Tag Archive | "lions"

Ravens preparing for Lions’ monstrous defensive tackles

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Ravens preparing for Lions’ monstrous defensive tackles

Posted on 13 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As if preparing for arguably the NFL’s most explosive offensive player in Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson wasn’t enough, the Ravens must also deal with a pair of monsters in the middle of the Lions defensive line on Monday night.

And while Detroit’s defense ranks an ordinary 17th in yards allowed and 18th in points surrendered this season, tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley can wreak havoc on an offense in a variety of ways. Effective in shutting down the run as well as providing pressure up the middle, the tackles also bring an intimidation factor that walks a fine line between intimidating and dirty at times.

“Their reputation, they definitely live up to it,” running back Ray Rice said. “I don’t know if you want to call it physical or dirty. Whatever the refs see, that’s what they see. But needless to say, I’m not going to spark any fire. No. 1 is those two guys there in the middle, Ndamukong Suh and Fairley. They are great football players. We know we have our hands full with those guys.”

The Lions rank sixth against the run, which doesn’t bode well for a Baltimore running game that’s last in the league in yards per carry, but Suh’s biggest asset is his ability to put pressure on the quarterback. His 5 1/2 sacks rank second on the Lions behind defensive end Ziggy Ansah while Fairley has added 3 1/2 sacks on the season.

Guards Marshal Yanda and A.Q. Shipley along with center Gino Gradkowski will be entrusted to keep quarterback Joe Flacco upright and to give him room to step up to throw against a vulnerable Detroit secondary. Yanda’s task will be especially challenging as Suh has graded out as the second-best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

“One of the things that you notice about them is the fact that they can push the pocket,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “They can keep you from stepping up in it, and therefore you aren’t able to get the ball down the field with the kind of precision that you like. They do that quite often to quarterbacks. They get free.”

One man on ‘Megatron?’

Plenty of discussion this week has centered around how the Ravens will try to cover Johnson with third-year cornerback Jimmy Smith being named as the most popular candidate.

As you’d expect, the Ravens aren’t giving away how they plan to defend the 6-foot-5 receiver, but Smith is their most effective defender in press coverage should they try to play a physical brand of football against him like they did earlier this season against standout receivers such as Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall.

“How many corners are 6-foot-2 [with] long arms, a physical guy, a strong guy and the guy can run?” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “Those are all the things you look for in a corner. Besides that, I think his confidence is growing. That’s the other side of it and the more it grows, the better you become.”

Pees would only say that fans and media would find out Monday night if the Ravens have decided to match Smith against Johnson exclusively, but the strategy isn’t as simple for a defense that plays extensive zone coverage.

In fact, the defensive coordinator provided a pretty convincing explanation for why the Ravens shouldn’t move away from their typical strategy of keeping Smith at right corner and Lardarius Webb on the left side in the base defense. Matching Smith up with the star receiver would require adjustments everywhere else and defenders to have new responsibilities if the Ravens are to show anything other than man coverage.

“You can’t go into a game, and every time I walk over with [No.81], they know you’re in man coverage, so a red flag is going to go up,” Pees said. “You’ve got to be able to play all of your coverages if you are going to play it that way. There’s a lot more involved in playing that, and all of a sudden the guy is in the slot, and he’s not an outside receiver, and you’re in sub defense, and Jimmy is in a nickel, or your guy is not a nickel. There’s a lot more involved when you try to play matchup coverage. It’s easy when you play man; go get your guy. But I wouldn’t want to be a coordinator in this league that tells the offensive coordinator every time I’m in man coverage.”

Indoor football

After dealing with a tornado-prompted delay in Chicago, a snowstorm in Baltimore, and high winds during a number of games over the last six weeks, the Ravens are embracing the opportunity to play indoors for the first time since Super Bowl XLVII.

It doesn’t result in any distinct advantage against an opponent that plays all home games inside, but the fast track and controlled climate of Ford Field just might be the elixir for a passing game that now possesses tight end Dennis Pitta and is looking for more consistency.

“I never make a big deal about playing outside,” Flacco said, “but every time you go into a dome and you start warming up, you realize how awesome it is to be able to throw the ball inside. It won’t have too much of an effect on the outcome of the game. As a quarterback, you always want great conditions and a dome obviously presents that.”

In addition to an easier time in the passing game, the Ravens will receive a respite in the kicking game after excellent work from kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch in some very difficult conditions.

The Ravens have even needed to adjust to the idea of not needing to prepare for harsh weather conditions.

“It’s been interesting,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “I gave the players the weather report this morning in the meeting, and I said it’s going to be 72 and calm. And there was a long pause. They weren’t sure they understood. ‘Oh, yeah. That’s right!!’ So, yes, we don’t have to deal with that. I think the people that are most happy about that are the specialists.”

 

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Week 15

Posted on 13 December 2013 by Luke Jones

Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game and local college games this season.

Luke Jones finished Week 14 with a 13-3 record while Drew Forrester was 10-6 on his picks. Entering Week 15, Jones is 128-79 on the season while Forrester is 123-84. Official standings are based only on the NFL picks.

Jones and Forrester incorrectly picked Denver to beat San Diego to kick off Week 15 action.

You can listen to Friday’s “Picks and Comment” segment HERE.

Ravens at Lions: Detroit 35-17 (Drew), Detroit 27-20 (Luke)
Redskins at Falcons: Washington 30-20 (Drew), Atlanta 27-21 (Luke)
49ers at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 24-21 (Drew), San Francisco 21-13 (Luke)
Cardinals at Titans: Tennessee 28-20 (Drew), Arizona 26-21 (Luke)
Saints at Rams: New Orleans 38-24 (Drew), New Orleans 34-20 (Luke)
Seahawks at Giants: Seattle 19-14 (Drew), Seattle 20-16 (Luke)
Bears at Browns: Cleveland 20-13 (Drew), Cleveland 24-23 (Luke)
Texans at Colts: Indianapolis 30-17 (Drew), Indianapolis 31-20 (Luke)
Bills at Jaguars: Jacksonville 27-21 (Drew), Jacksonville 21-16 (Luke)
Patriots at Dolphins: Miami 23-20 (Drew), New England 24-17 (Luke)
Eagles at Vikings: Philadelphia 34-21 (Drew), Philadelphia 32-20 (Luke)
Jets at Panthers: Carolina 30-13 (Drew), Carolina 27-12 (Luke)
Chiefs at Raiders: Kansas City 27-17 (Drew), Kansas City 24-14 (Luke)
Packers at Cowboys: Green Bay 27-24 (Drew), Dallas 31-20 (Luke)
Bengals at Steelers: Cincinnati 33-27 (Drew), Cincinnati 23-20 (Luke)
Towson at Eastern Illinois: Panthers 44-39 (Drew), Panthers 34-24 (Luke)
Army vs. Navy: Midshipmen 27-6 (Drew), Midshipmen 23-17 (Luke)

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Dumervil back at practice for Ravens on Friday

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Dumervil back at practice for Ravens on Friday

Posted on 13 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after telling reporters he was on the verge of returning to the practice field, Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil worked on a limited basis on Friday.

With Baltimore preparing for a Monday night meeting with the Detroit Lions, Dumervil was the only player on the roster to miss Thursday’s practice as he continues to work his way back from a left ankle injury suffered in Week 13. The 29-year-old missed last Sunday’s game over the Minnesota Vikings and hadn’t practiced since before the Ravens’ Thanksgiving game with Pittsburgh.

“It’s an unusual ankle sprain. It’s sort of a bruise [and] strain at once,” Dumervil said Thursday. “It’s kind of awkward, so you feel things from different areas. I’m getting better, so thank God about that. I’m going to try to go out tomorrow with the guys and get some work in. They’ve got a good team in Detroit, so I’ve got to make sure I’m ready.”

After failing to collect any sacks in their last two games, the Ravens could use Dumervil’s pass-rush ability against the league’s third-ranked passing game. Dumervil leads Baltimore with 9 1/2 sacks this season while serving primarily as a rush specialist.

Starting cornerback Lardarius Webb (abs) and rookie safety Brynden Trawick (ankle) both worked on a limited basis Friday for the second straight day.

For the Lions, standout running back Reggie Bush (calf) returned to practice on Friday, which is a promising sign for his status after he missed last Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.

Here is Friday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), S Brynden Trawick (ankle), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)

DETROIT
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Chris Houston (toe), CB Darius Slay (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder), RB Reggie Bush (calf), S Louis Delmas (knee), DE Isreal Idonije (knee), WR Calvin Johnson (knee), T LaAdrian Waddle (elbow)
FULL PARTICIPATION: S John Wendling (illness)

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Extra motivation not required for Lions’ Johnson

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Extra motivation not required for Lions’ Johnson

Posted on 12 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens safety Matt Elam certainly provided the flavor needed for an extra day of buildup for Monday’s meeting with the Detroit Lions.

While also offering words of praise for All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Elam naively called the 28-year-old receiver “pretty old” while questioning the 6-foot-5, 236-pound wideout’s physicality on Wednesday. Johnson took the bait in Thursday’s conference call with the Baltimore media, vowing to show Elam and the Baltimore secondary his “old-man strength,” but anyone extending the rookie’s comments any further in thinking it will impact Monday’s outcome is reaching.

Though the 22-year-old Elam put a target on his back and left himself open for criticism should Johnson get behind him for a long touchdown or two, you don’t need outside motivation when you’re the best wide receiver on the planet and on track to become one of the greatest in NFL history. Those pointing to Johnson’s 329-yard receiving day against Dallas that followed Dez Bryant’s inflammatory comments earlier this year overlook the role the Cowboys’ 32nd-ranked pass defense played in the career day.

Simply put, there’s no such thing as waking a sleeping giant when he’s already been stomping on opponents every week.

“Would you think that Calvin Johnson is going to come to a Monday night game on national television and not play his best game anyway [until] a rookie said something? I doubt it,” said cornerback Jimmy Smith, who would suffer as much as anyone if Elam’s comments actually impacted the receiver’s Monday performance. “If they’re going to take it as, ‘That’s poster-board [material]; we’re going to take it even harder now,’ then they don’t have the right mentality coming to play a Monday night game anyway.”

Elam’s silly comments aside, the Ravens face arguably the biggest nightmare in the NFL today in trying to slow the seventh-year receiver, who last year set an NFL single-season record with 1,964 receiving yards. Johnson ranks second in the league with 1,351 receiving yards and second with 12 touchdown catches as he’s reined in 75 passes this season.

Fortunate to only have to face Johnson once every four years, the Ravens will need to contain the monstrous playmaker to earn only their second road win of the season and maintain their enviable position as the current No. 6 seed in the AFC. Meanwhile, the Lions find themselves in a dogfight with Chicago and Green Bay for the NFC North division title.

“‘Megatron.’ Anytime somebody has a nickname like that, the kid is real,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “He is probably arguably the best receiver in the game. It’s going to take all 11 guys, especially tending to him. The pass rush is going to be key; running the ball is going to be key. They do a lot of things with him, [and] he ends up in a lot of places. But it’s also fun [when] you get to play against a guy like that.”

Looking beyond his obvious physical gifts, scheming how to cover Johnson is problematic because he’ll line up in a variety of different ways in offensive coordinator Scott Linehan’s system. Double teams and bracketed coverage sound great — and necessary — in principle, but the Lions effectively move him around various formations to create favorable matchups for him against the defense.

With that in mind, many have suggested that defensive coordinator Dean Pees assign the 6-foot-2 Smith — who’s been the team’s best cornerback this season — to follow Johnson wherever he lines up. Such a strategy goes against the Ravens’ normal way of keeping Smith at right cornerback and Lardarius Webb on the left side in the base defense.

The third-year defensive back Smith has embraced being physical against top receivers such as Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall, often getting the best of those matchups this season. Finally living up to the hype of being a first-round pick in the 2011 draft, Smith said he’d embrace the opportunity to shadow Johnson wherever he lines up if that’s what the Ravens ask him to do.

“Absolutely,” Smith said. “Prime-time television in front of the nation? We don’t move around a lot because we’ve got a lot of confidence in our corners. Whatever the game plan we bring on Monday night, that’s how we’re going to bring it. If they ask us to move and do things, we’re always going to be willing to do that.”

The Ravens secondary has spoken this week of embracing the challenge of slowing down Johnson, but they’ll need to avoid giving up the big play that’s plagued them all season. Baltimore has surrendered 16 pass plays of 40 or more yards this season — most in the NFL — while lacking a true free safety in the secondary.

Johnson alone has 20 receptions of 20 or more yards this season as his speed coupled with his ability to break tackles often leads to explosive plays on even shorter passes from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Missed assignments and shaky tackling have plagued the back end of the defense at various points this season, including the final two minutes of their win over Minnesota in which the Ravens gave up a 41-yard touchdown run and a 79-yard touchdown pass.

“Sometimes a team makes a great play,” Smith said. “Sometimes, it’s us with a mental error, doing something that we don’t usually do throughout the first four quarters of our game. Something like that [happens], and some big plays pops.”

Even if Smith, Webb, and No. 3 cornerback Corey Graham are at the top of their game in trying to cover Johnson, the Ravens must try to revitalize a pass rush that’s largely been in hibernation over the last two games. Baltimore didn’t record a quarterback sack against Pittsburgh or Minnesota as the defense battled Ben Roethlisberger and snow-covered field conditions in successive weeks.

Getting pressure won’t be easy as the Detroit offensive line has allowed only 15 sacks all season and Stafford likes to get rid of the ball quickly, meaning the Ravens must get hands up in passing lanes and at least provide enough discomfort to force quicker-than-normal throws if they can’t get to the Lions signal-caller in the pocket. Turnovers have been a problem for an otherwise-explosive offense as Stafford will rush through his progressions and force throws that sometimes aren’t there — even to Johnson.

The Ravens know their task is a tall one as they face the league’s second-ranked offense with Johnson the biggest reason why. The defense’s goal will be to keep him in front of the secondary, settling for completions with the goal of preventing game-changing plays.

But that’s the intention of opposing defenses week after week, with few units finding success.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. “These are the games that we have to put that work in and definitely put that work in for earlier in the year. It will be a great challenge.”

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Dumervil still missing from practice due to ankle injury

Posted on 12 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continued preparations for a key Week 15 meeting against the Detroit Lions with a key member of their pass rush again missing from practice.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil continues to be sidelined with a left ankle injury suffered in the Week 13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night. The 29-year-old missed his first game of the season this past Sunday in the 29-26 win over Minnesota after coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism early last week that the rush specialist would be able to play.

The Baltimore coach is taking a more conservative stance on Dumervil’s status this week, saying Monday that he has “a chance” of playing against Detroit.

“It’s definitely gotten better,” said Dumervil, adding that he plans to try to return to the practice field on Friday. “The strength is getting there. Just trying to continue to work on strengthening that ankle.”

He injured his ankle late in the first half of the win over the Steelers but returned in the second half to finish the game, making his slow recovery time concerning after initial optimism that he wouldn’t miss any further action. Dumervil acknowledged playing through great pain in the second half of that game but said he wanted to help his team earn the important win.

Rookie safety Brynden Trawick returned to the practice field on a limited basis after missing the last two games with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 12 against the New York Jets on Nov. 24.

Third-string running back Bernard Scott was back on the practice field for the Ravens after being re-signed to take the place of wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a concussion on Tuesday. Scott was cut last weekend to make room for returning tight end Dennis Pitta, but the Ravens told him there was a good chance they would bring him back in the near future.

For Detroit, four starters were missing from Thursday’s practice with running back Reggie Bush (calf) headlining the list. All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson was limited with a nagging knee injury that’s plagued for a large portion of the season.

Here’s Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Brynden Trawick (ankle), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)

DETROIT
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder), RB Reggie Bush (calf), S Louis Delmas (knee), CB Chris Houston (toe), DE Isreal Idonije (knee), CB Darius Slay (knee), S John Wendling (illness)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Calvin Johnson (knee), T LaAdrian Waddle (elbow)

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Fourth-quarter Flacco coming up big for Ravens

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Fourth-quarter Flacco coming up big for Ravens

Posted on 11 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Watching from afar, it would be easy to conclude Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hasn’t had a good 2013 season.

Already with a career-high 17 interceptions and on pace to post the lowest passer rating (77.0) of his six-year career, Flacco has clearly suffered from working with the league’s worst-ranked rushing attack in yards per carry (3.0) and a supporting cast that’s lacked tight end Dennis Pitta until this past Sunday. But his fourth-quarter performance has been the saving grace in the Ravens finding themselves with a 7-6 record and currently in position to be the AFC’s No. 6 seed in the postseason.

For the second straight season, Flacco’s highest passer rating (91.7) has come in the final 15 minutes of play as he’s thrown eight fourth-quarter touchdowns — twice the number he’s thrown in any other period. He’s completed 66.1 percent of his passes in the final quarter compared to just 57 percent in the first three quarters of play this season.

Unsurprisingly, the Ravens offense has also been its most productive in the final quarter by scoring 102 of its 278 points — just under 37 percent of their total output — in that 15-minute period. This past Sunday, Flacco orchestrated the 18th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime of his career, but he downplayed the significance of his strong performances when the stakes are at their highest on a weekly basis.

“I don’t know. We’ve put ourselves in a lot of situations in the fourth quarter to have to come back on teams and have to play well to win football games,” Flacco said. “We’ve probably spent a lot of time feeling games out, and then all the sudden gotten ourselves into situations where we just have to let it go and see what happens.”

That “let-it-rip” mentality seems to suit Flacco best as we saw throughout last season’s postseason run to the Super Bowl and again on Sunday when he went 7-for-10 for 91 yards and two touchdown passes on the final two offensive drives of the game against Minnesota. Prior to the nine-play, 64-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Pitta with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, Flacco had only gone 21-for-40 for 154 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions.

His late-game success has also come while needing to trust unproven players this season without the likes of Pitta and former Ravens wideout Anquan Boldin in the picture. Other quarterbacks may have thought twice about going to rookie free agent Marlon Brown with the game — and the season — on the line Sunday, but Flacco went right to the 6-foot-5 University of Georgia product in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown with four seconds remaining.

“It’s just what you have to do. Marlon is a great player,” Flacco said. “I’m not thinking back there, ‘Who is in this position? Can I trust this guy?’ If I was thinking that – if that was going through my head – I’d have all the confidence in the world, and he’d be a guy that I’d pick out.”

This moxie gives the Ravens and their 29th-ranked offense a fighting chance to do what’s necessary down the stretch in their final three games to give themselves a great chance to keep the final playoff spot in the conference. Often criticized in the past for being unemotional on the sideline, Flacco’s ability to never get too high or low in the biggest moments is what has made him so effective over the years for the Ravens.

The task of facing three first-place teams in the final three weeks — two of them coming on the road — is a daunting one, but Sunday was the latest example of the Ravens seemingly being able to flip a switch and do what’s necessary to win — even if it’s not aesthetically pleasing.

“We’ve had so much experience in tight games and in big, meaningful games,” Flacco said. “When we do get in situations where we have to play well in crunch time, the situation isn’t too big for us. We’re able to relax and just play football as we always would. Whereas if you’re not in those situations a lot and you start to think about the consequences of what happens if you don’t do what you should do, that’s when the situation can get too big and can overwhelm some people.”

Suggs remembers 2005 Detroit fiasco

Only one player remains on the roster from the last time the Ravens traveled to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions back in 2005.

It was a forgettable and embarrassing day as Baltimore not only lost 35-17 to fall to 1-3 in what would eventually be a 6-10 season but set a franchise record for penalties — falling one shy of the NFL record — and had two players ejected on that October afternoon. One of those players was linebacker Terrell Suggs, who recollected when he was tossed for arguing a roughing the passer call by referee Mike Carey, who explained that Suggs acted with “malice in his heart.”

The 11th-year linebacker could speak with a sense of humor on Wednesday about what happened eight years earlier, but that doesn’t overshadow it being one of the more embarrassing days in franchise history.

“I remember the [21] penalties. Did I get thrown out of that game? I did get thrown out of that game,” said Suggs, who insisted that 2005 game won’t be on his mind Monday night. “I had a lot of ‘malice in my heart.’ I think I head-butted a ref. I remember one of our guys (defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu) hit the crowd with the ‘X-Pac’ [gesture] — you all know what that is. I remember [former Lions running back] Kevin Jones having an altercation — not like a physical one, but a football altercation with one of our safeties. It was an interesting day. But that was the past, and we don’t ever want to see that side of us again.”

Road woes or warriors?

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 10 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Delaware State @ Maryland (Saturday 7pm Comcast Center); Golf: PGA Tour Franklin Templeton Shootout (Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday 4pm Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Naples, FL); Boxing: Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana (Saturday 8pm from San Antonio live on Showtime); High School Football: Baltimore Touchdown Club Senior All-Star Game (Saturday 1pm Archbishop Spalding)

10. John Mayer (Saturday 7pm Baltimore Arena); Robin Thicke/Fall Out Boy/Paramore/Miley Cyrus (Monday 7pm Verizon Center); Jimmy Eat World/Diamond Youth (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Live), All That Remains/Asking Alexandria (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live), Lupe Fiasco (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Live), Twenty-One Pilots/The 1975/MS MR/NONONO (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Mint Condition (Sunday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Rick Springfield (Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Marshall Tucker Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Wilson Phillips (Friday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage); Sara Bereilles/Gavin DeGraw (Wednesday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Steve Winwood/Cris Jacobs (Thursday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Gary Allan (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Ginuwine (Friday 8pm Howard Theatre), Ja Rule (Saturday 11:30pm Howard Theatre); The Hives (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), The Pietasters (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), Ms. Lauryn Hill (Sunday 6pm 9:30 Club); Mannheim Steamroller (Thursday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Straight No Chaser (Thursday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Backstreet Boys (Friday 6:30pm SECU Arena); Childish Gambino “Because the Internet” and Neil Young “Live at The Cellar Down” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

My most embarrassing admission of 2013? I saw John Mayer the first time he ever played the Arena. My second most embarrassing admission? I kinda enjoy the song he did with his girlfriend.

I had a friend who used to have a Jimmy Eat World beanie. I tried to steal it from him 100 times.

This song will end up in my Top 10 of 2013.

It is NEVER embarrassing to be caught singing along to this.

9. Andrew Dice Clay (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Gilbert Gottfried (Thursday 8pm Magooby’s Joke House);  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “Saving Mr. Banks” out in theaters (Friday); “Despicable Me 2″ and “Fast & Furious 6″ available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

And instead I’ll encourage you to watch Kay & Peele attempt to break the record for impressions in one minute.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Dumervil on mend as Ravens set sights toward Detroit

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Dumervil on mend as Ravens set sights toward Detroit

Posted on 09 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILL, Md. — The Ravens escaped their win over the Minnesota Vikings without an extensive injury list, but veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley joins linebacker Elvis Dumervil as question marks for next Monday’s game in Detroit.

Stokley left the game with a concussion in a fourth quarter that featured an astonishing 42 points scored between the two teams. It is believed that he was injured catching a 2-yard pass on third down that set the Ravens up for the fourth-and-1 play in which fullback Vonta Leach was stuffed for no gain at the Minnesota 21 with 10:36 remaining.

The 37-year-old wideout missed seven games earlier this season while nursing a groin injury but returned to play in the last three games, catching four passes for 36 yards. Stokley has dealt with at least 14 concussions in his football career dating back to his high school days, which could complicate how quickly he’s able to return to the field.

“He’ll go through the concussion protocol,” coach John Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “We’ll have to see how that shakes out. Unfortunately, he’s had a number of those in his career, so that could be problematic for us. We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours or so.”

Dumervil missed his first game of the season against Minnesota after he was unable to recover from a left ankle sprain suffered against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night. The pass-rush specialist returned to play in that key AFC North game, leaving the Ravens optimistic that he’d be able to play against the Vikings.

However, his progress was slower than expected last week and the snowy conditions at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday likely made the Ravens’ decision to deactivate him even easier. The Baltimore defense has failed to collect a sack in each of the last two games, which is a disturbing trend with meetings against Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and New England’s Tom Brady coming up in the next two weeks.

“I think Elvis has a chance for next week,” Harbaugh said. “He looks pretty good [Monday]. It’s kind of a bruise in his ankle, so we’ll just have to see where he’s at. I was hopeful for him this week, so I’ll be more hopeful for him next week.”

By all accounts, tight end Dennis Pitta made it through Sunday’s game feeling no ill effects after returning to action for the first time since dislocating and fracturing his hip on July 27. Pitta finished with six catches for 48 yards and reined in a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 remaining in the game.

The Ravens were so confident in Pitta’s ability to play extensively against Minnesota that they listed veteran Dallas Clark as inactive, but Harbaugh said the 34-year-old still fits into the team’s plans moving forward. Clark’s limited ability as a blocker and his lack of a special-teams role make him a difficult player to include among the 46 active players on game days, especially if the Ravens plan to emphasize the running game in a given matchup.

“Dallas is going to be a big part of what we’re doing going forward,” Harbaugh said. “It just depends on the game plan and how the offensive coaches decide to put that together.”

Pass rush MIA

Masked in the euphoria of Sunday’s miraculous 29-26 win over Minnesota was the fourth-quarter struggles of the defense and its inability to collect a sack for a second straight week after 19 straight contests with at least two.

Harbaugh expressed concern over his defense’s inability to finish games strongly, but he didn’t seem as concerned with the pass rush, citing the ability of Minneseota quarterback Matt Cassel and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger a week earlier to get the ball out quickly. Of course, the snowy conditions Sunday left a few inches of snow on the field, which also impacted the rush in a way similar to the sloppy conditions in Chicago last month.

“I don’t think it’s a product of what people are doing differently. They’re getting the ball out pretty quick,” Harbaugh said. “There haven’t been a lot of downfield-route-type things. We had some maximum protection yesterday, two backs, and those kinds of things where they try to throw it down the field. They were mostly throwing fades or they threw seams over the middle. Those balls come out pretty quick. Field conditions were a factor … more than anything else.”

The absence of Dumveril left more pass-rushing situations for second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw on Sunday and fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs extended his streak of games without a sack to five. Suggs earned at least one sack in seven of the first eight games of the 2013 season but hasn’t collected one since.

Flacco gets taste of own medicine

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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The 15-7-0 thinks Calvin Johnson is probably worth screaming about

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The 15-7-0 thinks Calvin Johnson is probably worth screaming about

Posted on 28 October 2013 by Glenn Clark

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. We do plenty of that elsewhere. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick.

Oh and candy corn. Actually this week…mostly candy corn.

15 Positive Observations…

1. I assume what Dez Bryant was yelling on the sidelines was something along the lines of “HEY COACH! YOU KNOW THOSE GUYS WHO SAY THAT WHEN YOU FACE THE LIONS YOU SHOULD LET CALVIN JOHNSON GET HIS BUT DON’T LET ANYONE ELSE BEAT YOU? THOSE GUYS ARE IDIOTS!”

Pretty much just simple lip-reading.

Dez would like to remind you why he’s yelling.

Megatron posted the second greatest receiving (yards) day in NFL history. No one even as much as blinked at any of it.

Matt Stafford’s fake spike is obviously the highlight of his entire life.

2. If there’s one person in the world you’re happy for right now it’s Navy kicker Nick Sloan. If there’s a second, it’s…umm….I don’t know, the guy who helped Naya Rivera pick out her sexy Carmen Sandiego Halloween costume?

You’ll remember Sloan missed an extra point in 2OT a week ago as the Midshipmen lost to Toledo. The result was different against Pitt Saturday.

If the Mids won, that means we get to enjoy something.

Oh and about that costume.

Yeah that works.

3. Ohio State would like you to go ahead and move on to your next question, please.

The Buckeyes demolished Penn State 63-14. They admitted after the game that they’re simply trying to keep up with their own Marching Band.

Elsewhere in the B1G, Michigan State really dug deep in their bag of tricks.

4. The Kansas City Chiefs are still undefeated. It’s probably about time that when we talk about them, we don’t use that same inflection on the term “undefeated” that we use when we describe Northern Illinois.

The more significant news from this game? JASON CAMPBELL DID SOMETHING!

5. No, Patriots fans were NOT booing their team at halftime. Of course not. Yeah, they were actually saying “YOOOUUUUUU…..guys are probably going to put together a dominant second half and easily beat the Dolphins.” Sometimes you just don’t hear all of that.

In fairness, Pats fans could have no idea their team had practiced the new sport of “synchronized intercepting”.

They should however have known their quarterback…

Despite the fact that the QB’s hand looked like this…

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Reports: Jonathan Graham to transfer from Penn State to Maryland

Posted on 01 September 2013 by WNST Staff

Multiple reports Saturday indicated the University of Maryland basketball team will add a “legacy” player of sorts, as Jonathan Graham (the son of Terrapins legend Ernie Graham) will transfer to College Park.

Graham has played two seasons at Penn State, averaging just 1.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game for the Nittany Lions. Graham had been a very solid player at Baltimore’s Calvert Hall College before that, averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. There had been disappointment among Terps fans that the school had been more heavily involved in recruiting the 6’8″, 225 pound forward-who had attended many games at Comcast Center with his father. Ernie Graham was one of the great scorers in Maryland history (and also at Baltimore’s Dunbar High School), his jersey now hangs in the Comcast Center rafters.

The Washington Post reports Graham will seek a waiver from the NCAA to allow him to play immediately for Mark Turgeon’s team. The Post also reports Graham will be on scholarship this season, but it is not guaranteed he will remain on scholarship past this season. With four commitments starting in fall 2014, the Terps have their full allotment of scholarships used. That could change should G/F Dez Wells or F Jake Layman continue their development to the point where they become NBA Draft material.

Should Graham be allowed to play, he would join a frontcourt that includes sophomores Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, incoming junior transfer (Michigan) Evan Smotrycz and incoming freshman Damonte Dodd.

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