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Da Bears (5-8) @ Ravens (7-6)

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Da Bears (5-8) @ Ravens (7-6)

Posted on 19 December 2009 by Derek Arnold

ravens bears

da bears stats

The Ravens have a chance to end their season series against the NFC North at .500 by beating the Chicago Bears this week at M&T Bank Stadium. More importantly, they will hold onto their tenuous as-of-this-writing hold on the final wild card spot in the AFC (by virtue of Jacksonville’s loss to Indy last night).

The Bears came into 2009 with big hopes. After barely missing the Playoffs at 9-7 last year, they made a huge splash in the offseason by bringing in the big arm of quarterback Jay Cutler, who was supposed to put them over the top. However, the first season under Jay has been quite a disappointment, as instead of lighting up the Windy City sky with touchdown passes, he leads the league with his 22 interceptions.

Cutler’s penchant for turning the ball over is good news for a Ravens secondary that is likely to be without Ed Reed for the third consecutive game. Second year safety Tom Zbikowski has stepped up in Reed’s absence, picking up an interception in each of his two starts and Ravens cornerbacks Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr, and Dominique Foxworth played well last week against Detroit…but that isn’t really saying much. On the bright side, the Bears don’t have a weapon that resembles anything close to that of the Lions’ Calvin Johnson. Their leading receivers are former kick-returner extraordinaire turned wideout Devin Hester, and sophomore Earl Bennett. Tight end Greg Olsen leads da Bears with 6 receiving touchdowns, and could provide match-up problems for the Ravens’ linebackers, who have struggled in coverage all season.

On the ground, da Bears don’t do much, as many a Matt Forte fantasy football owner will attest. People want to slap the “sophomore slump” label on B’More’s Joe Flacco, but a guy that is exemplifying the term is the Bears’ running back. Forte averaged 3.9 yards per carry in his rookie year, on his way to a 1,200 yard, 8 touchdown campaign (he also scored 4 receiving touchdowns). This year has been a different story, as he has been held to just 3.4 yards per carry and 4 total scores. It will be weakness against strength, as the Ravens lead the league in yards-per-carry allowed on defense.

Speaking of defense, da Bears, much like the Ravens, are not quite what they used to be. Team leader and linebacker Brian Urlacher managed just three tackles in the 2009 opener, before suffering a season-ending wrist injury. Chicago is 16th against the pass and just 25th against the run. Cam Cameron would be wise to once again unleash the 3-headed monster running back, as he did last week against Detroit, when Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’Ron McClain all had at least six carries.

One area in which da Bears have excelled in is causing fumbles. They have forced 19, 2nd in the league just behind San Francisco. Their secondary gang-tackles, holding up ballcarriers, while other defenders, entering the play late, go for the strip. With Ray Rice suddenly catching a case of fumble-itis over the last two games, it is cause for concern for us purple faithful this week. Let’s hope ball security was a point of emphasis this week at practice in Owings Mills.

Those practices, by the way, have been disconcertingly ill-attended. Reed, Jared Gaither, S K.J. Gerard, Jarret Johnson, Brandon McKinney, Terrell Suggs, Kelley Washington, and Mark Clayton all missed Thursday’s session, according to Glenn Clark. Also limited were Matt Birk, Derrick Mason, Haloti Ngata, and (shock!) L.J. Smith.

All teams are beat up this time of year, but…yikes. Will we even recognize the guys running around out there in black jerseys (and, ugh, white pants…John Harbaugh, your taste is nearly as bad as your clock management skills are) on Sunday?

Questioncoach
Harbaugh, by the by, will have the chance to match mis-wits with another guy who never met a challenge flag or poorly used timeout he didn’t like, Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith. Sunday is likely to be a textbook example of “How not to manage the clock” with those two going at it.

All kidding aside, this game sets up very well for the Ravens. Many of those listed on the injury report are likely to play, and da Bears’ inability to stop the run plays right into the Ravens’ hands. The game plan should be to run, run, and run some more. They should have success, which will help take the pressure off Joe Flacco. Last week was nearly a bye for Natty Joe. With the game was never in question, he was an efficient 13/20 for 230 yards, and his line kept him on his feet for just the second time all season. Hopefully the easy day against the awful Lions helped restore some confidence in Flacco, after his terrible night in Green Bay.

The Ravens need this win to finish the year a respectable 6-2 at home. I don’t have the numbers, but it doesn’t seem likely that teams who go 5-3 on their home turf make the post-season very often. They should be able to make Forte a non-factor, force Cutler into some mistakes, and impose their will with the running game.

For crying out loud, two weeks ago Chicago struggled to get past St. Louis, squeaking by the Rams 17-9.

The Ravens close M&T Bank Stadium for 2009 in style.

Ravens 27 da Bears 17

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Live from Owings Mills: Gametime moved to 4:15 on Sunday due to pending blizzard

Posted on 18 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:19 – INJURY REPORT-Ravens:

OUT
T Jared Gaither (foot)
DT Brandon McKinney (back)
DOUBTFUL
WR Mark Clayton (knee)
QUESTIONABLE
S K.J. Gerard (thigh)
LB Tavaras Gooden (groin)
LB Jarret Johnson (knee/back)
DT Haloti Ngata (ankle)
S Ed Reed (groin/foot)
TE LJ Smith (ankle)
WR Kelley Washington (ankle)
PROBABLE
C Matt Birk (neck)
WR Derrick Mason (finger)
LB Terrell Suggs (knee)

Bears:

DOUBTFUL
WR Devin Hester (calf)
QUESTIONABLE
CB Zach Bowman (illness)
DT Tommie Harris (knee)
T Orlando Pace (groin)
CB Charles Tillman (back)
LB Jamar Williams (ankle) 

4:00 – M&T Bank Stadium parking lots for Sunday’s game will open at 11:00 a.m., and stadium gates will open at 2:45 p.m.

3:16 – The Ravens just moved the official gametime on Sunday to a 4:15 start due to the snow concerns and cleanup that will be necessary. The official WNST Text was sent…

2:33 – The Bears have returned about 200 tickets to Sunday’s game. Fans can purchase them now via Ticketmaster.

2:01-Mark Clayton said his knee and hamstring were feeling better, but he wouldn’t know about his status until Sunday.

Terrell Suggs told reporters he “tweaked” his knee in practice this week, but he thinks he’s good for Sunday’s game.

1:58-Here are some highlights from John Harbaugh today:

-”I don’t see any reason” Terrell Suggs wouldn’t play Sunday.
-WR depth “is a concern” with Kelley Washington and Mark Clayton banged up.
-Team met together Thursday morning to pray for Chris Henry “before we knew what the outcome was.” Hue Jackson (who knew Chris well in Cincinnati) lead the meeting.
-Bears are “way better than their record.” They’re a “playoff caliber team football wise.”
-He enjoyed watching the 2nd half of Colts-Jaguars last night, but “nothing changes for us” as Ravens still have to win their games.
-”We’re preparing to face Devin Hester, but we know their backups.”
-on Joe Flacco not being listed on injury report: “Joe looks good. Joe’s been good all year.”

1:47-Duff Goldman (Food Network’s Ace of Cakes) built a cake shaped like a live Raven and has it here with him today for Haloti Ngata. They are filming for an upcoming episode that will air in a couple months.

1:41-Hear from John Harbaugh and Mark Clayton NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

Ravens Senior VP Kevin Byrne confirmed today that the team will 500 workers stationed at M&T Bank Stadium starting tonight-they will sleep on the club level-to clear snow this weekend before Sunday’s game. Also, the Chicago Bears will fly into Baltimore TODAY to make sure they beat the storm.

12:06-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Baltimore Ravens are putting their finishing touches on preparations for Sunday’s game with the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium. Clearly, weather is going to be a factor Sunday, but it appears as though the snow will have stopped before the game. It is likely to be more of a factor in regards to wind, field conditions and attendance at the game.

We just returned from practice, here’s a rundown. Mark Clayton (hamstring), Jared Gaither (foot), Haloti Ngata (ankle) were all NOT on the field during the portion of practice open to the media. Brandon McKinney (back) and Kelley Washington (ankle) were out there, but were not participating. Matt Birk (neck), KJ Gerard (thigh), Jarret Johnson (knee/back), Ed Reed (groin/foot), LJ Smith (ankle) and Terrell Suggs (knee) were all participating. The most significant news there is Reed; as practicing today will likely pave the way for him to play Sunday.

John Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media at about 1. Follow us Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates.)

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Work While NFL Mourns

Posted on 17 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:00- INJURY REPORT – Ravens:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Mark Clayton (knee)
T Jared Gaither (foot)
S K.J. Gerard (thigh)
LB Jarret Johnson (knee/back)
DT Brandon McKinney (back)
S Ed Reed (groin/foot)
LB Terrell Suggs (knee)
WR Kelley Washington (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION
C Matt Birk (neck)
WR Derrick Mason (finger)
DT Haloti Ngata (ankle)
TE LJ Smith (ankle)

Bears:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Devin Hester (calf)
LB Jamar Williams (ankle) 
FULL PARTICIPATION
CB Zach Bowman (illness)
DT Tommie Harris (knee)
T Orlando Pace (groin)
CB Charles Tillman (back)

2:54-Some highlights from the coordinators today, starting with Cam Cameron:

-Told Demetrius Williams “we’re gonna need you.” Thinks “he will play significantly” against Chicago Sunday.
-On WR depth with injuries to Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington: “I’m confident with the guys we’ve got.”
-On Bears defense: “We expect a great effort out of them.”
-”I think (Derrick Mason) is a great player. One of the greatest recievers I’ve been around.”
-On Ray Rice: “We just think he’s a really good football player.” He “impacts the game” beyond just his stats.
-Says connection between Rice and Joe Flacco “crucial”, “critical”, etc.

Jerry Rosburg:
-Facing Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Bears returners “as tough but different” than facing Browns KR Joshua Cribbs. “We have to be very good in our coverage.”

Greg Mattison:
-Secondary has “gotta do it again” this week after strong performance against Lions.
-”I’m always hopeful Ed Reed will play.”
-Jay Cutler is a “tremendous talent.”
-Lardarius Webb “wants to be a great player.”

2:40-Kelley Washington on the death of his former teammate Chris Henry:

-”It definitely caught everybody by surprise. He was turning things around in his life.”
-”Seemed like he was just starting his life, starting his career the way he wanted to.”
-”He was a very soft spoken guy. You didn’t even know he was in the building.”
-”Best deep ball runner in the NFL.”
-”We would always encourage him, no matter what he did. He always listened.”
-”I think a lot of people got a bad impression of him. He’s not the person everybody thinks he is.”
-Washington said he and Ravens QB Coach Hue Jackson were “very close” with Henry while they were in Cincy.

-Greg Mattison also offered thoughts on Chris Henry, saying he was a “tremendous” wide receiver. He added it was “really a sad note. Very, very sad for his family.”

2:32-Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
WR Kelley Washington (former Chris Henry teammate in Cincinnati)

Also, Sam Koch joined Drew Forrester this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” on AM1570 WNST. You can hear from Sam in the Audio Vault as well. Don’t forget that for the QUICKEST updates from 1 Winning Drive, follow us on Twitter (@WNST).

12:42-Clearly the death of Cincinnati Bengals WR Chris Henry will hang over 1 Winning Drive today. With Henry playing for an AFC North rival, the guys in this locker room had a chance to get to know him. While we are scheduled to hear from the coordinators today (Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison, Jerry Rosburg), I believe we will also hear from a few players regarding their emotions towards Chris’ death.

12:32-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where I’ll start with a practice update. Matt Birk (neck), KJ Gerard (thigh), Haloti Ngata (ankle), and LJ Smith (ankle) all returned to the practice field today after missing yesterday. Mark Clayton (knee), Jared Gaither (foot), Jarret Johnson (knee/back), Brandon McKinney (back), Ed Reed (groin/foot), and Kelley Washington (ankle) were not out there again today. Terrell Suggs (knee) was present yesterday, but not out there today.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Back to Work in Preparation for Bears

Posted on 16 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

5:20-INJURY REPORT: Ravens-

DID NOT PARTICIPATE:

C Matt Birk (neck)
WR Mark Clayton (knee)
T Jared Gaither (foot)
S K.J. Gerard (thigh)
LB Jarret Johnson (knee/back)
DT Brandon McKinney (back)
DT Haloti Ngata (ankle)
S Ed Reed (groin/foot)
TE LJ Smith (ankle)
WR Kelley Washington (ankle)

LIMITED:
WR Derrick Mason (finger)
LB Terrell Suggs (knee)

Bears-

DID NOT PARTICIPATE:
CB Zach Bowman (illness)
WR Devin Hester (calf)
CB Charles Tillman (back)

LIMITED:
DT Tommie Harris (knee)

FULL:
OT Orlando Pace (groin)

2:55-The Ravens have confirmed that they will wear black tops and white pants for their final home game Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

1:55-Ray Lewis:

-Jay Cutler “capable of making every throw.”
-On whether he wants Colts to play all of their guys against Jaguars tomorrow night: Wild Card race “will all take care of itself. If we don’t win, we’re not in ourselves.”
-”December is when you gotta win. It’s kinda hard to stop a team when they get hot.”
-Ray had “no thoughts at all” on Brian Billick’s return to Baltimore Sunday to do color for Ravens-Bears on FOX. (He didn’t mean this in a derogatory way, he just said he hadn’t thought about it.)
-Thinks Ray Rice similar to Barry Sanders in what they’re capable of doing with the ball “in space.”

1:50-Ray Rice:

-Came into the season expecting to have “more confidence” more “both physically and mentally.”
-Bears defense is “relentless to the ball.”
-”We got a 3 game season ahead of us. Every game matters. We control our own destiny.”
-”December football is championship football.”
-Reaching 1,000 yards “came on me really fast.”
-”I’m still the same guy off the field. Don’t be shy to say Hi-just don’t try to jump on my back.”

1:47-Lardarius Webb:

-Jay Cutler is “a great quarterback. You can’t take away from his talent.”
-He’s “very surprised” by how he’s risen from mid-round draft pick to starter on this team so quickly.
-”You feel that” rookie wall, but you learn from “older guys” how to take care of your body.
-Devin Hester “one of the greatest.”

1:45-The Ravens have added WR Maurice Price to their practice squad after trying him out on Tuesday. Price is in his 2nd year out of Charleston Southern. He was on the 49ers and Patriots practice squads previously, and was most recently with the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. He’s 6-1, 200 pounds.

1:40-Derrick Mason:

-On beating “lesser” teams: “We try to take care of business” but “We gotta also take care of business against teams in playoff hunt.”
-Chest feeling “sore” after TD catch against Lions, but “no rest for the weary.”
-On WR blocking: “We try to stress the little things. We make an impact more than just catching balls.”
-”We gotta have this win.”
-Key to winning is “taking advantage of opportunities” we have.

1:38 Joe Flacco:

-On Oher: “Mike’s gone a great job all year.”
-Ray Rice “is gonna continue to get better. The better he does each week, the more confidence he gets.”
-Toughest condition to throw in is “wind.”
-On playing at home vs. playing on road: “We don’t treat it any differently.”

1:33-Plenty of sound from around 1 Winning Drive today. Here are some of the highlights. John Harbaugh:

-Ravens may not know Bears team very well, but they “know the players.”
-”We’re preparing for Jay Cutler’s best.”
-”We wanna see the sack numbers go up, we definitely wanna get more fumbles.”
-On Devin Hester: “You see 23 in your sleep.” He’s an “amazing playmaker.”
-”Part of the challenge is to compete against the elements.”
-”We loved (Bears WR Johnny Knox) in the Draft.”
-On final home game of season: “It’s a special thing playing in (M&T Bank) Stadium.”
-On fans: “They wanna do anything they can to help their team win. We need that kind of performance from them Sunday.”
-Michael Oher has “seamlessly” moved from LT to RT this season.
-”Hopefully we’ll get Jared (Gaither) back this week.”

1:22-No Ed Reed (groin/hip), Mark Clayton (hamstring), Jared Gaither (foot), or Kelley Washington (ankle) at portion of practice open to media today.

12:54-Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net…..

Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
RB Willis McGahee
FB Le’Ron McClain
WR Derrick Mason
OT Michael Oher
LB Jarret Johnson
LB Ray Lewis
CB Lardarius Webb

A reminder that if you want the QUICKEST updates from 1 Winning Drive-follow us on Twitter…. @WNST

11:17-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Baltimore Ravens are back at work today in preparation for Sunday’s battle with the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium. We are scheduled to hear from coach John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice and Derrick Mason amongst others today, as well as Bears coach Lovie Smith and QB Jay Cutler via conference call.

I’ll be back shortly with more.

-G

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7

Posted on 15 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Below are Glenn and Drew’s top 7 players from the Raven’s destruction of the Detroit Lions.

Glenn’s List

7. Oniel Cousins
cousins

6. Chris Carr
carr

5. Michael Oher
oher

4. Tom Zbikowski
zbikowski

3. Joe Flacco
flacco

2. Derrick Mason
mason

1. Ray Rice
rice

Drew’s List

7. Antwan Barnes
barnes

6. Lardarius Webb
webb

5. Joe Flacco
flacco

4. Willis McGahee
mcgahee

3. Ben Grubbs
grubbs

2. Ray Rice
rice2

1. Michael Oher
oher

And here are these season totals.

Glenn:

27t-Oniel Cousins (1 point)

27t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)

27t-Frank Walker (1 point)

27t-Kelly Gregg (1 point)

27t-Brendon Ayanbadejo (1 point)

24t-Chris Carr (2 points)

24t-Demetrius Williams (2 points)

24t-Billy Cundiff (2 points)

24t-Matt Birk (2 points)

22t-Dwan Edwards (3 points)

22t-Trevor Pryce (3 points)

19t-Tom Zbikowski (4 points)

19t-Chris Chester (4 points)

19t-Haloti Ngata (4 points)

16t-Kelley Washington (5 points)

16t-Paul Kruger (5 points)

16t-Domonique Foxworth (5 points)

15-Terrell Suggs (7 points)

14-Sam Koch (8 point)

12t-Dawan Landry (10 points)

12t-Todd Heap (10 points)

10t-Willis McGahee (12 points)

10t-Mark Clayton (12 points)

9-Ed Reed (15 points)

8-Jared Gaither (17 points)

7-Lardarius Webb (19 points)

6-Michael Oher (20 points)

5-Ray Lewis (27 points)

4-Jarret Johnson (29 points)

3-Derrick Mason (32 points)

2-Joe Flacco (33 points)

1-Ray Rice (66 points)

Drew:

27t-Le’Ron McClain (1 point)

27t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)

27t-Marshal Yanda (1 point)

27t-Frank Walker (1 point)

23t-Antwan Barnes (2 point)

23t-Justin Bannan (2 points)

23t-Kelly Gregg (2 points)

23t-Matt Birk (2 points)

21t-Fabian Washington (4 points)

21t-Chris Chester (4 points)

19t-Dwan Edwards (6 points)

19t-Terrell Suggs (6 points)

16t-Billy Cundiff (7 Points)

16t-Ben Grubbs (7 points)

16t-Sam Koch (7 point)

15-Todd Heap (8 points)

14-Lardarius Webb (9 points)

13-Domonique Foxworth (10 points)

12-Mark Clayton (11 points)

11-Michael Oher (13 points)

10-Kelley Washington (14 points)

9-Willis McGahee (15 points)

8-Jared Gaither (16 points)

6t-Ed Reed (17 points)

6t-Dawan Landry (17 points)

5-Derrick Mason (24 points)

4-Jarret Johnson (25 points)

3-Ray Lewis (35 points)

2-Joe Flacco (43 points)

1-Ray Rice (57 points)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Ravens Report Card

Posted on 15 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Quarterback: A-

Joe was almost perfect-but there were a couple of mis-fires early that had me a bit concerned. He threw low to Derrick Mason on a slant that would have been 12 yards if he had put the ball where he was supposed to. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but give Joe’s struggles to put the ball in the best possible spot for his receiver-it had me cringe. Also, the Ravens again failed to put together a TD drive in the first quarter. But other than those things, Joe was FANTASTIC against a terrible Lions defense, and Troy Smith was fine in mop-up duty.

Running Backs: A-

Very similar story to the quarterback position here; as these guys were almost perfect. Ray Rice’s early fumble was killer, reminiscent of his fumble a week earlier at Lambeau Field. After that, he was on pace for a historic day, as he put up over 200 yards of offense in just over a half of football. Willis McGahee and Jalen Parmele were effective off the bench, and Le’Ron McClain had some good touches as well.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+

The only disappointing thing about this group was the fact that it looked early on like Derrick Mason was the only one on the field. The fact that Kelley Washington started the game and finished with zero catches is almost unfathomable. Credit Demetrius Williams for a big catch, which gave him as many big catches Sunday as he’s had in 2 seasons.

Offensive Line: A+

Is there a grade higher than this? The O-Line was OUTSTANDING from start to finish. All of the backs had room to run, and Joe Flacco went virtually untouched. The most impressive thing about Sunday’s performance is clearly the play of Michael Oher at LT and the play of Oniel Cousins in his NFL debut at RT. But Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Matt Birk were equally outstanding as well.

Defensive Line: B

If there was a unit that was “disappointing” on Sunday, it was the D-Line. Kevin Smith routinely had room to run, and Daunte Culpepper had time to throw throughout the game. They weren’t bad, they just didn’t play as well as we would have liked against a lesser opponent and an offensive line they should have had their way with.

Linebackers: B+

A solid performance from this unit, including Antwan Barnes’ first sack in nearly 2 years. But once again, the Lions were able to run and there wasn’t much of a rush. I thought Terrell Suggs looked okay in his return to the lineup, and I thought Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe were pretty good as well. Ray Lewis was good too. It was a good performance from the whole unit, but not outstanding.

Secondary: A-

Arguably the best game all season from this unit. It would even be hard to beat up Domonique Foxworth this week. The one thing I thought the Lions might be able to do is toss the ball up to Calvin Johnson, and they didn’t really even have any success doing that. Credit Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr and Dawan Landry for playing well; and Tom Zbikowski probably played the best game of his young NFL career.

Special Teams: B+

Billy Cundiff didn’t really have to do much, but he made two short field goals. Sam Koch was incredible again-even if he only punted the ball twice. I thought they were good in coverage as well, but I thought they could have gotten more from the return game. The weather may have been a factor there.

Coaching: B+

I thought there were some strange things that this staff did, including Cam Cameron’s decision to leave Ray Rice in on the first goal line offense situation. My guess is that they just wanted to help build his confidence against a lesser opponent, but it was a bit odd. Defensively, the lack of pressure still has to fall on Greg Mattison. But in a 48-3 win, I’m basically just nit-picking at this point.

-G

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Live from Owings Mills: John Harbaugh’s Weekly Press Conference

Posted on 14 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:13-According to our pal Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports; CBS blocked NBC from being able to flex Ravens/Steelers onto their “Sunday Night Football” broadcast for Week 16. NBC will stick with Redskins/Cowboys. In all fairness, even if NBC had the option to flex Ravens/Steelers; it is PARTICULARLY unlikely that they would choose a Ravens/Steelers game that may or may not have any playoff implications at that point over a rivalry like Redskins/Cowboys-or frankly any game that involves the Cowboys whatsoever. You can only put the Cowboys in primetime so many times-trust me when I say that no network is interested in giving up any of those games-especially with the Cowboys in the thick of the NFC playoff race.

4:11-Hear from John Harbaugh NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net! Also, OT Oniel Cousins joined Drew Forrester this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show” on AM1570 WNST a morning after making his first career NFL start (and first appearance all season). You can hear from him in the Audio Vault as well.

3:45-Highlights from John Harbaugh:

-”1st, 2nd year players stepped up and played really well.”
-”Hand jostling used to be acceptable” from DB’s and WR’s, only from WR’s now
-Antwan (Barnes) “has done a good job.”
-Ray Rice could have stayed in game with chest injury
-”Tom Zbikowski especially has played well” with Ed Reed hurt
-Demetrius Williams has played better in practice, which has lead to more “confidence” on the field
-”We’re interested in” Colts-Jaguars game Thursday night, but Ravens “have to take care of business” against Bears
-Thinks conference record could ultimately determine who gets AFC Wild Card spots
-”We want to be an all weather offense…..you’ve got to be able to throw the ball in December too.”
-TE depth is a “concern”
-Gaither has “lower back tightness…..he can go.” “Optimistic” Clayton, Reed and Gaither could all return Sunday.
-Ravens had veterans meeting last week….told young guys to “follow vets” as they “lead the way.”
-Ray Lewis told young players they’d remember “these Decembers for the rest of your life.”
-”When you click in practice, that’s how you build momentum for a game.”
-on Ray Rice’s performance: “I didn’t like that fumble too much in the redzone.”
-He was very impressed by performance of Oniel Cousins
-He got to know Jay Cutler coaching AFC Pro Bowl team last year
-Didn’t have reason for why Willis McGahee didn’t come in on the 3rd drive-deferring to Cam Cameron’s availability later in the week.
-”I’m excited” to have Brian Billick call Sunday’s game for FOX.

3:40-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where John Harbaugh’s weekly Monday press conference will get underway momentarily. Coach will re-hash yesterday’s win over the Detroit Lions and look forward to next Sunday’s visit from the Chicago Bears. Certainly, injuries to Kelley Washington and Ray Rice yesterday will be discussed, as will Terrell Suggs’ claims that Lions players went after his injured knee.

-G

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Blowout of Lions Much Needed For Struggling Ravens Team

Posted on 13 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

To put it simply, the Ravens NEEDED a performance like the one they got on Sunday.

They NEEDED to prove to themselves-and to those around the NFL who were questioning them-that they were still a good football team.

Sunday’s 48-3 thrashing of the Detroit Lions didn’t REALLY say much about the Ravens or their chances of advancing to the AFC playoffs, but it did say some things.

For those of you who were predicting a doomsday 6-10 or 7-9 finish for the Ravens-unlikely.

For those of you calling for the entire team to be broken up in the offseason-probably a bit premature.

For those of you who buzzed into “The Comcast Morning Show” this week to ask “Is it time to start thinking about John Harbaugh’s future in Baltimore?”-the answer is “no.”

Let me repeat-Sunday’s win did NOT prove the Ravens as Super Bowl contenders-and may ultimately prove to be just another win for a team that didn’t get quite enough this season. But the Ravens not only won, they treated the Detroit Lions like the Glen Burnie JV team-which is exactly what good football teams SHOULD do to the Detroit Lions. (Who are a historic type of terrible for the record.)

The Ravens pulverized the Detroit Lions in every way imaginable. They out-gained their opponent 548 to 229, picked up 24 first downs to Detroit’s 13, and won the turnover battle by a margin of 2-1. They pulled their starting quarterback after 3 quarters-but they might as well have done it after 2. In the second half, there were players making contributions who I had honest to god forgotten were on the team. (Sorry Edgar Jones!) John Harbaugh said very simply that all 3 units of his team “executed”, and he’s absolutely right.

The point is, that is EXACTLY what good teams SHOULD do to the Detroit Lions. The Saints, Vikings, Packers, Bengals and Bears had already defeated the Lions by double digit margins this year. Only the Steelers and Rams had single digit victories over the Lions, and the Steelers appear to be much more of “pretenders” than “contenders” for a playoff spot. Beyond that, the Redskins and Browns had of course unimaginably found ways to LOSE to this Detroit ballclub. The Ravens certainly belong in the former group much more than the latter.

The Ravens are a GOOD team. We know that much. Yes, they’ve lost 6 games-but they’ve lost 6 games to teams who would all make the playoffs if the season ended today (Packers, Vikings, Patriots, Colts and Bengals twice). And while they HAVE their problems (secondary and wide receiver jump RIGHT off the page-but other areas haven’t been perfect); they still have a veteran team of solid play-makers; and managed to win Sunday even without Ed Reed, Jared Gaither and Mark Clayton.

They’ll have to keep winning for it to mean anything. As Derrick Mason put so well following the win-the game means “nothing if (the Ravens) can’t win the next game.” The good news is that they should be able to keep winning. The remainder of the schedule (vs. Chicago, @Pittsburgh, @Oakland) sets up well for a team that has not lost a game all season to a team who currently has a record of 7-6 or worse.

But they proved they weren’t a bad team Sunday-which is exactly what they NEEDED to do.

-G

—————————————–

5:25-Kelley Washington (ankle) and Ray Rice (chest) were the only injured Ravens who did not return today. Rice is clearly not believed to be serious, while there was no further information available on Washington.

5:18-Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:

Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
G Ben Grubbs
LB Ray Lewis
LB Jarret Johnson
S Tom Zbikowski

—————————————-

4:14-Only the Lions. This one’s over. 48-3 Ravens. Back shortly with more.

4:12-Two minute warning. Anybody have any thoughts?

4:03-Troy Smith with a rushing TD. It’s 48-3 now. Mercifully, only 5:02 still to play in this one.

3 plays, 23 yards, 1:23 on the drive.

48 ties for most in a single game-since the Kyle Boller-lead Monday Night Football thrashing of the Packers back in 2005.

4:02-Jalen Parmele into the game….. (Yeah, I’m still here….)

3:53-Sam Koch with another tremendous punt. Just outstanding……

3:51-Ravens with a team single-game record 510 yards from scrimmage on the day!

3:50-Edgar Jones with a first down catch! Good for him!

3:48-In news that is about as pressing as Mark Clayton being OUT-Kevin Smith won’t return for the Lions with a knee injury.

3:47-Flacco finishes 13/20 230 yards and a TD on the day. Which gives DF a chance to put him back in the Tuesday Top 7….

3:40-Boy you hate seeing an injury like that to Kevin Smith. Just uncomfortable to look at……..

3:35-We’re through 3 quarters, and it looks like Troy Smith will finally be coming in to play….

3:30-I immediately take the previous statement back. Obviously-both McClain and McGahee went over 100 yards in last year’s win at Dallas.

Another McGahee TD-the Ravens now have a team record 4 rushing TD’s on the game. 41-3. They HAVE to take Flacco out now, right?

3:28-Willis McGahee is going to go over 100 yards as well. Don’t believe the Ravens have ever had 2 100 yard rushers in one game.

3:22-Why wouldn’t the Lions put Drew Stanton in this game? That would sorta force Harbaugh to go to Troy Smith….

3:18-A Willis McGahee TD. 34-3. There’s no one left in this place…..

6 plays, 61 yards, 3:08 on the drive.

Is there anything else on? I’d like to change the TV’s in the press box.

3:15-You have to imagine we WILL see Troy Smith in this game at some point…..

Hate seeing Todd Heap hurt himself in a 24 point game.

Louis Delmas questionable to return (ankle) for Detroit.

3:09-I know there’s still a game going on, it’s just tough for me to remain interested.

Hey! Justin Harper checks in! Weird…..

3:00-Tremendous grab by Demetrius Williams (no, really) before a Le’Ron McClain TD. Ravens piling it on at this point…..

11 plays, 74 yards, 6:10 on the drive. 27-3. Feel a bit bad for Mt. St. Joseph’s Jim Schwartz…..

2:58-Ray Rice getting attention on the Ravens sideline…..and we finally see Willis McGahee.

2:39-20-3 at the half. We’ll be back shortly. Because we have to.

2:38-Ngata limped off field. Harbaugh smart to call timeout there. Force the Lions to punt, give your team a chance to block it.

2:36-70,673 announced here at “The Bank” today. I say “announced” because many of them are not here.

2:32-Ravens can’t punch it in as their stellar goal line offense continues….Billy Cundiff enters and connects from 25, extending Baltimore’s lead to 20-3 with 1: to play in the half.

6 plays, 43 yards, 1:08 on the drive.

Don Carey is struggling to turn off his mic today….and keeping track of what’s going on in the football game.

2:31-Ray Rice is now over 200 yards of total offense for the game.

What’s going on with McGahee? Not in on the 3rd possession, now not in on the goal line…..

2:26-He was catching a pop-up, but nice work there by Chris Carr to get up and get some yards back on that play. Ravens will have a chance to put this one away before halftime….

2:23-Good challenge from John Harbaugh, that was easy to tell.

2:20-Antwan Barnes was FURIOUS that wasn’t ruled a sack. He should probably calm down a bit….

2:17-And with that, Ray Rice has gone over 1,000 yards rushing and 1,500 yards from scrimmage this season. He also has 133 yards rushing on the day, a team high for the season.

2:16-I told you Ray Rice was gonna have some long runs this season. 62 yards on that one.

4 plays, 69 yards, 1:00 on the drive…..17-3 Ravens.

2:15-Rough day for Don Carey’s crew………

2:14-The fact that Ray Rice just got 10 yards on that play makes me remember just how bad the Lions are……

2:10-Lions fortunate that kick made it through-but they cut Baltimore’s lead to 10-3 with about 4 and a half to play in the first half.

15 plays, 69 yards, 7:24 on the scoring drive (Credit to my buddy Rich Dubroff of Carroll County Times fame for keeping track for me.)

2:09-I was a bit surprised that the Ravens would have accepted that penalty. Declining and forcing Hanson to kick makes MUCH more sense.

2:07-2nd straight 3rd down play where Dennis Northcutt was WIDE OPEN in the middle of the field. Terrible.

2:06-The remarkable thing about that run from Kevin Smith there was that he only lost 5 yards. What the hell was he thinking?

2:05-I’m a bit surprised to not see a flag on that ball in the endzone……

2:04-Congratulations to City’s Bryant Johnson for making a catch here in his hometown. Hopefully there won’t be many more.

Dannell Ellerbe tackles Daunte Culpepper, but he gets the first down before the tackle. Lions approaching the red zone. What the hell?

2:02-Dennis Northcutt makes it a bit more difficult for me to say this one is over already.

Lions LS Don Muhlbach is QUESTIONABLE to return with an arm injury.

2:00-Ray Lewis encouraging the crowd to get pumped. The crowd encouraging Ray Lewis to tackle better.

1:58-Took over 19 minutes-but we finally have a timeout from John Harbaugh. Knew it had to be coming…..

Also, the Dolphins are leading the Jaguars 14-0 in Jacksonville, and the Colts are leading the Broncos 14-0 in Indianapolis in games with major playoff implications for the Ravens.

1:55-Worth noting: We’ve played more than 18 minutes of football-and Harbs hasn’t called a single timeout. Weird.

Also, Derrick Mason had the wind knocked out of him on that TD catch-he’s expected to return.

1:51-The Lions are just AWFUL. That will go down as a 62 yard TD pass, but credit the Lions for just bring terrible as Marvin White and Phillip Buchanon paved the way for that TD. Wow.

3 plays, 70 yards, 1:17 on the scoring drive. 10-0 Ravens

1:49-What a play over there by Todd Heap to push his way for 7 yards. Impressive strength.

No Willis McGahee yet today. Weird.

1:42-Kevin Smith and Ray Rice are BOTH going to go over 100 yards today. Brutal run defense at the end of the quarter has the Lions driving although trailing 3-0.

1:40 – Drew Forrester knows more about football than I do.  I thought that was worth pointing out.

1:38-All targets today have been Ray Rice and Derrick Mason, correct? Yikes.

Billy Cundiff says his head his fine, he knocks it through from 38 to put the Ravens ahead 3-0 late in the first.

7 plays, 45 yards, 3:12 on the drive

1:36-Probably because the 2nd drive was so short, John Harbaugh kept Ray Rice in. Good call. He and Le’Ron McClain work the ball into the red zone.

1:32-I thought Culpepper had the spot there. Big measurement to get the Ravens off the field. They need to mix up their runs on this drive-Willis McGahee will enter the game as it is the 3rd possession.

1:30-Strong move there by Culpepper to avoid the sack. That leaves the Lions with a 3rd and 1 instead of 3rd and long.

1:29-Boy what a run there by Kevin Smith on 1st down. Credit the Ravens for TERRIBLE tackling, but very nice run.

1:28-If you’re interested, DeAngelo Smith’s forced fumble has been switched to Larry Foote. I’m guessing you probably weren’t interested.

1:26-Pretty dreadful series there for Joe, but Sam Koch with a hell of a punt to put the Lions inside their own 20.

Ravens continue to struggle out of the gate offensively. Ray Rice’s fumble hurt-but they looked TERRIBLE on their 2nd drive.

1:24-If Joe Flacco throws that ball where he’s supposed to, Derrick Mason gets a big gain.

What in the world is going on with Don Carey’s crew? Was it a penalty or not?

1:22-That Jason Hanson miss there tells me that kicking will be a tough task today. Miss was from 45-keeping this one scoreless.

1:18-Calvin Johnson is just plain taller than Domonique Foxworth or Tom Zbikowski. He has the ability to get a ball like that. The Ravens are fortunate he didn’t come down with it.

Aaron Brown with the big run? What’s going on here?

Jarret Johnson hobbles off…..

1:16-Trevor Pryce with a COSTLY roughing the passer on a play where Dawan Landry made an EASY interception. Frustrating start for this team right now.

1:14-Lardarius Webb was absolutely STUNNED by the move Calvin Johnson just put on him. Ouch.

1:12-That makes it 2 fumbles in 2 weeks for Ray Rice in the red zone. Look, there’s NO DOUBT that he’s the team MVP this season-but that’s just completely unacceptable.

Credit DeAngelo Smith from Detroit for the forced fumble.

1:11-Demetrius Williams checks in as a 3rd WR. Would be a nice spot for a fade on 3rd down.

1:09-If I had to guess, that won’t be the last HUGE run from Ray Rice today. He would have been a “must play” in Fantasy Football.

1:05-Great penetration there by Haloti Ngata and company to bring down Kevin Smith on that 3rd and short. Ravens didn’t want to let Daunte Culpepper and company feel too good about themselves early on.

A number of Ravens fans are here today dressed as purple seats. Can’t REALLY say I blame anyone for skipping this one.

1:03-Lions win the toss and come out throwing. No surprise there. Big 3rd and 2 early from midfield.

1:01-I’ll confirm that Oher will start at LT, Yanda at RT, and Chris Chester at RG.

Also, Chris Myers is calling today’s game for FOX alongside Tim Ryan instead of Sam Rosen. No word on why Rosen isn’t here.

12:25 Weather.com says 40s and rain THROUGHOUT today’s Ravens-Lions game. I get the feeling that there will be thousands of empty seats, as fans have taken to Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and eBay to try to dump their tickets this week.

12:06-We have an update on the Lions inactives. FB Terrelle Smith is ACTIVE and will START, FB Jerome Felton is INACTIVE.

Also for the Lions-RG Dylan Gandy will start for Daniel Loper (active, back) and RE Cliff Avril will start for Dewayne White.

The team waived WR Eric Fowler this week, and moved TE Jake Nordin to the active roster.

11:48-I don’t have an official note on how the O-Line will shuffle with Jared Gaither out, but I assume Michael Oher will play LT, Marshal Yanda will play RT, and Chris Chester will play RG. Just an assumption however; and with Tony Moll and Oniel Cousins both active-either could be in the mix.

11:44-Tom Zbikowski will start for Ed Reed today, Kelley Washington will start for Mark Clayton.

11:22-Here are your inactives:

RAVENS-
QB John Beck (3rd QB)
S Ed Reed (groin/foot)
OL David Hale (concussion)
OT Jared Gaither (foot)
TE LJ Smith (ankle)
WR Mark Clayton (hamstring)
NT Brandon McKinney (back)
NT Kelly Talavou

LIONS-
QB Matthew Stafford (3rd QB)
DB Jahi Word-Daniels
FB Terrelle Smith
C Melvin Fowler
OT Corey Hilliard
TE Casey FitzSimmons (concussion)
DT Andre Fluellen (groin)
DE Dewayne White (toe)

10:55-Greetings from the press box at M&T Bank Stadium in a rainy downtown Baltimore, where the 6-6 Baltimore Ravens continue their quest to reach the playoffs against the 2-10 Detroit Lions.

Make sure you follow us throughout the day here at WNST.net, as well as on Twitter (@WNST) and on our WNST Text Service (text “WNST” to 68255 to get updates) for everything you need to know today.

WR Mark Clayton is OUT-per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In a related story, Tiger Woods cheated on his wife.

I don’t mean to downplay that-it’s just that we all KNEW Mark Clayton (hamstring) was out today, which is why the Ravens waived FB Charles Ali yesterday and moved WR Justin Harper to the active roster.

I CERTAINLY don’t expect to see S Ed Reed (you name it) today, and would say LB Terrell Suggs (knee) is unlikely.

-G

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Ravens Waive Ali, Move Harper to Active Roster

Posted on 12 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens made a roster move today, waiving FB Charles Ali (we hardly knew ye) and activating WR Justin Harper from the practice squad.

The move was almost certainly made due to Mark Clayton being listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Lions with a hamstring injury.

Harper was one of the “bubble” guys to make the roster out of Training Camp, as the 2008 7th round pick in the NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech has been known to make some nice leaping grabs in practice, but has failed to be consistent enough to play. He regularly plays the role of the number one wide receiver of Ravens opponents during practice-he dressed as Calvin Johnson this week. If he plays, he will be making his NFL debut.

At 6’3″, Harper matches Kelley Washington as the tallest WR the Ravens have. Expect Washington to start opposite Derrick Mason, with Demetrius Williams as the #3 guy. Harper and David Tyree will be the Ravens’ next options should they choose to go to a 4th receiver or in an emergency situation.

-G

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7 (A couple days late)

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7 (A couple days late)

Posted on 10 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Here are the lists of the best Ravens from Monday Night’s loss to the Packers….

Drew’s List

7. Antwan Barnes
barnes

6. Kelly Gregg
gregg

5. Ray Rice
rice2

4. Todd Heap
heap2

3. Ray Lewis
lewis

2. Kelley Washington
washington2

1. Jarret Johnson
johnson2

Glenn’s List

7. Lardarius Webb
webb

6. Demetrius Williams
williams

5. Ray Rice
rice

4. Jared Gaither
gaither

3. Kelley Washington
washington

2. Jarret Johnson
johnson

1. Sam Koch
koch

Season totals…..

Drew:

26t-Le’Ron McClain (1 point)

26t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)

26t-Marshal Yanda (1 point)

26t-Frank Walker (1 point)

26t-Antwan Barnes (1 point)

22t-Justin Bannan (2 points)

22t-Kelly Gregg (2 points)

22t-Ben Grubbs (2 points)

22t-Matt Birk (2 points)

20t-Fabian Washington (4 points)

20t-Chris Chester (4 points)

17t-Dwan Edwards (6 points)

17t-Michael Oher (6 points)

17t-Terrell Suggs (6 points)

14t-Billy Cundiff (7 Points)

14t-Sam Koch (7 point)

14t-Lardarius Webb (7 points)

13-Todd Heap (8 points)

12-Domonique Foxworth (10 points)

10t-Mark Clayton (11 points)

10t-Willis McGahee (11 points)

9-Kelley Washington (14 points)

8-Jared Gaither (16 points)

6t-Ed Reed (17 points)

6t-Dawan Landry (17 points)

5-Derrick Mason (24 points)

4-Jarret Johnson (25 points)

3-Ray Lewis (35 points)

2-Joe Flacco (40 points)

1-Ray Rice (51 points)


Glenn:

26t-Steve Hauschka (1 point)

26t-Frank Walker (1 point)

26t-Kelly Gregg (1 point)

26t-Brendon Ayanbadejo (1 point)

23t-Demetrius Williams (2 points)

23t-Billy Cundiff (2 points)

23t-Matt Birk (2 points)

21t-Dwan Edwards (3 points)

21t-Trevor Pryce (3 points)

19t-Chris Chester (4 points)

19t-Haloti Ngata (4 points)

16t-Kelley Washington (5 points)

16t-Paul Kruger (5 points)

16t-Domonique Foxworth (5 points)

15-Terrell Suggs (7 points)

14-Sam Koch (8 point)

12t-Dawan Landry (10 points)

12t-Todd Heap (10 points)

10t-Willis McGahee (12 points)

10t-Mark Clayton (12 points)

9-Ed Reed (15 points)

8-Jared Gaither (17 points)

7-Lardarius Webb (19 points)

6-Michael Oher (20 points)

5-Derrick Mason (26 points)

4-Ray Lewis (27 points)

3-Joe Flacco (28 points)

2-Jarret Johnson (29 points)

1-Ray Rice (59 points)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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