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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Following a convincing win over the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens have just one more preseason contest to solve the final spots on their 53 man roster.

They’ll play the St. Louis Rams Thursday night at Edward Jones Dome, and a number of players will be hoping it isn’t the final time they don the purple  & black. The team will be forced to trim the roster to 53 players this Saturday.

There have been a few changes to the roster since my last “Mocking the 53″ update; with CB Doug Dutch cut and both OL Daniel Sanders and CB Marcus Paschal placed on IR. I am also going to move Cary Williams OFF the 53 (he will receive an asterisk following the 53) since he will be roster exempt during the two weeks he’s suspended. He’s on the roster, but the cuts Saturday won’t reflect that. Finally, Donte’ Stallworth moves back to the 53rd spot on the roster. He’s not the 53rd best player on the team, but since he can’t participate I won’t continue to lift him.

As a reminder of my overall philosophy in selecting these players, here is the explanation I posted before my initial mock roster…

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

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

With that in mind, here’s how I see the Top 53 shaping up…

(Thanks to The Sun and BaltimoreRavens.com for photos.)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. OT Michael Oher
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs
grubbs

Only a few small changes to the Top 10, as I dropped Michael Oher a couple of spots. The 2nd year tackle from Ole Miss is still VERY important to this football team, and I wouldn’t be stunned at all if his 2nd season ended in a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. But he HAS struggled during the preseason, and this is simply a reflection of that. Otherwise, the top players on the team remain exactly the same.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. DE Trevor Pryce
13. DL Cory Redding
14. CB Fabian Washington
15. FB Le’Ron McClain
16. OL Marshal Yanda
17. C Matt Birk
birk
18. S Dawan Landry
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Just a couple of tweeks in this group as well. Todd Heap moves up a couple spots after his sensational performance Saturday night against the G-Men. On the flip side, Terrence Cody falls a few spots due to the knee injury that forced him to miss Saturday night and has forced him to miss about a week’s worth of practice. I still think “Mount Cody” is going to end up being VERY good, but he hasn’t been very good recently.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. P Sam Koch
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. DT Kelly Gregg
gregg
25. S Haruki Nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. TE Ed Dickson
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. OT Jared Gaither

A few movers in this group as well, including a significant move from Sam Koch. He’s looking like a real weapon for this team. His performance against the Washington Redskins would have garnered him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors if it had happened during the regular season, and he was exceptional again Saturday night against the Giants. He’s been very impressive to watch both during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster and in practices since then at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Jared Gaither falls a few spots as he continues to battle a back injury. At this point, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the field when the Ravens play the New York Jets Sept. 13 in East Rutherford to open the season. Kelly Gregg moves up a few spots, as his value to the team is heightened with Terrence Cody hurt.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. LB Jameel McClain
33. LB Dannell Ellerbe
34. LB Tavares Gooden
35. LB Antwan Barnes
36. OL Tony Moll
moll
37. RB Jalen Parmele
38. TE Dennis Pitta
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. DT Brandon McKinney

And after the first 30 players on the roster, EVERYTHING IS TOUGH TO FIGURE OUT! Players 31-40 on this list will all make the roster, but they’ll likely fluctuate position as the season goes on.

In the never-ending saga of “As the JACK LB Turns”, the JACK LB position is turning. Sorta. Harbs said Monday that analysts shouldn’t look too much into the fact that Jameel McClain has started all three preseason games, as all three backers are likely to play roughly the same number of snaps. To some extent, I believe him. In three linebackers, the Ravens have about one complete linebacker. If only they could figure out a way to mold the three together. McClain stays ahead of the others due to the fact that he HAS been starting, but the separation he found from the others early in camp is pretty much non-existent at this point.

Tony Moll and Jalen Parmele are also risers in this group. Parmele because his job as kick returner solidifies his level of importance to the team. Moll because with Gaither and Cousins sidelined, he’s stepped in and held down the RT position admirably. In fact, he’s likely moved ahead of Cousins on the depth chart regardless of health. Should Gaither not be able to go on Monday Night Football to open the season, I would expect Moll to start regardless of health.

41. LS Morgan Cox
42. DT Kelly Talavou
43. OT Oniel Cousins
44. QB Troy Smith
45. CB Travis Fisher
46. S Ken Hamlin
47. K Shayne Graham
48. OL David Hale
49. WR Demetrius Williams
50. WR Marcus Smith
marcussmith
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. CB Prince Miller
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth*

Somewhere in this group my confidence level starts to decline a bit. I’m just not exactly sure where it is. Here’s what we know from 41-53.

At 41, Morgan Cox is the Long Snapper, he’s on the team.
At 42, Kelly Talavou appears to be ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens and comfortably on the roster. He made the roster last year, and the team has maintained faith in him.
At 43, Oniel Cousins is absolutely making the roster as long as he’s healthy. It seems as though he will be-but that’s no guarantee.
At 44, Troy Smith is the team’s 3rd quarterback. The only way he’d not be part of the 53 is if the team were to suddenly find a trade partner or decide for some reason that they don’t need to keep a 3rd quarterback. I find both to be unlikely.
At 45, Travis Fisher is on the team for now. I get the feeling that might not be the case when Cary Williams comes back.
At 46, Ken Hamlin looks like he’s safe until Ed Reed comes back. Of course, there’s a chance that will happen sooner than we thought.
At 47, I still believe Shayne Graham will win the kicking competition. However, I’ve moved him back significantly because there’s almost no difference between he and Billy Cundiff right now. If Cundiff wins, I can’t be surprised anymore. The organization had privately given the job to Graham weeks ago, but there are some factors that might have that job slipping from his grasp.
At 48, David Hale seems safe as long as he’s healthy. That’s a real question mark right now as he battles a tailbone injury. Hale had played well in Camp, and it looked like his improvement had been significant over 12 months.
At 49, Demetrius Williams moves back on the roster. The Ravens will likely want to keep a 4th receiver active with Stallworth hurt, and Williams has more experience than the others on the roster. His size also separates him from the others.
At 50, Marcus Smith is an outstanding Special Teams player. Given some of the players Jerry Rosburg’s unit is missing (including Brendon Ayanbadejo), his inclusion in the Final 53 would make almost too much sense.
At 51, I’m keeping Jason Phillips on the roster for now. Some would argue Prescott Burgess should have his spot, and he’ll have the chance to move ahead.
At 52, Donte’ Stallworth’s injury helps Prince Miller a lot. With Tom Zbikowski starting and Mark Clayton now a slot receiver (who is hurt), it is fair to expect Miller get the bulk of action at punt return this week. That could be enough to lock down a job.
At 53, Donte’ Stallworth holds a roster spot.

54. CB Cary Williams*
carywilliams
(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Potential PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

With Ed Reed now hanging around the facility in Owings Mills, those rumblings that he’ll avoid the PUP list will get louder. With Ed, it’s hard to ever really know. Otherwise, we can be sure Brendon Ayanbadejo will start the season on PUP-and it’s safe to assume that Matt Lawrence will be PUP at best.

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. LB Prescott Burgess
57. WR David Reed
58. LB Edgar Jones
59. DT Arthur Jones
jones
60. DT Lamar Divens
61. OT Ramon Harewood
62. S/CB KJ Gerard
63. TE Davon Drew
64. OT Joe Reitz

Everyone between 55-64 has at least a CHANCE to make the final 53.

At 55, Billy Cundiff is neck and neck with Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. One of them will win.
At 56, Prescott Burgess can win a spot on the roster over the next week. His abilities on Special Teams will help him.
At 57, David Reed has played well recently-but hasn’t been outstanding for all of Camp. He’s not far from the roster, but the next week will be crucial for him.
At 58, Edgar Jones has plenty of versatility-but he hasn’t shown himself to be an exceptional OLB. Despite Sergio Kindle’s injury, he doesn’t look like he’s quite made the team yet.
At 59, Arthur Jones has a ton of upside. He also finds himself the victim of a numbers game. The Ravens might be concerned about exposing him, but it seems like he’s better suited for the practice squad.
At 60, Lamar Divens is in a very similar situation as Arthur Jones. The Ravens would hate to give up on a player that “looks like a Raven” the way Divens does, but he might not fit on the roster right now.
At 61, Ramon Harewood still looks like a very qualified candidate for IR given his knee issue just after the NFL Draft. Injuries to Gaither and Cousins could make him a roster option.
At 62, KJ Gerard has REALLY been hurt by not being on the field for stretches this preseason. The Ravens need secondary help, and he could provide it if he could stay healthy. This is a big week for him.
At 63, Davon Drew has played really well this summer. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to be room for a 4th Tight End on the roster.
At 64, Joe Reitz could end up making the roster given the same injuries to Gaither and Cousins. But if I was a betting man, my money wouldn’t be on him.

65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OL Bryan Mattison
71. OT Stefan Rodgers
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Harper and Riley really offer something to a practice squad given their size. When the Ravens are forced to go up against taller receivers, it will help to have taller receivers to match up against in practice. Others on this list look like solid practice squad options as well-of which Curtis Steele could be one of them.

Questions? Concerns? Song requests? Let me know. I’ll post my final Mocking The 53 Friday.

-G

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Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

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Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens have wrapped up Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster and have now settled in at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

They’ve won their first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, and have just two more preseason contests left (they host the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium and visit the St. Louis Rams a week from Thursday) before they open the regular season September 13th at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets on the national stage of Monday Night Football.

Before they get there, they’ll have to make some major roster decisions. After the game against the Giants, they’ll have to trim the roster slightly before the Tuesday (August 31) deadline to be down to 75 players. Following that, they’ll have just 4 days to make final decisions before the roster is cut to 53 on Saturday, September 4.

There are no changes to the physical roster (except where we expect Lardarius Webb to be when the season begins) since my 4th “Mocking the 53″ update, but there are some changes to the 53 itself. Before we get to that, a reminder of the explanation of the list I wrote before the initial version…

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

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

With that in mind, let’s look again at how the Top 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. OT Michael Oher
oher
4. WR Anquan Boldin
5. DT Haloti Ngata
6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

Only one real change in the Top 10, and it comes from someone who hasn’t performed much at all. Ray Rice has played little at all through two preseason games, and it has shown you everything you need to know about the importance of the 3rd year back from Rutgers. His place in this Ravens offense is INCREDIBLY significant, and without him heavily involved, they are just not the same-no matter who is playing receiver.

Otherwise, everything about the Top 10 remains the same. I know Michael Oher has struggled a bit in the first two preseason games-but Oher is a very good player. He was a bit of a 2nd half guy a season ago (remember his struggles in the first half against Jared Allen when the Ravens visited the Minnesota Vikings but his stellar 2nd half in the same game), and might be a player who just needs some more rhythm to shine. I’m not concerned yet myself.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
16. FB Le’Ron McClain
17. OL Marshal Yanda
yanda
18. C Matt Birk
19. S Dawan Landry
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Almost all of this group remains the same as well. Tom Zbikowski enters the Top 20, as he has played very well knowing he will be in the starting lineup with the Ravens visit East Rutherford Week 1 barring some sort of Ed Reed miracle. I also think it is worth pointing out that while John Harbaugh may have claimed that he ISN’T voting “McClain 4 RB”, Le’Ron McClain has been very good during the preseason-and it would be surprising if he didn’t make more of an impact in the offense this season.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. OT Jared Gaither
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. TE Ed Dickson
25. S Haruki Nakamura
nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. K Shayne Graham
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. LB Dannell Ellerbe

There are some subtle changes in this group-starting with Jared Gaither. Gaither falls out of the Top 20 because we just don’t know what to make of his health. The initial prognosis surrounding his back tear made us believe that he should be available before the Ravens head to New Jersey on Sept. 13. Of course, at this point we’re starting to reach a place where “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Dannell Ellerbe moves back into the Top 30 this week. After watching the other interior LB’s competing for the starting JACK spot against the Skins, I get the feeling that Ellerbe’s ability to play the pass will ultimately get him back into the starting lineup.

Lardarius Webb re-enters “The 53″ at #26. As we see more of what he’s capable of doing early on, we will see how quickly he can rise on the list. Shayne Graham drops a few spots as well despite the fact that I truly believe he’ll be the kicker of record come MNF on Sept. 13. I just somehow needed to reflect the fact that Billy Cundiff has kicked well recently, including 2 makes Saturday night at FedEx Field.

31. P Sam Koch
32. RB Willis McGahee
mcgahee
33. WR Donte’ Stallworth
34. DT Kelly Gregg
35. TE Dennis Pitta
36. LB Jameel McClain
37. LB Tavares Gooden
38. CB Cary Williams
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. OT Oniel Cousins

There are a few significant risers in this group. One is Sam Koch, who was tremendous again Saturday night in DC. His contract situation is an uncomfortable spot for the team, as he is going to get paid SOMEWHERE-but the team has set a precedent in the past that they won’t give big money to a punter (see Kyle Richardson and Dave Zastudil).

Willis McGahee also rises on this list, despite the fact that a number of armchair GM’s in Charm City would have already dealt him for just about anyone with the letters “CB” next to their name. McGahee continues to prove himself as being very valuable, both as a reserve who can take a number of carries and as an impressive short yardage back.

The third riser in this group is Cary Williams-who was exceptional again Saturday night. It may have been preseason football, but the QB Williams picked off (Donovan McNabb) is still a future Hall of Famer. Williams’ size (he’s 6’1″) really DOES make a difference when it comes to how we look at his role moving forward. Should he continue to play similar to his size, Williams could develop into a legitimate NFL corner.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. QB Troy Smith
44. DT Kelly Talavou
45. DT Brandon McKinney
46. RB Jalen Parmele
parmele
47. OL Tony Moll
48. LS Morgan Cox
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. OL David Hale
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. WR David Reed
53. S/CB KJ Gerard

Travis Fisher is hanging by a thread-and I would suggest that at this point he’s BARELY ahead of either KJ Gerard or Prince Miller. No matter how quick Anthony Armstrong is, there’s no way that Fisher should have been embarrassed by him the way he was Saturday night. I’ll leave him on the roster for now, if only because the Ravens have to have SOME healthy corners lining up against Santonio Holmes Braylon Edwards and company September 13. I’m also keeping Gerard ahead of Prince Miller, only because Gerard has more to offer on Special Teams right now than Miller does.

(Editor’s note: Thanks to all who pointed out Holmes will miss the first 4 games. Absolutely right. My mistake. I need a better editor. Or an editor.)

Two players who I moved back onto the roster thanks to their performance Saturday night are Jason Phillips and David Reed. Reed not only played well offensively, but also made a very key Special Teams tackle. Proving his value on Special Teams changes everything-which goes for Phillips as well. That being said, Edgar Jones is a very valuable AND versatile player who I currently have OFF the 53, so these standings remain tentative.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)
(RB Matt Lawrence-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)

I’m taking both Ayanbadejo and Lawrence out of the equation for now. There are other players on this team battling injuries, but neither of them have even done significant work in practice. Until I see that, I’m going to work under the assumption that they won’t be part of the team Week 1. That can change rapidly. A week ago, we were working under the assumption that Lardarius Webb would start the season on PUP.

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. LB Edgar Jones
57. WR Demetrius Williams
58. DT Arthur Jones
59. OT Ramon Harewood
60. DT Lamar Divens
divens
61. TE Davon Drew
62. LB Prescott Burgess
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. FB Mike McLaughlin
66. WR Eron Riley
67. DE Albert McClellan
68. RB Curtis Steele
69. OT Joe Reitz
70. CB Marcus Paschal

The reality is that Miller, Edgar Jones and Williams are in direct competition at positions where there is probably room to keep another player. Arthur Jones and Divens are probably in positions where keeping another player just might not be a legitimate option. Of course, we didn’t all think the Ravens would keep both McKinney and Talavou a season ago, and what did we learn there?

Mike McLaughlin’s name will keep coming up, but keeping him on the 53 really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There isn’t MUCH risk in exposing an undrafted rookie FB who has just converted to LB. Giving him more time on the practice squad could really benefit him as a player.

71. CB Doug Dutch
dougdutch
72. OL Bryan Mattison
73. OT Stefan Rodgers
74. CB Brad Jones
75. CB Chris Hawkins
76. OT Daniel Sanders
77. OT Devin Tyler

A good sign that you’re a longshot to make the roster? A simple Google image search doesn’t come up with a legitimate picture of you. Thank God for Facebook. Hopefully there’s some practice squad help in this group.

There you have it. Questions? Concerns? Comments? Thoughts in general? Song requests? Let me know.

-G

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

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Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

My 3rd Edition of “Mocking The 53″ hit WNST.net just 9 days ago, and much has changed since that time. The most notable difference is the departure of veteran LS Matt Katula, whose roster spot was taken by rookie CB Brad Jones (Cincinnati).

However, there is also some tinkering to the 53 based on how Baltimore Ravens players performed against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium; and how they continue to perform during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster.

For the record, I’ve never been more convinced that any of 60 guys could end up making the final roster. There might not be 70 NFL players on the roster like there were before Camp, but there are still PLENTY of players who have every opportunity to end up amongst the 53.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

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

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

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. RB Ray Rice
rice

6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

I think we were reminded of just how much the Ravens value Ray Rice when he was all but held out of the preseason opener. It’s very clear who the Top 6 players are on the team-just not quite as clear what order the Top 6 are in. Ben Grubbs cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and with the way O-Linemen have been getting banged up for this team during Camp, he might still be rising.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
fabian
16. OT Jared Gaither
17. FB Le’Ron McClain
18. OL Marshal Yanda
19. C Matt Birk
20. S Dawan Landry

While Fabian Washington and Terrence Cody continue to climb, Jared Gaither is absolutely falling. John Harbaugh said he expected Gaither to miss 2-3 weeks; but didn’t appear to rule out the possibility that his back tear could keep him out longer. With that in mind, his value falls a bit.

On the flip side, after a rough start to Camp-Cody came on big time against the Panthers. He showed quite a bit of the promise the Ravens had hoped he would when they selected him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft out of Alabama. Kelly Gregg may still be the starter in the middle of the D-Line, but Cody has significantly greater upside.

Washington is going to have to be ready to be a Top 15 guy on this team whether he’s…well…ready or not. It’s hard to move him so high without him having played against the Panthers, but his importance to the overall makeup of the roster cannot be understated.

21. S Tom Zbikowski
tomz
22. CB Chris Carr
23. LB Jameel McClain
24. K Shayne Graham
25. TE Ed Dickson
26. QB Marc Bulger
27. S Haruki Nakamura
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. DT Kelly Gregg
30. WR Donte’ Stallworth

A couple of movers in this group-including Jameel McClain, who appeared to have the starting ILB job nailed down next to Ray Lewis but has since been splitting time. He’s still very much in the mix and likely ahead of Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden, but we’ll need to see what the team does Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Chris Carr and Tom Zbikowski are risers, as their spots as starters have been solidified in recent weeks. Zbikowski may also end up winning the punt return job (I have him slightly ahead of Clayton and Stallworth right now), which could be enough to get him in the Top 20.

As far as Clayton and Stallworth are concerned-Clayton moves ahead of Stallworth for the first time as it appears he’ll be the team’s 3rd receiver. Expect both to get plenty of snaps throughout the season however.

Don’t be surprised if Ed Dickson is this team’s top Tight End sometime between now and the start of the 2011 season. He’ll be in the Top 20 on this list soon.

31. OL Chris Chester
32. LB Dannell Ellerbe
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Antwan Barnes
abarnes
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. CB Travis Fisher

Nothing drastically different about this group as of right now. Should Ellerbe or Gooden end up beating Jameel McClain out for the other ILB job, they would clearly move ahead of him on the roster. A good showing against the Panthers lifts Paul Kruger a bit, and the team continues to tell me they’re pleased with what they’ve seen from the 2nd year DE out of Utah since he reported to Westminster.

There have been rumblings that the team could keep just Flacco and Bulger and allow Troy Smith to walk-but I doubt that. Flacco and Bulger are similar QB’s, while Troy Smith is particularly different. After seeing what happened two years ago when Smith got sick and Kyle Boller got hurt, I don’t think the organization is ready to trim the number of QB’s on the Week 1 roster.

41. OT Oniel Cousins
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. DT Kelly Talavou
talavou
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. CB Cary Williams
48. OL David Hale
49. OL Tony Moll
50. LS Morgan Cox
51. LB Edgar Jones
52. S KJ Gerard
53. WR Demetrius Williams

A few things worth mentioning in this final group:

-David Hale was injured during practice Monday. Until we know more about the nature of the injury we have to assume he’s safely on the roster when the Ravens visit the New York Jets September 13th.

-I have Talavou and McKinney ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens right now, but Divens has had a solid camp and Jones is a player the Ravens might not want to risk exposing. All 4 remain very much in the mix to be on the team when they get to East Rutherford.

-Despite his suspension, Cary Williams basically has to be a safe bet to be on the team as he’s the 4th corner right now. That being said, the team could still make roster moves between now and their Week 1 appearance on Monday Night Football. Should they do that, Williams could be in trouble. If Williams DOES make the roster, the team will almost be forced to keep an additional corner. I’m keeping KJ Gerard ahead of Prince Miller for now, but if Gerard doesn’t get healthy soon he’ll forfeit that spot right back to Miller.

-Brendon Ayanbadejo is sliding. While he still appears upbeat about his spot on this team, I’m not sure how much longer it can be assumed. He hasn’t really been noticed doing much work on the side, and team sources have told me they’re disappointed in how long Ayanbadejo has remained out. Should he return, he has every chance to make an impact in the nickel package and on special teams; but he has to return to do that.

-I moved Demetrius Williams back to the safe side of the roster and David Reed off. Reed was expected to make a more significant impact in the return game-but that hasn’t necessarily been seen just yet. He could still win the kick return job-which would get him back on the good side of the roster bubble. In the meantime, Williams’ size continues to somehow separate him from the rest of the receivers on this team-which is enough to get him back on the good side of the bubble.

-Morgan Cox takes a spot in the 53. As the team’s only long snapper, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR David Reed
59. RB Matt Lawrence
60. TE Davon Drew
ddrew
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. LB Jason Phillips
63. DT Lamar Divens
64. WR Marcus Smith
65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Joe Reitz

Plenty of things worth discussing about this group:

-Mike McLaughlin COULD make the roster at FB with the team apparently more willing to give Le’Ron McClain carries; but I don’t expect it just yet. McLaughlin isn’t the type of guy the team would HAVE to keep to avoid exposing him, so I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad.

-Billy Cundiff is MUCH closer in the kicking competition than he might appear; but the team has made it clear that Shayne Graham will be their guy. If he’s not going to make the roster, I can’t have Cundiff ahead of 54th.

-Jason Phillips is a guy the team likes a great deal, but may be a victim of a numbers game. He doesn’t have a natural role right now that makes him a guarantee to earn a spot. Prescott Burgess is in a similar position.

-Don’t be stunned if the team ends up keeping Davon Drew and has 4 tight ends on the roster. I just don’t see the room to do it right now myself.

71. CB Marcus Paschal
paschal
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. CB Brad Jones
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

Of this group, Rodgers may have the only realistic path to being part of the team when they hit the field at the Meadowlands. Should Jared Gaither remain out and the team choose to protect Ramon Harewood by placing him on IR; he would have a realistic chance of getting active behind Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll. But that’s a major (and frightening) IF.

-G

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Live from Westminster: Gaither, Carr likely out for preseason opener

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — As the Ravens complete their last two-a-day before Thursday’s preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, it was apparent the intensity level picked up even with a shells and shorts workout with no contact.

Ray Lewis and the starting defense jawed with offensive players during 11-on-11 drills as both sides prepare to face a different opponent across the line of scrimmage on Thursday night.

John Harbaugh shed some light on who we won’t see in the first preseason game, and there were no real surprises in what he said. Offensive tackle Jared Gaither missed his fifth straight day of practice as he continues to suffer from back spasms between his shoulder blades. With Gaither making the transition to the right side, there is much concern over the amount of time he’s missed during training camp.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to play because he hasn’t practiced enough,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if the injury is going to hold him out, but it’d be hard for him to play with the little bit of practice he’s had.”

Cornerback Chris Carr missed his third straight day of practice after limping off the field with a left hamstring injury at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The starting corner is improving, but the Ravens are likely to hold him out of the preseason opener, leaving Travis Fisher likely to start at cornerback.

“Carr could play, it’s a matter of whether we decide to put him out there or not,” Harbaugh said.

Fabian Washington continues to increase his workload in practice, but his status will be a game-time decision on Thursday. Coming back from an ACL injury last season, Washington sat out practice on the new surface at M&T Bank Stadium as a precautionary measure. Considering the fragile state of the defensive backfield, one would think the Ravens play it safe with Washington, too.

“He’s ready to go, it’s just a matter of whether we want him to go,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ll take him out there in pregame and see how much work we get done, and we’ll just decide. But we’re not going to push it, I can tell you that.”

A new question mark was created Tuesday morning when left guard Ben Grubbs walked off the field with an injury. While the injury was not specified, Harbaugh described it as “not major” but was unsure whether Grubbs would play against Carolina.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returned to practice after being stricken with back spasms Monday. He expects to play in the preseason opener. Others returning to practice included offensive linemen Ramon Harewood and Stefan Rodgers and wide receiver Demetrius Williams. Cornerback Prince Miller was also back on the field after two days away to witness the birth of his daughter.

In addition to Carr and Gaither, defensive back Marcus Paschall and offensive linemen Tony Moll and Dan Sanders were also missing from the morning session on Tuesday. The four players remaining on the PUP list are running back Matt Lawrence, safety Ed Reed, cornerback Lardarius Webb, and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Stay right here throughout the day for updates (time-stamped below) and follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates right from the field. Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Tom Zbikowski, and Jameel McClain as well as Thyrl Nelson’s chat with Chris Chester immediately following morning practice!

_____________________________________________________________________

1:25 p.m. — A couple highlight plays from the morning session included Donte’ Stallworth’s long touchdown catch from Marc Bulger, beating cornerback Cary Williams on the play. Stallworth has received more work with the second offense the last two days, but continues to be very impressive during training camp.

Receiver Justin Harper also caught two long touchdowns during passing drills, but we’ve seen that countless times over the last two summers in Westminster.

Early in the 11-on-11 session this morning, the Ravens worked on some trick plays including a reverse to Anquan Boldin, making it highly unlikely we ever actually see it in the regular season. If Cam Cameron does have some trick plays up his sleeve, we’re certainly not going to see them in a public forum at McDaniel College.

The special teams practice this afternoon gets underway at 2:00. Wednesday’s walk-through is closed to both the public and media.

12:45 p.m. — Linebacker Bart Scott might be a distant memory in Baltimore, but it appears the Ravens may have found a similar personality—at least off the field—at the inside linebacker position next to Ray Lewis. Jameel McClain has been the biggest surprise of training camp after leapfrogging  Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe for the starting inside linebacker job, albeit in early August.

McClain, a third-year former rookie free agent from Syracuse, spoke at the podium following practice and showed off a keen sense of humor to the Baltimore media. Formerly a special teams standout and occasional pass-rush specialist, the young linebacker is eager to showcase his skills in the starting defense.

“I knew I belonged [in football] the day I came out of my mother’s womb,” McClain said. “I was born to play this game. I’m born to go out there and hit somebody and play with a high intensity and a lot of rah-rah. It’s not like I came here wide-eyed like, ‘Man, I don’t deserve this.’ I understand that you have to work for everything in life. I’m my biggest critic and my biggest fan, so it’s for me to put in the work all the time.”

He credits a productive offseason with his strength and speed coaches as the best explanation for his heightened stature with the defense. McClain is also focusing exclusively at inside linebacker as opposed to several different positions in his first two seasons in Baltimore

“Just getting the opportunity to go out there and now knowing the defense and getting the chance to settle in and more so focusing on one or two positions has been able to slim down my load a little bit,” McClain said.

You can check out McClain’s entire interview at the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

12:28 p.m. — Billy Cundiff won Tuesday’s battle against Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. Graham noticeably struggled, unofficially going 1-for-4 and missing from 35, 52, and 57 yards. His wide-left miss from 35 even drew the heckling of his teammates as one defensive player said, “Shayne, that was disgusting!”

Cundiff was 5-for-6 unofficially with successful tries from 46, 47, and 52 yards to his credit.

The two will alternate kicks for the preseason opener despite John Harbaugh initially saying on Monday they would each take a half against the Panthers.

“That’s what [special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg] wants to do,” said Harbaugh, who did not know which kicker would go first. “He feels like it will keep both of those guys in the game for the whole game and give them a fair amount of reps, so we’re looking forward to that.”

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Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

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Mocking The 53: Two Weeks In, Much Has Changed

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

It’s been just 11 days since I posted my Pre-Training Camp edition of “Mocking The 53″ here at WNST.net. In the short (almost) two weeks since the Baltimore Ravens originally reported to Westminster, there has already been some significant flux in the way the team’s roster shapes up.

Obviously the loss of Domonique Foxworth is the most significant shakeup to the team’s roster. However, he’s not the only player who has faced injury-related issues at McDaniel College (or elsewhere) thus far. For this week’s edition; I am going to take not only Foxworth out of the 53, but also the players that we believe will begin the season on PUP (if not IR).

That means that Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb and Sergio Kindle will get the asterisk treatment outside the 53. They’re clearly amongst the top 53 players on the roster, but we just don’t know if they’ll be there when the Ravens line up to face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football come September 13.

Additionally, the roster reflects the subtractions of John Beck and Walt Harris and the additions of Doug Dutch, Chris Hawkins, Daniel Sanders and Devin Tyler.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

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

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

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the roster shapes up…

(Edit from GMC: This keeps shaking. The Ravens apparently DIDN’T release Walt Harris, but instead placed him on IR. Okay…)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. RB Ray Rice
7. LB Terrell Suggs
8. LB Jarret Johnson
jj
9. WR Derrick Mason
10. OT Jared Gaither

Jarret Johnson rises a few spots in the Top 10 and looks more and more important to this team every day. Some of that has to do with Sergio Kindle‘s injury, but even more of that has to do with Jarret himself. His position is such a delicate combination of up and back, the only player I can think of who has played even similarly to him is Adalius Thomas. Jared Gaither also drops a few spots as his weight has to be considered an issue, but he’s still very important to this football team.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. G Ben Grubbs
13. DL Cory Redding
14. TE Todd Heap
15. OL Marshal Yanda
16. LB Jameel McClain
jmcclain
17. CB Fabian Washington
18. DT Terrence Cody
19. FB Le’Ron McClain
20. QB Marc Bulger

A couple of the guys in this group have been quick risers. Jameel McClain was never REALLY on the bubble to make the roster, but he wasn’t terribly far away from it. Within weeks, Jameel has joined the first team defense. He’s been taking the majority of snaps next to Ray Lewis inside, and the team hopes that he can be helpful in pressuring the quarterback with Sergio Kindle down.

Also rising is Fabian Washington-as Domonique Foxworth‘s injury leaves him the team’s top corner. Fabian joined Thyrl Nelson Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST to discuss the pressure of being the top corner. Check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net if you missed it.

21. C Matt Birk
22. K Shayne Graham
23. S Dawan Landry
24. DT Kelly Gregg
kellygregg
25. WR Donte’ Stallworth
26. CB Chris Carr
27. S Tom Zbikowski
28. LB Tavares Gooden
29. OL Chris Chester
30. S Haruki Nakamura

There are a couple of folks in this group worth pointing out. Had Terrence Cody come into Camp and looked like a guy who would be ready to go immediately, Kelly Gregg may have ended up being someone who had to fight to preserve his roster spot. That no longer appears to be an issue.

Chris Carr just became a much more significant part of this roster, as it appears he will be a starting CB for at least the first 6 weeks of the season. That was never the plan for Chris. Hopefully it won’t hurt Greg Mattison‘s defense.

31. TE Ed Dickson
dickson
32. WR Mark Clayton
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Dannell Ellerbe
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. S Ken Hamlin

I don’t know how much longer I can keep Dickson and Pitta outside the Top 30. It might just be Training Camp, but both have looked very good early on. Also looking good is Clayton, who may have been at risk of finding the bubble before Camp started.

On the flip side, Dannell Ellerbe as of right now looks to be 4th amongst the team’s inside LB’s, after vaulting into a job as a starter just a season ago. Troy Smith also appears to have solidified himself a bit with John Beck gone.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. OT Oniel Cousins
43. LS Matt Katula
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. DT Kelly Talavou
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. WR David Reed
48. OL David Hale
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. DT Arthur Jones
51. CB Cary Williams
52. OL Tony Moll
53. LB Edgar Jones
jones

A few things worth mentioning in this group. I’ll move Edgar Jones (who of course now wears #48 and plays OLB after having played roughly every other position on the field) back onto the good side of the bubble, as the injury to Sergio Kindle leaves the team thin at OLB. A couple of the other guys in this group (namely David Reed and Arthur Jones) are getting the benefit of the doubt as draft picks, but probably still have something to prove to make the final 53.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Walt Harris-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. WR Demetrius Williams
56. OT Ramon Harewood
57. LB Prescott Burgess
58. RB Matt Lawrence
59. S KJ Gerard
gerard
60. LB Jason Phillips
61. TE Davon Drew
62. DT Lamar Divens
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. DE Albert McClellan
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. CB Prince Miller
69. CB Marcus Paschal
70. RB Curtis Steele

There’s a few things about my current 53 that I don’t like. As of right now, I have just 4 true corners on the roster right now (Washington, Carr, Williams, Fisher). This could be a place where Gerard could squeeze his way back onto the roster. Also, Ramon Harewood could be in direct competition with Tony Moll for an O-Line spot.

I said before Camp that there were 70 legitimate NFL players (either guys who had been on the active roster or guys who were NFL Draft picks) fighting for 53 roster spots. That number has dwindled, but there are still some 65 legitimate players fighting for spots-and 5 current or former UFA’s also hoping to get on the team.

71. OT Joe Reitz
joereitz
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. LS Morgan Cox
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

The team certainly believes there will be some practice squad guys in the final group.

There you have it. We’ll update again after the Ravens play the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Training Camp Eve Look at Ravens Roster

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Mocking The 53: A Training Camp Eve Look at Ravens Roster

Posted on 25 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Back in early June, I put together my first “Mocking the 53” entry; breaking down how the Baltimore Ravens roster appeared following the end of mini-camps. Since that time, there have been some roster additions (welcome Marc Bulger, Ken Hamlin, Walt Harris); subtractions (we’ll never forget William VanDeSteeg, Brad Jones, Chris Hannon, Maurice Price, John Fletcher, Daniel Sanders, Courtney Smith, Ashton Hall and Digger Bujnoch); and “Ed Reed Month” has captured the attention of Charm City.

With coaches, quarterbacks, rookies and players coming off injuries scheduled to report to McDaniel College Monday, I thought today would be a good time to take another look at where the roster stands. There aren’t MANY changes; but it’s worth taking another look at.

Here’s how I explained these rankings the first time I posted them…

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

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

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. RB Ray Rice
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
suggs

9. OT Jared Gaither
10. LB Jarret Johnson

I only made a few adjustments to the Top 10 this time around. After talking to some NFL personnel folks, I came to the conclusion that I slightly overvalued Ray Rice and slightly undervalued Ray Lewis. The fact is-the Ravens have great depth at RB behind Rice. While the team wouldn’t be as dynamic offensively without him; they could survive for at least a period of time should he get hurt. The team does NOT have the same type of depth at ILB, as they have SOLID players-just not guys who can step in for someone like #52. The other change I made in the Top 10 was at #10; as Jarret Johnson replaces Ed Reed. With the acquisition of Ken Hamlin and the very realistic possibility that Reed will miss the first six weeks of the season; it’s hard to leave even a future Hall of Fame safety in the Top 10.

11. S Ed Reed
12. DT Terrence Cody
13. OG Ben Grubbs
14. DE Trevor Pryce
15. DL Cory Redding
16. TE Todd Heap
17. CB Domonique Foxworth
domfox
18. C Matt Birk
19. OL Marshal Yanda
20. QB Marc Bulger

Welcome to the list Marc Bulger. The fact is, the team doesn’t give a player nearly $4 million (with the chance to make over $5 million) if he’s not an important part of the roster. No matter what Ed Reed or Joe Flacco says to the media, the team is obviously very happy to have the former St. Louis Rams QB on the roster. Otherwise, the next 10 stays about the same as my first post. One of the most interesting things to watch this week in Westminster will be the weight Terrence Cody reports at. If it is around the 350 the team wants from him, he’ll solidify his Top 12 standing on this roster. If it is more than that, his stock could drop.

21. FB Le’Ron McClain
22. S Dawan Landry
23. CB Lardarius Webb
webb
24. LB Sergio Kindle
25. LB Dannell Ellerbe
26. CB Fabian Washington
27. WR Donte’ Stallworth
28. K Shayne Graham
29. LB Tavares Gooden
30. DT Kelly Gregg

The biggest riser in this group is Shayne Graham, who was 41st on my initial list. In talking to folks both in Owings Mills and around the league; it has become clear that the team is working under the assumption that Graham will win the “competition” with Billy Cundiff. Should he struggle in the preseason, clearly his place on the list could fluctuate. Lardarius Webb dropped just a bit due to the acquisition of Walt Harris; as the team has a bit more depth at CB should Webb not return as healthy as hoped. Also dropping a few spots is rookie LB Sergio Kindle as we await more details surrounding his head injury that will force him to miss the start of Training Camp.

31. TE Ed Dickson
32. P Sam Koch
33. OL Chris Chester
34. CB Chris Carr
chriscarr
35. RB Willis McGahee
36. S Ken Hamlin
37. S Haruki Nakamura
38. S Tom Zbikowski
39. LB Jameel McClain
40. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo

Ken Hamlin debuts at #36, and could rise from there depending on how he looks in the preseason. As of right now, there is a common assumption that Hamlin could very well be the guy to start alongside Dawan Landry Week 1 in East Rutherford; as Ed Reed looks like he may well end up on the PUP list. Should Hamlin show the form that made him a Pro Bowl selection with the Dallas Cowboys, he should hold off Tom Zbikowski easily at the “centerfield” safety spot.

41. TE Dennis Pitta
42. CB Walt Harris
43. WR Mark Clayton
44. DE Paul Kruger
45. QB Troy Smith
troysmith
46. LS Matt Katula
47. OT Oniel Cousins
48. LB Antwan Barnes
49. RB Jalen Parmele
50. DT Brandon McKinney
51. WR David Reed
52. DT Kelly Talavou
53. OL David Hale

The guy that drops the most in this list is Troy Smith, as the acquisition of Marc Bulger leaves him 3rd on the QB Depth Chart. Should he be traded to a team that suffers a QB injury during the preseason; Cam Cameron favorite John Beck would take his roster spot right back. David Hale gets the last spot on the 53 due to the need for interior OL depth behind Chris Chester-although the team could well decide to keep Tony Moll for that role. They could also keep Ramon Harewood (who looks like a Practice Squad guy to me) if he was capable of moving in and playing guard.

54. QB John Beck
55. K Billy Cundiff
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR Demetrius Williams
dwill
59. CB Travis Fisher
60. OL Tony Moll
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. RB Matt Lawrence
63. LB Edgar Jones
64. LB Jason Phillips
65. CB Cary Williams
66. DT Lamar Divens
67. TE Davon Drew
68. WR Marcus Smith
69. WR Justin Harper
70. S KJ Gerard

This is really incredible. Players 54-70 on this list ALL appear to be legitimate NFL players; just guys who face VERY uphill battles when it comes to trying to make this crowded roster.

John Beck will have to beat Troy Smith or hope he’s traded. Billy Cundiff will have to beat Shayne Graham. Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens are battling Brandon McKinney and Kelly Talavou; with an outside chance that Kelly Gregg could be let go to pave the way for one of them to make the team.

Ramon Harewood and Tony Moll are battling Oniel Cousins and David Hale; but are also hoping to convince the team they’re valuable enough to just keep another O-Lineman altogether. Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and Justin Harper are all hoping to prove that their size makes them more valuable than David Reed or Mark Clayton; or that they’re valuable enough for John Harbaugh to go with a 6th receiver.

Travis Fisher, Cary Williams and KJ Gerard are battling the likes of Walt Harris to try to steal a spot in the secondary. One of them will likely benefit from Ed Reed‘s injury to get onto the roster. Prescott Burgess is hoping to avoid being a roster casualty for a 2nd straight year; as he, Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones know that Brendon Ayanbadejo, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain and Paul Kruger are their competition for making the roster.

Matt Lawrence has to prove he’s back from his knee injury a season ago and his value at RB and on Special Teams makes him worthwhile amongst a group that includes Jalen Parmele. Davon Drew is trying to find some room at TE behind Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

The fact is, these are all winnable jobs for the players farther down on the roster; and they’re not just competing with each other. A strong preseason from Demetrius Williams could earn him a spot but prove costly for a player like Brandon McKinney with the team deep at DT. A strong preseason from Matt Lawrence could leave Antwan Barnes an afterthought.

Jerry Rosburg will ultimately have a big say in who gets the final spots, as a player’s value to the Special Teams unit could outweigh his value at his own position. Lawrence, Smith, Burgess, E. Jones and Gerard could all use that to their advantage in trying to make the roster.

71. FB Mike McLaughlin
72. CB Prince Miller
73. CB Marcus Paschal
74.  OT Joe Reitz
75. WR Eron Riley
eron
76. RB Curtis Steele
77. OL Bryan Mattison
78. OT Stefan Rodgers
79. LS Morgan Cox
80. WR Rodelin Anthony
81. DE Albert McClellan

There are guys who have a chance at making the roster in this final group, but they have to be considered longshots. Eron Riley was popular amongst the members of the team’s coaching staff while on the practice squad last year. Unfortunately, the logjam of taller receivers fighting for roster spots ahead of him makes it likely he will end up heading right back to the practice squad this year.

Mike McLaughlin, Prince Miller and Curtis Steele are all UFA’s who have legitimate chances of lighting the world on fire in the preseason and winning jobs; but all appear more likely to be practice squad bound. Should Matt Katula show lingering signs of the elbow troubles that bothered him last year, Morgan Cox could have a chance to win the LS job outright.

That’s the roster as it stands right now. We all know injuries and other potential roster moves will change things before the Ravens head to the Meadowlands for Monday Night Football on Sept. 13. I’ll try to update this after each preseason game; with September 4 looming as “cutdown” day.

Remember, updates from Luke Jones and myself at Training Camp begin Monday; and can be heard at the bottom of the hour EVERY hour throughout the day.

-G

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10 Things I’d Like To See This Summer

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10 Things I’d Like To See This Summer

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

With “The Morning Reaction” wrapping early this morning so Drew Forrester and I can go root for Team USA to top Algeria at Looney’s in Canton; I won’t have enough time to post a full Crabs & Beer update.

Instead, I figured I’d go “simple column” this morning. We’re on Day 3 of summer today, although it’s been hot enough to feel like each day lasts for 3 days this summer. Between now and September 22 when summer officially ends, there are some things I’d like to see…

10. 1 more game from Team USA in the World Cup

soccer

This is Number 10 because it’s the event closest to now. An appearance in the Round of 16 won’t really be all that historic for the Americans, as they’ve reached at least the round of 16 in 2 of their last 4 trips to the World Cup. BUT-here in town, having the Americans play significant games has been really nice in this area. We had a packed house in Bel Air last Friday for the Slovenia match, and Patriot Plaza in Towson was packed for the England match before that.

During matches, Facebook and Twitter have been wild with Team USA discussion. This area has really been galvanized by having a team that we root for play significant games. I don’t need to even begin to explain that it doesn’t happen in baseball anymore.

Selfishly, I’d like to see the Americans play two or even THREE more games before the World Cup ended. As close as we could get to the start of Training Camp would be really nice. That being said, I’ll be realistic. Just one more game would be particularly nice to keep folks in this area excited about…well…anything.

9. Robert Randolph in Baltimore

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkDH1wON7UU[/youtube]

If you didn’t go to Artscape last year, you might not understand. The most electric night of the year in Charm City last summer was the night Robert Randolph rocked Artscape (see above). I guess you could argue that Bruce Springsteen playing 1st Mariner Arena in the fall was more electric because it was in front of a bigger crowd, but there was just something so unbelievably special about that night at Artscape.

It was the type of night that was unbelievably Baltimore. The crowd was as diverse a group of people as you could imagine seeing on a street corner. The show was as good as you would expect from Robert Randolph (and the Family Band), but it was BETTER because it was free, it was in Baltimore, and it was at an event that is attended by folks from all walks of life in town.

I have no doubt that Wale will play a great set at Artscape this year, as acts like Citizen Cope and The Roots have done in the past. There’s a chance that I might go see Robert Randolph in Philadelphia or Dewey Beach this summer as well. But it won’t quite be the same. What happened last summer was SPECIAL. I’d love to see a way that it could happen again in Baltimore this summer.

8. A tall receiver makes the Ravens roster

harper

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure that Demetrius Williams, Justin Harper or Eron Riley (or even Rodelin Anthony for that matter) are any good. Williams and Harper have had their chances on the active roster, and have little to show for it. Harper has played in just two games (both last season), and Williams caught just 4 TD’s in his 4 year career.

That being said, in past years-the team has had no option but to let them on the roster. That’s not the case this season. The Ravens HAVE receivers. Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Donte’ Stallworth are ALL going to make the team. Mark Clayton, Marcus Smith, David Reed and the receivers listed above are all in the mix to make the team as well. If one of the tall receivers makes the team, it’s NOT going to happen just because the team has no other choice. All of these guys are going to have to go to Westminster and make an impact at Training Camp.

The Ravens offense appears to be primed for their best season in team history. Joe Flacco, Michael Oher, Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin are enough pieces to have some pundits (like Bill Matt Williamson at ESPN.com) say that the team has the best offense in the AFC North. The only thing missing is a legitimate threat from a tall receiver. Hopefully one of these guys will separate themseves at McDaniel College and prove that they can be counted on.

7. Brock Lesnar beats Shane Carwin

brock

I consider myself a UFC fan. Heck, I consider myself a fan of all Mixed Martial Arts in general. That being said, on a scale of 1-10, I’m probably a 6 when it comes to my MMA fandom. I attend John Rallo’s “Shogun Fights” events, I went to the UFC Pay-Per-View in Philly last summer, I watch “The Ultimate Fighter” on SpikeTV, and I even occassionally wander over to Hooters or somewhere that shows the fights for free.

That being said, the only time in MY LIFE when I have plunked down 50 bucks of my own money to watch a fight was last July when Brock Lesnar faught Frank Mir. I wasn’t the only one. In fact, the fight did 1.6 million PPV buys, making it the most purchased PPV event of the year. It was the biggest event in UFC history, and gave the sport some absolute juice.

What made the event better was the fact that despite it being headlined by a former WWE champion, it had real legitimacy to it. The fight was an honest-to-God fight for the UFC Heavyweight title between two deserving fighters. It wasn’t Kimbo Slice. It wasn’t Herschel Walker. The best thing for the UFC is to have more events like that in the future.

For that to happen, Brock Lesnar needs to beat Shane Carwin. I hope he does.

6. Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne get real chances to make NBA rosters

tersp

Greivis Vasquez is going to hear his name called Thursday night during the NBA Draft, and there’s no question in my mind that he will be on a NBA roster when the season tips off. (When does the season tip off, by the way?)

But the other two Maryland seniors aren’t nearly that type of sure thing. Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne have each spent the last month or so traveling the country and trying to prove themselves capable of playing in the NBA. Teams like the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers have given them looks, but it’s unlikely that either of them will hear their name called Thursday night.

That being said, I firmly believe both guys will end up in Las Vegas this summer playing in the NBA Summer League. I hope that after that, they each end up on a Training Camp roster with a REAL shot at making a team. Something tells me they’ll both end up in Europe eventually (I happen to think that Milbourne’s game is particularly well-suited for Europe), but I hope they both get a real chance to make it in the NBA first. Eric Hayes is NOT Steve Blake, but there’s a chance he could be Tim Legler.

These are both guys who were great competitors in College Park and made Terrapins alumni proud. They’re easy to root for, and I will absolutely be hoping for the best for both of them.

5. Maryland-Navy sold out on Labor Day, Inter Milan-Manchester City sold out in July

marylandnavy

Despite the fact that some folks think I should change my middle name to Testudo, I’m not excited about Terps football this season. I have a bad feeling that there isn’t enough talent to win the close games that Ralph Friedgen’s team lost a season ago.

That being said, having attended the last “Crab Bowl Classic” at M&T Bank Stadium, there are few football games in the world that I would be as excited to attend this season as I am about the Terrapins and Midshipmen on a day that just so happens to also be my birthday. The atmosphere when these teams met in 2005 was unbelievably electric. It was quite possibly the best atmosphere for any college football game I’ve ever attended, with MAYBE the exception of the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.

Inter Milan-Man City this summer clearly doesn’t have the juice of last summer’s AC Milan-Chelsea matchup, despite Inter winning the UEFA Champions League this season. But the event is still a world class soccer match, and it will provide a gauge for how Baltimore is viewed as a viable location for future major soccer events in town.

I like having big, exciting sporting events in town. With only 8 regular season NFL games (the two exhibition games aren’t really big or exciting) and Opening Day for the Orioles providing real juice, it helps to have one-off events that generate a spark in the area. To continue getting those events, the events that do come here must be well attended. I don’t really think both of these events will sell out (heck, I’m not sure either of them will), but it would go a long way for getting more events like these in the area.

4. Someone…making SOME sort of progress on the arena situation in Baltimore

arena

A lot of great things have happened in this state since Terry Hasseltine has been hired to get big events. Hasseltine has helped to bring the IndyCar Series to town, make strides in college football and soccer events, and make sure to keep the Preakness here in town.

That being said, there’s one area where NOTHING has happened that is unbelievably frustrating for sports fans in town.

24 months ago, the Baltimore Development Corporation reported that a new arena would be built downtown where the current 1st Mariner Arena sits. Since that time…ummm….well…have you heard anything new?

I’m not stupid. I don’t expect ground to be broken on an arena this summer. But it would be really nice to hear SOMETHING from Stephanie Rawlings-Blake or the leadership of the city about progress being made in the area. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

3. Andy Roddick playing on the 4th of July

roddick

This of course has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that I’m an obsessed A-Rod fan myself, but it is more than that as well. Tennis had a real chance for a resurgence in this country last summer when Andy Roddick took Roger Federer to the 5th set in the longest (game-wise) final in Wimbledon history. Roddick eventually fell short as Federer surpassed Pete Sampras to become the greatest grand slam champion in the history of the sport, but a Roddick win could have done wonders for the sport of tennis in America.

Andy Roddick has always played his best tennis in London. Despite having won his only grand slam at Flushing Meadows, he’s reached the finals three times at Wimbledon-having lost all three to Federer. The way he lost last year has to make you feel that if he REACHES the final again, he’d have a real chance to get over the hump.

He’s not a better player than Federer or Rafael Nadal. But if he can win at Wimbledon, it would lead to a much better American atmosphere surrounding the U.S. Open.

2. An acceptance that “The Plan” was a joke to begin with

macphail

I’m not going as far as to say the Birds should consider parting ways with Andy MacPhail. I just don’t want to hear any more about “The Plan.” “The Plan” has gone 19-51 this season, and there is just no reason to believe that the O’s will be any better next season despite the “young core” assembled.

I want to know what the team is going to do to WIN. And I want to know what they’re going to do to win in 2011. That was the promise all along, right?

I just don’t want to hear about “The Plan” ever again. Unless “The Plan” is no more than a plan to WIN.

1. A Ravens win Sept. 13 in East Rutherford

jets

As I’ve told to anyone who would listen, I really believe the Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl contenders. That being said, I also think the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers are Super Bowl contenders.

For the positive vibes to keep flowing, a win at the Meadowlands would go a long way.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 07 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me, as I got the chance to see “Get Him To The Greek” this weekend, and it was really freaking funny. Russell Brand isn’t ALWAYS funny, but the Aldous Snow character is hilarious, and the Infant Sorrow band concept is hilarious as well. The “Furry Walls” song might only be funny if you saw the movie…but I saw the movie. And I’m more important…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKPhi-kr6cA[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Markakis got game winning hit in 11th as Birds topped Red Sox

OH THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought there was half a chance Stephanie Rawlings-Blake might orchestrate a victory parade through the Inner Harbor area and on to City Hall last night to celebrate.

Just be honest. Knowing the Yankees and Mets were set to stroll into Charm City over the next week, raise your hand if you thought there was at least half a chance the losing streak might end up reaching 17.

My hand is raised.

When MASN flashed Miguel Tejada’s career numbers against Hideki Okajima, it made total sense for the Sox to walk him and take their chances against Markakis. That being said, Nick Markakis is like the ONLY hitter you would trust in the Baltimore lineup to actually come through with a hit in that situation.

It was fun. That being said, it was one win.

Hopefully it won’t be 10 games before we’re talking about another.

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

Brian Matusz was not bad at all yesterday, giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits (although he did walk 4) and striking out 7. That being said, he lasted just 5 and 2/3 innings and threw 117 pitches. Frankly, given the edict from the top of the organization to care more about pitch counts than trying to win, I was surprised Matusz was even allowed to pitch INTO the sixth inning.

He’s going to have to get more pitch efficient, and work deeper into games. I’m still of the belief that he is going to be the team’s best pitcher sooner than later, but he needs to be the best pitcher for 7 innings.

3. Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Juan Samuel enjoyed first victory as Orioles manager

Juan Samuel DESERVES to celebrate a managerial win, especially considering…well…I’m not so sure how many he’s going to get during his tenure as manager.

I didn’t necessarily expect him to go the Dave Trembley route and puff on a cigar in the post-game press conference, but I understand why he kept the scorecard to celebrate.

You know how I’d celebrate my first managerial win? I’d probably call Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and see if that’s the type of thing she’d be interested in knowing… (Thanks Guyism!)

rosie

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Andy MacPhail ‘can’t whiff’ on next managerial hire

Or in other words, Garrett Atkins wouldn’t be a good managerial hire.

I totally understand what Drew is saying, but there’s a small issue here. The issue is that due to the unbelievable 13 years of desperation, there ISN’T a former player or coach that is primed to become a manager anywhere in MLB-with the exception of former Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose tenure in Baltimore was forgettable at best.

There are two categories to select from. One is the category of guys in baseball who are either former managers or primed to become mangers shortly. Melvin, Tom Kelly, Willie Randolph, Don Mattingly, Eric Wedge, Clint Hurdle, Ryne Sandberg, Larry Bowa and Phil Garner are some of the more well known names on that list. None of those guys are guys who are more interested in being the ORIOLES manager than they are in just being a manager ANYWHERE.

The second category is a group of former Orioles who we believe may be interested in becoming a manager, or who would like to see be interested in becoming a manager. Guys like Rick Dempsey, Mike Flanagan, BJ Surhoff, Billy Ripken, Cal Ripken, Mike Bordick, Ken Singleton and others are part of that list.

There’s really no crossover.

As far as I’m concerned, I just want whoever is best for the job. Problem is, I’m not really sure who that is. I’m not sure anyone else does either.

5. Virginian-Pilot’s Jared Diamond says Norfolk Tides pitcher Jake Arrieta ‘frustrated’ by strange Saturday night

And appearing frustrated might be enough for the Orioles to wait 3 more months before bringing up Arrieta.

The organization has screwed around with Arrieta over the last few years, getting mad at him for complaining about the Spring Training facilities and keeping him in the minors while they promoted the likes of Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman and David Hernandez. Of course-of that group, only Tillman had the pedigree of Arrieta.

I hope Arrieta gets the call soon. I’m not convinced he’s going to set the world on fire, but I’d like to see what he has to offer. Bergsen would be the guy he would replace, but there’s always the chance Kevin Millwood or Jeremy Guthrie gets dealt before July 31 as well.

6. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Orioles expected to choose Manny Machado or Jamison Tallion depending on who Pirates pick in tonight’s MLB Entry Draft

A couple of things before we move on from the O’s…

-Make sure you are signed up for our WNST Text Service. We will not text out every draft pick over the next couple of days, but we will text out the first round pick tonight. I don’t think Bryce Harper will slip to the Orioles at #3, but everyone appears to be very high on Manny Machado and Jamison Tallion as well. In fact, MLB Network analyst John Hart (and you can watch the draft live tonight on MLB Network) told Drew Forrester this morning on AM1570 WNST that Machado compares favorably to a player like Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki. I’d take that!

If you missed Hart’s appearance on “The Morning Reaction” this morning, make sure you head on over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net and check it out. Other guests this morning included Belmont Stakes winning rider Mike Smith (who admitted that he stayed in his hotel after riding Drosselmeyer to a win to complete his career Triple Crown), former Maryland basketball coach Lefty Driesell (who looked back on the life of the great John Wooden), VERSUS NHL reporter Bob Harwood (who checked in on his way to Chicago for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals) and Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll. They’re all in the Audio Vault as well.

-Thanks to MASN for the colossal gut punch reminder that the O’s lost their 2nd round pick in the Draft when they acquired Mike Gonzalez from the Atlanta Braves. UGH.

-The Orioles are off tonight before opening up a 3 game set against the New York Yankees tomorrow. Kevin Millwood, Chris Tillman and Jeremy Guthrie are slated to face Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett during the series.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning” Rick Dempsey, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator” today. Dempsey and Jim Hunter did the teaser for the “O’s Xtra” postgame show following Will Ohman’s blown save in the middle of the ninth inning. Hunter said “well Rick, a blown save for Will Ohman” to which Dempsey responded “Yeah, another blown save, but you gotta give the Orioles credit.”

You sure do. Congratulations, Rick!
7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens rookie DT Arthur Jones has ‘no regrets’ regarding trying last 12 months

And if you were out at Casey’s in Towson for our annual Miller Lite Purple Rookies Show last week, you’d know just how incredibly likeable Arthur Jones is. His story is worth the read if you get the chance to check out what Aaron had to say.

As another note, I have “no regrets” about spending my morning checking out Barstool Sports’ pictures of Amit Freidman…

amit

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says UNLV UFA WR Rodelin Anthony ‘intriguing prospect’ due to size

It’s hard to argue this. In fact, as I wrote last night in my first edition of “Mocking the 53“, NO team in the NFL can really ignore a 6’5″ receiver. Anthony is intriguing, but it is REALLY unlikely that he manages to stick around. As of right now, he’s behind not only Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Donte’ Stallworth and Mark Clayton on the depth chart; but also David Reed, Demetrius Williams, Justin Harper, Marcus Smith and even Eron Riley.

The practice squad seems like the most likely destination for Anthony-where he’d have an important role playing taller receivers like Antonio Bryant or Braylon Edwards in practice.

The Ravens are practicing again this week-with a Passing Camp at 1 Winning Drive. We’ll be out in Owings Mills tomorrow with full coverage of practice football.

9. InsideMDSports.com’s Seth Hoffman & Jeff Ermann say Maryland getting ‘pit bull’ in Bino Ranson

The reaction to the word that Bino Ranson is expected to be hired to join Gary Williams’ staff in College Park has been pretty positive from Terrapins fans. Ranson will face high expectations as far as recruiting in Baltimore, especially working alongside a Baltimore legend in Keith Booth.

It isn’t official yet-but we’ll be watching for an announcement over the next few days.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Johns Hopkins’ Michael Kimmel and Steven Boyle amongst locals selected in MLL Draft

So…yay!

Congratulations to the former Blue Jays and all of the former local players who found out where their lacrosse future will lead them.

It’s not that I’m not interested, I’m just MORE interested in Collien Fernandes’ pictures at Busted Coverage…

fernandes

And finally, I leave you with this.

Ray Allen’s incredible Game 2 in the NBA Finals made me think of Jesus Shuttleworth going off in “He Got Game.” It then made me think more about Public Enemy’s semi-awesome song “He Got Game”, the one that featured the sample of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FmPskTljo0[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

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Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Player Power Rankings

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

Here goes…

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

boldin

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

sergio

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

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

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

graham
(Image courtesy of SB Nation)

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

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

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

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because:

A-It was a thriller in Owings Mills yesterday, and a great lacrosse game is about as good of theater as there is in sport

and…

B-The 2012 Olympics may not have been awarded to Baltimore and Washington; but at least we didn’t come up with a stupid mascot like London did…

london

That might actually make the thing they used in Atlanta in 1996 look like a decent mascot. You remember, the thing that was so weird that they originally named it “Whatzit” before changing the name to “Izzy”…

izzy

What’s wrong with just making a Bear or a Tiger a damn mascot?!?!?

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Stephen Hawkins says Nelson Cruz’s sac fly in 9th lead Rangers over Orioles

What a freaking mess this was last night…

-Jeremy Guthrie apparently spent after 6 innings (according to Dave Trembley via Rick Kranitz)
-Koji Uehara wiltering in the Texas heat
-SIX relievers in less than 3 innings
-Garrett Atkins being….Garrett Atkins
-Cesar Izturis doing his best Paul Molitor impression
-Josh Hamilton maybe…or maybe not…hitting 2 home runs
-Jim Hunter apologizing, Jim Palmer analyzing
-Dave Trembley getting mad at Palmer and Hunter for not being able to fight with C.B. Bucknor during MASN’s “Wired Wednesday” segment
-Atkins, Miguel Tejada, and Corey Patterson combining to be responsible for leaving 16 men on base
-A two run rally from the Rangers when they couldn’t get the ball out of the infield!
-Will Ohman’s wacky shtick
-Brian Roberts in the hospital?
-A walk-off win to send the crowd in Arlington home…happy?

It was just a WEIRD night at The Ballpark in Arlington. Maybe it’s best that the Birds are only playing two there.

I want to analyze this one, but it’s really hard to do.

Another nice effort from Guthrie, but I’d like some more info on why Kranitz thought he couldn’t go longer than 90 pitches. Was he hurt? Is he laboring? Was the heat really an issue in The Lone Star State?

And the biggest issue of course…WHY DO I EVEN CARE THIS MUCH?!?!?

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

You really don’t want to look at this.

As my buddy Brian Marston from Forest Hill pointed out, the Rangers were somehow actually WORSE than the O’s with RISP-but they still won!

You know, I’m going to do you a favor. Instead of looking at the box score, look at Antone DeJesus making some ridiculous home run-saving catch in the minor leagues…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5-fDeGBXDg[/youtube]

Trust me, that was much better than thinking about last night’s game any more.

3. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says Brian Roberts hospitalized with pneumonia, Andy MacPhail not concerned

And why would he be???

This sounds awfully similar to the organization’s reaction when the original news about B-Rob’s troubles came down in Spring Training. While Buster Olney was reporting “kidney stones”, the organization was dismissing it as some form of back pain.

There really does appear to be something particularly troubling going on with Brian Roberts. Does it mean he won’t return in June? Not necessarily. But does it mean that we can probably expect it to be an issue in the future? I’m guessing yes.

Is it a bad sign when you read that Brian Roberts has pneumonia and you can’t possibly be surprised?

It really sucks being an Orioles fan.

4. ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins says umps admitted they missed call on what would have been home run for Josh Hamilton in Rangers’ win

As I said last night via Twitter (make sure you follow us @WNST), we’re all in agreement that Josh Hamilton is doing steroids, right? I said it because I wanted to dismiss Jeremy Guthrie giving up a bomb like the one he gave up for Hamilton’s first home run-more or less the 2nd one that ABSOLUTELY should have been a home run.

The real issue is that the replay system is totally screwed up. Dana DeMuth said that Ron Washington didn’t request a replay, but wouldn’t have granted it even if he did. How is that even possible?!?!? Umpires are going to defend each other’s calls, and the replay system should be in place to circumvent a situation like that.

If that’s the system, it needs to be fixed. Of course, had it helped the Orioles win last night-I probably wouldn’t be so miffed about it.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Scott Moore, Chris Tillman had big night for O’s on farm

Before we move on from the Birds, a few things:

-I guess it’s a done deal that Michael Aubrey is coming up for the Nationals series. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Garrett Atkins’ tenure is over in Baltimore, but I would presume it marks the end of his tenure as everyday first baseman. The real question this weekend is what to do with Luke Scott? If Michael Aubrey plays first base, do you move Corey Patterson to center and put Luke Scott in left? Do you bench Patterson and have Adam Jones lead off again? Do you bench Scott-who is in the middle of his annual hot streak?

You can’t possibly call Michael Aubrey up and keep him on the bench with Luke Scott at first, can you???

-Congratulations to Steve Melewski for being named “Apologist of the Morning” today by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. It was a frustrating morning for me after another loss, but I still can’t fathom writing 400 words and dedicating an entire segment of the pre-game show to a single Matt Wieters throw. It was a throw. It was fast. I’m glad he made it. I’m even happier that he’s leading the American League in caught stealing.

But again, it was a throw. PERSPECTIVE, please.

-If you missed Norfolk Tides 1B Brandon Snyder with Drew today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you click on the Audio Tab and head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen. Snyder is mired in a terrible slump, and just really wanted to talk about it. Also this morning, Drew talked to Trenni Kusnierek from MLB Network, former Cubs/Phillies/Rangers OF and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville, and Stevenson lacrosse coach Paul Cantabene.

-The O’s wrap their short series with the Rangers tonight in Arlington, Brian Matusz faces Scott Feldman. First pitch on MASN2 is at 8:05pm. Is anyone going out to Nats Park tomorrow night? I’m thinking about making the trip.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Le’Ron McClain wants long term deal

Nothing to be concerned with here. Of COURSE Le’Ron McClain wants a long term deal. Any RFA wants a long term deal. And after reaching the Pro Bowl while getting the majority of carries in 2008, Le’Ron McClain is always going to want more carries.

As long as he doesn’t become a distraction in the process, there’s no reason to be concerned.

If YOU’RE looking for a distraction, I think the picture of Audrina Patridge from the cover of Ralph Magazine that Guyism posted yesterday will do the trick…

audrina

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says WR Justin Harper, CB Cary Williams, S KJ Gerard signed exclusive rights deals

All 3 guys are really long shots to make the roster, but they each bring something different to the team. Justin Harper brings size and leaping ability, but unfortunately he offers little in terms of consistency.

KJ Gerard-the UFA out of Northern Arizona really impressed them in the offseason and Training Camp last year, enough that he was bumped from the practice squad to the active roster after Haruki Nakamura got hurt. But with Nakamura healthy and Ed Reed expected to return, it’s unlikely the Ravens will keep a 5th safety.

Cary Williams also has more size (6’1″) than the rest of the corners on the roster, but lacks experience. If Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington are healthy, it’s unlikely they’ll keep move than 5 corners. It sets up for a battle between Williams and Travis Fisher for the most part.

8. GoMustangSports.com says Richie Ford scored in OT to cap thrilling win over Roanoke in NCAA Tournament quarterfinals

I can’t even begin describe how awesome this game was. The Maroons (what a terrible name) actually got 72 shots in the game, 40 of them on goal! Geoff Hebert played out of his mind for the Stangs, as did Roanoke goalie Jake Dorsey.

I get it-it’s DIII lacrosse. If you can’t get excited for it, I’m not going to talk down to you. But it WAS exciting yesterday. It was THRILLING, frankly. There was a packed house at Caves Athletic Complex (maybe as many people as ventured into Oriole Park at Camden Yards Monday night), and they were treated to something special.

Up next for Stevenson is Salisbury in the NCAA semifinals; after Salisbury survived Haverford in overtime last night. The game will be Sunday at Sea Gull Stadium. If you’re in Ocean City this weekend, it’s worth stopping by on your way back.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland seniors trying to avoid becoming first class since 1971 to graduate without reaching Final Four

I’ll just go ahead and say it. The Terps SHOULD be in the Final Four AT LEAST every four years. Some people (Patrick included) will remind me that making the Final Four ISN’T EASY, but I don’t buy it when it comes to the Terrapins. They HAVE better resources than almost any other team in the country, and they should compete at that level. I understand that academics makes it difficult, but it’s not an excuse for them to not reach that level.

For the record, I expect them to beat Notre Dame and get to the Final Four this year, but I won’t be celebrating. It means they met my expectations. I’m not going to apologize for having outrageous expectations, either. They have the monetary resources. They have the best talent in the country in their backyard. They SHOULD be there.

By the way, make sure you check out Patrick’s story about the shadow George Huguely is casting over Dom Starsia and the Virginia Cavaliers. It’s must-read stuff.

10. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, Landon Milbourne to graduate today-still think about loss to Michigan State

Myself-I DON’T want to think about it. Congratulations to the Maryland seniors, but I’m not discussing what happened in Spokane that day. Instead, Busted Coverage had some pictures of someone named Emma Taylor, I’d rather talk about that…

emma

And finally, I leave you with this.

Via With Leather, Jets QB Mark Sanchez may or may not be dating Jamie-Lynn Siegler. I may or may not hate Mark Sanchez…

jamie

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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