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Live From Owings Mills: Clayton Thought He’d Be Ready To Go; But He Won’t Play Saturday

Posted on 27 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

2:01-John Harbaugh told the media today that the team “has plans” for Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr as kick returners, but that the rest of the guys who have been taking reps will have to “take a back seat.”

Webb-the rookie out of Nicholls State-”needs a certain number of reps” according to Harbaugh because he doesn’t have the experience Carr does.

1:51-RB Matt Lawrence, who is believed to be fighting for a roster spot against guys like Jalen Parmele and Cedric Peerman; will join Thyrl Nelson (and possibly Glenn Clark) tonight at 6:30. This is probably interesting to myself (and no one else), but Matt shares a name with the actor who played Jack Hunter on “Boy Meets World”, which I believe to be the greatest TV show of my generation. Hence, I regularly Tweet about Matt as “Matt ‘Jack Hunter’ Lawrence.”

Sadly, Matt admitted to me today that he never watched Boy Meets World; but is willing to challenge Matthew Lawrence in a contest to determine who is the greater Matt Lawrence. Also, many of Matt’s teammates were well versed on the show-and busted on him for not knowing about it.

So, for the 2 of you who are remotely interested in any of this…..tune in to The Mobtown Sports Beat tonight. We’ll also talk some Ravens with Matt; and he’ll tell us about Don Brown-his former head coach at UMass who is now Defensive Coordinator at Maryland.

1:36-Notes from practice today:

-LJ Smith was on the field, dressed. He did not participate in any drills while we were allowed to watch practice, but he was out there. I guess there is a chance he could try to do something on the side today; but it seems doubtful.
-Derrick Mason was again wearing the #9 jersey to honor Steve McNair. I believe we can count on seeing that moving forward.
-Ed Reed was wearing his regular white jersey instead of the red “no contact” jersey he sometimes wears in practice.
-Mark Clayton was back out on the practice field; and did not appear to be favoring his left side the way he did yesterday. Again, he is OUT for Saturday night.
-I did not see Chris Chester on the field today, but I have been told he had a significant wrap on his injured ankle. OT Oniel Cousins was again in a protective boot.

12:57-I’m headed out to watch practice (and about to join Bob Haynie on AM1570 WNST); but you can hear from all of these guys in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:

-Head Coach John Harbaugh
-Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
-Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
-Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
-OT Michael Oher
-TE LJ Smith
-RB Le’Ron McClain

12:49-Michael Oher mentioned that he “grew up watching” Panthers DE Julius Peppers, who he’ll be going up against Saturday night. “He’s big, strong, and physical…..you gotta bring everything you got to the table.”

This should be a pretty good test for Oher. He’s unlikely to be beaten physically-even by a monster like Peppers. But there’s certainly a chance a veteran like Peppers could use his arsenal of moves to get around a mammoth like Oher. Peppers might not break out all of those moves in a preseason game, but it could be a very good test.

12:42-Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg says kickoffs are “part of the formula” in selecting the winner of the Graham Gano/Steve Hauschka kicking battle. “In my view, the great kickers in this league are accurate field goal kickers and effective kickoff guys.”

12:35-Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said “each player and each unit” have goals for each preseason game. This is different than a team having an actual game plan for their opponent; but does give them an idea of what to watch for in each game.

Cameron also said Mark Clayton is “definitely getting better.”

12:28-Coach Harbaugh (“Harbs” if you will) did confirm that the starters will play the entire first half at Carolina.

“Oh yeah. This is a third preseason game…..that’s usually a 3 quarter game. We’ll just see how it plays out. We still do it with numbers and number of plays for the most part.”

12:20-TE LJ Smith spoke briefly with the media, saying he is “frustrated” with his most recent injury; a hamstring pull. He said “the most frustrating part” is that the injury is in a different part of his hamstring than previous injuries.

Smith was particularly non-committal about being ready for the Sept. 13 opener against the Chiefs. “From what I’ve been hearing, a couple people quoted (Coach Harbaugh), and I guess they kinda said that he kinda thought that I would be back, ready for the Kansas City game.”

Doesn’t sound promising.

12:16-I was ready to rush back and hit Twitter to let you know that Mark Clayton had told me he’d be ready to go Saturday night at Carolina; but just as I was walking back outside, John Harbaugh was telling the assembled media that Mark wouldn’t play.

“The season obviously is the most important part. We’re certainly not going to put him at risk. So, you won’t see him in this game, the Atlanta game is a possibility.”

This will give Demetrius Williams and Kelley Washington an extended opportunity to stay on field with Joe Flacco. I’ve said before that I think Kelley is pushing Clayton; and with the starters playing longer, he’ll have more of a chance to develop a rhythm.

For the record, Clayton told me he “feels great”, and didn’t feel any worse after going full out in practice yesterday.

11:12-Just a 2 day practice week for the Ravens this week at 1 Winning Drive; as they prepare to travel to Charlotte tomorrow for Saturday night’s game against the Panthers.

John Harbaugh told us yesterday that the team will be having a “Panthers practice” today, but admitted that they were not installing a Panthers gameplan.

We should find out a bit more about playing time for the starters. I imagine Joe Flacco will likely go the entire first half; while some of the 30+ guys (Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce, etc.) will probably leave during the 2nd quarter.

Other things to watch for today:

-How will Mark Clayton respond to his first day of practice (yesterday) since injuring his hamstring? Going 100 percent for 2 straight days would be really good as he battles back.
-Will we see Chris Chester return to the practice field after missing yesterday’s session (calf)?

Plus, we’ll hold out hope for any sort of news on Kelly Gregg, LJ Smith, Terrell Suggs; and maybe even Samari Rolle. But news there is doubtful.

Be back shortly with the comments from John Harbaugh and Ravens players.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

At this point, I’d say Terrell Suggs’ injury is a concern. The guys aren’t at Training Camp anymore; they’re back in their own beds and at the castle in Westminster, so there’s no reason for Sizzle to be trying to get out of practice at this point.

I’d be concerned. And “monitoring.”

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester wishes he could be ‘front running’ Orioles fan

Glenn Clark says Derrick Mason was again wearing #9 jersey to honor McNair

Rex Snider looks back on Sunday Morning Blitz

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Guthrie strong as Birds avoided sweep in Minnesota

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says David Hernandez takes mound tonight vs. Aaron Laffey, Indians

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Trembley accepts some blame, says some falls on players for baserunning mistakes

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Matusz trying to make game ‘slow down’

Minnesota Twins Official Site’s Tyler Mason says Morneau’s RBI double only run scored by Twins in loss to Birds

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Pie homered for O’s in win over Twinkies

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Tribe comes to Baltimore very different than team that began season in Cleveland

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Trembley, Juan Samuel think players should be more ‘accountable’

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Chris Ray ‘regained form’ by changing mechanics

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says 4-5 road trip ‘respectable’ for Orioles (I guess)

The AP says Moeller doubled, singled, walked in win at Metrodome

Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Joe Christensen says Nick Blackburn struggled in loss to Birds

St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Brian Murphy says Alexi Casilla made two spectacular plays at 2B in Twins’ loss

ORIOLES MINOR LEAGUES:

Norfolk Tides Official Site says David Pauley loser as Tides fell to Durham

Bowie Baysox Official Site says Steve Johnson, Eddie Gamboa winners as Baysox swept doubleheader from Akron

Frederick Keys Official Site says Chorye Spoone went into 5th, earned no decision as Keys fell to Kinston

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Travis Keating loser in relief as Shorebirds fell to Lake County

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Jacob Smith loser in relied as Ironbirds fell to Lowell

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Hobgood worked into 5th, received no decision as Bluefield topped Princeton

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Ouellette finished off Game 2 of doubleheader for 5th save as Baysox swept Aeros

Examiner Jay Trucker took trip to Prince George’s Stadium to see Baysox

Virginian-Pilot’s Jim Hodges says Rhyne Hughes hit first homer as Tide in loss to Bulls

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Mark Clayton returned to practice field Wednesday

The Official Site says Harbaugh believes LJ Smith’s hamstring pull ‘a concern’

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Birk proud of Harvard background

The Sun’s Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley say LJ Smith, Kelly Gregg ‘questionable’ for remainder of preseason

The Sun’s Edward Lee says KJ Gerard chopped off dreadlocks

The Sun’s Mike Preston thinks Harbaugh should stop throwing around Stover’s name with Hauschka, Gano

The Sun’s Edward Lee says trip to Charlotte quasi homecoming for Hauschka

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Kelley Washington learned better ‘work ethic’ in New England

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Chris Chester also didn’t practice

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens don’t have to make first roster cuts until Sept. 1

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh didn’t have much to say about Bart Scott’s comments

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says LB’s J. McClain, Gooden ‘learning fast’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Oniel Cousins (ankle) expects to be ready for trip to Carolina

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens ‘pretty much ignored’ trash talk with Jets

ESPN.com’s James Walker says ‘chemistry’ still there between Flacco, Mason

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Tommy Galt impressive during Wednesday’s practice

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Gloria, Friedgen family don’t talk to Ralph after losses

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says Ralph thinks safety Kenny Tate ‘a force’

The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut says Gonnella will see ‘a lot of snaps’ in ‘09

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says James Franklin believes Terps made ‘mistake’ by not tabbing Chris Turner as starting QB in ‘08

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Fulper ‘making strides’ after switching positions

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Kenny Tate considered move back to WR during offseason

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Ralph hoping to have Terps go 4 quarters in Thursday’s scrimmage

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Demetrius Hartsfield returns home when Terps play NC State, Duke this season

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens reports ST Coordinator Bankins says Terps giving Barbour chance to ‘lose’ kicking job

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Brandon Jackson-Mills, Thomas Wright amongst Terps on cut line to make travel team

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Lamar Young has been battling shoulder injury

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph has history of splitting carries in recent years

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Ralph thinks Bruce Campbell needs to improve at run-blocking

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says WR LaQuan Williams considered quitting football last season (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Phil Costa has become ‘offensive leader’ for Terps (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Ralph really finalizing last 3 spots on roster for travel to Cal next week (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says Darin Drakeford changed eating habits to get into better shape

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Frese interested in West Virginia prospect Whitney Bays (must subscribe)

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The AP says Ohio State wants fans to respect Midshipmen when they visit Columbus

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says QB Kriss Proctor to miss 4 weeks after leg surgery

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd says Navy ‘could be’ best of independent programs, including Notre Dame

SWIMMING:

The Sun says Phelps headlines roster for USA Swimming national team

HORSE RACING:

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Summer Bird trainer Tim Ice ‘can’t feel good about’ Woolley having to pull Mine That Bird from Travers Stakes

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita eyed as next race for Derby winner Mine That Bird

Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe says Quality Road morning line favorite for Shadwell Travers

The Sun says Maryland State Fair session opens tomorrow in Timonium

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-The Birds are back home tonight! Who’s excited?!?!?!

No?

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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Live from Owings Mills: Clayton Returns to Practice

Posted on 26 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

2:54-Derrick Mason was back in the #9 practice jersey he had worn last Wednesday to honor Steve McNair. Maybe the Ravens didn’t want him to wear it out at McDaniel College? Hopefully we’ll get an answer tomorrow.

Plenty of audio from today up in the Audio Vault at WNST.net. Hear from:

-Coach John Harbaugh
-WR Derrick Mason
-K Steve Hauschka
-K Graham Gano
-LB Tavares Gooden
-CB Frank Walker
-OT Adam Terry (IR)

2:15-OT Adam Terry (who is on IR-knee) was out here today, and said doctors have told him he should be ready to go for 2010. Adam appeared to be a bit down (who can blame him), but said he can bend his leg and has a pretty good range of motion. He just can’t put any weight on his leg.

TE Quinn Sypniewski was also in the house today, he is hoping he will be able to return to the team when

1:51-Good news and bad news from the small part of afternoon practice open to the media.

-WR Mark Clayton has returned to practice. He did appear to be favoring his left side (he is battling a right hamstring injury), but it looks like he’ll be fully participating. This could be an important week for Mark Clayton, as I’ve speculated that Kelley Washington could be giving Clayton a run for the 2nd WR spot. Derrick Mason singled out the play and energy of Kelley Washington while meeting with the media today.

-LB Terrell Suggs remained sidelined. Suggs (achilles/heel) appears to be limping or walking gingerly at times, but appears to have full motion other times. Suggs’ lack of concern towards the preseason is well known, but you get the idea this team might have hoped for more participation when they gave him a boatload of money in the offseason.

-LB Dannell Ellerbe (knee) was out on the field with his jersey and shorts on; and may try to put in some individual work this afternoon. The undrafted free agent out of Georgia needs to get back on the field; as Coach Harbaugh mentioned today that players won’t just “back on” to the roster.

12:53-John Harbaugh said he’s had no contact with former Ravens kicker Matt Stover, but admitted that the veteran “still DOES fit into the equation” when it comes to the kicking competition. Harbaugh said he had angreement with (his friend) Stover to talk when the time was appropriate. The coach admitted that the Ravens aren’t going to “jeopardize” wins just to keep a young kicker, the team wants to keep one of the young kickers.

Despite how openly the team is discussing Matt Stover right now, I still expect one of the kickers on the roster currently to be the kicker of record come Sept. 13. Steve Hauschka certainly appears to have a leg up on Graham Gano going into the last stretch of the preseason.

12:48-John Harbaugh said that the Ravens will be in a bit of a disadvantage this week; as the Panthers will be able to approach the week “like a game week.” But having a short turnaround, the Ravens will not be able to put in a game plan (which they didn’t do for the Jets game either). Harbaugh said the team was holding a Training Camp-style day of practice today; and will prepare a bit for Carolina tomorrow before traveling to Charlotte.

12:38-A couple of injury notes to pass on quickly.

-John Harbaugh downplayed the extent of DL Kelly Gregg’s shoulder strain. He admitted that the team had “a little bit of a scare”, but said “he’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna be smart with him for the rest of the preseason.” To read into that, I wouldn’t expect to see much of Kelly in the final couple games, but Harbaugh made it clear that they didn’t expect the injury to extend into the regular season.

-OT Oniel Cousins was in a boot (injury), but he expects to be out of it in the next few days; and expects to be ready to go Saturday against Carolina.

-TE LJ Smith’s hamstring is “a concern” according to Harbaugh. Harbaugh said this injury is different from the many previous injuries Smith has suffered in his career with the Eagles (which Harbaugh knows very well given the time the two spent together in Philadelphia). The team will continue to monitor Smith’s injury, which Harbaugh described as a hamstring “pull.”

11:17-I’m back at “The Castle” today (1 Winning Drive), and would be lying if I said I missed being out in Westminster for Training Camp. This will be a short week for the Ravens as they prepare for a Saturday night visit to Charlotte to face the Panthers.

John Harbaugh is speaking at 11:30, I’ll be back with more before practice.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

The “Matt Stover factor” is overrated. The Ravens are committed to having one of these guys kick against the Chiefs on September 13.

Matt Stover might well end up kicking again later this season. But it will come only if the Hauschka-Gano winner (likely Hauschka at this point) gets hurt or proves incapable of kicking.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Terps “open” season with Nov. 3 exhibition against Indiana (PA)

Bob Haynie can’t fathom anyone thinking Troy Smith > Flacco

Glenn Clark says Ravens-Panthers highlights non-baseball week

Paul Hoke doesn’t think Brian Roberts will ever play meaningful game at Camden Yards

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Trembley didn’t think Orioles ‘gave it away’ in loss to Twins

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jeremy Guthrie takes hill tonight vs. Nick Blackburn looking to avoid sweep

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Adam Jones will miss rest of series in Minnesota

Twins Official Site’s Tyler Mason says Delmon Young provided walk-off single to give Twins win over O’s

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Mickolio loser for Birds in relief

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says MacPhail plans on meeting with Trembley, Kranitz to limit innings for young starters

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says loss to Twins similar to others Birds have suffered at Metrodome before

The AP says Michael Aubrey doubled, tallied 3 RBI for Orioles in loss to Twins

Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s La Velle Neal says Twins now tied for 2nd in AL Central after win

St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Brian Murphy says Michael Cuddyer scored winning run for Twinkies

CBS Sports’ Larry Dobrow has Birds 27th in power rankings

ORIOLES MINOR LEAGUES:

Orioles Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Josh Bell, Brandon Erbe, Brandon Snyder amongst Birds headed to Arizona Fall League

Norfolk Tides Official Site says Jeff Fiorentino tripled, homered for Tides in win over Rochester

Bowie Baysox Official Site says Hoey loser in relief as Baysox fell to Akron

Frederick Keys Official Site says Zach Britton strong in win over Kinston

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Salberg winner as Shorebirds topped Lake County

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Kantakevich loser as Lowell topped Ironbirds

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Gary Helmick scored twice, but Orioles fell to Pulaski

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Andy Mitchell picked up win in relief as Tides topped Red Wings

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Ryohei Tanaka, Matt Angle, Brandon Waring also headed to AFL

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says Keys’ Rowell ‘stuck’ in attempt to make it to Baltimore

Frederick News-Post says Crancer homered for Keys in win

Virginian-Pilot says Freddy Guzman had 3 hits for Tides in win

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Frank Walker owned up to ‘rough’ performance vs. Jets

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Hauschka may have won kicking competition in 2nd quarter vs. Jets Monday night

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Ravens didn’t show themselves to be Super Bowl shoe-in

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Lardarius Webb ‘redeemed himself’ with late play on 2 point conversion in win over Jets

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Harbaugh still has ‘confidence’ in Walker

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Stover ‘looming’ over competition between Gano, Hauschka

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Ngata showed ‘versatility’ with INT return for TD

The AP’s David Ginsburg says Greg Mattison not taking himself too seriously as DC

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora picks Ravens to win Wild Card again

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Rex Ryan picked on his former player Frank Walker in 2nd half

ESPN.com’s James Walker doesn’t believe Ravens would be interested in Lorenzo Neal

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Harbaugh throws Stover’s name around with Rosburg to fire up kickers

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Ralph has given rest to players like Wujciak, Cory Jackson, Phil Costa during fall camp

The Official Site says Virginia Tech game already sold out

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Chris Turner views Gloria Friedgen as ‘permanent team mom’

The AP says former Terp Heyer Skins’ ‘answer’ at RT

The Diamondback has Terps 9th in ACC power rankings

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Ralph claims Meggett challenging Da’Rel Scott as top RB

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says safety Kenny Tate ‘turning heads’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell thinks Terps will finish somewhere between 5-7 and 7-5

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Nick Wallace appears to be out of kicking competition

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says redshirt freshman LB Demetrius Hartsfield ‘ready to contribute’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Uncle J.D. Maarleveld helped prepare Gonnella for College Park

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Meggett dropped weight, improved speed

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says tickets for game against Hokies still available via season ticket, suite packages

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph happy with Fulper’s move from center to guard

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Richard Taylor has been with Terps longest

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says suites still available at Byrd Stadium

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says DeMatha grad Tate having ‘sensational’ Camp

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich surprised VT game sold out after Hokies crushed Terps in Blacksburg last year

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps have 15 commits, no ESPNU top 150 guys

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says scrimmage didn’t help settle Mike Barbour-Nick Ferrara kicking competition (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Don Brown ‘pleased’ with Nolan Carroll, Anthony Wiseman (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says DL Travis Ivey returned to practice (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Gary ‘looks forward to’ schedule featuring Indiana, Villanova, Duke, UNC, Maui Invitational

The Sun says Terps’ schedule doesn’t include visit to Carolina

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Greivis’ Senior Night will be against Duke

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terrapins have 5 regular season games scheduled with no TV as of yet

The Diamondback says Terps open season Nov. 13 against Charleston Southern

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Terps open ACC play January 10 vs. Florida State at Comcast Center

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps to face 12 teams who went to postseason last year

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps have 5 9pm ACC tip-offs

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps on ESPN 3 times this season (Duke 14 times)

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps should be no worse than 11-3 entering ACC play

NAVY FOOTBALL:

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says DeMell remains starting center

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says unpredictable triple option should benefit Mids vs. Ohio State

TOWSON BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Josh Thornton excelled for Tigers in tour of Canada

HOPKINS LACROSSE:

The Sun says former Blue Jay Conor Ford hired at Drexel

HORSE RACING:

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Derby winner Mine That Bird ‘uncertain’ for Travers Stakes

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says after missing Triple Crown series, Quality Road again ‘striking fear’ into opponents going into Shadwell Travers

Thoroughbred Times’ Phil Janack says trainer Woolley thought Mine That Bird looked ‘pretty sharp’ in Tuesday workout at Saratoga

CRYSTAL PALACE USA:

The Official Site says Harada called up to parent club in London

BALTIMORE MARINERS:

The Official Site says former Morgan State Bear Joe Taylor returns to Mariners

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-I don’t see the Ravens re-considering Lorenzo Neal. But I’m not opposed to it.

-Maryland’s hoops schedule is very winnable. Losing more than 2 games before the ACC season begins is basically inconceivable.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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Ravens Good Again, But Show Room for Improvement in 24-23 Win Over Jets

Posted on 24 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

There are two particularly important things that came from the Ravens’ 24-23 win over the New York Jets Monday night.

One-the Ravens starters appeared to thoroughly outplay the Jets’ top units, outscoring them 21-7 in the first half.

Two-the Ravens appeared to stay totally healthy coming out of the game.

But beyond that, the Ravens were far from perfect; which might be the best thing that could happen to a coaching staff coming out of Training Camp.

After taking a 14-0 lead, there were numerous mistakes:
-Multiple penalties that nearly pushed the team out of field goal range on Joe Flacco’s final drive
-Graham Gano’s missed 46 yard FG attempt on that same drive
-Two 3rd and long conversions on Mark Sanchez’s final drive
-A wheel route converted successfully by Sanchez to Leon Washington
-A fumble to open the 2nd half by Lardarius Webb
-2 missed coverages by Frank Walker early in the 2nd half
-2 interceptions by Troy Smith (one which was negated by a penalty)
-4 QB sacks by Jets defenders
-Only 3 second half points
-A pass interference call in the endzone on Evan Oglesby during the Jets’ final drive
-and more

It is easy to pass off such mistakes by saying something along the lines of “well, the starters had been taken out of the game by that point.”

But many of the mistakes came from players who the Ravens are either counting on or hoping to count on during the regular season. Frank Walker may well be part of the cornerback rotation. Troy Smith is one hit away from coming into the game. Matt Birk (who was flagged for holding during Flacco’s final drive) was the team’s most significant offseason acquisition. Graham Gano has been in a heated battle to replace the only kicker the Ravens have ever began a season with.

It is easy for Ray Lewis to shrug off dropping an early interception by saying “I didn’t want that one until the regular season.” Easy because the Ravens coaching staff can firmly believe that come Sept. 13 against the Chiefs, Ray Lewis WILL make that same interception. But it isn’t easy for the team to say that Lardarius Webb will definitely hold on to the ball when he’s in the open field and gets hit. They’ve never seen him do it before. It has to be concerning.

The Ravens looked very good for an extended part of their win Monday night. But when they report back to Owings Mills Wednesday, they’ll have plenty to work on. And that might be the best thing that came out of the game.

We’ll have plenty of reaction to preseason game 2 throughout the day Tuesday on AM1570 WNST and online at WNST.net.

-G

Final stats:

Joe Flacco finished 8/18 for 120 yards. Troy Smith went 4 or 9 for 84 yards with an interception.
Ray Rice lead Ravens rushers with 29 yards on 8 carries. He added a TD. Willis McGahee rushed 8 times for 23 yards.
Derrick Mason lead Ravens receivers with 3 catches for 68 yards. Justin Harper caught 2 balls for 62 yards. Demetrius Williams and Le’Ron McClain each hauled in 2 catches, for 20 and 18 yards respectively.
Haloti Ngata and Jameel McClain each had INT’s, and each returned them for a TD. Ngata’s from 25 yards, McClain’s from 16.
Sam Koch punted 5 times for 242 yards (average of 48.4 yards). He had a net average of 35.8 yards, and pinned 2 punts inside the 20.
Graham Gano missed his only field goal attempt (46), Steve Hauschka missed his (42).
Jameel McClain lead the team with 6 tackles. Tavares Gooden had the team’s only sack.

Mark Sanchez finished 3 of 8 for 43 yards with a TD and an INT. Kellen Clemens finished 5 of 10 for 60 yards with a TD and an INT. Erik Ainge finished 7 of 14 for 57 yards.
Leon Washington rushed 8 times for 48 yards. Danny Woodhead rushed 14 times for 41 yards. Thomas Jones rushed 8 times for 32 yards. Erik Ainge rushed twice for 7 yards, including the Jets’ only rushing TD.
Leon Washington caught 2 passes for 35 yards and a TD. David Clowney caught 2 passes for 33 yards and a TD. Britt Davis and Danny Woodhead each caught 2 passes, for 19 and 12 yards respectively.
Marquice Cole had the Jets’ only INT, he returned it 25 yards.
Reggie Hodges punted 3 times for 109 yards (36.3 yard average). He net all 109 yards. He pinned the Ravens inside the 20 twice. Kenneth Parrish punted twice for 78 yards (39 yard average, 36 yard net average).
Parker Douglass made his only field goal attempt (20 yards).
David Harris, Calvin Pace, Howard Green, and Ropati Pitoitua all tallied sacks for the Jets. Dwight Lowery and Mike DeVito each had 5 tackles to lead the way for the Jets.

The Ravens outgained the Jets offensively 295-248 in net yards. The Jets finished with 18 first downs to the Ravens’ 13. The Ravens were penalized 9 times for 76 yards, the Hets 6 times for 55 yards.

11:10-Ravens win 24-23, improve to 2-0 in fake football games. Back shortly with more.

11:08-Lardarius Webb is the hero, breaking up Ainge’s pass off his back foot. Ravens maintain 24-23 lead with :22 left, Rex will try to get ball back.

11:07-Jets Safety Jim Leonhard:

(on coming back to Baltimore) “It was great. It was good to come back and see the old guys. Obviously, we’ve got to play better than we are right now to win, but we saw some good things.” We faced a great team. (They’re the) AFC Championship team from last year, so we’re going to learn a lot from this.”

(on positives from the first half) “We stopped the run well. They didn’t do much there and I thought we played with the right intensity. We just can’t give up the big plays that we did.”

11:05-Ainge gets in on 3rd down. Now Rex Ryan needs to go for 2. Outcome will be on the line here with 22 seconds left. 24-23 Ravens right now. Rex will do the right thing. Not many fans left, but they’re spirited….

11:02-Jets QB Mark Sanchez:

“(It was) a great experience, not the best start on Monday night, but I learned quite a bit. The first play I thought I was checking the ball down and the D-lineman jumped right in front of the ball so they’re obviously an athletic group. (They’re) very fast. They’re flying around to the ball and as soon as we got our tempo going (and) our running game going (we) came back after taking a big hit on a fumble (and) threw a touchdown. That’s the way you want to respond but (there is) a lot of great film from this and obviously (it is) a great learning experience. It was exciting to play on Monday night and I just want to get better.”

11:00-Not a lot of fans left here, but they are vocal. Paul Kruger still in this game after starting.

Jets will have a first and goal from the 1 after Evan Oglesby is called for pass interference. 49 seconds to play. Jesus.

10:59-Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron:

(on the offense) “Well, we certainly had to handle a variety of blitzes. Joe [Flacco] got hit a little, and typical of him, he came to the sideline and said ‘It felt like football. I didn’t get hit last week.’”

(on the Ray Rice touchdown) “Joe handled the fake on Ray’s [Rice] touchdown OK. It was really nice to get the touchdown.”

10:57-Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison:

(on the defense) “We gave up too much on the ground in the first half, especially against the draws. We have to get off the blocks better.”

“We love the big plays for the scores, but we gave up too much on their touchdown drive, particularly on third down. They got three big plays, including the touchdown.”

10:54-Head Coach John Harbaugh:

(on his team’s play in the first half) “We didn’t do a good job in the middle of the second quarter on their touchdown drive. They got it started with a run and hit the screen to get a first down. They hit us on a wheel route for the touchdown.”

“We did make the big plays on defense with Haloti [Ngata] and [Jameel] McClain. It was good to see McClain come back and make the big play after giving up the touchdown and getting caught in a kickoff coverage.”

“Really, without our two big defensive plays, it was a very competitive first half-a 7-7 game.”

10:52-Erik Ainge driving. If Jets score a TD, Rex Ryan better go for 2….

10:49-WR Derrick Mason:

“In the first game of the preseason, everybody is getting used to each other, being out there playing against another team. But in the second game, you clear up all the mistakes, and you go out there and run your offense more fluidly. We put together a little game plan for this game. It wasn’t extensive, but it was 15 or 20 plays that we really wanted to work on. Today it seemed to work.”

(on his timing with QB Joe Flacco) “The timing is good between Joe and me. Once I got back into practice, we started clicking right away. Early on, though, you’re trying to get everyone else involved. You want to focus on the other receivers, because the coaches know what I can do out there. In the second and third preseason game, that’s really when you try to get your main guys involved in the game.”

10:47-I will be forced to admit, I must have slept through the part of the game when Erik Ainge came in. Did John Beck come in yet too?

10:45-Prescott Burgess forced a fumble from Aundrae Allison on the kickoff, but Allison recovered it himself. Burgess could be flirting with the cut line.

10:43-RB Ray Rice:

(on the touchdown handoff from QB Joe Flacco) “We worked on it in practice, the little Statue of Liberty play, which I was representing the New York area. Fortunately, we were able to execute it, and we got it done. That’s what you have to do in the preseason. It’s all about executing and making plays.”

(on getting the tough rushing yards) “The Jets’ defense definitely played tough. We expected them to be tough, and that’s only going to make us better when we play other teams.”

10:42-Hauschka is true on his 42 yard attempt, and may have really taken a step tonight towards winning the job. 24-17 Ravens with 7:12 to play. More quotes…..

10:39-After taking another sack; Troy Smith unloads downfield for a 51 yard completion to Justin Harper. He then used his legs to pick up another first down; and finally has this team moving a bit. Jalen Parmele will be stopped on 3rd down, and Hauschka will stare down what looks like a pretty important 42 yard kick.

10:36-QB Joe Flacco:

“I had a couple of incompletions early, where I wasn’t really completing the ball. But, we came out on that second drive and made some big plays. My last drive out there, we really did a good job converting third downs. Guys made some big plays, including Todd [Heap], who came across the middle and made a nice catch on third down. That’s what we need to to to complete those long drives. We have to get those third downs, which is important. I felt pretty comfortable overall. We kind of killed ourselves once we got down there in the red zone. I took a sack, and we had that holding call after I ran for the first down. But as long as we eliminate those things, we’ll be OK and be on our way.”

(on the touchdown handoff to RB Ray Rice) “My ball handling was kind of wrong. We did a little bait and throw handoff, and I didn’t do it right. It still worke. So, I’m happy.”

10:35-Ravens maintain 21-17 lead, Troy Smith back out on the field to start a drive from his own 14 with 11:28 to play. More quotes…..

10:22-Here are some halftime quotes:

LB Ray Lewis:

(on shutting out the Jets in the 1st half) “I don’t care if you’ve coached for us or not, when you play against our defense, it’s hard. You put a young guy like [Mark] Sanchez in there, and you see our defense, it can be difficult. We shut them out again, and we take pride in that-bottom line. They threw everything at us-draws, reverses. They really threw everything at us. I just think as a defense overall, we just made some great plays.”

(on pressuring Sanchez) “You don’t know what you’re playing against until you actually play against us. You saw his eyes get big, and he was jumping around in the pocket. He threw one [interception-touchdown return] to Haloti [Ngata]. He threw another one to me, which I could’ve caught, but I didn’t want that one until the regular season. Bottom line, we gave a lot of looks and disguises, and we confused him a little bit. He will be OK, but right now, as a first-team defense, we are definitely clicking.”

10:16-LJ Smith has a pulled hamstring and is doubtful to return. I wouldn’t expect him. Jets again on Ravens side of field.

10:09-Smith sacked again. A lot of anti-Troy Smith sentiment on Twitter and Facebook tonight. He’s struggled; but I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about. Smith needs to be able to use his feet to be successful; and he’s clearly not able to incorporate that tonight.

10:07-Tonight’s attendance announced at 70,335. Nestor believes there’s legitimately 60,000.

10:04-Paul Kruger with the deflection, and the Jets will be forced to kick a field goal. Surprised they wouldn’t let Clemens try to convert here; especially considering the fact that they’re playing a backup kicker. 21-17 Ravens after Douglass connects from 20.

10:02-Kellen Clemens is just carving up the Ravens’ reserves right now. They tried to throw a fade route to Smith over Walker in the corner of the endzone; but Smith couldn’t get there. Big 3rd and goal for the Ravens’ defense here.

9:59-Brad Smith had Frank Walker beaten AGAIN on that play, but dropped a sure fire TD in the endzone. Walker is fighting the wrong side of the cut line right now.

9:57-Another interception from Marquice Cole just a few plays later, and this one counts. Jets will take over at Baltimore’s 39; and the positive energy from the first team has given way to serious disappointment.

9:55-Ravens take over at own 44, but Troy Smith is intercepted by James Ihedigbo one play later. The Ravens got the ball back after offsetting penalties; but John Harbaugh CANNOT be happy with how his 2nd unit is playing right now.

9:47-Webb fumbles 2nd half kickoff return, recovered by Marques Murrell. Clemens will have short field to try to maneuver. The ball never touched the ground on the fumble.

9:33-Ravens take 21-7 lead to intermission. I’ll be back shortly with more.

9:30-If that’s a regular season game, the Jets probably play for the half. Instead, Clemens finds Jameel McClain when he’s looking for Brad Smith, and McClain finds the endzone. 21-7 Ravens after a Hauschka XP. No idea why Clemens tried throwing that ball. Ngata with the hit.

Did Gano’s miss cost him the chance to kick the rest of the game?

9:27-Took 30 seconds to get 2 plays off. Would have been worth it had Jayson Foster hauled in pass downfield; but he might have heard Emanuel Cook’s footsteps. Troy Smith is sacked by David Harris on 3rd down; and the Ravens will have to punt with 1:03 to play in the half.

9:25-Lardarius Webb with the fair catch on this punt, and the Ravens will take over at their own 32. Troy Smith was successful in this situation last week; finding Justin Harper for a late TD.

9:21-Kellen Clemens into the game for the Jets.

Sanchez finishes 3/8 for 43 yards with a TD and a pick.

9:16-This is looking like a drive for the Ravens to determine the “rest” of the running game. We know Ray Rice is “the guy”, but how will this team utilize their other backs? McGahee provided a nice change of pace last week, but that needs to be a week in, week out thing.

Le’Ron McClain looked strong coming out of the backfield. It will be hard to keep the ball out of his hands.

Koch will be forced to punt again after a holding call. Crowd certainly looked happy to see Jim Leonhard back to field the punt.

9:13-Flacco finishes 8/18 for 120 yards as Troy Smith enters the game. National analysts really hyping the importance of Mark Sanchez’s scoring drive-especially considering he’s probably done now. Leon Washington carried him on the drive; and it was done without the Ravens’ top 2 defensive players. But the Jets clearly want to start Sanchez this season; so he could really use some positive feelings.

9:09-Sanchez finally gets a high in this game; as he finds Leon Washington for a 19 yard TD strike. 14-7 Ravens after Douglass adds the XP.

9:08-3rd and long conversions will be a concern for the Ravens coaching staff. This team should be safer on those plays, tougher to hurt in the middle. The Jets have actually done a pretty nice job in the middle all game.

9:04-No Reed or Lewis this time out; but Tavares Gooden records the Ravens’ first QB sack of the day, even though he couldn’t actually get Sanchez into the ground.

9:01-Facebook and Twitter reaction after Gano’s miss?

“Anyone have Matt Stover’s number?”

9:00-A screen to Demetrius Williams gets 13 and at least puts Gano back in field goal range. He’s wide right on a try from 46; which will hurt him in this competition. Jets take over.

8:59-Nice run for Flacco meaningless after veteran Matt Birk called for a hold.

Calvin Pace gets previous sack; not Bryan Thomas. We’re working out the kinks, people.

8:58-Jets finally get to Flacco. Credit Bryan Thomas with the sack. Ravens face 3rd and 15 now.

8:56-Shame on me. Ravens go to endzone for fade route with Demetrius Williams. Surprised to see them go for it on 4th down knowing they want to see Gano try meaningful kicks. McClain gets the first down; but Gano could have gotten some good experience from a 46 yard try there.

8:55-Ravens take first timeout facing 3rd and 1 from Jets 29. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they convert….

8:52-I already feel like I should just write the same post-game column I wrote last week. “It Was Just a Preseason Game But…..”

This team looked VERY good AGAIN in the 1st quarter. Frighteningly good. Are there areas the first units will be able to work on? Of course. And does preseason football mean ANYTHING? Of course not. But they look very good.

8:49-A part time host at 105.7 spent a day last week in Westminster telling everyone who’d listen on the sidelines that Kelley Washington was a “jack***” who hadn’t made the team yet.

Right…..

Two more first down passes from Flacco-to Heap and Mason. Ravens will start 2nd quarter at Jets 31. 14-0 Ravens at the end of 1.

8:46-Another good night early for the defensive line. Having Kelly Gregg back and drafting Paul Kruger should really help this unit’s success this season.

Flacco steps up and delivers a 22 yard strike to Kelley Washington; who celebrates after. I don’t care how much Washington celebrates if he can contribute.

8:44-Finally Sanchez with a completion-to Dustin Keller-but it is short of a first down. Reggie Hodges’ punt downed at Ravens’ own 10 yard line; where Joe Flacco will go back to work.

8:42-I really am surprised to see Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are still on the field. I know you want to prepare them for 60 minute games again; but I have to imagine those guys kinda know the drill.

Jack Simmons with the drop; meaning Mark Sanchez is still ofer on the night.

8:40-Very nice 2nd down run from Leon Washington will leave the Jets with a 3rd and 1. Washington shows off his moves again in converting.

8:38-From Chris Pika-ESPN mentions there are 26 scouts in attendance tonight. He says they are looking at players who might end up being cut before the start of the regular season.

He’s right, but you have to wonder if any of those teams are also involved in trade talks with the Ravens. We’ve heard rumors that the Broncos might again have been talking Brandon Marshall; and I tried to start some rumors about the Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe.

8:35-Some “trickeration” from Cam Cameron as Ray Rice takes a Statue of Liberty-esque handoff and scampers in to finish off the first TD drive Joe Flacco has lead this preseason. 14-0 after a Graham Gano XP. 6 plays, 49 yards, 1:19; and I’m happy because I don’t have to bitch about the Ravens again failing to score a TD in the red zone.

8:33-Fade route to Kelley Washington knocked away (on a very nice play by Lito Sheppard) at last second in endzone. 3rd and goal.

8:31-Did Jon Gruden really compare Joe Flacco to Joe Montana on tonight’s ESPN broadcast? What was the reference?

Joe Flacco picks on Drew Coleman (who even tried to throw in an illegal contact) in finding Derrick Mason for 43 yards down to the Jets’ 3. That was kinda unfair. Safety help was too late.

8:28-3 and out again from Sanchez, who might not exactly sew up the Jets’ starting QB job tonight. Ravens take over from Jets’ 49 after Kenneth Parrish’s punt. That’s creating offense via a punt, as Koch had previously punted from his own 38.

8:25-Fanhouse.com (AOL Sports)’s Chris Burke wonders if the Ravens are openly trying to trade Troy Smith.

I would say no, but I think they’d certainly listen if other teams are interested in him.

8:23-Sam Koch with a(nother) solid punt, forcing the Jets to take over at their own 9. This was the first time a Joe Flacco-led drive didn’t result in points this preseason.

8:22-Bart Scott with the hit after Flacco had delivered the deep incomplete ball towards Derrick Mason. You know “The Hot Sauce” wants just one sack tonight. Flacco is a bit high looking for Ray Rice on 3rd and 10, and the Ravens will be forced to punt.

8:20-Flacco to Mason on 3rd down. Where have I heard that before? Ravens with 2 first downs on first 6 offensive plays.

8:19-A few (national football) folks on Twitter are saying “Ray Lewis wanted to be a Jet and was angry they didn’t want him” or some variation of that. Ray Lewis probably wanted an OFFER from the Jets, but assuming he wanted to go to New York might be a bit of a stretch.

8:18-As I’ve said, the Ravens want to get Ray Rice as many touches as they can. A catch and a rush net 9 yards on the Ravens’ first 2 plays from scrimmage. Strange 3rd down pitch call, but Rice may have converted anyway.

8:16-Harbs had said that the starters would go into the 2nd quarter for the Ravens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the day is over for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. No reason to risk anything there. They’ve done what they needed to do tonight.

8:14-Hold on Foxworth during Reggie Hodges’ punt, and the Ravens will be forced to start from their own 16.

Certainly a level of intensity from the Ravens defense early on playing in front of Rex Ryan; but nothing that seems out of the ordinary.

8:12-After an offsides penalty; Sanchez appeared to complete a long pass to Brad Smith; but Smith was called for pushing off; leaving the Jets with a 3rd and long. I imagine a draw is coming.

8:11-Sanchez’s 2nd pass ABSOLUTELY should have been picked by Ray. That was a classic drop on a ball that was thrown right to him on 2nd down.

8:09-52 had the pressure on that intended pass to Tony Richardson. Gano adds the extra point to make things 7-0. It was a slow developing play with late pressure; and Haloti Ngata had an easy line to the endzone for the 25 yard return.

Leon Washington decided to take things out of the back of the endzone; and made it all the way to the Jets’ own 46 before Graham Gano made the stop. 52 yard return.

8:07-Jets open up on the ground with a nice run from Thomas Jones. I’d imagine we’d see a healthy amount of throwing, considering the Jets probably know what to expect from Jones.

One pass from Sanchez and he’s already in trouble. Haloti Ngata with the interception; and he takes it to the house for a TD. 6-0 Ravens, welcome to Baltimore rook.

8:05-Graham Gano handling opening kickoff; which makes me think he’ll handle all kicking duties in the first half. Steve Hauschka handled kicking duties in the first half last week.

Leon Washington returns the kick to the 24, where the Jets start.

8:02-After introducing the offense a week ago, the Ravens again introduced their defense tonight. Ray Lewis was of course introduced last; and was back to his familiar dancing to Nelly’s “Hot in Here.”

Loud ovations for Kelly Gregg and Dawan Landry in return from injury.

The Jets call heads, win the toss, and will receive.

7:55-Rest of Jets starters:

QB Mark Sanchez
FB Tony Richardson
RB Thomas Jones
WR Chansi Stuckey
WR Jerricho Cotchery
TE Dustin Keller
LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson
LG Alan Faneca
C Nick Mangold
RG Brandon Moore
RT Wayne Hunter

Defense:
DE Shaun Ellis
NT Siona Pouha
T Marques Douglas
OLB Bryan Thomas
WILL Bart Scott
MIKE David Harris
OLB Calvin Pace
LCB Darrelle Revis
RCB Lito Sheppard
S Jim Leonhard
S Kerry Rhodes

7:52-Rest of Ravens starters:

Offense:
QB Joe Flacco
FB Le’Ron McClain
RB Ray Rice
WR Demetrius Williams
WR Derrick Mason
LT Jared Gaither
LG Ben Grubbs
C Matt Birk
RG Chris Chester
RT Michael Oher
TE Todd Heap

Defense:
DT Haloti Ngata
NT Kelly Gregg
DE Trevor Pryce
RLB Paul Kruger
JACK Tavares Gooden
MIKE Ray Lewis
SLB Jarrett Johnson
LCB Fabian Washington
RCB Domonique Foxworth
SS Dawan Landry
FS Ed Reed

Jets choose to introduce Special Teams unit. Strange.

7:44-The Golden Knights parachute team just landed. There had been a rumor about a video tribute to Rex Ryan before tonight’s game; but there is nothing on tonight’s schedule about a pre-game video.

7:39-CB/KR Darrelle Revis, CB Donald Strickland, RB Jehuu Caulcrick, LB Joshua Mauga, OL Damien Woody, and DT Kris Jenkins all out for the Jets along with Jay Feely.

Dwight Lowery will start for Revis, Sione Pouha starts for Jenkins, Wayne Hunter for Damien Woody.

The Jets made a roster move last week, waiving Dennis Conley and signing rookie QB Chris Pizzotti (Harvard).

7:34-WR Biren Ealy and OT Stefan Rodgers are also OUT for the Ravens tonight. Demetrius Williams will start for Mark Clayton, Paul Kruger will start for Terrell Suggs to give Rex Ryan an up close and personal look at the rookie wearing Michael McCrary’s number.

7:26-There has been a Michael Phelps sighting here at M&T Bank Stadium. Does anyone know how his swimming showdown with Shaquille O’Neal ended yesterday?

7:20-No surprises amongst Ravens inactives: LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Terrell Suggs, WR Mark Clayton,  and CB Samari Rolle. Waiting for full list of depth chart changes for both teams.

7:04-Rookie QB Mark Sanchez (USC) gets the start tonight for Rex Ryan’s Jets. I’ve heard rumblings that Sanchez might be in for a brutal night at the hands of the Ravens defense; but I don’t imagine Greg Mattison has any interest in showing any particularly comprehensive blitzing schemes tonight (or anytime before the Sept. 13 opener against the Chiefs). Sanchez will not have an easy time facing the Ravens defense in general; but I don’t expect he will face anything particularly brutal.

Joe Flacco is expected to play into the 2nd quarter tonight; but I wouldn’t be stunned if Rex Ryan DID choose to send a few extra blitzes tonight. If so, Flacco could be pulled a bit early if Cam Cameron is happy with what he sees from the offense early on.

6:56-Lots of hugs and handshakes from Ravens players for their former coach on the field before the game. Ryan was extremely popular in Baltimore, and was certainly the man the players were hoping Steve Bisciotti would hire in ’08. Things seem to have worked out well for Bisciotti with the decision he ended up making; but that doesn’t appear to diminish Rex’s popularity amongst Ravens players.

6:39-The most compelling storyline for tonight’s fake football game is the return of former Ravens assistant Rex Ryan, who served as Defensive Line Coach, then Defensive Coordinator, and eventually Assistant Head Coach before departing during the offseason to become the head man with the Mean Green. Ryan was with the Ravens from 1999 until this past January, and was an assistant on the Super Bowl XXXV Championship team. Ryan was a candidate to replace Brian Billick in 2008, put was passed over in favor of current Ravens head man John Harbaugh. Ryan publicly said last week that he thought the Ravens’ decision to choose Harbaugh over him was “BS.” Harbaugh and Ryan remain friends, however.

Rex won’t be the only familiar face tonight at The Purple Crab Cake though. Jets Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine was with the Ravens from 2001 until this past January when he joined Rex with the Jets. Pettine served as OLB’s Coach last season. Defensive Backs coach Dennis Thurman also departed with Rex Ryan following the 2008 campaign. Thurman served 6 seasons in Baltimore; 4 as secondary coach. Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was also a candidate for the Ravens’ Head Coaching position in 208 before Harbaugh was picked.

Jets LB Bart Scott will look rather strange in green and white considering he had played every snap of his 7 year career as a Baltimore Raven until leaving as a free agent this past winter. Scott remained active in the Baltimore community despite leaving for New York.

Jets S Jim Leonhard was quite the fan favorite in Baltimore last season, helping the Ravens reach the AFC Championship Game after replacing an injured Dawan Landry in the starting lineup. He didn’t get the 6 years, $48 million “The Madbacker” got, but Leonhard did pocket $6 million for 3 years to join his former Ravens coaches and teammates with the Jets.

Former Raven Marques Douglas joined the Jets in the offseason as well. The DE played in Baltimore from 2001-2004, and was reacquired by the Ravens in a trade with the Buccaneers before Week 1 last year.

DL Kris Jenkins started 27 games at the University of Maryland before being selected in the 2nd Round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Jenkins is in his 2nd year with the Jets, and was named to the Pro Bowl in his first campaign.

6:08-The Trevor Pryce soccer revolution continues tonight with a number of Ravens players (including Haruki Nakamura for sure) joining the veteran DE in a pre-game soccer match on-field against a team that appears to be made up of mostly ball kids. Pryce played a similar game before the game against the Skins; and is rumored to be the best soccer player on the team.

We all knew the AC Milan-Chelsea showdown was really going to inspire the future of the game here in Charm City, didn’t we?

6:03-Tonight’s Monday Night Football game can be seen on ESPN-with Mike Tirico on the call alongside analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworksi. Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber will patrol the sidelines. The game will be seen over the air in Baltimore on WBAL11. But if you don’t have cable at this point in your life; you would probably deserve to miss the game.

5:57-A couple of early notes to pass along to you some two hours before gametime:

Jets kicker Jay Feely did not make the trip down 95 due to a groin injury. Parker Douglass-who previously kicked for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Sioux Falls Storm-will handle the kicking responsibilities. I was personally rooting for Chad Ochocinco; but apparently your kicker must come from your own roster. Silly NFL rules.

The US Army Parachute team will make a pre-game appearance. They are called the Golden Knights. They will also present the game ball. If I had more info or any witty thoughts, I’d pass it along here. Instead I just give you the facts. That’s why they call me Glenn “Hard Hitting” Clark, folks.

5:43-Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium where I am stationed in the luxurious purple press box. I will be hanging with you throughout the night tonight, and will be offering updates on Twitter via #wnst. Drew Forrester may or may not be joining me at some point tonight; he will remind you that he is a major celebrity who is much too important to make appearances at preseason games.

The Ravens are 1-0 in practice games this season, having defeated the Redskins 23-0 11 days ago right here in Baltimore. The Jets lost their first practice football game 23-20 to the Rams at the Meadowlands 10 days ago.

The Ravens lead the all-time series with the Jets 5-1 in the regular season, but the Jets actually hold a 3-2 edge in preseason contests. How about that?

The most interesting game in Ravens-Jets history is undoubtedly the November 14, 2004 contest where the Ravens rallied from a 14-0 second quarter deficit to beat the Jets 20-17 in overtime up in New York. You’ll remember this game as the game where the Jets were driving to pad their lead before halftime when LaMont Jordan’s halfback option pass was picked by Ed Reed, sparking a Kyle Boller drive that culminated with a TD pass to Clarence Moore to get the Ravens back in it at intermission. You’ll also remember this game as the game when Dave Zastudil was forced to leave due to injury; leaving Kordell Stewart to handle punt responsibilities. Stewart did such an admirable job that he ended up being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Matt Stover eventually booted home a 42 yarder in extra time to give the Ravens the victory.

This game could also serve as a 40th anniversary “celebration” of sorts for Super Bowl III. If you don’t know about Super Bowl III; please ask someone who is older than you. When they get angry, don’t blame me. Joe Namath’s legendary “guarantee” game was actually played in January of 1969, but this as close to the anniversary as Baltimore will play the Jets. While Rex Ryan has been known to do some silly things, I doubt a “guarantee” in a preseason game would be his way of celebrating the memory.

-G

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Live from Westminster: Heat Turns to Storms, Cancels Afternoon Practice

Posted on 21 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

1:55-So much for the heat. Storms rolled through Westminster during lunch today, cancelling this afternoon’s scheduled 2:45 practice. Tomorrow’s practices remain scheduled for 8:45am and 2pm. I will be back later today with analysis as we work towards Monday Night’s game against the Jets.

12:52-Do not attempt to come out and watch practice this afternoon. Today’s 2:45 practice is closed to the public. The team will likely install some packages for Monday Night’s game against the Jets. Tomorrow’s 8:45am full practice and 2pm special teams practice are open to the public; and will be the last times you can see the Ravens here in Westminster.

12:41-Derrick Mason was back in his familiar #85 jersey today instead of the #9 jersey he wore Wednesday to honor Steve McNair. We had been under the impression that Mason would be wearing the #9 jersey in practice the rest of the year.

I spoke to Ravens VP/spokesman Kevin Byrne regarding a possible team-wide honor for McNair; and he said the team was still working on putting something together. He said that it was more likely to be a moment of silence or pre-game tribute; and wouldn’t be similar to the helmet decals the Tennessee Titans will wear this season.

12:33-Ed Reed spoke with the media after practice today (John Harbaugh turned his press conference over to him), and discussed a number of things. He mentioned that his decisions to switch from the red “no contact” jersey to the white jersey he was in today usually are based on how he feels that particular day.

He also discussed the white bracelet he wears (a Michael Jordan brand bracelet) that has the quote “Once I get the ball, you’re at my mercy” scripted on it. Seems appropriate for a guy who is dangerous whenever he touches the ball.

12:29-Frank Walker had another nice today; including an interception of a John Beck pass. Frank has played well recently; which could be crucial as some believe he is battling for a spot on the roster with the Ravens having so many CB’s-with or without Samari Rolle.

Troy Smith continued to throw sharp passes, but players like Davon Drew and Jason Cook (who are both battling for roster spots themselves) had drops. Cook was seen with other young FB’s and RB’s working on pass catching drills well after practice with QB’s Cleo Lemon and Drew Willy. Todd Heap also had back to back drops at one point during drills.

I had mentioned earlier in the week that the defense appeared to be ahead of the offense. While that is still likely true; it appears as though the first couple of offensive units have really closed the gap.

12:26-Rohan Marley (former University of Miami Hurricanes LB and son of music legend Bob Marley) was seen on the sidelines today. Marley offered hugs to his former teammate Ray Lewis and fellow Miami alum Ed Reed; and was a vocal cheerleader for the Ravens, including a Demetrius Williams TD grab. Marley apparently attended Training Camp last year as well. Marley is the husband of R&B star Lauryn Hill; formerly of the Fugees. Marley also played for a time in the CFL.

12:21-Graham Gano was your “winner” in the kicking battle today. Gano finished 6/7 with a long of 50 yards. Steve Hauschka finished 6/8 with a long also of 50 yards. Both Gano and Hauschka missed from 54, and Hauschka added a miss from 41. Here is your kick-by-kick breakdown:

Hauschka-35 yards-good
Gano-35 yards-good
Hauschka-41 yards-WIDE RIGHT
Gano-41 yards-good
Hauschka-45 yards-good
Gano-45 yards-good
Hauschka-50 yards-good
Gano-50 yards-good
Hauschka-54 yards-SHORT, returnable
Gano-54 yards-WIDE RIGHT

BREAK

Hauschka-25 yards-good
Gano-41 yards-good
Hauschka-20 yards (extra point)-good
Gano-20 yards (extra point)-good
Hauschka-22 yards-good

Sam Koch also threw a TD to Edgar Jones off a fake field goal.

12:11-OL Chris Chester returned to practice today after missing yesterday’s sessions due to a strained calf. Harbaugh had said Chester had missed practice yesterday because the team just didn’t want to take any chances.

No sign of Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, or Dannell Ellerbe today; all of whom have put in work on the sidelines during practice at different times this week.

12:02-The heat was far and away the most obvious factor at McDaniel College today. The coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens has taken to wearing long sleeves (with thin material); and John Harbaugh told me it was to “keep the sun of your arms.” He recommended I start wearing them in the heat too. Sounds crazy to me. D-Line coach Clarence Brooks didn’t seem so convinced that the long sleeves actually helped.

Lots of steps necessary to take care of when battling the heat in practice. I noticed both TE Isaac Smolko and DE Trevor Pryce left the field as different points during the day. I wasn’t able to talk to either after practice, so I didn’t get confirmation on what may have happened. But it certainly could have been anything ranging from an equipment issue to a battle with the heat. In fact, as Pryce was leaving the field; I heard a teammate yell “take your time, Trev!” Certainly the coaching staff would want to direct players to the locker room if they had noticed them struggling with the heat.

-G

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Live From Westminster: Ravens in Home Stretch of Training Camp

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

5:37-Tomorrow’s morning practice is live, opening at 8:45. Tomorrow afternoon the Ravens are holding a tougher “10-10-10″ practice that will NOT be open to the public. Saturday there will again be two sessions; and it will be the final time you can see the Ravens in Westminster.

5:34-John Harbaugh said he knew about Derrick Mason’s decision to wear the #9 practice jersey beforehand; and Mason handled the decision to honor former teammate Steve McNair in “a classy way.”

Harbaugh also said he was unaware of any plans to honor McNair from the organization as a whole.

5:28-The first note I wrote after being on the practice field this afternoon: “No one wants to be here.”

A number of players stopped by and shook their heads on their way out to the practice field for special teams practice this afternoon; where the Ravens got in some more work. Still no Chris Chester this afternoon. Jared Gaither walked out to the practice field without his jersey, but was summoned back to the locker room to dress for the afternoon session; which he reported to about 20 minutes late. He had a flex cast on his right arm; but that isn’t new. Nothing to be concerned about as of now.

The session ended at 3pm; but some units were dismissed even earlier than then. It was hot!

12:42-Practice this afternoon is at 2pm if you’re headed towards McDaniel College. This afternoons practice is Special Teams only, and the 30+ guys will again not be participating. Sorry to the Trevor Pryce fans of the world. A reminder that tomorrow afternoon’s practice is closed to the public.

12:35-There were NFL officials again at Camp today. John Harbaugh mentioned that he was “disappointed” with the number of penalties the team had in their win over the Redskins; and they had a few early in practice today. That number diminished as practice wore on.

Jarrett Johnson and Frank Walker each had INT’s during 11 on 11′s.

12:32-Mike Preston riled up fans yesterday by blogging that the Ravens were still interested in disgruntled Broncos WR Brandon Marshall. He floated the names Troy Smith and Demetrius Williams as possible trade candidates should the Ravens try to make a move.

I still have no confirmation from anyone in the organization that the Ravens ARE actually interested in Marshall; and have been told previously they weren’t. But as I’ve told Drew Forrester and Bob Haynie today; Mike Preston has been covering this team longer than I have, so I won’t dismiss it either.

12:29-No real reaction from any players regarding the Plaxico Burress news. The news came down during practice; so players hadn’t had much time to digest it. Athletes are usually particularly supportive of other athletes, so I imagine players are feeling for Plax.

Had Plax not received such a harsh sentence, I had speculated previously that the Ravens may be interested in him. End speculation now. Can’t look at a player who can’t get to the field.

12:27-Former Raven Jonathan Ogden was again in the house today, but did less camera mugging and analysis than in his previous appearances. The future Hall of Famer watched practice from the reserved seating area with fans.

12:23-Practice was a bit better today for Troy Smith; who certainly looked sharper throwing the ball downfield. All 5 quarterbacks (Smith, Joe Flacco, John Beck, Cleo Lemon, Drew Willy) remain in Camp; but you have to imagine that list will be trimmed in the next few days.

I saw Ray Rice split out wide quite a few times today. I get the feeling the Ravens are hoping to get the ball in his hands absolutely as much as possible.

12:21-LJ Smith made some impressive grabs today, including a tough TD grab in a goal line situation. Smith has always possessed solid hands, and certainly can be a target in the red zone. However, I was reminded by my friend Dave Carey (a former Baltimore Examiner writer) that reporters covering the Eagles have had gushing things to say about LJ Smith every year, but always qualified it with “if he’s healthy.”

12:16-Steve Hauschka was your kicker of record today; and he finished 9/11 with a long of 53 yards. He had one BAD miss-a 42 yarder that was wide left and very short. Graham Gano was 7/11 yesterday with a long of 55. Harbaugh said that the kickers would not be judged on makes and misses alone; but also on how they strike the ball. I have said before that what they offer in kickoffs will also be a consideration as to which kicker wins the job.

12:08-Full practice this morning in Westminster, with vets like Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason again off as part of John harbaugh’s 3rd day “30 and over club”. Matt Birk was again on field in shorts despite being in the Club; but he did nut participate in a full practice.

No practice again today for Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, or Dannell Ellerbe; but all were in attendance on the sidelines. Clayton was again doing football work; and improving his cutting. His burst is still an issue; but it has to be a positive sign to see him getting work in. John Harbaugh says Clayton is “ahead of schedule”, but still not close to returning. Suggs was back out on the sidelines again, doing some work on the bike. He also has no timetable for a return. Ellerbe (the UFA rookie LB out of Georgia) would be “doubtful” for Monday Night’s game against the Jets; but was also out at practice doing some individual work. Chris Chester (strained calf) missed practice after leaving the field yesterday, but John Harbaugh said it was just a precautionary measure.

WR Demetrius Williams was also back on the field after missing Tuesday’s practice (hamstring). This was his first “live” practice since Monday. Haruki Nakamura showed no effects of the injury that forced him to be helped off the field during yesterday’s practice.

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Live From Westminster: Emotional Day for Ravens as Team Honors Nation’s Military

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Live From Westminster: Emotional Day for Ravens as Team Honors Nation’s Military

Posted on 19 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

9:35-I spent the better part of the day doing “fantasy radio”, as I Tweeted, Facebooked, and talked on-air about the idea of the Ravens pursuing Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe. The important thing to keep in mind here is that everything I’ve said is PURE speculation. The New York Daily News’ Rich Cimini reported this morning that the Jets could be interested in Brandon Marshall or Bowe; which made me wonder if the Ravens are interested in Bowe.

Bowe has had a rough start to his season in Kansas City; and was actually benched last week by new Chiefs coach Todd Haley. He’s back with the starters this week; but Haley has been known to bang heads with receivers in the past (see Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin). Should Haley decide he and Bowe can’t co-exist; Scott Pioli may well use the Patriots’ system of “who’s next?” and part ways with Bowe to help rebuild. Bowe did have over 1,000 receiving yards last season, and would be a GREAT addition for a Ravens team that I still firmly believe needs receivers.

Bowe was a 1st round pick himself; so any deal would have to involve a 1st round pick at LEAST. I’m gonna guess a 1st and a 3rd. It is WAY too easy to say that Ozzie Newsome shouldn’t be trading future picks; but the Ravens are in a position where they may be just a piece away from Super Bowl contention.

Again…..all speculation.

But thoughts?

8:43-Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison ended up being the only person to speak at the podium following practice; after John Harbaugh and Derrick Mason were each rumored to be speaking but declined. Mattison did not spend much time speaking about Rex Ryan, as the Ravens continue to not get involved in any sort of “smack talk” before the Jets game. Mattison also said Terrell Suggs “wants” to be practicing, but does not have a time table for Sizzle’s return.

8:08-Ravens Running Back Matt Lawrence (who I affectionately know as Matt “Jack Hunter” Lawrence…..if you don’t know the reference, you didn’t watch “Boy Meets World” enough) spent a few minutes chatting with me after practice as he noticed that I was a Maryland Terrapins fan. Lawrence played his college ball at UMass, where his head coach was new Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown. Lawrence is a big fan of the Terps’ decision to hire Brown; who he thinks will have no problem making the transition to the FBS level. Matt referenced the VERY narrow defeat the Minutemen suffered to Matt Ryan’s Boston College Eagles in 2007. The Minutemen lost 24-14 but held down the current Atlanta Falcons star and then Heisman Trophy candidate for most of the game, and almost took a 2nd half lead before a TD return was overturned on replay.

I didn’t get the chance to talk to Lawrence about my nickname for him, but I’ll make sure to do it before long. Lawrence is in a hotly contested battle for what most analysts believe will be the 3rd and final RB spot on the roster. Between RB’s and FB’s, I believe Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’Ron McClain are locks; while Lawrence, Jalen Parmele, Cedric Peerman and Jason Cook are battling for one or two more spots on the roster.

7:57-Graham Gano handled all of the field goal kicking today; finishing the day 7 for 11. Here are his kicks in order…..

51 yards……good
55 yards……good
53 yards……missed (short, right)
49 yards……missed (off right upright)
54 yards……good
60 yards…..missed (on target but short)
19 yards (extra point)……good
40 yards……good
44 yards……good
50 yards……good
57 yards…….missed (poorly struck line drive; short and left)

With Gano handling all duties today, you would imagine Hauschka will probably get the bulk of the kicks tomorrow.

7:52-The offense really appearaed to catch up with the defense today, especially in one-on-one passing drills. The offense converted 7 of 11 such attempts; although Bradon Godfrey was guilty of 2 failures to haul in passes (and didn’t give much of an effort on the others). Before you get too concerned about the struggles of the secondary in such drills, remember that there’s a certain safety who will certainly have something to say about passes, and that the Ravens can provide more help if Greg Mattison continues to stress his base defense theory.

Kelley Washington continued to impress in practice. It might be a bit early; but I’ll say right now that I won’t be surprised if Washington ends up being this team’s #2 receiver of record vs. the Chiefs September 13.

7:46-S Haruki Nakamura and OL Chris Chester both needed assistance from trainers at different times today, but neither appeared to suffer an injury that could be deemed serious. If more information becomes available on either player, I will be sure to pass along.

7:40-Former Ravens OT Orlando “Zeus” Brown was amongst the guests seen out at practice today. Zeus had some fun with the current offensive linemen, including guard Ben Grubbs. Zeus is still a mammoth man (and a fun guy); but admitted that he doesn’t miss Training Camp.

7:29-Continued positive developments for the Ravens on the injury front today. Practice did not include live hitting (I had previously speculated it could make things a bit chippy given the heat and the players having the night off); and Demetrius Williams was out on the field in a shell and shorts. The WR is battling a right hamstring injury; and may have only missed yesterday’s practice as a precaution due to the fact that the team was hitting.

KR/CB Chris Carr (who joined Nestor Aparicio on “Limited Access” this afternoon) was back in the CB rotation as well as returning kicks. On Tuesday, he had only participated in the special teams portion of practice. Carr said after practice that he felt good; and didn’t appear to have any noticeable lingering effects of the back spasms he had suffered recently.

Terrell Suggs and Mark Clayton each made appearances on the field today, although neither actually practiced. Clayton worked on the sidelines for a 2nd consecutive day; with his workout including a number of receiving drills. Clayton is battling back from a hamstring injury; that John Harbaugh had previously mentioned included blood in the hamstring. Suggs was seen running from side to side on the secondary practice field, and also spent some time riding the exercise bike on the sidelines. Suggs took time to greet some members of the media after practice (including myself); but wouldn’t give a timetable for a return (heel bruise/achilles straing).

Recently banged up WR’s Biren Ealy and Yamon Figurs were also back on the practice field today.

7:16-Derrick Mason wore his heart on his jersey today, as he debuted a #9 jersey he wore in honor of fallen former teammate Steve McNair.

mason

Mason did not choose to speak at the podium following today’s practice; but he did convey that he plans to wear the jersey in practice throughout the season, but there were no plans publicly made for him to petition the NFL to be allowed to wear the jersey in games. The jersey had no name on the back.

6:57-This afternoon’s session was particularly emotionally charged. Today was Military Appreciation Day at Ravens Camp, and hundreds of service men and women attended practice. Following today’s practice, the team invited the service personnel on the field to join them in a huddle. After a long talk, the players and military members joined together in a chant of “Family!” to break the huddle. Players and coaches stayed for almost an hour to talk, take pictures with, and sign autographs for the military members.

The Ravens have done a good job of honoring the military in the past; but it has been particularly evident this year following John Harbaugh’s USO trip to the Middle East. This was a very nice gesture on behalf of the organization, and the type of event that you could tell clearly touched many players as much as it touched the personnel in attendance.

8:09-I’m not out in Westminster yet, as practice is AFTERNOON EARLY today. Don’t plan on heading out to McDaniel until 2:45, when the Ravens will honor our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen with a Military Day.

In the meantime; I’m sitting in with my radio partner Drew Forrester on The Comcast Morning Show; and thought it would be an appropriate time for a Training Camp Q&A.

Questions about the receivers? Questions about which rookies are on the bubble? Questions about whether or not Jerry Coleman is really as hideous as I make him out to be?

Fire away……..

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Live from Westminster: Demetrius Williams doesn’t practice. Again.

Posted on 18 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:19-The Ravens will host another “Military Appreciation Day” for tomorrow afternoon’s practice. The first 200 servicepeople in uniform will receive reserved seating and a souvenir gift from the team.

The Ravens have done quite a bit to honor the military in the past; but that has only stepped up more since John Harbaugh’s trip to the middle east with the USO earlier this summer.

1:34-I did not get the chance to talk to Paul Kruger after practice (I was chatting with Fabian Washington before he joined The Bob Haynie Show); but Kruger reportedly told other members of the media he was “disappointed” by the comments made by Jets Coach Rex Ryan yesterday, and even went on to call the situation “childish.”

In fairness, if I were Kruger; I think I would probably be thinking to myself “why does this guy have a problem with me? I just want to play football.”

John Harbaugh has apparently discussed the possibility of doing something to honor Rex Ryan before Monday’s game.

12:55-Do not plan on heading to Westminster this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The Ravens will not be practicing again until 2:45 tomorrow afternoon. In the final week of Camp, there is no reason to press anything.

12:54-Le’Ron McClain had to go to the sideline at one point today after being punched in the gut accidentally by Kelly Gregg. The punch caused some cramping; but McClain says he’s feeling better and there doesn’t appear to be any cause for concern there.

12:37-The Ravens worked on end-of-half situations today; starting with “:08 left, ball on 35, 1 timeout”, and then moving to “:16 seconds left, no timeouts.” All four scenarios were converted for field goals. Steve Hauschka was your “winner” in today’s kicking battle; as connected on 4/5 attempts; including a 51 yarder that hit the crossbar on its way through. Each kicker missed from 47 (both were wide left); and Gano was again wide left from 51.

The weather was a small factor during practice today, as the heat gave away at one point to a short rainstorm. Players didn’t appear to really mind the rain, as it did cool things down if only briefly.

12:34-Not surprisingly, John Harbaugh did not have much to say about Rex Ryan’s comments yesterday regarding Paul Kruger wearing Michael McCrary’s former #99. Harbaugh did point out that the Ravens will not be allowing anyone to wear #57 this season in honor of O.J. Brigance; who has been in inspiration for the team while battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

12:31-Still 5 quarterbacks on the roster with Cleo Lemon and Drew Willy each back on the McDaniel College practice fields today.  But Cam Cameron made it evident that the Ravens were not trying to find reps for all 5 QB’s, and that they really have just 3 QB’s (Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck).

Speaking of Beck, he continues to work his way back to health; throwing even deeper balls today (including 20-30 yard fade routes in passing drills). He looks like he’s on track to be ready for Monday Night Football.

12:29-Chris Carr DID return to practice today; after dealing with back spasms the last few. Carr didn’t participate with the defense; but was out there during special teams drills in his role as kick returner. Carr will likely work his way back into defensive drills through the week.

12:25-No other surprises missing practice today. Terrell Suggs and Mark Clayton remain out; along with Stefan Rodgers. WR Biren Ealy was a no go again today; but there was no shortage of other receivers to make plays.

Maybe the story of Training Camp could be the rise of Kelley Washington. Say what you want about his over the top celebrations; but the former Bengal and Patriot has shown himself to be a capable receiver. In fact, if Monday night’s game against the Jets were actually a real game; I’d have to imagine Washington would be the starting receiver opposite Derrick Mason. There’s at least a chance he will be when the Chiefs come to town September 13.

12:22-Maybe the least surprising sight at practice today was Demetrius Williams in shorts and no pads during the early morning walkthrough; then departing for the locker room before the practice actually started. There must be a frustration level setting in with Williams and the coaching staff; as it continues to be a battle to keep him on the field. Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens brass were adament this offseason in their support for D. Williams, trying to tell anyone who would listen that they believed he would be a special player. But as D-Will continues to deal with hamstring issues, you can’t help but think “when do we get to see it from him?”

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Live From Westminster: There’s Too Many Quarterbacks!

Posted on 17 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

8:04-Only a morning practice scheduled for Tuesday. 8:45am. On Wednesday, there is only a 2:45pm practice scheduled. These things are always subject to change; but nothing surprising about a scaled back practice schedule the final week of Training Camp.

5:48-A Ravens team source declined comment when I asked him about Rex Ryan’s comments regarding the number 99. I wasn’t surprised by the “no comment”, as the Ravens certainly don’t want to start a war of words with their former Defensive Coordinator.

The team did remind me that no NFL can physically retire the jersey number of any player; not even a Ring of Honor player.

The source also laughed at the idea, remembering other great players whose jersey numbers were quickly re-issued by the team they previously played for. For example, Chaz Schilens is wearing the #81 jersey previously worn by Raiders great Tim Brown.

Nestor made a group point when discussing the fact that this likely has more to do with Rex’s disappointment that he isn’t the head coach in Baltimore. Rex clearly has to look at the legacy this organization has carved out for itself and REALLY think “that should be me.” This IS a “disrespect” issue for him, clearly.

5:07-The Ravens spent the afternoon session of Camp working out in shells and shorts; and it wasn’t exactly a thrilling practice. The highlights of practice were the gadget plays; which included pitch back runs from receivers like Jayson Foster.

While working on goal line formations, Dwan Edwards actually caught a TD pass. I expect to see more players having flex roles on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. David Hale has been moved to center on the offensive line; and certainly other players (Edgar Jones comes to mind) have been asked to move positions before. Dwan Edwards won’t be switching positions necessarily; but with a number of D-Linemen already on the roster, this could be a way for Edwards to help make himself continue to stand out.

2:10-Jets Coach Rex Ryan isn’t happy the Ravens are allowing Paul Kruger to wear Michael McCrary’s former #99. Check the story out here.

I didn’t expect any “trash talk” from Rex this week leading up to a preseason game; but he’s amongst the best talkers in football. He may have a point here; but certainly the Ravens are not trying to diminish McCrary’s legacy.

1:40-Some other sights from this morning’s practice session:

-Ernie Wheelwright skying for a sideline grab in 11-on-11′s
-Frank Walker jarring with the refs after he believed he was pushed off on by camp WR body Bradon Godfrey
-Justin Harper fighting for yards and making a pretty sideline grab as he continues to fight the “inconsistent” knock that many think will keep him from making the roster
-Troy Smith finding Godfrey over the middle on one of the nicer balls thrown during 11-on-11′s
-WR Biren Ealy wearing #36 (#8 went to Cleo Lemon), and Godfrey wearing #37

1:35-If you’re considering heading out to Westminster for this afternoon’s practice; please keep in mind that you will not see the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Derrick Mason, etc. on the practice field. Those guys have off today for the “Over 30″ club; so you will be out of luck if that’s who you’re coming up to see. You will however see a number of 29-year-olds, including Todd Heap, LJ Smith, and Kelley Washington; who will join the club next season.

1:28-As you may have heard about this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” with Drew Forrester; I was pulled over this morning and cited for not wearing a seat belt by a member of the Maryland State Police. Being that it was the MSP, it will be completely useless for me to call our friend Kevin Utz-the Mayor of Westminster-to help out with the $25 fine.

I would like to take this time to remind you to slow down, and to buckle up. I know I certainly will. I had heard previously that there had been speed traps set up throughout Westminster, and I was actually pulled over right on 140 heading towards Camp.

Seriously, I knew better. Buckle up! Not worth it……

1:18-Following this morning’s session, Willis McGahee made a $2,500 donation to the “Prepare for Success” organization via his Willis McGahee Foundation. The money will go to providing school supplies to disadvantaged children in Howard County; and McGahee also donated 350 calculators.

Much has been made regarding McGahee being a “changed” or “different” player coming into this year’s Training Camp; especially considering his status as the “#2″ back in Cam Cameron’s offense. I asked Willis about that during a brief meeting with the media following the presentation; you can hear what he said by checking out the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

For what it’s worth; I really thought McGahee’s role of “change of pace back” was very effective in the Ravens’ first preseason game against the Redskins. I maintain that McGahee is probably the only back on the roster capable of rishing for 1,400 yards this season; but given the success the team had with multiple backs last season, I think they’ll find a very adequate way to use McGahee, Rice, Le’Ron McClain and possibly even Jalen Parmele and/or Cedric Peerman.

12:58-No Chris Carr in today’s morning session. He’s dealing with back spasms but expects to be back this week.

Kelley Washington was Joe Flacco’s primary target, and Washington didn’t cease to entertain the crowd at McDaniel College with his dance moves following a long TD catch and a first down haul along the sideline.

Speaking of McDaniel, the Terror’s own football team kicked off their fall practice this morning. As they walked along the sideline; a few fans appeared confused, thinking the green and white jerseys were those of the New York Jets.

12:39-Some separation in the kicking contest? Steve Hauschka (who was kicking with the Field Goal “1″ unit), connected on just 2/5 attempts today. Meanwhile, rookie Graham Gano had his best practice recently; connecting on all 5 attempts. This included a 58-yarder, which needed an assist from the left upright to go through. Hauschka’s misses were attempts from 46, 52, and 58 yards. The miss from 52 was particularly short and to the right.

The Ravens also executed two fake field goals. On the first, holder Sam Koch hit Edgar Jones for an 18 yard TD pass to the corner of the end zone. Jones was wide open on the play, leading to the defense drawing the ire of several members of the coaching staff. Koch also hit Gano on a pass to the left that would have gone for a 10 yard gain on another fake. Koch was also seen trying field goal attempts himself. Harbaugh said Koch’s tries were for nothing more than an “emergency” situation; noting Mark Simoneau’s use as an emergency kicker while Harbaugh was with the Eagles.

12:24-Couldn’t help but notice an abundance of red jerseys today; and none of them belonged to Ed Reed-who sat this morning’s session out as part of John Harbaugh’s “30 & Over” club.

The Ravens currently have 5 active quarterbacks on their roster. Joe Flacco and Troy Smith are the clear #1 and 2 respectively; but the Ravens also have John Beck, Cleo Lemon, and Drew Willy taking snaps under center.

Beck-who was rumored to possibly be gone for the season with a crack in his collarbone over the weekend-was throwing solid screens, fades, and mid-range (16-18 yard) balls during the morning session. He is likely to test his arm more as each day goes this week; and could very well be ready to play Monday against the Jets. If so, expect Drew Willy (who the Ravens re-acquired after originally signing him as a UFA from Buffalo) to probably be gone before Rex Ryan and company come to town.

Cleo Lemon-who has previously camped with the Ravens as a 4th string QB-seems like a possibility to stick around until final cuts. I was surprised to see the Ravens had not gone with 4 QB’s this preseason; especially after Kyle Boller’s injury and Troy Smith’s…..black plague?……left them with just one healthy quarterback last August; forcing them to scramble and find Casey Bramlet. I would imagine the Ravens will not need to see much from any of their QB’s in the final preseason game (the roles are very well defined), and could afford to have Cleo Lemon take the majority of the snaps in the 2nd half.

-G

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