Tag Archive | "Foxborough"

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

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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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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens & Patriots

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

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

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

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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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Lost opportunties could haunt Ravens after devastating FG miss

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Lost opportunties could haunt Ravens after devastating FG miss

Posted on 22 January 2012 by WNSTV

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Ravens-Patriots: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Patriots: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 21 January 2012 by Luke Jones

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sixty minutes will decide whether the Ravens advance to Indianapolis or find themselves falling short for the fourth season in a row.

Standing in their way is the high-powered New England Patriots, winners of nine straight including last week’s 45-10 blowout of the Denver Broncos in the divisional round. The Ravens own a 1-6 all-time record against New England and are 1-4 in Foxborough.

However, that one victory came in the form of a 33-14 beatdown of the Patriots two years ago in the wild card round of the playoffs as Ray Rice ran for a playoff franchise-record 159 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. The performance handed New England its first home playoff defeat since 1978 as the Ravens forced quarterback Tom Brady to commit four turnovers.

What happened on that day doesn’t amount to much as far as what transpires at Gillette Stadium on Sunday – for example, the personnel has changed dramatically for the New England defense – but the victory does provide a psychological boost at a place where many teams are intimidated by the Patriots’ mystique.

The AFC championship features the ultimate contrast in styles as New England represents the new era of high-scoring, pass-happy offense while Baltimore still thrives on its strong defense to win ugly year in and year out.

Here’s what will happen in Foxborough on Sunday afternoon …

1. Needing to make Tom Brady as uncomfortable as possible in the pocket, Terrell Suggs will lead the charge with two sacks. For all the talk of sticking with the Patriots’ talented tight ends and the video-game production of Wes Welker the key to beating the New England offense is pressuring the future Hall of Fame quarterback. The Ravens have done it effectively over their last three games against the Patriots, sacking Brady nine times. Suggs leads the charge for the pass rush and will need to come up big against New England left tackle Matt Light on Sunday. Suggs has been quiet over the last month, collecting only one sack over the last four games, but the Pro Bowl linebacker was a one-man wrecking crew in the 2010 postseason when he collected five sacks in two games. The 29-year-old has posted 10 sacks in his 10 career playoff games. The New England offensive line allowed 32 sacks in the regular season, but the unit is banged up with left guard Logan Mankins dealing with a knee issue and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer ailing with back and foot injuries. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has been masterful in finding the proper balance between sending extra defenders and dropping enough men into coverage, and he’ll need his best plan yet on Sunday against the most explosive offense in the AFC.

2. The Ravens will not be able to stop tight end Rob Gronkowski from making big plays, but Lardarius Webb will hold wide receiver Wes Welker in check. Analysts and fans have spent the better part of the week trying to figure out how the Baltimore defense will account for the 6-foot-6 Gronkowski. Pagano will call for bracketed coverage as much as possible and likely entrust strong safety Bernard Pollard to hold his own in one-on-one coverage in certain instances. However, it’s clear that few have had any luck against the second-year tight end who caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns in the regular season. In fairness, the Ravens have held their own against tight ends despite questionable pass-coverage ability for their linebackers, but Gronkowski’s combination of size and talent is something they haven’t seen all season. What could be the great equalizer in creating stops against the New England offense is Webb’s coverage against Wes Welker, who caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards this season. The third-year cornerback hasn’t allowed a touchdown pass all season and can play Welker when he lines up on the outside or from the slot since Webb moves inside for the nickel package. Even if the Ravens allow a couple touchdowns to Gronkowski, Webb’s coverage skills should keep Welker from going off against the secondary, which would be a major feather in the hat of the defense.

3. Whichever team fares better on third down will win on Sunday. It’s a simple thought, but the Ravens must limit the possessions of the New England offense has much as possible. To do that, they’ll need positive yardage on first and second down to set up third-and-manageable situations. Baltimore ranked seventh in third-down conversion percentage (42.4 percent) while the New England defense allowed conversions on third down at 43.1 percent of the time, ranking 28th in the NFL. Rice and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta will be critical in moving the chains on third down and keeping the Patriots off the field. On the flip side, the New England offense ranked fifth in third-down efficiency (45.9 percent), but the Ravens were second in the league in third-down defense with opponents converting only 32.1 percent of the time. Of course, the Patriots can score so quickly that third down isn’t even a factor on some drives, but the Ravens will be more meticulous with their opportunities while mixing in an occasional vertical shot against the Patriots’ secondary. An inordinate amount of turnovers one way or the other could always negate the significance of third-down conversions, but the team that can move the chains and force punts will likely raise the Lamar Hunt trophy at the end of the afternoon.

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Ravens looking to prove defense still king against high-scoring Patriots

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Ravens looking to prove defense still king against high-scoring Patriots

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Luke Jones

For more than a decade, one mantra has been held with the highest regard by the Baltimore Ravens in spite of changing trends in the NFL over the last several seasons.

Defense wins championships.

In this current era of 5,000-yard passers, high scoring, and rules that cater to offense, the Ravens’ defensive dominance is considered a dying breed by many. Of course, don’t bother telling that to veteran linebacker Ray Lewis, who is preparing to play in the third AFC championship of his 16-year career and has gone to the playoffs eight times despite never enjoying the luxury of an explosive offense supporting his defense.

“I’ve been doing it for so long, when you do watch how the games are played, nine times out of 10, I just truly believe defense is going to find a way to win the championship,” Lewis said. “You can go back however many years you want to go back, and defenses have a way to come out to make a play that changes the outcome of games.”

In reality, the cliche isn’t true in the purest sense of defense alone winning championships, as even the 2000 Ravens needed a run-first offense that took care of the football and positioned their defense to impose its will on weaker opponents. The 2011 Ravens clearly enjoy a more productive offensive attack than the Super Bowl XXXV winners but still generally rely on that old-fashioned formula of winning ugly.

For that reason, the media have focused on the high-octane offense of the New England Patriots and have wondered how the Ravens can possibly stop quarterback Tom Brady and a unit that averaged 32.1 points per game this season. In contrast, few of considered the possibility of the New England offense running into a buzz saw of a defense that finished third overall in points and yards allowed in the regular season.

Has the lack of attention — or even a perceived lack of respect — rubbed the Ravens the wrong way as they prepare to travel to Foxborough?

“We always have a chip on our shoulder,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “We’ve always felt this way about ourselves.”

That’s not to say the Ravens don’t respect Brady and the New England offense. The weapons are everywhere, from wide receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch on the outside to young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez wreaking havoc all over the field.

But much like Lewis’ command of the Ravens defense for the last 16 years, Brady is the mastermind that makes New England the dynamic offense that’s scored 30 or more points in eight of its last nine games, including 45 against Denver in the Patriots’ divisional-round win last Saturday.

“You’ve got your hands full from Day One, before you even step on the field with him, because it’s a film study game with him,” Lewis said. “He wants to [identify] everything that’s coming out and know what you’re in. Your job is to disguise and not show him all of that. It’s a chess match, almost.”

The Baltimore defense and the New England offense provide an interesting juxtaposition. While the former has a reputation of physical play and intimidation and the latter is built on finesse, both units are extremely cerebral, built to deceive and confuse the opposition as much as possible. Adjustments at the line of scrimmage are a regular part of each unit’s plan.

That deception will be critical for the Ravens as Brady tries to dissect coverage and to identify potential blitzes, allowing him to make adjustments on the fly with so many options in the passing game.

“You try to do everything you can to try to disguise and hide what you’re doing,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “At the end of the day, if we just sit and play one or two things and let the tempo of the [Patriots] dictate what we do, then he’ll shred us, he’ll pick us apart. They’re just too good.”

While much time has been spent discussing exactly how the Ravens plan to defend Welker (Webb will draw the assignment in most instances) and the monstrous Gronkowski (a likely combination of a linebacker and safety Bernard Pollard), the true key will be making Brady uncomfortable in the pocket, something Baltimore has been able to do in recent years against the Patriots.

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Before Kickoff, Score Is Gronkowski 1-Reed 0

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Before Kickoff, Score Is Gronkowski 1-Reed 0

Posted on 18 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

I can’t believe I’m going to write this.

As a sports talk radio host, my life is basically dependent on getting sports figures to talk. As you’ve seen this football season, it’s been particularly beneficial (at least in terms of viral recognition) when folks like Ralph Friedgen or Joe Flacco have answered my questions in colorful ways.

At the beginning of every week, WNST Executive Producer Ryan Chell and I run through a list of folks we can reach out to for that particular week in hopes of having them appear on my radio show-or any of the other shows here at AM1570 WNST.net.

As Ryan and I were chatting Monday, I mentioned to him that I knew New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski a little bit. I had covered his brother (Cleveland Browns TE Dan Gronkowski) for awhile when he played for the University of Maryland and had stayed in touch a bit since then. I also spent time chatting with Rob at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in 2010 and we exchanged phone numbers as I had reason to believe he was a legitimate target for General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens in the upcoming NFL Draft.

(Of course, that was well before we found out the monster tight end had failed a physical with the team leading up to the Draft.)

Ryan reached out to Gronkowski Tuesday morning and got a call back from him just after “The Reality Check” hit the airwaves Tuesday afternoon. When Ryan asked him if he would be available to chat with me later in the show, the former University of Arizona star politely declined (he did offer to chat again after the season was over) and deferred to the Pats’ media availability this week.

While I was disappointed, I fully understood. To keep peeling back the curtain, I never allow myself to get too angry when a sports figure doesn’t end up on the air with us. I always tell our staff “they don’t owe us anything” and look forward to the next opportunity to chat.

Baltimore Ravens DL Arthur Jones took us up on the opportunity to chat Tuesday on the show. As much as I tried, I couldn’t get him to divulge information on what kind of pass rush the Ravens would offer in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

I tell this long-winded story because it ties into some other comments made this week that have lit up Charm City.

Ravens S Ed Reed appeared Monday on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio. You’ve read many of the quotes elsewhere on the internet, including…

“Joe was kind of rattled a little bit by that defense. They had a lot of guys in the box on him and they were giving it to him. I think a couple of times he needed to get rid of the ball. It just didn’t look like he had a hold on the offense.”

And…

“He can’t play like that. One specific play that sticks out to me was when Ray Rice came out and got pushed out of the backfield and (Flacco) still threw him the ball and he had Torrey Smith on the outside. I can say that sitting on the sideline or sitting in the stands. You don’t know what someone else is seeing.”

(Continued on Page 2)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 16 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Wake Forest @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center), Maryland @ Duke (Sunday 3:30pm from Durham, NC live on ESPNU); Golf: PGA Tour Humana Challenge (Thursday & Friday 3pm Saturday & Sunday 4pm from La Quinta, CA live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour Mitsubishi Electric Championship (Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from Ka’upulehu-Kona, HI live on Golf Channel); Boxing: Eddie Chambers vs. Sergei Liakhovic (Saturday 9pm from Philly live on NBC Sports Network); High School Basketball: Woodlawn @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm), Milford Mill @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm)

10. Dru Hill (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Taproot (Saturday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); Jimi Haha (Thursday 8pm 8×10 Club); Aimee Mann (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Ozomatli (Saturday 9pm 9:30 Club); Bryan Adams (Monday 8pm Strathmore)

For those of us in Charm City, Sisqo and the boys from Dru Hill are a bit of royalty-even if they’re not really all that famous anymore.  They were so freaking awesome in the mid-90′s…

I heart Jimi Haha-and not just because I beat the Jimmie’s Chicken Shack/Jarflys frontman a few weeks ago in “Everybody Beats Glenn”…

You’ve probably heard some Ozomatli, even if you don’t think you have…

I love Bryan Adams. So sue me.

9. Adam Carolla (Saturday 8pm & 10pm Fillmore Silver Spring); “Haywire” out in theaters (Friday)

Adam Carolla is a funny hombre. I LOVED him with Dr. Drew on “Loveline”, but I think I loved Crank Yankers even more…

I don’t know if you’d call me “excited” about the pending release of Haywire, but I AM excited about posting another new picture of Gina Carano…

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