Tag Archive | "Jim Harbaugh"

Wrapping Up A Week at Radio Row in Indy

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Wrapping Up A Week at Radio Row in Indy

Posted on 04 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

It was another incredible week of Super Bowl coverage for us here at AM1570 WNST.net. Both “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Luke Jones as well as “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark emanated from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis every day. “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio was also part of the daily fun.

In case you missed anything we did, here is a list of the guest segments available for your consumption right now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

-Adam Sandler (Actor)

-Matt Birk (Baltimore Ravens C)

-Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts Head Coach, former Ravens DC)

-Curt Schilling (Former Baltimore Orioles/Boston Red Sox/Arizona Diamondbacks/Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher)

-Shannon Sharpe (Former Baltimore Ravens/Denver Broncos Hall of Fame TE, CBS)

-AJ Green (Cincinnati Bengals WR)
-Ingrid & Sarah Harbaugh (Wives of John & Jim Harbaugh)

-Jim Schwartz (Detroit Lions Head Coach)

-Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons Head Coach)

-Marcus Allen (Hall of Fame RB)
-Larry The Cable Guy (Comedian)

-Priest Holmes (Former Baltimore Ravens/Kansas City Chiefs RB)

-Vanilla Ice (Musician/Actor)
-Will Forte (Actor/Comedian/Saturday Night Live alum)

-Lynn Swann (Former Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame WR)
-Greg Ballard (Mayor of Indy)

-Dustin Keller (New York Jets TE)
-Jason Taylor (Former Miami Dolphins DE)
-Frank Caliendo (Comedian)

-Jay Mohr (Actor/Comedian)

-David Feherty (Golf Channel)

-Mike Haynes (Former New England Patriots Hall of Fame CB)
-Brian Billick (Former Baltimore Ravens coach FOX/NFL Network)
-Herm Edwards (Former New York Jets/Kansas City Chiefs coach, ESPN)

-Dick Vermeil (Former Super Bowl winning St. Louis Rams coach)
-Marv Levy (Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame coach)

-Joe Theismann (Former Washington Redskins QB, NFL Network)

-Lorenzo Neal (Former Baltimore Ravens/San Diego Chargers FB)
-Rich Gannon (Former Oakland Raiders QB, CBS)
-Antonio Pierce (Former NY Giants LB)

-Jack Youngblood (Los Angeles Rams Hall of Fame DE)

-Dhani Jones (Former Cincinnati Bengals LB)

-Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears Kicker)
-Morten Anderson (Former New Orleans Saints/Atlanta Falcons Kicker)
-Bonnie Bernstein (ESPN/University of Maryland alum)
-Peter King (SI/NBC)
-Lesley Visser (CBS)
-Sal Paolantonio (ESPN)
-Laura Kaeppeler (Miss America 2012)

-Chrissy Teigen (SI Swimsuit Issue model)
-Will Witherspoon (Tennessee Titans LB)

(More on Page 2…)

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Fantasy Super Bowl Party Invites

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Fantasy Super Bowl Party Invites

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

As I look ahead to the Super Bowl with far less excitement than I had at this time last week, I’ll begrudgingly admit that while not as interesting as the Ravens projected to be the Patriots and Giants match up in the big game is an interesting one and worth looking forward to. It is after all a chance to revisit the defining match up of the most important season in recent NFL history (in my opinion) with plenty of other storylines to be gathered along the way.

With some of those storylines in mind I present my ideal octet for Super Bowl companionship, or the 8 people I’d most like to have in a room for this year’s Super Bowl.

 

Peyton Manning

 

I’d like to see Manning’s emotions up close as his brother goes for a second ring (or one more than Peyton has) against the rival against whom Peyton will most often be measured in Tom Brady. I wonder if there’s just a little hater in him.

 

 

Rex Ryan

 

Call this pick the hater in me, as I’d love to sit next to Rex (with my shoes on of course) as he watches the two proverbial bears that he poked this season compete for the trophy he once again guaranteed to deliver himself. Rex may have been right in promising New York a Super Bowl this season, but he can’t be happy about it.

 

 

Tiki Barber

 

Speaking of haters, why not bring Eli Manning’s biggest basher to the celebration? We’ll be serving plenty of humble pie at my fictional gathering it seems.

 

 

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Suggs To Receive NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year Award

Posted on 17 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Top Coaches and Players from AFC and NFC Selected in Nationwide Media Balloting as Winners of NFL 101 Awards for 2011 Season

Four Pro Bowl Selections and Two Outstanding Coaches to be Honored at Kansas City’s 42nd Annual Salute to Professional Football

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 17, 2012) – Two quarterbacks who direct the league’s most high-powered offenses will join two of the most formidable defensive players and two coaches who guided their teams to playoff appearances as the 2011 winners of the annual NFL 101 Awards – the nation’s premier awards event dedicated exclusively to professional football.

The 2011 season award winners will be presented with trophies at the 42nd Annual NFL 101 Awards gala in Kansas City Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the Westin Crown Center. The prestigious black-tie awards event was founded in 1969 and has evolved into what many sports insiders consider the finest awards event of its kind. This year’s event is presented by Perfect Output and ECCO Select. 

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been selected as the NFC Offensive Player of the Year after engineering one of the greatest offensive seasons ever recorded in the NFL. A first-time 101 Award winner, Rodgers established the best single-season passer rating in NFL history at 122.5. He passed for 4,643 yards with a 68.3 completion percentage and an incredible 45-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.  Rodgers led the Packers to an NFL-best 15-1 record and the NFC North Division title. For the second consecutive year and third time in his career, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been selected as the AFC Offensive Player of the Year. Brady led the Patriots to a 13-3 record and the AFC East Division title. He led the conference in passing attempts (611), completions (401), completion percentage (65.6), yards (5,235), touchdowns (39) and passer rating (105.6).

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been named the NFC Coach of the Year in just his first year as an NFL head coach. Harbaugh guided the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the NFC West Division title after inheriting a team that finished 6-10 the previous year. Harbaugh, who was the AFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1995 as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, becomes the first person ever to win 101 awards as both a player and coach. Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is the AFC Coach of the Year. Overcoming season-long adversity including the loss of his top two quarterbacks to injuries, Kubiak led his team to a 10-6 regular season record, the AFC South Division championship and the first playoff appearance in Texans franchise history.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been selected the NFC Defensive Player of the Year. Allen finished the regular season with a league-leading 22 sacks – one-half sack shy of the NFL single-season sack mark. He is 20th on the NFL’s all-time career sack list. The former Kansas City Chiefs player was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his eight seasons. Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. Suggs recorded an AFC-best 14 sacks and forced a team-high seven fumbles. He holds the franchise record for sacks with 81.5. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in nine seasons.

A national media committee, comprised of 101 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL, selected the winners in each award category in a nationwide vote at the conclusion of the regular season.

In addition to these award winners, the Committee of 101 also selects the Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football, which was created in 2007 to honor the life and legacy of the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and given in recognition of visionary leadership that has helped the NFL become the preeminent pro sports league in America. This year’s Lamar Hunt Award for Professional Football award winner will be announced in February.

The awards show hosts for the evening will be NFL Network sportscaster Paul Burmeister and CBS football analyst Rich Gannon, a former NFL Most Valuable Player and two-time 101 Award winner.

Event proceeds this year will be directed to the Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation through the Chiefs Children’s Fund, a 501(c)3 foundation that distributes funds to various children’s charities throughout the Kansas City area. TMC joined the Chiefs as the official Community Health Partner in September 2010. The Chiefs and TMC are working together to provide wellness education and promote healthier living for the people of Kansas City.  Both TMC and the Chiefs play a vital role in the Kansas City community and this partnership capitalizes on two well-established brands for the common goal of improving the health status of the community in general, and of the citizens in the urban core particularly.

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The Reality Check NFL Playoff Power Rankings

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The Reality Check NFL Playoff Power Rankings

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Ryan Chell & I ranked the best head coaches, quarterbacks and defenses left in the postseason, then ranked the teams left in order of likelihood to win Super Bowl XLVI.

It was a fun day Thursday on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. You really should be listening.

Best Head Coaches:

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

8. Gary Kubiak

7. Jim Harbaugh

6. John Fox

5. John Harbaugh

4. Tom Coughlin

3. Mike McCarthy

2. Sean Payton

1. Bill Belichick

Ryan Chell’s Rankings…

8. Gary Kubiak

7. John Fox

6. Jim Harbaugh

5. John Harbaugh

4. Mike McCarthy

3. Tom Coughlin

2. Sean Payton

1. Bill Belichick

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Flacco sacked SD

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Ravens Not Ready For Show

Posted on 20 December 2011 by Tom Federline

As of this date, the Baltimore Ravens are NOT an elite NFL team ready to make a run for the Super Bowl. Here are my picks for the best teams in the league at the moment: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. And the latter may not even make it into the playoffs with even a wild card shot. Did you here Chris Colinsworth prior to the game Sunday night? “If the Ravens take care of business and beat the Chargers we will see them in Indy.”  Well Christopher, even though you seem to have a handle on the Ravens more than 95% of the rest your challenged sports announcing peers - Newsflash – The Ravens need a few lessons on how to take care of business and they will not find it from their coaches.

Which team was embarrassed more this past Sunday? Tennesse Titans (loss to Indy Irsays)? GB Packers (loss to Chiefs)? NY Giants (loss to Redskins)?  Or the Ravens (thumping by SD Chargers)? Carzy week in the NFL, huh gang? I have to go with Ravens. Another prime time loss, a potential statement maker for a playoff run, thwarted by another “chump”  performance instead of “champ” performance. I sound like a broken record and it pains me to say it again…….The Ravens have the talent, they do NOT have the coaches.

Can we trade John Horribaugh for his brother Jim Harbaugh? Can we just switch them and hope nobody notices? After last nights outcome, who would get the better Christmas present from Ravens fans? In my book, we saw the Coach of the Year, after last nights gift. You go JIM Harbaugh. You have been entered into my “Old School – Coaches Hall of Fame”. Love your passion and you are doing well with Mike Singletarys team. Speaking of last night, what was Rapelsberger doing in that game? Thank you Mike Tomlin. Keep playing him! The Ravens fans may receive two Christmas gifts even before that day gets here. Steelers keep pace with Ravens with loss to 49ers and the Squeelers lose Rothlesbergers for playoffs. Even though, with wht I believe was a stupid move last night Mike Tomlin, would you come coach the Ravens? Must fire Camera Cameron though. Probably your first move anyway. You are a leader.

The Ravens are not ready. Only way they are making it, is if Camera and Horribaugh get out of their way. Let Ray Ray coach the Defense and let Flacco/Birk/Boldin run the offense. Let Them Play -  the kids are alright – they have the talent. Flacco can run that offense! I only saw three positive moments Sunday night: 1. Ray Jr. 21 yard first play scamper. 2. Boldin 34 yard 3rd down conversion same first drive. 3. Anquan Boldin wearing an Orioles ball cap during introductions. To many negatives to mention. Have the Ravens lost their place kicker? Right there, is another major pothole on road to Indy. Yes, there are two more games left. Should they win those two? You’re darn right. Will they win those two? No idea. Are they champs or chumps? We have seen both.

They are better than “chumps”. I believe that they know that. For those that know me, brace yourself for this one………Hey Bisciotti – get Brian Billick back here for a motivational speech! Are you still paying  him? Let Ray Ray run the show – we all know his philosophy and motivational skills - “I’ll Take You There” (Staple Singers). I think I may need to go out and get some purple kool-aid. Because right now – I see two more losses – one at Cincy and the other if they get the Squeelers for a third time. 

A story is in the making for a Baltimore Super Bowl in Indianapolis. That is almost to good to be true. It would make for a nice sports filled January and February. But right now, the Ravens need an identity and they need it quick. Where’s the purple juice? How about Purple Gatorade? I like the grape Gatorade. How about grape soda? Remember Grape Nehi’s? Man, they were good. Start serving it out at the Palace. Oh and for good measure, crank the Staple Singers.

Merry Christmas gang. Breathe deep. Hug those that are close with passion.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Ravens receive early Christmas gift with 49ers’ win over Pittsburgh

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Ravens receive early Christmas gift with 49ers’ win over Pittsburgh

Posted on 20 December 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With Christmas only several days away, John Harbaugh and the Ravens couldn’t help but be in a jovial mood on Tuesday morning after receiving an early gift.

Just 24 hours after watching his Ravens suffer the worst defeat in his four years as the head coach in Baltimore, Harbaugh watched his younger brother Jim’s San Francisco 49ers knock off Pittsburgh on Monday night to put the Ravens right back in position for the AFC North title and a first-round bye should they win their remaining two games against Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Even players such as quarterback Joe Flacco, who chose extra sleep instead of watching the Steelers lose, could see their head coach’s enthusiasm at first glance on Tuesday. It was quite a contrast to the solemn demeanor he held following the 34-14 beating at the hands of the San Diego Chargers

“He asked me, ‘Did you watch the game?’” Flacco said. “And I [said], ‘No, I didn’t watch it.’ He got flustered from there. He didn’t know where to go with it once I told him I didn’t watch the game, so he was a little confused. But you could definitely tell he was excited, and we should be.”

The outcome doesn’t erase what happened to the Ravens in San Diego, but it does allow them to feel better about themselves, now knowing they once again control their own destiny in potentially earning a much-needed week off and a home playoff game in the divisional round of the postseason.

Harbaugh sent a text message to his brother Jim following San Francisco’s 20-3 win and spoke to him more extensively on the phone Tuesday morning. The 49ers’ efforts dropped the Steelers to 0-3 against Harbaugh-coached teams this season and, more importantly, put them in a first-place tie with Baltimore, who owns the head-to-head tiebreaker after sweeping the regular-season series.

Even with the game’s direct effect on the Ravens’ playoff destiny, the elder Harbaugh focused more on the impressive performance by the 49ers and less on what it meant to the Ravens. The Baltimore coach even made reference the power difficulties that forced two delays at Candlestick Park on Monday night.

“Man, it was a fun game to watch,” Harbaugh said. “It was the night the lights went out in Candlestick, right? It was pretty cool, but they did a great job.”

Yes, the Ravens are feeling quite fortunate to be in a similar position to the one they enjoyed prior to the weekend. Despite no longer controlling the inside track for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Baltimore can now assure itself of a postseason game at M&T Bank Stadium — where the Ravens are undefeated this season — with two wins to close the regular season.

And they owe it to the 49ers, whom the Ravens beat 16-6 in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.

“They did us [a favor],” running back Ray Rice said. “I guess that’s what brothers do; they look out for each other.”

Despite the reversal of fortunes, linebacker Terrell Suggs offered a cautious reaction to the news from San Francisco. After proclaiming the Ravens were back in playoff “hell” and owned a vacation home in the red-hot establishment following the embarrassing loss to the Chargers, the star defensive player was not ready to proclaim his team to be saved.

“I think we’re still there,” Suggs said. “Like I said, these last two games, you drop it, you go from one place to another. We still have the lease on the vacation home, but hopefully, we don’t have to go there this year. We’ve just got to take care of business. We’re playing two teams that know us very well, two division foes, so it’s going to be interesting.”

The 29-year-old linebacker is absolutely right. The Ravens will now need to make an early New Year’s resolution to protect their early Christmas present.

As Harbaugh explained on Tuesday, nothing about the Ravens’ mission over the final two weeks of the regular season changed with the 49ers’ victory, but it did improve their wounded mindset in knowing they hadn’t kissed their ideal playoff positioning goodbye.

“We have to control what we have to control,” Harbaugh said. “And the beauty of that is, we can control a lot. We can control how we play, and we can control the outcome of these games.”

And thanks to Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers, they can once again manage where they’ll be playing to begin the playoffs.

INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens did not release an official injury report following Tuesday’s indoor practice that was conducted without helmets or pads. Defensive end Cory Redding (ankle) and kicker Billy Cundiff (left calf) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media. However, linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (toe) were both present and involved in the light workout.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Terrell Suggs right here.

 

 

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Ravens musings for Week 15

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Ravens musings for Week 15

Posted on 13 December 2011 by Luke Jones

The task is clear even if the obstacle standing in their way appears more daunting than a few weeks ago.

A win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night lands Baltimore in the playoffs for the fourth straight year, but the Ravens have much greater goals in mind, needing to win their final three games to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the first time in the 16-year history of the franchise. However, 6-7 San Diego suddenly looks more like the team it was projected to be at the start of the season after winning two straight to snap a horrific six-game losing streak and keep its faint playoff hopes alive.

As the Ravens return to Owings Mills to begin preparations for the Chargers on Wednesday, here are five thoughts to ponder about 10-3 Baltimore …

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

1. Now that Jimmy Smith has eight games under his belt following the ankle injury that sidelined him for six weeks, it’s time for the rookie to begin earning his first-round reputation. With No. 1 cornerback Lardarius Webb dealing with a turf toe injury that could sideline him for Sunday night’s game in San Diego, the Ravens’ top draft pick in April would make his first NFL start against the likes of tall receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd. Smith’s talent is obvious as the rookie has collected two interceptions in recent weeks and broke up two passes against Indianapolis on Sunday. However, you still find him guessing and being caught out of position from time to time. Coach John Harbaugh said it best on Monday in saying Smith is still learning to playing football at the professional level where his talent is often matched by the opposition. The biggest factor working in Smith’s favor in addition to his 6-foot-2 frame and athleticism? The Colorado product is more than confident in his ability, a trait shutdown corners need to have in the NFL.

2. He may never live up to his pre-accident potential, but it was nice to see linebacker Sergio Kindle making some strides against Indianapolis on Sunday. Given the relative state of health the Ravens had on Sunday, it was more than a surprise to see Kindle active for the first time since Week 4 when multiple injuries forced the second-year linebacker into action against the New York Jets. The former Texas standout performed well on special teams and even received some defensive snaps late in the second half. Many want to point to Kindle’s status as a second-round draft pick in 2010 in questioning why he hasn’t played this season and overlook the cruel fact that he nearly died in a fall down two flights of stairs in the days leading up to what was to be his first training camp a year ago. The accident left him virtually deaf in one ear and has forced Kindle to basically learn how to play football all over again, according to Harbaugh. In my conversations with Kindle through the course of the season, he expressed the need to put in the necessary work to earn playing time via special teams and conceded how difficult it was to iron out a role in such a talented defense. Kindle has clearly made some poor choices off the field, but you can’t help but root for him to carve out a spot on the team in which he can contribute on a more regular basis in the future. He may never be the defensive starter the Ravens envisioned when they drafted him, but a strong work ethic could turn him into a role player in the future.

3. John Harbaugh will offer a hand to his brother Jim, but insider trading tips are more common than you think. The elder Harbaugh was asked whether he would be on the phone giving extra information to the 49ers in anticipation of their Monday night showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers in San Francisco, and while he admitted there could be some of that, it’s not really an uncommon practice in the NFL. Head coaches and assistants alike are connected through a thick web of relationships with the high turnover rate in the career field, leading to open channels of communication. In reality, there are few secrets in the NFL, and it’s unlikely John will provide anything earth-shattering to his brother that would make a dramatic difference in Monday’s outcome. In addition to essentially assuring the Ravens of an AFC North title with a win over Pittsburgh, the 49ers desperately need a win to solidify their chances for the No. 2 seed in the NFC with New Orleans currently holding an identical 10-3 record.

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The 15-7-0 Is The Ultimate Performance Enhancer

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The 15-7-0 Is The Ultimate Performance Enhancer

Posted on 12 December 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 Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I’d use new terms to describe Tim Tebow’s most recent comeback win but I don’t own a thesaurus.

Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio had a late celebratory dinner with our fantastic attorney Sunday night at Fogo De Chao. As I walked in, I said to Drew “is Tebow going to do it again?” He responded “nah…it’s like 10-0 at the end of the game.”

I responded “um…actually it’s 10-7.”

Within moments we were all doing this…

So that I’ve covered myself here, a LOT of credit for the Denver Broncos’ win over the Chicago Bears has to be given to the fact that Marion Barber absolutely fell apart late and Matt Prater’s UNREAL game-tying boot. In fact, Prater’s boot was so incredible it deserves another look…

Just stop already. Just stop. Frank Reich might want to go ahead and make the congratulatory call to Tebow, because you KNOW “The Mile High Messiah” is going to eventually break his record for the greatest comeback in National Football League history.

As far as the Bears go, it’s over for them. You have to have a quarterback. It would be over in Charm City if Tyrod Taylor had to play.

That is…of course…ENOUGH about the Bears. Tim Tebow played Sunday. We’ll be talking about it until next Sunday.

2. My gut tells me it can’t last, but it’s hard to not feel good for the Houston Texans right now.

Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe you DON’T have to have a quarterback. Maybe T.J. Yates is enough…

With Andre Johnson sidelined, Kevin Walter was the hero. I’m so confused by everything happening here. I know the other teams barely tried, but aren’t the Texans supposed to screw this up so that these t-shirts are never printed???


A large crowd welcomed the AFC South champs back to Reliant Stadium Saturday night. No word on whether or not they had all sent Peyton Manning Thank You cards or not.

3. While Navy’s win Saturday over Army was the closest margin in years, it makes their dominance no less impressive.

Even if I had to make a trip to Landover and that AWFUL dump known as FedEx Field, it was worth it for Army/Navy.

My highlight this year? The press box (which Dan Snyder and company placed in the WORST possible location otherwise) was directly behind the brigade of Midshipmen, allowing me to hear every word of “The Goat is Old and Gnarly.”

If you’re not an Annapolis regular, you might not be familiar. Here’s a 4 year old singing it…

The Mids were 27-21 winners thanks to 4th quarter heroics from kicker Jon Teague. The game (as always) was “more than football”. Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama attended, watching one half of the game on each side. At halftime, he was walked from side to side through a tunnel formed by members of each branch. The word “goosebumps” fits.

4. With their season perhaps on the line, Matt Ryan & the Atlanta Falcons really manned up Sunday.

Down 23-7 at the half and watching their Wild Card hopes crumble, the Falcons became energized and clinched a win with this 75 yard TD to Julio Jones…

After finishing the win over the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons had quite the scare when coach Mike Smith felt chest pains and was taken off the team flight and instead to a Charlotte hospital. When reached for comment, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger described Smith as a “pansy.”

5. I warned you a week ago. The San Diego Chargers are still dangerous.

Crap. Crap crap crap.

The Bolts are pretty healthy and playing really well just in time for a date with the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Phillip Rivers is playing well. Vincent Jackson is playing well. Ryan Matthews is playing well. Antonio Gates is playing well. They kept their slim playoff hopes alive while ruining any hopes the Buffalo Bills had Sunday.

Crap.

WNST will be in San Diego next weekend, partnering with Los Angeles Ravens fan club The West Wing. That means Perry Hall High School alum Daniela Pane will be in the house…

It’s a shame she has to compete with me every year for the “most popular alum” award. Otherwise she’d probably have it nailed down.

(Also-I know flights aren’t cheap…but…you know…)

6. Robert Griffin III’s run to the Heisman Trophy was one of the more improbable in the history of the award.

Before the season began-what, maybe 10% of college football fans could name the Baylor Bears quarterback? Just before Christmas, RG3 has not only won the sports’ highest honor, he’s also started a craze in footwear…

Superman socks. Actually quite awesome. Everyone else is so much cooler than me.

7. For as much as everyone thinks the Greg Jennings injury will hurt the Green Bay Packers, I just don’t get that feeling.

There were a handful of goofs who thought the Oakland Raiders could give the Packers a run for their money. Here are some highlights-or at least the best I could find on YouTube…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbtul3e5l60

If Greg Jennings really does have a torn ACL, the Packers are hurting. But this is a team that has Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, ah you get the point. They’re going undefeated and they’re probably going to win the Super Bowl.

Have a Happy Monday!

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“Rating the Ravens” following 16-6 victory over the 49ers

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“Rating the Ravens” following 16-6 victory over the 49ers

Posted on 25 November 2011 by Ryan Chell

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done this because of some late games, but boy did I pick a good one to get back at it.

In a competitive battle between brothers, division leaders, and conference elites, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 16-6 in the Ravens’ first ever contest on Thanksgiving night.

While saying the Ravens defense was the star of the game may be obvious, there is no where else to show praise.

The defense sacked Niners quarterback Alex Smith nine times, and with a second half lead (albeit 6-3 at the half; 13-6 in the fourth quarter), they forced the game into Smith’s hands.

It is another defining win the Ravens can put on their resume as Baltimore pulls away in the AFC North from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in the last few weeks, and with the win, you can definitely feel confident in saying the Ravens are the best team in the AFC right now.

Quarterback

Joe Flacco didn’t have the blowout numbers that he’s had in several games this year. Despite going up a sometimes suspect 49ers passing defense this year, the 49ers had some players in their defensive backfield in corner back Carlos Rodgers and Donte Whitner at the safety position able to make some plays.

Flacco finished 15-of-23 for 151 yards and one TD-the go-ahead pass to tight end Dennis Pitta with 7:34 in the fourth quarter that put the Ravens up 13-6.

Of those completions, 12 of them came on third-down conversions.Four of them came on the drive cultivating in Pitta’s score.

He did throw an early interception to 49ers CB Tarell Brown with 6:15 left in the second quarter shadowing WR Torrey Smith, but the officials ruled that Brown shaded Smith so much, he interfered with his ability to come down with the ball.

The flag led to a 50-yard gain for the Ravens offense, bringing the ball to the San Francisco 35-yard line. The ball was placed down near the goal line, but couldn’t punch it in-instead settling for three points to go up 6-3 at the half.

Several Ravens we talked to over the last several weeks have emphasized the importance of giving up personal success for a Ravens win, and Joe Flacco I’m sure would say the same.

Rating: B-

Running Backs

This is another position where the stats will not tell the true story of the game.

The 49ers came in as one of the league’s best against the run, having not allowed a rushing touchdown in the team’s first 10 games of the year.

Much like Ravens teams of the past, Patrick Willis and the 49ers defense had gone 32 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.

But the Ravens didn’t allow that threat to make them one-sided.

They kept themselves honest running the football 21 times with Ray Rice, and Vonta Leach can definitely put himself in position to ask for a game-ball for his help in both pass and run blocking.

You can really only fault Rice for not cutting the ball up the field at the one-yard line on the 2nd and GL with four minutes in the first half.

Rice lost four yards on the play, and the Ravens missed out on the opportunity to draw first blood on the 49ers unblemished record when it came to allowing touchdowns on the ground.

Rating: B-

Wide Receivers

Other than Dennis Pitta’s score and Anquan Boldin continuing his success against an old NFC West rival, the receiving corps was relatively quiet.

Torrey Smith finished with two catches for 23 yards, and drew the 50-yard pass interference call that led to a Ravens field goal.

Lee Evans made his first catch since Week 2 of the regular season against the 49ers, but on his one catch, he fought through a tackle for four yards to get a first down out of it, drawing praise from John Harbaugh post game.

But that being said-what Boldin and Pitta did on third down is the story of the night for the Ravens offense.

To have themselves backed up with a long distance to maintain the drive, the Ravens executed every opportunity to perfection.

Rating: B

Offensive Line

The Ravens’ offensive line certainly had its hands full going into Thursday night having to stop a defensive player of the year candidate in DE Justin Smith-a man Baltimore knew all too well from his time with the Cincinnati Bengals earlier in his career.

Smith had made several game-saving plays the last several weeks, and with that, tackles Michael Oher and Bryant McKinnie appeared as if they might have needed help against the pass rusher.

Smith beat McKinnie early Thursday for a quarterback hit/pressure, but after that, Vonta Leach and the backfield did an excellent job in helping the front five in pass protection.

Center Matt Birk-who a month ago was determined to be washed up and needed to be replaced by Andre Gurode-had maybe the best game of the season against 6’2 330-lb NT Isaac Sopoaga.

The Ravens offensive line didn’t allow a sack to the 49ers and allowed Ray Rice to do enough in the running game to keep San Francisco’s defense honest.

Rating: B

Defensive Line

In 2010, the Ravens had 27 total sacks as a team.

Against the 49ers, they earned one third of that total (9) against Alex Smith alone.

Three Ravens finished with two or more sacks including Cory Redding (2.5), Haloti Ngata (2), and Terrell Suggs (3).

Pass rushers Pernell McPhee and Paul Kruger did not earn sacks themselves, but they were key as well in getting pressure on Alex Smith flushing him out of the pocket and into the arms of another defender.

And on top of a dominating pass rush, lineman Terrence Cody and Brandon McKinney also did their part in stopping running back Frank Gore, who finished with just 39 yards on 14 carries.

Even more crucial to point out was that the Ravens really weren’t overloading San Francisco with elaborate blitzes or stunts.

Much like Haloti Ngata on guard Mike Iupati, it was the man in front of them just getting beat over and over again.

Rating: A+

Another good performance from this group without the presence of Ray Lewis in the lineup, who of course missed his second straight game with a foot injury.

Brendon Ayanbadejo and Jameel McClain played admirably in place of Lewis, but let’s hope this isn’t a permanent substitution lest it become a problem.

Many thought that fellow linebacker Dannell Ellerbe would suit up alongside McClain in the middle, but he too was inactive Thursday night. In his place was longtime special teamer Albert McClellan, who played okay but was a liability in coverage when it came to covering the speedy Niners’ receiving corps.

Credit Jarret Johnson with another steady game as well for the veteran in keeping contain on Gore.

Rating: A

Secondary

This unit didn’t have to do too much later in the game with Alex Smith’s eyes gradually looking toward the opposing pass rush Thursday.

However, they did remain honest to themselves and didn’t take the night off despite the success up front.

Lardarius Webb made it two straight games with an interception, taking a pass away from Braylon Edwards-a receiver who has owned Baltimore in his career when he was with the Cleveland Browns.

Bernard Pollard led all Ravens in tackles with eight from the safety spot, and was all over the field.

Ed Reed nearly made his second straight game with a pick, and Cary Williams rebounded after struggling early in the game against the speedy Ted Ginn.

On the 49ers’ drive to start the second quarter trailing 3-0, Smith found Ginn for what appeared to be a 75-yard score beating the likes of Williams.

But the play was nullified by an illegal chop block on Frank Gore on Bernard Pollard in the backfield.

Those points taken off the board, combined with Webb’s pick in the end zone-kept the 49ers behind and without the ability to control the clock throughout the game.

It forced Alex Smith to go to the air early, and that’s where the Ravens wanted him.

Rating: B-

Special Teams

Billy Cundiff continues to rebound from a tough stretch of games for him, as he went 3-for-3 against the Niners in a defensive struggle where field position and converting points on long drives is key.

Sam Koch dropped two of his four punts inside the 20 and David Reed and Tom Zbikowski both played decent enough in their roles as gunners and kick returners respectively.

Rating: A-

Like my analysis? Disagree? Call into “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark Friday afternoon to share your thoughts! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A look inside Thanksgiving feast of Ravens-49ers

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A look inside Thanksgiving feast of Ravens-49ers

Posted on 24 November 2011 by Chris Pika

One of the more-hyped games of the 2011 schedule once it came out in April is tonight’s Thanksgiving game in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium when the broithers Harbaugh meet as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens (8 pm ET; NFL Network).

The 9-1 49ers have a stranglehold on the NFC West and can clinch the division with a victory and either a loss or tie by Seattle on Sunday or a tie and a Seattle loss.

The 7-3 Ravens lead the AFC North, and are tied for the AFC’s best record.

The combined 16-4 record (.800) of the two teams is tied for fourth-best between Thanksgiving Day combatants since 1970.

It will be Baltimore’s John vs. San Francisco’s Jim, and Jim, and according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, who will help call the game with Brad Nessler, this matchup is one to watch:

When you combine the surprising success of San Francisco, along with Baltimore being pretty much where you expect them to be, we’ve got one of the best games of the season on Thursday night.

In a national teleconference to promote the game earlier this week, Jim mentioned how brotherly love goes out the window once competition is involved:

Leading up to this, John has talked freely and openly about football with me. Now, it’s more talking in code. I’m being serious. I can see there are limitations to what he’s telling me. I thought love had no boundaries, but now I see that it does.

— Jim Harbaugh, on football communication with John since the 2011 NFL schedule was announced

For John’s part, it is a continuation of competition that has gone on since they were kids:

We were in the same room for 16 years, and we had to draw a tape line. If you stepped across, there was a fight. The last time we fought, I was 27. He was the quarterback for the Bears. He got up to 6-4, 230 pounds. I was 195, something like that. He takes us on vacation to Florida, we’re on the beach, and we get into this wrestling match. It’s getting a little aggressive and works its way over to the water. He gets a shot in; I get a shot in. I’m starting to think maybe I can hang with the big little brother. Next, he grabs me in a headlock, picks me up, and slams me into three feet of water. My head is on the sand underneath the water. Of course, he’s not going to drown me, but I’m thinking maybe he’s snapped. My dad’s trying to pull him off, but he’s too strong. I’m going to drown. Before I died, he pulled me up. He didn’t do mouth-to-mouth; that would have been against the rules. I then realized I’m never going to fight my brother again. He’s too big.

— John Harbaugh on his brother

The first-ever coaching matchup between two brothers in NFL history is a testament to their father, Jack, himself a former college head coach:

Their father gave them a gift; by making them and teaching them how to compete. If we can instill competition in our kids, that’s all we want. We want them to go out in the world and compete.

— NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk on the relationship between Jack Harbaugh and his sons, Jim and John

Baltimore is coming off a 31-24 victory over AFC North rival Cincinnati at home last Sunday:

NOTE OF THE WEEK: SMITH SOARS

  • Ravens rookie WR Torrey Smith leads the NFL with a 20.3 yardsper-catch average (29 receptions for 590 yards).
  • Impressively, 4 of Smith’s 5 TD receptions have covered at least 25 yards (74, 41, 38, 26 and 18 yards), and he’s averaging a sensational 39.4 yards per TD catch.
  • Smith now owns the Ravens’ single-season (590) and single-game (165 vs. Cin. last week) records for receiving yards by a rookie.
  • Never before has a Ravens’ wideout posted dual 150-yard receiving games in a season (165 vs. Cin. and 152 at STL).
  • Smith also owns the top two receiving yards performances by a rookie in the NFL this season.
  • Smith’s 590 receiving yards this season rank second in the NFL among all rookies (635, Cincy’sA.J. Green).
  • Last week, Smith joined Ken Burrow (2 in 1971) and Randy Moss (3 in 1998) as the only rookies in NFL history to have multiple games with at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.

WEEK 12 QUICK HITS:

  • The Ravens have won 15 of their last 16 games at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is 24-5 at home under head coach John Harbaugh, tied (New England) for the NFL’s most home wins since 2008 (as of games played by 11/20).
  • The Ravens aim for their eighth consecutive win at home and sixth this season (5-0 in 2011).
  • Baltimore’s seven-game winning streak at home currently ranks as the NFL’s second longest (Green Bay is first at 10 games).
  • Baltimore aims to reach 8-3 for just the second time in team history (2010 season).

STOUT VS. NFC: Dating back to the 2008 campaign, when head coach John Harbaugh took over in Baltimore, the Ravens have posted a 10-5 record (.667) vs. the NFC, good for the fourth-best mark among AFC teams against the “other conference” during that span.

AFC’s BEST RECORDS VS. THE NFC
(since 2008)
1t. New England Patriots 12-2 .857
1t. Tennessee Titans 12-2 .857
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-4 .714
4. Baltimore Ravens 10-5 .667

San Francisco is working on an eight-game win streak, and beat NFC West rival Arizona 23-7 last Sunday at home:

WINNING WAYS: With the win last week vs. Arz. (11/20), head coach Jim Harbaugh became just the 3rd rookie head coach in franchise history to start his career with a 9-1 record.

  • The 49ers have won eight consecutive games, making Coach Harbaugh’s eight-game winning streak the fourth longest by a rookie head coach since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Jim Caldwell’s Colts won 14 in a row in 2009. Steve Mariucci’s 49ers won 11 in a row in 1997. Ted Marchibroda’s Colts won nine in a row in 1975. Bobby Ross’Chargers won seven straight in 1992.
  • With a 9-1 record to start 2011, the 49ers are tied for the 4th-best start since the team joined the NFL in 1950, behind 1984 (15-1); 1990 (13-1); 1997 (11-1); 1989 (9-1).
  • Harbaugh became the first rookie head coach in franchise history to inherit a team with a losing record and lead them to a 9-1 start in his first season.

GOLDEN NUGGETS:
A HOT START

  • With a 9-1 record to start 2011, the 49ers are tied for the 4th-best start since the team joined the NFL in 1950, behind 1984 (15-1); 1990 (13-1); 1997 (11-1); 1989 (9-1).

ROAD WARRIORS

  • With a 4-0 record on the road, the Niners join the Green Bay Packers as the only two teams in the NFL to remain undefeated away from home.

THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE

  • The 49ers have outscored their opponents 256-145. The +111 scoring differential ranks 2nd in the NFL.

A SHORT FIELD

  • The 49ers have started 25 drives in their opponents territory, ranking 1st in the NFL, and have scored 81 points on those drives, ranking 3rd in the NFL.

YOU WANNA START SOMETHING?

  • The 49ers average starting field position is at their own 33.1-yard line, ranking 1st in the NFL.

LONG WAY TO GO

  • The 49ers rank 1st in the NFL with an opponents average starting field position of the 24.3.

BRINGING IT BACK

  • The 49ers rank t-1st in the NFL with 7 PRs of 20+ yds, while ranking 2nd in the NFL with a KOR avg. of 28.0 yds.

POINTS HARD TO COME BY

  • The 49ers have allowed just 145 points on the season, ranking 1st in the NFL for the fewest points allowed.

SHORT AND TOUGH

  • The 49ers have allowed just 16 first downs on 3rd and less than 4 yds. (15 of 33 – 48.5 pct.), ranking 2nd in the NFL.

EFFICIENCY ON D

  • The 49ers defense has allowed opponents to score on just 24.0 pct. of their possessions, ranking 1st in the NFL.

STICKY FINGERS

  • The 49ers have only committed 9 turnovers on the year, ranking t-1st in the NFL for fewest turnovers (Houston – 9).

PRODUCTIVE ON FIRST

  • The 49ers offense has gained 4+ yds. on 52.2 pct. (142 of 272) of their first down plays, ranking 4th in the NFL.

THE COMEBACK TRAIL: Four, 4th quarter come-from-behind-win epitomizes the never quit attitude the 49ers embody this season. One player in particular can parallel his career to the theme, QBAlex Smith. Smith is now tied with NYG QB Eli Manning for the most comeback wins by an NFL QB this season.

Smith became just the second quarterback in franchise history to record 3, 4th qtr. comebacks on the road (QB Joe Montanta - 4 in 1989 and 3 in 1990).

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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