Tag Archive | "Minnesota Vikings"

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24: Terrell Owens  of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons with Chad Ochocinco  at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Where will the Ravens be in January?

Posted on 28 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Fast forward yourself a couple months to the week following Christmas. You will most likely be experiencing the typical holiday happenings – your kids are complaining about the things Santa did NOT leave under the tree …. your wife is counting down the days until school returns from the seasonal break …. and you’re simply trying to survive such an ordeal.

Oh yeah, and you’re also digesting the Ravens latest win, against the Cleveland Browns, in the final road game of the regular season. It will probably be a little tougher than most of us originally imagined, but beating the Browns will be a mandatory formality.

And, as certain as many parents are looking ahead to the second half of the school year, many of us are looking ahead to some pretty exciting circumstances …..

College football’s biggest bowl games are approaching …..

New Years festivities are being planned …..

Rex Snider is watching his new HAIR as it’s starting to grow …..
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And, the Ravens will be readying for the ultimate arrival of the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale’ …..

Now, bring yourself back to this 28th day of October …..

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Yes, I’m quite aware of the Baltimore Ravens schedule of regular season matchups, and this week features a visit from the Denver Broncos. It’s the second home game of the year and John Harbaugh’s squad is reasonably favored by 7 solid points.

I don’t look ahead ….. and I’m certainly not looking beyond Josh McDaniels’ very capable passing attack.

Heck, I would take Denver and the touchdown, if I gambled on football. That said, I still think the Ravens will win the game.

But, beyond this week, a very interesting matchup looms. Just one week from today, the Ravens and every individual who covers, follows and supports the team will be focusing on the New England Patriots.

While I know many observers are relying on last season’s playoff beatdown of Tom Brady as a means for justification in counting on a WIN in the upcoming trip to Foxboro, a proportionate number of us are little more cautious.

Regardless of what happened just 9 short months ago, things can and will change …..

Tom Brady is one of those ELITE quarterbacks we like discussing, when proposing the future aspirations of Joe Flacco. Brady possesses a methodical technique to spreading the ball around, while picking upon vulnerabilities of a defense.

Back in January, Brady’s options were far less numbered than usual. His new tight end options, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, were still in college. Newly acquired running back, Danny Woodhead, was part of Rex Ryan’s depth chart, in New York. And, Randy Moss was hobbled by injury – as the game against the Ravens clearly demonstrated.

Oh yeah, and this guy was done for the season.
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I’m not suggesting Wes Welker would’ve turned the table in that loss to the Ravens. John Harbaugh had his team prepared to play and they simply beat New England in every facet of the game.

However, in just 11 short days, the scene could appear differently ….. MUCH DIFFERENTLY.

And, it could end up benefiting the Ravens.

Last night, rumors regarding Randy Moss started circulating. Specifically, the information indicated Moss might be returning to the Minnesota Vikings, via trade.

This morning, the rumors are becoming more concrete and several sources (including the WORLD WIDE LEADER) are confirming a trade will be completed today. Of course, it hinges on Moss getting a contract extension – and more money.

Such a deal makes sense on many levels.

The Vikings desperately need to find a capable set of hands for the landing end of Brett Favre’s passes. And, a deep threat would be icing on the cake. Oh yeah, and Moss obviously knows the Vikings organization.

Perhaps, some mitigating reasons are at play, as well …..

I think many of us can envision a scenario where Favre packs up his Minny-circus for good, especially if the team is languishing below the .500 mark when November rolls around. And, given the underachieving play of the highly touted Green Bay Packers, the Vikings brass might sense an opportunity opening up.

Indeed, I can reasonably foresee a trade of Moss being beneficial for both organizations, especially if the Patriots yield some young defensive depth in return. Although, it would be a textbook Patriots move in simply collecting high draft picks in return.

Of all the reasons contemplated for predicting a trade of Randy Moss to the Vikings, the most daunting is undoubtedly tied to this mad scientist …..
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The entire football world knows Randy Moss is unhappy with his contract situation. It’s the same unprofessional load of crap that resulted in his ugly divorce from the Vikings, following the 2004 season.

Moss became a distraction for the Vikings. He undermined the mission of the team and his coach, Mike Tice.

The same situation appears to be blossoming, in New England. He’s getting louder and louder about his contractual bitterness. He didn’t catch a single pass in Monday’s victory against Miami, and he reportedly had “words” with Bill Belichick, yesterday.

That’s a bad move ….. unless, of course, the intent was to expedite a deal.

Regardless of how anyone feels about the New England Patriots, I think everyone with a CLUE realizes who really runs, controls and commands that organization. Bill Belichick is without a shadow of doubt, the H.M.F.I.C. of that team.

Nobody challenges his authority. And, if someone commits such an act, they’ll receive a departure ticket out of Logan Airport pretty quickly. Just ask Deion Branch or Adalius Thomas.

As I write this blog, many syndicated voices are flushing the collective 2010 competitive chances of the Patriots directly down the toilet …..

I’m not buying that bill of goods.

I’ve watched, too many times, as ELITE quarterbacks have introduced talented wideouts as overnight rockstars. Do you really think Austin Collie would be a top performer in Tennessee, Cleveland or Seattle? Would Marques Colston be a premier threat in Arizona, Carolina or Buffalo?

The key to the New England Patriots remains the same as it has for the last decade …..
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Tom Brady has ushered a far lesser talented receiving corps into a Super Bowl and won it. Just look at the 2004 edition of that team. (RIGHT HERE)

Without Randy Moss, it’s fair to say the New England Patriots cache’ of receivers is every bit as talented as the Indianapolis Colts’ crew. Is anyone counting them out?

This situation is simply reflective of what happens when a guy disrupts the environment of Bill Belichick’s team. Nothing more, nothing less …..

While I still respect the Patriots as a contender for the AFC crown, I’m pretty upbeat about the Ravens chances in next week’s trip to New England. And, if Randy Moss is no longer there, I’m even more optimistic about the Ravens chances.

While the Ravens are only 4 games into the regular season schedule, they’ve luckily avoided any ELITE quarterback/deep threat combinations. Indeed, the trip to New England serves as a formidable test for Greg Mattison’s secondary unit. With the reported, impending departure of Randy Moss, the gameplan will undoubtedly be a little simpler, right?

I’m certain the Moss situation is a distant consideration for John Harbaugh’s staff. That’s right, they’re squarely focused on Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos. The Ravens will not be looking beyond this Sunday’s game.

But, when next Monday arrives, they might be really happy to see Randy Moss playing on Monday Night Football ….. for the Vikings.

And, wouldn’t you know it, that game is against the Patriots’ divisional rival; Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Indeed, that’s CLASSIC Belichick.

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Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Week 4 Coach Speak

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Brian Billick

After my broadcast partner, Thom Brennaman, and I called an exciting overtime game in New Orleans when the Falcons beat the Saints, I taped this week’s edition of CoachSpeak for FOXSports.com.

I talked to the winning coach of the Atlanta-New Orleans game (and my brother-in-law), the Falcons’ Mike Smith on why he went for it on fourth down so much against the Saints and how he plans to keep his team focused this week after such a big win. I also spoke to the losing coach, Sean Payton, about how last Monday night’s game at San Francisco did to his team’s schedule, and the adjustments coaches have to make in that situation.

In my Billick 101 segment, we get a look at the Vikings check system with quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson through the eyes of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. We also go on the field with Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, who shows us the keys to a proper QB-RB exchange on handoffs.

I take a look at the 49ers’ firing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye this week, what that might mean to head coach Mike Singletary down the line, and what new OC Mike Johnson needs to do to help turn around the 0-3 49ers fortunes.

Lastly, we check out the Never Say Never Moment of the Week, including Leon Washington’s two kickoff returns for TDs for the Seahawks.

Here is this week’s version of CoachSpeak:

Video: Coach Speak: Week 4

This Sunday, Thom, field reporter Charissa Thompson and I head to Green Bay this Sunday as the Packers try to bounce back after a tough loss at Chicago as they host Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions on FOX.

But before that, I will be on WNST several times to talk about what’s going on in the NFL. If you miss any of those appearances, please check out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen to all of the great interviews on WNST.

Talk to you next week …

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Did We Fall Asleep On The Steelers ???

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Did We Fall Asleep On The Steelers ???

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Rex Snider

As I look back to the early days of August and the outpouring of attention during Ravens Training Camp, I can recall the high expectations from anyone wearing a hint of purple.

Nearly every fan and local media observer predicted BIG things for “John Harbaugh & Company” as the preseason, and eventual regular season approached. And, our optimistic forecasts may very well come true.

After all, the Ravens have only played two games and we still await the first snap on the home turf. An enormous amount of football is lying ahead, and the remainder of the season will undoubtedly present a collection of peaks and pitfalls along the way.

Some teams start hot and others start cold. That’s the nature of competition in the National Football League. Nobody really believes in the quick starts by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears, right? I’ll also assume we’re not ready to bury the Dallas Cowboys or Minnesota Vikings, either.

As I look back just one season, I can distinctly recall an undefeated Denver Broncos squad rolling into M&T Bank Stadium, for a Week #8 matchup against the Ravens.

The Broncos didn’t return to Denver with that previously unblemished record.

In fact, they missed the playoffs.

That’s a prime example of how fortunes can change throughout the course of 17 weeks.

Falling into a blanketed belief in the home team’s preseason hype is an easy trap for all us whom merit a stake connected to the franchise. And, when nationally syndicated media jump on board, the temptations are even stronger.

At the same time, many of us predicted doom and gloom for the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ll admit to it. And, if you’re being honest, you probably did the very same thing.

We reasoned a decent opportunity of the Steelers losing most, if not all of their games during Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension. After all, Roethlisberger defines the riches of the Steelers, right? He’s a winner; he’s a Super Bowl conquering quarterback.

Of course, we piled up the dissent on a competitive Steelers season with mitigating factors, like the tumultuous exit of the Raven killer, Santonio Holmes and a season ending injury to Willie Colon.

But, I think we might’ve really overlooked or discounted the return of one very important player …..
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As much as haters wanna chalk up the Steelers successes over the last few years to Ben Roethlisberger, an argument exists to suggest Troy Polamalu is every bit as important to that team.

What did the Steelers do without him, last year? They lost.

In 2009, Troy Polamalu played in 5 games. During that stretch, the Steelers were 4-1, while surrendering an average of 13.5 points, per game. In the 11 games without him, they were 5-6, while yielding an average of 23 points, per game.

Veteran defensive end, Aaron Smith, figures into the downfall of the 2009 Steelers season, as well. He missed much of the same action as Polamalu. And, Pittsburgh’s defense is much more dynamic with him in the lineup.

But, he’s not the heartbeat of the Steelers defense.

That unit revolves around Troy Polamalu. In some very distinct ways, Polamalu parallels the importance of Ray Lewis to the Ravens defense. While their personalities and mannerisms are quite different, they each command the team’s respective side of the ball.

Ray Lewis makes players better. So does Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers are 2-0, due to a dominant defensive effort. They haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in 8 regulation quarters to start the season. But, they’re winning and that’s all that really matters.

They’re headed to Tampa for a Sunday showdown with the undefeated Bucs. Yes, this is the point where you start chuckling at that game. Barring an upset of phenomenal proportions, the Steelers will carry an undefeated record into their final week of Roethlisberger’s suspension – and a divisional contest against the Ravens.

I’m not looking beyond this week’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns, but the Ravens must beat the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger on the field, next week. No excuses, they must do it.

That said, I’m suspecting Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin and the remainder of the offense will be mindful of a reality many fans and media overlooked back in August …..

Troy Polamalu is every bit as important as Ben Roethlisberger.

After the Steelers’ surprising 2-0 start, I think it’s fair to say everybody forgot about the reality of Polamalu’s presence. Umm …. make that everybody, except Peter King. He was on it (prediction). He didn’t fall for the “Wicked Witch Is Dead” euphoria that many of us celebrated when considering the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger and overall prospects of the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Peter King wasn’t sleeping on them. And, I hope everyone else falls in line. The Pittsburgh Steelers remain ENEMY #1. And, Troy Polamalu is the primary reason we forgot about it. Then again, he’s made a career off quarterbacks forgetting about him.

How fitting, huh?

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Week 3 Coach Speak

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Brian Billick

This week on the show I host on FOXSports.com, Coach Speak, I talk with Eagles head coach Andy Reid about his two quarterbacks, Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, I give my best “never say never” moments of the NFL’s Week 2 schedule, we get a tutorial from Jets’ defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman on how cornerbacks use press coverage techniques, Chargers’ tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski tells us about San Diego’s two-TE formation, I give my thoughts about not panicking when you have an 0-2 start like the Cowboys and Vikings have right now and I talk to Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh about one of his favorite subjects this week — too much protection for the quarterback.

Make sure you catch my on-air visits each week talking about the NFL on WNST during the football season. Here is Week 3’s Coach Speak …

Video: Coach Speak: Week 3

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata during the second half in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 13, 2010. The Ravens won the game 10-9. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

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Blog & Tackle: Week 1 NFL scoring struggles

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Chris Pika

If you thought the amount of scoring in the NFL’s Week 1 games was less than usual, you were right in a big way. A total of 21 teams scored less than 20 points in the 16 games — that number was the highest total of Week 1 sub-20-point team scoring since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, according to research through Pro-Football-Reference.com.

The 2010 teams under 20 points? Minnesota 9, New Orleans 14, Cleveland 14, Tampa Bay 17, Miami 15, Buffalo 16, Denver 17, Atlanta 9, Pittsburgh 15, Oakland 13, Carolina 18, Detroit 14, Chicago 19, Arizona 17, St. Louis 13, San Francisco 6, Dallas 7, Washington 13, Baltimore 10, New York Jets 9 and San Diego 14. The league, as a whole, averaged just 18.3 points per team in Week 1.

Here are the year-by-year teams scoring 19 points or less in Week 1 from 1970-2009 (via Pro-Football-Reference.com.

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata during the second half in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 13, 2010. The Ravens won the game 10-9. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The 21 teams was a far cry from last season’s Week 1 total of only 14 teams. In the decade of the 2000s, 153 teams scored under the 20-point mark in Week 1, an average of 15.3 per season. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams and eight divisions in 2002 for 16 opening weekend games, the average was 15.25 per season from 2002-09.

There are a lot of factors at play in why this was the case in this particular opening weekend. Better defenses, weather issues and injuries to key players certainly played a part. But one other factor might also be in play.

The last time most clubs play their starters for an appreciable time in the preseason is Week 3. Most clubs hold out starters or play them very little (one or two series) in the final week in order to look at players fighting for the final spots during the remainder of the game.

It’s almost a bye week for the starters on both sides of the ball, since they will not face live competition for two weeks until the regular season starts. So, when the starters get back on the field in Week 1 of the regular season, the timing is off when it needs to be at its sharpest.

Here are the year-by-year totals of Week 1 teams at or under 19 points in the decade of the 2000s.

Total Teams Scoring 19 Points or Less in Week 1 (2000-09)
2009: 14
2008: 17
2007: 18
2006: 19
2005: 15
2004: 15
2003: 14
2002: 10
2001: 15
2000: 16

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  The band of the Baltimore Ravens performs before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

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Blog & Tackle: Sweet tune could return

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Chris Pika

A familiar tune, played with pride during some of Baltimore’s greatest football moments, and mournfully after one of the city’s darkest, could return to herald Ravens touchdowns in M&T Bank Stadium this season if fans have their way.

The Ravens through their website, are giving fans the chance to decide whether the current fight song, written in 1998, should remain, or if an alternate version rewriting the words of the old “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” to fit the current club should replace it — with the melody familiar to generations of Baltimore football fans.

According to Baltimore’s Marching Ravens band director John Ziemann, the fight song has been a part of Baltimore football history since it was written in 1947. “Six pro teams used it,” he said. “The 1947 (AAFC) Colts, the 1950 (NFL) Colts, the 1953-83 Colts, the USFL’s Baltimore Stars in 1985, the CFL’s Baltimore Stallions in 1994-95 and the Ravens in 1996.”

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  The band of the Baltimore Ravens performs before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

When the melody was played by the Colts Marching Band, it was as familiar to Colts fans as “Fly, Eagles, Fly” in Philadelphia, “Skol, Vikings” in Minnesota and even “Hail To The Redskins” in D.C. The tune was recognized among football fans nationwide as almost no NFL Films piece on the Colts was produced without the melody playing in the background.

When the Colts left in 1984, the band played on — as they did when the original NFL Colts left after the 1950 season — and the fight song was performed wherever they traveled to play, especially in NFL cities for pregame and halftime shows, carrying the torch of a love lost and hope of a new start.

That bond between the city and the melody became even stronger when the band played it in front of the Maryland State House in 1987 before a key vote on stadium complex funding. The emotional response of seeing the band carry the tune helped the measure to pass.

The NFL did return in 1996 when the Browns moved to Baltimore, and the club, out of respect for the previous history, did not adopt the song as the Ravens played at old Memorial Stadium — but the band played the tune during the ’96 season to celebrate Baltimore’s return to the NFL.

“In 1998, the Ravens decided they wanted their own identity, and a great fight song was writen by John Modell (son of Ravens’ owner Art Modell),” Ziemann said. The same year, the name of the band changed to Baltimore’s Marching Ravens as the team moved to the new downtown facility the band had helped secure in a small but meaningful way almost a decade earlier.

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 22:  A band member for the Baltimore Ravens plays the tuba before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Colts defeated the Ravens 17-15. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

The organization did its best to ingrain the current fight song with the fans. But it never really seemed to fit in a city that reveres its history — especially when it comes to football. Over the years, fans contacted the Ravens about restoring the beloved melody.

The opinion of the organization changed when movie producer and Baltimore native Barry Levinson became part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series. Levinson chose to spotlight the band and its’ contribution to the city in great football times and especially in the years without the NFL. Just as Levinson had used the “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” to effect in his movie “Diner,” the ESPN movie, “The Band That Woudn’t Die,” gave new life to the melody in an unexpected way.

“The Ravens organization has always had a close ear to the needs and views of the fans,” Ziemann said. “And last year, when the premiere of the ESPN movie was shown at M&T Bank Stadium, the Marching Ravens did a pre-concert on the field. We played the ‘Baltimore Ravens Fight Song,’ and it got applause. But when the ‘Baltimore Colts Fight Song’ was performed, the place went wild. This started the Ravens rethinking about restoring the song.”

That was just the start. New words were needed to fit the melody, making the appropriate changes while keeping some of the historical aspect of the original. “New words were written by musical director Todd Clontz and myself, and focus groups were formed for opinions on it, taking all the necessary steps,” Ziemann said.

The “Baltimore Fight Song” was born, again. But the Ravens organization did not want to make the decision to restore the song on its own. It would be up to the fans to voice their opinions.

“The Ravens, to be fair to the fans, have put it up for a vote on their website,” said Ziemann. And if the song is restored, it will be performed August 12 at the first home preseason game (vs. Carolina).”

This potential switch in fight songs will not sell one more ticket or another piece of merchandise for the Ravens, but the change would return a sweet tune back where it belongs in celebration of a city and its football heritage.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle).

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tate

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/20/10)

Posted on 20 January 2010 by Jack McManus

9:43-

Chad Reuter is live in Orlando. He is covering the East-West Shrine Game. He states that many of the players in this game have great potential. Reuter discusses some of the wide receivers available. He explains that the underclassmen who declared early have boosted the class of pass-catchers. He calls Golden Tate a possible target for the Ravens in the draft. on the topic of quarterbacks, Reuter explains that after the second round, not much talent will be available. He also believes that Tim Tebow will drafted much higher than many people expect.

tate

9:27-

Dave Steckel of the Capitals is now on with Drew. Steckel scored the game winning goal last night against the Detroit Red Wings. He talks about the leadership Alexander Ovechkin provides as a captain. Next, Steckel talks about maintaining focus during a time where the team is running away with its division. Steckel also discusses the upcoming Olympic break. The players spend much of their time relxing before spending the latter part of the break to get back into shape.

9:10-

Bob in Parkville calls in to talk about the earlier segment on Marvin Harrison. Bob believes that Harrison definitely shot the man in question. He goes on to say that this type of issue is far too common in the NFL. He states that nothing in any other sport compares to this.

8:54-

Lomas Brown, of ESPN is next welcomed in. He begins by talking about the Colts-Jets game coming up this weekend. He is torn on which team he believes will win. As for the NFC Championship Game, Brown thinks the Vikings defense puts the team in a position to win. He states that Brett Favre came back to win a Super Bowl not just reach the NFC Championship. Finally, Brown talks about the CBA bargaining. The owners are asking for the players to assume a large loss in the percent of profits.

8:50-

Merton is the next caller. Drew quickly jumps on Merton’s offer to take the Orioles from Baltimore too. He thinks Indy could turn the team in to a winner just like it did with the Colts. He makes sure to treat us with the Colts fight song before he leaves.

8:46-

Art in Bel Air calls in. He wants to let Drew know he agrees that fans who no longer care for Matt Stover just because he played for Indy are wrong. He doesn’t care what team Stover chose to play for if it was the best situation for him.

8:25-

Head coach of the Towson basketball team, Pat Kennedy is the next guest. Drew lets Kennedy know that whenever he accompanies a local team to Philly they lose. Therefore, Drew will stay away from the city for now. Kennedy admits that the losing hurts his team, but morale is still high. He states that the team is doing well in the paint right now. He is not upset about the team’s level of play despite the fact the team has not met expectations.

8:07-

Jason Fagone of GQ joins Drew to talk about his story on Marvin Harrison. After publishing this story ESPN has revealed that the FBI is restarting investigations on Harrison. Fagone discusses with Drew how Harrison has returned to where he grew up despite his monetary success as a pro football player.

8:01-

Miles from Owings Mills wants to make it clear that most Baltimore fans would welcome Stover back with open arms if he were to return next season.

7:54-

Dan in Fallston is the next caller. He blames Stover for demanding a guaranteed contract from the Ravens when he knew the team did not give them out. Drew emphasizes that Ozzie Newsome made the decision on Stover and the idea of John Harbaugh not wanting Stover is false.

7:43-

Lots of discussion on Matt Stover this morning. Bill in Essex talks about Matt has almost destroyed his legacy in Baltimore by going to play for the Colts. Drew points out that the Stovers are very sensitive to these types of issues becuase of their desire to be a part of the community.

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/13/10)

Posted on 13 January 2010 by Jack McManus

9:51-

Ian Eagle is the next guest. Drew congratulates him for having the best comment of the year. Eagle said that Baltimore is not used to playoff baseball, that’s not a low blow, its a fact. Eagle next talks about the Ravens upcoming game with the Colts. He agrees with Drew that regardless of the outcome of the game, the national media will focus on the Colts’ decision to rest their players at the end of the regular season.

eagle

9:27-

Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Weekly is next up. he begins by talking about the interesting matchup between Arizona and New Orleans. He states that the Saints have lost their reputation of invincibility with a bad losing streak to end the season. He also talks about the success the Cardinals have had in the playoffs. Moving on the Ravens, Wilkening explains that the team had an excellent game plan coming into New England. Wilkening also talks about the Bengals’ quick exit from the playoffs. Instead of placing a lot of blame on Carson Palmer, he explains that the offense needs to become more balanced and add a deep threat to compliment Chad Ochocinco (Johnson?). In regards to possible upsets this week, Wilkening states that the Dallas Cowboys have the best chance of going on the road and defeating the Vikings.

9:09-

Rick from Parkville calls in. He first mentions that the Terps have recently picked up a solid linebacker commitment. Next, Rick talks about how the Ravens need to keep Peyton Manning off the field. He also mentions that the offense needs to get into a better passing rhythm.

flacco

7:53-

Pat Kennedy is next up with Drew. He states that there is a difference between a poor record and playing badly. He has seen progress recently and calls the next 5 game stretch very important. Kennedy mentions how he has shifted his lineup so the team has a bigger frontline. He explains that with these improvements hopefully the team can win some more close games.

7:50-

Ed in Park Heights brings up another point in the argument over whether or not the Ravens should have kept Matt Stover. He states that Dannell Ellerbe, who was one of the last players to make the team could have been cut if the team kept two kickers.

7:34-

Brendon Ayandaejo joins Drew early this morning. He starts off by talking about how he will be recovered in plenty of time for the start of next season. Ayanbadejo next discusses how the Ravens will try to contain Peyton Manning this weekend. On the offensive side of the ball it is important to once again run the ball and control the clock. Ayanbadejo also chimes in on the steroid debate that has been renewed by Mark McGwire’s admission of steroid use. He believes that so many players used performance-enhancing drugs it is almost an even playing field.
brendon

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