Tag Archive | "Mike Tomlin"

Until Vlad is delivered is he really an Oriole?
Projecting the Orioles 2011 Lineups 
Baltimore's respect/envy for Mike Tomlin

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Tuesday 3-Pointer

Posted on 08 February 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Here are my three points for topical debate on this fine Tuesday morning. I hope to hear from some of you with your thoughts on the following today on the MobTown Sports Beat from 11am – 2pm, or right here as well in the comments section.

Point #1 – Could the Vlad Add Still Go Bad?

 

For all of the good feelings and uplifted expectations that came with the O’s signing of Vlad Guerrero, can you blame fans for still feeling skeptical about and until his arrival? Given the way that he seemingly spurned the O’s years ago in free agency, and worse used their offers to leverage other teams, might we be witnessing an encore performance?

 

Vlad after all, still hasn’t taken a physical. In fact, the O’s haven’t necessarily/officially signed him yet at all. Instead what they have is an agreement in principle, pending a physical and I’m sure a few other details that are beyond my comprehension. The word from the team seems to be that with relocation pending to spring training, Guerrero might meet with team doctors down and hence make everything official then. However, as news begins to build about the supposed trade demands of Michael Young who was cast to be the Rangers DH this season, it certainly doesn’t seem beyond reason or possibility that the Rangers could still re-enter the picture for Vlad with renewed interest. Despite the announcement regarding his agreement to terms with the team, it still seems that Vlad would almost rather be anywhere but it Baltimore. Might he still be able to get his wish?

 

Point #2 – Stacking the Lineup

 

Assuming that the O’s can count on the services of Vlad Guerrero once the season begins, it’s certainly becoming encouraging to envision just what the lineup(s) might look like once that time comes. Here are a few of the ideas that I have, accompanied by the batters 3-year splits for batting average only overall, and vs. lefties and vs. righties respectively. All of the following assume a defensive alignment with Derrek Lee at 1st, Brian Roberts at 2nd, Mark Reynolds at 3rd, JJ Hardy at shortstop, Matt Wieters catching and in the outfield from left to right, Luke Scott, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.

 

1st Glance Lineup

Vs. Lefties

Vs. Righties

1. (S) Roberts .288 1. (R) Roberts .301 1. (L) Roberts .282
2. (L) Markakis .297 2. (L) Markakis .361 2. (R) Jones .293
3. (R) Lee .286 3. (R) Lee .290 3. (L) Markakis .269
4. (R) Guerrero .300 4. (R) Guerrero .297 4. (R) Guerrero .301
5. (R) Reynolds .234 5. (R) Reynolds .245 5. (L) Scott .297
6. (L) Scott .284 6. (R) Jones .259 6. (R) Lee .284
7. (R) Jones .284 7. (L) Scott .240 7. (R) Reynolds .230
8. (S) Wieters .266 8. (R) Wieters .230 8. (L) Wieters .283
9. (R) Hardy .262 9. (R) Hardy .241 9. (R) Hardy .270

 

If Reimold winds up with the big club, he might be worth a look over Scott against lefthanders with a .270 three-year split. Jones and Lee might also be interchangeable in the vs. right-handers lineup. I’m looking forward to seeing how you think it should stack up.

 

Point #3 – Call it envy, respect or whatever you want, but there’s no denying that Baltimore has a thing for Mike Tomlin.

 

Of all of the Super Bowl reaction that we filtered through on Monday’s show, the most surprising realization for me was the overwhelming outpouring of respect levied on the Baltimore airwaves for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

 

I guess I was remiss in quickly turning away from the pomp and circumstance of the Packers victory celebration, and therefore also missing the post game commentary by Tomlin. Whatever he said, he impressed a number of Monday’s callers to the point that they felt compelled to applaud him for it. Perhaps, from a Ravens fans perspective, anything other than the predictable corporate coach-speak that we’ve come to expect week after week from our own coach is simply viewed as refreshing and genuine. It’s also worth mentioning that the qualities that ingratiated him to fans across the country in the aftermath of Sunday’s game did little to help his team in said game, and that the lineage of coaches that have enjoyed hoisting the Lombardi isn’t exactly a who’s who of fan or media friendly types. Still I found it interesting.

 

With all of the accolades that Tomlin has seemingly achieved in his brief reign as Steelers coach, it’s fair to say that there are still only a handful of impact players on either side of the football whose time with the club doesn’t predate his own. Only time will tell if Tomlin and the Steelers will be able to turn over the roster and remain consistently competitive as his predecessors have done and as a result whether history will regard him in higher esteem than the likes of George Seifert or Barry Switzer, as like them thus far he still bears the “curse” of inheriting a ready to go team and has been smart enough seemingly to simply get out of their way. I’m betting that when the book is closed on Tomlin, he will have achieved distinction above and beyond those others, but still quietly hoping against it. It seems, that in that way at least, Tomlin has gotten to me too.

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Nothing’s changed; the Steelers still OWN the Ravens ….

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Rex Snider

Welcome to Baltimore, Maryland …. home of Edgar Allan Poe, The Star Spangled Banner (thanks Christina !!!!), Berger Cookies, National Bohemian and some of the most fickle sports fans in America.

As this 48th day of winter greets the citizens of our city, you can bet the most predictable conversations will evolve among sports fans in every workplace and social gathering area. 

After all, today is cause for a celebration here in Charm City, because the second most-celebrated scenario unfolded before our very eyes, last night …. 

I don’t think any purple kool-aid drinking Baltimorean can imagine a happier moment than seeing the Ravens conquer their second Super Bowl Championship.

But, rest assured, the second most desirous outcome is seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers lose a Super Bowl.

That’s how the typical Baltimore football fan “rolls”, for better or worse.  And, to a point, I understand the passion.  The Steelers are ENEMY #1 in this town – they’re the Ravens archrival and cast with characters that are easy to dislike.

So, as the final seconds of Super Bowl XLV expired and the confetti rained upon the Green Bay Packers, my hometown undoubtedly became the third most celebrated CHEESEHEAD community, in America – tagging closely behind Milwaukee and Green Bay, itself.

Today’s conversations among Ravens fans will more than likely be spirited along some very predictable lines …..

“So much for that whole 7th HEAVEN thing, huh?”

“That awesome Pittsburgh defense choked.”

“I guess Roethlisberger really isn’t a winner, after all, huh?”

These are the things we’re saying today, as the perceived passion bleeds from our souls.  And, a couple distinct reasons serve as the purpose for Baltimore’s collective group of fans heralding a Super Bowl loss, as opposed to a win:

A)     We are jealous of the Steelers success ….

 

B)     Misery loves company – and we want Steelers fans to join in ours ….

But, make no mistake about the reality that existed before last night’s game.  It’s a reality that has existed for the overwhelming portion of the last fifteen years.  And, it’s a reality that proved quite true as recently as three short weeks ago.

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landon

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7-Top 7 “Coolest” Athletes of All Time

Posted on 01 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

In honor of the copy of GQ Drew picked up at BWI Airport Sunday, today’s Tuesday Top 7 Topic was “The Top 7 Coolest Athletes of All Time”…

Glenn Clark’s Top 7…

7. Landon Donovan

landon

6. Wayne Gretzky

gretzky

5. Andy Roddick

roddick

4. Shaquille O’Neal

shaq

3. Joe Namath

namath

2. Muhammad Ali

ali

1. Andre Agassi

agassi

Drew Forrester’s Top 7…

7. Greg Maddux

maddux

6. Dan Wilcox

wilcox

5. Johnny Damon

damon

4. Mike Tomlin

tomlin

3. Derek Jeter

jeter

2. Grayson “The Professor” Boucher

boucher

1. Fred Couples

fredcouples

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Why firing Cam Cameron, or anyone, is a bad idea for the Ravens.

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You can’t can Cam

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

The Ravens have a lot to think about in this off-season, which depending on the level of the NFL’s anticipated labor strife, could last much monger than usual this time around. Dropped balls, bad calls, blown leads and missed opportunities should and likely will haunt the members of this team for as long as it takes them to see enough success to put those memories into their proverbial rearview mirror.

 

Given the embarrassing fashion in which their season ended on Saturday, again at the unforgiving hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’d imagine there’ll be a lot of off-season soul searching going on at every level of the organization.

 

Some of those who had a hand in Saturday’s loss will not be back; it’s the inevitability of professional football. And predictably one of the popular choices, at least amongst the fans, to not come back is offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

 

While I’m not in love with the body of work that Cameron has compiled here with the Ravens, and while I was also in the camp of those who were unimpressed with the hire when it happened, put me squarely in the camp of those who want Cam back for another shot at this thing. There are a number of factors that have led me to think this way, but here are, in my opinion, the most poignant.

 

First is the labor strife mentioned earlier. Who knows when this thing will be resolved? Even the most hopeful of fans has to believe that negotiations will run into, and therefore likely compromise OTA’s. Further, in the course of negotiating for a longer season and more money, the owners appear likely to be willing to severely scale back OTA schedules as a concession to the union.

 

That would mean that going forward, the suddenly chic turnover of coach and quarterback leading to instant success formula could be a short lived phenomenon and a relic of a now bygone era. Even if that’s not the case, surely an off-season in which there may not be OTA’s anyway, and in which the season itself may be forced to begin in haste is the worst possible time to think about jettisoning coaches or coordinators. Implementing a new system would be a hopeless proposition, so promoting within would have to be the logical next step anyway. Is Jim Zorn or Al Saunders that compelling right now?

 

On a related note, if 2011 has all of the expected trouble getting off the ground, there will likely be a number of teams in terrible situations for the reasons mentioned above. It would be foolish for a team that was so close to put themselves willingly into that category just for the sake of casting a scapegoat.

 

Second, for John Harbaugh to fire Cameron would look like an attempt to absolve himself from culpability in Saturday’s meltdown. The coordinators call the plays, but the coaches set the game plan. Cameron and Mattison both take their cues from Harbaugh. Throughout the season Harbaugh has eschewed the opportunity to play to win, rather than not to lose. That the coordinators follow suit with their play calling philosophies shouldn’t be a surprise. Again on Saturday, Harbaugh’s lack of aggression and subsequent mismanagement of the clock at the end of the first half showed no faith in the offense’s ability to use sound judgment while attempting to put a proverbial dagger in the Steelers. You could say that the tone for the second half began being set in those moments. Confidence is funny like that. The coach should have shown confidence in his offense.

 

Beyond that, since Harbaugh has apparently already indicated a desire to bring back his coordinators ahead of his year end meeting with Steve Bisciotti, backing off of that stance now would seem to give a clear indication that his had was being forced.

 

And lastly and in my mind most importantly, there’s Cameron’s potential to grow. We all have that. We learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we have to make those mistakes over and over again before we grow from them, but the capacity is there for all of us.

 

I know how not only the Ravens’ loss, but also the way that they lost has sat with me as a fan in the 36 hours or so since the final whistle blew. I also know that I can’t even begin to imagine how much it affected those responsible for it at every level. Hopefully there’s a fire burning inside of every member of the organization that will keep them up nights until they have a chance to finish what they started…whenever that may be.

 

That, after all, should have been the expectation anyway. You don’t hire a head coach who’s never done it before and expect everything to come easily. To their credit, Harbaugh and company have made it look too easy at times, so easy perhaps that we’re holding them all to an improbable standard if not an impossible one.

 

Maybe that’s what’s at the heart of it all. It is an improbable charge, but not an impossible one. The road to being Bill Bellichick is a typical one, albeit to atypical results, Look no further however than to Bellichick’s early coaching career to see where all of that savvy came from. Early struggles laid the groundwork for near unprecedented success later, after learning lessons the hard way.

 

Mike Tomlin however, has been the exception to the rule. Tomlin took charge of a team that was ready to win, and allowed them to do their thing, but he did take charge…complete charge. In so doing, he’s given us as fans the expectation that Harbaugh and company should be able to do the same. And they’re in the same division. The Ravens have gotten close…and they’re getting closer. Even in the wake of a monumental meltdown – especially in the wake of a monumental meltdown – they’re getting closer.

 

Allow them to grow Steve Bisciotti. If you want to help them to grow then empower them. Give Harbaugh his raise and his extension, he’s earned that. And give them all the assurance that fortune favors the bold. We’ve seen what the conservative approach to protecting a lead (and protecting your job) leads to. Give them the assurance that 21 point losses and 3 point losses will be judged as equal, as long as they are playing to win. Confidence is funny that way. The owner needs to show some in his coaching staff.

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Part 1 of 3 – Aftermath of a meltdown in Pittsburgh

Posted on 16 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

I remember a scene moments after the Ravens lost to the Steelers in Baltimore back on December 5.  I wrote it about in my post-game blog, in fact, because it was so memorable and so fitting.

A veteran Ravens defensive player exited the team’s locker room at M&T Bank Stadium and I just happened to be in his path, coming at him from 20 yards away.  As we approached one another and made eye contact, I simply said, “Tough one” and he mumbled, just loud enough for me to hear, “We just can’t beat him.”

I saw that player on Saturday night after the game in the locker room in Pittsburgh.  He was among the devastated, sitting at his locker with a towel around his head and disbelief on his face.  This time around, I didn’t say anything to him.

What’s there to say?

He was right back in December.

The Ravens just can’t beat Ben Roethlisberger.

And that isn’t meant to be a dig at Joe Flacco, who was admirable enough most of the season and enjoyed a career-day in Kansas City before having to face the varsity on Saturday at Heinz Field.  As I wrote following the pounding of the Chiefs a week ago:  “Joe won’t be seeing the Chiefs next Saturday.  He’ll be facing the Steelers.  That’s like going from a 6-furlong race to a mile-and-a-quarter.”

Turns out the mile-and-a-quarter race was a little too much for Flacco and the Ravens offense.

But it was just fine for Roethlisberger.

And I can say this with as much confidence as I can possibly have about a subject in sports:  Until the Ravens figure out a way to beat the Steelers when it counts, they’re not going to play in another Super Bowl.  And that means they MUST figure out a way to beat Roethlisberger.

It’s the Yankees and the Red Sox all over again.  Both of those teams go into every off-season thinking the same thing:  “How can we be better than (the Red Sox/the Yankees)?”

If the Ravens can’t beat the Steelers, they can’t ever be great.

That’s a fact.

As Saturday night’s game ended, I was down by the area where the teams come off the field.  The Steelers bounded up the steps and Hines Ward yelled out, “They wanted us!  They wanted us!  And they got us!  Now, they don’t want us no more!”

Whether or not the Ravens “want” the Steelers is neither here nor there.  The fact remains that they’re going to have beat Pittsburgh when it matters at some point in the near future.  Ward was right.  The Ravens DID want the Steelers.  They felt good going into the game.  All that was left was to finish the job.  And they couldn’t do it.

The hows and whys of Saturday night are very easy to figure out.

Some people who can’t handle the truth will do what they always do: place the blame on the officials.  (And for the record, I thought the game wasn’t officiated very well AS A WHOLE, but both teams were affected by questionable calls and despite that, it was a one-score game with six minutes to play.)

Some people who know football will speak the gospel:  When you turn the ball over three times in a game you’re leading 21-7, you’re going to lose every single time.  When you throw a ball into the arms of your highest paid receiver in the end zone with six minutes to play – trailing by 3 points – and he doesn’t catch it, you’re going to lose most of the time.  And on 3rd and 19, when you rush 3 defensive players and let a speedy wide receiver get behind your deepest defensive back, a great quarterback is going to make that play and beat you.

A Ray Rice fumble, a Joe Flacco interception, and a bad snap from Matt Birk that Flacco couldn’t corral all conspired against the Ravens in that epic third quarter collapse.  What was a safe, comfortable 21-7 lead turned into a tie game before the quarter ended.

The Steelers didn’t make those mistakes, the Ravens did.

And that’s how you lose.

As Baltimore came to the line of scrimmage after stopping the Steelers on the opening drive of the second half, I leaned over (continued )

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Ravens LB Dannell Ellerbe steals former alma mater rivalry to describe Steelers-Ravens: “Good, Old-Fashioned Hate”

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

The week of preparation is finally over and on Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers will hit the field and put their long-standing AFC North and divisional rivalry to the test with a chance to advance to the conference championship on the line.

The Ravens (13-4)-entered the postseason as the five-seed in the AFC playoffs-defeated the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday 30-7 on the road in their opening wild card matchup, and now along with the Jets and Patriots facing off in the other Divisional game, the Ravens are determined to get over the hump known as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Several Ravens players joined “The Morning Reaction” this week to discuss their eagerness to punish the hated Steelers, and making the AFC Championship by beating them would make it that much more worth it.

“I know the playoff atmosphere is going to be crazy,” linebacker Dannell Ellerbe told Drew Forrester of “The Morning Reaction” earlier this week, “because when we played Pittsburgh earlier this year it was a lot like a playoff game, and that was a regular season game.”

Ellerbe has played well in the recent weeks with the injury to linebacker Tavares Gooden, giving Ellerbe more of an opportunity to showcase his skills again to coach John Harbaugh in the attempt to get out of the dreaded “doghouse”.

Punter Sam Koch also joined Drew and Glenn Clark on Thursday and re-iterated the same point.

“We’re such a closer team this year from last,” Koch said. “And it’s just a vibe that were going to go out and we’re going to do it this year. A lot of people are excited, and we’re all ready to see where we are and where we’ll end up.”

And it would get even better for the Ravens to host the AFC Championship game should the cards play out for them on Sunday.

“It will be a lot of fun,” the Ravens punter said. “It would be even nicer if the Jets beat the Patriots.”

Both Koch and Ellerbe talked about the difficulty though of playing up in a hostile environment of Heinz Field, and with the stakes higher, it makes the challenge of having a solid game of football that much harder.

Koch and Ellerbe both challenged the Ravens fans to be present, active, and lively on Saturday on the road to make it that much harder for the Steelers to concentrate on their game plan.

“We’re going to need every fan we can get there,” Koch added.”Whenever you were going to Pittsburgh or they were coming here, everybody wanted to go to the game, and everybody is cheering you on. It’s just a great atmosphere and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Koch compared the Pittsburgh-Ravens rivalry to the rivalries his alma mater, Nebraska, has with Oklahoma and Colorado, but times ten.

Ellerbe meanwhile compared it to his college-the University of Georgia-and its rivalry with in-state foe Georgia Tech.

The name of that rivalry game?

Good, Old-Fashioned Hate.

And while Ellerbe said he feels the same way toward the Steelers, he did admit that the rivalry takes on a bigger result in the professional leagues of football as opposed to the amateur level of college football.

“It’s different now because we’re in the NFL and more is at stake right now,” Ellerbe said.

“It would be great to get this win and get the best out of three this year and move on in the playoffs.”

WNST has you covered for Saturday’s game versus Pittsburgh! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Says “It’s Our Turn” To Beat Roethlisberger

Posted on 11 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (13-4) returned to practice Tuesday, beginning a short week of preparation for Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Heinz Field.

The Ravens are 0-5 in games started by Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger since hiring John Harbaugh as Head Coach (including the 2009 AFC Championship Game). Harbaugh said Tuesday he’s ready to see that number change.

“It bothers me a lot” said Harbaugh. “I’d rather that we won. We want to win those games. Obviously, he’s a really good quarterback. It seems like we see great quarterbacks a lot. We’ve beaten our fair share, but we haven’t beaten him. It’s our turn.”

Roethlisberger was complementary of the Ravens despite an 8-2 record in the AFC North rivalry in games he’s started. In a Tuesday conference call with Charm City reporters, Roethlisberger said there was one particular factor that allowed for his success in the series.

“Getting lucky” said the two time Super Bowl winning QB. “That’s all it is. I don’t think there’s any magic recipe other than I guess I’m lucky.”

Roethlisberger went on to say that despite his career success, he doesn’t always enjoy playing the Ravens.

“As a competitor, you love (the rivalry). But I hate playing the Ravens because they’re so good. Every single person and every scheme, everything they do challenges you. They’re good.”

Ravens LB Jarret Johnson told reporters Roethlisberger deserves praise, but isn’t the only reason the Steelers have had success against the Ravens.

“When he gets out (of the pocket), he’s killed us” said Johnson. “I think their defense is a big part of (their success), it’s not just him.”

Johnson was also skeptical of Roethlisberger’s theory of being “lucky.”

“I don’t know about that. They’re a good team. There’s one thing about this (rivalry). If you win this game, you’ve earned it. There’s luck that falls in every game (but) if you win these games-for us or them-you’ve earned it.”

PRACTICE REPORT
: The Ravens held a walkthrough Tuesday which was closed to the media. No official injury report was released Tuesday either.

One player who was a participant in Tuesday’s walkthrough was S Ed Reed, who had left the team following their AFC Wild Card playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Reed had traveled to Louisiana to spend time with his family after his brother (Brian Reed) went missing following a jump into the Mississippi River. The younger Reed is presumed dead.

“Ed was here” said Harbaugh. “Ed got back and he practiced, he went through the meetings today. He was in good spirits, he seemed like he was doing pretty well.”

Ravens players were happy to see their Pro Bowl teammate return.

“(That’s) your leader” said CB Josh Wilson. “You always want your leader back. You need him back there to talk it up. I’m just glad for him to be back and just get back to business.”

Reed declined an opportunity to speak with reporters.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Johnson, Wilson, G Ben Grubbs, CB Chris Carr and WR Derrick Mason now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……The conference calls with Roethlisberger and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin are also available in the Audio Vault……Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz joined Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta is scheduled to join Forrester Wednesday at 8:15am, LB Dannell Ellerbe is scheduled to join Forrster at 7:40am Thursday……The Ravens will return to practice Thursday. LB Ray Lewis, LB Terrell Suggs, QB Joe Flacco and TE Todd Heap are scheduled to meet with reporters

-G

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A Dear John letter…

Posted on 01 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear John:

It’s Pittsburgh week here and we’re finally on the cusp of getting to the promised land of having some home “Festivus” games in January. And it’s all come down to this: if we win this week and vanquish the Steelers, who have been our oppressors as a community since 1971, we’re probably going to have a week off to watch the playoffs on TV and then have some home cooking. And maybe some folks will even bring those ridiculous purple towels back for another meeting with the Steelers here in Baltimore in January.

But if we lose – and let’s be honest – we’ve NEVER won this kind of game at home on your watch – we’ll be back on the road to Jacksonville or Indianapolis or San Diego or Kansas City for Week 1 of the playoffs. That is, if we even get there at all, because we all know nothing is automatic in the NFL.

This is an open letter and I think this is going to be a trial way of communicating and writing what I think about what you’ve done and what you’re doing here as the leader of the 53 Mighty Men. I haven’t opined much since you’ve taken over as head coach. As you probably know, I’m semi-crazy running and growing WNST.net and I limit my “media time” to my social media endeavors and the occasional video or blog on the run. I also still love your football team with all of my heart and my life is built around Sundays, just like yours. And, honestly, I only take the time to write about stuff that I’m very passionate about or on topics I’m interested in tackling.

Today, I’m writing about you because it’s time to get some stuff off my chest.

I don’t know you that well and I can’t believe you trust me anymore than you trust any of the other media people or anyone else poking for what you deem to be “state secret” information regarding injuries, plays, schemes, coaching philosophies or any of the other things that makes you a very paranoid dude.

Sure, I know you read all of this stuff and you’re probably not going to like everything I write here. But that’s OK, because it needs to be said by someone. And as much as you don’t really understand or respect the Baltimore media – I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I know as much as about the media as you do football coaching – this is what we do for a living: we report, analyze and opine about what you do.

And it’s my job to know as much as I can possibly know, learn as much as I can possibly learn and ask questions on behalf of the fans in the community and then try to interpret and analyze and EXPLAIN to people how all of this really works.

I’ve dedicated my entire life to it and I’ve been proudly trained by the best people in the world from every walk of life in a variety of sports since I was 15 years old on journalism, coaching, leadership, strategy and sports psychology and business. I’m also a bit of a sports history buff.

That’s my job. I’m good at it. I work hard at it. I take pride in it. It’s as important to me as football is to you.

Let me begin by saying that I can’t imagine a soul in this city who could argue with the results we’ve seen since you took over as head coach. This is a good football team that appears to be on the road to doing some special things if the breaks go our way. As much as we hear the bitching and moaning after the losses to Cincinnati and New England and Atlanta, anyone who doesn’t think 8-3 is good enough is just an ingrate.

Sure, the secondary could be better, this McClain injury sucks, Flacco could use a few more footballs for his wide receivers, you’d prefer to have a real punt and kickoff returner you could rely on, etc. If you had Ed Reed and Ray Lewis in their primes

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Ravens Win in Pittsburgh for First Time in John Harbaugh era thanks to Joe Flacco's Arm and Jeff Reed's Bad Leg

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Ravens Win in Pittsburgh for First Time in John Harbaugh era thanks to Joe Flacco’s Arm and Jeff Reed’s Bad Leg

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Ryan Chell


The Baltimore Ravens made some costly mistakes Sunday against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, but with a late touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with just 37 seconds left on the clock, the Ravens defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time in the Joe Flacco-John Harbaugh era.

“There’s only one way to describe it-it’s a team victory,” Harbaugh said. “”To come in here and win this game, it’s important for us. It’s important for a lot of reasons. But, it’s mostly special because of who we’re playing.”

“That football team is a tremendous football team, and this is a tough place to play in. That’s our arch rival and we found a way to beat them in their place, and that’s what makes it so special.”

The win-on top of the Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Browns-puts the Ravens atop the AFC North due to a head-to-head win over the Steelers.

With the Ravens trailing 14-10 with 2:44 left to play on the Steelers 2-yard line on fourth down, the Ravens elected to throw a fade into the back of the end zone. With no healthy backs, the Ravens really had no choice but to throw, but a bad pass and a bad route by Boldin allowed the ball to fall out of bounds and incomplete.

John Harbaugh and the coaching staff also decided to go for the win instead of kicking the field goal to make it a one-point game and give the ball back to the Steelers with two timeouts and the two-minute warning.

The Ravens blew their second timeout attempting to avoid a delay-of-game penalty before their chance at the end zone to keep it at the 3-yard line.

However, the Steelers then struggled getting out of their own 5-yard line, committing two penalties and were forced to punt to the Ravens, who had wasted their two remaining timeouts before getting the ball back from the Steelers.

“I felt like we were going to win the game when we had the ball earlier when they stopped us on downs,” Houshmandzadeh said. “It’s the one thing with this defense. You know we’re going to get the ball back. I don’t think they wanted to take a chance throwing the ball…and we were able to capitalize.”

With 1:08 left on the clock, Flacco found Boldin for the first two plays of the drive, while Flacco then found Houshmandzadeh twice more, the second being the go-ahead score at 0:32.

The linebackers bit on the coverage with Boldin, and Houshmandzadeh beat Bryant McFadden for the 18 yard score.

“I came to Baltimore to make a lot of plays,” Houshmandzadeh said. “Not to sound cocky, but that’s what I’m supposed to do…it feels good to make a play considering what’s been going on. I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Linebacker Ray Lewis then picked off a Charlie Batch pass intended for Hines Ward to seal the win for Baltimore (3-1, 2-1 AFC North).

The Ravens overcame two third quarter turnovers-a Willis McGahee fumble on the Ravens first drive of the third quarter with 12:12 left to play, and an Ike Taylor interception of Joe Flacco intended for Derrick Mason with 2:10 left in the period.

But the real difference in the game was Steelers kicker Jeff Reed missing field goals of 45 and 49 yards on the Steelers’ drives to keep six points off the board for Pittsburgh.

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff also missed a 46 yard field goal on the Ravens first drive in an attempt to help Baltimore jump out 3-0, but the attempt went wide-right.

But give the Ravens offense credit.

Joe Flacco engineered his fourth career fourth-quarter comeback, and some would believe that this is his first ever comeback against a big-time opponent.

“There’s not too many better ways to win a game,” Flacco said, “especially when you come to Pittsburgh. To blow someone out, that’s fun and all, but when the game is that close all the way through it and you go down and win it on the last drive, and once you’ve done it, there aren’t too many better ways to win a game. It was awesome.”

He finished 24-of-37 for 256 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“I think there are going to be a lot of defining moments for Joe,” Harbaugh said. “This is going to be one of them. This is going to be one all the Ravens fans out there remember for a long time.”

The three Ravens receivers had exceptional games. The Ravens established Derrick Mason early, and he ended up leading the team in receiving yards with 80. Anquan Boldin had 7 catches for 68 yards in only his second career game against Pittsburgh, and longtime Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh put the nail in the coffin with his 18-yard score.

The Ravens also made the most of their opportunities with what they had. Each of their backs-Ray Rice(knee), Willis McGahee(head), and Le’Ron McClain (shoulder) battled or received injuries in Sunday’s game-maybe forcing Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to rely more on the passing game as opposed to grinding the ball down the field or getting that short yardage conversion.

They only gained 70 total yards rushing, with McGahee’s 39 yards and a score standing out before leaving with the head injury he received on the hit from linebacker James Harrison.

But a win-especially against the Steelers in Heinz Field-is all that matters, and the Ravens will look to build on the momentum they built up when they host the Broncos next Sunday at 1 PM.

The Steelers will be on a bye next week and had been looking for their first 4-0 start since 1979. Two weeks from now, Ben Roethlisberger will be eligible to come back from his four-game suspension when they take on Cleveland on October 17th.

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to track the Ravens throughout the 2010 NFL Season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Ravens-Steelers Purple Haze Chat 1pm Today!

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Greetings from Heinz Field, where the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) in an AFC North showdown at 1pm today. The game can be seen live on CBS (WJZ 13 locally) with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call. We will be chatting about the game in our “Purple Haze” chat, you can join us HERE.

Here are today’s inactives…

Ravens
WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot)
CB Prince Miller
CB Josh Wilson
DT Arthur Jones
LB Edgar Jones
DL Cory Redding (concussion)
LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder)
OT Jared Gaither (back)

This of course means that RB Ray Rice (knee) is active; and DL’s Paul Kruger and Terrence Cody are both active for the first time this season. We are working under the assumption that Kruger will make the first start of his NFL career at DE as Trevor Pryce signed with the New York Jets earlier in the week.

Steelers
CB Keenan Lewis
RB Jonathan Dwyer
CB Crezdon Butler
OT Tony Hills
DT Chris Hoke (knee)
OT Trai Essex (ankle)
WR Emmanuel Sanders
LB Thaddeus Gibson

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced earlier in the week that Charlie Batch will start at QB as Ben Roethlisberger serves the final game of his 4 game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy. OL Doug Legursky will start at RG in place of Essex. The Steelers placed QB Dennis Dixon (knee) on Injured Reserve yesterday; they signed DT Steve McLendon to the active roster. McLendon is active today.

Ed Hochuli and crew will officiate today’s game. The Ravens will wear their white tops and white pants, the Steelers will wear their black tops and yellow pants. (They’re not gold. They’re yellow.) The sky in the Steel City remains is overcast, but Weather.com (The Weather Channel) says harder rain won’t be coming until after the game is over.

Come chat with us!

-G

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