Tag Archive | "Foxborough"

tom brady

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Flacco bashing by vocal minority of Ravens fans comes into perspective

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Luke Jones

In the final days of the Ravens’ 2011 season, it was difficult to say which was more exhausting: the vocal minority of fans bashing quarterback Joe Flacco or the increased amount of complaining about those select few.

(And to be clear, this commentary doesn’t mean Flacco is infallible and exempt from criticism, either. We’re talking about those who have made irrational suggestions such as benching the Baltimore starter and inserting the rookie Tyrod Taylor.)

But it’s certainly come into perspective this week if you’ve paid any attention to the New England area and the fallout of the Patriots’ 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

It started with this scathing piece from Boston Globe writer Eric Wilbur in which all-world quarterback Tom Brady was labeled an “embarrassment” after the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time in five years. And the vocal simpletons (see the comments section) have followed suit, declaring Brady as washed up and even going as far as suggesting the Patriots trade him for whatever value they can get and begin the next era of New England football.

Yes, a small portion of New England fans are suggesting they run one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history out of town. The same man who led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in four years and threw for 39 touchdown passes and over 5,000 yards this season on his way to leading the Patriots to a 14-4 record and an AFC championship despite a woeful defense.

It certainly puts the extreme Flacco criticism into context, doesn’t it?

More than anything, the venomous thoughts toward a future Hall of Fame quarterback only prove this type of vocal minority of extreme detractors exist in every sports city in America. A certain segment of fans will never be satisfied no matter how successful their teams might be, as is evident in Boston where seven championships from the four major sports have been won over the last 11 years.

We all know someone (multiple people?) who refuses to be happy with his or her life no matter how many blessings they might have when they stop to think.

Why would the population of sports fans be any different?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to place my order for a Ryan Mallett Patriots jersey.

Retire, Ricky, retire

Though running back Ricky Williams’ retirement announcement was mildly surprising after proclaiming his enthusiasm for the 2012 season in the days following the AFC championship game, the Ravens shouldn’t — and won’t — be worked up by the veteran backup’s departure.

There are always at least five or six running backs of Williams’ ability at this stage of his career available in the free-agent market. Williams will be 35 years old by the start of the 2012 season, and there’s no guarantee he would have been able to duplicate his steady average of 4.1 yards per carry that he owned this past season. Anthony Allen will likely see an increased role, or at least an increased opportunity, to earn that role in training camp.

Whether it’s signing a veteran in the open market or looking to April’s draft, the Ravens will improve their depth at the running back position behind Ray Rice. Owner Steve Bisciotti has already said Rice will not be going anywhere despite the Pro Bowl back being set to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

It’s hard to imagine Williams’ retirement having any impact whatsoever on contract negotiations with Rice’s representation, and the Ravens will simply use the franchise tag on their feature back should they be unable to reach a long-term agreement by March 5.

However, Williams calling it a career does open the door for a farfetched but intriguing scenario to potentially play out with Rice. Let’s assume the two sides are unable to reach a long-term deal, Rice plays with the franchise tag in 2012, and the Ravens look to bolster their depth at running back in the middle rounds of the draft.

What would the Ravens do if they found a diamond in the rough with that draft pick, much in the same way they saw such potential in Rice after selecting him in the second round of the 2008 draft? Knowing the limited shelf life for running backs in the NFL, would they consider allowing Rice to walk the following season if this unnamed running back appeared capable of handling the starting job?

Again, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening, but Williams’ decision to walk away from the game forces the Ravens to explore other options at the position, and you never know what they might discover in the process.

Caldwell effect

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springtraining

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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

As the confetti dropped Sunday night at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis to punctuate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the New England Patriots, a harsh reality set in throughout Charm City.

While the Baltimore Ravens were eliminated some 14 days earlier, the immediate hangover effect of an AFC Championship Game loss lingered into Super Bowl week. The significance of the Super Bowl even without the Ravens’ involvement prevented the malaise of the football offseason from setting in too quickly.

It’s here now though, and it absolutely stings.

Just as we’ve finally had enough time to get over the Ravens’ heartbreaking defeat in Foxborough, we’ve been forced to accept the fact that there really isn’t anything on the sporting horizon that we can deflect our purple energy towards. After working ourselves into a frenzy over the course of the last two months, we have basically no choice but to sit on our collective hands for the better part of the next seven months while we wait for John Harbaugh’s team to take the field once more for real.

Sure, we’ll all drink some beer and tell our favorite Earl Weaver stories on Opening Day. Most of us will throw down a few shekels on the Kentucky Derby winner on Preakness Saturday in May. We’ll be gripped to any rumors related to the Purple Birds.

The moments of excitement will be fleeting and there will certainly be no outlet for us to channel any level of sporting fervor.

Here’s the rundown on the “Reality” of the situation:

-Much of the country will immediately shift their focus to College Basketball season. In past years, an exciting University of Maryland has provided a level of excitement after football season concluded. Barring a miracle it won’t be the case this season, as the Terps sit at 3-5 in ACC play with no significant victory and none likely to come. This was to be expected in Mark Turgeon’s first season but it won’t help anyone in the area shake themselves awake from an “end of football season coma.”

One small shining light is Loyola University basketball, as the Greyhounds find themselves tied with Iona for first place in the MAAC at 11-2. This year’s team is the best Jimmy Patsos has ever had, and has a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament. The only cloud for the Hounds’ chances is that the Gaels certainly have more overall talent. It doesn’t mean Loyola couldn’t figure a way to a MAAC Tournament title, it’s just reality.

Coppin State entered Monday with a respectable 7-3 MEAC record and a legitimate crop of talent. Morgan State’s season has been mired by a mid-season suspension of head coach Todd Bozeman and has lead to a disappointing 3-6 conference record entering Monday. The Eagles have a semi-realistic chance of winning the MEAC Tournament, the Bears can’t be completely ruled out but have struggled.

Towson and UMBC have basketball teams. One has a first year coach (the Tigers’ Pat Skerry), one has a coach who might be in his last season (the Retrievers’ Randy Monroe). Neither are even a little good.

Before I leave the topic, the University of Maryland women (who provided us a pleasant distraction with their 2006 NCAA Championship run) have a nice team again under Brenda Frese. They’re not liking a team that could make a Final Four run, but they weren’t supposed to be that year either.

-Other fans across the country will turn their attention to the NHL and NBA. With no team in either sport (and no arena for hope of a team relocating here in either sport) Baltimore isn’t afforded the opportunity to shift attention to such areas.

A handful of sports fans in Baltimore are interested in the Washington Capitals, who have made the NHL Playoffs in each of the last four seasons. After firing coach Bruce Boudreau earlier this season, the Caps find themselves sitting on the outside looking in at the playoff picture now under Dale Hunter and aren’t likely to make a run longer than last season’s advance to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

There are less than a handful of Washington Wizards fans in Baltimore, which might be good news because the Wizards are unthinkably terrible.

-College Lacrosse season gets underway in the next 10 days, and both Johns Hopkins and Maryland find themselves in the Top 10 of preseason polls. A run to the Final Four from either the Blue Jays or Terrapins would be pleasant, but with the National Semifinals and Finals back in Foxborough Memorial Day weekend is not likely to register the same way for any local sports fan.

-That of course brings us to baseball. The Baltimore Orioles play their first Spring Training games on March 5. They’ll hope to avoid being mathematically eliminated from the AL East race before their first game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards April 6. There’s no guarantee they’ll succeed.

That’s where we are. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality. I don’t write this to try to depress anyone. The good news (for you) is that you won’t have to talk about it for four hours a day. I’m not afforded the same opportunity. And it’s not as if I’m really telling you anything you didn’t know, I just felt as though Monday was the day everything sunk in.

We’ll still be here for you however…if for no other reason than to pass the time.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Even after devastating loss, State of the Ravens is solid

Posted on 01 February 2012 by Peter Dilutis

OWINGS MILLS: The braintrust of the Baltimore Ravens was on display in Owings Mills as Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, Dick Cass, and John Harbaugh met with the media Wednesday afternoon.

While several references to the now infamous Lee Evans drop made it clear that these men are not yet over what happened in Foxborough on January 22, the top decision makers in the organization displayed confidence that the Ravens are headed in the right direction.

“I’m proud of the product we’re giving Baltimore,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said. “It seems like football is a passionate business in Maryland. We’re one of the top five teams as far as ratings in our home market, and that’s a good thing. They say apathy is the worst emotion and there’s not much apathy in this town about our team.”

Bisciotti was very blunt when asked what the Ravens could do next season to take the next step and get to the Super Bowl.

“Hold onto a ball,” Bisciotti said. “That’s where it was this year. It’s a game of inches. We were there.”

A big reason why the Ravens “were there” at the end against New England was because of the Joe Flacco’s performance in the AFC Championship game. Much has been made about Flacco’s contract situation and his standing as the franchise quarterback going forward. Throughout the 45 minute press conference, both Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome made it clear that they were not only planning on going forward with Flacco at the helm, but they are looking forward to reaping the benefits of his continued rise.

“Did Joe improve? Yes. And he improved after we took away some weapons that he was accustomed to in Mason and Todd Heap,” Newsome said. “He was able to improve with two young tight ends, two young receivers, a receiver that was traded to him in the middle of training camp, and a second year receiver in Anquan. There’s no doubt that Joe improved.”

“The thing that I like about Joe is that when you are in this business, you get judged on one thing: winning,” Newsome said. “Joe wins. If he continues to win and if one pass is caught, he would be in the Super Bowl. I think he’s going to win Super Bowls…a lot of them. I hope to be a part of them. He has improved, but the thing you cannot knock about Joe is that he’s a winner.”

Bisciotti chimed in with praise for his quarterback.

“People want to see fire in their athletes,” Bisciotti said.” We know Joe has it. I think he’s going to be extremely successful. I think he’s going to have rings, and he’s got 10 years in his prime to show it. I think he will be rewarded for his personality in the long-run.”

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indy

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Your Monday Reality Check-Wounds Re-Open With Arrival in Indianapolis

Posted on 30 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

I had handled it much better than I ever did in the past.

Unlike the last three seasons, I wasn’t on hand to see the Baltimore Ravens’ season come to an end last Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. Instead of making the trip to Foxborough, I stayed in studio at 1550 Hart Rd. in Towson for “The Nasty Purple Pregame Show” and “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show.” I watched the game only with my producer Ryan Chell and I IMMEDIATELY hit the airwaves after Billy Cundiff’s kick sailed wide-not allowing me much time to stew over the dramatic end.

After fighting with a caller who labeled quarterback Joe Flacco as “a bum” following the crushing loss to the New England Patriots, I genuinely felt as though I had moved on. It only took about 30 minutes. No eight hour drive home with other miserable Ravens fans for me, just a 25 minute drive home to Monkton where playing with my dog quickly made me feel better about a tough loss.

On Sunday afternoon the WNST crew (Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones and myself) touched down in Indianapolis for week-long coverage of Super Bowl XLVI festivities at Radio Row. We do it every year, no matter when/where the Ravens’ season comes to a close. Immediately upon landing at Indianapolis International Airport, we were greeted by vendors selling Eli Manning and Tom Brady t-shirts. Everywhere we turned in Indy for the first 12 hours was remarkably similar.

New York Giants stuff here. New England Patriots stuff there. Live NFL Network video of Bill Belichick getting off the plane. Quotes filling up my GMail inbox from Tom Brady and Jerod Mayo as transcribed by the National Football League staff here on site. A replay of Super Bowl XLII following Australian Open coverage on ESPN2.

It all hit me like a ton of bricks. This was SO close to being the Ravens. Perhaps a Cundiff kick, perhaps a Lee Evans catch, perhaps a John Harbaugh timeout, perhaps Joe Flacco not throwing an interception to Brandon Spikes.

Perhaps.

We could have gotten off the plane in Indy and been greeted by Ray Lewis t-shirts instead of seeing Alex Flanagan try to get Lewis to change his mind about retirement on the sideline during NBC’s coverage of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. We could have been covering the first media gathering of the week for the AFC champs instead of sitting in the hot tub at the J.W. Marriott or celebrating Forrester’s birthday at Buca di Beppo. (Both of these things were nice…but we’d rather not be there.)

It wasn’t as painful to arrive for Super Bowl coverage the last couple of years as there was really no argument that the Ravens may have been the best team in the AFC. Two years ago they were clobbered by the Colts here at LucasOil Stadium. Last year there was the feeling they let one go against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, but at least the loss didn’t come with a Super Bowl trip on the line.

This time there was a REAL feeling that we should be spending Media Day tomorrow chatting up Terrell Suggs instead of trying to track down Matt Birk for five minutes later in the week when he comes to promote the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

It wasn’t the only wound re-opened however.

As you can read about in Monday’s Indianapolis Star, there’s already a bit of a “friendly” back and forth going on between us and some of the folks in “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest.” While most of our comments have been made in jest, there is no doubt that seeing horseshoes everywhere I look and staring at a sign for the “Jim Irsay Collection” at the Indiana State Museum across the street have left a bad taste in my mouth.

The team my father fell in love with is now the reason why a city hundreds of miles from Charm City is experiencing a financial boon. The likes of Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore and Art Donovan left sweat and blood on the field at Memorial Stadium, the value of which has allowed governor Mitch Daniels to make millions of dollars-which will in no way benefit the city of Baltimore.

We don’t REALLY want the Colts back in Baltimore as I joked with the Indy Star reporter. We want an entire civic injustice reversed. We know it’s impossible.

The wounds are fully re-opened here. We’ll make it through (covering a Super Bowl in Indianapolis is STILL better than having to cover the Baltimore Orioles), but there will be a number of times this week where I’ll look over and say “damn.”

-G

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RayLewis

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Ray Lewis gives us all some food for thought after loss in New England

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As much as the loss to the Patriots stung me and everyone else in the Baltimore purple tribe, believe it or not I left the stadium with some sort of inner peace that hasn’t allowed me to cry, bellyache or bemoan the efforts of this year’s team.

All of you know I’m in the locker room, asking questions, posting videos, texting and Tweeting and Facebooking all sorts of insights, observations, jokes and information from Baltimore Ravens’ games.

This was the last thing on my video reel after the game — before Drew Forrester and Luke Jones joined me on the field to recap the game and the missed Billy Cundiff field goal reenactment by our morning show host.

As Luke and I walked out of Gillette Stadium and through the purple confetti our final words were: “If Ray Lewis can find peace with this game 15 minutes after it’s over then maybe we should find a way as well.”

Watch this video. I think it might change your mood…it certainly changed ours!

 

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Tom Brady

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens & Patriots

Posted on 24 January 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’ 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough…

(NOTE-Not all pictures are of actual play.)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Danny Woodhead returns Billy Cundiff kickoff 41 yards to Pats’ 37 (3rd quarter)

4. Joe Flacco pass intended for Ed Dickson intercepted by Brandon Spikes (4th quarter)

3. Joe Flacco pass intended for Dennis Pitta on 4th & 6 incomplete (4th quarter)

2. Billy Cundiff misses 32 yard field goal wide left (4th quarter)

1. Sterling Moore breaks up Joe Flacco pass intended for Lee Evans (4th quarter)

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nes purple tear

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Observing the “Ray Lewis 24-hour rule” this purple grief must end today

Posted on 24 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s Tuesday. And, upon further review, the season is still over. The Baltimore Ravens still lost to the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

And as many times as you torture yourself with “the drop” or “the miss” or the lack of a timeout or a review or any of the other myriad of topics that have given me alternating heartburn and heartache over the last 24 hours, it will never rectify it or change the fate of the gods. Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff and John Harbaugh and anyone else associated with decisions or tasks that determined the outcome on Sunday in Foxborough will truly bear that burden the rest of their lives. I hope they can find a way to gain some inner peace about it at some point. But, I’ll bet it’s not even fully sunk in.

It sure hasn’t for me. I know I awakened in a cold sweat at 5:15 a.m. this morning wondering what could’ve been and how it would’ve changed my life, our fun and the kind of business I’m building at WNST.net. It’s been a tough, tough 24 hours in my life after a 7-hour ride home on Sunday night with a century of similarly despondent Ravens fans.

But the Ravens cleaned their lockers out and are moving on, accepting their fate. And we are dusting off and preparing for life after football season and covering the Terps and Capitals and Towson and UMBC and Loyola and Morgan and Coppin and awaiting the annual last-place disgrace that defines Orioles baseball.

The WNST crew is headed to the Super Bowl next week. We’ll be broadcasting live from Radio Row and hopefully with some perspective I’ll say and write some intelligent things when I try to fully assess what Sunday’s loss means to the franchise and how they’ll have to recover from what will always be characterized as the worst loss in Baltimore football history since Super Bowl III.

So close yet, so far from Indianapolis.

You don’t get any closer than the Super Bowl berth in the hands of a veteran wide receiver in the end zone. You don’t get any closer than having a veteran kicker attempting a 32-yard field goal in perfect wind conditions to keep the game alive.

So many offseason issues, holes to fill, retiring players, free agents, rookies, drafts and combines – there’ll be lots of conversation to follow at WNST.net over the next six months.

I’m also doing the Dip At The Dock at Dock Of The Bay in Miller’s Island on Saturday along with a bunch of nutballs who go running into the cold water in late January for Special Olympics. The sun came up this morning. Life will move on…

And I’d like to say that the right turn I took on Pratt Street this morning did not conjure up visions of the parade route but it did. But life will go on…and that’s gotta start today.

If Ray Lewis can shake it off then I have to attempt to do the same.

Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks in Sarasota. The Caps host the Stanley Cup champs tonight. College basketball is in full swing. And the NFL offseason “hotstove” is now alive.

WNST.net – we NEVER stop talking Baltimore sports.

Even when it hurts like hell.

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cameron

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Your Monday Reality Check-Cameron Future Only Part of Postseason Agenda

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve had the opportunity to make a number of radio appearances throughout the country during the last few weeks while the Baltimore Ravens marched along in the National Football League playoffs.

In virtually every conversation, I was asked a question about how the outcome of the next game could alter the future of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron in Charm City.

It always felt a little strange to be asked about Cam Cameron. Usually I only hear Cam Cameron’s name when a listener/caller screams at me about him. It’s never in the form of a question.

After the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium, it didn’t take 30 minutes for the screaming to start again. It was a bit odd considering there was really no way Cameron could be blamed for the loss in Foxborough.

The reality is that as the team’s offseason officially got underway, Cameron sits at the forefront. His future can only be labeled as “to be determined”, as his contract expires with the end of the season.

Head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ coaching staff are headed to Mobile, AL this week for scouting at the annual Senior Bowl. It would seem as though the team wouldn’t want the situation with Cameron to linger far into the offseason, especially if they ultimately decide not to retain Cameron after four playoff trips in four seasons and have to find a new coordinator without a likely replacement on staff.

(That’s not an endorsement for either decision. It’s just a fact. I’m actually indifferent towards the situation, as I believe any coordinator in 2012 would need more offensive talent to work with.)

The next pressing situation remains on offense. The team’s Most Valuable Player in 2012 (RB Ray Rice) becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) at a time where NFL teams have been particularly unwilling to invest in long term deals for running backs. Also hitting unrestricted free agency is LG Ben Grubbs, who has never reached a Pro Bowl but has certainly played at a Pro Bowl level. (Monday update: Grubbs will in fact be making his first trip to Hawaii this season as a replacement for Patriots G Logan Mankins.)

There is a likelihood that the Franchise tag will come into play with one of the above players, as it did with DT Haloti Ngata last season before a long-term deal was reached.

DE Cory Redding, LB’s Jarret Johnson & Jameel McClain and S’s Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura highlight other Ravens who become Unrestricted Free Agents. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (who has publicly stated he would like to play another season) is also on the UFA list, as are OL Andre Gurode, TE Kris Wilson, DT Brandon McKinney and LB Edgar Jones.

(CB’s Cary Williams & Lardarius Webb as well as LB Dannell Ellerbe are restricted free agents, all are expected to return.)

Also on the list of Unrestricted Free Agents is C Matt Birk, who denied a CBS report earlier this month that he had already decided to retire at the end of the season. With no “center of the future” clearly on the roster, it may behoove the team to bring the big man from Harvard back for one more season if he’s interested.

While we await Birk’s decision about his future, future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis told reporters in New England he intends to return to Baltimore for a 17th season. S Ed Reed’s future isn’t quite as defined, as he did not speak to reporters after suffering his second AFC title game defeat. Nagging back and neck issues appeared to affect Reed’s play at the end of the season, but he came with big plays in both playoff games.

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drew

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How hard is it to make a 32-yard FG?

Posted on 22 January 2012 by Drew Forrester

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crew

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Lost opportunties could haunt Ravens after devastating FG miss

Posted on 22 January 2012 by WNSTV

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