Tag Archive | "marvin lewis"

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“The Reality Check” Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 32)

They played the Bolts close. I’m stunned, but I don’t think they’re any good.

31. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 31)

Like with KC, I was surprised the Colts were able to keep it close against the Steelers. That being said, they worked out Brodie Croyle. Jim Irsay’s Twitter feed is more significant than this football team.

30. Miami Dolphins (LW: 27)

They’re probably not this bad, but that doesn’t matter when you’re 0-3.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29)

I assume Blaine Gabbert is better than Luke McCown. I assume.

28. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 28)

They’ve shown me a couple more signs than the other winless teams, but only a couple.

27. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 30)

Tavaris Jackson won a game. So you know, he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

26. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 24)

They play pretty good defense, but Andy Dalton is their quarterback. Perhaps Marvin Lewis should hold off on guaranteeing wins.

25. St. Louis Rams (LW: 21)

I thought they would be better before the start of the season. They’ve played three at least fairly good teams. I’m convinced Sam Bradford still makes them better than their record shows.

24. Denver Broncos (LW: 22)

Play Tim Tebow. Or don’t. They’re not gonna win many games either way.

23. Carolina Panthers (LW: 23)

A win over the Jags is one thing, but the visit to The Windy City will be tougher for Cam Newton and company.

22. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 26)

The NFC West is such garbage.

21. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 19)

The NFC West is such garbage.

20. Cleveland Browns (LW: 25)

Fans in Ohio should probably go ahead and get a screencap of the AFC North standings this week.

19. Tennessee Titans (LW: 20)

They won two games with Kenny Britt. You think they’ll win more than that without?

18. Washington Redskins (LW: 15)

I’d like to think they’ll be .500 after their trip to “The Lou”, but I saw the Rams last week.

17. Chicago Bears (LW: 13)

Their losses are to the Saints and Packers. I still don’t think they’re great.

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 28th

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50 words or less …. Thursday, April 28th

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Rex Snider

Welcome to what promises to be a pretty busy Thursday in the Baltimore sports community. The Ravens are primed to welcome their newest member of the fold and the Orioles are hoping to break out a broom on the Red Sox.

But, challenges exist.

There will be 25 obstacles standing in front of Ozzie Newsome and company and the birds lineup must deal with Boston ace, Jon Lester …. while Adrian Gonzalez and his lineup mates will face a likley easier task in figuring out Brad Bergesen.

Here’s today’s edition of “50 Words Or Less ….”
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The Forgotten Piece ???
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A daily conversation revolving around the Orioles always seems to regard the hitting attack or young starting pitching. I get it …. it’s “sexier” than discussing defense, baserunning and the bullpen.

But, last night served as another reminder that this team does not have a SHUT THE DOOR closer, nor do they have that coveted formidable 8th and 9th inning tandem. It’s a weakness that’s plagued the Orioles for a number of years.

Ask yourself this question …. were you comfortable heading into the top of the 9th inning with a 5-4 lead, last night?
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That’s “Mr. Cover Model”
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Well, Twitter certainly served as the ideal “LET’S PILEUP ON PEYTON HILLIS” social format, yesterday afternoon. As soon as news broke of the breakout back’s throttling of Michael Vick in the Madden-2012 cover matchup, the detractors and haters surfaced …..

“One Shot Wonder” …. “Overrated” …. “Another Mistake By The Lake” …. indeed, we saw and read it all. I think it’s kinda funny. A process that allowed people to manipulate results is what availed Hillis and Vick to reach final consideration in the first place.

Hey, it’s just a video game and a very popular one. Nobody buys it for the cover anyway. But, rest assured, there are some relieved souls in EA Sports hierarchy today.
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Reaching Rock Bottom
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Yep, today’s the day. It’s the 23rd anniversary of the one distinction the Baltimore Orioles would rather forget. On April 28, 1988, in the artificial confines of the Metrodome, the birds set a new mark for frustration and failure.

0-21

We always hear Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak and Ripken’s 2,131 consecutive game streak will never be broken. Well, you can probably toss this distinction behind both of those marks. I can’t foresee another team doing it …..
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With The 26th Pick …..
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I’ll say it again, NOBODY really knows what the Ravens will do during tonight’s 1st round of the NFL Draft. But, plenty of opinions exist …..

Peter King – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Drew Forrester – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Matt Bowen – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple

Glenn Clark – Mike Pouncey, C, Florida

Brian Billick – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Who do I side with? King has NFL connections … Drew has LOCAL connections … Bowen played the game … Glenn is a “Ravens Insider” … and the coach possesses all four qualities.

I’m gonna trust Glenn. He was right on the money with Sergio Kindle, in 2010. And, he thought the Ravens would drop down to snag him. That’s money …..
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Greatest Debut Album
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I’ll start this rant by admitting my feelings are still smarting. One of these days, I might be considered for the MORNING REACTION’S Hall Of Fame. I’ve only been listening and contributing, in one way or another, for 7 freakin’ years …..

Regardless, I’ve gotta offer an opinion on yesterday’s conversation about the “Greatest Debut Album”. The Cars’ self-titled debut album bests the original Van Halen offering?

Come on …..

The truth in simple sports-related terms; The Cars couldn’t carry Van Halen’s jock. The Cars debut album sold 6 million copies and Van Halen’s debut has sold nearly 11 million issues. But, let’s forget sales and talk about the music …..

Would you rather listen to “My Best Friends Girl” or “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” ???

Case closed …..
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Keep An Eye On …..
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Yeah, I’m finishing up with more NFL conjecture. If Blaine Gabbert slips past the Buffalo Bills at #3 overall, will Marvin Lewis grab him? It’s an interesting debate, especially given the Bengals’ fractured relationship with Carson Palmer.

Many expert minds believe Gabbert is the best “NFL quality” quarterback in this class. I think they’re onto something. The talent is untapped and unrealized, but I don’t like the potential prospect of facing the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, twice a year, for the next decade.

So, I’m hoping Buffalo doesn’t screw this up. But, they probably will …..

Happy Thursday …. I’ll chat with you at 2pm

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Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

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Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL season has reached the three-quarter mark, and like any good game on Sundays, it’s usually the fourth quarter that decides success or failure.

It’s a chance to take stock of each conference after 13 weeks and 12 games with one-liners on each of the teams. Below are some stats, observations and conjecture as we look ahead to the final four weeks.

First, here is a look at the AFC by divisions. Records are through Week 13:

AFC East

New England Patriots (10-2): Patriots have won last four, including huge win over the Jets to solidfy their claim as AFC’s best team behind conference-best (+110) scoring differential; road to AFC title will go through Gillette Stadium and coach Bill Belichick.

New York Jets (9-3): Despite 3-1 stretch, Jets went from potentially being in line to host AFC title game to very vulnerable after shredding of New York’s vaunted D by the Patriots.

Miami Dolphins (6-6): Dolphins continue to confound with 5-1 road mark, but 1-5 home record — that will be main reason they will not make playoffs as well as offensive woes (-23 point differential).

Buffalo Bills (2-10): Bills finally saw results after 0-8 start with two straight victories, but close loss to Steelers and blowout defeat to Vikings has slowed Buffalo’s progress.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): Steelers have grabbed choke-hold of AFC North after winning the war in Baltimore last week behind QB Ben Roethlisberger and stout defense; now Pittsburgh could host AFC Divisional Playoff at always-tough Heinz Field.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4): Only home loss of season so far to Steelers was costly as Ravens may have three straight playoff games on the road instead of one or two home games; predicted high-production offense has gone cold at bad times.

Cleveland Browns (5-7): Cleveland continues to be a “tough out” thanks to solid running game behind RB Peyton Hillis; if they get QB (and maybe head coach) situation settled in offseason, could be 2011 team to watch in AFC.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-10): The wheels have completely come off the cart for one of the preseason favorites to win the division — nine-game losing streak may spell the end of the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5): Jaguars, after 3-1 stretch, find themselves on top in the division, despite worst point differential among all division leaders (-43) — only question is can they hold off slumping Colts?

Indianapolis Colts (6-6): Colts’ injuries have finally taken a toll; forget Peyton Manning for a moment, being in position of having to pass so much has allowed opponents to tee off in crucial situations — but Indy can still catch Jaguars for division title.

Houston Texans (5-7): Lack of strong starts have doomed Texans, 1-5 in their last six games — last chance for Houston (and maybe coach Gary Kubiak’s job) comes with Monday night visit by Ravens in Week 14.

Tennessee Titans (5-7): When you didn’t think anybody else could surpass Minnesota as NFL’s best soap opera, here comes the Titans; normally unflappable coach Jeff Fisher has had to deal with Vince Young, Randy Moss and owner Bud Adams in recent weeks.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4): Chiefs seem to have control of the division after a three-game win streak and perfect 6-0 home mark; can they hold off the Raiders and Chargers over the final four weeks?

Oakland Raiders (6-6): Progress has been slowed by 3-2 mark in last five games, but 4-0 division record could be factor if they get help before Week 17 showdown at traditional rival Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers (6-6): Amazing how one loss changes things after blowout defeat by Raiders last week that stopped four-game win streak; season on the line vs. Chiefs this week.

Denver Broncos (3-9): A three-game losing streak coupled with Spygate-like scandal in London finally cost Josh McDaniels his coaching job; Eric Studesville gets his audition but the supporting cast is not there.

And now for the NFC by divisions:

NFC East

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Matt Ryan  of the Atlanta Falcons converses with quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens after the Falcons 26-21 win at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4): The Eagles are tied for the division lead, but arguably have the NFC East’s toughest schedule left with two games vs. Dallas and one each against the Giants and Vikings — for what was originally expected to be a transition year, a lot is still on the table.

New York Giants (8-4): Giants are playing as well as any team in NFC right now, but head coach Tom Coughlin’s team must navigate Minnesota, Philadelphia and Green Bay the next three weeks to stay in the division and Wild Card mix.

Washington Redskins (5-7): The Redskins season has become a trainwreck as head coach Mike Shanahan has had to deal with several distractions, including DT Albert Haynesworth’s suspension for conduct detrimental; the Skins defense should be suspended as well, allowing the fifth-most points in the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys (4-8): The Cowboys have gotten off the deck to become a team no one wants to face down the stretch; Dallas could play spoiler in the NFC East and help Jason Garrett remove the interim coaching tag.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (9-3): The Bears have won five straight to hold the division lead by one game thanks to resurgent play by QB Jay Cutler and LB Brian Urlacher; Chicago has murderous final four weeks capped by Week 17 visit to Packers.

Green Bay Packers (8-4): Despite injuries, Packers are firmly in the playoff mix, but key Week 12 loss at Atlanta looms large as well as final three games against New England, Giants and Chicago — win those and Green Bay will have earned its postseason ticket.

Minnesota Vikings (5-7): A change in head coach to well-respected assistant Leslie Frazier has helped the mood in Minnesota, but the final four weeks will be all about Brett Favre’s literal limp to the finish of his career (I think).

Detroit Lions (2-10): Some of the strides made early in the season by the Lions have been erased by the current five-game losing streak; coach Jim Schwartz is still looking for consistent winning formula.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (10-2): The hottest team in the NFC with six straight wins, the Falcons may do something no Atlanta NFL team ever has — host the NFC Championship Game in January; but they have to get through Week 16 Monday Night game vs. Saints.

New Orleans Saints (9-3): The defending Super Bowl champions are playing like it for first time all season with a current five-game win streak as the Saints try to go stride-for-stride with the Falcons; back-to-back road contests at Baltimore and Atlanta in Weeks 15-16 are New Orleans’ key games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5): The air has finally come out of the Buccaneers’ balloon with two straight losses, but Tampa Bay is just one game out of a Wild Card spot with favorable matchups in the next three weeks before Week 17 at Saints.

Carolina Panthers (1-11): The Panthers just want the season to be over, and the housecleaning will begin soon after starting with head coach John Fox; Panthers are a NFC-worst minus-153 in point differential.

NFC West

St. Louis Rams (6-6): The Rams have quietly put themselves in position to make the playoffs out of a weak NFC West, but don’t mistake St. Louis as a weak team — QB Sam Bradford is one of the league’s feel-good stories of 2010, and division could come down to Week 17 tilt at Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks (6-6): The Seahawks are in position to capture the NFC West, but head coach Pete Carroll’s squad still has worst point differential among NFC teams with a winning record (-49); Week 17 vs. St. Louis could be the decider.

San Francisco 49ers (4-8): San Francisco not officially dead in NFC West race, but last gasp could come this Sunday vs. Seattle; if they win, they still have games vs. St. Louis and Arizona — teams they have already beaten in 2010.

Arizona Cardinals (3-9): Cardinals have gone south for the winter as they have lost seven straight and hold NFC’s second-worst point difference (-138), but have three winnable games in final four weeks.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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The ‘fall’ of the Ravens defense started many Aprils ago

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The ‘fall’ of the Ravens defense started many Aprils ago

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Luke Jones

If you’ve been wearing out your Greg Mattison dartboard over the last several weeks, you’re probably not alone.

After all, the current Ravens defensive coordinator is solely responsible for the fall of a once-dominant unit all the way to 10th in the NFL, right?

(As an aside, how spoiled are we to be frustrated with a unit still better — statistically — than 22 other defenses in the league?)

From eliminating the submissive three-man rush to playing tighter, press coverage in the secondary, Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, or Rex Ryan would be coaching this defense to the elite level it enjoyed over the last decade instead of the mortal status it currently holds.

If only it were that simple.

Placing blame on a few individuals is common practice (Mattison, maligned cornerback Fabian Washington, and, until recently, “overrated” linebacker Terrell Suggs are popular targets these days), but the defensive problems run far deeper.

Personnel issues, aging stars, a key injury (anyone remember Domonique Foxworth?), and — perhaps — coaching shortcomings have left the Ravens with an above-average defense pursuing ghosts of dominance on the M&T Bank Stadium turf.

Truth be told, the current deterioration of the Baltimore defense began years ago, even while the unit was enjoying perennial elite status.

Anyone who’s followed Ozzie Newsome’s 15 years in Baltimore knows organizational success begins and ends in April. Shrewd trades and a sprinkling of free-agent signings have contributed over the years, but the Ravens have traditionally made their money with the NFL Draft, especially on the defensive side of the football.

Ngata
(Photo courtesy of ESPN.com)

And herein lies the problem with the current defense.

Since the Ravens drafted Suggs with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Newsome has used only one first-round pick on a defensive player, tackle Haloti Ngata in 2006.

By no means is that an indictment of Newsome, director of player personnel Eric DeCosta, and the scouting department in Owings Mills. The Ravens had no choice but to address the offensive side of the football in hopes of reaching the pinnacle of the NFL.

If defense alone truly wins championships, the Ravens would have a showcase full of Vince Lombardi Trophies in the lobby at 1 Winning Drive, but Baltimore has fallen short with a number of elite defenses, all because of offensive units that couldn’t get out of their own way.

As a result, the team has used five of its last six first-round picks on offensive players, including quarterback Joe Flacco (2008) and current starting linemen Ben Grubbs (2007) and Michael Oher (2009). Meanwhile, the defense largely maintained the status quo, carrying the mantra of dominance for years.

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Perhaps seeing leaks last season, the front office emphasized defense in April, drafting Sergio Kindle from Texas and the mammoth Terrence Cody from Newsome’s alma mater of Alabama. Ultimately, a draft’s success cannot be gauged for a few years, but the short-term return has been negligible halfway through the 2010 season.

In fairness, if you could have predicted Kindle’s fall down two flights of stairs in late July, forget about running an NFL front office; I’m asking you for this weekend’s winning lottery numbers.

Cody, on the other hand, still has time to contribute in the short-term and has played better in the Ravens’ last two games after a slow start to his professional career.

But one draft was not going to fix a philosophical shift in recent years that focused on offense with defensive upgrades taking a backseat. A simple look at the defensive picks in the Ravens’ first three rounds since 2004 shows the underwhelming results (the round in which the player was selected is noted in parentheses):

2004: DE Dwan Edwards (2nd)
2005: LB Dan Cody (2nd)
2006: DT Haloti Ngata (1st), CB David Pittman (3rd)
2007: None
2008: LB Tavares Gooden (3rd), S Tom Zbikowski (3rd)
2009: DE Paul Kruger (2nd), CB Lardarius Webb (3rd)
2010: LB Sergio Kindle (2nd), DT Terrence Cody (2nd)

Far more alarming than the lack of first-round selections is the volume of players who failed to make an impact as higher selections. Dan Cody (injuries) and Pittman (ineffectiveness) barely made it on the field in their brief time in Baltimore, and it remains unknown whether Kindle will ever play again, let alone contribute at a high level.

Other players, such as Edwards before signing with Buffalo last offseason, Gooden, and Kruger, have been little more than role players, contributing at times but failing to make a significant impact, though recent draft picks deserve more time to develop.

In contrast, a look at the Ravens’ defensive selections in the first three rounds from 1996 to 2003 shows a much different picture:

1996: LB Ray Lewis (1st), CB DeRon Jenkins (2nd)
1997: LB Peter Boulware (1st), LB Jamie Sharper (2nd), S Kim Herring (2nd)
1998: CB Duane Starks (1st)
1999: CB Chris McAlister (1st)
2000: None
2001: CB Gary Baxter (2nd)
2002: S Ed Reed (1st), DE Anthony Weaver (2nd)
2003: LB Terrell Suggs (1st)

The number of players chosen is similar (11 defensive players chosen in eight years compared to the 10 defenders selected in the seven drafts since 2004), but every player on the latter list started multiple seasons — many of them at elite levels — except Jenkins, who was largely considered a bust in his four years with the Ravens. Of course, the six first-rounds selections paid the largest dividends, but their other picks made significant contributions as well.

Looking at their draft record since 2004 and comparing it to the franchise’s first eight years in Baltimore reveals that in addition to the front office using fewer first-round picks on defensive players, it hasn’t been nearly as successful finding defensive talent in the second and third rounds, especially at cornerback where the unit currently struggles.

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Ray Lewis past, present and future: Is it safe to say the Ghost of Ray has passed?

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Ray Lewis past, present and future: Is it safe to say the Ghost of Ray has passed?

Posted on 26 October 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I was sitting in a Canton restaurant six weeks ago doing a WNST.net sales presentation and out of the corner of my eye I caught a purple flash. There, larger than life was the familiar sight of Ray Lewis coming down on Darren Sproles on the San Diego turf last fall on all of the flat screens at once in a jarring HD highlight reel, then pounding more running backs, belting quarterbacks and creating that beautiful purple havoc that we’ve grown to love to watch on Sunday afternoons in Baltimore.

The volume was down but it didn’t take me long to realize that Steve Sabol and a series of former Ravens coaches were doing a roundtable conversation about the career of Ray Lewis and I realized this was the NFL Films special that was shot in Orlando back during the NFL Owners Meetings that I attended. It was the same day when I spent time with all of these same people – Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith, Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Mike Singletary – for a coffee table conversation book I’m working on about the lineage of Baltimore coaching and leadership.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJrmWA9v_sg

In case you missed any of the segments on NFL.com from the Orlando conversation here’s a link…

But this wasn’t any restaurant I sitting in last month – this was Ray Lewis’ former Full Moon BBQ dream that is now The Fieldhouse next to the Canton Can Company.

On the same walls that served as a civic homage to all things No. 52, a place where Ray’s dream of being a successful restaurant owner and entrepreneur failed, it was sadly bittersweet to see Lewis flying on the walls

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Bench Flacco for Bulger? Are you people on dope?

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

In the era of the internet, it doesn’t take long to ferret out the bitchers, moaners, whiners, complainers and bridge jumpers on a fall NFL Sunday afternoon. Being the social media zealot that I am, it’s easy to feel the temperature of the never-ending Baltimore “barstool” here at WNST.net during our Purple Haze live chats as well as all over Facebook and Twitter during games. For an old fart like me, it’s quite compelling (if not entertaining) to gauge the shaky and ever-changing morale of the purple fan base during each possession, each drive and each success and failure by the Ravens.

To say Sunday’s performance by Joe Flacco was a hot button would be an understatement. I could only hope that the Orioles 14-year free-fall would have such relevance and concern to the Baltimore sports community.

Sure, Flacco stunk. He stunk early and often and looked bewildered at different points during the first half of a 5-for-18, 23-yard first half. The second half started with a solo burst of offensive success as Flacco led the team into the Bengals’ end zone on the initial drive but in the end it wasn’t good enough as he threw four interceptions in a wretched 15-10 loss in Cincinnati, where the Ravens haven’t won since Anthony Wright was commandeering the purple ship. As Flacco said in his somber post-game comments, it wasn’t his best day or one that he’ll look back on with pride.

Seeing Flacco play through pain last December and January (while John Harbaugh continually lied to the fan base and everyone else while his quarterback limped on and off the field) and seeing him get up from brutal hits over and over again should speak to the resilience of No. 5. He’s not a particularly compelling personality or interviewee but you can’t question the kid’s toughness – physically or mentally at this point – and certainly his ability and the positive results speak for themselves.

If there’s ever a guy who we have to expect to bounce back from a bad day or should be given a “hall pass” for a stinker, it’s Flacco. In his two-plus years here, he’s been dubbed “Joe Cool” for a reason. Your blood might curdle and your emotions might shoot high and low, but Flacco is unflappable in most circumstances that I’ve witnessed – on and off the field.

So while the reactionaries and arm-chair head coaches are yelling the “Bench Flacco” refrains – and it’s more comical (if not sad, really) — the very real concerns I have are more about the locker room than the barstool.

It’s now common knowledge that Anquan Boldin went postal on Flacco in the locker room during a halftime rant that apparently has alarmed more than one person in the organization who witnessed it within the bowels of Paul Brown Stadium around 2:20 p.m. on Sunday.

Boldin, who is most famous around the NFL for chewing out his then-offensive coordinator Todd Haley during the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago, might’ve had his own way of motivating Flacco, who clearly responded in some positive fashion on the first drive culminating with a 31-yard TD pass to Derrick Mason.

But the demeanor of the locker room and the many outsized egos of the offensive personnel is a much larger issue than whether Marc Bulger should be inserted as a starting quarterback.

Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, whose new “rah-rah” coach in Seattle wanted no part of even having him on the roster four weeks ago, lived in a constant circus in Cincinnati with his offensive unit’s personalities. He’s grown up immersed in the drama of “gimme the ball.”

And Mason has been a grandstander (some might call it a “leader”) of the largest magnitude both in Tennessee and here in Baltimore over the past five years, especially when the ball hasn’t been thrown in his direction.

And running backs? Ray Rice is clearly the guy who should be getting the ball but former college superstar and first-round draft pick Willis McGahee thinks he’s still a No. 1 back. And fullback LeRon McClain would rather carry the ball than block and had his own level of success two seasons ago when he was asked to shoulder the load. McGahee got the ball three times yesterday and McClain just once.

Did we mention tight ends? The Ravens now have three legitimate weapons there with Todd Heap, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, who are all more offensive-minded than stay-at-home blockers in the system.

So, here’s the biggest problem: they still only play with one ball in the NFL. There’s only one place Flacco can throw the ball at any given time and that’s only when he’s not running for his life after the offensive line deteriorates in front of him. Cam Cameron and Flacco have a lot of egos to feed, especially the morning after losses when the quarterback struggles and the wide receivers don’t get the damned ball.

It’s not hyperbole to say that the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and with our fabled quarterback history here dating back to Vinny Testaverde, Eric Zeier and Scott Mitchell, yelling for the No. 2 will seemingly always be in vogue in tough times for many “real” and “educated” Ravens fans.

So, then, assuming the obvious that a quarterback change is the last thing on the mind of Harbaugh and Cameron, what’s really wrong with Flacco and the offense that a home game against the once-again lowly Cleveland Browns can’t fix?

Let’s start with better play from the offensive line, which hasn’t really done Flacco any favors in regard to giving him an appropriate amount of time to execute the offense with the injury to Jared Gaither and the constant flip-flopping of the personnel.

This week the Ravens will get a reprieve. They have a full week of rest. Finally, they’ll have a home game against the once-again 0-2 Browns, who have their own coaching and quarterback controversies to debate. (Unlike the Ravens, they have some real problems over on the shores of Lake Erie.)

Flacco has only led the team to two consecutive playoff berths and an AFC Championship Game in his two seasons in Baltimore. If he hasn’t bought himself a “free pass” for an awful effort against a rock-solid Cincinnati Bengals defensive unit, then we just have awful, unappreciative and uneducated fans.

The Ravens are 1-1. They were underdogs in both games and played on the road against back-to-back playoff teams that also used their respective off-seasons to improve. And defense and defensive pressure and scheme confusion are the calling cards of the Bengals and Jets defenses. (And if you look behind the bench, you’ll see two of the finest defensive minds in the game, who both sport gold, diamond rings with purple birds and “Invictus” slogans.)

Don’t jump off the purple bridge just yet!

And please don’t yell “Bench Flacco” or write it on Facebook or Twitter during the second quarter of the second week of the season and then expect me to think you know anything about football.

The Ravens lost 15-10. The defense was its usual self and if the Terrell Suggs roughing call wasn’t made there’s a decent chance the Ravens could be 2-0 this morning. And let’s not forget the special teams meltdown on the kickoff in the fourth quarter, which was the beginning of the end in Cincinnati.

It’s not time to panic. It’s certainly not the time to even discuss benching Joe Flacco for Marc Bulger in Baltimore.

Let’s discuss how to get the ball to these hungry and capable wide receivers, keeping them happy and putting the Ravens in the win column.

That’s the discussion we’ll be having this week and all season here at WNST.net and in all of the places on the internet we call a barstool for cogent conversation for intelligent Baltimore sports fans.

Hope to see you at Fattie’s in Essex tonight for the Coors Light Neighborhood Tour and some Monday Night Football and conversation.

And in case you missed Ray Lewis’ classic rant in the locker room yesterday, just click play and enjoy:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkQaI0cW2dw[/youtube]

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Flacco Continues Struggles Against Bengals

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Flacco Continues Struggles Against Bengals

Posted on 19 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Joe Flacco

The Ravens defense did their part Sunday against the Bengals in their 15-10 loss to Cincinnati, but quarterback Joe Flacco continued his struggles against the Bengals, as he threw a career-high four interceptions.

“It’s a tough one for me. You don’t like going out there and turning the ball over and feeling responsible for why you guys didn’t win the game,” Flacco said. “We’ve got to come back like we do every week. We’re 1-1 and we have 14 games left.”

Flacco is 0-3 against Marvin Lewis and the Bengals in his last three starts.

Flacco completed 17-of-39 passes for 154 yards. He threw a third quarter touchdown pass to Derrick Mason-his only catch of the game-that put the Ravens up 7-6 after trailing at the half, but with three of his picks coming in the second half, it allowed the Bengals every opportunity to hold onto the momentum in the second half and win the game.

The win gives the Bengals their eighth-straight AFC North win.

Flacco was held to zero yards passing in the first quarter, missing on his first four passes, with the inability to step into his throws, forcing the ball to sail over receivers Anquan Boldin and Mason.

Flacco constantly was forced back or outside the pocket, as the Bengals pass-rush  flustered Flacco all game long.

His struggles continued into the second quarter, as Flacco’s third pass of the quarter after two short completions was intercepted by Adam “Pacman” Jones as he was covering Anquan Boldin on third down.

Cincinnati-with a short field-then took the ball 23 yards to make it 6-0, which stood up until the half.

The Ravens coaching staff sensed Flacco’s struggles at halftime and subsequently went to running back Ray Rice twice to start out the second half.

Mixed in with a healthy combination of Rice and play-action passes, Flacco found Mason for the Ravens’ lone touchdown score of the game to put the Ravens back up top 7-6 coming out of the second half.

In two games, the Ravens have a total of two touchdowns to their credit and 10 points in each game.

On the next drive, Leon Hall stepped in front of another pass intended for Boldin, which the Bengals took to the Baltimore 43 yard line. An offensive pass interference call on Chad Ocho Cinco lining up against Lardarius Webb ended the Bengals drive.

Flacco played his part on the Ravens’ drive starting with 9:35 in the fourth quarter, but the drive was really set up by Ray Rice’s 30 yard run that was stopped by Bengals defensive back Chris Crocker.

Billy Cundiff kicked a 38-yard field goal with 5:51 remaining in the game to make it 10-9 in favor of Baltimore.

After a 60-yard kickoff return by Bernard Scott, Mike Nugent connected on his fourth field goal of the game to make it 12-10 Cincinnati with just 4:34 remaining in the game.

With plenty of time left on the clock, Flacco appeared to be in good position to lead the Ravens offense down the field and score. But two plays in, Flacco’s pass intended for Ray Rice was tipped at the line and fell into the hands of linebacker Brandon Johnson. The Ravens defense held the Bengals yet again with the drive starting at the Baltimore 11 yard line, but Nugent hit his fifth and final field goal of the game.

With the Ravens needing a touchdown to win, the Bengals focused on the pass, and subsequently applied more pressure on Flacco. Flacco, twice hit on the Ravens final drive of the game, was trying to find Mason, but Chinedum Ndukwe picked off Flacco for the fourth time of the day and gave the game to the Bengals.

The four interceptions for Flacco were a career-high and his worst interception total since December 7th against Green Bay, where he turned the ball over three times in the air.

“You cannot win in this league with turnovers,” Coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s been proven time and time again. Minus-4 is not going to get it done.”

Flacco in his career is 2-3 in his career against the Bengals, losing his last three starts against Cincinnati. His first two victories came over the Bengals in his rookie year in 2008-one being his first NFL start on September 7th, 2008, but since then he has come up short against one of Baltimore’s AFC North opponents.

Here are Flacco’s numbers against Cincinnati in his last three starts:

10/11/09: (BAL L, 17-10): 22-31, 186yd, 1 TD, 2 INTs

11/08/09: (BAL L, 17-7): 18-32, 195yd, 0 TD, 2 INTs

09/19/10: (BAL L, 15-10): 17-39, 154, 1 TD, 4 INTs

If the Ravens are going to win this division and reach the playoffs for a third straight year( something the team has not done in franchise history), they are going to have to beat the Bengals and Flacco is going to have to play a bigger part in not only beating the Bengals, but not hurting the Ravens’ chances of winning.

Flacco in his short NFL career has also been a quarterback who has been not fundamental sound with his mechanics, as QB coach Jim Zorn and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron continued to point out to Flacco on the sidelines on Sunday.

Flacco also has shown that he will try and throw the ball up to a receiver in an attempt to force the receiver to make a play, and that was evident on Sunday.

Too bad he threw it to the Bengals four times.

“The one I would really want back is the second one I threw. I just threw it right in a crowd. The other ones I was trying to make  plays and they picked them off. It’s bad. They’re interceptions…you don’t feel good about them.”

Marshal Yanda is used to playing guard and now with no one on his right side, he has struggled in pass blocking and his replacement at right guard, Chris Chester, is more of a run-blocker than excelling in his pass-blocking.

What is surprising is how effective the Bengals were at getting pressure on Flacco with just four rushing the passer. The Ravens offensive line seemed confused at times with the Bengals’ stunts, and it still appears like the Ravens are missing tackle Jared Gaither, who is nursing a back injury.

“They’re a good team…,” Flacco said, “and they’ve shown that over the last couple years that they can play good defense.”

The good news is that the Cleveland Browns are coming into Baltimore next week at home. The Browns (0-2) fell to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday 16-14, and the Ravens will be looking to catch up in the division race looking up at the Bengals (1-1, 1-0 AFC North) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0).

“You go and get ready for the Cleveland Browns, and that’s what we’ve got to do,” Flacco continued. “We just have to make sure we all bounce back, and I think everyone will.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we are your place for all Ravens news! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore sports!

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Ravens vs. Bengals  –  5 Keys To The Game

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Ravens vs. Bengals – 5 Keys To The Game

Posted on 19 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, after months of dissecting the New Yorks Jets, followed by an emotionally draining Monday night contest in the Meadowlands, it’s time to get back to SUNDAY football.

The Ravens travel to the Queen City, this afternoon, for a 1pm matchup against the Bengals. It should be another tough, close game …. albeit from a diiferent perspective than the struggle against the Jets. The Bengals will most certainly feature a better passing game, while offering weaker resistance than Gang Green’s defensive attack.

Here are my FIVE KEYS to today’s game …..

1) STOP CEDRIC BENSON
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This was the one thing the intimidating Ravens defense could not achieve, in 2009. Benson rushed for 120 and 117 yards, respectively, in both meetings. And, he broke runs of 20+ yards both times, as well. This cannot happen today.

Cedric Benson’s success is undoubtedly tied to his large, athletic offensive line. Each lineman weighs in excess of 320 pounds and they provided a formidable shield for 100 yard gains, 8 times, in 2009. The Ravens must find a way to stop the running attack – if Benson is successful, again, it will leave the Ravens defense languishing on the field for long drives.

It would be nice to see “Mount” Cody helping to plug up the middle. Perhaps, we’ll see Paul Kruger – who runs around like his hair is on fire, as well. Regardless, they MUST stop Benson.
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2) WATCH RAY RUN
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It’s simple, see Key #1. Just as Cedric Benson succeeded against the Ravens, in 2009, Ray Rice realized lesser success. He managed 69 and 48 yards, respectively, in both games. The second matchup, in Cincinnati, exploits some misleading numbers. Rice had only 12 touches, with an average gain of 4 yards, per carry.

While the improved Ravens passing game will be a factor in today’s game, Ray Rice figures to offer that same ability to grinding positive yardage and keeping the Bengals defense on the field. It’s going to be 86 degrees and humid, in Cincinnati, today. It will undoubtedly be tiring conditions for each team’s defense.
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3) SHUT DOWN CARSON PALMER’S ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
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Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens will make catches in today’s game. That’s fine. I worry more about the likes of Jordan Shipley, Andre’ Caldwell (remember him?) and Jermaine Gresham. Each of these guys offer varying targets for Palmer. And, I’m suspicious of rookie Gresham’s possible success across the middle. He’s a lot BIGGER than Dustin Keller and he’s quite athletic.

With Ray Lewis nursing a sore foot, I’ll be watching the middle pretty closely.
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4) FLACCO OUTGUNS PALMER
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Perhaps, today can be the DAY that Joe Flacco serves notice as the most prolific passer in the AFC-North. He now has a surrounding cast comparable to the likes of Carson Palmer. Translation – NO EXCUSES.

The additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were evident, last week. However, they can STAND OUT today. And, with Todd Heap hurting, we can rely on better backups than names like L.J. Smith and Quinn Sypniewski. Welcome to the show, Ed Dickson. We just might see some fireworks from one of the NFL’s next rockstar tight ends.

But, it rests upon the shoulders (and arm) of Joe Flacco. With Keith Rivers also nursing a sore foot and Jonathan Fanene OUT, the Ravens will likely benefit from a weakened pass rush. Flacco delivers today …..
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5) OUTCOACH ‘EM
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He absolutely did it to Rex Ryan, just 6 nights ago. Today, John Harbaugh is tasked with outsmarting Marvin Lewis in the strategical side of the game. Can it happen? Heck yeah …..

Say what you want, a big part of the Bengals embarrassing performance against New England can be attributed to being OUTCOACHED. Bill Belichick was hellbent on putting the Bengals in an early hole, while removing Cedric Benson from a revamped comeback agenda. It worked perfectly.

Today, Harbaugh & Company will need to have a shrewd strategy as the team enters enemy territory for the 2nd time in as many weeks. It starts with DISCIPLINE, and there is little doubt the Ravens will have that angle covered. Now, lets be smart …..
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Ravens 27 Bengals 24

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Bring Back Prince Miller, Prepare for Bengals

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens returned to work Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, beginning preparations for Sunday afternoon’s battle with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Ravens made a roster move Wednesday, re-signing CB Prince Miller. Miller had been on the practice squad with the New England Patriots. Miller was an undrafted free agent out of Georgia who originally made the Ravens’ final 53 man roster following a strong Training Camp and preseason. He was released September 5 to make room for CB Bryan McCann on the active roster. Coming full circle, the Ravens released McCann Wednesday to make room for Miller on the roster.

Miller will have a chance to get involved in returning punts, as head coach John Harbaugh admitted Tuesday that Tom Zbikowski’s performance was “disappointing” in the role Monday night in the Ravens’ win over the New York Jets. Harbaugh said Wednesday “there is a chance” Miller will take over punt return duties, but didn’t know if the rookie would be ready to do that Sunday. Harbaugh said of Miller and Zbikowski “one of them will be back there” against Cincinnati.

The Ravens will have to keep Miller on the active roster for at least three weeks due to the NFL rules for signing players from other another team’s practice squad. When CB Cary Williams returns from suspension next week the team will have to make another roster move to get down to 53 players.

CODY HOPES TO PLAY: DT Terrence Cody told reporters today he “should be able to play” Sunday after missing the Monday Night Football tilt at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Cody is recovering from a minor knee procedure he underwent August 31 to repair damage to a slightly torn meniscus. Cody said the knee is “getting better”, but he wants to “get a lot of reps” in practice this week.

Harbaugh did not expect to have Cody on the practice field Wednesday afternoon-but Cody did indeed participate. When asked if the team’s 2nd selection in the NFL Draft would be able to play Sunday, Harbaugh admitted “I don’t know.”

HOUSHMANDZADEH REFLECTS ON RETURN
: WR TJ Houshmandzadeh spent a formal session with reporters Wednesday, reflecting on his first visit to Cincinnati after spending eight years (seven seasons) in the Queen City.

When asked about how it will feel to dress in and enter from the visitor’s locker room at Paul Brown Stadium, Houshmandzadeh admitted “it will be different.” Houshmandzadeh said he didn’t know what kind of reaction he would get from the fans in Cincinnati, but said he would “expect the worts, hope for the best.” Houshmandzadeh believed his role as a constant underdog early in his career could help fans feel “apathy” towards him.

Houshmandzadeh gave credit to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, noting “Marvin stuck by me when I was hurt (in 2003)”. He said that without Lewis, he might not still be in the NFL at this point.

Houshmandzadeh said he “wanted to stay” in Cincinnati after the 2008 season, but his “mind was kind of clouded” at the time.

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens have announced that OT Jared Gaither (back) and WR Donte’ Stallworth will not play Sunday.

On Wednesday, TE Todd Heap (shoulder) did not participate in practice. LB Ray Lewis (foot), WR Anquan Boldin (thigh), Cody (knee) and LB Jarret Johnson (back) were all limited participants. LB Jameel McClain (knee) and WR Marcus Smith (knee) fully participated in practice.

For the Bengals, DE Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) and LB Keith Rivers (foot) did not participate in practice. RB Cedric Benson (shoulder) was a limited participant. WR Andre Caldwell (groin), CB Brandon Ghee (head) and RB Brian Leonard (foot) were all full participants.

NOTES: The Ravens will not practice until 3:40pm, as Harbaugh wants to give them more rest after returning from East Rutherford late Monday night/early Tuesday morning……Hear from Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco and Boldin NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco talked to Baltimore media members via conference call Wednesday. Ochocinco declined to discuss his recent Twitter “battle” with Ravens RB’s Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain; saying he only wanted to talk about Sunday’s game. Ochocinco offered praise for Lewis, DT Haloti Ngata and injured S Ed Reed. He also said he was looking forward to chatting with former Cincy teammate Houshmandzadeh. McClain said he and Ochocinco were “just joking around” with their exchange.

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because it is “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” time!

My NEW “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” comes with an explanation. “Boomer Sooner” and I spent the weekend in New York, and as you’d expect from a gal who grew up in Texas and went to school in Oklahoma, she’s a fan of country music. I will admit to having a soft spot for the genre myself. With that in mind, this week’s winner is Eric Church’s “Smoke a Little Smoke.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb1S467ck1c[/youtube]

And the RETRO version of the “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” was decided Friday night-when the great John Popper and Blues Traveler took the stage at Power Plant Live. I mean, is there ANYTHING greater than “Run-Around”???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ousaiByU1ko[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says John Harbaugh does not expect Todd Heap to miss any time after suffering shoulder injury in win over New York Jets

Clearly that’s good news. While Heap was MIGHTY impressive hauling in the first down pass from Joe Flacco on the Ravens’ penultimate possession Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium, it could have been costly. Being labeled the top play in NFL Week 1 action by ESPNews probably wouldn’t have been as meaningful had Heap been unable to take the field Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

It’s important to keep Heap on the field because his presence alongside Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and TJ Houshmandzadeh forces the Bengals to stay honest with their outstanding CB’s (Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph). The matchup problem is exactly what the Ravens need.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Nakamura, Josh Wilson, Lardarius Webb will ‘compete’ for nickel CB job

Apparently the Ravens had decided back around the Washington Redskins preseason game that Nakamura would be able to handle the role. That helps explain (at least to some extent) why the team had no trouble parting ways with CB Travis Fisher, and why they felt the need to hang on to veteran S Ken Hamlin.

Nakamura had no troubles against Mark Sanchez and the Jets Monday night, but he really wasn’t tested. I feel as though Wilson or Webb would be better long-term options, but the Ravens clearly appear to have at least some sort of comfort level with Nakamura.

It will be especially interesting to see how Cary Williams fits into this mix when he returns. He’s not really the best suited to cover slot receivers, but appeared to earn real playing time with his performance in the preseason.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens waived IR players David Hale, Stefan Rodgers

We’ll always have the memories…of David Hale’s facial hair…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RK-Y7Bn7Bw[/youtube]

If the Ravens need to fill the roster spot, I’d think Jeri Lee would do a fine job (Thanks Gorilla Mask!)…

jerilee

4. The Sun’s Matt Vensel says Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco fighting with Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee on Twitter

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-Harbaugh told the media yesterday that he had no update on rookie LB Sergio Kindle, adding he “wished” he did. He also said he thought Webb had a chance to play against the Jets, and thinks he’ll have a chance to play Sunday as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL.

-The Ravens return to practice today in Owings Mills as they prepare for Sunday afternoon. We’ll be live at 1 Winning Drive with coverage throughout the day on AM1570 WNST, on Twitter (@WNST), and at WNST.net. Harbaugh, Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason and others are expected to address the media this morning; and Marvin Lewis and Ochocinco are scheduled to hold conference calls with the Baltimore media this afternoon.

5. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Nick Markakis and Adam Jones homered as Orioles blew out Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

It’s goofy to even talk about-but if the Birds were to face the Minnesota Twins in a 7 game series starting tomorrow; does anyone else get the feeling Buck Showalter’s team would figure out a way to win?

I don’t just want the Buck Showalter t-shirt they were giving away last night, I want a Buck Showalter Fathead!

I feel like a broken record though-as I can’t think of anything else to say besides “why couldn’t this have happened when games mattered???”

I wasn’t watching again last night. Not because I don’t love the Orioles, but because the games just don’t matter. I played kickball last night, enjoyed a medium Angel Food from Smoothie King for dinner, then watched the MTV Video Music Awards (or fast-forwarded through them) on DVR. Eminem was pretty good…

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

I hope the games will matter in September 2011.

6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Markakis and Jones homered; Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton and Robert Andino all doubled, and Matt Wieters was 3-5 with a run scored and a RBI.

On top of that, Jake Arrieta threw six shutout innings.

Everything about the numbers is good. Go look at them. Then come back and look at Diana Falzone. We’ll call it a “win-win”! (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

falzone

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals to visit Charm City in 2011; O’s to visit Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Nats

I guess there’s something exciting about Albert Pujols coming to OPACY next season; but I’d be plenty happy if Pujols DIDN’T play-but we were instead excited to see the Orioles play.

Do you think Nelly would make the trip with the Cards? I’ve always thought he (and his band-aid) were kinda cool.

nelly

8. Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Birds not concerned about injuries to Brian Matusz, Brian Roberts

And before we move on from the Birds, a few things…

-The Orioles will try to finish off a sweep of the Jays tonight; first pitch from The Yard is at 7:05pm, you can see it on MASN2. Phenom Kyle Drabeck makes his first career start for Toronto, he’ll face Brad Bergesen.

-Did you miss SiriusXM MLB Network Radio analyst and former Catonsville pitcher Jeff Nelson on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester this morning? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Dan Graziano (Fanhouse)-who was in attendance for the Monday Night Football contest in East Rutherford and chatted with Drew about the Ravens and Jets Wednesday morning
  • Pete Caringi (UMBC Soccer Coach)-who previewed tonight’s contest with La Salle at UMBC Stadium
  • Albert Breer (Boston Globe), Barry Barnes (Fanhouse), Brian Billick (Fox Sports/NFL Network), Clark Judge (CBS Sports), Tom Pedulla (USA Today), Tommy Polley (Former Ravens/Dunbar LB)-who all recapped Ravens/Jets during the day Tuesday with Rex Snider and Thyrl Nelson
  • Tuesday’s weekly press conference with John Harbaugh from 1 Winning Drive

It’s all in the Audio Vault-PLUS THERE’S MORE-so your day is planned. AGAIN. I’m much too good to you…

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland, West Virginia extend football series through 2017

A slew of other Terrapins football-related notes via Patrick:

-Within the WVU series, the Terps will host back to back games at Byrd Stadium in 2013 & 2014; they’ll visit Morgantown back to back in 2015 & 2016

-Rob Stone and former Georgia Bulldogs/Cincinnati Bengals LB David Pollack will call Maryland/WVU this Saturday for ESPNU.

-Maryland will be without LB Marcus Whitfield for the rest of the year due to a knee injury. TE Will Yeatman is expected to be ready to return from a broken finger Saturday.

-Maryland and Florida International will kick off at 12pm next Saturday (September 25) in College Park. The game can be seen on ESPNU. It isn’t a great option, but it’s better than the alternative-which is no TV at all. If Maryland keeps winning, they might see some better TV options.

That’s a lot of information for one day. If I were you, I’d consider making a donation to the “keep Patrick Stevens working fund” over at D1scourse…

10. The Sun’s Sandra McKee says Pam Shriver to hold final event at 1st Mariner Arena November 17

This sucks.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed Pam’s involvement with the community and her partnership with this event since its inception. I’ve been thrilled while watching events with the likes of Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Andy Roddick. Even last year’s event with Melanie Oudin, John Isner and the Bryan Brothers was a lot of fun.

It’s a shame American tennis has fallen off the map. It’s a shame 1st Mariner Arena is an absolute dump and folks in general don’t want to attend events there. It’s a shame Pam’s life has had twists and turns and she’s been taken to California.

I hope there will be future tennis events in Baltimore. I hope Pam Shriver will be involved.

Trice Capra is a natural fit to be involved with the last event, but there’s a certain someone else I’m also hoping to see…

wozniacki

Or Andy Roddick. Either one.

And finally, I leave you with this…

Congratulations to Sasho Cirovski’s Maryland soccer team for a 3-0 win over the Loyola Greyhounds last night at Ridley Athletic Complex. To celebrate, here’s DK…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJlcu4J2MWg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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