Tag Archive | "James Harrison"

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Former Steeler Harrison, Amendola drawing interest from Ravens

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Luke Jones

The best rivalry in the NFL has taken some hits over the last couple years due to retirements and anticipated free-agent departures, but a piece of news on Tuesday could breathe instant life into showdowns between the Ravens and Steelers.

A source told WNST.net that the Ravens have reached out to former Steelers linebacker James Harrison and the organization is apparently interested in acquiring the services of the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Harrison was released last weekend after the Steelers and agent Bill Parise were unable to come to terms on a renegotiation. The 34-year-old was scheduled to make $6.57 million this year and was previously signed through the 2014 season.

Originally signed by Pittsburgh as a rookie free agent in 2002, Harrison spent some time with the Ravens organization — and was allocated to NFL Europe — before he was re-signed by the Steelers and eventually exploded onto the scene by becoming a starter in 2007. After making five straight Pro Bowls and accumulating 54 sacks from 2007 through 2011, Harrison was limited to just six sacks in 13 games last season.

For the right price, Harrison could be a good short-term fit to fill the situational pass rusher role previously held by Paul Kruger, who signed a $41 million contract with the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. However, it’s fair to wonder how much production Harrison has left in the tank with his 35th birthday coming up in May.

Another name to keep an eye on is St. Louis Rams free-agent wide receiver Danny Amendola, who has reportedly drawn some interest from the Ravens in light of the trade of Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. However, there has been some conflicting information as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday morning that the Ravens haven’t shown interest in the wideout.

The 5-foot-11 slot receiver made 63 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games as Sam Bradford’s primary target in 2012.

Amendola was an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech in 2008 but eventually found a niche with the St. Louis Rams. Injuries have been a concern for the 27-year-old Amendola over the last two seasons as a broken arm cost him nearly the entire 2011 season and suffered a dislocated clavicle last season.

No one should confuse his ability in the slot with the physical approach of Boldin over the last three seasons, but Amendola could be a nice fit as a part of the equation to replace Boldin’s production in the Baltimore offense.

According to a Pro Football Talk report, Amendola is planning to visit two teams in free agency, but those teams have yet to be disclosed.

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Steelers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Steelers

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Joe Flacco pass intended for Tandon Doss incomplete (4th quarter)

4. Charlie Batch pass intended for Isaac Redman incomplete, Ravens challenge and ruling upheld (3rd quarter)

3. Anquan Boldin called for offensive pass interference after 17 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 11 (3rd quarter)

2. Paul Kruger called for roughing the passer on Charlie Batch 10 yard completion to Mike Wallace (4th quarter)

1. Ziggy Hood recovers Joe Flacco fumble at Baltimore 27 after James Harrison sack (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Steelers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Steelers

Posted on 20 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Corey Graham intercepts Byron Leftwich pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders on 3rd & 8 (3rd quarter)

4. Corey Graham breaks up Byron Leftwich pass intended for Jerricho Cotchery in endzone (3rd quarter)

3. Brett Keisel defensive offsides negates James Harrison sack on 3rd & 7 (4th quarter)

2. James Ihedigbo sacks Byron Leftich for seven yard loss on 3rd & 11 (4th quarter)

1. Jacoby Jones 63 yard TD return of Drew Butler punt (1st quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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After going 92 yards, where will Flacco, Ravens go from here?

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After going 92 yards, where will Flacco, Ravens go from here?

Posted on 07 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the shadow of his own end zone and only 2:24 remaining at a raucous Heinz Field, Joe Flacco stood 92 yards away from the biggest regular-season win of his four-year career.

For observers who have followed Flacco and the Ravens closely over his brief NFL career, it might as well have been 92 miles with the multiple hazards of the Pittsburgh defense waiting for him across the line of scrimmage.

We’d seen this story before — several times, in fact — and the ending was all too predictable.

To everyone but Flacco and the Ravens, apparently.

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“You don’t have anything to lose,” said Flacco in describing his mindset at the start of the drive. “You either score or you don’t score.”

On every play, Ravens supporters braced themselves for the inevitable James Harrison sack-and-strip that would end the game. They prepared themselves emotionally for the Troy Polamalu interception that would propel Steelers fans into a frenzy and send the Ravens home with another crushing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

Instead, Flacco continued to complete passes, moving the Ravens into Pittsburgh territory. Would this be the tease of all Flacco teases, or would the Ravens actually get it done?

Despite critical drops from Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin just moments earlier, Flacco never wavered as he once again threw to Smith for the game-winning 26-yard touchdown with eight seconds remaining to beat the Steelers on their home turf. With apologies to the 40-yard drive he orchestrated in the final seconds last year against these same Steelers — without Ben Roethlisberger — in Pittsburgh, the words still feel foreign a day later.

Channeling Teddy Roosevelt after the game, coach John Harbaugh addressed the many critics who have questioned Flacco and his ability to beat the Steelers when it matters most. He repeated those same words Monday in his Owings Mills press conference.

“It’s not the critic who counts,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not the man who points out where the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. It’s the man who’s actually in the arena.”

Anyone invested in the Ravens in some form or another have tossed their hat into the ring of trying to assess who Flacco is and where he’s going.

In a year highlighted by his inconsistency, the 26-year-old provided the signature moment of his career that both validated his supporters and silenced those questioning his ability — for the time being, anyway. For as exciting as the heroics were in Pittsburgh on Sunday night — allowing the Ravens to complete only their second regular-season sweep of the Steelers — eight games remain before Flacco and the Ravens can really begin to answer the question of how far they can really go after getting past the inconquerable mountain that’s been Pittsburgh for a second time this season.

“It doesn’t mean much if you go out and don’t win your next game and then your next game and your next game,” Harbaugh said. “At the end, it’s how many wins you have compared to how somebody else has and then the tiebreakers come in at that point. You just have to keep stacking wins.”

Sunday’s win promises nothing about Flacco or the Ravens. As they now turn their attention to the Seattle Seahawks, they will be faced with the question of responding emotionally after deflating efforts in Tennessee and Jacksonville that resulted in unexpected losses earlier this season.

Opponents will care little about the accomplishment of getting past the hated Steelers. In order to truly validate themselves in the aftermath of two victories over Pittsburgh, the Ravens must continue to grow.

The 92-yard drive doesn’t transform Flacco into an elite quarterback or suddenly erase the questions about his consistency. But, it does prove the former Delaware signal-caller is capable of winning a football game in the lion’s den under the most difficult of circumstances, to borrow an expression of a former Baltimore coach.

Will those 92 yards catapult Flacco to the next tier of quarterbacks? Will the late scoring drive put the Ravens on the road to Indianapolis in February?

Or was it just one special drive and win that will only madden observers further if the Ravens and Flacco find themselves in similar positions to what we saw in Nashville and Jacksonville?

As Harbaugh likes to say, it’s a week-to-week thing.

But if Sunday did anything, it sure made the potential future for Flacco and the Ravens a lot more interesting.

If he did it once, what’s stopping him from doing it again?

 

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday night

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Sunday night

Posted on 05 November 2011 by Luke Jones

Little needs to be said about what’s at stake when the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh for the first time since their crushing 31-24 defeat in the divisional playoffs last January. The winner of Sunday night’s game gains control of the division — with apologies to the unproven Bengals — and emerges with the psychological upper hand should these teams meet again in January.

Sunday night marks the 32nd all-time meeting between the Ravens and Steelers in the regular season, with Pittsburgh holding an 18-13 edge. The Ravens will attempt to win their second straight regular-season game at Heinz Field and only their sixth game ever in Pittsburgh. Eight of the last 10 meetings (postseason included) between the teams have been decided by one score or less despite the Ravens’ 35-7 beating of the Steelers in Week 1.

The Ravens are 3-1 on Sunday Night Football during the John Harbaugh era, but Sunday marks the first time Baltimore has played on the road for Sunday Night Football since the game moved to NBC in 2006.

A win would give the Ravens a 6-2 start for the second consecutive year and for the third time in team history (2006 being the other).

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Here’s what to expect when the Ravens travel to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers to complete the season series …

1. Ray Rice will gain enough yardage to offset the Steelers’ edge in the passing game. The Ravens bulled over the Pittsburgh defense to the tune of 170 rushing yards as an offensive line playing together for the first time exceeded even the most optimistic expectations in the regular-season opener. Ben Grubbs hasn’t played since then as the group has failed to reach that same level of dominance in his absence. The left guard will be a game-time decision, but it’s no coincidence Grubbs appears primed to return against the Steelers. Pittsburgh holds the edge at quarterback, but the Ravens can offset Ben Roethlisberger’s advantage over Joe Flacco by being productive enough on the ground to help control the clock and keep the Steelers’ passing game off the field. Pittsburgh’s run defense has improved, but Arizona and New England aren’t exactly dominant ground teams. Arian Foster ran for 155 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew gained 96 against the Pittsburgh defense, so it’s not out of the question for Rice to run for 80 yards on the ground — in addition to what he provides as a receiver out of the backfield.

2. The Ravens will win the turnover battle against a Pittsburgh defense that hasn’t created takeaways all season. Unsurprisingly, the teams find themselves occupying the top two spots in total defense, but a dramatic difference lies in their ability to create turnovers. Baltimore’s 16 takeaways is tied for second in the AFC while the Steelers have only forced three turnovers through their first eight games, last in the NFL. On the flip side, the Ravens and Steelers have each turned the ball over 13 times. Critics will point to Flacco’s inability to protect the football, but the Steelers’ preference to throw plays right into the hands of the Ravens, who are healthier in the secondary than they’ve been all season. If Flacco and the Ravens can make just enough plays in the passing game, it will force Roethlisberger to take more chances, increasing the likelihood of turnovers. The Ravens have the better, more opportunistic defense, and it will pay dividends on Sunday night.

3. The Steelers will miss LaMarr Woodley more than they’ll benefit from the return of James Harrison — at least in this game. After playing coy on his Twitter page earlier in the week, Harrison returns to the lineup after missing four games with a fractured orbital bone. However, Woodley’s nine sacks had him in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion before the linebacker suffered a hamstring injury last week. Harrison is as tough as they come, but the month-long layoff will leave some rust, and the Ravens can devote more attention to him without Woodley on the opposite edge. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie played his best game of the season against Harrison in the season opener, so the Ravens are hoping for a similar, motivated effort in Pittsburgh.

4. Terrell Suggs will continue to own the Steelers no matter what they try to throw at him. Max protection, tight end help, and double teams don’t matter when the Pro Bowl linebacker takes on Pittsburgh. Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians called Suggs the best pass rusher he’s ever had to face, and the ninth-year linebacker has sacked Roethlisberger more often than any other defender in the NFL. After accumulating six sacks in his last two games (one of those coming last January) against Pittsburgh, it’s clear the Steelers have no answers in stopping his harassment of Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh will hope veteran Max Starks’ insertion at left tackle will have an impact after Suggs abused Jonathan Scott in Baltimore, but he’ll need as much help as possible to keep Suggs’ shadow away from the quarterback. Playing in prime time, Suggs will collect two sacks of Roethlisberger and create a critical turnover in the second half.

5. It won’t match their 35-7 showing in Baltimore, but the Ravens will sweep Pittsburgh for just the second time in the 16-year history of the series, winning a 21-20 nail-biter. While it’s true the Steelers are entering Sunday having played better football than the Ravens recently, many have been too quick to dismiss what transpired in the regular-season opener. Yes, it’s extremely unlikely the Ravens force seven turnovers again, but the Baltimore defense completely overwhelmed the Pittsburgh offense in the most recent meeting between the teams. If we’ve learned anything about the Ravens so far this season, it’s their reputation for playing to the level of their competition. There’s never any shortage of motivation and passion when they meet the hated Steelers. If — and it’s a major one — Flacco can take care of the football and make just a few big plays at opportune times (215 passing yards and a touchdown pass), the defense will take care of the rest by pressuring Roethlisberger and creating a critical turnover that swings the game in the Ravens’ favor.

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Ravens rule out Evans, Ellerbe; Steelers’ Harrison likely to play

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Ravens rule out Evans, Ellerbe; Steelers’ Harrison likely to play

Posted on 04 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After many questions on the injury report for both the Ravens and the Steelers, Friday brought some clarity to the anticipated rematch between the hated rivals set to take place on Sunday night.

After practicing on a limited basis all week, Ben Grubbs was listed as questionable in what appears to be his best chance to return since the left guard last played in the regular-season opener against Pittsburgh. The Ravens would certainly like to see Grubbs’ return to reunite their starting offensive line for the first time since Sept. 11.

“I would like to say I’m a game-time decision, but it’s up to the coaches — whatever they decide,” Grubbs said. “I know that they want me out there and I want to be out there and the team wants me out there, but the last thing I want to do is hurt the team. [Andre Gurode] has been doing a great job, and we’ve been winning with him. I guess we’ll know come Sunday at 8:30.”

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After practicing for the first time all week on Friday, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was listed as probable after working a limited basis. Ngata has been dealing with a thigh injury sustained in the Ravens’ 30-27 win over Arizona last week.

While there’s little doubt on the Pro Bowl defensive lineman’s status for the battle of Heinz Field, coach John Harbaugh still expressed concern in his comments to the media following Friday’s practice.

“I’ll feel good about it on Sunday if he’s playing,” Harbaugh said. “That’s when you’ll feel good about it. He did more today; it’s nothing real serious or anything like that. But, he’s fighting through it. It’s just kind of a mid-season type deal.”

Not surprisingly, the Ravens ruled out wide receiver Lee Evans and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe after neither practiced all week. Return specialist David Reed, running back Anthony Allen, and cornerback Chykie Brown are all listed as questionable.

Plenty of mystery has surrounded three of Pittsburgh’s starting linebackers this week, but the Steelers officially ruled out LaMarr Woodley with a hamstring injury. However, despite saying on his Twitter page he would not play earlier in the week, former AP Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison is listed as probable. He has not played since fracturing the orbital bone surrounding his right eye on Oct. 2.

Linebacker James Farrior and veteran receiver Hines Ward are both listed as questionable for Sunday night.

BALTIMORE
OUT – LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh), WR Lee Evans (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE – RB Anthony Allen (thigh), CB Chykie Brown (knee), G Ben Grubbs (toe), WR/RS David Reed (knee)
PROBABLE – C Matt Birk (neck), CB Danny Gorrer (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (thigh)

PITTSBURGH
OUT – G Doug Legursky (toe), WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee), LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE – LB James Farrior (calf), P Daniel Sepulveda (R knee), WR Hines Ward (ankle)
PROBABLE – LB James Harrison (eye), T Jonathan Scott (ankle)

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Ngata misses practice, Grubbs limited on Wednesday

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Ngata misses practice, Grubbs limited on Wednesday

Posted on 02 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens received potentially good news on Wednesday as left guard Ben Grubbs returned to the practice field for the first time since mid-October as he hopes to return to game action for the first time since the season opener.

Grubbs practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday, but defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was noticeably absent from the workout and did not participate due to a thigh injury. Ngata appeared to get banged up in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals, but the Pro Bowl defensive lineman returned to action quickly without further incident.

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Despite optimism created by Grubbs returning to the practice field, there was no change to wide receiver Lee Evans’ status as the 30-year-old did not practice on Wednesday. Evans has not practiced since the week following the bye when he returned on a limited basis.

Kick returner David Reed did not practice on Wednesday and was listed as having a knee injury.

In addition to Grubbs, cornerback Danny Gorrer and running back Anthony Allen returned to the practice field after both players missed Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. The rookie Allen has missed the last two games with a thigh injury.

The Steelers saw their three injured linebackers — James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and James Farrior — practice on a limited basis despite major doubts whether any of the three will be available against the Ravens. Veteran receiver Hines Ward was also listed as a limited participant several hours after Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs appealed directly to him about returning to the field for Sunday night’s game.

Speedy wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders did not practice as he battles a knee injury.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE – LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh), WR Lee Evans (ankle), DT Haloti Ngata (thigh), WR/RS David Reed (knee)
LIMITED – RB Anthony Allen (thigh), C Matt Birk (neck), CB Danny Gorrer (thigh), G Ben Grubbs (toe)

PITTSBURGH
DID NOT PARTICIPATE – G Doug Legursky (toe), WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee)
LIMITED – LB James Farrior (calf), LB James Harrison (eye), T Jonathan Scott (ankle), WR Hines Ward (ankle), LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring)

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Pittsburgh playing coy with injured linebackers for Ravens game?

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Pittsburgh playing coy with injured linebackers for Ravens game?

Posted on 01 November 2011 by Luke Jones

Having dealt with their own barrage of injuries through the first seven games of the season, the Ravens won’t take any pity on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ health woes at the linebacker position.

But they will likely be left guessing over who exactly will be on the field when they travel to Heinz Field to take on their bitter rival Sunday night for part two of the 2011 edition of the best rivalry in the NFL.

The Steelers’ second-ranked defense — ranking only behind Baltimore — has been decimated by injuries to its talented group of linebackers.

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Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison has missed the last four games with an orbital bone fracture in his face while inside linebacker James Farrior missed Sunday’s game against New England with a calf injury. A third starting linebacker fell during the Steelers’ impressive win over the Patriots when LaMarr Woodley sustained a hamstring injury in the third quarter of their 25-17 win over the Patriots.

A Tuesday report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Woodley will not play against the Ravens and could possibly be out until after the Steelers’ bye on Nov. 20. However, Woodley said on his Twitter page he’s not willing to throw in the towel for the Baltimore game just yet.

“Everybody counting me out … don’t count me out yet,” said Woodley, whose nine sacks have helped fill the void left by Harrison in the Pittsburgh pass rush. “Big game on Sunday.”

The information on Harrison has been even more conflicting, with his agent declaring him ready to return against the Ravens before the 33-year-old linebacker said otherwise on his Twitter page. Harrison has been cleared to practice, but the veteran said he will not be able to play on Sunday night.

“He has been cleared to practice and that is where we are,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “We will reevaluate the situation at some point later in the week and let that be our guide in terms of potential participation. But, right now, I just want to be clear that he has been cleared to practice.”

Tomlin also said Farrior will practice on a limited basis on Wednesday despite the Post-Gazette reporting the 36-year-old would miss a month with the calf injury.

Though it appears likely that all three will be unavailable against the Ravens, the gamesmanship already being exhibited will force the Baltimore offensive line to prepare for the Steeelers’ pair of dominating pass rushers in Harrison and Woodley. In the decisive 35-7 win over the Steelers in the season opener on Sept. 11, the Ravens limited Pittsburgh to one sack and ran for 170 yards in the blowout.

With Harrison being out for the last month, the Steelers have been forced to shift inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons to the outside. Veteran Larry Foote and rookie Chris Carter have played larger roles than anticipated with Farrior and Woodley now sidelined with ailments.

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The 15-7-0 Doesn’t Have a Diploma To Burn Even If It Wanted To

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The 15-7-0 Doesn’t Have a Diploma To Burn Even If It Wanted To

Posted on 03 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations..

1. The Packers are the best team in the NFL, but you already knew that

I’m not really sure what else can be said about Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is amazing. The team is incredibly deep.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=begTfGMrsq8[/youtube]

I was wondering the other day why the NFL wouldn’t put a Super Bowl at Lambeau Field if they’re going to have one in New Jersey. Then I had a sandwich. It was quite a day.

Side note: I’m extremely jealous of sports fans in Wisconsin. They the Packers, the Badgers (more on them next) and the Milwaukee Brewers rocking and rolling. SportsGrid.com noted that Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel headline is the happiest in sports history…

mjs

2. Kellen Moore leads the way, but Trent Richardson and Russell Wilson have joined my personal Heisman Trophy Top 5 list

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5lG8G67UFY[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tnWKrQvss0[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysCN4yA8hhs[/youtube]

The others in my Top 5 are South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore and Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. Lattimore had a tough day Saturday and Griffin threw his first interception of the year (really) in the Bears’ loss to Kansas State. After you watch the profile ESPN’s College Gameday did of him Saturday morning you’ll certainly forget that ever happened…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhyqhn1LJps[/youtube]

3. It’s clearly a mistake that I DON’T have Andrew Luck or Tyrann Mathieu on my Heisman Trophy Top 5 list right now

Andrew Luck is a quarterback. So explain to me how he did THIS in Stanford’s win over UCLA Saturday night…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89wGMqET3AM[/youtube]

Side note: A few sites found this video of the ESPN ticker showing an odd UCLA-Stanford score during the Nebraska-Wisconsin game. I don’t believe it was accurate…

stanforducla

Few people know who Tyrann Mathieu is. Fewer know how to pronounce his name. No one knows how to spell it. But Kentucky fans will never forget any of those things about the LSU CB I assume…

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

4. It’s crazy how good Devin Hester is at returning punts

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OjqEZQmZwo[/youtube]

Also stemming from Sunday in the Windy City…

-I don’t know if Steve Smith is still happy the Carolina Panthers didn’t trade him, but it was the absolute right decision based on wanting to develop Cam Newton.

-Matt Forte also ran all over the place and the Chicago Bears looked good in a win. I’m still not buying into them, but I’m a Jay Cutler hater so my opinion should only matter so much.

-Here’s Marion Barber faceplanting after attempting a backflip when he scored a touchdown in the game. Enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c30cSwjPDk[/youtube]

5. Maybe the Tennessee Titans CAN survive without Kenny Britt?

Nate Washington looked good and Jared Cook finally showed why I drafted him to my fantasy team this year (although I already dropped him needing depth), but I’m still not convinced they can keep treading water without Britt…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1kY2FO2wxk[/youtube]

…in other news, I told Cleveland Browns fans last week to take a picture of the AFC North standings. I hope they took my advice.

6. I want to put Tajh Boyd on my Heisman watch list too. Can I have a Top 10 instead of a Top 5?

I’m confused. Clemson looked good against Auburn, then again against Florida State, then AGAIN against Virginia Tech. Who are these Tigers and what have they done with the roller coaster team we’ve all come to know and not love?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRRc3n4D-Cc[/youtube]

I still think the Hokies are a factor in the ACC before the season is over. I think a lot of things. Like for example, who is Melissa Giraldo and why is this the first I’ve heard of her? (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

7. Not only is the SEC better than the other conferences in the FBS, SEC fans are better than fans in other conferences in the FBS

Here are the highlights from a thrilling Arkansas win over Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, which included an incredible 510 passing yards from Razorbacks QB Tyler Wilson…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVsLYxOsr2o[/youtube]

And here’s the .gif of the shirtless “man of a larger carriage” celebrating SOMETHING the Hogs did Saturday…

hogs

That’s just fantastic.

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Ravens G Marshal Yanda on Sunday: “That Pittsburgh win was the big one”

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Ravens G Marshal Yanda on Sunday: “That Pittsburgh win was the big one”

Posted on 14 September 2011 by Ryan Chell

Ravens coach John Harbaugh and similar coaches around the NFL sometimes institute a policy known as “The 24-hour rule.”

This particular practice essentially allows the team that amount of time to either celebrate or dwell on a win/loss that Sunday before moving on to next week.

24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds.

And not one minute more.

But rules are meant to be broken right? And what more reason to do so when you annihilate your divisional rivals 35-7?

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda said that there was no better time than Monday to push the envelope.

“We’ve all been there,” Yanda told Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Monday after the Ravens 35-7 victory over the Steelers Sunday. “It’s a huge win. No doubt about it. Everybody was really excited.”

He could tell right off the bat in their film sessions from the lightheartedness and congratulations for guys like Jarret Johnson punishing WR Hines Ward, he knew that the excitement of Sunday couldn’t be contained to a day-long time frame.

“It was great to go over the film, and to watch guys flying around making plays. It’s always good when you get a win, especially against Pittsburgh which is our rivalry,” Yanda said.

Yanda said that win immediately popped up to his all-time favorite one in a Baltimore uniform.

“For me with my career with the Ravens, that Pittsburgh win was the big one as far as getting after them well,” Yanda told Clark.  “And to play that well for a week one game of the season, we couldn’t get off to a better start.”

Yanda was an essential part in the Ravens churning out 170 yards rushing against a stout Steelers defense, including 107 yards from RB Ray Rice.

Photos Courtesy of Rob Carr-Getty Images

That was the game-plan from the start, Yanda admitted.

“We planned on getting after them. But we didn’t think we were going to gash them that much. For Ray to get over 100 and for Ricky to get 60, that’s pretty good versus the Steelers. They usually don’t give up too many yards on the ground, and for us to do that, we’re excited.”

He along with the rest of a veteran offensive line-debuting the likes of tackle Bryant McKinnie and the return of center Matt Birk-also performed the difficult task of protecting quarterback Joe Flacco to its purest form.

Yanda said if there was anyone who deserved profiting off their hard work Sunday, it was Flacco.

“Joe has that quiet calmness to him. We all love Joe, and the man’s a competitor. He’s become quite the tough SOB,” Yanda said. “We love him back there. He’s a great quarterback, and it’s good  to put all that media stuff behind him and to get those people off his back.”

Yanda said he and his fellow offensive linemen were the epitome of what the Ravens had to do as a team.

Trust in each other.

“We knew that he had good players,” Yanda replied. “We all played well. Mike did well at right, and I felt comfortable playing inside. I think we’re going to do some good things this year, and we’re just going to build on it and keep working hard.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie got a ton of praise thrown his way for his dominance of All-Pro LB James Harrison in run and pass-blocking situations, and the former tackle in Yanda said he knew McKinnie had in it him all along.

“We didn’t have to say anything to him,” Yanda said of acclimating him to Raven football.  “He knew. He’s a professional. He’s played nine years. He knows what he had to do.”

And Yanda was quick to point out that McKinnie admitted he’s not just there yet. That’s kind of scary if you’re looking at it from a defensive perspective.

“And he’s still working at it. I would definitely say that he’s taking the right steps and that’s he’s going in the right direction. He’s losing the weight, and he’s taking it day-by-day. We didn’t have to say anything to him. He’s a pro and he’s doing well.”

And even if McKinnie doesn’t get to be 100 percent, Yanda still thinks that this could not only be the best line he’s ever played with, but one of the best in the league.

“I would have to think about it, but for right now at the top of my mind, I would say yes. With McKinnie, Birk and Grubby and Mike, that’s a pretty good front five…that’s for sure.”

Clark asked Yanda where that symmetry and cohesion came from for a unit that had not played at all together across the starting five throughout the preseason and with guys in new positions.

Yanda included.

“We all work hard, and it was nice to get after Pittsburgh and just to play our butts off, especially after the lockout and with the fans not knowing what’s going on. To go out there and not miss a beat, that was a hell of a way to start.”

That’s where Yanda said John Harbaugh’s practices made all the difference in the world.

“We work really hard in practice. There are some guys who take practice at half speed trying to get ready for the game by taking it easy. We’re out there practicing hard, and that stuff pays off.”

Yanda’s hope is that they don’t tire out too quickly; instead he hopes a momentous win such as Sunday’s gets them going so fast they can’t stop.

“What’s next is we keep grinding and hopefully get off to a good start,” he said.  “Now we’re just going to keep practicing hard and try to stack wins”

“If you can get off to a fast start, you’re helping your chances as the weeks go on. We’ll just start game-planning for Tennessee, practice hard, and get ready for them.”

WNST thanks Marshal Yanda for joining “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark! Follow me on Twitter @RyanChell87! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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