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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Most Improbable Sports Moments of Your Lifetime

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Most Improbable Sports Moments of Your Lifetime

Posted on 22 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Given the improbable nature of this weekend’s NCAA Tournament action, I thought it would be appropriate to make today’s Tuesday Top 7 subject “The Most Improbable Sports Moments of Your Lifetime.”

You know, the “I really can’t believe that actually happened” type of moments.

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Tiger Woods wins his first Masters by 12 strokes

tiger

6. Hasim Rahman knocks out Lennox Lewis

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

5. David Tyree’s catch in Super Bowl XLII

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27XeNefwABw[/youtube]

4. Coppin State beats South Carolina in NCAA Tournament

coppin

3. Buffalo Bills stun Houston Oilers in NFL Wild Card playoff

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBg8RJdcSEs[/youtube]

2. Arizona Diamondbacks beat Mariano Rivera in World Series Game 7

dbacks

1. The NFL FINALLY returns to Baltimore

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB4Iic8HjoY[/youtube]

Drew Forrester’s list…

7. Morgan State beats Maryland in College Park

morganmaryland

6. Larry Mize chips in to beat Greg Norman

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvQa4fbETKU[/youtube]

5. Red Sox-Mets Game 6 9th inning

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyf3w4Z_Rck[/youtube]

4. Yankees blow 3-0 lead to Boston in ALCS

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odxcb0sIdt8[/youtube]

3. Nestor Aparicio beats Dan Wilcox, Haloti Ngata, Kyle Richardson, Matt Stover in free throw shooting contest

nes

2. Drew loses some goofy golf tournament

loser

1. Billy Chapel pitches a perfect game for the Tigers

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

If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Counterpoint: Bordick not amongst Orioles’ best, but I’m fine with induction

Posted on 20 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Upon hearing that former SS Mike Bordick had been elected to the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame Saturday morning, I will admit that at first I thought to myself, “huh?”

But after a few minutes of thinking about it, it struck me that Mike Bordick is a fine choice for what isn’t a particularly significant honor.

Many Baltimore sports fans are particularly disappointed when they look towards the Baltimore Ravens’ Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium and see the name Earnest Byner listed with the young franchise’s best players (Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary); the man who returned football to Charm City (Art Modell) and the players who represented the Baltimore Colts franchise that captivated this city for over 30 years.

Earnest Byner was a marginal contributor for two seasons and an assistant coach for a few years after that. It is well known that Modell wanted to honor Byner and decided the Ring of Honor was the way to do just that.

When Ravens fans in ten years see the names of Ray Lewis, Todd Heap, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister, Matt Stover and Brian Billick honored at their “Purple Palace”, Byner’s inclusion will seem out of place at best, but could be somewhat embarrassing when opposing fans visiting town ask “Byner? Why don’t you go ahead and put Kyle Boller up there too?”

The reality of Bordick’s induction to the Orioles Hall of Fame is that the honor itself isn’t significant enough to warrant such opposition. The Orioles honor their greatest players in franchise history by retiring their numbers and featuring them with figures outside Orioles Park at Camden Yards and commemorative signs inside OPACY as well.

As an organization, the O’s do a good job of separating the all-time greats (Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken) from those who simply warrant a “thank you” for their time in orange and black (BJ Surhoff, Harold Baines, Rick Dempsey, Mark Belanger).

Make no mistake. Mike Bordick does not deserved to be remembered in the same way as some other Birds who have received Hall of Fame status. Ken Singleton, Boog Powell, Dave McNally, Mike Flanagan and others had a much more significant impact on the franchise than Bordick.

Instead of being featured prominently at The Yard, Bordick will only receive mention on a small Eutaw Street wall plaque. The Orioles will hold their annual luncheon and pre-game ceremony for fans to thank Bordick, then he will mostly be a name on a list.

They’re not trying to compare Bordick to Ripken-even if Bordick was the player to replace the “Iron Man” at shortstop.

With the only criteria for induction being that the player must have played for the team for at least three seasons, Bordick (parts of six seasons) qualifies. He’ll be remembered for his All-Star Game appearance in 200 and a stellar defensive season in 2002. He’ll be remembered by myself as being the piece that brought Melvin Mora to Baltimore from the New York Mets.

For these reasons, I applaud Bordick’s election. It will be nice for me to clap for one of the few players I have enjoyed watching during these dreadful 13 seasons of Orioles baseball.

-G

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Former Ravens kicker and NFL player rep Matt Stover on current lockout: “I really feel strongly that they are going to have football this year”

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Former Ravens kicker and NFL player rep Matt Stover on current lockout: “I really feel strongly that they are going to have football this year”

Posted on 17 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

Longtime Ravens kicker Matt Stover recently made his official retirement known on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester on Tuesday, and while it may not come as a surprise to those who follow the NFL-having seen Matt Stover kick numerous field goals for a team with a Baltimore-tie for 18 seasons.

Matt Stover

Still, Stover, 43, may have had some usefulness to a team this year not soley for his kicking prowess, but for his time served as a player representative defending his fellow players in labor talks with the NFL owners.

And despite age catching up to the eighth most accurate kicker in NFL history and fourth-highest scorer, Stover has still been keeping up with the labor issues facing today’s game especially given Friday’s lockout by the owners and decertification.

And he’s been through it before, he told “The Morning Reaction” host.

“Well I was a player rep for 18 years and two of those years were back in 1992 and 1993 when we were negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement under decertification,” Stover told Forrester,  “so I know exactly whats going on right now and what should be happening.

Stover said that decertification and putting the decision into the hands of the courts of where the NFL’s money is going  was the only way to fix the issue.

“It’s unfortunate the players had to go this direction with it but in order to get the owners to negotiate fairly it’s the only way,” Stover admitted.

He knows this firsthand having dealt with owners and NFL leadership in labor contracts. Stover has been a player rep every year he has been in the league for every franchise he suited up and kicked for in games.

Matt Stover

And while he will not be playing football in 2011 as he closes the book on his NFL career  to take care of his family and his relationship with God, Stover feels like he will be watching NFL games come September.

“I really feel strongly that they are going to have football this year,” he said. “I feel that the decertification-with the injunction that the NFL has on it-will not hold. I believe that they will be a group of decertified employees, and that there cannot be a lockout and I believe there will be footbal in 2011.”

But, Stover still admits that he doesn’t want to see the owners take advantage of the players for yet another set of years, and ultimately given his position now as a retired NFL player, he definitely wants to make sure he, his family, and his fellow retirees are also taken for down the road when it comes to benefits and health care.

“I always think there is room in the collective bargaining agreement to negotiate for better benefits for retired players,” Stover said. “I really do.”

But, Stover did say that the system right now is being exploited not only by the owners, but greedy players as well who may not have served the time or have been through the abuse of a 20-year career like veterans in Matt Stover.

Whoever eventually handles that department is going to have to sometimes be brash with their decisions on how much money goes to one NFL player, says Stover.

In essence, the system needs fixing.

“In every negotiation since 1993, 1998, 2006, we always went back and helped players,” Stover replied. “We were always fair…I was on the benefit committee when we were trying to help these guys out and it became such an extensive way to go about it, and some of these guys you may realize too only played three or four years and they want to be made whole on there pension plan.”

Stover said in any business you need a long-standing tenure with a place of employment to earn benefits, and he thinks the NFL should hold similar standards.

“In reality when you look at the course of any employement it takes people 20 to 25 years to get any kind of pension and it’s just one of those systems that so many people may qualify for that we have to be very careful for how we fund the pension plan or it will be broke in no time…it’s underfunded as we speak in the NFL.”

And even as a retired player, he still has his ex-teammates in Baltimore and Indianapolis-where he almost got another Super Bowl ring-in mind.

Stover spent 13 seasons in a Ravens uniform and came over from the Browns when Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore.

He made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 2000 during the Ravens Super Bowl run, and ultimately was the driving force behind the Baltimore offense that went five games without scoring an offensive touchdown yet won two of those games thanks to Stover’s leg.

But, Stover doesn’t want any of the limelight. That’s not his style. Never was. It was the same way when he was ushered out of Baltimore by the new coaching staff under a new regime.

“I have been very quiet, and the reason for that is that last year I wanted just to step away. I didn’t want to be any attention drawn on me by the Ravens and  to have them not worry about me again.”

And he couldn’t be happier for a guy in Pro-Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff, who brought stability to a position that the Ravens took advantage of for years in Stover when it came to consistency.

“What it really comes down to for Billy is a couple of things,” Stover said of his replacement. “He had the passion, and he had the heart to do it.  He wanted to be the best and he just resolved himself to do it.”

And Stover’s departure and professionalism about it allowed him to do so.

“I love my guys on the team. I love the organization, I just felt like It was good to go rogue, good to go solo, to be silent,” Stover said.

And while Stover may want to fade into anonymity, it’s not going to happen. Eventually, Stover will make it into the Ravens Ring of Honor, and who knows…he could have the numbers for a Canton calling.

Stover was honored by the attribution.

“Just to be considered by you and the public to be thought of as a Hall of Famer is gratifying to me  knowing that I had an effect on a team,” Stover said.  “I was able to do my job well, and that’s really what it’s all about.”

“If the Hall of Fame came around would I be happy; absolutely, the goal to get [there] isn’t one of my goals, but it is something that could happen. If you look at my numbers there has not been a kicker out there who has been able to do what I do with the statistics and the environment I kicked in.  But at the same point and time it comes down to the effect I had on my team.”

Either way, Stover is happy with his career and still hopes to make the NFL better even from an outside persepctive regardless if he is invited back full circle in any form.

“If that never happens I have no regrets, none what so ever.”

WNST thanks Matt Stover for joining us to talk NFL labor! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Matt Birk tells Rex Snider that reason for return to Ravens? Too cold in Minnesota

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Matt Birk tells Rex Snider that reason for return to Ravens? Too cold in Minnesota

Posted on 11 February 2011 by Ryan Chell

Matt Birk

Ravens center Matt Birk just finished his second of his three year contract that he signed with Baltimore before the 2009 season. Birk-a Harvard grad, six-time Pro Bowler, and two-time All-Pro, was brought in to replace Jason Brown, who left via free agency signing a lucrative deal with the St. Louis Rams.

Birk-while not the player he was in Minnesota-has filled in nicely since Brown’s departure and has been that veteran presence on the offensive line. Rumors floated around toward the end of the 2010 season that Birk, 34, would call it quits and retire.

Fortunately for the Ravens, Birk announced Tuesday that he would finish his contract with the Ravens and return for his third season as a Raven. Baltimore is no doubt happy with the move, and he joined Rex Snider this week on “The Afternoon Drive” to discuss what went into his decision process on returning and a neat event he has going on at the end of the month of February teaming up with a few ex-Raven Matts…

On the winter…

“Yeah you kind of get into that sports abyss right now, and then you look outside and there’s not much going on. So bring on the spring time.”

On the snow…

“Yeah this is nothing, Minnesota definitely, 9 out of 10 times when I tell someone I’m from Minnesota they say, ‘Oh boy its cold up there’… that’s the first thing that they associate the state with, and they’re absolutely right.”

On Minnesota…

“That’s how it gets up there its no joke.”

On returning…

“Well I appreciate that it makes me happy too.  I just wasn’t sure after the season, and I wanted to be up front with the Ravens, and let them know where I was at. I did get a little R&R, and I actually went back  to Minnesota for a little bit, and said ‘You know what…it’s really cold here I’m not ready to move back.’ So I better keep playing…”

On his body recovering…

“Yeah you know I think when you’re banged up, its hard to remember what its like to feel good, even though you know you go through it every year. There’s other factors that play in too. I have five children and a wife that I brought out here all the way from our families, which is great. Its been a great experience here, but eventually my wife and I being from Minnesota, will move back out there and settle down, and put our roots back in the ground. You know you just kind of want to take in everything, and just like everybody in life, you just want to make sure your doing the right thing by your wife and your kids and just make sure that your heart is still in it, and mine definitely is.”

“It was more of an issue of just physically and mentally being able to gear up and do it again. I came back from vacation and talked with Coach Harbargh a couple days ago, and I just told him my intent because obviously they need to know and the sooner the better… so yeah I feel good and I’m excited.”

On the difference a month off has…

Oh yeah, there’s still some bumps and bruises. But specifically I was dealing with a knee injury at the end of the year and that’s the game of football. Thats just the way it is and that’s fine. Certainly in the last month it’s certainly healed up some and by all accounts it’s going to be fine. I’m starting to work out again and try to get the body feeling good again. That’s what February and March and for

On “Football and Faith”….

Yeah it’s pretty unique. Myself and Matt Stover, and hopefully I can get one more player to join us. Stan White is going to lead the panel of discussion. Were going to talk about the role that faith has in our lives as men and as football players, I mean it’ll be a fun night. Were going to talk about obviously the ravens and all those things, have a silent auction, a meal, and lots of freebies too.  I think its kind of a unique event in a sense that you get a chance to know a side of players that you don’t see a whole lot of. It also benefits a great ministry called Kingdom Rain which travels to the poorest parts of the world in the Uzbekistan and other places, and actually train religious leaders in these places where people literally put there lives at risk to worship. They train leaders so they can be more effect in spreading the word of God, so we thought this would be a great opportunity for people to see a different side of us, and also get people to raise money and some awareness for a great cause.”

On things more important than football..

Absolutely and that does start with faith, and I think that’s a case no matter what career or what business your in. its exciting for me because it’s a platform and an opportunity to talk about something that’s important to me and I think so far the response has been great, we’ve got hundreds of people coming out and I just think its going to be a very special and unique event for anybody and everybody that’s involved with it.

On the CBA…

It is, its uncharted territory for us, the NFL and the players have enjoyed labor peace for a long time. Inevitably there’s going to be bumps in the road there seems to be every so often. We kind of don’t know if the lockout does occur, if the owners do lock the players our after March 3. I just sort of found out for sure, if that makes sense, that our health insurance is going to be canceled, we cant go to the facility, cant communicate with coaches. There are a lot of unknowns out there and as a football player you become a creature of habit you rely on structure and schedules. 12 months a year you know what it is every January is like this. February is like this.  But we don’t know, and nobody seems to know exactly what it’s going to look like, what’s free agency going to look like if we get locked out. What is the draft be like…its kind of a looming threat that’s getting closer everyday. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and an agreement can be reached and we can avoid this whole mess.

On how CBA  impacts lives….

“Well yeah. Nobody likes the unknown…everyone wants to know what’s next, everybody wants the security and like I said its something that we haven’t gone through before with this generation of players. It’s unfortunate and whether you’re a player, a fan, an owner. It’s a business, it’s a sport that’s great and all those things. But it’s a business and there’s billions of dollars at stake, so of course certain human elements can rear there ugly head, and I guess things like this happen.  And I know nobody wants to hear about it but hopefully we can reach an agreement and we can actually have the game and the business better off for years to come.”

On Biscotti’s comments on the CBA and professionalism in the organization….

Oh there is no question that the Ravens are first class and that starts with  Mr. Biscotti, and John Harbargh, Dick Cass, Ozzie Newsome and all the way down. It just resonates class. I’ve only been with one other organization, and when I came  here to visit I was just so impressed by what was going on here. Just the feel and the sense you got. Really, the strength  of any organization is the people and that was evident right when I got to 1 Winning Drive, and that reputation is the Ravens throughout the league.

People that I know in other places that have never been here, we talk and then say that’s a pretty good organization to play for isn’t it. And I say absolutely. That doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Biscotti said that, and it doesn’t do any good to sling mud or say bad things about the other side. It’s a negotiation  and people a lot smarter then me will be handling that, and im sure an agreement will be reached because theres too much at stake for the business of the NFL but more so for the game of the NFL and whats been built up here for the last 80, 90, 100 years of football.”

On Football and Faith info…

“The event is at 7pm, and people can go online to footballandfaith.org and find out all the information you need, read up on it some more. Obviously I’d love to see as many people out there as I could, I think its gonna be one of those special things.”

Want to hear Birk’s chat with Rex Snider? Check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault!

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5 lowest moments of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry

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5 lowest moments of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Luke Jones

You have to remember where you’ve been in order to get where you want to go.

In this case, Ravens fans can only hope it’s a trip to the AFC Championship after a win at Heinz Field on Saturday after countless disappointments against their biggest rivals.

Perhaps you’ve clicked this link because you’re a football masochist, secretly preparing yourself for the worst should Baltimore fall short yet again with the stakes as high as they’ve been since the conference championship game two years ago.

A bloodcurdling look back at the low points in the history of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry reminds us that as enjoyable as the highs have been for the Ravens, the lows have been that much more devastating over the 15 years the two teams have battled on the gridiron.

Beating the Steelers on Saturday would immediately become the greatest Baltimore moment in the rivalry’s history while a loss would only mark the latest chapter of bitter disappointment.

With a few honorable mentions to get things started, here are the five lowest Baltimore moments of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry:

Honorable mention >>>

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It’s time for another Friday Football Frenzy …..

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It’s time for another Friday Football Frenzy …..

Posted on 22 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, its been a very controversial and torn week for Baltimore’s collective football community.

In some very distinct ways, those who discuss, analyze and monitor the Ravens, tend to keep a weekly schedule relatively similar to the team …..

The game occurs on Sunday afternoon. On Monday and Tuesday, we discuss and debate what happened, while also pausing for a collective breath. By Wednesday, we tend to put the game behind us and look toward the next opponent. And, by the time Friday arrives, you’re ready for more football !!!!

The above account is the customary routine for listeners and radio hosts. It’s pretty predictable and many parts of the overall format are planned ahead of time.

However, the last five days have served as one of those unique sets of circumstances. With last Sunday’s frustrating result in New England, anything and everything regarding the “typical process” has been disregarded. Indeed, some situations are hard to stomach …..
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On the heels of seeing Todd Heap’s injury, to watching a double-digit 4th quarter lead simply evaporate and become a loss, anyone who pays attention to the Ravens had plenty to say.

That’s the magic of sports talk radio …..

So, as Thursday rolled around, some of us were still playing the BLAME GAME and others were trying to finally put the loss in the rear view mirror, while focusing on this Sunday’s home matchup.  He we are in late October, and its just the THIRD home game of the season.

This week’s opponent hasn’t helped the collective crowd in overcoming the hangover, has it? This week’s game is not viewed as one of those contests that can bury the previous loss on the schedule; regardless of whether the Ravens dominate or not.

If the Ravens were playing the Steelers in a couple days, the air and atmosphere would be different. Minds and hearts would’ve been focused on Pittsburgh, by Tuesday.

The same can be said for the upcoming game against New Orleans.

But, not this week.

The Buffalo Bills and their 0-5 record are coming to town …..
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I pretty much piled up on the Bills, yesterday. Heck, I bullied them. After all, that’s what we expect when a winless and nearly powerless team comes crawling into Baltimore.

That said, this week’s opponent is from Buffalo and that’s where we’ll direct our attention today. As an added bonus, Sunday’s game will also feature a ceremony recognizing the 2000 Super Bowl Champions. It’s hard to believe a DECADE has passed since that team shared a locker room.

Over the past few days, WNST has devoted a significant amount of time to catching up with former players and reliving some of the most meaningful times in Baltmore’s football history.

We’ve chatted with Hall of Famers, All Pros and contributing members to that very special season.

Today, we’ll continue the conversations with some of this town’s most adored Ravens. This afternoon’s list of guests includes …..

Matt Stover
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Michael McCrary
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Lional Dalton
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In addition to chatting with these former players and reminiscing about our collective memories, we will take a hard look at the Buffalo Bills and the tough season they’ve endured. We’ll also chat with our good friend – the “unsung hero” of WNST, Chris Pika, for a look around the NFL.

Yes, I will also hit Nestor with some questions about the American League Championship Series. He hates the Yankees. I hate the Yankees. You hate the Yankees. And, they’re on the brink of heading home for the winter.

Join us this afternoon, at 2pm. It’s four solid hours of football (and a little bit of baseball) talk. It’s the prime way to kick off an awesome weekend.

It’s the FRIDAY FOOTBALL FRENZY …..
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Ravens 10-Pack: Baltimore feeling Super at 4-1

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Luke Jones

Even with the daunting task of traveling to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots this Sunday, you have to feel good about the Ravens’ 4-1 start and the early lead atop the AFC North with the first month of the season already in the books.

With three of the first four on the road (two of them division games), you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the Ravens would fare better than they have after road victories against the Jets and Steelers. And when you take a look around the rest of the league, the Ravens’ accomplishments look even more impressive.

Parity is a word all-too-familiar to NFL fans, but the notion seemed to be waning over the last few seasons with the regular-season success of the 2007 Patriots and extended runs at perfection by the Colts and Saints last year. However, with the 1972 Dolphins uncorking the champagne before Columbus Day — with no 4-0 teams in the NFL since 1970 — and only eight teams sporting one loss through the first five weeks of the season, 2010 appears up for grabs in mid-October.

Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL?

Being this early, who cares? But it’s difficult to argue any team has looked better than Baltimore.

If the Ravens can beat New England (3-1), it will mark just the second 5-1 start in franchise history, the other coming in the 2000 season.

However, for some perspective, at the time of the 5-1 start, Tony Banks was the starting quarterback and the Ravens had just won their second straight game without scoring a touchdown.

Things changed very quickly — in a bad way — before a historic run began and Trent Dilfer and the Ravens found themselves holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of January.

1. Since taking over as head coach in 2008, John Harbaugh has shown the uncanny ability to take care of business against inferior teams, home or away.

In 37 regular season games under Harbaugh, the Ravens have never lost to a team that finished the season with a losing record. As unimpressive as that might sound to the casual observer, you’ll find a “bad” loss by a playoff-caliber team nearly every week in the NFL.

Of course, the opposite argument can be made that the Ravens have fallen short too many times against quality opponents — especially last season when they struggled to get to the playoffs at 9-7 — but winning the games you’re supposed to win and holding your own against winning teams will put you in an enviable position.

The postseason.

Time will determine whether their Week 2 loss in Cincinnati breaks the string, but the Harbaugh-led Ravens have managed to avoid the unwarranted defeats the team suffered in previous seasons.

2. All eyes will be on Bill Belichick and the Patriots in their first game since trading disgruntled receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings and re-acquiring former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. The removal of Moss will undoubtedly impact the New England offense, but how much?

Expect a little gadgetry on Sunday as Tom Brady deciphers where everyone fits in the post-Moss era.

Of course, Belichick had an extra week to figure it out with the Patriots’ Week 5 bye, and his record in New England coming off the bye week is an impressive 8-2, including seven straight wins. But before we write off the Ravens at Gillette Stadium and bow to the genius of Belichick, we should remember that four of the last six have come against the Buffalo Bills.

Not to belittle an impressive feat, but game-planning against a team led in recent years by the likes of Dick Jauron and Mike Mularkey is a bit easier than facing the team that blasted you in the playoffs just nine months ago.

In the Harbaugh era, the Ravens are 2-1 when playing teams coming off their bye week. All three games were last season, which included wins against Cleveland and Denver as well as a road loss to Cincinnati.

3. Putting aside the obvious threat of Brady to Wes Welker, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s biggest concern might be a pair of rookie tight ends.

Through the Patriots’ first four games, Welker leads the team in receptions (26), but not receiving yards. That distinction belongs to Aaron Hernandez (18 catches for 240 yards) despite being the second tight end drafted (fourth round) by New England in April. Rob Gronkowski, a second-round selection, has posted modest numbers (six catches for 62 yards) but was an impressive talent eyed by the Ravens leading up to the draft.

The Ravens have struggled covering the intermediate middle of the field in recent years, so the inside linebacker corps of Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, and Dannell Ellerbe will need to keep a close eye on these rookie targets.

4. As much as we lamented the absence of Matt Stover a season ago, let’s tip our caps to Billy Cundiff. His ability to boot the football deep into the end zone on kickoffs is an underappreciated factor in the Ravens being 4-1.

His four touchbacks against the Broncos on Sunday matched the total number by Baltimore kickers all of last year.

Whispers of Stover will not dissipate — if they ever do — until we see Cundiff make a 47-yarder to win a late-season game, but the distinct upgrade on kickoffs cannot be overlooked.

As great as Stover was with the game on the line, fans easily forget his kickoffs barely traveling inside the 10-yard line, often setting up the opponent with good field position.

5. Plenty has been said about Cam Cameron’s choice to use Haloti Ngata at tight end on Sunday’s opening drive and the near-disaster that followed with the defensive tackle down on the field.

I offer you three names: James Jones (1996), Herman Arvie (1996), and Jonathan Ogden (1996 and 2003), three linemen who all registered touchdown catches with the Ravens.

The difference in this case? Cameron and Harbaugh have too many offensive weapons at their disposal to risk losing one of the greatest defensive players in the game today. Why spend draft picks on two tight ends to complement Todd Heap and then risk your best defensive player trying to be too cute?

Ngata playing offense was a fun spectacle until we saw what nearly happened with the Ravens’ season flashing before the eyes of 71,000 people at M&T Bank Stadium.

Lesson learned — hopefully.

6. It was natural for questions to arise whether the Ravens had any interest in bringing back Antwan Barnes after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but  Harbaugh promptly shot down the idea on Monday. (Update: Barnes signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday afternoon)

In three years with the Ravens, the linebacker-defensive end managed only five sacks and sealed his fate last October when he whiffed on a tackle of Cedric Benson that led to a 28-yard touchdown run and an eventual loss to the Bengals.

Barnes is too small to provide help at defensive end, where the Ravens need a consistent pass-rush threat, and not athletic enough to play linebacker on every down. If they didn’t want him before the season, what would have changed a month later?

“I haven’t had a conversation with him,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We don’t really have a roster opportunity right now for that. We wouldn’t be opposed to it. Antwan’s a good person, a good player. Obviously, he’s done some good things here. But, right now, there’s no way roster-wise we could pull that off.”

In other words, “Thanks, but no thanks — we’ve moved on.”

7. If all goes to plan and you believe the recent comments made by Harbaugh, Sunday will mark the final game before All-Pro safety Ed Reed returns to the 53-man roster after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list.

During training camp, I said Tom Zbikowski would do an adequate job at free safety in Reed’s absence, and the third-year safety has done just that. So with the Ravens currently having the second-best pass defense in the NFL (behind only the New York Giants), the question must be asked:

How well will Reed fit into the secondary when he returns to the starting lineup?

The Baltimore defense no longer plays the exotic, aggressive schemes of Rex Ryan, but employs a conservative, “bend, but don’t break” style under Mattison. Reed has always gambled in the defensive backfield, at times leaving teammates out to dry in coverage while also making some of the greatest plays in NFL history.

With the 32-year-old returning from hip surgery, it will be interesting to see whether Reed takes a more conservative approach in coverage or returns with a bigger chip on his shoulder to prove he’s still one of the best defensive players in the league and deserving of the new contract he so desperately wants. If Reed proves to be a lesser player than he was prior to the hip procedure but plays with the same aggressive style, the secondary could be more vulnerable to the big play.

That said, it is hard to doubt a player who will one day be enshrined in Canton.

8. Speaking of injured players, you have to wonder how long the Ravens will continue to wait for Jared Gaither to return. Other than being a limited participant in one practice a couple weeks ago, the offensive tackle has been out with a thoracic disc injury since training camp.

With roster decisions looming with Reed and fellow PUP list members Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence, Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh may need to pull the plug on the projected starter at right tackle.

The improved play of Marshal Yanda at right tackle and Chris Chester at right guard has eased concerns on the right side of the line. Cohesion upfront is difficult to develop, so Gaither’s potential return would require another period of adjustment, something the coaching staff might be uncomfortable with later in the season.

Keep in mind, Gaither has not played right tackle regularly since the early part of his collegiate career at Maryland, so this isn’t a savvy veteran who can step right in to his regular position when healthy.

If Gaither does not make significant progress by the bye week, his season will likely come to a disappointing end.

9. Much has been said about the return of the three-headed running attack and the 2008-like feel to Sunday’s win over the Broncos, but don’t expect it to last.

Like it or not, the Ravens’ current profile is a pass-first team that runs the ball efficiently. The dominating 233-yard rushing performance against Denver was more the effect of a comfortable lead than some epiphany for Cameron.

Of Joe Flacco’s 97 completions through five games, 50 have been for under 10 yards, looking a little like the “running” game of the Patriots with Brady under helm. However, his 6.6 yards per attempt (the lowest of his career) needs to increase for the offense to continue growing.

Despite the profile change — which really began last season — the ability to pound the football looms large when the elements grow harsh, and the Ravens will use it when appropriate.

10. Ranking 19th in the league in total offense (328.2 yards per game) and tied for 17th in points scored (18.4 per game), the Baltimore offense has room for improvement with Cameron and Flacco trying to distribute the ball to keep a plethora of talented players — and egos — happy.

As well as the defense has played, it hasn’t done its counterpart any favors in the turnover department with only three takeaways and a -6 turnover differential, both last in the AFC.

Nothing gives an offense more confidence than starting drives on a short field, and a few more turnovers might be the serum the offense needs to excel. Fortunately, the defense and kick coverage has played well enough to win the field-position battle in most instances, but the turnover differential must improve if the Ravens are to take a step toward elitism, offensively and as a team.

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Steve Hauschka: “I Think That There Is a High Standard Out There That The Kickers Have Set, And Anything Below That Won’t Be Tolerated”

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Steve Hauschka: “I Think That There Is a High Standard Out There That The Kickers Have Set, And Anything Below That Won’t Be Tolerated”

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Ryan Chell

Steve Hauschka
Everywhere Steve Hauschka has gone so far in this short NFL career, he has had to replace or has been around an NFL kicker who has been kicking clutch field goals for years.

Last year’s starting Ravens kicker for the first two months of the season had trouble replacing a hero here in Baltimore in Matt Stover, as the former NC State kicker struggled, kicking 69& of his attempts, making only 9 out of 13 attempts from last year, including a big miss in the Ravens October 18th loss to the Vikings that cost the game for Baltimore.

Hauschka beat 2008 Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano for the starting job for the Ravens last camp after the Ravens decided not to resign Stover, who wanted a guaranteed contract going into training camp.

Hauschka said it wasn’t easy to fit into someone shoes like Stover.

“It’s not easy at the beginning, especially following up a guy like Matt Stover, whose had a real great career there in Baltimore,” Hauschka told Thyrl Nelson on Thursday.  “It wasn’t easy as a young guy. I did my best and I wish things worked a different way, but I don’t have any regrets.”

Hauschka was released by the Ravens a month after his fourth miss of the year. He later tried on with the Falcons, who signed him to a contract after trying to find a replacement for a struggling Jason Elam, and he competed with Matt Bryant the rest of the season, not seeing any attempts to prove himself or right his confidence.

Hauschka realizes and understands why his time in Baltimore was cut short. He knows he deserved it, given the nature of the position.

“I think that there is a high standard out there that the kickers have set, and anything below that wont be tolerated,” Hauschka explained. “That’s just the nature of the position.”

“It’s a really obvious thing when the kicker misses a kick, as opposed to a tackle missing a block or something like that. When a kicker makes a mistake, everyone in the crowd knows it.”

“It’s real easy to point, and I read the other day that is a ‘blame position’, along with the quarterback. Quarterback and kicker, pretty much the two blame positions where it’s easy to say they messed it up, whereas with other positions, it’s not so easy for the average fan. That puts more pressure on you, which is the nature of the position and I understand that and have accepted that. I think most of us NFL guys have.”

But Hauschka still feels like he has the physical skills to kick in the NFL, and he feels like he is a talented kicker for having only kicked professional field goals for the last seven years.

“I didn’t start till my sophomore year in college. I had played soccer and lacrosse before that. My roommate in my freshman year was a football player, and I went out one day and kicked with him. He told me that I had to come out and try out for the team. He convinced the coach to let me come to training camp, and the rest is history. I came out and won the punting and kicking job, and did that for three years.”

Hauschka said that in today’s age where there are only 32 kicking jobs out there and guys like Stover hanging in the league for so long, it makes it hard for young guys like himself to hold down and grab a kicking job in the NFL.

“A lot of factors come into play,” Hauschka said. “It’s not easy for young guys to break in. There is only a couple open spots, and those open spots are relative to, so they come with a lot of competition. So there is only a couple open spots every year. And if a rookie is put in one of those positions, they really have to show something. It’s tough coming up with that experience that guys in the NFL already have. Even a couple years worth of experience is head and shoulders over a young guy or a rookie.”

And now, he is in Lions camp with the Detroit Lions, as he is being asked to hold down the kicking position until longtime Lions kicker Jason Hanson is back and healthy as he is recovering from off-season knee surgery.

“I’ve been here about a week-week and a half now. Things have been going fine. I love the organization a lot, and I like it here in Detroit.”

Much like Stover, Hanson is a legend in Detroit. He is only the Lions’ second kicker since 1980, is the league’s 8th leading scorer, and is the only player in the league to play with his original team before the creation of the salary cap and free agency.

Unfortunately for Hauschka, Hanson has only missed one game in his 18 years in the NFL. But Hauschka knew going in that this was really just another chance to prove to all the other teams in the league that he is a capable kicker.

“He’s still the guy here,” Hauschka said of Hanson. “He’s had a great career. He really is a great kicker. I think everyone expects that he’ll be the guy this year again. I’m just trying to help the team however I can, and I know at the current moment Jason is recovering from a minor injury. That is the need for me right now. But I’m going to try and help out the team any way I can.”

And already he has turned some heads. converting four field goals and getting six touch backs on August 21st against Denver, prompting second year Lions coach Jim Schwartz to say he has that “Ernie Els” kick. He kicked five extra points against Cleveland on Saturday.

“I can probably see what he is talking about,” Hauschka said of his coach’s response. “I don’t know exactly, but I’m just assuming I’m swinging easy and that the ball goes far. Ernie Els definitely has a smooth swing. That’s kind of what I try and do out there. I ‘ve got plenty of leg to get the ball where I need to get it, so if I swing smooth, I’ll be a lot more accurate.”

But Hanson was seen warming up before Saturday’s game against Cleveland, and if need be, could have probably gone out there for the game. Hauschka knows his time in Detroit is probably coming to an end soon, but he wants to keep working on trying to be a full-time NFL kicker instead of a part-time, injury replacement.

“I’m always working on something here or there just like any guy is,” he said.  “I’m just kind of waiting for my next opportunity and putting my best out there every chance I get and taking advantage of those opportunities to show what I can do so that teams want to have me out there.”

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (21-40)

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (21-40)

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number this week, I decided to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Numbers 1 through 20 included greats such as Matt Stover and Ed Reed as well as lackluster selections such as David Tyree and Wally Richardson.

Part two (21-40) provides a few interesting debates with a few more selections of attrition.

21 Chris McAlister (1999-2008)

The paradoxical cornerback’s exit under the new regime of John Harbaugh was unfortunate, but there was no questioning McAlister’s talent when his mind was focused on football. The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2003-04, 2006) is the best cornerback in franchise history.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjj5OA1I5UU[/youtube]

McAlister will eventually be a part of the Ring of Honor, where he will become the second honoree to wear No. 21, but the only deserving one. Earnest Byner had a good NFL career in Cleveland (with the exception of “The Fumble”) and Washington, but he being the first member of the Ravens Ring of Honor is solely a product of Art Modell’s affection for the running back.

22 Duane Starks (1998-2001)

McAlister’s counterpart receives the nod in a close race with cornerback Samari Rolle. Starks lacked consistency in his four-year career with the Ravens, but his play reached new heights during the team’s postseason run that ended with the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa. Starks intercepted two passes in the AFC Championship and returned a Kerry Collins attempt the other way 49 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl (check out the 0:46 mark below).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW5vor6kZ4c[/youtube]

23 Willis McGahee (2007-present)

McGahee’s career in Baltimore has declined after a 1,200-yard season in 2007, but the veteran runner easily tops the list of players to wear the number, which includes Moe Williams, Jamaine Winborne, Earnest Hunter, and Dameon Hunter.

Though no longer a premier back, McGahee can take consolation in a certain moment in Oakland last season.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxTQAqB8Q0Q[/youtube]

24 Domonique Foxworth (2009-present)

Despite playing only one season with the Ravens so far (and missing his second with a torn ACL), Foxworth’s performance in 2009 trumps the likes of Corey Fuller, Donny Brady, Alvin Porter, and 2006 third-round bust David Pittman.

25 Chris Carr (2009-present)

Despite a number of players wearing the number, Chris Carr wins out over inadequate cornerbacks such as DeRon Jenkins, Evan Oglesby, and Clarence Love.

26 Rod Woodson (1998-2001)
Woodson

The veteran transitioned from cornerback to safety and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl during his four-year stay in Baltimore. Dawan Landry deserves a mention and Priest Holmes wore the number his rookie season, but Woodson is the unanimous choice here.

27 Ray Rice (2008-present)

Safety Stevon Moore was one of the few competent members of the Baltimore defense in the early years, but Rice’s breakout 2009 campaign makes him a slam-dunk choice for No. 27. Entering his third season, Rice hopes he can make the number as synonymous with Ravens football as No. 52 and 75.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4-nT1WNuik&feature=related[/youtube]

28 Gary Baxter (2001-04)

McAlister wore the number his rookie season and Tom Zbikowski is making a name for himself, but Baxter was a solid member of the Baltimore secondary before ditching the Ravens for Cleveland, where his career was essentially ruined by patella tendon tears in both knees in 2006.

29 Chester Taylor (2002-05)

Taylor was a dependable backup in 2004 and 2005 when Jamal Lewis’ body began breaking down. His performance eventually earned him a nice payday in Minnesota before the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson. Two players deserving posthumous recognition are safety Eric Turner and fullback Chuck Evans. Terry Allen also wore the number in the running back-starved season of 2001.

30 Obafemi Ayanbadejo (1999-2001)

With Eugene Daniel and Jamel White his only real competition, the man with probably the coolest name in the history of the franchise earns the honor despite spending the latter half of the Super Bowl season on Injured Reserve.

31 Jamal Lewis (2000-2006)

With a bruising style unlike any other, Lewis was an unstoppable force in 2003, rushing for 2,066 yards and a then-record 295 against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. In his prime, Lewis was the type of runner defensive players were afraid to tackle. He is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuN3hN8j8L8&feature=PlayList&p=7FFF13B94FD79303&index=0&playnext=1[/youtube]

32 Sam Gash (2000-02)

The veteran fullback led the way for Lewis in his rookie season and is the most deserving of a group of backs that includes Musa Smith and Errict Rhett. Gash was the epitome of an “old-school” fullback.

33 Le’Ron McClain (2007-present)

Some will argue Priest Holmes as a deserving choice for this number—the first back to have a 1,000-yard season in team history in 1998—but McClain’s two Pro Bowl selections and improbable 2008 season in which he rushed for 902 yards earn him the honor.

McClain

McClain’s running style reminds you a little bit of Bam Morris, another back to wear the number in 1996 and 1997. Unlike the troubled Morris, however, McClain has managed to keep his nose clean, literally and figuratively.

34 Ovie Mughelli (2003-06)

Though he was a late bloomer in Baltimore, Mughelli grabs the brass ring with his only real competition being Jay Graham and current return man Jalen Parmele. The latter still has an opportunity to stake a claim in the future, but Graham’s injury-riddled career fell off a cliff after rushing for an amazing 154 yards in his first career start in 1997.

35 Corey Ivy (2006-08, 2009)

Despite his small stature at 5-foot-9, Ivy was a steady nickelback with the ability to blitz effectively. His standout moment with the Ravens came during a dominant 27-0 win over the Steelers in 2006 in which the defensive back grabbed an interception, sacked Ben Roethlisberger, and forced a fumble. Ivy edges Robert Bailey, the nickel during the 2000 season, and fullback Carwell Gardner (1996).

36 Jim Leonhard (2008)

B.J. Sams was a good return specialist for four seasons with the Ravens, but Leonhard personified the Ravens’ underdog season in 2008 in which they advanced to the AFC Championship game with a rookie head coach and quarterback.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQh3PngyyWw[/youtube]

The undersized safety’s play was a major asset in place of the injured Dawan Landry and earned him a nice contract with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets the following season.

37 Bennie Thompson (1996-1999)

Deion Sanders earned the most attention with his two-year stint in Baltimore, but Thompson was a special teams standout during the infancy of the franchise. Thompson played the game with the crazed demeanor needed to launch oneself into the wedge of the opposition’s return team. Thompson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1998 for his special teams prowess.

38 James Trapp (1999-2002)

Despite being an ordained minister, Trapp is remembered most for being ejected from a game in 2002 after stomping on the head of Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress, a move many in Baltimore didn’t mind a bit. Trapp was a quality backup in the Ravens secondary for four seasons and edged out the likes of Antonio Langham, Mike Anderson, and Raymond Walls.

39 Alan Ricard (2000-05)

After much painful debate, I decided against Daren Stone, the culprit of one of the dumbest penalties in franchise history, as the all-time No. 39.
stone

Ricard was the lead blocker and a Pro Bowl alternate in Jamal Lewis’ record-breaking 2003 season and was a great fullback for several seasons.

40 Cory Ross (2006-07)

Though he wore the number for just one season (switching to No. 34 in 2007), Ross filled in for injured return specialist B.J. Sams during the latter portion of the 2006 season, which was enough to earn the distinction for a very insignificant number in team history.

Cory Ross

The deceased Kenyon Cotton and current bubble defensive back K.J. Gerard are the only other competitors in an underwhelming group of No. 40s.

Next up: For numbers 41 though 60, we’ll find who grabbed the honors for No. 46 and 48 (Impressive if you have names off the top of your head), and I’ll end the suspense surrounding the pick for No. 52. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Lay Rewis.

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (1-20)

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (1-20)

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number this week, I decided to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Some jersey numbers provide for good debate (Sam Adams or Jarret Johnson for No. 95?) while other integers provide quite the challenge to simply produce a warm body (Who was your favorite No. 46 to suit up for the Ravens?).

Some choices are obvious, others might anger you, and a few will make you say, “Who?” but let the debate begin.

1 Randall Cunningham (2001)

There was really no other choice here. Some Ravens fans are still hollering for Brian Billick to replace Elvis Grbac with the veteran backup.

2 Anthony Wright (2002-05)

No one will forget Wright tossing four touchdown passes to little-used receiver Marcus Robinson, as the journeyman quarterback engineered the greatest comeback in franchise history against the Seattle Seahawks in 2003.

3 Matt Stover (1996-2008)

Never mind the fact that he’s the only player to sport the number 3 in franchise history. There is actually a Stover tribute video on YouTube.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIxu_XtNNn0&p=C92451BE03B3F6A3&playnext=1&index=28[/youtube]

4 Sam Koch (2006-present)

With apologies to the current Ravens head coach’s brother Jim, who played quarterback for the Ravens in 1998, the current Ravens punter is the clear choice for No. 4.

5 Joe Flacco (2008-present)

The franchise quarterback won three playoff games in his first two seasons in the league. Not a bad start.

6 Steve Hauschka (2008-09)

Yes, I’m well aware of this…
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6w8marhWJ8[/youtube]

The only other option here was J.R. Jenkins, the kickoff specialist in 2002. On second thought, Jenkins really got some distance on those kicks!

7 Kyle Boller (2003-08)

I realize most have already clicked back on their browser window after these last two picks, but the former Cal quarterback is still the franchise leader in total passing yards.
Boller
I’m not sure you were aware, but I once heard he could throw the football through the uprights. From the 50-yard line. On his knees.

8 Trent Dilfer (2000)

Flacco may be the toast of the town in 2010, but he has some work to do before making anyone forget about this guy.
Dilfer

9 Steve McNair (2006-07)

Many remember his poor playoff performance against Indianapolis in January 2007 and his miserable final season in Baltimore, but his arrival in 2006 helped orchestrate the best regular season record (13-3) in franchise history.

10 Eric Zeier (1996-98)

A punting performance by Kordell Stewart in 2004 and the brief hero-worship of Stoney Case in 1999 earn bizarre mentions here, but Zeier had six 100-plus quarterback rating performances and three 250-yard games in his three-year career in Baltimore. Height (listed at 6-foot-1) prevented the Georgia quarterback from getting a legitimate chance as the starter.

11 Jeff Blake (2002)

The former Bengal is the clear-cut choice here, but no one will forget him chuckling with Steelers coach Bill Cowher moments after tossing an interception in the end zone in the final seconds of a loss at Pittsburgh in 2002.

12 Vinny Testaverde (1996-97)

One of the most maligned quarterbacks in NFL history, Testaverde still owns the finest passing season in franchise history when he threw for 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns in 1996.

Tony Banks gets consideration here with his five touchdown passes in the Ravens’ thrilling 39-36 comeback victory over Jacksonville in Week 2 of the 2000 season, a pivotal moment in the history of the franchise. Things fell apart quickly for Banks before eventually being replaced by Dilfer several weeks later.

13 Eron Riley* (2009-present)

Research indicated no player has worn No. 13 in the regular season for the Ravens. Riley wears the number on the preseason roster and was a member of the practice squad a year ago.

14 Wally Richardson (1997-98)

The pride of Happy Valley, Richardson was the third-string quarterback for two seasons and threw for one yard on two career attempts in the NFL.

15 Dave Zastudil (2002-05)

The front office took heat for drafting “The Weapon” in the fourth round of the 2002 draft, but Zastudil was a quality punter for four seasons before signing with the Browns.

16 Yamon Figurs (2007-08)

Tremendous speed that produced two touchdown returns his rookie season, but Figurs could never put it to use as a receiver.

17 David Tyree (2009)

Shayne Graham immediately takes this distinction if he makes the 53-man roster next month, but receiver Matt Willis (2007) was the only other option for this number. Besides, you may remember Tyree for something else a couple of years before his brief stop in Baltimore…
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-aKfTK2LiM[/youtube]

18 Elvis Grbac (2001)

Other than Boller a few years later, no player faced the wrath of Ravens fans quite like Grbac. The former Pro Bowl quarterback came to town with intense pressure to lead a repeat in 2001, but Grbac had no chance when Jamal Lewis was lost for the season after tearing his ACL early in training camp.
Grbac
He went down in flames against Pittsburgh in the playoffs and retired a few months later, but name a quarterback who would have won with Terry Allen and Jason Brookins as his feature backs that season.

19 Johnny Unitas*

Yes, I’m well aware Johnny U never played a down for the Ravens, but did you really think I could put this guy on the list?
Mitchell

20 Ed Reed (2002-present)

A nanosecond-long nod goes to the Super Bowl-winning safety Kim Herring, but Reed is the easiest choice among the numbers previously worn by other players. The ball-hawking safety is unquestionably one of the greatest free safeties in the history of the game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVgUpwxR8Qg&feature=related[/youtube]

Next up: Find out which member of the Ring of Honor didn’t make the cut as I reveal the greatest Ravens for Nos. 21-40.

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