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17 points in honor of…

Posted on 20 October 2008 by Drew Forrester

Here’s a quick edition of 17 points to ponder, in honor of Joe Flacco’s 17-for-23 effort on Sunday at Miami.

1. I’m sure glad Tampa Bay beat the Red Sox.  My disdain for all things Philly would have forced me to root for “Bah-stun” in the World Series and that would have been tough to do.  I was so sure the Sox were going to win Game 7 that I bought a “Pedroia for President” t-shirt Sunday morning.  I still have the receipt, thankfully.

2. Tampa Bay in six games.  Buh-bye Phillies…

3. How come David Price of the Rays – picked in the ’07 draft – could pitch meaningful games in September and be a hero in the ALCS and the O’s couldn’t bring up Matt Wieters for a dozen games in September that didn’t matter?  Oh, that’s right, our team’s cheap.

4. Ravens 24 – Oakland 3. 

5. I think we’ll have another fund-raiser for Maryvale later this week.  What do you say?  Winless Lions vs. Redskins on Sunday.  It worked a few weeks back when the Rams whipped ’em in DC. 

6. Is Jared Gaither having a terrific season or what? 

7. If I had to make a pick right now, today, I’ll say Titans vs. Giants in the Super Bowl, but it’s very rare that the two #1 seeds make it to the big game(assuming they both finish as #1 seeds…).

8. As long as that game in Tampa doesn’t feature Pittsburgh vs. Washington, we’re all OK.  Could you imagine the heartache of THAT scenario in the Super Bowl this February? 

9. The best NFC team no one is talking about right now is Tampa Bay.

10. Maryland 38 – NC State 16.  In Raleigh, it could be a steamer-in-the-making, but in College Park, the Terps will roll and move Bob Haynie ever so close to that steak dinner he keeps talking about from Rob Long.

11. Two guys who might be available in the off-season would make good Ravens next year:  Steve Smith (WR, Carolina) and Joey Porter (LB, Miami).  If Ray-Ray, Suggs and/or Bart Scott jump ship, Porter would be a nice fallback…that’s if he doesn’t stick it out in Miami.  I’ll trade Smith for Clayton and DWilliams right now.

12. Merton from Indianapolis is a good egg.  Even when the Colts get slapped around, he still calls in.  Gotta give him credit for that, at least.

13. The Capitals’ offense looks decent so far.  I’m still not sold on Jose Theodore in goal.  But they’ll win a lot of games this year ‘cuz they’ll score 5 goals or more on a lot of nights.

14. Bob Haynie made a great point today on his show.  So I’ll use it here with a nod to him.  The last time the O’s had a winning season (’97), the Tampa Bay Rays weren’t in the league yet.  Yeah, it hurt me to hear that too.

15. What’s with all the necklaces these pitchers are wearing?  One…OK.  Two…I guess.  But why 3, 4 and 5 of them?  Why?

16. Janikowski’s 57-yard field goal to beat the Jets in OT yesterday would have been good from 67…at least.

17. The Rams are still alive in the NFC West.  Seriously.

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Ravens Q & A time

Posted on 30 September 2008 by caseywillett

After a hard fought, tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last night, it is time for another edition of Ravens questions and answers.

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O-Line Biggest Surprise of 2008

Posted on 28 September 2008 by Vince Fiduccia

The biggest surprise for the Ravens in this young season is the play of its equally young offensive line. Remember during preseason when injuries had wrecked the unit and undaunted defenders came along the perimeter against a guy who was pouring concrete for a living?   We were all wondering if any of our quarterbacks could make it more than two or three games. Thanks to the return of Jared Gaither and Adam Terry, the line has come together much quicker and effectively than any of us thought.   After two games the Ravens lead the NFL in time of possession and rank second in the league in rushing with an average of 190 yards per game.
More importantly, they are completely dominating the line of scrimmage. Witness the performance in the fourth quarter in each of the first two games. Everyone in the stadium knew what they wanted to do–kill the clock and pound the ball.  How did the o-line respond?  With punishing grinding drives that left the other teams’ offenses on the bench for long stretches of time. They have allowed just two sacks, have given rookie quarterback Joe Flacco plenty of pass protection, and have owned short yardage situations.
Who gets the credit? Offensive line coach John Matsko probably deserves most of the credit along with assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller. They have done a great job of teaching technique and working with the each player.   Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has made great calls and put the line in great situations. Plus the addition of fullback Lorenzo Neal, the best lead blocker of his generation, has made this unit elite.
Whoever, decided to move Marshal Yanda to guard and Adam Terry to right tackle (a move I thought was doomed) deserves kudos–especially the decision to make Terry a right tackle.  Last year he looked like he was on roller skates at that position. Someone is coaching this group up or scheming right to protect him.
Give the players credit as well.  They have observed and learned the lessons taught. They worked hard during the off-season both in the weight room and on the field.   The one thing we know about this group is they are talented and young, and their future is limitless. If this level of play continues, general manager Ozzie Newsome is going to have to think of ways to keep this group together under the salary cap.

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The Tuesday Top 7

Posted on 23 September 2008 by Drew Forrester

It’s time for another edition of Tuesday’s Top 7, where I give you my top seven players from the most recent Ravens’ game and provide the “season tally” after two games in 2008. A player getting the #7 position gets ONE point in the standings, the 6th player gets TWO points, etc. – and the player ranked #1 gets 7 points.

Sunday vs. Cleveland

7. Ed Reed — His 3rd quarter pick and return for a TD was part of a frenzied minute where the Ravens put the game away. Still looks like he’s favoring his training camp injury…but he’s always been a game-changing player and Sunday was no different.

6. Chris McAlister — Another Sunday, another big-mouth wide receiver (Edwards) leaves with his tail between his legs. CMac was also “right man, right place” on the 3rd quarter interception. If he’s healthy, no one in the league gets over on him.

5. Jared Gaither — The Ravens ran for 151 yards…about 120 of it behind Gaither and Ben Grubbs. Flacco’s passing success (13/19) can be attributed to Gaither’s protection skills, as well. Don’t look now, but maybe, just maybe, the Ravens have found their NEW left tackle to replace J.O.

4. Le’Ron McClain — Two TD’s for L-Mac and another solid game bullying his way through the opposing defense in the 4th quarter when the Ravens punished the Browns interior line.

3. Jim Leonhard — Burst onto the scene Sunday with exceptional special teams work in place of injured Yamon Figurs — and then contributed mightily in the secondary when Dawan Landry was hurt. He was everywhere Sunday and certainly earned his keep against bigger, stronger pass catchers.

2. Terrell Suggs — Two sacks and a couple of tackles — always at his best when he’s wreaking havoc on the edge and making life tough for the other team’s quarterback. His energy helped the Ravens defense turn the game around in the 3rd quarter.

1. Ray Lewis — Any doubt about this one? None. Changed the game with his hit on Kellen Winslow and continues to show – despite what some people think – he hasn’t lost a few steps. He’s just playing smarter these days, that’s all. Still a wrecking machine. As the Browns found out.

Overall Points Leaders through 2 games in ’08 —

5. Jim Leonhard – 5 pts
    Jared Gaither – 5 pts
    Joe Flacco – 5 pts
4. Ray Lewis – 7 pts
3. Chris McAlister – 8 pts
2. Terrell Suggs – 9 pts
1. Le’Ron McClain – 11 pts

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Thursday Ravens Notes

Posted on 18 September 2008 by caseywillett

Here is the Ravens injury report for Thursday:
Troy Smith
Did Not Participate:
Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg)
Kelly Gregg (knee)
Corey Ivy (ankle)
Limited Participation:
Yamon Figurs (hamstring)
Nick Greisen (thigh)
Derrick Martin (shoulder)
Fabian Washington (neck)
Full Participation:
Todd Heap (wrist)
Marshal Yanda (knee)
Demetrius Williams (hamstring)

Here are some notes from the media session with Special Teams Coach Jerry Rosburg, Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan, and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron:

The Ravens special teams unit will have their hands full with Josh Cribbs as he is one of the most dangerous return guys in the NFL. Interestingly enough, Coach Jerry Rosburg was the person who turned Cribbs into a return guy. Cribbs was a quarterback out of Kent State when he was signed as a free agent by the Browns in ’05.
The Ravens offensive line will have their hands full with big defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. He is a guy that demands a double team from the offensive line and will be a big challenge for Jason Brown.
Willis McGahee will see some playing this Sunday, but I do not look for him to start and to only play a limited amount of time on Sunday.
According to Rex Ryan, this will be the best defense that the Browns will have faced so far this year. So far they have faced the Cowboys who only allowed 10 points, and the Steelers who only allowed 6 points.
Rex Ryan pointed out that part of the struggles of the Browns so far has been that they are missing Joe Jurevicius and Donte Stallworth on offense, but are still a very dangerous team offensively.
Look for Justin Bannan to get another start on the defensive line as Kelly Gregg still appears to be unlikely to play on Sunday
Willie Anderson will fit into the mix at the tackle position this Sunday. Willie will now rotate with Adam Terry and Jared Gaither, and Terry could move over to left tackle at times during the game
Here are notes from the media portion of practice:
-Missing: Troy Smith, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Kelly Gregg, Corey Ivy
-Back at work: Yamon Figurs, Ed Reed, Demetrius Williams, Derrick Martin
-Lorenzo Neal was wearing #43 which is the number that belongs to Haruki Nakamura. Haruki was also wearing #43. Lorenzo is listed on the roster as still wearing #42.

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Ravens Q&A

Posted on 16 September 2008 by caseywillett

It’s time for another Tuesday edition of the Ravens Q&A blog.

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Ravens-Texans to Monday night; injury report

Posted on 11 September 2008 by caseywillett

Just after 6 pm, the NFL released this statement to the media: Due to the importance of allowing the Houston area to focus on its recovery from the expected arrival of Hurricane Ike on Friday, the Houston Texans’ home game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens has been re-scheduled for Monday night at Reliant Stadium at 7:30 pm Houston time (8:30 pm ET).

The game originally was scheduled to be played on Sunday, September 14 at 3:15 pm Houston Time (4:15 pm ET). The Texans-Ravens Monday night game will be televised on local CBS stations in the primary and secondary markets of the Texans (Houston, Beaumont-Port Arthur, and Bryan, Texas) and the Ravens (Baltimore; Washington, DC; Salisbury, MD; and Harrisburg, PA).

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the folks in Texas as this storm bears down on the coast over the next day. Here is how the day unfolded out at Owings Mills …

4:50 pm: The Ravens have informed us that they have been told that the NFL will have a statement around 6 pm as it relates to the status of Sunday’s scheduled Ravens-Texans game.

Here is a blog about the situation from NFL.com, with quotes from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

I just do not see this game being played on Sunday. There would be way too many issues with getting things cleaned up after the storm and being ready to go for the game. If things can get cleaned up, cleared and ready to go for a game on Monday night, I would guess the Ravens would get the front end of a Monday Night Football doubleheader with the Eagles at Cowboys taking the main stage that evening.

It also has not been ruled out that the game could be played on another day next week, but that is to short of a turnaround for both teams.

Hopefully we will have a final answer coming in the next 45 minutes.

4:41 pm: Make sure to check out the audio vault on the WNST website to listen to Ian Eagle’s take on the current status of the Ravens–Texans game. As of now, there is still no word from the Ravens. The team is still waiting to hear word from the NFL as to what will happen.

4:10 pm: There is no news yet as far as the game goes, but here is the Ravens’ injury report for Thursday:

Did Not Participate
Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg)
Yamon Figurs (hamstring)
Kelly Gregg (knee)
Troy Smith (illness)
Fabian Washington (neck)

Limited Participation
Jared Gaither (ankle)
Trevor Pryce (back)

Full Participation
Chris McAlister (knee)
Jason Brown (ankle)
Todd Heap (back)
Corey Ivy (ankle)
Le Ron McClain (ankle)
Willis McGahee (knee)
Ed Reed (neck)

2:40 pm: Although no new news on the Ravens–Texans game, the University of Texas postponed its game against Arkansas until Sept. 27. Here are some sports event changes that have been made due to Hurricane Ike and its impact.

Also, here is an update from the Houston Airport System as it relates to flights coming into Houston.

1:43 pm: Still nothing official from the Ravens, but here is something to thing about. The Ravens game could be moved to Atlanta. The Falcons are on the road at Tampa Bay late Sunday afternoon, and the baseball Braves are in New York to face the Mets.

12:24 pm: The latest here officially from the Ravens is that the club was notified that they will be told something this afternoon or tonight as it relates to the game in Houston. The Ravens have been told to be ready to plan accordingly.

The Ravens have not been told about the possibility of the game being moved to Baltimore. That seems to not be an opition as there was so much fall out over the move of the 2005 Saints-Giants game that Chris Pika blogged about due to Hurricane Katrina.

9:30 am: The Ravens are monitoring the path of Hurricane Ike this morning and may be making alternate plans for the game Sunday afternoon. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the game could be moved to Monday night.

The University of Houston has had to move their game Saturday versus Air Force to Dallas (at SMU’s stadium). There are some reports that flights into Houston may be put on hold starting tonight or Friday. That could possibly cause the Ravens to have to leave sometime in the next 24 hours.

More as word comes out here at 1 Winning Drive.

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UPDATE: Injury report and Wednesday Ravens notes

Posted on 10 September 2008 by caseywillett

Here is the Ravens injury report for Wednesday:
Did Not Participate:
Brendon Ayanbadejo (leg)
Troy Smith (illness)
Fabian Washington (neck)
Limited Participation
Yamon Figurs (hamstring)
Kelly Gregg (knee)
Corey Ivy (ankle)
Ed Reed (neck)
Full Participation
Chris McAlister(knee)
Jason Brown (ankle)
Jared Gaither (ankle)
Todd Heap (back)
LeRon McClain (ankle)
Willis McGahee (knee)

The Ravens returned to practice today as they prepare for the Houston Texans. Here are some news and notes from today:

Good news from media portion of practice this afternoon. Kelly Gregg was back on the field and may possibly be ready to play on Sunday
Haloti Ngata was not at practice during the media session, and there has been no reason as to why he was not there. Again, he was not there during the media portion of practice, he could have very well come out for practice later.
Fabian Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Troy Smith, were all not at practice this afternoon as they nurse injuries.
Fabian sort of rules himself out on Sunday. He said he is still dealing with some neck issues.
Troy Smith was in the locker room for a brief moment this afternoon. He looks to be in a little better shape than last time we saw him, but Coach Harbaugh said they will know more about his status on Friday.
Look for it to be a possible rotation of Willie Anderson, Adam Terry, and Jared Gaither, at the tackle positions. Terry could possibly see some time at the left tackle position if Anderson comes in at right.
There has been no news as far as possibly having to make changes in the Ravens travel plans as it relates to Houston yet,” whatever those plans are, they’ll let us know when it’s time, and our job is to get ready for the Texans.”
Todd Heap said that his back injury that he suffered in the 4th quarter of the Bengals game is ok, and not something that is going to bother him. Heap said that he landed on the Bengals player’s foot, but will be ok for Sunday.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak had an interesting take on the Ravens offense:’ I think you’ve got to worry about stopping the offense. When you look at the Ravens last week, the bottom line is they were dominant on the line of scrimmage. I’m not sure I’m right, but I think the quarterback only threw the ball 17-18 times last week. If you’re in this league and the quarterback only has to throw the ball that many times, then that means your football team’s got total control of the game on the ground. I think our tremendous challenge is figuring out a way to stop their run. If they can hold the ball longer, just like Pittsburgh did-I think Ben threw it 16 times or 15 times, I’m not sure; it wasn’t many-you’re in trouble as a football team. We’ve got to stop their offense, and when you look at last week they’re very physical and do a great job in the running game.”
One of the things to watch for is that Mario Williams will jump from one end of the line to the other, to cause match up problems.

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The Tuesday Top 7

Posted on 09 September 2008 by Drew Forrester

Every Tuesday throughout the ’08 NFL season, I’ll post my “Top 7” Ravens performers of the current campaign. It will be a cumulative total, but a “#1 star of the game” will be awarded each week to single out the player with the best performance from that week’s game.
Here’s the first edition of the “Top 7”:
7. Jason Brown – The center doesn’t get much recognition, but J.B. had a great day on Sunday against the Bengals.  He handled all the line calls, helped the offensive line open enough holes to post over 200 yards in rushing and was seen on a number of occasions laying a block 10 to 15 yards downfield.  Brown has handled his move from guard to center with seamless ease.
6. Jared Gaither – When your team’s quarterback doesn’t get sacked – or touched, for that matter – it’s a safe bet that your left tackle had a big game.  Jared Gaither had an exceptional game on Sunday.  Some Ravens staffers say he’s been the team’s best player in practice since returning from a training camp injury and his play against the Falcons (final pre-season game) and the Bengals supports that statement.
5. Terrell Suggs – Hard to believe, but T-Sizzle was one of the big reasons why Chad Johnson caught one more pass than you and I on Sunday.  Suggs met 85 at the line of scrimmage on the game’s very first play and stood his ground all afternoon…yet another new defensive twist employed by Rex Ryan.  Suggs also had four tackles on the day, but it was help in pass coverage on Johnson that was noticed the most.
4. Jarrett Johnson – J.J. had one of his best games as a pro, with a sack and a team-high (tied with Landry) 5 solo tackles on the day.  Like Suggs, he was used in pass coverage on short down-and-distance situations and looked much more comfortable in that role than in previous years.  
3. Joe Flacco – Ran for a TD and didn’t turn the ball over, completing 15 of 29 throws and outplaying his Heisman Trophy counterpart from Cincinnati.  More than anything, he handled all the “extras” well — ran the no huddle to perfection, kept the cadence balanced and clear (one false start penalty the entire game) and showed poise and a coolness that weren’t reflective of a guy making his first pro start.
2. Chris McAlister – All this guy does is take on the shutdown corner role and then SHUT DOWN his man.  CMac did it again on Sunday, with help from Rex Ryan’s scheme and a few others, limiting the big mouth to just one catch while getting his own mitts on a Carson Palmer throw that helped squelch an early-game drive.  McAlister also had a fumble recovery and, in general, was once again the guy who stepped up (without having to talk about it during the week) and played his position to near perfection.  Carson Palmer didn’t even throw for 100 yards on Sunday.  CMac had a lot to do with that.
1. Le’Ron McClain – What DIDN’T this guy do on Sunday?  Led the team in rushing yards with 86, caught 2 passes for 24 yards and in the all-important 4th quarter, he was the team’s go-to-guy in the backfield and punished the Bengals defense whenever they tried to tackle him.  He was a major reason why the Baltimore offense finished the afternoon ON THE FIELD at the end of the game, not allowing the Bengals a chance to get their offense out there for one last gasp drive.  His best-ever game as a pro, without question.
#1 Star of the Game – Le’Ron McClain

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*UPDATE Cut down day for the Ravens

Posted on 30 August 2008 by caseywillett

4:30 So the Ravens have trimmed their roster down and announced the suspension of Derrick Martin for the first regular season game. You can see all of the cuts listed in Nestor’s blog.

On my 53 man roster, I went 51-53. I missed on Adam Bergen and Casey Bramlet by having them in and leaving Anwar Phillips and Jamell McClain out. As it relates to Peter Czech, we did not even know that he was on the team. We were told he was waived to make room for Casey Bramlet on Thursday, but on the Ravens site he is listed on the 53 man roster.

The Derrick Martin situation is no suprise. When you saw Kevin Faulk get suspended, you knew Derrick’s was coming also. Also not suprised with decision to IR David Pittman.



Today is the day that 22 members of the Ravens team have not been looking forward to. This is the day when you are told that your services are no longer needed for this football team. The Ravens have to get down to 53 man roster by 6 p.m. The rookies on the Ravens will all have to report to the Ravens facility today and await word whether they have made the team or not.

I will keep you updated here and through our text service throughout the day as the cuts become available. As it relates to the practice squad, the Ravens have until noon tomorrow to establish that team. Once a player becomes available, it goes in reverse order of record as to claiming a player.
Here is my attempt at the 53 man roster for the Ravens.
QB – Boller, Flacco, Smith, Bramlet
RB – McGahee, Rice
FB – Neal, McClain
WR – Mason, Clayton, Williams, Figurs, Smith
TE – Heap, Wilcox, Jones, Bergen
OL- Brown, Grubbs, Yanda, Terry, Gaither, Cousins, Hale, Chester
DL- Pryce, Douglas, Gregg, Ngata, Parker, Bannan
LB-Lewis,Scott,Suggs, Johnson, Barnes, Ayanbadejo, Greisen, Gooden
DB – Rolle, McAlister, Washington, Walker, Martin, Ivy
S – Reed, Landry, Leonhard, Zbkowski, Nakamura
ST – Koch, Katula, Stover
I admit this is just my guess, but hey someone had to put Bramlet on the team, it might as well be me.
Here is my thinking on a couple of guys:
Casey Bramlet – I think they are going to need him for a couple of weeks. With the status of Kyle Boller and Troy Smith in the air for week one, they may have no choice but to keep Casey.
J’Vonne Parker – I thought J’Vonne has had a very solid camp and preseason. Also factor in with Ngata, and Gregg nursing injuries, he gives them depth at that position.
Derrick Martin – Derrick is another player who I thought had a solid preseason and regular season. Derrick is nursing a shoulder injury right now and maybe we will find out how severe that is today, but I think Derrick has earned a spot on this team.

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