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NFL Draft Season Moves To Alabama For Senior Bowl

Posted on 26 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

NFL Personnel folks didn’t have to travel far this week.

After this past week’s East West Shrine Game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, NFL Draft season shifts from Florida to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.

Saturday’s game from Ladd-Peebles Stadium will air at 4pm on NFL Network. Senior Bowl practices will also air throughout the week on NFL Network.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz lead a group representing the organization in Alabama.

Before I continue to with my player profiles, I remind you of the players we have already profiled.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware)
FB-Anthony Sherman (UConn)
RB-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland)
WR-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU)
OT-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada)
DE-Justin Trattou (Florida)
S-Jermale Hines (Ohio State)

With the only movement for the organization this week being the (reported) extension the team gave K Billy Cundiff, there’s no movement in my “biggest areas of need”…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Now here’s a look at 10 players participating in this week’s Senior Bowl who you should keep an eye out for.

WR Leonard Hankerson (Miami)

Look, I don’t want to watch this video again any more than any other Terrapins fans reading this. But the 1:40 mark is a perfect example of something Hankerson could bring to Charm City…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6lp4sxzFlQ[/youtube]

Ugh.

Here’s what we know. Hankerson is 6’2″ (205 pounds), but can both stretch the field and get up and get balls-although maybe not quite as well as some of the 6’4″ and 6’5″ receivers available.

Hankersoon broke Hurricanes single season records in 2010 with 72 catches, 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had 75 receiving yards or more in eight of the Canes’ 13 games his senior year.

Those single season records come from a school that produced the likes of Andre Johnson, Santana Moss and Michael Irvin just as a reminder.

There really aren’t any red flags with Hankerson. There are no obvious character flaws (although he’ll certainly be picked apart when he reaches the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis) and he served as a team captain in Coral Gables last season.

If he was two inches taller, he’d be a slam dunk. If he’s on the board in the 2nd or 3rd round he might still be.

LB Mark Herzlich (Boston College)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzZUA5CZ6IQ[/youtube]

The good news for Mark Herzlich is that no matter what happens in his quest to reach the NFL, he already has enough material for writing his first book.

Herzlich is best known now for his recovery from Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer that caused him to miss the entire 2009 season. But before getting cancer, Herzlich was on his way to being a potential Top 45 pick in the NFL Draft.

In ’08, Herzlich tallied 110 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, six interceptions and two TD returns. He was an absolute wrecking machine.

He was still one of the better linebackers in the ACC when he returned in 2010, but he didn’t post the same type of season. He finished with just 65 tackles, but still forced two fumbles and brought down four interceptions.

He looks like he can still perform at a very high level, but it isn’t a guarantee. NFL teams will take his recovery into account, but they will look at both the positive and negative aspects.

On the positive side, he’s a solid human being who has already shown the ability to to overcome adversity.

On the negative side, teams will have to at least CONSIDER the possibility that he might not ever regain the dominance he showed in Chestnut Hill before his diagnosis.

He might very well be a hell of a player, perhaps the exact type of defender the Ravens could line up next to Ray Lewis and let him learn from the future Hall of Famer.

Neat story-Herzlich was such an impressive athlete coming out of Conestoga High School (Pennsylvania) that was actually offered a lacrosse scholarship by Dave Pietramala at Johns Hopkins. Doesn’t make him a better option, just a neat story.

OT Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjPsgcj2ufI[/youtube]

While Carimi will almost certainly at least START his National Football League career as a Right Tackle, his 6’7″, 325 pound frame will make some scouts think of him as a Left Tackle of the future.

Carimi’s representatives will ABSOLUTELY throw around the name of Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl Tackle Joe Thomas during Draft season. Thomas was also a dominant O-Line force for the Badgers, although he was thought to be more of a slam dunk at the NFL level than Carimi has been thus far.

Not only does Carimi have a solid ability to protect the passer, but he showed quite the ability to run block as well. The Badgers finished second in the league in rushing, just five yards behind Illinois. RB John Clay rushed for over 1,000 yards despite missing two games.

Mobile is a big week for Carimi. Indy will be a big week for him as well. His size and his success in the Big Ten (not only did he take care of NFL prospect/Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward for the most part in the video above, he also handled NFL prospect/Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn as well) combined with a strong Draft season could push him to the Top 10 in the Draft.

But much like Michael Oher, if he’s around in the early to mid 20′s (especially at 26), the Ravens might not think twice to grab him. With Jared Gaither’s future in Baltimore in question, the Ravens could be wise to try to bookend Oher and Carimi moving forward.

LB Casey Matthews (Oregon)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUz2o2a_OXA[/youtube]

As NFL fans watched Matthews lead the Ducks against the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game out in Glendale, many of them thought to themselves, “this guy could really help my team.”

Some of those same NFL fans will be watching Clay Matthews (III) lead the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl next week and will think to themselves “my team needs to get his brother.”

It’s with that in mind that I point out Casey Matthews ISN’T Clay Matthews. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player that could help NFL teams, it just means he isn’t the type of sack machine his brother has been.

Casey Matthews is more of inside linebacker, perhaps the type of player that could step in and learn the WILL spot that Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden have failed to nail down.

Matthews is 6’1″ and 232 but isn’t quite as quick as a number of other inside linebackers. He averaged over 69 tackles a season from his sophomore year to his senior in Eugene; adding eight sacks, four interceptions and a forced fumble over the same three year span.

The NFL is clearly in his blood. Not only is his brother an All-Pro performer, his father (Clay Jr.) was a four time Pro Bowler over a 19 year career with the Browns and Atlanta Falcons. His grandfather (Clay Sr.) played for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950′s. His uncle (Bruce) was a Hall of Fame OL for the Houston Oilers. His cousin (Kevin) is a lineman for the Tenneessee Titans. His cousin (Jake) just finished his freshman season at Texas A&M and could well reach the NFL too.

He looks like he could hang around for awhile on Draft weekend. If he’s available into late Friday night or Saturday, he could end up being a steal for the Ravens.

(Thanks to Mobile Press-Register for headline photo of Matthews)

DE Allen Bailey (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-A6SlfWKPo[/youtube]

The Ravens need a Defensive End. Unfortunately for them, Bailey has looked better on the inside of the D-Line in Mobile-at least according to CBSSports.com.

Bailey measured in at 6’3″, 278 pounds in Mobile; which reportedly left him at a not-so-surprising disadvantage when matched up against the better Offensive Tackles participating in the Senior Bowl. It might be nothing more than a blip on the radar screen for a player who will eventually become a dominant Rush End. It might be a sign that Bailey will never truly be an End at the NFL level.

Bailey showed an ability to get after Atlantic Coast Conference quarterbacks, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the next level. He tallied 102 tackles and 19 sacks over his final three seasons with the Canes. He has the moves, but the power is a question.

He might prove to be an effective interior lineman at the next level. But if the consensus is that he’ll be a Defensive Tackle in the NFL, he probably won’t be the guy for the Ravens in the first or second round.

WR Austin Pettis (Boise State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfqGvm5PNuY[/youtube]

Yep. That’s impressive.

There’s a lot that’s impressive about the former Broncos receiver. First, he’s 6’3″ and can get up (as you saw in the video). Second, he’s quick. He’s expected to be able to run in the 4.5′s at LucasOil Stadium.

Pettis finished his career with 229 catches for 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns. In BSU’s 2010 Labor Day upset of Virginia Tech at FedEx Field, Pettis also blocked a punt and held for an extra point. Later in the season he even THREW for a touchdown.

Clearly some of Pettis’ impressive numbers came from being part of a high-powered WAC offense that included Heisman Trophy QB candidate Kellen Moore and fellow Senior Bowl WR Titus Young. The question will be whether or not he can still be effective at the NFL when a team doesn’t have the football for as many plays and a coordinator (say…Cam Cameron) isn’t calling quite as many passes.

Right now Pettis looks like a potentially dangerous target for QB Joe Flacco if he’s available late Friday night or Saturday afternoon. He could be a solid compliment to Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and whoever else the team lines up at WR.

RB DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBFs5HZwyng[/youtube]

Much like Carimi’s reps will do their best to use the words “Joe Thomas” as much as possible during Draft season, Murray’s reps will ABSOLUTELY look to use the words “Adrian Peterson” as much as possible during the same stretch.

They’ll do well to compare Murray’s explosiveness to the fellow former Sooners back. They’ll unfortunately also remind NFL personnel that Murray (hamstring, knee, etc.) has a bit of an injury background much like Peterson.

Murray’s size (6’1″, 207 pounds) and ability (he once ran a 4.42 40 and recorded a 36.5 inch vertical leap while in Norman) should translate to the NFL with no problem. Murray averaged well over four yards per carry during his career in the Big 12. He ran for 50 touchdowns and caught another 13 over four seasons. The word “explosive” certainly fits.

If he’s available in Round 2, the Ravens would likely do well to pair him with current RB Ray Rice, especially if RB Willis McGahee departs.

QB Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq1gL_Q-vO0[/youtube]

This much I know. In Reno, there couldn’t be a negative word said about Kaepernick. The guy is an ICON.

I understand why. Kaepernick LOOKS like a quarterback. He stands at 6’6″ and weighs in at 225 pounds. He’s unbelievably quick, with the capability to run a 4.5 40 (or maybe even under that) at the Combine.

During his four year career with the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick became the only NCAA FBS quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for another 4,000. He was also the only player to ever have three seasons of 2,000+ passing yards and 1,000 plus rushing yards.

At times (including the team’s upset win over Boise State in 2010), Kaepernick looked absolutely brilliant.

There will be one particularly big question mark surrounding Kaepernick during Draft season. NFL personnel folks will have to figure out how much of Kaepernick’s success can be tied to Coach Chris Ault’s “Pistol Offense.” The system was fun to watch and produced explosive numbers-but it isn’t a system that will translate to the NFL level. Kaepernick doesn’t really have much in the way of injury concerns, with his only notable injury being an ankle sprain against the Terps in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl.

Kaepernick looks like he could be very good. If he keeps performing at a high level during Draft season, he’ll probably be picked too high for the Ravens to consider him as a compliment to Flacco.

OT Nate Solder (Colorado)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BVEBtw-qk[/youtube]

As of right now, Solder looks like he could very well be in the mix when the Ravens pick at 26.

If so, he could be a VERY tempting option to join new Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller’s group.

Solder is an enigma. His technique and ability didn’t always match his mammoth size (6’9″, 315 pounds) during his Buffaloes career. There were absolutely times where he manhandled players who were clearly matchup problems. There were also times where quicker ends and linebackers were able to move around him.

Reports from Mobile say Solder has struggled against players like Cal’s Cameron Jordan, but has impressed against Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan.

He looks like he could be a franchise tackle; but he’ll need further development. The Buffs weren’t really an offensive juggernaut, but that isn’t necessarily Solder’s fault.

The question for the Ravens will be whether or not a project like Solder is a good compliment to Oher. It’s a fair question. They’ll hopefully get an answer as Draft season progresses.

S Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K2Aj0xujxc[/youtube]

I’ve been having trouble trying to figure out exactly how good Jarrett is.

He had a very good career for the Owls, collecting 292 tackles, forcing two fumbles and tallying nine interceptions. He was often the best player on the field during MAC contests.

Yep…no idea.

Jarrett has the look of a NFL player, checking in at 6’2″ and weighing 202 pounds. He’s agile and looks good in man coverage. He’s not necessarily an Ed Reed-type ballhawk; and might translate better at strong safety at the next level.

He’s probably a Friday night guy at this point. With Dawan Landry potentially leaving, he could be an option to get into the mix with Tom Zbikowksi and Haruki Nakamura next season.

(Thanks to YouTube, NFLDraftScout.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, and various official college websites for help in putting together the profiles.)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Top 7 Athletes We Love to (Dislike)

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Top 7 Athletes We Love to (Dislike)

Posted on 25 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

These are the athletes (all-time) we have liked the least during our lifetimes as fans.

We agreed that we wouldn’t name more than one athlete from any particular team. We also agreed that we wouldn’t include coaches.

Drew broke both of those agreements…

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Nicklas Lidstrom

lidstrom

6. Peyton Manning

manning

5. Tim Duncan

timduncan

4. Pete Sampras

sampras

3. Ben Roethlisberger

roethlisberger

2. JJ Redick

erdick

1. Marcus Vick

vick

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Ken Linseman

linseman

6. Bruce Pearl

brucepearl

5. Ted DiBiase

dibiase

4. Chad Johnson

chadj

3. David Simms (from the movie “Tin Cup”)

davidsimms

2. Ike Taylor

iketaylor

1. Danny Briere

briere

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 24 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley (Saturday 10pm from Pontiac, MI live on HBO), Friday Night Fights: Cristobal Arreola vs. Joey Abell (Friday 10pm from Temecula, CA live on ESPN2); Women’s College Basketball: Wake Forest @ Maryland (Friday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Longwood @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center); Soccer: MISL-Chicago Riot @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena); High School Basketball: Perry Hall @ Woodlawn (Wednesday 6:30pm), Catonsville @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm), Glen Burnie @ Broadneck (Wednesday 5pm); NBA: Denver Nuggets @ Washington Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Oklahoma City Thunder (Friday 8pm from Oklahoma City live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Memphis Grizzlies (Saturday 8pm from Memphis live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Dallas Mavericks (Monday 8:30pm from Dallas live on Comcast SportsNet)

10. Liz Phair (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Anberlin (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Umphrey’s McGee (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Less Than Jake (Thursday 7:30pm Sonar); Mike Doughty (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage), Bacon Brothers (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head On Stage); Adema (Tuesday 6:15pm Jaxx); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Kathleen Madigan (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere); 2011 Grammy Nominees CD available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday); “The Mechanic” released in theaters (Friday); “Secretariat” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday)

A word to describe Anberlin? “Underrated”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjE_2fFMnG0[/youtube]

I haven’t always been a big fan of Less Than Jake, but their David Cassidy cover was pretty cool…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTteO9TxKN4[/youtube]

I LOVED Soul Coughing. Even solo, I STILL love Mike Doughty…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qktIKYZJYs8[/youtube]

There are plenty of songs on the Grammy Nominees CD. Only one of them is worth of being considered the best of the year. Language NSFW…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc0mxOXbWIU[/youtube]

9. Monster Jam (Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 2pm & 7:30pm Verizon Center)

My friend Brady Gardiner from MLB Network Radio commented on Facebook that if you attend the 2:00 edition of Monster Jam Saturday in DC, you’ll have time to make it to the 8:00 performance of “Cymbeline” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company next door.

Look…the only thing I know about Monster Jam is that my cousins’ kids really dig Grave Digger. I don’t blame them. It’s pretty cool…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LIifYLOcz0[/youtube]

8. Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Saturday all day Sandy Point State Park), Baltimore Boat Show (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center)

A couple of things I know about the Polar Bear Plunge.

1-Joe Flacco will be there. So if you’re a Ravens fan…or just a fan of eyebrows…you’re in luck.

2-DJ Pauly D will be there. You know, the guy from Jersey Shore. So you know what time it is…

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

And 3-I don’t care how cold it is. There will be girls in bikinis. Do I really need to share a picture for you to understand why that’s a good thing?

7. Mixed Martial Arts: Strikeforce-Nick Diaz vs. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (Saturday 10pm from San Jose live on Showtime)

Also on Saturday night’s Strikeforce card is Herschel Walker, facing some dude named Scott Carson. If there was more for me to share here, I’d share it.

In other MMA news, Allison Diehl is a Hooters girl who was recently named a UFC ring card girl. That’s MUCH more interesting…

ufcgirl

6. NHL: Washington Capitals @ Atlanta Thrashers (Wednesday 7pm from Atlanta live on Comcast SportsNet); Honda NHL SuperSkills (Saturday 7pm from Raleigh, NC live on VERSUS), NHL All-Star Game (Sunday 4pm from Raleigh live on VERSUS)

While the Skills competition tends to be better than the ASG on the ice, I doubt I’ll be watching the Skills competition either.

That is unless they’ve added “Knucklepuck” to hockey’s Saturday night event. If they’ve added Knucklepuck, I’m IN…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqq-glymrRs[/youtube]

5. NFL: Pro Bowl (Sunday 7pm from Honolulu live on FOX)

I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, “The Pro Bowl stinks.”

Well…you’re right. The Pro Bowl is terrible, like most all other All-Star Games.

But at the same time, it’s the only football game on TV Sunday. I mean, what the hell else are you going to watch? Disney on Ice?

And who knows, maybe the Backstreet Boys will show up again! Nothing says “Pro Bowl is awesome” quite like a BSB halftime show…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDWol7C7jlQ[/youtube]

4. Pro Wrestling: WWE Royal Rumble (Sunday 8pm from Boston live on Pay-Per-View)

Holy crap there are 40 guys in the Rumble this year? In no ways did I think this event could be cooler than it was in my childhood, but it actually sounds like it might be.

I know this much as a fact. There could have been 30, 40, or 200 men in the Royal Rumble in 1995. Shawn Michaels was winning the damn thing…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4tZz8qUPDA[/youtube]

(Edit from GMC: The happiest 11 year old on the face of the planet resided in Kingville, MD that night.)

3. College Football: Senior Bowl (Saturday 4pm from Mobile, AL live on NFL Network)

Yep, I’ll be watching. Nope, I won’t be wearing pants.

Why would you even ask???

A couple names to follow during the Senior Bowl include Allen Bailey & Leonard Hankerson from Miami, as well as Mark Herzlich from Boston College.

This is always a good news/bad news day for the city of Mobile. The good news is that they get to host a great event. The bad news is that they know there won’t be anything else happening there all year that anyone will want to attend.

Well…other than this….

pecan

You see…that’s an event I’d actually think about attending…

2. College Basketball: Maryland @ Virginia (Thursday 7pm from Charlottesville, VA live on Comcast SportsNet), Maryland @ Georgia Tech (Sunday 7:45pm from Atlanta live on Comcast SportsNet); Norfolk State @ Morgan State (Saturday 1pm from Hill Field House live on ESPNU), North Carolina A&T @ Morgan State (Monday 7:30pm Hill Field House); North Carolina A&T @ Coppin State (Saturday 4pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex), Norfolk State @ Coppin State (Monday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex); Albany @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm RAC Arena); Towson @ George Mason (Wednesday 7pm Patriot Center); Siena @ Loyola (Friday 7pm Reitz Arena), Iona @ Loyola (Sunday 12pm Reitz Arena)

Have I mentioned recently how much I freaking DESPISE those idiot Wahoos at UVa…

uva

Ugh…just look at those clowns. They even ruin what might be otherwise attractive women.

Your ties stink. Auld Lang Syne is not a fight song. Dave Matthews Band should be ashamed to call you home.

That it all.

1. Tennis: Australian Open (Tuesday 12am & 7pm, Wednesday 9:30pm, Friday 3:30am, Saturday-Women’s Final-3am, Sunday-Men’s Final-3am live on ESPN2; Wednesday 7pm, Friday-Women’s Doubles Final-11pm, Sunday-Men’s Doubles Final-5:30am, Monday-Mixed Doubles Final-12:30am live on Tennis Channel. All tennis from Melbourne, AUS)

I will admit that I didn’t stay up late/wake up early to watch Andy Roddick Saturday night. I’ve done that too many times in my life to have the stomach to do it again.

So when I woke up Sunday morning, I immediately raced to WNST.net to try to get the details.

I should have already known.

So with A-Rod once again meeting an early (and pathetic) demise in a Grand Slam event, I’m left searching for other reasons to watch.

Fortunately, the second most attractive tennis player in the world is still in the draw…

wozniacki

Now if Caroline Wozniacki doesn’t win, I’ll be forced to drawn my sorrows in 3-44 Foster’s.


Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Morning Reaction Friday Football Picks And Comment

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Morning Reaction Friday Football Picks And Comment

Posted on 21 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are this weekend’s AFC & NFC Championship Game (and Local College Basketball) picks. Through Divisional playoff weekend, Drew Forrester is 155-105 and Glenn Clark is 163-97…

NFC Championship Game-Packers/Bears: 23-13 Green Bay (Drew), 24-10 Green Bay (Glenn)
AFC Championship Game-Jets/Steelers: 19-13 New York (Drew), 20-17 Pittsburgh (Glenn)
Clemson/Maryland: 83-74 Terrapins (Drew), 71-64 Terrapins (Glenn)
Loyola/Marist: 64-60 Greyhounds (Drew), 63-58 Greyhounds (Glenn)
Morgan State/Delaware State: 79-70 Hornets (Drew), 78-67 Bears (Glenn)
Coppin State/UMES: 80-77OT Hawks (Drew), 70-59 Eagles (Glenn)
Towson/UNC Wilmington: 80-62 Seahawks (Drew), 70-68 Seahawks (Glenn)
UMBC/New Hampshire: 69-67 Retrievers (Drew), 58-54 Wildcats (Glenn)

clemsonmd

If you missed the explanations during our “Picks and Comment” segment Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Wants Gaither Back, Thinks Oher Still LT of Future

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens held their annual “Season Review” press conference Thursday at 1 Winning Drive. Head Coach John Harbaugh, Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Team President Dick Cass all answered questions from reporters in both formal and informal settings.

Following the press conference, Harbaugh addressed the team’s offensive problems, specifically their issues in running the football. The team finished 14th in the NFL in 2010 with 114.4 rushing yards per game after finishing 5th in the league in 2009 with 137.5 rushing yards per game.

Harbaugh attributed the team’s running struggles both to “tweaks” made in the team’s rushing philosophy during Training Camp as well as the struggles of the offensive line.

“We had three new guys playing three new spots (on the line)” said Harbaugh. “I don’t think we ever were really able to overcome that.”

After moving 2nd year offensive tackle from Right Tackle (RT) to Left Tackle (LT) in the offseason; the Ravens had hoped OT Jared Gaither would successfully move from LT to RT. Unfortunately for the team, Gaither suffered a back injury while the team was preparing for the season at McDaniel College in Westminster, and he never saw the football field in 2010. With Gaither out, the team moved OL Marshal Yanda from Right Guard (RG) to RT, and asked reserve OL Chris Chester to play RG.

Harbaugh hopes the team’s problems can be addressed with the return of Gaither, who is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA).

“I would like to coach Jared Gaither” said Harbaugh. “He’s a very talented guy and I think he can be a factor for us next year. He’s definitely got the ability.  If the back is healed up and he can back to training and get the size and strength back, I certainly think he can (stabilize the line).”

Also amongst the Ravens’ UFA’s is Yanda, who Harbaugh would like to see return to RG.

“We want to find the right spots for the right guys” said the coach. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to get this done, but I like Marshal Yanda at RG. I think that’s his position. He’s a dominant puller, he’s physical. If you can put a nice big RT next to him, that would really help.”

Harbaugh also expressed confidence in Oher, who anchored an Offensive Line that allowed 40 sacks this season. FootballOutsiders.com ranked the unit 25th in the league in “Adjusted Sack Rate”, considering sacks and intentional grounding penalties per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance and opponent.

“I think Michael Oher can play either tackle” said Harbaugh. “I think he had a very good second year. The sky is the limit for him.”

Harbaugh did acknowledge Oher could be asked to move back to RT depending on what the team does to upgrade the line in the offseason. Amongst the potential free agents at OT around the league are Gaither, Matt Light (New England Patriots), Doug Free (Dallas Cowboys) and former Towson Tigers standout Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans Saints).

Free Agency cannot begin until the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“What side Mike ends up playing depends on who else is in the mix” said Harbaugh. “He really wants to be better. I still think he’s a home run.”

NEWSOME HOPES TO IMPROVE PRESSURE WITH PERSONNEL: With the transition from departing Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison to his replacement Chuck Pagano, the Ravens have stressed a desire to bring aggression defensively.

The team finished tied for the fifth lowest total in the league with just 27 sacks in 2010.

Newsome said he’d like to upgrade the team’s defensive personnel to improve their level of pressure.

“Are we going to try to continue to bring in some other people that can get to the passer, having (LB Terrell Suggs) to have a companion to go along with him as we did with (former Ravens LB) Peter (Boulware) and Suggs? That would be very helpful for the organization and it’s something that we’ll look into moving forward.”

After selecting Suggs in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the Ravens saw he and Boulware combine to tally 20.5 sacks in the 2003 season.

Amongst the rushers who could potentially be available in free agency this offseason are LB Tamba Hali (Kansas City Chiefs), LB Lamarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers), DE Ray Edwards (Minnesota Vikings) and DE Mathias Kiwanuka (New York Giants).

As with the Offensive Line, the team could also look for rush help in the NFL Draft.

Newsome believes an upgrade in personnel can solve the team’s rush problems.

“If we get enough good players where when we go up against whoever we play in our division, they can get in a one on one situation and win, we’ll have more pressure.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Newsome, Bisciotti and Cass now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……LB Jarret Johnson joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……The Ravens’ leadership said they had yet to speak to LB Ray Lewis about a Wednesday Yahoo! Sports report linking him to a banned supplement spray

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Pagano Says Defense Will “Be Aggressive”

Posted on 19 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens introduced Chuck Pagano to reporters Wednesday, less than 24 hours after promoting the former secondary coach to Defensive Coordinator. Pagano replaced Greg Mattison, who left for the same position at the University of Michigan.

Head Coach John Harbaugh described the selection of Pagano as an “easy choice” in a Wednesday press conference. “I think we’ve build just a tremendous defensive staff. Chuck has done a phenomenal job of coaching football here for the last three years.”

Pagano described the promotion as “bittersweet” due to the departure of his friend and mentor Mattison, but also said “I’ve spent 27 years preparing for this opportunity. I feel like I’m at the best organization in the National Football League (NFL), I work for the best owner in the NFL in Steve Bisciotti.”

Pagano and Harbaugh each made it a point to indicate that the team had no plans to drastically change their defensive philosophy during the transition to Pagano’s leadership.

“This hasn’t changed, and it ain’t going to change” said Pagano. “They’ve been playing great defense here long before any of us got here, and they’ll be playing great defense long after I’m gone. They’ve always been an attacking, swarming, tough, physical hard-nosed group of men.”

“It’s not a (former Defensive Coordinator/current New York Jets Head Coach) Rex (Ryan) defense, it’s not a Greg (Mattison) defense, it’s not a John (Harbaugh) defense, it’s not a Chuck (Pagano) defense, it’s not an anybody, it’s a Ravens defense. We believe in team around here.”

The Ravens tallied just 27 sacks this season, which tied them for the 5th fewest in the league. Pagano told reporters Wednesday he intends to lead an aggressive defense.

“I’ve always been around defenses that have been attacking defenses” said Pagano. “There’s a time and a place. I know (Harbaugh) is an aggressive guy and comes from an aggressive philosophy. I know (the defensive players) like to play that way. When it’s time to be aggressive, we’ll be aggressive.”

Pagano said he would orchestrate the defense from the sideline instead of the coaches’ box on gamedays.

“I’m pretty much a hands-on guy” said Pagano. “I understand that being in the box and getting away from the action, there’s a certain calmness to that. But I’m not really a calm type of guy.”

Ravens defensive players made their excitement about Pagano’s promotion apparent. DT Haloti Ngata, LB Jarret Johnson and S Haruki Nakamura were all in attendance Wednesday to show support. Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks, Linebackers Coach Dean Pees, Outside Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino and Defensive Assistant Roy Anderson were amongst a group of Ravens coaches in attendance as well.

LB Ray Lewis said in a statement Pagano “has an extreme knowledge of the game, and the way he communicates that with his players and fellow coaches is amazing.”

Lewis added “you have to respect how he studies opponents and how he prepares for the task at hand each week. He is truly a pure players’ coach. He is a man’s man, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. I am excited to see what we can do as a defense and as a team leading into next season.”

Harbaugh did not indicate any candidates to replace Pagano as Secondary coach, saying only “we’re going to find a great one.” He pointed out that Anderson would continue to work with the secondary no matter who was hired to replace Pagano.

NOTES: Hear from Pagano and Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Pagano also joined Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Harbaugh said the team gave their approval for Offensive Assistant Al Saunders to meet with the Oakland Raiders about their vacant Offensive Coordinator job. NFL Network reported Saunders was in Oakland Wednesday as was accepted to get the job……Harbaugh said he had no further information regarding rumors other NFL teams were interested in talking to Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn. Zorn had been rumored in conjunction to openings with the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks…..Multiple outlets reported Wednesday the team had fired Offensive Line Coach John Matsko and was expected to promote Assistant Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller to the post……Harbaugh, Bisciotti, Team President Dick Cass and General Manager Ozzie Newsome are scheduled to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon for the team’s annual season review press conference

-G

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Morning Reaction (Season Long) Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction (Season Long) Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 18 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Confusing? Maybe. Yes, in our “Tuesday Top 7″ rankings this week, we included our final season point totals.

HOWEVER…we by no means believe our final season point totals were accurate reflections of who the Top 7 players were on the team this season.

So with that in mind, we present our “Tuesday Top 7″ FINAL season rankings of the best Baltimore Ravens.

Does that make more sense? No? We’re just going to go with it anyway…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Sam Koch

koch

6. Ray Lewis

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

5. Ray Rice

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCbxE-mNt3w[/youtube]

4. Joe Flacco

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rISOdUdpTk[/youtube]

3. Ed Reed

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP-DFL6IK98[/youtube]

2. Terrell Suggs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg0tZAKurJw[/youtube]

1. Haloti Ngata

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

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Ray Lewis

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQMS8AvybYE[/youtube]

6. Derrick Mason

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF4dNxijzXs[/youtube]

5. Ray Rice

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYrGtJ58BOg[/youtube]

4. Ed Reed

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

3. Joe Flacco

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9fSKVfZNdo[/youtube]

2. Haloti Ngata

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

1. Terrell Suggs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWtAC9YKeeU[/youtube]

If you missed our “Tuesday Top 7″ final season rankings segment Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

-G

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 18 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are our Top 7 Baltimore Ravens from their 31-24 AFC divisional round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday at Heinz Field…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Paul Kruger

kruger

6. Cory Redding

redding

5. Haloti Ngata

ngata

4. Todd Heap

heap

3. Ray Lewis

raylewis

2. Sam Koch

koch

1. Terrell Suggs

suggs

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Chris Carr

ccarr

6. Paul Kruger

kruger

5. Ray Rice

rice

4. Cory Redding

redding

3. Brandon McKinney

mckinney

2. Todd Heap

heap

1. Terrell Suggs

suggs

(Thanks to Getty Images, AP & Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for photos from Saturday’s game)

FINAL SEASON TOTALS:

Glenn:
29. Paul Kruger (1 point)
29. Morgan Cox (1 point)
29. Tavares Gooden (1 point)
26. David Reed (2 points)
26. Willis McGahee (2 points)
26. Le’Ron McClain (2 points)
23. Ed Dickson (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (3 points)
23. Kelly Gregg (3 points)
22. Ben Grubbs (4 points)
20. Terrence Cody (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
18. TJ Houshmandzadeh (7 points)
18. Jarret Johnson (7 points)
16. Chris Carr (8 points)
16. Lardarius Webb (8 points)
15. Josh Wilson (10 points)
14. Fabian Washington (12 points)
13. Dawan Landry (13 points)
12. Cory Redding (14 points)
11. Billy Cundiff (18 points)
10. Sam Koch (23 points)
9. Ed Reed (25 points)
8. Todd Heap (27 points)
7. Derrick Mason (29 points)
6. Ray Lewis (35 points)
5. Terrell Suggs (37 points)
4. Haloti Ngata (45 points)
3. Ray Rice (46 points)
2. Anquan Boldin (49 points)
1. Joe Flacco (66 points)

Drew:
31. Ed Dickson (1 point)
31. Jason Phillips (1 point)
26. Paul Kruger (2 points)
26. Morgan Cox (2 points)
26. TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 points)
26. Jameel McClain (2 points)
26. Dannell Ellerbe (2 points)

25. Marshal Yanda (4 points)

22. Willis McGahee (5 points)
22. Le’Ron McClain (5 points)
22. Michael Oher (5 points)
20. Lardarius Webb (6 points)
20. Fabian Washington (6 points)
18. Brandon McKinney (7 points)
18. Cory Redding (7 points)
14. Terrence Cody (8 points)
14. Tavares Gooden (8 points)
14. Josh Wilson (8 points)

14. Jarret Johnson (8 points)
12. Dawan Landry (11 points)
12. Sam Koch (11 points)
9. Chris Carr (20 points)
9. Ed Reed (20 points)
9. Billy Cundiff (20 points)
8. Todd Heap (21 points)
7. Derrick Mason (22 points)
6. Haloti Ngata (32 points)
5. Ray Lewis (36 points)
4. Anquan Boldin (37 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (42 points)
2. Ray Rice (53 points)
1. Joe Flacco (77 points)

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Says Cameron Will Remain Offensive Coordinator

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (13-5) returned to 1 Winning Drive Monday, less than 48 hours after their season ended with a 31-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) at Heinz Field in an AFC Divisional Round playoff game.

Head Coach John Harbaugh put to rest any rumors he would consider firing Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron Monday.

“Cam Cameron is our offensive coordinator” said Harbaugh. “That’s how we’re going forward. I know Cam is a tremendous coach.”

Harbaugh indicated no other coaches would be at risk of losing their jobs based on the team’s performance.

“I really like our coaching staff” said Harbaugh. “I think we have a great, great coaching staff. Top to bottom-that includes all three coordinators, that includes every one of our position coaches, there’s not a guy that I’m disappointed in.”

The Ravens finished just 22nd in the NFL in total offense in 2010, despite the additions of WR’s Anquan Boldin, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth in the offseason, as well as the draft selections of TE’s Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta

Harbaugh said the statistics didn’t affect his decision process with Cameron.

“He’s the same guy that was the offensive coordinator three years ago when everybody said we (outperformed) our expectations, and even last year. We had a tough year statistically, but we did win a lot of football games with that offense. There are things we can do a lot better, and we’re going to go to work on those things.”

FOCUS ON FREE AGENTS: The Ravens enter an offseason which will be based in as much uncertainty as the league itself.

The team has 17 unrestricted free agents, eight additional restricted free agents and five exclusive rights free agents.

The team’s unrestricted free agents are Houshmandzadeh, Stallworth, DT Haloti Ngata, FB Le’Ron McClain, CB Josh Wilson, CB Chris Carr, OT Jared Gaither, OL Marshal Yanda, OL Chris Chester, OL Tony Moll, S Dawan Landry, CB Fabian Washington, K Billy Cundiff, P Sam Koch, QB Marc Bulger, LB Prescott Burgess and LS Kevin Houser.

The restricted free agents are S Tom Zbikowski, S Haruki Nakamura, LB Tavares Gooden, LB Jameel McClain, WR Marcus Smith, OT Oniel Cousins, DT Lamar Divens and RB Jalen Parmele. LB Sergio Kindle, DT Kelly Talavou, TE Davon Drew, CB Cary Williams and LB Dannell Ellerbe are exclusive rights free agents.

Harbaugh said Monday the team will focus offseason plans on retaining their own free agents.

“We’re going to try to get back as many of these guys as we possibly can” said the coach. “Because we like our players.”

Harbaugh said he had high hopes that many of the team’s free agents would return.

“Talking to the guys today, the vast majority of guys really want to be here.”

Coming off a second straight Pro Bowl selection and a season in which he was voted the team’s MVP, Ngata is the most important player to get back according to Harbaugh.

“I believe Haloti Ngata will be a Raven for life” said the coach. “That’s the goal. He’s told me he wants to be here. I believe the organization wants him here. It’s priority number one to have Haloti Ngata here.”

Houshmandzadeh said he’d like to return to Charm City, but admitted an expanded role would play a significant part in making his decision.

“I want to come back because I had fun here and I enjoyed myself” said the receiver. “I do want to be a starter. I do because that’s what I’ve been. It’s hard to adjust.”

Free agency cannot begin until owners and the NFLPA agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Houshmandzadeh, L. McClain, Houshmandzadeh, Stallworth, Cundiff, Koch, Washington, Wilson, Kindle, Bulger, QB Joe Flacco, LB Ray Lewis, LB Jarret Johnson, C Matt Birk and WR Derrick Mason now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……L. McClain joined Rex Snider Monday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is also available in the Audio Vault……The Ravens will select 26th in the 2011 NFL Draft……A team source told WNST’s Drew Forrester a contract extension for Harbaugh should be considered “imminent”……The Ravens signed all seven practice squad players to reserve/future contracts. WR Justin Harper, RB Curtis Steele, CB Danny Gorrer, QB Hunter Cantwell, OL Andre Ramsey, OL Brady Bond and LB Albert McClellan joined former Buffalo Bills WR James Hardy in getting such contracts……Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome, Team President Dick Cass and owner Steve Bisciotti will hold their season review press conference Thursday afternoon in Owings Mills

-G

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Morning Reaction Friday Football Picks and Comment

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Morning Reaction Friday Football Picks and Comment

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are this weekend’s AFC & NFC Divisional round playoff (and Local College Basketball) picks. Through Wild Card weekend, Drew Forrester is 152-104 and Glenn Clark is 162-94…

Ravens/Steelers: 17-6 Baltimore (Drew), 17-16 Baltimore (Glenn)
Packers/Falcons: 20-17 Green Bay (Drew), 31-28 Atlanta (Glenn)
Seahawks/Bears: 34-13 Chicago (Drew), 20-10 Chicago (Glenn)
Jets/Patriots: 24-20 New England (Drew), 28-24 New England (Glenn)
Maryland/Villanova: 88-70 Wildcats (Drew), 92-81 Wildcats (Glenn)
Delaware/Towson: 66-52 Tigers (Drew), 68-62 Tigers (Glenn)
UMBC/Vermont: 81-63 Catamounts (Drew), 80-63 Catamounts (Glenn)
South Carolina State/Morgan State: 77-73 Bears (Drew), 72-67 Bears (Glenn)
North Carolina Central/Coppin State: 70-60 Eagles (Drew), 60-50 Eagles (Glenn)
Fairfield/Loyola: 72-64 Stags (Drew), 70-64 Stags (Glenn)

steelers

If you missed the explanations during our “Picks and Comment” segment Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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