Tag Archive | "lewis"

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Confessions of a lifetime of hatred for Pittsburgh from a real Baltimore sports fan

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a big, emotional week of football in Baltimore and the reason it’s so significant is because of our civic desire to have another purple parade at the Inner Harbor and the sheer nausea we all feel in the pits of our bellies about the fact that at 8 p.m. on Saturday night this could be the worse loss of our lives all over again.

Just like all of our January losses to the likes of Indianapolis and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and New York.

Or, it can potentially extinguish the 40 years of domination from the city of Pittsburgh, but specifically the Steelers and their arrogant, obnoxious fan base here in the region.

This is an epic throwdown between two cities that don’t like each other but a rivalry that is so embarrassingly lopsided that it makes the Roadrunner look like a winner.

I’m up to my eyeballs in rattlesnakes throwing parties, organizing bus trips and running WNST.net – 12 hours of radio, the daily newspaper, text service plus all of our social media endeavors on Facebook and Twitter that truly is Baltimore’s best and most comprehensive sports coverage in the world. And for those of you who know me, you know what a massive time commitment it is being a washed up sports talk show host and new media entrepreneur of the station that no one listens to but the website and social media that everyone in Baltimore seems to visit and read.

This whole “Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore” thing takes on such a personal, vitriolic part of my inner soul that it’s almost best that I not focus on it too much and keep my head down and wait for the game at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday to release that part of my energy.

But some jackasses from the “out of town media club” (which encompasses the greater part of the whole local scene outside of WNST.net) have written, said and defended their typically insensitive and uneducated remarks just to remind us how out of touch and clueless they really are about what this community is about and WHY the Ravens are important in the first place.

Nothing in the local sports community divides like Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. The Colts thing, while far from dormant, is now a distant second place. And the “I Hate Washington Club” is shrinking because the Redskins and Nationals are weak and irrelevant and the Capitals are the fastest growing brand in Baltimore and I have statistics to prove it.

And the out-of-town media geniuses all talk about expertise, ethics and journalism while all taking a chunk of your Orioles/MASN money to hush up criticism of an oozing, open sports cancer in Baltimore while waving purple pompoms in January like they really care about the Ravens and like they invented Festivus.

To anyone with half a brain from Baltimore, it’s insulting.

I attended a Smart CEO event last Thursday night where I was summarily subjected to a pair of morning show faux sports imposters from Boston and New York standing in front of a room full of mostly Baltimore upper-crust businessmen and patronizing them

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Nnamdi Asomugha to the Ravens?

Posted on 11 January 2011 by Michael Schwartz

One of the best cornerbacks in the NFL is Nnamdi Asomugha and he will be a free agent in the 2011 free agent market. There are many teams who will want this cornerback and one of which is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens would love to get a shutdown corner to add to their great defense. This year Asomugha was thrown at 27 times, and only 13 of these were completions. Teams obviously don’t want to throw near him, and if the Ravens got him then they could put him on one side with no safety help and then have Reed on the other side ball hawking. The only thing that will keep him out of Baltimore will be the money; the Ravens generally won’t go out and pay a player 8-10 million a year. Assuming that Asumougha will get paid like Darrelle Revis who just got a 4 year, 32 million dollar contract this year. He will likely make the same amount if not a little more. He deserves the money but the Ravens also have to resign Haloti Ngata who is one of the best if not the best defensive tackle in the NFL. They may resign Todd Heap, but other than that they have guys like Kelly Gregg, Chris Carr, Fabian Washington, T.J Houshmanzadah, and Jarett Johnson. They will likely let Gregg, Housh, and Washington go. They will sign Johnson and Carr for a decent price, but they would still be able to get Asumougha. This would put them over the top as a defense since for the past couple of years; they have wanted to get a good corner. Ozzie will definitely look into getting him but the Ravens will have to beat offers by other teams. If the Ravens could get deep into the playoffs or even the Super Bowl they would have a better chance, since Asumougha has never been in a playoff game. He would be a great accusation and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis, Reed, or other Ravens have contacted him and expressed interest.

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As purple Festivus season is upon us, alas the real Grinch continues to be Peter G. Angelos

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As purple Festivus season is upon us, alas the real Grinch continues to be Peter G. Angelos

Posted on 24 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been 51 months now since the initial “Free The Birds” campaign that we launched at WNST.net in “Year Nine of The Black Cat” and motivated more than 2,000 other brave souls who said “enough is enough” to Peter Angelos and the losing and nasty ways of the Baltimore Orioles.

The holiday results are in yet again for another sad orange offseason and I’m feeling pretty confident — as is Las Vegas — that the Baltimore Orioles will not be a playoff team in 2011.

And the real reason the team won’t win this year is the same as last year and the year before that: they won’t (or can’t) spend all of the millions of dollars they have managed to extract from this community via their incredibly wealthy and lean “regional sports network” called MASN.

Angelos

We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in direct profit that was allegedly to be spent on improving the baseball team for the community to enjoy. But instead of the $150 million payrolls that were promised to “compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox,” that previously earmarked U.S. money donated by Middle Atlantic cable subscribers is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos. Along with about $20 million more each year since Andy MacPhail took over in 2007 and slashed the payroll, bought off the local media and preached “young” to the fans while winking “cheap” at the owner that he just made a cool, clean profit for and shared in the financial windfall.

And like any other billionaire businessman without a soul for the pride of his own company and what it represents in the community, all of a sudden it’s very hard for any of them to part with “guaranteed money in the bank.” Especially when there’s no financial upside to giving the likes of Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre or Cliff Lee tens of millions of guaranteed money when winning is so far from being a reality in the AL East that even the once-prideful Angelos has clearly quit on trying to win for the fans of the Baltimore Orioles.

Adam LaRoche or Derrek Lee? This is what it’s come down to for the Orioles as Santa brings goodies and toys and playoff-caliber baseball elsewhere to even the likes of Milwaukee.

If you’re trying to be a .500 team signing the “leftovers” and “growing the arms” might be a strategy. But, really, is the bar a World Series title for Baltimore or is the bar set at being in third place and making $50 million in profit?

The Orioles are so grossly pathetic at this point that no credentialed Major League Baseball player with any other option this side of Pittsburgh will elect to come and play here. And the remaining few lost souls in the fan base are so desperate for any morsel of progress that they’ve even given Buck Showalter a hall pass for lying

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Cameron and Mattison orchestrate Ravens win over Saints

Posted on 19 December 2010 by Drew Forrester

A weird thing happened in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-24 Ravens win over New Orleans Saints.

There was no defensive meltdown. Not from the Ravens, anyway.

Baltimore got a pair of Billy Cundiff field goals in the 4th quarter and held off a spirited Saints comeback to win a huge showdown on Sunday and improve to 10-4, inching closer to a 3rd consecutive AFC playoff spot in the process.

This game – offensively – was about two people: Ray Rice. And Joe Flacco.

Rice ran through, over and around the defending Super Bowl champs, scampering for 153 yards on 31 carries. And when he wasn’t using his legs to dampen the Saints’ hopes, he used his hands, catching 5 balls for 80 yards including a superb 17 yard over the shoulder TD grab in the second quarter.

And Joe Flacco, asked to appropriately manage the game today as Baltimore’s running attack exposed a weak Saints defensive front, did just that in completing 10 of 20 passes for 172 yards. Flacco accounted for two TD’s in the air and was mistake free in compiling a QB rating of 112.9.

That Baltimore’s offense failed to score an offensive touchdown in the second half for the fifth straight game was of little issue afterwards.

This was a huge win for John Harbaugh and Company.

And it was also a day of recovery for the team’s offensive and defensive coordinators, as Cam Cameron and Greg Mattison were both spot on in their game plan and the execution thereof. Cameron looked at the stats, saw a New Orleans defense that was vulnerable against the run, and decided not to play games by out-fooling Sean Payton and his coaching staff. Cameron used the run to his team’s benefit and it worked magically all afternoon, as poor tackling highlighted the New Orleans defensive lapse.

Mattison, meanwhile, sent pressure early and often to start the game and gave Drew Brees fits throughout the first half. Brees, generously listed at 6’0″ by the Saints, struggled at times during the first 25 minutes based mainly on the fact that Baltimore’s outside pressure kept him in the pocket and limited his vision over the Ravens defensive line. Even in the second half, with Baltimore’s defense on its heels, the Ravens were able to make life difficult for Brees. And on the Saints final drive with three minutes to go, the Baltimore defense held firm and forced a 4th down attempt that was picked off by Cory Redding to seal the game.

This time around, unlike other Sunday’s (and a Monday) when the Ravens defense crumbled as the game moved into the final quarter, Baltimore got the win BECAUSE of their defense, not in spite of it. It was a good thing to see.

Chalk this victory up to a perfect storm of sorts. The players played well and the coaching staff coached well. This game was won on the field by Ray Rice and Joe Flacco, but it was sealed by Cameron and Mattison, who developed a strategy, stuck to it, and had their players execute it to near-perfection.

For as much grief as they’ve taken this year, a private “atta boy” hug was probably shared by the two coordinators after the game.

So the Ravens move on to Cleveland now, where the Browns await next Sunday, licking their chops and trying to win for the “hometown fans” who despise a visit from the purple about as much as we in Baltimore hate a visit from the horseshoe in the midwest.

For now, though, all is well in Baltimore, where the Ravens held off the defending Super Bowl champs today and looked awfully good in doing so.

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Funeral arrangements made for Mack Lewis

Posted on 18 November 2010 by WNST Staff

Here are the final arrangements for Mr. Mack B. Lewis:

Event 1: Public viewing for Mack Lewis

Date: Thurs., Nov 18, 2010

Time: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Site: Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home

Address: 4905 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212

Event 2: Wake and Funeral Service for Mack Lewis

Date: Fri., Nov 19, 2010

Time: 10:00 a.m. (wake), 11:00 a.m. (funeral)

Site: Murphy Fine Arts Center (MFAC), Gilliam Concert Hall on campus of Morgan State University

Address: 2201 Argonne Drive, Baltimore, MD 21251

Notes:

1.       The Murphy Fine Arts Center is located on Argonne Dr. between Hillen Road and Harford Road across from Police Station.

2.       Parking: At the Murphy Fine Arts Center, parking is free in the “Y” lot. Access the “Y” lot from Argonne Drive. Turn onto McCallum Drive. Travel straight through 1st STOP sign, to reach the rear of the Murphy Fine Arts Center. Bear to right at 2nd STOP sign. See parking lot entrance on left.

Event 3: Repast

Date: Fri., Nov 19, 2010

Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (meal service ends at 6:00 p.m.)

Site: Morgan State University Student Center

Address: 1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251

Notes:

1.       Parking: The University Parking Garage is centrally located on the campus.  The garage is adjacent to the Athletic Complex, Student Center, Ticketmaster’s, Bookstore and across from the Library. Hours of Operation: 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Normal Rates: First 30 minutes – Free, $.50 each additional hour, $4.00 maximum/day.

2.       Persons attending the repast may park in the garage for free on Fri. Nov 19, 2010 (with a voucher). Upon completion of the repast, call 410-299-0623 to get a voucher.

Event 4: Open House and Memorial Dedication to “Mr. Mack” at Mack Lewis Gym

Date: Tues., Dec 14, 2010

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Site: Mack Lewis Gym

Address: 901 N. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21205

Notes:

1.       This event is open to the public, including all former boxers of “Mr. Mack”.

2.       All are welcome at the gym for music, light refreshments, a DVD presentation and to witness the dedication of Broadway Street and Eager Street that will become Mack Lewis Way.

For further information, contact Mack Lewis’ nephew, Elmer Johnson at 443-865-8947 or Mack Lewis’ niece, Tamlyn Franklin at 410-299-0623.

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Hey Baltimore sports fans, it’s Twitter not Spitter

Posted on 10 November 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

The game is all set for Thursday night and I’m all set to jump a plane to Birmingham, Alabama and make my usual drive through the lovely eastern part of the South toward Atlanta for another Georgia Dome visit and a Thursday night date with Matt Ryan and my old pal Mike Smith’s Falcons. Now that Le’Ron McClain has been found innocent by Park Avenue, I suppose we can move the topic from “spitter” to “Twitter”.

If you are NOT “on Twitter” (as they say) let me make an impassioned plea for you to try it tomorrow night and follow along (or just follow from the front page here at WNST.net or in our LIVE CHAT) and see all the fun you’re missing by not getting completely caught up in the mobile fun of gameday with feedback.

Over the last 18 months, WNST.net has moved from a “little radio station” into the most-viewed and relevant Baltimore sports media site in the new media space. Come see what all of the fuss is about tomorrow night when we crush the coverage of the Falcons-Ravens game.

Along with Chris Pika and Glenn Clark, we’ll be in Atlanta. Thyrl will be at HighTopps in Timonium downing a few Bud Lights and surveying the purple suburban scene and Drew Forrester will be blogging, watching, Tweeting, chatting and hanging with Lucy on one arm and Ethan on the other.

It’s a brand new world of sports media coverage.

Follow us on Twitter on Thursday and find out what all of the fuss is about. You’ll see how good little WNST.net really is…

And if you’re already a Twitter, Facebook or mobile-enabled person already, please visit us as well and jump into the best sports conversation going on in Baltimore during the games at WNST.net…

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Since our radio station had a tree almost fall on it…join our LIVE CHAT here NOW at WNST.net!

Posted on 04 October 2010 by WNST Staff

As many of you know by now, our WNST AM-1570 signal is “off the air” and has been since 8:20 this morning. But, luckily for all of us, we have this website here with plenty of blogs, news, audio, video and coverage of yesterday’s big win in Pittsburgh.

BG&E is “on the scene” trying to get us back up and running. We had a series of trees fall on the power chords on our road and we do not have a generator. (If you’re a generator company, feel free to contact me: nasty@wnst.net).

And, instead of doing traditional radio, click HERE for a live chat beginning at 1 p.m. with Thyrl Nelson, Rex Snider and then Drew Forrester. We’ll also be attending the Joe Flacco (3:45 p.m.) and John Harbaugh 4 p.m.) press conferences with live reaction in our Purple Haze chat.

When rain falls, you build a boat. Our boat is this live chat. Please come and join us soon!

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A Glorious Festivus Day for Ravens

Posted on 10 January 2010 by Ed Frankovic

It was a super day for the Baltimore Ravens franchise as they put on a first quarter clinic en route to a 33-14 whipping of the New England Patriots on their home turf in the opening round of the NFL Playoffs. There were lots of firsts for the Ravens on Sunday, as chronicled by Drew in this blog, and a city that seemed a little bit skeptical of this team’s ability to win in the post season will no doubt be going purple crazy all week as Baltimore gets ready to head to Indianapolis. We have several days to analyze that matchup and as Glenn mentioned in his blog, there are things that need some correcting. However, for tonight, this blog is just going to primarily talk about the positives (my dad would call this the anti-Phil Jackman blog - and Phil you know I still love ya!):

- I don’t think I am going out on a limb in declaring this the best performance by the team all season. They defeated an elite club that has a one of the best QB’s in the NFL by lining up and just physically beating the Patriots in nearly every aspect of the game. New England had the deer in the headlights look after Ray Rice went 83 yards on the game’s opening play from scrimmage followed by the Terrell Suggs sack and fumble of Tom Brady that set up the Ravens second touchdown. It was smash mouth Ravens football, no doubt.

- After the game Ray Lewis, who was outstanding with 13 tackles and a sack on Sunday, praised defensive coordinator Greg Mattison for coming up with a great game plan. Mattison, however, said that it was not his schemes, it was the players execution that did the job. Whatever the case, the Baltimore defense was the most aggressive it has been all year and clearly that style fits the personnel. New England only had 196 total yards, wow! Charlie Frye threw for 180 yards on the Ravens in the 1st half alone in last week’s victory in Oakland. #52 talked in the post game about disguising the blitz until the last second for fear of Brady recognizing it and checking off, something the 3-time Super Bowl Champion excels at. Well today, #12 had no clue what was coming most of the time and he played like it. Mattison felt that the team could generate pressure rushing just four players and for the most part he was right. If there is one thing I would like to see less of, it would be the three man rush. The NFL rules are set up so much for the offense that if you give the receivers time to get open they either will or likely draw a penalty.

- Speaking of penalties, Baltimore only was flagged 3 times for a total of 15 yards! That was incredible focus and discipline by a team that has struggled to maintain its composure in several instances this year. Yes, the team was winning so it was easier to stay in control, but mentally that may have been the best the squad collectively has executed all year. Not a single personal foul or pass interference infraction was whistled on the Ravens today.

- Did the offense remind you a bit of the 2000 Ravens in Tennessee? Baltimore only threw the ball 10 times and Joe Flacco completed just four passes (but two were huge ones to Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton to keep second half drives going). But when you get an early lead after an 83 yd scamper why not keep pounding the ball like the Ravens used to do with Jamal Lewis? The rushing totals were 52 carries for 234 yards, a 4.5 yard per carry average. The backs were good and the offensive line was flat out dominant. It is clear that a healthy Jared Gaither at left tackle plays a huge role in offensive success.

- The much maligned secondary was superb today forcing 3 interceptions and holding Randy Moss to 5 catches for 48 yards (and most of those came in garbage time). Dominique Foxworth, Frank Walker, and Dwan Landry might have had their best games of the season. The pressure put on Brady certainly helped and having a healthier Ed Reed at safety contributed as well. Ravens fans can only hope that #20 continues to progress physically this week because they will need his smarts against Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and company. Reed even had a good lateral today to Landry on his INT that put the Ravens in the red zone.

- Special teams were fairly solid. Tom Zbikowski’s 30 yard return after New England cut the Ravens lead to 27-14 put the ball near midfield and on the shorter grid the Ravens drove for the score that put the nail in the coffin in this one. Sam Koch punted well with two good kicks that pinned the Pats inside their own 20 yard line and even Matt Katula’s long snaps were better allowing kicker Billy Cundiff to hit on both of his field goals and all three PATs.

- The Ravens came out as healthy as you can be after 17 weeks of football and tight end Todd Heap’s back injury appears to be minor. So could a team that has been banged up so badly since starting 3-0 finally be getting healthier in some key areas (see Gaither and Reed)? One has to hope that is true and Flacco will likely have an easier time getting his aching hip loose in a dome instead of the freezing north east.

- All in all it was a very good day to be affiliated with the Ravens and somewhere heading south on I-95 at 1000pm on Sunday night there are two full buses of very happy people who decided to go on the WNST road trip to Gillette Stadium. Those people, and any other Ravens fan who attended the game in person, are truly great for showing such faith in a team that many thought would get beat today, including myself. As anyone that has traveled with WNST knows, WNST bus trips, whether to a Ravens game, a Caps or Bears hockey game, or to a horse race, is a ton of fun. I’m sure this weekend to Indianapolis will be no exception so sign up, if you can. By the way, it was great to hear Ravens Coach John Harbaugh mention and praise the support the team received from the Ravens fans who attended the contest today. So how about we more than double that for next week’s Saturday night contest and get at least five WNST buses going to Indy?

Happy Festivus! (que the Ravens Mania music now…)

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Ravens punch Indy ticket with easy beatdown of Patriots, 33-14

Posted on 10 January 2010 by Drew Forrester

Let me get this straight.

New England hadn’t lost a home playoff game in 31 years — and in that time they were 11-0 in Foxborough.

Tom Brady was 8-0 at home in his post-season career.

Baltimore’s pedestrian 9-7 regular season mark this year included a dismal 3-5 away record.

So with all of that statistical data overloaded against Baltimore, it made perfect sense that the Ravens would race out to a 24-0 first quarter lead and cruise to a 33-14 win in New England today.

Right?

If you say so.

What a crazy league the NFL has become.

And what a crazy season it’s been for the Ravens, who literally entered the 4th quarter of their final regular season game in Oakland with their playoff berth still very much in jeopardy.

7 days later, they’ve polished off the mystique of the New England Patriots and they’re on their way to Indianapolis for a Saturday evening showdown with Peyton Manning and the Colts.

The New England fans hung around until there were about 9 minutes to go in the game.

They put in more of an effort than Randy Moss, that’s for sure.

So how did it happen today?

In a way only the dreamer could possibly imagine, the Ravens scored on their first play from scrimmage and then parlayed two first quarter turnovers into a 24-0 lead before half the crowd could say, “Want another cup of chow-dahh?”

And with their star quarterback obviously in need of a spark-plug change and Moss mailing it in like a member of the Postal Service, the Patriots were left with nothing to do except entertain an afternoon of boos from their faithful and wonder to themselves how on earth they picked today to have their worst game of the season.

As for the Ravens, they picked a great time to produce their best 30 minutes of defensive football all season, that’s for sure.

With Ray Lewis providing yet another epic post-season performance and Domonique Foxworth leading an opportunistic secondary, Baltimore clamped down early and often on both Brady and the running game en-route to a comfortable 24-7 halftime lead.

And when Willis McGahee scampered in with 10:32 to play to make it 33-14, the stands started to empty.

So it’s now on to Indianapolis, where the Ravens will undoubtedly have January 13, 2007 on their minds.  Fresh off of a 13-3 regular season and a first-week playoff bye, Steve McNair had a game only Tom Brady could duplicate (today) and the Baltimore offense stalled in a 15-6 loss to Indy.

Next Saturday night in Indy, it’s payback time for Ray Lewis, Todd Heap, Ed Reed and the rest of the guys who were part of that disappointing home defeat.

It had to be this way, right?

Baltimore vs. Indianapolis.

Winner goes to the AFC Championship game.

Loser goes home.

One thing for sure:  Tom Brady won’t be making a trip to South Florida in early February to gun for his 4th ring.

The Ravens made sure of that today in New England.

Now if they can send next week’s opposing quarterback home early, we might really be on to something.

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First aid & Band aids don’t aid Ravens’ Festivus run

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As a card-carrying, eternal purple optimist, I suppose today is a day when my lavender heart gets tarnished. I’m going to do the unthinkable and be rational in my observation of where the Ravens are and where they could be heading between now and Jan. 3 in Oakland.

After seeing how this works over the last decade, since the Ravens really became a competitive squad in 1999, I think the NFL really boils to one thing – talent not withstanding – it’s injuries.

And this is why I think the Ravens are doomed this year, why they aren’t a good bet to make it through this minefield of games against the mostly lousy NFC North:

The most injured team in December loses. The healthiest team – with talent and key positions in tact – in January wins.

Right now, after watching them the past few weeks and after walking into the Ravens locker room last night, my veteran sportswriter eyeball test tells me that any purple Festivus miracle this year is a major, major uphill battle.

Part of why the team stinks right now is because they’re battered and bruised and the locker room looks like the walking wounded.

And it’s not just the devastating Terrell Suggs, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Fabian Washington injuries, it’s more about the walking wounded right now who are playing at far less than 90% and giving it all they have but just can’t perform at a Pro Bowl level with a variety of limiting injuries.

Let’s address the gimpy infirmary, not to mention the other aged players like Matt Birk, Trevor Pryce and Derrick Mason on the Ravens:

The three best players on the Ravens – and I’ll take any argument here – are Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco and Haloti Ngata. Right now, they are the “Purple Hearts,” if you will.

Let be honest – the NFL is all about speed. It’s the most significant attribute any player can have and it’s universal. Why do you think they spend so much time on 40-yard dashes at the combine every year? Speed kills. If you don’t have it, you don’t win.

Ray Lewis has a bad foot. Joe Flacco has a bad ankle. Haloti Ngata has a bad leg.

Lewis has shown it less in his gait than Flacco or Ngata (and the naked eye can tell from just watching them take normal walking steps in between plays what’s going on there) but he’s just as bad off from what we can tell and his several days of missing practice last week would tell you all you need to know. Lewis LIVES for practice. He loves it!

Flacco just looks like a mess right now. He’s all heart, but it’s pretty clear he’s gimpy and he got rolled up on again last night. Planting, moving, having a busted play become a big gainer – all of that is questionable on any given play. It also looks like his throws are sailing because of these subtle adjustments he’s making on the fly with monsters trying to tear his head off.

Ngata, another one with a heart the size of his own giant girth, is only playing on select downs and is about as banged up as any guy I’ve seen in my years of doing this who is still going out there on Sundays. Kinda reminds me of the year Peter Boulware played with one arm. Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is mixing up the units and keeping Kelly Gregg, Justin Bannan and Brendan McKinney fresh, but there’s a major difference between a healthy Ngata and the rest of these guys – especially if you’re talking about 60-70 snaps a game.

This, my friends, is bad for the purple business and the Ravens aren’t going very far for very long with the trio of Lewis, Flacco & Ngata on the hobble.

How long will it take them to heal? Will they heal in the midst of five more games, three more roadtrips and 15 more hours of the physical hell the NFL game wreaks on the framework of these massive bodies?

We’ll see. But I wouldn’t take odds that any of these injuries are going to miraculously heal. They’re nagging, prolonged bouts.

It’s not that I don’t think the Ravens are “good” enough. Properly assembled and with less injured personnel, I’d think they Ravens would be a division winner – and that’s just if they had a kicker who was NFL-caliber the first half of the season.

But right now, at 6-5 with trips still pending to Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Oakland, the road is fraught with more bumps and bruises.

Coach John Harbaugh will downplay all of this. These guys won’t even address their injuries when we ask them on Wednesday’s media day. That’s fine. They shouldn’t talk about it.

But any astute observer would tell you that the Ravens are among the most banged up teams in the league and all at key positions. And banged up teams don’t fare well in the cold having to go on the road. And this is before we address the obvious shortcomings this 6-5 unit has as a whole.

They’re weak on special teams returns and magic. They’ve been previously weak on kicking and the team missed another 54-yarder that could’ve won the game on Sunday night. The offense has been nothing special and the wide receivers have been MIA some weeks. The pass rush has been less than we’ve known it for a decade and don’t get me started on the secondary, which is also playing with spare parts now that Washington is on IR and Frank Walker and Chris Carr continue to get exposed in key situations.

Sure Ray Rice has been explosive. And there have been times, especially early in the year, when the offense looked like it was in sync and could dazzle us with 30 points every week. But that’s not what we’ve seen in large part since September.

If Bill Parcells coined the phrase, “You are what you are!” than the Ravens of 2009 are the embodiment of that expression. They’re 6-5.

I want to believe. I’m going to pick them to win every week. I’m going to travel to Green Bay with a bus full of purple zealots on Sunday and Monday. We’re going to root hard and hope for the best.

But this injury thing, for me, it’s unshakeable. The late-season, winning NFL teams are usually much, much healthier than the Ravens appear to be here on Dec. 1.

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