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Your Monday Reality Check: Congrats kid, now don’t miss

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Your Monday Reality Check: Congrats kid, now don’t miss

Posted on 27 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

I probably should’ve saved a few hundred of the words I spent on last week’s missive about the Baltimore Ravens’ kicking competition.

Hey, at least I’m going to save you from a story about my 16th birthday party. (Although if you really want to know the details you can always feel free to email me. I always have stories.)

I’m glad our own Drew Forrester has taken the time to commend former K Billy Cundiff over and over again for how he handled himself after missing a crucial kick that cost the team a chance to send the AFC Championship Game to overtime. Drew has been right to point out that Cundiff could have made excuses, could have dodged reporters, could have gone into hiding and waited to hear his fate after an underwhelming season.

He didn’t do that. He manned up. It truly is commendable.

There’s a caveat to our praise however. The fact is that we all know that if Cundiff had made the kick and then given the Heisman to media members postgame we wouldn’t have batted an eye.

The fact is that the only thing any of us (rightly) care about was that in a situation where a team (and a city) counted on one player to do their job, the job wasn’t done.

We’ve been through this exercise repeatedly in the months since the Ravens fell just short of a Super Bowl return. I actually have no interest whatsoever in reliving that moment and determining what happened or who deserves blame. I’m just reminding everyone that while Drew is right to commend Billy Cundiff, there’s an obvious reason why such praise isn’t prevailing throughout Charm City to start the week.

I could not begin to tell you whether or not the Ravens made the right decision by releasing Cundiff Sunday and sticking with rookie K Justin Tucker for the 2012 season. I understand the reasoning behind the decision (I’m pretty sure I made a compelling argument for both specialists last Monday) and support the organization in making the move.

I also fought off the urge to headline this column “Good Tuck, kid” so I feel like I deserve a bit of credit here.

Tucker has a great opportunity to establish himself as an above average kicker for a franchise finally moving past the significant shadow of Matt Stover. Tucker has the opportunity to not just make crucial kicks for the Ravens in 2012, but perhaps also for future Ravens teams both competing for Super Bowl titles and (unfortunately) just trying to stay afloat in the AFC North.

Based on my early conversations with Tucker (the most recent of which-from last Wednesday’s episode of “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net-can be heard in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault), I have every reason to believe Tucker is aware of the opportunity in front of him. He seems like an intelligent young man with what we can already tell is an exceptionally capable leg.

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Your Monday Reality Check: This is just plain awkward at this point

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Your Monday Reality Check: This is just plain awkward at this point

Posted on 20 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

For me, it was probably my 15th birthday party.

ESPNZone had just opened in the Inner Harbor about a month earlier and I wanted absolutely nothing more than to check it out. I convinced my parents to let me have a party there after weeks of haggling.

The agreement came with one significant stipulation. As my parents were by no means wealthy people (although clearly I was more fortunate than others), they informed me I could only bring three friends.

I knew then that the decision I made would easily be the most agonizing of my entire life.

(You probably think I’m being sarcastic. With the gift of hindsight, it’s understandable. But think back to the time you had to make a similar decision. Remember how significant you thought it was? I thought so.)

I was obviously going to bring Brandon, as he and I had been hanging out together almost every day that summer. I had also figured I would take Matt, one of my buddies since first grade. The third choice was by far and away the most difficult. Ryan and Andy were stepbrothers, so how was I going to pick one and not the other? Billy had invited me to his cool birthday party earlier that year, so maybe I owed him. Adam was having a paintball themed birthday later in the month, I definitely didn’t want my decision to jeopardize an invite to his party. And for perhaps the first time in my young life I thought perhaps it was more important to consider inviting a GIRL (Leslie) instead of one of my buddies.

I remember thinking “perhaps I could cheat the system.” I tried convincing my parents I couldn’t invite Ryan without inviting Andy. I tried seeing if they would allow me to invite a fourth if I promised to invite one fewer friend to my 16th birthday. I told them Brandon shouldn’t count against the limit because he was basically living with us that summer anyway. I had hoped to find out someone wouldn’t be able to come anyway because their family already had plans.

I wish I could tell you I remembered who I picked. I don’t. I just remembered how awkward the whole process was.

I’m assuming by this point you clearly see the analogy I’m trying to make between my 15th birthday party and the Baltimore Ravens’ preseason kicking competition. How could you possibly not? I’m laying it on so thick!

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With All of the Losses, Even the 15-7-0 Is Now in the BCS Title Picture

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With All of the Losses, Even the 15-7-0 Is Now in the BCS Title Picture

Posted on 21 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I have no concrete proof that Towson University is building a statue for Rob Ambrose, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

A lot of people are surprised by the Tigers’ success, but not me. I’m so effing stunned I’m still not a hundred percent certain it actually happened…

There’s no way anyone…in the world…could have ever seen a CAA Championship coming this season. This team still has more work to do though. They won’t feel incapable of beating anyone they play in the NCAA playoffs, starting with Lehigh December 3rd at Unitas Stadium.

Seriously…this is Towson we’re talking about. This can’t be real.

2. I thought I was happier to see the Washington Redskins lose when they play miserably, but I think I was even happier to see their fans suffer heartbreak Sunday.

I will admit that I thought those a-holes in DC were done after Tony Romo hit Jason Witten from 59 yards away…

…but somehow Mike Shanahan’s team stayed in the thing long enough to have a kick to win in overtime. Graham Gano of course missed the kick and DeAngelo Hall channeled DeAngelo Hall to help the Cowboys survive.

I celebrate your misery, clowns. May you never win another game…unless for some reason you play the Steelers. Even then, I dunno.

3. Tony Sparano is giving Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross something very similar to what Lou Brown gave Rachel Phelps.

Does anyone remember earlier this year when the Buffalo Bills were good? No? I swear I thought they were…

Stephen Ross started interviewing coaches before bothering to fire Sparano. Sparano used that to fire up his team, convincing them to win in order to piss off the ownership there that wanted to get new players and coaches. Suddenly Matt Moore and Reggie Bush are playing like real National Football League players and there’s a problem on South Beach…at least for now.

It’s very similar to what Lou Brown did back when he was managing the Cleveland Indians…

Did we ever find out if Brown won American League Manager of the Year that year? He was a hell of a skip.

(Side note. Every time the Orioles tried to hire a General Manager this offseason I assume the calls went awfully similar to that time when Charlie Donovan called Brown at Tire World to offer him the gig with the Tribe.

“How would you like to be the Birds’ GM?”
“Gee. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? This is your chance to be a Major League Baseball General Manager!”
“Let me get back to you, will you Peter? I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.”)

4. Andrew Luck has an impressive lateral motion towards the Heisman Trophy.

Do you get the feeling the Stanford quarterback is saying to himself, “Well, if no one else wants it…”?

I’d show you something from the Cardinal’s win Saturday night over rival California, but there wouldn’t be anything that would convince you Luck has locked up the award.

Instead, here’s Lee Corso dropping the “f-bomb” on ESPN’s College Gameday Saturday morning from the University of Houston. There’s no real reason to share the video, other than the fact that it includes the f-bomb.

5. If ANYONE has put their name back in the Heisman mix, that person is Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.

The Bears’ QB almost singlehandedly made sure next weekend’s “Bedlam” game was uninteresting to the rest of the country by throwing (and running) all over Oklahoma Saturday night…

It’s probably too little, too late as far as the Heisman is concerned-but it is certainly a reminder that RG3 has been one of the most entertaining players in the country all season. This TD pass to Kendall Wright however is probably not one he should take credit for…

Also humorous? Erin Andrews took the worst of a Gatorade shower intended for Griffin…

AND…in the hysteria on field after the win in Waco, America fell in love with a gal rushing the field on crutches…

6. At times, Matthew Stafford is one of the best quarterbacks in the world.

But if he did this more often the Detroit Lions wouldn’t have to make dramatic second half comebacks week in and week out like they did Sunday against the Carolina Panthers…

This game also involved Lions TE Tony Scheffler invoking an AT&T Flash Mob commercial in a TD dance…

And a note to Fantasy Football owners: Lions RB Kevin Smith ran for over 100 yards in this game. The physics of that alone are stunning, really.

I’m well aware it’s a different guy, but can we talk about this picture for a second? I say this as a HUGE Silent Bob fan. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Are those shorts? Is it some sort of jean skirt? Is it a denim quilt? Holy hell.

7. No one knows how to pronounce his name, but Chris Ogbonnaya had himself a fine day Sunday.

Well, I feel like a bit of a silly goose for taking fantasy advice and playing the Jacksonville Jaguars defense against the Cleveland Browns Sunday.

The only meaningful highlight in this one came from Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who invoked Cleveland “hero” LeBron James by tossing powder in the air after scoring a TD…

And in an unrelated story, here’s a 6 year old kid crying about the New York Jets after their loss to the Denver Broncos the other night. He has an awful mother…

El oh el.

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Four Weeks Into “Season”, Ravens Haven’t Changed Much

Posted on 21 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

LANDOVER, Md. – Looking at the 23-3 final score, it would be easy to assume the Baltimore Ravens had no troubles with the Washington Redskins Saturday night at FedEx Field. It would also be easy to assume that after a less than overwhelming performance against the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens reminded their regional rivals and other teams throughout the NFL that they are a true favorite to win the AFC and reach the Super Bowl.

And to some extent, maybe all of that is true.

The reality is that after four weeks of practice at McDaniel College in Westminster and two preseason contests, everything that was a concern for this team as they entered Training Camp remains a concern still.

Without Domonique Foxworth, the biggest concern facing the Baltimore Ravens was in the secondary. Injuries (Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb), inexperience (Cary Williams and Prince Miller) and…well…insignificance (Chris Carr and Travis Fisher) still make the unit a rather large question mark to at least some extent.

Fabian Washington played a very solid first quarter in DC, but his long-term durability remains a question-especially considering his standing as the team’s current top corner. There has been a great fear that Lardarius Webb would end up starting the season on the PUP list, but it looks more and more like he will be active within a week. But little is known about how quickly Webb will be able to get into NFL game action, and how much he will resemble the player who was a pleasant surprise after being selected in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Nicholls State.

Chris Carr was at least adequate if not better for a 2nd straight week; but the same cannot be said for Travis Fisher. Fisher (and Dawan Landry) were torched early by a 45 yard pass from Donovan McNabb to Anthony Armstrong (which set up a Graham Gano field goal-Washington’s only points of the game). Fisher would have been torched by the same receiver again in the 2nd quarter had McNabb not been guilty of an overthrow.

Cary Williams was a bright spot for the Ravens, recording his second interception of the preseason on an underthrown ball from McNabb intended for Santana Moss. The only unfortunate part of Williams’ solid play is the reminder that he will be unavailable when the Ravens visit the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals in Weeks 1 and 2 due to a suspension handed down by Roger Goodell for a violation of the league’s conduct policy. Behind Williams; Prince Miller, Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins offered little to nothing in late game play.

The concerns surrounding the Ravens don’t stop there. At inside linebacker, there was no separation created by Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden or Dannell Ellerbe to lock down a starting role next to Ray Lewis. All three took turns having trouble with the likes of Chris Cooley and Moss over the middle; although none were liabilities against the run.

While the Ravens may have gotten pressure on Donovan McNabb at times, only once was Terrell Suggs able to put him in the dirt. With the question marks at corner, it is well known that the pass rush must improve for this team this season. Suggs had his hands full with rookie Skins tackle Trent Williams, while Trevor Pryce, Cory Redding, Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg appeared to do little more.

Offensively, the Ravens’ concerns surrounded scoring points and sustaining drives. The longest sustained scoring drive they put together with Joe Flacco and the offensive starters in the game was 40 yards to start the 2nd quarter (which was capped off by a 26 yard field goal from Billy Cundiff). They also put together a 68 yard TD drive two possessions later, but 51 of those yards came on a direct snap run by Haruki Nakamura off a fake punt.

The areas of concern are just that. Areas of concern.

But in the nature of building a team up after breaking them down, the Ravens did INDEED manage to prove that they are still the AFC North and Super Bowl contenders we believed them to be before Camp started.

The areas that WEREN’T concerning before Camp started are in no ways concerning now. The Ravens’ run defense allowed just 25 yards rushing. The Ravens spread the ball around offensively, with 7 different receivers catching at least two passes, and 16 different receivers hauling in at least one reception. Joe Flacco was steady if not spectacular-completing 9 of 16 passes for 72 yards. Sam Koch was absolutely stellar-totaling 235 yards on 5 punts and pinning the Redskins inside the 20 yard line 3 times.

Where we know the Ravens are good, we still know the Ravens are good.

Following the game, coach John Harbaugh said “we’re pleased with where we’re at, but we know we have a long way to go.”

I couldn’t agree more.

This team has shown nothing to make us think they aren’t capable of reaching every lofty goal that fans have for them. That being said, they’ve also reminded us that it’s going to be a long road to reaching those goals.

The good news is that the Super Bowl is still scheduled for February 6th in Dallas (or Arlington, Texas); not next weekend at M&T Bank Stadium. That will be nothing more than another preseason game-this time against the New York Giants.

Between now and February 6th, concerns will need to be limited.

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

This is going to be the first in a series I will do through Training Camp and on to Week 1 of the NFL season as we try to identify the 53 players who will make up the roster when the Baltimore Ravens face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

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

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

Here goes…

1. QB Joe Flacco (Do I even need to bother to explain?)
2. OT Michael Oher (Now at LT, Oher has moved into the “most important players on the team” category.)
3. RB Ray Rice (The team MVP from a season ago, Rice’s value is incredible despite the depth at the position. The Ravens are MUCH better offensively with Ray Rice than without him.)
4. WR Anquan Boldin (Everything about the football team changes with Boldin on the field. If this offense is going to be more dynamic this season, it’s going to happen because of what Boldin does to open things up.)

boldin

5. DT Haloti Ngata (It might be blasphemy to some, but Haloti Ngata is the most important defensive player on the roster. Everything they do defensively starts up front with Ngata.)
6. WR Derrick Mason (The team needs Mason to compliment Boldin if this offense is going to be explosive this season. He’s still one of the most important players on the roster.)
7. LB Ray Lewis (He’s no longer THE most important defensive player on the team, but he’s still one of the more important defensive players in the NFL. The drop from #52 to Gooden/Barnes/McClain is significant.)
8. LB Terrell Suggs (Despite his poor 2009, the Ravens maintain high expectations for T-Sizzle in 2010. There’s a question of whether or not he’ll live up to them, but there’s no doubt they exist.)
9. OT Jared Gaither (He might not be the team’s LT any longer, but he’s still a VERY significant part of this team. The Ravens want to have Gaither and Oher as bookend tackles, as they believe it’s part of what makes their team great. Should a team float out a ridiculous trade offer for Gaither at some point I don’t think the Ravens would just dismiss it, but they very much want him to be on the field in New Jersey on Sept. 13.)
10. S Ed Reed (Technically, Ed has still not informed the team that he will return-and should he struggle to regain form after an offseason hip procedure, there’s a chance he might not. But Reed’s plan is to return, and if he does-he’s still a possible future Hall of Fame safety. He’s one of the Top 10 players on the team.)
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11. LB Jarret Johnson (Jarret was the team’s best defensive player a season ago, but his significance on the roster lessened when the team drafted Sergio Kindle behind him. I’d still expect him to have a Pro Bowl season, but his arguable Top 10 ability is currently greater than his actual roster value.)
12. DT Terrence Cody (Yep, that’s awfully high. But make no mistake about it, the Ravens have high expectations for Terrence Cody. Terrence Cody may be behind Kelly Gregg on the depth chart right now, but I wouldn’t expect that to last through Training Camp. He’s a mountain of a man, and is MUCH quicker than you’d realize. The more you see him on the field, the more you’ll wonder how 56 picks were made in the NFL Draft before he came off the board.)
13. OG Ben Grubbs (Grubbs arguably played at a Pro Bowl level a season ago as well, and the organization has been thrilled with him ever since they drafted him out of Auburn in 2007. If he was a tackle, he might be in the Top 5.)
14. DE Trevor Pryce (Despite the fact that he’s kind of only a “half” starter-and sometimes not a starter at all-Pryce has a major role on this team. In passing situations, the Ravens need the pressure Pryce can provide. That being said, the paycut Pryce took this offseason does indeed partially represent how his role has changed.)
15. DL Cory Redding (If Pryce is 14, Redding sorta has to be 15. They’ll be sharing an end position this year, similar to how Pryce and Dwan Edwards shared the position a season ago.)
16. TE Todd Heap (It would be easy to assume that with the Ravens selecting two Tight Ends in the NFL Draft, Todd Heap might be falling out of favor with the team. However, the team thought Heap played FAR too many snaps last season-insert your own LJ Smith joke here-and they wanted to help Heap out. The team also expects the middle of the field to be opened up for Heap thanks to the presence of Anquan Boldin.)
17. CB Domonique Foxworth (He’s the top CB on the roster, but not amongst the top CB’s in the AFC. Foxworth played MUCH better at the end of the season last year, and given the question marks the team has at the position-they could really use a similar performance this year.)
18. C Matt Birk (Not really much to say here. He’s a very important part of the offensive line, and it would be a significant dropoff for the team to have to turn to Chris Chester should he get hurt. His role is important, and he played very well a season ago.)
19. LB Sergio Kindle (The Ravens didn’t use their first pick in the NFL Draft on Kindle by accident. He’s learning a difficult position-as he was a more natural pass rusher at Texas than he will be asked to be in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if Kindle’s impact his rookie season isn’t as profound as you might want from the first player a team selects, but he’s definitely a phenomenal talent.)

sergio

20. OG Marshal Yanda (He’s going to be the starting RG for the team, and in the unlikely situation that Jared Gaither WERE to be traded, he’d probably get the shot to start at RT. His job is plenty safe.)
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21. FB Le’Ron McClain (Le’Ron’s recent Twitter campaign might not make him a true RB, but he’s going to get touches both in short yardage situations and late in games, there’s no doubt about that. Le’Ron’s role is very important to this team, and his ability to take a beating will make a major difference in how successful Ray Rice can be after 2,000+ yards of offense a season ago.)
22. CB Lardarius Webb (There’s a level of uncertainty here surrounding how he’ll bounce back in Training Camp from his ACL injury a season ago, but if he’s healthy-he’ll have a chance to start opposite Domonique Foxworth at CB. If he gets back for the bulk of Training Camp, he’s likely be in the mix again at KR as well.)
23. S Dawan Landry (If you’re a starter on defense, your job is safe. Dawan Landry is a starter on defense. His long-term status with the team might be in question, but he’s going to be here. The only sweating Landry will do in Westminster this summer will be due to the weather.)
24. LB Dannell Ellerbe (Dannell Ellerbe is CLEARLY the best of the ILB’s on this roster behind Ray Lewis, but I don’t think his working with the 2nd team at a recent Passing Camp is as easy to dismiss as John Harbaugh wanted it to be. Ellerbe’s attitude and personality are what left him undrafted out of Georgia to begin with. Those questions haven’t gone away since he made the team out of Training Camp a season ago. They love Ellerbe’s ability, but they want him to have a better attitude to boot. He’ll be one to watch at McDaniel College this summer.)
25. CB Fabian Washington (If I’m guessing, Fabian Washington will be starting opposite Domonique Foxworth at the Meadowlands September 13th. He’s also coming off a knee injury, but appears to be a bit closer to returning than Webb. His spot is safe, even though most Ravens fans would like some more quality depth at CB given the receivers they’ll go up against in the AFC North.)
26. WR Donte’ Stallworth (We know this much, Donte’ Stallworth is fast. Judging by what we’ve seen from him in OTA’s, we know he can still catch-at least when he’s not heavily defended. He’s going to be 3rd on the WR depth chart, and won’t have any trouble making it to the final 53. The only real questions surrounding Stallworth have more to do with whether or not he’ll be the 3rd WR when John Harbaugh’s team battles Rex Ryan’s squad.)
donte

27. DT Kelly Gregg (Kelly Gregg remains a fan favorite around Baltimore, but I’m not sure he has a long-term role with this team. I would be stunned if we make it 4 weeks into the season before Terrence Cody is considered a “starter” while Gregg works from the bench. The team is VERY deep with DT’s, and Gregg could end up being the odd man out sooner than later. I think he makes the team, but it looks like someone is going to have to be a casualty amongst the group.)
28. TE Ed Dickson (Dickson is currently ahead of Dennis Pitta and behind Todd Heap on the TE depth chart, and the Ravens are expecting much more from him than they have from backup TE’s in years past. Dickson has looked solid thus far in the offseason, and clearly will have no trouble making the roster for the fall.)
29. OL Chris Chester (Chester had the best season of his career in 2009, but still is a bit of a question mark on this Ravens’ roster. He won’t have trouble cracking the 53, but his role is a bit of a question mark. He’ll be the primary backup at guard, but looks like he’s out of the mix at center for the future. He’s part of the 53, but may not be part of the long-term plan.)
30. LB Tavares Gooden (If Greg Mattison IS toying with whether or not Dannell Ellerbe will start for this team, no single player on the roster would stand to benefit more than Gooden. Gooden inherited the starting job going into the 2009 season, but a concussion/injury plagued career has prohibited him from fully living up to the promise he showed coming out of Miami. He’s still a valuable part of the team, and won’t have any trouble making the roster.)
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31. CB Chris Carr (Carr is especially important to the team right now considering the injuries Washington and Webb and coming off of. He’s also the incumbent punt returner, although he wasn’t particularly overwhelming in the role a season ago. The team loves the veteran presence he gives them in the secondary and the locker room, and he’ll certainly have an important role on the team moving forward.)
32. P Sam Koch (Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about Sam Koch is that like many punters this team has employed before him-Dave Zastudil, Kyle Richardson and Gregg Montgomery-the team doesn’t appear inclined to pay him real money to keep him around long term. Koch had another very good season a year ago, and he’ll be expected to have a similarly solid campaign this season.)
33. QB Troy Smith (A recent Sun story quoted Cam Cameron as saying John Beck had the chance to supplant Troy Smith as the team’s backup QB-but it doesn’t mean the two are involved in any sort of open competition. Smith is the #2 QB unless he has a terrible summer while Beck excels, and the team still would like to use him in other ways. His future with the team is always in question, but clearly no other NFL teams-especially the Browns-was too particularly interested in obtaining him in the offseason.)
34. RB Willis McGahee (It is REALLY difficult to figure out what type of role Willis McGahee will have with this team. It looked a season ago as if he had improved his attitude and was on his way to re-establishing himself in the Ravens offense. And even late in the season against the Raiders and Patriots, he showed that he can still be a valuable contributor. That being said, he looked disinterested off the field, and again chose to skip offseason activities. I assume he’s on the 53, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the end of the road was coming soon.)
35. S Haruki Nakamura (Now healthy, Haruki is safely part of the roster. He has a role both defensively behind Ed Reed and Dawan Landry; and as a valued part of the team’s Special Teams unit. He’ll sleep comfortably during Training Camp-or at least as comfortably as you can sleep at a Best Western.)
36. S Tom Zbikowski (I almost just want to write “ditto” here, as the things said about Haruki Nakamura can also be said about Tom Zbikowski. He has a role, and he’s on the team. Next question.)
37. TE Dennis Pitta (I guess there’s a chance that if Davon Drew were to have an exceptional Training Camp and Pitta were to struggle the roster could change; but there’s no reason to think that will happen. The Ravens went out and got both Dickson and Pitta because they wanted both players to be part of the offense moving forward.)
pitta
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

38. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (If there’s a vet who MIGHT be a bit concerned about their spot on the roster, it could well be Ayanbadejo. He’s been a great contributor to the team via special teams, and was having his best season as a defender before getting hurt last season. But the Ravens are particularly deep at ILB, and a number of those players can also contribute on Special Teams. It looks like Ayanbadejo is safe, but it isn’t a guarantee.)
39. LB Jameel McClain (Jameel McClain is exactly the type of player I was referring to in the previous post. The Ravens have been happy with McClain since they got him undrafted out of Syracuse, but he hasn’t cracked into “safe” territory yet. It’s safe to assume he’ll be part of the 53 as long as he stays steady.)
40. RB Jalen Parmele (Parmele made himself more valuable with a steady performance as KR after Lardarius Webb was hurt last season. That’s important, considering the Ravens’ tremendous depth in the backfield. Parmele is the player that would stand to benefit most should the Ravens somehow end up parting ways with Willis McGahee. Parmele also gives them valuable depth should there be an injury to a top back.)
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41. K Shayne Graham (He’s finally on the roster, now he just has to win the job. Graham appears to have a “leg up” in his competition with Billy Cundiff for the kicker job. However, it cannot be forgotten that there is a reason the Bengals parted ways with Graham, especially after his two big misses in a Wild Card playoff loss in Cincinnati. There’s going to be a kicker on the roster, and I’d say there’s a 60 percent chance it’s Graham.)

graham
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

42. QB John Beck (John Beck is going to make this team, as the Ravens are going to carry 3 quarterbacks. Hopefully, he won’t take a single snap all season, unless the team decides to use him from victory formation.)
43. OT Oniel Cousins (The team needs depth at OT, and while Oniel Cousins might not provide particularly QUALITY depth, he does provide depth. He’ll have the chance to move up this list in Training Camp.)
44. LS Matt Katula (This is very simple. Much like the competition for the kicking job, there is a competition for the long snapping job. Katula has about a 75 percent chance of winning the job over rookie Morgan Cox, but will have to show that he’s 100 percent after being plagued by elbow issues and ready to bounce back from a brutal 2009 campaign.)
45. WR Mark Clayton (I don’t think Clayton’s job is QUITE as safe as some others might think, but I certainly assume he’ll be on the team. Clayton has never seen this many capable receivers around him, and he has to make an impact despite coming off an offseason shoulder procedure. I assume he’s on the team, but it is no guarantee.)
46. DE Paul Kruger (This is an interesting situation. The Ravens maintained that they weren’t unhappy with Kruger during his rookie campaign despite the fact that he didn’t play much and contributed less than that. It’s hard to imagine a 2nd round pick being a question mark to make the roster just a year later, but you can’t ignore the number of scratches he had a season ago. He’s bulked up and is expected to be more of a natural pass rusher this season; but there are a number of D-Linemen in front of him. He’ll need to show that he can get to the quarterback, or the number of questions will continue to grow.)
47. DT Brandon McKinney (When Brandon McKinney made the roster last season, he truly LOOKED “like a Raven.” He still does, but is coming off back surgery and plays a position where the team has significant depth. He’s no guarantee to make the roster, but he’s exactly the type of player the Ravens want around.)
48. LB Antwan Barnes (Barnes is part of a deep group at LB, but the team has remained high on him despite some goofy antics at times. That being said, Barnes was an inactive a few times down the stretch last season, so his margin for error is small.)
49. DT Arthur Jones (I can tell you this much. John Harbaugh really is a big fan of Arthur Jones. That being said, it’s a very deep position-and the team might not be able to keep everyone. Arthur Jones is exactly the type of player the team loves, so I get the feeling he’ll stay on the good side of the roster bubble.)
50. OL David Hale (David Hale gives the team depth at interior lineman, but it isn’t particularly quality depth. Should Matt Birk get hurt, it is still more likely that Chris Chester would play center over an extended period of time, but Hale gives them much needed flexibility.)
51. DT Kelly Talavou (I have a funny feeling Talavou could end up being this year’s version of Derrick Martin. Martin-as you’ll remember-was behind a glut of cornerbacks on the roster a season ago at the end of Training Camp, and was traded to the Green Bay Packers for Tony Moll despite being a player the Ravens really liked. Talavou and McKinney are both candidates to be traded after Training Camp, but McKinney’s back injury could make Talavou more valuable on the market.)
52. CB Travis Fisher (The injuries bothering Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington make Travis Fisher more valuable every day. He’s a veteran corner-having played in Seattle, Detroit and St. Louis before now. Even if Webb and Washington are healthy, he could still make the roster to give the team CB depth considering some of the troubles they had defending the pass a season ago. Fisher isn’t Darrelle Revis, but most Ravens fans only care that he isn’t Frank Walker either.)
53. WR David Reed (This is a tough call. David Reed will probably end up in the return mix, as he’s more explosive than Jalen Parmele or Chris Carr, and he’s healthier than Lardarius Webb. Reed might not have much of a role at WR, but Jerry Rosburg has to want his returners to be a little bit more of a threat to break one back. I’ll give Reed the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making the team, but he’ll have an uphill battle.)
—————————-
54. OT Ramon Harewood (The rookie from Morehouse State misses the cut on my first list mostly because he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself yet. A knee injury has caused him to miss the bulk of the offseason work thus far, and he’ll have to show that he’s more than just a project in Training Camp to make sure he ends up on the roster. The Ravens could try to stash him away on IR.)
55. WR Demetrius Williams (This may or may not correct itself before the start of the regular season. Perhaps no player on the roster is facing a more crucial summer than Williams, as he been making the roster based on size alone for the better part of his career. The Ravens may be forced to fish or cut bait with Williams, as they have too many receivers to keep one around whose only ability thus far in his career has been an ability to…sometimes…draw pass interference flags.)
56. K Billy Cundiff (Billy Cundiff clearly has the most simple road to the roster, as he just has to beat out Shayne Graham for the job. Most of us assumed Graham Gano would beat out Steve Hauschka for the job last summer, but it didn’t work out that way. I’m assuming Graham gets the gig, but certainly Cundiff will have the chance.)
57. OT Tony Moll (Tony Moll offers the team a player who can play both Guard and Tackle, but there’s no real place for him on the roster. This may come down to the team keeping either him or Harewood, and a healthy Harewood appears to offer the team a bit more than Moll does.)
58. LB Prescott Burgess (Not everyone in the LB mix can make the team. With depth from Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Sergio Kindle, Brendon Ayanbadejo and maybe even from Paul Kruger; there’s no way the team can keep everyone at the position. Burgess was a roster casualty a season ago, but the Ravens were able to re-acquire him after trading him to the New England Patriots.)
59. RB Matt Lawrence (The team REALLY likes Matt Lawrence, especially what he has to offer on Special Teams. Lawrence made the roster a season ago as the team kept 5 backs, but there’s no guarantee they’ll keep that many this season. He can very well make the team, but it won’t be easy-especially as he returns from a knee injury.)
60. LB Edgar Jones (It is REALLY tough to figure out what the Ravens plan to do with Edgar Jones this season. He’s managed to remain employed while switching from LB to TE to LB to TE to FB to LB to….I thought they might even give him a shot at the kicking competition this summer. Clearly the organization likes him, and OLB is a better spot to try to make the roster than ILB, I just don’t see a role for him right now.)
61. LB Jason Phillips (See Burgess, Prescott. The team was able to stash Jason Phillips away on IR last season, but likely won’t be able to do the same this year. He’ll have an uphill climb to make the roster, as the Ravens don’t lack depth at the position.)
62. FB Mike McLaughlin (McLaughlin has a real chance to make this roster as well. The undrafted rookie from Boston College hasn’t played fullback since high school, but if he can adapt to it, the team could keep him on to create a jumbo backfield along with Le’Ron McClain. He’ll also need to show that he can step in and play Special Teams, which his background as a LB should help with. My guess is that McLaughlin ends up on the Practice Squad, but he’ll certainly be worth keeping an eye on during Training Camp.)
63. TE Davon Drew (The Ravens were EXTREMELY disappointed with Drew after drafting him out of East Carolina last year. So much so that they let him go before re-signing him when the Miami Dolphins gave up on him as well. That being said, Drew has looked pretty good in the offseason, and will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. Outperforming Dennis Pitta would be the easiest way to get a spot, but seeing as how the team has a soft spot for TE’s, there’s at least a chance they end up keeping 4. Drew’s chances would improve if he offered the team something out of the backfield as well.)
davondrew

64. WR Marcus Smith (Marcus Smith is a dark horse to make the roster, but it is worth remembering that he WOULD have made the roster last season before suffering a knee injury in a preseason win over the Washington Redskins. Smith faces a tough competition, but he is 6’1″, and has shown some promise during his short NFL career.)
65. CB Cary Williams (Speaking of 6’1″, height might give Williams a chance to make the roster on the defensive side as well. It looks like Williams will be battling Travis Fisher for a roster spot, but the team could end up keeping more DB’s-especially considering the question marks surrounding Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb’s return from injury. Williams hung around on the roster at the end of last season, but still has a long road ahead of him.)
66. S KJ Gerard (The 2009 UFA out of Northern Arizona impressed the team from Day 1, so much so that he was eventually promoted to the roster from the Practice Squad when Haruki Nakamura was hurt. That being said, it’s hard to picture the team keeping a 5th safety, and it seems unlikely that Gerard would make the squad as a corner ahead of the likes of Fisher and Williams. His versatility and special teams ability give him a shot, but his best chance is if someone ahead of him gets hurt.)
67. CB Prince Miller (Of this year’s group of UFA’s, Miller and Mike McLaughlin appear to have the best chance at making the roster. Miller has had the chance to mark quality SEC receivers during his career at Georgia, but 5’8″ certainly isn’t the ideal height for a corner. He’s played well in the offseason, and his ability to return kicks could give him a real chance to make the roster.)
68. WR Justin Harper (Justin Harper found his way to the active roster late in the season, but the number of quality receivers ahead of him makes it unlikely to envision him finding his way on the roster out of Training Camp. He has a way of impressing fans with leaping catches in practice, but has dropped way too many catches to be considered a serious candidate to make the roster. If that changes over the summer, he’ll work his way up the list.)
69. DT Lamar Divens (Divens is in the deep group of D-Linemen that are trying to make the roster. Unfortunately, he played in just 3 games in 2008 before missing the entire 2009 season due to a shoulder injury. He’s in the “looks like a Raven” mix, but he’ll have to win a job against the likes of Talavou, McKinney and Art Jones.)
70. CB Marcus Paschal (Paschal and John Harbaugh have a history that dates back to their time together with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Paschal has still only played 5 games in his NFL career. He has a shot to make the roster considering the team needs secondary depth, but I wouldn’t describe his shot as “likely.”)
——————————
71. OT Joe Reitz (Reitz has snuck his way onto the Practice Squad over the last two seasons-one of which was cut short by shoulder injury. He’s 6’7″ and 315 pounds but his still never played real football game in his life, either at the college of pro level. His size makes him promising, but his lack of experience makes him unlikely.)
72. WR Eron Riley (Riley is 6’3″ and one of the more likeable guys in the locker room, but the coaches want to see more explosiveness from him. If the team hadn’t upgraded at receiver over the offseason, I might think better of his chances of making the roster.)
73. DE William Van de Steeg (When I saw lower case letters on Van de Steeg’s jersey last summer in Westminster, I assumed he wouldn’t be around very long. He’s hung around Charm City longer than I expected, but I don’t expect it to be too much longer.)
74. OL Bryan Mattison (It’s nice to be the son of the offensive coordinator, but it probably isn’t nice enough to get Mattison on the roster. He was kept on the practice squad last season, and I imagine he’ll probably find his way on the practice squad again this year.)
75. OT Stefan Rodgers (Rodgers has been a part of 5 different teams during his 3 year NFL career; including the Buccaneers, Eagles, Jets and Jaguars. During that time, he has yet to make it on the field for 1 game. I don’t think that changes with the Ravens this season.)
76. LS Morgan Cox (Morgan Cox’s chances of making the roster actually aren’t all that bad. He just has to beat out Matt Katula, who will come in as an overwhelming favorite. If Katula hasn’t shaken off his elbow issues, Cox’s chances will improve.)
77. RB Curtis Steele (A lot of scouts really like Curtis Steele. The problem is, there isn’t an obvious role for the UFA out of Memphis. My guess is that he ends up on the practice squad, but making the 53 isn’t impossible.)
78. DE Albert McClellan (I haven’t heard a bad thing about the Ravens’ UFA out of Marshall. Problem is, I haven’t heard anything that makes me think he’ll really have a shot at making the roster.)
79. WR Rodelin Anthony (When you’re a 6’5″ receiver, scouts pay attention. But if the Ravens’ UFA out of UNLV wants to make the 53, he’s going to have to make a MAJOR impact between now and Labor Day.)
80. S Brad Jones (I think a lot of folks were confused about who exactly Brad Jones was when he signed out of Cincinnati. Jones is a rookie-not the LB who was drafted by and played for the Packers last season. The Ravens have had success with safeties from Cincinnati-see Nakamura, Haruki; but I don’t expect that to help Jones make the roster.)
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81. WR Maurice Price (Price has bounced around during his career-making stops with the Chiefs, Pats, 49ers and Calgary Stampeders of the CFL before landing on the Ravens’ practice squad. I would be surprised if he found his way back.)
82. WR Chris Hannon (A 6’3″ receiver out of the University of Tennessee who has made stops in Kansas City, Carolina, San Francisco, Miami and Detroit should probably have a better chance of making the roster than I am giving him credit for. He’ll have plenty of time over the next few months to prove me wrong.)
83. DL John Fletcher (John Fletcher is a 6’6″ D-Lineman out of Wyoming. He has at least a chance at making the practice squad, but probably nothing more than that.)
84. OL Daniel Sanders (The UFA out of Colorado hasn’t given me-or anyone else-much of a reason to be able to say too much about him at this point. Maybe that will change.)
85. CB Courtney Smith (I’m not sure I had ever heard of Central Washington before the Ravens picked up Courtney Smith. He’ll have a chance to put the school on the map, but it’s a bit of an extreme longshot.)
86. CB Ashton Hall (The Ravens signed two undrafted members of the Thundering Herd following the draft. Of the two, Albert McClellan appears to be a bit farther ahead.)
87. C Digger Bujnoch (Before putting together this list, I could name 86 of the 87 players on the Ravens’ roster. The former Cincinnati Bearcats center was the only one I couldn’t.)

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out, as each of these players will have a chance to improve their place on the list.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 04 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because…well…because it’s Friday. Sure, I got kicked out of Yankee Stadium yesterday just for being an Orioles fan…which SHOULD be an “ejectable offense” the more I think about how silly it is to root for this team.

Before we get to “Trembley Watch 2010″, how about we start this thing on a positive? Deadspin posted a soccer goal the other day that makes me think even I could participate in the World Cup…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p1Eq1AOoTo[/youtube]

I can play goalie AT LEAST as well as that guy.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Mike Fitzpatrick says A-Rod homered, Rivera closed out solid Sabathia start as Yanks finished sweep of Birds

Well, the few innings that I got to see of it-it looked just like Orioles baseball to me.

It was hard to even be excited when Luke Scott and Adam Jones homered, as we knew it meant a rally wasn’t coming. Kevin Millwood wasn’t up to the level of effectiveness that we’ve come to expect from him this season, but who can blame him?

Plus, the Yankees ARE really good. Alex Rodriguez wasn’t even TRYING to hit a homerun when he did. They have a lineup that is so good that a guy who would quite possibly be the AL MVP right now (Robinson Cano) is hitting 5th! They have a lineup that is so good Mark Teixeira is barely hitting better than Mark Wahlberg thus far, and the team is mostly unconcerned.

It doesn’t make it unfair that the Orioles have to compete against the Yankees in the AL East. It makes it unfair that the Orioles don’t TRY to compete against the Yankees in the AL East.

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of sweep

Three hits again yesterday. Or in other words, fewer hits than Third Eye Blind had…ON THEIR FIRST ALBUM.

(Edit from GMC: Of 3eb’s hits, my personal favorite was “How’s It Gonna Be”…)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuAGVr-O-3E[/youtube]

And by the way, don’t take a look at the MLB standings at any point (unless for some strange reason you absolutely have to). The only thing you’ll see is that the Birds are currently 15.5 games back…of FOURTH PLACE.

Can’t we just start Training Camp tomorrow?

3. ESPN.com says Trembley to be fired, Juan Samuel to take over as manager

So…get excited!

In the end, there will be no crying over the end of Dave Trembley’s tenure, as no one REALLY thinks Dave Trembley is a good manager. That being said, he was never given a respectable group of players capable of actually winning…anything.

No sadness today for Dave Trembley, who might well be a nice guy (as Roch Kubatko said), but never really showed himself to be capable of managing.

As far as Juan Samuel is concerned…umm…okay? I know this isn’t a permanent move, but it isn’t inspiring long term OR short term. The Orioles will presumably start looking for a manager in the Bob Melvin/Buck Showalter/Tom Kelly/etc. crowd, although there is an argument that they should let Samuel finish the season and then actually conduct a FULL search in the offseason.

For the record, I’d sign off on Bob Melvin being hired. Having covered him in Phoenix when he managed the Arizona Diamondbacks, I’ve seen him take a team to the NLCS whose best players were Chris Young and Eric Byrnes. That being said, no one should have any reason to believe the team will get any THIS season under any manager. They’re not a good team, and some of the players who HAVE performed may well be shipped elsewhere.

Hopefully there will be both a respectable manager in the dugout and a respectable team on the field come Opening Day 2011. In the meantime, this remains hopeless no matter who’s managing.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says if Trembley fired, Andy MacPhail replaces him on hot seat

And I had him on my hot seat even before now.

The blood is on MacPhail’s hands. He’s in charge, and he didn’t give the manager a REAL chance to win-despite the fact that the manager really wasn’t any good.

MacPhail’s “plan” looks almost laughable at this point, with only the young pitchers (and Nick Markakis) looking like actual major league players right now. This is a CRUCIAL offseason for MacPhail, as the team HAS to be better next season for there to be any reason for any of us to believe that MacPhail actually does know what he’s doing in Baltimore.

Yes, I’m talking about the offseason 54 games into this season. What else would I do?

It’s like a broken damn record, but GOD does it ever suck to be an Orioles fan right now.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says night on farm headlined by Tides’ Brandon Erbe falling to 0-9

And before we move on from the Orioles…

-Congratulations to “Apologist of the Morning” Peter DiLutis, who we have decided that we will also “fire” from AOTM consideration today. Peter has toed the line of “Apologist” and “Idiot” for the better part of the season, and today’s thoughts that the Trembley firing would “spark fan interest” went down the “idiotic” role. Drew Forrester “The Great Arbitrator” selected him over Roch Kubatko AND Dave Trembley, and I will apologize to both of them for being mentioned in the same sentence as the kid.

-The Orioles actually DO play again tonight, but only because they have to. They’ll open a weekend set with the Boston Red Sox; with first pitch on MASN from Oriole Park at Camden Yards at 7:05pm. Chris Tillman makes the start for the Birds, Clay Buchholz opposes him for the Sox. I’ll assume a sweep-but I would probably assume a sweep against just about anyone.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens sign kicker Shayne Graham, give him $1.5 million base salary

Finally.

As I said yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), it is safe to call Graham the favorite in his competition against Billy Cundiff this summer in Training Camp; but he’ll have to show that he’s moved past the issues that lead him to miss two big kicks in the Cincinnati Bengals’ Wild Card loss to the New York Jets. If he struggles, Cundiff will still have a chance to leave Westminster with NFL employment.

Graham has the chance to make up to $2.5 million this season via incentives. Hopefully those incentives include NOT MISSING KICKS.

And with all of this said, there’s still another part of the equation here. Matt Katula HAS to have a better season snapping the ball. If he struggles again, this could look very similar to the Steve Hauschka – Graham Gano competition from a year ago.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says John Harbaugh believes ‘pass coverage’ Sergio Kindle’s “Achilles’ heel”

Which is sorta why my expectations (FOR THIS SEASON) are higher for Terrence Cody than they are for Sergio Kindle. He has to learn a new position (as he was mostly a pass rusher at Texas) that is particularly complicated. I think Sergio Kindle is going to be a very impressive player, I just don’t know that it’s going to be at the Rookie of the Year caliber level that he is hoping to perform at this season.

By the way, if you missed Sergio Kindle (and Terrence Cody and Ed Dickson and Arthur Jones) at our Miller Lite Purple Rookies Show Wednesday night at Casey’s in Towson; you can hear from ALL of them in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net.

8. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Texas State QB Brad George tried out Thursday at 1 Winning Drive during Ravens Rookie Camp

Brad George’s chances of making the team?

Let’s just say I have a better shot at getting to know Karina Flores (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

karinaflores

9. Inside Lacrosse’s John Jiloty says Gary Gait not a candidate to replace Dave Cottle as Maryland lacrosse coach

Not that he ever really WAS a candidate this time around. Gait has done a nice job coaching the women at Syracuse, but his coaching experience just really doesn’t fit the bill of what’s necessary for the Terps as they look to replace Dave Cottle.

Also cross Rick Sowell off the list, as the Stony Brook coach received a contract extension to stay put there.

The list is still LONG. Kevin Corrigan, Mike Pressler, Jeff Tambroni and Don Zimmerman are still probably the most likely candidates…probably. At least maybe.

You know…who knows???

10. UMTerps.com says Terrapins senior Caitlyn McFadden claimed Women’s Tewaaraton award

And Duke’s Ned Crotty won the award on the men’s side. Crotty was clearly the best player in the game this year, I just couldn’t have voted for him because I am particularly opposed to the 5th year Blue Devils.

That being said, both are very deserving honors for the best players in college lacrosse.

And we’re very deserving of looking at pictures of Rose Byrne from GQ, as posted by Guyism…

rosebyrne

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland-Morgan State will kickoff at 6pm on ESPN3.com, Maryland-West Virginia will kickoff at 12pm on ESPNU

Effing ESPN3.

I understand why ESPN3 if good for the ACC and company, but the league needs to work out a way that games shown on ESPN3 can also be shown over the air in local markets. For example, if the game is on ESPN3 (the old ESPN360)-there should be an option for Comcast SportsNet to carry the ESPN broadcast.

ESPNU is good for no one…unless of course you have ESPNU. I do not. And I’m the most important person here.

12. WNST.net’s G.Q. picks Fly Down to win tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes

For a differing opinion, Rick from Reisterstown selected the favorite (Ice Box) to win when he called the race this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. I’ll pick Make Music For Me, mostly because he has the best name in the race.

If you missed Rick this morning, you can hear it in the Audio Vault. It will be available later via WNSTv. Other guests from this morning you can hear in the Audio Vault include Baseball America’s Jim Callis, NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra (HardBallTalk) and NESN Sox pre-game host Tom Caron.

I prefer Rick myself.

And finally, I leave you with this.

“Get Him To The Greek” opens today. I have fairly high hopes…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kbLFrbDeic[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because the new Jack Johnson disc “To The Sea” came out yesterday. It’s pretty good. Good enough that I’ll make “The Upsetter” this week’s “Greatest Song of All Time This Week”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7n7A-e7Pjc[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Howie Rumberg says Tejada made costly error as Orioles fell to Yankees in New York

Our girl Jen Royle described it as one of the most “heartbreaking” losses of the season. The rest of us barely even noticed it happened. In fact, as the game was coming to a close; I was getting in my car to go check out Shrek (which was okay) over at The Avenue in White Marsh. This wasn’t heartbreaking, this was Orioles Baseball 2010.

Javier Vasquez was the most likely of the 3 pitchers going for the Yanks this week for the Orioles to have a chance against. So…scratch that.

As far as the Tejada play is concerned, Tejada should have been able to get the throw there, and Wigginton should have been able to make the scoop. Of course, Tejada isn’t really a good MLB 3rd baseman, and Wigginton isn’t really a good MLB 1st baseman, so it’s hard for me to be made about any of it.

Or anything else related to this awful team.

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

Well, Brian Matusz was really good. 6 2/3 innings, 3 runs (just 1 earned-and the other two given up after he left), 6 hits, 5 k’s, 3 BB.

The Orioles lost the game on an Alex Rodriguez groundout.

UGH.

It’s really tough to talk about it. In fact, I’m taking a break for a second. Here’s a picture of Liz Parada from What Would Tyler Durden Do. We’ll reconvene shortly.

parada

3. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says O’s mustered just 5 hits against Javier Vasquez in loss

Or, as Drew explained this morning-they had exactly as many hits as Alanis Morissette did on “Jagged Little Pill.”

Corey Patterson hit a home run, so at least we have that going for us.

Adam Jones and Julio Lugo each finished the game with 4 LOB. Not as if it was a game chocked full of missed opportunities, but the 7th inning does come to mind.

Nope, talking about the game again was a mistake. I should have known better. I’m moving on.

4. Fanhouse’s Ed Price describes Birds as ‘failure’

Which means he knows enough to make him qualified to talk about the team.

The Orioles ARE a failure.

Peter Schmuck wrote something this morning about the Orioles needing to do the right thing and let Dave Trembley go. We discussed it on the morning show, and I will admit (although I’m going to break out in hives doing it), that I might sign off on Andy MacPhail NOT firing Dave Trembley during the season.

If the Orioles DO fire Trembley (and we all know they should), they’re left with two options:

1-Hire someone in house (like Juan Samuel or Brad Komminsk) for the rest of the season on an interim basis. The risk associated with a move like this is that the team might somehow actually WIN a few games with a new manager. It’s unlikely, but it’s (I guess) possible. If they could find a way to win a few games, they may be forced to keep a guy like Samuel or Komminsk around, especially if they appear to have developed chemistry with guys like Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Brian Matusz who actually are part of “The Plan.”

2-The team could go out and hire a real manager like Bob Melvin or Tom Kelly; but they’d be handing them a terrible team. The reality is that the team is still likely to trade away a few guys who have been productive this season (Luke Scott, Kevin Millwood, Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada are all possibilities); and they’ll have little chance to win games. Bringing a new manager into a losing culture doesn’t bode well for creating a “new atmosphere” moving forward.

The only person who could manage the team the rest of the season and wins and losses would be irrelevant would be Dave Trembley.

The issue is, I can never sign off on doing something that involves winning being irrelevant.

Every day the Orioles allow Dave Trembley to manage the team, they’re saying winning is irrelevant-as the Orioles are NOT winning.

Much like the team, this is a no win situation. The team has no one to blame but themselves, as they came into the season with no chance of winning-and this is what they deserve for that.

As far as fixing it, they might not have much of a choice but to let Trembley finish the season.

It’s not like any of us will be watching the rest of the way anyway.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Caleb Joseph, Steve Johnson had big nights on farm

And before we move on from this wretched ballclub, a few more things:

-The Orioles are back in action tonight-apparently their petition to cancel the rest of the games was denied by Bud Selig. Brad Bergesen goes to the hill against Phil Hughes, first pitch at Yankee Stadium on MASN is at 7:05pm.

-We still have a few spots left on our Miller Lite Orange Bus Trip to The Bronx tomorrow; as we’ll watch Kevin Millwood hopefully pick up his first win since coming to Baltimore against CC Sabathia. Seeing as how there’s going to be Miller Lite and Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square is catering breakfast, I’d be fine if we were going to see an AHL game. Some of our roster might as well be in the AHL anyway.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens officially brought back George Kokinis

This has been one of the stranger offseason storylines I can remember. It was known that Kokinis was coming back months ago-but for some reason the team wouldn’t talk about it. In fact, when I asked John Harbaugh about it at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, he not only blew the question off, he appeared to be about ready to strange me after that.

There is a rumor that the team had to remain quiet about it because of a pending lawsuit Kokinis has with the Cleveland Browns. There’s also a rumor that the team remained quiet about it as they were trying to define his role alongside Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta.

Who knows what the reason really is, but it seems like bringing back a respected personnel man to the organization can’t possibly be a bad thing for anyone involved.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens reportedly set to sign K Shayne Graham to compete with Billy Cundiff

It’s about time.

I’m not sure why it’s taken this long (and it still isn’t done by the way) for the team to make this happen, but this is a welcome addition to the team. Hopefully Graham and Cundiff will push each otehr not only during the remaining OTA’s, but also when they get to Westminster for Training Camp.

Of course, this isn’t exactly like picking between Kelly Brook and Megan Fox in a beauty contest. There’s a reason the Cincinnati Bengals parted ways with Shayne Graham after last season (his two misses in the Wild Card game against the New York Jets were certainly a big part of that), and Billy Cundiff was adequate but not exceptional for the Ravens.

Also, the Ravens had hoped that Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano would push each other at McDaniel College last summer, but it didn’t exactly translate to much success for either guy. Simply having a competition doesn’t mean the competitors are primed to succeed.

For the record, after looking at the pictures of Kelly Brook from FHM United Kingdom that Guyism posted yesterday, there’s half a chance I’d pick her OVER Megan Fox…

kellybrook

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says eyes will be on undrafted free agents like Mike McLaughlin, Prince Miller during this week’s Rookie Camp

A couple of reminders before we move on from the Ravens:

-We will be out at 1 Winning Drive today for Rookie Camp, and will have updates during the day via Twitter (@WNST). You’ll be able to hear from John Harbaugh and players this afternoon with Rex Snider and Ray Bachman on AM1570.

-TONIGHT is our annual Purple Rookies Show at Casey’s in Towson. This is your chance to hear from and meet the NEWEST Baltimore Ravens, including Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody. It’s going to be a lot of fun, make sure you come out and meet the new guys! If for some reason you miss the show tonight, it will air tomorrow morning at 9am after Nestor Aparicio fills in for Drew Forrester and I on “The Morning Reaction.”

9. Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says former Maryland guard Eric Hayes, former Morgan State guard Reggie Holmes worked out with Wizards

Neither of these guys is going to be selected in the NBA Draft, but I expect both of them to get a shot on a NBA Summer League roster in Las Vegas this year; where they’ll have a chance to crack a roster. Both have valuable skills, but are incomplete players. They have something to offer, but it will have to be a right fit type of situation.

Holmes was SUPPOSED to join us this morning on “The Morning Reaction”, but missed it due to another workout. We’ll get him later in the week. In the meantime, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today and check out Drew’s chats with Justin Gimelstob (the former tennis player and now Tennis Channel analyst who checked in with a live update from the French Open in Paris), Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl (who previewed the World Cup before heading over to South Africa), and Bowie Baysox INF Brandon Waring.

10. The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Duke coach John Danowski, Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan support Baltimore being at least semi-permanent home for lacrosse Final Four

And you’re certainly not going to get a dissenting opinion from me.

Nor are you going to get a dissenting opinion regarding whether or not Francoise Boufhal is attractive (Thanks Barstool Sports!)…

boufhal

And finally, I leave you with this.

Since we’re going to be in The Big Apple tomorrow, I’m thinking about picking up an Elvis sandwich. Peanut butter, bananas, honey, bacon, etc? Yes please. Apparently they have some in the Village…

elvis

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a happy Wednesday for me because AskMen.com just put out their list of the Top 99 Most Desirable Women, and I had honest to god never heard of the gal who they put at #1. Emmanuelle Chriqui has apparently appeared on “Entourage”, and will be in the movie “13″ with Mickey Rourke and Jason Statham. I know all of these things because I just read them. The point it, it’s a happy Wednesday for me because I now KNOW who Emmanuelle Chriqui is……

chriqui

….and I KNOW now that I’m better for it.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…..

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says John Harbaugh wants Ed Reed, Derrick Mason back

And I believe at least half of that.

EVERYONE inside 1 Winning Drive wants to see Ed Reed return. I have explained this for the last few days-the Ravens are MUCH better with Ed Reed than they would be with someone else playing safety, especially Tom Zbikowski (with no offense to Zibby, who is a nice player-but not 70% of Ed Reed). This franchise would be shaken if Ed decides he really can’t do it physically anymore.

Derrick Mason is a different story. If Derrick DOES decide to return, the Ravens must decide if a 36 year old receiver who is used to being the #1 option is the best direction for them to go. They would likely have to go through an awkward conversation with Mase-where they explained to him that he would no longer be the #1 guy, which meant he would no longer be PAID like a #1 guy.

Derrick’s retirement might avoid that awkwardness.

Sorta like how I avoided the awkwardness of breaking up with a gal after 2 years of dating by sleeping with her friends and letting her find out.

Wait…..those things aren’t similar at all.

And I meant, “my friend” avoided the awkwardness of breaking up with a gal “he” had dated for 2 years by sleeping with her friends and letting her find out.

And “he” was a real jerk for doing it.

2. Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh wouldn’t rule out Matt Stover as competition for Billy Cundiff in Training Camp

Yep.

John also wouldn’t rule out Tony Meola as competition for the kicking job in Training Camp….

meola

(Edit from GMC: Does ANYONE get that reference? Meola once tried out for the Jets? I guess for it to be funny it has to be somehow relevant. Oh well.)

The point is, John won’t rule ANYONE out as a kicker because the Ravens don’t know yet how the kicking position will unfold. As I said yesterday-I expect it to be Billy Cundiff and a young kicker-possibly Graham Gano or a rookie. The Ravens still want a “kicker of the future”, which Cundiff might still be. I don’t think Matt Stover would fit that bill-but if he was willing to accept the type of deal he wasn’t willing to accept last year-I guess you never know.

3. The Sun’s Edward Lee and Kevin Van Valkenburg say Harbs finally admitted Flacco played hurt

And in other news….

newspaper

You guys can thank me for finally being the one to get Coach Harbaugh to crack on this whenever you want.

The point is, if Joe was just trying to improve as a leader by downplaying his injuries over the last few weeks, I’m fine with that. I really am. In fact, it probably makes me think more of him as a leader.

But the way the coach and QB of this team have dismissed this over the last month has been almost laughable.

4. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Harbaugh sees Pryce, Gaither, McGahee back in Baltimore

Is he going to pay them personally?

The biggest problem with this list is McGahee-who I actually think is a good fit in the role he’s currently in-but doesn’t want the role he’s currently in. It might cost the Ravens too much money to go in another direction, but you can’t help but wonder how McGahee’s attitude will hold up through another year of being a “backup.”

Gaither is tough. The Ravens may be in a position where even if they want to bring Gaither back-they’re forced to go in another direction because they can’t sign anyone unless their valuable players sign elsewhere. They could stick a pretty high tag on Gaither and probably still get teams to match it, as there aren’t a whole lot of NFL-caliber LT’s in the league.

Pryce may not be as effective as he was during earlier years in his career-but it never appeared as though he stopped trying. Part of his struggles were likely due to the newness of Greg Mattison’s defense, but I don’t think Pryce will suddenly become a double digit sack type of player anytime soon.

5. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter says Hue Jackson will interview for “unspecified” job with Raiders

Why is it that teams feel the need to try to hire a new coach without firing their old one? I know the Redskins ended up getting Mike Shanahan, but nothing good really comes from the process.

I don’t know why Hue Jackson would want to have ANYTHING to do with Al Davis’ organization, other than the fact that EVERYONE in the NFL just wants a chance to be a head coach.

Hue Jackson may have been a logical choice to be the next offensive coordinator had Cam Cameron been hired by the Bills-so I can understand his desire to move up elsewhere with the Ravens staff apparently staying in place.

If he ends up in Oakland, he’ll have been warned.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Mosley’s perfect night, 21 points lead Terps in rout of Longwood

It was quite a performance from Sean Mosley, but he might as well have been doing it against Long & Foster’s company hoops team. Longwood didn’t have much to offer at any point last night, and Gary Williams’ crew appeared to stay at least MOSTLY focused throughout a blowout win that will help them in NO WAYS-at least RPI-wise.

The Terrapins now have until Saturday to get back up for an ACC contest with NC State. Hopefully their offensive confidence from last night will carry over.

7. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Jordan Williams chipped in 13 points, 10 boards in win over Lancers

When Patrick told Drew Forrester yesterday that Jordan Williams looked like he might be the best big man in College Park since Lonny Baxter-I thought it was high praise at first. I thought about it more after that-and there isn’t much in the way of competition. Jordan Williams is carving a nice niche for himself at the most important time of the season-hopefully it will carry over as conference play continues.

8. Towson Official Site previews Tigers’ contest with Northeastern last night

Fortunately, Pat Kennedy’s crew is no longer playing for their first win in CAA play. Unfortunately, they’re still a long way away from being relevant in the conference at 1-6. The Huskies will be tough competition, but if Towson is going to improve at all-they are going to have to beat some good teams on the Towson Center floor. Tonight would be a good night for that to start.

9. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Maryland, Morgan State agree in principal to play in football this September

I reported that the schools were in talks back in September-but there was still a major national program they were waiting word from. I can tell you now that the team was Pitt-but I do not know if they ever got an answer from the Panthers. As of right now, there are just 3 non-conference games scheduled (vs. Navy at M&T Bank Stadium, @West Virginia, and the pending vs. Morgan State); but you would imagine Ralph Friedgen and Debbie Yow would want to schedule a lower level FBS team for the final non-conference slot.

10. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Birds ‘wrong’ to increase ticket prices

And we all know it’s true.

It’s not about whether or not other teams have similar day of game fees or fees for prime games.

It’s not about whether or not they’re still in the upper half of MLB when it comes to affordable tickets.

It’s not about whether or not they’re still competitive in price when compared to other sports options in the mid-atlantic area.

It’s about whether or not the team is justified in telling their fans they should pay more for tickets this season than they have in the past.

And they’re just not.

Improve the team-and ticket costs will not be a big deal. Continue to lose-and expect a backlash when you make a decision like this.

11. The AP says Orioles reach 1 year deal with Luke Scott, avoiding arbitration

Luke Scott is back! Yay!

I would be hard pressed to come up with an answer if you were to ask me which I would have missed more: Luke Scott or Luke Jones’ playoff beard…..

luuuuke

I guess if Scott can hit the way he hit for 2 months last season, I’d miss him more. Otherwise, that was a hell of a beard.

12. Baltimore Business Journal’s Ryan Sharrow says city approved $100,000 study to build new stadium for DC United in Baltimore

I like everything about this, I really do. I think it helps bring credibility to the city’s World Cup bid, and it gives sports fans in the area an alternative to the O’s during the summer months. Do I think MLS will suddenly become a rage nationally? Maybe not. But do I think there could be a real niche for the MLS here in town? Yeah, I do.

Also, especially without an arena-a mid-sized stadium could do wonders for getting more events during the summer months. How about a Jimmy Buffett concert downtown instead of at Nissan Pavilion?

parrothead

I think I like this.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Martha Stewart learned how to work a stripper pole on her TV show yesterday. Need I go on?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vYWv6_GTpw[/youtube]

What a great country.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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With Ravens Season Over, Draft Season Begins in Orlando

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With Ravens Season Over, Draft Season Begins in Orlando

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

As all of you know, there are few people in the world who are bigger fans of the NFL Draft than I am. Last season, I profiled over 100 NFL Draft prospects in the months leading up to the big event at Radio City Music Hall. Some of those players eventually became Baltimore Ravens, including Michael Oher, Paul Kruger, Lardarius Webb, Cedric Peerman, Jason Phillips, Isaiah Williams, Graham Gano, Eron Riley and more.

And with NFL season now over here in Charm City, it is time to start looking ahead to the 2010 NFL Draft; which will be held April 22-24th again in New York. I like to call the next 3 months “NFL Draft Season”, as it is much more than just the 3 days that determine how teams will make their picks. The season begins with the announcements from underclassmen, then moves to college all-star games (including the Senior Bowl), the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis (which myself, Drew Forrester & Nestor Aparicio will be covering LIVE here on WNST.net), individual Pro Timing Days, and team interviews that all build to the 3 days in April.

We will be starting our weekly NFL Draft Preview segment on “The Comcast Morning Show” this week, the segment will air Wednesdays at 9:40am. This Wednesday, Chad Reuter from NFLDraftScout.com & CBS Sports will be joining us. Chad will be reporting to us live from Orlando, where the annual East West Shrine Game marks the start of College All-Star season. Two Ravens rookies (Jason Phillips of TCU and Dannell Ellerbe of Georgia) were participants in last year’s game, as well as former Terrapins C Edwin Williams, who played for the Washington Redskins this season. It is definitely worth paying attention to what is going on at the game.

As I did last year, I will rank the likely needs the Ravens face in the offseason. This list may be altered as players are released/retired/traded/signed/injured/etc.

1-Wide Receiver (This goes without saying, as the team currently has just Marcus Smith under contract.)
2-Tight End (They almost got Brandon Pettigrew last year, there is no doubt they will be looking at the position again this season. Todd Heap should be back, but LJ Smith is a free agent-and clearly Heap is getting no younger.)
3-Cornerback (While they likely think they have two capable starting CB’s on the team, there is no doubt that Ozzie Newsome and company would welcome another impact corner to a group that already includes Domonique Foxworth, Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr.)
4-Safety (Ed Reed’s future makes this a very crucial spot, as does the pending free agency of Dawan Landry. Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura appear to be part of the team’s future at the position, but having both as starters in 2010 wouldn’t likely bode well.)
5-Outside Linebacker/Rush End (Dwan Edwards is a free agent. Trevor Pryce may choose to retire. Terrell Suggs came in last season out of shape. Antwan Barnes is a restricted free agent. And no one needs to be reminded that this group struggled to get pressure on opposing QB’s during a large part of Greg Mattison’s first season as Defensive Coordinator.)
6-Kicker (Billy Cundiff will be an option for this team, but even he knows there will at least be competition for the job. It may come from a free agent kicker-Graham Gano comes to mind-but it may come from a rookie as well. OR the team may decide to go somewhere else altogether.)
7-Quarterback (Obviously Joe Flacco is THE guy, and the team would be fine with bringing back Troy Smith to back him up. But Smith’s agent made it clear they want him traded, and the Ravens may decide to give him his wish. John Beck remains in the mix, but the Ravens will have to give him a contract. The team could use strength at the position from a young QB if they decide to let Smith and/or Beck go.)
8-Interior Offensive Line (Matt Birk is not getting any younger, and Chris Chester may be up for starter money somewhere else. Marshal Yanda is also a RFA, so this team may need to add to the group-especially at Center.)
9-Exterior Offensive Line (Jared Gaither is a RFA-and the Ravens will have to make a difficult decision there. Someone will want to give him money, it’s just a question of whether or not the Ravens are the team that will want to do it. Behind Gaither and Oher, the Ravens are woefully thin-as Oniel Cousins was somewhat adequate, but nothing more.)
10-Punter (I can’t imagine the Ravens won’t bring back Sam Koch, but I have to put this position on the list-as if Koch gets good money elsewhere, the Ravens will have a major need at the position.)

With all of this in mind, I present my first 10 profiles of the 2010 NFL Draft season. These are all players who are participating in this week’s East West Shrine Game. Thanks to NFLDraftScout.com, Wikipedia, and my own personal conversations with scouts from around the NFL for help with information gathering.

WR Freddie Barnes
(Bowling Green)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw0a-5xV–w[/youtube]

His numbers this season were jaw-dropping. His 155 catches were a NCAA record. His 1,770 receiving yards were a Falcons school record. His 19 TD’s lead the FBS. But his size isn’t necessarily ideal. He’s just 6’0″ and 212 pounds. The Ravens will absolutely need a more sizable threat at WR, but they will also likely need more than one addition to the group. Barnes looks like a lower round pick right now-but he had a huge game in the Humanitarian Bowl, and started practice in Orlando with a bang. A combine invite and solid performance could vault him up boards. One scout told me he could be Anquan Boldin-esque. Everyone in the country would like a player like that. Barnes is VERY athletic, he played QB and basketball in high school in Illinois.

TE Andrew Quarless (Penn State)

quarless

If the Ravens are interested in an impact receiver at the TE position, Andrew Quarless might not be the guy. Quarless had his best statistical season in 2009-hauling in 41 passes for 536 yards and 3 TD’s. But in his 4 year career, Quarless caught just 87 balls for 1,146 yards and 8 TD’s. However, his numbers-and his size-don’t differ THAT much from Pettigrew, who was a Top 20 pick just a season ago by the Lions. Heck, he may even be a bit quicker. But his rap sheet includes a DUI arrest, an underage drinking citation, and marijuana possession. He needs to prove his strength in the months leading up to the Draft, as his frame and ability could very well help him rise to the 2nd night of the Draft (now rounds 2-3). He may well be a guy who would already be a high level prospect had he not been splitting time with Mickey Shuler Jr. during his career in Happy Valley.

S Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrYas6mEuzg[/youtube]

Chancellor has admitted to trying to mold his game after late Skins Safety Sean Taylor, and with good reason. Chancellor is an all-around tough Safety; measuring in at 6’3″, 232 pounds with a great burst as well. Likely a Day 2 pick, Chancellor was an All-ACC performer with experience at both safety positions and also at CB during his career in Blacksburg. He recorded 204 tackles during his Hokies career, along with 6 interceptions, but did not return any for scores. He is also a gifted athlete, having played QB during his HS career in Norfolk.

DE Greg Hardy (Ole Miss)

greghardy

If he was fully healthy, Greg Hardy would almost certainly be a 1st round pick. But even with the wrist injuries that forced him to miss more than a quarter of his senior season and the ankle troubles that plagued him throughout his Rebels career might not keep him from hearing his name called Thursday night. Mostly because he managed to pile up 26 sacks during his time in Oxford, to go along with 38.5 TFL’s, 6 forced fumbles and in interception. The Ravens won’t have to go far for a scouting report on Hardy, as his former Mississippi teammate Michael Oher was also a teammate in high school at the Briarcrest Christian Academy in Memphis. He checks in around 6’4″ and somewhere between 260-275 pounds; making his measurements at the Combine and his Pro Day all more important.

TE Richard Dickson (LSU)

dickson

At 6’3″, 245 pounds; Dickson is likely not going to be a traditional TE, but more likely a FB/H-Back/TE hybrid. The NFL scout I discussed Dickson with said the inevitable comparison is Chris Cooley; but Dickson has to prove himself to be an explosive threat. Dickson’s senior season failed to match the production of his sophomore and junior seasons, as he averaged 350 yards receiving and 4.5 TD’s during his middle seasons-but fell off to just 157 yards and 0 TD’s in his final season in Baton Rouge. Despite the drop-off, he finished his career as the most prolific TE in Tigers history.

CB Devin Ross (Arizona)

devinross

I’m not certain that the Ravens are itching for another 5’11″ CB at this point, but they could use depth at the position, and Ross will be available on Day 2 (if not Day 3). Ross will immediately be compared to fellow former Wildcats CB Antoine Cason (who just wrapped up his 2nd season with the San Diego Chargers), and the Ravens will inevitably try to compare him to another former CB who played in Tucson by the name of Chris McAlister-who just so happens to be the greatest CB in team history. Ross will benefit from having his name mentioned in the same breath as those two, because he doesn’t have a comparable resume. What he lacks in size, he’ll need to make up in quickness during Draft season-starting this week in Orlando. He recorded just 1 interception in his senior campaign-5 for his career. He’ll have to overcome the thud his college career ended on; giving up a 74 yard TD to Nebraska’s Niles Paul in a 33-0 loss to the Huskers in the Holiday Bowl.

LB Ross Pospisil (Navy)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agLDxsJ4mfk[/youtube]

I include Ross Pospisil on this list only because he’s the only “local” college football player participating in the East West Shrine Game. He’s certainly not a prospect to be drafted, but could be an option for the Ravens to take a look at after the draft ends. Just a season ago, Navy FB Eric Kettani and Slotback Shun White were picked up by the New England Patriots following the Draft, as they’ve decided to invest in the former Midshipmen and wait out the service time. Obviously, Saints FB Kyle Eckel previously was able to skirt service time after leaving Annapolis, but I don’t expect that from Pospisil. Ross did have 91 tackles on his senior campaign, including 6 TFL’s. He’s 6’0″ and 227 lbs., and is definitely capable of being a bruiser-but the Ravens would have to be willing to make a long-term investment in a guy that won’ t be able to help them anytime soon. It’s unlikely.

QB Daryll Clark (Penn State)

clark

The funny thing about Daryll Clark’s draft profile is that there is nothing that immediately makes you say “no” about him. He’s a bigger kid (6’2″, 238); but he’s fairly mobile (expected to post a 40 in the 4.6 range) and certainly appears to possess a capable arm. Over his last 2 seasons, he’s completed 60% of his passes for over 5,500 yards and 43 TD’s. In the same time span, he was picked 16 times and was sacked 26 times. Certainly the O-Line play in State College didn’t help those numbers much. He was 22-4 as a starting QB-but his biggest knock is the 4 losses. Clark’s worst performances seemed to come in the most important games for the Nittany Lions-2 against Iowa (both ruining perfect seasons), USC in the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State with the Big Ten title still within reach. He’s not a perfect prospect, but for a likely Day 3 guy, he could certainly prove to be a capable player should the Ravens lose Troy Smith or John Beck.

CB Brian Jackson (Oklahoma)

bjack

You can’t help but get that “What’s not to like” feeling when you look at Brian Jackson’s status. He’s a bit taller (6’1″) than the Ravens’ Current crop of corners, with decent speed (expected to run in the 4.5′s) and has just 5% body fat on his 200 pound frame according to the Sooners. He has football in his blood-his cousin Chris Draft plays LB for the Buffalo Bills. He steadily improved as his playing time increased during his career (112 tackles and 6 picks over his final 2 seasons) and was a very solid special teams player to boot. So….”what’s not to like?” I posed the question to a NFL scout who pointed out to me that there has to be some level of concern stemming from a 2006 knee injury, and while he appeared to be solid, he was never outstanding. He’s had mixed results against his best competition, but did post an interception against Colt McCoy and Texas. Thought by some to be a Day 3 selection, the same scout told me “there’s NO WAY he’s getting past Friday night.”

S T.J. Ward (Oregon)

I have done a lot of research, and while I have no reason to believe T.J. Ward’s nickname is “Freight Train”, I have no reason why it isn’t……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6Hp5uiJgM[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YRsIXOihkk[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc8-gJqzWws[/youtube]

I could go on with “big hit porn”, but instead I’ll move on the details. Ward is a tremendous talent, a likely 2nd round pick. If he weren’t 5’10″, his skill set might get him into Round 1. He recorded 180 tackles over his last 3 seasons in Eugene-along with a pair of picks and 6 forced fumbles. He did all of that despite missing a number of games due to knee and ankle injuries-which will hurt his Draft stock. Ward will absolutely be worth the risk to any team that picks him, but he certainly doesn’t come without red flags.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 04 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Villanova 80, Maryland 73

The Terps aren’t a bad team, but Villanova is a GREAT team. This DOES have the feeling of the years when Maryland would stun teams like Stanford and Kansas at Verizon Center; but I just can’t make the pick.

Morgan State 69, Coppin State 57

If the Bears hadn’t lost 2 straight coming in, I’d probably pick the Eagles to win their opener in their new building. I just don’t think I could see Todd Bozeman’s club losing 3 straight.

Hofstra 84, Towson 72

Charles Jenkins will have 31 points for the Pride, who are just a bit better than the Tigers.

Toledo 72, UMBC 68

I think this one will be remarkably similar to some other losses the Retrievers have suffered this season.

Loyola 77, Canisius 71

But the “Golden Griffins” are still one of the cooler names in college hoops…

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Jarret Johnson followed Packers, rooted for Reggie White growing up

Nestor Aparicio says WNST holding 2 ‘indoor tailgates’ in Green Bay

Bob Haynie wonders whether Greg Mattison or Cam Cameron has done better job in ‘09

Mark Suchy hopes Nets surpass Orioles’ 0-21 start

Ed Frankovic says Semin tallied 4 points for Caps in win over Panthers

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Charles Woodson big part of reason why Packers have Number 1 defense

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ray Lewis thinks Green Bay has addressed O-Line issues

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbs doesn’t think former Packer Tony Moll can help Ravens any more than former Raven Derrick Martin can help Packers

The Official Site says Packers coach Mike McCarthy loves playing in cold, snow

The Official Site says Mark Clayton doesn’t ‘even think about’ drop in New England

The Official Site says Harbaugh thinks Dom Capers has been ‘creative’ in leading Packers defense to #1 ranking in NFL

Packers Official Site’s Mike Spofford says Ryan Grant knows Packers must take care of football vs. Ravens

Packers Official Site’s Tom Fanning says Greg Jennings knows Packers will have to run ball in cold weather

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Rice learning from Ray Lewis, Willis McGahee

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens can’t fail to get to Aaron Rodgers, let Charles Woodson change game, struggle in first half

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens need to ride Ray Rice, force turnovers, get production from Chris Carr

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Paul Kruger still ‘developmental player’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Domonique Foxworth believes secondary battling Packers AND elements Monday night at Lambeau Field

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says it’s too early to judge Ravens’ performance in ’09 NFL Draft

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens need to go with Rice, McGahee, McClain to reach playoffs

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ngata, Dwan Edwards battled over “Civil War” in Ravens locker room

The Sun’s Ken Murray says coming out of game with head injury would be ‘hard decision’ for 52

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Le’Ron McClain, Jared Gaither, Kelley Washington, LJ Smith, Prescott Burgess, KJ Gerard all missed practice Thursday

6 of 7 Sun analysts pick Packers

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Flacco thinks ankle ‘feels really good’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens averaging just 1.9 sacks per game this season

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says former Raven Gano succeeded in UFL

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Ray Lewis looks at end of Jamal Lewis’ career fondly

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein says Aaron Rodgers has troubling memories of Monday Night Football debut against Ravens in ‘05

Green Bay Press Gazette’s Rob Demovsky says Brandon Jackson giving Packers ‘spark’ on 3rd down

Wisconsin State Journal’s Tom Oates says Ravens, Packers both like playing ‘physical football’

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 29-17

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Ravens 27-23

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Packers can determine AFC Wild Card race

ESPN.com’s James Walker thinks Ravens ‘hit’ on Oher, Kruger, Webb

ESPN.com’s James Walker says most experts don’t see Jamal Lewis as Hall of Fame-worthy

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says BB&T Classic close to ‘sellout’

Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg says former Terp Byron Mouton still beloved in area

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

The AP says Terps topped Minnesota in Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Comcast Center

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer says just one Golden Gopher reached double digits in loss to Maryland

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Kim Rodgers lead Terps with 14 points in win

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Kizer chipped in 10 points in win

Turtle Sports Report’s Josh Vitale says Tchatchouang scored 13 points in win over Gophers

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken recaps season for commit Nate Clarke

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says ’09 season ‘particularly gruesome’ for Ralph

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Debbie Yow will be in same situation next year if Terps don’t go 7-5

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Fridge met with QB commit Devin Burns (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Travis Ivey was ‘emotional’ on Senior Day (must subscribe)

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says tickets on sale now for Tigers football banquet

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s MAAC opener at Canisius

The Official Site offers complete Greyhounds-Golden Griffins release (pdf)

STEVENSON LACROSSE:

Inside Lacrosse’s Jon Brand says Mustangs picked 2nd in pre-season D3 poll

Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns says Jimmy Dailey, Steve Kazimer preseason All-Americans

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Mountaineers fell to Robert Morris in rematch of last year’s NEC Championship Game

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

Frederick News-Post says Jeremy Goode lead Eers with 15 points in defeat

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s tilt with Penn

The Official Site offers complete Midshipmen-Quakers release (pdf)

NAVY FOOTBALL:

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Navy AD Gladchuk believes moving game back a week allows rivalry to be ‘focal point nationally’

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says new Army coach Rich Ellerson gives new ‘life’ to Army/Navy rivalry

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says Mids could have moved into Top 25 with win over Hawaii (must subscribe)

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde could be free agent closer options for Birds

CRYSTAL PALACE USA:

The Official Site says Palace partnering with WNST, Craig Willinger Fund for World Cup Draw party today at Della Rose’s

Examiner Jeff Hemelt says Palace/WNST event will include $1.50 Bud Light draft specials

BALTIMORE BULLETS:

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman ‘catches up with’ Gene Shue

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Kudos to Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen for being involved in the community over these 14 days.

Talk to you later from Owings Mills.

-G

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