Tag Archive | "meadowlands"

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Loyola announces MAAC hoops schedule

Posted on 14 September 2012 by WNST Staff

Game At Meadowlands Highlights Men’s Basketball’s MAAC Slate

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball will open its 2012-2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule with a home game on Wednesday, December 5, against Niagara University, three days before theGreyhounds will take on Saint Peter’s University in a college hoops doubleheader at the Izod Center.

Loyola and the Peacocks will play the first of two games on Saturday, December 8, in the complex at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford,N.J., prior to a contest between Duke University and Temple University.

The Greyhounds finished the 2011-2012 season with a 13-5 mark in MAAC action its best-ever league record, en route to a school Division I best 24-9 record.

“The MAAC has great coaches and great players, and that is what makes every game tough,” Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said. “It doesn’t matter if you are home or away, the teams make it so that every game is a great environment, and it makes it so that you look forward to every game as a new challenge.”

After completing 2012 with three non-conference games, the Greyhounds will open the new year with a Friday, January 4, game versus Rider University at Reitz Arena. Last season, the Greyhounds and Broncs played before a sellout crowd in Loyola’s venue, the first of two-straight capacity crowds in Reitz.

Saint Peter’s will make the trip to Baltimore on Sunday, January 6, and Fairfield University will wrap up a three-game homestand for the Greyhounds on Friday, January 11.

The Greyhounds, who won the 2012 MAAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history,will play their first road contest of 2013 on Sunday, January 13, at Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J.

A home game against Marist College on Thursday, January 17, will be on the schedule before Loyola faces Fairfield in Bridgeport, Conn., on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21.

Loyola will hit New York City on Friday, January 25, for a game at Manhattan College before returning to Retiz Arena for a Sunday, January 27, contest versus Iona College.

The Greyhounds make their annual sojourn in Western New York with games at Canisius College on Thursday, January 31, before taking on Niagara on Saturday, February 2. Last year, the Greyhounds swept the road trip in the Buffalo area for the first time in the school’s MAAC history.

Siena College visits the Evergreen Campus on Friday, February 8, just before Loyola travels to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for a Sunday,February 10, game at Marist College.

Canisius is in Baltimore for a Valentine’s Day game on Thursday, February 14, and two days later Loyola will visit Albany, N.Y., for a Saturday, February 16, matchup with Siena.

A step out of conference play during the weekend of February 22-24 for a Bracketbuster road contest will come before the final weekend of league action.

Loyola visits Westchester County on Friday, March 1, for a date with Iona before closing the regular-season at home against Manhattan on Sunday, March 3.

Springfield, Mass., will again host the MAAC Championships, beginning on Friday, March 8, and culminating with the Championship Game onMonday, March 11.

Dates of all Loyola contests are subject to change, and times will be announced at a later date. Television details will also be distributed in the coming weeks.

Comments (0)

The Reality Check Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

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

The Reality Check Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. St. Louis Rams (Last Week:  31)

With Kellen Clemens at quarterback, the Rams are absolutely the worst team in the National Football League.

31. Indianapolis Colts (LW:  32)

They won’t win another one…at least I don’t think they will.

30. Minnesota Vikings (LW:  30)

Could actually be worse than Indy.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW:  24)

Why did they get so many primetime games?

28. Cleveland Browns (LW:  29)

Much better with Seneca Wallace at QB than Colt McCoy.

27. Washington Redskins (LW:  28)

The Giants lost to them twice. The ball isn’t round.

26. Carolina Panthers (LW:  25)

That was a pretty fantastic performance against a top defense.

25. Buffalo Bills (LW:  22)

Chan Gailey doesn’t really look like a NFL head coach to me.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW:  27)

So…maybe Raheem Morris doesn’t like being a NFL head coach?

23. Miami Dolphins (LW:  23)

Reggie Bush. Unfreakingreal. Athletes have tended to perform better WHILE dating Kim Kardashian than after.

22. Chicago Bears (LW:  19)

They were at one point a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

21. Kansas City Chiefs (LW:  26)

Romeo Crennel could have never posted a more significant victory.

20. Arizona Cardinals (LW:  21)

They might be better than this.

19. Tennessee Titans (LW:  14)

Now does Jake Locker play?

18. Philadelphia Eagles (LW:  20)

They’re zombies in the Keystone State.

17. Oakland Raiders (LW:  16)

That one will be painful for some time.

Comments (1)

There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

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

There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

Posted on 10 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I guess it’s safe to say Rob Ambrose made the right decision to not redshirt Terrance West

Especially seeing as how his 4TD’s helped Towson improve to 4-1 on the season with their win over Richmond Saturday night at Unitas Stadium….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT4vlLi_vWo[/youtube]

The Tigers are now 2-0 in the CAA for the first time EVER. Remember when they were picked to finish last in the conference? Nice call there.

(Editor’s note: Spiders QB-and USC transfer-Aaron Corp completed 31 of 34 attempts Saturday night. I still can’t figure out how Towson was ever able to stop them. How does someone go 31 or 34 and win???)

2. When they weren’t fighting, there was a pretty fun football game being played between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers

For some reason, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins decided to fight about a pretty impressive Steve Smith touchdown from Cam Newton…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq7gVv7I4MA[/youtube]

…Yeah I really have no explanation for that. I will reiterate what I’ve been saying about the Saints all season however. You can tell me all you want about their defense not being great. Based on how good Drew Brees and company are, they’re fine.

3. We want to write the Pittsburgh Steelers off, but Ben Roethlisberger just won’t let us

Sitting on my fantasy football bench, Big Ben managed to toss FIVE touchdowns for the Steelers in the win, pissing off everyone in the world who has no connection to the Steel City. Oh, and Daniel Sepulveda executed a perfect fake punt just to rub it in…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rChOUXR7JyQ[/youtube]

Jonathan Dwyer also ran for over 100 yards as the bad guys beat the Tennessee Titans. That answers the age old question, “who is Jonathan Dwyer?”

4. BCS apologists might get their chance to say LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State ARE a playoff system for college football

We’ll start with LSU’s big win over Florida, a blowout that included a would-be touchdown on a fake punt-had it not been for a taunting call that we can all agree was questionable at best…

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

Seriously?

Next, The Crimson Tide started the season with a quarterback controversy. In their big win over Vanderbilt Saturday night, AJ McCarron reminded everyone why that didn’t last very long…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQrJYCbUFK0[/youtube]

Oh yeah. Trent Richardson is still pretty good too.

Elsewhere, Texas came into the Red River Rivalry this year with higher hopes based on the (Case) McCoy-(Jaxson) Shipley Combo Part 2. Landry Jones quickly ruined those hopes…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7BEMeOhYwQ[/youtube]

The path to the BCS Championship Game is also easier for the Sooners this year based on the fact that there is no more Big 12 Big 12 Championship Game.

Which leads us finally to Oklahoma State, who finished on the good end of a 70-28 beatdown of Kansas Saturday…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fgH624Jn-Y[/youtube]

Before you pencil Oklahoma into the national title game, a reminder that the Cowboys host this year’s “Bedlam” game in Stillwater. It’s significant.

5. Kellen Moore remains atop my “Heisman Trophy watch” personally, but I understand why everyone is so hot and bothered by Andrew Luck

Here’s my problem. Everyone always beats up the Boise State QB because the Broncos don’t play top-notch competition. For example, they shredded Fresno State most recently…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moapfuyqut4[/youtube]

…but thus far, the best team Stanford has beaten all season is Duke-and Duke was NOT playing with Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Marshall Plumlee or any other Plumlee anywhere on the planet…that I know of.

The Cardinal’s victim Saturday night was a less than impressive Pac 12 newcomer-Colorado. You only know anything about the game because Tiger Woods took a break from being crappy at golf to show up and watch the thing with John Elway…

tiger

Woods finished tied for 30th this weekend at an event won by some dude named Bryce Molder. Tied for 30th. Bryce Molder. Oh…and some dude threw a hot dog at him while he was playing. REALLY…

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

6. Cincinnati Bengals defense plus AJ Green equals late season games could be more interesting for Ravens than we want them to be

AJ Green was immediately more popular just for NOT being Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens. Now it looks like he’s really good to boot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-FUlm0MGeI[/youtube]

I don’t think Cincy can stay in the AFC playoff race all season by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks like they’re not going to fall apart either. Marvin Lewis’ team will have two chances to make life miserable in Charm City later this season.

7. Sooo….maybe Jim Harbaugh WAS worth all that money?

Until this point, I have refused to believe in the San Francisco 49ers despite their early season success. After their blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, I might have to start buying stock…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59UTGUCaWo0[/youtube]

I’d say the Josh Morgan injury would hurt them, but they play in the NFC West. I get the feeling they could lose half their roster and still be in the mix.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , ,

CBS Sports to Air Morgan State-Grambling Documentary

Posted on 12 September 2011 by WNST Staff

CBS SPORTS NETWORK TO AIR DOCUMENTARY ABOUT
FIRST HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL
GAME PLAYED IN NEW YORK CITY

“1st & Goal in the Bronx: Grambling vs. Morgan State 1968” Debuts
Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 PM, ET

CBS Sports Network presents 1ST & GOAL IN THE BRONX: GRAMBLING VS. MORGAN STATE 1968, a documentary about the monumental game played between Grambling and Morgan State, the first historically black college football game played in New York City.  The one-hour documentary airs on Wednesday, Sept. 28 (7:00 PM, ET), exactly 43 years after the game was played at Yankee Stadium in front of more than 60,000 fans.  Actor Keith David narrates the program.

A clip from the documentary can be viewed via: http://bit.ly/oJEkYz

Through the lens of this historic game, this documentary explores the history of black college football and its struggles in segregated America, as well as the political and cultural sub-text surrounding this match-up.  The show features numerous interviews with players from Grambling and Morgan State including Shack Harris and Raymond Chester, as well as current Grambling coach Doug Williams, Willie BrownWillie Lanier, Eddie Robinson’s widow Doris Robinson and veteran sports columnist Jerry Izenberg, among others. Overall, 31 players involved in the game were drafted to the NFL or AFL.

The game has been played every year since 1968 and officially became the New York Urban League Classic in 1971, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The New York Urban League Classic was played at Yankee Stadium until 1987, when it moved to the Meadowlands.

Alexis Arguello and Brian Davis produce.  Emilie Deutsch is Vice President, Features and Interstitials, CBS Sports Network.  For more information, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.

#  #  #

Comments Off

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

In A Word, Todd Heap Was “Steady” in Baltimore

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I kept trying to come up with the word throughout the weekend.

After Todd Heap’s tenure with the Baltimore Ravens officially ended this weekend when he signed a two year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, I had hoped to come up with a word to describe Heap’s time in Charm City.

When we made a list of the Top 10 players in franchise history last week, both Drew Forrester and I agreed he was deserving of Top 10 status. There’s no doubt that Heap will ultimately return to M&T Bank Stadium to see his name honored along the facade in the team’s Ring of Honor.

That being said, Heap’s career numbers would certainly fall short of being considered “spectacular” during his 10 seasons in Baltimore. He  finished with 700 yards receiving or more in only three of those seasons, never tallying more than 855. He also never hauled in any more than seven touchdown passes in a single season. After achieving Pro Bowl and All-Pro status twice early in his career (2002 & 2003), the former Arizona State Sun Devils star never again reached the same heights.

While perhaps not always “great”, Heap was always good. Usually he was very good.

Heap wasn’t exactly a football highlight reel. There will always be certain plays that will be remembered from Heap’s career, starting with the leaping catch he made over two defenders in the Ravens’ 2002 Monday Night Football win over the  Denver Broncos and ending with the tremendous layout catch he made on MNF in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets in 2010.

There were others in between, but Heap was never a “SportsCenter” staple or must-see YouTube star.

Rarely would the word “spectacular” be used to describe the way Todd Heap played football. On top of that, Heap’s nature as a person was by no means larger-than-life. Unlike retiring NFL WR Randy Moss, Heap was rarely the go-to guy a reporter looked to for a quote, never making controversial statements about teammates, coaches, or frankly anyone.

If “spectacular” wasn’t going to be the word, perhaps the more appropriate word would be just “steady”.

Steady.

During his ten years in Baltimore, Todd Heap’s play could be best described as steady.

When a play needed to be made, it was safe for the Baltimore Ravens to look to Heap.

Comments Off

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

Hopkins With Big Win Over Carolina in Sunday Lacrosse Action

Posted on 03 April 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official recap, courtesy of the JHU Sports Information Department…

Coppersmith’s Game-Winner Lifts Hopkins Past North Carolina, 10-9

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Sophomore midfielder Lee Coppersmith scored his only goal of the game with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter to break a 9-9 tie and Johns Hopkins held off one final North Carolina push as the Blue Jays defeated the Tar Heels, 10-9, in the Big City Classic at the New Meadowlands Stadium Sunday afternoon. The win improves JHU’s record to 7-2 and snaps a four-game losing streak to the Tar Heels, who slip to 7-3 with the loss.

The Blue Jays led 9-6 less than a minute into the final period after sophomore midfielder John Ranagan completed his hat trick after he scored off an assist from linemate John Greeley on a set play from. The pair ran on the same play on JHU’s next possession, but UNC’s Steven Rastivo got a foot on the shot this time and keep it a three-goal game.

The Blue Jays held the three-goal lead for more than six minutes after Ranagan’s goal, but UNC grabbed some momentum with a Thomas Wood goal at the 8:11 mark and made it a one-goal game just over two minutes later when senior Billy Bitter scored his fourth goal of the game.

After trailing by four early and three on two different occasions in the second half, the Tar Heels drew even when Duncan Hutchins converted a cross-field pass from freshman Nicky Galasso with 2:41 remaining.

The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff and worked the ball to Coppersmith, who dodged from the top of the box and blew a left-handed rocket past Rastivo for what proved to be the game-winner. After JHU won the ensuing faceoff, the Tar Heels forced a turnover and called timeout with 54 seconds remaining. The Blue Jay defense held tight and the final of Bassett’s seven saves in the game sealed the win for the Blue Jays.

Hopkins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 5:11 of the game as senior attackman Kyle Wharton bookended a run game-opening run with a pair of goals. After Wharton quick-sticked home a nifty feed to the crease from sophomore Zach Palmer just 49 seconds into the game, the Blue Jays got back-to-back goals in a span of just under two minutes from senior midfielder Mark Goodrich and Ranagan. Goodrich found an opening in the slot seven yards from the goal and Marshall Burkhart fed him from the side to make it 2-0 and Ranagan blew home a a laser on an ally dodge to make it 3-0.

Ranagan’s goal was followed by a UNC timeout, but JHU won the ensuing faceoff and Wharton ripped home his second of the day on a low-to-high blast from the side to make it a four-goal game with 9:49 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tar Heels answered with a three-goal run that took just under seven minutes and consisted of three straight goals by Bitter. Bitter used a screen to Bassett’s right and walked right in front to make it 4-1. He split a double team two minutes later and beat Bassett from in tight to cut the deficit to two and lost his defender in the back of the net before spinning inside another defender in tight to make it 4-3.

Wharton completed his 12th career hat trick off the opening faceoff of the second quarter to give the Blue Jays a two-goal lead, but the Tar Heels pulled even with back-to-back goals by Jimmy Dunster and Marcus Holman to make it a new game at 5-5 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.

Sensing the momentum shift in the game, the Blue Jays grabbed it back with a three-goal flurry that took just 39 seconds late in the second quarter.

Ranagan scored his second of the game on strong ally dodge just 20 seconds after Holman’s goal had tied it and he then beat heavy pressure out of a timeout to find Palmer all alone on the backdoor to make it 7-5. The Blue Jays, who won all seven of the faceoffs in the second quarter, scored off the faceoff following Palmer’s goal as senior Chris Boland came up with the loose ball after a long scamble and raced to the goal where he beat Rastivo with a low shot on the run to make it 8-5 at the half.

After the teams combined for 32 shots and 13 goals in the first half, the paced slowed considerably in the third quarter. Both teams failed on extra man chances early in the period before Carolina netted the quarter’s only goal – a man-up tally by Holman – midway through the period and the Blue Jays carried an 8-6 lead into the final period. The 8-6 lead swelled to 9-6 on Ranagan’s third goal just 38 seconds into the final period. That set the stage for UNC’s final push, which was answered by Coppersmith’s game-winner in the final two minutes.

Ranagan paced the Blue Jays with the three goals and one assist, while Wharton added the hat trick to snap a two-game scoring drought. Ranagan walked away with the Big City Classic Player of the Game award from Inside Lacrosse, but the award could have easily gone to senior faceoff specialist Matt Dolente, who won a career-high 16 faceoffs on 22 attempts and grabbed a game-high six ground balls. Wharton recorded both the 75th goal and 100th point of his career in the win.

Bitter led the Tar Heels with his four goals, while Dunster (1g, 2a) and Holman (2g) were also multi-point scoerrs for the Tar Heels, who got nine saves from Rastivo and held slight advantages in shots (31-28) and ground balls (21-20).

#5 Johns Hopkins (7-2) 4-4-0-2/1
#4 North Carolina (7-3) 3-2-1-3/9

Goals: J: Ranagan-3, Wharton-3, Palmer, Coppersmith, Boland, Goodrich. N: Bitter-4, Holman-2, Dunster, Wood, Hutchins. Assists: J: Burkhart-2, Palmer, Ranagan, Greeley. N: Dunster-2, Galasso, Hunt, Wood. Saves: J: Bassett-7. N: Rastivo-9. Shots: J-28. N-31. EMO: J 0-for-3 N: 1-for-2. Attendance: n/a

Comments Off

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionWomen’s College Basketball: Virginia @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center), Boxing: Rico Ramos vs. Alejandro Valdez (Friday 11pm from Atlantic City live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights-Antonin Decarie vs. Shamone Alvarez (Friday 9pm from Montreal live on ESPN2); NBA: Milwaukee Bucks @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards (Saturday 8pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet),Washington Wizards @ Cleveland Cavaliers (Sunday 6pm from Cleveland live on Comcast SportsNet); Golf-PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Pebble Beach, CA), Champions Tour Allianz Championship (Friday 12:30pm, Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 7pm from Boca Raton, FL live on Golf Channel); Tennis: ATP Tour SAP Open (Saturday 4pm & 10pm, Sunday 8pm from San Jose live on Tennis Channel); High School Basketball: Perry Hall @ Milford Mill (Wednesday 6:30pm), Patapsco @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm), Glen Burnie @ Arundel (Tuesday 5pm)

10. Linkin Park (Thursday 7pm Verizon Center); Lauryn Hill (Thursday 9:30pm Rams Head Live), Keller Williams (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live), Buckcherry/Hellyeah/All That Remains (Saturday 5:30pm Rams Head Live); Blue Oyster Cult (Saturday 7:30pm Bourbon Street); WAR (Wednesday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head On Stage), Little River Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Jimmy Eat World (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); David Allan Coe (Thursday 8pm Cancun Cantina); Cameo & Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players (Friday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); 2011 Grammy Awards (Sunday 8pm from Los Angeles live on CBS); Billy Joel “The Last Play at Shea” available on DVD (Tuesday)

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen LP live. They’ve gotten much better…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qF_qbaWt3Q[/youtube]

I’ve said this before on Facebook…until she came back recently, I spent hours upon hours every week wondering what had happened to the amazing former Fugees singer/rapper. I’ve been a fan since Sister Act 2. Honestly…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rSZFxuanc[/youtube]

Picking one Jimmy Eat World song to post here is impossible. I’ll cop out and post “My Best Theory.” Damn these guys are good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk47ecL1z5w[/youtube]

The video sucks, but here’s “Movin’ Out” from Shea Stadium. William Joel is the greatest. Ever.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGu73wvyhgc[/youtube]

9. Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester go to “Second City Does Baltimore” (Tuesday 8pm Center Stage)

I saw the Second City show for the first time ever 4th of July weekend last year in Chicago. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Charm City variation for some time since then.

If you’re not familiar with Second City, it’s the comedy troupe from the Windy City that has produced some of the biggest stars in the history of both Saturday Night Live and comedy in general.

My favorites? Well, Tina Fey is pretty awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgOeAofwq-w[/youtube]

Lots of Steve Carrell fans out there…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keIdgoJYiy8[/youtube]

But this is obvious. Chris Farley is better than everyone…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNBIyGxV7Ek[/youtube]

8. Motor Trend International Auto Show (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center)

I have a confession to make.

I’ve really never been all that much of a car person.

Everyone calm down for a second.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy cars…it’s just that…the only time I ever need to look at cars is when I check out the very nice, very affordable vehicles available to me at Koons Ford Security Boulevard. (Do I get a dollar for that?)

Now if THIS car were to be at the Motor Trend show, I’d not only attend-I’d move in…

bumblebee

7. College Lacrosse: VMI @ Navy (Saturday 12pm Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium); College Lacrosse Scrimmage: Cornell @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 9am Homewood Field), Harvard @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm Ridley Athletic Complex), Drexel @ UMBC (Saturday 1pm UMBC Stadium)

Lacrosse is (sorta) back!!!!

In a related story, sales of lava lamps and patchouli oil are up significantly around the Old Line State.

Our friends at Stevenson don’t open their season for another week, but I figured Richie Ford’s goal from last season was a good way to welcome back lax…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIqDX-RBx0M[/youtube]

6. Michael Oher “I Beat The Odds” available in stores/online (Tuesday)

I feel like I’ve read this book before. Wasn’t it called “The Blind Side” and written by Michael Lewis?  And didn’t the ensuing movie somehow lead to this amazing moment where Sandra Bullock kissed Scarlett Johansen at the MTV Movie Awards???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evwm-PP6xVw[/youtube]

In all honesty, I’m happy Michael Oher is telling his side of the story. In fact, we’re going to have him on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST at 8:20am Wednesday to talk about it.

And since this is the first post after the end of the NFL season, I’ll wrap the year up by saying THIS Doritos spot was absolutely my favorite from the Super Bowl…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRMMBXx3kqk[/youtube]

5. Pro Wreslting: TNA “Against All Odds” (Sunday 8pm from Orlando live on Pay-Per-View)

This is new TNA Knockout Miss Tessmacher. So…enjoy the PPV!!!

tessmacher

4. Auto Racing: NASCAR Budweiser Shootout (Saturday 8:10pm from Daytona, FL live on FOX)

Oh thank God NASCAR is back! Now my long weekends spent not missing NASCAR can finally come to an end!

I’d tell you who my pick was to win at Daytona, but I’m not sure who’s running in the race. Darrell Waltrip look good this year?

By the way, weather was so bad in Dallas last week that the Texas Motor Speedway looked like…

tms

…and if they had held a race in that mess I would have watched my first NASCAR race. Ever.

3. NHL: San Jose Sharks @ Washington Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Los Angeles Kings @ Washington Capitals (Saturday 12:30pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Phoenix Coyotes (Monday 8pm from Phoenix live on VERSUS)

Why would I ever make the Caps #3 on this list? Easy. On Valentine’s Day, they’re playing a REAL team this country can root for!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5arwHU5Cm68[/youtube]

Who’s coming with me to see them February 22nd against the Flyers in Philadelphia?!?!? Let’s go DESERT DOGS!!!

2. Mixed Martial Arts: Strikeforce-Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva (Saturday 10pm from East Rutherford, NJ live on Showtime)

Despite the fact that “MMA Report” host Thyrl Nelson crapped out on coming with me, I’m looking forward to heading up to the Meadowlands this weekend to see my first ever live Strikeforce event.

If you missed Allistair Overeem and Herschel Walker talking up Strikeforce with myself and Nestor Aparicio on “The Afternoon Drive” last Friday, it’s worth checking out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

It wasn’t the best radio we did at Radio Row last week though. That honor would either go to the great Frank Caliendo…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay150v4AN7M[/youtube]

Or…quite possibly…the great Vic “The Brick” Jacobs from Fox Sports Radio. FEELING YOU!!!

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

1. College Basketball: Longwood @ Maryland (Wednesday 8pm Comcast Center), Maryland @ Boston College (Saturday 1pm from Chestnut Hill, MA live on ACC Network-WNUV54 in Charm City); Vermont @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm RAC Arena), New Hampshire @ UMBC (Saturday 7pm RAC Arena); UNC Wilmington @ Towson (Saturday 2pm Towson Center); Niagara @ Loyola (Friday 7pm Reitz Arena), Canisius @ Loyola (Sunday 12pm Reitz Arena)

Really hard to get a whole lot of anger built up towards Longwood. In fact, if my girlfriend didn’t have family in Farmville, Virginia-I’m not sure I (or ANYONE who might ever read this) could possibly know Longwood was really a college and not just a name that made hoops fans giggle.

The Eagles are a different animal. I despise EVERYTHING from Boston. Beantown sucks. But I have a special disdain for those freaking “Super Shirts.”

In fact, this is the ugliest woman I have ever seen in my life…

bc

I’m not kidding.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Best From Week 1 to Week 17-Ngata My Choice For Ravens MVP

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

Best From Week 1 to Week 17-Ngata My Choice For Ravens MVP

Posted on 05 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

In past years, voting for Baltimore Ravens MVP has been particularly simple.

In 2003, no one would have really needed to consider anyone not named Jamal Lewis for the honor.

In 2006, there was hardly an argument that Steve McNair didn’t deserve the award.

Just a season ago, I fired back the name “Ray Rice” about as quickly as I had received my MVP ballot.

Yet when ballots were sent out last week for the 2010 version of the honor, my deliberation process was a bit lengthier.

Plenty of Baltimore Ravens players had solid seasons in 2010.

LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed, LB Terrell Suggs and K Billy Cundiff were all very deserving of their Pro Bowl nods. Each could very well be considered in this conversation.

Suggs and Reed in particular were exceptional at times; Suggs collecting 11 sacks and forcing two fumbles, Reed tallying a league leading eight interceptions despite missing the first six games while on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

QB Joe Flacco is also deserving of consideration. P Sam Koch is as well. OL Ben Grubbs would at least have to be on the list, as would RB Rice, CB Josh Wilson and WR’s Anquan Boldin Derrick Mason.

In fact, my 2-10 on the list would be (in order): Suggs, Reed, Lewis, Flacco, Koch, Cundiff, Rice, Boldin and Mason. Wilson would be right after that group.
But when it came to determining one individual winner, one player really stood out.

From Week 1 in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets to Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, there was no better Raven than DT Haloti Ngata.

That’s why he was my choice for Ravens MVP.

Statistically, Ngata might stand out in the way other players do. However, he posted a career high in sacks (5.5), and tied career highs in tackles (63) and pass deflections (5).

He did it in a season where he was asked to play multiple positions along the defensive line; including a number of snaps at Rush End after the team waived veteran DE Trevor Pryce.

The Ravens finished the season with the 5th best run defense (93.9 ypg) in the NFL. They allowed more than 150 yards rushing just once all season (173 yards in Week 3 against Peyton Hillis and the Cleveland Browns); they allowed 75 yards rushing or less five times.

This coming after an offseason in which national football writers (and many of us in the local market) speculated the team was going to be stronger offensively than defensively.

But statistics probably don’t do complete justice to Ngata’s value to this football team.

In 2006, there was no hiding from the fact that Lewis (a sure fire future Hall of Famer) wanted a great DT to play behind in order to help extend his career.

In four years, the big man from Oregon has done just that and more. In 2010, a 35 year old Lewis collected 139 tackles (good for 6th in the NFL) and anchored that 5th over rushing defense.

Without Ngata in front of him, it would be fair to question whether or not Lewis would even be playing at this point in his career.

In October, Head Coach John Harbaugh described Ngata as “playing as well as any defensive player in the league (right now).” It wasn’t an exaggeration then and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration now.

There might be some argument that the New England Patriots’ Vince Wilfork is as good an interior D-Lineman as Ngata. There’s definitely an argument that if he hasn’t yet, Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh will soon pass Ngata on the list of the league’s best players at the position.

But for now, Ngata’s the guy.

And that’s really the biggest reason the team’s defense has remained a stellar unit despite the losses of Pryce, DL Justin Bannan and DL Dwan Edwards as well as the season ending torn ACL suffered by CB Domonique Foxworth at the start of Training Camp.

The best statement that can be made about Ngata this season is that there was never a game in which we found ourselves shaking our heads and thinking “what a pedestrian effort from Haloti today” or “are we sure Haloti knew the game kicked off at 1pm?” or “Haloti really hasn’t made an impact today.”

That can’t really be said about the other players in my Top 10.

From Week 1 to Week 17, Haloti Ngata showed up, gave a full effort and made a legitimate impact.

He was REALLY good in 2010. Not only was he the team’s best player, he was also their most valuable.

That’s why he got my vote.

ngata
(Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

-G

Comments Off

Top 10 Local Sports Moments of 2010

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

Top 10 Local Sports Moments of 2010

Posted on 28 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

These were selected by….Glenn Clark. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Orioles sign Miguel Tejada, Maryland names Kevin Anderson Athletic Director, Navy pounds Notre Dame at Meadowlands, Ravens beat Jets on Monday Night Football, Maryland field hockey wins National Championship, Shogun Fights II & III come to 1st Mariner Arena, John Tillman hired as Maryland lacrosse coach, Ravens sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Trice Capra reaches 3rd round of U.S. Open, Terrapins hold off Midshipmen in Labor Day thriller at M&T Bank Stadium, Cliff Tucker buries Georgia Tech with incredible buzzer beater

10. Danny O’Brien breaks out as Maryland tops NC State

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz6qO2a5nRI[/youtube]

Maybe the “moment” should be O’Brien getting his first start against Florida International. Unfortunately, no one was at Byrd Stadium that day and even fewer were watching on ESPN3.com.

Maybe the “moment” should be Maryland’s battle against Florida State in College Park where O’Brien nearly beat the Seminoles and gave the Terrapins a chance to play in the ACC Championship Game. But the Terps lost that game.

So I’ll stick with the season closer. It was an epic breakout performance from a freshman quarterback that offered hope to Maryland fans that change had come.

Of course, change was really STILL to come.

9. Ravens trade for Anquan Boldin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itI56uxrbeU[/youtube]

If you actually go to the page for that YouTube video, you’ll find multiple Super Bowl related comments.

That was the immediate feeling when the Ravens traded two NFL Draft picks to the Arizona Cardinals for Boldin. Since that time, the Boldin deal has looked…well…not quite as overwhelming. But it doesn’t change the moment.

In that moment, the Ravens became the “Offseason Champs”, an honor the Washington Redskins had owned for years.

The difference? The Ravens till have a chance to be the REAL champs as well.

8. Baltimore Grand Prix officially announced

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntu-FrV9ufY[/youtube]

Look, I’M not a fan of the IndyCar Series myself. Well, other than Danica Patrick anyway.

And I have NO IDEA how many folks in Baltimore could EVER tell you who Will Power or Dario Franchitti were.

But if the Baltimore Grand Prix raises as much money for the city as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Governor Martin O’Malley say it will, this could be a MAJOR moment for this area.

7. The return of the Preakness infield

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHLL8YQmCoA[/youtube]

After the “miserable failure” (my own words, folks) that was the 2009 Preakness “Infieldfest” event, the Maryland Jockey Club hit a home run in 2010.

Pimlico’s infield was covered in people thanks to a $20 “All you can drink” ticket that replaced the previous BYOB experience and an awesome musical combination or O.A.R. and Zac Brown Band (which was LIGHT YEARS better than ZZ Top and Buckcherry the previous year).

It was an awesome event. Hopefully there will be another one.

By the way, does anyone remember who won the Preakness this year?

(Edit from GMC: It was Lookin at Lucky. I ALMOST had to go to Wikipedia to jog my memory.)

6. Duke beats Virginia in lacrosse Final Four

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3g2YHrYETk[/youtube]

Maybe Notre Dame’s improbable run to the National Championship Game or the Blue Devils’ thrilling Memorial Day win over the Fighting Irish were bigger stories; but the Saturday showdown between the Cavaliers and Devils was absolutely EPIC.

The impact of Yeardley Love’s murder added to the buildup surrounding the game, as Cavs coach Dom Starsia was reminded of George Huguely’s name throughout the NCAA Tournament. Also adding to the buildup was the presence of the final class of “Super Seniors” from Duke, as the NCAA granted all Duke players an extra year of eligibility following the scandal that rocked the Durham campus in 2006.

The game was even better than the incredible buildup. Max Quinzani’s game winner with 13 seconds left finished off what had been one of the more incredible quarters of lacrosse ever seen in Charm City.

This will be the only entry on the list that doesn’t involve a local team. It was good enough that it doesn’t matter.

5. Orioles hire Buck Showalter

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

When I gave my “Local Sports Person of the Year” vote to Buck Showalter, I said his hiring represented the first real “hope” Birds fans had experienced since the 2005 campaign, when the team reached the All-Star Game still leading the American League Wild Card race.

What happened with the O’s down the stretch (a 34-23 finish under Showalter) means little if the team does not build upon it. But the hope that came with the incredible finish was that the team COULD build upon it.

We’ll see.

But it certainly doesn’t change the level of excitement that came with Showalter’s hiring and incredible two month run. If things truly turn around for the Orioles, it will be marked as the actual moment of change.

4. Joe Flacco finds TJ Houshmandzadeh to beat Steelers in Pittsburgh

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

I’m pretty sure my column that day said it all.

The Ravens were ABSOLUTELY on their way to another crushing loss at Heinz Field; and I wasn’t going to believe it wouldn’t end that way until the moment Houshmandzadeh hauled in the Flacco TD toss.

The Ravens QB had never lead his team from behind to win in the final two minutes of regulation.

That changed.

Had the Ravens held on to finish the sweep of the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium; the win would have meant even more.

3. Maryland beats Duke to (essentially) clinch ACC regular season title

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiIW27uR56s[/youtube]

As I stated when he was voted “Local Sports Person of the Year”, this was the defining moment for Greivis Vasquez.

Beating good teams at Comcast Center has been somewhat commonplace for the Terps in the Gary Williams era. In fact, Maryland had knocked off North Carolina in College Park just a season earlier. (Both the 2009 Tar Heels and this year’s Blue Devils would go on to win the NCAA Championship.)

Yet somehow, this particular win over a good team was more satisfying. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was Senior Night for Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the win would ultimately prove to be the difference as the Terps would split the ACC regular season title.

More than anything, it probably had everything to do with the fact that it was Duke.

Wins ALWAYS feel better when they come against Duke.

2. Ravens go to Foxborough, beat New England Patriots in AFC playoffs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MwFU4xYzV4[/youtube]

If it had been a round (or definitely two rounds) later, this would have been a slam dunk #1 on the list. Unfortunately, the flat performance in a divisional round loss to the Indianapolis Colts a week later took some of the excitement out of the win at Gillette Stadium.

That being said, the emotions of a dominant win over a Bill Belichick/Tom Brady lead team on the road won’t be forgotten for some time.

It was even more emotional when the story of Matthew Costello (son of WMAR anchor Jamie Costello) giving Cam Cameron the play call for Ray Rice’s opening play TD came out.

It was a huge win and an awesome feeling. It’s just a shame it didn’t extend towards the Super Bowl.

1. Reggie Holmes breaks Morgan State’s all-time scoring record in win over Coppin State

I was there for #2, #3 and #4. This was better.

morgan

The emotions inside Hill Field House were incredible.

It was Senior Night, the final home game for star guard Reggie Holmes.

Holmes was announced as MEAC Player of the Year. Kevin Thompson was announced as MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Dewayne Jackson was announced as MEAC Freshman of the Year. Todd Bozeman was announced as MEAC Coach of the Year.

Holmes’ entire neighborhood (Cherry Hill) was in the stands…and actually rushed the floor PREGAME. The game started more than an hour late.

Holmes needed 33 points to break Marvin “The Eraser” Webster’s Bears career scoring record. He scored 36 in a blowout win.

It was incredible.

It represented everything that makes college basketball in Baltimore great. It represented everything that makes Baltimore sports great.

It was the best moment of the year.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Ranking The 53: A Bye Week Look at Ravens Roster

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

Ranking The 53: A Bye Week Look at Ravens Roster

Posted on 27 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

As you’ll remember, I spent most of Training Camp ranking the players on the Baltimore Ravens roster as we tried to determine the Top 53 that would make the final roster.

As we’ve reached the team’s Bye Week, I thought I’d use a similar format (as opposed to a Report Card format) to grade the way the 53 men currently on the team’s roster have played thus far this season. Here’s my list…

53. OL Scott Kooistra-He hasn’t seen the field and he hasn’t been around very long. I’m not sure where else he could be ranked.

52. DT Arthur Jones-The team isn’t dissatisfied with the rookie DT from Syracuse. The issue for Jones is that the Ravens are so deep on the interior of their D-Line that they haven’t been able to get Jones on the field yet. Until then, he won’t find himself any higher on the list.

51. WR Donte’ Stallworth-Stallworth’s broken foot has kept him entirely out of game action thus far, and he only returned to practice last week. The team expects him to be on the field Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Once he gets out there, we can see where he’d rank on this list.

50. QB Marc Bulger-If Marc Bulger never sees the field and stays somewhere near #50, GM Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh will be thrilled-as it means nothing will have gone wrong with the team’s quarterback. This is exactly where they want him.

49. DT Lamar Divens-It seems like Lamar Divens will always be the first name listed when the “who could you cut to make room for…” conversations happen. That being said, he hasn’t been cut yet this season, and has even seen the field at times. He’s a really good player-even if it hasn’t quite been evident yet this season.

48. TE Dennis Pitta-His offensive contributions (1 catch, 1 yard) have been next to nothing, but Pitta has been a solid special teams contributor and has only been inactive for one game. No one in Owings Mills is unhappy with their rookie TE from BYU thus far.

47. CB Cary Williams-He’s been more of a Special Teams contributor than he’s been a corner thus far this season-and he hasn’t been perfect. His block in the back penalty against the New England Patriots was certainly frustrating; and Harbaugh made it known. Williams’ size (6’1″) could make him helpful at CB at some point, but the team has to trust him there.

46. OT Oniel Cousins-The team didn’t really hide from the fact that they were disappointed by how long it took Oniel to get back on the field after a preseason concussion. At this point, I don’t think they can hide from the disappointment in his on-field performance; as he’s struggled to get playing time at all.

45. LB Prescott Burgess-He’s remained a steady player on Special Teams, and that’s what the team has wanted from him. It’s easy to be down a player who doesn’t contribute at his natural position, but Burgess has been solid.

44. LS Morgan Cox-Matt Katula’s struggles a season ago were at least somewhat to blame for early season misses from then kicker Steve Hauschka. I think that’s why it wasn’t terribly surprising when ST Coordinator Jerry Rosburg and company decided to go with Cox this season. That being said, Cox has been low on a few FG snaps, and has gotten some help from holder Sam Koch. He needs to be a bit steadier.

43. WR Marcus Smith-Smith is another player whose contributions have been limited to Special Teams thus far, which means his mistakes are often much more memorable than anything he does well. He had a tough day in Foxborough, but he wasn’t the only one.

42. DT Terrence Cody-What a frustrating player Terrence Cody has been this season. There’s moments where it looks like things are clicking for him, but there have been many more moments (in the 4 games where he’s played) where he looked absolutely lost. He didn’t record his first NFL tackle until the Week 7 win over the Buffalo Bills.

41. LB Jason Phillips-Phillips may have earned a couple of extra spots on the list simply thanks to the hit he and Edgar Jones delivered to Denver Broncos WR/KR Demaryius Thomas (see below) in Week 5. Phillips is in a tough spot, as the Ravens are deep at ILB. That being said, he’s made an impact in the opportunities he’s had-which is exactly what the team wanted.

ravensbroncos

40. DE Paul Kruger-I’m placing Paul Kruger in the top 40, but I’ll note that he’s played in only two games thus far this season-two he may have never played in had the team not released Trevor Pryce earlier in the year. His ability to play in the wedge has helped get him on the field, but the kick return hasn’t exactly been great with or without him.

39. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo-Ayanbadejo is another player who I’m squeezing into the Top 40 despite limited work. It looks like Ayanbadejo is going to be able to continue to be an effective player on Special Teams; but his ability to help is pass coverage will determine where he eventually ends up on this list.

38. RB/KR Jalen Parmele-It’s easy to look at the struggles Parmele has had over the last two weeks and be down on his season; but it cannot be dismissed that he’s averaged over 20 yards per return this season. The Ravens have to figure out what’s going wrong with their kick return. My guess is that they’ll find out that the returner isn’t the biggest problem. My second guess is that it won’t mean Parmele will be the returner moving forward anyway.

37. S Ken Hamlin-When the Ravens released Hamlin to make room for Cary Williams earlier in the season, it looked like a confirmation that Hamlin was simply holding Ed Reed’s roster spot. About a week later we found out that wasn’t exactly the case. Hamlin has been effective on Special Teams and has offered something to Greg Mattison’s defense as well-at least until he was left inactive for the first time Week 7. That could be bad news moving forward for Hamlin.

36. WR David Reed-After looking like he might not be able to play Special Teams at all, Reed developed into a very trustworthy gunner for the Ravens over the first few weeks of the season and has taken more snaps as a returner during practice as the season has gone on. That being said, it is interesting to note that Reed was held out of Sunday’s game against the Bills. It had at least SOMETHING to do with a thigh injury, but it will be interesting to see if it was the injury ONLY, or if the injury was just part of it.

35. TE Ed Dickson-Dickson is an interesting case. In the game against the Broncos, his 58 yard 1st quarter catch was eye-opening. His 6’4″ frame clearly makes him an attractive downfield and jump-ball target. But his holding penalty later in the game was an example of exactly why OC Cam Cameron may not fully trust him enough to keep him on the field. My guess is that Dickson is headed towards some level of a breakout performance.

34. LB Tavares Gooden-I get the feeling that I could be showing a little bit too much fairness to Gooden, who was adequate in the two games he played before injuring his shoulder. He probably hasn’t done enough to justify the position, but I’ll keep him here for now. How he bounces back from another setback (and whether or not he can return in Week 9) could have a lot to do with his future in Charm City.

33. CB Josh Wilson-This is really tricky as well. Wilson has by no means been a liability on the field; but he’s done little to prove himself thus far. He’s missed two games (a healthy inactive when the Ravens played the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field; an ankle injury kept him out of the loss to the Pats at Gillette Stadium), and he hasn’t been perfect as a returner. But when Secondary coach Chuck Pagano need an answer late against the Bills, Wilson stepped up.

32. WR TJ Houshmandzadeh-Truth be told, I’m completely befuddled by TJ Houshmandzadeh’s short tenure in Baltimore. I don’t think he’s been misused, I don’t think Joe Flacco has failed to look for him or get him the ball, I don’t think he’s necessarily been awful in doing his own job (although I absolutely think he’s given half efforts to catch the ball-which was abundantly evident when the Ravens played the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium). I’m not sure what Houshmandzadeh’s role is moving forward as Stallworth returns. No matter what it is, his catch to beat the Steelers will never be forgotten.

31. OL Tony Moll-Moll has shown himself to be a particularly reliable reserve on the O-Line; he’s been the team’s top reserve this season. In fact, he was on the field at RT when the Ravens put together their final TD drive to get the first win of the Harbaugh era in the Steel City.

tonymoll

30. DT Brandon McKinney-McKinney has quickly become the team’s top reserve along the D-Line, and has played VERY well he’s seen the field this season. He’s probably better as a NT or as an interior tackle in a 4-3 defense, but he’s been outstanding filling multiple roles for DL coach Clarence Brooks.

29. S Haruki Nakamura-Nakamura’s playing time has decreased since the start of the season, but it’s not because he’s performed poorly. Nakamura was both the 3rd safety and the nickel corner in the Ravens’ season opening Monday Night Football win over the New York Jets, but the improved health of the team has limited his role. His play has been effective throughout the season no matter his role.

28. CB Lardarius Webb-After missing the season opener at New Meadowlands Stadium, Webb has been up and down in the six games he’s played. At times he’s been spectacular, including two big pass breakups in the win over the Steelers. At other times he’s been less than spectacular, including the loss to the Bills. Webb stepped in for Zbikowski at PR against the Bills as well, but is unlikely to remain a long term option there.

27. DL Cory Redding-This is somewhat of a tricky judgment as well. Redding has played well, but was supposed to be able to get off the field in obvious passing situations this season to allow for a better rush end option. Sadly, the Ravens don’t have a better rush end option. Redding has just one sack on the season, and that number is unlikely to get much bigger.

26. LB Dannell Ellerbe-If Dannell Ellerbe didn’t have to play in pass coverage, he probably would find himself in the Top 15. Of course, there are a number of LB’s in the NFL who could say the same thing. Ellerbe has been solid but not spectacular, and has not exactly shown himself to be an “answer” for the Ravens at JACK LB.

25. OL Chris Chester-The Ravens would certainly prefer to have Chester coming off the bench and taking snaps at multiple positions; but the back injury to Jared Gaither has forced him into a starting role at RG. Chester hasn’t been perfect, but at no point has he been any sort of liability.

24. LB Jameel McClain-McClain has thus far been the most consistent answer at JACK LB, but he probably hasn’t solidified the position the way the team may have hoped he would. McClain has been solid, but has not been able to make too many plays in the backfield. Opponents have also been surprisingly able to run the ball with effectiveness (none more than Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis), which has to fall on the entire group-including McClain.

23. OL Marshal Yanda-No one has forgotten about Jared Gaither in Baltimore, but Marshal Yanda has solidified the RT position after a few early season struggles. Yanda is still better served playing at the Guard position, but he’s shown his athleticism and ability to both pass block and run block at the RT position.

22. S Ed Reed-There’s little argument for me ranking a player who has seen the field for just one game this high; but the argument exists. Of course, it is a very short argument-based solely on the fact that despite playing in just one game, Reed leads the team in interceptions. He looked like the Ed Reed of old against the Bills, giving the organization every reason to believe he’ll continue to play at a high level.

21. RB Willis McGahee-We might never TRULY know why McGahee didn’t see the field against the Pats, but he’s been very good every other time he’s seen the field. McGahee has been a solid back in both short yardage and goal line situations, is an effective blocker, and can take consecutive handoffs. If for some reason Ray Rice were to get hurt, the Ravens would be fine at RB.

mcgahee

20. C Matt Birk-Birk might not play at a Pro Bowl level necessarily anymore, but he’s still very good. He had some struggles early on this season, but he’s played very well in recent weeks. The Ravens may not have a center of the future on the roster necessarily, but they’re still just fine right now.

19. DT Kelly Gregg-Gregg has been just as steady as always this season; tallying 30 tackles and taking on double teams the same way he’s done since his breakout year in 2002. The only potential knock on Gregg has been a lack of plays made in the backfield.

18. S/PR Tom Zbikowski-The Ravens have been very happy with the play they’ve received from Zbikowski this season-especially while Reed missed the first six weeks of the season. Fans haven’t been thrilled with Zbikowski as punt returner-but since inexplicably running the ball backwards in East Rutherford, he’s been solid in that role as well. Zbikowski missed Game 7 with a bruised heel, but isn’t expected to be out for an extended period of time.

17. S Dawan Landry-I feel like we keep getting back to the Buffalo game with Ravens defenders-but that tends to be what happens when a team gives up 34 points at home. Landry had been very solid until that game however, and has 52 tackles through seven games this season.

16. CB Chris Carr-The best thing to happen to the Ravens in the wake of the Domonique Foxworth injury has been the play of Carr. Carr has been particularly steady starting opposite Fabian Washington. The team would probably like to see him improve a bit on the one interception and five pass deflections he’s posted thus far this season.

15. LB Jarret Johnson-The only disappointment with Johnson this season has been his lack of involvement in the pass rush. He’s tallied just half a sack thus far to go with 28 tackles. He’s been good, he’s just not quite played to the level he played at a season ago when he compiled six sacks.

14. K Billy Cundiff-The name Shayne Graham has LONG been forgotten at 1 Winning Drive. Cundiff has been incredible on kickoffs, tallying 18 touchbacks this season. He had entered the season with just 11 touchbacks for his CAREER. Cundiff is also 10/12 on field goal attempts; with one of the two misses coming in the goofy open end of the stadium at Heinz Field. There really isn’t much more that can be said about Cundiff, he’s been tremendous this season.

13. P Sam Koch-While I’m at it, Koch has been outstanding this season as well. He’s pinned punts inside the 20 yard line 19 times already this season. Some of his yardage numbers are a bit off this season, as the Ravens have had better field position in general this season. Oakland Raiders P Shane Lechler is still probably having a better season; but Koch has to at least be in consideration for a trip to Hawaii.

12. OT Michael Oher-Oher won’t want to hear the name Jermaine Cunningham any time soon, but otherwise he’s avoided a sophomore slump. Oher has answered almost all questions about his ability to play the LT position, even if he isn’t quite Jonathan Ogden just yet. He LOOKS like he’s offsides more than he actually IS offsides, with the only exception being the Patriots game.

11. LB Terrell Suggs-There’s a misconception that T-Sizzle is having a bad season. That’s simply not true. Suggs has played very well at times, and has clearly developed into a very complete all-around LB. The problem is-the Ravens don’t necessarily need an improved all-around LB on the outside. They REALLY need a pass rushing monster, and Suggs (3.5 sacks) just isn’t that guy right now, nor may he ever be again.

suggs

10. G Ben Grubbs-Grubbs has been the team’s most consistent Offensive Lineman thus far this season, and is setting himself up nicely for a potential Pro Bowl trip. As the team’s longest tenured O-Lineman, Grubbs has been significantly important for the team in maintaining continuity in a season where they have been forced to move pieces around.

9. TE Todd Heap-The Ravens thought that drafting two tight ends would help keep Heap fresh by getting him off the field for a handful of snaps every game. They also thought that signing multiple receivers in the offseason would help free up space on the field for Joe Flacco to find Heap. They’ve been right about both things. Heap has still taken a beating this season (thanks in part to Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather), but he’s on pace to have at least his best offensive season since 2006.

8. CB Fabian Washington-Don’t start cursing at your computer screen just yet. I am well aware that Lee Evans treated Washington like Sidney Rice would Frank Walker in the Ravens’ loss to the Bills. However, in the six games before that-Washington was a significant part of why the Ravens had one of the top pass defenses in the NFL (now ranked 8th for the record). Washington’s future standing on this list will of course have everything to do with how he bounces back from what was a dreadful Week 7 performance.

7. WR Derrick Mason-Remember him? Mason might not be on pace for a 1,000 yard season; but when they’ve needed him-he’s been ready to make plays. He was the team’s leading receiver in two very tough road games (at Pittsburgh and at New England), and he caught the only touchdown of the game in the Ravens’ Week 2 loss in the Queen City. Mason is just as reliable as always, and still catches the football…with the exception of the handful of times the team has decided for some goofy reason to try to throw jump balls in the direction of his 5’10″ frame.

6. RB Ray Rice-Fantasy football owners may not be quite as happy with Ray Rice’s performance as I am; but he’s been very good this season. He’s on pace to finish the season with over 1,400 yards of total offense; and should be able to remain fresh the more the Ravens work McGahee into the offense. Rice was expected to be a Top 3 caliber player on this list, but the lack of a breakaway burst appears to be hurting him right now. If that re-appears, he might show himself to be the type of MVP candidate he was a season ago.

5. LB Ray Lewis-Let me get this out of the way. Ray Lewis has not played like the future Hall of Fame LB he is in every game this season. He looked downright human against the Browns. That being said, the season opener on MNF was a vintage performance from one of the greatest defenders in league history, and Lewis locked up the Steelers game with a late interception of Charlie Batch. He tallied 15 tackles in the win over the Bills as well. San Francisco 49ers LB Patrick Willis may be the unquestionable greatest LB in the game today, but Ray Lewis has not fallen terribly far behind.

4. FB Le’Ron McClain-This one may catch a few folks off guard, as the personal foul penalty in Foxborough and the lack of carries probably stick out in the minds of most fans more than anything else, but Le’Ron McClain is playing as well at his position as almost anyone else on the Ravens roster this season. RB Coach Wilbert Montgomery graded McClain’s performance against the Browns as the best by a Ravens player this season, and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron told me that in terms of the total package-blocking, rushing and pass catching-McClain was absolutely the best fullback in not only the AFC-but the entire NFL.

3. QB Joe Flacco-If it weren’t for the dud in Cincy, Flacco may be #1 on the list. Unfortunately, the game in Cincy still counts. Flacco has been outstanding for the better part of the season-despite strange criticism from fans and a handful of analysts alike. He’s on pace for another season with 3,000+ yards and 20+ touchdowns and has limited his turnovers in games BESIDES Cincinnati. Flacco still needs to figure out that Ray Rice is just 5’7″; which has to be the most frustrating part of his game at this point.

2. WR Anquan Boldin-Anquan Boldin has been everything the Ravens had hoped he would be and more. He’s been a reliable target, he’s shown the type of toughness that originally made him a star with the Arizona Cardinals, and at times (the Browns game sticks out) he’s even added an explosive level to his game. He unfortunately doesn’t get to matchup against Eric Wright every week; but he’s on pace for 1,000+ yards and double digit TD’s no matter who he’s up against. Some fans in Baltimore who weren’t familiar with his game thought the Ravens were getting Larry Fitzgerald; but for those who knew what type of player Boldin was-he’s been ABSOLUTELY as good as advertised if not better.

1. DT Haloti Ngata-There is simply no better player on this football team right now than Haloti Ngata. There’s almost no argument any longer about who the best interior D-Lineman is in the NFL either. The only unfortunate part about the season for Ngata has been the fact that the lack of a rush end has forced the Ravens to send Ngata outside and hope he could get to the quarterback. He’s capable, but it’s by no means where he is best used. When he does get in the backfield, there’s no quarterback (or other player at any position) that’s happy to see him.

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

-G

Comments Off