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A Great Beginning 23 – 0

Posted on 15 August 2009 by Jerry Reinhardt

Preseason smeeseason, I enjoyed the Ravens manhandling of the Redskins. Everyone expected the defense to be stellar and it was. But the most impressive part of the game was the continue development of the offense. It showed it has come a long way in two years. Cam Cameron is certainly working his magic in Baltimore.

 

The offensive line was great. The Ravens had to shuttle lineman in and out of the game but they never skipped a beat. Albert Haynesworth didn’t play but that doesn’t matter because we handled him last year. Everyone who watched the game had to be impressed with man-child Michael Oher.

 

We have all heard his story and knew he was tough. He put on a blocking display that every coach and fan should have loved. If he pancaked anymore Redskins he would have had to open an International House of Pancakes. He played to the end of the whistle with or without a helmet. He came back after cutting his head open and getting stitches. The man is tough and he plays with an attitude. The Ravens seemed to have lucked into a perennial Pro Bowler.

 

Although it garnered only 101 yards I was impressed with the running game. Ray Rice showed he is ready to take over as the fulltime #1 tailback. He ran hard and was shifty. His most impressive play came on his 34 yd catch out of the backfield. It was very Westbrook like.

 

Last night Willis McGahee showed he wasn’t going to roll over and give the job to Rice. He played quicker, ran faster, and made cuts like he did when he attended the “U”. He played harder in this preseason game than he did in the first half of last year. If we can rotate these guys together and sprinkle in McClain for short yardage, goal line, and fourth quarter duty we should be in the top three for rushing.

 

The thing that impressed me the most was the depth we had after the “Known” names ran. Jalen Parmele and Matt Lawrence looked liked they could play somewhere and contribute in the NFL. I know they didn’t play against the starters but they looked like they belonged. They hit their holes, followed their blocks, and looked to be more than camp players.  The big question is who do you keep as the 3rd running back and who do you try to slide onto the practice squad? I had hoped Cedric Peerman would make the team or practice squad. At times he looked a little overwhelmed and lost. His fumble offsets his TD run. We’ll need to see more out of him or he won’t last long.   

 

The passing game was rather vanilla but effective for the night. Joe Flacco looked good for his quarter plus of work. He led the team on scoring drives and had total command of the huddle. Troy Smith looked good. He had to scramble a little too much due to penetration. John Beck wasn’t in long enough to give a real impression.

 

There were 2 big red flags for the offense. First, we dropped way too many passes. It looked like pee-wee football with the way we dropped the ball and how many we dropped. Second, we settled for trying field goals instead of scoring touch downs. Both of these are correctible and should improve as the starters stretch out their work during the next 2 games.

 

After thinking about it, how much is there really to worry about after the    23-0 beat down the Ravens hung on the Deadskins.   

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Live From Westminster: Cousins carted off field in AM practice

Posted on 07 August 2009 by Luke Jones

6:39 p.m. –The Ravens will hold two practices tomorrow, a morning session at 8:45 a.m. and an afternoon workout at 2:45 p.m.  Both practices are expected to be full-squad.

Just a quick note to anyone planning to head out to Westminster on Monday to watch the Ravens in action.  The morning practice will be closed to the public.  The afternoon practice scheduled for 2:45 p.m. will be open for fans to attend.

3:24 p.m. — Despite the defense thoroughly dominating this morning, there were a few highlights for the offense.  Flacco threw a long touchdown pass to Mason during a 7-on-7 drill, beating Frank Walker in coverage.

Justin Harper also made another spectacular one-handed catch.  Harper must still prove he can hold onto the ball when getting hit, but he certainly has shown an ability to stretch the field.  He continues to share time at the No. 3 receiver spot with Kelley Washington with Mark Clayton sidelined with a hamstring injury.

3:17 p.m. — The special teams practice lasted about an hour, as the team focused on kick return and punt team alignments.

Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Ray Rice, and Jayson Foster worked on returning kicks.  Punt returners included Carr, Yamon Figurs, Rice, and Foster.

Tavares Gooden was present but did not participate in the special teams workout.

1:20 p.m. — Here’s a fun story from today’s practice:  Derrick Mason had joked during his return press conference on Sunday that the team did not have a marching band or the girl scouts come out to celebrate his return.  A local girl scouts troop from Westminster came out to practice this morning, and Mason greeted them and even conducted an interview with the girls after practice.

The audio is up in the WNST vault if you’d like to take a listen.  Mason also talked about his health and the other wide receivers in camp.

1:19 p.m. — We did see our first “fight” of the camp this morning.  Frank Walker and Evan Oglesby mixed it up a little bit, but it wasn’t exactly Ali-Frazier.  With the first preseason game still six days away, these players are definitely getting tired of hitting each other and are ready to hit an opponent.

12:51 p.m. — I just saw Oniel Cousins walking around the hotel.  He was walking with a limp, but there was no apparent wrap or support or anything of that nature on his left leg—definitely a good sign.

12:49 p.m. — The kicking battle was fairly even again, as it has been for the better part of camp.  Graham Gano made two kicks beyond 40 yards but missed from 53.  Steve Hauschka missed from 42 but hit from 45 and 53 yards.

I continue to be impressed by both kickers.

12:46 p.m. — Domonique Foxworth is really starting to settle in with his new team.  On a deep pass attempt to Demetrius Williams, Foxworth was step-for-step with him as the pass fell incomplete.  Ray Lewis was heard praising the new cornerback, the calling card of knowing you belong in the Baltimore defense.

12:28 p.m. — One of the more intriguing stories of the morning was the player lining up next to Ray Lewis in Gooden’s absence.  While most would have expected Jameel McClain, rookie free agent Dannell Ellerbe was running with the first team.  I mentioned Ellerbe earlier this week, but he is clearly making an impression with the coaching staff.

McClain was lining up at inside linebacker with the second unit, so it appears Ellerbe has passed McClain on the depth chart—for now.  It will be interesting to see what happens if Gooden is out for any extended period of time.

12:22 p.m. — Prior to sitting out with an ice pack on his left knee, McGahee displayed some nice moves in the open field after catching a screen pass from Flacco in 11-on-11 thud.  McGahee has had a solid camp, so hopefully the ice pack is just a precautionary measure.

Speaking of running backs, Le’Ron McClain displayed some nice cuts during live action this morning.  Despite the fact that McClain will be used as a fullback this season, I still expect him to receiver his fair share of carries along with Ray Rice and McGahee.

12:09 p.m. — With Gaither not participating in any live drills, Michael Oher once again lined up at left tackle with Marshal Yanda shifting to right tackle on the starting offensive line.  David Hale took Ben Grubbs’ place at left guard.

The Ravens are incredibly thin on the offensive line right now with Grubbs and Gaither out and the left leg injury to Cousins this morning.  They’re fortunate to have Chester, who can play both guard positions and center, and Yanda to play both guard and tackle.  If not for the versatility of these two, a bad situation would be even worse.

Considering the Ravens were in need of another tackle before Cousins’ injury, you would have to think the Ravens will bring in another tackle to camp.

10:39 a.m. — Morning highlights were ALL defense. Todd Heap dropped one into the hands of Ed Reed who returned it for a TD. Ray Lewis rocked Jalen Parmele at the line of scrimmage that got a big “ohhhh” out of the crowd. And — either good or bad news depending on your view — the defense sacked Joe Flacco three times when going live for a series. It’s been quite the defensive show, but the Cousins injury was bad news this morning. We’ll see how he progresses.

10:34 a.m. — Oniel Cousins just went down on the field. He walked over to the cart and is now being carted off the field. There will certainly be more to come…We just sent a WNST Text on this. Join our text service here…

10:10 a.m. — Frank Walker has been subbing in for Fabian Washington this morning.

10:06 a.m. — Willis McGahee has now joined Jared Gaither in the “ice club.” McGahee is icing his left knee.

10:01 a.m. — Jared Gaither is on the field with an ice pack on his neck and shoulder. We’ll know more when the practice is over. John Harbaugh is NOT speaking to the media today. He will be leaving immediately following the morning practice for Philadelphia to attend the memorial service for his good friend and former Eagles defensive coordinator Jimmy Johnson.  More with Bob Haynie in a little bit…

9:17 a.m. — Jared Gaither appears to be limited on the field this morning, not participating in the 11-on-11 right now. But he is on the field and looks to be mostly fine.

8:46 a.m. — Jared Gaither is back on the field practicing this morning. Demetrius Williams is also on the field this morning, a beautifully cool summer day.

There are three noticeable Ravens missing today: Terrell Suggs, Ben Grubbs and Tavares Gooden.

I’ll be tweeting today (Twitter seems to be down or slow again today) as well as checking in at 9:30, 10:30 and all day at WNST AM 1570 with Drew and Bob.

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Getting down to 53: An early projection

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re a week and a half into training camp, so I thought I would give my VERY early look at the 53-man roster.  Keep in mind, injuries are bound to occur and will change the makeup of the roster considerably.

The first preseason game will take place against the Washington Redskins next Thursday night, but here’s my roster projections based on my early observations in Westminster.

I’ve listed the number of players I predict the Ravens to keep at each position in parentheses. This list does not include the practice squad of eight players the Ravens could keep in addition to the 53-man roster.

And, remember, I’m not John Harbaugh, nor will I ever claim to be.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Though Smith and Beck will continue to battle for the No. 2 job, there are no other quarterbacks currently in camp to even compete.

RUNNING BACKS (4)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Cedric Peerman, Jason Cook
LONGSHOT: Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence
Skinny: It will most likely come down to special teams in determining whether Peerman and Cook find their way on the roster. Cook would give the Ravens a backup fullback, but Cam Cameron could elect to use the tight end as a fullback in certain packages. The team could obviously choose to keep both, but we’ll see how it plays out in the preseason.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
LOCK: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith
BUBBLE: Kelley Washington, Justin Harper, Yamon Figurs
LONG SHOT: Biren Ealy, Thomas White, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright, Jayson Foster
Skinny: The team still could elect to sign another veteran receiver, especially with Mark Clayton out with a hamstring injury. Washington probably makes the team since he’s a strong special teams player, and Harper has been very impressive in the early stages of camp. Considering Figurs is no longer a lock to return kicks, his roster spot is in serious jeopardy. Riley could be a candidate for the practice squad.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, L.J. Smith
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Davon Drew
LONG SHOT: Isaac Smolko
Skinny: The fifth-round pick Drew has been a disappointment so far after failing the initial running test at the beginning of camp and then injuring his ankle. Drew has returned to practice, but he’s currently behind Jones on the depth chart.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, Oniel Cousins
BUBBLE: David Hale, Tre Stallings
LONG SHOT: Robby Felix, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison, Joe Reitz
Skinny: The Ravens will likely bring in a veteran tackle to replace Adam Terry who will miss the season with a knee injury. Hale has backed up Birk at center during camp, but Chester has the ability to play center in the event of an injury.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
LOCK: Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan
BUBBLE: Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Lamar Divens
LONG SHOT: Will Johnson
Skinny: This unit is very deep, and the Ravens will inevitably have to part ways with a very talented player.

LINEBACKERS (9)
LOCK: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbadejo
BUBBLE: Jason Phillips, Dannell Ellerbe, Will VanDeSteeg, Prescott Burgess
LONG SHOT: Tony Fein
Skinny: This is another deep unit. I could envision the Ravens finding a mysterious “injury” with one or two of these young guys and stashing them on injured reserve.

CORNERBACKS (7)
LOCK: Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Samari Rolle
BUBBLE: Frank Walker, K.J. Gerard, Evan Oglesby
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Are you noticing a theme here at the defensive positions? Once again, the Ravens will have to part ways with some talented corners, but the numbers won’t allow them to keep everyone.

SAFETIES (4)
LOCK: Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
BUBBLE: Derrick Martin
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Martin is giving himself a chance to make the roster by shifting over to work at safety, so the team could conceivably carry him on the roster if he proves effective at his new position. Otherwise, he’s squarely on the bubble at the cornerback position, too.

KICKER (1)
LOCK: None
BUBBLE: Graham Gano, Steve Hauschka
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: This battle will last through the entire preseason. Numerous Ravens officials have told me the four preseason games will carry the most weight. Both kickers have hit 50+ yard field goals during camp, but Westminster is a far cry from a Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium or Heinz Field.

PUNTER (1)
LOCK: Sam Koch
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Koch is one of the better punters in the league, and his ability to place the ball inside the 20-yard line is a major asset. He also runs a mean fake punt play. Just ask the Cowboys.

LONG SNAPPER (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Katula is one of the most anonymous players on the team, because he does a great job. The Ravens hope it stays that way.

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4 Ravens lead fan votes for Pro Bowl,Ravens preparing for crowd noise

Posted on 12 December 2008 by caseywillett

The fan voting for the 2009 Pro Bowl is over with and the Ravens have 4 top vote getter’s at their positions.

Brendon Ayanbadejo ST (160,423)

LeRon McClain FB (192,854)

Ray Lewis  ILB (315,738)

Ed Reed FS (279,083)

The fan vote is only 1/3 of the voting process for the Pro Bowl.Coaches and players will vote this week and the rosters will be announced on Tuesday December 16, on NFL Network.

 

Friday updates

Coach Harbaugh said it will be a game time decision as far as Ray Rice’s chances of playing this Sunday. I still think he will be out for Sunday’s game. Jalen Parmele will have to be ready in an emergency situation if he is needed on Sunday.

While the media was meeting with Coach Harbaugh, Parmele was catching passes from George Kokinis who is the Ravens Director of Pro Personnel.

Crowd Noise Factor

Coach Harbaugh said today that the crowd noise is such a factor at M&T Bank Stadium, especially when the defense is on the field, that today they practiced with the crowd noise while they were on defense. Last week was the loudest Coach Harbaugh said he has heard the stadium in his time here and imagines that this Sunday will be as loud if not louder. He also said that if this is not one of the loudest stadiums in the league, he is not sure that there is a louder one.

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Ravens – Steelers just another game

Posted on 10 December 2008 by caseywillett

Just another game

That is the mind set of many of the Ravens players here at 1 Winning Drive this week. The players know that there is a lot at stake for this game, but they are just focused on it as the most important game on the schedule only because it is the next game on their schedule. They all admit they know this game could have huge playoff implications, but does not matter unless they win the game.

Terrell Suggs did admit that it is one of the biggest games he has played in since he came into the NFL,”Probably since the 2006 playoff game (vs the Colts) this is probably the biggest game I’ve ever played in. I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity and have some fun and enjoy it. What better place to do it than in our own backyard and M&T ? It’s going to be exciting. I think the football gods have blessed us to have an opportunity like this, to have a game this late in December of this magnitude. Everybody just can’t wait for it, so it’s going to be good. I think both teams will be ready, and both teams are going to put on one heck of a show.”

Roster Move

The Ravens added running back Jalen Parmele from the Miami Dolphins practice squad to their active roster. Parmele was a 7th round draft pick out of Troy, but was inactive for the Dolphins before he was placed on the practice squad. To make room for Parmele, the Ravens placed defensive tackle Lamar Divens on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury. Parmele will give the Ravens some depth at running back position with concerns injury wise to both Willis McGahee and Ray Rice. Rice seems to be the more serious of the two as he is deals with a  contusion, “it’s a bad one on his shin”, according to Coach Harbaugh.

Here is what Coach Harbaugh had to say about Parmele,”We’ve been studying him all year. He plays special teams. He’s a quality running back, we think a young and upcoming player. There’s a chance he could help us here the last three weeks with our injury situation at running back, so we’re pleased to have him.”

Bounty Watch

Terrell Suggs says that he has not received any word from New York and the NFL offices regarding bounty talk. Suggs made some comments about bounties regarding Steelers players last time these two teams played. Suggs did point out that he is sure “Roger will be some where watching.”

Mason breaks down Polamlu vs Reed comparison

Derrick Mason was asked to compare Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu who are widely considered the top two at their position in the NFL.  Mason said he would not compare the two because it would not be fair, but did offer up this difference between the two,”Ed Reed is Ed Reed; Troy is Troy.One has long hair, one has short hair. That’s about the only comparison.”

Protecting home turf versus Steelers

The Ravens have won the last 5 games between the Steelers and Ravens in Baltimore. The last win by the Steelers in Baltimore was a 31-18 win on 10-27-02.

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