Tag Archive | "new york giants"

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Week 6 Coach Speak

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Brian Billick

My broadcast partner, Thom Brennaman, and I had another tight game on FOX as Tampa Bay beat Cincinnati in the final seconds at home. The first five weeks of the NFL season have been hard to figure out, and I tackled some of what is going on in the league during this week’s Coach Speak for FOXSports.com.

I talked to the winning coach of the Tampa Bay-Cincinnati game, the Bucs’ Raheem Morris, about Tampa Bay’s fast start, the evolution of the Tampa 2 defense and what’s ahead for the Buccaneers. I also talked to John Harbaugh about the Ravens’ victory over Denver, and how Baltimore is preparing for a big AFC matchup at New England this Sunday.

In my Billick 101 segment, there is a lesson in how to execute a play-action pass from Falcons quarterback coach Bill Musgrave, and Giants special teams coach Tom Quinn shows how to block a punt.

I take a look at how the Giants managed, even with harsh fans and lots of media in New York, to rebound after a tough start to the season. There was never a reason to panic, and I hope the fans and media have learned a lesson in how NFL fortunes can change week-to-week.

Lastly, we check out the Never Say Never Moment of the Week, including Jason Campbell coming off the bench to give the Raiders a huge win at home over the Chargers.

Here is this week’s version of Coach Speak:

Coach Speak: Week 6

This week, because of the NLCS on FOX, Thom moves over to work with Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver, so I will team with Chris Myers to call Seattle at Chicago.

If you miss any of my appearances on the station this week, please check out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen to all of the great interviews on WNST & WNST.net.

Talk to you next week …

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

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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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Ravens-Giants: Matchups to Watch

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Joe Giglio

The third game of the preseason is taken so much more seriously by coaches, evaluators, and Monday Morning Quarterback’s like you reading this blog. The starters play into the third quarter and the entire tone of the game has a “real” feel to it. Hits are just a little bit harder, offensive lineman stay on blocks a split second later, and coordinators treat their scripts as if these games count. Jobs and starting positions are on the line.

Here are some individual and team battles to watch tomorrow night when the Baltimore Ravens take on the New York Giants:

Ravens Offensive Line vs. Giants Defensive Line: This unit has been spotty for Baltimore so far in the preseason. I think he we all expected Michael Oher to transisiton to the “Blind Side” without a hitch, but he has had a few hiccups. This is the time to resolve those hiccups. But he and his line mates won’t have an easy time. New York was supposed to be led by a dominating defensive line last season, but injuries and ineffectiveness robbed them of their greatest strength. The defensive line is back and better. Whichever side wins this battle will control the game.

Ravens Secondary vs Giants Receivers: Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, and Kevin Boss. These guys are tremendous as a group, but don’t seem to get the respect around the league they deserve. On the other hand, their lead guy, Smith, is a Wes Welker type of possession receiver. While Nicks has the tools, they don’t yet possess that true game breaking #1 guy. If the Ravens can’t keep these guys contained, it will make fans skeptical that they can stop a Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, or Randy Moss when it counts.

Ray Rice vs. Giants Linebackers: Will we see the full complement of Ray Rice that we are waiting for? If we do, it will be fascinating to see how the Giants play him, especially when he is used as a check down in the passing game. Linebacker is clearly the weak point of the GMEN heading into the season. Some combination of Keith Bulluck (coming off of a torn ACL), Michael Boley (ultra talented but oft injured), and unproven Jonathon Goff and Clint Sintim will be the three starters. Can any of these guys cover Rice in open space? Boley seems like the best bet to do it, but if Cam Cameron can get Rice one on one with any of them, Flacco is going to find a match up he likes.

Joe Flacco vs. Antrel Rolle: It is no secret that Joe like to throw the ball deep and that Cam Cameron likes to design throws that enable Joe to use his cannon for an arm. It is no secret that the Giants had immense difficulty stopping the deep pass last season, often being gashed by streaking receivers down the middle. Enter Antrel Rolle. The former Cardinal corner turned safety was given 40 million to help combat this problem. If a Donte Stallworth gets loose down the middle of the field, look for Rolle to pick him up and let his corner instinct take over. Will Flacco be shy about throwing deep? Will Rolle do what he is being paid to do? If Baltimore can stretch the field early, it will open up the middle for Mason and Boldin to operate effectively.

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Activate Lardarius Webb from PUP List

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With Training Camp in the books, the Baltimore Ravens returned to 1 Winning Drive Monday and were immediately greeted by good news.

CB Lardarius Webb was activated by the team after suffering a torn ACL that cut short his 2009 season and forced him to miss all practices in Westminster on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Webb was on the practice field Monday, moving with what appeared to be no pain in individual drills. No team drills were available for media viewing, so his level of participation there is unknown. Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Webb “looked good moving around” in individual drills, Webb added “it was fun.”

It is also still unknown whether or not Webb will participate in either of the team’s remaining preseason contests (vs. New York Giants Saturday, @St. Louis Rams one week from Thursday); or whether or not he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 13 at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets. Harbaugh said of Webb’s chances of playing in the preseason “we’re not going to push it.” Webb deferred questions about when he may be able to return to Harbaugh or Head Trainer Bill Tessendorf.

Fellow corner Fabian Washington; who returned from a torn ACL while the team practiced at McDaniel College, thought Sept. 13 was a fair target date for Webb’s return. “I think there’s always a chance” said Washington. “I know he’s close.”

With Domonique Foxworth out for the season (knee), Webb’s return marks good news for a Ravens secondary unit looking to improve on the 200+ yards per game they allowed via the air in 2009. Safety Haruki Nakamura said Webb’s return is “going to mean a lot. He’s a guy who at the end of (2009) who was starting to play really well.” He added “now that he can anticipate things and be more confident, it’s going to make a bigger difference.”

When he is ready to play, Webb will battle Chris Carr for the right to start opposite Washington at CB. His return makes the battle for roster spots behind him tougher; with Travis Fisher, Cary Williams, Prince Miller, KJ Gerard, Marcus Paschal, Doug Dutch, Brad Jones and Chris Hawkins all in the mix.

The second year corner out of Nicholls State is unlikely to return to the kick return role he held down in 2009 (that job currently belongs to Jalen Parmele), but he hasn’t ruled the return game out entirely. “I want to do everything I can possibly do when I get back to 100%.”

After being scratched from Saturday night’s game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, Gerard (hamstring) was back on the practice field Monday and appeared to practice fully. Paschal (leg) remained extremely limited during drills.

Outside of the secondary, WR Demetrius Williams was not present during the portion of practice open to the media Monday; he left Saturday night’s win in DC with an ankle injury. Other Ravens not present Monday included O-Linemen Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (concussion), David Hale (tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (arm/shoulder).

S Ed Reed (hip), LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (quad) and RB Matt Lawrence (knee) remain on the PUP list.

NOTES: For the first time since the implementation of new practice viewing rules earlier this year, the Ravens removed a member of the media from practice for talking on their cell phone…Ayanbadejo and Lawrence were both on field during Monday’s practice, Lawrence was in uniform…Harbaugh said he talked to Ed Reed Saturday night during the Skins game-Reed “feels good about his progress

-G

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Best Of The Best: My Top 20 QB’s cont.

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Joe Giglio

10. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Beltway Joe is my guy. We often talk about young QB’s gaining experience by repetitions in pressure packed games. I don’t believe any 25 or under QB in the league right now has had the kind of on the job training as Flacco. He has already won 3 road playoff games in two seasons under center, and has been at least among the final four in the AFC both times. His completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns all rose from his rookie to sophomore campaigns, while his INT’s remained the same despite significantly more attempts. He might have the biggest arm in the league- I dare you do find me someone who throws the out pattern better than him. With Boldin, Stallworth, and a pair of young pass catching TE’s in Pitta and Dickson, Flacco has the weapons to lead Baltimore even deeper in the postseason.

9. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

Why only 9th after the season he had last year and the weapons on the Minnesota offense? Health and desperation. Brett Favre is tough as nails, but at some point all of these surgeries and injuries are going to cost him valuable regular season starts, which could cost Minnesota a trip to January. Also, I think Favre’s urgency to win another title erodes his decision making abilities in big spots. Letting the game come to him was never a strong suit of his, but I’m less and less convinced he can win a title every day.

8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Say what you want about his style, backwards hat, and too cool for school smile…Tony Romo can play. The back to back wins over Philadelphia in Week 17 and Wild Card weekend took away the biggest bullet that anti-Romo guys had in their arsenal. “He chokes in the big spot” was erased by his play down the stretch in wins over New Orleans and Washington, along with his picking apart of the Philly defense. He has show over the years an uncanny ability to slide within the pocket, doesn’t need a “true” #1 WR to put up big numbers, and has matured in his decision making when the game is on the line. If Dallas is to play a home Super Bowl, it is because, not in spite, of Tony Romo.

7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

It took a full season for Aaron and I to see eye to eye. I didn’t like the hype machine centered around him and the Packers big pre-season numbers, was embarrassed for him when he let Jared Allen abuse him on Monday Night Football, and was loving it when his INT to lose the game in Tampa put the Packers at 4-4. Things started to change after that. The yards, touchdowns, and wins started piling up week after week. His performance on Wild Card weekend in Arizona sealed it for me that this guy could play. Can Green Bay win a Super Bowl with that style playing in the cold, snow, and wind of Lambeau? I’ve always thought it was more conducive to dome and warm weather teams (St. Louis, New Orleans, Arizona), but Green Bay has a chance because Rodgers can go point for point with anyone if he gets time in the pocket.

6. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

I realize that the “numbers” are better on Phil’s resume than #5 or #4 on my list, but I’m beginning to wonder if all that regular season dominance will ever translate into a Super Bowl trip. There seems to be a new excuse every year in San Diego. Whether it be the incompetence of Norv Turner, injuries to Tomlinson and Gates, simply running into a better team like Pittsburgh or New England, or the hottest defense in NY…this team and QB can’t finish the job. I was convinced that Rivers would win the MVP last year and get San Diego to a Super Bowl, but the guy came up small in January. I know he is tough and plays through injures, but if he wants to be a Top 5 guy in the league and crack the Top 2 of the Class of ’04, he needs to play in the Big Game.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Can’t stand the guy, but respect the player. If it wasn’t for one great drive vs. Arizona a few years ago he would be so many spots down this list. But that drive did happen and Ben does have two rings on his fingers. If the Steelers can get through his four game suspension at 2-2, plenty of fans will peg them as a sleeper in the AFC. More interesting to me than the team is how the city responds to him when he returns. Not many two time Super Bowl winning stars get booed in their home stadium, but Pittsburgh and Ben might be the exception to the rule. The relationship in Pittsburgh might be irreparable, but if I need to win a title, there aren’t many guys I’d rather have.

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Look at the talent levels, production, off the field issues, and past performances in the biggest games and tell me why you would put anyone else in this spot. Eli is no longer Peyton’s younger brother or the QB that got hot for a Super Bowl run. Lost in the Giants wretched finish to 2009 was Manning’s ascension to the top of the rung of NFL stars. Over 4,000 yards behind an aging offensive line, non-existent running game, and a slew of neophyte receivers was quite impressive. He had to come out of his play action comfort zone and operate out of the shotgun more than ever because of the opponent lighting the scoreboard up on his porous defense. Eli is now not just the leader of the Giants, he’s the best player on the field for them.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

His Super Bowl victory launched him into the #1 or #2 spots for some fans in our poll, but it simply inducted him into the club on my list. He’s no longer a distant third after the untouchable 1-2 of Manning-Brady (or Brady-Manning for some). I now look at the Big Three on this list as 1-2-3. They are all elite, can all lead a team to a championship, and all give defensive coordinators nightmares. Brees ability to release the ball quickly and keep seemingly every single WR on his roster involved in the offense is superb. He revived a fan base, helped revive a city, and is carving out a plaque in Canton as each game passes.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Don’t sleep on Brady. 28 TDs and nearly 4,400 yards the first year back from major knee reconstruction surgery is incredible. The Patriots have become flawed in almost every area outside of Brady. The shine has come off the pretty car the Pats had become prior to their Super Bowl loss to the Giants. Last year’s playoff beat down in their building at the hands of Baltimore was a shock to the football community, but Brady and New England shouldn’t be counted out. If knee injuries truly take two years to come back to full strength, watch out for Brady in 2010. If I need to win a Super Bowl I still want a guy that has more than anyone else on this list.

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

The best I have ever seen. Over 4,000 yards in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Mark him down for 11-13 wins a season. I have never seen an athlete take over a game mentally they way Peyton does. He dissects defenses as if he is watching film of their previous games in his head as the play happens. I know his loss to Brees in the Super Bowl makes these Top 3 very close, but when I add in durability, making those around him better, smarts, will to win, work ethic, and consistency, there isn’t anyone better for my money. If I absolutely need to win, Peyton is my guy.

Agree with Flacco at 10? Who would you have put at #1? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7 Sports Letdowns

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Comcast Morning Show Tuesday Top 7 Sports Letdowns

Posted on 02 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Following the example set by the USA Olympic Hockey Team, Drew and Glenn have listed their top seven sports letdowns.

Glenn’s List

7. Hasim Rahman’s Title defense vs. Lewis
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6. Team USA – 1998 World Cup
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5. Dan & Dave – Olympics 1992

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKJkfE1M9wA[/youtube]

4. Andy Roddick – post-2003
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3. Jeffrey Hammonds
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2. Maryland vs. Duke – Final 4 2nd Half

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1. Ravens vs. Colts – January 2007
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Drew’s List

7. Greg Norman Loses 1996 Masters
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6. Blast Loses to San Diego in game 7 (1989)
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5. Ravens vs. Colts – January 2007
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4. Patriots Losing to Giants in the Superbowl (18-1)
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3. Washington Capitals Lose to Flyers (2008)
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2. Team USA – World Cup 2006
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1. Juan Dixon’s NBA Career
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Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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No Debating: Warner Belongs in The Hall of Fame

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No Debating: Warner Belongs in The Hall of Fame

Posted on 30 January 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

If Kurt Warner doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, then they should just blow the whole building up and start over.

Although he’d probably never say such a thing, it’s not Kurt Warner’s fault that the football world never fully grasped his greatness. After all, the only reason that Warner’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame, now that his career has come to a close, is even debatable, is due to the failures of 32 NFL football teams to realize that Warner was the truth. Forget about the numbers, Warner’s back-story alone is Hall of Fame worthy.

 

We’ve all known that guy, the one holding on to his pro sports dream for far longer than reason or common sense should allow. You try to encourage them, and hope that when reality inevitably sets in for them, as it did for all of us sooner or later, they won’t have wasted too much of their life. You can imagine the reactions that Warner must’ve gotten from his co-workers at the Hy-Vee market, as he espoused on his NFL dreams.

 

In a story too sappy to have been written for a Disney movie, Kurt Warner achieved heights that likely even surpassed what once seemed like little more than delusions of grandeur. Scour the landscape of sports, or American history for that matter, and you’ll likely find no better spokesperson for the concept of chasing your dreams, regardless of what anyone else may believe. Eventually, what Warner proved to us all was simply that doubting him was never a good idea.

 

Even as Dick Vermeil was giving his teary eyed, now famous, press conference, trying to convince the world that the team had confidence in Warner, it seemed he was likewise trying to convince himself. What he failed to realize at that time, what none of us could have realized, was that Warner had enough confidence and conviction to overcome what his teammates or anyone else lacked in him.

 

From there the rest should have been history. Warner’s exclusion from the NFL had been corrected to the tune of a pair of Super Bowl appearances, with a win in one, a pair of league MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP award to boot. One might look at this season’s Super Bowl participants and the overall change of the NFL toward that of a passing game, and declare Warner and his “greatest show on turf”, the forefathers of modern offense.

 

Instead, Mike Martz instead declared himself the mastermind behind the “G.S.O.T.”, and jettisoned Warner to make way for Marc Bulger. One rocky season in New York, and Warner’s fairy tale ride appeared over. Shiftless and benched a few times in Arizona, Warner almost began to give the appearance of a guy holding on for too long. And who could have blamed him? After all he had fought to overcome to gain entry to the league, no one would’ve expected him to go out willingly.

 

A Sunday afternoon in Baltimore in 2007 saw Warner get another chance. Taking over for an ineffective Matt Leinart late in a 23-6 Ravens’ blowout, Warner led a memorable comeback effort, which eventually saw his Cardinals lose 26-23 in overtime. In a way it’s kind of fitting that it happened against the Ravens, the team against whom he made his improbable debut in 1999.

 

Now after leading the Cardinals, as he did the Rams, through an unprecedented stretch of success for their history, Warner rides off into the sunset; having put the exclamation point on not just a hall of fame career, but also a hall of fame story, a hall of fame pursuit of a dream, and is generally regarded as an even better human being than football player.

 

It’s kind of ironic that Warner goes out without much suspense or fanfare, not looking to command the spotlight, simply going away on his own terms, after fighting for so long to justify his belief in himself and his own belief that he belonged. Meanwhile, we prepare as well for the inevitable opposite as Brett Favre will soon begin the public spectacle that is his retirement watch. Especially interesting since Warner’s first taste of the NFL was as a free agent invite to Packers camp, hoping only to back up Favre, as unseating him would have been out of the question.

 

Forget about the numbers, which also stack up pretty well against current hall of fame quarterbacks, what Warner accomplished goes far beyond numbers. If ever there was a deserving Hall of Famer, Kurt Warner is the one.

 

 

 

 

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And We’re Back

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And We’re Back

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Sam Angell

At long last, welcome back to the Unassisted Triple Play. You may have noticed my absence over the past several weeks. Probably you didn’t, but I’ll pretend that you did. Anyway, my inactivity has been largely the result of moving from Baltimore to Hartford, CT, where I now work in the sports information department at the University of Hartford, covering the men’s basketball team among other sports.

While I await my triumphant return to Baltimore to take on UMBC in an America East tilt on January 14, I’ve been keeping up with all the action from afar.

OUT NUMBER ONE

There was a moment last night when I thought to myself “a team that loses to a third-string quarterback has no business being in the playoffs. At least I won’t have to work myself up into an ulcer the rest of the season.”

Well, my health insurance at the new job just kicked in, so bring on the gastric acid!

I think any Ravens fan holding out hope for this season probably has a frame of mind similar to mine – the team hasn’t lost any games it shouldn’t have, and with the possible exception of the second Cincinnati game, they have been right in every game all year. Give me a second chance at the Patriots, the Colts, the Vikings…give me a third shot at the Bengals…I’ll take my chances.

That said, despite the fact that many fans and experts anticipated a Ravens blowout with Dennis Dixon in there, the Ravens needed a game like last night. They needed a do-or-die situation against the team they simply seemed incapable of getting over the hump against. They needed to prove that they aren’t seemingly the most snakebitten team in the history and get over the hump in one of those games. And they did it.

Now we know that Joe Flacco can win a game in the last five minutes if he has to. For all the greatness of his first 29 NFL games, he had yet to do that. A blowout would have been nice for our collective psyche, but going into last night, it didn’t matter if they won in overtime on a field goal or were resting the starters by halftime – it would just be one win, and they might very well need another one in Pittsburgh in late December to shore up a playoff berth.

That game will likely feature Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and Chris Kemoetu, which has to be the hardest-to-spell trio on any inactive list in NFL history. The chances of the Ravens going into Pittsburgh and blowing the doors off the place are slim, but it is a strong bet that they will be in the game. If the Ravens find themselves down late in the game, they can look back at last night and know that they have a quarterback (and a running back) capable of moving the ball and getting them what they need to extend drives and seasons. If that hadn’t happened yesterday – even if the Ravens had won handily – that knowledge would not be in the back of their heads going up against the Super Bowl champs in a hostile environment. Now it is, and that will prove invaluable down the stretch for a team desperate to win and move on.

At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself for the sake of my health. In the meantime, Dennis is no Juan. And thank God we got the better half of the dynamic surveying duo.

OUT NUMBER TWO

With the Patriots and Saints underway tonight in one of the most hyped games of the season, and the Ravens and Steelers extending the best rivalry in the NFL right now with another classic last night, this week’s prime time games may end up bailing out the NFL for an embarrassment of a Thanksgiving opening course. Now, I won’t blame them for the clunker that Giants-Broncos ended up being. No one could have known that Eli was still more serious about his squash career than the Giants’ playoff hopes. But to pair the Cowboys with the Raiders, especially when the laughingstock that is the Detroit Lions had to be featured somewhere, was inexcusable.

The league has two teams locked into Thanksgiving every year. No one in their right mind could have counted on the Lions for a decent showing, even in a storied rivalry game. There’s only so much you can do with them, but that should have left the schedule makers pouring over the Cowboys’ home schedule trying to set up one of the best possible games for Thanksgiving.

So they look at who might be good coming into the season. in addition to their star-studded NFC East rivals, the Cowboys play Golden Boy Matt Ryan (who is no Chris Redman, mind you) and Philip, LT, and the Chargers in the Taj Mahal of football this season. So naturally, in the search for a marquee matchup, the NFL picked……..the Oakland Raiders?!

If the game on the field featured Jerry vs. Al in a tete-a-tete, then I could see it as fantastic holiday viewing. But that football game was more of a snorer than the tryptophan. Congratulations NFL, you’ve ruined Thanksgiving.

Of course, just like every other problem the NFL has experienced over the past 15 years, I’m sure they will find a way to Blame Baltimore. If the Ravens hadn’t ruined Jerry’s finale for Texas Stadium, maybe he wouldn’t have had to push for such a patsy on Thanksgiving. We knew that Le’Ron McClain was a power back. We didn’t know his footsteps would still be causing ripples eleven months later.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzGRUNJorz8&feature=related[/youtube]

OUT NUMBER THREE

Normally I use this space for something irreverent and funny. Not today. Today I have something very serious to talk about with all of you. That, of course, was the mysterious disappearance of my Orioles and Ravens car magnets from my back bumper over the weekend. To whoever took them – assuming a Connecticut hoodlum reads random Baltimore sports blogs – I want them back. Put them back where you found them (the dirt outline of the “O” and the Ravens oval sticker are still there, so you should be able to do that no problem), and all will be forgiven. Otherwise, I will have you traced, and will send members of the UConn basketball team to steal your computer.

In the meantime, if any of my loyal readers have extra “O’s,” Ravens stickers, or any of the other things I’ve been missing from back home (Natty Boh, Berger cookies, Utz crab chips, Barry Glazer commercials, etc.), I would be forever in your debt.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HM6ZMmZEVQ[/youtube]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

No bigtime musicians born today, so today’s Happy Birthday goes to Simonetta Stefanelli, a.k.a. Apollonia from the Godfather. No one mastered the days of the week quite like her, and she still ranks in the top 50% of women drivers. And much like this blog, when she hit you with the thunderbolt, you were not going to forget it anytime soon.

Glad to be back everyone, talk to you all again soon.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVS3WNt7yRU[/youtube]

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/5/09)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/5/09)

Posted on 05 November 2009 by Jack McManus

9:51-

And today we finish up with salutes to all those who got involved in the show this morning as we every day.

9:40-

Sean Salisbury is the next guest. He is on to talk about the NFL with Drew. Sean believes that a must win game can occur early in the season, and this week’s Ravens-Bengals game is just that. He thinks that the Ravens will use their toughness and physicality to win the game. Sean explains that the Eagles beating of the Giants says a lot about the momentum of both teams. The Eagles are in midseason form that Andy Reid always gets his team into. He also thinks the Giants will be able to turn the season around and still be a force in the NFC East. Moving on, Sean states that the 49ers are much improved, but they must learn to finish games. He calls “winning ugly” something that good teams are able to do. The Colts did this against the 49ers last week.

salisbury 

9:11-

Mark Mussina joins us now. He starts off by saying that he believed that both starters would struggle last night. This only partially was the case. He also talks about the Phillies’ failure to hit left handed pitchers. Mussina calls Jimmy Rollins vastly overrated. Rollins was very ineffective as a lead-off hitter. His on-base percentage against lefties is very low. Discussion next moves to Johnny Damon’s career. Damon’s numbers are very impressive and if he continues to play for a few years he could make a case for the Hall of Fame. Mussina also talks about Andy Pettitte’s Hall hopes. His postseason performance will help his case. His numbers also compare favorably to Curt Schilling in some areas. Finally, Mussina compliments the ability of Mariano Rivera. He states that he has never seen a pitcher able to control his pitches like Rivera is able to.

pettitte 

9:09-

Joey the Yankee fan calls in. He calls himself a “Yankee apologist.” He apologizes to Orioles fans for his team constantly beating the O’s.

8:52-

Drew follows Glenn up with by taking a shot at Steve Melewski. Melewski recently stated that WNST has an agenda when it comes to the Orioles. Drew explains that his only agenda is to have the Orioles be a winning franchise again. He says that Melewski is being paid to be an Orioles apologist.

8:41-

Glenn kicks off “Cheap Shots From the Bleachers” with a shot at The Tribune Company. Glenn sat next to Dan Connolly last night at a viewing of “The Blind Side.” Connolly is the national baseball beat writer for the Baltimore Sun. Glenn explains that The Tribune Company believes that one national writer is enough to cover an event as large as the World Series. Instead, writers like Connolly should be sent to the Series to write stories that have a Baltimore connection. Topics that could have been used for this year’s Series include Mark Teixeira, Sam Perlozzo, and AJ Burnett.  

8:20-

Brian Billick is next up to talk some football. He begins by talking about the Cardinals-Panthers game this past weekend. The game mirrored the Cardinals upset of the Panthers in the playoffs last year. Brian next comments on the teams that are facing major organizational problems, including the Browns who are rumored to be interested in Brian as coach. He explains that the Browns are in trouble because they are in need of a new coach and a new general manager. He states that he would not want to go to a team where the coach had no say in regards to personnel decisions. Brian will be calling the Panthers-Saints game this weekend. The Panthers must use the same formula to beat the Saints that they used to defeat the Cardinals.

billick 

8:03-

A caller congratulates Drew for the Yankees victory. The caller explains that just because the Yankees win they way they do, not every team needs to spend huge amounts of money. He also points out that despite the expensive payroll of the team, the team was still very close to not winning the World Series.  

7:58-

I apologize, but I just feel the need to post this picture.

mussina 

7:45-

TowsonUniversityMen’s Basketball coach, Pat Kennedy is on with Drew. He starts off by describing the changes to his coaching staff this season. The team has lost a few key assistants this season to other schools. Three new coaches have been brought in. He next talks about how the team still has a couple positions that are notcompletely set. He states that the team has excellent depththisseason, with two solid players at each position. The team will open the season on November 13th at home against Miami of Ohio. He calls Old Dominion a team to look out for in the CAA. He explains that the top teams in the conference will be as strong as they have ever been.

kennedy

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/3/09)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/3/09)

Posted on 03 November 2009 by Jack McManus

9:34-

Baltimore-native Antonio Freeman is next up. Freeman is a former Green Bay Packer and NFL Pro Bowler. He is promoting the 1st Annual Charm City Literacy Challenge Weekend. This event is a part of the BMore Free Program. The program focuses on giving back to children in the Baltimore area. For more information on this and other events please visit bmorefree86trivia.eventbrite.com

9:06-

Victor Rojas is next up with Drew to talk about the World Series. He starts off by talking about how Mark Teixeira has gotten a free pass so far. Teixeira has struggled mightily in the playoffs this season. He next talks about some of the questionable decisions Joe Girardi has made in the Series. He explains that Girardi has only been challenged now that the Yankees are in trouble. Girardi’s use of the bullpen last night in particular drew a lot of criticism. Rojas explains that the Yankees need to limit Chase Utley’s impact if they want to clinch the Series. Rojas finishes up by predicting the Series will go down to an exciting Game 7.

tex 

8:47-

Vinnie Iyer from The Sporting News was in Baltimore for the Ravens-Broncos game on Sunday. He is now on with Drew to talk some football. He explains that the game said something about both teams. He states that the Ravens defense made a statement, while the Broncos offense showed its lack of big-play ability. He next talks about the cluster of teams in the AFC fighting for playoff spots. One of these teams is the Miami Dolphins. Iyer states that the Dolphins have a chance every week but do not have an explosive enough offense. The team has relied on special teams and the wildcat for big plays. Iyer next talks about the Houston Texans. Ryan Moats came through in a big way on Sunday. Iyer looks forward to the game against the Colts to see if the Texans are ready for a playoff push. The struggles of the New York Giants is the next topic. Iyer talks about how the weaknesses of the team have been exposed in recent weeks.

moats

8:30-

Drew talks about how he feels bad to see other organizations, such as Cleveland, have problems within the organization. This is because of the suffering Orioles fans have gone through due to the ownership. He states that the Browns’ hiring of Eric Mangini has set the team back for a few years. The team needs a general manager, a quarterback, and a coach.

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