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Another Week of Pro Timing Days as Draft Season Continues

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Another Week of Pro Timing Days as Draft Season Continues

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

There’s still no labor peace in the NFL, but NFL Draft season continues on as we inch closer and closer to Radio City Music Hall in New York at the end of April.

This week featured another round of Pro Timing Days, including a controversial stop at Georgia’s Pro Timing Day in Athens, where league scouts were forced to watch WR AJ Green workout on TV screens due a strange rule surrounding the lockout.

Since Green will be off the board before the Ravens select at 26th, I won’t bore you with further details.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (Connecticut), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), 
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium
Part 8-A look at players who participated in the first week of Pro Timing Days

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects whose schools have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Aldon Smith (Missouri)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBee49viSK8[/youtube]

There was a time when the former Mizzou pass rusher was believed to be available for the Ravens at 26.

As Draft season has continued, that can no longer be considered a certainty.

Smith is a 6’4″, 263 pound beast who combined for 17 sacks over the last two seasons for the Tigers despite missing three games last season with a broken leg.

Smith played just those two seasons in Columbia, opting to depart after his redshirt sophomore season for the Draft.

There’s plenty to like about Smith. He ran a 4.74 in the 40 yard dash while in Indy, and has shown his versatility in different defenses. His wingspan was measured at an astounding 84 inches.

He also told reporters at Pro Day he can do a standing backflip-but we haven’t seen that yet.

The Ravens have scheduled a workout with Smith and will find themselves in an interesting position should he be available at 26. He’s clearly a talent, but he’s probably still a bit of a project at this point.

The Ravens desperately need a pass rusher on the edge. The demise of Trevor Pryce has left them in a bad spot. If they think the presence of Smith can generate a better rush (along with LB Terrell Suggs), he’d almost certainly be on his way to Charm City.

C Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-oyDfPkV-A[/youtube]

Quick-does anyone know where Slippery Rock is located?

If you said Butler County, Pennsylvania you’re a big winner.

A four year starter for The Rock, Fusco has been a steady riser throughout his career and now into Draft season.

He’s a 6’4″, 316 pound solid player who has shown off his athleticism after moving from tackle to center. He even made a catch (for nine yards) during his senior season.

The Ravens will be looking for center depth in the Draft. Matt Birk has said he’ll come back this season, but they’ll have to work with the expectation that Birk could be entering his final season. Chris Chester is still in the mix (he’s expected to be back as a restricted free agent), but is likely better served at guard than moving back to center.

It’s not a very deep draft at the position, but Fusco could be an option in the later rounds. He put together a solid Pro Day (although it was held at Lehigh) and has likely guaranteed himself a Saturday selection.

CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwYM_5uJ0MY[/youtube]

In one sentence, I think Dowling would be labeled as “obvious talent with obvious injury issues.”

Dowling is an impressive 6’1″, 198 pound corner who posted eight interceptions, three forced fumbles and a sack over his first three seasons with the Cavaliers. He posted an impressive 4.40 40 at the Combine.

Unfortunately, Dowling played in just three games during his senior campaign in Charlottesville, as he battled a broken left ankle, right knee issues and a lingering hamstring problem.

After all of that, he pulled up with another hamstring issue during the Combine.

Yikes.

Dowling actually WASN’T able to participate in the Wahoos’ Pro Day due to his injuries, he’ll instead delay until April 3rd-when he’ll hold his own individual Pro Day.

Cornerback is an issue for the Ravens. Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are unrestricted free agents. Domonique Foxworth is coming off a torn ACL.

They’ll have to address the problem somehow, whether in the Draft or later.

Dowling will be intriguing. He was an arguable first round talent a year ago. He’s clearly no longer a first round guy. But how soon would a team like the Ravens be willing to consider snapping him up to join Chuck Pagano’s defense? That much we don’t know yet.

DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q8TQg6uoSg[/youtube]

It has been a bit puzzling to keep seeing Wilkerson’s name linked to the Ravens in mock drafts.

The reality is that the Ravens have an anchor in the middle of their defensive line (Haloti Ngata) and have plenty of depth behind him at the position (Terrence Cody, Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones).

This could really test General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s steadfast “best player available” policy in the Draft. National Football Post reported the team will work out the former Owls big man this week, and could face a serious decision should he be available at 26.

On paper, Wilkerson LOOKS like a Raven. He measured in at 6’4″, 315 pounds in Indianapolis and tallied 10 sacks from the interior in 2010.

He doesn’t appear to be the type of player who could move to the outside and become a natural rush end, but the Ravens could certainly benefit from having another player on the field who is capable of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

Wilkerson stood on most of his Combine numbers, posting only a 29 inch vertical at his Pro Day in Philadelphia.

He’s a late first round/early second round type of player. The only question will be whether or not he’s a true fit for a Ravens team that doesn’t really have a need for him.

QB Jeremiah Masoli (Mississippi)

masoli

In draft season, he’s been known as Jeremiah “Red Flag” Masoli.

We all know the history of Masoli’s transgressions.

In 2005, Masoli was forced to spend time in juvenile hall for his participation in a robbery. After transferring from City College of San Francisco to Oregon in 2008, Masoli kept his nose clean for a short time. That came to a halt when plead guilty to second degree burglary in March 2010. After a later arrest for marijuana possession in 2010, Masoli was dismissed by Ducks coach Chip Kelly but managed to catch on at Ole Miss.

Beyond his transgressions, Masoli showed himself capable of being a solid player at times. In three years of playing time, Masoli put up 5,930 yards passing and threw for 42 TD’s. He also ran for 1,930 yards and 29 TD’s. At his Pro Day this week in Oxford he worked out as both a quarterback and as a running back, with the thought being that teams could choose to use him as a Wildcat option at the next level.

The Ravens have historically (mostly) stayed away from players like Masoli. But after cutting Troy Smith following the 2010 Training Camp, they were left without a mobile QB on the roster-and had to use position players in practice to replicate opposing mobile QB’s. It would be safe to assume they’d like to get a mobile QB on the roster somehow.

It’s also no guarantee that Masoli gets drafted at all. In fact, the chances are probably no greater than 50-50 at best. The likelihood of Head Coach John Harbaugh considering a player like Masoli would go up if the team could add him as an undrafted free agent instead of using a pick on him.

Of course, UFA’s can’t be signed this year until a new labor deal is in place-but let’s worry about that another day.

My guess is that Masoli doesn’t end up in Purple and Black…but he’s certainly an interesting player to discuss between now and the end of April.

DE Adrian Clayborn (Iowa)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbXmQTn_D7w[/youtube]

The Ravens had an obvious presence at the Hawkeyes’ Pro Day in Iowa City, giving additional evidence that the team is legitimately considering using an early pick on the Clayborn to bolster their D-Line.

Clayborn is an impressive 6’3″, 281 pound specimen who electrified the Big Ten with 63 tackles and 11 sacks in 2009. Those numbers dropped off in 2010, as the big man managed just 52 tackles and only four sacks. The drop-off was particularly alarming considering Clayborn did not miss any time due to injury.

Clayborn’s size and speed (4.78 40) as well as a solid week at the Senior Bowl have kept him in the conversation as a first round pick-perhaps a player who could go off the board even before the Ravens select at 26.

D-Line coach Clarence Brooks needs outside help. Clayborn certainly appears to be the type of player capable of creating pressure on his own. That might very well make him a perfect fit in Baltimore.

FB Shaun Chapas (Georgia)

chapas

AJ Green may have been the star of the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, but there were other players working out who were worth paying attention to as well.

Chapas could be intriguing to the Ravens whether or not FB Le’Ron McClain departs as an unrestricted free agent.

Chapas is a 6’2″, 247 pound bruiser who was clocked with a 4.87 40 time in Indianapolis. He’s not likely to be an explosive Chris Cooley-type of H-Back; but instead is expected to play a natural fullback role.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron appears to be in the market for that exact type of player right now.

Making the case more compelling for Chapas, he received the types of honors during his time in Athens that the Ravens would like to see.

From GeorgiaDogs.com:

“At team’s annual awards Gala, earned team’s Coaches Leadership Award for Special Teams, the Leon Farmer Award for dedication to the strength and conditioning program and the David Jacobs Award as the player who by example portrays courage, spirit, character and determination.”

Sounds like someone Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company would be interested in if you ask me. As the Draft goes deeper into Saturday, he would almost have to be a consideration.

LB Alex Wujciak (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxpcfXl-guo[/youtube]

I will admit that I was quite surprised when the former Terrapins standout did not receive an invite to the Combine.

He certainly did everything necessary during his ACC career to earn an invite. He tallied 354 tackles over three seasons in College Park, mixing in three forced fumbles, four interceptions and two touchdowns.

Wujciak certainly doesn’t lack the size (6’3″, 250 pounds) to play an Inside backer position at the next level. Teams might want him to be a bit quicker (his 40 time was 4.79), but he’s never appeared slow in coverage.

Wujciak comes from an athletic family, as his father (Alan Wujciak) was an OL for Notre Dame while his younger bother (Connor Wujciak) plays for Boston College.

At this point most projections have Wujciak as a late round pick at best. The Ravens need inside backer help. Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain have been not quite good enough to lock down a position and Ray Lewis is getting no younger.

Alex Wujciak is no Ray Lewis.

But he’s certainly deserving of an opportunity to prove himself at the next level.

(Wujciak joined Thyrl Nelson and myself last Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST-you can hear the conversation in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

CB Richard Sherman (Stanford)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzm6HeFS2sE[/youtube]

Continuing the trend of “intriguing prospects”, there are few players in the Draft more intriguing than Sherman.

Fact: Sherman’s 6’3″, 195 pound frame and 4.54 (40) speed are solid if not ideal for a NFL CB prospect.

Other fact: Sherman has played corner for just two seasons in Palo Alto, and his skills (despite 6 interceptions in his Cardinal career) are still considered to be raw.

He’s going to be a later selection if he’s selected at all. The Ravens will have at least some familiarity with him as Harbaugh’s brother (Jim Harbaugh) coached him at Stanford before accepting the head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers.

He’s obviously not “the answer” for the Ravens secondary; but he could be a project worth taking a shot on as the Ravens will continue to face big receivers in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns are expected to be in the market for the aforementioned Green, which would give the division one more matchup problem.

RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGAQP1Rwsus[/youtube]

The Ravens are expected to part ways with RB Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain may be on the way out as well.

That would leave the team with just Ray Rice & Jalen Parmele (and Curtis Steele, Matt Lawrence and Jason McKie for what it’s worth) in their backfield.

They’re going to need to upgrade somehow.

Williams could very well be an option. His size is more similar to Rice (5’9″, 212 pounds) with pretty good speed (trimmed his 40 time down to 4.53 at his Pro Day in Blacksburg).

Williams had an explosive season in 2009 (1,655 yards rushing and 21 TD’s), but a hamstring injury cost him four games in 2010. His numbers were trimmed to 477 yards rushing and nine TD’s as he split time with fellow Hokies back Darren Evans.

The Ravens will have to pay extra close attention to the injury-but they’ll also have to determine if Williams would be a fit behind Rice. He’ll likely be a Friday night pick-and might end up coming off the board to early to be the choice in Baltimore.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Ranking The Ravens: A Postseason Breakdown of 53(+) Man Roster

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Ranking The Ravens: A Postseason Breakdown of 53(+) Man Roster

Posted on 21 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

In their new song, “Waiting For The End”, the band Linkin Park offered a lyric that should be considered particularly fitting for Baltimore Ravens fans.

The hardest part of ending is starting again…

With their 31-24 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in the AFC Divisional Round, the 2010-2011 NFL season has ended for the Ravens.

It didn’t take long for the team’s offseason to begin. Even with owners and players apparently headed towards a lockout, GM Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Senior Personnel Assistant George Kokinis and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz lead a front office hard at work in shaping what the 2011 Baltimore Ravens will look like…as long as there is a 2011 NFL season.

Members of the front office are already preparing for the NFL Draft, as they are scouting college seniors this week in Orlando at the East West Shrine Game. Next week they will be doing the same thing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

As we enter the offseason, I’ll offer a variation of my preseason power rankings (you’ll remember my “Mocking the 53″ blogs) to review the team’s roster. This is a complicated review, as I factor in who had the best season, who has proved to a better player overall, the value of the position and contract status.

Players labeled as “UFA” are unrestricted free agents. Players labeled as “RFA” are restricted free agents. Players labeled as “ERFA” are exclusive rights free agents. Players labeled as “reserve/future” have reserve/future contracts.

Unique labeling on my part. I’m aware.

1. LB Terrell Suggs
2. DT Haloti Ngata (UFA)
3. RB Ray Rice
4. LB Ray Lewis
5. G Ben Grubbs

grubbs

While I said Tuesday Ngata was the team’s best player in 2010 (he also received my vote for/won the team’s Most Valuable Player award), his contract status leaves him second on the list.

Suggs was outstanding in 2010, proving his 2009 season was indeed a fluke after signing a big contract the proceeding offseason.

It is going to cost owner Steve Bisciotti a LOT of money to retain Ngata this offseason, but the Ravens are basically going to have to pay the price. Losing Ngata could absolutely WRECK the franchise’s plans defensively, as Ngata anchors what they do up front. It could only spell the end of Lewis’ career. If Ngata were to depart, Lewis could no longer be viewed as a Top 5 player on the roster for sure.

Rice’s fantasy football numbers were down in 2010, but his offensive impact certainly wasn’t. He remained the Ravens’ most dynamic playmaker and is expected to an offensive force for years to come.

It was interesting (for me) as I graded out players that I felt Grubbs was worthy of being a Top 5 player. Grubbs proved himself to be the team’s best and most reliable Offensive Lineman, and gives the team at least one more position they don’t have to worry about…for now.

6. WR Anquan Boldin
7. QB Joe Flacco
8. OT Michael Oher
9. K Billy Cundiff (UFA)
10. P Sam Koch (UFA)

koch

Everything at the receiver position has to be viewed as wide open right now…except for Boldin. He has to be viewed as the team’s top possession receiver no matter what Derrick Mason decides to do.

While Flacco is still a cornerstone for the franchise (and the suggestion made that the team should have him “compete” with Marc Bulger for the starting job is laughable), his move outside the Top 5 is a statement. He made SOME of the progress the team wanted him to make-but not all of it. There will be increasing pressure for that to happen next year.

Oher represents a tricky situation for the Ravens. While he struggled in 2010, he’s certainly not a BAD player. The team will have to figure out whether or not he has a long term future at LT. If he does (and he plays to that level), he’ll be a Top 5 player on this team for a long time.

Koch and Cundiff represent a unique problem for the team. During the 15 years of the team’s history, they’ve never been the type of organization that would spend a lot of money on a specialist. They’re going to have to pay two guys this offseason as top-tier specialists. These players were a SIGNIFICANT reason the team managed to win 12 regular season games and a playoff game this year.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. WR Derrick Mason
13. S Ed Reed
14. CB Domonique Foxworth
15. FB Le’Ron McClain (UFA)

mcclain

Heap, Mason and Reed are unique. If this list was based on ability and performance alone; there would be an argument they should all be in the Top 10. Their age leaves them on the outside looking in, as even if they return as expected the team will have to make decisions at their positions.

It might seem surprising that Foxworth is the highest ranked of the cornerbacks, but he was the team’s top guy before getting hurt and is the only guy (besides Lardarius Webb) in the group who actually has a contract.

The Ravens are in a VERY unique situation with McClain. He had a tremendous season at fullback; but doesn’t want to return as true fullback. To return, the two time Pro Bowler would have to be assured of more involvement in Cam Cameron’s offense. I’m not sure how likely that is.

16. CB Chris Carr (UFA)
17. LB Jarret Johnson
18. CB Lardarius Webb
19. CB Josh Wilson (UFA)
20. DE Cory Redding

redding

Carr had a great season and offered some legitimate stability to the team’s defensive backfield. That being said, there will be a question as to whether or not bringing him back will work monetarily. If he gets paid as a #1 corner, the Ravens might be in trouble. Wilson is in the same boat. The uncertainty surrounding those two corners helps Webb find himself ranked higher on the list.

My guess is that one of Carr and Wilson will be back, but not both.

Johnson and Redding are both solid contributors to the defense, and the Ravens can pencil them in for next season. They’ll need a healthier (or just somehow more effective) Johnson, and they’ll need to compliment Redding with a legitimate rush end.

21. S Dawan Landry (UFA)
22. WR TJ Houshmandzadeh (UFA)
23. TE Ed Dickson
24. DT Brandon McKinney
25. DT Kelly Gregg

kgregg

Like other players, the Ravens find themselves in a tricky spot when it comes to Landry. As a starter and solid contributor to one of the league’s better defenses over the last few years, Landry could find himself in position to make a lot of money on the free agent market. The Ravens may or may not be in a place to match that. He’s been good; but with restricted free agents Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura likely to return, it seems unlikely they would retain Landry at a high cost.

Houshmandzadeh almost seems to be in a “if Mason doesn’t come back” position. The Ravens can’t just retain all of their top three receivers and make progress offensively. If Mason retires, there would be a much greater likelihood of Houshmandzadeh returning.

Dickson showed signs of being a potential breakout performer in 2010, but never actually broke out. The team will look to expand his role as he continues to get more comfortable in the offense. He also represents the team’s best chance of limiting an aging Heap’s snaps in 2011.

It might look surprising at first to see McKinney listed ahead of a player like Gregg, but I think it represents an area where the Ravens can move forward. McKinney came on strong down the stretch, looking like a reliable cog on the defensive line. While Gregg made a fantastic play on Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, he showed signs of aging as the season wore on, and it would be difficult to assume he could continue playing the majority of downs in the future.

26. OT Jared Gaither (UFA)
27. OL Marshal Yanda (UFA)
28. DT Terrence Cody
29. C Matt Birk
30. S Haruki Nakamura (RFA)

nakamura

My only gut instinct with Gaither is that the team won’t give him the type of premium price tag a top tier OT would probably expect. There’s an argument as to whether or not ANYONE should pay Gaither that price, but my guess is that someone will. The Ravens don’t want to see Yanda depart, but there’s a chance another NFL team will choose to offer him legitimate tackle money because he played the position in 2010.

The Ravens likely can’t be in position to overpay a player like Yanda, but they certainly to solidify their O-Line. Birk could still decide to retire; but even if he doesn’t the team has to make future plans for the position.

Cody showed SOME signs of being a future contributor during the 2010 season, but probably not enough that the Ravens can feel comfortable with expecting him to play every down in 2011. Nakamura could be very important, as he would be the most likely to step into the role should Landry depart in free agency.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. DE Paul Kruger
33. LB Jameel McClain (RFA)
34. LB Tavares Gooden (RFA)
35. LB Dannell Ellerbe (ERFA)

ellerbe

I’m going to guess that McGahee won’t be getting the $19.7 million owed to him over the last three years of his contract. The most likely scenario probably involves McGahee not returning to Charm City next season. But if he’s willing to take a pay cut, there’s still a chance he could be a solid compliment to Rice behind an improved O-Line.

Paul Kruger started to show some signs at the end of the season that he might be able to contribute in the future. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the level of progression the team had in mind for the 2009 2nd round pick. 2011 could be a “make or break” type of year for Kruger.

And then there’s McClain/Gooden/Ellerbe. Does anyone else want to try to figure this out? The team clearly hoped one player in this group would separate themselves out at McDaniel College in Westminster during Training Camp in 2010, but that clearly didn’t happen. They also hoped one would separate themselves during the 2010 season. That didn’t happen either.

Of the group, McClain has probably shown himself to be the most steady, but is equally vulnerable against the pass. Gooden is probably the best against the pass, but there’s a joke in there about being the prettiest girl at fat camp. Ellerbe showed some capability of making plays in the backfield, but looks lost against the pass.

It looks like all three will end up returning in 2011. It also looks like the Ravens will be in a very familiar position when (if?) the season begins.

36. WR/KR David Reed
37. CB Fabian Washington (UFA)
38. S Tom Zbikowski (RFA)
39. LS Morgan Cox
40. OL Chris Chester (UFA)

chester

Whether or not David Reed can someday contribute at receiver is still to be determined. But he clearly came on as a kick returner until a concussion and a wrist injury cut his season short. He’ll have to stay out of trouble off the field, but it looks like the Ravens have a solid piece of the puzzle in Reed.

Washington made it clear earlier this week he wouldn’t return to the team unless his role was expanded. There’s a chance his role could be expanded if Carr and Wilson depart. Otherwise, it doesn’t look good. Zbikowski will almost certainly be back, the organization will now have to determine whether or not he is capable of replacing Ed Reed on a full-time basis whenever the future Hall of Famer walks away from the game.

Cox did a nice job of solidifying the long snapper position after beating veteran Matt Katula out during the preseason. The only concern surrounding Cox is how quickly he’ll be able to return from the torn ACL he suffered against the Cleveland Browns, but it appears as though he’ll be ready to go.

Chester will be another tough decision for the Ravens. If another team is willing to pay him to be an every down linemen, the organization will have to think hard before matching. Chester has shown himself as being reliable, but I think he’s only a starter in Baltimore if Yanda were to depart…or the Ravens were forced to keep Yanda at Tackle.

41. CB Cary Williams (ERFA)
42. OL Tony Moll (UFA)
43. LB Jason Phillips
44. QB Marc Bulger (UFA)
45. WR Donte’ Stallworth (UFA)

stallworth

Williams could be in a good spot this offseason. As an exclusive rights free agent, he could be in a good position to come back and get more playing time should some of the corners ahead of him sign elsewhere. He’s 6’1″, and the team liked him at least enough to hold on to him through a suspension to start the 2010 season.

Moll looks like a solid option to return and give the O-Line important depth. He’s capable of playing multiple positions to at least a solid level. He’s not good enough to be an every down player and it’s unlikely that another team will choose to pay him that way.

Phillips showed signs in 2010, probably enough that he will enter the 2011 season on the “good” side of the roster bubble. He certainly can’t be considered a lock at this point however.

Bulger will likely only return to the team if he isn’t offered a starting job elsewhere. With Jim Harbaugh now in charge of the San Francisco 49ers, it wouldn’t be stunning to see him consider Bulger. If the options are for backup jobs-or even jobs where Bulger would have to “compete” for a starting gig, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him return to Baltimore.

Some of the fan frustration surrounding Cam Cameron certainly centers around Stallworth, who seems unlikely to return. The Ravens need a speed receiver option, but it has to be a player they’ll trust to send out and stretch the field.

46. TE Dennis Pitta
47. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
48. DT Arthur Jones
49. WR Marcus Smith (UFA)
50. DT Lamar Divens (RFA)

divens

The lack of involvement from Pitta in 2010 was disappointing, but he was often a victim of only being able to dress 53 players. His role should expand in 2011.

Ayanbadejo and Smith are interesting cases. Both are special teams players only for the most part, and the team will have to determine how much value they have. Smith is unlikely to generate much interest elsewhere, Ayanbadejo isn’t getting any younger. Both could return, but I don’t think they’re guarantees.

Jones and Divens are both solid players who have the “look” of Ravens defensive linemen. The only issue for new Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano is that he’s inheriting a bunch of these type of players. They’re big, they move fairly well and they can control gaps. Jones will clearly be back in 2011, Divens is the question mark.

51. LB Prescott Burgess (UFA)
52. RB Jalen Parmele (RFA)
53. OT Oniel Cousins (RFA)
54. WR James Hardy (reserve/future)

55. TE Davon Drew (ERFA)

ddrew

Burgess was a solid Special Teams contributor who was also able to get a handful of positive snaps defensively. There’s a chance he could generate interest elsewhere, we remember the New England Patriots grabbed him when he was available in 2009.

Parmele could stand to benefit from a McGahee departure, but probably wouldn’t be a great option as the top compliment to Rice.

Cousins gives the team a cheap reserve tackle. I can’t fathom anyone will be hot after him, so he seems like a player that will at least make it to Westminster with a chance to retain his job.

Hardy is interesting. He climbed the list after comments by Newsome in the team’s Season Review press conference. There was a reason Hardy was once a second round pick by the Buffalo Bills. There’s also a reason why he was unemployed a season ago. Either way, he’s 6’5″. The Ravens don’t have any other receivers of that size right now.

Davon Drew is the fourth of four TE’s on the roster. That would be a problem in a lot of places, but when the General Manager is a former Tight End, it bodes well for the chances of sticking around.

56. LB Sergio Kindle (ERFA)
57. DT Kelly Talavou (ERFA)
58. RB Matt Lawrence (RFA)
59. QB Hunter Cantwell (reserve/future)
60. WR Justin Harper (reserve/future)

harper

Kindle is such a question mark (as he continues to recover from a fractured skull) that it really doesn’t matter how much talent he might have. Until there’s reason to believe he’ll be able to return next season, he can’t be an assumed part of the 53 man roster.

If Talavou is able to come back healthy, he’s highly thought of by the organization. He could be the insurance that allows the team to let someone like Divens go elsewhere.

Lawrence is a good Special Teams player if he’s healthy. It will be an uphill battle for him to make the roster in Training Camp, especially after missing the entire 2010 season.

Cantwell is the team’s 3rd quarterback, but has only a cup of coffee worth of experience on an active roster with the Carolina Panthers in 2009. If the Ravens decided to go with three QB’s again, he’d have a decent chance to make the roster.

Harper is tall. Harper has only ever been on the active roster briefly. The team’s website apparently doesn’t know Harper wears number 82. That’s where we’re at with Harper.

61. OL Ramon Harewood
62.
OL Bryan Mattison (contract status unknown)
63. OL Daniel Sanders (contract status unknown)
64. RB Curtis Steele (reserve/future)
65. DE Albert McClellan (reserve/future)
66. CB Danny Gorrer (reserve/future)
67. OT Brady Bond (reserve/future)
68. OT Andre Ramsey (reserve/future)
69. LS Kevin Houser (UFA)

I’d provide a picture of Kevin Houser here, but even the team’s official site doesn’t have one.

If they all return (and are healthy); Harewood, Mattison and Sanders will compete to try to provide depth along the O-Line. Harewood could give the team an insurance policy if they choose to cut ties with Cousins, Sanders could prove to be the team’s center of the future when Birk hangs up the cleats. A local writer joked with me that Mattison had been “on scholarship” in recent seasons-that would probably come to an end now as his father (former Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison) has departed for Michigan.

Steele has the look of a potential weapon at the next level. If he can work his way into the return game, he’d have a much better shot of making the roster.

McClellan is employed by the Ravens, as is Gorrer. I’m going to guess most of you didn’t know that. Neither has a realistic path to the active roster.

Bond and Ramsey are big. My guess is that both of them will find their way onto an active roster in the National Football League someday. It probably won’t be in Baltimore however.

It might not be fair for me to rank Houser last on this list. He’s a NFL player, which is more than anyone else in this final group can really say. But his ONLY chance of returning to the team is if Cox can’t return from his torn ACL. There’s a chance he might not be ready for the start of Training Camp, but it’s unlikely it will be a factor moving towards the 2011 regular season.

(Thanks to BaltimoreRavens.com for the pictures!)

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Offering No Information On Injured Ravens

Posted on 29 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens (8-3) returned to work Monday at 1 Winning Drive, less than 24 hours removed from a 17-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) at M&T Bank Stadium. The team began the process Monday of preparing for a Week 13 showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) in Charm City with first place in the AFC North on the line.

Head Coach John Harbaugh offered very little information about the team’s key injuries during his weekly Monday press conference. OT Michael Oher (knee), FB Le’Ron McClain (ankle) and S Dawan Landry (concussion) were all forced to leave Sunday’s game early. OL Chris Chester (illness) and S Tom Zbikowski (foot) were unavailable for the win over the Bucs altogether.

When asked about the team’s health, Harbaugh offered only “(We’ll) just take a look at them and see how they respond over the next two days and see where we’re at.”

When asked if he had seen any indications in the facility Monday of the health of the players, Harbaugh quickly responded “No. No indication.”

Harbaugh made it clear he wouldn’t be divulging any more information about of Sunday’s game by noting “that’s all you’re getting.”

The most serious of the injuries Sunday appeared to be McClain, and Harbaugh said the team had options should McClain be unavailable to play against Pittsburgh.

“It’s just what we did during the game basically. Some of our other running backs can play fullback, so we’ve got some other options. When you’ve got a week to prepare for that possibility, we’ll have more things up this week.”

RB Jalen Parmele could be amongst those options.

Oher’s knee was at least healthy enough Monday to stand through a game of cornhole, as he said via Twitter he had suffered defeat.

“Words can’t tell how I feel about just getting put out of the cornhole tourney” said Oher on his Twitter page. “I’m speechless!

Oher’s stepbrother Sean Tuohy Jr. confirmed via Twitter that the LT had been knocked out of the team’s locker room tournament by Ravens LS Morgan Cox.

LAWRENCE WON’T RETURN: The Ravens announced Monday that RB Matt Lawrence will not be activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Lawrence is still recovering from a knee injury suffered during the 2009 season.

Harbaugh indicated Lawrence’s knee remained the reason he would not return to the active roster in 2010.

He got in a situation where he couldn’t bend to a certain degree and load on it with any power. He’s going to have to go back and talk to Dr. (James) Andrews and kind of go back to work on that thing. He’s not where he can play.”

Lawrence had practiced for the last three weeks before the team made the decision to leave him on the PUP list.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will call Sunday’s game as part of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” series. Andrea Kramer will work the sidelines……The Ravens will return to work Wednesday, following the NFL’s mandatory Tuesday off day. Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco, LB Ray Lewis and others are expected to meet with the media Wednesday

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Red Zone Troubling For Ravens Offense

Posted on 09 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (6-2) returned to work Tuesday at 1 Winning Drive, holding their final open practice before a Thursday Night Football showdown with the Atlanta Falcons (6-2) at the Georgia Dome.

If the Ravens are to beat their NFC South opponent Thursday night, they will likely need to improve their performance offensively in the red zone. In their Week 9 win over the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens scored just one touchdown despite getting inside the Fins’ 20 yard line seven times.

“That’s something we’ve got to get corrected” said RB Ray Rice. “In the past we’ve been physical down there. This year, we’ve just got to do a better job of doing the little things execution-wise. We’re just trying to get down there and relish our opportunities down there.”

Three of the six trips to the red zone that failed to end with touchdowns were hurt by Ravens penalties. “We hurt ourselves with penalties” said QB Joe Flacco. “I think that was the main reason. We kinda got ourselves out of sync a little bit. That can’t happen if we’re going to continue to beat good teams.”

The Ravens are scoring touchdowns on 42.8% of their offensive possessions in the red zone, down from 51.5% last year. The Ravens rank 24th in the NFL in red zone touchdown efficiency.

RICE CLARIFIES INCIDENT: Before discussing football, Rice took a few moments to clarify a story that had been popularly passed around the internet Tuesday morning.

Rice confirmed reports that he was pulled over Monday and given a warning due to his car’s window tint. Rice however clarified that that he did not avoid a ticket by offering the officer an autograph, but instead offered the autograph to the officer after he had already been issued the warning.

“Bad decision by me warning it on Twitter” said Rice. “I don’t want to make it seem like I’m getting any fair treatment.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Tom Zbikowski (foot) was not on the practice field again Tuesday, leaving him in serious jeopardy of missing Thursday night’s game. Zbikowski has not played since suffering a bruised heel in the Ravens’ Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Zbikowski would “probably not” play Thursday night.

All other Ravens were on the practice field Tuesday and are expected to be available for Thursday night’s game. RB Matt Lawrence practiced again Tuesday but remains on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He will not be available Thursday unless activated to the active roster. The Ravens have three weeks to activate Lawrence and are not expected to do so before the Falcons game.

The Falcons’ injury report was the same as Monday, with the only exception being QB Chris Redman (non-injury), who returned to practice. C Todd McClure (knee), LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee) and WR Roddy White (knee) did not participate in practice for a second straight day. WR Brian Finneran (knee/ribs), LB Curtis Lofton (knee), RB Jason Snelling (knee) and CB Brian Williams (hamstring) were all limited for a second straight day.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Rice and DT Haloti Ngata and CB Josh Wilson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……DE Paul Kruger is scheduled to join Drew Forrester at 7:15am Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, Falcons FB (and former Raven) Ovie Mughelli is scheduled to join Rex Snider at 5:05pm Wednesday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST……The weather will have no impact with Thursday night’s game being played inside the Dome, but tailgaters traveling to Atlanta from Charm City can expect 71 degrees and plenty of sun according to Weather.com/The Weather Channel……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Wednesday morning before traveling to Atlanta Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday’s walkthough will be closed to the media

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: “Spitgate” Steals Attention As Ravens Shift Focus to Falcons

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just one day after dispatching the Miami Dolphins 26-10 at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens (6-2) returned to 1 Winning Drive to begin preparations for Thursday night’s showdown with the Atlanta Falcons (6-2) at the Georgia Dome.

As the team attempted to prepare for their NFC South opponent Thursday night, the day was marred by fallout from their win over the Fins. Miami LB Channing Crowder accused Ravens FB Le’Ron McClain of spitting in his face during the Ravens’ win, and on Monday Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano said at a press conference that he intended to send video of the spitting incident along to the NFL.

Here is the video of the incident, courtesy of WFOR-TV in Miami…

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

McClain responded to the video Monday via his Twitter account, saying he “did not and I repeat did not spit on Channing Crowder. FACT!! Man that’s nasty! We were trash talking!”

He later added via Twitter “Video shows me arguing with guy! Called me something and I guess a lil spit got on him. Not on purpose but I have moved on to Atlanta.”

When approached by reporters Monday, McClain reiterated “I know I didn’t spit on the guy, I’ve moved on from that.” He also questioned Crowder’s decision to take the incident to the media. “I would have handled it differently. That’s just embarrassing to yourself and your organization.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh was satisfied after watching the video of the incident and hearing McClain’s explanation. “I talked to Le’Ron. I’ve seen the videotape of it. It didn’t happen.” Harbaugh continued his defense of McClain by saying “I don’t believe for one second that it happened. (Crowder) might have thought it happened, but it wasn’t the way it was described.”

ZBIKOWSKI STILL NOT PRACTICING: S Tom Zbikowski (foot) was the only player who did participate in Ravens practice Monday.

The Ravens held a very light practice just 24 hours after playing the Dolphins. Players were in shorts and not wearing helmets.

RB Matt Lawrence returned to the practice field Monday as expected, he has missed the first eight games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list as he returns from a knee injury. The Ravens will have three weeks to make a decision about whether or not to activate him.

There were reports that CB Fabian Washington had missed Monday’s practice, but he was a late arrival and present.

The Falcons had a much more significant injury report. TE Justin Peelle (groin) has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game. C Todd McClure (knee), QB Chris Redman (non-injury), LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee) and WR Roddy White (knee) all did not participate in Monday’s practice.

WR Brian Finneran (knee/ribs), LB Curtis Lofton (knee), RB Jason Snelling (knee) and CB Brian Williams (hamstring) were all limited in practice Monday for the Falcons.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, L. McClain, LB Ray Lewis and WR Anquan Boldin NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OT Marshal Yanda joined Drew Forrester Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, you can hear that chat in the Audio Vault as well……Bob Papa, Matt Millen and Joe Theismann will call Thursday night’s game for NFL Network……Ron Winter’s crew will officiate Thursday night’s game……The Ravens will hold their only other open practice of the week Tuesday, they will then hold a walkthrough Wednesday before traveling to Atlanta. Wednesday’s walkthrough will be closed to the media

-G

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As Dolphins-Ravens set to go, Stallworth Not Sure How He’ll Feel in NFL Return

Posted on 05 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (5-2) held their final open practice of the week Friday at 1 Winning Drive, making final preparations for Sunday’s showdown with the Miami Dolphins (4-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.

WR Donte’ Stallworth missed the first seven games of the season after breaking his foot in the team’s third preseason game-a win over the New York Giants in Charm City. With a full week of practice, Stallworth is expected to make his Ravens debut Sunday, marking his first NFL game since December 28, 2008. Stallworth missed all of the 2009 season after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter.

Stallworth said Friday he’s not sure what his emotions will be like in his NFL return.

“I can’t say” said the 13th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. “When we had our first practice (at M&T Bank Stadium) during Training Camp, I had no idea I was going to feel the way I did. We had 18-19,000 fans out there. The rush felt like a gameday. It will be interesting to see how it goes. It will be a good feeling.”

Despite having to serve jail time and his football future being very cloudy in Spring 2009, Stallworth said he always believed he’d be back in the NFL level.

“I always kept the faith that I would be back. Regardless of whether it was with the Browns at the time or another team, I always had confidence in myself and confidence in my abilities that someone would take a chance on me.”

Stallworth said he isn’t certain of how much he’ll be used Sunday, but hopes to go “as much as (the team) needs me to go.”

LAWRENCE TO RETURN TO PRACTICE: Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that at the end of the 21 day window to make a decision, the Ravens will have RB Matt Lawrence return to practice Monday. Lawrence has missed the first seven games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after suffering a season ending knee injury in November 2009.

The Ravens will have 21 days to make a decision as to whether to activate Lawrence or leave him on the Reserve/PUP list for the rest of the season.

Lawrence was unavailable for comment Friday.

PRACTICE REPORT: S Tom Zbikowski (foot) was not on the practice field again Friday, he has not practiced since suffering a bruised heel in the team’s Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. He was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the AFC East opponent.

All other Ravens were on the practice field Friday, but TE Dennis Pitta (head) was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. Stallworth (foot) is probable to make his Ravens debut, LB Tavares Gooden is expected to play for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

For the Dolphins, S Yeremiah Bell (toe) and RB Patrick Cobbs (hamstring) have been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, LB Channing Crowder (thumb) was listed as probable.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Stallworth and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Dolphins LB Channing Crowder described Mason as “the old guy” earlier this week, to which Mason responded Friday “He was still peeing himself when I was playing football”……CB Cary Williams joined Drew Forrester Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, you can hear in the Audio Vault as well……According to Weather.com/The Weather Channel, it is expected to be 53 degrees and sunny Sunday when the Ravens face the Fins……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Saturday at 1 Winning Drive, the walkthrough is closed to the media

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Stallworth, Gooden Expect Status Decisions Sunday

Posted on 01 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (5-2) returned to practice Monday after taking five days off for bye week. The Ravens began preparations for an upcoming Week 9 contest with the Miami Dolphins (4-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot) each appear to be on target to return to action Sunday. Gooden has not played since hurting himself in the Ravens’ Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Gooden said he would “practice this week as if he was playing Sunday”, but admitted that he would likely be a game-day decision. Gooden acknowledged that with the return of LB Brendon Ayanbadejo and the solid play of LB Jason Phillips, his spot on the 45 man active roster for Sunday’s game would not be guaranteed.

Stallworth has not played since hurting himself in the team’s third preseason game, a 24-10 win over the New York Giants in Charm City. Stallworth told reporters Monday he also expects to be a “game time decision.” Stallworth said he was a full participant in practice Monday (the team does not have to list an official injury report until Wednesday), but admitted the foot was “still a little sore.”

When asked if he was expecting to return punts Sunday against the team’s AFC East opponent, Stallworth responded “I would like to”, but deferred the decision to head coach John Harbaugh.  Harbaugh said during his weekly press conference that Stallworth returning punts would be “a matter of whether he’s able to do it or not.” Harbaugh added “he’d have to look good catching punts in practice, in traffic. He’s done it before. He’s a good solid punt catcher.” Harbaugh admitted Stallworth could be the guy to return punts against the Fins. “It would just have to be something where we feel like he’d be our best option. I’d say that’s a possibility.”

Harbaugh also acknowledged that WR Derrick Mason has offered to help out with punt returns. “I would say it’s an option” said Harbaugh. “It’s probably not the first guy that I’m gonna think to put out there, but if it turns out he’s the best choice, we’re willing to do it.” Harbaugh did say he does not “anticipate” Mason being involved at punt returner against the Dolphins.

MASON DOWNPLAYS PINKIE SURGERY
: Mason was quick to downplay the significance of a surgical procedure he had during the team’s bye week to repair an injured pinkie finger.

“They put a pin in” said Mason. “Hopefully it’ll be good for Sunday-I know it will-but if not we’ll just tape it up and go.”

Mason had been dealing with the injury for a few weeks.

“It was something I needed. I couldn’t go the whole season without it, I played two games with it, so I figured the best time to get it fixed now was the bye week so I could get some extra days to rest and allow the swelling to go down.”

Mason said he has already caught footballs since having the surgery.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Mason, Stallworth and TE Todd Heap NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will call Sunday’s game for CBS (WJZ 13 locally)……RB Matt Lawrence told WNST.net he has received no information from the team as to what is in store for his future. Lawrence has not returned to practice after missing the first six weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Harbaugh said a decision on Lawrence could come as early as Wednesday or not until next week……CB Fabian Washington would not discuss whether or not he would definitely start Sunday’s game when asked by reporters. Washington was torched for three touchdowns in the team’s 37-34 OT win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 7……The Ravens will be off tomorrow-the NFL’s mandatory day off. They will return to practice Wednesday.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh says “No Way” McGahee will be traded

Posted on 18 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-2) returned to work Monday at 1 Winning Drive following Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Head Coach John Harbaugh held his weekly press conference Monday afternoon to discuss the loss to the Pats and to look ahead to this Sunday’s visit from the Buffalo Bills (0-5) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Here are some of the highlights from Harbaugh’s chat with the media…

-Harbaugh was quick to dismiss any trade conversation regarding RB Willis McGahee stemming from him not seeing the football field Sunday. “I can see where three could be speculation (but) there is no Willis trade talk” said the Coach. “Unless there’s something I don’t know about, which I think is almost impossible, there is absolutely no way he’s being traded. He will be on our team this week and for the rest of the season.” The NFL’s Trade Deadline is Tuesday at 4pm, and there are multiple teams rumored to be in the market for a running back-including the Green Bay Packers.

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Live From Owings Mills: Ayanbadejo “Eager” to Return

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-1) returned to work Thursday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s showdown with the New England Patriots (3-1) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

LB Brendon Ayanbadejo met with reporters before practice Thursday, just days before he’s eligible to be activated from the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Ayanbadejo tore his quadriceps on October 4, 2009-the last time the Ravens visited the Pats. He expects to return to the roster as soon as he’s eligible.

“The only thing that I don’t know is what my role is going to be” said the former Pro Bowl Special Teams ace. “I want to sprinkle in a little bit of defense and a little bit of Special Teams.”

Ayanbadejo acknowledged that the team could wait until after the Week 7 game against the Buffalo Bills and the bye week that follows to activate him; but it is particularly important to him that he gets back on the field as soon as possible.

“I haven’t played football in a year” said Ayanbadejo. “(I had an) over 100 game playing streak going-never missed a game in my career. I’m eager to get back in there just for myself.”

Safety Ed Reed (groin/hip) is also expected to be activated quickly by the team once eligible, but RB Matt Lawrence (knee) admitted that he was uncertain of whether or not he’d be added back to the roster after he’s eligible.

Lawrence said he knew the 21 days following Sunday’s game could be an uncomfortable time, but admitted “this is what I signed up for.”

Players on the PUP list can return to practice starting next week, the Ravens have 21 days to decide whether or not to move them to the active roster.

NGATA SPAINED MCL: DT Haloti Ngata told reporters Thursday that he suffered a “mild” MCL sprain in the Ravens’ 31-17 Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium.

Ngata said the injury should not prevent him from playing against the Patriots Sunday.

Ngata was injured while playing on the offensive side of the football, as he split out to attempt to catch a pass on a 1st quarter play. The Ravens were facing 4th and goal from the Broncos’ 1 yard line.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said the team would allow Ngata to dictate whether or not they’d use him in offensive goal line situations in the future. “It’s always something you weigh. Haloti is the one who wants in there” said Cameron. “We’ve been awfully good with him in there. It was unfortunate what happened the other day, thank goodness he’s going to be fine.”

PRACTICE REPORT: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), OT Jared Gaither (back) and LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) have been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game; none were on the practice field.

However, the five Ravens that missed practice Wednesday all returned to the practice field Thursday. RB Ray Rice (knee), FB Le’Ron McClain (shoulder/knee), Ngata (knee), DE Paul Kruger (knee) and CB Josh Wilson (hamstring) were all back on the field Thursday, all were limited participants. Joining them on the list of limited participants were LB Edgar Jones (thigh) and LB Jameel McClain (knee)-who were each limited for a 2nd straight day-and S Ken Hamlin (ankle), who was not on Wednesday’s injury report.

LB Prescott Burgess (unknown) was not present during the portion of practice open to the media; but was apparently just a late arrival as he was not listed on the injury report.

For the Patriots, RB Fred Taylor (toe) did not participate in practice for a second straight day. Safety James Sanders (hamstring) was a new addition to the injury report Thursday. QB Tom Brady (shoulder) and CB Terrence Wheatley (foot) were full participants for a second straight day.

NOTES:  Hear from Cameron, Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg, LB Coach/Former Patriots Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees, Ayanbadejo and Wilson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OL Scott Kooistra joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hear that chat in the Audio Vault as well. DE Cory Redding is scheduled to join Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” Thursday at 3:30, LB Jason Phillips is scheduled to join Forrester Friday at 7:20am……Cameron told WNST.net Thursday that L. McClain is “the best fullback in the NFL” in terms of being a complete “rushing, blocking and pass catching” package……The Ravens will practice again Friday at 1 Winning Drive, Head Coach John Harbaugh is expected to address the media following practice.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

(And Happy Birthday to the boss-Nestor Aparicio-who Drew Forrester so eloquently described this morning as “looking good for 47.”)

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because tomorrow night is Homecoming at Perry Hall High School; and I can’t wait to see the Gators stomp some Franklin ass!

Ahh Homecoming…a chance to dress up and have your parents snap awkward pictures of you after your girlfriend stabs you in the chest with a boutineer. Speaking of boutineers…umm…why the hell did we ever wear boutineers anyway?

I remember my 12th grade Homecoming…

glennhomecoming

I couldn’t decide what to do with my hair that day-so I just shaved it off. When the girl I was dating at the time (she was a very nice girl named Kristen who-as you can tell-was MUCH too pretty to be dating a clown like me) saw what I had done, I think it would be fair to say she wasn’t exactly thrilled.

How awesome was I though? STX lanyard sticking out of my pocket to show some love for my lacrosse friends…NICE.

I don’t care what you say. 10 years later-that was a sharp look. I hope the PHHS class of 2011 will say the same thing when I’m working for them in ten years.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens not concerned with “Tom Brady Rule” against New England Patriots Sunday

While I have a funny feeling that at some point Sunday in Foxborough there’s going to be a close call that goes Brady’s way-this is OF COURSE the most appropriate response for Ravens defenders to have.

They obviously cannot head up to Gillette Stadium worrying about whether or not officials will be protecting Tom Brady too much. It might happen-but they cannot alter the way they play based on that. As Jarret Johnson said yesterday, players must simply be aware of where they are on the field; and what the appropriate way is for them to make a hit.

But…for snitzengiggles…here’s the “Tom Brady in a dress” picture from my friends at B-More Birds’ Nest that everyone enjoys so bad…

bradydress

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh ‘still hopeful’ Ed Reed will return next week

Which makes two of us. Probably more than two of us in fact.

While I still wouldn’t be stunned if Reed (and Brendon Ayanbadejo) are held off until after the Bye Week just to get them some more time to prepare; especially considering that the Ravens are playing the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium next Sunday-maybe not the most imposing of opponents.

This would buy the Ravens some more time to make some tough roster decisions-including Jared Gaither of course.

As far as Matt Lawrence is concerned, I have a bad feeling-which was SEMI-confirmed by Harbaugh yesterday-that Matt’s time in Charm City might be coming to a close in the next few weeks.

If so, he’ll always be my second favorite Matt Lawrence, right behind my man “Jack Hunter”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv9VJWh4FOg[/youtube]

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Haloti Ngata (knee), Ray Rice (knee), Le’Ron McClain (shoulder) missed practice Wednesday

Please everyone calm down. As of this moment, there’s no reason for us to think that any of these guys won’t be on the field Sunday. This is the 6th week of the season. Clearly guys are beat up. Sometimes they need a day off.

But if for some reason one of these guys were to miss the game, I’d consider picking up Jessica Jane-Clement if I were Ozzie Newsome. (Thanks Guyism!)

janeclement

4. CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg says Pats not out for ‘revenge’ Sunday

And as Eisenberg rightly points out, some Ravens players are skeptical-including Ray Rice and Chris Carr.

Of COURSE the Patriots will want revenge Sunday. They would want to win against ANY team they’d be playing, but there will something a little more special about playing the team that embarrassed them so badly in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs last year.

This is where the Ravens want to be. They want to be the team that others are measuring themselves against, and are just a bit more excited to face. Speaking of which…

5. ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss says Ravens ‘measuring stick’ for Patriots

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

-We’ll be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills again today as the Ravens get back on the practice field; coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media before practice. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST), tuned in to AM1570 WNST and checking in at WNST.net for updates.

-Did you miss Ravens OL Scott Kooistra on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester Thursday on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out! Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Plenty of audio from Owings Mills Wednesday-including Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Rice, Ray Lewis, Fabian Washington, Derrick Mason and Johnson
  • Sean Salisbury (“Sean Unfiltered”-Voice America Sports Radio)-who went around the NFL with Drew Thursday
  • Andrew Brandt (National Football Post/Former Green Bay Packers Executive)-who talked Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, etc. with Drew Thursday
  • Pete Caringi (UMBC Soccer Coach)-who previewed the Retrievers’ big Friday night game (which will be seen on Fox Soccer Channel) with Drew Thursday
  • Paul Cantabene (Mustangs Lacrosse Coach)-who joined Drew Thursday for the Stevenson Coaches’ Report
  • Our Thursday Morning “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”-as Drew sent high school athletics a low blow, and Glenn Clark sent a low blow to the end of “Midnight Madness”
  • Joseph Gannascoli (“Vito” from The Sopranos)-who joined Rex Snider Wednesday on “The Afternoon Drive” to talk New York Yankees and MLB playoffs
  • Steve Martin (ACC Network)-who previewed Maryland-Clemson with Rex Thursday
  • Al Seamonson (Maryland LB Coach)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Wednesday for “The Terrapins Coaches’ Report”
  • Howard Stevens (Former Baltimore Colts RB)-who joined Thyrl on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so make sure you check it out today…then of course thank me later. (Like Drake said!)

6. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says ‘don’t expect’ Orioles to sign Cliff Lee

Sadly, Cliff Lee costs money.

If he didn’t, maybe he could have a future with the O’s.

That’s not a low blow. It’s just a fact. Thanks Ian Eagle.

7. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says Cesar Izturis has ‘good chance’ of returning to Birds

Hear that? That’s the sound of me POUNDING MY HEAD AGAINST A TABLE!

Instead of getting a Japanese SS, Andy MacPhail should consider Anna Semenovich. I know I would. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

annas

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Ralph Friedgen told media on ACC Conference call that Terps haven’t decided between Danny O’Brien, Jamarr Robinson as starter Saturday at Clemson

At this point I feel like I might end up in the QB rotation Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Ralph is sticking to this “we’re playing both guys” thing, and that’s fine. But someone has to be “THE” quarterback. It’s much less about who is starting to me-much more about who is going to play if the game is hanging in the balance in the 4th quarter.

It’s too easy to say “whoever has the hot hand.”

I’ll say it probably needs to be Danny O’Brien if the Terps are going to win.

9. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Travis Baltz will kick for Terrapins again Saturday against Tigers

And before I move on from Maryland, a reminder that we will be at Comcast Center in College Park this afternoon for Maryland basketball Media Day. We’ll have audio from Gary Williams, Sean Mosley, Jordan Williams and more, so again-make sure you’re following us on Twitter, checking WNST.net and staying tuned to AM1570 WNST!

10. Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Dick Vermeil to present Frank Gansz Trophy to Navy-SMU winner Saturday

And if I played for the Midshipmen or the Stangs, I’d think that was cool.

Of course, I’d probably think it was cooler if it was Taylor Momsen. (Thanks Drunken Stepfather!)

taylormomsen

And finally, I leave you with this.

Dave Matthews Band did a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”? How did I possibly never know?!?!?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i4YyiUHuoM[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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