Tag Archive | "Jim Harbaugh"

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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

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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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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 22 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour World Cup of Golf (Wednesday-Saturday 10:30pm from Shenzhen, China live on Golf Channel); Boxing: Canelo Alvarez vs. Kermit Cintron (Saturday 10:30pm from Mexico City, Mexico live on HBO); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 59 (Saturday 9pm from Atlantic City live on MTV2); College Soccer: NCAA Tournament Louisville @ Maryland (Sunday 5pm Ludwig Field); Women’s College Basketball: St. Joseph’s @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm Comcast Center)

10. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (Friday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); The Bridge Farewell Show (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), Staind (Sunday 6pm Rams Head Live), Reel Big Fish/Streetlight Manifesto (Monday 6pm Rams Head Live); Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Recher Theatre); Airborne Toxic Event (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), They Might Be Giants (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Leon Russell (Tuesday 8:30pm State Theatre); Kirk Franklin (Saturday 7pm Lyric Opera House); Daughtry “Break The Spell” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I can’t go to Bob Seger Friday night. It’s an incredibly long story (my family celebrates holidays a day late) that I don’t want to talk about. But in honor of the festive weekend, I’ll just go ahead and assume he’ll break out “Little Drummer Boy”…

I can’t believe this is the last time Cris Jacobs and the boys from The Bridge will be playing together. It’s almost impossible. The show is sold out. I might tear up a bit.

I don’t know if I’m an Airborne Toxic Event “fan”, but I know I’m a fan of this tune…

Kirk Franklin is a legendary gospel performer. In one of the most inexplicable moments in music history, he had a smash hit on MTV/Pop radio in 1997. You know you know the words…

9. Glenn Clark’s Thanksgiving Plans (Thursday); Festival of Trees (Friday-Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds); Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Thursday 9am from New York live on NBC); The Muppets & “Arthur Christmas” out in theaters (Tuesday); Judah Friedlander (Friday & Saturday DC Improv)

I spent much of my adolescence wanting to be Fozzie Bear. If you don’t sing along to this you’re just a bad person…

Also, I’m looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with the Clark family, but I’ll admit I’m a bit confused by why it is that my mother has requested my girlfriend bring buffalo chicken dip to dinner this year. It’s just kinda weird. Whatever we consume, I know one thing. This Saturday I’ll be enjoying a “Thanksgiving Sandwich.” Wheat bread, turkey, potatoes and barbeque sauce. It sounds weird to you, but trust me on this one.

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Harbaugh quiet on Lewis’ status against 49ers on Thanksgiving

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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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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

Posted on 14 November 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. The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship? The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship.

Terrance West ran for 265 freaking yards as the Tigers beat the New Hampshire Wildcats Saturday. They’re now a win over Rhode Island next week away from claiming the CAA title…

This can’t be right, can it?

2. Tom Brady hasn’t lost three straight games since 2002. Holy hell.

I don’t know what’s more embarrassing for New York Jets fans-the fact that Mark Sanchez was eaten alive by some dude named Rob Nankovich or that Deion Branch owned Fireman Ed after catching a touchdown…

Rob effing Nankovich. A dude named Rob Nankovich just played hero for the New England Patriots. Maybe Bill Belichick really is better than the rest of us.

3. Still think the San Francisco 49ers haven’t proved themselves?

It’s crazy how much the Niners are different under Jim Harbaugh. Justin Smith is playing like a Defensive Player of the Year, Carlos Rogers is playing like a capable National Football League cornerback and Alex Smith…wait, Alex Smith is still playing semi-respectable football? No way…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfX7gbCnlRg

I’m trying to put a Ravens-related spin on some of the things in the 15-7-0 this week. For example, the 49ers are a GOOD team, so when they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving we can be certain the Ravens will win, right?

4. Brandon Weeden was brilliant and Kansas State/Texas A&M was incredible. Ladies and gentleman, your weekend in the Big 12.

After a big performance in Oklahoma State’s rout of Texas Tech Saturday, Weeden’s Cowboys are now two wins away from the BCS Championship Game…

The Wildcats and Aggies played a four overtime thriller IN Manhattan. It was way more fun to watch than the game I was at Saturday night…

5. After a disastrous week for everyone at Penn State, almost everything that happened Saturday in Happy Valley was positive.

The Nittany Lions fell short against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but this pre-game moment will probably be more memorable…

Elsewhere in the Big Ten…you know there wasn’t all that much going on elsewhere in the Big Ten. Well, Goldy Gopher DID attempt to frog splash Bucky Badger through a table; but not much else.

bigten

6. The Dallas Cowboys might have just put more points on the Buffalo Bills.

Let me get this straight. The Cowboys beat the Bills 44-7 and after the game the only thing anyone was talking about was the ONE Bills TD???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6WvmOGoZ2E

The story is that Bills WR David Nelson caught a TD and then gave the ball to his girlfriend Kelsi Reich, who is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. This is a fantastic reason for me to post a picture of Kelsi Reich…

kelsir

7. The Chicago Bears defense scored more fantasy points than a number of quarterbacks this weekend. 

Included in the Bears’ huge NFC North win was (inexplicably) ANOTHER punt return TD for Devin Hester…

What’s the worse idea? Predicting the Orioles will sign a significant free agent or kicking the ball to Devin Hester?

With things clearly not going their way, the Detroit Lions started fighting with the Bears. It’s weird because nothing about the team made me think they’d do something like that for no reason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqyyZDR1kxA

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shanahan

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The 15-7-0 Of The Century

Posted on 07 November 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. If you have to make a trip to Orono, Maine you might as well go ahead and get a victory.

Which is what I guess the Towson Tigers figured they would do to move back into a first place in the CAA…

Terrance West ran all over the Black Bears, much like he’s done to everyone else in the conference. Towson has a completely legitimate chance to win the conference. I almost can’t believe I’m typing that.

2. Julio Jones did something Sunday you’re not capable of.

The Atlanta Falcons traded away many things to get this man on their team. If he keeps playing like he did against the Indianapolis Colts it will go down as one of the greatest decisions in National Football League history…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yNx7EyDECQ

As far as Indy in concerned, things have gotten so bad that at one point QB Curtis Painter threw two forward passes on the same play. No really, this actually happened. He wears the same number as Bert Jones. That’s where the similarities end.

3. Remember when the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers swapped Eli Manning & Phillip Rivers? The Giants put another point on the scoreboard Sunday.

There were many amazing things about the Giants’ come from behind win over the New England Patriots in Foxborough, notably the plays made from Eli Manning to Jake Ballard to win the game. But NOTHING I could share with you would be as good as the footage of Michael Strahan celebrating the win while the cameras were “off” at FOX…

During the Sunday Night Football halftime show, Bob Costas pointed out that Ballard’s number (85) was the same number worn by David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII. Pretty good.

(Puts on “Superfriends” announcer voice)

“MEANWHILE….IN SAN DIEGO….”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPr0Z4q_vXk

Phillip Rivers nearly figured out a way to beat the NFC (and NFL)’s best team. The reason why he “nearly” figured it out is because part of beating the best team in the the league is NOT repeatedly throwing the ball to them.

I feel like Aaron Rodgers is getting dangerously close to “so good we can’t possibly like him” territory by the way.

4. You only get to win a “Game of the Century” every now and then, so I’m pretty LSU doesn’t care how ugly things were Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

And now we deal with the fact that we might well have to see the Tigers face Alabama again in the BCS Championship Game if Oklahoma State and Stanford falter.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a great game even if it wasn’t always beautiful to look at. LSU now has the fast track to a national title and it’s hard to imagine anyone not named Alabama beating them.

5. While Kellen Moore has done no wrong, Andrew Luck can clinch the Heisman Trophy next week against Oregon.

Kellen Moore wasn’t necessarily brilliant, but he surpassed Colt McCoy as the all-time winningest quarterback in NCAA history in Boise State’s win at UNLV…

Kellen Moore’s season only remains interesting however if Luck begins to stumble. Their national TV (ABC) game Saturday night against Oregon will be Luck’s chance to follow up on his performance against USC with a “clincher”. Probably. He had some early struggles, but was good again Saturday against Oregon State…

Trent Richardson remains third on my list-but he’s currently third on a list of two. Case Keenum heads the “others receiving votes” category.

6. Tim Tebow we love you again…at least for now.

Tim Tebow by no means beat the Oakland Raiders on his own (Denver Broncos teammates Willis McGahee, Eddie Royal & Eric Decker certainly helped), but what the hell do we care about anyone who plays in the Mile High City not named Tim Tebow?

By the way, the Broncos are only a game out of first place in the AFC West. And thank God the Raiders solved all of their problems by trading for Carson Palmer.

7. The New York Jets have bounced back well enough that Rex Ryan should say something idiotic any moment now.

The Jets kicked the Buffalo Bills’ asses Sunday in Orchard Park. Instead of showing the highlights, let’s all laugh at Mark Sanchez flinching when lined up out wide against Drayton Florence…

That’s more humorous than Ashton Kutcher on “Two & A Half Men.” But then again, what isn’t?

There’s a mess atop the AFC East, as these teams and the Pats all have three losses. I hope they all end up with six personally.

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

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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.

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

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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The #Occupy15-7-0 Campaign Hasn’t Really Caught On Yet

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The #Occupy15-7-0 Campaign Hasn’t Really Caught On Yet

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

15 Positive Observations…

1. After beating Old Dominion in miraculous fashion, I understand why Towson Coach Rob Ambrose’s first comment was “Oh my God!”

If you’re not aware, the Tigers topped ODU after trailing by 11 points late in the fourth quarter. They recovered an onside kick and then completed the miracle when QB Grant Enders found WR Tom Ryan for a 63 yard TD on 4th and 29.

Impossible?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z93IQd7oaw4&feature=related[/youtube]

This season his been crazy for Towson football. I’m more and more surprised they didn’t win in College Park.

2. The Green Bay Packers are so good that even when they’re not very good they win.

Seriously, the defending Super Bowl champs (and last remaining undefeated team) did absolutely NOTHING in the second half. No matter, they had already ensured themselves a blowout victory.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1hNThbRuqQ[/youtube]

Yes, that WAS AJ Hawk flipping off his own sideline. I don’t get it either.

hawk

3. I’ll assume Michael Turner’s big performance Sunday came because he heard I had picked the Atlanta Falcons to win the Super Bowl before the season.

But it’s not as though I feel any more comfortable about my chances of being right.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd1WLndlnrA[/youtube]

I liked Cam Newton’s Deion Sanders dance. I would assume Panthers fans would prefer that he win games. He will.

4. I’m keeping Kellen Moore and Trent Richardson just ahead of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson in my Heisman Trophy watch. (Landry Jones is now 5th for me if you’re scoring at home).

I’m sure this keeps you up at night. Russell Wilson had the best highlight of the weekend in Wisconsin’s blowout win over Indiana…

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

Trent Richardson had both the best game of his career and perhaps the best juke of all time in Alabama’s win over Ole Miss…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HaGJaJOjQw[/youtube]

But I put Kellen Moore at the top of the list a few weeks ago and he hasn’t done anything to make me change my mind. Certainly not in Boise State’s blowout win over Colorado State…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obt4pqafnLA[/youtube]

Luck was great again in Stanford’s big win over Washington State, but he might have been upstaged by teammate Ty Montgomery…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb2LUWV6S48[/youtube]

Landry Jones should probably not be making his first appearance in my Top 5. Hey, it’s my list jerks. He was really good in Oklahoma’s win over Kansas…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wefV1zoReY8[/youtube]

5. So let me get this straight. Ryan Tannehill was a great receiver, now he’s a great quarterback and he might go on to be an orthopedic surgeon? I wish I had one skill.

Tannehill threw four TD’s to Ryan Swope alone in Texas A&M’s big win over Baylor Saturday…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcH0_drbtu8[/youtube]

In the loss, Bears QB Robert Griffin III…I don’t know how to describe this. I’m just glad Gus Johnson called it…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sztf9JpzDEM[/youtube]

Elsewhere in the Big 12, Oklahoma State and Texas traded kickoff return TD’s. And otherwise the Cowboys kicked the Longhorns’ asses…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiTrot49na4[/youtube]

6. The New York Giants got a nice win over the Buffalo Bills. How the hell did they lose to the Seattle Seahawks last week?

It wasn’t a good 4th quarter for Drayton Florence…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbZd7OAxyZ0[/youtube]

But really, they lost to the Seahawks last week. How in the hell is that possible?

7. Attention Tom Brady: We get it. You’re good at quarterbacking.

He came up with a big time throw to Aaron Hernandez to help the New England Patriots beat the Dallas Cowboys…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c11qzU8HVAQ[/youtube]

By law, we’ll all be talking about Tony Romo on Monday instead of anything that happened in the game. Right up until we remember Tim Tebow is playing again next weekend.

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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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Top 10 Ravens Priorities Before Breaking Camp

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Top 10 Ravens Priorities Before Breaking Camp

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

#10 – Suring up at Safety – While not a position of urgent need for the Ravens, safety isn’t without its questions. Dawan Landry’s impending free agency and Ed Reed’s present state of health could have the team relying heavily on Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski for critical stretches of this season. As they seem to have greater needs elsewhere it seems unlikely that the team would spend heavily to retain Landry and will take their chances with whomever the market may bear behind Reed, Nakamura and Zbikowski. Historically the Ravens have done well with finding safeties that others haven’t seen value in.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

#9 – Finding a Tight End – The release of Todd Heap leaves the team with a gaping hole at the tight end position, and like safety could have them relying on a couple of unproven players for big contributions in 2011. In this case that pursuit might be even more ambitious as both Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are entering only their second seasons and neither found a major niche in the offense last year. It seems the team has designs on re-signing Heap if possible but otherwise would likely have to turn to the open market for a more reliable answer at TE than Pitta or Dickson look to provide. Absent that, the team might be forced to their 2008 form with little reliance on the TE position as anything but an extra blocker at the line of scrimmage.

 

 

#8 – Backing Up Ray Rice – While the release of Willis McGahee wasn’t much of a surprise on Monday, it leaves the Ravens with a number of unanswered questions in the backfield. Can they trust rookie Anthony Allen to be ready to back up Rice if needed? Are they prepared to go with some combination of Jalen Parmalee and Matt Lawrence at the backup if Allen isn’t up to the task without prep time? If Le’Ron McClain returns will he do so as the full time fullback? Do the Ravens want him otherwise? Will the bounty of free agents and the unwillingness of teams to pay them leave the Ravens with good options to choose from when the dust settles?

 

 

#7 – Backing Up Flacco – If Marc Bulger’s presence on last year’s squad indicated anything at all, it may have been that the Ravens envisioned themselves so close to competing for a title, that they refused to allow themselves to be in a position where a single injury could derail those hopes (even if that injury comes at the most important position on the field). If Bulger finds greener pastures elsewhere, surely the Ravens will be looking for more credible options than Tyrod Taylor or Hunter Cantwell. Hopefully it’s a need that never comes to fruition as the season plays out, but one that must be accounted for nonetheless.

 

 

#6 – Sorting out the Cornerbacks – After the Ravens’ forcible defection of talent on Monday and given their apparent desire to retain some of those players, but at a better price; is it out of the realm of possibility that Domonique Foxworth, coming off of an ACL tear, may also be carrying a price tag that’s tough to justify? Additionally see these 10 cornerback questions.

 

 

#5 – Sorting Out the Wide Receivers – The release of Derrick Mason certainly shakes up the receiving hierarchy in Baltimore for 2011 if the Ravens are unable to compel him back. If not they’re left with a bunch of unproven commodities behind Anquan Boldin. That might make the retention of a guy like TJ Houshmandzadeh suddenly much more realistic than it seemed just a few days ago. Whatever the outcomes with Mason and/or Houshmandzadeh, the Ravens will still need a proven field stretcher to compliment Boldin and whomever else rounds out the receiving corps, and it appears that through free agency they’ll have no shortage of candidates to choose from.

 

 

#4 – Prepping for Pittsburgh – Getting the Steelers, in Baltimore, right out of the gate might be just what the doctor ordered for a team likely still smarting from playoff disappointment at the hands of their rivals. While a win in week one won’t put the rivalry back into balance or even mean much if the Steelers again rain on the Ravens’ post-season hopes, it may mean a great deal in determining where a potential third meeting between the clubs would be played and will probably mean the difference between a big boost or a big letdown to set the tone for the 2011 campaign.

 

 

#3 – Getting Defensive Line Help – The Ravens appear ready to unleash Terrance Cody on the league to compliment the man-mountain that is Haloti Ngata in the middle of the defensive line, and at present have 2 young and interesting commodities backing them up in Kelly Talavou and Arthur Jones, but they’ll still need help in developing a much needed edge rush. At present the Ravens list only 2 defensive ends on their roster, rookie Pernell McPhee and 2nd year Albert McClellan. Unless they’re expecting huge contributions from Paul Kruger and/or Sergio Kindle to compliment Suggs in 2011 it would seem that upgrades are in order. I’ll bet on the latter.

 

 

#2 – Suring Up the Right Side of the Offensive Line – Matt Birk is aging, and everything to his right is a question mark. Did Jared Gaither miss last season by pouting or with a legitimate back injury? In either case can you put any faith in him moving forward? Will Marshall Yanda get tackle money in free agency? Should the Ravens pay him tackle money? What can you expect from Oneil Cousins, Jah Reid, or Ramon Harewood in 2011? Should the Ravens look to pursue a left tackle and move Michael Oher back to the right side?  Answering these questions will probably be the biggest determining factor in the Ravens’ success or lack thereof this season.

 

 

#1 – Coming Up With a New Slogan – If John Harbaugh wasn’t having such success as an NFL coach in his 3-year tenure with the Ravens, one might suggest he pursue a career in marketing. In addition to his knack for having his teams ready to play from week to week, Harbaugh has also shown a knack for getting them up to play through the week to week grind of NFL football. From “Play Like a Raven” to the Muhammad Ali inspired “What’s Our Name”, from the inspirational story of Nehemiah to the recognition of Baltimore’s “53 Mighty Men” Harbaugh has never seemingly been at a loss for a poignant theme or reference. It’s fair to say that players and fans alike have been waiting with baited breath to hear this year’s Harbaugh-ism. Given his biblical affinity and his Thanksgiving Day opponent, I might suggest an infamous tale from Genesis.

 

 

 

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