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Ravens’ fight for playoff lives is nothing new

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Ravens’ fight for playoff lives is nothing new

Posted on 17 December 2009 by Luke Jones

As the Baltimore Ravens continue to grapple for a postseason spot entering Week 15 (and here’s another great source for predicting your own playoff scenarios) against the Chicago Bears, the franchise finds itself in a familiar position.

While last season’s improbable run in John Harbaugh’s first season landed Baltimore in the AFC Championship, the franchise has found itself on the playoff bubble five other times in the last 11 years. Not counting the Super Bowl season of 2000 and a franchise-best regular season record of 13-3 in 2006 (the Ravens clinched a berth in Week 15 of both seasons), the Ravens’ playoff chances have always boiled down to the final week of the season.

Here’s a look back at the other “bubble” teams in the 14-year history of the Ravens, with some teams having more success than others down the stretch.

Tony Banks and Scott Mitchell
1999: 8-8 (2-1 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: Brian Billick’s first season as head coach saw the Ravens secure their first non-losing record. Despite starting the season third on the depth chart behind Scott Mitchell and Stoney Case, Tony Banks emerged as the starting quarterback by season’s end, leading the team to impressive wins over the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers (the Ravens’ first victory in Pittsburgh). A four-game winning streak kept the Ravens in the playoff hunt entering Week 17, but Baltimore fell to the Patriots in snowy Foxboro, 20-3. The strong second half was a precursor to a Super Bowl championship a season later, though Banks would find himself replaced by Trent Dilfer by mid-season. The soon-to-be record-breaking Baltimore defense finished second in the NFL in yards allowed.

What went wrong: Billick asked fans to take a “leap of faith” with the newly-signed—and much-maligned—Mitchell, and the experiment lasted all of 56 passing attempts and four interceptions in two losses to begin the season. The Ravens got off to a 4-7 start, too much to overcome despite the strong play of the defense and the emergence of Banks and new receiver Qadry Ismail down the stretch.

Terry Allen
2001: 10-6 (2-1 in final three weeks), Wild Card

Synopsis: Looking to defend their Super Bowl title by improving the offense, the Ravens replaced Dilfer with former Pro Bowl quarterback Elvis Grbac who struggled to win over his teammates and win games. Running back Jamal Lewis suffered a torn ACL in the first week of training camp, and the Ravens employed a committee of Terry Allen, Jason Brookins, and Moe Williams for the ground attack. Needing a win in Week 17 against the Vikings on a Monday night, the Ravens clinched a Wild Card spot with a 16-3 victory behind Allen’s 133 rushing yards and a bruising defensive performance.

What went right: While Ravens fans hold Grbac responsible for failing to repeat, the team literally had its legs cut out from under it with the loss of Lewis before the season started. While the defense could not match its record-setting numbers of a season earlier, it still finished second in yards allowed and fourth in points surrendered. Signed off the street during training camp, Allen provided an admirable effort with Brookins and Williams providing assistance. With Grbac struggling and fans clamoring for Randall Cunningham to replace him, Billick used the running game and the still-stellar defense to get into the playoffs and earn a road victory over the Dolphins in the first round before falling in Pittsburgh the next week, 27-10.

Jeff Blake
2002: 7-9 (1-2 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: In what was perhaps Billick’s best coaching job in his nine years as Ravens coach, the 2002 team managed to stay in the playoff hunt entering the final two weeks of the season despite saying goodbye to key veterans Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, Tony Siragusa, and numerous others in the salary cap purge of the Super Bowl roster. The Ravens looked to be one of the worst teams in the NFL and got off to an 0-2 start before rebounding in a huge Monday night victory over the Broncos. Jamal Lewis returned from his lost 2001 season to rush for 1,327 yards, Todd Heap earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and linebacker Ed Hartwell and rookie safety Ed Reed led the defense after Ray Lewis went down with a shoulder injury early in the season. Back-to-back losses to the Browns and Steelers to close the season ended the Ravens’ improbable playoff hopes but could not devalue a very surprising season.

What went wrong: The team could not find consistency at the quarterback position with Chris Redman suffering a back injury and veteran Jeff Blake struggling with consistency. The loss of Lewis coupled with an inexperienced unit caused the defense to fall to 22nd in the NFL despite the encouraging development of several young players. Three out of four losses to end the season sealed the young team’s fate.

Jamal Lewis
2003: 10-6 (2-1 in final three weeks), AFC North champion

Synopsis: The Lewises reigned in 2003. While Ray Lewis earned his second Defensive Player of the Year award, the real story of the season was Jamal Lewis, who became just the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Lewis’ 295 rushing yards against the Browns in Week 2 set a new NFL record and created the identity for the Ravens’ offense. Rookie Kyle Boller struggled before going down with a quadriceps injury, and journeyman Anthony Wright took the reins of the offense. The team clinched the AFC North title in Week 17 when the Browns knocked off the Bengals earlier in the day, but the Ravens knocked off the Steelers in overtime for good measure. Baltimore would fall at home in the Wild Card round the following week when the Titans stifled Lewis and the running game.

What went right: Jamal Lewis’ historic season made up for an otherwise ineffective offense. The defense finished third overall and was led by Ray Lewis and emerging star Ed Reed. Eight players made the Pro Bowl including both Lewises, Reed, Heap, Jonathan Ogden, Adalius Thomas, Peter Boulware, and Chris McAlister. With the Ravens struggling at 5-5, Wright threw four touchdown passes to Marcus Robinson in an improbable 44-41 comeback win against the Seahawks to initiate a three-game winning streak. However, an ugly loss to Oakland in Week 15 forced the Ravens to win their final two games to clinch the North. Lewis was up to the challenge as he shredded the Browns again for 205 yards and eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark against the Steelers with 114 yards in the overtime win to conclude the regular season.

Kyle Boller
2004: 9-7 (1-2 in final three weeks), missed playoffs

Synopsis: Following the script from the previous season, the 2004 squad struggled with consistency, as Boller completed his first full season as the starting quarterback. Once again, the defense led the way with Reed earning the Defensive Player of the Year honor, keeping the award in the Charm City for the second year in a row. A three-game winning streak in the middle of the season put the Ravens at 7-3 and on the short track to the playoffs, but losing four of five down the stretch placed their playoffs hopes on life support at 8-7. Needing a victory over the Dolphins and three other teams to lose in Week 17, the Ravens held up their end of the bargain in a 30-23 victory but didn’t receive enough help to steal a postseason spot.

What went wrong: With Jamal Lewis facing the repercussions of federal drug-related charges and serving a two-game suspension during the season, the offense plummeted to 31st in the league. Boller showed flashes of promise but lacked any consistent receiving threat with Heap missing most of the season with an ankle injury. Even with the struggles on offense, the Ravens controlled their own destiny down the stretch but lost road games to the Patriots, Steelers, and Colts and suffered a heartbreaking loss at home to the Bengals over a five-game stretch. The Ravens’ inability to win any one of these games ultimately sealed their fate.

Le'Ron McClain
2008: 11-5 (2-1 in final three weeks), Wild Card

Synopsis: With a rookie coach and quarterback, the 2008 Ravens were viewed as a rebuilding team with little chance of making noise in the AFC. However, Harbaugh reunited a divided locker room, and Flacco played more like a grizzled veteran than a quarterback playing at Delaware a season earlier. The three-headed attack of Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice combined for over 2,000 rushing yards, and a veteran defense finished second overall. After struggling to a 2-3 start, the Ravens won nine of their last 11 games to clinch a Wild Card spot with a 27-7 victory over the Jaguars in Week 17.

What went right: Nearly every move the Ravens made turned to gold as they marched deep into the playoffs. After receiving only eight carries in his rookie season, McClain came out of nowhere to rush for 902 yards to lead the ground attack, taking the pressure off the rookie Flacco. After getting off to a slow start due to a lingering neck and shoulder condition, Reed completed one of the greatest defensive stretches in NFL history by intercepting eight passes and scoring two touchdowns over the season’s final six weeks. After losing to the Steelers at home due to a controversial Santonio Holmes touchdown, the Ravens needed to steal one on the road against the Cowboys. Instead, motivated by rumors that they were handpicked as an easy opponent in the Texas Stadium finale, the Ravens dominated the Cowboys in a 33-24 victory. With a Week 17 win that was more of a formality than a challenge, the Ravens entered the playoffs and won two road games before falling to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

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Ray Rice Continues Unquestionable Team MVP Performance in Win Over Steelers

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

I’ve been known to fawn all over a football player or two during my life.

There have been NUMEROUS times since the Ravens franchise entered our lives that I have looked at the TV screen and uttered the words “Thank God ______ plays for the Ravens.” The most frequent names I’ve used in that sentence have been Michael McCrary, Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister and Derrick Mason.

On Sunday night, I found myself uttering another name; a name that I have been praising since the season began.

“Thank God Ray Rice plays for the Ravens.”

With another 155 total yards (88 rushing, 67 receiving) in a 20-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Rice has now gone over 100 total yards of offense in 8 consecutive games. He has 1,403 total yards on the season (821 rushing, 582 receiving); and warrants even more praise than what John Harbaugh could think of after the game. (“He’s a player” is what the coach exclaimed.)

I don’t mean to turn this into a drool session, or an awkward “man crush” revelation; but it is hard to avoid such things when I look at this game. When this team most needed him, Ray Rice ran a perfect play; and turned from a game-extender to a game-changer.

Facing a 4thand 5 with 3:31 to play in the 4th quarter, a 17-14 deficit and just 1 timeout remaining; Joe Flacco found Ray Rice in stride for a first down.

And then some.

Ray moved the ball all the way down to the 10 yard live of the Steelers, a gain of 44 yards. The Ravens would ultimately cash in a Billy Cundiff field goal; which would tie the game and send it to overtime. But the significance of the play cannot be underestimated.

It wasn’t JUST a 4th down catch. A 4th down catch that gained 10 yards would have been easily forgotten had the Ravens failed to get another first down on the drive and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of their AFC North rival.

Instead, Rice moved forward-dodging defenders-until the Ravens were in absolute scoring position. It was the type of play that changed the attitude of every person inside M&T Bank Stadium.

It isn’t the first time he’s been asked to make a play in the clutch, either. Rice has been targeted in key situations throughout the season; including just a week ago-when Joe Flacco looked to him late in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts; only to have Gary Brackett make an interception. But faced with a similar situation Sunday night, there was no fear in going right back to the man who has been the team’s most productive offensive player.

The Ravens wanted to run their offense around one player this season. Cam Cameron wanted the offense to be based around one man, who could carry the football team in every situation they faced. They took out the gadget (or “Suggs Package”) plays with Troy Smith because they didn’t want the game out of the hands of their most productive player.

And while Joe Flacco has played a little under expectations, they’ve gotten the offensive game-changer they so badly desired. He wears #27.

Credit Mark Clayton, Paul Kruger, Michael Oher, Jared Gaither, Billy Cundiff and a number of other Ravens who made VERY significant contributions in a VERY significant win. But in the most important moment of the most important game of the season; it was Rice delivered once more. With the bright lights of NBC’s national “Sunday Night Football” broadcast on him, he answered the call.

And come Monday morning, he’ll be the biggest reason why this team is 6-5 and tied for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC.

That’s the definition of a team MVP.




-Hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Paul Kruger, Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, Jarret Johnson, Billy Cundiff and Ray Lewis in the Audio Vault at WNST.net following the win.
-The Ravens reported FB Le’Ron McClain (abdominal strain) and LB Prescott Burgess (hamstring) were team’s only injuries stemming from the win. No further information was available for either player. QB Joe Flaccosaid he “re-rolled” his injured ankle during the game but felt better after he re-taped it. LB Ray Lewis was heard VERY AUDIBLY saying “My foot is killing me” with media members standing near his locker; but claimed it was “good” when asked about it after the game.
-The Ravens reached double digit points (14) in the first half for the first time since a win over the Browns in Week 3.
-At 6-5, the Ravens are now tied with the Steelers and Jaguars for the final playoff spot in the AFC.
-This is the first overtime win of Joe Flacco’s career; also the first win over the Steelers.
-Harbaugh was quick to deflect any questions about the Steelers playing without Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu, and credited Dennis Dixon as “a player” who the Ravens really liked coming out of college.


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Live From Owings Mills: JJ, LJ, Reed Questionable

Posted on 25 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:30-Injury Report-Ravens:

DT Justin Bannan-FULL-PROBABLE-Knee
OT Jared Gaither-FULL-PROBABLE-Illness
CB Fabian Washington-FULL-PROBABLE-Illness (Concussion)
S Tom Zbikowski-FULL-PROBABLE-Head (Concussion)


RB Jamal Lewis-DNP-DOUBTFUL-Hamstring
OL Floyd Womack-DNP-DOUBTFUL-Ankle
RB James Davis-FULL-PROBABLE-Shoulder
WR Mohamed Massaquoi-FULL-PROBABLE-Shoulder
RB Cedric Peerman-FULL-PROBABLE-Thigh
P Dave Zastudil-FULL-PROBABLE-Right Knee

1:49-A couple of notes from personal conversations with players today. I spoke with LJ Smith-who still appeared uncertain of whether he will play on Sunday. I get the feeling this is no longer really about his hamstring, but more about whether or not he would be able to contribute on Special Teams. There is an active spot available right now after Prescott Burgess was traded Tuesday; but Tom Zbikowski was inactive against the Chargers and will almost certainly be back Sunday. Tony Curtis, Paul Kruger, and Dannell Ellerbe might all be options to dress Sunday, depending on how game-ready Ellerbe is, how quickly Tony Curtis has put things together, and how much Paul Kruger has developed on the Special Teams side of the ball. LJ Smith might well be on the field; but my conversation with him lead me to believe it was not certain.

Also, my friend Jon Gallo of CBS Sports passed along a note he got from a personal conversation with kicker Steve Hauschka. Apparently Hauschka, ST Coordinator Jerry Rosburg, Sam Koch, and Matt Katula went to M&T Bank Stadium to work on kicking yesterday instead of staying here at 1 Winning Drive for practice. Rosburg talked before the San Diego game about the significance of Hauschka understanding his home stadium better than any kicker in the NFL; especially after the wind caused the 2nd year player from NC State to push a 41 yard field goal against the Chiefs. Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson would almost certainly be more familiar at M&T Bank Stadium (especially the stanchion), so this was a good chance for Hauschka to improve his familiarity.

1:43-Regarding injuries; John Harbaugh said Jared Gaither missed the last two days because the rest of the team “didn’t wanna get sick.” He didn’t try to break down any more of Gaither’s illness, reminding reporters that he isn’t a doctor-which is true. Harbs wasn’t so convinced about Jarrett Johnson-as despite the fact that JJ got back out on the practice field this morning, the Coach (who celebrated a birthday this week) said “that’s still gonna be an issue.” It appears as though Ed Reed missing practice was nothing more than a precautionary measure given Ed’s lingering shoulder and neck issues.

When asked about the significance of playing their first AFC North opponent Sunday, Harbaugh reminded us that AFC North games have potential “tiebreaker implications”, meaning the games can be more valuable than any other individual games. Harbaugh also said of the Browns “they have every intention of putting it together on Sunday.”

12:31-Overheard today: Jonathan Ogden saying “I bet they probably still owe me some money”, to which a Ravens staffer responded “I think you probably got plenty.” Pretty humorous.

11:47-Ed Reed is not dressed for practice today. He just came out to the practice field in street clothes. With Ed’s chronic shoulder and neck issues, this could be nothing more than a precautionary day off. Hopefully Harbs will give us an explanation.

11:35-A quick update from the practice field. Both Jared Gaither (illness) and Jarret Johnson (shouler) were out on the field this morning. Gaither appeared to be a little bit less than a full go during O-Line workouts, and could be listed as “limited” today as he continues to work back from the flu bug that got him this week. Johnson was seen sprinting off the practice field to head back to the locker room at one point. We’ll find out more details of his recovery shortly.

10:57-We’re back out here at 1 Winning Drive, where the Ravens will hold a walkthrough today as they install the final elements of their gameplan for Sunday’s game against Cleveland. Jarret Johnson (shoulder), Jared Gaither (illness) and Justin Bannan (knee) are the only concerns injury-wise; but all 3 are believed to be fine to go for Sunday. Gaither and Johnson have not practiced for the last 2 days, Bannan has been limited.

We will be headed out to view practice here shortly, and we will hear from John Harbaugh this afternoon-around 1pm or so.


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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 25 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens 28, Browns 13

I might be giving the Browns too much credit.

Maryland 30, Rutgers 27

Facing a more methodical offense will help the Terps, even if they are a BCS opponent. Their QB issues will help the Terps even more.

Navy 37, Western Kentucky 17

The Midshipmen should put together a much more complete performance against a bad Sun Belt team.

Towson 21, Morgan State 14

This should be a really good game.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Greg Mattison thinks Frank Walker may need to get on field more

Drew Forrester says he’s fine with Orioles bringing back Trembley or letting him go

Nestor Aparicio offers highlights from Billick event at Mother’s in Federal Hill

Nestor Aparicio offers funny Ric Fair video

Ed Frankovic says Capitals dropped preseason contest to Rangers


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Matt Birk has history of facing Shaun Rogers

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Fabian Washington returned to practice

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says ST Coordinator Rosburg believes Browns KR Cribbs dangerous because he ‘gets free in so many ways’

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh believes game against AFC North opponent ‘critical’

The Official Site’s Sarah Ellison says Flacco showing up on early MVP lists

The Official Site’s Mallory Steinberg says Heap, Mason, Le’Ron McClain involved in community this week

The Official Site says Browns returned tickets for Sunday’s game, now available via Ticketmaster

Cleveland Browns Official Site’s Matt Florjancic says Mangini, Fraley showered praise on Ray Lewis

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says ‘history suggests (cornerbacks Domonique Foxworth and Fabian Washington) will bounce back’ against Cleveland Sunday

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Nakamura knows Raven must try to get ball when Brady Quinn goes to air

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Kelley Washington might not do “The Squirrel” anymore, but he’ll keep dancing

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ray Rice, McGahee need to ‘run over’ Browns

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Braylon Edwards could make things tough for Ravens

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens would be in trouble if Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers , Carson Palmer were to get ‘comfortable’ in pocket

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Jared Gaither, Jarret Johnson missed practice again

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Ed Reed honored by Sporting News

The Sun says Browns gave back 300 tickets for Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium

The Sun remembers ’99 win over Browns-first win of Brian Billick era

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ray Lewis doesn’t want to let Brady Quinn get ‘comfortable’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Derrick Mason 3 catches away from 800 for his career

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Ravens, Kelley Washington ‘perfect fit’

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi says Jerome Harrison, James Davis took reps in practice with Jamal Lewis again sidelined

Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour says Mangini ‘reluctant’ to play rookies like James Davis, but may have no choice if Jamal Lewis can’t go

Canton Repository’s Steve Doerschuk says rookie Alex Mack will face tough matchup with Kelly Gregg, Ngata

USA Today’s Tom Pedulla says Ray Rice primed for ‘breakout’

USA Today’s Pete O’Brien picks Ravens 34-6

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 37-13

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt looking forward to Flacco vs. Eric Wright

Fox Sports’ Adam Schein thinks Ravens will shutout Browns

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Gregg Rosenthal pick Ravens 27-10

ESPN.com’s James Walker thinks Ravens could put together ‘complete game defensively’


The Official Site says Ralph thought Terps had ‘good week of practice’ in preparation for Scarlet Knights

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says eliminating programs would be ‘last resort’ for Debbie Yow in getting athletic department healthy economically

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Bruce Campbell, Jamari McCullough now ‘probable’ tomorrow

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Torrey Smith leads country in all-purpose yards

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Saturday ‘must win’ for Terps against Scarlet Knights

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Ralph MUST be tougher on players moving forward

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says LB Adrian Moten says Fridge won’t take any ‘bull-jiving’ from players

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Jamari McCullough’s return should help take pressure off Kenny Tate

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Schiano believes QB Savage ’50-50’ to play against Maryland

The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut picks Terps 27-20

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda say Friedgen recruits New Jersey, Schiano recruits Maryland and DC

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Bruce Campbell’s return means Pinegar will move back to RT

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Friedgen believes Tom Savage will play tomorrow

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Ralph believes young players ‘working hard’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Don Brown believes defense ‘making progress’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says James Franklin doubts Ralph any ‘softer’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps have Twitter under control

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens picks Terps 27-23

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps slightly concerned about Special Teams

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens breaks down Special Teams units

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says R.J. Dill will come off bench

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Vellano out until late October

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Gary Douglas well ahead of Morgan Green on RB depth chart

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens expects Rutgers to make ‘game time decision’ at QB

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps could score 30+ points in 3 straight games for first time since ‘03

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Germantown natives Jourdan Brooks, Joe Lefeged return home this weekend with Knights visiting College Park

Newark Star-Ledger’s Tom Luicci says Dom Natale may have to play if Tom Savage can’t

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Ralph thinks Travis Ivey making ‘best contribution’ right now (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says OL prospect Havenstein visited campus again (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Ralph still looking for ‘consistency’ at Guard due to struggles of Justin Lewis, Lamar Young (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says true freshmen Nick Ferrara, Darin Drakeford, Bennett Fulper, Zach Kerr, Isaiah Ross, Avery Murray have already played this season


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Natasha Cloud came to Maryland for ‘family’ feeling


The Official Site says athletic department auctioning off throwback jerseys Mids will wear tomorrow against Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky Official Site says Jihad Morris, Jeremy Moore, Jared Clendenin, Jack Doyle will be captains for trip to Annapolis

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Niumatalolo gave kicking job to Jon Teague because he hit kick to end practice

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Ricky Dobbs was ‘disgusted’ after performance in loss to Pitt

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Niumatalolo will get Stukel into Slotback rotation

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says injured players Clint Sovie, Ram Vela, Jabaree Tuani, Andy Lark will all be available against Toppers

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Navy defense needs to set tone early against Hilltoppers

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says things should be ‘significantly easier’ for Midshipmen Saturday against Hilltoppers (must subscribe)


The Official Site says Tigers, Bears have played plenty of close games in recent history

The Official Site says Baltimore County residents can get $8 tickets to New Hampshire game


The Sun’s Mike Klingaman says RB Devan James ready to ‘go to war’ with Tigers


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says teammates selected Markakis as Team MVP

Indians Official Site’s Matt O’Donnell says Fausto Carmona takes Progressive Field mound tonight against David Hernandez, Birds

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Melvin Mora to leave Baltimore ‘with head up’

The Sun looks back on 2000 deal that brought Mora to Baltimore from Mets

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Birds go to Cleveland with Tribe on 10 game losing streak


The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Waring, Brandon Snyder, Rhyne Hughes top 1B prospects in organization

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says Arrieta ‘patiently waiting’ for chance to pitch in Baltimore


Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Eldersburg native Mark “TNT” Tucker fighting for USBO light heavyweight title tonight in Westminster


Baltimore Ravens Official Site checks in with former Colt Jim Mutscheller


-The Orioles will win 1 of 3 in Cleveland. No one will notice. Does Perry Hall play Parkville? They’ll win that one too.

Talk to this weekend.


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Live From Westminster: Ravens in Home Stretch of Training Camp

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

5:37-Tomorrow’s morning practice is live, opening at 8:45. Tomorrow afternoon the Ravens are holding a tougher “10-10-10″ practice that will NOT be open to the public. Saturday there will again be two sessions; and it will be the final time you can see the Ravens in Westminster.

5:34-John Harbaugh said he knew about Derrick Mason’s decision to wear the #9 practice jersey beforehand; and Mason handled the decision to honor former teammate Steve McNair in “a classy way.”

Harbaugh also said he was unaware of any plans to honor McNair from the organization as a whole.

5:28-The first note I wrote after being on the practice field this afternoon: “No one wants to be here.”

A number of players stopped by and shook their heads on their way out to the practice field for special teams practice this afternoon; where the Ravens got in some more work. Still no Chris Chester this afternoon. Jared Gaither walked out to the practice field without his jersey, but was summoned back to the locker room to dress for the afternoon session; which he reported to about 20 minutes late. He had a flex cast on his right arm; but that isn’t new. Nothing to be concerned about as of now.

The session ended at 3pm; but some units were dismissed even earlier than then. It was hot!

12:42-Practice this afternoon is at 2pm if you’re headed towards McDaniel College. This afternoons practice is Special Teams only, and the 30+ guys will again not be participating. Sorry to the Trevor Pryce fans of the world. A reminder that tomorrow afternoon’s practice is closed to the public.

12:35-There were NFL officials again at Camp today. John Harbaugh mentioned that he was “disappointed” with the number of penalties the team had in their win over the Redskins; and they had a few early in practice today. That number diminished as practice wore on.

Jarrett Johnson and Frank Walker each had INT’s during 11 on 11′s.

12:32-Mike Preston riled up fans yesterday by blogging that the Ravens were still interested in disgruntled Broncos WR Brandon Marshall. He floated the names Troy Smith and Demetrius Williams as possible trade candidates should the Ravens try to make a move.

I still have no confirmation from anyone in the organization that the Ravens ARE actually interested in Marshall; and have been told previously they weren’t. But as I’ve told Drew Forrester and Bob Haynie today; Mike Preston has been covering this team longer than I have, so I won’t dismiss it either.

12:29-No real reaction from any players regarding the Plaxico Burress news. The news came down during practice; so players hadn’t had much time to digest it. Athletes are usually particularly supportive of other athletes, so I imagine players are feeling for Plax.

Had Plax not received such a harsh sentence, I had speculated previously that the Ravens may be interested in him. End speculation now. Can’t look at a player who can’t get to the field.

12:27-Former Raven Jonathan Ogden was again in the house today, but did less camera mugging and analysis than in his previous appearances. The future Hall of Famer watched practice from the reserved seating area with fans.

12:23-Practice was a bit better today for Troy Smith; who certainly looked sharper throwing the ball downfield. All 5 quarterbacks (Smith, Joe Flacco, John Beck, Cleo Lemon, Drew Willy) remain in Camp; but you have to imagine that list will be trimmed in the next few days.

I saw Ray Rice split out wide quite a few times today. I get the feeling the Ravens are hoping to get the ball in his hands absolutely as much as possible.

12:21-LJ Smith made some impressive grabs today, including a tough TD grab in a goal line situation. Smith has always possessed solid hands, and certainly can be a target in the red zone. However, I was reminded by my friend Dave Carey (a former Baltimore Examiner writer) that reporters covering the Eagles have had gushing things to say about LJ Smith every year, but always qualified it with “if he’s healthy.”

12:16-Steve Hauschka was your kicker of record today; and he finished 9/11 with a long of 53 yards. He had one BAD miss-a 42 yarder that was wide left and very short. Graham Gano was 7/11 yesterday with a long of 55. Harbaugh said that the kickers would not be judged on makes and misses alone; but also on how they strike the ball. I have said before that what they offer in kickoffs will also be a consideration as to which kicker wins the job.

12:08-Full practice this morning in Westminster, with vets like Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason again off as part of John harbaugh’s 3rd day “30 and over club”. Matt Birk was again on field in shorts despite being in the Club; but he did nut participate in a full practice.

No practice again today for Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, or Dannell Ellerbe; but all were in attendance on the sidelines. Clayton was again doing football work; and improving his cutting. His burst is still an issue; but it has to be a positive sign to see him getting work in. John Harbaugh says Clayton is “ahead of schedule”, but still not close to returning. Suggs was back out on the sidelines again, doing some work on the bike. He also has no timetable for a return. Ellerbe (the UFA rookie LB out of Georgia) would be “doubtful” for Monday Night’s game against the Jets; but was also out at practice doing some individual work. Chris Chester (strained calf) missed practice after leaving the field yesterday, but John Harbaugh said it was just a precautionary measure.

WR Demetrius Williams was also back on the field after missing Tuesday’s practice (hamstring). This was his first “live” practice since Monday. Haruki Nakamura showed no effects of the injury that forced him to be helped off the field during yesterday’s practice.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 12 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

David Hernandez will have some value for the Orioles in the offseason should they choose to trade him. I’m not certain that he will ever pan out to be a great pitcher, but last night’s game was an example of the promise he’s shown at this level that could make him a legitimate trade chip.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Luke Jones says Mark Clayton, Terrell Suggs won’t play vs. Washington Thursday

Nestor Aparicio says Ravens should just say ‘no thanks’ to Vick

Matt Duggins says Teixeira better off having signed with Yankees than Birds

Keith Melchior wonders if fans angry about current state of Orioles


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says David Hernandez impressive as Birds topped Athletics

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jason Berken takes hill in finale vs. Mazzaro, A’s

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Uehara eyeing September return in bullpen

Athletics Official Site’s Brian Eller says Cahill solid, but O’s topped Oakland

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says 23,000 saw Birds top A’s at Camden Yards

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck imagines MacPhail defending himself to fans

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Brian Roberts made very bad baserunning blunder

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says team holding “State of the Orioles” event before Angels game Saturday

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Markakis extended streak to 32 straight games reaching base

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Trembley was happy with relief efforts from Albers, Danys Baez, Jim Johnson in win

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman ‘catches up with’ former Oriole Tettleton

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Birds reportedly agree to terms with draft picks Ashur Tolliver, Randy Henry, Ryan Berry

Examiner Jay Trucker says Tillman may be great pitcher, may be Hayden Penn

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Jim Johnson pitched 9th for 4th save of year

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says ‘lack of options’ amongst reasons Trembley won’t take Guthrie out of rotation

The AP says Birds beat A’s for first time in over 2 years

San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser says Adam Kennedy, Scott Hairston homered for A’s in loss

Oakland Tribune’s Curtis Pashelka says Chad Moeller’s 5th inning single ignited Athletics’ winning rally

CBS Sports’ Larry Dobrow has Birds 26th in power rankings


Norfolk Tides Official Site says David Pauley loser as Birds shut out by Scranton

Bowie Baysox Official Site says Ouellette winner in relief as Baysox topped New Hampshire

Frederick Keys Official Site says Sean Gleason loser as Keys fell to Potomac

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Salberg loser as Shorebirds fell to Charleston

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Haughian winner as Ironbirds topped Williamsport

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Justin Moore winner as Bluefield topped Pulaski

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Josh Bell had 3 hits for Baysox in win over Fisher Cats

Frederick News-Post says Waring’s 3 run bomb accounted for all runs in Keys’ loss to Potomac

Virginian-Pilot says Russ Ortiz shut down Tides for Yankees


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens OK with Flacco throwing picks in practice, don’t want him throwing picks in preseason games

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh believes Redskins game ‘extension of Training Camp’

The Official Site’s Geoff Peckham says Training Camp in Westminster dates back to Colts

The Official Site says Harbaugh won’t name players who will miss Thursday’s game

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Troy Smith had been victim of fake Twitter account

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Figurs, Edgar Jones made stellar catches Tuesday at McDaniel College

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Derrick Mason dislocated right middle finger during practice

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Frank Walker, Figurs got into scuffle during Tuesday practice

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Hauschka to be kicker of record in first half, Gano in 2nd half of first preseason game

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Frank Walker thinks fights happen because players competing for roster spots

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Jonathan Ogden thinks Oher ‘tremendous athlete’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says despite rumors, Ravens shoot down interest in signing free agent QB Michael Vick

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh said Reed took off red jersey for ‘strategy’ against Flacco

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says besides Mason; WR’s Clayton, Williams also dealing with injuries

The Sun’s Edward Lee says J.O. has ‘no regrets’ about retirement

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says McGahee has ‘healthy body and attitude’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Mason’s injury ‘not regarded as serious’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Demetrius Williams, Jared Gaither, Todd Heap all plan to take field at M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says new DC Greg Mattison in ‘tough situation’ taking over job

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says Ravens will be ‘limited’ at WR vs. Skins

CBS Sports’ Clark Judge says Terrell Suggs compared Ray Rice to Barry Sanders

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Justin Harper, Marcus Smith should get reps in Thursday night’s game

ESPN.com’s Sal Paolantonio says Ravens know they must pressure Roethlisberger to beat Steelers


The Official Site says RB Gary Douglas impressive on Day 2 of practice

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps cut $300,000 from football budget

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph doesn’t know how much new RB’s Porzel, D.J. Adams might see field

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Mike Barbour, Nick Wallace ahead of Nick Ferrera in kicking competition

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Don Brown thinks Terps’ defense similar to Skins’

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Kevin Lempa believes Kenny Tate ‘biggest safety (he’s ) ever coached’

Examiner Matthew Bouchard thinks Maryland’s relationship with Under Armour should continue to develop

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Travis Hawkins, Caleb Porzel will also get chances to return punts

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Baltz great player, but no one wants to see him on field

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Don Brown ‘talks with pinkie’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Ralph thinks Don Brown’s defense could be ‘intense and patient’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Da’Rel Scott appears to have added muscle

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Cal favored by 21.5 points over Terps

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says A.J. Francis will start at nose tackle if Dion Armstrong can’t get eligible

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says OL Gonnella doesn’t think line will use ‘inexperience as crutch’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says kicking situation similar to ’05, ’06 battles between Egekeze, Ennis

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Turner’s, Scott’s jerseys available in campus bookstore

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens thinks Adams, Porzel will get more work in scrimmage than starter Scott

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Armstrong has physical issues beyond academic ones

Washington Times’ David Elfin says Edwin Williams, Scott Burley most recent former Terps to join Joe Bugel’s O-Line with Skins

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich thinks Terps headed to EagleBank Bowl

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says freshman LB’s Darin Drakeford, Avery Murray might make ‘impact’ (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Terps ready to put pads on, start hitting (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s John Talty says O-Line ‘young’, ‘inexperienced’ besides Bruce Campbell, Phil Costa


Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says former Terp Dave Neal headed to Ireland for more school, hoops

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Terps recently offered DeMatha combo guard Jerian Grant (must subscribe)


The Official Site says Crystal Langhorne thinks ‘confidence’ reason for strong 2nd season with Washington Mystics

Tribune Newspapers’ Fred Mitchell says former Terp Toliver has played ‘sparingly’ for WNBA’s Chicago Sky


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Arundel QB Billy Cosh chose Kansas State with father (Chris) over joining Tigers


The Official Site says Tigers to visit Morgan State, Navy this season


The Official Site says Niumatalolo impressed by freshman De’Von Richardson

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says QB Dobbs must go from ‘flashy’ to starter

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says sophomore QB’s Kameron Smith, Kriss Proctor show ‘promise’

Go Mids’ David Ausiello says Naval Academy continues open practice policy


Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says American highlights Hawks’ home schedule


Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Terror return very experienced team


Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra worked out at Saratoga

Thoroughbred Times’ Phil Janack says Rachel Alexandra put in first work since winning Haskell Invitational

The AP’s Beth Harris says Baffert going to Hall of Fame ‘on high’


The Official Site says 5 Mariners honored by AIFA


Examiner Jeff Hemelt says Brian Rowland, Paul Robson honored by USL-2


-The Ravens need SOMEONE to play at WR tomorrow night. They need Joe Flacco to get some confidence in his first legitimate passes of the year, and I’m not sure Jayson Foster can do that for them.

Talk to you tomorrow.


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Complete recap of the Terrell Suggs/John Harbaugh Press Conference

Posted on 15 July 2009 by Luke Jones

Terrell Suggs downplayed the importance of signing one of the richest contracts in NFL history, but there was no mistaking how seriously the Ravens wanted to keep the Pro Bowl linebacker in Baltimore.

Facing a 4 p.m. deadline, Suggs and the Ravens agreed to a six-year, $63 million contract Wednesday morning, eliminating the possibility of Suggs playing under the franchise tag for a second straight season.  The 26-year-old linebacker is relieved to continue his career in Baltimore.

I consider myself a player of the fans,” Suggs said.  “I play for them.  I love the cheers that I get when I’m running out of the tunnel, and I’m just glad that we finally got back to football, and that they wanted me [in Baltimore] and I wanted to be there.  Ozzie [Newsome] and everybody, we all wanted the same thing, and we just had to agree on the little stuff.  Both sides compromised a lot, and now we came to an agreement”

The deal includes $33.1 million in bonus money, second only to Peyton Manning’s bonus from a deal signed in 2004.  Suggs now becomes the highest-paid linebacker in the history of the NFL, though he was quick to downplay the significance of that moniker.

That was never a focal point,” he said. “That was never brought up once in the negotiation.  I never wanted to be the highest-paid anything. I’m not that guy.  I don’t care what the next man is getting.  I just wanted it to be fair. This is a business, and everything is structured and branded a certain way.”

Suggs will now report to camp on time after missing nearly the entire preseason last year after being designated the franchise player. The Ravens will now have all four starting linebackers present for the start of training camp in less than two weeks.

Coupled with the loss of Bart Scott to the New York Jets, the absence of Suggs may have slowed the transition from Rex Ryan’s scheme to new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, though the system is expected to undergo only minor changes.

Suggs has been in contact with Mattison during the offseason to keep up with the mental side of the defense.

“We’re looking forward to seeing all four linebackers out there together now for the first time in any offseason program since we’ve been here,” Harbaugh said.  “There’s nothing like getting those guys out there together and practicing together and competing together.  Plus, the other thing I’m excited about is his personality being out there from early on in training camp.  He’s a guy that perks up the whole practice field, so it will be fun to have him out there.”

Suggs is happy to be reporting to training camp on time, but he downplayed the significance of missing training camp, citing his play last season that earned him a trip to his third Pro Bowl.

His 53 career sacks are the second-highest total in Ravens history, behind only Peter Boulware’s 70.

“The only thing about training camp is it brings you back closer with your teammates,” Suggs said.  “You all get close again; you all become a team.  You all go in there and run.  Last year I missed that, and it didn’t hurt me too bad—I don’t think—but it’s going to be good to finally get back in training camp in the hot summer days with all the fans looking.  It’s going to be interesting.”

Suggs’ new contract trumps the record-setting deal signed by his teammate and mentor Ray Lewis in 2002.  Lewis’ deal included a $19 million signing bonus.  Suggs emphasized his vast respect for Lewis and insisted the 34-year-old is still the heart and soul of the defense.

“Ray [Lewis] is hands down a Hall of Famer, and you know he’s probably the greatest ever to play the position,” Suggs said.  “Like I said, that [record bonus] happened merely on accident. I’m not sure if I’m a Hall of Famer yet, but I’m sure going to play to try to achieve that status. But until then, Ray is arguably the greatest linebacker ever to play the game.”

- Mason update

The news of Derrick Mason’s retirement was a popular topic during Wednesday’s conference call.

Harbaugh is currently on vacation but has informally communicated through text messages with the veteran wide receiver.  He plans to talk at greater length with Mason next week.

“It’ll be interesting to see where he’s at with everything,” Harbaugh said.  “I know he’s gone through a lot in the last couple weeks with [Steve McNair's death] and those kinds of things. But I’m looking forward to talking to him.”

Suggs expressed hope that Mason would come back this season but respected the possibility that he’s done with football.

“At 35 years old you really start to put things into perspective,” Suggs said.  “Either way [he decides], I love ‘Mase.’ He’s a great teammate.  You can’t say that about a lot of guys.  He’s not selfish, not even in the least, and he’ll always look out for you.  A guy like that is always great to have in the locker room.”

Mason is well respected among teammates and team officials for his professionalism and work ethic since coming to Baltimore in 2005.  His absence would leave Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams as the team’s current starting receivers.

“Derrick Mason is the kind of guy that if he is going to be on board, he’s going to be on board 100-percent-plus,” Harbaugh said.  “He’s going to be doing all the things that great players do, because you don’t become a great player—and I think one of the premiere receivers in the game by far—without being committed to excellence.”

If Mason decides to go through with his retirement, the options on the free agent market are limited, though Harbaugh said the team would explore other options in addition to the players currently on the roster.

“You can only do so much,” Harbaugh said.  “There are only so many guys out there available, and a lot of what we do is developing the players that we have.  We think we have good players here, too.”


Here is the transcript from the live blog I wrote during the conference call:

2:31 – The conference call for Terrell Suggs and John Harbaugh has now concluded. Check back later for a full recap including more direct quotes from Suggs and Harbaugh.

2:28 – Harbaugh is very excited to get going at training camp and thinks the Ravens have a great football team ready to go this season.

2:27 – Harbaugh says the Ravens will look to improve the wide receiver situation, but he’s confident with the group of players they currently have. He mentioned there’s only so much you can do at this point.

He downplayed the reports of Mason practicing at the facility on Monday before the retirement announcement came. He reiterated how dedicated Mason has been throughout his time with the Ravens.

“If he is going to be on board, he is going to be on board 100 percent plus…Getting mentally ready is part of that…If he decides to come back, he will be completely ready to go.”

2:24 – Regarding Derrick Mason, Harbaugh has had informal communication with Mason and plans to meet with him sometime next week.  He says Mason’s obviously had a lot on his mind in regards to the death of Steve McNair.

2:22 – Harbaugh says Suggs wants to work on football and understands the importance of being with Mattison and his teammates for the entire duration of training camp.

The coach is excited about the type of player that Suggs will be over the next six years. He thinks Mattison will help Suggs take his play to “another level.” Harbaugh also mentioned how Suggs is an underrated run-stopper.

2:21 – Harbaugh cited how great of a guy Suggs is. His dedication and attention to detail is right there with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He’s a great player.

2:20 – John Harbaugh is now joining the conference call.

Talking about the success of keeping new players:
“It goes back to Ozzie [Newsome], and of course, Steve [Bisciotti] and Dick [Cass]. It’s just a tremendous organization. Players want to be here.”

He also discussed how many players who have been disappointed to leave because of the financial side of the game.

“You can’t just sign them all. When you draft the way Ozzie drafts, you’re going to lose some guys over time…You can sign one guy, but maybe the next guy you can’t sign.”

2:18 – Suggs has finished up, and we now await John Harbaugh to join us to talk about the new contract for his star linebacker.

2:17 – When asked about the details that needed to be worked out in order to reach an agreement, he didn’t really want to get into specifics. He’s just relieved to have it finished.

He talked about the young Ravens fans that might ask why he wasn’t practicing at training camp. Now, that’s not an issue.

2:16 – Suggs is downplaying the importance of being at training camp from the very beginning, citing his strong play last season.

He’s relieved to finally have the contract resolved after two years. The business side of football is difficult.

2:14 – In regards to Derrick Mason, Suggs was very complimentary and was “shocked” at his retirement. He would love to play with him for another year, but he understands with Mason being 35-years old.

He isn’t sure whether Mason will decide to return. He respects the fact that Mason may not have the passion to play anymore.

2:12 – I asked Suggs on his thoughts about being the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history and playing with Ray Lewis:

“Ray is hands down a Hall of Famer, and he’s probably the greatest to ever play the position. The fact that I’m the highest paid linebacker is really by accident.”

2:10 – Suggs credits the Ravens for going the extra mile to get a long-term deal done, considering the salary cap.

He says his role won’t change. He’ll lead on the field, as always.

On the contract:
“I’m going to continue to be the dominant player I’ve always been…I’m looking forward to showing them that they didn’t make a mistake, and they got the right guy.”

2:08 – Suggs is talking about the process last year and the dispute over whether he was a defensive end or a linebacker. He considered himself a defensive end and had bulked up because of that.

Suggs admitted to having his doubts about reaching a long-term deal.

“We were all on the phone all-day yesterday…It was little minor things here and there. Would we really let something minor stop me from signing a long-term deal?”

2:06 – Talking about Bart Scott: “It was going to be hard to bring all three [linebackers] back.”

Suggs believes Scott would have stayed if the money had been there and believes he’s lucky to be in New York with Rex Ryan. He considers it a win-win situation for Scott.

2:05 – Suggs says being the highest-paid defensive player was never a focal point. He just wanted it to be “fair.” The reason the numbers were so high is because of him being consider a hybrid defensive end-linebacker.

He considers being the second-highest paid (in terms of bonus money) as just a coincidence. He felt it was what he had earned.

2:02 – Suggs: “I’m always trying to do better. I’m just happy it got done…I consider myself a player for the fans. I play for them. I’m just glad that we finally got back to football.”

“Both sides compromised a lot. We came to a great agreement. Now, we can get back to football.”

1:55 – We’re just a few minutes away from hearing from Terrell Suggs. John Harbaugh will answer questions right after the star linebacker.

1:45 – Having lost Bart Scott to the New York Jets, Harbaugh and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison have to feel good knowing they’ll have their entire starting linebacking unit present at the beginning of training camp in Westminster.

Suggs’ presence will certainly ease the transition from Rex Ryan to Mattison and allow the Ravens to get an authentic look at how Tavares Gooden—or Jameel McClain—fits into the entire defensive scheme during the preseason.

1:26 – Ozzie Newsome will not be present for the press conference, but he offered his thoughts earlier on reaching a long-term agreement with the Ravens linebacker.

“Getting a deal done with Terrell is consistent with our history of retaining our best Pro Bowl players, like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden, Todd Heap, and Jamal Lewis. Securing Terrell for six seasons gives us a premier pass-rusher whose ability to stop the run does not get enough credit.

“This is a good day for the Ravens franchise.”

1:18 – You’ve heard the news by now that Terrell Suggs has signed a six-year, $63 million contract, avoiding playing under the franchise tag for a second straight season.

The deal includes $33.1 million in bonuses, making it the second-highest amount in NFL history—behind only Peyton Manning. The long-term deal now places Suggs as the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

We’ll hear from Terrell Suggs in about 40 minutes with coach John Harbaugh to follow.

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Where does Ray Lewis rank among the greatest players of the decade?

Posted on 26 June 2009 by Luke Jones

Leave it to “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” to jump the gun on an otherwise interesting promotion for the network this week.

We’re still over two months away from the start of the 2009 season—the last season of the decade—but ESPN.com has decided it’s time to hand out its NFL all-decade honors.  I guess we don’t need to bother playing this season.

The Ravens were well represented with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed being named to the all-decade defense while the first draft pick in franchise history, Jonathan Ogden, was the lone Raven on the all-decade offense.  Fullback Lorenzo Neal was also named to the team, but his one season in Baltimore hardly constitutes him as an all-decade representative for the Ravens.

The Ravens were also ranked the fifth-best team of the decade.

ESPN closed out the week by revealing their top 25 players of the decade on Friday, and this is the list with which Ravens fans are sure to take issue.  Lewis, the only player to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice this decade, ranks only ninth, behind defensive ends Jason Taylor (fifth) and Michael Strahan (eighth).

With all due respect to Taylor and Strahan, easily the two best defensive ends since 2000, neither player was as dominating throughout the decade as Lewis.

He’s easily the best defensive player of the last 10 years, and the accolades support it.  Lewis has seven Pro Bowl appearances in the decade compared to six for Taylor and four for Strahan.  With Lewis leading the way, the Ravens have ranked no lower than sixth in total defense every year of the decade except 2002—the year of the team’s salary cap purge when Lewis missed 11 games with a shoulder injury.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning clearly belong at the top of the list, but Lewis should be in the top three or four instead of barely cracking the top 10.

Ogden and Reed finished 11th and 12th respectively.

As for my picks of the decade, you’ll have to wait until after 2009, the appropriate time to name an all-decade team.  I’m sure ESPN will manage to do a revised list then too.

Here’s a little something to emphasize my point about Lewis and to keep you salivating for the start of training camp.


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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 24 June 2009 by Glenn Clark

The Koji Uehara situation is going to come to a head sooner than the Orioles wanted it to. As a few callers mentioned this morning, Koji looked VERY uncomfortable pitching in the heat last night in South Florida, and I don’t think that’s something that he’s just going to come around to feeling comfortable with. If he couldn’t go deep in games when he wasn’t uncomfortable pitching; how will he be able to work into games when he is CLEARLY uncomfortable?

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Bob Haynie wonders if Birds can get to .500

Drew Forrester not surprised by comments made by O’s employee Melewski

Thyrl Nelson says Birds need lefty specialist in bullpen

Marco Romanell thinks Birds can win 4 of next 5 against Marlins, Nationals

Glenn Clark says Adam Jones no longer amongst Top 7 hitters in American League


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Birds rallied in 9th but fell to Marlins in 12th

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Berken, Birds square off with Nolasco, Marlins tonight

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jones, Markakis amongst O’s still vying for All-Star nods

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Izturis began rehab work in Miami with teammates

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Chris Ray happy to contribute however he can now back with O’s

Marlins Official Site’s Joe Frisaro says Cantu gets walk-off RBI as Fish top Birds

Norfolk Tides Official Site says Tillman gave up 2 runs over 6 innings but took no decision as Pawtucket rallied to top Tides

Bowie Baysox Official Site says Bascom winner as Baysox topped Binghamton

Aberdeen IronBirds Official Site says Haughian took loss as Ironbirds fell to Staten Island

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says 10,000 saw Marlins top Birds at Land Shark Stadium

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Uehara’s ‘mistake’ lead to Uggla home run

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Trembley thinks Ray has improved ‘delivery’, ‘finish’

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck thinks Birds should hold on to Huff, Izturis; consider dealing Sherrill

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Guthrie scored run in 9th as pinch runner

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Wigginton made costly baserunning blunder in loss

Examiner Jay Trucker says Wieters connected on 2nd career home run in loss

The AP says Brian Bass took loss for Birds

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Matusz on ‘fast track’ following time spent with Keys this season

Virginian-Pilot’s Rainer Sabin says Jim Miller blew save as Tides fell to Red Sox

South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Juan Rodriguez says Hanley Ramirez hit grand slam for Marlins in win

Palm Beach Post’s Tom D’Angelo says Matt Lindstrom blew save opportunity for Fish

Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer says Andrew Miller had been ‘impressive’ early on before Birds got to Marlins’ bullpen

CBS Sports’ Larry Dobrow has Birds 22nd in power rankings


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Figurs plans to be ready for Training Camp

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says D. Williams, Rice, Gooden, Terry, Ngata must take ‘next step’ this season

The Official Site’s Geoff Peckham says Reed, 52, Ogden honored by ESPN

Examiner Phil Macek says Ravens, Steelers remain ‘toast of’ AFC North

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ogden, Lorenzo Neal amongst best offensive players of decade


The Diamondback’s Michael LeMaire says Scout.com thinks Terps 59th best team in country

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says DE/TE Delic took ‘unlikely path’ to College Park (must subscribe)


The Diamondback’s Jakob Engelke offers photo of what next year’s Under Armour shoe could look like

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terrence Morris 10th best player of Gary’s 20 years

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Greivis 9th best player of Gary’s 20 years

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says ’11 prospect Gbinje impressed during NBA Top 100 Camp (must subscribe)


The Sun’s Matt Bracken says ’10 SG prospect Mincy committed to Terps over Georgia, Rutgers


The Official Site says FB Torri Preston ‘looking forward to’ Ohio State game

The Official Site says Mids picked to go 9-4 by Lindy’s

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says Melbourne (FL) DT Thomas Stone ‘first known commitment’ in Navy’s 2010 class


The Official Site says Chris Harris received academic honor from Patriot League


The Official Site says Cullinane, Kyle Cottrell pick up ECAC Academic honors


The Official Site says tickets for Saturday night’s game available for $10

The Official Site previews Saturday’s contest with D.C. Armor


Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch says Haskell Stakes at Monmouth, West Virginia Derby could be options for Big Drama

Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee says Churchill Downs to expand staff for next night racing card

The Sun’s Hanah Cho says former owner Mark Vogel to buy back Rosecroft Raceway


-Looking at ESPN.com’s “All-Decade team”, I am struck by how well the people with the Worldwide Leader in putting together the list. Jon Ogden, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis were all particularly deserving; and no other Ravens were. The other players who made the cut were also good selections.

Talk to you tomorrow.


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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 21 May 2009 by Glenn Clark

I’m glad Drew was fired up about the Orioles’ most recent disaster; because it is particularly difficult for me to feel any emotion about them.

When I write my “Top 10 Baseball Distractions” column every week, I often get comments like “You don’t really think an episode of ‘Pros vs. Joes’ is more exciting than baseball, do you?”

And the answer is…..yes.

I watched the Orioles last night, but when I started getting angry, I changed the channel. I watched the Cavs and Magic (rooting for Joe Smith); and I watched a few minutes of American Idol-which I know NOTHING about.

I always go back to the Orioles; right after flipping has allowed me to settle down again. Staying with them would just lead to the type of anger and frustration you heard from Drew this morning. I take them in doses; much like many of the things I love in my life. (Insert your own joke about my girlfriend here.)

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester says MASN post-game show fails to show what happened in game

Nestor Aparicio says Baez, Walker gave up 6 ‘icing’ runs in 8th inning of loss

Glenn Clark thinks Birds should play game at Pimlico, Drew Forrester thinks Greg Bader should dress up as ‘wiener’


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Guthrie gave up 3 straight homers early as Yanks topped O’s

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Eaton, O’s try to avoid sweep tonight vs. Chamberlain, Yankees

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Ray trying to find ‘comfort’ level

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Markakis working through ‘rare slump’

Yankees Official Site’s Bryan Hoch says Hughes wins despite giving up two home runs

Baysox Official Site says Sean Gleason struggled, but Baysox beat Altoona

Keys Official Site says Matusz struck out 9 as Keys beat Lynchburg

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Swisher, Cano, Melky Cabrera hit back to back to back homers off Guthrie

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Markakis 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, now has 1 hit in last 18 at-bats

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Trembley to be ‘more selective’ in using Ray

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Waring went 2-4 with homer for Keys in win

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Eaton could be pitching for rotation spot tonight

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck didn’t agree with decision to send Brian Roberts in 3rd

Examiner Jay Trucker says Fox Sports doesn’t think O’s roster ‘hot’

The AP says red hot Bombers held ‘Kangaroo Court’ before win with Rivera as judge

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Florimon had 3 hits, home run for Keys in win

Washington Times’ Ryan O’Halloran says Nationals Park will have rare ‘buzz’ with O’s in town this weekend

New York Post’s George A. King says nearly 44,000 at Yankee Stadium to see Yanks blow out Birds

New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand says Yanks now within 2 ½ games of Blue Jays in AL East

New York Times’ Tyler Kepner says Chamberlain-Huff rivalry continues tonight

Newsday’s Erik Boland says Wigginton, Jones, Reimold homered for Birds in loss

Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Carig says Rivera earned save despite blowout nature of game

Bergen Record’s Tara Sullivan says Jeter added bases loaded double for Yanks in win

Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi says ‘no center fielder in baseball having finer season than Adam Jones’

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick says O’s in ‘no rush’ with Wieters

ESPN Insider Buster Olney says Ripken could help ‘clean up’ baseball (must subscribe)

SI’s Jon Heyman would not vote for Sosa, Palmeiro to get into Hall

Yahoo! Sports’ Gordon Edes says Huff tonight just one of many ‘showdowns’ for Yanks’ Chamberlain


The Official Site says Jason Brooks added to coaching staff for offensive quality control

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Washington could push Williams for 3rd receiver job

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Peerman could be ‘role model’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says 52, Ogden best ever 1st round picks; T. Taylor, Boller worst ever

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh thinks Troy Smith ‘NFL-caliber passer’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Jason Brooks son of D-Line coach Clarence Brooks

CBS Sports’ Chad Reuter says Lardarius Webb could make impact despite ‘slight frame’


Belmont Official Site says Charitable Man confirmed for third leg of Triple Crown

Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee says Mine That Bird trainer Woolley to choose jockey by Monday

Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe says Rachel Alexandra galloped in Post-Preakness workout at Churchill Downs

Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe says trainer Kieran McLaughlin expects Charitable Man will ‘run well’ at Belmont


The Official Site says Terps, Mountaineers add games in 2012, 2013

The Official Site says Ralph to discuss weight loss on ESPN2’s First Take today

The Sun says Terps to host West Virginia in ’11, ’13; to visit Morgantown in ’10, ‘12

Examiner Matthew Bouchard says Redskins’ veteran CB’s should help former Terp Barnes ‘get acclimated’ to NFL

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says fans might actually be able to see Terps on ESPNU now

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says with Rich Rodriguez gone, ‘Eers may not be as tough for Terps

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem catches up with Bishop McNamara WR prospect Brandon Coleman (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem catches us with commit Brice Laughlin (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Calvin Coolidge High WR prospect wants Maryland offer (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says strength coach Dwight Galt overseas in China (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Mike Rubin chats with Georgia Safety prospect Julian Horton (must subscribe)


The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Vasquez to work out with Wizards today

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks, LSU’s Marcus Thornton, Ole Miss’s David Huertas all also working out with Zards


Examiner Steve DeClue still doesn’t think Cottle right choice for Terps


The Official Site says Randall Cooper, Bill McCutcheon, Rosensweig named to USILA North-South Game


The Official Site says Greensboro prospect Julius Brooks commits to Patsos, Hounds


The Official Site says kicker Joe Buckley would love chance for Mids to face Penn State in future

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says M&T Bank Stadium to get ‘at least one’ upcoming Army-Navy Game

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says FedEx Field, Meadowlands, Lincoln Financial Field all also in running for Army-Navy Game


Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Mids may have deserved chance to play North Carolina instead of Duke


The Official Site says Hawks offering summer camps


The Official Site says Kylor Berkman named National Midfielder of the Year by USILA for 3rd time


Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Eldersburg fighter Mark “TNT” Tucker looking to improve to 10-0 on June 5


The Official Site previews Saturday’s game against Columbus Lions


USL Official Site says Mbuta named USL-2 Player of the Week


-Quick question for you. We’re just about 5 months into the year, so it is WAY too early to make a judgment on this, but who has stood out for you as a potential candidate to be SI’s “Sportsman of the Year”? I’m sure if LeBron or Kobe wins the NBA Title (especially LeBron), they’ll be the frontrunner from the first half of the year; but I think there’s another worthy candidate who we’ve seen a bit more of locally.

How about Calvin Borel?

The award has never been claimed by anyone in the horse racing industry (which is probably justified), but Borel has the chance to do something no rider has ever done before (win all Triple Crown races on more than one horse). And more impressively, he actually had a serious impact on the most important race.

It’s more than a longshot; but if Borel wins the Belmont (on either horse), he should certainly be considered.

-Maryland and West Virginia SHOULD play every year. That’s just about a no-brainer.

Talk to you tomorrow.


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