Tag Archive | "McDaniel College"

An Open Letter to Bisciotti, Cass and the Ravens

Tags: , , , , ,

An Open Letter to Bisciotti, Cass and the Ravens

Posted on 06 August 2012 by Drew Forrester

Dear Steve, Dick and the rest of the Ravens organization:

Please consider this as a follow-up note to something I wrote about last December when you all announced that training camp was being relocated from Westminster to Owings Mills for 2012.

You guys took a lot of grief from the fans – and some media members – for that decision, although I can proudly say I was one of the folks who implored everyone to exercise some patience and wait and see how the Ravens handled everything before making a full judgement.

I predicted, quite quickly after your decision was announced, that the Ravens would go above and beyond the call-of-duty to make sure  the fans were “taken care of”.  I suggested that fans simply wait and see what plans were made for the summer of 2012 and that my guess was they wouldn’t be disappointed.  I just happen to have a copy of that piece I wrote, in fact.  You can read it HERE. 

As you can see, my prediction was right.

Once again, you all came through.

I was out at Owings Mills last week to witness first-hand how the 250 fans who were “invited guests” were treated.  I watched them interact with the players afterwards and I saw the smiling faces of both parties.  I even took a picture for a family of four from Annapolis out in front of The Castle.  I asked them how their day went and 11-year old Amanda said, “Joe Flacco said ‘I like your braces!’ to me!!”.

That Flacco, what a touch, huh?  By the way…if I haven’t told you this, I will now.  That kid is a helluva quarterback and a terrific representative of your franchise.  I’d go on to tell you to pay him and keep him here long-term, but I know you’re already trying to do that.

Anyway, back to training camp.

I was impressed with what I saw at Owings Mills, but the real litmus test for those promises you made would come on Saturday at the first of the three open practices.

Let me first say this:  I completely understand how much of a pain in the ass it is to move camp to the big stadium for one day.  Most fans (and even some media members) don’t really see how difficult that was to manufacture on Saturday, but I do.

As is usually the case with the Ravens, you all pulled it off like a road win in Cleveland.  With ease.

The practice moved along smoothly and the fans were always aware of the drill that was taking place on the field.  No one was bored.  If watching practice can be considered exciting – and to the 20,000 who were there, it was – then Saturday’s event delivered the goods for everyone.

I watched all of the players make their way around the bowl of the stadium and sign autographs.  I’m sure everyone who wanted one didn’t succeed because of the sheer volume of people, but I’ll tell you what I didn’t see.  I didn’t see one player sign for 25 people and then casually stroll down the steps and off the field.  And I stood there and watched, trust me.  Every guy signed hundreds of autographs.  And then some.

So, congratulations on following through on your promise to keep the fans involved as best as you possibly can.

You won’t get many of these letters, because folks are always quick to bash you but slow to say “Well Done!”.

I’m here to say “Well Done!”

Best wishes for a successful 2012.

DF

P.S. I won’t be this nice to you guys if you lose to the Steelers this season.

Comments (6)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens to rename practice facility Under Armour Performance Center

Posted on 08 June 2012 by WNST Staff

Baltimore, MD (June 8, 2012) – The Baltimore Ravens, who play at M&T Bank Stadium in Camden Yards, and Under Armour (NYSE: UA), the leader in performance apparel, footwear and accessories, whose global headquarters are located downtown at Locust Point, are joining forces in a wide-ranging collaboration that will feature multiple community-focused initiatives. The ten-year agreement also includes naming rights for the Ravens’ practice facility in Owings Mills, which will be renamed the Under Armour Performance Center.

These dynamic organizations are led by nationally-recognized business and civic leaders.  Both Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens, and Kevin Plank, the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Under Armour, have enjoyed tremendous success both in the United States and abroad.

“I love the Under Armour brand and am proud that it is Baltimore-based,” Bisciotti said. “They started with football wear that players wanted, and still do. They produce great products. Under Armour is the only partner for our training center. Their success has been off the charts, and this partnership will serve as a long-term platform that will showcase to the nation the best of what two of Baltimore’s strongest companies have to offer.

“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Steve and the Ravens over the years.  The Under Armour Performance Center is a facility that reflects our shared commitment to making all athletes better and to help the Ravens players excel on game-day,” said Plank. “We are even more excited that our partnership extends off-the-field, and will allow both of us to implement meaningful changes in the community.”

While both the Ravens and Under Armour have been active in improving the community, the two companies will combine to empower local youth and schools through football initiatives.  Specific youth football programs include the creation of annual grants, multiple clinics and statewide competitions.  Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his assistants will play an active role in some of these programs, including a free Under Armour-sponsored clinic for over 400 Carroll County youth on June 16 at McDaniel College.

The creation of an annual 7-on-7 high school flag-football tournament, which already has attracted registration from 72 schools and more than 1,400 students for 2012, highlights the competitive elements of the agreement.

A visible component of the partnership is the renaming of the Ravens’ practice facility to the Under Armour Performance Center, which will host local and national media throughout the year and will showcase two of the city’s most successful corporate entities.

Under Armour recently announced the launch of a local community-based empowerment program, entitled “WIN Baltimore.” The platform is designed to spark positive social change throughout Baltimore and its surrounding neighborhoods by fueling the social, educational and physical advancement of the boys and girls who will serve as the future business and community leaders of the region.

The Ravens franchise, founded in 1996, won Super Bowl XXXV in January of 2001. The team has earned playoffs berths in five of the last six seasons, and they are the NFL’s only team to appear in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons – posting at least one victory in each of those postseasons. Long recognized for their community involvement, the Ravens’ mission is to win football games, serve their fans and be a positive force in the community.

About Under Armour, Inc.

Under Armour® (NYSE: UA) is a leading developer, marketer, and distributor of branded performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and worn by athletes at all levels, from youth to professional, on playing fields around the globe. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland, with European headquarters in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, and additional offices in Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Guangzhou, China. For further information, please visit the Company’s website at www.ua.com.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens announce plans for open training camp practices

Posted on 04 May 2012 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens’ 2012 training camp, connected by Verizon, will feature individual practices to be held at M&T Bank Stadium, the U.S. Naval Academy and Stevenson University. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Additionally, by entering a lottery on www.baltimoreravens.com, fans in limited numbers will have an opportunity to attend training camp at the team’s Owings Mills facility. The Ravens can safely host 200 people on the fields of their practice complex, and fans who are randomly chosen through the drawing will be invited to view approximately 14 of the team’s training camp sessions.

Further details regarding the lottery, its entry process and the Owings Mills practices will be announced on the team’s website in mid-June.

“It’s important for us to connect with as many of our fans as we can during training camp,” Ravens president Dick Cass said. “We know we can’t duplicate the fan experiences we had at McDaniel College, but these opportunities will give many people an opportunity to get up close and personal outside of our home games.”

M&T Bank Stadium is scheduled to host a training camp practice on Saturday, Aug. 4. The Ravens are then slated to practice at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 12. The team will round out its off-site training camp sessions at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 19.

Venues will feature interactive fan events, including player autograph signings for children, fun-filled activities designed specifically for youth and cheerleader/mascot meet-and-greets. Times and specifics for each practice will be announced this summer.

Ravens 2012 Off-Site Training Camp Practices

Date Venue Location

Saturday, Aug. 4 M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, Md.

Sunday, Aug. 12 Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Annapolis, Md.

Sunday, Aug. 19* Stevenson University Mustang Stadium Owings Mills, Md.

(All three practices are free for fans; times to be announced this summer; dates subject to change)

* Ticketed event that will be free for fans; details to be announced later

Summer Football Clinics

Head coach John Harbaugh and members of his coaching staff will host the Ravens Football Clinic, presented by Under Armour, for Carroll County youth and high school players at McDaniel College on Saturday, June 16. Approximately 450 participants are expected to attend the camp that will feature on-field drills, seminars and competitions for youth ranging from 6-18.

“Our staff is looking forward to the clinic,” Harbaugh stated. “We’ll teach some football, stress some life lessons and have fun.”

Additionally, on July 6-7, McDaniel College will host the Joe Flacco Passing Academy with Tyrod Taylor, and coaches Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell. The camp is designed for 100 invited high school players, all of whom will work with the Ravens’ quarterbacks and offensive coaches, in addition to several of the team’s wide receivers.

“We’re excited to build relationships with area high school kids and work to help them improve,” Flacco stated. “This gives us an opportunity to teach young players many of the things we go through each week during the season. We want this to be something they can take with them and utilize in the long haul. This extends beyond football, as we will focus on what it takes to be successful both on and off the field.”

Fans are welcome to watch the on-field activities at this camp. Times will be announced once they’re set.

McDaniel College’s Kenneth R. Gill Stadium

The Ravens have donated $100,000 to help complete the construction of McDaniel College’s new on-campus stadium. Named Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, the facility will be used by the Green Terror’s football, field hockey, lacrosse and track and field teams.

“Through the years, McDaniel College has been a terrific partner with us,” Cass said. “We’re happy we can help them with this important project.”

Construction began this past February, and the stadium is scheduled to open on Sept. 15, when McDaniel hosts Muhlenberg College in the football home opener. Funded solely by charitable gifts, the brick stadium’s facade will match the other buildings on campus and serve as the primary focal point along the college’s entranceway.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

McDaniel Names Mike Hoyt Football Coach

Posted on 05 March 2012 by WNST Staff

McDANIEL COLLEGE NAMES NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH

Mike Hoyt is the 24th Head Coach in the 117-Year Tradition of Green Terror Football

Hoyt formerly served as the associate head football coach and defensive coordinator, as well as director of strength and conditioning for the athletics program, at Albright College

WESTMINSTER, Md. – McDaniel College announces that Mike Hoyt has been named the new head football coach. He is the 24th head coach in the 117-year tradition of Green Terror football and will assume his duties at the college on March 19.

“After a nationwide search, Mike’s experience as an educator, coach and leader of young men separated him as the top candidate for our program. He embodies everything we wanted in our next head football coach,” said Athletic Director Paul Moyer. “Having coached in the Centennial and the Middle Atlantic Conferences, Mike brings with him an excellent understanding of the student-athlete, a strong knowledge of the top programs in the region, and relationships in recruiting areas where we have had great success. All of this qualifies him as a strong fit for McDaniel.”

Moyer added “I am pleased he will join our program in sufficient time to effectively manage spring practices and assist with recruitment of students interested in joining the McDaniel Program. I am confident he will be able to lead our program to a higher level, competing for championships in the tradition that is Green Terror football. ”

Hoyt comes to McDaniel after serving as the associate head football coach and defensive coordinator, as well as director of strength and conditioning for the athletics program, at Albright College in Reading, Pa. He was also responsible for recruiting in central Pennsylvania and northern counties in Maryland.

In 2011, he was named by the American Football Coaches Association as a finalist in the assistant coach of the year program. He was also one of 10 coaches nationally selected as part of the NCAA Champions Forum in 2010.

He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. Hoyt’s coaching career started at Onondaga Central School in Nedrow, N.Y., in 1992, before he moved on to Port Byron Central School in Port Byron, N.Y., in 1993.

He returned to his alma mater, NCAA Division I Canisius College, as a graduate assistant in 1994, spending two seasons as defensive line coach and assisting with the strength and conditioning program. In 1996, he became the defensive line coach and strength & conditioning coordinator at NCAA Division II Millersville University in Millersville, Pa. He then went on to join the coaching staff at Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa. where he served under legendary coach Tom Gilburg for four seasons.

In addition to his coaching duties, he taught high school health and physical education for more than five years at Solanco High School in Quarryville, Pa. (serving as head football coach in 1999 and 2000). He is certified as a teacher in Pennsylvania and New York, as well as a strength and conditioning specialist.

Hoyt said, “I am extremely excited and flattered with the opportunity that McDaniel has provided for me as the head football coach. McDaniel has a great academic reputation, outstanding facilities and a great football tradition.”

He added, “Everyone I have met at McDaniel from players and coaches to the administration and alumni have been outstanding. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with them to take the Green Terror football program to the next level.”

About the hiring of Hoyt, Dr. Roger Casey, president of McDaniel College, said, “With Paul Moyer’s leadership, Mike Hoyt’s appointment, and the new Kenneth Gill stadium, McDaniel is poised to write a new victorious chapter in our 117-year tradition of Green Terror football.”

McDaniel is scheduled to open the 2012 season at Catholic University on Saturday, September 1.

Hoyt’s Career Highlights at Albright College:

-In 2009, Albright advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals with a defense that was top 75 in Division III against the pass and 81st overall, allowing an average of 323.1 yards over the 13-game schedule.

-His 2008 defense led the conference and ranked 33rd nationally, allowing just 16.9 points per game and appeared in the ECAC South Central Bowl.

-In 2004, his first season with Albright, his rush defense went from allowing an average of 235.4 yards per game to 175.1 yards per contest and helped guide Albright to an ECAC South Atlantic championship.

-His tenure has been marked by stout run defense, ranking in the top half of the Middle Atlantic Conference in rush defense, total defense and scoring defense in four of the last five seasons.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

More Ravens Logos Going Up This Week Around Baltimore

Posted on 09 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Ravens Continue to Paint the Town Purple

While Baltimore Ravens players and coaches prepare for this Sunday’s Divisional Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium against Houston (1 p.m.), the rest of the Ravens organization will continue to paint the town purple – literally.

Tomorrow (Jan. 10) morning and afternoon, members of the Ravens’ grounds crew will visit the Best Western Hotel near McDaniel College and Towson’s Patriot Plaza to paint the team’s logo at each location. The group will be joined by Ravens front office staff, cheerleaders and team mascots to help celebrate the Ravens’ postseason push and hand out giveaways to fans who attend.

Late tomorrow night and into Wednesday morning, with the blessing of the Baltimore City and County governments, Ravens front office staff will continue to paint the town with black and purple spray chalk using a smaller stencil. On Wednesday morning, as Baltimoreans wake up, they will find the Ravens logo and the mantra “Relentless” at over 500 locations throughout the area. Locations will consist of high-trafficked areas, key destinations, hospitals, libraries and other businesses such as Hunt Valley Town Center, Westminster Town Mall, Aberdeen Town Hall, Cross Street Market and the Inner Harbor.

Fans will be able to purchase their own stencils through the Ravens store at Sports Legends Museum or at www.BaltimoreRavensStore.com, as well as all other exclusive playoff merchandise.

Comments (0)

Ravens announce training camp to remain at Owings Mills facility

Tags: , , , ,

Ravens announce training camp to remain at Owings Mills facility

Posted on 02 December 2011 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens will continue to hold training camp at their Owings Mills training facility. For the first 15 years in the franchise’s history, camp was held in Westminster, Md. at McDaniel College. The Ravens’ 2011 training camp was held in Owings Mills.

“We’ve had long, serious discussions about this decision, and, when all is said and done, we believe we can better prepare for the season by holding training camp here as opposed to McDaniel College or any other facility away from here,” team president Dick Cass explained. “We wanted to let the officials at McDaniel and at the hotel (Best Western) know as soon as we made the decision.

“We owe much thanks to the leadership at McDaniel for their patience as we came to this decision and for all the outstanding help they have given the Ravens through the years. They have been a great partner, often going out of their way to make sure we could prepare our team at a high, high level,” Cass added.

(Before becoming McDaniel College, the school was known as Western Maryland College and hosted the then-Baltimore Colts for training camp from 1953 through 1971. The Colts trained at the Colorado School of Mines in 1972, at Towson State University in 1973, at McDonogh School in 1974 and then at Goucher College from 1975 to 1983.)

“In 1996, Westminster was the best place for us to have training camp,” general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome explained. “How teams conduct training camp today is vastly different. Our football needs and requirements are different. The absence of two-a-days, how much space we need for the players and the meetings, the limited number of practices allowed by the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement), the importance of having an indoor field when the summer storms come – all of that and more football-influenced factors, had me recommend to Steve (Bisciotti) and Dick that we hold camp here.”

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has mixed feelings about the move to Owings Mills. “From a football and team point of view, it’s an easy decision. Personally, this is difficult. Some of my best memories as a kid are my family’s visits to the Colts’ training camp in Westminster. Part of my devotion to the game and the players who made it great and are heroes to many of us, started on those visits.

“We completely understand that this takes away an important part of our connection with our fans. I regret that,” Bisciotti continued. “Hopefully, we can find other ways to continue this outreach. We’ll have more to say on this as we develop these programs.”

“We’ve discussed a variety of possible community interactions,” Cass added. “We are committed to having, at the minimum, three practices away from Owings Mills that would be open to the public with at least one of those at M&T Bank Stadium. We will have smaller groups of fans at practices here (at Owings Mills) and will have other community activities that include access to players and coaches. We want to do something in Westminster, and we are discussing some ideas. These will all have to fit into the first priority: getting the team ready for the regular season.

“This is not a financial decision,” Cass continued. “Because of our training camp sponsors and partners, we did not lose money going to Westminster.”

“We’ll miss having all those fans at practice,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “It was fun having them so close and, at times, pushing the team to higher levels with the way they cheered and encouraged us.”

Cass and Newsome pointed out a number of issues that provoked the Ravens to make this decision:

· Facilities at the team’s Owings Mills facility are conducive to the best practices, especially in bad weather when the team can quickly move inside without losing the limited practice time. The team’s state-of-the-art weight room, conditioning machines and medical/training areas are significantly better.

· Ravens have outgrown the Best Western Hotel. “There aren’t enough rooms for our players, coaches and staff. Nor are there rooms for the individual position meetings that are an everyday part of football preparation,” Cass noted. (Each year the Ravens have added trailers to hold position meetings and use as office space for the staff.)

· Technology requirements, including computer and video, have changed dramatically in recent years. Capacity at the hotel is not compatible with team needs.

· The new CBA limits teams to one practice per day, and the efficiency provided in Owings Mills with meeting space, fields and video and IT operations allows the team to maximize the preparation for the season.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , ,

Will the Ravens return to Westminster for training camp next year?

Posted on 30 November 2011 by WNST Audio

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens Cancel Training Camp in Westminster

Posted on 22 June 2011 by WNST Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RAVENS MOVE TRAINING CAMP

Because of the uncertainty as to when the NFL lockout will end, the Baltimore Ravens will move their 2011 training camp from McDaniel College to their year-round facility in Owings Mills.

Last summer, over 110,000 fans attended the open practice sessions at McDaniel, the Ravens’ training camp home since the franchise started in 1996.

“We’re disappointed we won’t be back at McDaniel and in Westminster this summer. We delayed the decision as long as we could,” Bob Eller, the Ravens’ vice president of operations, said. “There are logistics that needed to be addressed now, including McDaniel’s schedule, the hotel, the fields and other Ravens football functions. Right now, we don’t know dates for camp, and we’ve been forced to make other plans.

“One of the main issues we have is the time it takes to move our entire football operation to Westminster and then bring it back to Owings Mills. Those are days we can’t afford to lose as our team prepares for the season in what has become a condensed time period,” Eller explained.

The Ravens have spent all 15 of their training camps in Westminster. “We’ll miss being there, working with the college and the Best Western hotel. They have been very patient with us through this process,” Eller added. “We’ll also miss the interaction with the fans, which is a huge part of our camp experience.”

“We’ve appreciated the Ravens keeping us in the loop through this process,” Ethan Seidel, McDaniel College’s vice president of administration and finance, said. “We’ve had ongoing discussions internally and with the Ravens, knowing that the closer we got to a regular training camp start date, the less likely it would be logistically feasible to pull it off this year. We’re certainly not surprised by this and have been prepared for this scenario. When the NFL has its new agreement, we look forward to speaking with the Ravens about continuing our partnership with them.”

The Ravens’ lease agreement with Baltimore County does not allow for fans to attend practices in Owings Mills. “We don’t have the parking space for the fans, and the roads could not safely handle the type of crowds we attract,” team president Dick Cass explained.

Cass noted that the team has already begun discussions with McDaniel College to return to Westminster for future Ravens training camps. “We hope to have a full NFL season in 2011, but the current timing compelled us to make this decision. We waited as long as we could, but we’re beyond the dates when we could efficiently prepare for the move to McDaniel for a normal training camp start. We do fully anticipate, however, to be back at McDaniel next summer,” Cass said.

Once a new collective bargaining agreement between the franchises and the players is reached, the Ravens will announce practice schedules. “We will make every effort to have one or more practices at M&T Bank Stadium once we can determine our camp schedule. And, these sessions at M&T will be free and open to the general public,” Cass added.

Comments Off

Let Me Be The One To Say It-Orioles Better With Guerrero, But We Might Be Getting Carried Away

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let Me Be The One To Say It-Orioles Better With Guerrero, But We Might Be Getting Carried Away

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

I was sitting at Love Field Airport in Dallas when I got the news.

Like so many stories in these past 18 months, I got the news from Twitter. Enrique Rojas from ESPNDeportes.com Tweeted that the Baltimore Orioles had finally signed free agent Designated Hitter/Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero to a one year deal worth eight million dollars.

guerrero

I smiled when I saw the news.

As an O’s fan-particularly an O’s fan who has seen my favorite team reach the playoffs only three times during the 27+ years I’ve been on this planet-one of which was a World Series win when I was only a month old-it’s easy to get carried away by any good news at all.

We just haven’t gotten much of it in Charm City during the regime of owner Peter Angelos, especially since 1998.

I will admit that after the Guerrero rumors didn’t produce a deal by the team’s annual Fanfest celebration January 29th at the Baltimore Convention Center-I had a bad feeling this was going to be another swing and miss for the organization and Birds fans alike.

That’s why the news of the deal was most exciting.

Not only did President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail come through to add a nine time All-Star and borderline Hall or Famer we’ve all enjoyed watching for years as a Major League Baseball fan, but he did it at a price some five million dollars more than we were told the team had originally offered.

In a few moments, it felt as though the organization had gone through a complete change. If felt as though we could finally mark the turning point in what I heard MASN’s Tom Davis call “The Rise of the Orioles” over the weekend.

Hell of a lede, huh?

Reality set in for me sometime around 2pm Saturday as I was sitting at Comcast Center in College Park watching Maryland blow out Wake Forest.

The reality in the acquisition of Guerrero is that the Orioles are a better team today than they were a week ago-but that nothing has REALLY changed organizationally.

The Birds invested $8 million dollars in their current and future on-field product Friday.

The $8 million they invested might well solidify them as a favorite to finish third in the American League East; and will lead to more MLB talking heads picking them to finish at or slightly above .500 this season.

Despite his age (35) and having missed nearly half the 2009 season with a torn pec (he played in just 100 games); there’s fair reason to expect Guerrero to equal his 2010 production (.300, 29 HR’s, 115 RBI) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2011.

For those reasons, there is an understandable excitement surrounding the acquisition of Guerrero-myself included.

But the Orioles didn’t change the course of their organization by signing Guerrero.

They signed a player for ONE season and gave him $8 million.

They didn’t make an annual investment of $8 million in a player in his prime who will be around for five seasons.

They made a one time investment of $8 million in a player who is nearing the end of his career.

They DIDN’T spend $56 million over four seasons to acquire Adam Dunn-which is what the Chicago White Sox did this offseason.

They DIDN’T spend $96 million over six seasons to acquire Adrian Beltre-which is what the Texas Rangers did this offseason.

Some folks will say the Orioles exercised fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, fiscal responsibility still hasn’t replaced “wins” in determining who wins the AL East and AL Wild Card.

The Orioles gave Vlad Guerrero $3 million more this season than they gave P Koji Uehara a season ago. (The team actually made more of an “investment” in Uehara than they did Guerrero-as he was originally given 2 years, $10 million.)

As CBS’ Ian Eagle would say, “that’s not a low blow…”

Guerrero makes the Orioles better, but most folks willing to take an impartial look at the general scope of the American League would agree that they’re still not approaching a place where they can legitimately compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have added Guerrero. They ABSOLUTELY did the right thing in making the addition. They should be commended for the decision to upgrade their team this way.

But as fans, we should have a little more IQ than to respond by saying things like “the confederate money era is over” or “they’ve finally decided to change their financial ways” or the one a caller named Aaron dropped on Drew Forrester and I Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST…

“Now the Orioles are set up to go out and get Prince Fielder this offseason.”

None of those things have changed.

For whatever reason, the team decided to make an $8 million upgrade that will help them win a handful of additional games this season. On paper, they will send a lineup to the plate that might end being in the top third of the league after finishing 13th in runs scored a year ago.

But adding Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero in an offseason puts them in good shape to win the 2005 NL East, not the 2011 AL East.

And it certainly doesn’t show that they’ve suddenly changed their ways in terms of spending money.

One eight million dollar payment does not suddenly enter them in the Albert Pujols discussion.

Hopefully things will go well for the Orioles in 2011.

Hopefully Guerrero will match his 2010 output.

Hopefully Lee and SS JJ Hardy will stay healthy and return to their 2009 productivity.

Hopefully 3B Mark Reynolds will keep his power numbers up even if his batting average and strikeout numbers are less than desirable.
Hopefully C Matt Wieters will reach the levels we thought he would reach a season ago.

Hopefully RF Nick Markakis and 2B Brian Roberts will be Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts.

Hopefully CF Adam Jones will look like the 2nd half of 2010 Adam Jones and not the 1st half of 2010 Adam Jones.

Hopefully the starting pitching will continue to develop.

If those things happen, the Orioles could be interesting to watch this season. It could be especially important to sports fans in the state of Maryland as we have no guarantee the Ravens will be reporting to McDaniel College in Westminster for Training Camp in July-or at all.
But can we all agree to not get carried away? Can we all agree to be able to react at an appropriate level?

The Orioles aren’t suddenly an expected contender because Guerrero is in tow. And they’re certainly not a team that has suddenly changed their business model in a way that will allow them to add players and compete on an annual basis.

They’re simply a little bit better than they were a week ago.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

-G

Comments Off

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Comments Off