Tag Archive | "Jim Harbaugh"

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Putting Harbaugh hype aside, Ravens offense has tall order in front of it

Posted on 23 November 2011 by Luke Jones

After a few days, I admit it.

I’m a little Harbaugh-ed out.

With no disrespect to either John or Jim Harbaugh and the remarkable story of the two becoming the first brothers in NFL history to meet as opposing head coaches, neither will play a snap in a nationally-televised game on Thursday night. The storyline was originally meant to inject life in a game appearing to be a mismatch when the schedule-makers pegged it for Thanksgiving night back in April.

But this matchup is stimulating, whether two brothers are facing off or the opposing head coaches wouldn’t recognize each other walking down the street. The Ravens are roughly where most expected them to be through the first 10 games of the season — overlooking the sub-.500 opponents their three losses have come against — but Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers are the biggest surprise of the 2011 season, having won eight in a row and suffering their only loss of the season in overtime back in Week 2.

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Even with a short week that clearly puts the 49ers at a disadvantage having to travel across the country, this game is simply too appealing to spend too much time focusing on the Harbaughs.

Much like John’s first year in Baltimore in 2008, the younger Harbaugh has made his stamp on a San Francisco team that had plenty of talent but needed new direction after failing to reach expectations under the previous regime. He has already guided San Francisco to its first winning season since 2002, and the 49ers are right on the heels of the undefeated Green Bay Packers for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They’ve done it just like the Ravens did in 2008 — a strong defense and a power running game.

Meanwhile, the Ravens have their eyes on the top seed in the AFC — currently tied with New England, Pittsburgh, and Houston at 7-3 — and sorely need a win when taking into account the Patriots’ and Steelers’ favorable schedules over the final six weeks of the regular season. For the sake of their playoff positioning, Thursday is a game the Ravens really can’t afford to lose.

The Baltimore offense will need to bring its best effort against a 49ers defense that prides itself on stopping the run and taking the ball away from you at a prolific rate. Led by inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and imposing defensive end Justin Smith, San Francisco owns the top-ranked run defense and has not allowed a rushing touchdown all season.

Though they found the elusive balance between the run and pass in last Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens will be challenged to gain positive yardage on the ground against the 49ers’ front seven. The possibility may push Baltimore to slip back into the more one-dimensional offense we’ve seen in recent weeks.

“It’s [about] whatever is going to move the football for us and get us first downs,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “If we’re able to do both of those things and hit chunks [of yardage via the pass] here or there, then that’s what’s going to be important.”

The San Francisco pass defense is less impressive, ranking 27th in the NFL, but it’s opportunistic nature (15 interceptions) highlights the biggest area in which the Ravens need to be concerned.

Turnovers.

No team in the NFL has done a better job of protecting the football while causing the opponent to fail in doing so. Not only are the 49ers tied for fewest giveaways (nine) in the league, but their defense has forced an incredible 26 takeaways to lead the NFL. San Francisco’s plus-17 turnover margin is easily the best in the league.

In contrast, the Ravens’ 18 giveaways are tied for sixth-most in the AFC. Following a turnover-free performance in a Week 1 win over Pittsburgh, the Baltimore offense has committed two or more miscues in six of its last nine games and at least one in all nine games.

The 49ers have won the turnover battle in all but one of their games this season while the Ravens have committed more miscues than their opponent in five of their 10 games, still managing to win three of them.

Short week or not, the Ravens will have their hands full on Thursday night against one of the best defenses in the league. It’s a unit that can make you pay if you’re not on your toes, protecting the football and setting the tempo by gaining just enough on the ground to keep the front seven honest.

If not, the Ravens will have no choice but to let the passes fly from Flacco’s right arm and, with it, a greater chance for a turnover against defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s attacking San Francisco defense.

In recent weeks, the Ravens have spoken ad nauseam about their need to get the running game going and to take better care of the football. They’ll have their chance on Thanksgiving against the best team in the league in stopping the run and taking away the football from the opposition.

“I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I don’t plan on forcing anything,” said running back Ray Rice, who reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time since Week 6. “I have to take what’s given and I’m looking forward to one of those Pittsburgh Steelers kind of games with [that] defense. They’re in a different division, but they play like our defense and they’re going to be tough.”

It’s not a season-deciding game, but a win over the 49ers would go a long way in determining where the Ravens wind up in their potential playoff journey.

And that’s far more important than who happens to be coaching on opposite sidelines.

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49ers PBP voice Ted Robinson looking forward to another memorable post-game handshake with Harbaugh brothers

Posted on 23 November 2011 by WNST Audio

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Ravens preparing for efficient San Francisco offense

Posted on 22 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Much of the credit for the San Francisco 49ers’ 9-1 start has been bestowed upon their impressive defensive in leading the once-proud franchise to its first winning season since 2002.

However, new head coach Jim Harbaugh has transformed a once-inept offense into an efficient, improving unit taking advantage of the enviable positions presented by a defense that leads the NFL with 26 takeaways. As a result, the 49ers have used their league-best average starting field position to average 25.6 points per game, tied for seventh in the NFL with the Ravens. San Francisco ranked 24th in points per game (19.1) last season. The 49ers have also done an excellent job taking care of the football, tied with Houston with a league-low nine turnovers this season.

The 49ers’ formula for offensive success is no secret: feed the ball to Frank Gore as much as possible. The seventh-year back is third in the NFL in rushing attempts and has 870 yards on the ground this season to pace San Francisco’s sixth-ranked rushing offense.

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“He is very special,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “He runs angry. He runs very aggressive. We like that. We like the rough stuff.”

Even with the league’s fifth-best run defense, the Ravens could find their hands full trying to fend off a tough San Francisco offensive line — especially on the left side with tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Iupati — wanting to control the line of scrimmage. And with Ray Lewis’ status for Thursday night remaining a mystery, Baltimore could once again be without its defensive leader.

On the surface, the 49ers’ passing game appears to be the Achilles heel of an otherwise impressive 9-1 team, but the Ravens are looking beyond their low ranking and seeing a far more efficient aerial attack than the numbers indicate.

“Sometimes stats can be deceiving a little bit,” cornerback Chris Carr said. “A lot of times you’ll have teams that have to come from behind and so they have to throw the ball a lot and they get a lot of passing yards. With San Francisco, they’ve been in the lead in a lot of games so they’re going to run the ball and they’re not going to have to throw the ball downfield as much. And so even though they rank 27th [in the NFL], it’s kind of deceiving.”

The numbers aren’t gaudy, but former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith has experienced a renaissance under Harbaugh and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. After widely being considered a failure in his first six years in San Francisco, Smith has a 93.9 quarterback rating and is tied among starting quarterbacks with a league-low four interceptions.

The perception of Smith being a game manager in the 49ers offense may have been true in the early weeks of the season, but he has posted five straight weeks of increased passing yards, with six touchdowns and three interceptions over the stretch of time.

Smith is finally showing a few glimpses of what the 49ers saw when they selected him with the first pick of the 2005 draft out of the University of Utah despite his 75.5 career quarterback rating.

“The games that we have watched, he looks like he can throw it to me,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He is making every single throw. He is making the throws on the deep sideline, from one hash to the other hash. He is making throws downfield. It is very much a downfield passing attack.”

While only averaging 188.3 passing yards per game, Smith has plenty of viable options to target, including tight end Vernon Davis (five touchdowns) and wide receivers Michael Crabtree (455 receiving yards) and Braylon Edwards. Though not robust in its production, the Baltimore defense sees a passing offense capable of giving different looks and making low-risk plays with positive results.

“I think their scheme is the best offense we’ve seen so far this year,” Carr said. “They have multiple sets and they can get in three tight end sets and can run four receivers down the field. They have all the concepts in every single formation so they really keep you off balanced. They shift a lot and get teams confused. I think that’s one of the reason [Smith’s] been so successful. He’s not trying to throw the ball into tight spots too much. He takes what the defense gives him. He knows that their defense is playing really well. He’s playing like a veteran quarterback, very smart. With their players and their scheme, it’s very difficult for a defense because there is a lot to prepare for.”

However, the 49ers will have plenty to prepare for in facing the fourth-ranked defense in the league. With or without Lewis in the lineup, San Francisco may have to turn in its best offensive performance of the season to hand the Ravens their first home loss in 2011.

“This is going to be a dogfight,” Suggs said. “Like I said, I don’t think they could have picked a better game of the season [for Thanksgiving night].”

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Harbaugh quiet on Lewis’ status against 49ers on Thanksgiving

Posted on 21 November 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With no time to revel in their 31-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens returned to work on Monday with only three days to prepare for a Thanksgiving night contest with the red-hot San Francisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh’s team comes to town riding an eight-game winning streak and enjoying an insurmountable lead in the NFC West. Meanwhile, John Harbaugh saw his Ravens regain control of the AFC North by improving to 7-3 and 5-0 at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Much of the hype surrounding Thursday’s game will center around the first ever meeting in NFL history where two brothers face each other as head coaches. Both Harbaughs are acknowledging the special occasion but attempting to redirect the focus on their talented football teams.

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“It’s going to be a hard-fought game,” John Harbaugh said. “It’s not going to be a ‘trick-them’ game. There will be something that you’ll try, and they’ll try something, but it’s a short week. It’s two very physical teams. It’s two teams with quite a lot at stake. It’s two teams that play a very similar style of football. It’s going to be a great night for football. If you’re a football fan, I wouldn’t think you’d want to miss this game.”

Many are wondering whether star linebacker Ray Lewis (toe) will miss the unprecedented Thursday night game after he sat out his first game on Sunday since the finale of the 2007 season, snapping a string of 57 consecutive games played. Lewis was not present on the field during the Ravens’ walk-through on Monday evening, and his status will remain in question until inactives are released 90 minutes prior to Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. kickoff on the NFL Network.

When asked about Lewis’ status in a Monday teleconference, Harbaugh was predictably tight-lipped regarding the chances of his defensive leader suiting up against the 49ers’ sixth-ranked run offense.

Does Harbaugh think Lewis will be able to play in the nationally-televised game?

“Is that something I really want to share right now, you think?” Harbaugh replied to the questioner. “Would there be any value in doing that?”

Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion) was also missing from the open portion of the walk-through while wide receiver Lee Evans (ankle), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), safety Tom Zbikowski (leg), and running back Anthony Allen (thigh) were all present for the open portion.

 

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Harbaugh sidestepping brother’s controversy, Ravens’ Monday night snubs

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the aftermath of the Ravens’ 29-14 win over Houston on Sunday evening, coach John Harbaugh was asked whether he had heard about the altercation involving his younger brother following the 49ers’ big road win over Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions earlier in the day.

Harbaugh only spoke in general terms on Sunday since the incident occurred as Baltimore’s 4:05 game with Houston was getting underway.

A day later, the Ravens coach was asked whether he had spoken to Jim Harbaugh about the incident to get his view of what transpired. Predictably, Harbaugh would not reveal specific details of what he talked about with his brother but gave a clear indication who he was supporting — to no one’s surprise.

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“I think I know who was right, but whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on,” said Harbaugh, drawing laughs from the media. “I’m definitely taking sides — the same side I’ve always taken.”

The younger Harbaugh has been criticized for the handshake and slap on the back he offered Schwartz following San Francisco’s impressive 25-19 win. Schwartz took issue with Harbaugh’s decorum in celebrating the Week 6 victory as the two had to be restrained during a heated argument.

However, John Harbaugh chose to focus on the success his brother is having with the upstart 49ers after their 5-1 start. The Harbaughs will face off on Thanksgiving night in what’s shaping to be a far better matchup than anyone anticipated prior to the season.

“Everybody’s got a lot to learn, so I guess, right now, he’s 5-1,” Harbaugh said about his younger brother. “If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands post-game after a victory, he’s doing OK.”

Prior to being asked about his brother, Harbaugh was pressed about the Ravens not having a Monday night game during his first four seasons in Baltimore. The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Ravens next Monday night, making it their second straight year with a home game featured on ESPN’s broadcast.

So, would the coach like to see a Monday night game in Baltimore?

“Aren’t we in enough controversy in the family right now to get me involved in that?” said Harbaugh, garnering laughter. “We’re happy to go play wherever they put us. Someday we’ll get a Monday night game, but you know we had a big Sunday night game [against the Jets]. We’ve got a big Thursday night game [against the 49ers on Thanksgiving night] coming up, so we’ve had some really cool games here. This year, it’s good that way, but one of these years, we’ll get a Monday night game.”

While many fans have taken issue with the absence of Monday night games at home, the Ravens have received plenty of exposure on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which became the NFL’s marquee primetime game beginning in 2006. The Ravens have hosted a Sunday night game in each of the last five seasons.

Baltimore’s last Monday night home game came on Dec. 3, 2007 when the Ravens lost a heartbreaker in the final minute to the undefeated New England Patriots, 27-24. It was the infamous game in which former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott hurled a penalty flag into the stands after taking issue with a questionable call late in the game.

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Live from Owings Mills: Cody, Redding, Birk return to practice on Thursday

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Facing a plethora of injuries, some serious and others of the nagging variety, the Ravens saw three players return to the practice field on Thursday after being absent a day ago.

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody, defensive end Cory Redding, and center Matt Birk (knee) were back on the field during the portion of practice open to the media. Cody sustained a concussion in the 26-13 loss to the Titans on Sunday but passed the battery of baseline tests required to return to action. However, Cody went through position drills without a helmet, indicating he was limited in his return to practice.

Redding sat out Wednesday’s workout with a toe injury, but the 30-year-old did not appear to be limited as he took part in drills with the rest of the defensive line.

Birk’s return was expected after Wednesday appeared to simply be a day off for the 35-year-old center. He did not take part in the preseason after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in early August, but Birk has practiced fully since the week prior to the start of the regular season.

Left guard Ben Grubbs (toe) missed his second straight practice of the week, further clouding his status for Sunday after he missed the first game of his career last week. With Grubbs hobbled, Mark LeVoir and former Pro Bowler Andre Gurode continue to work at the left guard spot.

Wide receiver Lee Evans was also absent from the open portion of practice as he continues to rest his left ankle. His status is in jeopardy after coach John Harbaugh suggested the Ravens could elect to rest Evans if he is unable to produce in the way they need him to.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (high ankle sprain) and return specialist David Reed were not present and are not expected to return before the Ravens’ bye week that follows their Week 4 meeting with the New York Jets.

Chris Carr was practicing for the second straight day and was a limited participant in Wednesday’s workout. His limited number of reps was intentional, and the 5-10 cornerback expects to be able to play on Sunday against the Rams.

“It’s trying not to be prideful, because you really want to play, but trying to be smart,” said Carr, who revealed Sunday was the first game he’s missed because of an injury. “If I feel like I can’t perform like I’m usually accustomed to performing than I’m not going to play.”

Hear from Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano, Jerry Rosburg, Terrence Cody, Chris Carr, and Bryant McKinnie in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (1-20)

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number this week, I decided to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Some jersey numbers provide for good debate (Sam Adams or Jarret Johnson for No. 95?) while other integers provide quite the challenge to simply produce a warm body (Who was your favorite No. 46 to suit up for the Ravens?).

Some choices are obvious, others might anger you, and a few will make you say, “Who?” but let the debate begin.

1 Randall Cunningham (2001)

There was really no other choice here. Some Ravens fans are still hollering for Brian Billick to replace Elvis Grbac with the veteran backup.

2 Anthony Wright (2002-05)

No one will forget Wright tossing four touchdown passes to little-used receiver Marcus Robinson, as the journeyman quarterback engineered the greatest comeback in franchise history against the Seattle Seahawks in 2003.

3 Matt Stover (1996-2008)

Never mind the fact that he’s the only player to sport the number 3 in franchise history. There is actually a Stover tribute video on YouTube.

4 Sam Koch (2006-present)

With apologies to the current Ravens head coach’s brother Jim, who played quarterback for the Ravens in 1998, the current Ravens punter is the clear choice for No. 4.

5 Joe Flacco (2008-present)

The franchise quarterback won three playoff games in his first two seasons in the league. Not a bad start.

6 Steve Hauschka (2008-09)

Yes, I’m well aware of this…

The only other option here was J.R. Jenkins, the kickoff specialist in 2002. On second thought, Jenkins really got some distance on those kicks!

7 Kyle Boller (2003-08)

I realize most have already clicked back on their browser window after these last two picks, but the former Cal quarterback is still the franchise leader in total passing yards.
Boller
I’m not sure you were aware, but I once heard he could throw the football through the uprights. From the 50-yard line. On his knees.

8 Trent Dilfer (2000)

Flacco may be the toast of the town in 2010, but he has some work to do before making anyone forget about this guy.
Dilfer

9 Steve McNair (2006-07)

Many remember his poor playoff performance against Indianapolis in January 2007 and his miserable final season in Baltimore, but his arrival in 2006 helped orchestrate the best regular season record (13-3) in franchise history.

10 Eric Zeier (1996-98)

A punting performance by Kordell Stewart in 2004 and the brief hero-worship of Stoney Case in 1999 earn bizarre mentions here, but Zeier had six 100-plus quarterback rating performances and three 250-yard games in his three-year career in Baltimore. Height (listed at 6-foot-1) prevented the Georgia quarterback from getting a legitimate chance as the starter.

11 Jeff Blake (2002)

The former Bengal is the clear-cut choice here, but no one will forget him chuckling with Steelers coach Bill Cowher moments after tossing an interception in the end zone in the final seconds of a loss at Pittsburgh in 2002.

12 Vinny Testaverde (1996-97)

One of the most maligned quarterbacks in NFL history, Testaverde still owns the finest passing season in franchise history when he threw for 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns in 1996.

Tony Banks gets consideration here with his five touchdown passes in the Ravens’ thrilling 39-36 comeback victory over Jacksonville in Week 2 of the 2000 season, a pivotal moment in the history of the franchise. Things fell apart quickly for Banks before eventually being replaced by Dilfer several weeks later.

13 Eron Riley* (2009-present)

Research indicated no player has worn No. 13 in the regular season for the Ravens. Riley wears the number on the preseason roster and was a member of the practice squad a year ago.

14 Wally Richardson (1997-98)

The pride of Happy Valley, Richardson was the third-string quarterback for two seasons and threw for one yard on two career attempts in the NFL.

15 Dave Zastudil (2002-05)

The front office took heat for drafting “The Weapon” in the fourth round of the 2002 draft, but Zastudil was a quality punter for four seasons before signing with the Browns.

16 Yamon Figurs (2007-08)

Tremendous speed that produced two touchdown returns his rookie season, but Figurs could never put it to use as a receiver.

17 David Tyree (2009)

Shayne Graham immediately takes this distinction if he makes the 53-man roster next month, but receiver Matt Willis (2007) was the only other option for this number. Besides, you may remember Tyree for something else a couple of years before his brief stop in Baltimore…

18 Elvis Grbac (2001)

Other than Boller a few years later, no player faced the wrath of Ravens fans quite like Grbac. The former Pro Bowl quarterback came to town with intense pressure to lead a repeat in 2001, but Grbac had no chance when Jamal Lewis was lost for the season after tearing his ACL early in training camp.
Grbac
He went down in flames against Pittsburgh in the playoffs and retired a few months later, but name a quarterback who would have won with Terry Allen and Jason Brookins as his feature backs that season.

19 Johnny Unitas*

Yes, I’m well aware Johnny U never played a down for the Ravens, but did you really think I could put this guy on the list?
Mitchell

20 Ed Reed (2002-present)

A nanosecond-long nod goes to the Super Bowl-winning safety Kim Herring, but Reed is the easiest choice among the numbers previously worn by other players. The ball-hawking safety is unquestionably one of the greatest free safeties in the history of the game.

Next up: Find out which member of the Ring of Honor didn’t make the cut as I reveal the greatest Ravens for Nos. 21-40.

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The Wednesday Wishlist .....

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The Wednesday Wishlist …..

Posted on 09 December 2009 by Rex Snider

It took me a couple years …..

But, I’ve finally learned not to take myself or my sports opinions too seriously. While I’m very passionate about the Ravens, Orioles and other hometown flavors, I’ve come to realize many fans have their own in-depth opinions and analysis.

So, while I’ll continue to show my serious side, when it really warrants, I’m also happy to lighten things up or not be so “cut and dry.” I like humor. I like sarcasm. But, I’m also a sucker for a compelling story – while hopefully motivating people to remember there are, indeed, life events more important than sports.

Today, you’ll get a little bit of everything. It’s just an old fashioned “Wish List” ……

The Orioles Go Christmas Shopping …..

Well, we’re halfway through Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings and the Orioles have done ….. NOTHING.

Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? Not really. In fact, I’ve grown indifferent toward many of the Orioles principles and missions, because I don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t tell ME or YOU. But, I do “WISH” the Orioles great success and I have 3 very plausible additions that could help this team.

First, let me say I don’t believe free agency is the route this offseason. That’s right, TRADES are the way to improve a team. The Yankees just landed Curtis Granderson – and their minor league trade chips are more scarce than the Orioles.

At some point, I think Andy McPhail has to realize every single member of his coveted stable of prospects is not going to achieve success on the big league level. Some of these kids are real risks – why not “SELL them on the HIGH” ???

Which ones? I don’t know – that really is Andy’s job. But, there are young major leaguers available. Their teams might be openly shopping them, but I’d bet they can be had ….. for the right price.

Here’s 3 players who could fill a void RIGHT NOW. But, it would cost some young talent in return.

Chris Davis (1st Base) – Texas Rangers

A year ago, today, Chris Davis was regarded as the Rangers next “Big Thing.” He was fresh off a rookie campaign that saw him hit .285, with 17 homers, in just 317 plate appearances. And, he was just 22 years old.

Chris Davis entered 2009 as one of Fantasy Baseball’s worst kept secrets. Unfortunately, he did not live up to the hype. While Davis continued to hit for power, he was on pace to set a new record for strikeouts, through June. He was demoted to AAA, prior to the All Star break

He returned to the Rangers, in late August. With a shortened stroke, Chris Davis cut down on the strikeouts and hit .318, with 5 homers, during the season’s final month. It was no surprise – Chris Davis has hit at every level of the Rangers system.

So, why could he be had? The answer – Justin Smoak …..

He’s the Rangers #1 prospect and he’s just about ready for a shot at “The Show.” Smoak is more highly touted than Davis. It’s really that simple. Chris Davis is just 23 years old and he’s not eligible for free agency until 2014. He’s worth a look – but landing him won’t be cheap.

Alex Gordon (3rd Base) – Kansas City Royals

I know what you’re thinking – “Alex Gordon is UNTOUCHABLE.” Don’t bet on it …..

He was freakishly touted, as he hailed from the University of Nebraska. Alex Gordon was the #2 overall pick in the 2005 draft. He was “Can’t Miss” …..

Well, Gordon has now been through 3 Major League seasons, and realized mild success. In nearly 1400 career plate appearances, he’s hitting .250 with 37 homeruns. And, he’s experienced more than one bite from the INJURY BUG.

It’s still too early to say whether Alex Gordon will “MISS” or not. But, he’s no longer a rookie or prospect and the Kansas City Royals patience may be wearing thin. There are whispers regarding Gordon’s availability, as the Royals are constantly reinventing their roster.

Gordon is eligible for free agency following the 2012 season, and he’s a Boras client. But, if he keeps flirting with injuries and normalcy, he might be one of the rare Boras birds who can be had – before hitting free agency.

The talent is there – and the Orioles need a 3rd Baseman.

Zack Greinke (Pitcher) – Kansas City Royals

I know, another “yeah right, Rex” reaction, huh?

Well, if you’re the Kansas City Royals, will Zack Greinke’s stock ever be higher? He’s the Cy Young winner !!!!

He’s signed through 2012, and due nearly $35 million over the stretch. Is he worth it? The Orioles have the cash and he’s proven.

You can bet Kansas City is not keeping him beyond 2011 and due to some personal issues, he’s not likely to be a good fit in a high-pressured environment, like New York. Given his emotional makeup, Greinke is not comfortable with interviews or verbal confrontation.

Did you see him chatting about his Cy Young?

Exactly.

He didn’t really participate in the All Star media events, either.

Zack Greinke needs a comfortable environment. Baltimore could be it. But, once again, the Royals will not give him away. And, God knows the Kansas City Royals LOVE prospects !!!!
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Danica Joins NASCAR

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity Boys ….. Danica’s Goin’ Racing !!!!

Indeed, the WORLD’S MOST POPULAR female driver is joining the WORLD’S MOST POPULAR RACING SERIES …. albeit, at it’s “Junior Varsity” level.

Danica Patrick has signed a deal to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jrs. organization, JR Motorsports. It’s a loosely binding arrangement, as she is driving a limited amount of races in NASCAR’S Nationwide Series.

Personally, I think it’s just a PR stunt.

I think she’s going to fail – miserably. And, it has nothing to do with talent …..

If you’re a devout follower of auto racing, you understand and appreciate the commitment demanded of competitors. It’s more than a full time job ….. it’s an obsession. And, Danica isn’t willing to put in the time or effort.

Her main concentration is still Indy Cars. I don’t blame her, she’s successful on that circuit and it more than pays her bills. The NASCAR gig could be short lived. In fact, I’ll be shocked if she’s still around when the Nationwide Series makes it’s 2nd return to Dover, in September.

I’m also not convinced Danica possesses the tempermant for NASCAR and stock car racing. She has a personal history of getting visibly upset and challenging others when their car makes contact with hers.

She’s had problems keeping her cool …..

And, I’ll guarantee this guy runs her into a wall or two …..

I’ll stand by my comments – I don’t think it will work. I “WISH” Danica well and I hope she succeeds, but a long line of people have tried it this way and things didn’t work. Regardless, we’re enjoying her while she’s here …..

Hey, us NASCAR fans might be dumb ….. but, we’re not stupid !!!!
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Crosby, Stills & Nash = HORRIBLE

I watched HBO’s “Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame” concert, last night. Who dug up the bodies of David Crosby, Steven Stills and Graham Nash ???

I truly “WISH” that I will NEVER, EVER hear another Crosby, Stills & Nash song, again.

They were horrible 40 years ago ….. and they’re still HORRIBLE, today.
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Tigers Woods – I’ve Pretty Much Had Enough …..

Then again, nah ….. I’m okay.

Keep ’em coming ……

I just “WISH” Rachel Uchitel would hurry up and strike a deal with Hugh Hefner …..
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Harbaugh Interviews For The Notre Dame Job

The MOST OVERRATED JOB in the world is available, again …..

The Fighting Irish need a new coach to replace the recently jetisoned Charlie Weis. They’re scanning the ranks of potential candidates and the entire world knows about it.

What makes Notre Dame so special? Don’t get me wrong, I salute their dedication to academics – while not compromising their educational standards in the name of athletics. To HELL with Boosters ……

But, as Notre Dame’s world turns, we’re finding that Coach Harbaugh has surfaced as a candidate for the football team’s head coaching job. No, not that Coach Harbaugh ….. it’s COLLEGE and KIDS – they need DISCIPLINE, not yellow flags !!!!

And, God knows those BOOSTERS won’t accept “John Harbaugh-like” answers …..

In fact, JIM HARBAUGH, is rumored to be interviewing for the Notre Dame job. Good for him !!!! He’s a very likeable guy and his stock is seriously high, given his recent resume’ at Stanford.

The interview is supposedly planned over the next couple days.

When it happens, I gotta feeling the board of trustees will have a unique set of circumstances on their hands. Yep, they’ll have Jim Harbaugh sitting squarely in front of the table. But, a few steps behind, they’ll hear a couple whispers ….. only to see this face chiming in :

Indeed !!!! That’s how the Harbaugh’s ROLL !!!! It’s a family affair …..

The only remaining question …..

WILL JIM HARBAUGH FINISH HIS NOTRE DAME INTERVIEW IN TIME TO HELP COACH THE RAVENS THIS SUNDAY ???

I do “WISH” Jim well – and I hope he gets this Notre Dame gig – the MOST THANKLESS JOB in the world !!!!
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Peter Gammons Leaves ESPN

Whoa !!!! Who’s gonna do the nightly Red Sox reports ???

Say it so, Peter …..

By the way, we’re still waiting for Peter Gammons to call WNST and lend his AGREED support to the “Curing Cancer ….. One Call At A Time” marathon. He’s only 154 days late. We’re waiting Pete, just dial (410) 481-1570 …..


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What will the WORLDWIDE LEADER do without Gammons? Hmmm ….. maybe they’ll give more responsibility to John Kruk …..

By the way, we’re still waiting for John Kruk to call WNST and lend his AGREED support to the “Curing Cancer ….. One Call At A Time” marathon. He’s only 154 days late. We’re waiting John, just dial (410) 481-1570 …..

I understand Peter Gammons will be leaving ESPN, effectively, at the end of Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings. He wants to pursue other interests.

I “WISH” just ONE OF THOSE INTERESTS would include calling our show, this Sunday. Hey, Harbor Hospital sponsors the 11:30 block of the show – and they were the benefactor of the Cancer fundraiser. Pete, any chance you can call Sunday?

We’d love to talk with you …..
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My Thoughts & Wishes For Bryant Gumbel

In case you haven’t heard, Bryant Gumbel has announced he’s battling Lung Cancer.

On Regis & Kelly, Gumbel advised he recently had surgery and said “I’m okay for the time being.”

I will always remember Bryan Gumbel as the host of the Today Show on NBC …..

And, as a kid, I was a fan of Gumbel’s NFL commentary.

That said, at times, I’ve grown disappointed in Bryant Gumbel’s presentation of racial issues. While I’ve always enjoyed his journalistic approach, there have been occasions when I thought his mission was to create a divisive atmospehere – and race was the divider.

But, that’s just my opinion.

Over the past several years, I’ve grown to appreciate “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” which has become an HBO staple, since 1995. I’m interested in the intersection of SPORTS and LIFE, and nobody does it better than Gumbel and his staff.

My heart goes out to Bryant Gumbel and his family. I know the disease of LUNG CANCER too well. I lost a parent to it. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known. She didn’t smoke or live irresponsibly.

But, it doesn’t matter.

I “WISH” Bryant Gumbel good health and I hope he KICKS CANCER’S ASS !!!! Here’s to hoping for more Christmas seasons for Gumbel and many more episodes of Real Sports …..

Happy Wednesday Everybody !!!!!

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