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NFL Draft Season Kicks Off In Orlando at East West Shrine Game

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NFL Draft Season Kicks Off In Orlando at East West Shrine Game

Posted on 22 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

For NFL Draft nerds (like myself), this week has marked the true start to NFL Draft season.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome lead a group of staffers who traveled to Orlando to watch practice ahead of this year’s annual East West Shrine Game.

With the NFL Draft likely to take place before free agency begins this year, it can be argued that Draft season is more significant than it has been in years past.

Before we start to look at players involved in Draft season, I think we should first identify the Ravens’ biggest areas of need. With free agency still to determine many things, here are the areas where I believe the team most needs to improve.

1. Defensive End-Newsome said this week the team needs a “companion” for LB Terrell Suggs in pass rush. I agree, and I believe it needs to be a true edge rusher.
2. Offensive Tackle-If the team feels comfortable with bringing back Jared Gaither (and Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated they were), re-signing him could address the problem. If not, they’ll need to upgrade.
3. Wide Receiver-The Ravens will have to make decisions on TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth; but need to come away with a big receiver and a speed receiver that can both be counted on offensively.
4. Cornerback-Only Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb are under contract, so the team needs to make decisions on Chris Carr, Josh Wilson, Fabian Washington and Cary Williams. Either way, they would be well served to add a bigger, more physical corner.
5. Fullback-If Le’Ron McClain returns, this wouldn’t be an issue. With the current expectation that he won’t return, the team will be looking for an option here.
6. Inside Linebacker-At the MIKE spot, the team knows Ray Lewis can’t play forever. At the WILL spot, the team has three players (Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe) who are all coming up on some form of free agency and who have not separated themselves from each other at all.
7. Safety-While it doesn’t appear Ed Reed will retire this offseason, the Ravens have to think about the possibility it could happen in the near future. At the same time, Dawan Landry is a free agent and appears to be one of the more likely free agents on the team to get bigger money elsewhere.
8. Center-Whether or not Matt Birk retires (I’ll guess he doesn’t), the team clearly needs to review the position. If Birk returns, it will only be for one more season. I don’t think the team has future plans for Chris Chester in the middle. Daniel Sanders could be an option, but the team might be well to draft a center as well.
9. Running Back-Willis McGahee is a very likely departure this offseason, leaving the team with a need to compliment Ray Rice.
10. Quarterback-If Marc Bulger departs, the Ravens will need someone else to backup Joe Flacco. Hunter Cantwell could be an option, but they might want to at least CONSIDER a doomsday theory scenario with Flacco and draft a mid to late round QB as well.

Some of these positions will be addressed whenever free agency finally does begin, others can be addressed simply by signing the team’s own free agents. Before free agency is even an issue, the Ravens will have to get through Draft season.

Here are a look at 10 players participating in the Shrine Game, which you can watch at 4pm on NFL Network.

RB Evan Royster (Penn State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tWf1NOPkL0[/youtube]

After an explosive sophomore season (1,391 yards of total offense and 12 TD’s), Royster immediately gained attention.

Incredibly, he posted two more very steady seasons, tallying 1,356 yards of total offense and 8 TD’s in 2009; 1,216 yards of total offense and 7 TD’s in 2010. He has the size of a back who could compliment Rice (6’1″, 228 pounds) and many scouts think he’ll have a solid career as a third down back at the NFL level.

So what’s the problem? Well, Royster’s biggest performances as a senior came against Temple and Michigan, neither or which can really be considered premiere defenses. He also doesn’t fit the bill of the dynamic backs in the Naitonal Football League currently like Rice, Jacksonville Jaguars back Maurice Jones-Drew, Houston Texans back Arian Foster, Tennessee Titans back Chris Johnson or Kansas City Chiefs back Jamaal Charles.

As of right now, he’s probably a mid to late round pick. If so, he might be a solid pick-up should McGahee leave Charm City.

WR Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mihM5auuXx0[/youtube]

As the Ravens look for a receiver who can  extend the field, they might want to think about Jean. He’s 6’3″ (and somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pounds), and has deceptive quickness.

While the Owls don’t exactly play against top caliber opposition in the Sun Belt conference, Jean also managed to post big games against Texas (see above) and Michigan State. He finished the 2010 season with 64 catches for 988 yards and 8 TD’s, wrapping up a career with 146 catches for 1,992 yards and 15 touchdowns.

He’s probably a late round pick at this point, but what he does at the Citrus Bowl Saturday and what he does at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis could lift him to late Friday night or early Saturday morning. If the Ravens don’t go receiver early, he could certainly be an option for the team later in the weekend. Jean wasn’t exactly hotly pursued out of High School in Miami, but he could be a hot name in April.

DE Justin Trattou (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DBWhBn75KM[/youtube]

Maybe an interception isn’t the greatest highlight to offer for a player the Ravens would be looking to see handle an edge rush, but I can only work with what I have.

Trattou is a rising end whose size has never matched his ability to bring down a QB. He tallied just 8 sacks over his four seasons in Gainesville despite his 6’4″, 255 pound frame. In fairness, he was surrounded by top notch rushers like Carlos Dunlap during much of his Gators career.

Trattou may pan out to be more of a Dwan Edwards or Cory Redding contain type of end, but NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says he’s put together an impressive mix of rush moves this week in the shadow of Disney World. If he continues to show a rush presence, he could be an intriguing name for the Ravens to consider on Saturday.

S Jermale Hines (Ohio State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atBM7zf2IAw[/youtube]

Hines’ career interception total over four years in Columbus (three) looks more like a single game for a future Hall of Famer like Reed, but that doesn’t mean Hines hasn’t had a nose for the football. The safety from Cleveland also finished his Buckeyes career with 159 tackles and two sacks, and was named first team All-Big Ten by conference coaches in 2010.

At 6’1″, 216 pounds; Hines is bigger than your typical free safety-but is also quick. In fact, Hines could be an option as a returner at the next level as well. He’s as much an athlete as a football player, but his football skills certainly developed well at OSU, and could very well still improve as he reaches the NFL.

As the Ravens approach Saturday, Hines could be a valuable depth option at safety. While Tom Zbikowski handled FS well with Reed on the PUP list, he didn’t necessarily convince anyone he was absolutely the team’s replacement for Reed longterm. Hines could be that type of player someday if groomed appropriately at a young age.

WR Terrence Toliver (LSU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhIrQn1Nd7w[/youtube]

His numbers are by no means overwhelming, but exactly how many times was Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron able to call a play like the TD pass Toliver caught from Jarrett Lee above?

Exactly.

The Ravens finished 22nd in red zone efficiency in 2010. For the numerous complaints about the lack of creative play-calling, there was only so much for Cameron to work with. Namely, he missed a target the size of Toliver.

Toliver caught just 41 balls for 579 yards and five TD’s during his senior campaign in Baton Rouge. All five TD’s happened either in the Florida game above or in the Tigers’ Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M, where he caught three.

But there’s another number that’s significantly more important.

6’5″.

The only receiver the Ravens have with such size is James Hardy, and he’s James Hardy. If the Ravens are truly looking to get more dynamic offensively, Toliver could be a solid pickup on Friday night or Saturday.

FB Anthony Sherman (UConn)

anthonysherman

I would love to have been able to share a YouTube clip of the Huskies FB with you, but when you rush just four times for a total of one yard in your senior season I guess there’s not much to post.

Sherman might not have big numbers, but he can help take credit for a rushing attack that finished 2nd in the Big East in 2010, just four yards behind conference leading Louisville. He also showed himself to have reliable hands in the Connecticut offense, grabbing 48 passes for 477 yards and a TD over his four seasons playing football in Hartford.

More importantly, Sherman lead the way for RB Jordan Todman to finish fourth in all of the NCAA FBS in rushing with 1,695 yards. If the Ravens are going to want a traditional blocking back (and the way they used McClain would make you think they are), Sherman could very well fit the bill. At 5’11″, he has a very effective way of throwing around 244 pounds.

OT Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada)

I know what you’re thinking.

“Canada?”

Yeah, I’d usually just ignore a Canuck and let CFL teams fight over who gets him. But there are two unique things O’Donnell has going for him.

1-He’s 6’10.”

2-He did THIS to Boise State DE Ryan Wintersyk at an indoor practice during Shrine Game week.

Does it make him NFL material? Not necessarily. But does it mean more folks will be paying attention? Absolutely.

RB Da’Rel Scott (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADjVJ3MKd8k[/youtube]

Scott HAS to hope scouts were paying close attention to the Military Bowl, as his 200 yard, 2 TD performance against East Carolina was by far and away the best of his senior campaign for the Terps. If scouts could only remember his bowl game performances he’d be a lock to get selected, as he also compiled 174 yards and 2 TD’s against Nevada in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl.

After a breakout season (1,133 yards and eight TD’s) in 2008, Scott totaled just 1,133 yards and nine TD’s in his junior and senior seasons combined.

That being said, Scott’s 5’11″, 200 pound frame is shifty but can still take a hit. He could be a steady performer behind a solid O-Line at the next level and will likely be available late into Saturday.

QB Ricky Dobbs (Navy)

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

A number of teams (including the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions) have had no problems selecting service academy players in the NFL Draft and waiting until they were eligible to play. The Ravens have never done that, but with their partnership with the Maryland National Guard, they’ve certainly been more military friendly in recent years.

Dobbs probably doesn’t project to be a quarterback at the next level, but he’s a better passer than those who don’t follow the Midshipmen (see above) probably realize. Dobbs threw for over 2,500 yards over his junior and senior seasons; combining with 2,170 yards rushing.

It will be interesting to see if Dobbs stays at quarterback throughout Draft season or if he works at other positions. Receiver seems to be the best bet for him given his 5’11″, 215 pound size; but he could fit with some of the more undersized running backs in the NFL as well.

The military service will be an issue. He’s much more likely to sign as an undrafted free agent than to be picked, but he’s the type of special athlete a team might very well be willing to wait for. There’s no off-field red flags for NFL teams to worry about with Dobbs, as everything he does he keeps in mind that he ultimately wants to be the President…of the United States.

QB Pat Devlin (Delaware)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkPzmE0__7A[/youtube]

If the Pat Devlin story sounds familiar, it should. Substitute “Pitt” for “Penn State”, and it’s basically the Joe Flacco story again.

Devlin nearly lead the Blue Hens to the NCAA FCS title in 2010, throwing for 3,032 yards and 22 TD’s before the Hens were cut down by Eastern Washington in the Championship Game.

Devlin doesn’t project quite as high in the 2010 Draft as Flacco did in the 2008 Draft, but he’ll have time to try to improve that. As of now, he looks like a Friday night selection, but will get the chance to go up against better talent in Orlando and will get to work out against better players at LucasOil Stadium in Indy.

If he moves up, there’s no chance the Ravens take him. If he’s around late into Saturday, it wouldn’t stun me.

-G

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

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

Posted on 21 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

The hardest part of ending is starting again…

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

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

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

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

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

Unique labeling on my part. I’m aware.

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

grubbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

koch

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

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

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

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

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

mcclain

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

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

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

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

redding

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

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

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

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

kgregg

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

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

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

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

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

nakamura

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

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

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

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

ellerbe

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

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

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

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

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

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

chester

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

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

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

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

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

stallworth

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

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

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

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

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

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

divens

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

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

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

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

55. TE Davon Drew (ERFA)

ddrew

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

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

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

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

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

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

harper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks to BaltimoreRavens.com for the pictures!)

-G

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 18 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are our Top 7 Baltimore Ravens from their 31-24 AFC divisional round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday at Heinz Field…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Paul Kruger

kruger

6. Cory Redding

redding

5. Haloti Ngata

ngata

4. Todd Heap

heap

3. Ray Lewis

raylewis

2. Sam Koch

koch

1. Terrell Suggs

suggs

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Chris Carr

ccarr

6. Paul Kruger

kruger

5. Ray Rice

rice

4. Cory Redding

redding

3. Brandon McKinney

mckinney

2. Todd Heap

heap

1. Terrell Suggs

suggs

(Thanks to Getty Images, AP & Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for photos from Saturday’s game)

FINAL SEASON TOTALS:

Glenn:
29. Paul Kruger (1 point)
29. Morgan Cox (1 point)
29. Tavares Gooden (1 point)
26. David Reed (2 points)
26. Willis McGahee (2 points)
26. Le’Ron McClain (2 points)
23. Ed Dickson (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (3 points)
23. Kelly Gregg (3 points)
22. Ben Grubbs (4 points)
20. Terrence Cody (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
18. TJ Houshmandzadeh (7 points)
18. Jarret Johnson (7 points)
16. Chris Carr (8 points)
16. Lardarius Webb (8 points)
15. Josh Wilson (10 points)
14. Fabian Washington (12 points)
13. Dawan Landry (13 points)
12. Cory Redding (14 points)
11. Billy Cundiff (18 points)
10. Sam Koch (23 points)
9. Ed Reed (25 points)
8. Todd Heap (27 points)
7. Derrick Mason (29 points)
6. Ray Lewis (35 points)
5. Terrell Suggs (37 points)
4. Haloti Ngata (45 points)
3. Ray Rice (46 points)
2. Anquan Boldin (49 points)
1. Joe Flacco (66 points)

Drew:
31. Ed Dickson (1 point)
31. Jason Phillips (1 point)
26. Paul Kruger (2 points)
26. Morgan Cox (2 points)
26. TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 points)
26. Jameel McClain (2 points)
26. Dannell Ellerbe (2 points)

25. Marshal Yanda (4 points)

22. Willis McGahee (5 points)
22. Le’Ron McClain (5 points)
22. Michael Oher (5 points)
20. Lardarius Webb (6 points)
20. Fabian Washington (6 points)
18. Brandon McKinney (7 points)
18. Cory Redding (7 points)
14. Terrence Cody (8 points)
14. Tavares Gooden (8 points)
14. Josh Wilson (8 points)

14. Jarret Johnson (8 points)
12. Dawan Landry (11 points)
12. Sam Koch (11 points)
9. Chris Carr (20 points)
9. Ed Reed (20 points)
9. Billy Cundiff (20 points)
8. Todd Heap (21 points)
7. Derrick Mason (22 points)
6. Haloti Ngata (32 points)
5. Ray Lewis (36 points)
4. Anquan Boldin (37 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (42 points)
2. Ray Rice (53 points)
1. Joe Flacco (77 points)

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Not “Great Enough” to Beat Steelers, So Ravens Now Forced to Evaluate Everything

Posted on 16 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — After suffering another crushing playoff defeat Saturday, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh offered a telling postgame statement.

“We just weren’t great enough today to win that football game.”

His team certainly wasn’t.

It was one more crushing defeat for the Ravens (13-5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4), this time a 31-24 meltdown in the AFC divisional round at Heinz Field.

In three seasons under Harbaugh, the Ravens have suffered more than their fair share of such losses.

This one was likely the most crushing of the Harbaugh era, if not the most crushing in franchise history.

Leading 21-7 at the half, the Ravens appeared well on their way to a trip to the AFC Championship Game and well on their way to finally vanquishing their AFC North nemesis in the process.

Three turnovers later, the Ravens found themselves in a dogfight they wouldn’t win.

They were close.

For moments, they were great.

But in the end, Harbaugh was right. They weren’t great enough.

(Here’s the part where fans can feel free to add in the word “again.”)

Not being “great enough” is frustrating. It’s more frustrating when there’s no obvious answer regarding how the team can get there.

I posed the question to Harbaugh following the season ending defeat.

How does this team become “great enough”?

“That’s what we’ll have to study” responded Harbaugh. “We’ll go to work in the offseason and try to build our team the best way we can. Things come up and things happen, you’ve got to adjust and you’ve got to adapt. You never know on a journey what bend the road’s gonna take. You gotta overcome some adversity and some obstacles and we’ll have to build our team the best way we can to be great enough to these kind of games.”

I know what you’re thinking. It sounds like coach speak. It is to some extent. But there’s truth to it.

The truth is that the team really is close to being “great enough”.

On Saturday, it took a blown 14 point lead, those three turnovers, crucial late drops from WR’s Anquan Boldin & TJ Houshmandzadeh and a miraculous 58 yard pass from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown for the Ravens to be eliminated.

They were about as close to finally getting past the Steelers as possible without actually picking up a victory.

I asked Harbaugh after the game if after another crushing defeat he still believed the team was close to being “great enough”. He agreed, but he added one more thought.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

That’s the reality. The reality is that the Ravens are unbelievably close to turning the corner.

On Saturday night, they actually came to a stop right at the corner. They just couldn’t quite make the turn.

But turning the corner is still going to take a lot of work.

The Ravens have played three seasons with Harbaugh as head coach. In two of those seasons, losing came directly at the hands of the Steelers.

In breaking news (but not necessarily first reported by WNST), the Steelers aren’t coming off the schedule next season.

To become “great enough”, the Ravens are going to have to figure out a way to get past the Steelers.

As DT Haloti Ngata told me after the game, “something has to change, because it’s always them.”

There will be plenty of theories tossed around about how the Ravens can get over the hump.

Many in the fanbase will point their frustration towards Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, whose offense struggled to get out of their own way for the bulk of the 2nd half in the Steel City. Others will direct their frustration towards Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, who continued to employ a three man rush in 3rd and long situations, including the 58 yarder that set up the game winning touchdown.

Personnel wise, the Ravens will have clear needs in their offensive line and pass rush, but will likely have to re-examine their receiving corps and defensive backfield as well.

Some changes could be out of their hands. Asked about his future after the game, WR Derrick Mason said “I’m not gonna think about it right now.”

C Matt Birk, S Ed Reed and TE Todd Heap could all be forced to similarly consider whether or not they will indeed return to the NFL next season.

FB Le’Ron McClain, RB Willis McGahee and Houshmandzadeh have never hid their displeasure with their roles in Cameron’s offense. Boldin has been less vocal, but has often looked frustrated.

McClain and Houshmandzadeh are joined in (at least potential) free agency this offseason by other valuable contributors like WR Donte’ Stallworth, OT Jared Gaither, OL Marshal Yanda, CB’s Chris Carr & Josh Wilson, S Dawan Landry, P Sam Koch, Ngata and more.

And then there’s the quarterback.

A week after finally putting together a “breakthrough” playoff performance in a Wild Card round win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Joe Flacco returned to a more “pedestrian” level in the loss to the Steelers.

He was 16/30 for 125 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble.

On the team’s final drive of the game he wildly overthrew Heap and threw a very poor deep ball to Mason before getting sacked. On 4th and long he threw a decent pass but it was dropped by Houshmandzadeh.

Following the loss, fans immediately took to Facebook and Twitter to ask a familiar question.

“Does Flacco have ‘it’?”

GM Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh will have to answer that question this offseason.

Harbaugh wasn’t just throwing around coach speak when he addressed what it would take to reach greatness. He was offering a truthful reflection regarding what the organization was going to have to this offseason.

The answer just wasn’t quite as fulfilling as some fans would want.

They were unbelievably close Saturday night. They were close enough that the Steelers needed a near miracle to win at home.

Yet this offseason will be one where they have to evaluate all aspects of their organization in order to determine what it will take to finally get past the Steelers.

Unreal.

At halftime, they were 30 minutes away from one of the greatest moments in franchise history.

In those 30 minutes, the collapse wasn’t suffered by the players and coaches alone.

The collapse was suffered by the entire organization.

-G

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Mason, McClain, Ngata, Houshmandzadeh, LB Ray Lewis, WR Marcus Smith, CB Lardarius Webb, LB Terrell Suggs and RB Ray Rice following the loss now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Rice played despite flu-like symptoms Friday night, he said following the game he hadn’t eaten solid food in two days……The Ravens will return to 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills Monday to clean out their lockers. Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 11 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are our Top 7 Baltimore Ravens from their 30-7 AFC Wild Card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Terrence Cody

cody

6. Terrell Suggs

suggs

5. Anquan Boldin

boldin

4. Dawan Landry

landry

3. Chris Carr

carr

2. Joe Flacco

flacco

1. Todd Heap

heap

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Ray Lewis

raylewis

6. Terrence Cody

cody

5. Anquan Boldin

boldin

4. Dawan Landry

landry

3. Chris Carr

carr

2. Joe Flacco

flacco

1. Todd Heap

heap

(Most photos courtesy of the Kansas City Star)

SEASON TOTALS:


Glenn:
29. Morgan Cox (1 point)
29. Tavares Gooden (1 point)
26. David Reed (2 points)
26. Willis McGahee (2 points)
26. Le’Ron McClain (2 points)
23. Ed Dickson (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (3 points)
23. Kelly Gregg (3 points)
22. Ben Grubbs (4 points)
20. Terrence Cody (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
18. TJ Houshmandzadeh (7 points)
18. Jarret Johnson (7 points)
16. Chris Carr (8 points)
16. Lardarius Webb (8 points)
15. Josh Wilson (10 points)
13. Cory Redding (12 points)
13. Fabian Washington (12 points)
12. Dawan Landry (13 points)
11. Sam Koch (17 points)
10. Billy Cundiff (18 points)
9. Todd Heap (23 points)
8. Ed Reed (25 points)
7. Derrick Mason (29 points)
5. Terrell Suggs (30 points)
5. Ray Lewis (30 points)
4. Haloti Ngata (42 points)
3. Ray Rice (46 points)
2. Anquan Boldin (49 points)
1. Joe Flacco (66 points)

Drew:
30. Ed Dickson (1 point)
30. Jason Phillips (1 point)
25. Morgan Cox (2 points)
25. TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 points)
25. Jameel McClain (2 points)
25. Brandon McKinney (2 points)
25. Dannell Ellerbe (2 points)

24. Cory Redding (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (4 points)

20. Willis McGahee (5 points)
20. Le’Ron McClain (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
18. Lardarius Webb (6 points)
18. Fabian Washington (6 points)
14. Terrence Cody (8 points)
14. Tavares Gooden (8 points)
14. Josh Wilson (8 points)

14. Jarret Johnson (8 points)
12. Dawan Landry (11 points)
12. Sam Koch (11 points)
11. Todd Heap (15 points)
10. Chris Carr (19 points)
8. Ed Reed (20 points)
8. Billy Cundiff (20 points)
7. Derrick Mason (22 points)
6. Haloti Ngata (32 points)
5. Terrell Suggs (35 points)
4. Ray Lewis (36 points)
3. Anquan Boldin (37 points)
2. Ray Rice (50 points)
1. Joe Flacco (77 points)

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are our Top 7 Baltimore Ravens from their 13-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Todd Heap

heap

6. Ray Rice

rayrice

5. Lardarius Webb

webb

4. Haloti Ngata

ngata

3. Sam Koch

koch

2. Billy Cundiff

cundiff

1. Ed Reed

reed

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Terrell Suggs

suggs

6. Joe Flacco

flacco

5. Billy Cundiff

cundiff

4. Ray Rice

rayrice

3. Chris Carr

ccarr

2. Ed Reed

reed

1. Haloti Ngata

ngata

SEASON TOTALS:

Glenn:
29. Morgan Cox (1 point)
29. Tavares Gooden (1 point)
26. David Reed (2 points)
26. Willis McGahee (2 points)
26. Le’Ron McClain (2 points)
22. Ed Dickson (3 points)
22. Marshal Yanda (3 points)
22. Kelly Gregg (3 points)
22. Chris Carr (3 points)
20. Terrence Cody (4 points)
20. Ben Grubbs (4 points)
19. Michael Oher (5 points)
17. TJ Houshmandzadeh (7 points)
17. Jarret Johnson (7 points)
16. Lardarius Webb (8 points)
15. Dawan Landry (9 points)
14. Josh Wilson (10 points)
12. Cory Redding (12 points)
12. Fabian Washington (12 points)
11. Todd Heap (16 points)
10. Sam Koch (17 points)
9. Billy Cundiff (18 points)
8. Ed Reed (25 points)
7. Terrell Suggs (28 points)
6. Derrick Mason (29 points)
5. Ray Lewis (30 points)
4. Haloti Ngata (42 points)
2. Ray Rice (46 points)
2. Anquan Boldin (46 points)
1. Joe Flacco (60 points)

Drew:
30. Ed Dickson (1 point)
30. Jason Phillips (1 point)
25. Morgan Cox (2 points)
25. TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 points)
25. Jameel McClain (2 points)
25. Brandon McKinney (2 points)
25. Dannell Ellerbe (2 points)

24. Cory Redding (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (4 points)

20. Willis McGahee (5 points)
20. Le’Ron McClain (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
17. Lardarius Webb (6 points)
17. Terrence Cody (6 points)
17. Fabian Washington (6 points)
16. Dawan Landry (7 points)
12. Tavares Gooden (8 points)
12. Josh Wilson (8 points)
12. Jarret Johnson (8 points)
12. Todd Heap (8 points)

11. Sam Koch (11 points)
10. Chris Carr (14 points)
8. Ed Reed (20 points)
8. Billy Cundiff (20 points)
7. Derrick Mason (22 points)
6. Haloti Ngata (32 points)
5. Anquan Boldin (34 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (35 points)
3. Ray Lewis (35 points)
2. Ray Rice (50 points)
1. Joe Flacco (71 points)

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 28 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Here are our Top 7 Baltimore Ravens from their 20-10 win over Cleveland Browns Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Morgan Cox

morgancox

6. Joe Flacco

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens throws to a receiver against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

5. TJ Houshmandzadeh

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26: Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh,  of the Baltimore Ravens catches a touchdown pass over defensive back Sheldon Brown,  of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

4. Ray Lewis

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26: Linebacker Ray Lewis  of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates as he leaves the field after their game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

3. Derrick Mason

Baltimore Ravens Derrick Mason leaves the huddle during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Banks Stadium in Baltimore on December 19, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

2. Haloti Ngata

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Mark Sanchez  of the New York Jets gets sacked by Haloti Ngata  of the Baltimore Ravens during their home opener at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

1. Ed Reed

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26: Safety Ed Reed  of the Baltimore Ravens returns an interception as he is chased by defenders Alex Mack  and Eric Steinbach  of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Billy Cundiff

Baltimore Ravens' kicker Billy Cundiff celebrates with holder Sam Koch after kicking a 32-yard field goal to take the lead against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter at M&T Banks Stadium in Baltimore on December 19, 2010. The  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

6. Morgan Cox

morgancox

5. Ray Lewis

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Ray Lewis  of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates the Ravens victory after the game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

4. Derrick Mason

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 16: Derrick Mason #85 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lucas Oli Stadium on January 16, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Ravens 20-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

3. Joe Flacco

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens runs against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

2. Ray Rice

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 26: Running back Ray Rice  of the Baltimore Ravens runs by linebacker Eric Barton  of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

1. Ed Reed

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 21: Teammates Ed Reed  and Ray Lewis  of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate after a defensive stop against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Glenn:
29. Morgan Cox (1 point)
29. Tavares Gooden (1 point)
26. David Reed (2 points)
26. Willis McGahee (2 points)
26. Le’Ron McClain (2 points)
22. Ed Dickson (3 points)
22. Marshal Yanda (3 points)
22. Kelly Gregg (3 points)
22. Chris Carr (3 points)
20. Terrence Cody (4 points)
20. Ben Grubbs (4 points)
18. Lardarius Webb (5 points)
18. Michael Oher (5 points)
16. TJ Houshmandzadeh (7 points)
16. Jarret Johnson (7 points)
15. Dawan Landry (9 points)
14. Josh Wilson (10 points)
10. Cory Redding (12 points)
10. Sam Koch (12 points)
10. Billy Cundiff (12 points)
10. Fabian Washington (12 points)
9. Todd Heap (15 points)

8. Ed Reed (18 points)
7. Terrell Suggs (28 points)
6. Derrick Mason (29 points)
5. Ray Lewis (30 points)
4. Haloti Ngata (38 points)
3. Ray Rice (44 points)
2. Anquan Boldin (46 points)
1. Joe Flacco (60 points)

Drew:
30. Ed Dickson (1 point)
30. Jason Phillips (1 point)
25. Morgan Cox (2 points)
25. TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 points)
25. Jameel McClain (2 points)
25. Brandon McKinney (2 points)
25. Dannell Ellerbe (2 points)

24. Cory Redding (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (4 points)

20. Willis McGahee (5 points)
20. Le’Ron McClain (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
17. Lardarius Webb (6 points)
17. Terrence Cody (6 points)
17. Fabian Washington (6 points)
16. Dawan Landry (7 points)
12. Tavares Gooden (8 points)
12. Josh Wilson (8 points)
12. Jarret Johnson (8 points)
12. Todd Heap (8 points)
11. Chris Carr (9 points)
10. Sam Koch (11 points)
9. Ed Reed (14 points)
8. Billy Cundiff (17 points)
7. Derrick Mason (22 points)
6. Haloti Ngata (25 points)

4. Anquan Boldin (34 points)
4. Terrell Suggs (34 points)
3. Ray Lewis (35 points)
2. Ray Rice (46 points)
1. Joe Flacco (69 points)

-Morgan Cox photos courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens

Posted on 21 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Here are our Top 7 Baltimore Ravens from their 30-24 win over the New Orleans Saints Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Tavares Gooden

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Tavares Gooden  of the Baltimore Ravens chases Drew Brees  of the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

6. Ed Dickson

Baltimore Ravens Ed Dickson runs for a 34 yard touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at M&T Banks Stadium in Baltimore on December 19, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

5. Cory Redding

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Cory Redding  of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates his interception with 1 minute, 56 seconds to go in the game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

4. Haloti Ngata

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Freeman  of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is almost sacked by Haloti Ngata  of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Buccaneers 17-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

3. Terrell Suggs

July 30, 2010 - Westminster, Maryland, United States of America - 30 July 2010: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.

2. Jarret Johnson

July 30, 2010 - Westminster, Maryland, United States of America - 30 July 2010: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson.

1. Ray Rice

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Ray Rice  of the Baltimore Ravens score the Ravens third touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Saints at the half 21-14. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Ed Dickson

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco passes to Ed Dickson as he is hit by New Orleans Saints' Roman Harper during the second quarter at M&T Banks Stadium in Baltimore on December 19, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

6. Willis McGahee

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Willis McGahee  of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

5. Haloti Ngata

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Haloti Ngata  of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after a play against the New York Jets during their Jets home opener at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

4. Billy Cundiff

Baltimore Ravens' kicker Billy Cundiff celebrates with holder Sam Koch after kicking a 32-yard field goal to take the lead against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter at M&T Banks Stadium in Baltimore on December 19, 2010. The  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

3. Tavares Gooden

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Reggie Bush  of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Tavares Gooden  of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
2. Joe Flacco

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens looks for a receiver during the game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

1. Ray Rice

Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice runs past the New Orleans Saints defense during the first quarter at M&T Banks Stadium in Baltimore on December 19, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

SEASON TOTALS:

Glenn:
29. Tavares Gooden (1 point)
26. David Reed (2 points)
26. Willis McGahee (2 points)
26. Le’Ron McClain (2 points)
22. Ed Dickson (3 points)
22. Marshal Yanda (3 points)
22. Kelly Gregg (3 points)
22. Chris Carr (3 points)
19. TJ Houshmandzadeh (4 points)
19. Terrence Cody (4 points)
19. Ben Grubbs (4 points)
17. Lardarius Webb (5 points)
17. Michael Oher (5 points)
16. Jarret Johnson (7 points)
15. Dawan Landry (9 points)
14. Josh Wilson (10 points)
13. Ed Reed (11 points)
9. Cory Redding (12 points)
9. Sam Koch (12 points)
9. Billy Cundiff (12 points)
9. Fabian Washington (12 points)
8. Todd Heap (15 points)

7. Derrick Mason (24 points)
6. Ray Lewis (26 points)
5. Terrell Suggs (28 points)
4. Haloti Ngata (32 points)
3. Ray Rice (44 points)
2. Anquan Boldin (46 points)
1. Joe Flacco (58 points)

Drew:
29. Ed Dickson (1 point)
29. Jason Phillips (1 point)
25. TJ Houshmandzadeh (2 points)
25. Jameel McClain (2 points)
25. Brandon McKinney (2 points)
25. Dannell Ellerbe (2 points)

24. Cory Redding (3 points)
23. Marshal Yanda (4 points)

20. Willis McGahee (5 points)
20. Le’Ron McClain (5 points)
20. Michael Oher (5 points)
17. Lardarius Webb (6 points)
17. Terrence Cody (6 points)
17. Fabian Washington (6 points)
15. Dawan Landry (7 points)
15. Ed Reed (7 points)
11. Tavares Gooden (8 points)
11. Josh Wilson (8 points)
11. Jarret Johnson (8 points)
11. Todd Heap (8 points)
10. Chris Carr (9 points)
9. Sam Koch (11 points)
8. Billy Cundiff (16 points)
7. Derrick Mason (18 points)
6. Haloti Ngata (25 points)

5. Ray Lewis (32 points)
3. Anquan Boldin (34 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (34 points)
2. Ray Rice (40 points)
1. Joe Flacco (64 points)

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Bright Rays: After Lewis’ Speech, Rice Goes Off in Ravens Win

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Bright Rays: After Lewis’ Speech, Rice Goes Off in Ravens Win

Posted on 19 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — During meetings Saturday night, Ray Lewis had one point to make to his teammates. That point was apparently best made in the form of a question.

“The question was very simple” stated Lewis Sunday. “What would you give for the man beside you?”

As it turns out, the Baltimore Ravens LB was on the brink of having his question answered in the form of a career-best performance from a teammate.

RB Ray Rice absolutely went off Sunday, as the Ravens (10-4) held off the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints (10-4) 30-24 at M&T Bank Stadium.

Rice was brilliant on the ground, posting 153 yards (the 3rd most of his short NFL career) and a touchdown. His day on the ground was punctuated by a 50 yard scamper in the 4th quarter, his longest run of the season. The run was particularly significant as it came on the first play after the Saints had tied the game on an almost impossible TD catch by WR Lance Moore from QB Drew Brees. It also put the Ravens in field goal range, and K Billy Cundiff would go on to make a 32 yard kick that would prove to be the game winner.

But that wasn’t all Rice did Sunday.

Rice was also the Ravens’ leading receiver, hauling in five catches for 80 yards. The most significant was a beautiful 17 yard touchdown haul in the 2nd quarter on a rainbow toss from QB Joe Flacco.

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19: Ray Rice  of the Baltimore Ravens score the Ravens third touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Saints at the half 21-14. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

The combined 233 yards of total offense marked a career high for the third year back from Rutgers.

Rice’s teammates were particularly impressed by the performance.

“It was great” said Flacco. “Ray came ready to play, big time in the running game. Our offensive line did a great job of creating space on the line of scrimmage. Ray did a great job of finding that room and then creating a little bit of extra yards on his own. Ray did a great job on some of the screens. It was a really good game.”

C Matt Birk was pleased with not only Rice, but also RB Willis McGahee. McGahee tallied 53 yards rushing on seven carries in the victory.

“They got up into the secondary and did some things. That’s what those guys do, that’s why they’re special.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh labeled Rice’s performance as “tremendous”, which might well be the most fitting description possible.

It was a particularly important performance for Rice, who had only one 100 yard rushing performance on the season coming into the game (133 yards in a Week 5 win against the Denver Broncos here in Charm City). The Pro Bowl back said he had a feeling the cold weather (34 degrees at kickoff) would help set him up for a big game.

“The cold weather doesn’t bother me. I’ve been in Rutgers, grew up in New York. It felt like it was 80 degrees out there for me. I was good to go. Late in the year, it’s a mentality thing. It just felt good to know that we said we were going to do something and went out and did it.”

And apparently part of what inspired Rice to put together such an impressive performacne were those words spoken by the future Hall of Fame LB that he looks up to in a “big brother” type of capacity.

“Ray Lewis spoke to the team last night” Rice said after the win. “You’ve got a guy who played 15 years and gave all of his blood, sweat and tears. You know when the time is trickling down late in the season and we’ve got to push for that. He spoke to the team, and I just think everybody heard that message last night.”

When I asked Rice what about Lewis’ speech stuck out to him, he said said it was about “sacrifice.”

“What are we going to sacrifice now until the rest of the season? We had our bumps and bruises, but what is everybody willing to sacrifice for one goal? The one goal is to win a Super Bowl.”

That sacrifice was clearly on display as the Ravens put together a crucial victory over the team that reached that goal just a season ago.

Ray Lewis has made plenty of speeches throughout his 15 year career. It would be hard to ever point out one that had more significance than others. Yet somehow the message hasn’t stopped resonating with teammates. He said the speech he made Saturday night came “straight from (his) heart.”

“Me spending a lot of time with God before I came to the meeting, and he just kept putting things on my heart. When I just came, it was just about one thing; sacrifice. I’ve been in this business 15 years, and I’ve seen some good teams and I’ve seen some OK teams, but what we have right now, the question was very simple. What would you give for the man beside you? I don’t care what the score is here and there; if we come out of here with the win, we became a better team.”

There will be a time when the Ravens won’t have Ray Lewis on the football field. The loss the Ravens will suffer on the football field without Lewis will be significant. But the loss of the team’s heart, soul and spiritual leadership could well be just as significant.

Ray Rice will likely post 233 yards of offense many more times in his career. Yet it was Sunday when his team needed yard to move past a two week stretch that included a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a near collapse in a win at the Houston Texans.

To summon up that performance Sunday, Rice believed he needed to hear what Lewis had to say.

Ravens fans can simply hope that Lewis will have many more opportunities to offer such inspiration.

NOTES: Hear from Rice, Lewis, Harbaugh, Flacco, S Ed Reed, CB Chris Carr, LB Terrell Suggs and DL Cory Redding following the win in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……LB Tavares Gooden is scheduled to join Drew Forrester Monday at 9:30am on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST……WR David Reed left the game in the first half with a concussion, he is considered day-to-day moving forward……WR Donte’ Stallworth was inactive for the first time since returning from a broken foot suffered in the preseason. Harbaugh told me after the game that Stallworth was not deactivated due to injury or illness, a Ravens official confirmed the team chose to keep CB Cary Williams active instead of Stallworth due to how much New Orleans was expected to throw……The Ravens will meet together at the 1 Winning Drive facility in Owings Mills Monday, Harbaugh will hold his weekly press conference Monday afternoon

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Zbikowski & Heap OUT Sunday

Posted on 17 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (9-4) held their final open practice of the week Friday before Sunday’s showdown with the New Orleans Saints (10-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.

TE Todd Heap (hamstring) was not on the practice field again Friday, and was ruled out of Sunday’s game. Heap has not seen the field since leaving the team’s Week 13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Charm City early in the first quarter.

S Tom Zbikowski (back) also missed practice Friday, he has not practiced since being hurt in the team’s Week 14 win over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. He was also ruled out for Sunday in the team’s final injury report of the week.

Head Coach John Harbaugh didn’t rule out the chance that Zbikowski could be placed on Injured Reserve.

“When you’ve got a back, we’ll just have to see. He’s got a MRI coming back on that. There’s not much season left either. If it’s a couple/three week thing, then we’re just gonna put him down.”

Harbaugh did give hope Zbikowski could return, adding “if he can get back next week or the week after, then you bring him back.”

FB Le’Ron McClain missed a second straight day due to illness. RB Willis McGahee also missed Friday’s practice with a similar illness. Both were listed as questionable for Sunday, but are expected to be available.

WR Derrick Mason (ankle) returned to the practice field Friday, he said Thursday he would be “fine” for Sunday’s game and was listed as probable on the final injury report of the week. LB Tavares Gooden (calf) and CB Fabian Washington (thigh) were also listed as probable.

All other players were on the practice field Friday and are expected to be available Sunday.

SAINTS INJURIES:  11 Saints players were listed on the team’s final injury report of the week.

TE David Thomas (knee) and WR Courtney Roby (head) will miss Sunday’s game.

DT Anthony Hargrove (knee) and RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) were listed as questionable for Sunday.

DT Remi Ayodele (ankle), OT Jermon Bushrod (ankle), S Malcolm Jenkins (rib), CB Tracy Porter (shoulder), TE Jeremy Shockey (groin), OT Zach Strief (knee) and LB Jonathan Vilma (quad) were all listed as probable for Sunday.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Saints Play by Play Voice Jim Henderson joined Drew Forrester Friday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault……Weather.com/The Weather Channel forecasts 36 degrees and mostly cloudy skies for Sunday’s game……A camera crew from ABC’s “Nightline” show followed OT Michael Oher around the locker room Friday. He will be featured in a 2011 episode of the show around the time his new book will be released……The Ravens will hold a walkthrough Saturday before Sunday’s game. Saturday’s walkthrough is closed to the media

-G

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