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4-1 Record Anything But Deceptive for “Balanced” Ravens

Posted on 10 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Winning four of your first five games is usually an awfully good way to start a season.

The Baltimore Ravens improved to 4-1 on the season with a 31-17 win over the Denver Broncos (2-3) Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The 4-1 record leaves the Ravens alone at the top of the AFC North, with a tie-breaker win over their rival Pittsburgh Steelers already in hand.

When the Maryland Terrapins beat the Duke Blue Devils to improve to 4-1 on October 2, I wrote a post-game column saying the Terrapins’ record may well be “deceptive.” I pointed out that the Terps had not played a particularly imposing schedule, that they had played the majority of their games at home, and that they had relied on semi-fluky big plays to find success in games they had won. I tried to point out that the team had indeed won four of their first five games, but didn’t strike me as a team that was worth getting particularly excited about.

On the absolute opposite side of the spectrum, the Ravens’ 4-1 record is not deceptive whatsoever. The team not exactly been perfect over their first five games, but they’ve been particularly representative of the 4-1 record they sport.

They’ve won when QB Joe Flacco has been less than perfect (the Week 1 win over the New York Jets at the Meadowlands), they’ve won when they’ve failed to get much of anything going running the ball (like the Week 4 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field), they’ve won when their proud run defense has been gauged (Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns in Charm City) and they’ve won when they’ve given up big yards to an explosive passing attack (Sunday against the Broncos).

In playing five games, they’ve probably deserved to win four.

On Sunday, the Ravens showed any doubters why they belong amongst the elite teams in the AFC and the entire NFL. They set the pace for the game offensively, with their defensive and special teams units following suit. When all was said and done, the Ravens had outgained their opponents on the ground by a count of 233 yards to 39; claimed 28 first downs to Denver’s 16, and held the ball for nearly 13 minutes more than their opponent.

A late Kyle Orton to Brandon Lloyd TD strike made the final score look respectable, but it was an absolutely dominant performance.

A dominant performance that came on the heels of a grueling four game stretch to open the season where the Ravens had to play three games on the road and three games against fellow AFC North opponents. After that stretch and Sunday’s game, the Ravens have earned every bit of their 4-1 record; a record that ties them for the best record in the league.

Head Coach John Harbaugh wasn’t quite ready to proclaim his team’s greatness following Sunday’s game, but was particularly optimistic. “I think we have an opportunity to be a really good team” said Harbaugh. “That kind of a football team is in us. We wanted to play like that (Sunday). I think in many ways we did.”

Other members of the team were equally optimistic. LB Ray Lewis said the start was a “good feeling”, adding that the Ravens are “just playing overall complete team football right now.” Flacco said “we feel like we’ve got a pretty special team here, and we’ve just got to continue to work hard to get better each week.”

After putting together his first 100 yard rushing game of the season (he finished with 133 yards and two touchdowns), Rice was asked whether the Ravens were an “elite” team. He had a unique response.

“I think we’re a balanced team.”

Maybe that’s the best possible way to explain it.

The Ravens are a good football team in almost every area right now. While not perfect, Flacco has played very well over the last three weeks-including his first big final minute drive to beat the Steelers. Rice, backup RB Willis McGahee and FB Le’Ron McClain have shown themselves to be formidable even when not necessarily explosive, with McGahee adding 10 carries, 67 yards and a touchdown in limited action Sunday. The WR corps has not given the Ravens the explosive numbers some fans had hoped for, but Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, TJ Houshmandzadeh and TE Todd Heap have all stood out in different games or at different times. Even rookie TE Ed Dickson led the Ravens in receiving yards Sunday, although all of his came on a single 58 yard grab on the Ravens’ opening possession.

The Offensive Line has come together despite playing without standout tackle Jared Gaither. The defensive line has held together through bumps and bruises and the departure of Trevor Pryce. DT Haloti Ngata was fairly described by Harbaugh last week as “playing as well as any defensive player in the league.” The linebacking corps has allowed just one 100 yard rusher (Peyton Hillis in the aforementioned Cleveland game) and the secondary entered Week 5 as the league’s top passing defense.

Heck, even Special Teams have continued to improve. Punter Sam Koch’s already exceptional season continued Sunday with four punts for 174 yards. Kicker Billy Cundiff connected on his only field goal attempt; but also added four touchbacks on five kickoffs. While neither the kick return or punt return units have created any points for the Ravens, the team’s kickoff coverage unit managed to force a much needed turnover (the only turnover the team forced in the game) when LB Jason Phillips leveled Broncos WR/KR Demaryius Thomas and Ravens S Ken Hamlin picked up Thomas’ fumble.

It’s been impressive in every aspect of the game. The team has been exactly as balanced as Rice mentioned, and it’s why they’ve shown themselves to be completely representative of their 4-1 record.

Thus far, they’ve done it without Gaither, Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed, Special Teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo and speed receiver Donte’ Stallworth, all of whom they still expect to return. On Sunday, they did it without reserve DE Paul Kruger and reserve LB Tavares Gooden, both of whom the team also expects to return.

They might not be the best team in football. They’re likely still in need of an upgrade in their pass rush, and their offensive play-calling has still left something to be desired at times.

But at 4-1, they’re not a fluke. Instead, they’re legitimately amongst the best teams in the league, and very deserving of the title “Super Bowl contender” (which I will admit I stuck on them myself after the Week 4 win in the Steel City).

In Week 6, they’ll have another chance to prove how good they are when they visit Foxborough to face the New England Patriots; who they split a regular season and postseason series with last season at Gillette Stadium. Despite parting ways with star WR Randy Moss, the Patriots remain amongst the most significant organizations for a team to measure itself in the NFL.

When the Ravens beat the Pats in the Wild Card round of the playoffs last season, it was considered an upset.

They’re good enough now that an encore performance would have to just be considered a win.

-G

Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Rice, Ngata, McClain, Dickson and CB Chris Carr following Sunday’s win NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

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Ravens Through Three Games: I’ll Go With “Hard to Figure”

Posted on 26 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — At times, the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) have looked absolutely brilliant in their 24-17 win over the Cleveland Browns (0-3) Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. At other times, it would have been difficult to describe them as anything but lost.

Still, the Ravens improved to 2-1 and can get right back to the top of the AFC North with a win next week against the Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

And I’m sure everyone in Charm City is absolutely 100% convinced the Ravens will have no trouble in the Steel City, right?

Right?

Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the game Sunday that he thought his AFC North foes played “really really well.” And truth be told, they absolutely did. But did anyone think the Ravens would find themselves in a one possession game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter? Did anyone think there was much of ANY chance that the Ravens would find themselves trailing at any point in the fourth either?

I find it hard to believe anyone did.

Credit the Browns for using RB Peyton Hillis very effectively (29 total touches, 180 yards and a touchdown) against a Ravens defense that has struggled against bigger backs in the past (Brandon Jacobs, Cedric Benson, etc). Credit QB Seneca Wallace for showing an ability to escape and not force throws into coverage. Credit the Browns’ Offensive Line (behind all world OT Joe Thomas) for opening holes in the run game and keeping pressure off of Wallace.

In the same way, credit the Cincinnati Bengals for getting pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco with their front seven in a Week 2 win. Credit the Bengals’ secondary for forcing Ravens WR’s into the same place on the field and not allowing them to make many big plays. Credit Bengals kicker Mike Nugent for connecting 0n all five of his attempts to account for the team’s 15 points.

And for that matter, credit New York Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson for showing he still had some tread left on his tires and credit the Jets’ pass rush (as well as NYJ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and head coach Rex Ryan) for getting after Flacco despite falling 10-9 in Week 1.

With all of the credit for opposing teams out of the way, the focus shifts back to the Ravens-who were a trendy preseason choice to win the AFC North and represent the AFC at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.

The Ravens have been particularly impressive at times, and particularly lackluster at others.

Flacco was rightfully maligned following a dismal four interception performance in Week 2. On Sunday, he bounced back with a game that was practically flawless after his first completion (a deflected grab by WR Derrick Mason that should have been intercepted by Browns S T.J. Ward). Flacco finished the day 22/31 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He showed impeccable touch on a few passes, including his first of three touchdown tosses to WR Anquan Boldin. For the season, Flacco has played well in roughly six quarters (the four against Cleveland and the second half at the Meadowlands), and has played poorly in 6 others (the four at Paul Brown Stadium and the first two against the Jets).

Speaking of Boldin, he’s quite simply been the team’s best player thus far this season. On Sunday, he brought down eight catches for 142 yards and tied a franchise record with those three TD receptions. He now has 20 catches for 287 yards on the season, and has been a particularly reliable target on 4th down.

But for as well as Boldin has played, there are still questions within the passing game. The Ravens’ other top receivers (Mason and post-Training Camp acquisition TJ Houshmandzadeh) combined for just five catches and 34 yards Sunday. For the season, the duo has managed just nine catches, 113 yards and one touchdown (Mason’s 3rd quarter TD haul in Cincy). At times they’ve looked lost, at times they’ve looked frustrated (including Mason’s delay of game penalty for flipping the football Sunday-where he subsequently asked Harbaugh to take him out of the game) and at times they’ve simply looked ineffective.

The Offensive Line struggled mightily through the first two games, but was vastly improved Sunday. Not only did the unit (which has played without RT Jared Gaither) prevent Flacco from getting sacked even once in the game, but they also paved the way for Ravens running backs (Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain) to average nearly five yards per carry. (Rice left Sunday’s game with a knee sprain, he will be re-evaluated Monday.)

Defensively, the Ravens are even more difficult to figure. The unit was less than a minute away from opening the season without allowing a touchdown for the first ten quarters; but Hillis plunged in just before halftime Sunday to break that streak. Even worse, after allowing an average of just 105 total rushing yards in the first two games; the Ravens were gauged for 173 by the Browns; including 144 from Hillis-who only started because of an injury to the Browns’ primary back Jerome Harrison.

The Ravens have still given up only 41 points on the season; but they’ve also forced just one turnover through three games as well (a Shonn Greene fumble recovery in Week 1). Over the last two weeks, the Ravens have started just one drive in opposing territory. Even that drive (a fourth quarter drive Sunday that started at the Cleveland 42) had more to do with a botched pitch from Wallace on the previous Cleveland possession than it did anything related to the Ravens defense.

Like I said, hard to figure.

Presumably, we’ll learn much more about this Ravens team when they get to Heinz Field next Sunday and square off with the 3-0 Steelers, who looked superb in their 38-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road Sunday.

To their credit, Ravens players don’t seem to be particularly concerned about the up-and-down nature of the start to their 2010 season. “Bottom line is (that) the scoreboard said W-Ravens win, we’re 2-1″ said Pro Bowl LB Ray Lewis. “(It’s the) same thing I told (Flacco) before the game. Last week’s over, go on to the next week. That’s what he came out and (did). For us, with a couple of adjustments here and there-we’ll get right back to football.”

Maybe so, but until it looks like a complete performance, it will still be hard to figure this team out.

-G

Hear from Harbaugh, Lewis, Flacco, Boldin, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs and CB Cary Williams following the game in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

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The Truth? The world can’t handle the truth about female sports journalists

Posted on 17 September 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

You saw the headlines earlier in the week – yet another women given a hard time in a professional sports locker room. I’ll write her name once – Ines Sainz of TV Azteca in Mexico – and for the most part move on from her name because she’s just a symbol at this point for a whole bunch of incongruent messages and a changing world of media and access that creates a talking point for the mass media.

This story had it all: Sex. Football. Politics. Etiquette. Professionalism. Journalism. Oh, and harassment by well-paid, high profile athletes in the capital of the media world, New York City.

But forget her, personally or what her clothing was that day or even how insulting or out-of-line I’m sure Rex Ryan and, more specifically, Dennis Thurman almost certainly were to her on the field.

She’s just the latest example of “female sports journalist has problem in the workplace that happens to be a locker room full of naked, high-profile, well-paid athletes.”

She’s the Lisa Olson of the week or the latest woman in a predominantly male world who was singled out and harassed unfairly in the workplace. Or, in many folks’ view from what I’ve read on the internet and heard on WNST-AM 1570 all week, she’s the one who was selling sex as an angle and fetched what she was looking for in the “harassment,” which is attention.

But in most cases, those who only judge this situation and this sports media topicality from afar have a rather stilted and inaccurate portrayal of what goes on in professional sports locker rooms.

I come from a different angle than the millions of people who have all had an opinion on this topic over the last 72 hours and the talking heads in the “real” media who have made it a trending topic on Twitter and on TV networks and corporate sports radio entities who employ the very tactics and strategies that they are so roundly criticizing as a whole in most cases.

Millions of people opine, but I’ve lived it every day of my life for nearly 27 years. This is all I’ve ever done for a living, go into locker rooms and talk to athletes. I’ve worked alongside women in every locker room I’ve ever entered day in and day out for more than a quarter of a century. This is all I’ve ever done since I was 15 years old, cover Baltimore sports and national sports with authority, credibility and now I sit in the ultimate seat of having the ability to decide, as an employer, who actually GETS press passes and goes into a locker room wearing a WNST badge and who is “credible” and who is not.

I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all. I’ve endured the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve had a few incidents of my own where I’ve felt disrespected or mildly threatened and had to hold my ground on professionalism.

I’ve heard women called whores, tramps and worse. “Wool” being shouted or coughed was routinely the “clubhouse sign” that a women was invading the space under Camden Yards in the Orioles clubhouse during the 1990s.

Why “wool”? Well, why don’t you guess?

I was around for Lisa Olson and worked in locker rooms with her and it was a hot topic 20 years ago. Her attire in the stoic, stodgy, arrogant all-too-male and all-too-white media in Boston led to me having to buy a pair of pants off Yawkey Way because they didn’t allow jeans or shorts in the press box at Fenway Park back in the 1990s after the “Olson incident” in Foxboro.

I was in Cleveland in 1995 and witnessed Albert Belle going after Hannah Storm in the Jacobs Field dugout from 10 feet away.

The Erin Andrews saga was a criminal act that was borne out of the network putting her beauty in front of zillions of zany, crazed college students with signs that say all sorts of things for the camera that profess anything but love for her professional credibility or work ethic or journalistic skills.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: lots of women these days have no business being in sports locker rooms because they’re not qualified and it’s not because their skirt is too high or their blouse is too low.

It’s because they don’t belong there because they haven’t earned the right to be there and they’re not qualified and because they got the job because of their looks and not their intellect or expertise.

Earlier this week, when the Jets were accused of harassing Sainz, the other local women who are on the beat were quite frankly shocked that it happened because they’re in there every day and don’t get cat-called or hooted at because they’re actually there WORKING and are RESPECTED.

And they should be. I don’t really want to “name names” in this blog because I’m scared to death I’d leave out the many, many really cool females I’ve met in this business who DO take it seriously and are among MY heroes and friends.

Here’s a very short list (and I know I’ve left out many others) and rest assured these aren’t people I “see on TV.” These are people I know, socialize with, converse sports and life with and respect immensely.

Bonnie Bernstein knows sports. I saw her Monday night at the Meadowlands. She hosts real sports radio in New York and she is as legit a sports “expert” as I’ve ever known. Linda Cohn is a sports savant. Suzy Kolber is as well-versed in every aspect of sports as anyone I’ve ever met. Andrea Kramer is a football junkie in every sense of the word. I see Judy Battista several times a year and she’s among the most respected NFL writers in the world. Look, I could go on and on about Leslie Visser and Hannah Storm and many others but the point is “good is good” – male or female, in any color or shape or size.

My real hero was Molly Dunham-Glassman, who was my boss at The Evening Sun. She was by far the most qualified, sports-savvy and educated “expert” I’ve ever known. (I’ve been looking for the next Molly for 12 years. If you’re an aspiring sports journalist/expert I want to hear from you no matter what your gender might be! Send all resumes to nasty@wnst.net).

But these aforementioned people are true sports experts and journalists. Like me and others I respect in this business, they’ve dedicated their lives since birth to knowing sports and honing their craft and internal database of information.

None of these women got their jobs or have ever directly traded on looks, sexuality, innuendo, bimbo-ness or anything other than “expert information.”

But this is where the world has changed in locker rooms over the past two decades. So many female sports journalists of late have gotten their jobs based on their looks and what their looks will do to attract the attention of male athletes who will give them time, access or interviews that no one with a penis could ever “penetrate.”

Here’s a simple frame of reference. I attended 15 MLB All-Star Games before the Orioles revoked my press pass four years ago for writing and speaking the truth about their lousiness and the decay of the downtown business community on summer nights.

Two years ago when the All-Star Game was at the “old” Yankee Stadium, I took the train up and covered the event because strangely enough, MLB recognizes me as a legitimate journalist:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZEBz6YAVeA[/youtube]

I was blown away by how much the world of MLB sports “journalism” had changed during the pre-game interview period. The field was littered with a bevy of beautiful women holding microphone sticks with a lot of hair spray  and these women probably have never heard of Tommy John let alone could explain what “Tommy John surgery” was for Stephen Strasburg. But they did know that “chicks dig the long ball.” And they had a press pass. And when I got home to Baltimore I wasn’t going to have one.

So much for “journalism,” right?

I suppose if I were a little prettier the Orioles would allow me to have my press pass back, huh?

But these women are primarily on the field because they’re pretty and they’re female and they look good and smell nice. And all of the old, ugly white guys like Peter Gammons, who roamed that turf for years with expertise, insight and true respect for the game and its rich history and heritage have been replaced by pretty girls doing pre- and post-game interviews. And the players are far more apt to say “yes” to an interview with a runway model than with a crotchety, chunky sportswriter.

And I suppose you as the public are far more apt to watch it if you don’t really care how much the person asking the questions really knows.

The Orioles have a female covering the team for their MLB website. I’m not sure she knows who Luis Aparicio is let alone Willie Miranda. So, for me, if I’m not learning anything it’s a short attention span. But that’s just me. Why would I read the coverage of someone who I clearly know more than on the internet? Seeing her Twitter coverage is almost laughable with its lack of insight. Taking shots at her, as it is in most cases when you’re pointing out the obvious, is like shooting fish in a barrel.

And when I write pieces like this speaking the truth it almost comes off as “mean.” I’m not being “mean.” I’m simply stating the obvious.

Our competitors over at CBS Radio have now made two consecutive hires of women based primarily (if not solely) on their looks. They’re from out of town. They have flown the flags of Miami and New York sports to an all-Baltimore audience. They have no clue what’s really happening (or what’s happened) in Baltimore sports on or off the field or the business and politics of local sports. They just look nice. And they “like” sports. But the boss who hires them also has no clue what’s happening in Baltimore sports, which is why you’re reading this blog now.

Look, people like what they like. If you like uninformed, pretty girls bringing you your sports insights and observations and softball questions, good for you. Enjoy them! That’s why they’re there. For you to enjoy them!

And that’s really no different than any of Glenn Clark’s posts, which are part-Maxim, part Tucker Max and part John Steadman – a bizarre concoction our WNST lad-on-the-scene prepares each day in Crabs and Beer! Some people dig it, some are amused and some are appalled.

Welcome to the world of freedom of choice.

I’ve also seen others in this market and others bring scantily clad women into locker rooms who in any other line of work would be referred to as bimbos because they had no clue why they were there.

Clinton Portis is NOT far from wrong on many counts. There ARE women who get into sports journalism at this point to be around naked athletes. And they are there to attract those “exclusive interviews” that men can’t get with their charm, nice perfume and long legs.

For the most part – and I mean 99.9% of the cases of the thousands of hours I’ve spent in professional sports locker rooms and clubhouses – it’s been by far quite professional and dignified.

Quite frankly, I hear more swearing and “guys being guys” and nasty, vulgar lyrics in rap songs played at ear-splitting volume that might be considered offensive by any gender than I do of actual personal harassment.

And even the male reporters have had incidents of “boys being boys” and micro-hazing that’ve been borderline “uncool,” if not completely inappropriate. Adalius Thomas singled me out every Wednesday to see the color of my shirt and to get approval from his teammates. If I were a woman, that would’ve been harassment. In general, it was all in pretty good fun as long as it didn’t include Tony Siragusa.

I’ve never had a problem, except for perhaps when something I said or wrote bothered someone, and I’m extremely accountable and professional, and I took care of it with a conversation and an understanding or clarification.

Clearly, with the New York Jets case, part of the story are that the rules of Mexican television are different and certainly the dress code was more like that of most football players’ wives at a club on Saturday night and less like a conservative, corporate TV sideline reporter on ESPN. Even in California and Florida, local TV news directors routinely hire weather girls with cleavage to spice up the eyeballs and Mexican TV has taken those rules beyond where any American journalist would go. That’s a cultural thing.

That’s the business they’re in – ratings, not journalism or “professionalism” or even proprietary information.

The locker room in a sports environment is quite different from reading the weather on a TV set but the people doing the hiring have never worked in a sports locker room as a beat reporter on a daily basis so they’re clueless as to what really goes on from day to day in an NFL clubhouse.

No doubt I’ve seen a few guys do and say inappropriate things in my 27 years in locker rooms. But ultimately, for this to happen as reported in 2010, the Jets should be ashamed of themselves. Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan should know better and whatever punishment Roger Goodell deems appropriate is just fine by me. And I have no doubt something bad and unwarranted happened.

All four major sports have worked hard at making the locker room a professional workplace – a business “office” so to speak after games. But you’re always going to have these issues. It’s genuinely awkward — women staring at mostly naked men with notebooks and recorders out asking questions. It just a bizarre, other-worldly kind of experience that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

But back to my larger point, which is professionalism and expertise on the subject matter and what some of these women are doing in the locker room to begin with when their main qualification is their looks, not their intelligence or expertise regarding sports or football.

As an “expert” myself and someone who has dedicated my life to being a sports journalist, I’m not sure what’s more offensive – the guys who try to come to me at WNST proclaiming to be sports experts or the women who say they know sports and can’t tell me the difference between a nickel and dime package.

(And, certainly, next summer when the NFL owners go to war with the NFL players, where are you going to turn to find out what the hell is really happening? We cover local sports and the Ravens better than anyone at WNST.net and next year will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt why you come to our website for insight and information.)

But, as an employer, I’ve made it a personal and unabashed quest to find a female sports reporter and EXPERT who really DOES know this stuff.

So, where is the next Molly Dunham?

I Facebooked and Tweeted up that I was writing this blog yesterday and I already started getting the barrage of: “I am a woman and I know more about football than most men!”

Really? Do you? Really?

Be careful of what you boast.

I would invite you over to the studio anytime – or better yet LOVE to give you a written forum or column in our blogosphere to feature your work. I’d LOVE to have a female presence at WNST.net that isn’t about T&A, the color of your hair or the size of your breasts or the white of your smile or the length of your legs.

Not only do I have no interest in patronizing pretty girls to work for WNST in a content capacity, I won’t EVER do it.

I won’t ask you to “send a picture” first (this isn’t Hooters!) but as you know it wouldn’t hurt you if you’re sending it elsewhere in the marketplace in search of a radio, television or web gig as a sports media personality.

And if you think that is a “sexist” statement, well then, you will find my lengthy argument today compelling and confusing all at once.

If you’re a women and you REALLY know enough about sports to be a sports journalist, simply PROVE IT with the depth and quality of your work. But don’t get your feelings hurt if I go Simon Cowell on you and tell you that you don’t know enough. And don’t hold it against me if I embarrass you with how little you might really know.

It’s kinda like American Idol when the poor sap rolls into Simon, Paula, Randy and company and sings grossly off key and everybody in the universe knows but them.

Paula would say something nice to not hurt the girl’s feelings. Randy would politely say “That’s rough, dawg!” And Simon would say “It’s rubbish. It was awwww-ful!”

Honestly, 99% of what I’ve heard from women sports “journalists” over my 27 years has been rubbish. So much so that when I see “the real thing” I’m so freaking impressed and smitten that it’s ridiculous. Of course, I’d say that about 92% of what I’ve heard from the men as well has been rubbish.

I put my money where my mouth is: I’ve hosted these open competitions three times, most recently won by Chris Vinson last Friday.

I don’t want the next Anita Marks or Laura Vecsey or Inez! I want a Baltimore rock star. I’m tired of the phonies. I want the real thing! Someone I want listen to, drink with and converse with who knows as much as I do about the facts and history and most certainly is a Baltimore sports “expert.”

I want information. I want analysis. I want insight. I want experts. I want journalism.

I want to respect what this person – male or female – knows about Baltimore sports. Or I won’t give them my time.

I think most of the men who cover sports locally are a joke so you can only guess how high my bar is on the female side – it’s exactly the same. You either know Baltimore sports or you don’t. If you don’t, you won’t work in an official content capacity at WNST.net.

If they gave doctorates in Baltimore sports journalism at this point, I’d have one. At every level – from newspaper to television to radio (locally and syndicated) and social media and the web – I’ve done every job in this business over the last 27 years.

Hearing, seeing or reading unqualified amateurs parade into clubhouses – that means women AND men – is unbecoming and I won’t hire incompetents, no matter their breast size or their hairstyle or fashion.

I’ve successfully run my own media business for 18 years (against all odds) and I own the fastest-growing local media entity in the market. We’re a sports media company. You’re here reading this because we’re VERY GOOD at what we do and very good at promoting what we do.

I know because you’ve told me. More than 94% of the nearly 2,000 who took our Febuary 2010 survey said they’d recommend WNST.net to a friend who loves Baltimore sports.

We’re very proud of that!

We’re the fastest-growing brand on Twitter because we don’t suck. If you’re a girl – or a guy – who loves sports, that’s awesome. I love sports, too. If you’re a fan who wants to call in, write a barstool blog, have an opinion, etc. – male or female – that’s cool, too. I’ve made my living hearing what fans have to say about Baltimore sports. That’ll be on my tombstone at some point. I’ve dedicated my LIFE to it.

But the difference between being a bartender or an educated caller or sports fan and someone who’s dedicated their lives to it as an “expert” is the same as some drunk PSL holder calling in and really believing they know more about football than John Harbaugh or more about drafting NFL players than Ozzie Newsome.

This might piss some of you off but this is 100% true and you should accept it: you DO NOT know more about football than Harbaugh or Newsome.

And if you go on the radio and take phone calls in live, real time and don’t know what you’re talking about it only takes anyone who DOES know anything about Baltimore sports about 10 minutes to ferret you out as a phony and a fraud.

Does this remind you of anyone you’ve seen in Baltimore? At one of our competitors, maybe? Maybe recently?

The above is my educated “expert” opinion.

Funny, but I like my “experts” to actually BE experts with credentials and information and a track record that supports their claims.

If you like pretty girls then you and I have something in common. If you like sports, then we have another thing in common.

But mixing the two is like saying good doctors make good lawyers. They’re two different skill sets and two different expectations.

I’m waiting to meet the Baltimore female who knows as much about sports as me or anyone on my staff.

If you follow anyone on Twitter based on their looks and take their barstool opinions and thimble-like knowledge of the depth and breadth of sports as “gospel” or “insight” than you’re not really in the market to be educated.

You’re in the market to be “entertained.” (And that’s being kind …)

I watch Entertainment Tonight. I like Access Hollywood.

But those female reporters aren’t hosting sports radio or pretending to be “experts” on the subject matter.

And to think that I’ve been unprofessionally banished from the Orioles clubhouse after reporting on them for 21 years because of my views while women half my age who’ve never heard of Jim Gentile are holding a mic flag in front of them on the field is a disgrace to Baltimore sports journalism.

But then again, the owner is a public disgrace so profound that a sentence should do the trick. Either you’re appalled by the last 13 years of this civic disease or, if you’re a local female journalist, you take a job, get a mic and defend it while your paychecks are signed by Peter G. Angelos every two weeks.

And that’s not a FEMALE thing, that’s MUCH more of a “male” thing. My feelings aren’t based on gender but on straight-up competence.

And this is my opinion after watching this and doing this for a living for past 27 years. And you know how I know my opinion and expertise is significant enough to you?

Because you made it this far. You respect me and you read my work here at WNST.net because at some level, you respect what I’ve done and my knowledge and opinions and integrity regarding Baltimore sports.

Again, one more time: if you are the next Molly Dunham, my email address is nasty@wnst.net.

But be forewarned. I am the Simon Cowell on the Baltimore sports journalism panel of judges.

And if you think I’m hard on you, wait’ll you see how hard the public will be and what they’ll say about you if you do have success!

Or worse yet, wait’ll you see what they write and say when you DON’T know what you’re talking about.

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Bring Back Prince Miller, Prepare for Bengals

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens returned to work Wednesday at 1 Winning Drive, beginning preparations for Sunday afternoon’s battle with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Ravens made a roster move Wednesday, re-signing CB Prince Miller. Miller had been on the practice squad with the New England Patriots. Miller was an undrafted free agent out of Georgia who originally made the Ravens’ final 53 man roster following a strong Training Camp and preseason. He was released September 5 to make room for CB Bryan McCann on the active roster. Coming full circle, the Ravens released McCann Wednesday to make room for Miller on the roster.

Miller will have a chance to get involved in returning punts, as head coach John Harbaugh admitted Tuesday that Tom Zbikowski’s performance was “disappointing” in the role Monday night in the Ravens’ win over the New York Jets. Harbaugh said Wednesday “there is a chance” Miller will take over punt return duties, but didn’t know if the rookie would be ready to do that Sunday. Harbaugh said of Miller and Zbikowski “one of them will be back there” against Cincinnati.

The Ravens will have to keep Miller on the active roster for at least three weeks due to the NFL rules for signing players from other another team’s practice squad. When CB Cary Williams returns from suspension next week the team will have to make another roster move to get down to 53 players.

CODY HOPES TO PLAY: DT Terrence Cody told reporters today he “should be able to play” Sunday after missing the Monday Night Football tilt at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Cody is recovering from a minor knee procedure he underwent August 31 to repair damage to a slightly torn meniscus. Cody said the knee is “getting better”, but he wants to “get a lot of reps” in practice this week.

Harbaugh did not expect to have Cody on the practice field Wednesday afternoon-but Cody did indeed participate. When asked if the team’s 2nd selection in the NFL Draft would be able to play Sunday, Harbaugh admitted “I don’t know.”

HOUSHMANDZADEH REFLECTS ON RETURN
: WR TJ Houshmandzadeh spent a formal session with reporters Wednesday, reflecting on his first visit to Cincinnati after spending eight years (seven seasons) in the Queen City.

When asked about how it will feel to dress in and enter from the visitor’s locker room at Paul Brown Stadium, Houshmandzadeh admitted “it will be different.” Houshmandzadeh said he didn’t know what kind of reaction he would get from the fans in Cincinnati, but said he would “expect the worts, hope for the best.” Houshmandzadeh believed his role as a constant underdog early in his career could help fans feel “apathy” towards him.

Houshmandzadeh gave credit to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, noting “Marvin stuck by me when I was hurt (in 2003)”. He said that without Lewis, he might not still be in the NFL at this point.

Houshmandzadeh said he “wanted to stay” in Cincinnati after the 2008 season, but his “mind was kind of clouded” at the time.

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens have announced that OT Jared Gaither (back) and WR Donte’ Stallworth will not play Sunday.

On Wednesday, TE Todd Heap (shoulder) did not participate in practice. LB Ray Lewis (foot), WR Anquan Boldin (thigh), Cody (knee) and LB Jarret Johnson (back) were all limited participants. LB Jameel McClain (knee) and WR Marcus Smith (knee) fully participated in practice.

For the Bengals, DE Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) and LB Keith Rivers (foot) did not participate in practice. RB Cedric Benson (shoulder) was a limited participant. WR Andre Caldwell (groin), CB Brandon Ghee (head) and RB Brian Leonard (foot) were all full participants.

NOTES: The Ravens will not practice until 3:40pm, as Harbaugh wants to give them more rest after returning from East Rutherford late Monday night/early Tuesday morning……Hear from Harbaugh, QB Joe Flacco and Boldin NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco talked to Baltimore media members via conference call Wednesday. Ochocinco declined to discuss his recent Twitter “battle” with Ravens RB’s Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain; saying he only wanted to talk about Sunday’s game. Ochocinco offered praise for Lewis, DT Haloti Ngata and injured S Ed Reed. He also said he was looking forward to chatting with former Cincy teammate Houshmandzadeh. McClain said he and Ochocinco were “just joking around” with their exchange.

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because it is “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” time!

My NEW “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” comes with an explanation. “Boomer Sooner” and I spent the weekend in New York, and as you’d expect from a gal who grew up in Texas and went to school in Oklahoma, she’s a fan of country music. I will admit to having a soft spot for the genre myself. With that in mind, this week’s winner is Eric Church’s “Smoke a Little Smoke.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb1S467ck1c[/youtube]

And the RETRO version of the “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” was decided Friday night-when the great John Popper and Blues Traveler took the stage at Power Plant Live. I mean, is there ANYTHING greater than “Run-Around”???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ousaiByU1ko[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says John Harbaugh does not expect Todd Heap to miss any time after suffering shoulder injury in win over New York Jets

Clearly that’s good news. While Heap was MIGHTY impressive hauling in the first down pass from Joe Flacco on the Ravens’ penultimate possession Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium, it could have been costly. Being labeled the top play in NFL Week 1 action by ESPNews probably wouldn’t have been as meaningful had Heap been unable to take the field Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

It’s important to keep Heap on the field because his presence alongside Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and TJ Houshmandzadeh forces the Bengals to stay honest with their outstanding CB’s (Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph). The matchup problem is exactly what the Ravens need.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Nakamura, Josh Wilson, Lardarius Webb will ‘compete’ for nickel CB job

Apparently the Ravens had decided back around the Washington Redskins preseason game that Nakamura would be able to handle the role. That helps explain (at least to some extent) why the team had no trouble parting ways with CB Travis Fisher, and why they felt the need to hang on to veteran S Ken Hamlin.

Nakamura had no troubles against Mark Sanchez and the Jets Monday night, but he really wasn’t tested. I feel as though Wilson or Webb would be better long-term options, but the Ravens clearly appear to have at least some sort of comfort level with Nakamura.

It will be especially interesting to see how Cary Williams fits into this mix when he returns. He’s not really the best suited to cover slot receivers, but appeared to earn real playing time with his performance in the preseason.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens waived IR players David Hale, Stefan Rodgers

We’ll always have the memories…of David Hale’s facial hair…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RK-Y7Bn7Bw[/youtube]

If the Ravens need to fill the roster spot, I’d think Jeri Lee would do a fine job (Thanks Gorilla Mask!)…

jerilee

4. The Sun’s Matt Vensel says Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco fighting with Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee on Twitter

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

-Harbaugh told the media yesterday that he had no update on rookie LB Sergio Kindle, adding he “wished” he did. He also said he thought Webb had a chance to play against the Jets, and thinks he’ll have a chance to play Sunday as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL.

-The Ravens return to practice today in Owings Mills as they prepare for Sunday afternoon. We’ll be live at 1 Winning Drive with coverage throughout the day on AM1570 WNST, on Twitter (@WNST), and at WNST.net. Harbaugh, Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason and others are expected to address the media this morning; and Marvin Lewis and Ochocinco are scheduled to hold conference calls with the Baltimore media this afternoon.

5. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Nick Markakis and Adam Jones homered as Orioles blew out Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

It’s goofy to even talk about-but if the Birds were to face the Minnesota Twins in a 7 game series starting tomorrow; does anyone else get the feeling Buck Showalter’s team would figure out a way to win?

I don’t just want the Buck Showalter t-shirt they were giving away last night, I want a Buck Showalter Fathead!

I feel like a broken record though-as I can’t think of anything else to say besides “why couldn’t this have happened when games mattered???”

I wasn’t watching again last night. Not because I don’t love the Orioles, but because the games just don’t matter. I played kickball last night, enjoyed a medium Angel Food from Smoothie King for dinner, then watched the MTV Video Music Awards (or fast-forwarded through them) on DVR. Eminem was pretty good…

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

I hope the games will matter in September 2011.

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

Markakis and Jones homered; Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton and Robert Andino all doubled, and Matt Wieters was 3-5 with a run scored and a RBI.

On top of that, Jake Arrieta threw six shutout innings.

Everything about the numbers is good. Go look at them. Then come back and look at Diana Falzone. We’ll call it a “win-win”! (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

falzone

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals to visit Charm City in 2011; O’s to visit Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Nats

I guess there’s something exciting about Albert Pujols coming to OPACY next season; but I’d be plenty happy if Pujols DIDN’T play-but we were instead excited to see the Orioles play.

Do you think Nelly would make the trip with the Cards? I’ve always thought he (and his band-aid) were kinda cool.

nelly

8. Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Birds not concerned about injuries to Brian Matusz, Brian Roberts

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

-The Orioles will try to finish off a sweep of the Jays tonight; first pitch from The Yard is at 7:05pm, you can see it on MASN2. Phenom Kyle Drabeck makes his first career start for Toronto, he’ll face Brad Bergesen.

-Did you miss SiriusXM MLB Network Radio analyst and former Catonsville pitcher Jeff Nelson on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester this morning? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Dan Graziano (Fanhouse)-who was in attendance for the Monday Night Football contest in East Rutherford and chatted with Drew about the Ravens and Jets Wednesday morning
  • Pete Caringi (UMBC Soccer Coach)-who previewed tonight’s contest with La Salle at UMBC Stadium
  • Albert Breer (Boston Globe), Barry Barnes (Fanhouse), Brian Billick (Fox Sports/NFL Network), Clark Judge (CBS Sports), Tom Pedulla (USA Today), Tommy Polley (Former Ravens/Dunbar LB)-who all recapped Ravens/Jets during the day Tuesday with Rex Snider and Thyrl Nelson
  • Tuesday’s weekly press conference with John Harbaugh from 1 Winning Drive

It’s all in the Audio Vault-PLUS THERE’S MORE-so your day is planned. AGAIN. I’m much too good to you…

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland, West Virginia extend football series through 2017

A slew of other Terrapins football-related notes via Patrick:

-Within the WVU series, the Terps will host back to back games at Byrd Stadium in 2013 & 2014; they’ll visit Morgantown back to back in 2015 & 2016

-Rob Stone and former Georgia Bulldogs/Cincinnati Bengals LB David Pollack will call Maryland/WVU this Saturday for ESPNU.

-Maryland will be without LB Marcus Whitfield for the rest of the year due to a knee injury. TE Will Yeatman is expected to be ready to return from a broken finger Saturday.

-Maryland and Florida International will kick off at 12pm next Saturday (September 25) in College Park. The game can be seen on ESPNU. It isn’t a great option, but it’s better than the alternative-which is no TV at all. If Maryland keeps winning, they might see some better TV options.

That’s a lot of information for one day. If I were you, I’d consider making a donation to the “keep Patrick Stevens working fund” over at D1scourse…

10. The Sun’s Sandra McKee says Pam Shriver to hold final event at 1st Mariner Arena November 17

This sucks.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed Pam’s involvement with the community and her partnership with this event since its inception. I’ve been thrilled while watching events with the likes of Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Andy Roddick. Even last year’s event with Melanie Oudin, John Isner and the Bryan Brothers was a lot of fun.

It’s a shame American tennis has fallen off the map. It’s a shame 1st Mariner Arena is an absolute dump and folks in general don’t want to attend events there. It’s a shame Pam’s life has had twists and turns and she’s been taken to California.

I hope there will be future tennis events in Baltimore. I hope Pam Shriver will be involved.

Trice Capra is a natural fit to be involved with the last event, but there’s a certain someone else I’m also hoping to see…

wozniacki

Or Andy Roddick. Either one.

And finally, I leave you with this…

Congratulations to Sasho Cirovski’s Maryland soccer team for a 3-0 win over the Loyola Greyhounds last night at Ridley Athletic Complex. To celebrate, here’s DK…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJlcu4J2MWg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: John Harbaugh’s Weekly Press Conference

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh held the first of his weekly regular season press conferences today at 1 Winning Drive.

Amongst the highlights from today’s conversation:

-Harbaugh says TE Todd Heap “should practice tomorrow” despite suffering a shoulder injury during the Ravens’ penultimate possession Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium. “It looks like he’s okay” added Harbaugh regarding the former Pro Bowl TE; who dove for a Joe Flacco pass on first down, making a spectacular catch in the process.

-When asked if scratching CB Lardarius Webb from the win over the New York Jets had more to do with pain Webb was feeling or something in warmups the coaches weren’t seeing, Harbaugh responded “all of the above.” He added that Webb was still going through the “healing process” after returning from a torn ACL and the team does not want to rush him back. Regarding his status for Sunday afternoon’s AFC North tilt against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, Harbaugh said “I thought he had a chance to play last week, he wasn’t able to do it. I think he has a chance to play this week…it’s going to be his decision in the end.”

-Harbaugh said Tom Zbikowski’s performance as punt returner was “disappointing”, but said he had a “good conversation” with Zbikowski on the train ride home from East Rutherford and believes the safety “will learn from” his performance. However, Harbaugh did not commit to Zbikowski continuing to be the permanent option at punt returner, saying CB Chris Carr could still be in the mix.

-Harbaugh thought OL Marshal Yanda and OL Chris Chester “did really well” after being shuffled into roles as RT and RG respectively. “I think they’re ready to do it” said Harbaugh, who said Yanda would continue to be a long term option if starting RT Jared Gaither is unable to return.

-Harbaugh said he had no update on rookie LB Sergio Kindle, who remains unsigned. “I wish I did” said Harbaugh. Kindle was in Charm City last weekend to be looked over by neurologists. Harbaugh did not field questions about injured Ravens Gaither (back), DT Terrence Cody (knee) or OLB/DE Paul Kruger (shoulder).

NOTES:
Hear from Harbaugh NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……The Ravens reached injury settlements with OT Stefan Rodgers (ankle) and OL David Hale (tailbone), both of whom had been on Injured Reserve. Both are no longer on the team’s roster……Bill Macatee and former Oakland Raiders QB Rich Gannon will call Sunday’s Ravens-Bengals game for CBS, which can be seen locally on WJZ 13……The Ravens return to the practice field tomorrow; Harbaugh, Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Ray Lewis, WR Derrick Mason and others are expected to be available in formal media sessions. The Cincinnati Bengals will provide conference calls with coach Marvin Lewis and WR Chad Ochocinco for members of the Baltimore media.

-G

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Boldin Makes Major Difference as Ravens Survive Jets

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — It’s not easy to single out anything about a team’s offensive performance in a game where they only score 10 points.

However, the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) had one particular offensive element that made all of the difference in their 10-9 victory over the New York Jets (0-1) on Monday Night Football.

[picapp align="left" wrap="false" link="term=anquan+boldin&iid=9765171" src="http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9765171/baltimore-ravens-new-york/baltimore-ravens-new-york.jpg?size=500&imageId=9765171" width="234" height="351" /]
WR Anquan Boldin was indeed the best player on the field at New Meadowlands Stadium Monday night. He was also the exact type of game-changer the Ravens dreamed of when GM Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh went about trying to improve a team that finished 9-7 last season and snuck into the playoffs with the AFC’s final Wild Card spot.

Boldin’s numbers (7 catches, 110 yards) would be proof enough that he had made a significant difference. But a look inside those numbers makes things even more impressive.

The Ravens converted 11 of their 19 3rd down attempts in the game. Of the 11 conversions, Boldin caught three first down passes and was targeted on another play where a defensive penalty extended the drive. Boldin’s presence helped the Ravens establish a 38:32 to 21:28 advantage in Time of Possession; despite being out-rushed 116 yards to 49.

Let those numbers sink in again.

The Jets outgained the Ravens on the ground 116 yards to 49. Yet the Ravens held the ball for nearly twice as long as the Jets did in their opponents’ stadium.

That’s why the team wanted to get an Anquan Boldin this offseason.

When asked following the game if his performance was what the Ravens had hoped for in obtaining the former Pro Bowl receiver, Harbaugh was quick to respond with an emphatic “Heck yeah.” He added “I’m excited about our weapons…we’ve got guys all the way across the board that  Joe (Flacco) can go to.”

The 3rd year QB knew exactly why his new favorite target was so effective on 3rd down, saying “Anquan is just a big, physical guy who goes up for the ball.”

That’s not the end of the impression Boldin left on the football field. On the three 3rd down plays Boldin converted, the Ravens were faced with an average of 3rd down and 9 yards to go. On those three plays, the Ravens picked up an average of 22 yards.

That’s where a receiver becomes a game-breaker. On 3rd and long, he consistently made plays.

Boldin was quick to deflect praise following the game, saying “It’s not just about me. We have a group of receivers that’s going to be tough to defend no matter who we play. I don’t think there’s any team in this league that can match up three corners with our three receivers. We have three #1 receivers on the field.”

While it is fair to point out that the team’s other top receivers (Derrick Mason and TJ Houshmandzadeh) combined for just three catches and 48 yards, TE Todd Heap also pulled down six catches for 72 yards. Amongst those catches was a 35 yard reception to open the Ravens’ final drive; which helped pin the Jets inside their own 20 for their final possession.

What makes Anquan Boldin so good isn’t just what he does on the field himself, it’s what he allows the entire offense to do as well.

10 points and 282 yards might not be glaring reminders of that, but the Ravens did face Rex Ryan and the NFL’s best defense from a season ago. That won’t have to do that every week.

But if he remains healthy, they will have a bona fide superstar receiver to throw the ball to every week.

What we saw on Monday night is exactly what that star receiver is capable of doing every time he puts on a purple and black uniform. It’s EXACTLY why the organization was so determined to pry him away from the Arizona Cardinals and sign him to a new four year deal in the offseason.

For Ravens fans, it’s been a long time coming. Mason has been the franchise’s greatest receiver since he came to Charm City, and has regularly put up statistics similar to the ones put up by Boldin Monday night.

But Mason has never been thought of as a “gamebreaker”, the type of receiver whose presence alone could alter everything else going on every time he set foot on a field.

In one game with the team, Boldin proved he was EXACTLY that type of player.

-G

———————

Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Boldin, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs and LB Ray Lewis following Monday night’s win NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

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Join our Purple Haze chat live NOW!!!!

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Join our Purple Haze chat live NOW!!!!

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ. — The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets open their respective 2010 seasons tonight at New Meadowlands Stadium on Monday Night Football. We will be live from the press box here in East Rutherford all night, where it is RAINING…

nyj

Kickoff for tonight’s game has been delayed AT LEAST 30 minutes due to lightning. We’ll start the Purple Haze on time however for those of you who want to chat.

Here are the scratches…

Jets-
QB Kellen Clemens (3rd QB)
S Brodney Pool
RB Joe McKnight
OT Vladimir Ducasse
OT Patrick Brown
TE Jeff Cumberland
DT Marcus Dixon
LB Calvin Pace

S Eric Smith will start for Brodney Pool, OLB Jason Taylor will start for Calvin Pace.

Ravens-
WR Donte’ Stallworth
CB Lardarius Webb
CB Bryan McCann
ILB Jason Phillips
DT Arthur Jones
DT Terrence Cody
OT Jared Gaither
DE Paul Kruger

Marshal Yanda is expected to start for Gaither.

Make sure you jump in the Purple Haze chat starting at 7:30!

-G

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Is Mark Sanchez really a fruitcake? We’ll find out tonight as Ravens visit Jets

Posted on 12 September 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

If you don’t watch Hard Knocks on HBO, you won’t get the humor in the headline but I have a hunch you will be watching tonight as eight months of sports silence in Baltimore and a revenge game on national TV for Jets coach Rex Ryan should whet your appetite for the deliciousness of the next 17 weeks and beyond.

Tonight, the Ravens finally play football. For real…

I have been quite silent this summer as the Orioles have continued to tank it en route to a last-place finish but today I recommit to telling you what I think during the football season. I’ve been busy 24 hours a day building the new WNST.net that many of you are enjoying daily via our many means to reach you: the Morning Newspaper, text service, Facebook, Twitter, AM 1570, this very website at WNST.net, etc.

The Orioles are winning and no one is watching while the Ravens have been dormant since that dark night in Indianapolis eight months ago but have once again captured the imagination not only of the local marketplace but they’ve become the national media darlings and are expected to be in Dallas in early February by many pundits.

The locals have been waiting since January for a reason to cheer and tonight we’ll get it in prime time glory with story lines galore for ESPN to pitch America.

The world expects the Ravens to be a playoff team – a 10-to-13 win machine of big-time offense with an emerging Joe Flacco and a hard-hitting (if not hard-covering in the secondary) defense still led by the credentials of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and some fresh faces on the back side.

Tonight we begin to find out not only what our Baltimore Ravens are made of but we’ll also find out whether Rex Ryan’s men in green actually “Play Like Jets” after talking incessantly for the past month in our living rooms via the loudest, brashest most reality-based reality TV ever made – “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets”

The harsh words have all been exchanged: Rex Ryan disrespected Ray Lewis who disrespected Mark Sanchez which led to Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott piling on in what the linebacker formerly known as “Hot Sauce” called “part of the show.”

It was a week of pre-game hype that Vince McMahon and Don King could both appreciate but Ray Lewis summed it all up here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL5CZcMqqWA[/youtube]

Honestly, I was actually blown away when I finally watched last week’s “Hard Knocks” on Saturday afternoon to hear what Rex Ryan actually said on the show that set off No. 52 in a tirade for the ages. Before he spoke, Ray Lewis admitted that he didn’t watch it and still went nuts with the notion that the Jets could somehow be more relevant or favored in tonight’s game.

I was five feet away from Lewis when he went nuts.

I went over to him in the locker room 15 minutes later and told him that I’d seen ALL of the press conferences over the last 15 years and it was his finest moment. “Really, you think so?” he said with a smile.

Yes, Ray! That one was for the ages and has this city inspired to spit purple lightning at 7 p.m. tonight.

So how will this go tonight?

Here are the five things I’ll be on the lookout for from Sect. 324 of the upper deck of the New Meadowlands Stadium. If you like my analysis here at WNST.net feel free to join our Twitter page tonight or friend us on Facebook or chime in with your thoughts in our Purple Haze LIVE CHAT that will begin at 7 p.m. And if you’re coming to New Jersey this afternoon, make sure you join us in Parking Lot L for a BYOB pre-game party of biblical proportions.

Sanchez accuracy can’t be dirty

If the Jets are going to be a contender this year they need to utilize a strong receiving corps with a passing attack that was woefully lacking in 2010 as Mark Sanchez slogged through his rookie campaign until the last few weeks when their defense caught fire and led them to the AFC Championship Game in Indy. Sanchez was portrayed as a bit of a clown in “Hard Knocks” and was referred to by Mark Brunell as a “fruitcake.” I wasn’t impressed with Sanchez on or off of the field this past month in preparation for tonight’s game. I think he’ll throw the Ravens a few opportunities to change the game. What they do when he does that will dictate the Ravens fortunes because with a few turnovers I believe the Ravens could win this game in a rout. And that’s without Ed Reed!

Jets taking care of the ball

The Jets were quite sloppy in many facets of the game in the preseason and turnovers were a major problem. Their running game seems to be a strength in their attack and you’d have to believe that running up the middle against the Ravens will be a tall task for an aging LaDainian Tomlinson and company. In general, I’m wondering how the Jets will attempt to exploit the Ravens through the air because it’s their best chance to win, lining up mismatches in the secondary and hoping Sanchez will be protected and can deliver the ball accurately.

Revis rusty?

We know that Cam Cameron will be mixing it up with this compliment of offensive weapons that Ozzie Newsome has assembled in the offseason. This team went from having Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton to having Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh become a true No. 1 and 2 with Mason almost certainly to move into a more complimentary role as the season wears on. Not that this is a bad thing: Mason will be a true weapon come December and other teams wear thin in the secondary as the weather chills. But the real secondary story tonight will be the return of Darrelle Revis who will be out on the island tonight chasing Boldin in many cases with just five days of practice under his belt. They say he’s the best in the business. Well, tonight he’ll face live bullets and there’s no doubt the communication of the Jets’ back line will be put to the test early and often by Flacco and company.

Flacco directing the offense and multiplicity

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has had three years in the system now and the list of weapons he has is impressive by any measure. The best offense Baltimore football fans have seen since 1977 will take the field tonight. How will Ray Rice be used? When will Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain get the ball? How will Todd Heap and Ed Dickson be used? What role will Houshmandzadeh grow into in this offense? Tonight we get answers including the protection up front that Flacco will need to deliver in this ramped up offensive attack.

The New Meadowlands as a weapon

The Jets have always been the second citizens of Giants Stadium. The team is a generational under-achiever. This year there’s more heat than there’s ever been due to Rex Ryan’s boasts and the braggadocio of the entire franchise being led by a cool, cussing, confident leader who expects to win tonight and every night. Tickets started at nearly $300 and have fallen to less than $100 to get into the game tonight. I know they’ve expanded the stadium but I thought the expanded expectations would expand their horizons to pack their own stadium in a sea of green for a Monday Night Football debut against a real contender and Ryan’s former franchise for a revenge bowl of biblical proportions. It will be interesting to see if the crowd can affect Flacco, who’s earned a bit of a reputation for being Joe Cool when impacted on the road. Flacco has won playoff games in Miami, Nashville and New England in his first three years in the league. I’m not sure the bright lights of New York will affect him tonight.

Quite frankly if Sanchez is the “fruitcake” Brunell alleged, the Ravens will waltz tonight at The New Meadowlands.

My prediction: Ravens 24, Jets 13

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Live From Owings Mills: Emotions of Ravens-Jets Coming to Forefront

Posted on 09 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Given the number of former players and coaches employed by their first opponent, it is not a stretch to assume that the Baltimore Ravens will be facing a more emotional test when they visit the New York Jets Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.

In fact, the only really surprising part has to be the fact that it took until four days before the Monday Night Football showdown in East Rutherford for any member of the Ravens to really speak their mind. Of course, it isn’t particularly surprising that the one to do it was future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis.

“We’re talking about the Jets like we’re talking about the Saints” said Lewis. He added “until they play tonight, (they’re) the only people that can be dethroned-Drew Brees and the Saints, not Mark Sanchez and the Jets.” Lewis unloaded on his former Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan and company. “All this pressure (Ryan) wants to put on his team, I hope they can cash the check that he writes” said the Pro Bowler.

Lewis’ entire rant can be heard currently in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

The Jets have captivated the attention of the NFL world and the pop culture world in general as they were profiled on this season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO. Television clip shows like E!’s “The Soup” featured clips of Ryan and CB Antonio Cromartie during Training Camp and leading up to the start of the regular season. Ryan has been no stranger to the spotlight since leading his team to an appearance in the AFC Championship Game last year, as he gained plenty of attention (not always for the right reasons) when he made offseason appearances at a Strikeforce fight in Miami, a Carolina Hurricanes game and Yankee Stadium.

Ryan wasn’t particularly concerned with Lewis’ comments, saying “I’m laughing” when asked about them during a Thursday afternoon conference call with Charm City media members. Ryan said he’s not concerned about talking too much himself or as a team, saying “we don’t have to sneak up on people to tell them what we think.”

The Jets and Ravens have both been amongst media favorites to win the AFC and reach Super Bowl XLV in Dallas/Arlington.

ROSTER MOVES
: The Ravens released practice squad QB Hunter Cantwell Thursday just four days after signing him. Cantwell is replaced on the practice squad by former Miami Dolphins and Georgia Tech OT Andrew Gardner. Gardner told reporters he was “really happy to have the opportunity” to join a team like the Ravens.

When asked about who his emergency 3rd quarterback would be with just two on the roster, coach John Harbaugh said it would “probably” be WR Anquan Boldin. Boldin played QB at Pahokee High School in Florida and was pressed into emergency duty for Florida State in the 2003 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.

The Ravens also reached an injury settlement with FB Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin had been placed on IR over the weekend due to a hip flexor issue and sports hernia.

PRACTICE NOTES: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), DT Terrence Cody (knee) and OR Jared Gaither (back) were not present during the portion of practice open to the media. All three have been officially ruled out for Monday night according to the team’s Injury Report.

OT Oniel Cousins (concussion) and CB Lardarius Webb (knee) were again active participants in practice, both listed as having fully participated. Harbaugh said of Cousins “I think he’s come along and I think he’ll be able to do something over there.” Webb fielded punts during practice, along with S Tom Zbikowski and RB Ray Rice. Zbikowski is listed as the punt returner on the team’s official depth chart.

Stallworth met with reporters in the locker room, saying he got his cast off earlier in the day. He said the prognostication for return was eight weeks, but his doctor informed him one “crazy guy” had made it back in four weeks. That “crazy guy” was New Orleans Saints TE Jeremy Shockey, who Stallworth reached out to for tips on how to get back quicker.

DE Paul Kruger (shoulder) did not participate in practice according to the Injury Report. His status for Monday night is unknown.

Jets LB Calvin Pace (foot) has been ruled out Monday night. S Brodney Poole (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday and DE Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited in practice.

NOTES: Hear from Lewis, Harbaugh, Boldin, Stallworth, QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, LB Jarret Johnson, DE Trevor Pryce and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Lewis received good natured ribbing from his teammates regarding his popular new Old Spice commercial. He said teammates have poked at him, including leaving suds in front of his locker room. “I’ve just gotta weather the storm” said Lewis……OL Marshal Yanda joined Drew Forrester Thursday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. If you missed the chat, you can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault. New CB Bryan McCann is scheduled to join Forrester Friday morning at 6:30am.

-G

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