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Former Marc Bulger teammate Drew Bennett: “He’s a Team Player, and I Think He’ll Fit in Really Well There”

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Former Marc Bulger teammate Drew Bennett: “He’s a Team Player, and I Think He’ll Fit in Really Well There”

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Ryan Chell

Last week, the Ravens reached out to former Rams starter Marc Bulger and signed him to a one year deal to be the backup quarterback to Joe Flacco.

Marc Bulger

Some fans and the media questioned the move, especially considering Bulger will earn more than Flacco will this season and the fact that the Ravens already had two capable backups in former Heisman winner Troy Smith and John Beck, a former second round pick who ran offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s system down in Miami.

While this move may mean the end of a career in Baltimore for either Smith or Beck soon, there are a few people out there who see Bulger as a good move for the Ravens.

It not only showing their fans that they want a better insurance policy for a Super Bowl run if Flacco should get hurt, but also exemplifies the fact that the organization continues to better help the progression of Joe Flacco from a starter at the University of Delaware to a Pro-Bowl caliber starter in the NFL.

One of those approving of the move is a former player who knows Bulger well. That would be former Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Drew Bennett, who spent nine years in the NFL.

Drew Bennett

A former QB at UCLA, he went undrafted and found his way with the Titans as a wide receiver. After seven productive seasons with Tennessee, he signed a five year deal with the Rams to be one of the top receiving options for who else…Marc Bulger.

Bennett in his career has caught over 300 balls for 4000 yards and 28 TDs. His best season came in 2004 when he caught 80 passes for 1,247 yards and 12 scores.

For those that remember, Bennett also signed with the Ravens right before training camp last year but retired two days later after a lingering knee injury flared up right after taking his physical, forcing him to retire.

Bennett may not have spent a ton of time with Bulger as he did with former Raven Steve McNair in Tennessee, but he knows what kind of guy he is and how good of a quarterback he is.

“He knows the game as much any quarterback in the NFL,” Bennett, now an analyst for ESPN, told Thyrl Nelson last week after Bulger’s signing was announced on Wednesday. “This will be great for both Flacco and Bulger.”

Bennett likened the move to when he was with the Titans when they brought in Neil O’Donnell to back up Steve McNair a few years into his young career.

“When I played in Tennessee for six years, Neil O’ Donnell was the signing there…and he was there to strictly to back him up. There was never competition on who was going to be the starter. McNair learned so much.”

Bennett said that this was probably not a move that was initiated from the owner or the GM; this was a move from the coaching staff to improve the teaching of an NFL playbook to a young QB.

“That’s probably the main reason. The coaches said ‘We have a young quarterback who’s successful. He can take the next step if he learns to look at a defense like Marc Bulger could’.”

After catching 33 balls from Bulger in 2007, Bennett said that Bulger is just as accurate as the All-Pro caliber QB he succeeded in Kurt Warner. It’s just that Bulger’s personality never helped him gain a ton of attention, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Bulger is a little bit of an introvert. [He] is just as accurate as Kurt Warner. Obviously he doesn’t have the resume with all the championships, but he is a guy that does a lot in the community. He’s just not as large as life as Kurt Warner was. Baltimore will grow to like him.”

Bulger,33, had played his entire 10-year career all with the Rams. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Saints, but was waived before the start of the season by New Orleans as well as the Falcons.

He was a starter for St Louis the last seven years before replacing the injured Kurt Warner and Jamie Martin in 2002. Since then, he has thrown for 22,000 yards,  and 122 TDs to 93 INTs.  His numbers have fallen the last three seasons due to the poor product put on the field by the Rams.

But while quiet in nature, Bennett said when he is the huddle, he changes to a determined leader and it’s he’s the expert in the room.

“To have a guy like Bulger that’s played…and understands the game so much or talking to Bulger in the huddle or during a time out during a game, his understanding on what the defense is trying to do is top notch.  Having a guy like that every day in the meeting rooms, in the huddle, and at practice with a guy like Flacco is really going to make him a better player.”

In fact, Bennett said Bulger really didn’t get a fair shake in St. Louis given the struggles of the Rams the last few years with the coaching staff falling apart, no offensive weapons, and in Bulger’s case, one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, around him.

“He was just getting beaten up,” Bennett replied. “The town was a little against the Rams.”

Bennett felt like the change of scenery  for Bulger will be nothing less than a symbiotic relationship for the former QB of West Virginia. Baltimore will be able to help him, and his skills as a quarterback will help Flacco, and if need be, he will be a more serviceable starter than Beck or Smith if Flacco were to get hurt.

“Not only are you getting an underrated quarterback, he’s going to have a little life injected in him cause he’s in a spot where the team is more successful and the team is loved.”

And even if Bulger never sees the field, he is not going to open his mouth about not playing the way the incumbent backup, Troy Smith, did.

“I think he’ll help the team. He’s not going to be a guy giving a fuss about being a backup.  He’s not going to be a guy badmouthing anybody. He’s a team player, and I think he’ll fit in really well there.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net for more Raven News as we make our way toward the start of the 2010 NFL Season!

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No Offense to Ravens, But Consider Me “Unmoved” By Bulger

Posted on 24 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Nestor Aparicio and I were chatting this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, and something interesting came up. While discussing the Baltimore Ravens’ addition of former St. Louis Rams QB Marc Bulger, “The Nasty One” suggested that John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome were concerned with the back injury Joe Flacco suffered late last season, and would have felt more comfortable having Marc Bulger backing him up than Troy Smith and John Beck had Flacco been unable to play late in the season or in the postseason.

Of course, I couldn’t help but respond by saying “Marc Bulger wasn’t on a football field late last season.”

I’m not trying to suggest that in any way is the signing of Marc Bulger a BAD move for the Baltimore Ravens. Instead, the perspective I am attempting to offer is that I don’t necessarily know that this is a GOOD move. Hence, I’m UNmoved.

Marc Bulger has had a nice career in the NFL. He’s thrown for over 20,000 yards; connecting for 122 TD’s and 93 interceptions. He’s twice made the Pro Bowl, and has lead his team to the playoffs twice in his career. At this point, he is clearly better suited as a backup than a starter, as he has played a full 16 game season just ONCE in his 8 year career.

Marc Bulger quite obviously has a better background than either Smith or Beck amongst the Ravens’ reserve QB’s. After Bulger (presumably) passes his physical and gets under contract next week, he will immediately be installed as the team’s number two QB. With that being said, I would be lying if I said I suddenly felt more comfortable about the team’s Super Bowl hopes with Bulger on the roster.

If Joe Flacco were to get hurt in Week 6 this season against the New England Patriots, the Ravens would PROBABLY be better served with Marc Bulger on the field a week later at M&T Bank Stadium against the Buffalo Bills than they would be with Troy Smith or John Beck. However, if Joe Flacco were to get hurt in Week 6, they would be in NO better shape come Week 13 when the Pittsburgh Steelers invade Charm City with Bulger under center than Smith or Beck.

Bulger is an upgrade, but don’t get carried away. At this point in his career, he’s a MARGINAL upgrade. He’s a quarterback who a month before Training Camp opens found himself unemployed. That isn’t a mistake. A slew of teams around the NFL made (or needed to make) QB moves this offseason, and none of them took a $3 million (or so) shot on Bulger.

The Arizona Cardinals are going to defend their NFC West crown with either Derek Anderson or Matt Leinart under center. The Cleveland Browns will try to improve in the AFC North with either Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace under center. The Carolina Panthers will have Matt Moore and/or Jimmy Clausen throwing the ball. The Denver Broncos will play either Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn or Tim Tebow this season.

Any of those teams could have acquired Marc Bulger. They didn’t.

Bulger has had a nice career, and would likely be better served in an offense with better weapons and with a solid O-Line; which is expected to be the case in Baltimore. If healthy, he may be able to have a level of effectiveness at this point in his career. Of course, that’s a big if.

But this is the backup QB position we’re talking about. This isn’t about whether Marc Bulger or Troy Smith is a better QB. I know the answer to that question. This is about whether or not Marc Bulger gets the Ravens closer to winning the Super Bowl than they were before they brought him in. I’m not so sure that’s the case.

I’m not trying to just be negative. I’m really not. I don’t want this to be taken as me saying I don’t “like” the addition of Bulger. That’s not the case at all. I don’t like OR dislike the move. I’m just not particularly moved by it whatsoever. I thought the Ravens were a Super Bowl contender before Wednesday, and I think they’re a Super Bowl contender on Thursday.

I think the MOST positive thing that could come from the addition of Bulger would be the departure of Troy Smith from the Ravens locker room. Smith isn’t going to get the team any more than a 7th round pick at this point (and probably a conditional 7th round pick); but subtracting Smith from the locker room would likely do wonders for improving the culture John Harbaugh has tried to create in Owings Mills.

As we discussed in May when Drew Forrester and I put together our “Month of Jerks” list, Troy Smith is not a great dude. His attitude in the locker room is rarely overly positive; and there’s no doubt that letting him go could be an “addition by subtraction” type of situation.

I still call myself “unmoved.”

And to be completely honest, I hope that we’ll never know. If Joe Flacco plays every snap this season for a team that wins the AFC North, it will never matter whether or not I was moved by a backup QB acquisition.

There’s no question that it’s the best case scenario for any Baltimore Ravens fan.

-G

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Ravens ink QB Marc Bulger to 1-year deal

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Luke Jones

In an effort to improve their depth behind starter Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran quarterback Marc Bulger to a one-year, $3.8 million deal Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal will also include incentives that could be reached should Bulger receive more snaps than expected in 2010.

Entering his 10th season, Bulger had spent his entire career with the St. Louis Rams, taking the reins of the St. Louis offense permanently in 2003 after backing up Kurt Warner for two years. The 33-year-old quarterback played in nine games last season, going 140 of 247 for 1,469 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions.

The Rams released Bulger in early April, clearing the way for St. Louis to draft Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the top pick of the NFL Draft a few weeks later.

Bulger joins returning backups Troy Smith and John Beck but clearly figures to be the No. 2 behind Flacco, who is entering his third season as the team’s starter. A $3.8 million investment in a backup is a hefty price, but general manager Ozzie Newsome has significantly improved the depth at the quarterback position.

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

This is going to be the first in a series I will do through Training Camp and on to Week 1 of the NFL season as we try to identify the 53 players who will make up the roster when the Baltimore Ravens face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

As Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.

Here goes…

1. QB Joe Flacco (Do I even need to bother to explain?)
2. OT Michael Oher (Now at LT, Oher has moved into the “most important players on the team” category.)
3. RB Ray Rice (The team MVP from a season ago, Rice’s value is incredible despite the depth at the position. The Ravens are MUCH better offensively with Ray Rice than without him.)
4. WR Anquan Boldin (Everything about the football team changes with Boldin on the field. If this offense is going to be more dynamic this season, it’s going to happen because of what Boldin does to open things up.)

boldin

5. DT Haloti Ngata (It might be blasphemy to some, but Haloti Ngata is the most important defensive player on the roster. Everything they do defensively starts up front with Ngata.)
6. WR Derrick Mason (The team needs Mason to compliment Boldin if this offense is going to be explosive this season. He’s still one of the most important players on the roster.)
7. LB Ray Lewis (He’s no longer THE most important defensive player on the team, but he’s still one of the more important defensive players in the NFL. The drop from #52 to Gooden/Barnes/McClain is significant.)
8. LB Terrell Suggs (Despite his poor 2009, the Ravens maintain high expectations for T-Sizzle in 2010. There’s a question of whether or not he’ll live up to them, but there’s no doubt they exist.)
9. OT Jared Gaither (He might not be the team’s LT any longer, but he’s still a VERY significant part of this team. The Ravens want to have Gaither and Oher as bookend tackles, as they believe it’s part of what makes their team great. Should a team float out a ridiculous trade offer for Gaither at some point I don’t think the Ravens would just dismiss it, but they very much want him to be on the field in New Jersey on Sept. 13.)
10. S Ed Reed (Technically, Ed has still not informed the team that he will return-and should he struggle to regain form after an offseason hip procedure, there’s a chance he might not. But Reed’s plan is to return, and if he does-he’s still a possible future Hall of Fame safety. He’s one of the Top 10 players on the team.)
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11. LB Jarret Johnson (Jarret was the team’s best defensive player a season ago, but his significance on the roster lessened when the team drafted Sergio Kindle behind him. I’d still expect him to have a Pro Bowl season, but his arguable Top 10 ability is currently greater than his actual roster value.)
12. DT Terrence Cody (Yep, that’s awfully high. But make no mistake about it, the Ravens have high expectations for Terrence Cody. Terrence Cody may be behind Kelly Gregg on the depth chart right now, but I wouldn’t expect that to last through Training Camp. He’s a mountain of a man, and is MUCH quicker than you’d realize. The more you see him on the field, the more you’ll wonder how 56 picks were made in the NFL Draft before he came off the board.)
13. OG Ben Grubbs (Grubbs arguably played at a Pro Bowl level a season ago as well, and the organization has been thrilled with him ever since they drafted him out of Auburn in 2007. If he was a tackle, he might be in the Top 5.)
14. DE Trevor Pryce (Despite the fact that he’s kind of only a “half” starter-and sometimes not a starter at all-Pryce has a major role on this team. In passing situations, the Ravens need the pressure Pryce can provide. That being said, the paycut Pryce took this offseason does indeed partially represent how his role has changed.)
15. DL Cory Redding (If Pryce is 14, Redding sorta has to be 15. They’ll be sharing an end position this year, similar to how Pryce and Dwan Edwards shared the position a season ago.)
16. TE Todd Heap (It would be easy to assume that with the Ravens selecting two Tight Ends in the NFL Draft, Todd Heap might be falling out of favor with the team. However, the team thought Heap played FAR too many snaps last season-insert your own LJ Smith joke here-and they wanted to help Heap out. The team also expects the middle of the field to be opened up for Heap thanks to the presence of Anquan Boldin.)
17. CB Domonique Foxworth (He’s the top CB on the roster, but not amongst the top CB’s in the AFC. Foxworth played MUCH better at the end of the season last year, and given the question marks the team has at the position-they could really use a similar performance this year.)
18. C Matt Birk (Not really much to say here. He’s a very important part of the offensive line, and it would be a significant dropoff for the team to have to turn to Chris Chester should he get hurt. His role is important, and he played very well a season ago.)
19. LB Sergio Kindle (The Ravens didn’t use their first pick in the NFL Draft on Kindle by accident. He’s learning a difficult position-as he was a more natural pass rusher at Texas than he will be asked to be in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if Kindle’s impact his rookie season isn’t as profound as you might want from the first player a team selects, but he’s definitely a phenomenal talent.)

sergio

20. OG Marshal Yanda (He’s going to be the starting RG for the team, and in the unlikely situation that Jared Gaither WERE to be traded, he’d probably get the shot to start at RT. His job is plenty safe.)
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21. FB Le’Ron McClain (Le’Ron’s recent Twitter campaign might not make him a true RB, but he’s going to get touches both in short yardage situations and late in games, there’s no doubt about that. Le’Ron’s role is very important to this team, and his ability to take a beating will make a major difference in how successful Ray Rice can be after 2,000+ yards of offense a season ago.)
22. CB Lardarius Webb (There’s a level of uncertainty here surrounding how he’ll bounce back in Training Camp from his ACL injury a season ago, but if he’s healthy-he’ll have a chance to start opposite Domonique Foxworth at CB. If he gets back for the bulk of Training Camp, he’s likely be in the mix again at KR as well.)
23. S Dawan Landry (If you’re a starter on defense, your job is safe. Dawan Landry is a starter on defense. His long-term status with the team might be in question, but he’s going to be here. The only sweating Landry will do in Westminster this summer will be due to the weather.)
24. LB Dannell Ellerbe (Dannell Ellerbe is CLEARLY the best of the ILB’s on this roster behind Ray Lewis, but I don’t think his working with the 2nd team at a recent Passing Camp is as easy to dismiss as John Harbaugh wanted it to be. Ellerbe’s attitude and personality are what left him undrafted out of Georgia to begin with. Those questions haven’t gone away since he made the team out of Training Camp a season ago. They love Ellerbe’s ability, but they want him to have a better attitude to boot. He’ll be one to watch at McDaniel College this summer.)
25. CB Fabian Washington (If I’m guessing, Fabian Washington will be starting opposite Domonique Foxworth at the Meadowlands September 13th. He’s also coming off a knee injury, but appears to be a bit closer to returning than Webb. His spot is safe, even though most Ravens fans would like some more quality depth at CB given the receivers they’ll go up against in the AFC North.)
26. WR Donte’ Stallworth (We know this much, Donte’ Stallworth is fast. Judging by what we’ve seen from him in OTA’s, we know he can still catch-at least when he’s not heavily defended. He’s going to be 3rd on the WR depth chart, and won’t have any trouble making it to the final 53. The only real questions surrounding Stallworth have more to do with whether or not he’ll be the 3rd WR when John Harbaugh’s team battles Rex Ryan’s squad.)
donte

27. DT Kelly Gregg (Kelly Gregg remains a fan favorite around Baltimore, but I’m not sure he has a long-term role with this team. I would be stunned if we make it 4 weeks into the season before Terrence Cody is considered a “starter” while Gregg works from the bench. The team is VERY deep with DT’s, and Gregg could end up being the odd man out sooner than later. I think he makes the team, but it looks like someone is going to have to be a casualty amongst the group.)
28. TE Ed Dickson (Dickson is currently ahead of Dennis Pitta and behind Todd Heap on the TE depth chart, and the Ravens are expecting much more from him than they have from backup TE’s in years past. Dickson has looked solid thus far in the offseason, and clearly will have no trouble making the roster for the fall.)
29. OL Chris Chester (Chester had the best season of his career in 2009, but still is a bit of a question mark on this Ravens’ roster. He won’t have trouble cracking the 53, but his role is a bit of a question mark. He’ll be the primary backup at guard, but looks like he’s out of the mix at center for the future. He’s part of the 53, but may not be part of the long-term plan.)
30. LB Tavares Gooden (If Greg Mattison IS toying with whether or not Dannell Ellerbe will start for this team, no single player on the roster would stand to benefit more than Gooden. Gooden inherited the starting job going into the 2009 season, but a concussion/injury plagued career has prohibited him from fully living up to the promise he showed coming out of Miami. He’s still a valuable part of the team, and won’t have any trouble making the roster.)
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31. CB Chris Carr (Carr is especially important to the team right now considering the injuries Washington and Webb and coming off of. He’s also the incumbent punt returner, although he wasn’t particularly overwhelming in the role a season ago. The team loves the veteran presence he gives them in the secondary and the locker room, and he’ll certainly have an important role on the team moving forward.)
32. P Sam Koch (Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about Sam Koch is that like many punters this team has employed before him-Dave Zastudil, Kyle Richardson and Gregg Montgomery-the team doesn’t appear inclined to pay him real money to keep him around long term. Koch had another very good season a year ago, and he’ll be expected to have a similarly solid campaign this season.)
33. QB Troy Smith (A recent Sun story quoted Cam Cameron as saying John Beck had the chance to supplant Troy Smith as the team’s backup QB-but it doesn’t mean the two are involved in any sort of open competition. Smith is the #2 QB unless he has a terrible summer while Beck excels, and the team still would like to use him in other ways. His future with the team is always in question, but clearly no other NFL teams-especially the Browns-was too particularly interested in obtaining him in the offseason.)
34. RB Willis McGahee (It is REALLY difficult to figure out what type of role Willis McGahee will have with this team. It looked a season ago as if he had improved his attitude and was on his way to re-establishing himself in the Ravens offense. And even late in the season against the Raiders and Patriots, he showed that he can still be a valuable contributor. That being said, he looked disinterested off the field, and again chose to skip offseason activities. I assume he’s on the 53, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the end of the road was coming soon.)
35. S Haruki Nakamura (Now healthy, Haruki is safely part of the roster. He has a role both defensively behind Ed Reed and Dawan Landry; and as a valued part of the team’s Special Teams unit. He’ll sleep comfortably during Training Camp-or at least as comfortably as you can sleep at a Best Western.)
36. S Tom Zbikowski (I almost just want to write “ditto” here, as the things said about Haruki Nakamura can also be said about Tom Zbikowski. He has a role, and he’s on the team. Next question.)
37. TE Dennis Pitta (I guess there’s a chance that if Davon Drew were to have an exceptional Training Camp and Pitta were to struggle the roster could change; but there’s no reason to think that will happen. The Ravens went out and got both Dickson and Pitta because they wanted both players to be part of the offense moving forward.)
pitta
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

38. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (If there’s a vet who MIGHT be a bit concerned about their spot on the roster, it could well be Ayanbadejo. He’s been a great contributor to the team via special teams, and was having his best season as a defender before getting hurt last season. But the Ravens are particularly deep at ILB, and a number of those players can also contribute on Special Teams. It looks like Ayanbadejo is safe, but it isn’t a guarantee.)
39. LB Jameel McClain (Jameel McClain is exactly the type of player I was referring to in the previous post. The Ravens have been happy with McClain since they got him undrafted out of Syracuse, but he hasn’t cracked into “safe” territory yet. It’s safe to assume he’ll be part of the 53 as long as he stays steady.)
40. RB Jalen Parmele (Parmele made himself more valuable with a steady performance as KR after Lardarius Webb was hurt last season. That’s important, considering the Ravens’ tremendous depth in the backfield. Parmele is the player that would stand to benefit most should the Ravens somehow end up parting ways with Willis McGahee. Parmele also gives them valuable depth should there be an injury to a top back.)
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41. K Shayne Graham (He’s finally on the roster, now he just has to win the job. Graham appears to have a “leg up” in his competition with Billy Cundiff for the kicker job. However, it cannot be forgotten that there is a reason the Bengals parted ways with Graham, especially after his two big misses in a Wild Card playoff loss in Cincinnati. There’s going to be a kicker on the roster, and I’d say there’s a 60 percent chance it’s Graham.)

graham
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

42. QB John Beck (John Beck is going to make this team, as the Ravens are going to carry 3 quarterbacks. Hopefully, he won’t take a single snap all season, unless the team decides to use him from victory formation.)
43. OT Oniel Cousins (The team needs depth at OT, and while Oniel Cousins might not provide particularly QUALITY depth, he does provide depth. He’ll have the chance to move up this list in Training Camp.)
44. LS Matt Katula (This is very simple. Much like the competition for the kicking job, there is a competition for the long snapping job. Katula has about a 75 percent chance of winning the job over rookie Morgan Cox, but will have to show that he’s 100 percent after being plagued by elbow issues and ready to bounce back from a brutal 2009 campaign.)
45. WR Mark Clayton (I don’t think Clayton’s job is QUITE as safe as some others might think, but I certainly assume he’ll be on the team. Clayton has never seen this many capable receivers around him, and he has to make an impact despite coming off an offseason shoulder procedure. I assume he’s on the team, but it is no guarantee.)
46. DE Paul Kruger (This is an interesting situation. The Ravens maintained that they weren’t unhappy with Kruger during his rookie campaign despite the fact that he didn’t play much and contributed less than that. It’s hard to imagine a 2nd round pick being a question mark to make the roster just a year later, but you can’t ignore the number of scratches he had a season ago. He’s bulked up and is expected to be more of a natural pass rusher this season; but there are a number of D-Linemen in front of him. He’ll need to show that he can get to the quarterback, or the number of questions will continue to grow.)
47. DT Brandon McKinney (When Brandon McKinney made the roster last season, he truly LOOKED “like a Raven.” He still does, but is coming off back surgery and plays a position where the team has significant depth. He’s no guarantee to make the roster, but he’s exactly the type of player the Ravens want around.)
48. LB Antwan Barnes (Barnes is part of a deep group at LB, but the team has remained high on him despite some goofy antics at times. That being said, Barnes was an inactive a few times down the stretch last season, so his margin for error is small.)
49. DT Arthur Jones (I can tell you this much. John Harbaugh really is a big fan of Arthur Jones. That being said, it’s a very deep position-and the team might not be able to keep everyone. Arthur Jones is exactly the type of player the team loves, so I get the feeling he’ll stay on the good side of the roster bubble.)
50. OL David Hale (David Hale gives the team depth at interior lineman, but it isn’t particularly quality depth. Should Matt Birk get hurt, it is still more likely that Chris Chester would play center over an extended period of time, but Hale gives them much needed flexibility.)
51. DT Kelly Talavou (I have a funny feeling Talavou could end up being this year’s version of Derrick Martin. Martin-as you’ll remember-was behind a glut of cornerbacks on the roster a season ago at the end of Training Camp, and was traded to the Green Bay Packers for Tony Moll despite being a player the Ravens really liked. Talavou and McKinney are both candidates to be traded after Training Camp, but McKinney’s back injury could make Talavou more valuable on the market.)
52. CB Travis Fisher (The injuries bothering Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington make Travis Fisher more valuable every day. He’s a veteran corner-having played in Seattle, Detroit and St. Louis before now. Even if Webb and Washington are healthy, he could still make the roster to give the team CB depth considering some of the troubles they had defending the pass a season ago. Fisher isn’t Darrelle Revis, but most Ravens fans only care that he isn’t Frank Walker either.)
53. WR David Reed (This is a tough call. David Reed will probably end up in the return mix, as he’s more explosive than Jalen Parmele or Chris Carr, and he’s healthier than Lardarius Webb. Reed might not have much of a role at WR, but Jerry Rosburg has to want his returners to be a little bit more of a threat to break one back. I’ll give Reed the benefit of the doubt when it comes to making the team, but he’ll have an uphill battle.)
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54. OT Ramon Harewood (The rookie from Morehouse State misses the cut on my first list mostly because he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself yet. A knee injury has caused him to miss the bulk of the offseason work thus far, and he’ll have to show that he’s more than just a project in Training Camp to make sure he ends up on the roster. The Ravens could try to stash him away on IR.)
55. WR Demetrius Williams (This may or may not correct itself before the start of the regular season. Perhaps no player on the roster is facing a more crucial summer than Williams, as he been making the roster based on size alone for the better part of his career. The Ravens may be forced to fish or cut bait with Williams, as they have too many receivers to keep one around whose only ability thus far in his career has been an ability to…sometimes…draw pass interference flags.)
56. K Billy Cundiff (Billy Cundiff clearly has the most simple road to the roster, as he just has to beat out Shayne Graham for the job. Most of us assumed Graham Gano would beat out Steve Hauschka for the job last summer, but it didn’t work out that way. I’m assuming Graham gets the gig, but certainly Cundiff will have the chance.)
57. OT Tony Moll (Tony Moll offers the team a player who can play both Guard and Tackle, but there’s no real place for him on the roster. This may come down to the team keeping either him or Harewood, and a healthy Harewood appears to offer the team a bit more than Moll does.)
58. LB Prescott Burgess (Not everyone in the LB mix can make the team. With depth from Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Sergio Kindle, Brendon Ayanbadejo and maybe even from Paul Kruger; there’s no way the team can keep everyone at the position. Burgess was a roster casualty a season ago, but the Ravens were able to re-acquire him after trading him to the New England Patriots.)
59. RB Matt Lawrence (The team REALLY likes Matt Lawrence, especially what he has to offer on Special Teams. Lawrence made the roster a season ago as the team kept 5 backs, but there’s no guarantee they’ll keep that many this season. He can very well make the team, but it won’t be easy-especially as he returns from a knee injury.)
60. LB Edgar Jones (It is REALLY tough to figure out what the Ravens plan to do with Edgar Jones this season. He’s managed to remain employed while switching from LB to TE to LB to TE to FB to LB to….I thought they might even give him a shot at the kicking competition this summer. Clearly the organization likes him, and OLB is a better spot to try to make the roster than ILB, I just don’t see a role for him right now.)
61. LB Jason Phillips (See Burgess, Prescott. The team was able to stash Jason Phillips away on IR last season, but likely won’t be able to do the same this year. He’ll have an uphill climb to make the roster, as the Ravens don’t lack depth at the position.)
62. FB Mike McLaughlin (McLaughlin has a real chance to make this roster as well. The undrafted rookie from Boston College hasn’t played fullback since high school, but if he can adapt to it, the team could keep him on to create a jumbo backfield along with Le’Ron McClain. He’ll also need to show that he can step in and play Special Teams, which his background as a LB should help with. My guess is that McLaughlin ends up on the Practice Squad, but he’ll certainly be worth keeping an eye on during Training Camp.)
63. TE Davon Drew (The Ravens were EXTREMELY disappointed with Drew after drafting him out of East Carolina last year. So much so that they let him go before re-signing him when the Miami Dolphins gave up on him as well. That being said, Drew has looked pretty good in the offseason, and will have a chance to compete for a roster spot. Outperforming Dennis Pitta would be the easiest way to get a spot, but seeing as how the team has a soft spot for TE’s, there’s at least a chance they end up keeping 4. Drew’s chances would improve if he offered the team something out of the backfield as well.)
davondrew

64. WR Marcus Smith (Marcus Smith is a dark horse to make the roster, but it is worth remembering that he WOULD have made the roster last season before suffering a knee injury in a preseason win over the Washington Redskins. Smith faces a tough competition, but he is 6’1″, and has shown some promise during his short NFL career.)
65. CB Cary Williams (Speaking of 6’1″, height might give Williams a chance to make the roster on the defensive side as well. It looks like Williams will be battling Travis Fisher for a roster spot, but the team could end up keeping more DB’s-especially considering the question marks surrounding Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb’s return from injury. Williams hung around on the roster at the end of last season, but still has a long road ahead of him.)
66. S KJ Gerard (The 2009 UFA out of Northern Arizona impressed the team from Day 1, so much so that he was eventually promoted to the roster from the Practice Squad when Haruki Nakamura was hurt. That being said, it’s hard to picture the team keeping a 5th safety, and it seems unlikely that Gerard would make the squad as a corner ahead of the likes of Fisher and Williams. His versatility and special teams ability give him a shot, but his best chance is if someone ahead of him gets hurt.)
67. CB Prince Miller (Of this year’s group of UFA’s, Miller and Mike McLaughlin appear to have the best chance at making the roster. Miller has had the chance to mark quality SEC receivers during his career at Georgia, but 5’8″ certainly isn’t the ideal height for a corner. He’s played well in the offseason, and his ability to return kicks could give him a real chance to make the roster.)
68. WR Justin Harper (Justin Harper found his way to the active roster late in the season, but the number of quality receivers ahead of him makes it unlikely to envision him finding his way on the roster out of Training Camp. He has a way of impressing fans with leaping catches in practice, but has dropped way too many catches to be considered a serious candidate to make the roster. If that changes over the summer, he’ll work his way up the list.)
69. DT Lamar Divens (Divens is in the deep group of D-Linemen that are trying to make the roster. Unfortunately, he played in just 3 games in 2008 before missing the entire 2009 season due to a shoulder injury. He’s in the “looks like a Raven” mix, but he’ll have to win a job against the likes of Talavou, McKinney and Art Jones.)
70. CB Marcus Paschal (Paschal and John Harbaugh have a history that dates back to their time together with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Paschal has still only played 5 games in his NFL career. He has a shot to make the roster considering the team needs secondary depth, but I wouldn’t describe his shot as “likely.”)
——————————
71. OT Joe Reitz (Reitz has snuck his way onto the Practice Squad over the last two seasons-one of which was cut short by shoulder injury. He’s 6’7″ and 315 pounds but his still never played real football game in his life, either at the college of pro level. His size makes him promising, but his lack of experience makes him unlikely.)
72. WR Eron Riley (Riley is 6’3″ and one of the more likeable guys in the locker room, but the coaches want to see more explosiveness from him. If the team hadn’t upgraded at receiver over the offseason, I might think better of his chances of making the roster.)
73. DE William Van de Steeg (When I saw lower case letters on Van de Steeg’s jersey last summer in Westminster, I assumed he wouldn’t be around very long. He’s hung around Charm City longer than I expected, but I don’t expect it to be too much longer.)
74. OL Bryan Mattison (It’s nice to be the son of the offensive coordinator, but it probably isn’t nice enough to get Mattison on the roster. He was kept on the practice squad last season, and I imagine he’ll probably find his way on the practice squad again this year.)
75. OT Stefan Rodgers (Rodgers has been a part of 5 different teams during his 3 year NFL career; including the Buccaneers, Eagles, Jets and Jaguars. During that time, he has yet to make it on the field for 1 game. I don’t think that changes with the Ravens this season.)
76. LS Morgan Cox (Morgan Cox’s chances of making the roster actually aren’t all that bad. He just has to beat out Matt Katula, who will come in as an overwhelming favorite. If Katula hasn’t shaken off his elbow issues, Cox’s chances will improve.)
77. RB Curtis Steele (A lot of scouts really like Curtis Steele. The problem is, there isn’t an obvious role for the UFA out of Memphis. My guess is that he ends up on the practice squad, but making the 53 isn’t impossible.)
78. DE Albert McClellan (I haven’t heard a bad thing about the Ravens’ UFA out of Marshall. Problem is, I haven’t heard anything that makes me think he’ll really have a shot at making the roster.)
79. WR Rodelin Anthony (When you’re a 6’5″ receiver, scouts pay attention. But if the Ravens’ UFA out of UNLV wants to make the 53, he’s going to have to make a MAJOR impact between now and Labor Day.)
80. S Brad Jones (I think a lot of folks were confused about who exactly Brad Jones was when he signed out of Cincinnati. Jones is a rookie-not the LB who was drafted by and played for the Packers last season. The Ravens have had success with safeties from Cincinnati-see Nakamura, Haruki; but I don’t expect that to help Jones make the roster.)
——————————
81. WR Maurice Price (Price has bounced around during his career-making stops with the Chiefs, Pats, 49ers and Calgary Stampeders of the CFL before landing on the Ravens’ practice squad. I would be surprised if he found his way back.)
82. WR Chris Hannon (A 6’3″ receiver out of the University of Tennessee who has made stops in Kansas City, Carolina, San Francisco, Miami and Detroit should probably have a better chance of making the roster than I am giving him credit for. He’ll have plenty of time over the next few months to prove me wrong.)
83. DL John Fletcher (John Fletcher is a 6’6″ D-Lineman out of Wyoming. He has at least a chance at making the practice squad, but probably nothing more than that.)
84. OL Daniel Sanders (The UFA out of Colorado hasn’t given me-or anyone else-much of a reason to be able to say too much about him at this point. Maybe that will change.)
85. CB Courtney Smith (I’m not sure I had ever heard of Central Washington before the Ravens picked up Courtney Smith. He’ll have a chance to put the school on the map, but it’s a bit of an extreme longshot.)
86. CB Ashton Hall (The Ravens signed two undrafted members of the Thundering Herd following the draft. Of the two, Albert McClellan appears to be a bit farther ahead.)
87. C Digger Bujnoch (Before putting together this list, I could name 86 of the 87 players on the Ravens’ roster. The former Cincinnati Bearcats center was the only one I couldn’t.)

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out, as each of these players will have a chance to improve their place on the list.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because my girl Intern Genna just won’t quit. Sure, she’s leaving us for a summer in Ocean City-but I guess she wanted to make sure she wasn’t gone from our hearts…

genna

Attention prospective employers: Genna has graduated from Towson University, and she’s available to bring a level of sophistication to your company. If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch with me, and I’ll set up a meeting.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matusz struggled, Cahill wowed as Orioles fell to Athletics

Well…that happened.

Adam Rosales is still running somewhere right now in fear that someone will tell him Brian Matusz didn’t REALLY groove a pitch up in the zone with 2 strikes and 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st.

I had no idea Trevor Cahill’s scouting report said “don’t bother trying.”

GARRETT ATKINS HIT A HOME RUN? MAYBE THE EARTH IS FLAT!!!

This is why the team’s struggles are so effing frustrating. What the hell do you say about that last night? “I mean, I know Matusz stunk, but hey-he DID retire 10 straight at one point!”

The O’s weren’t in that game for even a minute. First pitch was at 7:05, and I could’ve watched Wheel of Fortune or The Office at 7:30. Hell, I could have flipped over to Jeopardy! at 7:10.

15-32. They’re 15-32. It makes even the wins seem irrelevant.

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

Rajai Davis might the only player who can ground out into a triple. Don’t believe me? In the 7th inning, he grounded out to short, but beat out the throw. I know Dave Trembley argued, but Davis got there at the same time as the throw, and the safe call was correct.

He then stole second base (his 3rd of 3 stolen bases on the night). He never actually GOT to third base, but after stealing 3rd earlier in the game and scoring 2 runs, I feel pretty comfortable in assuming he could have done it again.

He’s no Rickey Henderson, but he looked like Rickey last night.

I have no idea if Felix Pie was watching last night, but if he was-I hope he was taking notes.

3. Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Brian Roberts still expects to play in 2010

I feel like there should have been a “…but admits he really has no idea” at the end of that headline.

Look, clearly B-Rob’s absence has hurt the Birds this season. Would having him in the lineup give the Orioles someone who could drive in runs? Nope. But would it mean that Scott Moore, Julio Lugo or Garrett Atkins WOULDN’T be in the lineup? Yes, and that would be particularly helpful.

I pray to God Brian Roberts returns…ever. But I’m not so sure he’ll ever have a season again in his career where he doesn’t deal with health issues.

4. Edmonton Journal’s John MacKinnon says former Oriole Larry Bigbie has ‘moved past’ own steroid use

Noted.

Bigbie is now playing for the Edmonton Capitals, who start their season in 5 days. After the season starts, it is believed that the Capitals will win 3 of their first 4, then proceed to completely choke in dropping 3 games to Montreal.

Heh.

Look, I don’t want to say I’m “unmoved” by Bigbie’s thoughts, but what else is a guy who was so heavily involved in PED use supposed to say? “I’m still thinking about using PED’s sometimes”? I mean, this is better than asking the reporter if he knew where Kirk Radomski and David Segui were hanging out these days.

So…I’m not “unmoved”, I’m just moved MORE by Mariana Weickert, who Guyism points out is on the cover of Maxim in Brazil…

maxim

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Zach Britton, Rick Zagone had big night for Birds on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, I couple of things worth noting:

-Congratulations to “Roar From 34″, who won their 2nd “Apologist of the Morning” honor today, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. RF34 points out that Kevin Millwood, David Hernandez, Brian Matusz and Jeremy Guthrie are amongst the league leaders is “tough losses.” For the record, I’m amongst the league leaders in “that girl ALMOST came home with me”s.

-Nick Markakis will not be available tonight (wife giving birth), and Dave Trembley made it seem during the MASN “Wired Wednesday” segment last night that he didn’t want to play Luke Scott again tonight. This could well mean that the lineup tonight will include Scott Moore, Garrett Atkins, Cesar Izturis AND Lou Montanez. I’d suggest prayer.

-The Orioles will try again to get their 3rd series victory of the year tonight; as Brad Bergesen faces Gio Gonzalez at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. First pitch on MASN2 is at 7:05pm.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says former Ravens scout Daniel Jeremiah joining Eagles’ staff

You might know Daniel Jeremiah from Twitter, where he goes by @MoveTheSticks and offers great NFL commentary. He was heard every Friday last fall on AM1570 with Ray Bachman, Nestor Aparicio, Rex Snider, Thyrl Nelson, Rick from Reisterstown or whoever the hell else was hosting the show that day. He was also a part of ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft, and has worked with Phil Savage both in Baltimore and in Cleveland.

It’s a great hire for Philly. The only way they could have made a better hire is if they found a way to nab Alana Blanchard, who Barstool Sports says is a pro surfer…

alana

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says team agreed to deal with exclusive rights free agent LB Jameel McClain

Who is in a mess of players on this team at the LB position. Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden, Sergio Kindle, Antwan Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones are also on the roster at LB, with Paul Kruger a DE/LB. I expect Jameel McClain will make the team, and I expect most of the other 12 will have a shot to make the team as well.

Of course, there can only be 53. I’ll do my first mock roster soon.

8. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Troy Smith, John Beck ‘battling’ according to Cam Cameron

And there’s an element of truth to that.

Look, Troy Smith is the Ravens’ backup quarterback. But should Troy have a TERRIBLE Training Camp and play poorly in the preseason while John Beck excelled, Beck would of course have a chance to move up the depth chart to the #2 role.

That being said, should Todd Heap have a miserable Training Camp and struggle in the preseason while Ed Dickson excelled, Ed Dickson would have a chance to move up the depth chart at TE. Is it realistic to even discuss? No. But when Cam Cameron was asked the question, he answered it honestly.

Cam Cameron DOES have history with John Beck in Miami, but Troy Smith is well liked by Ozzie Newsome. Troy Smith has NOT fallen out of favor over in Owings Mills, despite what some people might want to think.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens looks back on games that ‘doomed’ Dave Cottle

This is a very good list, and very relevant when looking back on what went wrong during Cottle’s tenure at Maryland. There were plenty of chances for him to win “the big game”, it just didn’t work out for one reason or another. Couple that with some really bad losses (punctuated by the defeat at the hands of Notre Dame this year), and Cottle’s fate was sealed.

You know what’s going to doom me from getting any work done today? The picture of Lexxie Robinson they have at Busted Coverage today…

lexxie

10. SI’s Grant Wahl says former Terps Clarence Goodson, Maurice Edu selected for Team USA World Cup roster

If you missed it, ESPN Radio Play by Play voice JP Dellacamera joined Drew this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to break down the roster. Other guests included WNST’s own Luke Jones and Johns Hopkins baseball coach (they’re headed to the College World Series!) Bob Babb. You can hear all of it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

And finally, I leave you with this.

I missed the Blue Angels in Annapolis yesterday. But I did NOT miss the chance to listen to some Blues Traveler…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdz5kCaCRFM[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because Free The Birds was a great time last night. Despite the crowd of less than 2,000 in the stadium, despite the god awful weather, and despite the baseball game (which-as I said on Facebook this morning-will go down as one of the worst sports-related products I have ever witnessed); we still had fun.

Whether it was heckling the Royals behind their dugout (or heckling Dave Trembley for walking Mitch effing Maier), cheering for Corey Patterson from the upper deck in left field, or watching a lemonade vendor walk around the stadium to sell exactly his THIRD lemonade of the night; it was fun.

And thank God it was, or else this AP image would have been our lasting memory of the night…

crowd

Un.Freaking.Real.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says ‘same old’ Orioles lost again to Royals last night at OPACY

You see, when they loaded the bases on Joakim Soria (whose nickname “The Mexicutioner” is ABSOLUTELY the best in MLB) in the 9th, I REALLY thought they were breaking the funk.

Not necessarily because I thought Ty Wigginton was going to channel Luke Scott and go yard for a game-winning slam; but because I REALLY felt as though he’d get a sac fly and at LEAST tie things up.

1-12 with runners in scoring position. The only hit was an accidental dribbler from Miguel Tejada in the 1st.

If we were surprised, we’d be surprised.

How can Garrett Atkins still be on this team?!?!?

I’ve got nothing else. I was there. It was miserable. It also wasn’t even the least bit surprising.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

I still can’t fathom how the Orioles couldn’t manage a SINGLE EXTRA BASE HIT against Kyle Davies.

Of course, with the success they’ve had bunting recently-I’m not sure why they don’t just bet every time up.

Brad Bergesen-who apparently used his designation to the minors as a chance to set himself up to start every game in the rain the rest of the season-was pretty good again last night. Pretty good though. Not REALLY good, as some might try to say. He was pretty good, and gave the team a slight chance to win.

I’m running out of things to say about the games. I really am. We know the problems, they’re just not getting fixed. Of course, they’re not getting fixed because the team just isn’t good enough.

Now I’m getting angry again. Watching the Orioles is more dramatic than watching The Hills.

3. WNST.net’s Nestor Aparicio says less than 2,000 spectators took in O’s loss at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

The announced crowd last night was 9,299. I don’t remember them playing “Guess the Attendance”, which might have been because they knew fans could cheat and count the attendance themselves.

Of course, if they HAD counted-the number they would have come up with would have been nowhere NEAR 9,299. The Birds may have legitimately sold 9,299 tickets to last night’s game (who knows?), but they certainly didn’t have that many eyeballs in the stands.

Nestor didn’t take that picture BEFORE the game.

As I said this morning, when I was sideline reporter for the Arizona Rattlers, I attended Arena Football League games that LEGITIMATELY had 5 times as many fans in attendance.

You know, this is much too depressing. I need to lighten this up.

This is Daniela Pane. We went to Perry Hall High School together. I think there’s an argument as to whether she or I has gone on to be the best looking member of the Class of 2001…

daniela

Yeah, it’s a close call.

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli and Pete Kerzel say Trembley considering Uehara as closer

…or at least finding a more prominent role for his sideburns.

I know Mike Gonzalez is working his way back, and I know Alfredo Simon hadn’t blown a save before Saturday night. That being said, do any of us believe either of them will be legitimate options to close games…you know…should the Orioles have another situation where they need a closer this season?

I’d be fine with seeing Uehara close. He has to do something-he’s on the payroll for the remainder of the year.

If it doesn’t work, I’m sure Andy MacPhail has a plan. He always does.

5. Virginian-Pilot says Michael Aubrey homered, Troy Patton roughed up as Norfolk Tides fell to Buffalo Bisons on farm

Michael Aubrey has to be headed towards Charm City pretty soon, right?

Before we move on (mercifully) from the Birds, a couple of things:

-Congratulations to “Sgt.” Jen Royle, who was AGAIN selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester as our “Apologist of the Morning.” Drew honored Jen for these thoughts she left over at 105.7…

I went to the Kansas City side post game and listened to their new manager, Ned Yost, compliment the pesky Patterson up top and then heard Billy Butler, who when 2-for-4 with two RBI, praise Bergesen. The O’s got compliments from their opponents but unfortunately, that doesn’t help in the win column.

I could have dissected the Orioles’ pre-game meal and it would have been exactly as relevant. Wow.

-The O’s and Royals are back at it tonight; with Kevin Millwood facing reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. First pitch on MASN2 is at 7:05pm. Join Luke Jones in our “Orange Crush” chat right here at WNST.net; and make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST).

-If you missed Luke, Soren Petro from 810 WHB in KC, VERSUS NHL reporter Bob Harwood, or IndyCar Series commercial President Terry Angstadt today on “The Morning Reaction”, make sure you check them out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens signed CB Travis Fisher, S Brad Jones

Fisher’s NFL experience and the injuries to Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington will give him some chance of making the 53 man roster. Giving him a contract is PROBABLY the final nail for Frank Walker as well, barring further injuries.

Brad Jones-an undrafted free agent safety from Cincinnati-is a much longer shot to make the team. With Ed Reed and Haruki Nakamura expected to be healthy, the Ravens aren’t going to be hurting for safety depth. Of course, there is a chance Jones could shine in Training Camp and make the practice squad-which would probably be a good gig for him.

7. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Jared Gaither present at Ravens Passing Camp, but not known whether or not he practiced

I’ll be out in Owings Mills today, although I’m not sure whether or not I’m allowed to let you know if Jared Gaither hits the 1 Winning Drive practice field or not. We’ll see!

You’ll be able to hear from John Harbaugh and others later today with Rex Snider and Ray Bachman.

I’ll be able to watch John Beck throw passes.

Lucky me!

You know who else is lucky? F.P. Santangelo. Apparently former Playboy chick Michelle McLaughlin belongs to him (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

mmc

8. Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman says Preakness runner-up First Dude will run Belmont, fellow Dale Romans horse Paddy O’Prado also likely to run

Is winning a Belmont Stakes without the Kentucky Derby winner or Preakness winner SORTA like being named “Most Valuable Oriole”?

Kinda.

Do you think Dale Romans is ready to do his best Brian Roberts impersonation?

Yeah I think he is.

I’ll be pulling for Romans at the Belmont, as he’s a great guy. Sometimes you gotta get your first Triple Crown win however you possibly can.

9. The AP’s Richard Rosenblatt says no Triple Crown threat hurts NYRA already hurting for money

I have an idea for how they can raise money…sell Irina Sheik calendars…

irinasheik

As far as horse racing-related ideas for raising money? Don’t take advice from anyone in the state of Maryland. That’s all I’ve got.

10. Washington Examiner’s Jim Williams says Maryland amongst topics being discussed at Big Ten meetings

I never had a major issue with the Big East rumors. I’m not sure the Big Ten would be a good idea for the Terps, however. Doesn’t help them in football OR basketball, with the exception of getting Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan games in College Park.

The flip is that they’d lose those games (and others in the conference), and getting Michigan State and Indiana in basketball doesn’t make up for losing North Carolina and Duke.

I hate everything about this whole “expansion” topic. I sorta just wish it would go away…

And finally, I leave you with this…

Bret Hart won the United States Championship last night on WWE Monday Night Raw. I don’t care that “The Hitman” is 52 years old and even I might be able to beat him in a fight at this point. He RULES…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqqhQVIPj7A[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because after the Orioles’ most recent debacle last night, I flipped over to Food Network just in time to see Guy Fieri head over to Fells Point and check out BOP Brick Oven Pizza. Someone told me the episode was 2 years old…as if I’d care. After watching, I’d like to MOVE IN…

pizza

I remember being in Fells Point one night to celebrate my friend Jewlz Shaffer’s birthday once during a time when I had sworn off things like pizza, and the girl I was “dating” shoved a slice of BOP Pizza in my face (I don’t think it was the kind with the french fries on top, but it was GOOD), and I changed my mind about my entire plans re: pizza. I was back off the wagon FAST.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matt Garza outdueled Jeremy Guthrie has Rays beat Birds again

Would it be LESS painful to watch Matt Garza outduel Jeremy Guthrie if Garza DIDN’T have that awful thing on his chin?

The shame of what Garza has done to the Birds over these two starts is that Guthrie has actually looked more like the 2007-2008 version of himself. You remember that version, right? The version that posted a 3.70 ERA in ’07 and 3.63 ERA in ’08 but yet managed just a 17-17 record for the 2 seasons?

This is the ultimate issue with Guthrie. Even when he HAS shown himself to be a particularly capable MLB pitcher (and his 4.05 ERA thus far this season is a sign of just that), he’s never shown himself as a pitcher who knows how to WIN.

It’s one thing for a pitcher to have a respectable ERA and to gut out innings. It’s another thing to be able to rise to an occassion and match your opponent when he’s on his game. The Rays weren’t hitting the cover off the ball last night, and the Orioles really COULD have used a start where their pitcher gave them 7 scoreless innings.

It might take a 1-0 win at some point to get things turned around.

The point is that for those who say things like “what more can you ask for from the guy?”, the answer is “winning.”

Like Mike Gundy said, “this isn’t intermurals.” This is “Division 1 football.”

Or “the AL East” in this case.

And as if the team NEEDED more good news-Brian Roberts WAS officially placed on the DL yesterday as expected, so…yay!

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of another loss

The number that sticks out from last night? I’d say the combined 0-8 with 2 strikeouts and 6 LOB that we saw from Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins probably sticks out a bit.

“We’re gonna grow the arms and buy the bats” said Andy MacPhail at Orioles Fanfest back in 2008.

There are your bats.

Would be nice to see a cleanup hitter in this lineup.

I couldn’t help but notice that there were a lot of people on Facebook (just search “Glenn Clark” and feel free to add me as a friend) and Twitter (follow us @WNST) who were calling for Dave Trembley’s job last night…as if Dave Trembley put together this puzzle of pieces that just don’t fit.

For some reason (presumably because he has a “plan”), Orioles fans appear all to ready to give Andy MacPhail a pass for this.

HE put the team together. HE was responsible for not addressing the need for better RBI bats. HE was responsible for not addressing the need for a TRUE number 1 starter who could win a 1-0 game when the bats were in a slump.

And HE was responsible for allowing the manager of this team to go into a season as a lame duck.

Should the Orioles fire Dave Trembley? Why bother now?

If they wanted to improve, they wouldn’t have let the manager go into the season as a lame duck. They wouldn’t have put him in a place where he CAN’T try to light a fire under the asses of guys like Adam Jones and Nick Markakis-who have been giving half efforts early on.

If you’re angry about this team, this year; be willing to place blame on the shoulders of Andy MacPhail. If you don’t think Dave Trembley is much of a manager-you’re probably right; but don’t blame him for THIS team, THIS season.

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says record low crowd took in Orioles’ loss at OPACY

Luke offered visual evidence of the crowd with this photo…

opacy

Look, I can’t blame Orioles fans for not going to the ballpark. There were PLENTY of other things going on last night. For example…

1-
2-
3-

Well look…maybe everyone knew that these two gals were going to be facing each other in a “Leather & Lace Match” on TNA iMPACT! last night on SpikeTV…

velvetsky
angelinalove

And if that’s the case, I get it!

(Edit from GMC: I KNOW why Orioles fans aren’t showing up, trust me. But it’s more fun this way.)

4. Fanhouse’s Paul Bourdett thinks Mike Gonzalez will be ‘just fine’

Which means Paul Bourdett joins our pal Chris Stoner, who claimed his 2nd “Apologist of the Morning” award today from Drew Forrester on AM1570 WNST for his quip via Facebook…

When you see (Felix) Pie today, do you think back to early 2009 and all those that vocally knocked him? Does it make you laugh, when those same people are commenting in 2010 about (Mike) Gonzalez?

Well Chris, in a word, no.

The reason people “vocally knocked” Felix Pie is because Felix Pie hasn’t BEEN ANY GOOD since coming to Baltimore. A couple months of decent play when the season was out of hand does not mean he isn’t a .270 hitter with ONE stolen base and a walk to strikeout ratio of 25:61 during his tenure in Charm City.

If Mike Gonzalez is going to “bounce back” and be as effective as Felix Pie, he’ll be gone in June.

I’m personally PRAYING that he’s much better than that. But nothing about his track record leads me to EXPECT that.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Brandon Erbe loser, Tim Bascom winner for O’s on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, we’ll remind everyone that they’ll send Brian Matusz to the bump tonight (he’s the only pitcher to have won a game this season) to face Jeff Niemann. First pitch is at 7:05, and the game is on MASN.

Plus, they’re giving away Matt Wieters t-shirts, so who knows-maybe there will be 12,000 of you there?!?

Also, check out THIS STORY from the Orlando Sentinel about former Orioles teammates helping to raise money for Mike Cuellar’s funeral. It is a sad story, but it is wonderful to hear about the help former teammates of given him. Hopefully the organization has done or will do something similar.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says John Beck, Billy Cundiff signed 1 year tenders as RFA’s

“ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!”

Look-I get it, there’s nothing exciting about Billy Cundiff signing his 1 year tender. It DOESN’T mean the Ravens aren’t still interested in a kicker. It’s nothing more than part of the RFA process. But it did happen, so there’s that.

You know what IS exciting? The picture of Elsa Benitez that Busted Coverage dug up from GQ Mexico…

elsabenitez

(Edit from GMC: Clearly I should have paid more attention in Spanish class.)

7. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Oregon TE Ed Dickson, Iowa TE Tony Moeaki, Florida C Maurkice Pouncey amongst NFL Draft prospects who have visited/will visit 1 Winning Drive

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but the Ravens are in the market for a TE.

I wonder if this one is available…

gonzalez

For the record, if they’re a TE prospect in the Draft this year, I’m taking their name seriously. Whether it’s Michael Hoomanawanui from Illinois, Anthony McCoy from USC, Dennis Pitta from BYU, Dorin Dickerson from Pitt, Jimmy Graham from Miami, Jermain Gresham from Oklahoma or WHOEVER IT IS.

If they’re a draft prospect and they play TE, they might be headed towards Owings Mills shortly.

8. SI’s Peter King says Ravens should trade Jared Gaither to Cowboys

Peter King’s point is valid. The Ravens are in a tough place where they have to determine whether or not they should just go ahead and take something a bit less than what they might want (Dallas would be giving them a low 2nd round pick); knowing that it is particularly unlikely they will be able to hold onto Gaither considering they’re grooming Oher as their future LT.

All of it makes sense.

But Gaither could still help this team win a Super Bowl this season.

That’s the catch, and it isn’t changing any time soon. Short of being bowled over by someone, Ozzie Newsome IS going to be faced with a very difficult decision in this process.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens has Loyola, Maryland, Hopkins, Mt. St. Mary’s all IN NCAA Tournament

The surprise here (sorta) is that Johns Hopkins is back in the picture-but Patrick (and others) are presumably figuring that Hopkins will have some success down the stretch with their in-state schedule (Navy, Loyola and Towson are still on the schedule after they face Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium Saturday night); and I think that’s a pretty fair assumption to make.

Of course, I’ve been wrong about assumptions before. Like when I assumed that there was no way the pictures of Jennifer Anniston at Guyism.com yesterday would be hot.

aniston

10. Inside Lacrosse’s Quint Kessenich has Terps 4th, Greyhounds 8th, JHU 14th, Towson 20th in power rankings

Tony Seaman’s crew has REALLY responded thanks to goalie Travis Love. And with no offense to him or any other Tigers…I myself prefer the great Dude Love…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cx4e50b2pU[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

Greatest video ever? Greatest video ever.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-NOZU2iPA8[/youtube]

-G

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Blog & Tackle: 2010 NFL Free Agency primer

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL free agency period began March 5 with 531 players who can negotiate with all 32 clubs, and the landscape in an uncapped year is much different. Here are the Ravens players directly impacted by free agency, and some of the rules going forward in the 2010 season.

Restricted free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed three, four or five accrued seasons and whose contracts have expired. They have received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are free to negotiate with any club until April 15, at which time their rights revert to their original club. If a player accepts an offer from a new club, the old club will have the right to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elects not to match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, and the player receives the June 1 tender from his old club, the player’s rights revert exclusively to his old club on June 1.

Restricted free agents who received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are subject to the first refusal/compensation system of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The old club has a right of first refusal to all players listed below.  Compensation is as listed in the column on the right. If the old club has only a right of first refusal but is not entitled to any compensation, the designation “ROFR” appears in the column. In order to submit an offer sheet, a new club must have available the required choice or choices, defined as its own or better choices in the applicable rounds, in the 2010 NFL Draft. Offer sheets may be submitted to an old club by no later than 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on Friday, April 15.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School, Compensation)
Barnes, Antwan  LB  Florida International 4th
Beck, John  QB  Brigham Young  3rd
Burgess, Prescott  LB  Michigan  6th
Chester, Chris  G  Oklahoma  3rd
Clayton, Mark  WR  Oklahoma  2nd
Cundiff, Billy  K  Drake  ROFR
Gaither, Jared  T  Maryland  1st
Koch, Sam  P  Nebraska  2nd
Landry, Dawan  DB  Georgia Tech  2nd
McClain, Le’Ron  RB  Alabama  1st
Moll, Tony  T  Nevada  5th
Smith, Troy  QB  Ohio State  5th
Washington, Fabian  DB  Nebraska  2nd
Williams, Demetrius  WR  Oregon  4th
Yanda, Marshal  G  Iowa  2nd
 
Unrestricted veteran free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed six or more accrued seasons whose contracts have expired. They are free to sign with any club, with no compensation owed to their old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). At that point, their rights revert to their old club if it made a “tender” offer (110 percent of last year’s salary) to the player by June 1. Their old club then has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 16) to sign the player. If the player does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.

Unrestricted free agents with six or more accrued seasons. Subject to the CBA’s “Final Eight Plan” rules, the players in this category may be signed by any club in the league until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first training camp, whichever is later), with no rights of any character held by the old club.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School)
Bannan, Justin  DT  Colorado
Edwards, Dwan  DE  Oregon State
Ivy, Corey  DB  Oklahoma
Mason, Derrick  WR  Michigan State
Smith, L.J.  TE  Rutgers
Tyree, David  WR  Syracuse
Walker, Frank  DB  Tuskegee
Washington, Kelley  WR  Tennessee
 
Players with fewer than six accrued seasons who received no qualifying offer or no minimum tender from their old club.  The players in this category may be signed immediately with no rights of any character held by the old club. There is no signing deadline applicable to these players.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School)
Jones, Edgar  TE Southeast Missouri
Ryan, Greg  C  Western Kentucky
Saucedo, Lou  T  Montana State
Terry, Adam  T  Syracuse
 
Here are some of the rules pertaining to the above players, especially in light of the “Final Eight Plan” currently in place that impacts the Ravens for the 2010 NFL season.

Q. What is the time period for free agency signings this year?
A. For restricted free agents, from March 5 to April 15.  For unrestricted free agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior Club, from March 5 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). For franchise players, from March 5 until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the regular-season (November 16).  If he does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. There are no transition player designations this year.
 
Q. What is the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?
A. In the 2010 League Year, players become restricted free agents when they complete three, four or five accrued seasons and their contract expires. Unrestricted free agents have completed six or more accrued seasons. An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no compensation owed to his old club.
 
Q. What constitutes an “accrued season?”
A. Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved-injured or “physically unable to perform” lists.
 
Q. What is the Final Eight Plan?
A. During the Final League Year, the eight clubs that make the Divisional Playoffs in the previous season have additional restrictions that limit their ability to sign unrestricted free agents from other clubs. In general, the four clubs participating in the championship games are limited in the number of unrestricted free agents that they may sign; the limit is determined by the number of their own unrestricted free agents signing with other clubs. They cannot sign any UFAs unless one of theirs is signed by another team.
 
For the four clubs that lost in the Divisional Playoffs (including the Ravens), in addition to having the ability to sign unrestricted free agents based on the number of their own unrestricted free agents signing with other clubs, they may also sign players based on specific financial parameters. Those four only will be permitted to sign one unrestricted free agent for $5,807,475 million or more in year one of the contract, plus the number of their UFAs who sign with another team. They also can sign any unrestricted free agents for no more than $3,861,823 million in year one of the contract with limitations on the per year increases.
           
In the case of all final eight teams, the first year salary of UFAs they sign to replace those lost cannot exceed the first year salary of the player lost with limitations on the per year increases.

Q. Is there an Entering Player Pool in the Final League Year?
A. Yes. The CBA provides that the league has the right to keep the rookie pool in the Final League Year.
 
Q. Is there a Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year?
A. There is no Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year.
 
Q. Are there individual player minimum salaries in the Final League Year?
A. Yes, but they rise at a rate somewhat slower than player minimum salaries rise in capped years.
 
Q. Do any player contract rules from capped years remain in place for the Final League Year?
A. Yes. Some rules like the “30% increase rule” are still in effect in the Final League Year for player contracts signed in capped years. That rule restricts salary increases from 2009 to 2010 and beyond. For example: a player with a $500,000 salary in 2009 would be limited to annual salary increases of $150,000 ($500,000 x 30%) beginning in 2010.

To follow Chris Pika on Twitter, click here (@BlogAndTackle)

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me 1-because I’ve been out of Indianapolis for nearly 36 hours. No offense, but it ain’t good.

2-Nobody decided to drive their car into a tree this morning and knock out power to the radio station and everyone else who resides on Hart Rd…

3-It may have not been in time for National Chili Day, but our buddy John West delivered with one of the greatest breakfasts in the history of AM1570 WNST yesterday morning….

chili

Yeah, that’s lump crab meat, and it’s called “Chesapeake Chili”…and it’s better than what you had for breakfast today.

Let’s see what everyone has to say……

1. Maryland Official Site says Terps 22nd in AP poll, 23rd in ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll

It’s funny, because Patrick Stevens (follow him on Twitter @D1scourse) had him 18th in his weekly poll this week-and I first thought to myself “that seems high”…I actually thought they should be in the range where they are in the polls…somewhere in the low 20′s. That being said, I haven’t been NEARLY as concerned about Maryland cracking the Top 25 as everyone else in town apparently is, as I know that racking up wins will get a team the respect it needs moving towards the NCAA Tournament.

That being said, what else can be said about this team right now? The win Saturday night was just tremendous. Being “gutty” is as important if not more important than being “good.” This team has more “Guts” than Mike O’Malley and Moira Quirk….

quirk

If you get that reference, marry me. (Edit from GMC: If you’re a female. Or if you’re Andy Roddick.)

2. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez named ACC Player of the Week, Jordan Williams named ACC Freshman of the Week

At this point, I’m not sure why they don’t just call it the “Greivis Vasquez ACC Player of the Week Award.” I guess Jon Scheyer could still win ACC Player of the Year (especially if Greivis were to struggle against the Blue Devils Wednesday night), but I don’t think I could necessarily agree with it. He’s been the best player in the conference all season, there just really isn’t any doubt about that. Now-the bulk of the media that votes for the award is based in North Carolina. Like it or not, they’ve probably seen more of Scheyer.

It will be an interesting vote.

Also worth noting, I was given confirmation that Greivis Vasquez’s jersey number will NOT be honored in the Comcast Center rafters tomorrow night. The school is choosing to honor all 3 seniors (Vasquez, Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes) the same way tomorrow night, which makes sense considering all three have been major contributors to the program.

I assume (although it has yet to be confirmed) that Vasquez’s jersey WILL enter the rafters next to Steve Blake’s, but it looks like they will wait until early next season to do so. This could help them get some juice for an early season game against Bethune-Cookman…or Longwood…or Long & Foster…or whoever they play.

3. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Maryland fans desperate for tickets to Duke game Wednesday

This is ABSOLUTELY the biggest game in College Park since the 2005 game against Duke-the Saturday night game when ESPN’s “College Gameday” did a live broadcast, John Gilchrist went off, 5 Blue Devils fouled out, the Terps won in overtime and went on to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time after 11 straight appearances.

There have been exciting games in College Park since then (including North Carolina a season ago), but none have been this big, and CERTAINLY none of them have been this significant. A chance to split the ACC regular season title is on the line, as well as an OUTSIDE chance at an outright title and the top seed in the ACC Tournament (if UNC can beat Duke).

It’s a big deal. Big enough that Erin Andrews is showing up (with Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas) before her Dancing With the Stars gig…..

erinandrews

4. ESPN.com’s Andy Katz says Gary Williams continues to “maximize what (Terrapins) players can do”

That Andy Katz….classic Gary Williams apologist.

I won’t go down the “I told you so” route when it comes to those of you who called for Gary Williams’ head a season ago, mostly because I wasn’t even slightly moved by the argument. Some people say things like “fire the coach” out of panic, because they don’t really know how to analyze a situation. I actually sympathize with those people. While I’ve never called for Maryland to fire Dave Cottle as lacrosse coach, I remain on the “he has to win” campaign.

Gary Williams is winning. A lot of people expected he would. It will be a struggle again a season from now, there’s no doubt about that. That’s the mark of a Gary Williams program in this era of college basketball.

But as Katz pointed out, there’s just no way in the world that anyone not named Gary Williams should be coaching this team right now.

5. The AP says Reggie Holmes’ 32 lead Morgan State to win over North Carolina A&T at Hill Field House

Have you been to see Reggie Holmes yet? I don’t ask because I want to say “shame on you” for not getting out yet, I ask because I’m sorry you haven’t had the chance. He’s REALLY one of the best players on the entire east coast. He’s just been so special to watch for four years now, and he’s obviously changed Todd Bozeman’s entire program.

You’ve got one more chance to see him here locally. The Bears host Coppin State in a “bucket list” type of rivalry game Thursday night. If you love Baltimore sports, you really owe it to yourself to get to a Morgan-Coppin game at least once. I’ll be there for sure, and can’t wait for the game.

6. The AP says Michael Harper’s 14 not enough as Coppin State fell to Norfolk State in home finale

The story of my first trip to the Coppin State Physical Education Complex wasn’t the team (which is just missing a lot of pieces right now), but the building itself. The building is PHENOMENAL. I mean, it’s absolutely unreal. If you ever attended a game at the Coppin Center, you won’t BELIEVE what a world of difference there is now at the CSPEC. It’s night and day-really. It’s just a bright, beautiful, state of the art facility that deserves to have outstanding teams and big crowds fill it.

That being said, Fang Mitchell’s Eagles are tough to watch. They go long stretches without scoring, they lack leadership and poise, and they have no go-to players. It is obvious that they miss Tywain McKee, who was one of the greatest players in school history a season ago, and Fang was quick to point out that they’ll get Lee Jordan back next season to help with a lot of that.

Can Coppin make a run in the MEAC Tournament similar to what they did two seasons ago? I don’t think so. They might win a game in Winston-Salem, but they have too many holes to push for a title.

7. Burlington Free Press’ John A. Fantino says Binghamton out of America East Tournament, UMBC to face Vermont

Which means that the Retrievers are guaranteed to remain in Hartford until Saturday, and all but guaranteed to be gone by Saturday night.

It is ABSOLUTELY the right thing that Binghamton is not participating in any sort of postseason contests this year, and there need to be many more sanctions moving forward. What happened with the Bearcats last season is so UNBELIEVABLY reprehensible that I’m not certain how they even fielded a team this season. In fact, it’s embarrassing that they did.

And while I love Randy Monroe, I just don’t give his team much of a chance to beat Mike Lonergan’s Catamounts.

8. Ravens Official Site’s John Eisenberg thinks team should really think about pursuring “divas” like Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin and Antonio Bryant

Apparently a local blogger in town tried saying that John Harbaugh was “laughing” when he talked about the Ravens’ interest in T.O. Maybe that local blogger shouldn’t talk about things he doesn’t know about….

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

Look, John Harbaugh was just as condescending in Indy as he is any other time. BUT-the organization IS interested in Terrell Owens. John Harbaugh saying it publicly is NOT the first time we found that out. If you followed us on Twitter (@WNST), you’d know that we had gotten word about the team’s interest from other sources late last week, and Drew Forrester wrote about it Saturday morning.

Are the Ravens MOST interested in Terrell Owens? No. Would they like to find another wide receiver INSTEAD of Terrell Owens? Yes. But are they going to AVOID Terrell Owens? Absolutely not. They need receivers, and there are only so many available. Owens is 6’3″, and still played well in Buffalo a season ago. If the likes of Anquan Boldin, Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, etc are too expensive or just won’t work (which is a total possibility), they might end up going with Owens.

Those are just the facts.

9. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens expected to give high tenders to RFA’s Sam Koch, Jared Gaither, Le’Ron McClain, Fabian Washington, Mark Clayton, Marshal Yanda and Troy Smith

The interesting point here is a reminder that while fans in Baltimore don’t seem to think that highly of Troy Smith, the organization absolutely DOES. John Beck is expected to get a low tender, meaning that while the Ravens would like to have him back, they are much more concerned about bringing back Smith than Beck.

Once again, those are just the facts.

10. ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says George Kokinis seen with Ravens contingency at NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis

Yeah, but take it from me-don’t ask John Harbaugh about it.

I guess the secrecy surrounding George Kokinis’ role with the Ravens has something to do with his departure from Cleveland, but it’s very strange. If he’s back, welcome back. If not, I don’t know exactly what to say.

11. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta amongst O’s pitchers who impressed in intrasquad scrimmage

It IS a good sign that Tillman’s back is apparently holding up well in his early Spring Training work.

That being said, I think Ingrid Ulrich had a better on Busted Coverage Monday than Tillman, Arrieta or even Jim Palmer ever could have…

ulrich

12. The Sun says former Bird BJ Surhoff to be inducted into College Baseball Hall of Fame

I don’t have much analysis to add here, other than to say congratulations to one of my favorite O’s of all time.

And since I don’t have any more analysis here, I’ll instead offer the video for the song “Bedrock” by Young Money. I like it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha80ZaecGkQ[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

I promise that this will be the last time I write about anything Olympics-related. I PROMISE. I just missed yesterday’s post-so I have to get this all out of me.

Did it bother me that Canada topped Team USA in hockey Sunday? Damn right it did. I might not live and breathe hockey, but I sure as hell live and breathe the red, white and blue. (Until I re-adopt Italy again in the World Cup this summer if and when Team USA is eliminated. Look, I’m Italian-so spare me.) Does it bother me that Sidney Crosby got to be the hero in the process? Sure. Not because I root for Alexander Ovechkin or the Capitals, but because Pittsburgh sucks, and everything that comes from Pittsburgh should be a failure-not a great success.

That being said, for our friends to the north-you might have won the gold medal in hockey, but we won the gold in the bobsled, which we all know is more important. While you have Roberto Luongo-we have Steve FREAKING Holcomb, who I’m hoping I can go out for 2-375 beers with very soon….

holcomb

But-since this is your big week, enjoy it with some Our Lady Peace. You see, I don’t hate everything from your country….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V5HZNr6saE[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Plenty of Risers During Draft Season Stops in Mobile, Orlando

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Plenty of Risers During Draft Season Stops in Mobile, Orlando

Posted on 07 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Welcome to the third installment of my NFL Draft profiles, which I will be doing throughout the months leading up to Draft season in hopes to make sure you are introduced to every player who might be a future member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Sorry for how long this took, as our trip to Ft. Lauderdale to cover the Super Bowl and “Snowpocolypse 2010″ have limited my ability to get this posted quickly.

So far, I have previewed players participating in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando and Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. If you missed either update, these are the players you can go back to learn about….

QB’s Daryll Clark (Penn State), Sean Canfield (Oregon State)
WR’s Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati)
TE’s Andrew Quarless (Penn State), Richard Dickson (LSU), Jimmy Graham (Miami)
OG Mike Iupati (Idaho)
OT Vladimir Ducasse (UMass)
DE’s Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), Brandon Graham (Michigan)
LB Ross Pospisil (Navy)
S’s Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech), T.J. Ward (Oregon), Myron Rolle (Florida State)
CB’s Devin Ross (Arizona), Brian Jackson (Oklahoma), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky), Javier Arenas (Alabama)
K Leigh Tiffin (Alabama)

This week, I’m going to try to take a look back at what transpired in Orlando and Mobile, and who may have risen on the Ravens’ radar moving forward. With still no player movement, my team needs for the Ravens remain the same….

1-WR
2-TE
3-CB
4-S
5-OLB/DE
6-K
7-QB
8-G/C
9-OT
10-P

Thanks to CBSSports.com, SportingNews.com and SI.com for reports from the all-star games-and to NFLDraftScout.com & Wikipedia for help regarding particulars.

East West Shrine Game…

QB Max Hall (BYU)

maxhall

Statistically, there is really no argument that can be made against Max Hall. During his 3 seasons in Provo (after transferring from Arizona State), Hall threw for over 11,000 yards and nearly 100 TD’s. Sometimes success from a Brigham Young quarterback can be dismissed based on the level of competition he played against in the MWC; but that’s not the case with Hall. Not only was he strong against teams like Utah (who he awkwardly said he “hated” in a post-game press conference), but he compiled an impressive 7-2 record against BCS opponents. He has no more than average size (6’1″, 200 pounds or so); but he’s a bit older (24) due to his LDS mission. Comparisons to current Ravens and former BYU QB John Beck would be pretty fair, as both came from similar backgrounds and systems. Hall made a nice impression while in Orlando; putting together a very solid 4th quarter in the East West Shrine Game, including a TD pass to Ryan Moya.

C John Estes (Hawaii)

estes

Estes was a steadying force for the Warriors, even if not an overwhelming one. His size (6’2″, 295 pounds) will make his performance on the bench even more important at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is by no means small, but no NFL team will want to have a sub-300 pounder on their offensive line. Estes will likely need to add bulk as well as prove he has the muscle to battle with the Haloti Ngata and Shaun Rogers of the world inside. As a player who will be available late Friday night and possibly even on Saturday, Estes may be a good fit for the Ravens. Estes could spend a year or two adjusting his body to the NFL level while Matt Birk continued to anchor the middle of the line in Charm City.

WR Verran Tucker (Cal)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVIBjWcO0ls[/youtube]

Tucker was showing some positive signs in Orlando before a hamstring injury stunted his Draft season progress. Tucker will have to make up for that in Indianapolis and with his own Pro Day in Berkeley, as he does not have the resume and profile to fall back on. Tucker was never a big numbers guy for the Golden Bears, tallying just 815 yards and 4 TD’s during his 2 year career after transferring from El Camino Junior College. In fact, Tucker had as many 100 yard seasons for the Bears as you and I did. But there are positives about Tucker for sure-he’s in the 6’1″-6’2″ range, and can move his sub-200 pound frame very quickly (he’s expected to run in the 4.4 range in Indy). He’ll need to show teams in individual workouts that he can be a slot receiver at the NFL level,capable of picking up yards after catches over the middle. Ozzie Newsome and company will need multiple receivers before the season begins, so adding a player like Tucker late in the Draft might be an option.

TE Riar Geer (Colorado)

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What impressed scouts most about Geer in Orlando was his solid blocking and safe hands in passing situations. In terms of 2nd tight ends, Geer really appears to fit the bill. He’s definitely got the size (6’3″, 252 pounds) to play the position, but he’s not particularly quick-which will limit his ability to be an offensive playmaker. Geer was never much of a numbers guy (his 402 yards receiving during his senior season in Boulder were almost twice as much as his next biggest season), but he was dependable, and could be a nice late round option for a team needing help in 2 TE sets. His red flags include a knee injury and a previous arrest due to an off-campus fight. There is the possibility Geer could play some Fullback at the next level as well. While the Ravens could use another player to line up next to Todd Heap, it is more likely they’d be looking for a player who could develop into more of a playmaker.

OT Rodger Saffold (Indiana)

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Maybe no player solidified their stock at the Shrine Game as much as Saffold did, as he was REALLY impressive against Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy in practice-winning most 1 on 1 matchups. At 6’5″, 312 pounds; Saffold is roughly the size of Michael Oher, who the Ravens selected in the first round a season ago, and ended up being a Rookie of the Year candidate. Saffold is a likely mid-round pick right now, but he could rise over the coming weeks as more teams deem him capable of being an OT at the next level instead of needing to move to OG, which a number of scouts thought he would before his performance in Orlando. If he stays in the mid-rounds, Saffold would likely be the type of player the Ravens would look at with Jared Gaither’s future still up in the air.

LB Jason Beauchamp (UNLV)

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The biggest question about Beauchamp’s draft status absolutely surrounds what position he will play. He appears to be an outside linebacker-but not necessarily a great pass rusher. He has the tackling ability of someone who can play inside, but got around the edge nicely when he wasn’t hurt last season. His tackling numbers in Las Vegas were impressive-he tallied 332 for his career, 221 over his final two seasons. At 6’3″, 243 pounds; teams will watch his numbers in the 40 and on the bench closely as they try to determine where he might fit in on their defense. He’s clearly a very bright kid, as he wrote a weekly column for the Las Vegas Sun on top of his football duties. In a defense with as many movable pieces as Greg Mattison’s, Beauchamp could slide in at Jarret Johnson’s current position, or possibly at the JACK position Dannell Ellerbe currently mans.

CB Alterraun Verner (UCLA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eit1ZcphBtc[/youtube]

If the Ravens add just one cornerback this offseason, my best guess is that it will be someone a bit taller than Verner, who at 5’10″ is actually not even as big as Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington or Frank Walker. But if John Harbaugh and staff decide that they want to bring in more than one CB, Verner may be a solid option. As you can see, he’s a very capable defensive playmaker, having intercepted 13 passes, forced 3 fumbles and scored 4 defensive TD’s during his Bruins career. In that way, he reminds me of Lardarius Webb, a pick that appeared to work well for the Ravens last season. He also reminds me of Webb in that he might have to move to safety to make his speed effective at the NFL level. He’s believed to be a mid-round pick, and his size will probably prevent him from rising too much higher than that.

K Hunter Lawrence (Texas)

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

Believe it or not, Hunter Lawrence actually made a few other kicks during his Longhorns career. Of course, clearly none of them were as meaningful as the pressure kick he made to beat Nebraska inside Cowboys Stadium to win the Big 12 Championship Game and advance to the BCS Championship Game. This would mean that he’s connected on one more big kick in his life than say Steve Hauschka or Billy Cundiff (unless of course you consider a game winner for the Browns in a 6-3 victory over the Bills a “big kick”). But beyond that kick, Lawrence was 34/39 on FG attempts during the two seasons he kicked in Austin; including 13-15 tries from between 40-49 yards. He doesn’t have a giant boot necessarily (in fact he missed his only career try from beyond 50 yards), but for a steady kicker who has had to make pressure kicks before, he could work as solid competition for Cundiff; especially if he ends up going undrafted.

WR Blair White (Michigan State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhd7nvwEXWA[/youtube]

It took him until his senior year to become a reliable target in East Lansing, but he certainly delivered. White finished his senior season with 70 catches for 990 yards and 9 TD’s. Over his final two seasons, he put together 6 100+ yard games. At 6’2″, 205 pounds; White would not likely be the typical #1 receiver in the NFL, but he certainly could fill a role. The comparisons to guys like Austin Collie and Brandon Stokley are inevitable (likely having a lot to do with the fact that White is…..well….white), and they might very well be fair. White got Draft season off to a great start, nabbing 7 catches for 93 yards in the East West Shrine Game. White would be a solid option for the Ravens should he be available on Saturday.

S Van Eskridge (East Carolina)

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Scouts would probably like to see a little bit more speed from a free safety prospect like Eskridge, but he certainly has plenty to offer otherwise. At 6’1″, 195 pounds; he’s probably big enough to play at the next level, potentially even big enough to play CB. He showed unique playmaking ability during his career with the Pirates-picking off 11 passes and forcing 5 fumbles. He’s also a very capable tackler, having tallied 290 over the last 3 seasons. Moreover, Eskridge performed at the most important times; having combined for 19 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 pass defenses in ECU’s win over Houston in the Conference USA Championship game and their loss to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. On top of that, he ended up claiming defensive MVP honors in the Shrine Game. There are few red flags on Eskridge’s resume, and he could be a very intriguing prospect should he be available on Saturday.

Senior Bowl…..

WR/RB Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)

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

While he is one of the biggest stars of Draft season thus far (and has a big fan in our man Paul from Hawaii), McCluster may not be a perfect fit for the Ravens, mostly because he’s almost a clone of Ray Rice. McCluster is an explosive playmaker, tallying 2,997 total combined yards during his junior and senior seasons in Oxford. McCluster is roughly Rice’s size (each are somewhere between 5’7″-5’9″, with McCluster clocking in at just a few pounds below Rice’s 210. But the idea remains the same. McCluster is at his best when teams get him the ball in space-which he proved during a stellar Senior Bowl week in Mobile. The Ravens weren’t shy to take chances on Rebels prospects a season ago, drafting Michael Oher and adding FB Jason Cook & LB Tony Fein before letting each go at the end of Training Camp. With Willis McGahee’s future questionable, Cam Cameron could decide to take a chance on another playmaker to help make the Ravens’ offense even more unpredictable. We know one thing-McCluster does the one thing Cameron wants his backs to do-he catches the ball. He’s probably a Friday night guy in April’s Draft.

LB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri)

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376 tackles, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions and 2 defensive TD’s made the last 3 seasons of Weatherspoon’s Tigers career particularly memorable. To make his NFL career memorable, he’ll have to settle in at a LB position-which could be outside or a JACK-type of position depending on the team he ends up with. Weatherspoon is a beast at 6’2″ and 245 (or so) pounds, and is expected to be able to post a 40 in the 4.5 range on the fast track at LucasOil Stadium. Weatherspoon comes from a family of athletes, including his cousin-former WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon. Lions DC Gunther Cunningham told the Detroit Free Press that Weatherspoon showed a great deal of leadership during Senior Bowl week. Should he play inside, the Ravens may be looking for a leader after the eventual retirement of Ray Lewis. However, Weatherspoon is expected to be a Thursday or Friday night pick-which may be a bit too early for the Ravens to pull the trigger on a LB that isn’t a pass-rusher.

WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV1E83U6zK4[/youtube]

He’s taller than Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, but 6’1″ may not be the ideal size for a receiver the Ravens are looking at in the 2010 Draft. But if Williams stays on the board until Saturday, he will be a reliable target for any team that takes a chance on him. Williams had a spectacular senior campaign for the Green Wave, grabbing 84 catches for 1,113 yards and 7 TD’s. His season included 5 games where he tallied 100 or more receiving yards. Williams capped that off with a strong performance at Ladd Peebles Stadium, where he made 6 catches for 83 yards and finished with over 100 yards of total offense. Of course, things haven’t necessarily worked out well stemming from the last time the Ravens drafted a WR named Williams…

WR Taylor Price (Ohio)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIOwxj0oh6Q[/youtube]

Scouts around Mobile compared Taylor Price to Chicago Bears WR Johnny Knox. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Johnny Knox is LIGHTNING fast. I’ll reiterate that I don’t think a 6’1″ receiver will address the Ravens’ problems at the position, but I know having game-breaking speed has worked for other #1 WR’s around the league, including Carolina Panthers star Steve Smith. Price didn’t put up eye-catching numbers during his Bobcats career, but he finished with just over 2,000 yards receiving and 14 TD’s. On top of that, Price spent some time during his career as both a punt returner and kick returner-but wouldn’t be an obvious candidate to compete with Lardarius Webb, Jalen Parmele or Chris Carr for a return job in Baltimore.

CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State)

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

The oddest thing about Kyle Wilson’s draft profile is trying to figure out how a player with his speed managed to end up at Boise State despite being from Piscataway, New Jersey. Strangely enough, it WASN’T because Rutgers wasn’t interested. Wilson wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but he proved his doubters wrong during his career with the Broncos. Not only did he finish his career with 11 interceptions and 2 defensive TD’s, he also added 3 punt return TD’s. Wilson’s speed isn’t a concern, but his size (5’10″) makes it difficult to assume he can transition from WAC star to shutdown NFL corner. There will be plenty of comparisons made between Wilson and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Gerald Alexander, who also went to the Draft coming off a BSU victory in the Fiesta Bowl.

TE Ed Dickson (Oregon)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpXURJqx8MU[/youtube]

Unlike Riar Geer, Ed Dickson does appear to be the type of TE who could develop into a big playmaker while splitting time with a former Pro Bowler like Todd Heap to start his career. Dickson has tremendous size (6’5″, 244 pounds); and could really make sure he doesn’t stick around until Saturday on draft weekend by posting a 4.6-ish 40 at the Combine. Dickson didn’t exactly put up insane numbers in Eugene, but he did average over 500 yards receiving and 4 TD’s over each of the final 3 seasons of his Ducks career. Dickson is a tremendous athlete, having previously played LB and DE in High School and early in his college career. What makes him even more intriguing is that his size (much like the size of Miami TE prospect Jimmy Graham) makes him a legitimate jump ball and endzone threat, which the Ravens are currently lacking.

LB Daryl Washington (TCU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0gc2ODyM1w[/youtube]

While pass rusher Jerry Hughes is the Horned Frogs defender that is getting the most attention during Draft season, Washington has quietly made a name for himself as a riser at the ILB position. Washington had a stellar senior season in Fort Worth; tallying 109 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and a INT return TD. Washington moves well for someone who is about 6’3″, 234 pounds; but he moved to strong side during the Senior Bowl, and scouts will want to see continued progress from him at that position. Where he could fit in for the Ravens would be as a reserve MLB, as his ability to move downfield in pass coverage could get him playing time in obvious passing situations with Ray Lewis having appeared to lose a step in 2009. He looks like a Friday night pick as of right now.

OG Jeff Byers (USC)

jeff byers

If some schools are “Linebacker U” (like Penn State) or “Wide Receiver U” (Tennessee and Michigan State have been given that nickname), when will we finally recognize Southern Cal as “Interior Lineman U”? After players like Deuce Lutui (Arizona Cardinals), Ryan Kalil (Carolina Panthers), Sam Baker (Atlanta Falcons) and others, Byers is just another steady O-Lineman the Trojans are going to send to the NFL. The issue that is holding Byers back is his history of injuries. His career was slowed in 2005 and 2006 by hip and back injuries that caused him to miss the better part of two seasons. But Byers showed solid versatility in his senior season, even starting a game at center when Kris O’Dowd was hurt. Byers measures in at 6’3″ and right around 300 pounds-making his growth and bench performance very important as teams like the Ravens consider him on Saturday.

DE Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)

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One of the most below the radar pass rushers in the entire FBS, Carrington is out to prove that his 19 sacks over his final two seasons in Jonesboro were about his own individual ability, not the Sun Belt level of opposition he faced with the Red Wolves. Carrington is an absolute monster, checking in at 6’5″, 280 pounds and expected to post a 40 somewhere in the 4.7 range at the Combine. Scouts in attendance at the Senior Bowl were blown away by his strength and versatility; as he’s believed to be capable of rushing in either a 3-4 or 4-3 set. Carrington would be a VERY intriguing selection for a Ravens team with Trevor Pryce’s long-term future in the air; and needing someone to perform opposite Terrell Suggs.

QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

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The inevitable comparisons with Brown will be to Miami Dolphins QB Pat White, but that’s only because the two players aren’t standing next to each other. Brown wasn’t overwhelming during his only season as a starter in Morgantown; he threw for 2,144 yards and 11 TD’s; adding 452 more yards and 6 TD’s on the ground. But Brown has great size for a player looking to prove himself at the next level-at 6’4″, 200 pounds. He’s not blazingly fast, but he definitely has the ability to move in the pocket-and his time in the 40 could change where he ends up getting picked. If the Ravens do end up moving Troy Smith-Brown’s size gives him an obvious advantage over the former Heisman Trophy winner as far as how his game will translate. He looks like a borderline Friday night or Saturday choice as of right now, which will certainly impact whether or not the Ravens would be interested.

Next week I’ll take a look back on the “Texas vs. The Nation” game risers.

-G

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