Tag Archive | "matt birk"

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Birk seeing same old Flacco during biggest week of QB’s career

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

CENTER MATT BIRK

(on his decision to return for this season) “I mean, I always say that I’m playing until I’m not. I told Art after the season, I just need some time. Every year is just exhausting and the way our season ended last year, it takes a while to process those emotions. For me, before my physical well-being, if I feel like I can do it again or if I want to do it I need to make sure that it’s good for my family. People say, ‘What do you mean it’s good for your family? You’re an NFL player. You make a ton of money.’ But it’s a big sacrifice on their part, on my wife and I have six kids. You have to coordinate a lot of things and you have to make sure everybody is on board. (My family) just kind of took off; we have a little place we go to and hang out for a couple of months and that’s what we did. I don’t try to set a timeline on it or rush the decision. I just wake up every day and just live and see how I feel. It just got to the point and made the decision that we could do it again.”

 

(on if how close the team was last year played into his decision to return) “A little bit. That was as tough of a way to end the season as you can probably have. It was kind of in the back of my mind, I sure would like to give it one more run with this group.”

 

(on the success of the offensive line) “We just study real hard and we work fundamentals and techniques. There is no secret formula, you just try to prepare as well as you can and then go out there and do your best. It’s a good feeling to know as an offensive lineman that you have a quarterback and you have receivers and running backs that we know if we do our job up front those guys are going to make plays and good things are going to happen for our football team.”

 

(on the most difficult task for an offensive lineman) “It kind of depends. It depends on the situation and who you’re going against, who your opponent is. The most important thing as an offense is to have balance and to be able to do both and then the defense can’t key in on one or the other and you can keep them off balance a little bit.”

 

(on what he will do after football) “It’s scary. I joke but I’m kind of serious. People say, ‘What are you going to do when you’re done?’ and that’s probably why I’m still playing. The unknown is scary in some ways. You’re never going to be able to replicate some of the feelings, some of the emotions that you get playing this game. But I think it’s also important too, that’s a good life lesson to have: to keep everything in perspective. If this is as good as it gets for you then you’re in trouble. Through spirituality, through your family, through relationships, a lot of things, you need to have everything in the right perspective and you need to realize all of this is going to be gone someday. It ends for everybody.”

 

(on if his family wants him to retire) “Sometimes but then in the offseason I’ll be home for a month or two and they will be like, ‘Isn’t it time for you to go back to work?’ I like to try to get involved and they have a rhythm at home. When we have the reentry period in the offseason where I’m home a lot more, there’s always a few bumps on reentry.”

 

(on how Joe Flacco has been this week) “Joe has been Joe. He’s always the same, that’s the thing about him that you have to love. He’s not impressed by anything or anything that he does. Obviously he’s a hot topic this week but it doesn’t really affect him one way or the other. I really don’t think he cares too much.”

 

(on his expectation for Joe Flacco on Sunday) “I expect for him to be Joe. To go out there and play solid like he always does. He’ll do whatever is asked of him to help our team win.”

 

(on if this is the final opportunity for a lot of guys on the team to win the Super Bowl) “I don’t know if this is it but there are a lot of guys that are getting up there in years (in the league) and this is their first opportunity and you never know when it could be your last. We talk about opportunity a lot, how you have to seize the moment and appreciate the moment and make the most of the opportunity. The future, who knows? I know teams go through that, they have a window that will close and then they rebuild but as far as the Ravens’ franchise overall, they’ve been pretty good for a long time. It’s a pretty big window that they’ve had but the future is unknown. You have to make the most of it.”

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Birk promoting player safety at Super Bowl

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

CENTER MATT BIRK

 

(on getting involved with the new device a sensor by MC10 and Reebok for tracking the impact of hits) “I guess football has done so much for me in my life and I think it’s a great game. Not just aside from playing professional football, but I think it’s a great game to teach a lot of lessons and a lot of things about life that are very valuable. I think especially as NFL players, we should try to help the game in making it as safe as possible. That’s certainly a hot topic these days, and in our game that filters down to the kids’ level, and as a father and as someone who’s concerned about kids and their safety and just doing everything we can to make the game safe and make it positive.”

 

(on the device a sensor by MC10 and Reebok helping the college and high school level) “The device were talking about is the sensor from MC10 and Reebok.  It gives you instant feedback on the impact of hits during a game and it talks about head injuries and concussions it’s not like a broken bone or something that’s very evident to the eye or to a medical doctor so this device gives you instant feedback as far as the impact and how great it was, in order to measure that so coaches and parents and medical staff aren’t waiting until after to get that data. Right away they know there’s an impact and a reason to be alarmed and get the kid out and taken through the battery of testing.”

 

(on how the concussion message has changed the NFL) “The culture has definitely changed.  Way back when you didn’t really talk about it and it wasn’t really considered, in a lot of ways, a real injury by players because that was just the talk in the locker room.  You just played through it, you did everything you could to play through it.  Nowadays with all of the things we’re finding out with the long term effects, attitudes have changed among players, and, if a guy has a concussion, it’s definitely accepted in the locker room because it’s so important as a player and on a team to have the respect of your teammates.  Now a days with all of the unfortunate data and cases that come across now, its okay to say ‘Yeah I have a concussion I can’t go back out.’”

 

(on donating his brain for research) “It’s my obligation as a professional football player to try to do my part to make the game as safe as possible for future generations.  I don’t really look at donating my brain as that big of a deal, it’s kind of like donating an organ.  I think it’s something that I should do.”

 

(on motivating his teammates to also donate their brains for research to the Boston University project) “I’ve talked to them about it and just try to explain it.  It’s kind of a morbid thing when you think about it and it kind catches you, but really if you think about it, it’s not that big of a deal.  You don’t need it once you’re dead and I think it’s important for the cause and for them to compile as much data so they can learn as much as they can about head traumas and the effect it has. CTE and all these things that weren’t on anybody’s radar five years ago.”

 

(on what his hope is in donating his brain and his involvement in this cause) “Just to make the game safer.  I think this is great that we’re having this discussion now.  Five years ago we weren’t talking about this and it’s so important for our game at the professional level and the future of it, but especially and more importantly, for the hundreds and thousands of kids that play football.  It’s a great game.  The best thing about football is the things that it teaches you about life and being a part of a team, something greater than yourself, values, teamwork, hard work, overcoming adversity, all of those things, and to show all these kids who play that they’re as safe as possible and can have a positive experience.”

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Birk admires Oher’s versatility

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

 

CENTER MATT BIRK

 

(on if he thought it would take 15 years) “I didn’t think I was going to be here 15 years later in 1998.”

 

(on he and Randy Moss starting together that year at opposite ends of the publicity spectrum) “I was fortunate enough to play with Randy for seven years and the way he took the league by storm was unbelievable.  To be a part of that and to be his teammate for seven years, we had a lot of fun in the locker room and obviously won a lot of games in large part to him.  I haven’t kept in touch with him or anything like that, but obviously I’m happy for him and that he’s still playing.  I think Randy’s been through a lot, gone through a lot of different things, but I understand having been his teammate for seven years what a competitor he is and how hard he works.”

 

(on the time and effort he’s put in and what it means to get here with the guys in his locker room) “Just being here with these guys, this is a special group.  That was obvious when I got to Baltimore.  Being here for four years, it’s just a tight-knit group and we really are a team and that come from Coach Harbaugh.  If you’re not about the team you’re not going to play for the Ravens.  Obviously we have great players, Hall of Fame players, guys that their impact isn’t measured only on the field, but off the field as well.  It’s just a blessing to able to play with those guys.”

 

(on any misconceptions about Randy Moss in a general sense) “I would just say he was a great teammate, extremely hardworking.  I mean the things he did on the football field were fantastic.  Those are the guys you want to play with, those types of competitors.

 

(on if this is a dream matchup) “These are two very physical teams, alike in a lot of ways and the physical aspect of football. That element is never going to change and big games you have to be physical.  The two teams here are physical.  It’s our 20th game of the season, we’re not going to change what we do and they’re not going to change what they do.  It’s going to be pretty straight forward.  I think the way the game evolves and changes and so much in passing and spreading out the field and doing things.  I like the fact that just as a fan it comes down to these two teams and this style of play to decide the world champion.”

 

(on Joe Flacco’s development) “He’s just continued to get better.  It’s been five years evolving and every year he’s gotten better and other guys have developed along with him that are young players.  Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Dennis Bennett, guys like that.  Joe’s gotten better, but I think a lot of guys around him have gotten better as well.  It’s kind of a two way street.”

 

(on Joe Flacco being a leader in the locker room) “I think just Joe being Joe.  He is who he is and he’s very comfortable with that.  The person he is and his personality.  He doesn’t try to be somebody he’s not.  The quarterback position is a leadership position and hopefully you have to play well and Joe’s done it time and time again.  He’s proven that he’s an excellent quarterback on big stages and he plays well and you do the best you can to respect your teammates.

 

(on the special feeling you need to have in the playoffs to win and coming back sense the middle of the season) “I think we have great leadership on this team.  I think Coach Harbaugh is a great coach and a great leader.  I think the guys in this room, their performance and their careers speak for themselves, but they’re not guys that a just in it for themselves.  They’re team guys, they lead and the rest follow.  Everybody’s going to have bumps in the road.  You’re going to have downs in the middle of the season and we understand that and you try your best to avoid them, but it’s going to happen.  I think when we had ours nobody panicked because players still believed in players and in coaches and coaches believed in players and we still believed in the way we were doing things.  We know that you get rough patches during the season it’s a long season, but we just have to do things the way we’ve been doing.  Our philosophy is just come to work ready to work and try to work as hard as you can and to get as good as you can and that’s basically all we do.”
(on the length of time he’s been in the league and what it feels like being here) “I feel very fortunate to be playing this game and to be doing it with this group of guys.  It’s a special group of guys all the way around and nobody’s entitled and nobody deserves to play in the Super Bowl, but everything really came together for us.”

 

(on President Obama saying that if he had a son he would have to think long and hard before letting him play football because of the physical toll it takes) “I have three sons and I think anyone who is a parent can relate to that.  Certainly it is a dangerous game and we’re finding out more and more, every day, the long term effects that this game can have.  I think it’s a joint effort with the commissioner, with coaches, with players, with everybody, everybody that wants to watch and make this game as safe as it can be.  I think we’re making strides in that.  Football’s a great game.  Obviously it’s a great game for NFL players, it’s how we make a living, but most kids who play football aren’t going to make it to the NFL.  It’s such a great game because it teaches you about life and lessons and there’s so much to be gained by participating in football.  It’s served us all well and just to continue to have this conversation and continue to talk about it and just do whatever we can to make it safer  whether it be through rule change or research.”

 

(on how important Coach Jim Caldwell has been to this team) “Obviously he’s done a great job.  It’s probably less than an ideal situation.  I think his track record speaks for itself and what he’s accomplished in this league.  I think he helped Joe (Flacco) progress, get a different coach, different voice and a different viewpoint and this offense as a whole, he’s obviously brought a lot of ideas and when he became coordinator he was able to put his stamp on it, his personality a little bit more.  Fortunately he’s been successful.”

 

(on the dynamic of the changes in the offensive line) “We always talk about chemistry on the offensive line, five guys because you work together so much and ideally you’d love to have five guys in there at the same position all season.  That’s not the way it worked out for us, but you get back to the team philosophy that we have and everybody buying in and what was best for the team.  Guys like Michael (Oher) and Michael’s been back and forth many times throughout his career and he just does it.  He doesn’t complain. He just does it because he knows that’s what’s best for the team.  Brian (Williams) did a great job of just staying ready all season to jump in and Kelechi (Osemele) as a rookie you lean so much and you’re learning curve is so steep and he’s playing left tackle for 16 games and then all of a sudden get switched to guard.  Those guys, they just want to win.  They’re about the team and whatever it took when we had to make those changes because of injury and everybody just went all in and did the best they could.”

 

(on Bryant McKinnie and Aldon Smith matching up) “It’ll be a great matchup. Bryant’s been a great player in this league for a long time.  Left tackle  position, you’ve got to be able to block guys one-on-one in the pass and obviously with Smith, the year that he’s had and to do what he’s be able to do is phenomenal.  That’ll be two great players going at it.”

 

(on Alex Smith going out with a concussion and if that hurts the advancement of the safety issue) “I don’t know that situation particularly, but I think the culture has changed for the better in the last few years as far as concussions are concerned.  I think the attitude is that it’s not smart to play with a concussion.  You’re not doing your team any favors by trying to play through a concussion because you can.”

 

(on if he had the information now based on the research they’re showing, would that have affected his decision as far as playing) “I don’t know.  It’s hard to say.  I have three sons and once they get to a certain age and want to play football, I’ll let them.”

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Ravens enjoying AFC Championship moment, but thinking ahead for more

Posted on 21 January 2013 by Ryan Chell

Owings Mills-It’s been a crazy 24 hours for the Baltimore Ravens, the media covering the team, and for the fans cheering on the team in Charm City.

Less than a day after coming back from a 13-7 halftime deficit to beat the New England Patriots in Foxboro to win the AFC Championship and earn a chance to win Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans on February 3rd, the Ravens were back at work Monday working as if they would be taking on the next opponent-in this case the San Francisco 49ers.

“We’re going to work,” Ravens center Matt Birk said in between meetings today. “With all the side stories- if you’re not playing in the game, you can enjoy all that. I think as players we’re just going to hunker down and focus in on the task at hand.”

“We’re going out there as a team trying to get where we’re at,” quarterback Joe Flacco said, who threw for three touchdowns in the Ravens’ 28-13 victory over last year’s AFC Champion Patriots. “We’ve got to win one more. ”

Despite the workmanlike attitude, Flacco however still says some of what happened Sunday night feels like a dream.

“I think we’re still on a little high from the game,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s quite believed it yet.”

His companion on the offensive line agreed.

“I’m just kind of numb to the whole thing. Slowly it’s coming, but hopefully you realize and appreciate the moment,” Birk noted.

But Birk couldn’t say enough about all the hard work and persistence the Ravens have shown over the season  pay off for a chance at a Super Bowl title.

“It’s great. That’s your goal,” Birk noted.  “That’s your dream. That’s why you play…with the closeness of this team and how far we’ve come my last four years getting close and finally breaking through, it’s pretty special.”

Certainly for the 15-year veteran in Birk, he admitted that he wouldn’t be in this situation if he felt like didn’t have a shot at reaching the Super Bowl, which is the first appearance for the 36-year old center.

“At this stage in my career, losing takes a lot out of you. When I came back, I thought there was a legitimate chance that I felt like I could help the team.”

Meanwhile, Flacco, who is in his fifth year in his journey as an NFL quarterback, has hurdled Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and now Tom Brady in the quest for his first Super Bowl.  It seemed as if overnight, he made himself one of the best quarterbacks in the league, put himself on the map as an elite quarterback in the NFL, and has been the topic of discussion across many football circles.

But what has Joe Flacco been asked the most since winning the AFC Championship?

Super Bowl Tickets.

“Tickets are going to be limited,” Flacco joked. “There’s been a lot of text messages, and everyone’s really excited about it.”

Flacco said the quicker he can put those distractions behind him, the better he’ll be going up against Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, and the rest of the San Francisco defense.

“You have to get all the mayhem that goes with the game out of the way and take care of that first,” Flacco said, “so when you focus on the 49ers, they have your full attention.”

Bernard Pollard reacts to Tom Brady slide and kick

One day after calling Patriots QB Tom Brady’s leg kick into Ravens safety Ed Reed, “bull-crap”, fellow Ravens safety Bernard Pollard backtracked a little saying that the NFL needs to call flags “both ways.”

Right before the end of the first half Sunday night with the Patriots up 10-7 with 0:26 seconds left before the break, the Patriots were knocking on the Ravens door threatening to score.

Brady, flushed out of the pocket by Paul Kruger, scrambled down to the Ravens’ 7-yd line with Reed barreling down on him. Deciding to give himself up, he took a slide-but not before sticking his right leg up, hitting Reed in the groin and tripping him up.

No flag was called with the side judge standing right next to the play, but several Ravens defenders petitioned for Brady to be penalized. A fine could be coming.

Pollard told CSNNE and other outlets Sunday night, “You’ve got to keep those legs down. We all know and understand what’s going on there. As a quarterback, when you go to slide, we’re taught we can’t do anything. When you come sliding, and your leg is up in the air, trying t kick someone, that’s bull crap.”

Today, Pollard was a little bit more reserved, but kept the same message.

“He knew what he was doing,” Pollard said. “I’m the kind of player where it has to go both ways. Hopefully the NFL will do something about it. If not, that’s fine if they do. For me as a player with all the emotions on the field, we’re going to say and do things. But when it’s all said and done,  if you want the game clean and you want everything to be moving forward in the right direction, everyone needs to be penalized for their actions.”

Follow WNST on Twitter for your Ravens Super Bowl News! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

 

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Our Ravens/Patriots “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 20 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 28-13 win over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship Game to clinch a trip to Super Bowl XLVII…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Jim Caldwell

4. Pernell McPhee

3. Marshal Yanda

2. Bernard Pollard

1. Joe Flacco (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Your Monday Reality Check: Hyperbole aside, line play why Ravens still riding

Posted on 14 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

WNST.net Ravens insider Luke Jones joined us for “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” late Saturday night after the Baltimore Ravens’ unbelievable 38-35 2OT win over the Denver Broncos.

Emotions were high in the Zone Superstore Studios of WNST.net. It was hard to have a legitimate conversation. A group of us had gathered to sit and watch the game and just found ourselves shouting “no way” and “unreal” at the television as the Ravens delivered perhaps the most miraculous victory in franchise history.

It was hard to discuss anything beyond the emotion of the moment, the will of the football team, the observations related to the Ravens truly being a team of “destiny”.

Even Head Coach John Harbaugh was caught up in the moment, once again tying the success of a football team to a level of divine intervention in his postgame press conference.

(I have no idea if the Messiah has any interest in determining the outcomes of football games. Perhaps maybe he (she?) felt as though the Broncos had to pay a price for parting ways with the known prophet Tim Tebow in the offseason. And if the Ruler of the Universe really does have concern related to the pigskin, I would vastly prefer a divine preference for the Ravens myself.)

I wish I could tell you what Luke’s response was. More than 24 hours later, I don’t fully remember. What I believe I remember him saying was something about Joe Flacco and then more about the will of the football team. I’m completely in agreement, but it didn’t necessarily answer my question. I’m sort of glad for that.

There’s a well known joke that says “Joe Buck is to baseball what the Catholic Church is to sex. It’s okay that it’s happening just as long as no one is enjoying it.” I’m glad Luke didn’t ruin the beauty of the moment by going all “Nate Silver” and killing us with football nerd-dom. It’s much better that we had a full 24 hours to enjoy and celebrate perhaps the greatest non-Super Bowl win in franchise history before we returned to a more X’s and O’s based discussion of what happened for the Baltimore Ravens Saturday and what they’ll need to do to win moving forward.

(This is the part where you say, “that’s a nice set-up Glenn. You’re a real pro’s pro.”)

The Baltimore Ravens DID win Saturday because of their will. They DID win Saturday because they believed in each other and never lost hope. They DID win Saturday because they have tested veterans who simply refuse to give up or allow a beloved teammate to step into retirement without leaving every last ounce of effort they’re capable of giving on the field.

It’s not just hyperbole. There’s absolute truth to it. It’s just not the entire story. In fact, it’s not even close to the most important part of the story. We go to that stuff first because it’s more likely to get clicks. We’re not stupid.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Broncos

Posted on 18 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Bernard Pierce 15 yard run negated by Matt Birk holding penalty (2nd quarter)

4. Rahim Moore recovers Joe Flacco fumble on 3rd & 1 forced by Justin Bannan (1st quarter)

3. Eric Decker 51 yard TD catch from Peyton Manning (3rd quarter)

2. Joe Flacco pass intended for Torrey Smith incomplete on 3rd & 10 (3rd quarter)

1. Chris Harris 98 yard TD return of Joe Flacco interception (2nd quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Our Ravens/Redskins “Slaps to the Head”

Posted on 09 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the Washington Redskins 31-28 in overtime Sunday at FedEx Field, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I again offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Matt Birk

4. Cary Williams

3. Ed Reed

2. Joe Flacco

1. John Harbaugh (Two Slaps)

(Ryan’s Slaps on Page 2…)

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Changes coming to Ravens offensive line during bye week?

Posted on 22 October 2012 by Luke Jones

Entering the bye week following the Ravens’ worst loss in his five years as head coach, John Harbaugh preached a message of reflection and evaluation in speaking to the media 24 hours after the 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans.

The problems are numerous on both sides of the football despite the Ravens’ 5-2 record and first-place standing in the AFC North, but one of the most concerning aspects through the first seven weeks of the season is the inconsistent play of the offensive line. Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked four times and had several passes batted down as the Houston defense controlled the line of scrimmage.

It was the latest example of the offensive line following a strong performance with a poor outing as the Ravens held Dallas to one sack in Week 6 before allowing the Texans to make life miserable for Flacco throughout the day in Houston on Sunday.

“We’re a work in progress,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not going to put a grade on it – it’s just not what we do. We’ve done some really good things, and we’ve done some not so good things.”

The offensive line has been in line with the overall “Jekyll and Hyde” personality demonstrated by the Baltimore offense, turning in excellent performances mixed with unacceptable showings. The group struggled to protect Flacco in all three road games this season, allowing 10 sacks in those contests, and allowed the Cleveland Browns to sack the fifth-year quarterback four times in a Week 4 win in Baltimore. However, the line excelled in home wins over Cincinnati, New England, and Dallas, allowing a combined four sacks in those three games.

Beginning in training camp with the late arrival of 2011 starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie, Harbaugh emphatically stated the best five linemen would play as the Ravens used a variety of combinations in the preseason before surprisingly settling on Michael Oher at left tackle, Ramon Harewood at left guard, and rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle to begin the season. Veteran Bobbie Williams supplanted Harewood in the starting lineup against the Cowboys, but the Ravens appear no closer now to having a comfortable starting lineup than they did in late July.

Are more changes coming following the bye week with the offensive coaching staff now having the opportunity to take a step back from game-planning to evaluate its own personnel in a more detailed manner?

“That’s a possibility,” Harbaugh said. “We’re not benching guys and putting other guys in there and all that kind of stuff. To me, that wouldn’t be a fair description of what we’re doing. On our offensive line, we’re just trying to find a good mix. [Different] guys are probably going to be playing since we have a mix of young guys and older guys. I would guess we’re going to roll some guys in there and see how they do.”

If changes are to be made, the most logical step would be to put McKinnie back in the spot he enjoyed last season with Oher sliding back to the right tackle position he played last season. The move would also allow the Ravens to slide Osemele to the left guard spot where he received plenty of work during spring organized team activities and training camp.

McKinnie offers little as a run blocker but is arguably the Ravens’ best pass-blocking tackle. The results with Oher at the left tackle spot have been mixed as it appears the fourth-year offensive lineman is better suited to play on the right side.

And with the Ravens hell-bent on being a pass-heavy offensive attack this season — another aspect that could be tweaked during the bye — it would make sense to make the change to improve the outside pass blocking while upgrading the left guard spot where the 36-year-old Williams struggled mightily on Sunday. Of course, McKinnie’s lack of mobility and conditioning concerns would also impact the Ravens’ desire to run the no-huddle offense, which has floundered in three road games this season.

McKinnie played 18 snaps on Sunday after Osemele temporarily left the game with a sprained right ankle, but Harbaugh wouldn’t discuss the 33-year-old tackle’s play, citing a minor injury he sustained while playing. It’s no secret the organization was unhappy with McKinnie’s lack of commitment in the offseason and cut his pay less than a week before the start of the regular season.

“He got hurt. He’s had a little hip flexor issue that came up during the game,” Harbaugh said. “That’s all he played once he came out with the hip flexor, so it wasn’t that many plays to really evaluate.”

The Ravens could also look at the possibility of working Harewood back into the mix as well as second-year tackle Jah Reid, who is finally healthy after dealing with a calf injury for the better part of four months.

Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda and veteran center Matt Birk figure to be the only safe bets to remain at their current positions on the starting offensive line, but Harbaugh said  even rookie Gino Gradkowski has made big strides and would be ready to play guard if needed.

Regardless of whether the Ravens make wholesale changes or simply confirm the current group as its best starting five, it’s apparent Harbaugh and the coaching staff will be taking a long look up front before their next game on Nov. 4 against the Cleveland Browns.

“We’d like to have five guys who are rock solid and who are in there and working with everybody all the time,” Harbaugh said. “It’s really just not where we’re at right now. So, let’s make the best of it and let’s work some guys in there. If we get hot with a group, then we’ll stick with it.”

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I’m proud that we’re supporting Matt Birk next Tuesday

Posted on 02 October 2012 by Drew Forrester

Eight years ago, for reasons I sometimes question right about now when I’m running around trying to pull off a one-man show otherwise known as a golf outing, I decided to host a yearly event that would hopefully combine one of my loves – golf – with something I’ve always deemed important — giving back to the community.

Some of this is rooted in my “former life” with the Blast indoor soccer team, where Kenny Cooper instilled in me the need for players and staff members to be active in the community.  For five years, I assumed the role of the team’s Director of Public and Community Relations and made it my number one responsibility to have our soccer players “out and about” spreading the news about both the team and the sport itself.  A great number of players who came here from elsewhere wound up playing soccer in Baltimore and then settling here afterwards.  In fact, within the last three weeks, I’ve seen Keith Van Eron (New York), Scott Manning (Charlotte, NC) and Mike Stankovic (Europe) at various functions and always remember – proudly – that those guys came here, played professionally, embedded themselves in the community as players, and now have flourishing businesses right here in Baltimore.

So in 2005, I took on the task of organizing a yearly golf outing. It’s more fun than work, honestly, but the demands of the economy and “free spending” have made events like the one we’re having next Tuesday more and more difficult to pull off on a yearly basis.

I’ve never made the WNST Charity Golf Outing a complicated, day-long event.  I understand (most) people work for a living and I value the fact that few of you have the ability to just “take a vacation day” to play golf in October.  That’s why our event always starts at 1pm.  That gives those who are playing a half-day in the office or out on the road before they start with the fun.  I’ve also tried my best to keep the cost as low as possible while still raising money for a charity.  I’m proud to say that the 2012 edition of the outing is the 5th straight year we haven’t raised the price of $150 per-player.  I’ve had lots of participants over the years tell me they play in a lot of charity events and that ours is as good “for the value” as any they play in…and that makes me happy.  But it couldn’t happen if not for the support of our friends and supporters.  This year, for example, you’ll pay $150 to play, but you’ll receive a $15.70 discount coupon from Jiffy Lube, a bunch of free coffee coupons and a really nice coffee mug from Royal Farms, plus your own personal photograph with Ravens center Matt Birk.  We also have a great putting contest sponsored by STX Golf where you can win a brand new putter.  You also get to play Pine Ridge at the very best time of the year and you get dinner and refreshments afterwards.  Oh, and there are prizes for 8 of the 18 teams and lots of raffle items.  We try to make sure no one goes home empty handed.

That leads me to the most important part of the yearly event:  the charity we support.

I’ve made two “executive decisions” since the outing started in 2005.  First, the charity MUST be Baltimore/Maryland based and the funds we generate and donate MUST be put to use locally.  Second, the charity MUST change every year.

Eight years in and we’ve accomplished both of those goals every single time.

Since 2005, WNST listeners, sponsors and supporters have donated over $75,000 to a terrific group of local charitable organizations.  We’ve raised money for the ALS research facility at Johns Hopkins Hospital…The Fuel Fund of Maryland…The Casey Cares Foundation…the Erinn McCarthy Scholarship Fund at Maryvale Prep…the Believe in Tomorrow Foundation and the Hospice Care Department of the ALS Association of Maryland.

All of the charity recipients are special to me.  They’re like children, I guess.  Each one has a special memory.  I’ve also met WNST listeners like Chris Schattall (he’s played in all eight) and Don Mohler (so has he) through the tournament.  It’s a great way for people to get together and share the common friendship bond of golf while doing something special for OUR community. Sponsors of WNST like my friend Dennis Koulatsos and Koons Ford of Security Boulevard have been consistent supporters and/or participants, as have the likes of Jay Pivec, Frank Schilling, Steve DeCastro and Heather Benz of Ruth’s Chris and Darrell Phillips of Mariner Distribution.  Anytime I need something for the event, they’ve come through.

I appreciate all of them.  And I appreciate every single person who will be out at Pine Ridge next Tuesday afternoon.  I’ll tell everyone that, personally, next Tuesday as well.

And that brings me to this year’s charity recipient.

(Please see next page)

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