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Ravens vs. Browns

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Ravens (4-4) @ Browns (1-7)

Posted on 14 November 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Browns

Ravens vs. Browneye Stats

Monday marks the beginning of the second half of the 2009 season, and we and the Ravens should be plenty eager to put the first half behind us. Going into their first prime-time action of the year, the Ravens are losers of 4 of their last 5 after starting off the season at 3-0. Although three of those losses came by a total of 11 points, the fourth one, last week in Cincy, was a thorough beat down by the Bengals. If the Ravens are to have any chance of salvaging their season, it needs to start in Cleveland.

Fortunately, the Browns look like the perfect team to help get the Ravens back on the right track. Their organization is once again in shambles, as General Manager George Kokinis was fired this month before even one full season on the job. First year head coach Eric Mangini appears to have his head firmly planted on the chopping block, as he seems to be losing not only games, but his players as well. Former Ravens Jamal Lewis this week accused Mangini of pushing his players too hard. With the Browns languishing near the bottom of the NFL in nearly every statistical category, no amount of “pushing” is likely to yield any tangible results.

The Browns announced this week that Brady Quinn will once again be their starting quarterback. Quinn, who last played in Week 3 in Baltimore, when he started and was replaced by Derek Anderson, is 46-77 on the season, with one touchdown and three picks. Going into that week 3 contest, there were really only two members of the Browns who scared Ravens fans. One of those two, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, was traded by the Browns to the New York Jets. The WR they got in return, Chansi Stuckey, has only 1 catch for 11 yards since joining Cleveland.

The other weapon the Browns have, returner Joshua Cribbs, was bottled up nicely by the Ravens in the first game. Kickoff and punt coverage have been pleasantly solid for John Harbaugh’s squad in his second season, but Cribbs’ 27.7 average on kickoffs is two yards higher than his 2008 average, and his 16.4 average on punt returns is his career high. He has 1 touchdown on both kickoffs and punts this year. As anemic as the Browns’ offense has been of late (late being roughly the last calendar year), keeping Cribbs in check is pretty much priority numero uno.

When these teams met last, in September, the Ravens spanked the Browns 34-3, and the game wasn’t the slightest bit more competitive than the final score reflected. B’More outgained Cleveland 479-186, and won the turnover battle 4-0 (all interceptions). Brown stain QB’s were a combined 17/27 for 126 yards.

Gandalf Reed

Since that game, the Browns have lost by scores of 23-20 (OT), 27-14, 31-3, and 30-6, and WON a game 6-3, despite being outgained 288-193 in Buffalo. The Ravens should handle them easily, but some fans are still worried about another prime-time letdown by the purple and black.

Some gambling handicapper on the radio the other day mentioned that the Ravens have beaten the spread 8 consecutive times when they are 5 or more point favorites (or something to that effect – correct me if I’m wrong). Basically, during his tenure, John Harbaugh’s teams have had no problems with beating up on “inferior” teams. The Nest is confident that the trend will continue on Monday, but there are several areas where the team can improve from recent showings to maximize their chances.

  • Tackle! – The sure tackling the Ravens displayed against Denver was nowhere to be found against Cincinnati. With guys like the elusive Cribbs and the still tough-to-bring-down Jamal Lewis toting the rock, the Ravens could find themselves in trouble if they are unable to bring down ballcarriers consistently once again.
  • Start quick – As evidenced by 2 of their 4 losses including 14-0 first quarter deficits, the Ravens have consistently started games very slowly in 2009. Joe Flacco’s first few throws are always off the mark, and the defense seems to need two or 3 series to figure out what opposing offenses are doing before they can even hope to slow it down. The Browns aren’t much of a quick-strike threat, so a similar hole to dig out of seems unlikely. However, it would be great to jump out to a double digit lead of our own quickly, and commence to playing with a lead. Which brings us to the next point…
  • Run the ball! Cam Cameron and his offense have struggled all year to establish any sort of a game-to-game identity. This is by no means helped by the fact that they have been given those aforementioned big deficits to overcome, but even in closer games, it’s impossible to know what to expect from one possession to the next. Flacco seems to be at his best in the hurry-up or no-huddle offense. But most Ravens fans would love to see a return to more of 2008’s ball-control style offense, and a running game that features Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’Ron McClain all in prominent roles. The Browns seem like the perfect opponents to jump out early on, then use the rest of the game to reintroduce the power running game.

A final interesting story line to this game is the fact that a group of Browns fans are staging a “Free the Birds“-esque late walk-in to this nationally televised event. Check out the organizer, Dawg Pound Mike’s website here for more.

Seeing their fans show some additional passion and displeasure may inspire the Browns’ players to perform above their abilities. For about a quarter. This one won’t be close.

Ravens 34 Browns 6

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Ravens vs. Clowns

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Browns (0-2) @ Ravens (2-0)

Posted on 25 September 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Clowns

Ravens vs. Clowns Stats

After last week’s huge win in San Diego, and with a date against Tom Brady and the Pats in Foxboro looming on the horizon, the Ravens enter Sunday’s home match-up against Cleveland looking to avoid a “let-down game.” The Browns, meanwhile, are in a neck-and-neck (and neck) dogfight with St. Louis and Detroit for “worst team in the NFL” bragging rights. First year head coach Eric Mangini’s squad has managed just a single offensive touchdown in 2009, and even that came during junk time of a blowout loss to Minnesota.

The Ravens’ defense looks to get healthy against the worst offense statistically in the league. All eyes will be on cornerbacks Dominique Foxworth and Fabian Washington, whose poor days in San Diego have been relived ad nauseum. They draw another big, strong receiver this week, the Browns’ Braylon Edwards, who always seems to play well against the Ravens. Edwards had only one reception in Week 1, but last week caught 6 passes for 92 yards against Denver. Braylon may be looking to make amends for his gaffe in Cleveland against B’More last year, when he dropped what likely would have been a game-sealing TD pass, by duplicating the success he saw Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers have last week.

Edwards’ quarterback, though, is not going to be confused with Philip Rivers any time soon. While he may evolve into a star in the NFL, Brady Quinn has yet to win either the hearts of Browns’ fans or the confidence of his coaches and teammates. For the season, Quinn has completed 59% of his throws, for 366 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. What really jumps out though, is that he has been sacked NINE times in only two games. The Ravens’ pass-rush also caught some heat after the Chargers game, when they didn’t get to Rivers at all after the 2nd quarter. Rookie center Alex Mack (no, not her, much to my chagrin) has struggled early, and will have his hands more than full with Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata. On the outside, tackle Joe Thomas “ate up,” Jared Allen of the Vikings, according to Brian Billick, so watch the match-up between him and T-Sizzle closely. If Thomas can handle Suggs on his own, then the Browns’ running backs and tight ends will be able to help out Mack in the middle, and Greg Mattison will have to blitz more than he might like to – leading to more of those dreaded 1-on-1 matchups with the Ravens’ DBs.

On the ground, Jamal Lewis has 95 yards on 25 carries in 2009, but appears to be excusing himself from action this week. Lewis has yet to practice, so backups Jerome Harrison and James Davis (rookie) could see extended action Sunday. It won’t matter who gets the ball, the Browns won’t be able to run on the Ravens, and don’t be surprised if, like the Chargers, they don’t even really try (despite what Quinn said in his conference call with Baltimore media this week).

Cam Cameron spoke highly of the Browns’ defense this week, calling them the most stout front 7 the Ravens have faced yet. Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers is a bit hobbled in practice this week, but is expected to play. Ravens’ center Matt Birk is very familiar with Rogers, having matched up with him several times when they both played in the NFC North. Former Maryland LB D’Qwell Jackson led the NFL in tackles last season, and intercepted Joe Flacco during this game in 2008.

DumpyBrowns

Ray Rice had his best game of 2008 against Cleveland, when he ran for 154 yards, so don’t be surprised if he gets the lion’s share of the carries this week. Willis McGahee is making a strong push for more touches though, currently leading the AFC in rushing touchdowns. Maybe this is the week Rice finally gets his first NFL score, but with McGahee likely remaining the goalline option, “Mighty Mouse” will have to break one from 10 yards or more if he wants to find paydirt.

Joe Flacco is off to a sizzling start to his sophomore campaign, trailing only Drew Brees in touchdown passes after two games. He has thrown one interception in each contest though, and last week’s could have been costly (we’ll ignore for now the terrible non-offsides call on that play). Flacco has been spreading the ball around admirably, as 7 Ravens have 5 or more receptions. Kelley Washington leads the bunch with 7 for 101 yards and a touchdown, and has settled into the #3 WR role nicely. This has served to push Demetrius Williams down the depth chart, though the coaches insist he will still be a big part of the offense moving forward.

We’ll believe it when we see it, “Completrius.”

To be sure, the Ravens SHOULD win this one going away. However, there are a few things that worry us:

  • Josh Cribbs. Cleveland’s return man seems to put one in the end zone every time these two teams meet. The Ravens’ coverage units have gotten off to a slow start (again) this season, and last week Darren Sproles ran wild on them. Special teams need to step it up, and contain Cribbs this week. Cribbs may also take some snaps in the Wildcat, or catch some flare passes out of the backfield – please, Ravens, don’t let him go uncovered like you did to Sproles on that 80-yard score last week.
  • Mother nature. Although the forecast calls for sunny skies by gametime Sunday, Friday evening and Saturday are set to see a significant amount of rain in B’More. We need only think back to Week 1 against, Kansas City, when players were sliding all over the place because of rain in the days leading up to the game (water was being said to “seep up through” the turf when the players stepped down). Weather is the great equalizer, and it’s a shame that we might even have to worry about it without a cloud in the sky.

John Harbaugh’s team has made a pretty good living beating up on lesser opponents during his tenure though, and Sunday shouldn’t be much different. Even if Cribbs does break one, this new high powered Ravens’ offense will keep Cleveland at bay, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a defensive performance reminiscent of the Ravens of old.

Ravens 31 Browns 10

BradyDone

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (9/25/09)

Posted on 25 September 2009 by Jack McManus

9:47-

Andy Behrens from Yahoo! Sports comes on the show to offer his weekly fantasy football advice. He advises Drew to stay away from most Titans as they play the Jets who have not allowed an offensive touchdown. He tells me to go with Jay Cutler over Trent Edwards, Ryan Grant over Darren Sproles, and Roy Williams over Donald Driver. Finally, he tells Glenn to start Leon Washington over Knowshon Moreno and Mike Bell, and Eddie Royal or Torry Holt above Steve Breaston.

9:05-

Jeremy Bloom, who will be on the broadcast team for the Maryland-Rutgers game is now up. He calls Da’Rel Scott one of the best backs in the ACC. He goes on to state that he thinks Maryland has a great chance to pick up a much-needed victory tomorrow. He explains that the Terps need to improve their discipline in order to turn the season around. Bloom moves on to talk about how he had success in both skiing and football. Bloom next describes the The Jeremy Bloom Wish of a Lifetime Foundation. The program aims to grant wishes for low-income senior citizens. For more information on this cause click here.

8:31-

Andre Knott is the next guest. He is a sideline reporter for the Cleveland Browns. Knott admits that the Browns may be taking many bad losses this season with their current talent level. Knott states that it appears as though Jamal Lewis will not play this Sunday. Instead Jerome Harrison and James Davis will take the majority of the carries. Neither back is as big and strong as Lewis. Knott explains that not all of the Cleveland players have bought into Eric Mangini’s coach philosophy. He moves on to talk about how many fans in Cleveland still have bitter feelings towards the Ravens, despite the fact that the city has another team.

8:10-

Steve Tasker, CBS Sports Broadcaster, makes an appearance on the show. He will call the Ravens-Browns match-up on Sunday. He states that the Browns do not stack up to the Ravens on either side of the ball. He explains how many NFL teams see the Ravens as a measuring stick for success. Therefore, if the Browns compete with the Ravens, some will be satisfied. He goes on to say that the change of scenery for Kelley Washington has greatly helped him find his way to contributing on the field. He also believes that Ray Lewis could be the best inside linebacker ever. Tasker talks about the Patriot’s early season struggles. He thinks the team will still be strong, but will have to fight to win many of their games. The one 0-2 team that Tasker thinks is not as bad as they look is the Jacksonville Jaguars. He describes how the blame should be placed on the players, and not the head coach.

7:35-

This morning Glenn and Drew participate in the picks and comment segment. Each set of picks is posted below.

Glenn:

Ravens over Browns 28-13

Titans over Jets

Giants over Bucs

Texans over Jags

Vikings over 49ers

Pats over Falcons

Lions over Redskins

Packers over Rams

Bears over Seahawks

Bills over Saints

Chargers over Dolphins

Steelers over Bengals

Raiders over Broncos

Cardinals over Colts

Cowboys over Panthers

Drew:

Ravens over Browns 34-10

Titans over Jets 23-17

Giants over Bucs 31-15

Texans over Jags 37-7

Minnesota over 49ers 24-20

Patriots over Falcons 27-24

Lions over Redskins 20-17

Packers over Rams 24-19

Bears over Seahawks 23-20

Saints over Bills 34-24

Chargers over Dolphins 33-17

Bengals over Steelers 20-17

Raiders over Broncos 17-14

Colts over Cardinals 31-27

Cowboys over Panthers 34-24

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ChiefsRavens

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Ravens 2009 Preview – Weeks 1-4

Posted on 08 September 2009 by Derek Arnold

We have four miserable work days to fill until the Ravens’ 2009 season opener this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs. So I figured, in order to help pass the time, I would do a quick semi-preview (quasi-Lebronish?) of the purple and black’s schedule for the coming months, breaking it up to 4 games/day through Friday.

Of course, all of these predictions are based on rosters, teams, etc., as they stand today. Injuries, suspensions, and whatever else could easily drastically change my feeling about any or all of the games. This is for fun more than anything else, so don’t go calling your bookie on my recommendations.

Week 1 – vs. Kansas City


ChiefsRavens

Matt Cassel is supposedly planning to make the start, despite injuring his knee last week. If he is unable to go, Brodie Croyle will be under center. It won’t matter if it is Cassel or Croyle, though. SOMEBODY wearing a Chiefs jersey is going to be throwing balls to Ed Reed this Sunday. M&T Bank will be rockin’, I’ll be attending my second Ravens’ home opener (hope to see you there!), and the Ravens will win, and win big.

Chance of victory: 90%

Week 2 – @ San Diego

ChargersRavens

A week 2 east-to-west trip for the Mauve Marauders (no? OK.) looks less than appetizing at this point. San Diego looks to be loaded once again on both sides of the ball, and after their terrible start last season, one would have to believe that they will learn from their mistakes and not let themselves fall into another 4-8 hole before they decide to start playing for keeps. I think the Ravens will keep this one close, and avoid getting embarrassed like they did on their last trip to Qualcomm, but I don’t see them bringing a W back from sunny San Diego.

Chance of victory: 40%

Week 3 – vs. Cleveland

BrownsRavens

Presumably, Eric Mangina Mangini will have decided on a QB between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn by the end of September, but who’s to say for sure? Neither of them will be able to handle the Ravens’ D, and even though he made the team against everyone’s predictions, Jamal Lewis is but a shell of his former self. If Cleveland somehow beats Minnesota, wins at Mile High, and rolls into B’More 2-0 on 9/27, I might be a tad more worried, but another Brown-stain whooping looks much more likely sitting here on Labor Day.

Chance of victory: 80%

Week 4 – @ New England

PatsRavens

Guhhh. Another early season road trip, another brutal opponent. The Pats and their fans will no doubt remember that it was the Ravens who kept their 11-5 team out of the postseason in 2008, but the more important factor will be the return of Tom Brady. After having 3 weeks to shake off any rust (or anything else) that he may have gathered over the past year of laying in bed all day with his supermodel wife, Brady and the Pats’ offense are likely to be firing on all cylinders by Week 4. I don’t think they’ll run away with it, and the Ravens will hang around just long enough to give us all heart palpitations, but Randy Moss or Wes Welker will supply the dagger late in the 4th quarter.

Chance of victory: 25%

Tomorrow: Weeks 5-9


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Complete recap of the Terrell Suggs/John Harbaugh Press Conference

Posted on 15 July 2009 by Luke Jones

Terrell Suggs downplayed the importance of signing one of the richest contracts in NFL history, but there was no mistaking how seriously the Ravens wanted to keep the Pro Bowl linebacker in Baltimore.

Facing a 4 p.m. deadline, Suggs and the Ravens agreed to a six-year, $63 million contract Wednesday morning, eliminating the possibility of Suggs playing under the franchise tag for a second straight season.  The 26-year-old linebacker is relieved to continue his career in Baltimore.

I consider myself a player of the fans,” Suggs said.  “I play for them.  I love the cheers that I get when I’m running out of the tunnel, and I’m just glad that we finally got back to football, and that they wanted me [in Baltimore] and I wanted to be there.  Ozzie [Newsome] and everybody, we all wanted the same thing, and we just had to agree on the little stuff.  Both sides compromised a lot, and now we came to an agreement”

The deal includes $33.1 million in bonus money, second only to Peyton Manning’s bonus from a deal signed in 2004.  Suggs now becomes the highest-paid linebacker in the history of the NFL, though he was quick to downplay the significance of that moniker.

That was never a focal point,” he said. “That was never brought up once in the negotiation.  I never wanted to be the highest-paid anything. I’m not that guy.  I don’t care what the next man is getting.  I just wanted it to be fair. This is a business, and everything is structured and branded a certain way.”

Suggs will now report to camp on time after missing nearly the entire preseason last year after being designated the franchise player. The Ravens will now have all four starting linebackers present for the start of training camp in less than two weeks.

Coupled with the loss of Bart Scott to the New York Jets, the absence of Suggs may have slowed the transition from Rex Ryan’s scheme to new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, though the system is expected to undergo only minor changes.

Suggs has been in contact with Mattison during the offseason to keep up with the mental side of the defense.

“We’re looking forward to seeing all four linebackers out there together now for the first time in any offseason program since we’ve been here,” Harbaugh said.  “There’s nothing like getting those guys out there together and practicing together and competing together.  Plus, the other thing I’m excited about is his personality being out there from early on in training camp.  He’s a guy that perks up the whole practice field, so it will be fun to have him out there.”

Suggs is happy to be reporting to training camp on time, but he downplayed the significance of missing training camp, citing his play last season that earned him a trip to his third Pro Bowl.

His 53 career sacks are the second-highest total in Ravens history, behind only Peter Boulware’s 70.

“The only thing about training camp is it brings you back closer with your teammates,” Suggs said.  “You all get close again; you all become a team.  You all go in there and run.  Last year I missed that, and it didn’t hurt me too bad—I don’t think—but it’s going to be good to finally get back in training camp in the hot summer days with all the fans looking.  It’s going to be interesting.”

Suggs’ new contract trumps the record-setting deal signed by his teammate and mentor Ray Lewis in 2002.  Lewis’ deal included a $19 million signing bonus.  Suggs emphasized his vast respect for Lewis and insisted the 34-year-old is still the heart and soul of the defense.

“Ray [Lewis] is hands down a Hall of Famer, and you know he’s probably the greatest ever to play the position,” Suggs said.  “Like I said, that [record bonus] happened merely on accident. I’m not sure if I’m a Hall of Famer yet, but I’m sure going to play to try to achieve that status. But until then, Ray is arguably the greatest linebacker ever to play the game.”

– Mason update

The news of Derrick Mason’s retirement was a popular topic during Wednesday’s conference call.

Harbaugh is currently on vacation but has informally communicated through text messages with the veteran wide receiver.  He plans to talk at greater length with Mason next week.

“It’ll be interesting to see where he’s at with everything,” Harbaugh said.  “I know he’s gone through a lot in the last couple weeks with [Steve McNair’s death] and those kinds of things. But I’m looking forward to talking to him.”

Suggs expressed hope that Mason would come back this season but respected the possibility that he’s done with football.

“At 35 years old you really start to put things into perspective,” Suggs said.  “Either way [he decides], I love ‘Mase.’ He’s a great teammate.  You can’t say that about a lot of guys.  He’s not selfish, not even in the least, and he’ll always look out for you.  A guy like that is always great to have in the locker room.”

Mason is well respected among teammates and team officials for his professionalism and work ethic since coming to Baltimore in 2005.  His absence would leave Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams as the team’s current starting receivers.

“Derrick Mason is the kind of guy that if he is going to be on board, he’s going to be on board 100-percent-plus,” Harbaugh said.  “He’s going to be doing all the things that great players do, because you don’t become a great player—and I think one of the premiere receivers in the game by far—without being committed to excellence.”

If Mason decides to go through with his retirement, the options on the free agent market are limited, though Harbaugh said the team would explore other options in addition to the players currently on the roster.

“You can only do so much,” Harbaugh said.  “There are only so many guys out there available, and a lot of what we do is developing the players that we have.  We think we have good players here, too.”

*****

Here is the transcript from the live blog I wrote during the conference call:

2:31 – The conference call for Terrell Suggs and John Harbaugh has now concluded. Check back later for a full recap including more direct quotes from Suggs and Harbaugh.

2:28 – Harbaugh is very excited to get going at training camp and thinks the Ravens have a great football team ready to go this season.

2:27 – Harbaugh says the Ravens will look to improve the wide receiver situation, but he’s confident with the group of players they currently have. He mentioned there’s only so much you can do at this point.

He downplayed the reports of Mason practicing at the facility on Monday before the retirement announcement came. He reiterated how dedicated Mason has been throughout his time with the Ravens.

“If he is going to be on board, he is going to be on board 100 percent plus…Getting mentally ready is part of that…If he decides to come back, he will be completely ready to go.”

2:24 – Regarding Derrick Mason, Harbaugh has had informal communication with Mason and plans to meet with him sometime next week.  He says Mason’s obviously had a lot on his mind in regards to the death of Steve McNair.

2:22 – Harbaugh says Suggs wants to work on football and understands the importance of being with Mattison and his teammates for the entire duration of training camp.

The coach is excited about the type of player that Suggs will be over the next six years. He thinks Mattison will help Suggs take his play to “another level.” Harbaugh also mentioned how Suggs is an underrated run-stopper.

2:21 – Harbaugh cited how great of a guy Suggs is. His dedication and attention to detail is right there with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He’s a great player.

2:20 – John Harbaugh is now joining the conference call.

Talking about the success of keeping new players:
“It goes back to Ozzie [Newsome], and of course, Steve [Bisciotti] and Dick [Cass]. It’s just a tremendous organization. Players want to be here.”

He also discussed how many players who have been disappointed to leave because of the financial side of the game.

“You can’t just sign them all. When you draft the way Ozzie drafts, you’re going to lose some guys over time…You can sign one guy, but maybe the next guy you can’t sign.”

2:18 – Suggs has finished up, and we now await John Harbaugh to join us to talk about the new contract for his star linebacker.

2:17 – When asked about the details that needed to be worked out in order to reach an agreement, he didn’t really want to get into specifics. He’s just relieved to have it finished.

He talked about the young Ravens fans that might ask why he wasn’t practicing at training camp. Now, that’s not an issue.

2:16 – Suggs is downplaying the importance of being at training camp from the very beginning, citing his strong play last season.

He’s relieved to finally have the contract resolved after two years. The business side of football is difficult.

2:14 – In regards to Derrick Mason, Suggs was very complimentary and was “shocked” at his retirement. He would love to play with him for another year, but he understands with Mason being 35-years old.

He isn’t sure whether Mason will decide to return. He respects the fact that Mason may not have the passion to play anymore.

2:12 – I asked Suggs on his thoughts about being the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history and playing with Ray Lewis:

“Ray is hands down a Hall of Famer, and he’s probably the greatest to ever play the position. The fact that I’m the highest paid linebacker is really by accident.”

2:10 – Suggs credits the Ravens for going the extra mile to get a long-term deal done, considering the salary cap.

He says his role won’t change. He’ll lead on the field, as always.

On the contract:
“I’m going to continue to be the dominant player I’ve always been…I’m looking forward to showing them that they didn’t make a mistake, and they got the right guy.”

2:08 – Suggs is talking about the process last year and the dispute over whether he was a defensive end or a linebacker. He considered himself a defensive end and had bulked up because of that.

Suggs admitted to having his doubts about reaching a long-term deal.

“We were all on the phone all-day yesterday…It was little minor things here and there. Would we really let something minor stop me from signing a long-term deal?”

2:06 – Talking about Bart Scott: “It was going to be hard to bring all three [linebackers] back.”

Suggs believes Scott would have stayed if the money had been there and believes he’s lucky to be in New York with Rex Ryan. He considers it a win-win situation for Scott.

2:05 – Suggs says being the highest-paid defensive player was never a focal point. He just wanted it to be “fair.” The reason the numbers were so high is because of him being consider a hybrid defensive end-linebacker.

He considers being the second-highest paid (in terms of bonus money) as just a coincidence. He felt it was what he had earned.

2:02 – Suggs: “I’m always trying to do better. I’m just happy it got done…I consider myself a player for the fans. I play for them. I’m just glad that we finally got back to football.”

“Both sides compromised a lot. We came to a great agreement. Now, we can get back to football.”

1:55 – We’re just a few minutes away from hearing from Terrell Suggs. John Harbaugh will answer questions right after the star linebacker.

1:45 – Having lost Bart Scott to the New York Jets, Harbaugh and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison have to feel good knowing they’ll have their entire starting linebacking unit present at the beginning of training camp in Westminster.

Suggs’ presence will certainly ease the transition from Rex Ryan to Mattison and allow the Ravens to get an authentic look at how Tavares Gooden—or Jameel McClain—fits into the entire defensive scheme during the preseason.

1:26 – Ozzie Newsome will not be present for the press conference, but he offered his thoughts earlier on reaching a long-term agreement with the Ravens linebacker.

“Getting a deal done with Terrell is consistent with our history of retaining our best Pro Bowl players, like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden, Todd Heap, and Jamal Lewis. Securing Terrell for six seasons gives us a premier pass-rusher whose ability to stop the run does not get enough credit.

“This is a good day for the Ravens franchise.”

1:18 – You’ve heard the news by now that Terrell Suggs has signed a six-year, $63 million contract, avoiding playing under the franchise tag for a second straight season.

The deal includes $33.1 million in bonuses, making it the second-highest amount in NFL history—behind only Peyton Manning. The long-term deal now places Suggs as the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

We’ll hear from Terrell Suggs in about 40 minutes with coach John Harbaugh to follow.

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Let the wide receiver speculation begin

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Luke Jones

The surprising news of Derrick Mason’s retirement—even if it’s a negotiating ploy—has sent shockwaves through the city of Baltimore, especially for the large portion of Ravens fans that had already been clamoring for an impact receiver during the offseason.

While many are making the comparison to Steve McNair’s abrupt retirement in April 2008, the Ravens had more time to prepare in that situation.  If Mason goes through with his intentions to retire, the Ravens will have to treat it similarly to how they dealt with Jamal Lewis’ season-ending knee injury in the early stages of training camp in 2001.

Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall and Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin will undoubtedly come up as potential replacements for Mason, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll see either player reining in passes from Joe Flacco.

Neither the Broncos or Cardinals are in the business of doing the Ravens any favors, so unless you’re willing to surrender multiple first-day picks, forget either one.  With Mason’s retirement, these teams will view the Ravens as being backed into a corner, so the asking price would be even higher.

The other obstacle continues to be the salary cap.  Mason’s retirement would save $3 million in space, but this still only leaves around $5 million in cap room.  Given the fact that both Marshall and Boldin would demand a new contract with any trade, the cap space is not there.

The Ravens have until 4 p.m. on Wednesday to reach a new deal with linebacker Terrell Suggs before he would be forced to play under the $10.2 million franchise tender.  With general manager Ozzie Newsome reportedly on vacation, it’s doubtful a deal is completed.  Without a new contract for Suggs, the Ravens’ options at the wide receiver position will not include Boldin or Marshall.

If the Ravens really want to take a gamble, there’s always Plaxico Burress, but with his pending legal issues, he could easily be suspended for a large portion of the season. Much like Marshall, he doesn’t fit the Ravens’ profile and emphasis on character.

The other options are limited.  If any current free agent receivers were thought to be impact players in 2009, they wouldn’t still be looking for a team in mid-July.

Here is a list of potential candidates.  Each player’s 2008 team and stats are included.

1.  Marty Booker (age 32) – 14 catches, 211 yards, 2 TD in Chicago
**Booker has over 500 career receptions, but a return to the Bears last season did not revitalize his game.

2.  D.J. Hackett (age 28) – 13 catches, 181 yards in Carolina
**Hackett was invited to work out with the Ravens during OTAs but tried out with Houston instead.

3.  Marvin Harrison (age 37) – 60 catches, 636 yards, 5 TD in Indianapolis
**Harrison would figure to bring similar tools to the table as Mason, but does the future Hall of Famer have anything in the tank?

4.  Matt Jones (age 26) – 65 catches, 761 yards, 2 TD in Jacksonville
**Very questionable character issues with the former first-round pick would probably kill any interest on the Ravens’ part.

5.  Ashley Lelie (age 29) – 11 catches, 197 yards, 2 TD in Oakland
**The promise he displayed in Denver seems like a long time ago.

6.  Jerry Porter (age 31) – 11 catches, 181 yards in Jacksonville
**Porter tried out during OTAs and showed inconsistent hands and was sluggish.

7.  Amani Toomer (age 35 at the beginning of the season) – 48 catches, 580 yards, 4 TD with the New York Giants
**Given the Giants’ issues at the wide receiver position, wouldn’t Toomer be back in New York if he had anything left?

8.  Reggie Williams (age 26) – 37 catches, 364 yards, 3 TD in Jacksonville
**The 2004 first-round pick never lived up to his vast potential in Jacksonville.

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Ravens tie ’62 Packers record and look into other numbers

Posted on 29 December 2008 by caseywillett

With the Ravens holding the Jaguars to under 13 points, the Ravens become the first team since the 1962 Green Bay Packers to go an entire season without allowing more than 13 points in a game at home.

-The Ravens are 46-0 since 2000 when they are +2 in the turnover ratio.

-Ed Reed finished leading the league with 9 interceptions. Reed last recorded 9 interceptions in 2004 when he was NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Since entering the league in 2000, Reed has recorded 43 picks which is most by anyone in the league since that time.

-LeRon McClain  put up some amazing stats in this year to help him go to the Pro Bowl. With his two touchdown runs versus the Jaguars today, McClain finished with 10 touchdowns which is second most in a single season by a Raven behind Jamal Lewis and his 14 touchdowns in 2003. McClain’s 902 rushing yards is also the 9th best single season performance by a Ravens running back.

– Mark Clayton posted his second 100 yard receiving game of the season, giving him 8 of them for his career which is the most by any Ravens receiver in team history.

-Derrick Mason passed the 10,000 yard receiving mark vs the Jaguars, and also finished the regular season with 1,037 yards which is 7th best in Ravens history. In the top 8 single season receiving seasons, Mason has three of them.

-Joe Flacco had a career afternoon Sunday passing for 297 yards . He also finished with a 115.8 quarterback rating which is his second best rating of the season behind his 120.2 he put up vs. Miami.

– The Ravens posted several new franchise records this season

Defense:

Qb Rating : 60.6 ( 08 season)  61.1 (00 season)

Opp rush td’s:  4 (08 season)  5 (00 season,06 season)

Opp Rush 1st downs:  58 (08 season ) 59 (00 season, 06 season)

Offense:

Rushing TD’s :  20 (08 season)  18 (03 season)

Rush 1st downs: 132 (08 season)  116 (00 season)

Fewest turnovers :21 (08 season) 23 (04, 06 season)

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Some big numbers from yesterday’s game

Posted on 03 November 2008 by caseywillett

Joe Flacco has not thrown an interception in three straight games. This is the longest streak since Steve McNair went 5 games with no interceptions in 2006.

Ray Rice ran for 154 yards on Sunday.,that is the most yards in a single game by a Ravens running back since Jamal Lewis ran for 167 against the Dolphins on 1/2/05.

The Ravens scored 37 points against the Browns, that is the most points the Ravens have scored since their 35-22 win over the Saints on 10/29/06.

Currently, the Ravens lead the league in time of possession (33:39), rushing attempts(303), and rushing attempts per game(37.9) The Ravens are second in the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns. fifth in rushing yards(1190) and fifth in yards per game(148.8).

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Ravens – Browns

Posted on 02 November 2008 by caseywillett

Today the Ravens will not be seeing the same team that they saw earlier in the season. This is a Browns team that has gotten healthier and also some confidence with a couple of wins over the Giants and Jaguars recently.

Here are a couple of things to look for today:

Airing it out : I look for the Browns to go after this Ravens secondary. With no Chris McAlister, or Samari Rolle, and with Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, and Kellen Winslow Jr., among others leading the air attack for the Browns, it could be a long day for the Ravens secondary. It will all come down to the defensive line and linebackers putting pressure on Derek Anderson and not allowing him to sit there and pick the secondary apart. If I am the Browns, I challenge the Ravens to throw the ball on me. As crazy as it sounds, with out Demetrius Williams, I would sell out to stop the run offense of the Ravens and see what Flacco and this offense can do in the passing game.

Who stops running first ? :Will it be Jamal Lewis and the Browns or the Ravens three headed monster in the backfield ? The Ravens are known around the league as the team you just can not run against. How soon do the Browns give up on the run game and just try to attack the defense vertically ? Do they attack through the air to try and open up the run game ? For the Ravens they have three backs they can throw at you,and the Browns have gotten a lot better at stopping the run. If you are the Browns, do you just go after Joe Flacco and see if he can beat you with Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap, and either Ernie Wheelwright, Marcus Smith, or Terrance Copper ?

Limited returns :The return game will be big for both of these teams today. Josh Cribbs is one of the elite return guys in the NFL. Sam Koch has done a nice job of pinning guys deep this year and will need another solid performance today against a guy like Cribbs. Cribbs can change a game in a hurry with either a touchdown or a long return giving his offense a short field. For the Ravens they need either Jim Leonhard, or Yamon Figurs, to get them big returns for their offense. You do not want to have to ask the Ravens offense to go 60-70 yards every drive, especially on the road.

The Ravens have had a couple of nice wins recently, but I think today is a tall task for them and the Browns are the healthier team right now.

My prediction Browns 26- Ravens 16

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