Tag Archive | "Jamal Lewis"

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because Reggie Bush’s girlfriend (@KimKardashian) likes to update her Twitter account….

kimk

She seems nice.

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

1. Ravens Official Site’s Ryan Mink says Jermaine Gresham, Dez Bryant, Brandon LaFell, Syd’Quan Thompson, Golden Tate, Arrelious Benn, Brandon Spikes, Damian Williams all mocked to Ravens

Oh thank God. MORE NFL DRAFT PORN!!!!!

gresham
tate
spikes
syd'quan

It would be easy to dismiss a player like Brandon Spikes (besides his off-field troubles) by saying “the Ravens NEED a WR. They’re taking a WR.” But that just isn’t necessarily true. The Ravens WILL again take the best player available (like they did a season ago when they took Michael Oher despite needing a receiver), I just think it would be best served for everyone involved if the best player available at the time WAS a receiver.

2. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says John Harbaugh thinks Jarret Johnson Pro Bowl snub each of last 2 seasons

No one is going to disagree, are they?

But as was the case with Haloti Ngata this season, players are often rewarded the season AFTER their breakout year. They tend to have to build a reputation at positions where stats can’t tell the story. What Jarret Johnson (and possibly Michael Oher & Ben Grubbs as well) did this season should help him earn a trip to the Pro Bowl next season.

3. ESPN.com’s James Walker says Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Jonathan Ogden, Matt Stover, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Chris McAlister and Ed Reed “all-decade” players in AFC North

I guess I was a bit surprised that Terrell Suggs made this list-but there are no arguments from me here at all. I was a bit surprised Walker left Haloti Ngata off his “others considered” list at D-Line, but there have been a LOT of really good D-Linemen in the AFC North this decade.

Insert your own “Where’s Kyle Boller?” joke here.

4. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says late Millikan’s tenure began pavement on road to Terps’ eventual NCAA Championship

Clearly the influence Coach Millikan had on Gary Williams could be seen throughout Williams’ tenure in College Park-and Luke is right to point out that it was evident in how Gary brought together a group of kids headlined by Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter to cut down the nets in April 2002.

It has certainly been a tough year for the entire athletic department, as they have lost former athletic director James Kehoe, as well as major boosters Jack Heise, Thomas Fields, and Bob Novak.

5. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland has reached NCAA Tournament last 12 times they started ACC play 4-1

And since the NCAA Tournament was expanded, it makes nothing but a lot of sense that a team that starts 4-1 should still be alive come March Madness. In the ACC, you would have to go 4-7 or worse the rest of the way to miss dancing.

But they do HAVE to get those wins. Their quest to do that continues Sunday night at Clemson-the game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet locally, Fox Sports Net nationally.

6. Maryland Official Site says Lori Bjork scored 22 points to lead Terrapins women past Virginia Tech in Blacksburg

This was a much needed victory for Brenda Frese’s crew last night after 3 straight losses. If Lori Bjork is developing into a go-to player for them, they will be in a much better place moving forward. Now they make an odd trip to Longwood Sunday before returning to ACC play next Friday against Georgia Tech.

7. The AP says Greyhounds couldn’t hang on late, fell to Fairfield at Reitz Arena

REALLY tough way to lose a winnable game at home against a pretty good MAAC foe. The Hounds hung tight for 35 minutes, but couldn’t finish the Stags off at the end. Jimmy Patsos’ crew will have to bounce back on Sunday afternoon, as Niagara pays a visit to Reitz Arena.

8. The Sun’s Peter Schmuck believes Birds will DFA Armando Gabino to make room for Mark Hendrickson

I had guessed Cla Meredith. I guess I could see why the O’s would have more interest in keeping Meredith than they would in Gabino. The real question will really be what will happen with Alberto Castillo now that the Birds have another left handed reliever in Hendrickson.

9. Seattle Post Intelligencer’s Todd Dybas says Erik Bedard likely 3-5 months away from being down with rehab

There were also rumors yesterday that the Royals were interested in Bedard. Which might mean that for once in recent MLB history-there is a player who might actually be HOPING for an offer from Baltimore.

I’d be fine with the Orioles taking a flyer on Bedard-as long as that flyer doesn’t cost more than maybe $4 million. If he can return in May, he might be able to offer some help to this staff.

That being said, Andy MacPhail clearly painted the picture that the team would not be bringing in any more outside FA’s. Of course, if Bedard remains on the market, that could always change.

10. Toronto Sun’s Steve Green says former Orioles 2B Roberto Alomar to be inducted into Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Which doesn’t make up….AT ALL….for the travesty that was Alomar missing out on Cooperstown a couple weeks ago.

Humorously, I think Pete Rose is in the Canadian Hall of Fame as well.

11. The Sun’s Candus Thomson says despite missing Olympics, Kimmie Meissner hopes to compete again

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying Kiira Korpi from Finland during the Vancouver….

korpi

12. The Sun’s Katherine Dunn says MIAA in talks to merge with Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in football

Can someone with actual experience here tell me how they feel about this? Having gone to Perry Hall, this doesn’t mean a whole lot to me-but I don’t think I would like it…

And finally, I leave you with this.

Andy Murray will face Roger Federer for the Australian Open title tomorrow night (which I believe is actually sometime in 2020 in Melbourne). If he hits a shot like this one he hit against Maran Cilic, he can’t be beat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvx191mHonw[/youtube]

Talk to you this weekend.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: John Harbaugh’s Final Weekly Press Conference

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

12:34-Hear from John Harbaugh & Ray Rice NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

12:29 Ray Rice stopped by the media room to chat with us today, he missed yesterday’s locker room cleanout availability due to an illness. Ray continued to show why he is one of the most well-liked players on this team, as he was very honest during the 12 minute chat, talking about his relationship with his mother, sticking around in Baltimore in the offseason, what his upcoming trip to the Pro Bowl in Miami means to him, and more.

I also asked him about the biggest thing I heard fans say about him during our trip to Indy this weekend-

“The Ravens are gonna wear him down like they have every other back.”

Ray said he believes that while he has gotten a lot of touches, Cam Cameron gave him “smart” touches, and didn’t use him as a “battering ram.” This is particularly interesting, as a number of fans believe Jamal Lewis WAS treated that way, which shortened his career.

11:00-Here are some highlights from the coach:

-Harbaugh thanked the media for covering the team, saying “I know it’s tough.” He then thanked the fans, noting “We have great fans both home and away.”
-”I really like the makeup of our team. I like the foundation we have.” Says it’s “cause for tremendous optimism.”
-”I think we have to develop our current players….you always seek to add to what you’re doing.”
-”Offensively, we’re built a real good foundation. I like where we stand in the trenches.”
-”I thought defense was exceptional again this year. I’m excited about what our defense did this year.”
-”We’re gonna be a rough, tough, disciplined, hard nosed, clean playing football team.”
-”Patience is important….there’s no timeframe” for winning Super Bowl
-”Joe (Flacco) got better in so many ways, there’s so many ways he can get better.” He added Flacco is “on schedule.”
-says offense still “a work in progress.”
-Said both Derrick Mason and Ed Reed “love football”, and he thinks “they want to play.” He added that the team wants both players back.
-He thinks some coaches on staff will have opportunity to take promotions elsewhere, but wouldn’t elaborate.
-”We’ve got to put as many good players around Joe Flacco as we can.”
-”Ray Rice…fulfilled or exceeded” all hopes Ravens had for him.
-doesn’t think too many-if any-players who finished season on IR won’t be back for start of Training Camp.
-”There is a benefit” to being able to attend next week’s Senior Bowl
-says Billy Cundiff “big possibility” to kick next season, wouldn’t rule out Matt Stover return.
-”Trevor (Pryce) can still play”, says he has a few years left in him-wants to keep entire D-Line together.
-says Ray Lewis helmet to helmet wasn’t “cheap shot”, doesn’t think he will be fined by NFL.
-Says Tavares Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe, Brendon Ayanbadejo will all be in mix for starting LB position
- “We have no disappointment” in Paul Kruger….says he’ll be more of a contributor next season.
-Says Terrell Suggs committed to being part of “full offseason program” with Ravens
-Says he’ll be “very involved” with Ravens’ preparation for NFL Draft
-”There’s nothing more we can ask from Matt Birk.”
-guesses other teams around league will be interested in Troy Smith and John Beck
-”Michael Oher could play either side, and Jared Gaither could play either side. Right now, Gaither left and Oher right is working pretty well.”
-Harbaugh “excited” for Rex Ryan and other former Ravens staffers now with Jets, but he hasn’t talked to Rex.
-Jarret Johnson “always plays well, always practices well, plays through any injury.” “Not a better man in this league” than JJ.
-”Willis (McGahee) is a Raven.”
-says he, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome “respect the budget” Ravens have even if there is no salary cap.
-says Flacco had “bad contusion” on thigh…”swelled up legitimately”….thinks it was “restrictive for him.”
-He semi-disputed Adam Schefter’s report that Flacco couldn’t sit down on flight back from Oakland, saying “it was a 6 hour flight, I think I saw him sit down.”
-says he talked with Ed Reed yesterday, “I think I understand where he’s coming from.”
-
believes Ed Reed will come back and play. “I’m gonna go under that assumption until he tells us differently.”

10:48-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where John Harbaugh will meet with the media momentarily for his final weekly press conference of the season. There will certainly still be plenty to re-hash about the Baltimore Ravens’ 20-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs, but there will be even more to discuss as the Ravens prepare to move into the offseason.

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates.

-G

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Top 25 Local Sports Figures of the Decade

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Top 25 Local Sports Figures of the Decade

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Others Considered: Todd Bozeman, Randy Monroe, Steve Bisciotti, Kimmie Meissner, Fang Mitchell, Dave Trembley, Katie Hoff, Brenda Frese, Kevin Plank, Jimmy Patsos, Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Todd Heap, Barbaro, Carmelo Anthony, Terrell Suggs, Joe DeFrancis, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mike Flanagan, Pam Shriver, Haloti Ngata, Derrick Mason, Scott McBrien, Matt Stover, Steve Blake, Melvin Mora, Steve McNair, Michael McCrary, Ray Rice, Erik Bedard, Sidney Ponson, John Rallo, Shawne Merriman, Pat Kennedy

25-Joe Flacco

flacco

24-Nick Markakis

nick

23-Ed Hale

Hale

22-Kyle Boller

boller

21-John Harbaugh

harbaugh

20-Trent Dilfer

dilfer

19-Cal Ripken Jr.

al

18-Chris McAlister

mcalister

17-Dave Pietramala

petro

16-Brian Roberts

brob

15-Paul Johnson

paulj

14-Ralph Friedgen

fridge

13-Art Modell

modell

12-Hasim Rahman

rahman

11-Ed Reed

reed

10-Jamal Lewis

jamal

The greatest offensive skill position in Ravens history-a former Rookie of the Year, NFL Player of the Year, 2,000 yard rusher, Super Bowl Champion, and single game rushing record holder. He’ll be in the Ring of Honor in the next 12 months too….

9-Juan Dixon

dixon

He’s from Baltimore. He carried Maryland to a NCAA Championship. He’s Top 3 in Glenn Clark’s book…..

8-Brian Billick

billick

He won the Super Bowl as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, but became a polarizing figure until his firing due to his inability to groom a franchise quarterback. I’m not sure I could have stomached hearing the words “offensive genius” again however….

7-Debbie Yow

yow

Her place on this list is based on a mix of her accomplishments as Athletic Director (national championships in men’s and women’s basketball, new arena, and somehow managing to balance the budget in College Park) and how many people despise her due to her testy relationship with a fella who is still to come on this list……

6-Ozzie Newsome

ozzie

Jamal Lewis. Todd Heap. Ed Reed. Terrell Suggs. Haloti Ngata. Ben Grubbs. Joe Flacco. Michael Oher.

Unfortunately, this decade also included Kyle Boller and Travis Taylor…..

5-Jonathan Ogden

jo

He will soon be the first player to go to Canton AS a Baltimore Raven, and some would argue he’s the most important player in franchise history. Those people have a legitimate argument.

4-Michael Phelps

phelps

He’s won 14 gold medals in Olympic competition. No one else ever has. I’d explain more-but if you don’t get it, you never will.

3-Peter Angelos

angelos

Not since Bob Irsay has there been a local sports figure so universally disdained by the entire town. If this were pro wrestling, Sgt. Slaughter would have looked like a babyface during his Iraq support days in compared to the level of seething hate directed towards the city’s baseball dictator. He’s killed an entire sport in a city where baseball was king. His failures are so epic I’m not certain ANYONE could have accomplished anything similar.

2-Gary Williams

gary

If it weren’t for the necessity of corporate sponsoring, it would be Gary Williams Arena-not Comcast Center. The guy will find himself in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and only Earl Weaver is ahead of him in the list of the greatest head coaches in local sports history. And while some might accuse me of blasphemy, he may be greater than even Earl.

1-Ray Lewis

ray

When #52 does something, says something, thinks something, etc…..it is ABSOLUTELY more meaningful than when anyone else in town does. He will eventually have a statue at M&T Bank Stadium-somewhere in the neighborhood of Johnny Unitas I assume. Do I need to explain further?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Top 25 Local Sports Moments of The Decade

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Top 25 Local Sports Moments of The Decade

Posted on 22 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Others Considered:
Maryland Wins Soccer Championships in ’05 & ’08
Maryland football hires Ralph Friedgen
Rachel Alexandra first filly to win Preakness in 85 years
Towson reaches 2001 NCAA Lacrosse Final Four
Michael Phelps wins 6 Gold Medals at 2004 Olympics
Big Brown wins 2008 Preakness, Smarty Jones wins 2004 Preakness, War Emblem wins 2002 Preakness
Jonathan Ogden Announces Retirement
Jamal Lewis sentenced to jail time
Hopkins Stuns Duke to Win ’07 NCAA Lax Title
Pam Shriver Enters Tennis Hall of Fame
Maryland Opens Comcast Center
Ravens Trade for Steve McNair, Steve McNair murdered
Coppin State Returns to NCAA Tournament
Salisbury wins 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 D3 Lacrosse Titles
M&T Bank Stadium hosts NCAA Lacrosse Final Four for first time
Orioles trade Bedard to Seattle for Adam Jones & George Sherrill
Baltimore Blast win titles in ’03, ’04, ’06, ’08 and ’09
Navy wins 8 straight vs. Army-7 straight C-I-C Trophies
Kimmie Meissner Wins US Figure Skating Championship
Ravens Hire John Harbaugh

25-Morgan State and UMBC Make First Trips to NCAA Tournament (2009 and 2008 respectively)

boze
randy

24-Johns Hopkins Finishes Undefeated ’05 Season with NCAA Title

hopkins

23-Preakness Bans Beer from Infield (2009)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SejCwUzRa1U[/youtube]

22-Eddie Murray Enters Baseball Hall of Fame (2003)

eddie

21-Maryland Football Claims ’01 ACC Title

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QszioOHki8[/youtube]

20-Jamal Lewis Breaks Single Game Rushing Record (2003)

jamal

19-Cal Ripken Jr. Enters Baseball Hall of Fame (2007)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5qn74GBIH4[/youtube]

18-Ravens Fire Brian Billick (2007)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N060MpjVLrg[/youtube]

17-Navy Snaps 43 Game Losing Streak at Notre Dame (2007)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehnd0seZyRg[/youtube]

16-Ravens Choose Elvis Grbac over Trent Dilfer (2001)

grbac

15-Terps Lose to Duke in Final 54  seconds, again in First Trip to Final Four (2001)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhoAuSamgr4[/youtube]

14-Ravens Lose to Steelers in Return to AFC Championship Game (2009)

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

13-Johnny Unitas Passes Away (2002)

si

While there are a number of all-time great Baltimore Colts still with us, clearly Johnny was the greatest. The time this city took to honor him (including a genuine tribute from Ravens QB Chris Redman) was well-deserved.

12-Terps win 2004 ACC Tournament

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU6lXzsVXJo[/youtube]

John Gilchrist could have run for governor in March 2004. Of course, he couldn’t have borrowed a dollar by March 2005.

11-Mike Mussina Signs with Yankees (2000)

moose

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the moment that marked the real start of the current Orioles era of darkness. The team had struggled and made poor decisions BEFORE this, but they had at least tried to spend some money and get better players. After this day, it happened very little.

10-Barbaro Collapses After Start of ’06 Preakness

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A20joY7g3dA[/youtube]

I guess this would be the “most gasping” moment of the decade, for sure. Barbaro entered the 2006 Preakness viewed more favorably as a Triple Crown contender than even Smarty Jones or Big Brown. Barbaro captivated this country after the Kentucky Derby, and even more after his collapse at Pimlico. For those of us who were there that day (and sober enough to watch the race), that image won’t leave our minds any time soon.

9-Rafael Palmeiro Busted for Steroids (2005)

raffi

Has there been a more maddening year than 2005 during this decade plus of losing than 2005? After trading for Sammy Sosa, the Birds actually found themselves……..winning!

That of course came to a crashing halt around the time of the All-Star Game; and the biggest highlight of the season (Rafael Palmeiro’s 3,000th hit) was soon completely tarnished by what I might call the biggest “we should have seen this coming” moment of the decade.

There were other steroid era moments that could have qualified, including that fateful day in front of Capitol Hill, but this was the most embarassing of all of them.

8-Maryland Women win 2005-2006 NCAA Hoops Title

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNpNRtFN1K0[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGuFhlJYyRc[/youtube]

Maybe this would be the “Hey, that’s pretty cool!” moment of the decade. It didn’t have the significance of a men’s title; but it was still a pretty awesome moment for Maryland fans everywhere. There were probably a number of Maryland fans who couldn’t have named the coach of the team before that night, but those same fans were probably guilty of saying something like “if only Gary Williams could recruit like Brenda Frese” after that night.

Also, Kristi Toliver’s shot ranks up there with Juan Dixon’s 3 against UConn and his baseline jumper against Indiana in the pantheon of great shots in Terrapins history.

7-Michael Phelps Breaks Mark Spitz’s 7 Gold Medal Record (2008)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXkjFQ1hRqA[/youtube]

The moment was made by the scene at M&T Bank Stadium. It would have been an incredible moment in Beijing no matter what, but it was an even more incredible moment for Baltimore given the fact that fans around town could stick around after the Ravens’ preseason game to watch it happen. I think I would call this the “most significant record-breaking moment” of the decade in local sports.

6-Hasim Rahman stuns Lennox Lewis for Heavyweight Title (2001)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZN6ONCH7B0[/youtube]

I would classify this as the biggest “Did you hear?” moment of the decade. Most sports fans in town didn’t just have no idea Hasim Rahman was FIGHTING for Lennox Lewis’ belts, they didn’t know who Hasim Rahman WAS. But Hasim put together one of the great knockouts in the history of heavyweight title fights; in what most American fight fans consider the last significant heavyweight title change the sport has seen. Lennox Lewis was not an “Alphabet Soup” champion who dodged the best contenders the way heavyweight champions of the last 5 or 6 years have been-he was the legitimate “Heavyweight Champion of the World.”

And thanks to one punch, a young man from Baltimore became the legitimate “Heavyweight Champion of the World” as well, at least for a short time.

5-Ravens Fall to Colts in ’07 Divisional Round

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dd-jglYaWc[/youtube]

I think this would be classified as “Biggest Emotional Letdown” of the decade. This city ABSOLUTELY identified this as the chance to exercise the demons of the Mayflower vans, and to finally move past Bob Irsay’s move from Baltimore to Indianapolis. On top of that, the 2006-07 Ravens appeared to give the city its best chance to win another Super Bowl this decade.

Obviously, none of that happened.

4-Ray Lewis Charged with murder in Atlanta (2000)

ray

I think I would describe it as the most “jaw-dropping” local sports moment of the decade. Did anything come of it? No, not really. However, this was still the best athlete in town facing charges of murder. And to this day, Ray can’t enter another NFL stadium without hearing about this moment.

3-Cal Ripken Jr. Plays Final Game with Orioles (2001)

rip

This may be too high on the list. We all knew it was coming, but it didn’t take away from the moment itself. I think the reason why I have this so high on the list anyway is because I’ve heard this phrase so many times over the last decade: “at least in the past I could go to the games and see Cal….I don’t have any reason to go anymore.”

We all hope Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Adam Jones and company will bring about change-but the last GREAT memory any of us have at Camden Yards is absolutely this moment.

2-Maryland Claims 2001-2002 NCAA Hoops Title

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EgsMpPyFhg[/youtube]

Look, it would have been Number 1 on my own personal list, and it wouldn’t have been close. But there is NO WAY it can drop below the #2 spot on anyone’s list-or you were just plain not paying attention for the better part of the decade. It was the culmination of the greatest season in Maryland history, and the crowning moment for Juan Dixon-the most significant college athlete the state of Maryland has ever seen.

1-Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV (2001)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0viE_bOYTw[/youtube]

Do I really need to explain this?

-G

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Ravens’ fight for playoff lives is nothing new

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Ravens’ fight for playoff lives is nothing new

Posted on 17 December 2009 by Luke Jones

As the Baltimore Ravens continue to grapple for a postseason spot entering Week 15 (and here’s another great source for predicting your own playoff scenarios) against the Chicago Bears, the franchise finds itself in a familiar position.

While last season’s improbable run in John Harbaugh’s first season landed Baltimore in the AFC Championship, the franchise has found itself on the playoff bubble five other times in the last 11 years. Not counting the Super Bowl season of 2000 and a franchise-best regular season record of 13-3 in 2006 (the Ravens clinched a berth in Week 15 of both seasons), the Ravens’ playoff chances have always boiled down to the final week of the season.

Here’s a look back at the other “bubble” teams in the 14-year history of the Ravens, with some teams having more success than others down the stretch.

Tony Banks and Scott Mitchell
1999: 8-8 (2-1 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: Brian Billick’s first season as head coach saw the Ravens secure their first non-losing record. Despite starting the season third on the depth chart behind Scott Mitchell and Stoney Case, Tony Banks emerged as the starting quarterback by season’s end, leading the team to impressive wins over the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers (the Ravens’ first victory in Pittsburgh). A four-game winning streak kept the Ravens in the playoff hunt entering Week 17, but Baltimore fell to the Patriots in snowy Foxboro, 20-3. The strong second half was a precursor to a Super Bowl championship a season later, though Banks would find himself replaced by Trent Dilfer by mid-season. The soon-to-be record-breaking Baltimore defense finished second in the NFL in yards allowed.

What went wrong: Billick asked fans to take a “leap of faith” with the newly-signed—and much-maligned—Mitchell, and the experiment lasted all of 56 passing attempts and four interceptions in two losses to begin the season. The Ravens got off to a 4-7 start, too much to overcome despite the strong play of the defense and the emergence of Banks and new receiver Qadry Ismail down the stretch.

Terry Allen
2001: 10-6 (2-1 in final three weeks), Wild Card

Synopsis: Looking to defend their Super Bowl title by improving the offense, the Ravens replaced Dilfer with former Pro Bowl quarterback Elvis Grbac who struggled to win over his teammates and win games. Running back Jamal Lewis suffered a torn ACL in the first week of training camp, and the Ravens employed a committee of Terry Allen, Jason Brookins, and Moe Williams for the ground attack. Needing a win in Week 17 against the Vikings on a Monday night, the Ravens clinched a Wild Card spot with a 16-3 victory behind Allen’s 133 rushing yards and a bruising defensive performance.

What went right: While Ravens fans hold Grbac responsible for failing to repeat, the team literally had its legs cut out from under it with the loss of Lewis before the season started. While the defense could not match its record-setting numbers of a season earlier, it still finished second in yards allowed and fourth in points surrendered. Signed off the street during training camp, Allen provided an admirable effort with Brookins and Williams providing assistance. With Grbac struggling and fans clamoring for Randall Cunningham to replace him, Billick used the running game and the still-stellar defense to get into the playoffs and earn a road victory over the Dolphins in the first round before falling in Pittsburgh the next week, 27-10.

Jeff Blake
2002: 7-9 (1-2 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: In what was perhaps Billick’s best coaching job in his nine years as Ravens coach, the 2002 team managed to stay in the playoff hunt entering the final two weeks of the season despite saying goodbye to key veterans Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, Tony Siragusa, and numerous others in the salary cap purge of the Super Bowl roster. The Ravens looked to be one of the worst teams in the NFL and got off to an 0-2 start before rebounding in a huge Monday night victory over the Broncos. Jamal Lewis returned from his lost 2001 season to rush for 1,327 yards, Todd Heap earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and linebacker Ed Hartwell and rookie safety Ed Reed led the defense after Ray Lewis went down with a shoulder injury early in the season. Back-to-back losses to the Browns and Steelers to close the season ended the Ravens’ improbable playoff hopes but could not devalue a very surprising season.

What went wrong: The team could not find consistency at the quarterback position with Chris Redman suffering a back injury and veteran Jeff Blake struggling with consistency. The loss of Lewis coupled with an inexperienced unit caused the defense to fall to 22nd in the NFL despite the encouraging development of several young players. Three out of four losses to end the season sealed the young team’s fate.

Jamal Lewis
2003: 10-6 (2-1 in final three weeks), AFC North champion

Synopsis: The Lewises reigned in 2003. While Ray Lewis earned his second Defensive Player of the Year award, the real story of the season was Jamal Lewis, who became just the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Lewis’ 295 rushing yards against the Browns in Week 2 set a new NFL record and created the identity for the Ravens’ offense. Rookie Kyle Boller struggled before going down with a quadriceps injury, and journeyman Anthony Wright took the reins of the offense. The team clinched the AFC North title in Week 17 when the Browns knocked off the Bengals earlier in the day, but the Ravens knocked off the Steelers in overtime for good measure. Baltimore would fall at home in the Wild Card round the following week when the Titans stifled Lewis and the running game.

What went right: Jamal Lewis’ historic season made up for an otherwise ineffective offense. The defense finished third overall and was led by Ray Lewis and emerging star Ed Reed. Eight players made the Pro Bowl including both Lewises, Reed, Heap, Jonathan Ogden, Adalius Thomas, Peter Boulware, and Chris McAlister. With the Ravens struggling at 5-5, Wright threw four touchdown passes to Marcus Robinson in an improbable 44-41 comeback win against the Seahawks to initiate a three-game winning streak. However, an ugly loss to Oakland in Week 15 forced the Ravens to win their final two games to clinch the North. Lewis was up to the challenge as he shredded the Browns again for 205 yards and eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark against the Steelers with 114 yards in the overtime win to conclude the regular season.

Kyle Boller
2004: 9-7 (1-2 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: Following the script from the previous season, the 2004 squad struggled with consistency, as Boller completed his first full season as the starting quarterback. Once again, the defense led the way with Reed earning the Defensive Player of the Year honor, keeping the award in the Charm City for the second year in a row. A three-game winning streak in the middle of the season put the Ravens at 7-3 and on the short track to the playoffs, but losing four of five down the stretch placed their playoffs hopes on life support at 8-7. Needing a victory over the Dolphins and three other teams to lose in Week 17, the Ravens held up their end of the bargain in a 30-23 victory but didn’t receive enough help to steal a postseason spot.

What went wrong: With Jamal Lewis facing the repercussions of federal drug-related charges and serving a two-game suspension during the season, the offense plummeted to 31st in the league. Boller showed flashes of promise but lacked any consistent receiving threat with Heap missing most of the season with an ankle injury. Even with the struggles on offense, the Ravens controlled their own destiny down the stretch but lost road games to the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts and suffered a heartbreaking loss at home to the Bengals over a five-game stretch. The Ravens’ inability to win any one of these games ultimately sealed their fate.

Le'Ron McClain
2008: 11-5 (2-1 in final three weeks), Wild Card

Synopsis: With a rookie coach and quarterback, the 2008 Ravens were viewed as a rebuilding team with little chance of making noise in the AFC. However, Harbaugh reunited a divided locker room, and Flacco played more like a grizzled veteran than a quarterback playing at Delaware a season earlier. The three-headed attack of Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice combined for over 2,000 rushing yards, and a veteran defense finished second overall. After struggling to a 2-3 start, the Ravens won nine of their last 11 games to clinch a Wild Card spot with a 27-7 victory over the Jaguars in Week 17.

What went right: Nearly every move the Ravens made turned to gold as they marched deep into the playoffs. After receiving only eight carries in his rookie season, McClain came out of nowhere to rush for 902 yards to lead the ground attack, taking the pressure off the rookie Flacco. After getting off to a slow start due to a lingering neck and shoulder condition, Reed completed one of the greatest defensive stretches in NFL history by intercepting eight passes and scoring two touchdowns over the season’s final six weeks. After losing to the Steelers at home due to a controversial Santonio Holmes touchdown, the Ravens needed to steal one on the road against the Cowboys. Instead, motivated by rumors that they were handpicked as an easy opponent in the Texas Stadium finale, the Ravens dominated the Cowboys in a 33-24 victory. With a Week 17 win that was more of a formality than a challenge, the Ravens entered the playoffs and won two road games before falling to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 04 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Villanova 80, Maryland 73

The Terps aren’t a bad team, but Villanova is a GREAT team. This DOES have the feeling of the years when Maryland would stun teams like Stanford and Kansas at Verizon Center; but I just can’t make the pick.

Morgan State 69, Coppin State 57

If the Bears hadn’t lost 2 straight coming in, I’d probably pick the Eagles to win their opener in their new building. I just don’t think I could see Todd Bozeman’s club losing 3 straight.

Hofstra 84, Towson 72

Charles Jenkins will have 31 points for the Pride, who are just a bit better than the Tigers.

Toledo 72, UMBC 68

I think this one will be remarkably similar to some other losses the Retrievers have suffered this season.

Loyola 77, Canisius 71

But the “Golden Griffins” are still one of the cooler names in college hoops…

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Jarret Johnson followed Packers, rooted for Reggie White growing up

Nestor Aparicio says WNST holding 2 ‘indoor tailgates’ in Green Bay

Bob Haynie wonders whether Greg Mattison or Cam Cameron has done better job in ‘09

Mark Suchy hopes Nets surpass Orioles’ 0-21 start

Ed Frankovic says Semin tallied 4 points for Caps in win over Panthers

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Charles Woodson big part of reason why Packers have Number 1 defense

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ray Lewis thinks Green Bay has addressed O-Line issues

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbs doesn’t think former Packer Tony Moll can help Ravens any more than former Raven Derrick Martin can help Packers

The Official Site says Packers coach Mike McCarthy loves playing in cold, snow

The Official Site says Mark Clayton doesn’t ‘even think about’ drop in New England

The Official Site says Harbaugh thinks Dom Capers has been ‘creative’ in leading Packers defense to #1 ranking in NFL

Packers Official Site’s Mike Spofford says Ryan Grant knows Packers must take care of football vs. Ravens

Packers Official Site’s Tom Fanning says Greg Jennings knows Packers will have to run ball in cold weather

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Rice learning from Ray Lewis, Willis McGahee

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens can’t fail to get to Aaron Rodgers, let Charles Woodson change game, struggle in first half

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens need to ride Ray Rice, force turnovers, get production from Chris Carr

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Paul Kruger still ‘developmental player’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Domonique Foxworth believes secondary battling Packers AND elements Monday night at Lambeau Field

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says it’s too early to judge Ravens’ performance in ’09 NFL Draft

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens need to go with Rice, McGahee, McClain to reach playoffs

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ngata, Dwan Edwards battled over “Civil War” in Ravens locker room

The Sun’s Ken Murray says coming out of game with head injury would be ‘hard decision’ for 52

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Le’Ron McClain, Jared Gaither, Kelley Washington, LJ Smith, Prescott Burgess, KJ Gerard all missed practice Thursday

6 of 7 Sun analysts pick Packers

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Flacco thinks ankle ‘feels really good’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens averaging just 1.9 sacks per game this season

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says former Raven Gano succeeded in UFL

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Ray Lewis looks at end of Jamal Lewis’ career fondly

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein says Aaron Rodgers has troubling memories of Monday Night Football debut against Ravens in ‘05

Green Bay Press Gazette’s Rob Demovsky says Brandon Jackson giving Packers ‘spark’ on 3rd down

Wisconsin State Journal’s Tom Oates says Ravens, Packers both like playing ‘physical football’

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 29-17

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Ravens 27-23

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Packers can determine AFC Wild Card race

ESPN.com’s James Walker thinks Ravens ‘hit’ on Oher, Kruger, Webb

ESPN.com’s James Walker says most experts don’t see Jamal Lewis as Hall of Fame-worthy

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says BB&T Classic close to ‘sellout’

Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg says former Terp Byron Mouton still beloved in area

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

The AP says Terps topped Minnesota in Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Comcast Center

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer says just one Golden Gopher reached double digits in loss to Maryland

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Kim Rodgers lead Terps with 14 points in win

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Kizer chipped in 10 points in win

Turtle Sports Report’s Josh Vitale says Tchatchouang scored 13 points in win over Gophers

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken recaps season for commit Nate Clarke

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says ’09 season ‘particularly gruesome’ for Ralph

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Debbie Yow will be in same situation next year if Terps don’t go 7-5

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Fridge met with QB commit Devin Burns (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Travis Ivey was ‘emotional’ on Senior Day (must subscribe)

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says tickets on sale now for Tigers football banquet

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s MAAC opener at Canisius

The Official Site offers complete Greyhounds-Golden Griffins release (pdf)

STEVENSON LACROSSE:

Inside Lacrosse’s Jon Brand says Mustangs picked 2nd in pre-season D3 poll

Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns says Jimmy Dailey, Steve Kazimer preseason All-Americans

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Mountaineers fell to Robert Morris in rematch of last year’s NEC Championship Game

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

Frederick News-Post says Jeremy Goode lead Eers with 15 points in defeat

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s tilt with Penn

The Official Site offers complete Midshipmen-Quakers release (pdf)

NAVY FOOTBALL:

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Navy AD Gladchuk believes moving game back a week allows rivalry to be ‘focal point nationally’

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says new Army coach Rich Ellerson gives new ‘life’ to Army/Navy rivalry

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says Mids could have moved into Top 25 with win over Hawaii (must subscribe)

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde could be free agent closer options for Birds

CRYSTAL PALACE USA:

The Official Site says Palace partnering with WNST, Craig Willinger Fund for World Cup Draw party today at Della Rose’s

Examiner Jeff Hemelt says Palace/WNST event will include $1.50 Bud Light draft specials

BALTIMORE BULLETS:

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman ‘catches up with’ Gene Shue

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Kudos to Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen for being involved in the community over these 14 days.

Talk to you later from Owings Mills.

-G

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Three Thursday Thoughts

Posted on 03 December 2009 by Mark Suchy

So much has already been written and opined about Tiger Woods’ “transgressions” that I don’t rightly believe I have much new insight to offer, other than this:

Divorce is painful.  But perhaps not as painful as attempting to salvage a marriage where one partner has been unfaithful.

I certainly don’t know how Tiger and Elin Woods relate to one another as people, let alone husband and wife.  But I do know, from personal experience and from people close to me, just how terribly difficult it is to repair a relationship that has suffered the infidelity of one partner (or both, in some cases).  It’s extremely difficult.  Trust has been forever broken, and will never be the same.  Guilt, abandonment, loss of self esteem, and anger are just a few of the multiple emotions each partner will feel.  Nothing between a couple will ever be the same.  Ever.

All I know with certainty is that I would never trade places with Tiger Woods for all the money in his bank account.  The constant life under a microscope has to be draining.  The unwanted attention and lack of privacy has to be maddening.  The glamour just doesn’t justify the sacrifice of being unknown.  The pressure to be on your best behavior publicly at all times has to be overwhelming. 

I’m not condoning Tiger’s behavior.  I’m also not condemning it.  The truth is, in this instant media age we live in, nobody gets away with anything any more.  Money, power, prestige, none of it makes any of us immune.  And the world is all too quick to tear down in an instant those we’ve spent years building up.  So Tiger now joins the mainstream in his humanity. 

To any of you who have lived through a similarly painful episode, there really isn’t any humor to be found here.  It’s profoundly sad, actually, and I take no satisfaction in discovering that Tiger is/was a philanderer.  His humiliation is real, as is his wife’s pain.  Should they decide to “work through this together”, then I salute them for their courage and conviction and belief in their partnership.  Should they decide to “go their seperate ways”, then I completely understand and wish their children, more than anyone involved in this sordid episode, strength and love.

Much more will be chronicled, obviously, as regards this situation.  But not from me.  Because I know all too well.  Let them figure it out in private.  It’s only right and decent and fair.

Not that it will matter to the media, or to millions of others who want to keep following this “story”.

**********

Jamal Lewis’ football career has ended rather quietly and anonymously.  He was placed on Injured Reserve by the Cleveland Browns today.  I just wanted to take a moment and remember one of the all-time great Baltimore Ravens.  For a man who ran so loudly, JLew sure was quiet.  He was never a trash-talker, never a “bulletin board” quote type of player, never a “look at me” guy.  Just a hard running bruiser who gave it out as good as he got.  I’ll always remember him running through defensive backs and linebackers, shoulders squared, huge legs churning, just delivering absolute punishment.  I really believe Jamal could have played running back in any era of football.  His style was ageless.  Maybe not graceful, but definitely ageless.  The essence of the game has never changed: to be stronger, tougher and more relentless than your opponent.  Jamal Lewis was the epitome of that.  I think it’s highly doubtful we’ll ever see another running back in purple quite like him.

Here’s to #31!  See you in the Ravens’ Ring Of Honor!  Hopefully next year!

**********

I know the NBA is a bit “under the radar” here in Baltimore, but have you noticed the New Jersey Nets have lost their first 18 games this season?  Ah, memories of the Spring of ’88 here in Baltimore!  I, for one, am rooting intensely for 0 – 22.  Just so we can see more Pete Stanicek, Jeff Stone and Ken Gerhart recollections on SportsCenter as they chronicle the worst teams all-time from all sports.

It’s strange how much I’ve come to embrace those ’88 Orioles and their infamous 0 – 21 start.  As drastic and awful and hopeless as they were, I still remember believing in the franchise’s ability to turn things around and never return to such depths.  After all, they were the Baltimore Orioles, and they had the “Oriole Way”.  This was just the lowest depth in franchise history, and there was nowhere to go but up, right?  And they did, immediately, with the unforgettable “Why Not?” season of 1989.

After all, it wouldn’t be possible, ever, for a franchise with such tradition and history to suffer through something like, oh, say, eleven consecutive losing seasons.  Right?

Right?

**********

Talk to everyone tomorrow at noon on The Bob Haynie Show.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 03 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

I REALLY enjoyed the Towson/UMBC game last night. It was pretty good basketball and a surprisingly great atmosphere for the cross-town rivalry. Games like that last night are a reminder to me of why Drew Forrester is ABSOLUTELY correct in saying this city needs the “Battle of Baltimore” again.says Matt Birk thinks Packers’ December success on “Frozen Tundra” more to do with team’s success than weather

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark

Drew Forrester says Troy Franklin made huge steel in final minute to seal victory for Tigers

Tom Clayton says Gary Williams’ team likely to be better in February than in November

Drew Forrester thinks Billy Wagner might regret picking Braves over Birds

Glenn Clark says 10 different opponents to visit Ed Smith Stadium during Orioles Spring Training

Ed Frankovic says Boudreau doesn’t want Caps’ Ovechkin to change how he plays

Eric Aaronson says Brendon Haywood contributing to Wizards beyond Jamison, Butler, Arenas

RAVENS:says Harbaugh thinks Ravens have ‘six starting O-Linemen’ with both Marshal Yanda, Chris Chester

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Mark Clayton amongst Ravens ‘excited’ for chance to play at Lambeau Field

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says beating Packers would be major step in reaching playoffs

The Official Site’s Mallory Steinberg says Parmele, Oher, Heap, Mason, McKinney amongst Ravens involved in community this week

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Clayton not bothered that Flacco goes to Mason, Rice so much

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Sam Koch thinks punting in bitter cold like ‘punting a brick’

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Tony Moll loved playing for community in Green Bay

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens could struggle to get going early in Green Bay

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Jamal Lewis’ career will end with trip to IR

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Charles Woodson ‘exceptional cornerback’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ray Lewis only player on roster to have been with Ravens for last trip to Green Bay

Green Bay Press Gazette’s Tom Pelissero says Katula will have big cheering section in native Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lori Nickel says Dom Capers’ Green Bay defense wants to remain #1 in NFL

USA Today’s Sean Leahy says NFL admitted to mistake before Cundiff’s missed FG to end regulation against Steelers

5 of 8 USA Today analysts pick Packers

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer picks Packers 30-27

4 of 7 Sporting News analysts pick Ravens

3 of 3 NFL Network analysts pick Packers

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco picks Packers 31-21

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:says Landon Milbourne thought zone defense ‘threw (Indiana’s) offense off a little bit’

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says Tom Crean was livid with how Hoosiers fans treated Vasquez Tuesday night

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Gary Williams went with Jin Soo Choi ahead of Cliff Tucker Tuesday night in Bloomington

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Gary wasn’t thinking about Villanova Tuesday night

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Gary thought Vasquez delivered ‘great performance’ Tuesday night at Assembly Hall

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:previews tonight’s battle with Minnesota at Comcast Center in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

The Official Site

The Official Site offers complete Terps/Gophers release (pdf)says Frese facing former team in Minnesota tonight at Comcast Center

The Diamondback’s Jonas Shaffer

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:says Terrapin Club President Jaklitsch believes Friedgen on ‘keep the faith’ campaign

The Sun’s Jeff Barker

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps avoid Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech on next season’s schedule

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell offers transcript of Friedgen’s letter to season ticket holders

Washington Times’ Ryan O’Halloran says Navy, Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke all “must win” games for Terps in ‘10

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Fridge plans to spend next two months recruiting before making staff/philosophy decisions (must subscribe)says Torrey Smith took ‘leadership’ role after Boston College game (must subscribe)says Titus Till amongst future Terps excited to hear Friedgen returning to College Park

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh

Inside MD Sports’ Jeff Ermann

TOWSON BASKETBALL:says Nwankwo tallied 17 points, 14 rebounds for Tigers in win

The Official Site

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The Sun’s Jeff Seidel says Pat Kennedy happy to see Nwankwo remain ‘active’ in victory

Examiner Matthew Schlissel says Josh Thornton scored 23 points for Tigers in win over Retrievers

UMBC BASKETBALL:says Shawn Grant’s 28 not enough as Retrievers fell at Towson Center

The Official Site

MORGAN BASKETBALL:previews Saturday’s trip to Coppin State

The Official Site

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:previews Saturday’s trip to Wesley in NCAA Tournament quarterfinals

The Official Site

The Official Site offers complete JHU-Wesley release (pdf)says Matt Stover helped Alex Lachman, Blue Jays

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman

LOYOLA LACROSSE:says Hounds picked to win ECAC by Inside Lacrosse

The Official Site

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:previews tonight’s NEC opener at Robert Morris

The Official Site

The Official Site offers complete Mountaineers-Colonials release (pdf)previews next Saturday’s battle with Army in Philadelphia

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Niumatalolo knows Midshipmen must move past Hawaii loss ‘quickly’

SALISBURY FOOTBALL:says Cynewski to represent Gulls in Mexico City All-Star Game

The Official Site

ORIOLES:says Red Sox to visit Sarasota 3 times during Spring Training

The Sun

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Birds not playing Nationals in Spring Training

Examiner Jay Trucker says O’s open Spring Training play March 3 against Rays

BALTIMORE MARINERS:says D-Lineman Adam Foley returns to AIFA team

The Official Site

SWIMMING:says Michael Phelps understands ‘humanization of super-athlete’ Tiger Woods going through now

SwimNetwork.com’s Mike Gustafson

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Gotta run out to Owings Mills.

Talk to you from there.

-G

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Ray Rice Continues Unquestionable Team MVP Performance in Win Over Steelers

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

I’ve been known to fawn all over a football player or two during my life.

There have been NUMEROUS times since the Ravens franchise entered our lives that I have looked at the TV screen and uttered the words “Thank God ______ plays for the Ravens.” The most frequent names I’ve used in that sentence have been Michael McCrary, Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister and Derrick Mason.

On Sunday night, I found myself uttering another name; a name that I have been praising since the season began.

“Thank God Ray Rice plays for the Ravens.”

With another 155 total yards (88 rushing, 67 receiving) in a 20-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Rice has now gone over 100 total yards of offense in 8 consecutive games. He has 1,403 total yards on the season (821 rushing, 582 receiving); and warrants even more praise than what John Harbaugh could think of after the game. (“He’s a player” is what the coach exclaimed.)

I don’t mean to turn this into a drool session, or an awkward “man crush” revelation; but it is hard to avoid such things when I look at this game. When this team most needed him, Ray Rice ran a perfect play; and turned from a game-extender to a game-changer.

Facing a 4thand 5 with 3:31 to play in the 4th quarter, a 17-14 deficit and just 1 timeout remaining; Joe Flacco found Ray Rice in stride for a first down.

And then some.

Ray moved the ball all the way down to the 10 yard live of the Steelers, a gain of 44 yards. The Ravens would ultimately cash in a Billy Cundiff field goal; which would tie the game and send it to overtime. But the significance of the play cannot be underestimated.

It wasn’t JUST a 4th down catch. A 4th down catch that gained 10 yards would have been easily forgotten had the Ravens failed to get another first down on the drive and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of their AFC North rival.

Instead, Rice moved forward-dodging defenders-until the Ravens were in absolute scoring position. It was the type of play that changed the attitude of every person inside M&T Bank Stadium.

It isn’t the first time he’s been asked to make a play in the clutch, either. Rice has been targeted in key situations throughout the season; including just a week ago-when Joe Flacco looked to him late in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts; only to have Gary Brackett make an interception. But faced with a similar situation Sunday night, there was no fear in going right back to the man who has been the team’s most productive offensive player.

The Ravens wanted to run their offense around one player this season. Cam Cameron wanted the offense to be based around one man, who could carry the football team in every situation they faced. They took out the gadget (or “Suggs Package”) plays with Troy Smith because they didn’t want the game out of the hands of their most productive player.

And while Joe Flacco has played a little under expectations, they’ve gotten the offensive game-changer they so badly desired. He wears #27.

Credit Mark Clayton, Paul Kruger, Michael Oher, Jared Gaither, Billy Cundiff and a number of other Ravens who made VERY significant contributions in a VERY significant win. But in the most important moment of the most important game of the season; it was Rice delivered once more. With the bright lights of NBC’s national “Sunday Night Football” broadcast on him, he answered the call.

And come Monday morning, he’ll be the biggest reason why this team is 6-5 and tied for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.

That’s the definition of a team MVP.

-G

——————————————————-

NOTES:

-Hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Paul Kruger, Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, Jarret Johnson, Billy Cundiff and Ray Lewis in the Audio Vault at WNST.net following the win.
-The Ravens reported FB Le’Ron McClain (abdominal strain) and LB Prescott Burgess (hamstring) were team’s only injuries stemming from the win. No further information was available for either player. QB Joe Flaccosaid he “re-rolled” his injured ankle during the game but felt better after he re-taped it. LB Ray Lewis was heard VERY AUDIBLY saying “My foot is killing me” with media members standing near his locker; but claimed it was “good” when asked about it after the game.
-The Ravens reached double digit points (14) in the first half for the first time since a win over the Browns in Week 3.
-At 6-5, the Ravens are now tied with the Steelers and Jaguars for the final playoff spot in the AFC.
-This is the first overtime win of Joe Flacco’s career; also the first win over the Steelers.
-Harbaugh was quick to deflect any questions about the Steelers playing without Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu, and credited Dennis Dixon as “a player” who the Ravens really liked coming out of college.

-G

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Ravens Silence Browns, But Doubters Will Remain Particularly Vocal

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens were 16-0 winners over the Cleveland Browns Monday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium. They were dominant defensively throughout the game, allowing just 160 yards of offense to Eric Mangini’s team; and never allowed their AFC North foe to advance the ball farther than the Baltimore 45 yard line. They forced 2 Brady Quinn interceptions (one of which Dawan Landry returned for a TD), and allowed Jamal Lewis just 36 yards on the ground. Coach John Harbaugh said the team played “tremendously well” on the defensive side of the football.

Sadly, the good news basically ends there.

The Ravens continued to show many of the bad signs that had caused the team to go 1-4 in the last 5 games. Joe Flacco managed just 155 yards passing, and didn’t lead a scoring drive until the 3rd quarter. The offensive line allowed 3 sacks from Rob Ryan’s defense-including 2 from David Bowens-who will not exactly be confused with Jared Allen any time soon. They were penalized 7 more times (for 43 yards), and had 7 drives end in punts. Steve Hauschka missed another field goal, and had an extra point attempt blocked.

With the game tied 0-0 at the half, it was an eerily similar script for this football team. They had failed to score in the first half of their loss to the Bengals a week ago, scored just 6 points in the first half of a win over the Broncos 2 weeks ago, 3 points in the first half of a loss to the Vikings 4 weeks ago, 7 points in the first half of a loss to the Bengals 5 weeks ago, and 7 points in the first half of a loss to the Patriots 5 weeks ago.

The win will be immense for a team who needed to keep pace in the AFC playoff race. At 5-4, they stand just a game behind the Chargers and Broncos (who they hold a tiebreaker over-and who are tied for the lead in the AFC West), as well as the Steelers (who they still play two games against). It is even more important considering the brutal stretch they face over the next 3 weeks (vs. Colts, vs. Steelers, @Packers), which John Harbaugh described as “everything for (their) season.”

But the doubters will be out in force this week. They’ll describe the Browns as in inferior opponent who the Ravens had no business but to shut out. They’ll say Steve Hauschka must be cut, and the team needs to sign a new kicker like Mike Nugent or Billy Cundiff (this will be especially tough this week with Matt Stover returning on the Indianapolis sideline). They’ll say the Ravens still can’t do enough offensively to keep up with the best teams in the NFL.

And they might be right.

The good news for the Ravens is that they’re less than a week away from getting a real chance to prove them wrong.

-G

————-

INJURIES: Terrell Suggs (knee sprain-was in an aircast after the game and declined comment to the media; Harbaugh said the injury was “not catastrophic”), Haruki Nakamura (broken ankle-Harbaugh described injury as “stunning” to team’s emotions), Todd Heap (bruised chest), Tavares Gooden (left game with concussion)

AUDIO: Hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Dawan Landry, Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, Steve Hauschka and Trevor Pryce NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net

CHEAP SHOTS: Trevor Pryce declined to answer when asked if he thought Brady Quinn’s hit on Terrell Suggs was a “cheap shot”, but he said we could “read between the lines.” Dwan Edwards said his hit on Joshua Cribbs on the last play of the game was NOT retribution for the hit on Suggs.

HARBAUGH ISN’T TALKING: John Harbaugh will NOT conduct his weekly press conference tomorrow afternoon as was expected. He will not be available again until Wednesday. The team has tomorrow off.

RAY RICE: Surpassed 100 total yards of offense for the 6th consecutive game. Which is particularly impressive.

HAUSCHKA’S FUTURE: John Harbaugh said the team will continue to evaluate Steve Hauschka and the kicking position, as they have been doing for weeks. He described Hauschka’s performance as “disappointing”, said Hauschka needs to kick “with more confidence”,  and said the blocked extra point “shouldn’t happen.”

-G

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