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Thirty years after Mayflower crime, I’ve pardoned Irsay and moved on from the hate

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Thirty years after Mayflower crime, I’ve pardoned Irsay and moved on from the hate

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published on March 28, 2011, I think this is appropriate for where my life stands with #JennStrong & #BmorePositive mojo. nja)

Twenty-seven years ago today I awoke to see my father crying in my kitchen in Dundalk. It was one of two times that I ever saw him cry. The Baltimore Colts’ infamous ride of the Mayflowers out west on I-70 just two months after I started interning at The News American defined the end of my childhood at 15 and the beginning of my lifelong education about money and the real world of sports for the remainder of my sports fan and business life as a journalist.

It’s been a tumultuous quarter of a century plus a year for my feelings of anger, anguish, desperation, loss and bad vibes about the Colts leaving Baltimore on March 28, 1984. My Pop died in 1992 and never got to see the Ravens come back to town to avenge the loss of the horseshoe. I never got to go to one more football game with my father. And over the years, it’s really been a civic badge of honor to hate on all things Irsay and Indianapolis.

Nestor and Mini Bob

I’ve been to Indianapolis more times than I can count since 1996 – always for a football game or the annual March combine. There’s never been a time that it hasn’t taken me 15 minutes on the ground there to get ill seeing the horseshoes and “Go Colts” kind of marketing that is ubiquitous in Indy from the minute you land at the airport. It drives my wife batty — my almost irrational instant anger, ranting and self-inflicted torture when I’m in Indianapolis. I’ve always figured that I’d proudly be like the old dudes in Brooklyn, still pining away about the Dodgers 50 years later.

Here’s an example:

It’s taken me years of internal therapy and self soothing to calm myself when I see the game day experience there in Indy as those Midwestern hillbillies parade around in my father’s stolen laundry. In many ways, our “friend” Merton From Indianapolis (and no, none of us has any idea who he is or where the whole gimmick started – honest to God!) sort of exemplifies the entire experience of dealing with their fans when you travel to the “friendly heartland.”

My loathing of all things Irsay and Indianapolis is a bit legendary – there are plenty of pictures of me carrying Bob Irsay’s head on a stick through the streets of Indy — and my rants and raves throughout the 1990s are all very “on the record” and still accurate. What happened to this community at the hands of Bob Irsay and how I saw it affect my father and the psyche of the citizenry here will never been forgotten. The degrading and demoralizing “begging” to get back into the league that fell on Herb Belgrad. Paul Tagliabue’s “build a museum” expansion declaration in Chicago. All of it…I’ll remember those feelings and emotions for the rest of my life. Most Baltimoreans older than me — and I was born in 1968 – still can’t begin to imagine a world without the Colts of that generation. If you’re from Baltimore, sports is etched into your DNA.

(And if you doubt those feelings, imagine how you’d feel if the Ravens packed up and left tomorrow morning and never played another game here? For you young’ins that’s essentially what happened here in 1984…)

But after long and careful consideration – and as today’s 26th anniversary of the dastardly

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CYBER DEAL: Buy “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story” here

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CYBER DEAL: Buy “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story” here

Posted on 25 April 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

Thanks for checking our section of purple cyberspace and for having interest in purchasing Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story via WNST.net. It’s been a labor of love for me — researching, writing and presenting the building of a NFL championship.

In 2001, I wrote Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac and I’ve had many inquiries regarding reprinting it and packaging it with the new book on the 2012 Ravens. So, below are the options to purchase both books as well as a 6-CD collection of our best WNST radio interviews with the many stars and interesting people from Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XLVII. It will have original audio from 1990′s with Ray Lewis, Brian Billick, Jon Ogden as well as a two-hour life retrospective when I sat down with Arthur B. Modell in 2004. We’ll also include highlights from the past two years with Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, John Harbaugh and others. It will be nearly seven hours of conversation with Baltimore Ravens who have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.

The book is 480 pages, chock full of stories, background, behind-the-scenes information told in 22 chapters from the firing of Brian Billick to the hiring of John Harbaugh to the drafting of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice to the 2012 season and the Super Bowl XLVII win and parade down Pratt Street and celebration inside the stadium back in February.

And the best part of the book or books? They both have happy endings. If you love the Baltimore Ravens, you’ll love the book(s).

It’s the best work of my career and I know once you read it you’ll agree. Virtually every review has been a 5-star compliment since the book was released in June 2013.

Here are two links to excerpts from Purple Reign 2:

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

And here’s another from Chapter 10 involving Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti’s cash showdown in August 2012.

 

BUY PURPLE REIGN HERE:

Here’s our shopping cart for all things Purple Reign, new and old:

Purple Reign V.I.P. Box Set (HOLIDAY DISCOUNT THROUGH SUMMER 2014)

Includes:

Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013)

Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac (2001) hardback 2nd edition

WNST Purple Reign Radio Memories (6 CD’s)

RAY 2:52/BELIEVE IN JOE New Orleans poster

Full color 12X18 poster of Purple Reign 2 cover (featuring fabulous artwork of local sports cartoonist Mike Ricigliano) that is suitable for autographs/framing or your mancave wall

And if you buy this deluxe package, make sure you let me know how to personalize the new book for you below:

$59.95 plus S&H

$49.95 WITH FREE SHIPPING!!!!!

How do we sign Purple Reign 2?

 

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Purple Reign Both Books Hardbound

Includes:

Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story (2013)

Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac (2001)

$49.99 plus S&H

 

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Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story BOOK ONLY (hardback)

$26.95 plus S&H

 

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Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac BOOK ONLY (hardback)

$24.95 plus S&H

 

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Purple Reign Radio Memories — a 6 CD set of WNST purple interviews with stars & heroes of Super Bowl XXXV & Super Bowl XLVII

Nearly seven (7) hours of classic audio conversations including the life story of Arthur B. Modell in his words

$19.95 plus S&H

 

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FOR E-BOOKS AND E-READERS

Both Purple Reign: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story & Purple Reign: Diary of a Raven Maniac are NOW AVAILABLE:

Click here to purchase via Smashwords for most e-formats

Click here to purchase via Amazon for Kindle

 

 

 

 REVIEWS FOR PURPLE REIGN 2:

By JL
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
If you want to read game reviews about the 2012 Ravens, just looks online. If you want to read the story of the 2012 Ravens, if you want to relive the journey of the 2012 Ravens then read Purple Reign 2. This book cover so much history about the Ravens and is told through the eyes of Baltimore’s own award winning Journalist, Nestor Aparicio.The history of the Ravens is recapped from a fans perspective with inside information. Aparicio makes you feel as if you are in the Ravens Locker Room, draft war room and the sidelines. Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Art Model, Steve Biscotti, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh all provide Aparicio with amazing insight and recap events of the 2012 journey in a way never imagined. A must read for all football fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have if you’re a ravens fan. August 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The interviews make it all worth it. He goes into detail how some of the players were chosen in the draft. Honestly I couldn’t put the book down. You get to have a better insight and understand the different players in the team. If you’re a ravens fan, this is one book you definitely should have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ravens History August 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Nestor gives you behind-the-curtains access of the Ravens run to the Super Bowl!!! Amazing insight to the players, coaches and owners. A must have for every Ravens fan!!!
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Format:Kindle Edition
Nestor Aparicio is a true fan of the Ravens and his passion is what makes this book so great.. All of the “behind the scenes” moments that he describes in detail, show all of the hard work that went into this book.. A Ravens fan can open this book at any point and be captivated.. The 2012 season was a great ride and this book puts all of the pieces together.. From process of the hiring of Coach John Harbaugh to the magical win of Super Bowl XLVII, a true page turner.

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Gigantic purple march to honor Ray Lewis set for 2:52 p.m. Sunday in New Orleans

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Gigantic purple march to honor Ray Lewis set for 2:52 p.m. Sunday in New Orleans

Posted on 01 February 2013 by WNST Staff

To honor Ray Lewis and to celebrate the biggest and final game of his 17-year career, we’re hoping you’ll join us at Toulouse and The River in downtown New Orleans and march 17 blocks as a walking tailgate to Super Bowl 47.

Our FREE tailgate party will begin at 10 a.m. There’s plenty of cold beer, drinks, great food and awesome music from legendary Baltimore DJ Bobby Nyk at the edge of Woldenberg Park at the foot of the Mississippi River.

At 2:52 p.m. in Sunday we’ll gather and begin our march to the Superdome by making a left onto Decatur, which becomes N. Peters which becomes Tchoupitoulas and then a right onto Poydras for the long boulevard walk to the Dome and the Super Bowl. We expect to arrive at the Dome about two hours before game time.

Bring your cameras, shoot video and show everyone back in Baltimore the power of the purple flash mob in New Orleans as we support the Ravens and honor Ray Lewis with a block for every one of his 17 seasons in the Charm City and making football great.

Our parade route: we’ll make a left out of Woldenberg Park onto Decatur which becomes N. Peters which becomes Tchoupitoulas and then a right into Poydras, which is a wide-open boulevard that leads to the Superdome.

 

And if you want to know what it looks like when several thousand Baltimore Ravens fans get together in the streets, check out this 2010 video from our Indianapolis purple flash mob and march to their dome:

 

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Complete guide to WNST New Orleans parties here…

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Complete guide to WNST New Orleans parties here…

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

Clearly, WNST.net is throwing the biggest parties in New Orleans this weekend for the Super Bowl and the amazing fun we all plan to have here in The Big Easy is made even better when you participate and join us for biggest Baltimore Ravens fan celebrations ever.

You can purchase our WNST V.I.P. Super Party wristbands that give you special access at ALL of our parties as well as several bars on Bourbon Street for $115.70 by clicking here: http://wnst.net/brian-billick/buy-our-wnst-super-v-i-p-party-pass-and-soak-up-the-excitement-of-new-orleans/

We have FREE EVENTS every day and you can buy tickets at the door with cash only at all of our ticketed events as well. So, if you’re feeling spontaneous and looking to spend quality, memorable time with Baltimore Ravens fans, this is our schedule of events:

 

FRIDAY NIGHT:

A free event from 6 p.m. til ??? at Empire (located at 300 Decatur) in the French Quarter. This bar is COMPLETELY purple and will be the pickup site for all who purchased WNST V.I.P. Party wristbands for admission to all of our weekend activities. Great food, cold beer and awesome music. This is our “meet and greet” but you’re welcomed and encouraged to party all night with us in the heart of New Orleans. And, yes, the picture here is what Empire looks like on the inside. It’s all purple already!

 

SATURDAY (Two events)

DAY: Our purple pep rally and outdoor cookout begins at noon and is FREE AND OPEN to all Baltimore Ravens fans. WNST partner and Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick will be on hand to meet and greet all of the purple faithful. Come to Toulouse at The River and we’ll be under the green and white pavilion that sits behind Jackson Brewery and the Famous Gumbo Pot. If you can see the giant Houston Oilers-style derrick, you’re almost there. Just walk to the water past Decatur and look for the Steamboat Natchez riverboat! This is also the site of Sunday’s party!

Our cruise on the Steamboat Natchez is a ticketed event and you’re welcome to join us for a delicious jazz lunch and cruise from 2:30 ’til 4:30 on the Mississippi. Boarding begins at 2 p.m. and tickets are $60. For more information is available here: http://wnst.net/top-story/crabs-n-beer/cruise-mississippi-natchez-on-super-saturday-in-nola-with-billick-wnst/

 

NIGHT: Doors open at 7 p.m. at The Howlin’ Wolf for a gigantic Baltimore Ravens fan celebration and concert with New Orleans locals and Grammy Award winning Rebirth Brass Band (show starts at 11 p.m.). Cold beer, great Cajun food and awesome music and dancing all night. This is a ticketed event ($25) and a two-day pass can be purchased for $40 for both big nights at the “purple ground zero” for all Ravens fans in New Orleans here: http://wnst.net/nfl/legendary-howlin-wolf-will-be-purple-ground-zero-for-all-baltimore-ravens-fans-in-nola/

 

SUNDAY (Three events)

Our pre-game tailgate and purple march are ABSOLUTELY FREE AND OPEN TO ALL BALTIMORE RAVENS FANS!!!

Beginning at 10 a.m. on gameday, we’ll have cold beer, drinks, great food and awesome purple music from legendary DJ Bobby Nyk at the foot of Woldenberg Park. Come to Toulouse at The River and we’ll be under the green and white pavilion that sits behind Jackson Brewery and the Famous Gumbo Pot. If you can see the giant Houston Oilers-style derrick, you’re almost there. Just walk to the water past Decatur and look for the Steamboat Natchez riverboat!

The Natchez will serve as a giant bar all day and all Baltimore Ravens fans are welcome to board the boat, dance and drink all afternoon leading up to our big purple stampede up Poydras Street to win the Lombardi Trophy.

There will be five hours of partying before we begin our historic Mardi Gras march to the Superdome at 2:52 p.m. to honor Ray Lewis. All details, maps and information regarding the march are here: http://wnst.net/nfl/gigantic-purple-march-to-honor-ray-lewis-set-for-252-p-m-sunday-in-new-orleans/

If you are NOT going to the Super Bowl and want to watch the game with all Baltimore Ravens fans, you’ll want to head to The Howlin’ Wolf (S. Peters & St. Joseph) in The Warehouse District where the game will be shown on the big screen.

Our post-game celebration will commence at 10 p.m. and this is a TICKETED event with the 8 Ball Brass Band playing the victory party. Advance tickets are $25 but you can purchase a two-day pass for Saturday/Sunday nights concerts here: http://wnst.net/nfl/legendary-howlin-wolf-will-be-purple-ground-zero-for-all-baltimore-ravens-fans-in-nola/

New Orleans never seems to shut down or sleep.

And when the Baltimore Ravens win this Super Bowl title, we expect it to be a long, long night of partying at The Howlin’ Wolf into the wee hours.

 

 

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Joel Ward

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Ravens and Ray Lewis Have a Big Fan in Capitals Joel Ward

Posted on 14 January 2013 by Ed Frankovic

It is no secret that many of the current Washington Capitals are Redskins fans given that the club plays in DC, but there is one very notable exception who actively supports the Baltimore Ravens, and that is forward Joel Ward.

Ward, who scored the series clinching goal against Boston in overtime last spring that put the Caps into round two, has somewhat of a Ravens game day tradition on twitter blasting out his “all Ravens” tweets. This past Saturday, before Baltimore went out and upset the Denver Broncos, #42 posted the following:

 

I caught up with Ward at Capitals practice on Sunday and asked him about his thoughts on the Baltimore victory in the mile high city.

“Obviously I was screaming like a school girl, I was pretty excited. It was huge, quite the ending. I can only imagine what the flight home could be for those guys,” said the winger who likely enjoyed a similar flight home from Beantown last spring following his OT winner.

Ward, who grew up in Canada and worked his way through juniors and the minors before catching on with the Minnesota Wild and then the Nashville Predators at the NHL level, is a Ravens fans for obvious reasons: #52.

“I’m a big Ray Lewis guy. Been a big fan of just the way he plays the game, his leadership. It’s pretty tough to do as an individual what he does from a leadership standpoint in that locker room and gets the boys fired up. You can tell the guys are following him. I’ve been his fan for a long time now. It just so happened that I came to DC but I’m still a Ravens fan,” added Ward.

Ward, who still hasn’t had a chance to meet Lewis yet but has met some of the other Ravens, attended #52′s last game in Baltimore two Sundays ago and witnessed the famed Lewis “Squirrel Dance” in person.

“I was pretty close, right above the tunnel there. It was pretty cool to see,” said a smiling Ward.

On the ice, Ward looks to improve on a difficult first year in Washington where he battled an injury all season that hampered his ability to get up and down the rink.

“I had a little bit of a hernia issue last year. You want to play is the bottom line, I’m not going to dwell on it too much. I just kind of fought through it each day and battled. I did have surgery in the offseason so now I feel a lot better. It’s something I had to deal with, it’s part of the game. Towards the end of the season we did a lot of good things, I thought we were close, one game away from moving on,” added Ward.

This season it is expected that Ward will see increased ice time given his improved health and the fast pace that Coach Adam Oates wants to play to create turnovers and more scoring opportunities.

“I feel good now…my mind is a lot better than it was before. Playing every day with a little bit of a strain is real tough but now I feel good physically and mentally. I’m anxious to get out there and run into a few bodies,” finished Ward, sounding a bit like his favorite Baltimore Raven.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ray Lewis says he’s never been affected by altitude in Denver

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Ray Lewis says he’s never been affected by altitude in Denver

Posted on 10 January 2013 by WNSTV

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Ray Lewis tells Nestor about “the last dance” in Baltimore

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Ray Lewis tells Nestor about “the last dance” in Baltimore

Posted on 06 January 2013 by WNSTV

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Ray Lewis says Sunday will be his last trip through tunnel in Baltimore

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Ray Lewis says Sunday will be his last trip through tunnel in Baltimore

Posted on 02 January 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

He couldn’t play forever. Of course, after watching him roam the defense for Baltimore Ravens as the spiritual and physical leader for 17 years, many of us wouldn’t have bet against Ray Lewis playing into his 40′s.

Today, in a not surprising but somehow still strangely shocking announcement, Lewis told the media that he had just informed his teammates he’s walking away from the NFL at the conclusion of this Super Bowl drive. Several times during his media session, Lewis had to stop and control his emotions. Ray Rice followed him to the podium and welled up twice.

The reaction from his teammates was a mix of pressure, emotions and the reality that no one wants to be the reason Ray Lewis ends his career without another championship.

I wrote about the life and times of Ray Lewis two seasons ago in a three-part series.

Part 1: Is it Safe to Say The Ghost of Ray Lewis Has Passed?

Part 2: Celebrating The Ray Of Today

Part 3: Will Ray Lewis be a “ray of light” in the future?

Obviously, this announcement will take months — and maybe years — to digest for the Baltimore Ravens and everyone in the organization and the city.

There will be statues. There will be Hall of Fame ballots. There will be a bronze bust in Canton in five years. There will be “Thank You Ray” days and a Ring of Honor enshrinement.

So, for a few hours today, everyone will share a Ray Lewis memory.

But the fact remains that Lewis’ former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will be bringing the upstart Indianapolis Colts into Baltimore on Sunday and suddenly it could be No. 52′s final hours in an NFL uniform.

Ray Rice had a hard time internalizing that and had to choke back tears on Sunday.

Chance are, he won’t be the only one.

One more reason the Baltimore Ravens need to win on Sunday and continue this now-final drive to get Ray Lewis another chance to dance with the Lombardi Trophy before he rides into the purple sunset.

 

 

 

 

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Will Ravens continue to be haunted by the four deadly sins of defense in 2012?

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Will Ravens continue to be haunted by the four deadly sins of defense in 2012?

Posted on 04 November 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Let’s get this out of the way right away – the Baltimore Ravens are 6-2 and any complaining about Sunday’s 25-15 win over the Cleveland Browns won’t change their slim lead in the AFC North or color the obvious breakdowns and weaknesses that are apparent to anyone who has watched their choppy work.

But as a Ray Rice told me at the podium on the shores of Lake Erie after another win: “There are no bad wins in the NFL.”

We can deal with the offensive inconsistencies later but my concerns center around a defense that will continue to take the field with a squad of patchwork underachievers and glaring fundamental issues.

The four deadly sins of defense continue to haunt the Ravens, if only for the first 80 yards of the field in Cleveland on Sunday. Rushing the passer. Stopping the run. Covering in the secondary. And tackling in general.

Let us count and assess the issues one by one…

The Ravens have no pass rush. Despite having the return of a seemingly spry Terrell Suggs in Houston two weeks ago, he was no factor in Cleveland. Joe Thomas ate him up and most teams will simply get some help on No. 55 if he becomes a pest and the Ravens lack a backup quarterback chaser with any push. Paul Kruger hasn’t been effective. Pernell McPhee, who flashed some visions of a pass rush specialist last season, has been mostly invisible this year and was an injury scratch on Sunday. Haloti Ngata continues to struggle physically and the leaks continue all around him on the defense.

Of course, no pass rush leads to trouble in the secondary with any quarterback and wide receiver tandem that has is given ample time to make a play. This will be an especially daunting issue when the Ravens see the Steelers in two weeks as Ben Roethlisberger has made a Hall of Fame career by making positive plays happen after the play breaks down.

With the injuries to Lardarius Webb, the Ravens secondary has been stressed tremendously because Cary Williams is now carrying the weight of marking every team’s No. 1 receiver. Aside from the obvious with Sergio Kindle being unable to play after his brutal fall and head injury, Jimmy Smith has been the Ravens’ most disappointing first-round draft pick since Travis Taylor. He’s the most penalized defensive player on the team and is consistently getting beat by top-notch receivers on a weekly basis. To my eyes, they’re simply targeting him and the likes of Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and the Manning brothers will literally be frothing at the mouth awaiting a chance to throw the ball into this secondary.

After more than a decade of dominance against the run – and a source of massive pride of a local fan base that would routinely chant “you can’t run” from my seats up in Sect. 513 – the Ravens’ run defense has been porous as it’s been four straight weeks of allowing running backs to gash the front seven and get deeper down the field where the secondary becomes a de facto part of the tackling corps.

And all over the field tackling has been a consistent source of frustration. You can blame not-so-new-anymore defensive coordinator Dean Pees. You can talk about the loss of personnel like Ray Lewis via injury or Jarret Johnson, Cory Redding, etc. to free agency, but there have been leaks all over the field when it comes to second chances and fellows in purple flailing and missing.

Eight games into the season, the Ravens are 6-2 and there’s ample reason to be energized by their gaudy record and seat atop the AFC North.

The offense has certainly been capable as witnessed by their early-season success and it even managed 25 points yesterday on the road in Cleveland by managing to play about 20 minutes of decent football and still spending more than an hour without a first down. But there have been many times recently when Joe Flacco and the offensive crew have been stumbling their

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Ray Lewis says he had “intimate conversation” with returning referees

Posted on 28 September 2012 by WNSTV

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