Tag Archive | "jonathan ogden"

An important #WNSTSweet16 during an important week for the Ravens

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An important #WNSTSweet16 during an important week for the Ravens

Posted on 06 May 2014 by Luke Jones

After taking a look at the rare not-so-great draft moments in the history of the Baltimore Ravens a week ago, this week’s #WNSTSweet16 recognizes an abundance of riches in ranking the most important draft picks in franchise history.

Though recent years have produced more singles and doubles than triples and home runs as they relate to the work of general manager Ozzie Newsome and his talented front office, the Ravens’ immense success over the first 18 years of their existence should be attributed first and foremost to the draft and an ability to recognize talent to fit their vision of a winning franchise. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said last week that luck is a significant factor in finding impact talent year after year, but a simple look at this week’s list shows that 11 of the 16 choices came in the first round, a reflection of just how rarely the Ravens have missed early in the draft.

It’s important to reiterate this week’s list covers the most important — not necessarily the best — draft picks as certain selections came at critical junctures for a franchise that already boasts two Super Bowl championships in its young history. A simple question to ask in determining a draft pick’s importance was, “How critical was this player to winning a championship or at least enjoying an extended run of success?”

Cracking the top five is no easy task as the Ravens already claim one Hall of Fame player selected with their first ever draft pick while two other first-round choices are slam dunks for Canton in the not-so-distant future.

Without further ado, I present the #WNSTSweet16 Most Important Draft Picks in Ravens History:

Continue to next page for No. 16

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NFL Draft: Who will the Ravens take 17th overall?

Posted on 02 May 2014 by johngallo

In less than a week, we’ll know.

We’ll know who’s the Ravens’ first pick in the draft, a player who history says should be Pro Bowl-level good.

Of the Ravens’ 18 all-time first-round picks, 10 have gone on to make at least one Pro Bowl. The 10 players have been selected to 51 Pro Bowls as a group, led by Ray Lewis’ 13 and Jonathan Ogden’s 11.

But recent history paints another picture: The Ravens’ past four first-round picks – safety Matt Elam (2013), cornerback Jimmy Smith (2011), tackle Michael Oher (2009) and quarterback Joe Flacco (2008) – have yet to make a Pro Bowl. Flacco, however, is a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, which in my book – or whatever one you are reading – is more valuable than making a Pro Bowl.

The Ravens are picking at No. 17, which represents their highest pick since taking Flacco at No. 18 in 2008 – and all he did was turn into a $100 million dollar man with a Super Bowl ring.

The Ravens, clearly, have needs after going 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the first time in the John Harbaugh Era. But this year, the Ravens’ needs are much more glaring.

The media’s projection regarding who will be the next Raven is all over the place. While some agree on the position, they don’t agree on the player. How many different names have you seen linked to the Ravens at No. 17?

Harbaugh basically said the Ravens want to add a good person at every position. Really, like what was he going to say – that the Ravens were looking to enter training camp with gaping holes and a roster that includes mediocre draft picks?

“It’s important to add a running back, but we’ve got some other spots, too. It’s important to add an offensive lineman, a wide receiver, a tight end and some depth at quarterback. It’s important to add a safety, a corner, inside backer and a defensive tackle,” Harbaugh said at pre-draft press conference. “So, that’s where I’m at right now.”

Which is where, exactly?

Harbaugh and the Ravens have a list of guys they’re targeting, but they are not sharing.

I am.

Here are three guys I’d love to see don a Ravens cap after hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York City on May 8.

No. 1: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 309 pounds

What he did at the NFL Combine: Raise his draft stock considerably. His.4.87 time in the 40-yard dash, 30.5-inch vertical jump. 117-inch broad jump and 7.39-second three-cone drill all ranked in the top four among offensive linemen. He proved at the combine – and as a four-year starter at the University of Michigan – he has the speed to play in the NFL. However, his 39 reps of lifting 225 pounds tied for 11th with Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, well behind the 42 reps put up by North Carolina’s Russell Bodine. But it’s easier to improve a players’ strength compared to speed.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: Quickly: If the season started tomorrow, who would start at right tackle? Raise your hand if you had Ricky Wagner, a fifth-round pick who played in all 16 games with two starts as a rookie last year. Upgrading an offensive line that was terrible in protecting Flacco and just as bad in creating holes for Ray Rice is critical if the Ravens are going to return to the playoffs. The Ravens have been superb at picking offensive linemen in the first round. Ogden (1996) played in 11 Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while Ben Grubbs (2007) made one. The odd man out: Oher, who never lived up to his lofty expectations and signed with the Titans during the offseason.

No. 2: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Measurements: 5-11, 199

What he did at the NFL Combine: Enough to justify being a first-round pick. His 4.51 in the 40-yard dash tied for 13th in his position, well behind the 4.37 put up by Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, who is regarded as the draft’s best defensive back. But Dennard’s best work was on the field, where he was an All-American and Jim Thorpe (nations best DB) winner at Michigan State who took away the receiver he covered.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: The loss of Corey Graham creates a void in the secondary, as the Ravens need to address safety and defensive back. Dennard’s physical ability and toughness make him too good to pass up if he slides to the Ravens. With Dennard, the question could be, is he the next Chris McAlister, a three-time Pro Bowler the Ravens took in 1999, or the next Jimmy Smith?

No. 3: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Measurements: 5-11, 207

What he did at the NFL Combine: Show he’s one of the strongest safeties in the draft, which makes him attractive to the Ravens since they need a complement to the speedy Matt Elam. Pryor’s 18 reps of 225 pounds tied for fourth at his position, well behind Brock Vereen’s 25, but Pryor is faster than Vereen. Pryor’s 4.58 in the 40-yard dash tied for eighth among safeties, well behind Florida State’s Terrence Brooks, who ran a blistering, 4.42.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: Because the Ravens need someone to fill the huge shoes of future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, a former defensive player of the year and eight-time Pro Bowler. Reed was an absolute steal when the Ravens selected him 24th overall in 2002. Pryor could immediately replace James Ihedigbo, who signed with Detroit during the offseason.

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Modell left off Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist list

Posted on 21 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

After being included in the list of finalists for only the second time last year, late Ravens owner Art Modell will wait at least another year for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Modell, who passed away in 2012, did not make the list of semifinalists for the Class of 2014 revealed Wednesday night. He had been named a semifinalist in eight of the previous nine years and was also a finalist in 2001. Despite being regarded as a pioneer in envisioning television playing a major role in taking the NFL to unprecedented heights, Modell’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame has been thwarted on multiple occasions in the past because of the controversial move from Cleveland to Baltimore.

Former Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden was inducted last season, an announcement that came in New Orleans the night before the Ravens won their second Super Bowl title in early February.

Here’s the list of 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2014:

Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Jerome Bettis, Derrick Brooks, Tim Brown, Don Coryell, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Marvin Harrison, Joe Jacoby, Jimmy Johnson, Walter Jones, John Lynch, Karl Mecklenburg, Andre Reed, Will Shields, Michael Strahan, Paul Tagliabue, Aeneas Williams, Steve Wisniewski, George Young

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Ogden to be honored in hometown Friday

Posted on 19 September 2013 by WNST Staff

Canton, Ohio – Sept. 13, 2013 – Pro football legend Jonathan Ogden will be recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, as part of “Hometown Hall of Famers™,” a national program honoring the hometown roots of the sport’s greatest coaches, players, and contributors with special ceremonies and plaque dedication events in local communities.

“’Hometown Hall of Famers™’ has been warmly embraced by communities and Hall of Famers alike,” said George Veras, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises president and CEO. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Allstate to bring the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities across the country and congratulate Jonathan Ogden and St. Albans School on bringing a piece of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to Washington, D.C.”

An 11-time Pro Bowler and former high school standout at St. Albans School, Ogden will be presented with his “Hometown Hall of Famer™” plaque during a special ceremony at 8:45 a.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 20, in the school’s gymnasium, where the plaque will live permanently to serve as an inspiration for the school’s students and athletes. The presentation will be made by Ogden’s former athletic director from St. Albans School, Oliver ‘Skip” Grant.

“To be part of a program that brings the prestige and tradition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities like Washington, D.C., is an honor for Allstate, our agents and employees,” said Lisa Cochrane, Allstate’s senior vice president of marketing.

The ceremony will be attended by St. Albans School students, faculty, staff, alumni and Ogden’s family members and close friends. Vance Wilson, St. Albans School headmaster, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Jonathan Ogden “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Washington, D.C.

An Outland Trophy Award-winning tackle from UCLA, Ogden was the first-ever first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 NFL Draft. The consensus All-Rookie pick helped the Ravens climb to the top of the NFL during his 12 seasons in Baltimore. A great pass protector and run blocker, Ogden helped lead the Ravens to their first-ever Super Bowl in 2000 where they beat the New York Giants in a 34-7 victory in Super Bowl XXXV.

Ogden was named the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Alumni in 2002. He received firstteam All-Pro honors six times and All-AFC honors nine times, and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s. Ogden was inducted into the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor in 2008 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 2013, Ogden became the first longtime member of the Ravens franchise to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Fans can visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame website for more information on the “Hometown Hall of Famers™” program, and can view event videos at www.youtube.com/allstate.

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 30 July 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: MLL-Rochester Rattlers @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com); WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm from Verizon Center live on NBA TV/Monumental Network); Action Sports: X Games Los Angeles (Thursday-Sunday from Los Angeles/Carson, CA live on ESPN/ABC/ESPN3.com)

10. Maze feat. Frankie Beverly/Morris Day & The Time (Sunday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion); O.A.R. (Thursday 5pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Summer Spirit Festival feat. D’Angelo/Busta Rhymes/Erykah Badu (Saturday 5pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Wiz Khalifa (Thursday 6pm Jiffy Lube Live), Black Sabbath (Friday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Beyonce (Tuesday 8pm Verizon Center), Lil Wayne (Friday 7pm Verizon Center); SOJA/John Butler Trio (Wednesday 7pm Wolf Trap), Bruce Hornsby & The Newsmakers (Sunday 8pm Wolf Trap); Pietasters (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Corey Smith (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), Carbon Leaf (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (Tuesday 8pm Ottobar); Dick Dale (Friday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Michael Kiwanuka (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Todd Rundgren (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Frank Turner (Thursday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Brett Dennen/Kopecky Family Band (Thursday 5pm Mount Vernon Park); Matthew Perryman Jones (Thursday 7:30pm The Hamilton); Jonny Lang (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines”, Buddy Guy “Rhythm & Blues” and Michael Franti & Spearhead “All People” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

The last time I saw O.A.R. they played with an orchestra. A G-D ORCHESTRA!

Carbon Leaf is coming to town? You couldn’t ask for a better day.

While I’ve got Robert Randolph on my mind, I’d like to take you back to the night where I heard the greatest sounds ever composed. Ever.

I’ve been waiting for some time to share Matthew Perryman Jones’ version of “Motherless Child.” I simply have no words. Just listen.

9. Aisha Tyler (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Gilbert Gottfried (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore Summer Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday throughout Charm City); Carroll County Fair (Tuesday-Friday Carroll County Agricultural Center); “The Big Glen Burnie Carnival” (Tuesday-Saturday Glen Burnie Improvement Association); Baltimore Improv Festival (Wednesday-Sunday Creative Alliance); Shore Leave 35 (Friday-Sunday Marriott Hunt Valley Inn); The Gathering-Food Truck Rally (Friday 5pm Kenwick Castle); Howard County Fair (Wednesday-Monday Howard County Fairgrounds); Maryland Latino Festival (Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds); “2 Guns” out in theaters (Friday); G.I. Joe: Retalliation” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

I have been asking Ryan to get Aisha Tyler to stop by our broadcast at Hooters Friday afternoon (and you should stop by too!) for the last three weeks. There’s one reason. You all know what it is.

Look. Judge all you want. Also, she’s funny. (Even if language NSFW.) There’s zero chance I don’t propose within seconds if she posts.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Newsome to present Ogden at next weekend’s Hall of Fame ceremony

Posted on 26 July 2013 by WNST Staff

JONATHAN OGDEN NATIONAL TELECONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

On his reaction to being drafted by the Ravens in 1996 and what he first noticed when he got to Baltimore: “There was some surprise, yes, because all the draftniks, all the people were saying that, ‘You were going to go to the Cardinals with the third pick. You are going to go to the Cardinals.’ That was getting beaten into my head the whole time. So, when the third pick came up, and they picked Simeon Rice, I was a little surprised. I knew things could always happen, but I was raised to get up when I heard the phone ring in the green room. Then Baltimore came on the clock next, and I knew I had taken the trip down to visit them, and I was like, ‘Oh, you know. It seemed like an interesting organization because nothing was established yet.’ When I got that call I was a little bit in shock, because one, I wasn’t expecting to go to Baltimore and two, I didn’t really know what to expect with Baltimore. After I talked to Ozzie [Newsome] and I talked to Mr. [Art] Modell, and I got an idea of what their plans were for Baltimore, I got excited after that. I said, ‘I’m going to be a part of something here, and I’m going to help us build a winner here.’”

On if getting ready for the induction this weekend has prompted him to do some reflecting on his career and what have been some of the most interesting things he has looked back on: “I definitely have been looking back on my career while doing this speech that I’ve been dreading that I am going to have to give. The one thing that I’m trying to wrap my mind around is giving that speech. I’ve never been that guy who likes to stand there and talk in public, but I’m ready to do it. But yes, I have definitely been doing some reflecting. My career was really solid. The one thing that I can say about my career was how I played really consistent football. I never really looked back and said, ‘Man, if I would have done this, that or the other…’ I always felt like I gave my all, and I was always consistent out there. I think that’s kind of what led me to become a great player. This game is about consistency at the end of the day. I think that’s probably about it there.”

On who will be presenting him at the Hall of Fame: “Ozzie Newsome.”

On why he chose Ozzie Newsome to present him: “I chose Ozzie [Newsome], because he brought me in to Baltimore. I respect him, and we work well together. I could always go talk to him, be honest with him, and he’s just one of the people that I really respect in the business. It just kind of made sense to me.”

On how much influence some of his old coaches had on him as a person and as a player: “When you look back at it, it’s kind of funny. A lot of this stuff is in my speech, so you will get to hear it again. Definitely St. Albans had a huge influence on me. Skip Grant really kind of was one of the first people – honesty, integrity – really … He walked it and lived it. You know the man, so you know who I’m talking about. You know Dick Allanson – these guys really taught you good lessons in life. St. Albans taught you a lot. [They] taught us how to think for yourself, how to become a better citizen, and those are lessons that I definitely took. It’s kind of strange, yes, being one of the … I guess I am St. Albans’ first Hall of Famer. (laughing) I don’t think they have any other ones. It’s nice to bring some recognition to the school. I’m glad that I could do that for them, because they did so much for me.”

On what he most wants to be remembered for and what his dad’s thoughts would be about him being inducted: “On the football field, I just want to be remembered as the guy who was dependable, who was a good teammate, who didn’t go out there and make silly mistakes, you knew he was going to be there game-in game-out, day-in day-out, had his teammates back out there. My dad would be very … He would enjoy this day coming up. He was the guy who I wanted to be like growing up. I modeled playing after him. He knew that, and I’m just glad that he at least got to see most of my career. He didn’t get to see all of my career, but he got to see most of it. And, he also got to see his grandson, too. That’s the positives that I can take from it that he at least got to see some of those things.”

On if he can still see his dad at St. Albans watching him from the sidelines with a huge umbrella: “Yes, I couldn’t get to football practice without that man. He would come pick me up every day, and he would come out to the games no matter what the situation was just to be there. Never really pushed me, but was always encouraging me. He wasn’t one of those parents who made me do it, but he kind of always had that encouraging word for me about just trying to stick in there, just keep your chin up. Times get tough, especially when you’re young. You’re a young man starting in the game, and you don’t know if you really love it. He kind of kept me going on that path.”

On if there was ever a time where he went to his dad and told him that he didn’t think he could continue to play football and his dad talked him back into it: “No, there was never a time that I said that. I think I would have been let him down too much if I said that. But, when those days, when it’s tough, you are just like, ‘Man, this is … I don’t know. There’s nothing worth having that’s easy.’ You just have to keep on pushing. If you enjoy the game, you have to work for it. It made me realize that.”

On what it was like for him getting inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Ravens winning the Super Bowl in the same year: “That was really just one of those things … You look at it, and you’re like, ‘This can’t really be happening.’ It just seems like a storybook, like somebody really isn’t going into the Hall of Fame while their team is playing in the biggest game on the planet in one of the best towns on the planet in New Orleans. And that ovation that I got at the coin toss was unbelievable. Then the whole drama of the game … We end up winning. It could not have been a better weekend. I told them the only thing that could have made the weekend better is if Art Modell would have gotten into the Hall of Fame with me at the same time. That was the only thing that could have been better. Everything else was perfect. You get very few chances in life to say that. I enjoyed that weekend.”

On how it feels to be the Ravens’ first overall pick and first original Hall of Famer: “It feels great. When I was playing, I was just out there working. I couldn’t help the fact that I was the Ravens’ first pick. It just kind of happened, and in my mind, all I wanted to do was help the guys win and go out there, so I don’t look at it in that perspective. When I do step outside of myself and look at it, it’s like, ‘Wow, that guy – he had it pretty good,’ (laughter) if that makes sense. It’s hard in my own perspective to view it that way though.”

On how his football IQ impacted his game and if he still has his notebook of opposing pass rushers: “No, the notebook disappeared a few years ago. I don’t know what happened to it. They always say [that] the quarterback and offensive lineman need to be the smartest – quarterback maybe, but O-line definitely. It’s all about how quickly you can read and process what’s happening on the field and understand what the defense is trying to do to you. Where is that safety rotating down from? Where is that linebacker, the lineman – is he inside? All these things that, when you play long enough, you can get a tip, and when you can get a tip, you don’t hesitate. So definitely, the smarter you are, the less hesitation you have in what you’re going to do, the better football player you’re going to be. I always prided myself on never hesitating, because I always knew my assignment.”

On where his football knowledge and instincts came from: “Part of it is natural. There’s no doubt about it. But I also had really good coaching in high school. My line coach – a guy named David Mohler – he played at St. Albans, but then he went to North Carolina. Harris Barton was one of his teammates, and he got a lot of his information when he was there, and he brought that to us when I was at St. Albans. So, I never had to really unlearn bad habits. I always knew how to keep a wide base, try to keep my back straight and my head up – all the things that people take for granted that you should know how to do. But I never had to unlearn any of those bad habits that a lot of people had. So, when I got to UCLA, my football IQ was more advanced than some other high school guys because I had tremendous coaching. I want to thank him for that. I can thank him in my speech.”

On what his career plans are for the next five years: “At the present time, I enjoy – because we have an 18-month-old daughter and an 8-year-old son – I’m enjoying just being the dad, staying at home. In the near future, I still have my foundation work as well, in Baltimore. That’s not to say I’m not looking to expand and do a few more things. Exactly what? I’m not sure, but I’m sure things will pop up. As of now, I’m definitely very happy in the life that I’m living because raising children is hard work. (laughter) They’re tough little [rascals], and you have to stay on top of them.” (laughter)

On the influence of UCLA track and field coach Art Venegas: “He was great. That guy – he was a no-nonsense type of guy. He would just say, ‘Look, this is what I need out of you, and you need get it done.’ There are no excuses to be made with Art. He definitely taught me a lot about life, and we had a lot of interesting times throwing the shot with that guy. Next to Terry Donahue, he’s probably my most influential coach in college, for sure. Terry Donahue is No. 1, but Art Venegas is definitely No. 2.”

On his relationship with Art Modell: “Art was just … It’s unbelievable how the first time I met him, how nice the man was. It was about football, yes, but he also wanted to know about you the person. Like, ‘How are you doing, how is the family?’ He was always just concerned about that. When you get genuine, nice people, you just want to try to win for them. I can remember when we won that Super Bowl, how happy he was. We wanted to win for Art because of the things that he had done for us and for the city and for the way he was vilified. We all know that when you talk about genuine people, he’s up there. He’s got to be near the top of the list. I just wish that people would not hold the whole Cleveland thing against him, because he’s done so much for the league. Hopefully one day, we’ll get him recognized again.”

On his thoughts about Ravens fans and interacting with them at his induction ceremony: “Oh, they’re crazy – in a good way. (laughter) We’ve got really some of the best fans in the NFL. I’m just really looking forward to … This moment isn’t really – it’s for me, yes, but it’s for the fans. I played the game because we have such tremendous fans, [and] that’s why we play so hard out there. And just to get the opportunity to be amongst them, and just to thank them for the years of support, I’m really looking forward to it. I really want to share those moments with those guys, because at the end of the day, the fans are the ones who pay the NFL some bills [and] keep the league afloat. You definitely have to appreciate them, especially when they’re as loyal and as great as the fans in B-more are.”

On what people can expect to see from his foundation over the next couple of years: “We’re going to try to do a few more programs. Right now, I can’t tell you off the top of my head exactly what, because right now, I’ve just been so focused on getting ready for this Hall of Fame [induction ceremony]. But we definitely plan on continuing to do the same things we have and trying to upgrade this year. We had to help a community center by getting computers put in there. We’re going to try to do a few more things – just whatever is necessary. We’re a small foundation, but we try to do what we can, when we can. Whenever we have the opportunity to grow, we try to take that.”

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Five Questions for Friday

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Five Questions for Friday

Posted on 20 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

As we try out a new segment “Five Questions for Friday” on The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction, I wanted to pick readers’ brains on the following topics.

(Update: Thanks to those who chimed in via Twitter, Facebook, and in the comments section below. You can catch Friday morning’s segment HERE.)

I’ve offered my own thoughts on each question and invite you to offer your answers in the comments selection below and I’ll share your insights on Friday morning.

1. If you’re only able to keep two moving forward, who would you choose among Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis?

This question was brought up during Thursday morning’s show by Jonathan in Essex and it’s an intriguing one to ponder, particularly when you acknowledge the potential cost that each of these three young players will carry in the future.

Wieters and Davis are both scheduled to become free agents after 2015 while Machado isn’t currently scheduled to see free agency until after the 2018 campaign.

Machado is the easy first choice and Wieters would have been my second pick in spring training, but my answer may be changing as the season progresses and we see Chris Davis continue an MVP-caliber season. Even if this is Davis’ career year and he settles in as a first baseman capable of simply hitting 30 to 40 home runs in the typical year, he brings the type of power only a handful of players in the major leagues can provide.

However, Wieters’ defense and ability to handle a flawed pitching staff is a major reason why the Orioles have become a winning franchise over the last two years. He never did become Johnny Bench offensively, but he’s still a good offensive catcher with exceptional defensive skills, a rare combination among backstops in the game today.

If I’m choosing now, I’ll keep Machado and Davis, but a big reason why is the Orioles’ window for signing Wieters to a long-term extension continuing to close. The catcher will be 29 when he hits free agency after 2015 and will be looking for an expensive and lengthy contract, which is something I’m not crazy about doing for a catcher who will have much tread worn away from the tires by then.

2. After Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta, which player currently on the roster will be the most productive receiver for the Ravens in 2013?

Smith and Pitta are the easy choices for seeing a spike in production following the departure of Anquan Boldin, but it remains to be seen who else will emerge to become a bigger part of the passing game.

I’m not sold on Jacoby Jones suddenly become a consistent wide receiver in his seventh year despite the big-play ability, so I’ll go with Tandon Doss finally figuring it out in his third year to become a respectable contributor. Anyone in the media will tell you how well Doss has practiced over the last couple years, but limited opportunities and nagging injuries have prevented him from becoming a household name.

Many have written him off after being targeted only 20 times in his career and his disappointing showing in the wild-card round against Indianapolis, but he fits the closest profile to what the Ravens received from Boldin over the last three years. And he’s gotten stronger and quicker since entering the league as a fourth-round pick out of Indiana.

Of course, don’t forget the possibility of Ray Rice becoming an even bigger factor out of the backfield as a receiver, especially with the power-running ability of Bernard Pierce likely cutting into his total number of carries.

3. Of the four Orioles currently in line to be starters in July’s All-Star Game, how would you rank them in order of being most deserving? Which Orioles belong in the Midsummer Classic and which ones don’t?

Of the four players slated to be starters as of the last voting update, Davis is clearly the most deserving. After that, I’d be inclined to go with Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis in order from most to least deserving of the nod.

Jones continues to be very productive in a down year for American League outfielders. Meanwhile, Hardy is hitting .311 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs since May 1 and continues to be an excellent defensive shortstop.

Markakis is a pick based mostly on the outstanding voting efforts of Orioles fans, but little about his solid-but-unspectacular season really screams All-Star starter if you’re looking at his numbers objectively. He ranks 15th among AL outfielders with a .761 OPS this year.

Aside from Davis, no Orioles player is more deserving of an All-Star nod than Machado, who leads the major leagues in hits and is on pace to set a new major-league record for doubles as he already has 33 in 73 games. It’s understandable that he ranks second behind 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for third basemen, but it will truly be a shame if he’s left off the All-Star team.

Wieters currently ranks second among AL catchers and will earn consideration because of his defense and reputation, but his offensive numbers don’t hold up as well this year with a .702 OPS, which ranks behind Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Jason Castro, Ryan Doumit, and Salvador Perez among AL backstops.

4. Because everyone else has asked the question and I want to address it once before moving on, so who would be your four choices for the Ravens’ hypothetical version of Mt. Rushmore?

I suppose Pro Football Talk should receive the blame for getting this discussion rolling for the 32 NFL teams this spring, but I find it difficult to come up with a definitive foursome for a franchise that only has 17 seasons of history to its name.

The first three are elementary with Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, and Ed Reed, but choosing a fourth feels forced. Super Bowl XLVII most valuable player Joe Flacco would be my tentative selection for now, but Flacco has too much football ahead of him to definitively etch him in stone as one of the four greatest in franchise history.

Still, I’d include him before the likes of Ray Rice, Jamal Lewis, Matt Stover, and Terrell Suggs based on the first five years of his NFL career.

The truth is these types of exercises work much better for teams with extensive histories and it feels artificial for even successful teams with shorter histories such as the Ravens, let alone teams lacking any substantial prosperity like Jacksonville or Carolina.

5. What is your favorite superhero movie?

Yes, I realize this isn’t a sports-related question, but I thought I’d throw in a non-sports topic to discuss and I plan to see “Man of Steel” over the weekend.

The newest attempt at a Superman movie has received mixed reviews, but I’ll freely admit to being a nerd for superhero movies such as the Batman trilogy and saw “Iron Man 3″ in the theater earlier this spring.

“The Dark Knight” goes down as my all-time favorite superhero movie, but I also found “The Dark Knight Rises” to be much better than many gave it credit for as I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane. It was impossible to match the psychotic performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in the previous movie, but Hardy gave a more than respectable effort playing the homicidal man behind the mask.

How would you answer the five questions posed? Comment below and see if your answers make the cut for Friday’s show.

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Ravens gather to commemorate Super Bowl XLVII a final time

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Ravens gather to commemorate Super Bowl XLVII a final time

Posted on 08 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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The Super Bowl ring ceremony was quite the extravagant party in Owings Mills that served as a reunion for the 2012 Ravens as well as the final big celebration of the second championship in franchise history.

Yes, Baltimore’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 15 will include the unveiling of a second Super Bowl championship banner, but that ceremony will be overshadowed by an actual game and won’t include those who’ve moved on to other organizations but were able to return to the team’s facility to receive their lavish Super Bowl rings.

Media access was limited at Friday night’s event as it was a party for members of the organization, but the Ravens provided an interesting foursome of players to speak to the media minutes after the rings were unveiled.

Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, and Torrey Smith all stood at different stages of their career as they received their championship rings with the 38-year-old Lewis speaking to reporters first. Having retired after winning his second championship, Lewis spoke as a fatherly figure throughout the postseason and once again expressed his satisfaction over not only having the opportunity to go out on top but to see his teammates experience what it meant to be a champion.

“I always told them I wanted them to really feel what the confetti felt like. Now to be here, to have something that symbolizes it, it’s the ultimate because now it connects us forever,” said Lewis, who also wore his Super Bowl XXXV ring after receiving the Super Bowl XLVII one to wear on his opposite hand. “It took me 12 years to get back and get another ring. I want them to cherish what this moment feels like right now while we’re world champions.”

Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP, responded only how he could with the honest assessment of a gaudy ring that includes white gold and 243 round-cut diamonds. As Lewis pointed out, Flacco won a championship in his fifth season — like the linebacker did with the 2000 Ravens — and the championship surely provided validation in the minds of those who wondered whether he could lead Baltimore to a championship.

The quarterback admitted he probably won’t wear the ring, but it won’t be sitting locked up in his closet either.

“It’s kind of unwearable,” said Flacco, drawing laughter from reporters. “When I see people for the first time, I’m sure they’re going to have some interest in seeing it or at least I’m going to have some interest in showing it off to them. I’m definitely going to bring it a couple of places. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m going to wear it, but it’s pretty special.”

Entering his third season, Smith represented the younger players on the roster fortunate enough not to wait long to taste Super Bowl glory in their NFL careers.

And the former University of Maryland product struggled to keep his eyes off the hardware as he spoke to media.

“I told you all what I was going to be like. I didn’t cry or anything, but I can see how women feel when they get a ring,” said Smith as he laughed. “It has a lot of different meanings. There will never be another season like this. We can win the Super Bowl every year while I’m in the league and there will be nothing like this one.”

The most intriguing of the four to speak was 11th-year linebacker Terrell Suggs, who finally earned the Super Bowl ring he’s dreamed about after starring on the vaunted Baltimore defense for a decade. While Lewis, Flacco, and future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed received most of the attention for different reasons, Suggs won his first championship after the most difficult season of his career in which he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon in late April and then played with a torn biceps for the final two months of the 2012 season.

Always one to provide a colorful quote and having the reputation of being the class clown of the Ravens locker room, Suggs’ sincerity in describing how he felt upon finally seeing his first piece of championship jewelry was the highlight of the brief session.

“To have it so close, it finally hit me what exactly we accomplished together,” said Suggs, who figured out his ring was hidden in front of him when he was discouraged from moving his seat at the beginning of the ceremony. “It didn’t take a year. It took me 11 years to get it. It took coach [John] Harbaugh from when he got here in 2008 — we’ve been chasing this. It finally paid off, all that blood given. There’s not a word that describes what I’m feeling right now and all the emotions.

“The journey was long, but it was worth it. But I will tell you this, I damn sure want to feel like this again.”

Owner Steve Bisciotti took care of former members of the organization by not only awarding Super Bowl rings to David and John Modell, the sons of the late owner Art Modell, but to the five members of the team’s Ring of Honor who played on the Super Bowl XXXV championship team. It appears Bisciotti is setting a precedent by giving rings to Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Jamal Lewis, but fellow Ring of Honor member Earnest Byner wasn’t included in that group.

Byner was the only member of the Ring of Honor to have played for the Ravens — the Hall of Fame members of the Baltimore Colts are also honored — who did not receive a ring, so it appears this is a subtle way of ignoring the former Browns, Redskins, and Ravens running back’s inclusion, which was never accepted by fans from the time Byner was inducted in 2001.

He was a favorite of the late Modell, but seeing Byner’s name listed among Ravens greats as well as the Hall of Fame Colts has always looked out of place.

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Ogden to Ravens fans: “Thank You Baltimore”

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Ogden to Ravens fans: “Thank You Baltimore”

Posted on 02 February 2013 by WNSTV

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Modell falls short of election to Canton again

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Modell falls short of election to Canton again

Posted on 02 February 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — After being named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, the late Art Modell fell short once again for election on Saturday in New Orleans.

As one of his former players, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, was elected to Canton, Modell failed to make the final 10 as he was eliminated along with fellow former owner Eddie DeBartolo, wide receiver Tim Brown, outside linebacker Kevin Greene, and guard Will Shields.

Modell was the longtime owner of the Cleveland Browns before moving his franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and maintained control of the Ravens as they raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the owner’s first Super Bowl title. Current Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti bought the team from Modell, purchasing a 49-percent stake in 2000 before acquiring the remaining majority stake in 2004.

Despite being regarded as a pioneer in viewing television as having a prominent role in taking the NFL to unprecedented heights, Modell’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame has been thwarted on multiple occasions because of the controversial move from Cleveland to Baltimore. He was one of 15 finalists for Canton in 2001 and a semifinalist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“The man never did anything out of spite,” Ogden said. “His move was out of necessity; he had no choice. What he did was make sure that Cleveland kept their history. Irsay stole Baltimore’s history from them with the Colts — the name, the records, everything. You can’t tell the story of the NFL without mentioning Art Modell.”

Modell passed away at age 87 on Sept. 6, 2012.

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