Tag Archive | "Monday Night Football"

suggs

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Ravens-Texans: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 27 November 2017 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — For the first time since the 2012 season opener, Monday Night Football has come to Baltimore with the Ravens trying to move above the .500 mark against Houston.

Much has changed for John Harbaugh’s team since that last Monday home game as just six players on the current 53-man roster took part in that contest, but the Ravens have no time for nostalgia with fellow AFC wild-card contenders Buffalo, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Oakland all winning in Week 12. Baltimore is trying to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since Weeks 1 and 2 in September while the Texans are hoping to avoid a fourth defeat in five games and keep their fading playoff hopes alive.

There were no injury-related surprises on the list of scratches, but maligned wide receiver Breshad Perriman is active after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career in Green Bay last week. The 2015 first-round pick has been a major disappointment this season with just seven catches for 54 yards in eight games, but Harbaugh made it clear during the week that the organization still has high hopes for Perriman.

To seemingly make room for Perriman on the 46-man game-day allotment, the Ravens surprisingly deactivated wide receiver and return specialist Michael Campanaro, who was not on the injury report this week and had a 28-yard punt return in Green Bay last week. Campanaro ranks second in the NFL among qualified players in punt return average, but that apparently wasn’t enough to play against the Texans.

Veteran Lardarius Webb is listed behind Campanaro on the team’s official depth chart and is expected to handle punts from seven-time Pro Bowl selection Shane Lechler.

As expected, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (ankle) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (concussion) are both active and will start despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Mosley deemed himself ready to go after returning to practice Saturday while Stanley cleared concussion protocol Friday after a one-game absence. Stanley’s return will allow James Hurst to return to his normal left guard position after he struggled mightily at left tackle in Green Bay.

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (ribs) is inactive after officially being declared out on Saturday.

Monday’s referee is Brad Allen.

According to Weather.com, the Monday forecast in Baltimore calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 40s with winds up to 15 miles per hour and no chance of precipitation.

The Ravens are wearing their all-black uniforms for the second time this season and will look to improve their all-time mark to 16-7 when wearing their alternate black tops. Houston will wear white jerseys with navy blue pants.

Monday marks the first meeting between these teams since 2014 with Baltimore holding a 6-2 advantage in the regular-season series and a 4-0 mark at M&T Bank Stadium that includes a 20-13 victory in the 2011 postseason. The Ravens will also aim to continue their league-best nine-game winning streak in prime-time home games.

Below are Monday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Michael Campanaro
RB Terrance West
CB Jaylen Hill
OL Jermaine Eluemunor
OL Maurquice Shakir
DE Bronson Kaufusi
DE Chris Wormley

HOUSTON
WR Will Fuller
WR Cobi Hamilton
RB Andre Ellington
LB Lamarr Houston
OL Greg Mancz
OT Julien Davenport
DT Chunky Clements

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With comeback win, Ravens avoid crisis…for now

Posted on 01 November 2011 by Peter Dilutis

While I was watching Philip Rivers and the Chargers screw up a kneel down in the fourth quarter of Monday Night Football, I made a comment to a friend that went something like this: “Imagine Baltimore sports talk radio if Flacco did something like that.”

I can only imagine.

Here’s another scenario to ponder. Imagine if the Ravens would have lost on Sunday. Just think about it for a minute.

Cam Cameron would literally be the most hated man in town. The Tyrod Taylor chants that some illogical, unintelligent fans started on Sunday would have escalated throughout the week. The “Harbaugh is nothing but a special teams coach” notion would have come back to the airwaves.

And that’s before we even start thinking about what the players, specifically the defensive guys, would have spouted off following another horrific offensive performance.

Seriously, if Terrell Suggs can’t keep his mouth shut after one bad game by the offense, think about how his post-game interview would have gone had the Ravens fell from 4-1 to 4-3 pretty much solely due to the play of the offense.

Imagine what Ray Lewis would have said after the game had he not had the foresight to duck out before the media arrived for the second week in a row.

A loss on Sunday would have been a complete disaster. In a city where sports fans don’t normally agree on much, I think we all can agree that it would have gotten very ugly around here had the Ravens fell to Arizona.

So it’s a good thing the Ravens won. After all, they’re 5-2. Their play in September and October has allowed them to play in perhaps the biggest game of the 2011 NFL season Sunday night at Pittsburgh.

Sure, John Harbaugh would be the first to say that he wishes the Ravens were 7-0. But if you got him alone and he was being totally honest, I have to believe he would have jumped at the chance to be 5-2 at this point in the season.

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Ngata

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 7

Posted on 26 October 2011 by Luke Jones

Below are our (day-late) Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the shocking 12-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2011 season with the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

To hear the full explanation for our respective picks, click right HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Haloti Ngata
Ngata

6) Ray Lewis
Lewis

5) Jameel McClain
McClain

4) Sam Koch
Koch

3) Cary Williams
Willliams

2) Terrell Suggs
Suggs

1) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

7) Dennis Pitta
Pitta

6) Ed Reed
Reed

5) Terrell Suggs
Suggs

4) Jameel McClain
McClain

3) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

2) Sam Koch
Koch

1) Ray Lewis
Lewis

SEASON TO DATE:
Luke Jones:

1. Ray Rice (24 points)
2. Haloti Ngata (24 points)
3. Terrell Suggs (22 points)
4. Joe Flacco (15 points)
5. Ed Reed (8 points)
5. Anquan Boldin (8 points)
5. Ray Lewis (8 points)
8. Bernard Pollard (7 points)
8. Cary Williams (7 points)
10. David Reed (6 points)
10. Torrey Smith (6 points)
10. Terrence Cody (6 points)
13. Bryant McKinnie (5 points)
13. Lardarius Webb (5 points)
13. Billy Cundiff (5 points)
16. Sam Koch (4 points)
17. Cory Redding (3 points)
17. Jameel McClain (3 points)
19. Matt Birk (1 point)
19. Jarret Johnson (1 point)

Drew Forrester:
1. Ray Rice (21 points)
2. Haloti Ngata (18 points)
3. Joe Flacco (16 points)
4. Terrell Suggs (15 points)
5. Ray Lewis (12 points)
6. Lardarius Webb (11 points)
7. Ed Reed (10 points)
8. Anquan Boldin (9 points)
8. Bernard Pollard (9 points)
10. Bryant McKinnie (7 points)
10. Torrey Smith (7 points)
10. Sam Koch (7 points)
13. Ed Dickson (6 points)
14. Jarret Johnson (5 points)
15. Jameel McClain (4 points)
15. Billy Cundiff (4 points)
17. Marshal Yanda (2 points)
17. Andre Gurode (2 points)
17. Cary Williams (2 points)
20. Dennis Pitta (1 point)

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Harbaugh sidestepping brother’s controversy, Ravens’ Monday night snubs

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the aftermath of the Ravens’ 29-14 win over Houston on Sunday evening, coach John Harbaugh was asked whether he had heard about the altercation involving his younger brother following the 49ers’ big road win over Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions earlier in the day.

Harbaugh only spoke in general terms on Sunday since the incident occurred as Baltimore’s 4:05 game with Houston was getting underway.

A day later, the Ravens coach was asked whether he had spoken to Jim Harbaugh about the incident to get his view of what transpired. Predictably, Harbaugh would not reveal specific details of what he talked about with his brother but gave a clear indication who he was supporting — to no one’s surprise.

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“I think I know who was right, but whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on,” said Harbaugh, drawing laughs from the media. “I’m definitely taking sides — the same side I’ve always taken.”

The younger Harbaugh has been criticized for the handshake and slap on the back he offered Schwartz following San Francisco’s impressive 25-19 win. Schwartz took issue with Harbaugh’s decorum in celebrating the Week 6 victory as the two had to be restrained during a heated argument.

However, John Harbaugh chose to focus on the success his brother is having with the upstart 49ers after their 5-1 start. The Harbaughs will face off on Thanksgiving night in what’s shaping to be a far better matchup than anyone anticipated prior to the season.

“Everybody’s got a lot to learn, so I guess, right now, he’s 5-1,” Harbaugh said about his younger brother. “If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands post-game after a victory, he’s doing OK.”

Prior to being asked about his brother, Harbaugh was pressed about the Ravens not having a Monday night game during his first four seasons in Baltimore. The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Ravens next Monday night, making it their second straight year with a home game featured on ESPN’s broadcast.

So, would the coach like to see a Monday night game in Baltimore?

“Aren’t we in enough controversy in the family right now to get me involved in that?” said Harbaugh, garnering laughter. “We’re happy to go play wherever they put us. Someday we’ll get a Monday night game, but you know we had a big Sunday night game [against the Jets]. We’ve got a big Thursday night game [against the 49ers on Thanksgiving night] coming up, so we’ve had some really cool games here. This year, it’s good that way, but one of these years, we’ll get a Monday night game.”

While many fans have taken issue with the absence of Monday night games at home, the Ravens have received plenty of exposure on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which became the NFL’s marquee primetime game beginning in 2006. The Ravens have hosted a Sunday night game in each of the last five seasons.

Baltimore’s last Monday night home game came on Dec. 3, 2007 when the Ravens lost a heartbreaker in the final minute to the undefeated New England Patriots, 27-24. It was the infamous game in which former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott hurled a penalty flag into the stands after taking issue with a questionable call late in the game.

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ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Matt Ryan  of the Atlanta Falcons converses with quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens after the Falcons 26-21 win at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL season has reached the three-quarter mark, and like any good game on Sundays, it’s usually the fourth quarter that decides success or failure.

It’s a chance to take stock of each conference after 13 weeks and 12 games with one-liners on each of the teams. Below are some stats, observations and conjecture as we look ahead to the final four weeks.

First, here is a look at the AFC by divisions. Records are through Week 13:

AFC East

New England Patriots (10-2): Patriots have won last four, including huge win over the Jets to solidfy their claim as AFC’s best team behind conference-best (+110) scoring differential; road to AFC title will go through Gillette Stadium and coach Bill Belichick.

New York Jets (9-3): Despite 3-1 stretch, Jets went from potentially being in line to host AFC title game to very vulnerable after shredding of New York’s vaunted D by the Patriots.

Miami Dolphins (6-6): Dolphins continue to confound with 5-1 road mark, but 1-5 home record — that will be main reason they will not make playoffs as well as offensive woes (-23 point differential).

Buffalo Bills (2-10): Bills finally saw results after 0-8 start with two straight victories, but close loss to Steelers and blowout defeat to Vikings has slowed Buffalo’s progress.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): Steelers have grabbed choke-hold of AFC North after winning the war in Baltimore last week behind QB Ben Roethlisberger and stout defense; now Pittsburgh could host AFC Divisional Playoff at always-tough Heinz Field.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4): Only home loss of season so far to Steelers was costly as Ravens may have three straight playoff games on the road instead of one or two home games; predicted high-production offense has gone cold at bad times.

Cleveland Browns (5-7): Cleveland continues to be a “tough out” thanks to solid running game behind RB Peyton Hillis; if they get QB (and maybe head coach) situation settled in offseason, could be 2011 team to watch in AFC.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-10): The wheels have completely come off the cart for one of the preseason favorites to win the division — nine-game losing streak may spell the end of the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5): Jaguars, after 3-1 stretch, find themselves on top in the division, despite worst point differential among all division leaders (-43) — only question is can they hold off slumping Colts?

Indianapolis Colts (6-6): Colts’ injuries have finally taken a toll; forget Peyton Manning for a moment, being in position of having to pass so much has allowed opponents to tee off in crucial situations — but Indy can still catch Jaguars for division title.

Houston Texans (5-7): Lack of strong starts have doomed Texans, 1-5 in their last six games — last chance for Houston (and maybe coach Gary Kubiak’s job) comes with Monday night visit by Ravens in Week 14.

Tennessee Titans (5-7): When you didn’t think anybody else could surpass Minnesota as NFL’s best soap opera, here comes the Titans; normally unflappable coach Jeff Fisher has had to deal with Vince Young, Randy Moss and owner Bud Adams in recent weeks.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4): Chiefs seem to have control of the division after a three-game win streak and perfect 6-0 home mark; can they hold off the Raiders and Chargers over the final four weeks?

Oakland Raiders (6-6): Progress has been slowed by 3-2 mark in last five games, but 4-0 division record could be factor if they get help before Week 17 showdown at traditional rival Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers (6-6): Amazing how one loss changes things after blowout defeat by Raiders last week that stopped four-game win streak; season on the line vs. Chiefs this week.

Denver Broncos (3-9): A three-game losing streak coupled with Spygate-like scandal in London finally cost Josh McDaniels his coaching job; Eric Studesville gets his audition but the supporting cast is not there.

And now for the NFC by divisions:

NFC East

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Matt Ryan  of the Atlanta Falcons converses with quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens after the Falcons 26-21 win at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4): The Eagles are tied for the division lead, but arguably have the NFC East’s toughest schedule left with two games vs. Dallas and one each against the Giants and Vikings — for what was originally expected to be a transition year, a lot is still on the table.

New York Giants (8-4): Giants are playing as well as any team in NFC right now, but head coach Tom Coughlin’s team must navigate Minnesota, Philadelphia and Green Bay the next three weeks to stay in the division and Wild Card mix.

Washington Redskins (5-7): The Redskins season has become a trainwreck as head coach Mike Shanahan has had to deal with several distractions, including DT Albert Haynesworth’s suspension for conduct detrimental; the Skins defense should be suspended as well, allowing the fifth-most points in the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys (4-8): The Cowboys have gotten off the deck to become a team no one wants to face down the stretch; Dallas could play spoiler in the NFC East and help Jason Garrett remove the interim coaching tag.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (9-3): The Bears have won five straight to hold the division lead by one game thanks to resurgent play by QB Jay Cutler and LB Brian Urlacher; Chicago has murderous final four weeks capped by Week 17 visit to Packers.

Green Bay Packers (8-4): Despite injuries, Packers are firmly in the playoff mix, but key Week 12 loss at Atlanta looms large as well as final three games against New England, Giants and Chicago — win those and Green Bay will have earned its postseason ticket.

Minnesota Vikings (5-7): A change in head coach to well-respected assistant Leslie Frazier has helped the mood in Minnesota, but the final four weeks will be all about Brett Favre’s literal limp to the finish of his career (I think).

Detroit Lions (2-10): Some of the strides made early in the season by the Lions have been erased by the current five-game losing streak; coach Jim Schwartz is still looking for consistent winning formula.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (10-2): The hottest team in the NFC with six straight wins, the Falcons may do something no Atlanta NFL team ever has — host the NFC Championship Game in January; but they have to get through Week 16 Monday Night game vs. Saints.

New Orleans Saints (9-3): The defending Super Bowl champions are playing like it for first time all season with a current five-game win streak as the Saints try to go stride-for-stride with the Falcons; back-to-back road contests at Baltimore and Atlanta in Weeks 15-16 are New Orleans’ key games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5): The air has finally come out of the Buccaneers’ balloon with two straight losses, but Tampa Bay is just one game out of a Wild Card spot with favorable matchups in the next three weeks before Week 17 at Saints.

Carolina Panthers (1-11): The Panthers just want the season to be over, and the housecleaning will begin soon after starting with head coach John Fox; Panthers are a NFC-worst minus-153 in point differential.

NFC West

St. Louis Rams (6-6): The Rams have quietly put themselves in position to make the playoffs out of a weak NFC West, but don’t mistake St. Louis as a weak team — QB Sam Bradford is one of the league’s feel-good stories of 2010, and division could come down to Week 17 tilt at Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks (6-6): The Seahawks are in position to capture the NFC West, but head coach Pete Carroll’s squad still has worst point differential among NFC teams with a winning record (-49); Week 17 vs. St. Louis could be the decider.

San Francisco 49ers (4-8): San Francisco not officially dead in NFC West race, but last gasp could come this Sunday vs. Seattle; if they win, they still have games vs. St. Louis and Arizona — teams they have already beaten in 2010.

Arizona Cardinals (3-9): Cardinals have gone south for the winter as they have lost seven straight and hold NFC’s second-worst point difference (-138), but have three winnable games in final four weeks.

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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3 Keys To Beating The Jets .....

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3 Keys To Beating The Jets …..

Posted on 13 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we’ve been awaiting the arrival of this day for nearly five months. Through the celebration of Memorial Day, July 4th, family vacations and a return to another school year, this ONE DAY has occupied a place in the forefront of our minds. As I look back to mid-April, we’ve eagerly yearned for two things to happen ….

The Orioles SECOND win of the season

The release of the 2010 NFL schedules

And, when the Ravens slate of games was announced, we wasted no time in circling the first game of the season. Admittedly, it hasn’t always been so significant to get antsy about the season’s first opponent, right? More often than not, it’s just one of 16 contests.

Do you remember these season openers?

2001 – a lackluster win against the Bears to commemorate the Super Bowl championship

2005 – an absolute beatdown by the Colts; a game featuring embarrassing hometown cheers when Kyle Boller was injured

2007 – losing a Monday night opener to the Bengals, while being hyped as a pre-season Super Bowl favorite

2008 – needing late defensive help and luck to beat a less than powerful Chiefs team

Opening games are much easier to recall than most mid-season matchups, right? All teams are undefeated as they head into week #1 on the NFL slate. All teams have hope and optimism. But, 16 of those same teams will find themselves winless as week #2 approaches.

Is tonight’s matchup against the Jets especially significant as it regards the opening of another season? My mind says NO …. each game is important, with only divisional and December/January contests taking on additional significance. Yet, my heart says “HELL YES” it’s more important.

Why? Well, that’s easy …..
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Actually, there are a couple distinct reasons …..

The Baltimore Ravens, as an organization, are not known for rising to the occasion and beating highly touted opponents. And, Monday night matchups on the football world’s big stage haven’t yielded many wins, either.

As we know, the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship game, last year. The Ravens are 6-16 in matchups against teams that appeared in the AFC Championship game, the prior season. They’re not known for beating highly touted opponents.

As for Monday contests, the Ravens are 6-8, as the team enters its 15th year in existence. Not a stellar record, huh?

So, I think tonight’s game against the Jets is quite important. While the game does not represent more than a common victory over the Browns or Bucs in the win column, it can serve as an excellent springboard to start the season. The Ravens have an opportunity to beat a quality touted opponent …. and on the big stage.

If they’re gonna win, I see 3 distinct keys to making it happen …..

1) Force Mark Sanchez To Beat This Defense

I don’t think he can do it. In a pressured situation, I don’t think Sanchez can deliver a victory with his arm. His rookie season proved to be full of both mental and executional errors. And, if his portion on HBO’s Hard Knocks was an indicator for his ability to concentrate and comprehend, I’d suggest the Jets are in trouble.

Sanchez looks beyond confused or lost. In fact, he looks disinterested and easily distracted. While he boasts and walks around Manhattan with a 5th Avenue sense of style, he doesn’t carry the same confidence onto the football field. The guy cannot win a BIG GAME …..
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Force him to try. I will bet the house he’ll fail.

If a game is on the line, I don’t want to face Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Heck, I don’t want to face Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, either. But, I’ll take my chances facing Mark Sanchez. I would bet against him every time.
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2) Come Out FIRING !!!!

The entire football world knows and expects the product known as RAVENS FOOTBALL. It’s quite predictable; relentlessly pursue on defense and establish a methodical, conservative running game. The Ravens’ storied offensive approach is contrary to the Mannings, Brees’ and Bradys of the world. Heck, it’s contrary to Roethlisberger – if he really needs to make a play.

I want to see the Ravens testing the Jets on the first possession. I’m not saying abandon the run, I’m just hoping the emphasis of the gameplan doesn’t rest on Ray Rice’s shoulders. Test the UNTESTED Jets secondary …..

Antonio Cromartie was kicked out of San Diego – good cornerbacks aren’t shown the door so easily.

Kyle Wilson has NEVER seen a play in the NFL’s regular season.

Darrelle Revis hasn’t played a minute of “fullspeed” football in nearly 8 months.

Jim Leonhard is a prototypical part-time player.

TEST THEM.

Will Joe Flacco throw a couple picks if he’s so aggressive? Probably. That just puts the ball back in the hands of this guy …..
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I will take my chances against Mark Sanchez every single time. He’s NEVER really won an NFL game. I’ve said this a hundred times over the last few months …. “the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship game in spite of Sanchez, rather than because of him.”

He is not beating the Ravens defense.
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3) Ask Yourself, “What Would Bill Belichick Do?”

After the dust and hype from tonight’s contest settles, one team will be undefeated and the other will be winless. That’s the promise of the NFL’s first week. When tomorrow morning arrives, we’ll have a distinct winner and loser.

In fact, when tomorrow morning arrives, John Harbaugh and his staff will have their minds squarely on the Cincinnati Bengals. And, Rex Ryan’s team will be focusing on the New England Patriots. Then again, Rex might be finishing up a fresh helping of humble pie, too.

Make no mistake about it, as I sit here writing this blog, Bill Belichick is probably holed up in some dark room, obsessing over Hard Knocks footage, as well as last year’s AFC Championship game tape. He’ll be watching and rewinding tonight’s game, too.

Is that Belichick’s strategy? No, it’s his preparation. His strategy to pick apart an opponent’s defensive vulnerabilities and eventually clamp down on them by throwing for touchdown after touchdown after touchdown.

While they don’t always achieve such a dominance, the Belichick & Brady combination seek to beat an opponent to a point of certain victory. They’ll stick their foot on the throat of competition and never lift off, until the final whistle blows.

That’s what they did to the Bengals, yesterday. And, it’s exactly what they’ll plan to do against the Jets, next week.

I’m hoping John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Cam Cameron, Ray Lewis, Greg Mattison and every other member of the Ravens has the same relentless desire to crush the opponent in tonight’s game. Come out fast and don’t let off …..

What would Bill Belichick do?

That’s right, he’ll command each and every assault in his arsenal. He’ll pour it on. He’ll test and likely victimize the overhyped Jets defensive secondary.

And, aside from anything else, he knows this kid will never bring his team from behind to beat the Patriots …..
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Hate him or not, do what Bill Belichick would do …..

Beat the Jets beyond submission. While Rex Ryan had a great hand in building the Ravens defense, he’s asserted himself as ENEMY #1 on the football field. Let him feel the pain of humiliation.

Rex’s ego is probably bigger than ever. He has guaranteed the Jets go to the Super Bowl.

Tonight, the Ravens can take a first step in ensuring Rex’s promise – albeit from the seats and watching the game as fans.

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Can local media have a negative impact on sports?

Posted on 11 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

I was recently watching one of those “greatest moments in history” movies with regard to the Washington Redskins. Naturally a big part of the film was dedicated to George Allen, and his over the hill gang in the 1970’s. As we all know, due in large part to Coach Allen and some of his antics, the Redskins’ biggest rival became the Dallas Cowboys. (Come to think of it, the Cowboys are one of those teams similar to the Yankees where you either love them or hate them; nobody’s just indifferent towards them.) Many years later, the  Redskins and Cowboys of that era met for a charity touch football game at Dallas’ Texas Stadium. Each side was coached by it’s respective leader; Allen, and Tom Landry of the Cowboys. During the game, George Allen jokingly commented “…can you imagine signing autographs before the ballgame?…now that’s what I call a distraction!”

In this age of big media, it seems that more and more outlets are starting to infringe upon the playing field immediately in the wake of, or even in some cases during sporting events. For both Oriole telecasts and those of the Washington Nationals, MASN features a “wired Wednesday,” where they actually interview the manager during the game from the dugout. In 2009, we’d see Dave Trembley giving in-game signs on numerous occasions during these interviews, and I would suspect that Manny Acta/Jim Riggleman did the same. MASN is far from alone in doing this sort of thing, as ESPN interviews both managers in-game on their Sunday Night Baseball telecast. In my opinion this trend started approximately ten years ago (give or take) when Monday Night Football, which was on ABC at the time, started having their sideline reporter interview one of the two coaches literally in the moments just preceding kickoff. Last time I checked, kickoff of an NFL game is sort of an important moment for a football coach, and odds are that most coaches weren’t happy with having to speak live on-air with a reporter at such an important juncture.

I watch almost every Oriole game, and contrary to some I firmly believe that MASN does a superior job in covering the team. I also think that it’s interesting to hear coaches’ perspectives during games. However I would hope that most fans would rather not hear the coach’s opinion at that moment if it was detrimental to the team. The other side of the coin is that the players and coaches play the games for the fans, and that the least they can do is to be open about things, even during the games. Be that as it may, does anyone not think that other teams didn’t watch some of those telecasts and catch onto Trembley’s signs at times?

I’m not blaming MASN for this, and as I said I think it’s interesting to hear their opinions while the games are going on. (Furthermore I highly doubt that MASN’s the only network that televises a major league baseball team that has a manager on live during the games.) The same can be said for ESPN; I don’t blame them for trying to make the “on-air product” better for the fans. However if it takes away from that coach’s concentration even for a moment, perhaps it shouldn’t be done. The networks are trying to maximize the viewing experience for the fans; however I think that ultimately the fans would rather the manager/coach concentrate on coaching the game in that moment rather than giving interviews.

So when exactly is it acceptable for the media to “infringe” upon the players and coaches? I suppose that I would say anytime that doesn’t affect the players or coaches preparing or playing the games. As an example, Johnny Holiday has interviewed Gary Williams in the moments immediately following each Maryland Terrapin basketball game for years. I don’t see a problem with that, because the game itself is over (win or lose). However coaches’ post-game press conferences have always served as manners by which they can explain themselves or their teams. NFL coaches are legendary for their post-game pressers, most of which are covered live on local television and radio. Baseball managers have started doing the same thing; I’ve spent many afternoons and evenings driving home from Camden Yards listening to Oriole managers giving their post-game pressers.

I don’t think that these kinds of things necessarily affect games, but I suppose that they could. Could anyone imagine Vince Lombardi or John Wodden subjecting themselves to interviews during the games? Again, I highly doubt that MASN and ESPN are the only networks that pull stunts like this. I would suspect that YES requires Joe Girardi to do something along these lines, and the same with NESN and Terry Francona. However as I said, I would hope that fans would accept this kind of media coverage going by the wayside if it meant a better effort on the field. Last week would have been Buck Showalter’s first “wired Wednesday” as the Orioles’ manager. (And if there’s anyone that understands media access, it would be a guy like Showalter who worked for ESPN for many years.) Gary Thorne taped the interview well before the game; I’m not sure if that was Showalter saying that he wouldn’t give interviews during games, or because he was new. One way or the other, if networks want to hear from coaches during games, that’s how it should be done (pre-recorded). George Allen seemed to indicate with his commentary that any media contact during the game is nothing more than a distraction. I would tend to agree.

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The Tuesday Morning Soapbox .....

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The Tuesday Morning Soapbox …..

Posted on 02 February 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, as I’m typing this blog, Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark are ON-AIR at the Convention Center, in Ft. Lauderdale. Remember, WNST.net is providing the very best Super Bowl coverage, LIVE from Radio Row, all week …..

Meanwhile, I’m back in Baltimore – preparing for the debut of “Rex & Ray” next Monday, from 2-6pm. That’s right, if you haven’t heard, myself and Ray Bachmann are replacing Nestor on weekday afternoons, beginning next week.

Indeed if you were listening the his farewell-studio show, last week, Nestor’s upcoming departure/retirement was compared to the career of a well known athlete …..
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While I’m very grateful for the upcoming opportunity, “Rick In Reisterstown’s” playful comparison to Brett Favre was pretty funny.

Okay, on to this morning. I’m writing a contentious blog. There’s a surprise, huh?

Hey, I can’t help it. I care about the intersection of SPORTS & SOCIETY and I’ve gotta dish my views on such happenings.

So, here you go ……

Obama Administration Looking Into BCS Fracas …..
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Oh yeah, you read it correctly, President Obama and his staff are weighing the legitimacy of college football’s championship format – and they’re considering action.
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Really?

I’ve gotta admit that I’m a political junkie of sorts. And, I was intrigued when the 2008 Presidential candidates were asked “what they would do to change sports,” on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. To his credit, President Obama delivered an energetic response regarding the conflicted landscape of the Bowl Championship Series, in college football.

I liked his response and it was just another highlight in his virtual beatdown and diminishment of Senator John McCain’s hopes.

But, I didn’t think he was serious. And, I still hope he really isn’t SERIOUS about sticking his nose, fingers and overall efforts into the American sports landscape.

While most of us think the BCS is just “BS” – I don’t want the man we elected to steer the vitality of America, concentrating his devotions to the problems circling the woes of our sports leagues.

READ IT HERE

It has nothing to do with Republican views or Democratic views.

Our nation is staring directly into uneasy waters. Our troops are still intimately involved in a military initiative, in Afghanistan and Iraq. The American Economy and resulting Unemployment Rates are “fragile,” at best. And, the realities of terrorism remain a daily worry on every inch of this country’s soil.

My personal impression is Barack Obama is an OUTSTANDING human being. He possesses the compassions, integrity and virtues of American citizenry.

But, we elected him to DO A MUCH MORE IMPORTANT JOB. And, this is already a tough time to be President Of The United States …..
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To be bluntly honest, Americans expect more from their President. And, if you’re gonna shrug this off by saying “the President concentrates on alot of issues …..”, such excuses will be of little solace to people who are heavily invested in his every move.

Have you considered these realities :

Families of America’s REAL HEROES, awaken each day, while hoping bad news doesn’t come from the Middle East …..
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Middle-aged men (or women) in Detroit …. OR Duluth …. OR Denver …. OR Decatur …. OR DUNDALK – are waking up this morning, and trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage and feed their famiies, because their jobs as Automobile Makers (and other professions), no longer exists …..
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And, citizens in America’s largest cities continue to cringe whenever an airplane flies overhead, because terrorists are still trying to KILL US – even on Christmas Day …..
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I have no doubt President Obama has America’s best interests occupying his heart, daily. He’s unquestionably, a decent, honest man. And, he’s obviously a devout sports fan, who has a personal interest in changing college football’s dysfunctional championship format.

But, America elected him for more important things – far more important things. And, for those who think the President’s day can be occupied with an array of cultural considerations …..

Try explaining the importance of the BCS to the familiy of the next kid who gets shipped home from Iraq – in a casket.
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My Problem With Putting Miguel Tejada Back In An Orioles Uniform
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From the perspective of making the Orioles more competitive, in the short term, I have no opposition to the signing of Miguel Tejada.

However, from a perspective of doing things the “right way,” sometimes an organization is better suited to say “Thanks, But No Thanks …..” to prospective acquisitions. There must be a CHARACTER component when building a winning organization, and ultimately, a championship-worthy organization.

I absolutely realize we exist in a sports society where transgressions, of differing natures, must be understood. Athletes are not role models. But, Miguel Tejada stood before Congress and LIED to them. He walked into the U.S. Capitol building and defied honesty.
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Am I the only person who really cares about this?

To compound the situation, Miguel Tejada lied about things he did regarding illegal drugs and the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse. Here’s a re-cap – Rafael Palmeiro alleged that Miguel Tejada supplied him with “tainted B-12” injections. Tejada was summoned to Capitol Hill and refuted Palmeiro’s claims. Tejada later pled guilty to perjury.

You can connect the dots, right?

Both of these guys have humiliated and sullied the Orioles uniform …..
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One of them is welcome in town and the other is not. The Orioles won’t go near Rafael Palmeiro. Yet, they’re welcoming Miguel Tejada back into the fold.

Heck, Rafael Palmeiro shares a distinction with another beloved bird …..
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And, we know how everyone feels about him. The Orioles celebrate “Brian Roberts Bobblehead Night,” “Brian Roberts T-Shirt Night,” and “Brian Roberts Poster Night.” Heck, if they thought it would draw more fans, the team would host “Brian Roberts Dirty Bath Water Night.” That’s right, every fan gets a teaspoon of Brian’s soapy splash !!!!

Yet, the Orioles wouldn’t send a cab to BWI if Rafael Palmeiro needed to hitch a ride downtown for ANYTHING. He is indeed that pile of “you know what” that everybody avoids in the backyard. “Just leave it there and ignore it ….”

Miguel Tejada has done something morally worse than anyone caught using illegal drugs, including Brian Roberts, Rafael Palmeiro and Jay Gibbons. He distributed/supplied drugs to his teammates. But, I’m the only guy who has a problem with it.

And, my finger is levied at EVERYONE, as it regards this subject. A couple years ago, we collectively wanted to run Aubrey Huff out of Baltimore, ’cause he called it a “horseshit town.” Yet, we sit back idly, while Miguel Tejada returns to the scene of his crime – the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse.

The FANS are okay with the Tejada signing ….. the LOCAL POLITICIANS are okay with the Tejada signing ….. and the MEDIA (WNST included) are okay with the Tejada signing.

And, that’s pretty sad.
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CBS Denies Gay Dating Site Advertisement
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I don’t really know what to say about this one – other than we could’ve predicted it would happen, huh?

I’ll reckon as soon as Tim Tebow’s “Pro Life” ad was approved, a mild flood of additional questionable ads hit the CBS incoming mailbox …..
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In case you haven’t heard, a Gay Dating website, called MANCRUNCH.com submitted a 30-second commercial ad to CBS for a prospective slot during the upcoming Super Bowl telecast. CBS ultimately rejected the ad, while citing the site’s “credit rating” as a mitigating reason.

However, the folks at MANCRUNCH have provided a rejection letter from CBS which states the submitted advertisement …..

“is not within the Network’s broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday.”

The advertisement contains a scene of two male football fans watching the game, together, and passionately embracing after touching hands in a popcorn bowl …..
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Personally, I have no aversion to controversial dialogue on television. But, I understand the Super Bowl is a family event for many people and racy ads might create uneasy circumstances for parents. And, I’m sure the “macho man” types depicted in Chunky Soup and Hungry Man Meals advertisements were a consideration, for CBS, as well.

I support FREE SPEECH. And, I applauded CBS’ decsion to air Tim Tebow’s Pro Life ad. But, I can’t help but think they’re looking a little hypcritical on the MANCRUNCH issue.

Controversy promotes more controversy, right?

HAPPY TUESDAY …..

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Hey Jon Gruden: Welcome to the Baltimore manure list!

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It didn’t take long for the manure to hit the fan in Baltimore during the Monday Night Football broadcast from Cleveland on ESPN after Jon Gruden made his comments regarding the Ravens and their “historic contributions” to the NFL’s newest drive to market hideously grotesque old AFL laundry.

While swimming in the sea of obvious insensitivity and double negatives that encompass every Ravens-Browns matchup since Art Modell moved his franchise to the Charm City in 1996, Gruden uttered one of the more ignorant one-liners since Bob Trumpy wished us bad weather and cold hot dogs back in September of that fateful year: “If the Ravens wore their throwback jerseys, they’d be the Browns.”

While I was awash in the WNST Purple Haze chat room as well as scanning Twitter and Facebook, I saw that the Baltimore folks were bristling in social media during the second quarter. At halftime, I chased down Ron Jaworski, who I knew pretty well from our days working together at NFL Films on Mondays a decade ago and told him to deliver a message to Gruden for me: “If the Ravens wore their throwback jerseys, they’d ACTUALLY be blue and white with a horseshoe on them! But those were stolen from us, never to return – except of course this weekend when Peyton Manning and his group will be kind enough to come to our stadium and parade around in them in front of us for the 26th consecutive year.”

Look, I’m a Gruden fan – in virtually every way! He’s always been my favorite NFL coach and I even documented meeting him with this video two years ago at the Owners Meetings when he was still the head coach of Tampa Bay.

He’s by far the best coach-turned-broadcaster on national television and that’s in no way to be disrespectful to my partner and friend, Brian Billick.

Chucky is pretty freaking good on the air — and apparently re-upped for two more years with ESPN yesterday — but this latest comment has really chapped my ass and put him on my manure list.

Clearly, Gruden is a big lifer Cleveland Browns fan (not to mention a closet admirer of Brady Quinn, apparently) and no doubt smelled an opportunity to ingratiate himself to the Greater Ohio and Cuyahoga region while he auditions as the next coach of this or some other woebegone franchise somewhere down the road. Gruden wants to work as a head coach again. Cleveland is a better place for him to cozy up to than Baltimore at this point.

But, is Gruden this ignorant to the actual facts? Was he being insensitive or just stupid? Or was he holding “open mic” night in an audition for how much he’d love to wear ugly orange gear without a logo and a quarterback sometime in the future?

But Gruden owes Baltimore an apology. Especially this week!

Our history and “throwback” uniform will be visiting our city again this weekend awash in stolen memories, identity, colors and markings in the form of Peyton Manning, who continues to wear the laundry that was pilfered in the middle of the night more than 25 years ago.

It’s like a continual knock on the door from your ex-wife, who is flaunting what you used to have.

To hear Gruden say something as stupid as what he did on Monday night is just sad. And for Jaworski or Mike Tirico to not correct him is just as bad. And I let Jaworski know what was on my mind.

To be honest, I’m tired of hearing about what was stolen from Cleveland. I was there in the Mistake on the Lake on Monday night. For any Clevelander or fan of the Browns, NOTHING is gone, except the good judgment of Art Modell, who guided the franchise to the playoffs 17 times in 35 years, but is somehow now regarded as a buffoon even after their new franchise has only tasted the playoffs once in 11 years after being reborn with their original hideous uniforms, logo-less helmets and empty shelf space awaiting a shiny silver trophy that we’ve managed to win as a community twice.

It’s “Colts Week” here and Baltimore and so I’m especially sensitive this week.

I also spent the day with a busload of Baltimoreans at the Hall of Fame in Canton, where we’ll show you all of the “discrepancies” that still exist in the only place where the NFL’s history is “celebrated.” Just stay tuned to wnsTV for that…

Between spending the day in a museum that snubs its nose at all things Baltimore – from the records of Johnny Unitas and company under the sub-heading “Indianapolis” to the obvious disrespectful lack of acknowledgement for Art Modell’s contributions not only to the NFL but to the city of Baltimore and making us whole into perpetuity – I’m admittedly a little pissy this week.

So, how did Gruden’s comments sit with you? And how do they sit knowing that no one around here ever seems to defend anything Baltimore, including the continued banishment of Modell from a bronze bust and a moment in the sun in his ninth decade on the planet after serving the NFL for more than half of his life.

Art Modell might never get into the Hall of Fame because of cretins like Tony Grossi and his ilk, but it’s never going to stop me from yelling at full voice.

Of course, Baltimore has always seemed to get even on the field. And we did again on Monday in Cleveland. As a matter of fact, Cleveland still hasn’t scored.

But the city of losers in Ohio always seems to find the sympathy in defeat and despair that seems to be its civic calling card.

Hey Cleveland, want some whine with that cheese?

Maybe Chucky The Rat can feed it to you in a few weeks when Mangini gets shown the gate after another gloriuos 3-13 campaign?

I’ve got your “throwback jersey” right here.

Or, at least I will at 1 p.m. on Sunday…

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kobler

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/13/09)

Posted on 13 November 2009 by Jack McManus

9:40-

Andy Behrens is next up to give some fantasy advice. He tells us to avoid Kyle Orton. Orton always sticks with short passes rather than taking chances down the field. He also explains that Mike Bell should sit this week after getting so few carries last game.

9:24-

Suzy Kolber, the sideline reporter for ESPN Monday Night Football is next up. She states that if the Ravens are unable to defeat the Browns on Monday night the season is essentially over for them. Kolber next talks about the rapid decline of the Browns. She mentions the high expectations for the team last year and how the team has never been close to reaching them. She also discusses the protest planned for the game. She believes that it would be a good thing for the organization if the fans are truly able to make a statement. She moves on to the goals for the rest of her career. She has always dreamed of covering the Olympics.

 kobler

9:15-

Brian Billick now joins us. He will be at the Philadelphia-San Diego game this weekend. The Chargers appear to have turned their season around. Both teams are 5-3 and second in their divisions. Each will be looking to make a statement win. Brian next talks about how the Ravens coaching staff must focus the team for a game against a lesser opponent. It is important to keep every aspect of preparation the same as any other week. We seem to be having some problems keeping Brian on the line so his segment will be cut short this week.

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8:47-

Randy Monroe, the head coach of the UMBC basketball team is the next guest. He begins by talking about how his team will face a tough opponent in their first game, playing Morgan State on Sunday. He explains that although many teams start off by facing cupcakes, it gives his team a valuable test early on. He next describes how his team will replace Jay Greene. Greene averaged over 12 points and 6 assists last season. The team will bring in two transfers. Chris De La Rosa from Sienna and Robbie Jackson from Marshall will both be counted on to make and impact this year. On his chances of making a run at the American East championship, Monroe explains that the league is always “topsy-turvy” and every team has a chance at the title.

 monroe

8:38-

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is on to talk some football with Drew. He talks about the various coaches that will be available this season. He points out that some positions are much more attractive than others. For example, the Cleveland Browns possible opening is one that an established coach would more than likely not look into. He also discusses the probability that the next NFL season will be uncapped.

7:44-

Virginia Tech football analyst, Mike Burnop is on to talk about the team’s upcoming game against the University of Maryland. He starts off by discussing Tech’s up-and-down season. The season has been disappointing because of the high expectations placed on the team in the preseason. Tech is just a few plays away from being in a much better position, possibly with only one loss. Because of some of these disappointments, Burnop believes the Hokies will come out ready to play against the Terps. Burnop moves on to the disparity between the two divisions of the ACC this season. The Coastal division has been clearly strong this year.
burnop

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