

Two teams each going in the wrong direction in recent weeks will clash at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday as the Ravens take on the New York Giants for the fourth time in their regular-season history.

Mired in a three-game losing streak and needing a win to clinch their second straight AFC North title, Baltimore takes on the 8-6 Giants, who are in need of two wins in their final two games to have the opportunity to defend their Super Bowl title in January. Having lost four of the last six games it’s played, New York has been even more inconsistent than the Ravens this season, looking like arguably the best team in the NFL in dominating wins over San Francisco and Green Bay and turning in terrible road performances at Cincinnati and Atlanta.

The Ravens hold a 2-1 all-time record over New York in the regular season and, of course, own a victory in the only postseason meeting between the teams, which occurred in Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens will look to finally lock up the division title and secure a home playoff game after failing to do so the last few weeks …

1. Ray Lewis will not play against the Giants, but the returning Dannell Ellerbe will pay dividends for the Baltimore run defense, which will hold New York to less than 110 rushing yards. Maligned all season despite allowing the ninth-lowest yards per carry average (4.1) in the NFL, the rush defense has struggled immensely in the last two weeks as Washington and Denver have run all over the Ravens. The Giants rank 15th in rush offense, but the shifty Ahmad Bradshaw has been hampered by knee and foot injuries. Ellerbe is expected to be a game-time decision, but he practiced all week on a limited basis and the Ravens didn’t promote inside linebacker Nigel Carr from the practice squad to take injured Jameel McClain’s place on the 53-man roster, an indication that they may feel confident in Ellerbe’s status against the Giants. The fourth-year linebacker ranks third on the team with 78 tackles despite beginning the season in a reserve role and missing the last three games with an ankle injury. His presence will help in slowing the Giants’ rushing attack.

2. Giants tight end Martellus Bennett will catch a touchdown and produce 75 receiving yards against the Baltimore pass defense. The Ravens’ struggles against tight ends have been overblown this season as Brent Celek, Jason Witten, and Heath Miller are the only three opponents to have more than 60 receiving yards in a game from that position. However, the middle of the field has been vulnerable and the Giants have been happy with their return for Bennett, who has 50 receptions for 584 yards and five touchdowns in his first season in New York. Ellerbe is regarded as the Ravens’ best linebacker in pass coverage, but he would be playing at less than 100 percent and has struggled to use the backpedal. Baltimore linebackers take too many false steps to account for the run and don’t get enough depth in coverage, which will lead to the talented Bennett getting open in the intermediate portion of the field as the Ravens secondary is focused on stopping Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Domenik Hixon in the passing game.

3. Ray Rice will collect only his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season. With Joe Flacco and the offense sputtering in recent weeks, new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell must rely on his unit’s biggest strength and that’s Rice. Though on pace for his lowest rushing total since his rookie year, Rice’s 4.5 yards per carry average doesn’t reflect a poor season, but his 263 projected carries would be his lowest amount since 2009. Marshal Yanda’s expected return will allow the Ravens to run effectively to the right side as they normally like to do, and the Giants have allowed 4.6 yards per carry, which is 26th in the NFL. New York’s front seven is filled with plenty of big names, but the group hasn’t performed well this season and Rice will receive plenty of opportunities as the Ravens try to control the tempo of the game. The uncertain status of rookie Bernard Pierce will likely force the Ravens to rely more heavily on Rice than normal, which won’t necessarily be a bad thing as they need production from their best offensive player.

4. The Giants’ play action coupled with the the Ravens’ ineffective pass rush and undisciplined secondary will lead to a long touchdown to Victor Cruz. Paul Kruger and Arthur Jones have been the only consistent contributors to the pass rush in recent weeks, but the biceps injury to Terrell Suggs now makes you wonder if teams will begin turning more attention toward Kruger as they did early in the season when he rarely was able to make an impact. New York has allowed just 16 sacks all season, so it’s difficult to envision the Ravens putting much heat on Eli Manning. The Giants quarterback loves using play-action passing, and the Ravens secondary has been burned all season due to miscommunication and biting on double moves. Cruz leads the Giants with 79 catches, 1,019 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. He’ll add a 10th to those totals on Sunday to bounce back from his poor performance in Atlanta last week.

5. I trust Manning more than Flacco and the Ravens offense, and it will be the difference in a 27-21 win for the Giants. Both teams have flaws on each side of the football, but it’s difficult to overlook Flacco’s six turnovers in the last three games. Manning has been inconsistent as well and has similar season totals to the Baltimore quarterback, but his pedigree and track record for playing well when his back is against the wall should give the Giants confidence in these final two games. Flacco was playing exceptionally well at home this season until the last two contests at M&T Bank Stadium when he posted absolute duds. The Giants will be a desperate football team after being thoroughly embarrassed in Atlanta last week, and I can’t bet against a two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. It will be the difference in Sunday’s game as I just can’t put any faith in Flacco, Caldwell, and the Ravens offense at this point. The group lacks confidence and won’t do enough to overcome a banged-up defense and an opponent needing a win even more than they do.

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Can we please stop stating the word Elite in regards to quarterbacks, including Joe Flacco

Posted on 08 November 2012 by BaltimoreSportsNut

I am tired of hearing people state Joe Flacco is not elite or wow Andrew Luck is already an elite quarterback….STOP!!!

This is an easy discussion, as long as you define elite properly. When it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL, I define elite by one thing, Super Bowl Championships. Thus currently you have Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger as elite quarterbacks. Yes, I am saying Joe Flacco, Phillip Rivers, Andrew Luck, Michael Vick, and the all mighty Tim Tebow are not elite quarterbacks, with the latter being a joke of a quarterback anyway.

Ok, so you could come at me with so Trent Dilfer and Doug Williams are elite quarterbacks? Yes they are, they were able to lead their teams to a Super Bowl victory, I am not saying they are Hall of Famers by any stretch of the word as a Hall of Fame quarterback is another level of classification.

On the other side, I have been fronted with many arguements that “so you are telling me that Dan Marino is not an elite quarterback?” Yes that is exactly what I am telling you, he could not win a Super Bowl, now again he is by far a Hall of Fame quarterback, which in my opinion is the only classification a quarterback really wants.

I am sure a lot of you disagree with me, which is the beauty of sports, let’s hear it!

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All of this talk about “elite” is getting us away from the real issue…

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All of this talk about “elite” is getting us away from the real issue…

Posted on 22 October 2012 by Drew Forrester

Elite.

“Is Flacco elite?”

Elite, elite, elite.

I’m making a decision, right now, on October 22:  I am no longer using that stupid word – elite – to judge a quarterback, particularly the guy in Baltimore.

Mind you, I’m not one that throws that “E word” around much as it is, but it’s always the big argument in football.  Is so-and-so an “elite” quarterback?

It’s 10-minutes of filler for ESPN and all of the other talking heads.  ”Is he elite?”…blah, blah, blah…

So, from this day forward, I’m going to use a new word to discuss and analyze any and all quarterbacks in the NFL.

It will be a non-negotiable word.  One you can’t possibly argue.  And right now, in the league, there are only six of these kind of quarterbacks.

They’re called “championship quarterbacks” and they are, in no order, Brady, Roethlisberger, Brees, Rodgers, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.

No one else in the league is worthy of inclusion on that list.  And that includes Flacco.  And Matt Ryan.  And Michael Vick.  And Matt Stafford.  And RGIII.

You’re either a championship quarterback or you’re just a quarterback.

In the other words, there’s only one way to be an “elite quarterback”.  You must have a ring.  There are a few very notable exceptions over the last 30 years.  Guys like Dan Marino and Jim Kelly and Warren Moon are Hall-of-Famers and they don’t sport flashy jewelry.  But those are three very rare exceptions to the rule.  And that rule is:  ”If you want to be elite, you better have a ring on your finger.”

At this point, Flacco is a good quarterback.  Is he better than Ryan or Stafford?  Some games, yes.  Some games, no.  But he’s not better than Brees.  Or Brady.  Or Roethlisberger.  Or any of the guys with a ring.

We love to argue about whether or not the quarterback is “elite”.  For whatever reason – mainly because he’s usually the guy who makes the most money – it’s always the quarterback we throw under the super-microscope and try to come up with a word to define him.  These days, that word is “elite”.

But how do we determine what makes a guy “elite”?  Is it winning?  Championships?

We better be careful saying, “you can’t be elite unless you have a ring” because we’d then have a certain linebacker and safety in Baltimore who can’t be considered elite…since both Suggs and Reed are sans jewelry.

So, let’s get rid of that word, elite, when trying to define our quarterback in Baltimore.

You’re either a “championship quarterback” or you’re a quarterback trying to become one.

Let’s just worry about the only thing we should be worried about…and that’s WINNING.  Yes, he’s been the quarterback of the team that has made the playoffs four straight seasons.  Yes, he has a post-season victory in each of those four seasons.  And, honestly, I’m glad Flacco is the quarterback in Baltimore.  I’m in the pro-Flacco camp, if such a group exists.

But let’s just settle this debate about Flacco – and any others in the league who are good but haven’t won anything yet – and call a spade a spade.  He’s not a championship quarterback.  Yet.

When (not if…but when) Flacco does win a title, he’ll be considered “elite”.

For now, he’s not elite.

No disrespect, but that’s just the way it goes when you haven’t held up the trophy.

 

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A Dirty Dozen for the Defense

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A Dirty Dozen for the Defense

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Earlier in the week I posed the question, “Are the Ravens set up for success on offense?” While the answer is absolutely subjective, I’d venture to say that the real answer is that they better be. In hindsight we can see that whatever shortcomings we perceived in the Ravens offense in 2011 have to be viewed through the filter of the gamut of high caliber pass defenses that they had to deal with along the way. This year it appears that the shoe may be on the other foot, or more aptly, on the other side of the ball as the Ravens look to have to deal with a lot of scary offensive propositions in 2012. If there ever were a good time to have to deal with the defection and absence of defensive talent that the Ravens have recently undergone, 2012 certainly doesn’t appear to be it.

Here’s a look at the 12 scariest players that the Ravens defense will have to contend with in 2012:

 

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

 

Quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III, Andy Dalton

 

Running Backs: Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Lesean McCoy, Ryan Matthews, DeMarco Murray, Willis McGahee

 

Pass Catchers: Jermaine Gresham, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Aaron Hernandez, Dwayne Bowe, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd

 

 

#12 – Peyton Manning (DEN) – There are no offensive stats to base this on from last season and Manning’s health is still a huge question, but the reputed Ravens killer is a scary proposition until he proves that he isn’t. There are some serious questions about how easily he’ll find his way in a new offense and on a new team, but make no mistake, if Manning is healthy and surrounded by 10 warm bodies he’ll likely be tough to deal with for the Ravens as usual.

 

 

#11 – Darren McFadden (OAK) – It’ll be week 10 before the Ravens cross paths with McFadden, and history suggests that there’s a decent chance McFadden could be hurt and/or on the shelf by that time. That might be the Ravens best hope at containing him. When healthy McFadden is a scary combination of speed and muscle. He’s explosive inside the tackles and outside and at his best McFadden has a skill set that’s eerily similar to Maurice Jones-Drew who had a field day against the Ravens last season.

 

 

#10 – Philip Rivers (SD) – Whether you agree that Rivers is worthy of being regarded as a top 5 to 7 quarterback in the league or not, it’s hard to argue that last year was a disappointing one for both he and the Chargers. Still, in the midst of all that struggle, Rivers and crew had their way against the Ravens in San Diego last season. Traveling coast to coast is never easy in the NFL, and neither is facing Rivers and co. in the final weeks of the season. All of that could make for a scary storm of circumstances for the Ravens as they travel west to San Diego in week 12.

 

 

#9 – Trent Richardson (CLE) – The profile and value of the NFL running back in general has taken a substantial hit in recent seasons, evidenced perhaps no better than in the love (or lack thereof) that ball carriers have gotten on draft day. When it comes to Richardson however there was no hesitation from NFL execs in casting him near the tops of their draft boards. Of course as a rookie there’ll be no shortage of question marks and growing pains for the young, prospective bell cow, but in having to see him twice the Trent Richardson fear factor goes up exponentially.

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Phelps makes way onto odd list

Posted on 27 June 2012 by WNST Staff

AshleyMadison.com asked women across America which athlete they would most likely cheat on their husband with. Over 13,500 women responded by picking their top three athletes which yielded the following results :

International Soccer Star and Sex Symbol David Beckham was the overwhelming winner with 43.1% of ALL women surveyed saying they would cheat on their husbands with him.

  • ·         Ultra-conservative New York Jet QB Tim Tebow was second with 19.6% of all women surveyed.
  • ·         New England Patriot and the most prolific QB in the NFL, Tom Brady was a close third with 17.9%. Brady is currently married to Supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
  • ·         Mark Sanchez may be the #1 QB on the Jets but only 8.1% of women said they would have an affair with him, well behind his back-up, Tim Tebow.
  • ·         MLB Future Hall-of-Famer and New York Yankee Derek Jeter led the way with 16.5% of women looking to hit a Home Run with him, edging out Yankee Third Baseman Alex Rodriguez, who garnered 13.2% of women respondents.
  • ·         In the battle of the Manning’s, Peyton edged out his younger brother Eli : 9.6% to 8.5%.
  • ·         NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James is the top NBA player amongst women looking to go to the hoop, with 5.8% of all women surveyed looking to cheat with the King. (Kobe Bryant came in second with 4.4%)
  • ·         Andy Roddick (5.6%) out volleyed both Rafael Nadal (4.6%) and Roger Federer (4.2%) to become the top tennis player chosen amongst women
  • ·         Michael Phelps was the leading Olympian with 10.5% of women ready to jump in the pool with him.
  • ·         Top 5 NFL players (are all QB’s): Tim Tebow (19.6%), Tom Brady (17.9%), Peyton Manning (9.6%), Aaron Rodgers (9.5%), and Eli Manning (8.5%). The top non-quarterback was Reggie Bush (6.9%).
  • ·         Top 5 NBA players: LeBron James (5.8%), Kobe Bryant (4.4%), Lamar Odom (3.7%), Dwyane Wade (3.6%), and Kris Humphries (3.3%)
  • ·         Top 3 MLB players: Derek Jeter (16.5%), Alex Rodriguez (13.2%), and Matt Kemp (1.6%)
  • ·         Top 5 non- NFL, NBA, and MLB athletes: David Beckham (43.1%), Christiano Ronaldo (11.0%), Michael Phelps (10.5%), Kelly Slater (9.2%), Lance Armstrong (7.4%)
  • ·         Top 10 athletes overall: David Beckham (43.1%), Tim Tebow (19.6%), Tom Brady (17.9%), Derek Jeter (16.5%), Alex Rodriguez (13.2%), Christiano Ronaldo (11%), Michael Phelps (10.5%), Peyton Manning (9.6%), Aaron Rodgers (9.5%), Kelly Slater (9.2%).  Tiger Woods came in 15th (6.1%).

**Note:  The percentages are based on 300% since each women picked three athletes.  You could also divide every number by three to get an accurate percentage based on 100%.

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More Questions Than Answers for the Ravens

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More Questions Than Answers for the Ravens

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

#1 – What’s going to happen with Ray Rice?

 Not only has Ray Rice been one of the best pound-for-pound bargains in all of football during his time as a Raven, but unlike many other running backs in similar situations last season Rice played things quiet and trusted that the team would take care of him. Whether or not they do remains to be seen, and whether or not they should is debatable. Running backs come and go quickly in the NFL, but by most accounts Rice has been “special” and is perhaps worth the risk. Either way expect him to play in 2012, but history hasn’t been kind to players who hold out of camp. A bad season for Rice under the franchise tag could be disastrous for him and for the Ravens.

 

#2 – Who’s playing on the offensive line?

 

This question is actually a myriad of different questions. Who fills Ben Grubbs spot at LG? How much does Matt Birk have left in the tank? Can we pencil in Bryant McKinnie at LT? Are Michael Oher and Marshal Yanda still the right side? And where do Kelechi Osemele, Jah Reid, Gino Gradkowski and Ramon Harewood fit into the picture? The answers to all of these questions could represent the beginning or the end of any offensive hopes the Ravens will have in 2012?

 

#3 – Do they have enough at wide receiver?

 

Torrey Smith was a pleasant surprise last season, but whether he can refine his route running and improve his hands still remain to be seen. He’s now a proven field stretcher but will need to add to his game in order to be a bona fide playmaker. Anquan Boldin was worse than expected last season, but was also injured, He’ll need to be more like the Anquan Boldin of old to lead these Ravens forward on the offensive side of the ball. And beyond those two the questions are even bigger. Is Jacoby Jones a wide out or a just a special teamer? Will Tandon Doss be ready to play in 2012? Who is Tommy Streeter and if he’s any good, how did the Ravens get him so late? Before we start comparing Joe Flacco to the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, let’s make sure he has some weapons that he can rely on.

 

#4 – Are the tight ends good enough?

 

Ed Dickson is big and athletic enough but has struggled with his hands. Dennis Pitta has very good hands but may not be big or athletic enough to impose his will on defenders, as modern tight ends are prone to do. Until one or the other shows marked improvement the Ravens will hesitate to use the middle of the field in the passing game, where coincidentally the best offenses all seem to have fantastic weapons. And who is Lamont Bryant?

 

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Flacco’s agent foresees amicable contract talks with Ravens

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Flacco’s agent foresees amicable contract talks with Ravens

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Luke Jones

As coaches, front office executives, scouts, and agents congregate for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis to take a closer look at hundreds of prospective rookies, the event also marks the unofficial start of free agency.

Though the actual signing period doesn’t begin until March 13, front office personnel and agents will secretly meet to discuss soon-to-be free agents and contract parameters before players hit the open market.

As anticipated for several weeks, the Ravens will begin new contract talks for quarterback Joe Flacco, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2012 season.

While both parties have made it clear they want the relationship to continue for many years to come, Flacco’s agent Joe Linta told Glenn Clark on AM 1570 WNST that the weekend will only mark the first step in the negotiating process. Working out any new contract takes time but becomes more complicated when talking about the most important position on the field.

“We are just going to chat on this,” said Linta, who anticipates speaking with team president Dick Cass and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty on Saturday. “I don’t expect there is going to be a press conference at two o’clock in Indianapolis. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

Deciding where to begin can often be difficult in getting both sides to the negotiating table. Linta sparked plenty of debate in Baltimore last week by suggesting his client should be paid as a top-5 quarterback if taking into account Flacco’s 44 regular-season wins in his first four seasons, most in NFL history.

Flacco has never missed a game while becoming the first quarterback in league history to lead his team to the postseason and to earn a playoff win in each of his first four seasons. The 27-year-old has averaged 3,454 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes, 11.5 interceptions, and an 86.0 quarterback rating over his first four seasons.

“It’s really funny, I made one statement to a guy down there and I said, ‘If your [criteria] is wins and success and durability, he should be paid like a top-5 guy,’” Linta said. “Everyone on Sportscenter, NFL Network, and everywhere else forgot that very powerful two-letter word if.”

Trying to draw up parameters for a new contract will be challenging if relying on recent history for quarterback compensation. Linta and Flacco will unequivocally be looking for more money than the deals handed to Arizona’s Kevin Kolb and Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. Kolb received a six-year, $65 million deal ($12 million guaranteed) while Fitzpatrick’s hot start to the 2011 season led to a seven-year $62 million contract that included $24 million guaranteed.

On the other hand, the Ravens could balk if Linta asks for money comparable to deals signed by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and the Giants’ Eli Manning. Rivers signed a seven-year, $98 million deal with just under $20 million guaranteed while Manning, now a two-time Super Bowl champion, inked a deal worth just under $107 million with $35 million guaranteed.

Linta pointed out how quickly the market changes from year to year and how the ranking of pay for quarterbacks is cyclical as high-caliber signal callers wait their turn. Signing a five-year contract after being drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft, Flacco will finally get his turn for big money at some point over the next calendar year.

“Let’s say, hypothetically, he is paid as the [fifth-best quarterback] now — he’s only going to be the fifth guy for probably 12 months,” Linta said. “He’ll be leapfrogged by several guys as we go forward, and everybody knows the salary cap is going to go up as years go by. Is it five, is it four? It doesn’t matter. He’s an upper-echelon guy.”

The Ravens find themselves in the unique position of negotiating a long-term deal for a franchise quarterback after never having one prior to Flacco’s arrival in Baltimore. While both sides anticipate remaining amicable in talks, Linta will fight for what he feels his client deserves.

Flacco is set to make $6.76 million in the final year of his contract after reaching escalators for playing time and a postseason win in 2011. The two sides want the same end result, but with Flacco’s scheduled free agency still a year away, neither party will feel the urgency to cave to the other side’s demands.

With that in mind, negotiations could drag into the summer months when the free-agent market has played itself out and the draft is a distant memory.

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