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The 15-7-0 Is Feeling Rather Presidential This Week

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The 15-7-0 Is Feeling Rather Presidential This Week

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. The Towson University football team didn’t play a game this weekend, but somehow it will likely go down as the greatest of their lives.

The scene at the Towson Center Saturday afternoon rivals some of the most incredible I’ve seen in Charm City sports history, but sports had very little to do with it.

The most special moment of the visit from President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama (Michelle’s brother Craig Robinson is the head coach of the Oregon State team that crushed the Tigers Saturday afternoon) came at halftime.

Athletic Director Mike Waddell introduced Head Coach Rob Ambrose & the CAA Champion football team, who were enjoying a week off as they prepared for their FCS playoff showdown with Lehigh next Saturday at Unitas Stadium. The President walked out to greet the team, then posed for a picture to the absolute delight of the young men.

It was the type of moment that induces chills. Wow.

2. I’m really jealous of the Cincinnati Bengals for having AJ Green on their roster.

Oh, and Jermaine Gresham too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFByq1hpVGE

They duo (and Cincy QB Andy Dalton) were vital in the Bengals’ come from behind win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday in a game that judging by the attendance no one in the Queen City knew was happening…

Can’t help but notice a few empty seats in the background there, gang. This is a team fighting for AT LEAST an AFC Wild Card spot, not completely out of the AFC North race. This is the best you can do? Maybe “Los Angeles Bengals” has a nice ring?

Since we’re here, here’s a picture of Colt McCoy Tebowing…

3. Rob Gronkowski is not the only reason the Patriots are good, but something tells me there’s a correlation between 11 TD catches and a 6’6″ frame.

To be fair, the way New England was playing Sunday it’s possible a 4’6″ receiver could have caught a TD from Tom Brady Sunday at The Linc…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwO47-nf1lM

Vince Young threw for 400 yards in the defeat, basically because he had no choice but to throw the football every time the Philadelphia Eagles had the ball.

That SHOULD put the final nail in Philly’s “Dream Team” coffin. Andy Reid’s has been sitting open for awhile now outside the City of Brotherly Love. Will it be nailed down as well? We’ll see.

4. Robert Griffin III’s injury might be just enough to default the Heisman Trophy back to Andrew Luck somehow.

The other candidate in the mix (and perhaps the frontrunner) is Alabama RB Trent Richardson, but we’ll get back to him.

After an incredible performance a week earlier against Oklahoma, the Baylor QB might have been one more spectacular performance away from locking up the chance to hear his name called in New York in two weeks. Unfortunately, RG3 was taken out of the game in the second half (probably for a concussion) and had to watch the second of the Bears’ win over Texas Tech from the Cowboys Stadium sideline…

So…Stanford QB Andrew Luck (the preordained winner of the Heisman before the season) was back in the picture with the chance to lock the thing up. Luck was good but not great in the Cardinal’s win over Notre Dame and left the thing up for grabs again.

As I searched YouTube for a recap video of Luck’s final game at Stanford Stadium I believe a Fighting Irish fan summed it up well by channeling M*A*S*H…

I don’t even know what that means!

The (regular) season is over for Richardson so he won’t have another chance to make a statement. Luck’s Cardinal don’t get another chance either since Oregon won the Pac-12 North. Baylor will play host to Texas next week in Waco, but Griffin’s status is up in the air due to his injury.

If none play again, I think I’d vote Luck. Someone will yell at me for that. Go ahead.

5. Houston is a Conference USA Championship Game win over Southern Miss away from playing in a BCS Bowl.

Fourth on the list (of three) candidates to win the Heisman is Cougars QB Case Keenum, who shredded Tulsa Friday in a manner similar to the way he’s shredded everyone else he’s played this season.

If the Cougars top the Golden Eagles in next week’s C-USA title game, they’ll become the first ever team from the conference to make a BCS bowl. Teams from the WAC and Mountain West have played BCS buster, but never C-USA.

Someone will call the occasion “historic”. Those people won’t really know what the word historic means.

6. Another reason why I like Tim Tebow? Sabermetricians would hate him.

He effing did it again, huh?

You know what’s the ONLY THING IN THE WORLD that could make us not spend the entire week talking about the Denver Broncos’ QB? How about a picture of San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak peeing on the sidelines at Qualcomm Stadium?

Thanks CBS!

7. Mark Sanchez also really pissed off a lot of haters Sunday.

The New York Jets’ QB threw for four TD’s, including a game winner to Santonio Holmes in their win over the Buffalo Bills…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJtRuC19Ab8

We’ll of course remember the game as the time Bills WR Stevie Johnson insisted on making a complete ass out of himself…

…again.

Dan Marino was asked about what he thought of Sanchez Sunday, but he was too busy checking out Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge’s boobs to respond…

And here’s my cue to post another VS picture of Aldridge…

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The Reality Check Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

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The Reality Check Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 24 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week:  32)

There is a 100% chance folks in Baltimore will pick the Colts to beat the Ravens in a few weeks.

31. Washington Redskins (LW:  31)

Folks in DC were talking this week about how the Skins “showed heart” against the Cowboys. They also showed another way to lose a football game.

30. Carolina Panthers (LW:  26)

I’m assuming Cam Newton is the favorite for Rookie of the Year. Without winning more games he shouldn’t be.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW:  28)

And if you lose to the Browns, it should really count as two.

28. St. Louis Rams (LW:  29)

Their lack of playmakers is incredible.

27. Arizona Cardinals (LW:  25)

I’d say the return of Kevin Kolb could help, but could the return of Kevin Kolb really help?

26. Minnesota Vikings (LW:  23)

Without Adrian Peterson they’d be lower. Yes, it CAN get lower.

25. Kansas City Chiefs (LW:  21)

If Kyle Orton doesn’t throw the ball once in practice this week he should still play ahead of Tyler Palko. And Kyle Orton stinks.

24. Cleveland Browns (LW:  30)

How does this team have four wins?

23. Seattle Seahawks (LW:  24)

I’m going to assume they’ll win a third straight game Sunday.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (LW:  22)

Let’s see.

21. Buffalo Bills (LW:  17)

They’ve been awful recently and Fred Jackson is hurt. Remember when they were good?

20. Miami Dolphins (LW:  27)

There’s half a chance they win Thursday in Arlington.

19. San Diego Chargers (LW:  18)

I guess it’s clear now they AREN’T the best team in the AFC West.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW:  19)

How does this team ONLY have four wins?

17. Tennessee Titans (LW:  15)

They’re too close to the Wild Card race to just play Jake Locker, but it has to at least be tempting.

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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

Posted on 14 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship? The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship.

Terrance West ran for 265 freaking yards as the Tigers beat the New Hampshire Wildcats Saturday. They’re now a win over Rhode Island next week away from claiming the CAA title…

This can’t be right, can it?

2. Tom Brady hasn’t lost three straight games since 2002. Holy hell.

I don’t know what’s more embarrassing for New York Jets fans-the fact that Mark Sanchez was eaten alive by some dude named Rob Nankovich or that Deion Branch owned Fireman Ed after catching a touchdown…

Rob effing Nankovich. A dude named Rob Nankovich just played hero for the New England Patriots. Maybe Bill Belichick really is better than the rest of us.

3. Still think the San Francisco 49ers haven’t proved themselves?

It’s crazy how much the Niners are different under Jim Harbaugh. Justin Smith is playing like a Defensive Player of the Year, Carlos Rogers is playing like a capable National Football League cornerback and Alex Smith…wait, Alex Smith is still playing semi-respectable football? No way…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfX7gbCnlRg

I’m trying to put a Ravens-related spin on some of the things in the 15-7-0 this week. For example, the 49ers are a GOOD team, so when they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving we can be certain the Ravens will win, right?

4. Brandon Weeden was brilliant and Kansas State/Texas A&M was incredible. Ladies and gentleman, your weekend in the Big 12.

After a big performance in Oklahoma State’s rout of Texas Tech Saturday, Weeden’s Cowboys are now two wins away from the BCS Championship Game…

The Wildcats and Aggies played a four overtime thriller IN Manhattan. It was way more fun to watch than the game I was at Saturday night…

5. After a disastrous week for everyone at Penn State, almost everything that happened Saturday in Happy Valley was positive.

The Nittany Lions fell short against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but this pre-game moment will probably be more memorable…

Elsewhere in the Big Ten…you know there wasn’t all that much going on elsewhere in the Big Ten. Well, Goldy Gopher DID attempt to frog splash Bucky Badger through a table; but not much else.

bigten

6. The Dallas Cowboys might have just put more points on the Buffalo Bills.

Let me get this straight. The Cowboys beat the Bills 44-7 and after the game the only thing anyone was talking about was the ONE Bills TD???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6WvmOGoZ2E

The story is that Bills WR David Nelson caught a TD and then gave the ball to his girlfriend Kelsi Reich, who is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. This is a fantastic reason for me to post a picture of Kelsi Reich…

kelsir

7. The Chicago Bears defense scored more fantasy points than a number of quarterbacks this weekend. 

Included in the Bears’ huge NFC North win was (inexplicably) ANOTHER punt return TD for Devin Hester…

What’s the worse idea? Predicting the Orioles will sign a significant free agent or kicking the ball to Devin Hester?

With things clearly not going their way, the Detroit Lions started fighting with the Bears. It’s weird because nothing about the team made me think they’d do something like that for no reason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqyyZDR1kxA

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shanahan

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The 15-7-0 Of The Century

Posted on 07 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. If you have to make a trip to Orono, Maine you might as well go ahead and get a victory.

Which is what I guess the Towson Tigers figured they would do to move back into a first place in the CAA…

Terrance West ran all over the Black Bears, much like he’s done to everyone else in the conference. Towson has a completely legitimate chance to win the conference. I almost can’t believe I’m typing that.

2. Julio Jones did something Sunday you’re not capable of.

The Atlanta Falcons traded away many things to get this man on their team. If he keeps playing like he did against the Indianapolis Colts it will go down as one of the greatest decisions in National Football League history…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yNx7EyDECQ

As far as Indy in concerned, things have gotten so bad that at one point QB Curtis Painter threw two forward passes on the same play. No really, this actually happened. He wears the same number as Bert Jones. That’s where the similarities end.

3. Remember when the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers swapped Eli Manning & Phillip Rivers? The Giants put another point on the scoreboard Sunday.

There were many amazing things about the Giants’ come from behind win over the New England Patriots in Foxborough, notably the plays made from Eli Manning to Jake Ballard to win the game. But NOTHING I could share with you would be as good as the footage of Michael Strahan celebrating the win while the cameras were “off” at FOX…

During the Sunday Night Football halftime show, Bob Costas pointed out that Ballard’s number (85) was the same number worn by David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII. Pretty good.

(Puts on “Superfriends” announcer voice)

“MEANWHILE….IN SAN DIEGO….”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPr0Z4q_vXk

Phillip Rivers nearly figured out a way to beat the NFC (and NFL)’s best team. The reason why he “nearly” figured it out is because part of beating the best team in the the league is NOT repeatedly throwing the ball to them.

I feel like Aaron Rodgers is getting dangerously close to “so good we can’t possibly like him” territory by the way.

4. You only get to win a “Game of the Century” every now and then, so I’m pretty LSU doesn’t care how ugly things were Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

And now we deal with the fact that we might well have to see the Tigers face Alabama again in the BCS Championship Game if Oklahoma State and Stanford falter.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a great game even if it wasn’t always beautiful to look at. LSU now has the fast track to a national title and it’s hard to imagine anyone not named Alabama beating them.

5. While Kellen Moore has done no wrong, Andrew Luck can clinch the Heisman Trophy next week against Oregon.

Kellen Moore wasn’t necessarily brilliant, but he surpassed Colt McCoy as the all-time winningest quarterback in NCAA history in Boise State’s win at UNLV…

Kellen Moore’s season only remains interesting however if Luck begins to stumble. Their national TV (ABC) game Saturday night against Oregon will be Luck’s chance to follow up on his performance against USC with a “clincher”. Probably. He had some early struggles, but was good again Saturday against Oregon State…

Trent Richardson remains third on my list-but he’s currently third on a list of two. Case Keenum heads the “others receiving votes” category.

6. Tim Tebow we love you again…at least for now.

Tim Tebow by no means beat the Oakland Raiders on his own (Denver Broncos teammates Willis McGahee, Eddie Royal & Eric Decker certainly helped), but what the hell do we care about anyone who plays in the Mile High City not named Tim Tebow?

By the way, the Broncos are only a game out of first place in the AFC West. And thank God the Raiders solved all of their problems by trading for Carson Palmer.

7. The New York Jets have bounced back well enough that Rex Ryan should say something idiotic any moment now.

The Jets kicked the Buffalo Bills’ asses Sunday in Orchard Park. Instead of showing the highlights, let’s all laugh at Mark Sanchez flinching when lined up out wide against Drayton Florence…

That’s more humorous than Ashton Kutcher on “Two & A Half Men.” But then again, what isn’t?

There’s a mess atop the AFC East, as these teams and the Pats all have three losses. I hope they all end up with six personally.

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Cory Redding on DC Pagano: “We play hard for Chuck…he’s a great coach and I’m proud to play for him”

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Cory Redding on DC Pagano: “We play hard for Chuck…he’s a great coach and I’m proud to play for him”

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Ryan Chell

Jets coach Rex Ryan was loved by his players during his time in Baltimore from 1999-2008 large in part for his ability to allow his players to let loose and have some fun.

It allowed Ryan to get maximum potential and effort out of his players on defense, and guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed played their hearts out for him.

However, when Ryan left to coach the Jets in 2009, the Ravens were left with a fundamentalist in Greg Mattison at the helm and that appreciation was lost on the part of the players.

On Sunday with Rex Ryan on the opposing sideline, Ravens fans got a first-hand glance at a love growing on new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.

The beating the Jets took at the hands of the Ravens clearly showed that, and one of the players already heralding the efforts of Chuck Pagano is Ravens DL Cory Redding.

He explained that love and respect for their new boss to Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Monday following the Ravens 34-17 victory.

Cory Redding

“He never starts the meetings off without a joke and never finishes one without a laugh,” Redding told Clark. “We start off with jokes to relax the room a little bit, and then we get into the meetings to and do what we got to do to get our orders for the week.”

The players followed through on those orders.

Ravens safety Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and others forced four turnovers from Jets QB Mark Sanchez, turning three of them into touchdowns.

They held the Jets to just three points on offense, and just 150 total yards through four quarters of play.

The three scores-sparked by Reed’s strip sack that Jameel McClain converted for the opening touchdown-turned out to be a franchise best, and Redding actually told Clark that he saw this kind of performance a mile away given the confidence they had going forward.

“I knew something magical was going to happen because we’ve been practicing that play for three weeks,” Redding said of Reed’s blitz. “We ran it a couple times, but just to start the game off with that kind of attitude and mindset, we were hoping and surely Ed came free…that’s what set the tone for the game.”

And from there, Pagano had Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and the Jets offense right where he wanted them.

“We have blitzes, but for the most part Chuck has things planned out and we just roll with him,” Redding said. “Whenever he gives us a call and says, ‘okay fellas, let’s go out there and make it happen’, we do.”

Redding also mentioned that Pagano wasn’t playing with a full deck either-missing several corners in Jimmy Smith, Chris Carr,  and LB Dannell Ellerbe among others.

What does that mean?

When they do get healthy (the Ravens had seven inactive players Sunday night-all of them suffering from injuries)-watch out.

“That speaks highly of this team…,” Redding said, “…the whole team are starters and when it’s your chance, you go out and play like a starter. That’s what the guys did-they stepped up and made plays.”

Redding said in the short time that Pagano has been their defensive coordinator that given the preparation he puts in toward making them better, they can only show him the same.

“The man is good about his craft and physicality and he knows defense. He’s a great coach, and I’m proud to play for him.”

What Redding is even more pleased about is the fact that despite dominating performances this year out of the Ravens defense against the Steelers (7 turnovers) and the Jets (3 TDs), Pagano still expects more out of them and never won’t be satisfied.

Redding wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The funny thing is despite the score and the touchdowns we had on defense…there were still a lot of mistakes and techniques that were messed up last night that fans don’t see. That all gets ironed out behind the scenes and so that’s how you create a better team.”

“Even though we dominated that team Sunday night, we still have areas to improve and work on,” Redding said.

Fortunately though, the head coach in John Harbaugh felt like those improvements could wait one week, and a great performance on Sunday night was rewarded with an entire week off for the players, making guys like Redding happy.

“Harbaugh’s a good coach,” Redding said. “He realizes we got a good thing going and the biggest thing for us is to rest…go relax, and get your mind off it a little bit.”

WNST thanks Cory Redding for joining Glenn Clark and is ready to welcome the Ravens back next week at Owings Mills! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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The Reality Check Presents “The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens-Jets”

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The Reality Check Presents “The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens-Jets”

Posted on 04 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-17 win over the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Ed Dickson 14 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 13 (1st quarter)

dickson

4. Ray Rice 52 yard completion from Joe Flacco (1st quarter)

rayrice

3. Morgan Cox downs Sam Koch 58 yard punt at Jets’ 1 (2nd quarter)

morgancox

(There was no picture available of the play. I hope Morgan and Sam understand me going with this one.)

2. Jameel McClain 6 yard TD return of Mark Sanchez fumble forced by Ed Reed (1st quarter)

jmccl

1. Lardarius Webb 73 yard TD return of Mark Sanchez INT (3rd quarter)

lardarius

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Behind throwback defensive effort, banged-up Ravens enter bye week at 3-1

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Behind throwback defensive effort, banged-up Ravens enter bye week at 3-1

Posted on 03 October 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Ravens’ 34-17 victory over the New York Jets was far more bizarre than it was convincing in how Baltimore displayed its supremacy over Rex Ryan’s mistake-prone football team on Sunday night.

A combined five touchdowns were produced via takeaways and special teams, including a franchise-record three defensive touchdowns by the Ravens.

The quarterbacks, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez, combined to complete just 21 of 66 passes and were responsible for six turnovers.

The Ravens produced a robust 165 yards of offense in the first quarter but followed the hot start with a sickly negative-2 yards in the second quarter while carrying a 27-17 lead into halftime. Flacco was 8-for-17 for 142 yards in the game’s first 15 minutes before going more than two hours until he completed his next pass to rookie LaQuan Williams with 11:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.

It was one of the worst performances of Flacco’s four-year career, but it did come against a Jets secondary widely-regarded by many as the best in the NFL and entered Sunday as the sixth-best in the league.

But, the Ravens won the game and improved to 3-1 atop the AFC North as they head into their Week 5 bye.

“It wasn’t too pretty, but any time you get a win in the NFL it’s a good one, especially when you are playing a good team like that,” said Flacco, who finished 10-for-31 for 163 yards and threw an interception returned 35 yards by linebacker David Harris for a touchdown in the second quarter. “Our defense really showed up today. I thought we were able to do some things really well on offense early on. It was a great team win.”

The victory resembled the Ravens’ dominating defensive efforts of old as the Jets were held to just 150 total yards, the ninth fewest allowed by the Ravens in the history of the franchise. Jameel McClain, Jarret Johnson, and Lardarius Webb scored touchdowns off turnovers as the Ravens battered and bullied Sanchez throughout the night, pressuring the third-year quarterback into mistake after mistake.

It was, as the elder statesman Ray Lewis put it, an “old-school” performance by the Baltimore defense.

And the Ravens needed it as Flacco and the offense resembled those past groups that rode the coattails of the defense to a victory.

“It was the best defensive performance I thought I’d ever seen,” coach John Harbaugh said, “and the most amazing defensive performance I thought I’d seen was the Pittsburgh game with the seven turnovers against that offense. But, this topped it. To have three returns for touchdowns off of turnovers by your defense, has it ever been done before? … That’s pretty impressive to say the least. It was a team victory, but our defense carried us.”

What made the performance even more impressive was the patchwork secondary used by defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as cornerbacks Chris Carr and Jimmy Smith and versatile safety Haruki Nakamura were inactive due to injuries, and safety Tom Zbikowski left the game with a concussion. Former practice-squad cornerback Danny Gorrer saw extensive work in the nickel package, and the Ravens were down to just two healthy safeties at game’s end.

The most encouraging sign was the continued contributions of role players substituting for starters in different packages as Pagano used the likes of Pernell McPhee and Paul Kruger in pressuring Sanchez. The Ravens sacked the Jets quarterback twice and hit him 10 times, virtually wiping out the big-play ability of Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Buress (a combined six catches for 66 yards).

“It just shows our potential, our depth,” said Johnson, who scored on a 26-yard fumble return midway through the second quarter. “I don’t know how much you guys notice how much we roll, especially our sub package. I mean, we’re constantly rolling guys in, which we’ve never really done. I’ve never come off the field before, and now Kruger’s rolling in. We’re rolling [defensive backs] in. The interior with McPhee and Art Jones coming in, made some huge plays at the end of the game. We haven’t done that in a long time. We haven’t had this much depth.”

Starting cornerbacks Cary Williams and Lardarius Webb held up well in pass coverage, thanks in large part to the miniscule time afforded to Sanchez by the Baltimore pass rush. Williams led the team with eight tackles, and Webb’s 73-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter ended any brief hopes of the Jets climbing back into the game as the Ravens increased their lead to 34-17.

While most assumed starting duties would fall to the rookie first-round pick Smith — sidelined since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 1 — and Domonique Foxworth (on injured reserve) before the season started, injuries have forced Williams and Webb into starting roles. The results of their individual performance have been mixed, but the Ravens are 3-1 after disposing of two of the better teams in the AFC through the season’s quarter pole.

“I tell them, ‘You are the key to us; be great,’” Lewis said. “There are two kinds of people: people that are going to watch people make plays and there’s the person that’s going to make plays. For them to keep playing the way they are playing, and play at the level they are playing at, it’s beautiful to watch.”

Harbaugh said it all in his post-game comments referring to the seven players on the Ravens’ inactive list for Sunday night’s game. In addition to Carr, Smith, and Nakamura, the Ravens were without starting left guard Ben Grubbs, starting wide receiver Lee Evans, kickoff returner David Reed, and reserve inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

While it’s true that every team deals with injuries — just ask the Super Bowl champion Packers of a season ago — there’s something to be said about the Ravens’ success in dealing with a number of key ailments to win three of four games to hold a one-game lead over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the division.

The bye can’t come at a better time for the Ravens, as most of the seven aforementioned players will be returning or, at worst, will be close to returning against the Houston Texans on Oct. 16.

“We are looking to get some rest, come back completely healthy,” Lewis said. “We get Lee Evans, we get Jimmy Smith back, we get a lot of people healthy back. We are really looking forward to that.”

Many people — including Harbaugh — predicted the Ravens would be a much better football team by season’s end than they would be to start. It was a fair assessment given the number of departing veterans and young players expected to fill prominent roles prior to the start of training camp.

But, after winning three games by a combined score of 106-31 mixed in with a 26-13 loss to the surprising 3-1 Tennessee Titans, it’s fair to say the Ravens are already a darn good football team.

And with improved health and the return of several key contributors, the potential is there to get a lot better.

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Ravens-Jets: Five predictions for Sunday night

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Ravens-Jets: Five predictions for Sunday night

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Luke Jones

Three weeks into the season, I’m still trying to figure out just how good the Ravens really are — or will be — in 2011.

A seven-turnover blowout win over their bitter rival, an embarrassing loss in Tennessee, and a 30-point victory over the hapless Rams don’t exactly allow you to draw a definitive conclusion, but that’s why they play the games.

On the other hand, the Jets’ two wins over Dallas and Jacksonville before being shredded by the Oakland Raiders leave you scratching your head even more.

The storylines don’t need to be rehashed again. These coaches and players know each other very well, making for a highly-competitive matchup at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night. It’s a conference game with possible playoff implications down the road, so don’t let the early Week 4 billing fool you in its significance.

Here’s what to expect when Rex Ryan’s Jets visit John Harbaugh’s Ravens on Sunday night …

1. The Jets will spread out the Baltimore defense with three- and four-receiver sets to exploit a thin secondary. A tenuous situation at cornerback grew even worse on Friday with the news that veteran Chris Carr is questionable for Sunday after re-aggravating the hamstring injury he’s fought since the preseason. Couple that with the decision to place Domonique Foxworth on injured reserve, and the Ravens may be looking at former practice-squad player Danny Gorrer and rookie Chykie Brown as their only reserve cornerbacks behind Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams. If the Ravens are unable to pressure Mark Sanchez, they will be eaten alive by the receiving trio of Raven killer Santonio Holmes, the 6-foot-5 Plaxico Burress, and the old veteran Derrick Mason, who will have extra motivation to show up his former team.

2. Tight end Dustin Keller and running back LaDainian Tomlinson will exploit the Ravens linebackers in coverage. As mentioned in the previous point, the Ravens will need to send heat to make Sanchez uncomfortable and help an undermanned secondary. That will leave the defense vulnerable underneath as Sanchez loves to throw the ball to his favorite target Keller (16 catches for 249 yards). It’s no secret the Baltimore linebackers are often exposed in coverage by talented tight ends and running backs releasing out of the backfield. Baltimore may be able to bring enough heat on Sanchez to curtail Holmes from burning the Ravens again, but Keller and Tomlinson (12 catches, 196 yards) are going to have productive days as receivers.

3. Torrey Smith will not follow up his record day in St. Louis with a productive night — statistically speaking. The rookie will likely never have another first quarter like he did against the Rams last week, but the performance serves a bigger purpose for the rest of the season, especially not knowing the status of Lee Evans’ injured ankle moving forward. Smith is likely to struggle with the physicality and overall talent of Antonio Cromartie, who will likely match up with the former Maryland standout. However, the Ravens will still send Smith on vertical patterns to keep the Jets defense honest and, more importantly, create space for Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, and the Ravens tight ends to work underneath. Predicting a productive day for Boldin is tough with Darrelle Revis locked on him, but the veteran will find some room to help move the chains. Smith may not log more than a reception or two, but his work in St. Louis could pay dividends in keeping opposing defenses cognizant of where he is on the field at all times.

4. Ray Rice will have 130 total yards and a touchdown against a Jets defense desperate to stop the run. Much has been said about New York’s 31st-ranked run defense after Raiders running back Darren McFadden ran for 171 yards against the Jets a week ago, but the Ravens aren’t buying the Jets’ early struggles. Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will be desperate to shut down the Baltimore running game, so Rice may not see as much running room. However, Joe Flacco’s ability to get Rice the ball in space will pay off in the passing game with Revis and Cromartie looming in the secondary. He won’t go for 100 on the ground, but Rice will more than make up for it catching passes out of the backfield and will score a touchdown against the New York defense.

5. The Ravens will win a 24-20 nail-biter with more points than you’d expect because of turnovers from both sides. Considering last year’s 10-9 final between these teams in their regular-season opener, it’s almost unthinkable to expect 44 points to be scored on Sunday night. However, both quarterbacks will see a variety of different looks in potential blitz packages and coverages, which will lead to confusion for Flacco and Sanchez. A few turnovers will lead to short fields and, potentially, a defensive score or two. The Ravens, however, are the more complete football team at the beginning of October and will improve to 3-1 before using a much-needed bye to rest several injured players.

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Like The Rest Of You, The 15-7-0 Is Worried For Maryland Against Towson

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Like The Rest Of You, The 15-7-0 Is Worried For Maryland Against Towson

Posted on 26 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

You might be able to guess what it is.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. Towson has a legitimate chance against Maryland next week, and everyone knows it

Let me start by reminding everyone how happy I am for the Tigers. I love Rob Ambrose, I love the entire TU program. My girlfriend is a Towson alum. She’s also MUCH prettier than I am. I’m thrilled for the school after their Homecoming blowout win over Colgate (heard as always on AM1570 WNST.net) and their 3-0 start…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKl0F5lsAPg[/youtube]

It’s just that…I can’t even begin to think about how much crap I’m going to take if the Tigers end up going down to College Park and beat the Terps at Byrd Stadium. After the GARBAGE performance Maryland put together against Temple, there has to be concern…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MjuCdYnesQ[/youtube]

Yeah. I’m sweating.

2. I can’t figure out if I’m happier for Buffalo or Detroit at 3-0

What I do know is that both of their games Sunday were AWESOME…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgF_9Kxhgqs[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKpZnZ8fUvI[/youtube]

If I don’t get the Ravens in Indianapolis, I feel as though I’d be willing to accept Bills-Lions. It’s the next most likely scenario, right?

3. As soon as the Texans regained a 4th quarter advantage, I absolutely knew the Saints were going to march back down and win the game

I just didn’t know it would happen after a very elaborate game of pinball…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rtBowfEXgI[/youtube]

Do you think anything previously came up when you YouTubed Kevin Walter?

4. Clemson was just so very un-Clemson-like Saturday

I’m so confused. The Tigers were clutch in big victories in back to back weeks. Don’t they know who they are???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS0PJjgV0Jc[/youtube]

We’re not a month into the season, but Tajh Boyd is the ACC Player of the Year thus far. I know weirdos who care about things like that.

Oh, and Florida State’s Rashad Green has a question. Who builds a brick wall around a football field?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDTi1znVjSQ&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

5. This week in “Why the SEC is better than you”, Marquis Maze and Morris Claiborne might not have stopped running yet

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2CJUuR3ypU[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihvnMC1h95U[/youtube]

You know how impressive Alabama is? They beat a Top 15 team thoroughly and their amazing punt return TD might not have been the coolest play of the game…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7vrngQ2KZ4[/youtube]

How do you think the Crimson Tide would do against Temple?

As a side note, I have NO IDEA what the story is behind the LSU “grandma kegstand” video making the rounds on YouTube, but I can understand why some folks believe it to be awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTgHismrNo0[/youtube] 

6. I was way wrong when I started the season with the Oakland Raiders at the bottom of my power rankings

They’re better than that. They’re certainly faster…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhUbvrI8MqM[/youtube]

Darren McFadden. Denarius Moore. Michael Bush. Jacoby Ford. Darrius Heyw-four out of five ain’t bad.

Side note. The fake Kevin Anderson Twitter account mentioned Sunday that Ravens WR Torrey Smith had more TD receptions Sunday than DHB has had in his NFL career. It is what it is.

Oh, and here’s the picture of Jets QB Mark Sanchez getting his nose set after having it broken…

sanchez

Ravens-Jets Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium. Creativity is in your corner, Charm City.

7. Cam Newton wasn’t amazing this week, but I’m guessing this is the first of what will be a bunch of wins for him

One of the few cool things that happened in this one was Blaine Gabbert’s monsoon hail mary toss to Mike Thomas…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykDKf9BN-HE[/youtube]

The rest of everything that happened in this one was pretty awful. At one point the score was 5-3 Panthers. I had assumed it was the 2nd inning and Brian Matusz started for the Jaguars.

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The Return of 15-7-0…Where We’re Still Looking For More Dogs and Less Cats

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The Return of 15-7-0…Where We’re Still Looking For More Dogs and Less Cats

Posted on 12 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Some of you (the diehards) will remember my extremely popular 15-7-0 blogs from a few years back.

Well….they’re back!

Sorta.

As I explained Monday afternoon on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, 15-7-0 will now be interactive, both in blog form and in radio form.

You hear Drew Forrester and Luke Jones share “Scores And Comment” every Monday on “The Morning Reaction” to recap the weekend’s football action. This will be a lot like that. The format for 15-7-0 will be as such…

I will make 15 positive observations from the weekend in football (NFL & College Football), seven NOT so positive observations and one moment from outside of football that made me go “oh no.”

It’s like the old 15-7-0 in that I have to do a lot of work. It’s not like the old 15-7-0 in that I have no freaking idea how it’s going to come over on the radio.

The 15-7-0 won’t reflect on the Baltimore Ravens. We’ll save that for Tuesdays when Ryan Chell and I introduce our new “5 Plays That Determined the Game” segment.

Here are 15 positive observations from the weekend in football…

1-I couldn’t have had a better time at the Towson football game Saturday night

I made a late week decision to attend Towson/Villanova Saturday night at Unitas Stadium with my girlfriend (“Lucky”). Thank God I did.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts5ve0peTE0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

It was cool seeing the Tigers stun the Wildcats. It was cooler seeing Towson students rush the field after the game. Rob Ambrose and Mike Waddell are doing their damndest to create a football atmosphere over there. I’m all in.

2-The only bummer about being at Towson Saturday night was that I missed the magic at Stevenson

I’m very excited for what the Mustangs are doing out in Owings Mills. I wish I could have been there Saturday night for the grand opening of Mustang Stadium.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3-9YGURdOE[/youtube]

Clearly it was more significant because the Stangs were able to get their first victory in school history thanks to a double overtime thriller over Christopher Newport. It’s awesome what they’re doing out there, I’m happy for SU/Villa Julie students/grads/fans everywhere.

3-Much like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher isn’t “too old”

A pick, a fumble recovery and a touchdown for the Chicago Bears in their blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InznVn2GNDQ[/youtube]

I don’t feel so good anymore about picking the Falcons to win the Super Bowl. Yep, I’m freaking out after one week. It’s what we do in this country. I also think Bruce Gradkowski will be MVP. 

4-Cam Newton was the most impressive losing quarterback not named Drew Brees this weekend

You can’t sneeze at 422 yards passing. The Carolina Panthers are going to struggle to win games all season, but they’ll steal a few if Newton plays like this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITZJnI3LqnU[/youtube]

Insert your own “he made less money Sunday than he did at Auburn” joke now. I’m above all of that personally.

5-Alabama’s win over Penn State further proof of just how much better SEC is than everyone else

Penn State isn’t a bad team. They’ll make noise in the Big Ten this season. There was a ton of emotion in Happy Valley Saturday afternoon, as students held a blackout to try to support the Nittany Lions.

It wasn’t enough. AJ McCarron was too good. Trent Richardson was too good. The Crimson Tide were too good. The SEC is just too damn good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSVW9krMm5s[/youtube]

6-For a second straight week, I’m so damn grateful for Friday Night college football games

A week after the TCU-Baylor thriller, we were treated to another thriller, this one in Tempe. Arizona State stopped Missouri in overtime, and it was a lot of fun for me to watch after “Lucky” and I got home after a night out.

I would really appreciate having a game like this to watch every week.

The only question is, why were there ASU fans in blackface at the game??? (Thanks, The Big Lead!) 

asu

7-He wasn’t “lights out”, but Michael Vick IS an exceptional quarterback

14-32 for 187 yards and 2 TD’s (plus 10 rushes for 98 yards) doesn’t truly qualify as “lights out” (which is how Vick labeled his performance after the game), but he was exceptional.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYk_xvzJz40[/youtube]

All of us who picked the Rams to win the NFC West are freaking out a bit today, seeing as how everyone who plays for St. Louis had an icepack on them after the game.

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