Posted on 23 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Loyola student-athletes.
How are you liking Pittsburgh so far?
SHANE WALKER: Love it.
ERIK ETHERLY: Great city. I’m a Steelers fan.
DYLON CORMIER: Been a great trip so far.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for our student-athletes from Loyola.
Q. The nation has found out about your coach, how personable he is, is that the right way to put it? Can you give us your memory when he went off on some rant or tandem that you said, I don’t know what this guy is talking about?
SHANE WALKER: I feel like he can do that any day. Anytime somebody asks him a question, it’s a 15-minute answer. He goes off on a tandem, you have no idea where he’s going. He’s such a great guy, you just learn to accept it and love it.
ERIK ETHERLY: I think the most memorable one for me is halftime of the Fairfield game with Bobby Steele and the Black Panthers. Nobody saw that one coming. He got his message across.
DYLON CORMIER: I think for me is him, the inch-by-inch statement he just came out with. He said, To win, we got to block and tackle, same thing in basketball.
Q. Dylon, he said earlier this week where you have a special relationship, he’ll challenge you, you’ll challenge him right back.
DYLON CORMIER: It’s kind of like he want me to do better, so he’ll yell me and tell me I’m not doing something better, just so I can do it even better.
Q. You’re known for your man-to-man defense. Also explain to us what your flex offense is like.
SHANE WALKER: I feel like our defense is so, so good because everybody has bought in. Years past, not necessarily everybody has bought in. Me being a senior leader, I demanded that from the rest of the team, and we all bought in. It wasn’t a problem.
ERIK ETHERLY: We also help each other out a lot. We have a great team in terms of being able to switch a lot of stuff so we don’t get caught up on a lot of screens and we always help on all of our screens.
DYLON CORMIER: I think we have a great inside presence with Shane and Erik, and also J’hared and Julius coming off the bench. So the two players has been effective for us this year.
Q. Shane, can you talk about the matchup with Ohio State. Has Jimmy brought up any history of No. 15 seeds beating No. 2 seeds?
SHANE WALKER: Yeah, he’s talked about Coppin State in the past. Was it South Carolina? Yeah, it was maybe 15 years ago, he brought that up.
He’s not really concerned about years past, he’s concerned about the team now and doing the best we can. He’s not really focused about other teams.
Q. Were you the Steelers fan?
ERIK ETHERLY: I was at the opening game when the Steelers played the Ravens. I took a lot of heat for it, but I wore it at the stadium.
Q. When you break down Ohio State, what stands out offensively in terms of what you need to stop?
DYLON CORMIER: Their inside presence in Jared Sullinger and Thomas, their four-man, they got a great inside presence and a couple shooters where they kick it out. I think we have to prevent the ball from getting in the post as much as we can.
SHANE WALKER: When I look at them, they’re not very deep. They only play six or seven guys. I feel like we can run them. They try to slow the game down. We try to speed it up. Hopefully that will work in our advantage.
Q. You talked about coach. Were you tournament fans, seeing power teams getting beaten?
DYLON CORMIER: Not at a very young age. I remember George Mason went on a run and beat a lot of good teams.
ERIK ETHERLY: And VCU. That’s a local team, so we look up to them, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you.
We have Coach Patsos from Loyola. Make a few opening comments.
COACH PASTOS: Great to be in Pittsburgh, what a great town. My wife is from here. What a great sports town, what a great building. Other than the fact the Steelers play here, I really like it. We’re Ravens fans in Baltimore. A lot of the Ravens, Jim Harbaugh, people like that are following this game. But everybody loves Pittsburgh. Everybody says the same thing, what a great place it is.
I see my commissioner out there. We’re from the MAAC. Really have a lot of pride in our basketball league. We have two teams in the NCAA, which is great for us this year.
I was out with Dave Dickerson, Matt Roe, and Billy Hahn last night for about an hour, because we’re all family friends from Maryland. It’s a really interesting, happy time for me in my life.
I’m really proud of what the kids have done. This is about Loyola, what a great university it is. You don’t get here without the support of Jim Paquette, my AD, the president Father Linnane, things like that. So it’s a happy time for Loyola. Now we’re excited to play Ohio State, one of the great programs in the country.
Unfortunately Dave Dickerson knows me really well, so they don’t have to scout us because I run everything that we ran at Maryland together. They should know everything we’re running.
I’m happy to take questions.
Q. Obviously you know what it’s like to cut down the nets. Can you contrast emotionally the difference between being in the first chair here with a program like Loyola and having it done at Maryland?
COACH PASTOS: That’s a good question because both programs were the same when I got there. Obviously the depths of 1 and 27 is different from what happened at Maryland. However our climb at Maryland were when Duke and Carolina were winning NCAA tournaments. Georgia Tech had gone to the Final Four. So, in other words, I feel the same.
I feel great when we cut down the nets at Maryland even though I was the assistant, and I feel great cutting down the nets at Loyola as head coach. The climb was not always easy. You can always climb the first few runnings. You can be a beat writer, but you can’t be Lenn Robbins and have your own column in the widest circulated paper in the country. It takes a while to get there. It’s the last part that’s hard. You know that. It’s the last part of the journey that’s difficult.
Whether it’s at Loyola or the University of Maryland, I feel good we were lucky enough to make that last climb. I’m not sure I ever thought that would happen, at either place by the way.
THE MODERATOR: The 24-win season, what did that mean to the program? It was the first since you went to Division I 30 years ago.
COACH PASTOS: It was great because the last time we went to NCAA, Skip Prosser, who is a fantastic coach and great person, was here. They were like the 6 seed and won it. We’re in a great basketball league. To win 24 games in the MAAC, we have NBA players, we have coaches that have left to go on and be successful at a higher level. Kind of puts a signature on your program. When you win 20, it says something. When you win the MAAC, which like I said, I’m not joking about the New York thing, we love being in the New York league because you get a lot of attention media-wise. It’s a great basketball city with a lot of tradition.
Len Elmore and I were joking today, he played at Powell Memorial and I know that because New York is where the best players come from and everybody is a tough critic. If you’re successful there, you’re really happy.
Q. Talk about the concerns you have about Ohio State.
COACH PASTOS: I have major concerns about Ohio State. I just ran into Sullinger in the hallway. The guy is a monster. Thomas, the left-handed 6’8″ guy. Remember, Gary Williams does the Big Ten Network. Not that he would give me any inside information. I know what a great team Ohio State it. It’s an honor to play them. We probably have little chance of winning the game. Four minutes at a time, we’ll see what we can do.
We’ll still run and press against them. Ohio State wants to play their way. If you play their way, you’re not going to beat them. I think they can win the national championship this year, especially with Fab Melo being out. I’m talking as a fan. This has nothing to do with coaching. I see Ohio State have a chance to get to the Final Four because of their size. I like the kid Ravenel that comes off the bench.
But Craft is scary because he reminds me of Steve Blake. The Steve Blake, nobody ever thought he was that good until you played against him. He made shots, steals the ball, he’s quicker, smarter, you find out that he was the quarterback on his high school team, which scares me because you find out he’s a leader. Thomas is much better than I thought. He’s going to cause problems for us. Sullinger, you can put down 20-10, I just hope it’s not 35-18.
Q. Is there a hope with what you do defensively, Ohio State plays their starters a lot of minutes, that maybe you can try to wear them down?
COACH PASTOS: I mean, I can. But they’re four sophomores. Buford knows what he’s doing. We will try and press them. We simulated at little 20-minute scrimmage on Monday night. We took two-and-a-half-minute timeouts and my guys couldn’t believe how long they were. What you find out is they can rest. They can rest those two and a half minutes.
They’re used to playing minutes. It’s like one thing if you lose a couple guys and all of a sudden you have to play six and you’re not used to it. They’ve done it. He’s a great coach.
We will try and press ‘em, not as much to wear ‘em down, but probably to speed the game up. We need the game to go fast. You saw Iona, but they didn’t score at the end. Our league is a scoring league. We’re going to have to keep scoring. I want the pace of the game more than wearing them down. Is that fair to say? That’s what we’re looking to do.
Q. What you mentioned with Dave Dickerson, is there some element of surprise because a staff member knows you?
COACH PASTOS: Well, Dave, we just got together for like an hour. It was really nice to see everybody. But Dave really quickly says, I saw you’ve reverted back to the original Gary Williams, pressing on the make. He loved his time at St. John Arena. His daughter still lives in Columbus. He saw the pressing. He saw the 2 play, which is our version of the flex.
Gary Williams has had assistants like Rick Barnes, Fran Fraschilla, all these guys. I shouldn’t say this, but they’re probably more successful because they didn’t run all his stuff so much. But no (laughter).
Dave goes, You’re the only dummy that runs everything Gary did. Didn’t you learn? I’m like, Okay. Because Fran Fraschilla and Fran Dunphy and all those guys. I run like Gary’s stuff and I’ve kind of reverted back to it because I thought we could press a lot with eight guys this year.
We have an older team and they get used to the terminology, like 55′s, full-court press, and they all know it. Dave said, I just watched a half and I don’t have to scout anymore. He’s doing exactly what we thought he would do.
We probably play a little more zone, but we play Gary’s zone action, a 3-2, not a 2-3. It will be interesting. Got him 600 some wins and his name on the court, so I stuck with it.
Q. When you got together last night, what was that like? Did you devise a plan to get Gary off of Congressional this weekend?
COACH PASTOS: He’s doing Big Ten games. He’s part of the media now. Preparing to tear some coach apart. No, I’m just kidding.
Gary is going to Chicago to do the Big Ten. No, it was impromptu. Billy Hahn actually led us. Gary was the dad. Billy was the big brother. Dave was the middle. Actually Dave was probably more like Robert Duvall in The Godfather. He was really like sane. I was more like Michael. Billy was definitely like Sonny. I’m not Sonny. There’s no Fredo. Although Gary probably would have picked the same result for Fredo.
Billy kind of texted and said, Let’s get together and talk. Matt Roe was doing the radio for Syracuse. Matt Roe is one of the first guys that came to Gary when there was like nobody to play because they were on probation. It was fun. We talked about all the stuff, how much we accomplished. We laughed with everybody having a video guy, a weight guy. I said, My academic lady is with me, Colleen Campbell. I was the academic guy. Dave did the video. Billy went to weight lifting in the morning. It changed.
It was a good little time. It was nice to be with your family because in basketball that’s our family and we have a nice family.
Q. The guys that were up before said you mentioned the Coppin State win that happened across the street.
COACH PASTOS: I was over there checking it out. They’re taking it down.
Q. It’s a little sad.
COACH PASTOS: Not when you have this, it isn’t.
Q. What motivation have you used as a 15 seed going up against 2?
COACH PASTOS: That it can happen. 16-1 is not going to happen. 15-2 is going to happen once every three or four years. I actually think, my commissioner is here, he’s done a tremendous job with our league. We could have been a 14. They picked Iona as a 14. I don’t see us as a longshot 15. I can do the math. St. Bonnie wins, they pushed us down. That’s okay. Is Ohio a real 2? Unfortunately they could have been a 1 had they won Sunday.
It doesn’t matter. It’s 40 minutes. It’s 10 four-minute segments. We have to try to win six of those segments. We keep track of the segments, which we sole from Thad Matta when he was at Xavier. They have four-minute wars, 10 of them. We have to win six of them to win the game. That’s okay.
I think we have a chance, though, I do, because if we can get the game going fast, we have a chance. If they put us in the meat grinder and go slow, Sullinger goes to work, you can call me at 410, I’ll be in Baltimore Friday by noon.
Q. How much does the loss of Fab change the whole east region?
COACH PASTOS: The guy is a tremendous defensive player. I think in the tournaments, like at Maryland we had Chris Wilcox. He scored the least. When he blocked Drew Gooden’s shots, Marcus traveled with us, a defensive guy like that can really change the game.
At Maryland I didn’t think we were ever going to win the title until we had a defensive guy like Chris Wilcox. I think they can make some plays. We don’t beat Fairfield if we don’t block some shots. You have to win a defensive game along the way.
Boeheim is a great coach. He’s setting everybody up because he has nine players. He still has eight good ones. That’s a tough one to lose because he’s a 7-footer, great player. It’s none of my concern. It’s an odd time for that to happen. I think that’s not good for a team. Like you can lose a guy three weeks ago and stuff. Like we have a guy, Anthony Winbush, who just had to have stitches Monday. I’ll tell you, he may play, he may not. He had 10 stitches. That’s a weird thing to have happen right now. But he’s not our best player.
Fab Melo is a big loss. Can Boeheim still win? Absolutely. He is one of the great coaches ever and a great golfer, a much better golfer than all the other coaches.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Posted on 04 February 2012 by WNSTV
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…)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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 …
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.