Tag Archive | "Mark Sanchez"

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Loud Mouth vs. Soft Spoken (Jets vs. Pats)

Posted on 13 January 2011 by Michael Schwartz

Rex Ryan, the loud mouth, trash talking coach against Bill Belichick the soft spoken coach. There is a big difference between the two, but both have good teams and good schemes. Bill Belichick’s team is carried by Tom Brady, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and a possible MVP. Rex Ryan and the Jets are led by the defense; they don’t really have one particular leader. Mark Sanchez is a young quarterback, but his is not their leader. Their biggest leader is probably L.T. He is a veteran, and has had a very good year. On the defensive side, Jason Taylor is a veteran who has made speeches to them about the playoffs and playing for as long as he has. The big difference between these two teams is their schemes on each side of the ball. The Patriots are a great passing team, and set up the run with the pass. The Jets run the ball to set up the pass, and this is because Mark Sanchez is not as good as Tom Brady. Sanchez is a second year player, and Brady is a three time Super Bowl winner. There is an obvious difference between the two. The Jets defense relies on pressure to get to the quarterback to force turnovers. The Patriots like to send their four down lineman and drop into coverage. Rex Ryan lives by the blitz and dies by the blitz. Belichick blitzes when on third and longs, or plays where he knows his guys can get to the quarterback. The Patriots have a very young defense led by Jerrod Mayo, who plays middle linebacker. They have the youngest defense in the NFL, but on the line is veteran Vince Wilfork. One of the best defensive tackles in the league because he plugs up the middle with his 350 pound plus body frame. This game will depend on the Jets offense being able to score 25+ points, unless their defense can hold the Patriots under 21. That is a very tough task, because in their last meeting the Patriots won 45-3. The Jets need to run early and often and keep Tom Brady off of the field.

The Patriots offense will score points if the Jets can’t get to Tom Brady. They have Darrelle Revis on one side, and he takes one receiver out of the game but he can’t guard everyone. Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson are the other two cover corners. Cromartie has had a good year, but last time these teams met, Brady shredded him. Darrelle Revis took Reggie Wayne out of the mix last week, and this week he will try to take out Deion Branch or Wes Welker. If he can do this the Patriots will have to rely on Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. These are two good tight ends but they have never played in a post season game so they will likely be nervous. The Patriots will need to run the ball effectively by Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. The Jets defense will blitz Tom Brady and if they can get pressure than the Patriots will be in trouble. Brady doesn’t have speed to get away from pass rushers, and if the Jets are effective then the Patriots will lose. The Jets thrive on stopping the run and making team’s one dimensional, but versus the Patriots they need to stop the pass and then the run and they have a chance.

The Jets offense will have to worry about the Patriots pass rush since Mark Sanchez is not good at getting the ball out quick. The Jets are good at running the ball but their pass game is not that good. They beat the Colts because L.T got in the end zone twice, and ran effectively. They will need to run and that is no easy task since Vince Wilfork takes up the whole middle of the Patriots defense. Jerrod Mayo is a fast linebacker who can chase down running backs. The Jets will need to keep Brady off of the field and the only way to do that is by running the ball effectively. Scoring will be a tough thing against this Pats defense since they get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Mark Sanchez will need to have a good game because the weakest part of the Patriots is their secondary. Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes will need to get open. Mark Sanchez should only throw 25 times in this game, and they should run the ball the rest of the time. Even though L.T is old, he has had a tremendous year and for them to have a chance in this game he needs to run the ball effectively.

Prediction: 27- 17 Patriots

The Patriots will win this game because their offense is too high powered for the Jets defense. The Jets offense can’t score points and that is a problem, they only scored 17 against the Colts defense and this Patriots defense is better. They held the Colts to 16 points, but the Patriots score touchdowns and the Colts couldn’t with all of the injuries their team has sustained throughout the year. The Patriots will stop the Jets running game and that is the only way they can win this game. Mark Sanchez cannot carry a team yet and they need to keep Tom Brady off of the field and that requires you to run the ball effectively. This game will be a one possession game in the fourth but Sanchez will make a mistake and it will cost them the game.

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PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12: Troy Polamalu  of the Pittsburgh Steelers intercepts a pass from Carson Palmer  of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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Sunday’s NFL action provides a clear message; Ravens are still a top team

Posted on 13 December 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, I’m imagining most of us spent yesterday afternoon partaking in some similar Sunday rituals; gauging the competition around the National Football League, and collectively hoping the Cincinnati Bengals might find a way to upset our nemesis up in Pittsburgh.

In totality, the day offered some pretty daunting realities, both on and off the playing field …..

– Having a “trash bag” roof eventually proves to be a bad idea …..

– Tom Brady’s game is just as good on snow tires …..

– Rex Ryan’s Jets really are the NFL’s equivalent of the pro rasslin’ product …..

– While his comeback is pretty impressive, Mike Vick is NOT Tom Brady …..

– Brett Favre evidently owns a pretty sharp razor knife, and access to the dome’s roof …..

Indeed, yesterday was no ordinary Sunday around the NFL. The slate of games was less than impressive, as a large bulk of the contests were nothing more than mismatches. But, weather and interference by off-field personnel really provided some drama to what many of us perceived to be a day full of bad football.

Maybe, I’m being too harsh …..

Instances of occasional “bad football” at the pro level are generally a seldom-seen phenomenon, right? Of course, yesterday provided a few glaring examples of horrendous execution by teams vying for playoff position, as well as those playing out the string …..

– Graham Gano may very well find himself joining Jeff Reed in the unemployment line after missing an extra point and chip shot field goal, in the Redskins embarrassing loss against the Buccaneers …..

– Brodie Croyle and the Kansas City Chiefs mustered just 67 yards in total offense, while being shutout, 31-0, by the San Diego Chargers in a prime AFC-West showdown …..

– Mark Sanchez looked very much like the rookie from last season and the “clown” from HBO’s Hard Knocks, in the Jets second straight loss, which now tasks Gang-Green with trying to stem a late season collapse – on the road, in Pittsburgh, next week …..

– And, of course, speaking of the Steelers …. we must cite the “steaming stinker” Carson Palmer left on the newly sodded turf, at Heinz Field. Yesterday’s line for Palmer: 20 for 32, 178 yards & 2 touchdowns.

Not horrible, huh? Oh yeah, that’s right, those touchdown passes were both tossed into the waiting arms of Steelers defenders …..

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12: Troy Polamalu  of the Pittsburgh Steelers intercepts a pass from Carson Palmer  of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Any chance of witnessing a ‘Bungals upset of the Steelers was lost amid predictable breakdowns and missed assignments. Welcome to the 2010 edition of the “Great Cincinnati Disaster”. While they punished Ben Roethlisberger early in the game and even broke out to a quick lead, the ‘Bungals looked very much like a certain black and orange baseball product.

Cincinnati’s string of consecutive losses now stands at TEN AND COUNTING. Given the knuckleheads on that roster, it might be a good idea for the networks to consider slotting this 2-11 team into a nationally televised contest or two.

Say what you will, I’ve got a feeling the ‘Bungals have a “meltdown moment”; a behemoth mutinous catastrophe on the field and I don’t wanna miss it !!!!

In summing up everything observed in yesterday’s NFL action, I’m developing some pretty distinct conclusions:

We are going to see one of the season-long contenders go down in bursting flames over the final few weeks of the regular season …..

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FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06: Tom Brady  of the New England Patriots greets teammates during warms up against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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I hope the Ravens watched Monday Night Football …..

Posted on 07 December 2010 by Rex Snider

When I plopped down into my Lazy Boy recliner for last night’s showdown between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, I prepared myself for a second straight night of hard fought football between two hated rivals.

Yet, what I observed was an absolute dismantling of a team that has flirted with LOSING for the last six weeks …..

Last night, Rex Ryan and his Jets were “schooled” by the quarterback and coach who’ve served as their obsession in the AFC-East. To say it was a beatdown kinda falls short of the absolute mastery displayed by the Patriots.

I was not surprised to see the Jets lose the game, but I was absolutely stunned to see Mark Sanchez and company get their heads handed to them. They’ve played excruciatingly close contests with the Lions, Browns and Texans over the past month, and whispers of OVERRATED have been getting louder and louder.

I’ll humbly admit that seeing Rex Ryan and GANG GREEN suffering a one-sided loss was pretty satisfying. I really, really like Rex and I think his personality will ultimately lead him down the path of becoming our generation’s next “John Madden” personality.

But, I’ve still got the putrid, pompous taste of last summer’s HARD KNOCKS burned into my short term memory. Based solely on the swagger and ego of the Jets, I’ve wanted to see them throttled. Thus, I found last night’s result to be pretty pleasurable.

However, I think this game really served a greater purpose, especially for a team like the Baltimore Ravens …..

I hope those minds assembled within the Ravens offensive braintrust were watching the Patriots bludgeoning of their divisional rival. I don’t care where they were watching, so long as they got a good look at it.

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06: Tom Brady  of the New England Patriots greets teammates during warms up against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Why? It’s simple …. that’s how you kick another team’s ass !!!!

That’s how you find weaknesses and exploit them. That’s how you seize an early lead and methodically dissect an opposing defense, while ultimately forcing their offense to change its gameplan.

Call it what you will, the Patriots served up a blueprint for talented offenses around the National Football League …..

If you’re sitting back and thinking “well, the Patriots have Tom Brady,” that’s fine and certainly noteworthy, but the rest of their cast is arguably lesser talented than the playmakers comprising the Ravens offensive attack.

I’ll take Ray Rice and Willis McGahee over Ben Jarvis Green Ellis and Danny Woodhead ….

I’ll take Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh over Wes Welker, Brandon Tate and Deion Branch ….

Admittedly, the Patriots probably have a stronger offensive line; they’re certainly healthier. But, Brady isn’t solely dependent upon pocket protection. He typically holds the ball for an incredibly brief second or two, before hitting one of his targets for a usual 5-8 yard gain on a quick route.

The Patriots are innovative, yet predictably methodical in their unveiling of a singular strategy that usually emphasizes on wounding a defense, before bleeding them to death over a stretch of 60 minutes.

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History on Ravens’ side after opening win against Jets

Posted on 16 September 2010 by Luke Jones

Mark Sanchez continues to talk like he’s taken too many “hard knocks” to the head, boasting “there’s nothing wrong with going 15-1” to the New York Post after an embarrassing 74-yard performance on Monday night, but the Ravens (1-0) now put the delusional Jets in the rear-view mirror and shift their focus to the Cincinnati Bengals — and the accompanying Twitter sparring with Chad Ochocinco.

As ugly as it may have been, what does the 10-9 victory mean for the Ravens and their fate in the 2010 season? If history is any indication, good things await.

In reality, a victory in Week 1 counts no more or less than the remaining 15 games on the schedule. But from the time the schedule is released in April, the opening game and opponent is dissected — even obsessed over — for nearly five months, longer than any other game the Ravens could potentially play this season, including the Super Bowl. It means more only because we — fans and media — look forward to it for so long.

However, the team’s first 14 seasons in Baltimore suggests the first game is a strong indicator of how the team will fare for the entire season. The Ravens had previously won six openers, subsequently advancing to the postseason five times. Of the eight times the Ravens fell in Week 1, they made the playoffs just once.

Of course, many variables factor into the Week 1 outcome and its correlation with season-long success, such as the quality of the opponent, the team’s overall health, and whether they start at home or away. In most cases — as is the case around the league — the Ravens won the opener when they were expected to be good and lost when they weren’t.

For perspective, of the 12 teams to advance to the playoffs in 2009, only the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals lost in Week 1. Logically and quite obviously, playoff teams win more often than they lose, so it’s unsurprising to look back at Week 1 success as a fairly accurate predictor in most cases.

Considering most playoff teams will lose somewhere in the range of four to six games and most bad squads will win four to six, the Ravens’ strong Week 1 correlation with the season’s postseason fate is interesting to examine. Of their 14 previous seasons in Baltimore, an opening Ravens win meant playoffs and a loss meant no postseason 86 percent of the time (accurate 12 of 14 years).

As was the case with the Bengals and Cardinals a season ago, losing the opener does not sentence a team for failure, so perhaps the Jets won’t need to muzzle the trash talk just yet (as if they need anyone’s blessing anyway?). The 2003 Super Bowl champion Patriots are the perfect example, finishing with a 14-2 record after losing 31-0 to the Bills in Week 1. Buffalo finished 6-10 despite the shocking victory over the eventual champs.

A look back at the Ravens’ history in Week 1 reveals several teams with high expectations who disappointed after a season-opening loss and a couple that laid the groundwork for great seasons with a surprising victory to begin the year.

The Ravens’ opening opponent and result is listed below with their final record and postseason fate listed in parentheses:

1996 Oakland W (4-12, missed playoffs)
1997 Jacksonville L (6-9-1, missed playoffs)
1998 Pittsburgh L (6-10, missed playoffs)
1999 @St. Louis L (8-8, missed playoffs)
2000 @Pittsburgh W (12-4, won Super Bowl)
2001 Chicago W (10-6, earned wild-card berth)
2002 @Carolina L (7-9, missed playoffs)
2003 @Pittsburgh L (10-6, won AFC North)
2004 @Cleveland L (9-7, missed playoffs)
2005 Indianapolis L (6-10, missed playoffs)
2006 @Tampa Bay W (13-3, won AFC North)
2007 @Cincinnati L (5-11, missed playoffs)
2008 Cincinnati W (11-5, earned wild-card berth and advanced to AFC Championship)
2009 Kansas City W (9-7, earned wild-card berth)
2010 @New York Jets W (???)

The inaugural 1996 team was the only one not to qualify for the postseason after opening with a victory. In contrast, the 2003 Ravens won the franchise’s first AFC North title despite a humbling 34-15 defeat to the Steelers at Heinz Field in rookie Kyle Boller’s first start.

Expectations were high in 2004, 2005, and 2007, but the Ravens laid a Week 1 egg in each case, setting the table for disappointing seasons in which they missed the playoffs. However, nobody thought the 2008 Ravens — with rookie head coach John Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco — would go on to an 11-5 season and an appearance in the conference championship game, but their bruising 17-10 victory over the Bengals showed what was to come.

Taking a deeper look at the Ravens’ Week 1 history might cause fans to book their hotels and airfare for the Dallas area in the first week of February after the win at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday night. The only other times the Ravens have begun the season with a road victory were 2000 and 2006.

In 2006, the Ravens had moderate expectations after the trade for veteran quarterback Steve McNair, but a dominating 27-0 victory at Tampa Bay was the first step to a 13-3 record, the best regular season record in franchise history.

And what followed in the weeks and months after the Ravens’ 16-0 victory at Three Rivers Stadium to begin the 2000 campaign? I think you remember that story.

In reality, the 2010 version of the Ravens is a different team with no connection to previous seasons, other than the ageless Ray Lewis leading the defense for the 15th straight year. Nearly 23 percent of the players on the current 53-man roster played elsewhere in 2009.

But if the team’s history in Week 1 provides an accurate window to what lies ahead for Baltimore, Monday night was a far more beautiful sight than what the ugly 10-9 win might have indicated to a national TV audience.

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A Difference Between The Ravens & Jets? Discipline.

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we’re nearly 12 hours removed from last night’s big showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets. Neither team really showcased a dominating performance, but the Ravens held on for the 10-9 victory.

A win is a win, right?

Heck, just ask our archrivals up in Western Pennsylvania.

Trust me, Rex Ryan and his crew would’ve loved to be on the positive side of last night’s one point difference. But, they’re not and a primary reason is a true lack of discipline. Of course, in the context of a sports-related conversation, the word DISCIPLINE is going to have a few distinctly different inspirations.

Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson lacked DISCIPLINE in their pass coverage assignments.

Mark Sanchez lacked DISCIPLINE in going thru his progressions and keeping poised.

Dustin Keller lacked DISCIPLINE in recognizing field position at the most crucial juncture of the game.

Brian Schottenheimer lacked DISCIPLINE in formulating a gameplan to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

Rex Ryan lacked DISCIPLINE in holding his team accountable for 60 minutes.

And, the entire New York Jets team exhibited an overall LACK OF DISCIPLINE that has dominated their training camp and preseason.

Sometimes, incidental events mushroom into catastrophic circumstances, because of disciplinary breakdowns. And, that’s exactly what happened to “Gang Green”, last night. They played very much like a GANG, with no clear unifying cause or determination.

That’s the biggest character-related difference between the two franchises. One team is commanded by a coach who will grab a player by the jersey and admonish him for behaving like a clown – even on a touchdown. The other team is led by a coach who subscribes to bullying tactics and bragging about supposed supremacy.

It is what it is. And, DISCIPLINE wins football games.

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Is arrogance rewarded in today’s society?

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

The Ravens beat the NY Jets last night 10-9 to start the NFL season the right way for the purple and black. For whatever reason, I’ve never liked the NY Jets for most of my “career” as an NFL fan. I can’t really tell you why, I just never have. I guess I always saw them as the weak step-sister of NY football so to speak. It didn’t help when Vinny Testaverde, who I always saw as an embarassment to Italian-Americans, joined the Jets in the end of his career. Nevertheless, I’m glad the Ravens beat them.

Everyone chronicled the Darrelle Revis situation for most of the summer leading into training camp, preseason, and now the regular season. Personally, I think that cases as such shed a bad light on professional sports. The way I see it through my “civilian eyes,” Revis signed a contract when he came into the league. By holding out for more money, he effectively welshed on a contract that had been signed. Suddenly, he felt that he was worth more than what he was being paid, so he decided to hold out. Ultimately, he got his way and signed a new deal on September 5th. Not only did he get his payday, but he also missed all of camp and the entire preseason. Yet on the Jets’ first defensive series of the game last night he was in the game. Not only that, but according to ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew, the Jets’ fans applauded his presence during the TV timeout.

In the same regard, this game was played up a lot by the fact that Rex Ryan wanted to beat the Ravens because he felt that Steve Bisciotti made the wrong decision in not hiring him as the head coach. I suppose in a way I can understand that. We’ve all been turned down for jobs that we felt we should have gotten. Heck, at my current job I recently had an associate offered a promotion, and the reasons that corporate gave for wanting to promote this person were aspects of the operation that I had done. In my heart I wasn’t very happy about that, but I didn’t throw down my pad of paper and walk away. However, the person that they promoted did try to go the Darrelle Revis route and tell the corporate office that the compensation they offered wasn’t sufficent; they rescinded the promotion. That aside, this game was made for TV in that the media probably wanted the Jets to win so they could talk about how Ryan was snubbed and he got his revenge. Last I checked, John Harbaugh seems to be working out okay for the Ravens, and Ryan’s made out pretty well.

I suppose that the moral of the story is that if you win, you’re suddenly granted the right to have a degree of arrogance. I think that sends a bad message. Last year the whole story of Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sidelines during a game was somewhat glossed over…the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game. Had they finished the season 5-11, Sanchez probably would have been crucified as the season wore down. How many legal problems and off-field issues did Michael Irving have during his career? Yet media and fans alike allowed him to get away with it because he won. Personally I think T.O. is a bum, and he’s not granted the same courtesy as Michael Irving was (even though his problems don’t come close to those Irving had), because he’s not thought of as a perennial winner. However the one year that the Eagles went to the Super Bowl people talked about how tough he was to play hurt and so forth. Survey says, there’s a bit of a correllation there.

As a kid that grew up watching the likes of Cal Ripken Jr, Art Monk, and Darrel Green, that’s kind of the attitude that I think athletes should have. The Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1991 with quarterback Mark Rypien winning the MVP. Over the course of the off season he held out for more money, which he was ultimately given in a new contract; as a result, Rypien was booed in the first preseason game at RFK Stadium the following year. In 1994 the Redskins drafted Heath Shuler, who held out for $19 million, which was ultimately granted. Shuler turned out to be a bust, but the Redskin fans never took to him because of his holdout. Yet had he been an instant success like Mark Sanchez, would he have been cheered? Maybe, but we should also keep in mind that we’re talking about a different era and time. Many people accept the fact that Bill Belichek and Tom Brady routinely run up the score on teams, because they win. The fact that the New York Yankees have such a high payroll and throw around the fact that they can outspend people is accepted because they’re perennial contenders. When the Washington Redskins throw money around people say that they’re being stupid with money because they aren’t thought of as a perennial contender. Even the Dallas Cowboys, whom I despise, get a bad rap for having the audacity to build a monstrocity of a new stadium with $100K seats. Go figure, the Cowboys have won one playoff game since 1996.

Winning and losing has unfortunately become the line that people have to toe in order to “have the right” to be arrogant. I suppose that I’m still cut from the mold where you should never do anything to disrespect the game regardless of whether you win or lose. Jumping around like you’ve won the world series after a home run is disrespectful to the game of baseball in my opinion, yet the Boston Red Sox get away with it because they’re thought of as winners. The antics of Darrelle Revis were disrespectful to the game of football; the Jets went to the playoffs last year and are thus winners. What he’s done is no better or worse than what Albert Haynesworth does, yet Revis isn’t thought of as a goat as is Haynesworth. Ultimately, your goal should be to win the game and most importantly to be respectful to it and it’s history. Ultimately, the Ravens did that last night.

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Bryan Thomas Joe Flacco

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Ravens Convert Third-Down Chances; Overcome Turnovers To Squeak Out Of Meadowlands With Win

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Bryan Thomas Joe Flacco
When quarterback Joe Flacco got sandwiched between Jets DE Shaun Ellis and LB Bryan Thomas on the first play of the Ravens’ 2010 season and immediately fumbled the ball, things looked bleak and dire.

But it turned out that play-which occurred on first down-had no bearing on the game on Monday Night, which the Ravens squeaked out of, 10-9. Where the game was won in the New Meadowlands Stadium was on the critical third-down conversions.

After that fumble, the Ravens became more conservative on first down more often than not. And with Ray Rice struggling against the Jets tenacious run defense (42 yards on 21 carries), the Ravens often found themselves in the critical third-and-long situation.

But this is where the Ravens thrived on Monday, and where the Jets came crashing down, and played a huge role in the victory for Baltimore.

The Ravens were 11-of-19 on third down against the Jets, while New York turned out only to be 1-of-11, failing to move the sticks on several occasions, sometimes deep into Baltimore territory after being granted a great starting position by the special teams or turnovers.

The key piece turned out to be the stellar debut of  Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin, acquired in the off-season for third-and-fourth round picks in April’s draft, who caught a game-high seven passes for 110 yards.

Anquan Boldin

Three of those passes came on critical third down conversions, and Flacco targeted Boldin one more time trying to convert.

His biggest play came with the Ravens backed up close to their own end zone with 10:57 left in the third quarter with the Ravens leading 7-6.

That catch over former Raven Jim Leonhard kept the drive alive, and later allowed the Ravens to move into position to allow Billy Cundiff to kick the deciding 25-yard field goal with 7:11 remaining in the third.

Todd Heap also came up big with several catches, reaching 75 yards highlighted by his 35 yard catch with 4:27 left in the final quarter which allowed the Ravens to chew up much needed clock to preserve the win.

Heap showed remarkable route-running ability Monday night, as he often was in perfect mismatch situations against a smaller defender like Leonhard or a slower linebacker.

He nearly had a touchdown with 5:34 left in the first quarter had rookie corner Kyle Wilson not been in perfect position to knock the ball way.

Wilson would extend the drive for the Ravens several plays later on a holding call, but the drive ended with the Willis McGahee fumble at the Jets 20 yard line, marking the second of three turnovers for the Ravens in that half.

But the Jets could not capitalize off those turnovers. They could not run the ball effectively with their starter, Shonn Greene, who only rushed for 18 yards on 5 attempts on top of putting the ball on the ground twice, and quarterback Mark Sanchez-despite not turning the ball over-was only 10-of-21 for 74 yards.

Mark Sanchez

His mental miscues, along with his tight end Dustin Keller-were highlighted at the end of the Jets’ final drive as the two connected on a nine yard reception, but they needed ten yards on fourth down.

It’s simple math there Jets fans, and guess what, that 1 yard is also the number in the loss column for you guys going into Week 2 to play the Patriots, instead of having that number in the win column.

Other notes:

  • Jets DT Kris Jenkins left with 8:16 left in the first quarter after suffering an apparent left knee injury. Jenkins, a former MD Terp, when healthy is one of the most dominant nose tackles in the game, but knee injuries have cut his NFL short. He was ruled out of the game.
  • Two big hustle plays by not the fastest guys on the team. First came punter Sam Koch being the only man for Jets returner to beat on a punt return with 11:39 remaining in the second quarter. Otherwise, Leonard would have had a touchdown. The other came minutes later, when CB Antonio Cromartie intercepted a pass intended for either Todd Heap or Anquan Boldin on the left sideline close to the end zone.  Cromartie squeaked through the Ravens offensive line trying to tackle him, and quarterback Joe Flacco caught Cromartie after a 66 yard return, keeping another potential Jets touchdown off the boards.

Greene fumbled two plays later, which Dawan Landry recovered.

  • With the Jets leading 6-0 after the Landry recovery, T.J Houshmandzadeh recorded his first catch of a Raven. You could read his lips as he responded “Let’s Go!” The play went for 27 yards with Cromartie trailing behind the newly-acquired receiver. The Ravens capitalized off Cromartie again, as his holding penalty the next play extended the drive yet again. Three plays later, the Ravens found the end zone on a Willis McGahee 1 yd Td run, the only touchdown of the game.
  • What made this interesting was that several plays before, the Ravens had kicked a 46 yard field goal from Billy Cundiff. The kick was good and the points were on the board, but a running into the kicker call on Browns receiver Braylon Edwards-who broke through the Ravens wedge-extended the drive.
  • Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was lucky because they say in  the NFL you NEVER take points off the board. What if the Ravens went 3 and out the next several plays, and lined up for the field goal and missed? Luckily this call paid off for Baltimore.

Hopefully the Ravens won’t have to worry about that kind of situation next week when the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to take on the division-rival Bengals, who are coming off a 38-24 loss to the New England Patriots. The Bengals of course were the AFC North Division Champions last year after going 6-0 in the division, and the Ravens will be facing them on a short week.

Game time is 1PM on Sunday the 19th.

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It wasn’t Miss America, but Ravens beat Jets, 10-9

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Drew Forrester

Because the NFL doesn’t include “style points” in the standings, there’s only one way to look at Monday night’s season opener between the Ravens and the Jets.

A win is a win.

And it was a weird one at that, because there was nearly as much bad as good at times.

Joe Flacco wasn’t very good, but still made a handful of critical throws that helped keep the Ravens in the game.  The referees abused the Jets defense with penalty after penalty — several of them of the “game-changing” variety.  And Baltimore’s inability to run the ball was somewhat eye opening.  Mix in a horrendous decision on a punt return from Tom Zbikowski and a puzzling sequence in the final 2 minutes of the game where the Ravens coaching staff fell asleep and allowed the Jets to hang on to one of their time-outs and it was all a recipe for a crushing season opening defeat.

Not so fast.

Anquan Boldin was a beast, Ray Lewis (circa 2000) showed up in a big way and the much-maligned Ravens secondary was superb all night.

I just checked the standings and the Ravens are 1-0.

Did the Ravens deserve to win?


Maybe not.

But the Jets certainly didn’t deserve to win, either.

And when you’re playing at home and your coach has huffed and puffed all summer about how the rest of the AFC might as well give up their Super Bowl hopes because the Jets are going to Dallas and that’s that — well, if you don’t deserve to win, you shouldn’t win.

In New York on Tuesday, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie will wear the goat’s horns, but Rex Ryan deserves much of the “L” for his arrogant pre-season swashbuckling that had most of the nation “Jets’d-out” before the first ball was kicked off on Monday night.  And if we’re tired of seeing and hearing Rex blow smoke about how great his team was going to be, imagine how the Ravens felt leading up to the game when all the talk centered on how Baltimore was heading to New York to christen the Jets’ version of New Meadowlands Stadium.

As Jay-Z sang in “Encore” — Grand opening…grand closing.

Simply put, Rex Ryan talked too much.  And when his players couldn’t back it up, it added up to a more patient Ravens team plodding along and taking what the game – and the referees – gave them.

Any result except a Ravens win would have been unjustified.  They weathered an early New York defensive storm and a less than desirable performance from Flacco to win a HUGE road game.

A win is a win.

And it’s better than a loss.

Style points?  There aren’t any.

On the road, you win and you get the hell out of town.

The Ravens are getting out of town with a 1-0 record.

That’s the best they can be after week #1.

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Harbaugh & Rex

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War of words moves to tactics on field at Meadowlands in prime time

Posted on 12 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Harbaugh & Rex
Monday’s night’s game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens features two playoff teams from last year, and two similar teams who have identical philosophies on offense, defense, and special teams.

Both the Ravens and the Jets are teams that are going to control the clock and pound you on defense and in the run game, even with some of the big name free agent acquisitions Baltimore and New York made in the off-season in their receiving corps.

And both teams have also partaken in the war of words this week, as the Darrelle Revis signing earlier in the week prompted Ravens FB Le’Ron McClain to say that they were glad to see him back so that “so that there wont be any excuses”, which then prompted Jets coach Rex Ryan to respond on his own, saying:

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Le’Ron,” Ryan said. “He said something about  there’s no excuses…He must have us confused with someone else.”

“We don’t make excuses. All we do is produce…and that’s what we plan on doing Monday night.”

And then there was the war of words between Ray Lewis and Rex Ryan on Thursday and Friday.

“We’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints,” Ray Lewis said on Thursday to both the New York and Baltimore media. “Those are the only people who can be dethroned: Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets.”

Lewis made sure to heed a warning to Ryan.

“The only danger is writing a check you can’t cash,” Lewis said. “That’s pressure on his players. Rex can talk all he wants to, but Rex ain’t putting on the pads.”

Rex responded as best he could.

“It sounds like we got under Ray’s nerves a bit,” Ryan responded.

But the game isn’t being played in the game of words. It’s going to be played in a smash-mouth style of play when the teams hit the gridiron on Monday.

Let’s take a look at the match ups when the Ravens and Jets offenses take the field against the opposing defenses.

1. Ravens Passing Offense vs. Jets Passing Defense. EDGE: Ravens.

Michael Oher

Normally, I would give the edge to the Jets in this department, but over the last week the Ravens added T.J. Houshmandzadeh and I think that gives them a slight edge in that department with Houshmandzadeh lining up against rookie corner Kyle Wilson.  The Jets re-signed  Revis earlier this week to a 4 year deal worth 48 million dollars, but he is not in 100% football shape whatsoever. He should still be good enough to shut down Anquan Boldin, but a quick Mason should be able to break away from Antonio Cromartie’s poor tackling prowess.

The Jets’ best pass rusher is out in Calvin Pace (broken foot), which certainly helps the Ravens’ loss of RT Jared Gaither and the injury concerns of backup Oniel Cousins. Marshal Yanda could be heading out to play tackle, and Chris Chester could be filling in for Yanda at guard. There could be some concerns on the right side, but I think overall Joe Flacco should be able to stay upright for the majority of the game.

Ravens Run Offense vs. Jets Rush Defense: Jets

McClain getting stuffed

I don’t think either team is going to be very effective at running the football against these run defenses. Much like with the Ravens, former Maryland Terp Kris Jenkins (6-4, 360) is going to command a lot of attention in the middle. When healthy, Jenkins is one of the top nose tackles in the business.The same goes for defensive end Shaun Ellis, who is a quality run stuffer as well as a decent pass rusher for the Jets.

And on top of Jenkins are inside linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris. Scott is widely known as one of the best inside backers in football, and Harris is probably one of the more underrated guys in the business.  Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain may be fresh having seen little action in the preseason, but the Jets bring just as good a run defense as the Ravens had in years past (96.5 RPG)

Jets Passing Game vs. Ravens Pass Defense: Even
Mark Sanchez

Skill position wise, I think the Jets wide receivers are a lot better than the defensive backs the Ravens have. Braylon Edwards, while he drops a ton of balls, is a home-run threat and has had some success against the Ravens in the past as a member of the Cleveland Browns. No Santonio Holmes for the Jets as he is serving his four-game suspension for substance-abuse, so the Ravens don’t have to worry about his services.  And in reality, the two best receivers right now for the Jets may be the biggest receivers they have on the team in Jerricho Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller.

Dustin Keller

Ravens corner backs Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb will be coming off season-ending knee surgeries, and new corner Josh Wilson, on top of only measuring 5-8, is still getting acclimated to the defensive playbook. Dawan Landry is a thumper, but can get caught out of position at times. It will be interesting to see how Tom Zbikowski performs in a starting role in place of Ed Reed, who is listed on the PUP list. Zbikowski played well in Reed’s absence last season.

It all hangs on how well Jets QB Mark Sanchez plays in Monday’s opener. The talent is there for the Jets; Sanchez just has to get the ball to them instead of the Ravens defenders if you’re the Jets coaching staff. If the Jets are forced to abandon the run and Sanchez is forced to throw the ball more than 20x, the Ravens should win this game based on the probability that the Jets 2nd year QB will make mistakes.

Here are some of Sanchez’s notable bad performances last year-as a rookie-where he was forced to throw the ball close to 30 times a game.

New Orleans(10/4, L 24-10): 14-27, 3 INTs

Buffalo (10/29, L 16-13, 10-29, 5 INTs)

Jacksonville (11/15) Jets L 24-22, 16-30, 2 INTs

New England (11/22) Jets L 31-14, 8-21, 4 INTs

Atlanta (12/20) Jets L 10-7, 18-32, 3 INTs

In other words, if the Ravens put the ball in Sanchez’s hands, he should play right into the Ravens’ game plan.

Jets Run Offense vs. Ravens Rush Defense: Edge: Ravens

Ravens Stopping the Run

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. No one runs on the Ravens, except some guy named Cedric Benson. A lot of people think Shonn Greene is the real deal, and he will be the featured back in Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer‘s offense.

But like their QB in Sanchez, Greene also has not faced a dominant rush defense in his short NFL career as the Ravens since he has seen the bulk of the carries in New York. He has only played 17 games including the playoffs last year, and only got double-digits in carries in seven of those contests.

The Jets have two of the best offensive lineman at their respective positions in D’Brickashaw Ferguson at the left tackle spot and Nick Mangold at center. Alan Faneca is gone at the left guard spot from last year, and in his place they have youth and inexperience in the position. The favorite to start on Monday is rookie Vladimir Ducasse out of Massachusetts, and he could be the spot Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison want to exploit. Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, and Cory Redding should have enough weight under them to hold off the Jets offensive lineman, and the Raven linebackers will stuff Greene before he can get down the field.

The Jets had also cut longtime fullback Tony Richardson over the weekend, but brought him back several days later. He has been a bone-crushing fullback his entire career, and one of the Ravens linebackers are going to have to bust him in the backfield before he can get some speed under him to drill some holes in the Raven defense.

Special teams: Edge: Ravens

Despite the Ravens in a frenzy to find healthy kick and punt returners, I still like the Ravens specialists over the Jets. Chris Carr, David ReedTom Zbikowski, and Josh Wilson could all be candidates to return kicks. Carr may not have blazing speed, but he wont take any risks when it comes to catching and running with the football on a punt.

Jim Leonhard

For the Jets, safety Jim Leonhard is remembered by Baltimore fans for his ability to get some yards on punt returns (31 returns, 326 career return yards, 10.5 avg). For the Ravens, Billy Cundiff won the kicking job out of camp over veteran Shayne Graham based on his ability to kick the ball deep on touch backs in the preseason.  Ravens punter Sam Koch is only a hair away from being known as a Pro-Bowl caliber punter (73 punts, 43.7 avg, 26 punts inside 20).

Jets kicker Nick Folk, a former Pro-Bowl kicker in 2007, was cut by the Cowboys last season after struggling hitting the uprights (18 out of 28). And in a windy Meadowlands, a kicker who can’t find the uprights in a dome I think would have issues kicking in 30 MPH winds.

My prediction for the game: Ravens 21, Jets 17.

Which probably won’t make this guy happy.

Fireman Ed

Stay tuned to WNST and WNST.net for more Ravens News! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Live From Owings Mills: Emotions of Ravens-Jets Coming to Forefront

Posted on 09 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Given the number of former players and coaches employed by their first opponent, it is not a stretch to assume that the Baltimore Ravens will be facing a more emotional test when they visit the New York Jets Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.

In fact, the only really surprising part has to be the fact that it took until four days before the Monday Night Football showdown in East Rutherford for any member of the Ravens to really speak their mind. Of course, it isn’t particularly surprising that the one to do it was future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis.

“We’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints” said Lewis. He added “until they play tonight, (they’re) the only people that can be dethroned-Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets.” Lewis unloaded on his former Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan and company. “All this pressure (Ryan) wants to put on his team, I hope they can cash the check that he writes” said the Pro Bowler.

Lewis’ entire rant can be heard currently in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

The Jets have captivated the attention of the NFL world and the pop culture world in general as they were profiled on this season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO. Television clip shows like E!’s “The Soup” featured clips of Ryan and CB Antonio Cromartie during Training Camp and leading up to the start of the regular season. Ryan has been no stranger to the spotlight since leading his team to an appearance in the AFC Championship Game last year, as he gained plenty of attention (not always for the right reasons) when he made offseason appearances at a Strikeforce fight in Miami, a Carolina Hurricanes game and Yankee Stadium.

Ryan wasn’t particularly concerned with Lewis’ comments, saying “I’m laughing” when asked about them during a Thursday afternoon conference call with Charm City media members. Ryan said he’s not concerned about talking too much himself or as a team, saying “we don’t have to sneak up on people to tell them what we think.”

The Jets and Ravens have both been amongst media favorites to win the AFC and reach Super Bowl XLV in Dallas/Arlington.

: The Ravens released practice squad QB Hunter Cantwell Thursday just four days after signing him. Cantwell is replaced on the practice squad by former Miami Dolphins and Georgia Tech OT Andrew Gardner. Gardner told reporters he was “really happy to have the opportunity” to join a team like the Ravens.

When asked about who his emergency 3rd quarterback would be with just two on the roster, coach John Harbaugh said it would “probably” be WR Anquan Boldin. Boldin played QB at Pahokee High School in Florida and was pressed into emergency duty for Florida State in the 2003 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.

The Ravens also reached an injury settlement with FB Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin had been placed on IR over the weekend due to a hip flexor issue and sports hernia.

PRACTICE NOTES: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), DT Terrence Cody (knee) and OR Jared Gaither (back) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media. All three have been officially ruled out for Monday night according to the team’s Injury Report.

OT Oniel Cousins (concussion) and CB Lardarius Webb (knee) were again active participants in practice, both listed as having fully participated. Harbaugh said of Cousins “I think he’s come along and I think he’ll be able to do something over there.” Webb fielded punts during practice, along with S Tom Zbikowski and RB Ray Rice. Zbikowski is listed as the punt returner on the team’s official depth chart.

Stallworth met with reporters in the locker room, saying he got his cast off earlier in the day. He said the prognostication for return was eight weeks, but his doctor informed him one “crazy guy” had made it back in four weeks. That “crazy guy” was New Orleans Saints TE Jeremy Shockey, who Stallworth reached out to for tips on how to get back quicker.

DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) did not participate in practice according to the Injury Report. His status for Monday night is unknown.

Jets LB Calvin Pace (foot) has been ruled out Monday night. S Brodney Poole (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday and DE Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited in practice.

NOTES: Hear from Lewis, Harbaugh, Boldin, Stallworth, QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Jarret Johnson, DE Trevor Pryce and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Lewis received good natured ribbing from his teammates regarding his popular new Old Spice commercial. He said teammates have poked at him, including leaving suds in front of his locker room. “I’ve just gotta weather the storm” said Lewis……OL Marshal Yanda joined Drew Forrester Thursday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. If you missed the chat, you can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault. New CB Bryan McCann is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 6:30am.


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