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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Week 3

Posted on 20 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game this season.

Luke Jones finished Week 2 with an 11-5 record while Drew Forrester was 12-4 on his picks. Entering Week 3, Jones is 22-10 on the season while Forrester is 21-11. Official standings are based only on the NFL picks.

Forrester correctly picked Kansas City to beat Philadelphia while Jones selected the Eagles to win the Thursday night game to kick off Week 3.

You can listen to the full explanation of their Week 2 selections HERE and HERE.

Texans at Ravens: Houston 24-17 (Drew), Houston 21-16 (Luke)
Chargers at Titans: Tennessee 27-23 (Drew), Tennessee 24-17 (Luke)
Browns at Vikings: Minnesota 20-10 (Drew), Minnesota 21-12 (Luke)
Buccaneers at Patriots: Tampa Bay 22-20 (Drew), New England 24-16 (Luke)
Rams at Cowboys: Dallas 24-21 (Drew), St. Louis 27-23 (Luke)
Cardinals at Saints: New Orleans 38-17 (Drew), New Orleans 34-20 (Luke)
Lions at Redskins: Detroit 30-22 (Drew), Washington 30-27 (Luke)
Packers at Bengals: Cincinnati 26-20 (Drew), Green Bay 31-26 (Luke)
Giants at Panthers: New York 27-13 (Drew), New York 24-20 (Luke)
Falcons at Dolphins: Miami 17-13 (Drew), Miami 24-23 (Luke)
Colts at 49ers: San Francisco 24-23 (Drew), San Francisco 27-16 (Luke)
Jaguars at Seahawks: Seattle 27-0 (Drew), Seattle 24-6 (Luke)
Bills at Jets: Buffalo 16-14 (Drew), New York 20-17 (Luke)
Bears at Steelers: Chicago 23-14 (Drew), Pittsburgh 17-14 (Luke)
Raiders at Broncos: Denver 30-17 (Drew), Denver 31-13 (Luke)
West Virginia at Maryland: Terrapins 33-20 (Drew), Terrapins 27-21 (Luke)
Towson at North Carolina Central: Tigers 40-17 (Drew), Tigers 45-13 (Luke)
Morgan State at Western Kentucky: Bears 35-30 (Drew), Hilltoppers 24-17 (Luke)
Annapolis at Glen Burnie: Gophers 36-0 (Drew), Panthers 31-13 (Luke)
Susquehannock at Central York: Panthers 44-3 (Drew), Warriors 21-20 (Luke)

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Ed Reed: “I always will be a Raven”

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Ed Reed: “I always will be a Raven”

Posted on 19 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In typical fashion, former Ravens safety Ed Reed initially labeled his return to Baltimore as “another away game” as a member of the Houston Texans, but we all knew better.

Spending more time reminiscing about his 11 years with the organization that drafted him with the 24th overall pick of the 2002 draft, the 35-year-old’s true feelings shined through to no one’s surprise. It’s impossible not to be a little sentimental as Reed prepares to potentially play in his first game with another NFL franchise after missing the start of the season recovering from offseason hip surgery.

“Baltimore is family. I miss walking into ‘The Bank’ on Sunday,” Reed said in a conference call with the local media. “I have a lot of memories; I cherish that and always will be a Raven. That’s where I was raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing; we did a lot of special things. That’s something that could never be taken away.”

The reactions from former teammates have been awkward but respectful this week as the thought of Reed wearing enemy colors at M&T Bank Stadium seems foreign. Some teammates have even joked that they hope Reed won’t be ready to return to action as he acknowledges being less than 100 percent after missing the entire preseason and the Texans’ first two regular-season games.

Even Reed doesn’t know exactly what to expect from the hometown fans, joking that it will depend on how the morning tailgating goes prior to Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff.

“It’s going to be weird with him being here such a long time,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “It’s going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform. He moved on, and we moved on, and hopefully he cannot play so we don’t have to play against him.”

While Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has spoken positively about Reed’s status, the veteran defensive back was noncommittal about playing Sunday after practicing on a limited basis each of the last two days. It’s expected that Reed would only play on a part-time basis against the Ravens in his first game action since Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.

It’s anyone’s guess what Reed will have to offer this season as he enters his 12th season and is coming off his second major hip surgery in the last four years.

“I’m not confident about [anything] but going day to day the way I’ve been,” Reed said. “There’s no confidence about it if I haven’t played. You can’t be confident if you haven’t been on the field.”

Even with Reed’s physical skills in decline, the Ravens are fully aware of his mental prowess in the secondary and know he is still able to take advantage of mistakes like he did when picking off an overthrown pass by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the Super Bowl. A ferocious Texans pass rush makes Reed’s stalking in the secondary even more dangerous for quarterback Joe Flacco.

Facing the man who challenged him on a daily basis in practices for years, Flacco understands how significant Reed’s return is for both Baltimore fans and his organization, regardless of what kind of player Reed will be in 2013.

“If he was in his fifth year, it probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal, because he wouldn’t have been here for that long,” said quarterback Joe Flacco, who teamed with Reed for five seasons. “But the fact that all the fans know him as a Baltimore Raven, and the fact that I was a fan of his at one point [before being his teammate], yeah, it probably makes it a little bit different.”

Reed’s decision to depart for Houston on a three-year, $15 milllion wasn’t the storybook ending many had hoped for after he finally raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February, but his return to Baltimore will still be memorable as fans will inevitably recognize one of the greatest players in franchise history.

The Ravens just hope Reed doesn’t make them pay with his play on the field.

“It’s like playing against your brothers again while I’m out there coaching,” said Reed, who insisted he holds no hard feelings over the way his exit from the Ravens played out. “I’ve been having this feeling for a long time. It’s different being here and coming to see my guys, who I’ve been fighting with for a long time.”

Lewis to speak or not to speak

Only adding to the emotion of Reed’s return to Baltimore will be the Ring of Honor induction of future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who ended his remarkable 17-year career in February.

His presence on Sunday has sparked questions over whether Lewis will address the team prior to kickoff. Truthfully, it’s an awkward proposition for an organization that spent the offseason trying to move on from the era in which Lewis and Reed were the biggest faces of the franchise.

“I think we’ll leave that up to Ray, but I think he should just enjoy his moment,” Suggs said. “It’s his day. He’s going in [to the Ring of Honor], and if he feels he needs to say something to the team, he can say something. If anybody has the right of way, it’s him. If he just wants to enjoy it, take it in and be a fan of football, that’s fine, too.”

It would be nearly impossible for the Ravens to deny Lewis the opportunity to speak to his former teammates if he asks, but one wonders if it would be counterproductive to the leadership-by-committee approach that continues to be a work in progress in the early stages of the season.

Numerous members of the organization have made it clear throughout the offseason and summer that it’s a new era of Ravens football, so Lewis’ presence beyond the details of the halftime celebration could be considered a potential distraction.

“I don’t have a philosophical position on that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Either way would be fine. If it happened and it felt right, it would be great. And if it didn’t happen because it didn’t make sense, that’d be fine, too.”

Watch out for Watt

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Rice absent from practice for second straight day

Posted on 19 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after six players missed practice, the Ravens didn’t receive much better news on Thursday as Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice was absent once again while continuing to recover from a hip flexor strain.

Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Rice would not need to practice to potentially play in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, but his continued absence makes it apparent that backup Bernard Pierce will play a bigger role in the offense even if Rice is available. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell acknowledged this reality prior to Thursday’s practice after Pierce carried the ball 19 times for 57 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland last Sunday.

“He’s been a guy that’s run extremely hard,” Caldwell said. “In particular, when you look at our situation right now, he’s going to have to carry a little bit more of a load, but we fully expect him to be able to step up and do the job.”

Defensive end Chris Canty (groin), linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) all missed practice for a second straight day. Jones has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game as he continues to recover from an MCL sprain suffered in the season opener two weeks ago.

Expressing optimism that he’d be able to play on Sunday prior to missing Thursday’s practice, Canty acknowledged the possibility of still being able to play on Sunday without practicing all week. The ninth-year defensive lineman exited the Week 2 win against the Browns early in the second half and didn’t return, but magnetic resonance imaging returned no indication of structural damage earlier this week.

“It feels pretty good,” Canty said. “We’ll continue to go about the process and hopefully be able to participate on Sunday. As a veteran football player, you think you can be ready. I’ve been in this situation before. I’m just trying to get in the best physical condition I can, so I can have an opportunity to help my football team win.”

Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) was not present during the portion of practice open to the media, which is concerning after the second-year wideout took part in Wednesday’s workout on a limited basis. He has not played in a game since injuring his foot in the preseason opener on Aug. 9.

The good news on the injury front came in the return of cornerback Chykie Brown to the practice field after an MRI earlier this week indicated there was no structural damage to the knee he strained against Cleveland. The third-year defensive back did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe) was practicing for the second consecutive day after working on a limited basis on Wednesday.

For Houston, free safety Ed Reed (hip) and wide receiver Andre Johnson (concussion) were limited participants as both appear to be good candidates to play on Sunday. Left tackle Duane Brown continues to be sidelined with a turf toe injury, leaving his status in doubt for Week 3.

Here is Thursday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
OUT: WR Jacoby Jones (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Deonte Thompson (foot), LB Arthur Brown (chest), DE Chris Canty (thigh), C Ryan Jensen (foot), RB Ray Rice (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Chykie Brown (knee), DT Brandon Williams (toe)

HOUSTON
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LT Duane Brown (toe), TE Garrett Graham (hip/groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Andre Johnson (concussion), TE Owen Daniels (rest – NIR), FS Ed Reed (hip), LG Wade Smith (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Jonathan Joseph (rest – NIR), LB Brian Cushing (knee), RB Arian Foster (calf/chest), LB Joe Mays (quad), CB Brice McCain (knee), C Chris Meyers (back), RT Derek Newton (knee/calf), WR DeVier Posey (Achilles/foot), LB Darryl Sharpton (hip), RB Ben Tate (shoulder)

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week 32)

I assume the Jacksonville CBS affiliate is going to have to start running apologies too.

31. Cleveland Browns (31)

Bigger issue: missing a wide open throw to Chris Ogbonnaya or counting on major offensive contributions from Chris Ogbonnaya?

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)

It’s certainly much more the whole “assh*le coach hates the quarterback” issue than the “lost on two last second field goals” issue.

29. New York Jets (27)

I scrambled to grab Bilal Powell in my fantasy league only to remember I had just grabbed Bilal Powell in my fantasy league.

28. Oakland Raiders (30)

Congratulations on your win*.

(*Obviously I don’t have to explain why a win over the Jags gets an asterisk.)

27. Carolina Panthers (24)

Gene Chizik is available and has prior experience with high paid athletes.

26. Buffalo Bills (29)

And we’re going to need a little more of you, CJ Spiller. (Signed, guys who have you in three different leagues.)

25. Minnesota Vikings (22)

Wins aren’t going to start getting easy any time soon.

24. Arizona Cardinals (26)

Should I bench Cam Newton for Carson Palmer in New Orleans?

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (20)

22. Washington Redskins (18)

Can Kirk Cousins play defense?

21. Detroit Lions (21)

The bad teams are so bad that a loss to the Cardinals doesn’t drop them.

20. Tennessee Titans (23)

Or for the Titans to lose but move up three spots anyway.

19. St. Louis Rams (19)

Or for the Rams to lose and stay put you get the picture.

18. San Diego Chargers (25)

For reals?

17. New York Giants (15)

Either Eli Manning or Cam Newton will get a win. Or they’ll both get ties. I could use a new tie.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 17 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer: MLS-DC United @ New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30pm from Foxborough, MA live on MLS Direct Kick); College Soccer: Navy @ UMBC (Tuesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park), UMBC @ Loyola (Saturday 7pm Ridley Athletic Complex); WNBA Playoffs: Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream (Game 1 Thursday TBD from Atlanta live on ESPN2 Game 2 Saturday 7pm from Atlanta live on Monumental Network/NBA TV Game 3 if necessary Monday TBD from Atlanta live on TBD)

10. Willie Nelson & Family (Sunday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion); Imagine Dragons/The Neighbourhood (Friday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Virgin Mobile FreeFest feat. Robin Thicke/Vampire Weekend/MGMT/City & Colour/Avett Brothers (Saturday 12pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Michael Buble (Sunday 8pm Verizon Center); Steely Dan (Friday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), Scotty McCreery (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Local Natives (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Pepper (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Mickey Hart Band (Friday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Hed PE (Sunday 6pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dan Deacon (Saturday 9pm Ottobar); Mint Condition (Thursday 7:30pm Rams Head Center Stage); Yellowcard (Wednesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Jamey Johnson (Sunday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Alt-J (Wednesday & Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Stereophonics (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Pet Shop Boys (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Montgomery Gentry (Saturday postgame Nationals Park); MGMT “MGMT”, Elvis Costello & The Roots “Wise Up Ghost” and Jack Johnson “From Here To Now To You” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You may recognize Imagine Dragons as the band that performs EVERY SONG YOU’VE HEARD IN 2013.

I’ve lost so many hairs on my arms to Robert Randolph shows over the years. I could share any number of his songs, but I just learned that he once did “Up On Cripple Creek” with Joe Walsh so that will be the play.

J. Roddy Walston and The Business are the Biz. Ness.

Wait. Elvis Costello and THE ROOTS? Elvis Costello and The Roots.

9. Maryland Wine Festival (Saturday & Sunday Carroll County Farm Museum); Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (Thursday-Saturday Hunt Valley Wyndham); The Gathering: Food Truck Rally (Friday 5pm Penn Station); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds); Prisoners” out in theaters (Friday); Erik Griffin (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Dave Attell (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); World War Z” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Grand Theft Auto V” available for XBox360/PlayStation3 (Tuesday)

Is Erik Griffin not coming to you? Are you a Workaholics fan? If not, you should be.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Rice won’t need to practice to play against Texans on Sunday

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Rice won’t need to practice to play against Texans on Sunday

Posted on 16 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continued to present a positive outlook for running back Ray Rice’s status following the left hip flexor strain he suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over Cleveland.

Rice did not return to the game, but the sixth-year back did not undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test, a good sign that the injury isn’t considered a long-term concern. The Ravens were held 99 yards on 36 carries with Rice carrying 13 times for 36 yards before exiting the game, but coach John Harbaugh was optimistic once again about Rice’s prognosis moving forward.

“That’s the indication, that it’s not anything that’s really serious,” Harbaugh said. “They would be looking at it if they thought it was. We’ll just be day to day with him.”

With the Ravens struggling to run the ball in each of their first two games of the regular season, Rice’s availability will be crucial with the Houston Texans coming to Baltimore on Sunday. However, the injury reports for practices this week probably won’t provide a strong indication of Rice’s progress and you’d assume his hip ailment will lead to more opportunities than normal for backup Bernard Pierce on Sunday.

Pierce gained 57 yards on 19 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown to put the Ravens in front of Cleveland for the first time with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter. Through two weeks, the Ravens rank 22nd in the NFL with 78.5 rushing yards per game and their 2.8 yards per carry average is 28th in the league.

“Ray’s a guy I’d probably lean toward resting him this week [during practices] and then seeing how he looks this weekend,” Harbaugh said. “He’s not going to need the practice to play in the game, but if he feels great, we’ll put him out there. If he doesn’t, we’ll probably rest him and get him ready to go on Sunday if possible.”

Harbaugh did not have any significant updates on the Ravens’ other injuries from Sunday’s game aside from defensive end Chris Canty undergoing an MRI for his injured groin. Cornerback Chykie Brown (knee) and linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain) both underwent MRIs on Monday, but the latter took part in Monday’s walk-through, which could be an indication that his pectoral injury isn’t too serious.

Ready for Reed’s return

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed has yet to make his debut with the Houston Texans due to offseason hip surgery, but Harbaugh and the Ravens fully expect to see the future Hall of Famer lurking in the secondary in his return to Baltimore on Sunday.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was optimistic on Monday when asked about Reed’s status after the safety appeared to be close to playing in Houston’s Week 2 win over Tennessee before being ruled inactive. Reed has taken his time in rehabbing his surgically-repaired hip, but you know he had the Week 3 meeting with the Ravens circled on his calendar as a game in which he desperately wanted to play.

“We’ll have to assume that he is going to play,” Harbaugh said. “We’d be surprised if he didn’t play in this game, and we’ll have to assume he’s going to play the way he’s played in the past.”

The Ravens are clearly familiar with Reed’s skill set and mental prowess in the secondary, but there is some level of unknown in how he’ll fit in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system. Harbaugh acknowledged the Texans’ 3-4 system has similar elements to what the Ravens run in Baltimore, but quarterback Joe Flacco will now face the 35-year-old defensive back for the first time in a non-practice setting.

Harbaugh acknowledged that it will be strange seeing No. 20 on the enemy sideline after his 11 years spent in Baltimore.

“It’s going to be like it was for other teams game planning against us in the past, I suppose,” Harbaugh said. “It will be a different feeling. I’ll let you know afterwards. It’s a little tougher because we haven’t seen him on tape, so we really don’t know how he fits in their defense.”

Lewis entering Ring of Honor

In addition to Reed, the Ravens will also induct future Hall of Fame linebacker into their Ring of Honor on Sunday, adding to what will already be a special day and a meaningful game against one of the best teams in the AFC.

Lewis will speak to the media through a national conference call on Tuesday afternoon before being honored during halftime of Sunday’s game.

The Ravens might even ask for an extra lift from the 38-year-old, who is now making a name for himself off the field as an NFL analyst on ESPN.

“We’ll be emotional about the game, and we’ll feel great about Ray being here for that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a great honor. It’s something that we’ll all take pride in. Maybe Ray will be ready to give us a little [pep] talk? We’ll be looking for that as well.”

Flacco spends day with family

With his wife Dana giving birth to the couple’s second son on Sunday, Flacco left M&T Bank Stadium immediately after the 14-6 win over the Browns and was given the day off Monday to spend time with baby Daniel.

“We did give Joe some time today to stay up [in New Jersey], because of getting up there so late last night,” Harbaugh said. “I just talked to him through texts, and he seems pretty happy.”

Players will have their regular day off on Tuesday before returning to their Owings Mills facility on Wednesday to continue preparations for Houston.

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Ravens to add retired linebacker Lewis to Ring of Honor

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Ravens to add retired linebacker Lewis to Ring of Honor

Posted on 15 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The last time we saw Ray Lewis at M&T Bank Stadium, he was dancing a final time while holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy just two days after the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory.

The retired inside linebacker won’t have to wait long to enter the team’s Ring of Honor as the Ravens announced Monday that Lewis will be inducted on Sept. 22 during a Week 3 contest with the Houston Texans. Of course, that means former Ravens safety and Lewis’ longtime teammate Ed Reed will be on the opposing sideline in his first visit to Baltimore since departing via free agency this offseason.

Owner Steve Bisciotti has already said the organization plans to build a statue in honor of the 17-year linebacker, who retired after helping lead the Ravens to their second Super Bowl championship. The statue will not be ready for Lewis’ Week 3 ceremony.

Lewis becomes the seventh Ravens player to receive the honor, joining 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Jamal Lewis, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Earnest Byner. Late owner Art Modell and eight Baltimore Colts are also members of the Ring of Honor.

A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Lewis is eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

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New safety Huff willingly taking torch in replacing Ravens legend

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New safety Huff willingly taking torch in replacing Ravens legend

Posted on 28 March 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Replacing a legend isn’t easy, but new Ravens safety Michael Huff is looking to carve out his own niche in the tradition of great Baltimore defense.

The 30-year-old met with the local media for the first time Thursday after passing his physical and officially signing a three-year, $6 million contract and didn’t shy away from recognizing the crater left behind by future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal to join the Houston Texans last week. In fact, Huff has kept in contact with Reed via text messages in a symbolic passing of the torch.

Huff knows he can’t truly replace the nine-time Pro Bowl safety, but the 2005 Jim Thorpe Award winner and seventh overall pick of the 2006 draft is eager to maintain the level of strong play found in the Ravens secondary for over a decade. And it may provide the opportunity for Huff to break free from the black cloud of the Raiders organization after never experience a winning season in seven campaigns in the AFC West.

“It means a lot,” Huff said. “He’s one of the greatest — if not the greatest — free safety to ever play the game. I talked to him last night. I told him I’d carry on his legacy and carry on the tradition of great safeties in Baltimore. I’m definitely going to go out there and hold up my end.”

He may not have fulfilled the great promised he once showed as a star for the Longhorns, but Huff is happy to be in Baltimore seven years after general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens showed interest in him leading up to the 2006 draft.

Huff is expected to start at free safety, but the University of Texas product views himself as a Swiss army knife in the secondary, evident last season when he made 14 starts at cornerback due to a high number of injuries in the Oakland secondary. It’s a valuable asset to have on game day when a team is limited to just 46 active players and is only an injury or two away from having a major predicament at any given position on the field.

“I’m going to go out there and play free safety, play strong safety, play corner if they need me to, to play nickel if they need me to,” Huff said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to help the defense and help us win.”

Joining a group of safeties with only one other veteran — 29-year-old James Ihedigbo — Huff said Thursday that he won’t shy away from mentoring younger players such as Christian Thompson, Omar Brown, Emanuel Cook, and Anthony Levine. Linked by their respective collegiate careers at Texas, Huff and cornerback Chykie Brown train together during the offseason.

It follows a predictable offseason script as Huff joins defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears and linebacker Elvis Dumervil as free-agent additions who will also bring positive veteran presences to a Ravens locker room that lost several leaders following the Super Bowl XLVII win.

“He fits us really well, both football-wise and technique-wise, the type of person he is, the type of family man he is,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s going to enable us to keep doing the things on defense that we have been doing and even build on those things.”

Moving beyond the iconic status of Reed after 11 years of the ball-hawking safety roaming the secondary for the Ravens, Huff might prove to be an upgrade over Reed as the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year turns 35 at the beginning of the 2013 season. Reed’s tackling issues aren’t a secret after a nerve impingement has taken its toll on his neck and shoulder and the 2002 first-round pick admitted himself that his range had declined in recent years.

The cheaper price tag for a younger player also didn’t hurt in easing the pain of Reed’s decision to join the Texans.

“I think the thing that stands out is you look at a guy in the back end who has a lot of range,” secondary coach Teryl Austin said. “He is a good tackler coming out of the back end, and he’s durable. He has played a lot.”

Having missed only four games in his professional career, Huff adds a dependable piece to the back end of a defense that lost Reed and strong safety Bernard Pollard earlier this month.

Huff won’t be confused with having the big-play ability that Reed displayed in his time with the Ravens, but his steady and safe style might just be what the defense needs after the pass rush was boosted with the signing of the three-time Pro Bowl selection Dumervil. The new safety is far more interested in continuing a winning tradition — one he never experienced in the abyss of Oakland — than personal stats or another big contract.

“It’s defense and just winning,” Huff said. “At this point in my career, it’s not chasing money. It’s not chasing things like that. It’s chasing that Super Bowl ring. I don’t think there’s any better place than to come here. Baltimore is that place. If you want to come here and win a Super Bowl, then this is where you want to be.”

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Reed proud to play final game with Ravens in Super Bowl

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Reed proud to play final game with Ravens in Super Bowl

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Luke Jones

It looked strange watching one of the greatest Ravens of all time with another organization, but the inevitable became official on Friday as Ed Reed officially signed a three-year deal with the Houston Texans.

Flanked by owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith, Reed wore a Texans hat and a blue button-up shirt as he was introduced to the media at Reliant Stadium. He officially signed a three-year, $15 million contract that includes $5 million guaranteed before the Friday morning press conference.

“This is awesome,” said Reed, who cited being closer to his native Louisiana as a major selling point for joining the Texans. “From the first day of free agency, Rick called me and I think we both knew just from the conversation –  how things were going and how this could work — it just was a matter of time of getting it done.”

Reed said he spoke to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and coach John Harbaugh prior to the press conference. The 34-year-old took the high road in what was perceived by many as a halfhearted effort to keep the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Baltimore.

The nine-time Pro Bowl safety said the Ravens needed to make decisions and cited changes the roster has already undergone and implied his departure was part of that process.

“That’s 11 years that’s just storybook,” Reed said. “I’m proud to say that the last game was the Super Bowl [with] Baltimore. That will never be taken back. I’ll always be in that community and always be forever grateful to my fans, to that city, to that neighborhood, my neighbors, so many people.”

The 2002 first-round pick became the sixth key defensive player to exit the Ravens’ Super Bowl defense, joining linebackers Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger and fellow defensive backs Cary Williams and Bernard Pollard.

Reed complimented the Texans for “laying out the red carpet” for his free-agent visit last week and stated the first objective was bringing a championship to his new city. Houston’s reputation for already having a stout defense also helped in his decision-making process.

Experiencing free agency for the first time in his career, Reed acknowledged there were some business details to work out in explaining why he left Houston without a contract last week.

“I still love football; I know I can play football,” Reed said. “It just was a matter of being somewhere that fits — for me and the team. I think that the team knew what they wanted and understood that my fit into their organization was perfect timing. I prayed on it very hard and left it in [God's] hands, and He showed me well before it even happened that this was the home that I would be in next. It was just awesome to go from a great franchise to another great franchise and knowing that we had some classic battles when I was in Baltimore.”

The Texans are scheduled to visit Baltimore in the regular season in what will surely be a bittersweet day for both Reed and a fan base that adored him for the last 11 years. The date of that game will become official by late April, but it figures to be a game that earns consideration for national television.

Watching Reed hold a Texans jersey was strange enough, but imagining him running through the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium in another uniform is another story entirely. But it’s a reality that won’t change Reed’s adoration for the city that adopted him as one of its own in 2002.

“Football is what we do,” Reed said. “It’s our job and it’s a business, but the relationships that I have with people in Baltimore will never change.”

 

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Newsome, Harbaugh respond to Reed departure

Posted on 22 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Ravens General Manager & Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome:

“Our hope is that the Hall of Fame players we drafted could play their entire careers with us, but we understand why Ed is moving on to the Texans.

 

“He’s not the first Hall of Famer to move to another team. Tony Gonzalez is playing with the Falcons. Joe Montana played with the Chiefs. Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson played for the Ravens.

 

“How fortunate we were to have Ed with us for 11 seasons. He is one of the Ravens’ and NFL’s all-time greats. Words cannot measure what he did for us, including helping us win a second Super Bowl. We thank him for all he did for Baltimore. Ed will always be a part of the Ravens family.”

 

 

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh:

“Ed has had a major impact on our organization and our community. He is a great player and a great friend. We will always be thankful for what we accomplished together.”

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