Tag Archive | "mcdaniel"

Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

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

Mocking The 53: A Look at Ravens Roster With One Preseason Game Left

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Following a convincing win over the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens have just one more preseason contest to solve the final spots on their 53 man roster.

They’ll play the St. Louis Rams Thursday night at Edward Jones Dome, and a number of players will be hoping it isn’t the final time they don the purple  & black. The team will be forced to trim the roster to 53 players this Saturday.

There have been a few changes to the roster since my last “Mocking the 53″ update; with CB Doug Dutch cut and both OL Daniel Sanders and CB Marcus Paschal placed on IR. I am also going to move Cary Williams OFF the 53 (he will receive an asterisk following the 53) since he will be roster exempt during the two weeks he’s suspended. He’s on the roster, but the cuts Saturday won’t reflect that. Finally, Donte’ Stallworth moves back to the 53rd spot on the roster. He’s not the 53rd best player on the team, but since he can’t participate I won’t continue to lift him.

As a reminder of my overall philosophy in selecting these players, here is the explanation I posted before my initial mock roster…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, here’s how I see the Top 53 shaping up…

(Thanks to The Sun and BaltimoreRavens.com for photos.)

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. LB Ray Lewis
6. OT Michael Oher
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs
grubbs

Only a few small changes to the Top 10, as I dropped Michael Oher a couple of spots. The 2nd year tackle from Ole Miss is still VERY important to this football team, and I wouldn’t be stunned at all if his 2nd season ended in a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. But he HAS struggled during the preseason, and this is simply a reflection of that. Otherwise, the top players on the team remain exactly the same.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. DE Trevor Pryce
13. DL Cory Redding
14. CB Fabian Washington
15. FB Le’Ron McClain
16. OL Marshal Yanda
17. C Matt Birk
birk
18. S Dawan Landry
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Just a couple of tweeks in this group as well. Todd Heap moves up a couple spots after his sensational performance Saturday night against the G-Men. On the flip side, Terrence Cody falls a few spots due to the knee injury that forced him to miss Saturday night and has forced him to miss about a week’s worth of practice. I still think “Mount Cody” is going to end up being VERY good, but he hasn’t been very good recently.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. P Sam Koch
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. DT Kelly Gregg
gregg
25. S Haruki Nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. TE Ed Dickson
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. OT Jared Gaither

A few movers in this group as well, including a significant move from Sam Koch. He’s looking like a real weapon for this team. His performance against the Washington Redskins would have garnered him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors if it had happened during the regular season, and he was exceptional again Saturday night against the Giants. He’s been very impressive to watch both during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster and in practices since then at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Jared Gaither falls a few spots as he continues to battle a back injury. At this point, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the field when the Ravens play the New York Jets Sept. 13 in East Rutherford to open the season. Kelly Gregg moves up a few spots, as his value to the team is heightened with Terrence Cody hurt.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. LB Jameel McClain
33. LB Dannell Ellerbe
34. LB Tavares Gooden
35. LB Antwan Barnes
36. OL Tony Moll
moll
37. RB Jalen Parmele
38. TE Dennis Pitta
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. DT Brandon McKinney

And after the first 30 players on the roster, EVERYTHING IS TOUGH TO FIGURE OUT! Players 31-40 on this list will all make the roster, but they’ll likely fluctuate position as the season goes on.

In the never-ending saga of “As the JACK LB Turns”, the JACK LB position is turning. Sorta. Harbs said Monday that analysts shouldn’t look too much into the fact that Jameel McClain has started all three preseason games, as all three backers are likely to play roughly the same number of snaps. To some extent, I believe him. In three linebackers, the Ravens have about one complete linebacker. If only they could figure out a way to mold the three together. McClain stays ahead of the others due to the fact that he HAS been starting, but the separation he found from the others early in camp is pretty much non-existent at this point.

Tony Moll and Jalen Parmele are also risers in this group. Parmele because his job as kick returner solidifies his level of importance to the team. Moll because with Gaither and Cousins sidelined, he’s stepped in and held down the RT position admirably. In fact, he’s likely moved ahead of Cousins on the depth chart regardless of health. Should Gaither not be able to go on Monday Night Football to open the season, I would expect Moll to start regardless of health.

41. LS Morgan Cox
42. DT Kelly Talavou
43. OT Oniel Cousins
44. QB Troy Smith
45. CB Travis Fisher
46. S Ken Hamlin
47. K Shayne Graham
48. OL David Hale
49. WR Demetrius Williams
50. WR Marcus Smith
marcussmith
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. CB Prince Miller
53. WR Donte’ Stallworth*

Somewhere in this group my confidence level starts to decline a bit. I’m just not exactly sure where it is. Here’s what we know from 41-53.

At 41, Morgan Cox is the Long Snapper, he’s on the team.
At 42, Kelly Talavou appears to be ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens and comfortably on the roster. He made the roster last year, and the team has maintained faith in him.
At 43, Oniel Cousins is absolutely making the roster as long as he’s healthy. It seems as though he will be-but that’s no guarantee.
At 44, Troy Smith is the team’s 3rd quarterback. The only way he’d not be part of the 53 is if the team were to suddenly find a trade partner or decide for some reason that they don’t need to keep a 3rd quarterback. I find both to be unlikely.
At 45, Travis Fisher is on the team for now. I get the feeling that might not be the case when Cary Williams comes back.
At 46, Ken Hamlin looks like he’s safe until Ed Reed comes back. Of course, there’s a chance that will happen sooner than we thought.
At 47, I still believe Shayne Graham will win the kicking competition. However, I’ve moved him back significantly because there’s almost no difference between he and Billy Cundiff right now. If Cundiff wins, I can’t be surprised anymore. The organization had privately given the job to Graham weeks ago, but there are some factors that might have that job slipping from his grasp.
At 48, David Hale seems safe as long as he’s healthy. That’s a real question mark right now as he battles a tailbone injury. Hale had played well in Camp, and it looked like his improvement had been significant over 12 months.
At 49, Demetrius Williams moves back on the roster. The Ravens will likely want to keep a 4th receiver active with Stallworth hurt, and Williams has more experience than the others on the roster. His size also separates him from the others.
At 50, Marcus Smith is an outstanding Special Teams player. Given some of the players Jerry Rosburg’s unit is missing (including Brendon Ayanbadejo), his inclusion in the Final 53 would make almost too much sense.
At 51, I’m keeping Jason Phillips on the roster for now. Some would argue Prescott Burgess should have his spot, and he’ll have the chance to move ahead.
At 52, Donte’ Stallworth’s injury helps Prince Miller a lot. With Tom Zbikowski starting and Mark Clayton now a slot receiver (who is hurt), it is fair to expect Miller get the bulk of action at punt return this week. That could be enough to lock down a job.
At 53, Donte’ Stallworth holds a roster spot.

54. CB Cary Williams*
carywilliams
(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(CB Marcus Paschal-IR)
(OL Daniel Sanders-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Potential PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Expected PUP)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Starting season on Reserve PUP)
(RB Matt Lawrence-Starting season on Reserve PUP)

With Ed Reed now hanging around the facility in Owings Mills, those rumblings that he’ll avoid the PUP list will get louder. With Ed, it’s hard to ever really know. Otherwise, we can be sure Brendon Ayanbadejo will start the season on PUP-and it’s safe to assume that Matt Lawrence will be PUP at best.

55. K Billy Cundiff
56. LB Prescott Burgess
57. WR David Reed
58. LB Edgar Jones
59. DT Arthur Jones
jones
60. DT Lamar Divens
61. OT Ramon Harewood
62. S/CB KJ Gerard
63. TE Davon Drew
64. OT Joe Reitz

Everyone between 55-64 has at least a CHANCE to make the final 53.

At 55, Billy Cundiff is neck and neck with Shayne Graham in the kicking competition. One of them will win.
At 56, Prescott Burgess can win a spot on the roster over the next week. His abilities on Special Teams will help him.
At 57, David Reed has played well recently-but hasn’t been outstanding for all of Camp. He’s not far from the roster, but the next week will be crucial for him.
At 58, Edgar Jones has plenty of versatility-but he hasn’t shown himself to be an exceptional OLB. Despite Sergio Kindle’s injury, he doesn’t look like he’s quite made the team yet.
At 59, Arthur Jones has a ton of upside. He also finds himself the victim of a numbers game. The Ravens might be concerned about exposing him, but it seems like he’s better suited for the practice squad.
At 60, Lamar Divens is in a very similar situation as Arthur Jones. The Ravens would hate to give up on a player that “looks like a Raven” the way Divens does, but he might not fit on the roster right now.
At 61, Ramon Harewood still looks like a very qualified candidate for IR given his knee issue just after the NFL Draft. Injuries to Gaither and Cousins could make him a roster option.
At 62, KJ Gerard has REALLY been hurt by not being on the field for stretches this preseason. The Ravens need secondary help, and he could provide it if he could stay healthy. This is a big week for him.
At 63, Davon Drew has played really well this summer. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to be room for a 4th Tight End on the roster.
At 64, Joe Reitz could end up making the roster given the same injuries to Gaither and Cousins. But if I was a betting man, my money wouldn’t be on him.

65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OL Bryan Mattison
71. OT Stefan Rodgers
72. CB Brad Jones
73. CB Chris Hawkins
74. OT Devin Tyler

Harper and Riley really offer something to a practice squad given their size. When the Ravens are forced to go up against taller receivers, it will help to have taller receivers to match up against in practice. Others on this list look like solid practice squad options as well-of which Curtis Steele could be one of them.

Questions? Concerns? Song requests? Let me know. I’ll post my final Mocking The 53 Friday.

-G

Comments Off

Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

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

Mocking The 53: Roster Taking Shape Through 2 Preseason Games

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens have wrapped up Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster and have now settled in at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

They’ve won their first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, and have just two more preseason contests left (they host the New York Giants Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium and visit the St. Louis Rams a week from Thursday) before they open the regular season September 13th at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets on the national stage of Monday Night Football.

Before they get there, they’ll have to make some major roster decisions. After the game against the Giants, they’ll have to trim the roster slightly before the Tuesday (August 31) deadline to be down to 75 players. Following that, they’ll have just 4 days to make final decisions before the roster is cut to 53 on Saturday, September 4.

There are no changes to the physical roster (except where we expect Lardarius Webb to be when the season begins) since my 4th “Mocking the 53″ update, but there are some changes to the 53 itself. Before we get to that, a reminder of the explanation of the list I wrote before the initial version…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s look again at how the Top 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. RB Ray Rice
3. OT Michael Oher
oher
4. WR Anquan Boldin
5. DT Haloti Ngata
6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

Only one real change in the Top 10, and it comes from someone who hasn’t performed much at all. Ray Rice has played little at all through two preseason games, and it has shown you everything you need to know about the importance of the 3rd year back from Rutgers. His place in this Ravens offense is INCREDIBLY significant, and without him heavily involved, they are just not the same-no matter who is playing receiver.

Otherwise, everything about the Top 10 remains the same. I know Michael Oher has struggled a bit in the first two preseason games-but Oher is a very good player. He was a bit of a 2nd half guy a season ago (remember his struggles in the first half against Jared Allen when the Ravens visited the Minnesota Vikings but his stellar 2nd half in the same game), and might be a player who just needs some more rhythm to shine. I’m not concerned yet myself.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
16. FB Le’Ron McClain
17. OL Marshal Yanda
yanda
18. C Matt Birk
19. S Dawan Landry
20. S Tom Zbikowski

Almost all of this group remains the same as well. Tom Zbikowski enters the Top 20, as he has played very well knowing he will be in the starting lineup with the Ravens visit East Rutherford Week 1 barring some sort of Ed Reed miracle. I also think it is worth pointing out that while John Harbaugh may have claimed that he ISN’T voting “McClain 4 RB”, Le’Ron McClain has been very good during the preseason-and it would be surprising if he didn’t make more of an impact in the offense this season.

21. CB Chris Carr
22. OT Jared Gaither
23. QB Marc Bulger
24. TE Ed Dickson
25. S Haruki Nakamura
nakamura
26. CB Lardarius Webb
27. K Shayne Graham
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. OL Chris Chester
30. LB Dannell Ellerbe

There are some subtle changes in this group-starting with Jared Gaither. Gaither falls out of the Top 20 because we just don’t know what to make of his health. The initial prognosis surrounding his back tear made us believe that he should be available before the Ravens head to New Jersey on Sept. 13. Of course, at this point we’re starting to reach a place where “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Dannell Ellerbe moves back into the Top 30 this week. After watching the other interior LB’s competing for the starting JACK spot against the Skins, I get the feeling that Ellerbe’s ability to play the pass will ultimately get him back into the starting lineup.

Lardarius Webb re-enters “The 53″ at #26. As we see more of what he’s capable of doing early on, we will see how quickly he can rise on the list. Shayne Graham drops a few spots as well despite the fact that I truly believe he’ll be the kicker of record come MNF on Sept. 13. I just somehow needed to reflect the fact that Billy Cundiff has kicked well recently, including 2 makes Saturday night at FedEx Field.

31. P Sam Koch
32. RB Willis McGahee
mcgahee
33. WR Donte’ Stallworth
34. DT Kelly Gregg
35. TE Dennis Pitta
36. LB Jameel McClain
37. LB Tavares Gooden
38. CB Cary Williams
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. OT Oniel Cousins

There are a few significant risers in this group. One is Sam Koch, who was tremendous again Saturday night in DC. His contract situation is an uncomfortable spot for the team, as he is going to get paid SOMEWHERE-but the team has set a precedent in the past that they won’t give big money to a punter (see Kyle Richardson and Dave Zastudil).

Willis McGahee also rises on this list, despite the fact that a number of armchair GM’s in Charm City would have already dealt him for just about anyone with the letters “CB” next to their name. McGahee continues to prove himself as being very valuable, both as a reserve who can take a number of carries and as an impressive short yardage back.

The third riser in this group is Cary Williams-who was exceptional again Saturday night. It may have been preseason football, but the QB Williams picked off (Donovan McNabb) is still a future Hall of Famer. Williams’ size (he’s 6’1″) really DOES make a difference when it comes to how we look at his role moving forward. Should he continue to play similar to his size, Williams could develop into a legitimate NFL corner.

41. LB Antwan Barnes
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. QB Troy Smith
44. DT Kelly Talavou
45. DT Brandon McKinney
46. RB Jalen Parmele
parmele
47. OL Tony Moll
48. LS Morgan Cox
49. CB Travis Fisher
50. OL David Hale
51. LB Jason Phillips
52. WR David Reed
53. S/CB KJ Gerard

Travis Fisher is hanging by a thread-and I would suggest that at this point he’s BARELY ahead of either KJ Gerard or Prince Miller. No matter how quick Anthony Armstrong is, there’s no way that Fisher should have been embarrassed by him the way he was Saturday night. I’ll leave him on the roster for now, if only because the Ravens have to have SOME healthy corners lining up against Santonio Holmes Braylon Edwards and company September 13. I’m also keeping Gerard ahead of Prince Miller, only because Gerard has more to offer on Special Teams right now than Miller does.

(Editor’s note: Thanks to all who pointed out Holmes will miss the first 4 games. Absolutely right. My mistake. I need a better editor. Or an editor.)

Two players who I moved back onto the roster thanks to their performance Saturday night are Jason Phillips and David Reed. Reed not only played well offensively, but also made a very key Special Teams tackle. Proving his value on Special Teams changes everything-which goes for Phillips as well. That being said, Edgar Jones is a very valuable AND versatile player who I currently have OFF the 53, so these standings remain tentative.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)
(LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)
(RB Matt Lawrence-potential PUP or injury settlement until known otherwise)

I’m taking both Ayanbadejo and Lawrence out of the equation for now. There are other players on this team battling injuries, but neither of them have even done significant work in practice. Until I see that, I’m going to work under the assumption that they won’t be part of the team Week 1. That can change rapidly. A week ago, we were working under the assumption that Lardarius Webb would start the season on PUP.

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. LB Edgar Jones
57. WR Demetrius Williams
58. DT Arthur Jones
59. OT Ramon Harewood
60. DT Lamar Divens
divens
61. TE Davon Drew
62. LB Prescott Burgess
63. WR Marcus Smith
64. WR Justin Harper
65. FB Mike McLaughlin
66. WR Eron Riley
67. DE Albert McClellan
68. RB Curtis Steele
69. OT Joe Reitz
70. CB Marcus Paschal

The reality is that Miller, Edgar Jones and Williams are in direct competition at positions where there is probably room to keep another player. Arthur Jones and Divens are probably in positions where keeping another player just might not be a legitimate option. Of course, we didn’t all think the Ravens would keep both McKinney and Talavou a season ago, and what did we learn there?

Mike McLaughlin’s name will keep coming up, but keeping him on the 53 really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There isn’t MUCH risk in exposing an undrafted rookie FB who has just converted to LB. Giving him more time on the practice squad could really benefit him as a player.

71. CB Doug Dutch
dougdutch
72. OL Bryan Mattison
73. OT Stefan Rodgers
74. CB Brad Jones
75. CB Chris Hawkins
76. OT Daniel Sanders
77. OT Devin Tyler

A good sign that you’re a longshot to make the roster? A simple Google image search doesn’t come up with a legitimate picture of you. Thank God for Facebook. Hopefully there’s some practice squad help in this group.

There you have it. Questions? Concerns? Comments? Thoughts in general? Song requests? Let me know.

-G

Comments Off

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

Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Activate Lardarius Webb from PUP List

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With Training Camp in the books, the Baltimore Ravens returned to 1 Winning Drive Monday and were immediately greeted by good news.

CB Lardarius Webb was activated by the team after suffering a torn ACL that cut short his 2009 season and forced him to miss all practices in Westminster on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Webb was on the practice field Monday, moving with what appeared to be no pain in individual drills. No team drills were available for media viewing, so his level of participation there is unknown. Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Webb “looked good moving around” in individual drills, Webb added “it was fun.”

It is also still unknown whether or not Webb will participate in either of the team’s remaining preseason contests (vs. New York Giants Saturday, @St. Louis Rams one week from Thursday); or whether or not he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 13 at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets. Harbaugh said of Webb’s chances of playing in the preseason “we’re not going to push it.” Webb deferred questions about when he may be able to return to Harbaugh or Head Trainer Bill Tessendorf.

Fellow corner Fabian Washington; who returned from a torn ACL while the team practiced at McDaniel College, thought Sept. 13 was a fair target date for Webb’s return. “I think there’s always a chance” said Washington. “I know he’s close.”

With Domonique Foxworth out for the season (knee), Webb’s return marks good news for a Ravens secondary unit looking to improve on the 200+ yards per game they allowed via the air in 2009. Safety Haruki Nakamura said Webb’s return is “going to mean a lot. He’s a guy who at the end of (2009) who was starting to play really well.” He added “now that he can anticipate things and be more confident, it’s going to make a bigger difference.”

When he is ready to play, Webb will battle Chris Carr for the right to start opposite Washington at CB. His return makes the battle for roster spots behind him tougher; with Travis Fisher, Cary Williams, Prince Miller, KJ Gerard, Marcus Paschal, Doug Dutch, Brad Jones and Chris Hawkins all in the mix.

The second year corner out of Nicholls State is unlikely to return to the kick return role he held down in 2009 (that job currently belongs to Jalen Parmele), but he hasn’t ruled the return game out entirely. “I want to do everything I can possibly do when I get back to 100%.”

After being scratched from Saturday night’s game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, Gerard (hamstring) was back on the practice field Monday and appeared to practice fully. Paschal (leg) remained extremely limited during drills.

Outside of the secondary, WR Demetrius Williams was not present during the portion of practice open to the media Monday; he left Saturday night’s win in DC with an ankle injury. Other Ravens not present Monday included O-Linemen Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (concussion), David Hale (tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (arm/shoulder).

S Ed Reed (hip), LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (quad) and RB Matt Lawrence (knee) remain on the PUP list.

NOTES: For the first time since the implementation of new practice viewing rules earlier this year, the Ravens removed a member of the media from practice for talking on their cell phone…Ayanbadejo and Lawrence were both on field during Monday’s practice, Lawrence was in uniform…Harbaugh said he talked to Ed Reed Saturday night during the Skins game-Reed “feels good about his progress

-G

Comments Off

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

Four Weeks Into “Season”, Ravens Haven’t Changed Much

Posted on 21 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

LANDOVER, Md. – Looking at the 23-3 final score, it would be easy to assume the Baltimore Ravens had no troubles with the Washington Redskins Saturday night at FedEx Field. It would also be easy to assume that after a less than overwhelming performance against the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens reminded their regional rivals and other teams throughout the NFL that they are a true favorite to win the AFC and reach the Super Bowl.

And to some extent, maybe all of that is true.

The reality is that after four weeks of practice at McDaniel College in Westminster and two preseason contests, everything that was a concern for this team as they entered Training Camp remains a concern still.

Without Domonique Foxworth, the biggest concern facing the Baltimore Ravens was in the secondary. Injuries (Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb), inexperience (Cary Williams and Prince Miller) and…well…insignificance (Chris Carr and Travis Fisher) still make the unit a rather large question mark to at least some extent.

Fabian Washington played a very solid first quarter in DC, but his long-term durability remains a question-especially considering his standing as the team’s current top corner. There has been a great fear that Lardarius Webb would end up starting the season on the PUP list, but it looks more and more like he will be active within a week. But little is known about how quickly Webb will be able to get into NFL game action, and how much he will resemble the player who was a pleasant surprise after being selected in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Nicholls State.

Chris Carr was at least adequate if not better for a 2nd straight week; but the same cannot be said for Travis Fisher. Fisher (and Dawan Landry) were torched early by a 45 yard pass from Donovan McNabb to Anthony Armstrong (which set up a Graham Gano field goal-Washington’s only points of the game). Fisher would have been torched by the same receiver again in the 2nd quarter had McNabb not been guilty of an overthrow.

Cary Williams was a bright spot for the Ravens, recording his second interception of the preseason on an underthrown ball from McNabb intended for Santana Moss. The only unfortunate part of Williams’ solid play is the reminder that he will be unavailable when the Ravens visit the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals in Weeks 1 and 2 due to a suspension handed down by Roger Goodell for a violation of the league’s conduct policy. Behind Williams; Prince Miller, Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins offered little to nothing in late game play.

The concerns surrounding the Ravens don’t stop there. At inside linebacker, there was no separation created by Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden or Dannell Ellerbe to lock down a starting role next to Ray Lewis. All three took turns having trouble with the likes of Chris Cooley and Moss over the middle; although none were liabilities against the run.

While the Ravens may have gotten pressure on Donovan McNabb at times, only once was Terrell Suggs able to put him in the dirt. With the question marks at corner, it is well known that the pass rush must improve for this team this season. Suggs had his hands full with rookie Skins tackle Trent Williams, while Trevor Pryce, Cory Redding, Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg appeared to do little more.

Offensively, the Ravens’ concerns surrounded scoring points and sustaining drives. The longest sustained scoring drive they put together with Joe Flacco and the offensive starters in the game was 40 yards to start the 2nd quarter (which was capped off by a 26 yard field goal from Billy Cundiff). They also put together a 68 yard TD drive two possessions later, but 51 of those yards came on a direct snap run by Haruki Nakamura off a fake punt.

The areas of concern are just that. Areas of concern.

But in the nature of building a team up after breaking them down, the Ravens did INDEED manage to prove that they are still the AFC North and Super Bowl contenders we believed them to be before Camp started.

The areas that WEREN’T concerning before Camp started are in no ways concerning now. The Ravens’ run defense allowed just 25 yards rushing. The Ravens spread the ball around offensively, with 7 different receivers catching at least two passes, and 16 different receivers hauling in at least one reception. Joe Flacco was steady if not spectacular-completing 9 of 16 passes for 72 yards. Sam Koch was absolutely stellar-totaling 235 yards on 5 punts and pinning the Redskins inside the 20 yard line 3 times.

Where we know the Ravens are good, we still know the Ravens are good.

Following the game, coach John Harbaugh said “we’re pleased with where we’re at, but we know we have a long way to go.”

I couldn’t agree more.

This team has shown nothing to make us think they aren’t capable of reaching every lofty goal that fans have for them. That being said, they’ve also reminded us that it’s going to be a long road to reaching those goals.

The good news is that the Super Bowl is still scheduled for February 6th in Dallas (or Arlington, Texas); not next weekend at M&T Bank Stadium. That will be nothing more than another preseason game-this time against the New York Giants.

Between now and February 6th, concerns will need to be limited.

-G

Comments Off

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because my boy Mike Polk (who did the EXCELLENT Cleveland tourism videos) is back with another song that I’m sure will be a SMASH hit in The Comeback City. It has something to do with a guy who used to play for the Cavaliers. The language is probably NSFW-unless of course you work for me. In which case, the language is basically how I say hello. (Thanks Deadspin!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIe23C1NvU4[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Matusz sharp as Orioles dropped Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Brian Matusz was MASTERFUL last night.

Masterful to the point that after the Orioles had scored one run, I almost pulled a Drew Forrester and declared the game ‘over’ on Twitter (follow us @WNST).

Here’s the question: can Brian Matusz pitch like that (or at least consistently good) over a consistent stretch of the season? If he can, he’ll be the pitcher that Orioles fans hoped for. In fact, he’ll be a pitcher that could have made even Dave Trembley look like a real manager.

It’s nice to see it every now and then, as it makes you think it’s possible. But until I see it with regularity, it’s actually just frustrating.

You know what ISN’T frustrating? Winning. That’s awesome. Let’s keep doing that.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

There’s plenty good to look at here…which is strange. Matt Wieters, Corey Patterson, Brian Roberts and Felix Pie were all solid at the plate-and Koji Uehara finished things off in the 9th.

All of these are good things.

So go ahead and look at the numbers today. After you do that-take a look at Alessandra Torresani; who apparently posed for FHM…and my heart. (Thanks Guyism!)

fhm

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Ty Wigginton, Andres Blanco engaged in spat after play at third in Birds’ win

This is why I can never be a “baseball guy.”

The stupid “unwritten rules”, the “baseball stuff”, etc.

Ty Wigginton blocked third base-which seemed smart enough to me. He didn’t want the guy who had just crushed a double to be able to reach third base. I didn’t either. So I was happy that Ty Wigginton blocked third base.

The guy that crushed the double thought it was a bad move baseball-wise. There are probably a least a handful of folks who feel the same way.

The discussion is so ridiculous to me that we might as well be discussing someone’s VORP while we’re at it.

Ugh.

4. Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin says O’s believe there’s ‘no coincidence’ they started playing better when Buck Showalter showed up

I’m well aware that Buck Showalter didn’t come to Charm City, flip over tables, yell at everyone in earshot and threaten immediate firings if the team didn’t start winning games.

But there is no doubt in my mind that Buck Showalter’s arrival reflected a mentality in players that their roster spot wasn’t going to be guaranteed moving forward just because they were part of Andy MacPhail’s “plan.”

Unlike under Trembley (or Juan Samuel), it appears clear that Showalter isn’t going to keep someone on the roster come Opening Day 2011 just because Andy MacPhail wants to see what they have in the player. The best 25 guys are going to make the roster.

The pitchers who have shown signs of being good but haven’t been consistent (Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen of course top the list) are going to have to prove that they’re amongst the Top 25.

That’s as good an explanation as any as to why this team has played better since Showalter arrived. The laziness of another losing summer has made way for an understanding that every man on the roster is going to have to earn anything they might get moving forward.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Robert Andino homered for Norfolk Tides in loss to Durham Bulls on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-The Birds and Rangers continue their 4 game set tonight at OPACY; with Jake Arrieta facing C.J. Wilson. First pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN2. Brad Bergesen and Kevin Millwood wrap the series for the Birds, they’ll face Cliff Lee and Tommy Hunter respectively.

-A reminder that tomorrow’s game is not on MASN or MASN2-but instead on FOX. That’s two straight Saturday FOX games for the Birds. Earlier in the year I would have preferred watching “That 70′s Show” reruns, but the Orioles have been downright watchable recently. I’d still prefer “That 70′s Show” reruns, but who wouldn’t???

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

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes Lardarius Webb ‘very close’ to returning from PUP list

I’m really interested in exactly how this plays out next week in Owings Mills. Having Webb part of the 53 man roster is good for multiple reasons. First of all, it gives the Ravens DESPERATELY needed depth amongst their top corners. Secondly, it may help them avoid having to keep someone on the 53 man roster that they might not necessarily want to keep-like a Cary Williams or Prince Miller.

Now, Webb has to get on the practice field at 1 Winning Drive first-and then has to prove that he’s ready to play in a game. Even if the Ravens choose to hold him out against the New York Giants next week and the St. Louis Rams in 2 weeks; he has to prove that he’s game ready for September 13 against the New York Jets.

If he does that, everything about this roster improves.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ed Dickson, Mark Clayton expected to play vs. Washington Redskins Saturday night; Oniel Cousins unlikely, Chris Carr ‘unknown’

I expect to see at least a bit of Carr on the field at FedEx Field tomorrow night, probably about as much as we’ll see from Fabian Washington. It will likely be the Travis Fisher/Cary Williams/Prince Miller show in the secondary again-and almost no doubt there will be more of Chris Hawkins and Doug Dutch as well.

At tackle, expect to see plenty of Tony Moll tomorrow night. I’m a bit surprised the Ravens didn’t make a move to bring in an extra body this week at tackle. Even more surprised knowing Louisa Lytton is not currently on another NFL roster. (Thanks Don Chavez!)…

lytton

8. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says record 112,000 fans attended Training Camp at McDaniel College in Westminster

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

-The Ravens are walking through today, but you cannot see it live and in person as it is closed to both the media and public. They’ll face the Skins tomorrow night at FedEx Field in Landover (the city formerly known as Raljon), kickoff is at 7pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 and Comcast SportsNet (the CSN version is the DC broadcast). Luke Jones and I will be live at FedEx Field, hosting a “Purple Haze” chat here at WNST.net.

-Did you miss Le’Ron McClain live with Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things available in the Audio Vault include…

  • Graham Gano (Redskins kicker and former Raven)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon to preview tomorrow night’s game
  • Audio from all around Westminster-including John Harbaugh, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb and Dannell Ellerbe
  • Greg Aiello (NFL PR Director)-who joined Rex Thursday to discuss all things Roger Goodell
  • Tom Grieve (Rangers color Analyst)-who discussed Josh Hamilton and all things Rangers with Rex as well
  • All of the Baltimore sports media auditions with Nestor Aparicio on “The Morning Reaction” Friday

It’s all there in the Audio Vault, so you have your day planned. I’m really much too good to you.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland reserve LB Ben Pooler likely to miss season after tearing ACL in camp

While not necessarily devastating news for Ralph Friedgen’s Terps, it certainly isn’t good news either.

The Terrapins will need some LB depth, and I think Jacqueline Kirby might be the perfect choice. (Thanks Uncoached via Busted Coverage!)

kirby

10. LA Times’ Lisa Dillman says Michael Phelps failed to make final in 400 meter individual medley at Pan Pacifics

I’m not too terribly worked up by this, as this is not particularly easy.

In fact, it’s almost as tough as trying to remember the names of all of Antonio Cromartie’s kids. (Thanks HBO via Fanhouse and YouTube!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5qzQ2HBh0s[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

So apparently I was duped on “The Skinwich” yesterday. It ISN’T something KFC is planning on rolling out now or anytime in the future.

BUT…that doesn’t mean that all food in the world is healthy and NOT delicious. Thanks to The Smoking Jacket, I offer you some other ideas. One if IHOP’s Pancake Cheesecake Sandwich…

IHOP

Another is Friendly’s Mac ‘n Cheese Quesadilla…

friendlys

You know what, I’m going to need a minute here…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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

Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because Deadspin introduced me to what is unquestionably the greatest sport ever created by human beings or any other species throughout history. It’s called the “Fight Football League” and it is some sort of combination of football, rugby and Mixed Martial Arts…

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

Here’s actual footage of a match as well…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li9hP6z5DLo[/youtube]

Apparently the sport only exists in Italy, which only goes to prove BASICALLY what we knew all along…Italians are better than everyone. Go ahead and call us “divers” again there Drew Forrester.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Jeremy Guthrie beat up as Orioles fell to Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

One of the things we’ve grown accustomed to under Buck Showalter here in Charm City is that he’s going to let his starters pitch.

Last night may not have been the most appropriate time to do that.

Jeremy Guthrie has clearly been this team’s most reliable starter in 2010, but he wasn’t great last night.

Losing 2 of 3 at home to the M’s doesn’t mean doesn’t mean the bloom is off the rose for the new skipper, but it does mean that there is still a level of reality to be understood.

This is a bad team-no matter the manager. We just hope they can continue to be SLIGHTLY better because the skipper continues to light a fire under the asses of as many players as possible.

I think a lot of us had hoped we were past the time when this team would drop 2 of 3 at home to a team like the Mariners. I guess the reality is that they at least showed some effort last night.

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

Hey-Matt Wieters hit a home run. How about that???

Other than that, not a whole lot to see here. So why don’t you take a look at Jessica Hall from Rukus magazine and then we’ll regroup after! (Thanks Guyism!)

jessicahall

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Manny Machado could report to Sarasota as early as Sunday

I would take this time to warn that this ISN’T Matt Wieters. Machado is coming out of high school in Miami-and no matter how many people compare him to A-Rod, it’s going to take some time. Wieters was coming out of college, and didn’t have as much to prove at Bowie and Norfolk. Machado is going to have to start in the Gulf Coast League, and probably has a LOT of A ball ahead of him in the next year or 2…or 3…or 4.

Just ask Billy Rowell. But we’ll get back to him.

I’d also like to take this to warn that no matter how nice it is described by Don Chavez, the Mila Kunis-Natalie Portman kissing scene PROBABLY won’t be enough to make you want to go see the movie Black Swan-even if it was made by the same guy who made “The Wrestler”. I’m just being honest…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9DevdBithM[/youtube]

4. NBCSports.com’s Bert Blyleven says Buck Showalter can only help O’s ‘so much’

I hate to keep saying this.

If the organization does NOT go get real Major League Baseball players to improve the roster this offseason, nothing is going to change. Even with Buck Showalter as manager, a bad team will lose…like how they’ve lost 2 of 3 to the lowly Mariners this week at home.

If they go get real players AND continue to develop their own (not one OR the other), they’ll have a chance to improve. Even in the mighty AL East. That’s not Glenn Clark saying that, that’s a should-be Hall of Fame pitcher saying that.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Billy Rowell had big night for Frederick Keys in win over Wilmington Blue Rocks on farm

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

-The Orioles open up a 4 game series with the Texas Rangers tonight at OPACY; first pitch between Brian Matusz and Colby Lewis is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Reliever Jim Johnson is slated to make a rehab appearance for the Frederick Keys starting tonight. I’m not sure what Jim Johnson’s role will be with this team moving forward-but it will be good to at least have him in the mix.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Oniel Cousins carted from McDaniel College field with ‘headache’ during Ravens Training Camp Wednesday

I’ll take John Harbaugh at his word, but I think this could remain an issue. The bigger issue is that with Jared Gaither, Tony Moll and Cousins all banged up-the team could be left needing Ramon Harewood to play the great majority of the game Saturday night at FedEx Field.

I KNOW the team wants to leave Marshal Yanda at RG and use Chris Chester as a reserve interior lineman-but I get the feeling they have to at least CONSIDER switching Yanda outside for the good of the entire unit at this point.

Hopefully Gaither and Cousins are both ready to go on September 13 against the New York Jets, but I’m not convinced both will be just yet.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says CB Lardarius Webb could be activated from PUP list ‘soon’

Wait a second…what is this?

Good news??? From Westminster???

I’m just not so sure I believe it!

In all honesty, it would make a WORLD of difference for the Baltimore Ravens if Lardarius Webb were to begin practicing soon-as it would significantly improve his chances of being on the field in East Rutherford for the Monday Night Football opener.

No matter when Lardarius Webb is activated, I don’t necessarily expect to see him on the field next week against the New York Giants or on the field in two weeks against the St. Louis Rams. That being said, none of that matters.

All that matters is whether or not he can see the field at the Meadowlands. If he can, it helps everything about this team…but you already know that.

You also probably already know that Sheridyn Fisher is a LOVELY gal. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

fisher

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says CB Fabian Washington will play Saturday night against Washington Redskins

MORE good news?!?!? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!?!?!?

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-Your LAST chance to view Ravens practice this year is THIS AFTERNOON at 2:45pm. Practice will be closed to the public tomorrow, and the heads back to Owings Mills next week. If you had wanted to get out for Camp, make sure you do it THIS AFTERNOON. Luke Jones is on the scene, he’ll be checking in with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider throughout the day.

-Rookie DT Arthur Jones announced on Twitter that he was fined $5,000 for an illegal block during the Carolina Panthers game last Thursday. If I ever Tweet about a $5,000 fine-you can be sure that I’m doing it bankrupt. (You can follow US on Twitter @WNST.)

-Did you miss Ravens Safety/potential punt returner Tom Zbikowski with Thyrl Nelson yesterday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” here on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out! Some other things you can check out in the Audio Vault include:

  • Audio from Training Camp Wednesday-including John Harbaugh and WR David Reed
  • Washington Redskins CB (and former Maryland Terrapins CB) Kevin Barnes-who joined Rex Snider Wednesday afternoon to preview Saturday night’s game
  • Steve Wyche (NFL.com)-who talked Brett Favre and more with Rex Wednesday
  • Paul White (USA Today)-who talked Buck Showalter, Orioles with Thyrl
  • Brian McRae (WHB Kansas City, former Royals OF and Baseball Tonight analyst)-who went around baseball with Thryl
  • Larry McReynolds (FOX NASCAR Analyst)-who talked some bumping and grinding with Rex
  • All of the Baltimore sports media tryouts you’ve heard on “The Morning Reaction” with Nestor Aparicio

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so once again your day is planned. I’m much too good to you…

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps coach Ralph Friedgen planned to meet new University President Wallace D. Loh Wednesday afternoon in College Park

And for more on the hiring of Wallace D. Loh and ALL things Maryland-related, make sure you check out this week’s edition of the “D1scast” with myself and Patrick Stevens. You can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today, and it’s worth checking out.

And while we’re on the topic of Maryland, Patrick also recently passed along that Gary Williams’ basketball team would be facing North Florida December 29 at 8pm at Comcast Center. So…you know…go ahead and cancel your New Year’s Eve trip plans. You can’t miss that!

10. Tribune Newspapers says Michael Phelps won 200 meter butterfly at Pan Pacifics, remained unsatisfied

And finally, I leave you with this.

Geekologie says KFC is testing a new sandwich called “The Skinwich”, which is apparently a sandwich made entirely of fried chicken skin.

Yes. I’m serious…

skinwich

This is the reason why the United States of America is the greatest country on the face of the planet.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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

Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I have some new rules to unleash for “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week.” Previously, I handed just one honor out per week-but I’m going to mix that up. I will now be handing out both “New” and “Classic” versions of the honor.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook (feel free to search “Glenn Clark” and add the man who is sipping Orange Kool-Aid after losing a bet to Ed in Park Heights), you know that this week’s “Classic” version (the rule is that the song must be at least 5 years old) is “Out of My Head” by Fastball…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7reY8OyYmLI[/youtube]

This week’s new version of “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” isn’t really even a song I like that much. Honest to God. Frankly, I find “The Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney to be a particularly insufferable song musically. BUT-the speech from New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton at the front of the video is so freaking epic that I’m going to give it the honor anyway.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlXDo5WhQXI[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Luke French, Seattle Mariners shut down Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Yeah, but how are you expected to get anything going against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez Luke French?!?!? The Buck Showalter era has been very good in Charm City, but there have still been a few puzzling pitchers to shut the O’s down.

What’s weirder? The fact that the Birds were able to muster just 3 hits against some fella named Luke French or the fact that Josh Bell had two of them?

It all wasted the best start made by Kevin Millwood arguably all season. He gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks over 7 and 2/3 innings, allowing just one run to cross the plate. Armando Gabino sadly wasn’t quite as effective.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to remind everyone of this-but after the Birds have lost 3 of 4 for the first time under Showalter; I think it’s important.

You can’t win them all. You just can’t.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Rough night for Ty Wigginton-who went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts and left 3 men on base. Of course, it was a rough night for just about anyone else who was wearing orange and black too.

In one of those “at least it’s familiar” feelings; you REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers. Trust me. Instead, check out something else baseball-related. Sara Saco-Vertiz is the gall that got hit by a foul ball recently at a Houston Astros game down at Minute Maid Park when her boyfriend “Bo the Bailer” jumped out of the way. She’s also a very pleasant distraction from what happened in the Orioles game last night. (Thanks H8TORADE!)

sarasaco

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says MRI on Craig Tatum’s knee ‘shows no damage’

Good news!

Or at least “oh…okay” news.

You know what-if this is the most interesting thing going on with the Orioles’ roster, it IS good news.

You know what else is good news? The new Harvard Sailing Team video that Dave Carey linked to my Facebook page last night. Thanks Dave!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FukzyfIqYf8[/youtube]

4. USA Today’s Paul White says O’s ‘soaring’ under Buck Showalter, but team still needs to improve roster

This is the unfortunate part about the reasonable success the Orioles have had recently. As solid as they’ve been, it just doesn’t REALLY matter.

The fact remains that it is MUCH nicer for us as fans to watch the team win a few games at the end of the season than to continue to lose games at a historic rate. I’m not trying to take away from the value of that, as it bothers me to watch losing as much if not more than anyone.

But this season has been over for some time. There was nothing to tangibly gain from a strong (or even semi-strong) finish to the season.

If the Orioles don’t make significant roster upgrades during the offseason and field a legitimate team come Opening Day; they’ll lose games in April and May of 2011 under ANY manager. Even Buck Showalter.

Wins this season are like “warm fuzzies.” They’re nice to have around, but they don’t actually help with anything. When you’re cold, you need a blanket-not something the size of pocket lint.

The Orioles don’t need warm fuzzies. They need a massive overhaul. It has started with the manager. Now they need more.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Bowie Baysox OF Xavier Avery had 4 RBI in win over Trenton Thunder on farm

A few things before we move on from the Orioles…

-The O’s and M’s wrap up their 3 game set tonight at OPACY. First pitch between Jeremy Guthrie and David Pauley is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Xavier Avery this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who discussed all things Orioles with Drew
  • Peter King (SI/NBC)-who checked in from Westminster to preview this afternoon’s “Tweetup” at Amicci’s in Little Italy (4:30-6pm…make sure you come hang out!)
  • Seth Everett (ESPN Radio New York/ESPNNewYork.com)-who checked in with Drew to preview the Jets as we finished the AFC East in our preview of every team on the Ravens’ schedule
  • Our “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”, including Drew’s shot at all parties involved in the Renee Gork Arkansas/Florida debacle and my shot at the Ravens’ “You Make the Cut” game
  • Plenty of audio from McDaniel College Tuesday-including John Harbaugh, Jim Zorn and Oniel Cousins
  • Todd Heap-who checked in with Rex Snider yesterday afternoon following Ravens practice
  • Matt Bowen (National Football Post)-who discussed his former teammate Brett Favre with Rex Tuesday as well

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so go check it out. Your day is planned now. You can thank me in form of cash money.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says David Hale, Matt Birk, Davon Drew, Marcus Paschal, Brandon McKinney, Daniel Sanders, Stefan Rodgers, Jared Gaither all missed practice Tuesday at Ravens Training Camp

When it comes to Birk and McKinney, my initial thought is “I bet they’ll be plenty healthy when the team is in Owings Mills next week.”

I’m not quite as laid back about David Hale; as the team doesn’t really have much interior line depth. Birk, Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Chris Chester are there to handle the Top 4 spots; but the team clearly doesn’t want to have to use Chester as the reserve center.

Now-they could be more flexible if they had better tackle depth. Should they be able to start Gaither and Michael Oher with Cousins behind them; it COULD allow Tony Moll to play guard and have the team use Chester in a pinch as a reserve center.

The thing is-they need these guys to be healthy to do ANY of that. That’s an issue as of right now.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ed Reed has visited rehab specialist in Atlanta recently to ‘accelerate’ hip healing

You know what else might help Ed ‘accelerate’ his healing? Showing him this picture of Miss USA Rima Fakih. (Thanks Guyism!)

fakih

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Tavares Gooden working with first team defense at JACK LB spot

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things here as well:

-I have no idea what to make of the JACK LB battle. The job appeared to be Jameel McClain’s to lose, but both Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe have gotten their chances to run with the 1′s after McClain started against the Carolina Panthers. At this point, I’ll still leaning towards McClain-but it will be interesting to see who works with the first unit at FedEx Field Saturday night.

-A reminder that the Ravens hit the practice field today-if you missed the 8:45am practice, you missed it. There’s a special teams practice at 2pm today. Today and tomorrow are the LAST TWO DAYS that you can see the Ravens practice in person at McDaniel College; as they are closed to the public Friday before Saturday’s preseason showdown with the Washington Redskins.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland WR Emani Lee-Odai fractured pinkie during practice, Ralph Friedgen expects him to need surgery

This is a tough break for the senior; who was expected to play an important role in a surprisingly deep group of receivers.

Congratulations also to Terrapins LB’s Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten; who were both named to the Butkus Award Watch List; and to Terps WR/KR Torrey Smith, who was named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List-given to the nation’s most versatile player.

And if Maryland needs some depth at WR with Lee-Odai out, may I suggest Ann French? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

annfrench

10. UMTerps.com says Gary Williams to join Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Art Modell, Jim McKay, Brooks Robinson in inaugural “Hall of Legends” class at Sports Legends Museum

We could debate the names that AREN’T part of that list (Cal Ripken, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Chuck Thompson, Jonathan Ogden, etc.); but that isn’t the point of this really. They’re going to have years to get all of these guys in this group, and this first group of 6 is absolutely outstanding.

The real question is…which year will it be when we see “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio inducted?

I’m sure it has to be soon, right?

And finally, I leave you with this.

The young lady in my life (whatever that means) is a Dallas Cowboys fan. I’m not proud, trust me. We call her “Boomer Sooner” around here. I hope I NEVER hear her singing this song. (Thanks Deadspin!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KDuKAT5Apg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

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

Mocking The 53: Checking Ravens Roster After Preseason Opener

Posted on 16 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

My 3rd Edition of “Mocking The 53″ hit WNST.net just 9 days ago, and much has changed since that time. The most notable difference is the departure of veteran LS Matt Katula, whose roster spot was taken by rookie CB Brad Jones (Cincinnati).

However, there is also some tinkering to the 53 based on how Baltimore Ravens players performed against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium; and how they continue to perform during Training Camp practices at McDaniel College in Westminster.

For the record, I’ve never been more convinced that any of 60 guys could end up making the final roster. There might not be 70 NFL players on the roster like there were before Camp, but there are still PLENTY of players who have every opportunity to end up amongst the 53.

Here’s a reminder of how I explained these rankings the first time I put them together…

“Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and company will at least MOSTLY keep the 53 best players on the roster, I am going to try to identify the Top 53 players on the roster myself. It ISN’T a perfect science, and some of the players will have outside circumstances that will influence where they find themselves on the list. Similarly, the Ravens will make some decisions based on health, position needs, etc.

I’m putting “best overall players”, “most significant players”, and “position relevance” into my “Top 53″ rankings. This isn’t just a list of the 53 best players on the team. This is however a list-at this moment-of the 53 players I believe are most likely to make the roster.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 53 shapes up…

1. QB Joe Flacco
2. OT Michael Oher
3. WR Anquan Boldin
4. DT Haloti Ngata
5. RB Ray Rice
rice

6. LB Ray Lewis
7. WR Derrick Mason
8. LB Terrell Suggs
9. LB Jarret Johnson
10. G Ben Grubbs

I think we were reminded of just how much the Ravens value Ray Rice when he was all but held out of the preseason opener. It’s very clear who the Top 6 players are on the team-just not quite as clear what order the Top 6 are in. Ben Grubbs cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and with the way O-Linemen have been getting banged up for this team during Camp, he might still be rising.

11. DE Trevor Pryce
12. DL Cory Redding
13. TE Todd Heap
14. DT Terrence Cody
15. CB Fabian Washington
fabian
16. OT Jared Gaither
17. FB Le’Ron McClain
18. OL Marshal Yanda
19. C Matt Birk
20. S Dawan Landry

While Fabian Washington and Terrence Cody continue to climb, Jared Gaither is absolutely falling. John Harbaugh said he expected Gaither to miss 2-3 weeks; but didn’t appear to rule out the possibility that his back tear could keep him out longer. With that in mind, his value falls a bit.

On the flip side, after a rough start to Camp-Cody came on big time against the Panthers. He showed quite a bit of the promise the Ravens had hoped he would when they selected him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft out of Alabama. Kelly Gregg may still be the starter in the middle of the D-Line, but Cody has significantly greater upside.

Washington is going to have to be ready to be a Top 15 guy on this team whether he’s…well…ready or not. It’s hard to move him so high without him having played against the Panthers, but his importance to the overall makeup of the roster cannot be understated.

21. S Tom Zbikowski
tomz
22. CB Chris Carr
23. LB Jameel McClain
24. K Shayne Graham
25. TE Ed Dickson
26. QB Marc Bulger
27. S Haruki Nakamura
28. WR Mark Clayton
29. DT Kelly Gregg
30. WR Donte’ Stallworth

A couple of movers in this group-including Jameel McClain, who appeared to have the starting ILB job nailed down next to Ray Lewis but has since been splitting time. He’s still very much in the mix and likely ahead of Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden, but we’ll need to see what the team does Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Chris Carr and Tom Zbikowski are risers, as their spots as starters have been solidified in recent weeks. Zbikowski may also end up winning the punt return job (I have him slightly ahead of Clayton and Stallworth right now), which could be enough to get him in the Top 20.

As far as Clayton and Stallworth are concerned-Clayton moves ahead of Stallworth for the first time as it appears he’ll be the team’s 3rd receiver. Expect both to get plenty of snaps throughout the season however.

Don’t be surprised if Ed Dickson is this team’s top Tight End sometime between now and the start of the 2011 season. He’ll be in the Top 20 on this list soon.

31. OL Chris Chester
32. LB Dannell Ellerbe
33. TE Dennis Pitta
34. P Sam Koch
35. LB Tavares Gooden
36. RB Willis McGahee
37. LB Antwan Barnes
abarnes
38. QB Troy Smith
39. DE Paul Kruger
40. CB Travis Fisher

Nothing drastically different about this group as of right now. Should Ellerbe or Gooden end up beating Jameel McClain out for the other ILB job, they would clearly move ahead of him on the roster. A good showing against the Panthers lifts Paul Kruger a bit, and the team continues to tell me they’re pleased with what they’ve seen from the 2nd year DE out of Utah since he reported to Westminster.

There have been rumblings that the team could keep just Flacco and Bulger and allow Troy Smith to walk-but I doubt that. Flacco and Bulger are similar QB’s, while Troy Smith is particularly different. After seeing what happened two years ago when Smith got sick and Kyle Boller got hurt, I don’t think the organization is ready to trim the number of QB’s on the Week 1 roster.

41. OT Oniel Cousins
42. S Ken Hamlin
43. DT Kelly Talavou
talavou
44. DT Brandon McKinney
45. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
46. RB Jalen Parmele
47. CB Cary Williams
48. OL David Hale
49. OL Tony Moll
50. LS Morgan Cox
51. LB Edgar Jones
52. S KJ Gerard
53. WR Demetrius Williams

A few things worth mentioning in this final group:

-David Hale was injured during practice Monday. Until we know more about the nature of the injury we have to assume he’s safely on the roster when the Ravens visit the New York Jets September 13th.

-I have Talavou and McKinney ahead of Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens right now, but Divens has had a solid camp and Jones is a player the Ravens might not want to risk exposing. All 4 remain very much in the mix to be on the team when they get to East Rutherford.

-Despite his suspension, Cary Williams basically has to be a safe bet to be on the team as he’s the 4th corner right now. That being said, the team could still make roster moves between now and their Week 1 appearance on Monday Night Football. Should they do that, Williams could be in trouble. If Williams DOES make the roster, the team will almost be forced to keep an additional corner. I’m keeping KJ Gerard ahead of Prince Miller for now, but if Gerard doesn’t get healthy soon he’ll forfeit that spot right back to Miller.

-Brendon Ayanbadejo is sliding. While he still appears upbeat about his spot on this team, I’m not sure how much longer it can be assumed. He hasn’t really been noticed doing much work on the side, and team sources have told me they’re disappointed in how long Ayanbadejo has remained out. Should he return, he has every chance to make an impact in the nickel package and on special teams; but he has to return to do that.

-I moved Demetrius Williams back to the safe side of the roster and David Reed off. Reed was expected to make a more significant impact in the return game-but that hasn’t necessarily been seen just yet. He could still win the kick return job-which would get him back on the good side of the roster bubble. In the meantime, Williams’ size continues to somehow separate him from the rest of the receivers on this team-which is enough to get him back on the good side of the bubble.

-Morgan Cox takes a spot in the 53. As the team’s only long snapper, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

(CB Domonique Foxworth-IR)
(S Ed Reed-Likely PUP)
(CB Lardarius Webb-Likely PUP)
(LB Sergio Kindle-Likely PUP or IR)

54. K Billy Cundiff
55. CB Prince Miller
56. DT Arthur Jones
57. OT Ramon Harewood
58. WR David Reed
59. RB Matt Lawrence
60. TE Davon Drew
ddrew
61. LB Prescott Burgess
62. LB Jason Phillips
63. DT Lamar Divens
64. WR Marcus Smith
65. WR Justin Harper
66. FB Mike McLaughlin
67. WR Eron Riley
68. DE Albert McClellan
69. RB Curtis Steele
70. OT Joe Reitz

Plenty of things worth discussing about this group:

-Mike McLaughlin COULD make the roster at FB with the team apparently more willing to give Le’Ron McClain carries; but I don’t expect it just yet. McLaughlin isn’t the type of guy the team would HAVE to keep to avoid exposing him, so I imagine he’ll end up on the practice squad.

-Billy Cundiff is MUCH closer in the kicking competition than he might appear; but the team has made it clear that Shayne Graham will be their guy. If he’s not going to make the roster, I can’t have Cundiff ahead of 54th.

-Jason Phillips is a guy the team likes a great deal, but may be a victim of a numbers game. He doesn’t have a natural role right now that makes him a guarantee to earn a spot. Prescott Burgess is in a similar position.

-Don’t be stunned if the team ends up keeping Davon Drew and has 4 tight ends on the roster. I just don’t see the room to do it right now myself.

71. CB Marcus Paschal
paschal
72. CB Doug Dutch
73. OL Bryan Mattison
74. OT Stefan Rodgers
75. CB Brad Jones
76. CB Chris Hawkins
77. OT Daniel Sanders
78. OT Devin Tyler

Of this group, Rodgers may have the only realistic path to being part of the team when they hit the field at the Meadowlands. Should Jared Gaither remain out and the team choose to protect Ramon Harewood by placing him on IR; he would have a realistic chance of getting active behind Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll. But that’s a major (and frightening) IF.

-G

Comments Off

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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

Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because we all know that with a preseason Week 1 win, the Ravens are most certainly Super Bowl bound. With the Super Bowl in Dallas (and considering that Sunday is WWE SummerSlam), I was hoping maybe we could hang out with this man while we were in town…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exbsw5ssn4I[/youtube]

God I love HBK. No wrestling Pay-Per-View is ever as good without him.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Joe Flacco ‘smooth’ in Ravens’ preseason win over Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium

No doubt about it.

Flacco wasn’t quite perfect (he actually surprisingly missed Anquan Boldin on a sideline route that he usually has no trouble with), but he was very good. He spread the ball out to various receivers and made no major mistakes during the 3 drives he was a part of during the first half.

It would have been nice to see a more representative effort from the offensive line; as Tyler Brayton looked like Julius Peppers early on. It would have also been nice to see a bit more balance in the offensive attack, as Ray Rice might as well have stayed home to watch Big Brother last night given his lack of involvement in the game.

That being said, this was preseason football. The Ravens came out of the game healthy, and that is REALLY all that matters.

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

Troy Smith added a 2nd half rushing TD, Cary Williams pulled down an interception, Curtis Steele was the team’s leading rush and Shayne Graham missed a 50 yard FG.

Anything else you might have missed after you couldn’t take the rain anymore or finally decided to flip over to something else?

You won’t mind looking at any of these numbers; but I have a recommendation beyond that. Look at the numbers, then look at this picture of Lola Ponce from Guyism. Like we always say, WIN-WIN…

lolaponce

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody looked like ‘gamer’ for Ravens in win

If that’s what the Ravens are going to get from Terrence Cody this season, they’re going to be THRILLED with taking him in the 2nd round.

Some guys are just the type of guys who need the lights to go on and to step on the field in a game situation to really turn up the volume. Cody told me after the game that the “adrenaline” of the evening changed things for him.

I don’t know if Terrence Cody will ever be a superstar on the practice field or in the classroom. I get the feeling he may struggle in those areas in the future. But what I saw last night as far as the ability to beat double teams, work into the backfield and force plays to come to a head whether they be passes or runs; the guy has a real chance to be a superstar.

“Refreshing” was the word that kept coming to me as I watched his performance.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester thought Talavou, Kruger, Clayton all solid for Ravens in win

I agree with all three. I also thought Prince Miller and Lamar Divens were pretty good last night, as was Ed Dickson.

Completely absent from that last? One Joe Reitz. It was a tough night for one Joe Reitz…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lggBJYv2QgY[/youtube]

The guy played basketball at Western Michigan!!! I expect more!!!

Of course, Reitz made MUCH more of a name for himself by missing than he could have by connecting. He’ll be a YouTube sensation and will absolutely find himself on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10″ later today.

So if it was all part of your plan Joe…good on you sir.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Chris Carr and Travis Fisher started in secondary

Fabian Washington (knee) did end up sitting; but apparently Carr talked John Harbaugh and staff into letting him play after the team had originally announced him as a scratch.

Of course, we saw an AWFUL lot of Doug Dutch and Chris Hawkins last night-which means those of you who attended will have something to tell your grandkids someday.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of notes:

-The Ravens are off today after last night’s game, they return to Westminster for a Training Camp practice at 2:45pm tomorrow. They’ll have two practices at McDaniel College Sunday-at 8:45am and 2:45pm. The Ravens don’t play another preseason game until next Saturday, when the visit the (ugh) Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in DC. I’d almost rather visit hell…

-Did you miss Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to hear directly from the Ravens’ front office. Plenty of other things to listen to in the Audio Vault…

  • Antwan Barnes (Ravens LB) who joined Drew this morning after a big night last night
  • Cal Ripken Jr. (Like I need to explain) who previewed the Cal Ripken World Series with Drew this morning
  • Rich Herrera (Tampa Bay Rays Pre & Postgame Radio Host) who previewed the weekend series with the Orioles at The Trop with Drew
  • Jon Ladd (Baltimore Municipal Golf) who discussed the PGA Championship and this weekend’s Publinx Event with Drew
  • Plenty of locker room reaction from last night’s game-including John Harbaugh, Terrence Cody, Joe Flacco, Mark Clayton and Anquan Boldin
  • Jay Gibbons (Los Angeles Dodgers OF) who joined Rex Snider Thursday afternoon after returning to Major League Baseball
  • Trevor Matich (Comcast SportsNet Redskins Analyst) who discussed Ravens QB Coach Jim Zorn with Rex Thursday afternoon

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Hey-it’s Friday. It’s not like your boss expected you to do any work today anyway.

6. The AP says Jeanmar Gomez pitched Cleveland Indians past Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field

I mean, what can you be expected to do against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez?!?!?

I’m not going to try to pretend like I saw any of the game last night. Apparently Kevin Millwood was pretty good-but I guess he gave up a run in the first inning just to keep up appearances.

You know what’s funny? When the Orioles were 3-16, all I could think to myself was “how in the hell did they win 3 games?” Now that they’re 8-2 under Buck Showalter, all I can think is “how in the hell have they lost 2 games???

7. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

And everything is right in the world once again.

You don’t want to look at these numbers, trust me on that.

Instead, look at this picture of Jaime Edmondson. We’ll be fine after that. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

jamie

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s reached deals with draft picks Dan Klein, Connor Narron, Parker Bridwell

Klein is the most significant name amongst the group-he helped pitch UCLA to the College World Series a season ago. Connor Narron is the son of MLB vet Jerry Narron, and Parker Bridwell has a name that makes him sound like he should be writing for The New Yorker.

No news on progress with 1st round pick Manny Machado; as the deadline to get guys signed looms this Monday.

Andy MacPhail couldn’t possibly fail to sign a first round pick, right?

Right?

9. Baltimore Business Journal’s Ryan Sharrow says Birds extended agreements with Norfolk Tides, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys through 2014

Between this and another story we’ll get to this morning, I guess yesterday was “no-brainer” day in the local sports world. The O’s are better off having their minor league affiliates nearby; as it gives them the option to watch the players in their organization more often and get them back to Charm City quickly should it be necessary.

In fact, I doubt there are better options for affiliates at each level in baseball.

Note-this is something the Orioles do well. You can’t say I didn’t point it out.

10. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Rick Vandenhurk strong for Norfolk Tides in win over Indianapolis Indians on farm

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

-After wrapping their series with the Tribe in The Comeback City, the O’s now head to Tampa (or is it St. Petersburg?) for a series with the Rays at Tropicana Field. Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill tonight against James Shields; first pitch is at 7:10pm on MASN. Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta are scheduled to face Andy Sonnanstine and Jeremy Hellickson in the other games this weekend-tomorrow’s game is actually on FOX. Looking at the pitching matchups, I honest to God believe the O’s can win 2 of 3.

-The Orioles will apparently be wearing all orange tonight and the Rays will be wearing the colors of the 1970 Tampa Tarpons-yeah, them. The Village People are going to be playing a postgame concert. If I was celebrating 1970 I would have preferred Chicago myself…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCAbdNXx2sE[/youtube]

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland TE Lansford Watson has slight MCL tear

As Patrick reports, Ralph Friedgen appears inclined to allow the Terrapins’ TE to keep playing through the injury. Watson is trying to win the starting TE job in a competition with Devonte Campbell.

And if playing through the injury doesn’t work, it isn’t as if the Terps don’t have other options. For example, maybe ESPN’s Chris Berman can give them some scouting info on Dylan Thomas (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

dylanthomas

12. HopkinsSports.com says JHU lacrosse coach Pietramala has contract extended through 2016

As I said yesterday on Twitter (follow us @WNST), this is an ABSOLUTE no-brainer. There isn’t much of anything more that the Blue Jays could have hoped for under Petro, and he deserves as much security as he wants from the school.

As if John Tillman’s gig in College Park wasn’t tough enough…

(Edit from GMC: As a side note, Johns Hopkins has redone their athletics website. It looks very cool. I’d take a look today if you have the chance.)

13. GoMustangSports.com says Stevenson held first football practice in school history Thursday

Congratulations to coach Ed Hottle and everyone involved in the Stangs’ program there in Owings Mills; as this is a great day for them. Hopefully they will continue to grow from there.

Stevenson also unveiled a new athletics logo yesterday, which actually looks pretty cool…

mustangs

And finally, I leave you with this.

Will “The Expendables” be any good? No idea. Does it have Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham? Yes, yes it does…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6RU5y2fU6s[/youtube]

You can’t possibly pick “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” over this, could you?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

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

In NFL Debut, Ravens Rookie Cody Looks Like ‘Gamer’

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE – There wasn’t much that made Thursday night’s preseason opener between the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium particularly watchable. If you don’t REALLY love NFL football, it was probably tough to stomach once Joe Flacco was pulled in the 2nd quarter.

There were penalties and turnovers, the weather was terrible and there were players on the field that not even the most passionate football fans know much of anything about. As preseason games go, this one was somehow more painful than most-played out in front of a national audience on ESPN. It was a game won 17-12 by the Ravens, although I’m not sure how many folks were still watching when it went final.

That being said, there were a number of good things that happened, even if they weren’t so easy to notice.

Flacco was particularly impressive during a 96 yard TD drive that began at the end of the 1st and spanned into the 2nd; culminating with a TD pass to Mark Clayton. Paul Kruger and Antwan Barnes both looked solid, and Marc Bulger showed the strong arm that made him a Pro Bowl QB with the St. Louis Rams.

And then there was Terrence Cody.

Cody was an incredible talent during his college career at Alabama, creating havoc throughout SEC backfields with a combination of overwhelming size, great strength and deceptive speed. He was considered by some scouts to be a Top 25 talent in the NFL Draft, but red flags allowed him to fall to the 57th overall pick-where he was selected by the Ravens.

Cody immediately impressed in OTA’s, including the team’s mandatory mini-camp. He was in the backfield constantly, highlighted by an impressive sack of QB Troy Smith where the former Crimson Tide standout proved his speed did not necessarily match his 6’4″, 349 pound frame.

OTA’s and mini-camps traditionally tend to be less challenging from a studying and scheming standpoint. Teams tend to avoid breaking open their playbooks and unleashing too much on a new group of young players too quickly. Much of that is saved for Training Camp.

For Terrence Cody, Training Camp hasn’t exactly been a finest hour. He failed the team’s conditioning test multiple times upon reporting to McDaniel College; and even John Harbaugh was forced to admit he was “surprised” when Cody finally managed to work his way off the PUP list. He has frustrated coaches during practice, with D-Line coach Clarence Brooks at one point labeling him “persona non grata”-as reported by WNST.net’s own Luke Jones.

Cody’s struggles were particularly frustrating for fans in Westminster given the absence of fellow 2nd round pick Sergio Kindle-who remains on the PUP list after fracturing his skull in an accident the weekend before camp opened.

Driving in to M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night, Rex Snider and I chatted on AM1570 WNST. We touched on a number of topics, one of which was Cody. I suggested to Rex that the concerns surrounding Cody early on might disappear once he hit the field in an actual game. Or in this case, at least something that resembled an actual game. I suggested that some players (Terrell Suggs came to mind) are just better when they have the natural rhythm of a game than they are when they are on a practice field.

Terrence Cody looked like just that Thursday night, and he knew it. “In a game, you just get that adrenaline and you just want to do a lot more” he told me following the win.

The night started poorly for Cody, as he was inserted in Cam Cameron’s red zone offense and was flagged for jumping early on a crucial 3rd down play. However, the offensive side of the ball is not the area where Cody is going to be asked to make an impact.

On the defensive side, Cody was very good. He displayed a natural feel for where the ball was and where it was going. He handled double teams from John Fox’s Carolina defense and showed the pure dominance that him a star at the collegiate level. For the game, he finished with 5 tackles (4 solo, 1 TFL); but made an impract on even more plays.

Harbaugh was impressed with the play of his young DT, noting “he made some plays in some big situations” and the coach thought Cody “controlled the middle in there pretty well.”

But despite the solid night, Harbaugh said he still needs to see improvement from the man nicknamed “Mount Cody”.

“The biggest thing with Terrence right now is…again…technique.  We play a 2 gap system, a little bit different than what Alabama does. We think he’s very well suited for that, but he’s gotta learn those techniques.”

Harbaugh admitted there will need to be a learning curve with Cody. “It’s gonna be that way all year. It’s going to be a learning process all year for him. He’s really kinda built for that kinda system, that’s why we drafted him. It did show up tonight.”

As an early pick, Terrence Cody is going to be expected to make a great impact for the Baltimore Ravens, even early on. To do so, he’s going to have to match his on-field ability with equally impressive performances in workouts, classroom sessions and practice drills. Should he do so, he could press incumbent starter Kelly Gregg early and steal quite a bit of playing time in his first full season.

And in a game that was otherwise painful to watch, it was refreshing to see that Cody’s god-given ability appeared to translate perfectly to a semi-real game of football.

-G

—————————-

Hear reaction from Coach John Harbaugh, DT Terrence Cody, QB Joe Flacco, WR Mark Clayton and WR Anquan Boldin NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. LB Antwan Barnes is scheduled to join Drew Forrester tomorrow morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST at 9:30am.

Comments Off